Tag Archives: Marine Engineering

Getting Chili in the Docks

London based company CPBS Marine Services are regular visitors to the KGV Lock in London’s Royal Docks and the latest visit saw the latest addition to their fleet make its first visit.

Chili Dog (1) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

The Multicat is called Chili Dog in keeping with the canine theme of fleet boat names and boasts a large load area as well as an onboard crane that allows the vessel to support a wide variety of taskings.

ChiliDog (4) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Another benefit is that is has a shallow draft and low wheelhouse that allows it to work the tidal Thames and adjacent waterways. More details about the vessel here.

ChiliDog (6) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

The purpose of today’s visit was to load various items of equipment to support one of the many Thames marine engineering projects. The first item was the unglamourous but essential portaloo!

Chili Dog (12) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Then a dive equipment container provided by UMC International and a compressor – both of which were delivered on a HIAB Lorry supplied by Phill Bascombe Transport Ltd.

Lorry (2) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Lorry (5) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Chili Dog (16) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Once everything had been securely placed on board Chili Dog was off up the Thames to the worksite.

Chili Dog (20) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

Chili Dog (2) @ Gallions Reach 14-08-17

More pictures can be seen here.


Treble tug tow through KGV Lock

After all the excitement surrounding the arrival of the floating hotel it was time for the more mundane but no less interesting task of putting the toys back in their box and when this involves moving a barge that is  91.4m long and 27.4m wide through a lock that is only 30.5m wide there is not a lot of margin for error!

ZP Bear (1) @ KGV 15-10-16

The first attempt at the move saw Rederij Groen’s tug Dutch Blue (that had brought the barge over with the hotel on it) and Kotug Smit’s ZP Bear transit through the Lock and out to the barge which was moored in the KGV Dock alongside North Woolwich.

Dutch Blue (6) @ KGV 15-10-16

The following video shows the tugs leaving the lock.

However, the circumstances were not quite right for the operation to go ahead and so a 24 hour delay was put in place.

The next day ZP Bear returned and was accompanied by MST’s tug Protector.

Protector (2) @ KGV Dock 16-10-16

After turning the barge around in the dock the tugs were then ready to head in to the lock.

Tugs + Dina Launcher (14) @ KGV Dock 16-10-16

The following video shows the various stages of the move from the entry in to the lock through to the departure in to the river Thames.

Then they were safely out in to the river where, after a pause to ensure that everything was ready for a North Sea tow, the convoy headed off down the Thames at the end of a busy few days on a project that had involved 8 tugs from 5 different companies as well as PLA pilots and the RoDMA Marine Operations Team among others.

Tugs + Dina Launcher (1) @ Gallions Reach 16-10-16

More photos can be seen here.

A Good Hotel in the Royal Docks

If someone now asks you the question if you know of a good hotel in the Royal Docks area of East London you will be able to say that there is the Good Hotel.

Formerly a floating detention centre that was then converted in to a hotel it has now made it’s way from Amsterdam and will shortly be moored in it’s new operating location in the Royal Victoria Dock near the Emirates Air Line cable-car.

In what was a massive logistical exercise that involved a semi-submersible barge and five tugs from four different companies the barge, with the hotel sitting on top, safely made it’s way across the North Sea and up the river Thames, arriving at midnight in the pouring rain.

Dutch Blue + ZP Bear + Good Hotel (6) @ Gallions Reach 13-10-16
After an overnight stay moored at Woolwich it was then the tricky task of maneuvering the 12000 tonne barge in to the KGV Lock – with only centimeters to spare. This involved the S Walsh tugs SWS Breda and SWS Suffolk assisted by Thamescraft‘s Devout and for the river portion Kotug Smit‘s ZP Bear.

Tugs + Good Hotel (1) @ Gallions Reach 13-10-16

Some skillful work by the PLA Pilot and the tug crews with the assistance of the dockside team helped get the barge in to the mouth of the lock.

Tugs + Good Hotel (4) @ KGV Lock 13-10-16

Tugs + Good Hotel (7) @ KGV Lock 13-10-16

Tugs + Good Hotel (9) @ KGV Lock 13-10-16

Then it was the case of gently easing the barge in to the main lock – with hardly any room to spare!

Tugs + Good Hotel (11a) @ KGV Lock 13-10-16

Tugs + Good Hotel (15) @ KGV Lock 13-10-16

The following video shows one of the tugs working hard to bring the barge in to the lock.


The Good Hotel will certainly be a noticeable addition to the Royal Docks landscape when in position and becomes the second floating hotel in the docks after the Sunborn London.

Tugs + Good Hotel (23) @ KGV Lock 13-10-16

Tugs + Good Hotel (26) @ KGV Lock 13-10-16

After some work to start removing the supporting struts the barge containing the hotel was moved in the the KGV Dock where further preparatory work will be done before the hotel is floated off the barge and then moved to it’s final mooring location.

Tugs + Good Hotel (1) @ KGV Dock 13-10-16

After having been moved in to the KGV Dock work has started to flood the barge so that the hotel can be floated free along with other checks to ensure that the hotel and the pontoon it sits on didn’t sustain any damage during the North Sea crossing.

Good Hotel (3) @ KGV Dock 14-10-16

Good Hotel (8) @ KGV Dock 14-10-16

Further fitting out works will be done once she is free floating prior to being moved to her eventual mooring position in Royal Victoria Dock.

More pictures can be seen here.

Dmitri’s ship has sailed

In the space of less than six weeks during the summer of 2016 artist Dmitri Galitzine transformed this space at Galleons Point from this:

North Woolwich (lr) @ Gallions Point 08-07-16

to this:

DSC_8697 (2l).jpg

Working as part of the Tidal Twirlings summer of art in North Woolwich his plan was to build a ship made out of recycled materials, found and donated by local people, with their help.

The fact that Dmitri was able to deliver such an impressive vessel is testament to his hard work and dedication and also to the support and participation of the great many people that contributed time and materials to the project.


On Sunday 18th September it came time for Dmitri to sail away. It had always been the plan to launch the ship in the river Thames but that is not just a case of pushing the boat out in to the water and away you go as there was the safety of Dmitri and other river users to consider and with a project of this nature the first test is also the first live performance.

Also, as anyone who attended the launch will have noticed, the river Thames is a busy place with lots of other vessels out on the water plus very strong and fast tides to contend with.

As a consequence it was decided that the departure would have to be done a different way and, with the kind assistance of CPBS Marine Services, we secured the use of a boat mounted crane to lift Dmitri’s ship away from the shipyard and to sail away.

DSC_8715 (2l).jpg

Those in attendance were lucky to have such a close vantage point to witness quite a complex river based lifting operation – not something many people will have the chance to do.

DSC_8840 (2l).jpg

The fact that they also got to see several tonnes of wooden ship flying through the air was something quite impressive too.

Seadog (4) @ Gallions Reach 18-09-16

Then Dmitri went and sat on the ship he had built in North Woolwich and sailed away down the Thames.

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This time-lapse video shows the preparations and launching of the ship.

To see how the ship was built check out this blog post that documents how the build progressed and for some more pictures from the launch event click here.

February 2017 update

Dmitri has now released the project video that he commissioned in support of the “A Ship (to sail away)” project.

A Ship (to Sail Away) from Dmitri Galitzine on Vimeo.

Forth Trojan visits the Royal Docks

The KGV lock gets a fair amount of boats passing through and the majority are locally based in the London area but every now and then a visitor comes from further afield.

Forth Trojan (2) @ KGV 21-06-16

Today was one of those days when, on the afternoon tide, Briggs Marine and Environmental Services sent one of their Multicats, the Forth Trojan, on the long journey from Fife in Scotland down to London and she was not alone as she was towing one of their crane barges, the Forth Olympian.

Forth Trojan (10) @ KGV 21-06-16

Forth Trojan (13) @ KGV 21-06-16

Forth Trojan (18) @ KGV 21-06-16

For the final leg of the journey S. Walsh & Sons Ltd provided their tug SWS Breda to act as rear guide to help maneuver the crane barge up the Thames and in to the KGV lock.

SWS Breda  (5) @ KGV 21-06-16

The SWS Breda had to work quite hard to make sure the crane barge made it safely in to the lock as there wasn’t that much room to spare due to another boat already being in the lock.

SWS Breda  (7) @ KGV 21-06-16

Whilst the crew of the Forth Trojan were waiting they did a bit of plane spotting.

Forth Trojan (33) @ KGV 21-06-16

The crane barge will be working on the Thames Tideway Tunnel project at Blackfriars helping to construct the new pier. After a bit of shuffling of other boats in the lock and a slight detour via the KGV dock both Multicat and Barge are now moored in the KGV lock (SWS Breda having been released from duty).

Forth Trojan (41) @ KGV 21-06-16

Forth Trojan (52) @ KGV 21-06-16

Updated 27th June 2016

Having spent several days in the KGV Lock during which time Livett’s pontoon Dart was brought in to act as jib support and the actual crane jib itself was attached to the crane the crane barge has now moved to its worksite.

SWS Breda (2) @ KGV Lock 27-06-16

The Forth Trojan left with Forth Olympian early Monday morning assisted by S Walsh’s tugs SWS Breda and making it’s operational debut the SWS Suffolk.

SWS Breda + SWS Suffolk (4) @ KGV Lock 27-06-16

SWS Suffolk (1) @ KGV Lock 27-06-16

A video of the departure from the KGV lock can be seen here:

The trio then headed up the river Thames to Blackfriars to work on the Tideway Tunnel project (more details here).

Forth Trojan (6) @ KGV Lock 27-06-16

A few more pictures can be seen here.

Cyclone Clipper gets a new engine

The Thames Clippers are a busy fleet on the river Thames and their engines need to be swapped out every 12000 hours and so Cyclone Clipper paid a visit to KGV Lock today in order to have one of the engines changed.

Cyclone Clipper (1) @ KGV 17-06-16

After a quick turn around in the dock (to do a bit of sightseeing / plane spotting?) she was soon alongside the lock wall ready for engine swap to take place.

Cyclone Clipper (5) @ KGV 17-06-16

Meanwhile the engineers were preparing the new engine that had been brought in by Webster Miller Ltd on one of their HAIB lorries.

Cyclone Clipper (7) @ KGV 17-06-16

Then it was out with the old engine and a few of the fittings were then swapped over to the new engine.

Cyclone Clipper (10) @ KGV 17-06-16

Cyclone Clipper (11) @ KGV 17-06-16

Then it was just a case of transferring the new engine from the lorry in to the boat through the roof access hatch.

Cyclone Clipper (15) @ KGV 17-06-16

Cyclone Clipper (18) @ KGV 17-06-16

The well practiced team completed the whole process in about 2 hours and the boat was in the lock for only 4 hours.

Cyclone Clipper (21) @ KGV 17-06-16

A few more pictures can be seen here.

Bulldog becomes a boxer

The KGV Lock in London’s Royal Docks is used on a fairly regular basis as a loading point for a variety of stores and equipment that are then used elsewhere along the Thames in London for a variety of marine engineering projects.

It is perhaps surprising given it’s location close to the motorway network and the facilities available that it is not used more as part of the wider agenda for helping to keep lorries off London’s roads.

However, London based Company CPBS Marine Services once again sent it’s muli-purpose vessel Bulldog down to KGV Lock to collect some equipment.

Bulldog (3) @ KGV  14-05-16

On arrival at the Lock Bulldog then had to position herself alongside the loading area – a short video shows how maneuverable she is, being able to rotate within her own length.

Once in position alongside the dock edge she was ready to load an equipment container and other equipment belonging to UMC International. The box was brought in by road haulage service contractor Phill Bascombe Transport Ltd.

Bulldog (10) @ KGV  14-05-16

First to be unloaded was a compressor which was transferred directly from the back of the lorry on to the deck of Bulldog which then used it’s own crane to move it in to a parking spot.

Lorry (11) @ KGV  14-05-16

Then it was the turn of the main equipment box to be loaded.

Bulldog (16) @ KGV  14-05-16

Soon Bulldog was loaded up with the box and was then ready to head off up the Thames to the work-site.

Bulldog (19) @ KGV  14-05-16

A few more pictures from the project can be seen here.