Tag Archives: River Thames

A pier appears

It is not everyday that you get to see 600 tonnes of metal being lowered into the River Thames – yesterday down at Orchard Wharf was one of those rare occasions.

Urban Space Management that operate the Trinity Buoy Wharf complex in the Docklands area of East London were responsible for achieving this feat of engineering – along with the help of a few friends!!

TBW Pier Lift (28) @ TBW 03-05-18

The item in question will become a new river pier at Trinity Buoy Wharf, initially as the new operating base for the Thames Clipper fleet (who are already based at TBW) and ultimately as passenger pier for ferry services.

TBW Pier Lift (1) @ TBW 03-05-18

Unusually the pier was constructed on site at Orchard Wharf and then needed to be lowered in to the Thames by crane – more often new piers are constructed off site and then moved up river by tug.

TBW Pier Lift (10) @ TBW 03-05-18

Weldex Crane Hire deployed one of their large crawler cranes to the site to lift the new pier in to the river where JUMBO and HAVEN SUPPORTER were on hand to ensure it didn’t float away!!

As always these operations are undertaken in stages to ensure all is in order and all the preparatory checks had been completed the lift began and the pier took to the air.

TBW Pier Lift (2) @ TBW 03-05-18

The crane then had to move forwards with the load suspended in the air to ensure the pier cleared the river bank.

TBW Pier Lift (13) @ TBW 03-05-18

TBW Pier Lift (18) @ TBW 03-05-18

Then it was slowly lowered into the water and then was secured in place (once it was made sure it wasn’t going to sink!!).

TBW Pier Lift (21) @ TBW 03-05-18

TBW Pier Lift (22) @ TBW 03-05-18

TBW Pier Lift (23) @ TBW 03-05-18

TBW Pier Lift (29) @ TBW 03-05-18

Then the tugs moved in to position to take the new pier down to the King George V Dock where the pier will be balanced before it returns to Trinity Buoy Wharf.

TBW Pier Lift (30) @ TBW 03-05-18

It was quite amusing to watch the waiting support vessels whilst the lift was underway – almost like circling sharks waiting for something to go wrong!!

TBW Pier Lift (17) @ TBW 03-05-18

This is a time-lapse video of the operation.

New Trinity Buoy Wharf Pier (HR) 03-05-18

More pictures can be seen here.

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#Oi18 – Rise of the robots

Every two years the Oceanology International trade event comes to the ExCel London Exhibition Centre in London’s Royal Docks.

Patriot (15) @ RVD 14-03-18

As the exhibition is focused on marine technology the Royal Victoria Dock in East London provides a perfect location for demonstrating various equipment and technologies.

Arca (11) @ RVD 14-03-18

Whilst the number of full scale maritime industry vessels attending the show was down by almost 50% there were still some interesting visitors along with some regular attendees.

Boats (2) @ RVD 14-03-18

Highlight for me was the attendance of ARCA, a multi-purpose vessel belonging to the Netherlands Coastguard and this was the largest vessel to attend this year’s event.

Arca (15) @ KGV Lock 12-03-18

Arca (9) @ RVD 14-03-18

Also in attendance was Thame. the latest vessel to join the Port of London Authority‘s fleet, this is a new survey vessel for the Thames.

Thame (5) @ RVD 14-03-18

However, the number of robot vessels, more correctly known variously as Autonomous Surface Vessels (ASVs) or Unmanned Surface Vessels (USVs) or Remotely Operated Vessels (ROVs) [or various other descriptors!!] had increased significantly and they came in various shapes, sizes and mission profiles.

ASV Harry (4) @ RVD 14-03-18

C-Cat 3 (6) @ RVD 14-03-18

Of these iXblue’s DriX red submarine was particularly noticeable and demonstrated an impressive turn of speed as it did some laps around the Dock.

iXblue DriX (18) @ RVD 14-03-18

Another interesting robot vessel was the USV Maxlimer which is a long-endurance Unmanned Surface Vessel that can be deployed on a number of different taskings and is one of the shortlisted contenders for the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE.

USV Maxlimer (16) @ KGV Lock 12-03-18

It will be interesting to see what will turn up for the show in 2020.

Some more pictures of the vessels can be seen here.

2017 #dlr_blog year in review

2017 turned out to be a busy and varied year with many more cruise ship visitors and well as a significant number of warships – helped in part by the biennial DSEi defence show in the Royal Docks and a goodwill visit by a Chinese navy flotilla.

There were also a significant number of sailing ships seen during the year, largely thanks to the Rendezvous 2017 event taking place in Greenwich but a number of other first-time visitors also came to London.

The Royal Docks was quite busy this year with a large proportion being associated with Tideway Tunnel enabling works that were based in the KGV Lock.

So, on with the review.

January

Whilst January is typically a quieter month for visitors the river is still busy with various tugs, passenger boats and dredgers but the number of marine engineering projects that are taking place in London along the Thames at the moment means that there has been a steady stream of special equipment including jack-up and crane barges.

One such event saw S. Walsh & Sons Ltd tug SWS Breda along with Palmers Marine Services LTD tug Horton towing Red 7 Marine jack-up platform Haven Seaseven up river.

SWS Breda + Horton + Haven Seaseven (1) @ Gallions Reach 12-01-17

A more interesting and unusual visitor later in the month was former Gosport Ferry  Gosport Queen which arrived on the Thames for conversion to a party boat to be named MV Pearl of London operated by London Party Boats Ltd.

Gosport Queen (6) @ Gallions Reach 21-01-17

February

The month started off with another new addition, this time another multi-cat for the CPBS Marine engineering fleet in the shape of Hound Dog – seen arriving on the Thames prior to painting in house colours.

Hound Dog (7) @ Gallions Reach 01-02-17

The year’s first bulk carrier cargo ship to visit the Thames Refinery berth at Silvertown was the Oslo Venture I and this picture shows her departing down the Thames after unloading her cargo of raw cane sugar.

Oslo Venture 1 (1) @ Gallions Reach 02-02-17

The month also saw the first of the year’s naval visitors in the shape of German Navy signals intelligence ship FGS Oker A53 – a photo report can be seen here.

March

The first half of March saw luxury yacht Justa Delia arrive on the Thames and she then spent the rest of the year based in West India Dock at Canary Wharf from where she made numerous trips down river over the following months.

Justa Delia (2) @ Gallions Reach 10-03-17

March also saw the first visit of vessels from Thamescraft Drydocking in the Royal Docks this year with Multicat Devour and Workboat Device working with equipment barges in the dock.

Device + Devour (6) @ KGV Dock 13-03-17

The month also saw the extremely rare sight of a working cargo vessel in the Royal Docks – in this case it was the bulk carrier Haringvliet which arrived with a cargo of steel pipes that were then unloaded in the KGV Lock where BAM Nuttall had set-up a base of operations in support of the Thames Tideway tunnel project which would see significant numbers of vessel movements in the Lock over the following months.

Haringvliet (8) @ KGV Lock 29-03-17

April

The main event for April, and one of the key events of the year, was the sight of 26 sailing vessels from 8 countries that came to the Thames as part of the combined Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta and the Sail Royal Greenwich event. The former was the launch of the trans-Atlantic trip of a number of sailing ships to Canada to help mark the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada – a full report can be seen here and more pictures here.

Tall Ship (14) @ River Thames 13-04-17

The same Easter weekend also saw the arrival of 3 ships of the NATO Standing Naval Mine Counter Measures Group 1 (SNMCMG1) that spent the weekend in West India Dock.

HNOMS Hinnoey M343 @ Gallions Reach 14-04-17

May

At the beginning of the month the recently delivered CPBS Marine boat Hound Dog paid its first visit to the Royal Docks and was fully painted in their livery.

Hound Dog (6) @ KGV Lock 05-05-17

The month also saw the Indian Navy send one of their Frigates, the INS Tarkash, to spend a few days in West India Dock as part of a cultural and naval exchange visit to the UK.

Whilst not the first such visit of an Indian vessel to London it was still a rare and interesting event. A full report can be seen here.

Devout (1) @ River Thames 07-05-17

Notable among the other visitors was Damen Shipyard’s superyacht support tender ‘Game Changer’ which spent a few days in London on a promotional tour.

Game Changer (5) @ Gallions Reach 14-05-17

June

During June the Royal Docks saw a bit more activity with the Offshore Wind Energy show taking place at ExCel exhibition centre and two Offshore Support Vessels were in attendance. More pictures can be seen here.

Atlantic Enterprise + Siem Moxie (4) @ Gallions Reach 05-06-17

The other event in the Docks was a round of the European Jetski Freestyle championships which saw a number of riders competing – sadly there was no local publicity and only a very small crowd of spectators which was a shame and puts the future of the event under threat. More pictures can be seen here.

Jet Ski (9) @ KGV Dock 17-06-17

The month also saw the extremely rare event of two cruise ships from the same company passing each other on the Thames with the Silversea Cruises ships Silver Cloud and Silver Wind passing each other near the O2.

Silversea sisters @ North Greenwich 11-06-17

July

July was a month for Warships and Cruise Ships with several of each type of vessel paying a visit to London during the month.

The month started with a nice sunset departure of Viking Sky and her sister ship Viking Sea visited a few days later.

Viking Sky (4) @ Woolwich Reach 02-07-17

The naval visitors comprised of a mix of Royal Navy Archer Class patrol boats and visitors from NATO countries including BNS Godetia & BNS Bellis.

BNS Godetia A960 (5) @ Gallions Reach 13-07-17

The other naval visitor came in the shape of Tall Ship BAP Union of the Peruvian Navy with London being the first port of call on its inaugural visit to Europe since entering service. A report from a visit onboard can be seen here.

BAP Union (2) @ Gallions Reach 24-07-17

August

During the month four cargo ships visited the Tate & Lyle Sugars Thames Refinery wharf at Silvertown, three of which were bringing in raw cane sugar and the fourth taking away pallets of refined sugar products.

The first picture shows Bulk Carrier Pacific Basin heading down river after discharging her cargo.

Baltic Sea (1) @ Gallions Reach 09-08-17

The next pictures show Bulk Carrier Western Miami in the process of being unloaded at Silvertown.

Western Miami (3) @ Thames Refinery 25-08-17

Chilli Dog, the latest addition to the CPBS Marine fleet, made it’s first visit the KGV Lock to collect a container of diving support equipment in support of marine engineering works further up the Thames in London.

Chili Dog (2) @ KGV Lock 14-08-17

The end of the month saw yet another naval tall ship, this time the Nve Cisne Branco from Brazil, a full report can be seen here.

NVe Cisne Branco U20 (2) @ Gallions Reach 21-08-17

September

The Royal Docks was again busy with various activities this month. It started with a night-time move of Light Ship 93 from it’s normal mooring location in Royal Victoria Dock up to Tower Bridge as part of a PR stunt – seen here in the KGV Lock with two Livett’s Group tugs providing assistance.

Felix + Lightship 93 (12) @ KGV 07-09-17

The other big event was the biennial Defence exhibition held at ExCel which saw a number of warships and smaller craft moored in Royal Victoria Dock – a full report with more pictures and videos can been seen here.

HMS Argyll F231 (3) @ Gallions Reach 09-09-17

Also in the Docks during the month was a mass hot air balloon event taking off from London City Airport’s runway as part of their 30th anniversary celebrations in partnership with the Lord Mayor of London’s charity appeal.

HABs (13) @ LCY 10-09-17

October

The month kicked off with an historic visit to London by a flotilla of three Chinese Naval vessels with two Destroyers visiting West India Dock and a Replenishment ship coming to the King George V Dock. A full report with photos and video can be seen here.

PLAN Huanggang (5) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17
Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (9) @ KGV Lock 03-10-17

Later in the month Toploader, a multi-cat belonging to Topbond PLC, arrived in the KGV Dock to take up residence in support of the first phase of development works at London City Airport.

Toploader (8) @ KGV 12-10-17

Towards the end of the month Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland came up river to spend a few days in West India Dock to celebrate her birthday.

HMS Sutherland F81 (5) @ Gallions Reach 21-10-17

November

Briggs Marine sent their multi-cat Forth Fighter to spend some time on the Thames undertaking diving operation around the two Woolwich Ferry pier in preparation for the enabling works in 2018 for the arrival of the two replacement ferries.

Forth Fighter (6) @ Woolwich Reach 25-11-17

Two NATO Frigates also visited during the month although the replenishment ship that was due to join them had to stay in Bruges for some repairs but still nice to see the Portuguese and Norwegian ships.

SNMG1 Frigates (1) @ West India Dock 28-11-17

The end of the month saw floating sheerleg crane Cormorant arrive on the Thames to undertake recovery of a sunken barge from the river at Gallions Reach.

Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (4) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17

December

Whilst the year had seen fewer visits by Luxury Yachts it was nice to see Sea Falcon II arrive on the river to spend the festive period moored in West India Dock.

Sea Falcon II (11) @ West India Dock 06-12-17

Multraship sent their tug Multratug 17 to the Thames to help take Cormorant back to the Netherlands after the salvage operation.

Multratug 17 (5) @ Gallion Reach 09-12-17

The year once again came to a close with a number of luxury motor cruisers arriving in the Royal Docks on their way to the 2018 London Boat Show.

Princess 43 (2) @ KGV Dock 20-12-17

So that concludes a look back at some of the highlights from the year, lots more pictures from these events and others can be seen here.

It will be interesting to see what 2018 will bring in terms of new visitors and familiar vessels making a visit to London. The #dlr_blog “Lookout” page will attempt to provide notice of expected arrivals and watchout for blog reports about key events and visitors so stay tuned……

A few vessel statistics for 2017 (some vessels visited more than once):

Bulk cargo ships visiting Thames Refinery – 31 (21 Import / 10 Export)

Naval vessels – 45 (includes 8 to the Royal Docks)

Cruise ships – 16

Sailing ships – 35 (including 26 for RV2017)

Salvage in Gallions Reach

A few months ago one of the GPS Marine barges sank on its moorings at Jetty Roads in Gallions Reach off Thamesmead.

Due to the weight of the sunken barge it was beyond the lift capacity of any Thames based floating cranes and so Dutch salvage company Multraship Towage & Salvage were commissioned to undertake the recovery.

Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (4) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17

As a result on the 30th November Multraship’s floating sheerleg crane Cormorant arrived in Gallions Reach with the assistance of Mutrasalvor 3.

Multrasalvor 3 (5) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17

It was then positioned over the wreck site and preparations started for the recovery which included several days work by divers.

Cormorant (3) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17

Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (24) @ Gallions Reach 30-11-17

Once everything was ready the lift took place and the sunken barge was made secure before being towed to GPS Marine’s moorings at Erith.

Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (2) @ Gallions Reach 04-12-17

On the 9th December the tug Multratug 17 arrived on the Thames to lead the tow of Cormorant back to the Netherlands and all three vessels departed late morning.

Multratug 17 (3) @ Gallion Reach 09-12-17

Multratug 17 + Multrasalvor 3 + Cormorant (5) @ Gallions Reach 09-12-17

More pictures of the various vessels can be seen here.

All going to PLAN

The first week of October was a special occasion when it came to naval visitors to the River Thames as it saw the arrival of three vessels from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) Surface Force.

The three ships have been on a long-term deployment as part of China’s desire to promote its global influence and whilst in European waters they have conducted joint exercises with the Russian navy as well as visiting a number of European ports.

The first two vessels to arrive were a pair of Type 054A multi-role frigates in the shape of Huanggang (577) and Yangzhou (578) which are both less than 3 years old.

PLAN Huanggang (3) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

PLAN Yangzhou (5) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

This class of Frigate carries anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine missile launchers as well as a 76mm main gun and close-in weapons systems (CIWS) for self-defence – the ships are also each carrying one Harbin Z-9 SAR / ASW helicopters.

PLAN Huanggang (9) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

The Frigates will spend a few days in West India Dock.

PLAN Huanggang (13) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

The following video shows the two Frigates arriving on a very windy Thames.

Later that same day the Gaoyouhu (AOR 966), a Qiandaohu-class or Type 903A, replenishment ship arrived in London’s Royal Docks to spend a few days in the King George V dock.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (1) @ Gallions Reach 02-10-17

As the Gaoyouhu is a large vessel it took two Svitzer tugs to help maneuver her through the Lock to her mooring in the King George V Dock.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (12) @ KGV Lock 03-10-17

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (5) @ KGV Dock 03-10-17

This ship, which is less than two years old, carries fuel and solid stores and is equipped for Replenishment at Sea (RAS) operations and is also helicopter capable.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (9) @ KGV Dock 03-10-17

Updated on 4th October – a trip up to West India Dock to see the two Frigates and their embarked Z-9C helicopters initially yielded another angle on the Gaoyouhu in KGV Dock.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (3) @ KGV Dock 04-10-17

It was then over to WID to see the two Frigates that were alongside each other.

PLAN Type 054A Frigates (1) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

PLAN Type 054A Frigates (11) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

The main attraction was that both the embarked Z-9Cs were out on deck, although not best positioned to get clear photographs they are still extremely rare sightings!!

PLAN Type 054A Frigates (15) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

PLAN Harbin Z-9C (21) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

PLAN Harbin Z-9C (14) @ West India Dock 04-10-17

Update 7th October – all three Chinese Navy Warships have now left the Thames in London.

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (2) @ KGV Dock 07-10-17

Svitzer tugs Bootle and Brunel arrived at the King George V lock early afternoon and then proceeded in to the KGV Dock to tow PLAN Gaoyouhu backwards in to the lock and then out in to the Thames.

Svitzer Bootle + Svitzer Brunel (5) @ KGV Lock 07-10-17

Svitzer Bootle + Svitzer Brunel (5) @ KGV Dock 07-10-17

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (4) @ KGV Lock 07-10-17

Gaoyouhu AOR 966 (5) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

A full video of the tow is shown below.

The two Frigates that had been in West India Dock also passed down river in turn.

PLAN Yangzhou (3) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

PLAN Huanggang (8) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

As PLAN Huanggang passed by it also provided a chance to check out some of the weapons fit.

PLAN Huanggang (5) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

PLAN Huanggang (6) @ Gallions Reach 07-10-17

A few more pictures can be seen here.

DSEi 2017

In early September 2017 it was time once again for the ExCel exhibition centre to be taken over for two weeks for the hosting of the biannual Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) trade show.

As is usual the event has a strong maritime element with a number of visiting warships and smaller craft that do demonstrations in the Royal Victoria Dock.

The first vessel to arrive was HMS Mersey, a Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessel.

HMS Mersey P283 (14) @ Gallions Reach 08-09-17

In total five Royal Navy vessels were in attendance, including HMS Argyll (F231), HMS Cattistock (M31), HMS Puncher (P291) and HMS Trumpeter (P294).

HMS Argyll F231 (3) @ Gallions Reach 09-09-17

HMS Cattistock (1) @ RAD 15-09-17

HMS Puncher P291  &  HMS Trumpeter P294 (6) @ KGV Lock 11-09-17

The Irish Defence Forces also sent one of their Offshore Patrol Vessels, the LE Samuel Beckett (P61).

LE Samuel Beckett P61 (2) @ Gallions Reach 10-09-17

Final vessel to attend was the the Belgian Navy’s coastal patrol vessels the BNS Pollux (P902).

BNS Pollux P902 (14) @ Gallions Reach 11-09-17

Among the smaller craft on display one was the BAE Systems Marine Pacific 950 RIB that is able to operated in a manned, remotely operated or autonomous mode.

Pacific 950 RIB (13) @ RVD 12-09-17

The Royal Marines also undertook a ship boarding role demonstration.

Royal Marines (17) @ RVD 13-09-17

The star, for me, was the JFD SEAL Carrier which is capable of carrying up to 8 people and can operate as a high-speed surface craft or in either semi or fully submerged mode for covert surveillance or force insertion roles.

SEAL Carrier (9) @ RVD 12-09-17

SEAL Carrier (23) @ RVD 13-09-17

Several other RIBs also took part in the display in the dock.

USMI Nunya Interceptor (7) @ RVD 13-09-17

Supacat Goldfish SC12 (4) @ RVD 13-09-17

For more pictures of the Warships click here and for more pictures of the various smaller craft click here.

All too soon the ships left the Royal Docks again and the waters returned to their normal empty stillness – until next time……

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.