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Tidal survey work is taking place today at the Port of Dover. Port of London Authority survey vessel Yantlet (pictured left) is working in the outer harbour area and local charter vessel Jolly Fisherman (below) is surveying along the Southern Breakwater just outside the harbour. Port dredger David Church (also below) is also dredging and landing samples of spoil. Another fascinating aspect of a day in the life of the Port of Kings.
Dover Western Docks Revival Community Workshop
This was hosted by the Port of Dover at Cruise Terminal 2 on the 23rd April and was attended by around two hundred local people with a total audience of over eight hundred, although notification of the event was close to it taking place. Work commitments meant that I was unable to attend but several colleagues were present. The Port of Dover has produced a brochure (pictured) and questions were invited and responded to by Chief Executive, Tim Waggott, Chairman, George Jenkins and Bob Lane together with other port representatives.
Whatever view one takes, there is no doubt that this is an exciting proposal, crucial to the development of the port and ensuring continued employment and the creation of new jobs. I have reported on this elsewhere on the news page of the website, so will not spend time here going over old ground. The "Bridge" publication refers to Dover's link with the French port of Calais, a key transport corridor between the two countries. The brochure is produced in both English and French and underlines the importance of this strategic link between "two ports" with "one vision and a common project". Indeed, much work is ongoing at the port of Calais enhancing port facilities and infrastructure and, to be fair, they have the luxury of space and available land. Here in Dover space is at a premium and also the issue of increased freight traffic was addressed. It is interesting to note that at Calais they are implementing a "multimodal interface area" that "allows efficient transhipment of trailers between rail, road and ferry in the port". This allows containerised and trailer freight to be rapidly moved between central hubs throughout France and the rest of Europe by rail. Surely now is the time to look into this method here as this concept is particularly applicable to the port centric logistics concept. Issues here in Dover such as the removal of port and local bottlenecks at peak times and reduced air pollution are all detailed in the brochure. In addition, the creation of four kilometres of freight lanes with a capacity to hold two hundred and twenty freight vehicles is mentioned. This Traffic Management Improvements (TMI) scheme will mean that there will be a buffer zone ease congestion on the A20 corridor through the town.
It is a pity that more attendees were not present as many people continue to complain and pillory the Harbour Board whatever they try and do. It appeared that Dover District Council finds it difficult to work with the port on many of the issues and one hopes this impasse can be resolved. The importance of this project cannot be overstated and is the first step to reinforcing the links the port has with the town and at the same time creating much needed employment both during the project and upon it's completion. It isn't just about port profits and revenue, this is an exciting vision of a project that must become a reality.
A visitor in the Wellington Dock! This 3.5 million pound 90 feet custom built Dutch Barge dating from 2004 has arrived! Tigre D'or was nominated as finalist for the Designers Award of the International Superyacht Society and won in her class best power 23 to 32 metre. She is a Nauticat Salamander 521 and really is worth a look. She is on the hammerhead of H pontoon. Best view is from the Union Street swingbridge.
This luxury river vessel, with a steel hull and superstructure, combines classic barge lines with a cockpit and accommodation more normally associated with a luxury motoryacht. With her extremely low draft, she was especially designed and built for cruising inland waterways and is perfectly suited for even the shallowest waters.
Her classic interior and sturdy, yet elegant, exterior design demonstrate the amazing yachtbuilding versatility that is Hakvoort’s hallmark.
MSC Magnifica departing for Amsterdam in the evening sunshine. She returns to the port on the 25th of this month. Her size and beauty always make her a popular visitor, many of her passengers spent the day visiting Dover Castle and the town as well as other tourist attractions further afield, underlining the fact once again that Dover Cruise Terminal is the Port of Kings. She sports the UNICEF logo indicating the continuing commitment MSC Cruises have working with vulnerable children in Brazil.
Stena Roro has purchased the ex superfast vessel Dieppe Seaways (ex Seafrance Moliere). She remains on charter to DFDS serving their Dover to Calais route until autumn this year. Reports suggest she is to be renamed Stena Endeavour and will see service on the Holyhead to Dublin service in 2015.
HMS Lancaster will be berthed at the cruise terminal from the 5th April until the 8th. Visitors attending the Holiday & Leisure Show on the 6th will have the opportunity to visit her. F229 HMS Lancaster is one of ten Duke class frigates and was completed in 1991. All the ships in her class are named after Dukes, the Duke of Lancaster perhaps being better known as Her Majesty the Queen, who named her upon the occasion of her launch. The Ships motto, when translated from Latin, means "Difficulties be Damned". Her sister HMS Kent visited the port in 2012
Taking a cruise from Dover is not only relaxing, it can also have some hidden benefits as Phil Troubridge recently discovered!
Phil took a Fred Olsen cruise last summer and completed a feedback survey about the port. His questionnaire was entered into a prize draw and his positive comments resulted in him winning a hamper containing Kentish produce donated by local business Riverside Catering Services.
Good to see local companies working with the Port of Dover and promoting a positive image of the county.
MFL looks set to continue sailing into stormy waters.
A provisional ruling by the Competition Commission today, (Friday), stated that Eurotunnel's acquisition of the three former Seafrance vessels, Rodin, Berlioz and Nord Pas De Calais, possibly contravened rules preventing monopolies. Eurotunnel have responded by threatening to withdraw the vessels from the route in a move that would potentially appear to be good news for competitors P&O and DFDS. More news will follow.
An inauspicious start to Dover's cruise season. The fifth in a class of seven Sphinx class Aida Cruise vessels, AidaSol, will not be calling at Dover today. She has remained in Le Havre (for Paris) overnight for 'operational' reasons. She is currently engaged on a fourteen day 'Western Europe from Palma de Majorca to Hamburg' cruise. This was to be her only call this year. The Landmark Show Choir won't be able to sing for the passengers in aid of Dover RNLI but they will be at the cruise terminal on the 30th March for the next cruise call which will be the Portuscale vessel, Azores. This image was captured on a murky day in 2011 during a previous visit to the port.
The North Cardinal Buoy that marked the location of the remaining blockship Spanish Prince has been permanently removed from station this morning by the port dredger David Church. A previous article on this can be found on the Features page. Shown here is the buoy on deck after lifting. ANTMs will give details but for those of us who update our charts, take note.
Many thanks to
for the photograph
The Faroe Islands registered cargo vessel Helene unloading narvik rock onto the barge Charlie Rock prior to transportation and placement on the beach as part of the groyne beach protection works. Holyhead Towing's tug Afon Goch and multipurpose service vessel Llanddwyn Island are alongside the barge and will be engaged in the operation, which commenced recently.
More photos below.
Drugs seized at Dover Eastern Docks on Sunday 2nd March 2014
Seven and a half kilos of heroin and 18 kilos of cocaine with a street value of millions of pounds, were seized from a Serbian lorry driver on Sunday. The driver, Dragan Petric, 52, appeared before Folkestone Magistrates Court today charged with the illegal importation of the drugs. Border force officers stopped and searched the Slovenian registered lorry and discovered the drugs in the cab body.
Following the seizure by the Border Force, the investigation and prosecution are being carried out by the National Crime Agency. Director of Border Force south east and Europe, Paul Morgan, said: “This is an excellent seizure of extremely harmful drugs and I would like to pay tribute to the vigilance and hard work of the officers involved. We will continue to work hard to keep our borders safe and crack down on drug smuggling.”
I'm assuming there was no pun intended in using the word crack!
Well done to all concerned in preventing this garbage from reaching the streets.
Judging how some of these drivers drive I think most of them must be using the stuff themselves.............Ed.
Pullmantur's cruise vessel Empress will be at Dover Cruise Terminal on Tuesday 6th May this year and for just £10 per person (based on a couple booking, otherwise you will pay £20 each), you will have the opportunity to step aboard.
You can explore the ship on a guided tour of the various cabins available, enjoy lunch with drinks and experience the Spanish style of cruising.
Pictured above on a visit in 2012, Empress now sports a blue painted hull and looks extremely smart in her new livery. Although Pullmantur Cruises was acquired by the Royal Caribbean group in 2006, she maintains the Spanish brand and style that has made her so popular with her passengers. Built in 1990 she is 48,563 tonnes and was extensively refurbished in 2004. Her nine decks feature various lounges, bars, cafes, restaurants, a discotheque, internet room, library, gymnasium, spa, beauty salon, casino, solarium, outdoor pools, jacuzzis and tax free shops.
She has previously been named Nordic Empress and Empress of the Seas.
For more details and to make your reservation call Broadway Travel:
0800 011 4357
email them: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oh and one more thing! Book a cruise on this vessel within four weeks of your visit and you will be refunded the price of your admission on the 6th May.
Pretty cool I reckon, so see you there!
DOVER COMMUNITY REGATTA SET FOR 26TH JULY 2014
Dover's Community Regatta will take place on the 26th July this year.
The event which is supported by Dover District Council and Dover Sea Sports Centre hopes to attract a wide audience following a successful day last year. The regatta may be smaller than in previous years, largely due to the fact that it is organised and supported by volunteers who give their time and effort completely free of charge, but is set to be a regular and growing event. The regatta will incorporate the Community Safety Day along with a vintage car rally, aerobatic display and a range of events both onshore and out on the water.
All you have to do is come along, enjoy and support (praying for good weather is a good plan too!)
For more information or to register an interest in taking part, email:
Alyson Hudson at PODCommunityRegatta.co.uk
Alternatively contact Dover Sea Sports Centre or Dover Sea Safari who, with a handful of other agencies and supporters are working to ensure the success of this event.
Western Docks development and regeneration latest.....
As further information trickles out concerning the Western Docks regeneration and development, issues have arisen over the Harbour Board’s reluctance to be pressed further on details.
The £120 million proposed project looks to be partly funded using some £60 million of revenue raised when berthing charges levied on the ferry operators were increased by 5% as long ago as 2012. It will be remembered that the resulting uproar was finally settled when the public enquiry ended with the ruling that the tariff increases were fair. What, perhaps, is not so fair is that any new development, using funds accrued from the ferry operators would not incorporate new cross channel ferry RoRo berths, watered down T2 development or not. One source from within the industry has suggested that the new cargo facilities would also enable ferries to utilise these, which operationally would seem unlikely. One wonders if we are to return to the heady days when vehicles were craned on and off (only joking). It is understandable then, that the ferry companies are none too happy at the moment.
But is it all down to the Harbour Board, who, at times, seem pilloried whatever they do or say? One may also recall back in late 2012, the Department of Transport rejected the Board’s plans for privatisation, so the entire T2 project including new ferry berths was effectively dead in the water.
With the emergence of the People’s Port Trust, the Board was under pressure to either deliver or talk terms, neither of which was likely to happen given the scenario at the time. This gave the People’s Port a voice and perhaps more importantly, enabled them to become a credible alternative with a positive, forward thinking vision of the future.
It’s a little like the proposed regeneration of Dover’s St James Street / Russell Street area. Do it once and do it right.
Seatrade's Polarstream alongside the Eastern Arm today. She encountered the same stormy weather conditions that damaged the cruise vessel Marco Polo (story below), losing several containers of bananas in the Bay of Biscay. There is evidence of damaged containers, ongoing welding work and a slight list to port in the photographs below. In the background is tug DHB Dauntless heading out to assist in the arrival of reefer ship Star Service 1.
Complete with new rudder, the bunkering tanker Coralwater has returned to take up her duties in the port. arrivinghome in the early hours yesterday morning. She departed Rotterdam and loaded bunker fuel at Zeebrugge before arriving in Dover.
Lizrix, which had deputised during her absence, has now sailed for Falmouth.
The ongoing period of extremely stormy weather continues to cause problems in the channel. All ferry services to and from the port of Dover have experienced delays with winds gusting in excess of 70 to 80 knots at times. Some examples of further troubles recently include engine problems for the Pride of Kent and also the Pride of Canterbury, the former returning to port not long after a recent departure. MFL's Nord pas de Calais lost an anchor and a length of chain whilst at anchor in the Downs which has been buoyed, awaiting salvage and recovery.
Tragically, slightly further afield, the Cruise and Maritime Voyage vessel, Marco Polo encountered severe weather in the western channel yesterday evening, resulting in the tragic death of an 85 year old passenger, who died after being airlifted from the vessel together with another passengers who is recovering in hospital. Other passenger were treated onboard for a range of fall related minor injuries. The cruise ship suffered broken glazing after being struck by mountainous seas in atrocious weather conditions The vessel is expected to dock at her home port of Tilbury later today after a 42 night cruise, returning from the Azores. The vessel has called at Dover Cruise Terminal in the past and is pictured above on one such visit. She was originally the Russian vessel, Aleksandr Pushkin, the second in a class of five ships often referred to as the "poet" or "writer" Ivan Franko class vessels. One of her sisters, the Mikhail Lermontov foundered off the coast of New Zealand in 1986.
The infamous Joline departed Calais just after 1100 yesterday morning. Usually at the centre of the controversial live export issue on her normal run between Dover and the continent, she was instead, on route to the French port of Le Trait situated on the river Seine near Rouen. She was carrying a more conventional cargo of palletised freight, but due to the ongoing inclement weather is currently holed up in Boulogne awaiting an improvement in the conditions. Although the weather has been extreme, this does perhaps, underline the fact that this river ferry, originally constructed to transport russian tanks, is not well suited to channel operations and particularly live exports.
Remember "Dance to France?"
From March, for just £12.50 per person, you will be able to dance the evening away aboard P&O's Spirit of Britain, returning to Dover at 22:15.
The event, popular during the 70s through to the late 90s has been re introduced by two very worthy organisations:
The Dover Steamship group, campaiging to save the ex Dover based ferry the "Dover"
RNLI Lifeboat supporters.
Staffing levels are below the minimum requirement according to figures released from Coastguard SOS, a campaign organised by MCA staff who are unhappy with staffing levels and proposed further cuts to the service.
Undermanned prolonged shifts and the necessity to work excessive overtime will undoubtedly have an effect on the level of service that staff have a passion to deliver. More than a handful of stations have closed with more closures imminent.
Dover is perhaps safe as the station is a Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre or MRCC, but the service has seen successive ruthless cutbacks and closures particularly during recent years.
More information can be found on the Coastguard SOS website.
Details have just been received of works due to take place repairing and consolidating Dover's beach and seafront. New rock groynes will be formed from Norwegian Larvic rock and the work will commence on the 24th February 2014.
The press release was entitled "Dock rock" and for those of us that remember the original "Dock Rock" weekends will have no doubt raised a smile!
Further evidence of the Port of Dover's commitment to the community as a whole.
04.02.14 A watered down T2 for Dover in prospect?
Latest news for Dover reveals a somewhat scaled down proposed redevelopment of the Western Docks within the original footprint of the much heralded T2 development. The drawings and working models for a larger and similar project are nothing new, having been around for a while now, but the latest news release details a more modest undertaking.
600 new jobs suggested.
Relocation of the Dover Cargo Terminal from the Eastern Docks to new facilities in the Western.
Two new cargo terminals.
Facilities for feeder vessels and port centric logistics.
Infilling of both the Tidal Basin and Granville Dock.
New marina berths in the outer harbour.
Formation of a new lock chamber, gates etc and associated bridge from the Wellington Dock to the harbour.
New Lifeboat Station.
New Tug and Dredger Haven.
Pier extensions and new breakwaters.
In a statement issued by port officials it was suggested that this regeneration will create 600 new jobs and safeguard 140 existing positions. The new cargo terminal will continue to service the regular reefer vessel arrivals from South America and Africa and additionally cater for small container feedership services from the continent if plans go ahead. It was also suggested that the project will strengthen port links with the community and even for the benefit of the nation.
"We want to work closely with our customers and the community in establishing and driving a shared vision. Together we can and must make it happen and we begin that journey today"
Grand words indeed.
It is possible to recall the fact that the Peoples Port Trust voiced similar proposals for a western docks cargo terminal some time ago. What must surely happen now is to address the problem of increased vehicle movements in and out of any such development, as there is still no provision for a railhead facility in the latest proposals. This will be particularly compounded by existing freight volumes on the A20/M20 corridor. Is it not now time to invest in suitable railhead facilities to take much of the freight off the roads and on to the rail network. From dedicated freight distribution hubs nationwide, including Dover, the goods can then still be delivered by road, using British trucks driven by British drivers?
The whole purpose of the industry changing containerisation revolution which took place in the 1970s was to create a pilfer free, efficient intermodal transport system incorporating standard sized units utilising the rail network where possible. Surely this is too good an opportunity to be missed here? It would be a wonderful achievement if much of the dirt, grime and pollution from the foreign hauliers wasn't constantly covering everything in crud. It would probably make it easier to negotiate the roundabouts without having to contend with the aforementioned trucks whose drivers persistently fail to give way and abide by the road signs.
The suggestion that increased commerce will be sought from encouraging feeder vessels to the port is an interesting idea. It would appear that this is an attempt to embrace the "port centric logistics" concept. This supply chain management system first appeared around fifteen years ago and utilises long distance movement of goods by sea followed by the shorter inland journeys being undertaken by road, barge or rail. As the first two options are not available in Dover we can only forsee greater traffic volumes. The port centric concept also utilises labour to unload or "unstuff" in industry parlance, the containers and then the goods are transported and delivered inland as smaller consignments as palletised freight or multi drop deliveries. This, perhaps, is where the bulk of the new jobs will be gained. 600 completely new positions is an unlikely senario. 200 is probably a more accurate figure, but only time will tell. It will also be interesting to see how many of the new positions will enable the local unemployed workforce to find employment.
So is this really about the Port working with the community or is the real agenda somewhat more difficult to perceive? No new roro berths are now included in the latest proposals, a sign, perhaps, that there is overcapacity on the prestigious Dover-Calais route as has been suggested. Dover-marina.com ran an item last year on our features page detailing the original T2 development plans, it would appear to now have a bit less meat, but nevertheless presents an interesting vision for the future of both the port and the town.
Rough times ahead for DFDS?
Figures and statistics can be an odd commodity. It has recently been reported elsewhere that My Ferry Link (MFL) continues to stretch it's lead over competitor DFDS on the Dover to Calais route.
Without boring everyone senseless with the figures, MFL is still to produce an operating profit and it is perhaps unfair to directly compare their Dover to Calais operation with that of DFDS in so few words.
If we look a little more closely we can clearly see some major differences.
MFL operates a three ship service on the route using the Berlioz, Rodin and Nord Pas De Calais, the latter in a freight mode only. It should also be noted that these vessels were included in the Eurotunnel deal that ultimately led to MFL's conception as a third party operating company (some would argue Seafrance in anything other than name, some, perhaps even more pointedly, would label it "Eurofunnel"). The purchase price for these three vessels was a snip, particularly when compared to P&O's massive financial commitment and investment to the Dover-Calais service with two bespoke, purpose built, brand new vessels which entered service at a similar time that MFL rose from the ashes that was once Seafrance.
DFDS on the other hand, has used exisiting tonnage that was available locally, namely the Calais Seaways and Dieppe Seaways. They continue to operate, for the time being, just a two ship service on their Dover-Calais operation, one less than MFL. Ironically, perhaps, one of these vessels being the ex Seafrance chartered Seafrance Moliere, now operating as the Dieppe Seaways and arguably one of the finest looking vessels on the eastern channel sector of ferry operations, but unfortunately not the most fuel efficient. With three ships serving DFDS on their Dover to Dunkerque service it doesn't perhaps bode well for the DFDS Dover-Calais service, particularly, as we have reported last year, that the Dieppe Seaways remains for sale, listed on several commercial brokerage sites.
Interesting times as a spectator and certainly for the ferry industry locally. If, as has been suggested, there is over capacity on the Dover to Calais route and only the stongest survive, how long will it be before cross channel travellers experience a hike in fares and pricing structures in general? Choice of operator has always helped keep tariffs competitive but back in the mists of time, similar events have unfolded before. Remember Townsend Thoresen and Sealink? P&O Normandy Ferries and Townsend Thoresen? Maybe there is an operating partnership in the offing, although past experience has proved such a thing to be short lived. RTM and Townsend Thoresen, P&O and Stena? History has proved most alliances to make uneasy bedfellows.
Still, it should keep the paint manufacturers happy for a bit with some potential livery changes!
Does anyone have a feeling of deja vu?
More bad news....
Clearwater Shipping's bunkering tanker, Coralwater (pictured above) had an unexpected return to port recently. As she exited the Eastern Entrance she suffered steering loss and was towed back to safety by harbour tugs. A subsequent investigation revealed the cause to be a missing rudder!
She is due to be taken under tow by the tug Meander to Rotterdam for repairs as soon as the wind abates and the weather improves. Both vessels can currently be seen alongside Dover Cruise Terminal.
Coralwater has been based at the port for a few years now and provides bunkering facilities to P&O vessels on a regular basis. She is registered in Papendrecht and flies the Netherlands flag. She was constructed in 1998 and originally named Jeanine Theresa.
The 239 gross tonnes tug Meander (pictured below) which has been given the towage job, also flies the Dutch flag and was constructed in 2006. She arrived in port yesterday having departed Rotterdam on the 25th January.
Bunkering duties while the Coralwater is absent will be covered by the vessel Lizrix which is expected to arrive at the port next week.
P&O's Spirit of France arrives safely in Dover after a coach fire.
A recent evening sailing was disrupted just minutes after departing Calais due to a fire breaking out on a Eurolines coach parked on the car deck. The crew extinguished the fire within minutes and the vessel returned to port whilst investigations and safety checks were made. Although passengers and crew were mustered in the event an evacuation was necessary, the vessel subsequently sailed for Dover. Once again it will be noted that the high level of crew training has again proved so vitally important. The professional and rapid actions of the crew again preventing a more serious incident.
A communications exercise involving just such a scenario is due to take place using fleet running mate the Pride of Burgundy.
Once again, well done to all involved.
P&O's Spirit of Britain returns to Dover recently from refit at the Arno yard facilty, Dunkerque. Her return released fleet mate the Pride of Kent, which sailed for a Falmouth spruce up just after lunch on the 18th January. The Pride of Kent is pictured below just prior to departing Dover for Falmouth where she arrived early this morning.
The Research Vessel Cefas Endeavour is berthed at the Cruise Terminal today. She is an interesting ocean going vessel operated by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), bit of a mouthful that! Normally based at the port of Lowestoft she is owned by P&O Maritime Services and carries out fish stock surveys, oil and gas research work and telecommunication, geophysical and hydrographic surveys.
Wellington Dock Swingbridge, Union Street
From Monday 20th January the traffic barriers and associated warning lights are scheduled to be replaced, the project is expected to take up to two weeks. It is not expected to cause traffic problems, as during swingbridge operations, the traffic flow will be managed manually by port staff. Vessel movements in and out of the Wellington Dock will continue as normal, however, it would be appreciated if sufficient prior notice could be made with the Marina Office in advance of requiring a swing.
Great News to lovers of Dover's seafront!
The eyesore that was the unmanned and so called "Tourist Information" kiosk has now been removed by the Harbour Board.
Great job guys, well done!
Cargo vessel collides with tug and tow
A collision occurred approximately nine mile off the coast of Dungeness on the 11th January between the Liberian registered cargo vessel Rickmers Dubai and the UK registered tug Kingson which was enaged in towing the small crane barge Walcon Wizard. The Rickmers Dubai, heading for the Italian port of Genoa, appears to have passed between the tug and it's tow, resulting in significant damage being sustained to the crane barge. Lifeboat crews from both Dover and Dungeness attended the scene together with the Trinity House vessel Galatea, which was involved in routine operations in the area. The tug and barge were eventually berthed at Dover Cruise Terminal and the cargo vessel was ordered to anchor off the coast near Newhaven whilst officers from the Marine Accident Investigation Board (MAIB) investigate the incident. The Rickmers Dubai has now continued on her voyage to Genoa. The tug crew has been left shocked by the events which thankfully involved no loss of life.
Below: Liberian registered vessel Rickmers Dubai (library photo).
As the wet and windy weather rages on and we prepare for the onset of some sub zero conditions, I thought this would cheer us all up. Paula Edmunds on board P&O's Spirit of Britain captured this stunning image from the aft deck, showing the arrival of fleet running mate the Pride of Burgundy at Calais at sunset.