Peel Ports have advised that, due to movement and deterioration, the steel framed remains of the vessel “Revenge” that was abandoned in Faversham Creek will be partially removed. The vessel “Liftmoor” will be on site from Monday 1st June 2020 and will be working for approximately 5 days to remove the bow section and parts of the superstructure that are causing a hazard to navigation. The operation will involve cutting/grinding of the steelwork and due to the nature of this “hotwork” passing craft are requested to navigate with caution. “Liftmoor” will maintain a listening watch on VHF Channel 74 at all times.
Peel Ports have advised that two HUGE ‘jack-up’ drilling rigs, 547 ft high, are due to be towed to Sheerness where they will be laid up for approximately six months. The ‘Prospector 1’ arrived on 16 May and the ‘Prospector 5’ is currently due in August. The rigs will intrude into part of the navigable channel adjacent to the old Ro-Ro berth and will partially obscure vision around Garrison Point into Sheerness Harbour. The diagram shows the rigs’ orientation and approximate positions
According to KentOnline, the rigs are expected to stay for six months while their owner Borr Drilling tries to find new work for them. Both of the Friede and Goldman JU2000E-type rigs were built in 2013 in China. They have been used in the North Sea for oil and gas exploration. They can operate in 400 feet of water in all weather and can drill to a depth of 35,000 feet. Each £123m rig boasts three cranes, six engines, a helicopter landing deck and accommodation for more than 140 workers.
Peel Ports have issued a notice to mariners warning of an obstruction with only a foot of water over it, right in the middle of the river by the Russian submarine. The survey team and divers say it seems to be a sunken boat.
“During a recent hydrographic survey of the Port of Rochester an unknown obstruction, possibly a wreck, has been identified in Bridge Reach. The obstruction is marked with an unlit, yellow ‘can’ buoy denoted “Wreck”. The depth above the obstruction at chart datum is approx. 0.3m. Mariners transiting Bridge Reach should navigate with extreme caution. When available, divers will be deployed to ascertain the nature of the object which will assist with the Port Authority’s subsequent actions.”
UPDATE: 7.5.2020 (Notice to Mariners 23/2020)
“Diving operations are due to take place in Bridge Reach, Port of Rochester to ascertain the nature of an unknown submerged obstruction. Dive works are planned for Wednesday 13th May 2020 will be carried out over the morning low water period. The dive team will be working from the Briggs Marine vessel “Forth Linesman”, who will be monitoring VHF Channel 74 at all times. All passing vessels are required to navigate with extreme caution and minimise their wash. Diving is expected to be concentrated around the following approximate position: 51 23’.72 N – 000 30’.34 E”
UPDATE 22.5.2020 (Notice to Mariners 23/2020)
Diving operations are due to take place in Bridge Reach, Port of Rochester to remove a submerged obstruction confirmed during previous dive ops. Dive works are planned for Thursday and Friday 28th / 29th May 2020 and will be carried out over the late morning low water periods. The dive team will be working from the Briggs Marine vessel “Forth Linesman”, who will be monitoring VHF Channel 74 at all times. All passing vessels are required to navigate with extreme caution and minimise their wash.
Due to technical issues with salvage craft the planned diving operation detailed above is postponed until further notice. An update to this notice will be issued as soon as new dates are confirmed.
The bridge continues to be non-operational for leisure traffic due to the failure of Network Rail to replace the ancient motors. A temporary generator is only being used to lift for commercial traffic. Network Rail have told the MSBA that Kingsferry Bridge may not be fully operational until 25 April or potentially the middle of May.
Please advise Peter Norris (firstname.lastname@example.org), of any rallies or events that are scheduled to take place between now and the end of May, which require passage through Kingsferry bridge, as he is working with Network Rail to find a solution so that the bridge can be navigated at weekends and Bank Holidays.
Peel Ports have permanently removed mooring buoy numbers 22 and 24 in Kethole Reach. Number 23 remains but that’s two less nasty unlit hazards to avoid in the dark.
Network Rail have told us that, while work is being carried out to reinstate the power at Kingsferry Bridge, the bridge can only be lifted when there is a fitter on site, which is usually from 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Outside these hours, leisure craft will only be allowed through with commercial vessels. Because of the compromised state of the equipment at the bridge, the risk of failure is higher than normal. Failure would result in the closure of the bridge to trains, road vehicles and prevent it being lifted. If a fitter is on site, it can be reinstated quicker than if an on-call fitter must be called in.
Effectively then, Kingsferry Bridge will be out of action for the next three weekends and only available from 06:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday.
Following a recent report of the bridge operator refusing to lift for a yacht returning from Conyer to the Medway, the MSBA has sought clarification from Peel Ports. The bridge still has a problem with the main switch gear requiring a generator to be stationed on the A249 to enable lifts. Railtrack say they are “working hard” to source new parts to fix it, which is proving difficult. They have reduced the number of lifts to a minimum and are only allowing yachts through when there are shipping movements. We are told that commercial shipping takes priority.
UPDATE 6.2.2020: Network Rail expect to have the replacement switch gear in place within six weeks, possibly even sooner, so the emergency generator will no longer be needed. In the meantime boaters should check with the bridge operator on VHF channel 10, or Medway VTS on Channel 74, when the next bridge lift is expected to take place.
Derek Meadows has sent us this photo of what remains of the notorious “pirate ship” Revenge, which mysteriously burnt after coming adrift in Faversham Creek. The steel structure is only held on by the stern. Derek fears that the wreck may topple and block the narrow navigable channel. He has contacted Peel Ports with his concerns but not yet had a reply.
Peel Ports have advised that a craft work cradle/tray has sunk at the downstream end of Chatham Maritime Marina holding pontoon. The object is approximately 22m in length and is not visible at any state of the tide. The wreck has been marked with an orange pellet buoy, the owner is aware and will be dealing with the situation. Mariners should navigate with caution due to this submerged danger to navigation until further notice.
Note that the Chatham Marina lock is closed for annual maintenance until 26 January.
UPDATE 22.1.2010 The submerged obstruction has now been raised and is secured alongside at the Chatham Maritime Marina waiting pontoon. The owner will be moving it back to his yard over the next few days.