After numerous complaints about the increased quantity of hazardous floating debris in the upper reaches of the tidal Medway, especially between Aylesford and Allington, we have just been informed by James Goodfellow that Peel Ports will at last be undertaking a river clearance today. Peel Ports have traditionally run regular rubbish clearance operations using the Medway Otter but this elderly vessel has had operational difficulties of late. The debris includes numerous large logs, several gas cylinders and floating rubbish of all kinds. Motor boaters, deterred from using the river for fear of damage to hull and propellers, have been deserting the non-tidal marinas because of the danger of passing this stretch of the river. A major rowing event was cancelled too.
Peel Ports have advised that the exceptional high tides have caused some vessels in Faversham Creek to float into the wrong places, in some cases out of the creek altogether. The infamous “pirate ship” Revenge, which has featured on this website several times before, is obstructing the channel having tipped onto its side towards the middle of the creek. Photo from Peel Ports Notice to Mariners No 31 of 2017.
Following a complaint by Whitstable Yacht Club, a report published on the Marine Management Organisation’s website acknowledges that the presence of oyster trestles causes or is likely to cause obstruction or danger to navigation, whilst concluding that the farm’s operations are nevertheless acceptable as a low risk to marine navigation.
In response, the RYA has formally written to the Director of Marine Licensing at the MMO setting out their concerns with the report and arguing that the measures put in place since the investigation started do not negate the need for a marine licence. The RYA considers that these trestles require a full marine licence on the basis that they could cause obstruction or danger to navigation.
Network Rail will be closing the non-tidal River Medway to navigation at the railway bridge, just upstream of the disused lock and below Branbridges at East Peckham, (known as East Peckham Rail Bridge). This is effective from the 1st October until mid December – for essential Bridge repairs.
Peel Ports advise that the Nore Swatch Buoy, Fl(4) R 15s in approximate position 51º28.28’N 000º45.58E, is temporarily removed from station. The buoy will be repaired and re-instated as soon as possible.
Less than a month after the reopening of East Farleigh lock, the non-tidal Medway is again closed to navigation. This time it’s because of severe damage to Teston Bridge, allegedly caused by a drunken driver who was arrested at the scene. Read more on Kent Online…
UPDATE: It’s expected that the river will re-open for navigation this Sunday (20 August).
The Environment Agency, which manages the non-tidal Medway, is reported to be confident that East Farleigh Lock will reopen on the afternoon of Friday 21 July. There may be a scramble as boats which have waiting all season to move up or down the river will take the opportunity to move.
Peel Ports have issued a list of obsolete or missing navigation marks that are to be deleted from Trinity House’s records. At the end of this list is the Mid Cant beacon, a lit north cardinal beacon marking the end of the submarine barrier off the north coast of Sheppey, to be reclassified as “ruin”. As this is an important aid to navigation for boats, including fishing vessels, using the Four Fathom Channel between the Medway and Ramsgate we have requested that the mark be maintained but otherwise it should be removed entirely so that it does not itself become a hazard.
You are invited to submit comments to Capt. Ian Clark AFRIN AFNI, Manager Marine Operations, by 30 June 2017.
Peel Ports advise that the Traffic Warning Light on top of the Garrison Point Fort is no longer operative. It was a bright white light that flashed every seven seconds by day and night to warn of large (>130 metres LOA) vessels underway in the buoyed channel as follows:
- When such a vessel was inward bound between the Medway Buoy and Darnett Ness the light shone in an upriver direction.
- When such a vessel was outward bound between Darnett Ness and the Medway Buoy the light shone in a seaward direction.
On the evening of 17 June from 21.40 to 22.40, a Temporary Exclusion Zone will be established from a line drawn perpendicularly across the river from Upnor Jetty (51°24.56´N 000°31.80´E) to a line drawn perpendicularly across the river at Whitewall Creek (51°23.90´N 000°31.40´E) as shown on the chartlet (left).
Between these times no vessel shall navigate, anchor or be secured to a mooring buoy, within the area, without the express permission of the Harbour Master.
The Temporary Exclusion Zone will be in place to facilitate the safe conduct of a firework and water screen display (“Medway In Flames”). Six barges will be positioned in the following locations:
- 51° 24.22´ N 000° 31.82´ E
- 51° 24.38´ N 000° 31.88´ E
- 51° 24.06´ N 000° 31.72´ E
- 51° 24.08´ N 000° 31.59´ E
- 51° 24.20´ N 000° 31.64´ E
- 51° 24.32´ N 000° 31.68´ E
Pontoons will run between the barges positioned on the west side of the river. Medway VTS will broadcast the start and completion of the exclusion zone on VHF 74. Mariners are reminded that no vessel shall navigate at a speed above 6 knots through the water Westwards of Folly Point.