Here’s what we’ve all been waiting for! Paul Cozens of Peel Ports has kindly given us the link to their site which gives real time tidal heights and differences over prediction (ie surge) plus wind for Tripod, Sheerness, Chatham and Strood. Here’s the link:
Briggs Marine, working for Peel Ports, have cleared over 5 tons of debris from the river this week between Halling and Elmhaven Marina. A new purpose-built, electric “Waterwitch” vessel, that can pass under Aylesford Bridge, will soon be deployed to keep the upper reaches clear.
Peel Ports are concerned that this beautiful Contessa 26 “Topaz” has dragged its anchor near the Uplees buoy (near Harty Ferry) in the Swale. If you have any information to enable us to contact the owner urgently, please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE 16.10.2020: The owner has been traced and says he will sort it out tomorrow. Thanks to all who have helped.
A feather in the cap for Medway becoming Britain’s first Heritage Harbour is the visit by this beautiful gaff-rigged schooner, Te Vega, designed by Cox and Stevens of New York and built in 1930 in Germany. With a length overall of 154 ft (47m) and draught of 16.5 ft (5m), there are not many ports than can offer a berth but she has found a spot in Basin 3 of Chatham Docks. If Medway is to continue to attract such beautiful ships we must take care not to lose the docks, wharves and maritime facilities that made our river so important.
Peel Ports advise that on 11 October 2020 from 0800 to 1800 there will be an inspection of the Rochester Rail Bridge structure which will cause some disruption to river traffic. The bridge investigation work will be carried out by rope access teams and will be completed in two stages. Span closures will be imposed whilst inspections are underway and two safety boats will be deployed beneath operational areas to police traffic, the safety craft will be monitoring VHF channel 74 at all times.
On Friday 18 September Helen Whately MP brought together representatives from Kent County Council, Faversham Town Council, the Faversham Society and the Faversham Creek Trust to discuss progress restoring the swing bridge. Kent County Council reported that they are making progress towards the restoration of the bridge, including detailed design work on a potential replacement. KCC is also meeting Peel Ports shortly and is hoping that Peel will engage and support the project team in progressing the restoration project. Helen Whately made clear that she believes that Peel Ports had an obligation to keep the bridge and creek in good working order. She has discussed the situation with the Maritime Minister, and he has written to Peel Ports Chief Executive about Faversham’s bridge and creek. She confirmed to the group that she supports the bridge and creek being locally managed and operated in future, once they have been restored to good working order. Faversham Town Council indicated that they also want to see the bridge and creek back in working order. Next steps included a meeting between the Town Council and KCC to discuss how the bridge could be operated and managed in future, and who would be best placed to take responsibility for it. Sue Akhurst from the Faversham Creek Trust and David Melville from the Faversham Society drew on their knowledge from many years of planning the restoration of the bridge and creek, advising that opening the bridge would be no good without the sluice gates, and ineffective without dredging the basin and much of the Creek. They stressed there is lots of local support to restore the basin to use. Next steps include further discussions between KCC and the Town Council about future operation of the bridge, KCC’s design work on the restoration of the bridge and discussions with Peel Ports, and Helen Whately’s ongoing engagement of the Maritime Minister to encourage Peel Ports to play their part. The group is due to convene again later this year.
Peel Ports have been advised by Network Rail that Kingsferry Bridge has an issue (power failure) and cannot lift. The operator has said that engineers are on site but at present have no timescale for rectification.
Peel Ports have issued a reminder to observe the exclusion zones in relation to the Isle of Grain LNG Terminal Jetties in Saltpan Reach. Infringement of the exclusion zones may result in prosecution:
1. When there is no LNG vessel berthed at the LNG Terminal no vessel (including pleasure vessels, PWC’s, fishing boats etc.) shall navigate within that part of the River Medway which is within an arc measuring 150 metres in any direction from the cargo transfer arms at the LNG Terminals. The cargo transfer arms are located at the following approximate position: Terminal No.10 51° 25.9405’N 00° 42.5448’E Terminal No.8 51° 25.9309’N 00° 42.1760’E
2. When there is an LNG vessel moored at the LNG Terminal no vessel (including pleasure vessels, PWC’s, fishing boats etc.) other than those attending the LNG terminal which are authorised by the Harbour Master or the operator of the LNG Terminal, shall enter any part of the River Medway which is within an arc measuring 250 metres (berth exclusion zone) in any direction from the cargo transfer arms of the LNG Terminal.
3. When there is an LNG vessel moored at the LNG terminal, the speed of all passing vessels navigating outside of the berth exclusion zone should not exceed 7.5 knots through the water whilst transiting.
While we’ve all been horrified by the massive explosion that devastated Beirut, Tim Bell from Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club says that we have an even bigger disaster waiting to happen right on our doorstep.
On the wreck of the Richard Montgomery, just off Sheerness, there remain 3632 tons of ordnance, the equivalent of about 1400 tons of TNT. The 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate responsible for the Beirut explosion was as effective as about 1000 tons of TNT. This means that the wreck has considerably more explosive power than the dreadful explosion in Lebanon. It is also thought not all of the 2750 tons actually exploded.
Tim predicts that if one of the bombs from the Montgomery were to end up in the Medway Approach Channel, just yards away, where LNG tankers pass by with little water under their keels, the result could be horrific. He has proposed that the wreck should have a fog horn or a virtual AIS aid to navigation.
Peel Ports have advised of replacement of an overhead power cable across the River Medway between Wouldham Marshes and Halling. The works will take place from around 6 to 27 August 2020. The safety boat ‘CRC Dart’ will stop vessels from passing when the cable pull is taking place.