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.
Peel Ports have published highly detailed charts of the River Medway from the Approach Channel to Rochester Bridge, plus the turning circle in Faversham Creek. The surveys date from 2018 to April 2020 and are mostly limited to the shipping channel.
Ships in the Medway and Swale can’t slow down as they need a certain speed to steer. Also they have to stay in the dredged channel to stay afloat, so they can’t swerve to avoid small craft. The video shows what can happen when a jet ski crossed the bow wave of a ship, behaviour often seen in our home waters. Video from Hampshire Police Marine Support Unit.
A joint initiative by the Maritime Heritage Trust (MHT) and National Historic Ships (NHS) Shipshape Network, with strong support from European Maritime Heritage (EMH), proposes that historic ports and harbours in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland become officially recognised as ‘Heritage Harbours’. The developing Heritage Harbours recognise the great value in sensitively developing their, often superb, historic buildings; waste land; mooring; and maintenance facilities for both local and visiting historic vessels and are identified within the NHS Shipshape Network regions.
MEDWAY HH1 – The proposal to designate Medway as the first British heritage harbour was presented to a meeting, of the local maritime heritage community and associated stakeholders at the Sun Pier House tea rooms on 10 December 2018. The meeting, at Sun Pier House, Chatham, was well attended by some forty enthusiastic representatives from the local historic vessels; the Medway Council; MHT Trustees; the Thames Sailing Barge community and representatives from Faversham. Medway Council have appointed a senior officer to represent the council on the Medway HH forum group. We are in discussions with the directors of Sail Training International, with a view to Medway being a Tall Ships race port in 2025. This will be the main agenda item at the next Medway Heritage group meeting. The ‘Boat Shed’ and other historic buildings and wharves, which form part of the historic Sheerness naval dockyard, may lead to Sheerness becoming an integral part of Medway Heritage Harbour.
FAVERSHAM & OARE HH2 – Faversham & Oare Creeks Heritage (FOHHG) have met regularly since early 2019 at Faversham Guildhall. Aims and objectives have been developed and considerable work in optimising balanced development and improvement of the creeks has already been carried out by group members. An exciting feature is that Kent County Council has continued the design work for the replacement Faversham upper creek bridge through the lockdown.
Briggs Marine have been chosen by Peel Ports as the preferred bidder to provide a range of marine services at the Port of Sheerness. After completing the contract agreements they hope to start the new services in July. These will include Mooring Services (i.e. handling the mooring lines for vessels berthing and unberthing), which will include the provision of new line handling vessels, River Patrols, to include debris collection, and Workboat Services, for which again they will be providing a new work boat.
Peel Ports London Medway is exploring the feasibility of altering the Grain Edge Unlit Buoy to a Lit East Cardinal Lightbuoy (exact light characteristic TBC). The proposal will be subject to a consultation period that will run until 8 July 2020. Comments and queries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the consultation period all comments received will be assessed, the Port of Sheerness (as the Local Lighthouse Authority) will make its decision and any proposed change will be promulgated by a further Notice to Mariners.
UUPDATE 27.8.2020 Trinity House has rejected the Peel Ports proposal to replace the green lateral buoy with an East cardinal.