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.
HMRC is seeking information about the proposed changes to the rules surrounding the uses of red diesel. During the Budget the Chancellor shared plans for the intended removal of entitlement to use red diesel from April 2022, except for the agriculture sector (including forestry, horticulture and fish farming), railways, and where red diesel is used to power non-commercial heating systems, such as in homes, narrowboats and places of worship.
The consultation has now been launched by Government and seeks to gather evidence as to whether other sectors, including recreational boating, should be allowed to maintain use of the fuel beyond April 2022. The RYA’s case for retaining red diesel is about existing supply needs, not colour, tax status or price. Recreational boaters already pay the full rate of duty and VAT when purchasing fuel for the purposes of propulsion.
The RYA will therefore be looking at the proposals to reform the tax treatment of red diesel closely to see how this might affect the supply of fuel for recreational use for both propulsion and how it will impact supply for domestic usage such as heating. The further west and north you travel in the UK the more likely it is that you will have to rely on waterside outlets that only supply red diesel for commercial purposes, such as to fishing fleets. In many places, some remote, the limited quantities of fuel used by recreational craft do not warrant the cost of installing additional equipment to supply white diesel for the recreational boating sector.
If the Government removes the entitlement to use red diesel from most sectors from April 2022 and white diesel is consequently made as widely available as red diesel is now, then supply of fuel will not be affected. The RYA will be responding to this call for evidence and urges users of diesel propelled craft, particularly private pleasure craft, and those involved in the supply of fuel to UK craft to participate in the consultation.
To have your say on the future of red diesel please click here.
The consultation closes at 11.45pm on 1 October 2020.
To read more about the RYA’s lobbying developments with red diesel please click here. If you have any questions regarding red diesel or any other current affair issues please visit the Current Affairs page on the RYA website or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister has appointed Kelly Tolhurst MP, a marine surveyor by trade, as the new Maritime Minister. Kelly is also the MP for Rochester and Strood. She is also Patron of the MSBA, having been a long standing committee member.
Kelly became a councillor for Medway Council in 2011 and worked to get a River Medway strategy in place to encourage economic development and improve leisure use to replace declining commercial activity. One success was the restoration of Sun Pier, which now provides boat access to Chatham, below Rochester Bridge. Kelly is a marine surveyor and a keen Dragon racing sailor on the Medway, when time permits.
British Marine’s press release notes Kelly’s concerns about the MMO’s burdensome procedures for dredging of moorings on the Medway and effects on the leisure marine sector. With Mark Garnier MP she has set up an All-Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) for marine leisure
Sadly, the large sperm whale that had been seen in difficulty off Whitstable on 30 January subsequently died. The carcass was towed to a mooring in the Medway before being taken to Sheerness for an autopsy, which revealed that the unfortunate creature had not eaten for some time.
GridLink Interconnector Limited (GridLink) is proposing to develop a high voltage direct current interconnector linking the British and French electricity grids. The GridLink project will consist of two converter stations, one close to the existing National Grid 400kv substation at Kingsnorth and one near Dunkerque. The converter stations will be connected by underground cables (onshore) and subsea cables (offshore).
Intertek has been appointed by GridLink as Marine Consultants to support the development of the project. GridLink is intending to submit an application for a Marine Licence (to the Marine Management Organisation) for the construction, operation and maintenance of a new electricity interconnector under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, in May 2020. In support of the Marine Licence application, GridLink will provide environmental information and an assessment of potential environmental effects. For example, the application will demonstrate that due consideration has been given to navigational safety, the historic environment, effects on nature conservation sites (e.g. marine protected areas) and effects on other marine stakeholders (e.g. recreation and fishing). [Webmaster’s emphasis]
Intertek is currently preparing an Environmental Report to support the Marine Licence application. This will provide a baseline for each environmental topic; describe the likely effects of the proposed development on each topic, including identifying those that are potentially significant; and if necessary outline project-specific mitigation to be followed to avoid or negate adverse effects.
Stakeholders and the public will have the opportunity to review and comment on the Marine Licence application through a consultation exercise once the application is submitted. However, Intertek would like to ensure that the application documents address any concerns that stakeholders have prior to this consultation process.
Further information on the GridLink project can be found here. Intertek would welcome any questions and/or concerns regarding the project for consideration in the preparation of the Environmental Report, particularly from clubs or organisations close to the proposed route. From experience in the Thames Estuary, the MSBA is concerned that the works may require exclusion zones that may block access in or out of Stangate Creek for instance, affecting several clubs. The information supplied does not give reassurance on this point.
Comments can be provided by letter or email to the following address: Anna Farley, Intertek, Exchange House Liphook, Hampshire, GU30 7DW Email: Anna.Farley@intertek.com Tel: 01428 727800
The Marine & Coastal Biosecurity and Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) workshop will be held at Riverside Country Park, Gillingham on Thursday 12 December. It is primarily targeted towards people involved with the management of coastal/marine waters, or for those who work, organise, or deliver activities in coastal/ marine areas. For example:
This is the first of two workshops to be held in this area, and is designed to provide attendees with the tools to better manage the threat of INNS and help create a draft biosecurity plan. It will include:
• An overview of regionally important INNS • Improving site biosecurity • Tools to write an effective estuary biosecurity plan • INNS reporting
This workshop is free to attend and there will be refreshments available throughout the morning and a light networking lunch provided at the end of the workshop.
second, follow-up workshop will be held in early 2020 with the aim of pulling
together the outputs from the first workshop and producing a draft estuary-level
biosecurity plan for the Medway Estuary area.
If you have any questions about the event or would like more information, please feel free to contact Alice Morley, Marine Conservation Officer, Kent Wildlife Trust, phone 07702 551524 or email Alice.Morley (at) kentwildlife.org.uk
Kevin Duvall of Kent Wildlife Trust has contacted the MSBA because no-one else was able to help trace this boat. For several weeks a blue cabin cruiser has been stranded on the shingle bank at Castle Coote between Whitstable and Faversham. There are no identification marks on the boat to enable tracing of the owner. Worryingly, it is very close to a nesting site for little terns, a bird almost extinct as a breeding species in Kent.
If you have any information please email email@example.com and we will pass it on.