High and dry on Nor Marsh

Drone photo by Gavin Parson.

This cabin cruiser has been high and dry on Nor Marsh for at least a month. The Sheerness inshore lifeboat was called out by the Coastguard on 27 July to investigate but there was no-one aboard. As the boat was a metre above the high water mark it must have already been there for some days.  Please let us know if you know anything about this vessel and we’ll pass the information on. Email info@msba.org.uk

Missing person in River Medway: body found

Sadly we’ve had another case of someone choosing to end his life by jumping off the M2 bridge on Wednesday night and you may have seen the police helicopter and rescue services searching yesterday morning. We are asked to keep a look-out for a body and call the police (101) or coastguard (01304 210008, or VHF16) if we see anything, which may not be for some time.

UPDATE Wed 7 Aug: A body, confirmed to be that of 32 year old Billy Angell, was recovered today from the river near Medway Bridge Marina, just yards from where he entered the water a week ago.

West India Dock Rally, 23-26 Aug 2019

Medway/Swale clubs are invited to join a rally to West India Dock (in the heart of London’s Docklands) on the August bank holiday weekend. The event is organised by the Dockland Scout Project on behalf of the Association of Thames Yacht Clubs. Apart from being a very inexpensive way to visit London there are lots of fun events to watch or join in. For full details click below to download the invitation letter…

For additional info, see reply by Fred Trice.

Jet skiers successfully prosecuted by PLA

A jet skier who flouted speed limit and safety rules on the tidal Thames has been fined, following a successful prosecution by the Port of London Authority. Kestutis Abramavicius, 36, was captured on video by a member of the public as he sped along the river near Benfleet Creek, Canvey Island, Essex. Westminster Magistrates Court heard how the offence took place in October last year. Abramavicius, of Dukes Avenue, Grays, admitted “navigation without due care and attention” under Section 108 of the Port of London Act. He was fined £750 and ordered to pay costs of more than £3,000. The court was told that there is an eight-knot speed limit throughout the Canvey Island area, which is in place to protect river users and the environment. He was identified with the help of Essex Police by the checking of launching records at a local slipway which matched the description of his distinctively coloured jet ski. Benfleet Creek is an environmentally protected area for its habitats and vegetation. Wash generated by the jet ski had the potential to affect this sensitive environment, the court was told yesterday (Wednesday 8 May). The prosecution comes in the wake of a similar incident, where Lee Martin, 31, from Gravesend was last month fined £2,750 and ordered to pay costs of more than £3,500 for ignoring a ban on jet skiing on the river in central London. After the hearing, PLA chief harbour master Bob Baker said: “We think this prosecution, following on from last month’s jet ski case, will again serve as a warning to river users. If you break the rules, we will take action. “We are also very grateful to the member of the public who recorded the offender committing the offence. Their help was vital to this prosecution and it demonstrates just how concerned people are about safety on the river and its environment.”

PC David Lavender retires

At the MSBA business meeting last week we were sorry to report that PC David Lavender of the Kent Police Marine Unit has retired after many years of service to the local marine community.  He wrote to us in January as follows:

“I have been attending the MSBA meetings for the last eleven and a half years. I joined Kent Police Marine Unit in 2007 and one of the first things I was asked to do was to take over from Steve Elliot to become, for want of a better title, the police liaison. At the time the group was the Medway Yachting Association and Jenny Deacon was the chair. The group has gone through some changes during that time. The biggest of course was changing the name and new branding, but the group has kept the same ethos. The Medway and Swale themselves have also changed in those years, two powers stations chimneys gone! There have been a number of notable events over the years such as the Climate Camp 2008, Protester at Kingsnorth, the London Olympics, the Medway River Festival, not to mention the annual Admirals Cruise and of course Medway In Flames. I thank you from a policing perspective for your support in these, for example willingness to change race start times to avoid clashes! The marine unit has also gone through some changes during that time, which I have shared with you and you have been supportive. After thirty years of policing it is time for me to retire. I have, some of you may think, gone to the dark side and I start a new job with the Marine Management Organisation in early February. I have enjoyed the meeting and interactions, though some occasions have been challenging. Some may say this is all part of the job. I have tried to be honest and open when asked difficult questions and I know that you appreciate that. There have been things that I have achieved over the years and some I have failed to do. The lack of a proficient form of communication such as marine watch has been one of these, but hopefully when Country Eye gets into full swing this may finally happened.  I thank you for the information that you have shared with us and have been willing to pass on information to your clubs and MSBA website on our behalf. Such as stolen/boats of interest and missing persons etc. I thank you for welcome and inclusiveness. You may see me again in my role with the MMO.”

We sincerely wish Dave success and satisfaction in his new role. It’s not clear at the moment who, if anyone, will replace him as our police liaison person.

Police miss golden opportunity to catch suspected people smugglers

David Metcalfe, Commodore of Lower Halstow Yacht Club, has confirmed that the burned out red boat which seriously damaged their jetty was the coaching launch stolen earlier in the day from Medway Towns Rowing Club. Here is his account of what happened yesterday:

Sadly yesterday evening around 17.00 one of our committee members was alerted to our jetty being on fire. The blaze was attacked with buckets of water and finally extinguished with the club’s long hose pipe. A red dinghy was found to be the cause resting on the lower landing stage. The fire brigade attended with 3 appliances and pulled the remains of the boat off and placed it alongside the slip.

Separately, the Gransden family reported intruders, possible illegal immigrants on their sailing smack, Thistle, off Shoregate Wharf. It was also reported that a red dinghy/rib was alongside Thistle. The Coast Guard attended, but with no enforcement powers and the tide out were unable to do anything. Kent Police decided it didn’t require an attendance.

Had Kent Police shown an interest in the possible illegal immigrants and intercepted them as the tide came in, that issue could have been resolved and MTRC’s stolen launch could have been recovered.

Instead, due to Kent Police’s ineffectual response, the launch was driven to our jetty and set alight, completely destroying the launch and causing serious damage to our jetty.

Did you see this boat yesterday?

One of the Medway Town Rowing Club’s coaching launches was stolen from Rochester yesterday morning at about 5am (high water). The boat is a Fun-Zac Secu 12 and the engine is a Tohatsu Model MFS 98 A3, engine serial number 027905.  As you can see in the photo, it is a very distinctive colour!

The theft may have been connected with incidents at Lower Halstow later in the day resulting in a red boat being set on fire causing damage to the Lower Halstow Yacht Club jetty. A group of suspicious people were seen during much of the day on moored boats belonging to members of Shoregate Wharf Sailing Club but the suspects had gone by the time police arrived in the evening. Several items had been stolen from a smack and foil blankets had been abandoned.

If you saw a boat like the one in the photo yesterday or witnessed what was going on at Lower Halstow please call Kent Police on 101 quoting reference 15-1509