Medway and Swale Heritage Harbours update

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.

Shock at threat to burn local author’s boat

The MSBA is saddened and shocked that local author, Nick “ditch crawler” Ardley, has received a threat to burn his beloved wooden yacht following his expression of anger at boats anchoring overnight in Stangate Creek. Apparently someone believes Nick has “dobbed” them to the police. On his Facebook page, Nick has made it clear that he did not identify any individual or vessel, though at least two dozen were displaying their boat name on AIS on the late May bank holiday, thus incriminating themselves. Many boaters from both the Essex and Kent side of the Estuary have expressed support for Nick and advised him to take the matter to the police immediately. Whatever our views on the practicalities of the current coronavirus laws, such a threat is a serious criminal matter and cannot possibly be condoned.

Briggs recruiting for marine services with Peel Ports

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.

Briggs are recruiting for Mooring Coxswains and Mooring Assistants. Details are on the Briggs Marine website at https://www.briggsmarine.com/careers/

MSBA Business Meeting, Tues 30 June, to be online

It will not be possible to hold the MSBA Business Meeting at Medway Yacht Club, on Tuesday, 30 June 2020, due to the Government COVID-19 restrictions. So, we intend to hold the meeting as a ZOOM A/V Conference, same date and usual time: 19.00hrs. Invitations to register for the conference will be emailed to the MSBA member club representatives.

If you haven’t received an invitation to register by Friday 26 June 2020 and would like to take part, please email chairman@msba.org.uk

The invitation email will give full details for registering and joining the meeting, including telephone admission to the conference. Questions and answers will be managed using the ‘CHAT’ feature, bottom centre of the ZOOM screen on a laptop, or under ‘MORE’ top right on an IPad.  This enables you to type your question. Questions will be answered either at the end of an agenda item or at the end of the meeting. Full audio may be available, depending on numbers of participants.’  The meeting host will start the ZOOM meeting process at 18.30hrs to allow anyone who has not experienced the process before to sort out their connection.

Grain Edge buoy consultation, ends 8 July

What do we want, conical or cardinal?

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: allmedwaymarinemanagers@peelports.com

Photo Wil Pretty

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.

Dick Holness live, Fri 5 June 6pm

Imray Live with Dick Holness, Friday 5 June 1800 BST

Dick Holness, co-author of East Coast Pilot, will talk you through the founding of this well loved guide to the waters of England’s east coast from Great Yarmouth to Ramsgate. You’ll hear about what’s involved with putting it together, the update process and the running of the website. And you’ll find out who John Goode is too! 

Join the Q&A and share your thoughts, questions and feedback in the Comments section. 

Visit Imray’s Facebook page for more details and to join the event

Anger at boats anchoring overnight

Local “ditch crawler” Nick Ardley has expressed anger at the two dozen boats anchored overnight in Stangate Creek at the bank holiday weekend and has written to Kelly Tolhurst, the Shipping Minister and MSBA Patron. He points out that the current law is clear that we must all return to our homes overnight and not stay in caravans, second home or boats. He concedes that, while being in a boat is a perfect way to self isolate, the law is clear. The RYA has published a guide to help us understand how it applies to boating:

£5m to cut the masts off the Monty

The Ministry of Defence is offering £5 million to have the masts removed from the wreck of the Richard Montgomery, an American liberty ship that broke her back and sank off Sheerness in August 1944, with 1400 tons (net explosive quantity of TNT) of explosives still on board. Tim Bell from Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club said, “I can see the sense in cutting the masts down because they are starting to collapse and rust and could fall onto the deck below where there are still 2,000 cases of cluster bombs.” More at KentOnline. Also see Tim Bell’s reply to this article. And the BBC website…