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.
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.
The burgeoning membership of Benfleet Yacht Club are benefitting from new £9,500 pontoon funded by the Port of London Authority. Rowers, kayakers and paddle-boarders appreciate the low level pontoon which makes acess to the water easier. Miles Featherstone, the PLA’s assistant harbour master for the lower tidal Thames, said “That’s why we are investing in practical improvements like this pontoon … to make it more accessible for people to enjoy.” John Hancock, Vice Commodore at BYC, said “We are a self-help club, not a commercial organisation, so greatly appreciate the PLA’s generosity in supporting this new pontoon. It not only widens our offering, but is fundamental to our ability to keep up with growing demand. Above all it underpins our absolute commitment to doing things safely.” In June, BYC hosted the annual 18-mile Nore Race, started in the 1920s, in which many Medway and Swale yachts take part. Read more…
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.”
For those of us who venture up the Thames. This event will be held on board the vessel DIXIE QUEEN, at Butlers Wharf Pier, on the south side of the river next to Tower Bridge, commencing at 18.30 with tea and coffee being served from 18.00. The event will finish by approximately 20.30.
The evening will consist of topics from representatives of the Port of London Authority Harbour Master’s team, (some of whom we may recognise) as well as guest speakers covering:
Overview of events held by a local club (TBC)
Special Guest Speaker (TBC)
Large scale towing operations on the Thames
Bigger ships now visiting the Thames
‘Journey of Thames experiences’ presentation
A Q&A session will follow
There will be information given on the first batch of the highly recommended ‘TTNC River Trips’ and how you can book.
To book and confirm you attendance please book in online here (or go to www.bookitbee.com and search ‘Port of London Authority’) by Monday 26 February 2018.
In addition, you can find out more about the TTNC and what benefits there are to being a member here.