Thursday 14th June 2012

Kathleen and May in London - Auditor and new Harbour Office staff - First ship nominated for July - Lifeboat rescues Fishing Boat - record cargo lift on one ship - Atlantic array shipping concerns expressed

 Kathleen and May in London - Auditor and new Harbour Office staff - First ship nominated for July - Lifeboat rescues Fishing Boat - Record cargo lift on one ship - Atlantic Array shipping concerns expressed

sv KATHLEEN & MAY has had a successful visit to LONDON for the Queens Jubilee parade, sailing halfway around the UK from LIVERPOOL via Newlyn and Poole. She had to cross the channel to the French side to comply with traffic separation scheme regulations and encountering dense fog near the Goodwin Sands. Local man Dave Hocking who is a Pilot on the Thames voluntarily conducted the vessel to the very centre of London. She will lay in the East India dock for three weeks before sailing to Brest for a festival, and then on to Dourarnenez France for anotehr. she will then likely sail back to Liverpool perhaps calling at Bideford en route.K&MJubilee
John Pavitt's Photo of Kathleen & May at London Jubilee celebrations

The Harbour Service and Pilotage Service has had an internal audit.

mv ASTRA has been nominated to load logs from Bideford for Wismar, Germany to arrive for the early July tides. She is the sister ship to mv FOrseti that loaded logs earlier this year. These vessels have good underdeck capacity and are handy ships to manoevre.

Appledore Lifeboat tows in a fishing boat Martin Cox the lifeboat Coxwain together with his crew has towed a local fishing boat which broke down from 7.5miles South West of Hartland Point - a long tow. Martin says that they have had several local kitesurfer rescues recently too. A broken down boat could easily be washed onto rocks. (See below re Windfarm)Lifeboat tow in
Appledore Lifeboat tows local boat in yesterday. Photo R.Hoad

A record load of Ball Clay of 3190 tonnes was lifted from Bideford in May on the Russian vessel VASILIY SHUKSHIN bound for Finland. This vessel is a regular caller at Bideford and has been modified to carry a larger load. She had the equivalent of at least 110 lorry loads on board.

Further to a recent visit by RWE Npower and their consultants, and the HM's 7 months of random AIS based studies he has asked the following questions and whether they have been considered by the company;

1. What are the contingencies for a very large crude carrier or a 100,000 tonne capacity LNG carrier breaking down in bad weather up wind and upstream of the proposed Atlantic Array? Background; Two such vessels are recorded in January a few miles upwind of the site steaming on random courses for 2 or 3 days in a gale unable to anchor or enter port at Milford Haven while a Large Transatlantic RO-Ro containership mv ATLANTIC CONVEYOR broke down on the south coast and drifts unaided for 30 miles at 3 knots on 3rd January 2012. Clearly a broken down ship of the most sensitive type would be swept through the windfarm site within a few hours and this scenario must be planned for.

2. Why is the windfarm being proposed in the middle of the preffered safest  route of the largest deepest vessels sailing to Port Talbot and other up channel ports? Seven months of random checks on AIS routes (actual ship tracks) have shown that the larger vessels choose the safest, deepest route north of Lundy. Should the windfarm be built then all ships  entering the Bristol Channel will be forced closer to the coast - the gap on the Devon side (where most ships will then need to sail) will be reduced between the Horseshoe buoy and the windfarm. Alternatively deep ships must pass north of the windfarm but with additional shallow areas to avoid. Ships have been recorded with considerable drafts eg 17 metres passing north of Lundy through the proposed site.

4. What contact has been made with yacht clubs on both sides of the channel to explain that a serious danger is to be created and in the event that a yacht loses power (wind or engine) upstream or upwind of the array when the water will be too deep for them to anchor to avoid being swept through the windturbines? They say that the RYA has been consulted - however after checks it is apparent the North Devon Yacht Club has not been consulted, either by RWE or the RYA. This windfarm is in the middle of a channel and is in deeper water than any that has been built before creating a major hazard for small craft.

5. Do ports within the Bristol Channel have concerns reference the restricting effect of the windfarm, especially for the proposed large container ships being accomodated at the extended Avonmouth port.? Local Councils are responsible for pollution cleanup on their coastlines and need to be made aware of the increased risks of more larger ships passing closer to their coastlines. 

Clearly these questions need to be addressed before the windfarm is built. Whilst a number weeks of studies of ais equipped vessels has been conducted in detail but in controlled conditions from work boats/fishing craft at sea by the company, it is believed by the writer that a more detailed study especially in Gale conditions is required to ascertain the present safe practices of the larger ships. It is hoped that RWE will reply to these questions which affect the Marine Community and quite possibly coastal communities also.