Friday, 7 December 2018

Heavily laden MSC Oliver approaches Felixstowe and swings to starboard with 3 tugs 6th December 2018



Just after 6:10am, the Harwich Haven Pilot Launch, St Brendon, pushed away from the tug pontoon at Felixstowe and then headed out of the harbour towards the Sunk with a pilot to board the inbound MSC Oliver which had made a non-stop 16 day journey from Colombo in Sri Lanka to the Port of Felixstowe. As the pilot was on his way out, MSC Bhavya entered the harbour and began a starboard swing for Felixstowe's Trinity 3 Berth with two Svitzer tugs. The pilot boards MSC Oliver at the Sunk Pilot Station. Safely onboard, the pilot radios Harwich VTS to say that he was onboard and inbound with a maximum draught of 14.2 metres with no defects from her last port of Colombo and believed they were portside to berth 9. VTS replies that was correct, a ready berth planned port side to Felixstowe Berth 9, wind on the landguard which was Westerly 263° at 12 knots, height of tide which was n the flood at 2.13 metres. The pilot replies that he would like three tugs for berthing, first tug preferably one of the 80 tonners to meet at 7&8 Buoy to make fast centre lead aft ready for the corner, second tug outside the harbour to escort on the starboard quarter and the third, inside the harbour to make fast bow to bow on a north/south heading. As the MSC Oliver heads inbound, three ferries, two in Harwich and one in Felixstowe, were finishing cargo and in the process of closing up. All ships over 395 metres have got to have a clear run to and from 5&6 Buoys because the channel narrows and a sharp turn at the entrance of the harbour. So the ferries had delayed sailings but once the Oliver had completed its swing and pushing up towards the berth.

MSC Oliver approaching the Haven Buoy, Svitzer Kent, leaves tug pontoon to be aft tug, Svitzer Shotley follows the Kent a few minutes later to be the quarter tug. Steadily slowing down to about 8 knots, Kent passes 7&8 and swings around to the stern of the Oliver to make fast centre lead aft. All fast aft, Kent stretches their gear ready to work. Shotley makes their approach onto the starboard quarter. Inside the harbour, Svitzer Sky leaves the tug pontoon and paddles towards the Beach End for the inbounder. Approaching the Platters, the pilot gets Kent to move out onto the port quarter at full line load for a powered indirect while the Shotley to push up full power at a 40°angle to help steer around the 90° Beach End corner into the harbour. Now on a north/south heading, Kent drops in astern while the Sky makes their approach to make fast forward. After a few minutes, the pilot gets the Kent to build up power astern to reduce the headway. Shortly After, the pilot kicks the engine ahead with port wheel to straighten her up. Needing a bit extra help up forward, Sky moves onto the port side to also help straighten her. In the middle of the channel, the pilot begins the starboard swing. Kent moves onto the port quarter and builds up power while Shotley squares up on the starboard quarter and builds up power. Sky forward moves around to the starboard side and builds up power. While swinging with the tugs, Suecia Seaways alongside Felixstowe Ro-Ro4 radios Harwich VTS and asks for permission to break away from the berth. VTS tells them to radio the pilot on channel 12 to find out to when the can slip past. The pilot says that when they were pushing up towards the berth and a gap was there, they could pass. Suecia Seaways was the first to depart as the MSC Oliver was pushing up to the berth. Stena Britiannica alongside Parkeston 2 breaks away and slowly paddles towards Navyard. Somerset alongside Parkeston 4 also breaks away from the berth and swings to starboard to follow behind the Britiannica. Sky and Shotley push the Oliver to the berth while the Kent moves around to the starboard side into a check position. Final tie up 6 and 2 each end with springs first fore and aft.


Published on 6 Dec 2018

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