Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Estelle Maersk swings off the berth as she departs Felixstowe light draughted 22nd January 2019

Estelle Maersk which was starboard side to Felixstowe berth 9 completing cargo, confirms a departure time of 13:00 and orders two tugs for departure. As the departure time grew closer, the last of the boxes were loaded and one by one the cranes boomed before moving into safe positions on the berth. A Harwich Haven pilot launch goes over to Felixstowe tug pontoon with the a pilot for the Estelle Maersk. Once onboard the Estelle he radios Harwich VTS to say he was onboard and would like the services to attend. He continued that there were a few stevedores still onboard and would call again when they were ready to depart. Svitzer Shotley and Svitzer Kent leave the tug pontoon and make their way to the Estelle Maersk. The Shotley radios the pilot to find out how he would like to use them. The pilot says with the ebb tide he would have preferred the Kent to go forward but as he wanted them for an escort tug around the corner the plan would be Kent aft and the Shotley forward with both tugs to make fast on the centre leads. Shotley positions under the bow while the Kent heads to the stern. The crew forward repositions the heaving line from the shoulder to just port of the centre lead then throws it line down to Shotley so they could send up tow gear. On the aft of the Estelle, the Kent makes fast port of centre aft. As the tugs make fast, the RMS Twisteden passes through the harbour outbound from Mistley. Stevedores disembark, giving clearance to single up. The pilot radios Harwich VTS to ask for permission to depart Felixstowe Berth 9 with a draught of 10.8 metres for Antwerp. It will be a port swing off the berth then a centre line transit around the Beach End. VTS gives permission to break away and says that the Suecia Seaways was inbound near the North Shipwash and was aware of their departure. Lines were slackened fore and aft with springs being the last to released. The pilot gets the Shotley to build up to 50% with the Kent following a few moments later. Increasing the power further on both tugs, the engine is kicked ahead to stop the ship going astern. Clearing the berth, the Kent is asked to move onto the starboard quarter to starboard the port swing. Steadily she swings 180° to head down the harbour. The pilot runs the engine ahead and gets the Shotley to come in to let go from forward. After being released, the Shotley spins around to position on the port quarter. Kent drops in astern as the Estelle Maersk picks up a few knots. Approaching the Fort Buoy, the pilot gets the Kent to go out onto the starboard quarter at full line load for a powered indirect. Increasing the power on the Kent, an angle of about 15° is seen as they assist with steering around the corner. Safely around the corner, Shotley is stood down and breaks away from the ships side then heads back into the harbour. Kent goes all easy aft and reels in the tow line until the go up to the transom to retrieve the rest of their line. Once the Kent is stood down, they head back into the harbour to the tug pontoon.

Published on 23 Jan 2019

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