Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Maiden voyage Ever Grade departs Felixstowe after sunset during her European tour 26th February 2019

The Ever Grade is one of the largest container ships afloat with a maximum capacity of 20,388TEU ranking her the 5th largest in the world. The Ever Grade handed over to Evergreen in January 2019 starts her maiden voyage in China before making her way west towards Europe. Her last port in Asia was Colombo in Sri Lanka before transiting the Suez Canal in a northbound convoy. First port of call in Europe was Rotterdam. Cargo complete in Rotterdam she sets sail for Felixstowe. Three Svitzer tugs assist her onto Felixstowe berth 9. After berthing, the cranes began to boom down and cargo operations commenced into Tuesday and still continues as the pilot boards for the departure. As the sun sets over Harwich, the pilot radios Harwich VTS with an update with cargo and when they expected they would require the tugs and mooring gang. A few road tugs with boxes on their trailers line up in the quay waiting to go onboard. Svitzer Kent was standing by near the aft as the Svitzer Sky leaves the pontoon towards the Ever Grade The two forward cranes boom up leaving just one on the aft still working cargo. Berthing Master on the quay gets the cranes in better positions along the berth away from the aft and bow. Finally that last crane booms up and moves in to a safe position. Kent makes fast centre lead aft and moves onto the port quarter to pin her onto the berth while they singled up as there was an offshore breeze. To help make it easier for the Sky to make fast, two of the offshore lines were slackened and bought back onboard. Sky moves under the bow to retrieve a heaving line so their two gear could be made fast on the bollard through the centre lead forward. Sky backs away with a slack line ready to work. Springs fore and aft were released and the Kent backs away ready to tow the Ever Grade off the berth. The pilot then gets the Kent aft to start increasing their power to edge her off the berth. Sky starts off at 50% before dropping a little while later so the aft could get into the strong flood tide. The pilot uses the bow thrusters to help swing the bow in to the channel. The lights of the port glisten on the water as the pilot begins to run the engine ahead. Sky gets in a position to let go from forward. Once released they peel off onto the Felixstowe side and repositions on the port quarter. Kent drops in astern and gets ready for the next obstacle, the Beach End turn. The pilot says to the Sky that they would be used as the primarily escort tug as the Ever Grade wasn't the best at picking up speed. Sky alongside begins to push up at a 45° angle at full power. A few moments later the Kent moves out onto the starboard side for a powered indirect. Slowly they round the Beach End and once they had safely navigated into the North Sea both tugs were stood down. They both lay in wait for their next work which was the OOCL Japan.

Published on 26 Feb 2019

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