Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Thalassa Avra departs a squally Felixstowe, tide restricted bound for Zeebrugge 4th February 2019

Through the early hours of Monday, a band of squally showers was clearing slowly Eastwards as the morning went on. At stages the cranes were winded off as some of the showers rattled through. Thalassa Avra alongside Trinity 7 had a confirmed departure time of 11am but with the unpredictable weather, the time was extended. A Harwich Haven pilot boarded the vessel up the gangway and was greeted by some of the crew before heading up to the bridge where a departure plan was confirmed. Three Svitzer tugs were ordered as the south westerly winds were touching 27 knots. The pilot radios Harwich VTS to say he was onboard, 14.4 metres for Zeebrugge with no defects and would like the tugs and mooring gang.
As the last crane begins to boom up, Svitzer Kent leaves the tug pontoon with Svitzer Deben and Svitzer Shotley following a few moments later. Deben picks up pace and pass the other tugs to head towards the stern. As the tugs get closer to the Thalassa Avra, the pilot says where he want the tugs to make fast. Deben makes fast centre lead aft, Shotley makes fast on the starboard quarter while Kent makes fast centre lead forward. The pilot says to the Deben and Kent that they are fast on bollards with a safe working load of 120 tonnes. Singling up to just springs, the pilot radios Harwich VTS to ask permission to break away. Permission granted, the mooring gang cast off the springs. The pilot gets the Deben to lift off at 50% with Kent and Shotley increasing up to 50%. Soon after the centre lead tugs increase further. Battling the squally winds, she steadily edges away from the berth. With the wind and tide pushing her astern, the pilot kicks the engine ahead a couple of times. Entering the channel, Shotley getting increasingly worried about the Buoy moves a little ahead of normal position to miss the Buoy. Deben aft, shortens their tow line as they get closer to a buoy. The intentions of the pilot was to get close to the edge of the channel as the south westerly winds would push her back towards the quay and the Charlotte Maersk alongside Trinity 6. The pilot runs the engine ahead then gets the Shotley to let go from the quarter. Once they were released, the pilot gets them to move around on to the port quarter ready for a push indirect. Kent gets in a let go position and released a few minutes later. Heading down the harbour the pilot confirms that he would be using the Deben to help steering around the 90° Beach End turn out of the harbour so as they approach the Fort Buoy, the Deben moves out on to the starboard side for a powered indirect at full line load. Safely out in the North Sea both tugs were stood down and head back to the pontoon. The pilot heads to the Sunk where he disembarks onto one of the Harwich Haven pilot launches then embarks on his next job which was the MSC Savona inbound for Felixstowe Trinity 7 berth.

Published on 4 Feb 2019

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