Prior to the boarding, the MSC Katrina was anchored in the Sunk Deep Water Anchorage until there was a confirmed pilot boarding time. Just before setting of the ship heaved anchor and proceeded to the Sunk Diamond ready to board the pilot. At 12:15 local time, a Harwich Haven pilot launch went alongside the MSC Katrina to board a pilot for the inbound journey in to Felixstowe. Once onboard the pilot radios Harwich VTS to say he was onboard inbound for Felixstowe berth 7 with a draught of 11.4 metres with no defects from her last port of Le Havre. VTS replies that there was a ready berth planned port side to Felixstowe Trinity 7. VTS continues with the wind on the Landguard Gauge and height of tide. The pilot requests two tugs for berthing, the first outside the harbour before the Platters and make fast centre lead aft and then the second tug inside the harbour on a bow to bow for a port swing in the middle of the harbour. Duty tug copies the ordered.
While proceeding inbound for the harbour, the 114 metre general cargo vessel, Oder, was heading down the River Orwell outbound to the south via the Sunk. The pilot onboard the Oder reduced her speed so both could pass in a suitable place as the MSC Katrina was ultra large and had to have a clear run of the Beach End. Unfortunately during coming down the river, the Oder had picked up a technical fault and had to limit their speed through the harbour due to overheating exhaust.
Passing the Harwich Approach Buoy inbound, the Svitzer Shotley breaks away from the tug pontoon outbound to be the aft tug. While outbound the captain onboard the Shotley radios VTS to say they had 4 POB for this arrival. The pilot radios the Shotley and go onto channel 12. The pilot goes through the berthing plan with the Shotley. The plan was to make the aft tug fast and do a centre line transit around the Beach End before slowing down to make the forward tug fast then a port swing in the middle of the harbour and back up to Trinity 7.
As the Svitzer Shotley makes fast, the Svitzer Deben leaves the tug pontoon to be the forward tug. Approaching the Beach End, the pilot radios the Shotley to say they probably wouldn’t be used for steering around the 90° corner but as the Shotley had a guest onboard the plan changed slightly and the pilot got the Shotley to move out onto the port quarter for a powered indirect into the harbour.
As she enters the harbour, Deben makes their approach to make fast on a bow to bow. The pilot stops the engine and then gets the Shotley to pull straight astern to reduce her headway. Shortly after, the pilot runs the engine astern as they begin a steady turn to port at the Guard Buoy. With headway reduced to a knot or so, the pilot gets the Shotley to move out onto the starboard quarter at 90° and begin to take the stern around. Meanwhile up at the bow, the Deben moves out onto the port shoulder at 90° to take the bow around.
Steadily she swings to port. After swinging, the pilot runs the engine astern to back up towards Trinity 7. Backing up the harbour, the pilot kicks the engine ahead to slow her down as she approaches the berth. Shotley moves onto the port side to angle the stern towards the berth. Almost in position, the pilot checks with the Berthing master where the final position was. The pilot says that the final tie up would be 6 and 2 each end with springs fore and aft.