Friday, 6 December 2019

Heavily laden Maersk Emerald breaks away from Felixstowe Trinity 7 bound East 4th December 2019


After the collapse of Hanjin in April 2016, Maersk and MSC got together and bought the ships before the other shipping companies did to keep their dominance in the container market. Maersk bought the ex Hanjin Africa and renamed her the Maersk Emerald. She has sailed around the world calling in at ports America Transpacific and now she is sailing in the 2M Alliance on the Asia Northern Europe trade route. While in Felixstowe she discharged some cargo and then almost filled her up bound East. During her stay in Felixstowe the winds had fallen light which was the perfect recipe for fog to form. With fog forming overnight, the tide restricted Maersk Emerald had a tidal window to depart and was expected to depart around 4am. Unfortunately due to the fog, she missed her window and had to wait for the next available tide which would approximately 13:00UTC.  
The canes all boomed up a few hours before, a Harwich Haven Pilot boards the Maersk Emerald from the shore side. Once onboard the pilot radios Harwich VTS to confirm he was onboard with a draught of 14.5 metres which was 20cm lighter than originally expected. The pilot was looking for a tide of at least 1.46 metres. VTS confirms that the tide was 9cm about prediction at 1.56 metres. With that, the pilot required the services. Two Svitzer tugs had left the tug pontoon and headed up the harbour to Trinity 7. Svitzer Deben took lead and was first on station. The pilot asked if it would be ok for the Svitzer Deben to go forward as he thought that getting the bow might be a bit troublesome. So the Svitzer Deben would go forward and the Svitzer Sky would go aft. The Deben waits for three of the offshore to be released so it was easier to make fast. One by one they were released and the Deben moved it to receive a heaving line to make fast centre lead forward. Svitzer Sky calls in to confirm they were all fast centre lead aft. Once the tugs were fast, they back away in to position ready to tow her off the berth. As the last spring was released, the pilot gets the Sky to pull at an easy weight just to get her off the fenders before increasing to 25% and gets the Deben to build to a 25% pull. Edging away from the berth, the pilot kicks the engine astern to stop any headway. Soon after the sky increases to 75% for a few minutes before decreasing again. Meanwhile up the bow, the Deben slowly increases from 25% to full power to get the bow into the tide. The pilot begins to run the engine ahead as they were in the channel. As the headway increases, the Sky drops in astern while the Deben eases and comes in to a let go position. Once they had been released they peel off onto the Felixstowe side. Headway increasing, the pilot starts to turn to starboard at the Shotley Spit to a Southerly heading down the harbour towards the 90° Beach End turn out of the harbour. The pilot radios the Sky to say if the ship struggles he would require a powered indirect but with light airs it shouldn't be a trouble. The Deben follows the Maersk Emerald out as they were going to be the aft tug on the MSC Regulus which was inbound at the South Shipwash.

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