Monday, 16 December 2019

OOCL Germany swings to starboard off the berth as she departs Felixstowe 14th December 2019

The OOCL Germany was alongside Felixstowe Berth 9 starboard side to due to the end of the tidal window fast approaching when she arrived. While in Felixstowe she worked cargo right up to her confirmed departure time of 07:30UTC. At this time, a long stretch of cargo was waiting to go onboard. A short delay was inevitable. A Harwich Haven pilot boards for the departure and radios Harwich VTS to confirm that there would be a delay as there was still 19 moves to go and some of them were oversize cargo. He expected that it would be about 30 minutes more then he would require the tugs and services. Duty tug copied and awaited further instructions. The pilot onboard the OOCL Germany said the vessel had a 12.5 metre draught with no defects bound for Zeebrugge. Once off the berth they will be doing a starboard swing off the berth and a centre line transit around the Beach End.

Steadily the cargo went onboard and the first crane boomed up. Followed by the last crane about 10 minutes later. The Stena Hollandica had finished cargo and was in the process of starting the engines to break away from Parkeston 2 bound for the Hoek Van Holland. VTS gives permission to break away as the OOCL Germany wasn't quite ready to depart. The three tugs that were ordered break away from the tug pontoon. Svitzer Kent first then the Svitzer Sky and bringing up the rear Svitzer Deben. The pilot wanted the two 3212s aft and Sky forward. Once the gangway was secured, the crew begin the process of making the tugs fast but before the Kent could make fast aft, the crew released two offshore lines and bought them back onboard. A heaving line was dangled through the centre lead. Once the Kent had closed in, the crew threw the line down for the Kent to send up their tow line. The crew member signals down to the Kent that they were fast on the centre lead aft. Sky radios the pilot to say heaving line was onboard and gear about to go up. Few moments later the pilot confirms the Sky was fast forward. Kent radios the pilot to confirm they were fast. Deben moves in on the port quarter and a heaving line was thrown down to so they could make fast. All three tugs back away and waits for the crew and mooring gang to single up to springs. The springs were released and the pilot gets all three tugs to stretch their lines and build to a 50% pull with Sky soon building to 75% then to full power. Kent and Deben increases to 75% before increasing to full power. The pilot kicks the engine astern to stop the headway as they come off the berth. Sky decreases as the stern begins to swing. The Deben comes in to let go from the quarter and comes around to mid ships on the port side to counteract the wind. Once there was a big enough space on the starboard side forward the Sky comes around from the port side onto the starboard side and builds power to swing the bow around to a southerly heading. The aft swinging quickly, the pilot needed to catch the swing as the brisk wind was coming from the south west so the Kent moves onto the starboard quarter and catches the swing while the Deben just about gets in position midships and the pilot asks if they could push up under the bridge wing as it would help a lot more. Kent goes all easy and drops in astern but favours the starboard quarter as they were going to be used for the corner. Sky eases and goes right ahead ready to let go from forward. Once the Sky had been released they peel off onto the Felixstowe back to the tug pontoon. The Deben eases and drops back to the port quarter ready to push. The pilot puts a few more revs on the engine to get her increasing headway. Approaching the Fort Buoy, the pilot says to Kent to move out onto the starboard side at full line load for a powered indirect. The Kent increases power and produces a list as they help steer the 400 metre OOCL Germany around the Beach End turn out of the harbour. Safely around the Beach End, the Deben was stood down then the Kent was released from aft. The pilot assists the master to navigate the deep water channel to the Sunk where the pilot disembarks onto a pilot launch. The OOCL Germany heads South through Sunk VTS’ patch for her next port of Zeebrugge.

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