Thursday, 23 January 2020

Ever Goods breaks away from Felixstowe 9 and swings to port in foggy conditions. 22nd January 2020

The Ever Goods arrived to the Port of Felixstowe late Sunday night and went starboard side to Felixstowe Berth 9. Over the next few days visibility in the harbour was significantly reduced causing cargo operations to slow. Wednesday morning, there was a thick layer of cog rolling through the harbour and as the day went on, the fog began to slightly to lift in to low cloud. A confirmed departure time was made for 13:45 with two for departure. The pilot went onboard around 15 minutes before her departure time. After a while the pilot radios Harwich VTS with the departure draught which was expected to be 11.5 metres for Hamburg. The pilot continues with an update on the cargo operations. With 2 cranes still working and a line of boxes waiting to go onboard, the pilot reckoned they had about 6 moves to go plus a bit of lashing and thought they would be ready in 20 minutes. To throw into the mix, the cargo ferry Selandia Seaways was at the North Shipwash inbound for Felixstowe Ro-Ro4. The plan was to hopefully get the DFDS ferry to push on at speed then for the Ever Goods to break away once she had passed. The two tugs that were ordered leave the tug pontoon to assist with the depart. Two offshore lines aft and forward were slackened and released to make it easier for the tugs to make fast. Svitzer Deben makes fast centre lead aft while the Svitzer Shotley makes fast centre lead forward. Both tugs back away and awaits instructions from the pilot. The mooring gang help single up to 2 and 2 each end as the Selandia passes 7&8 Buoys. Selandia Seaways rounding the Beach End, the pilot gives the order to release the rest of the lines. Once she had cleared the channel, the pilot gets the Deben to pull straight off the berth at 50% and so does the Shotley. Deben soon increases to 75% aft as she comes off the fenders. The gap increasing between them and the quay, the pilot gives a kick ahead on the main engine with the wheel to port. The bow starts to swing to port with the help of the Shotley. Then pilot runs the engine astern as she swings to port. Deben eases aft and once the gap was great enough on the starboard side they moved around and began to increase their power to swing the stern around. Steadily she had swing almost 180° to head south down the harbour. Both tugs stop and Shotley gets into a let go position forward. Meanwhile, Deben drops in astern as the pilot runs the engine ahead. 

Shotley closed up forward to let go, the crew just let the gear go flying down and not in the controlled manner like they normally do. The Shotley’s skipper wasn’t too pleased about that but they peel off onto the Felixstowe side and repositions themselves on the port quarter ready for a push indirect. As these ship take a little while to pick up speed, the pilot increases the revs to help bring her up to around 6 knots. Approaching the Fort Buoy, the pilot gets the Shotley to push up on the port quarter at a 45° angle for a push indirect to help steer the Ever Goods out of the harbour.

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