Saturday, 15 February 2020

MSC Margrit arrives to Felixstowe as squally winds begin to decrease. 13th February 2020


The MSC Margrit arrives to the Port of Felixstowe after a very disruptive week due to Storm Ciara. In fact most of Northern Europe was being battered by this storm with the United Kingdom bearing the brunt of her sheer force. MSC Margrit left her last port of Le Havre with a draught of 13.2 metres and headed North through the Dover Straights up to the Sunk where a Harwich Haven Pilot Launch meets the ship to board a pilot for the inward journey into the harbour but with a squall passing through, embarking was ever so more challenging with the winds gusting up to 40 knots.

Once the pilot had boarded safely, he radios Harwich VTS to confirm he was onboard with a maximum draught of 13.2 metres from Le Havre. VTS replies that there was a ready berth planned port side to Felixstowe Trinity 6 and then continues with the wind on the Landguard Gauge and height of tide followed by the traffic information. With the winds gusting to 30 knots the pilot requests three Svitzer tugs for berthing. The first to meet near 7&8 Buoys to make fast centre lead aft, second to meet at the Beach End and to make fast starboard quarter and the third tug bow to bow for the centre lead forward. Svitzer Shotley leaves the harbour to be the first tug to meet the Margrit and soon makes fast aft. Svitzer Sky was the next tug to leave the harbour to make fast on the starboard quarter. Rounding the 90° Beach End turn, the Shotley helps steer the corner by favouring the port quarter. Sky makes fast as the go astern to pick the heaving line. Svitzer Kent makes their approach to make fast on the starboard shoulder. The pilot stops the engine and comes astern a few minutes later to slow her down ready for the swing. As the Margrit passes the Maersk McKinney Møller alongside Felixstowe berth 8 the pilot begins to turn to port port then gets the Kent to come out onto the port side and take the bow around while the Sky comes away from the ships side and pulls the stern around. Finally the Shotley moves out onto starboard quarter and takes the stern around aswell. Once swung, the task of backing up to the berth would prove a bit tricky as the wind was still a bit gusty. The tugs help the keep the ship straight as she backs up the harbour. Close to the berth, the pilot angles the MSC Margrit into the berth with help from Sky pushing on the quarter and Shotley moving onto the port side. The Kent comes in for a push to straighten her up as she touches the fenders alongside Felixstowe Trinity 6.

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