Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Goodbye Kingswear Castle

This morning the steam paddle steamer Kingswear Castle made her final trip down the River Medway under tow from the tug Christine.

The Kingswear Castle has been a regular sight on the river for the past thirty years operating popular pleasure cruises particularly from the Historic Dockyard at Chatham.

She was built in Dartmouth, Devon in 1924 and plied the River Dart until 1965 when she was saved from the breakers yard and brought to the Medway for restoration.

The process has now gone full circle.The Kingswear Castle is currently heading back home to the River Dart.

She has been chartered by the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company and will be kept busy carrying tourists for the foreseeable future.

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UPDATE 15.12.12 - Kingswear Castle is currently sheltering in Portland due to bad weather in the Channel. She was only built as a river ship so not really ideal for the open sea.

UPDATE 20.12.12 - Kingswear Castle made it safely to the River Dart!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Final Voyage of the Pride of Dover - update

Further to my last post about the Pride of Dover, it appears that she is now indeed on her final voyage to Turkish shipbreakers after all.

She spent several days sheltering in Lyme Bay waiting for a weather window to safely cross the Bay of Biscay.

Any seafarer will tell you that the Bay of Biscay should be treated with utmost respect - especially at this time of year.

The latest report (at around 6 AM this morning) was that she was passing Brest at around 5 knots heading for Tuzla, Turkey.

UPDATE - The Pride of Dover arrived at Aliaga, Turkey on 27th December 2012.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Final Voyage of the Pride of Dover - or was it?

On 29th November 2012 the P & O ferry "Pride of Dover" which had operated the Dover to Calais route between 1987 and 2010 left her lay up berth in Tilbury Docks bound under tow on her final voyage to Turkish ship breakers - or did she?....

First the vessel, imaginatively renamed "Pride" for the delivery voyage to Turkey, was carefully manoeuvred out of Tilbury Docks by three tugs and moored alongside Tilbury Landing Stage so that she could be connected to the deep sea tug "Eide Fighter".

After a short stay alongside the Landing Stage she headed off slowly down the Thames. Here are some pictures taken from the Saxon Shore Way at Gravesend close to my office.

A close up of the 8000 BHP tug "Eide Fighter" registered in Nassau, Bahamas.

Despite the bitter cold, the sun decided to put in a brief appearance.

The last shot of her heading down the Estuary with the "Svitzer Mercia" acting as stern tug to assist with steering. Further down the Estuary the "Svitzer Mercia" left the "Eide Fighter" and "Pride" to their own devices.

The voyage to Turkey was expected to take just under thirty days. Through the wonders of the Internet it is now usually possible to track ships at sea.

The "Eide Fighter" and her tow were making slow but steady progress down the English Channel... that was until today.

On checking earlier today it appears that instead of heading down the Channel in the direction of Turkey, the "Eide Fighter" has made a u-turn and is now heading back up the Channel...

Could the "Pride" have had a last minute reprieve?

It is my understanding that the ferry's engines were in a very poor state which is why she was sold for scrap in Turkey rather than to another ferry company for further trading.

No doubt all will be revealed in the next week or two.

In the meantime, to end this post, is a picture of the "Pride of Dover" in happier times making her way into Dover harbour...


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