Tuesday, November 10, 2015

PLA Officially Launches New Seven Million Pound Multipurpose Vessel

Maintenance Boat That Can Lift and Shift Along the River Thames
Shipping News Feature
UK – With 95 miles of the River Thames to manage the Port of London Authority (PLA) has to have a considerable fleet of vessels of various types to cope with a range of jobs from hydrographic surveys to pilot transfers, pollution control to ships escorts, and this week the crew of the launch Tyburn even had to save a woman’s life! Now the latest addition to the PLA’s range of vessels is to be officially named in the presence of shipping minister Robert Goodwill MP, in a ceremony at London’s Tower Pier in December.

The London Titan is a 650 tonne, 36 metre long maintenance vessel designed specifically to handle a vast range of everyday tasks. Her unique design will not only enable her to pass under all bridges from Richmond down to the open sea but her 2.2 metre draft and triple engine, three propeller, three rudder and bow thruster combination will ensure complete manoeuvrability.

The new craft cost £6.9 million and was built by Manor Marine at its yard in Portland Dorset after fighting off stiff international competition for the contract. Her three ‘spud’ legs assist with positioning whilst two 25 tonne cranes, one in the bow and the other the stern, are supplemented by no less than seven winches. She has been specially designed for the Thames by UK-based naval architects MacDuff Ship Design, working in close collaboration with PLA marine engineers, masters and crews to ensure she can handle the vast range of work she will be tasked with.

Although described as a mooring maintenance vessel London Titan will also be called on as a dive support craft, she will lay and recover navigation buoys (ever more essential work as larger container ships return to the Thames), undertake some dredging operations and haul all manner of wreckage and debris from the river bed. The cost of building this multipurpose vessel means this is the largest single investment by the PLA in more than 20 years.

As the PLA pointed out however in a recent Economic Impact Report, the tidal Thames is home to the UK’s second biggest port and busiest inland waterway for passengers and freight. Operations on the Thames generate over £4 billion of Economic Value Added and support more than 40,000 jobs and, with the current London Mayor’s plans to raise the number of river passengers from 8 to 12 million by 2020, investment in equipment such as the London Titan is an imperative.

To learn more about this ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of a boat this video will explain in full whilst another film shows the launching from the Dorset slip.

Photo: The London Titan hits the water for the first time as she leaves the Portland slipway.