After a visit from the French Navy ship last week, we welcome the arrival of two Belgian Navy Ships, BNS Godetia (A960) and the BNS Bellis (M916) in West India Dock.
The Godetia last visited the West India Dock in 2015 with a number of other NATO ships. The ship is a command and logistical support vessel of the Belgian Navy and was launched in 1965 at the Boelwerf in Temse. Godetia has a length of 91.30 m (299.5 ft) with a beam of 14.00 m (45.93 ft) with a crew complement of around 95; 8 officers, 29 NCO’s and 55 sailors.
The Godetia undertakes fishery protection, humanitarian aid, support and supply ship for minesweepers, and acting as a command ship for NATO mine countermeasure operations.
The BNS Bellis is a Tripartite-class minehunter of the Belgian Navy which was launched in 1986 at the Mercantile-Belyard shipyard in Rupelmonde. The ship was the second of the Belgian Tripartite-class minehunters.
In 1987, the ship participated the rescue of the survivors of ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise which capsized outside the port of Zeebrugge.
The Ship has a length of 51.5 m (169 ft 0 in) and beam of 8.96 m (29 ft 5 in), it carries a crew complement of 4 officers, 15 non-commissioned officers, 17 sailors.
It is not known how long the ships will remain in dock at this time.
It is shaping up to being a summer of community events with a number of events planned for August.
One event not to miss is the Summer Birthday Garden Party in Island Gardens which celebrates the 122nd year of the park being opened and its continual attraction for Islanders and visitors.
The event will include a number of attractions including Face painting, a Magician, Balloon artist, the Pearlies, Police and Fire Brigade, Pimm’s and Prosecco Lounge, Food and Drink, Games and Live Music.
The free event is organised by the Friends of Island Gardens who work tirelessly to improve and maintain the famous gardens and play a major role in protecting the park from developments that would impinge on its special character.
In recent years, the development of Calders Wharf which is located next to the park has raised a number of concerns about the impact to the park. If you would to find out more, find a link to the FOIG’s petition here
The Garden Party takes place on the 5th August between 12 and 5 pm.
After a relatively quiet period in the dock, we welcome the Super Yacht Gene Machine to West India Dock.
The 179.99ft yacht ‘Gene Machine’ was built by Amels in Netherlands at their Vlissingen shipyard and was delivered to her owner in 2013. Her exterior design was by Tim Heywood Design and the luxurious interior was designed by Laura Sessa Romboli.
Like many super yachts, the Gene Machine’s interior has been designed for the greatest comfort and can accommodate up to 10 guests overnight in 5 cabins including a master suite, 2 double cabins, 2 twin cabins and 4 Pullman beds. The yacht is also capable of carrying up to 15 crew onboard in 8 cabins.
The yacht is equipped with an ultra-modern stabilization system which reduces roll motion effect and anchor stabilisers.
Amenities on board include Helicopter Landing Pad, Swimming Platform, Jacuzzi (on deck), Air Conditioning, and Owners Balcony.
In the secret world of super yachts, information about ownership and how long the ship will be in dock is often hard to come by. However this yacht and the French Navy ship add a lot of interest to the dock.
We have an unusual visitor to West India Dock with arrival of the FS Lapérouse ( A791 ) which is a hydrographic survey ship of the French Navy and one of their Lapérouse-class survey ships.
Lapérouse is a current serving ship of the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the French Navy and was launched at Brest in 1988.
In 2016, we had a visit from French Navy Ship Laplace which is also a hydrographic survey ship of the French Navy and a Lapérouse-class survey ship.
The ship is nearly 200 feet long and the crew usually consists of 3 officers, 10 non-commissioned officers, 18 enlisted personnel and 11 hydrographers.
It is not known how long the ship will be in dock, but a visit from this interesting type of ship is quite rare.
Although the Isle of Dogs is constantly changing, it still has a strong community spirit with a number of events throughout the year.
This Sunday ( 9th of July) sees the Christ Church Summer Fete with a number of attractions including Craft workshops and stalls, table-top sales of books, clothing, crafts, toys etc.. There will also be a BBQ and Caribbean food, Caricaturist, face painting, tombola, Bouncy castle, Tea and cakes, and live performances and much more.
The festivities begin at 12pm and there is a £1 entry fee goes towards the church fundraising. Kids can enter for 20p.
If you would like some traditional entertainment for all the family, why not make your way to Christ Church which is at the south of the Island on Manchester Road.
Over the weekend, the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) began with a large number of events, the GDIF is London’s leading festival of free outdoor performing arts (theatre, dance, and street arts) and runs from the 23rd June to 8th July
Whilst many of the events take place in Greenwich and Woolwich, on July 1st the festival arrives in Canary Wharf with Dancing City. Dancing City offers a series of performances from UK and international dance companies. In the parks, piazzas and waterfronts of Canary Wharf. This year there is a wide range of performances and includes something for everyone.
Maduixa Theatre (Spain), “Mulier”: Powerful contemporary dance from Spain, MULÏER is a stilt-based performance exploring female identity. In tribute to women oppressed through the centuries, the dancers’ balance, power and movement claims a woman’s right to live freely, to have freedom of expression and, if she wishes, to run uninhibited through the streets.
1.25-2.10pm & 4.15-5pm / Canary Riverside
Modern Table (Korea), “Men of Steel”: Modern Table is an all-male company from Seoul, South Korea making a rare UK appearance at Dancing City with Men of Steel. This striking performance expresses confrontation in a series of rhythmic and highly physical interactions.
2.20–3.15pm / Jubilee Plaza
ZoieLogic Dance Theatre, “Ride”: RIDE tells the story of three men whose separate paths briefly coincide as they discover a most curious thing: a car, (affectionately known as Stanley), that seems to have a life of its own. Dynamic, innovative and great fun for all the family, RIDE explores the relationship between man and machine.
1-1.20pm & 3.20-3.40pm / Canary Riverside, upper terrace
Tango Sumo (France), “Achilles”: This hypnotic trio from Tango Sumo and choreographed by Olivier Germser is inspired by martial arts and hand to hand combat. The three dancers are in constant motion, weaving together a performance based on a balance of strengths.
1-1.25pm & 4.35-5pm / Jubilee Plaza
New Adventures, “Country”: Moving and hilarious, this heartfelt pastiche explores notions of national character from a bygone era through the evocative music of Edward Elgar, Noël Coward and Percy Grainger, amongst others. Country is an early work by superstar-choreographer Sir Matthew Bourne.
2.20–2.45pm & 3.50–4.15pm / Westferry Circus
Compagnie Concourdance, “Bug and Buzz”: MA café becomes a performance space in this show which breaks with convention. Organic, robotic dance movements are paired with an ephemeral soundscape created from table-top instruments including a violin-fork and a flute-glass, in a duet that challenges the boundaries of private and public space.
1.25-1.55pm & 3.30-4pm / Jubilee Plaza near All Bar One
Motionhouse Dance, “Lost”: Lost is an intimate, dramatic and passionate work that explores the limits of what it is to be both physically and emotionally lost. Incredible athletic precision and an emotionally charged fluidity set Motionhouse apart and this sensual duet is fused with raw emotion as one dancer desperately fights to pull the other back from the precipice.
2-2.10pm & 4.15-4.25pm / Jubilee Plaza
C12 Dance Company, “Secret Encounters” : A series of short dance pieces inspired by first encounters that last forever, choreographed by Tony Adigun, Sally Marie, Annie-Lunnette Deakin-Foster and Corey Baker. Perhaps you’ll find them. Or else, they may find you…
The performances will take place on the 1st July between 1 and 5pm, throughout Canary Wharf and are free to attend. For more details, visit the event website here
For those at the bottom end of the Island, the arrival of the RFA Argus in Greenwich provides considerable interest.
The RFA Argus is one of the more unusual ships in the Royal Fleet Auxiliary operated by the MoD under the Blue Ensign. The ship was built in Italy as the container ship MV Contender Bezant. The ship was requisitioned in 1982 for service in the Falklands War and purchased outright in 1984 for use as an Aviation Training Ship.
Before the ship entered service, the ship spent four-years at Harland and Wolff in Belfast to be converted from a container ship into a hospital ship. In 1991, during the Gulf War, she was fitted with a fully functional hospital to assume the additional role of Primary Casualty Receiving Ship.
The unusual layout of the ship allows the ship to be used for aviation training when small helicopters can land on flight deck.
Since its conversion, the RFA Argus has been seen service in Bosnia, Kosovo, Middle East and Sierra Leone and many other areas.
The ship has undergone upgrades to its hospital functions with its Primary Casualty Receiving Facility consisting of over 40 different medical and surgical specialties, and is manned by personnel drawn from the MOD Hospital Units and Royal Marine Band Service.
The unit has a state-of-the-art emergency department, resuscitation and surgical facilities, a radiology suite that includes a CT scanner, a critical care unit, a high dependency unit and a 70-bed general ward.
Argus is generally stationed at her home port of Falmouth in Cornwall.
Although we have often seen the HMS Ocean berthed at Greenwich, it is rare to see the RFA Argus with its very unusual design.