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HMS Westminster in West India Dock

After all the recent activity with Tall Ships , West India Dock welcomes a very different type of ship with the arrival of the HMS Westminster. The Type 23 frigate will be moored in London for a few days and will undertake a number of engagements .
The HMS Westminster was built in the famous Swan Hunter yard in Tyne and Wear and launched in 1992. The 133-metre ship, last visited West India Dock in 2014, since then the ship has had a refit and more recently has just returned from the  NATO training exercise, Exercise Baltic Protector, in the Baltic region.
Joining ships from Poland, Turkey, Spain, Denmark and Germany, HMS Westminster was part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) task force led by the US Navy under Rear Admiral Edward Cashman. While returning from the Baltic, HMS Westminster also took part in NATO anti-submarine exercise Dynamic Mongoose in the North Atlantic near Norway.
On the 6th August, HMS Westminster  will be open to members of the public so that people have an opportunity to experience life on board a warship. Open from 9am until 4pm ,tickets are available on the hour between these times. Tickets are free but must be obtained in advance from eventbrite.co.uk here
Whilst in London on Wednesday 7 August, the crew will exercise their ‘Freedom of the City’ of Westminster. This is the highest honour any city can bestow upon a military unit and gives them the right to march through the city with drums beating, colours (flags) flying and bayonets fixed (fitted to rifles).
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The Gulden Leeuw Tall Ship in West India Dock

After a couple of unusual training ships, we have a more familiar sight in West India Dock with the arrival of the Gulden Leeuw (Golden Lion). The Gulden Leeuw is a regular participant in Tall Ship races and regattas and has been seen in the Thames many times.

The Gulden Leeuw is one of the world’s largest three-mast-topsail schooners and is well known for its 1930’s style which combined good quality materials with great design.

The ship has a very interesting history, it was built in 1937 on behalf of the Danish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. The ship was then named Dana and was designed and built as an ocean-going ice class ship.  During her period of service for the Danish government, she was used for marine biological research and spent the war years in Copenhagen harbour.

After the war, she carried out more marine biology research missions in Danish and international waters until 1980 when she was sold but continued the missions under the name Dana Researcher for Bertra International.

In 1984, the ship was sold to Esvagt and became an offshore support vessel under the name Esvagt Dana. In 2000, the ship was sold to the Danish Naval School Nyborg and renamed Dana Nyborg as a training ship.

Since then she has changed hands to its present Dutch owners who use the ship for charters and sail training. The “Gulden Leeuw” has space for up to 200 passengers on day sails and for 56 trainees on longer voyages.

The ship is due to take part in the Tall Ship races in September.

Sittard and Rigel ships in West India Dock

Two very unusual ships are visiting West India Dock, with the Sittard and the Rigel. Both are Dutch and are used as sailing training ships. Most training ships tend to be old sailing ships or based on old sailing ships, these two have very different histories.

Sittard is a Dokkum-class minesweeper from the mid-fifties which served with the Royal Netherlands Navy for 40 years. After the end of the Second World War, there was a desperate need for minesweepers to help with clearing European coastal waters of mines. 16 Dokkum-class ships were built in various shipyards around The Netherland in the 1950s. Sittard was launched in 1956 and commissioned in the same year.

Over the next forty years, Sittard carried out a number of operations for the Royal Netherlands Navy. In 1996, Sittard was decommissioned and was made seaworthy by the navy before being transferred to Harlingen unit of the Dutch Sea Cadet Corps. Since then the Sittard has served as the Harlingen Sea Cadets training ship, taking cadets on training cruises throughout The Netherlands and to neighboring countries.

It is very unusual that an ex Navy vessel like a minesweeper is used for training sea cadets but Sittard has a number of surprises. The ship’s hull consists of 2 layers of wood; the inner layer is mahogany and the outer is teak with a superstructure of aluminium.

The Rigel Maassluis was a former Hook of Holland Pilot ship built in 1948 and now used as a training ship by the Maasluis Sea Cadet Corps. Nearby is the Lord Amory which is used by the local Sea Cadets.

Farewell to the Mexican Tall Ship Cuauhtémoc

Photo by Eric Pemberton

After a few days in West India Dock,  the ARM Cuauhtémoc tall ship left the dock to continue her travels around the world. Fortunately one of our regular contributors, Eric Pemberton was on hand to record the ship leaving the dock.

Photo by Eric Pemberton

The ARM Cuauhtémoc  is a sail training tall ship that is part of the Mexican Navy, She is one of four sister ships that were built by the Naval Shipyards of Bilbao in 1982 to a 1930s design similar to the famous German Tall ship Gorch Fock.

Photo by Eric Pemberton

The Cuauhtémoc is a sailing ambassador for her home country and is a frequent visitor to many of world ports, having sailed over 400,000 nautical miles (700,000 km) in her 23 years of service. She has also appeared in a number of Tall Ships races all over the world.

One of the joys of living on the Isle of Dogs is to see some wonderful ships going into the dock and up and down the river.

Tall Ship Tenacious in West India Dock

After a very quiet period we seem to have had a flurry excitement in West India Dock with the arrival of the HMS Enterprise, a Mexican tall ship and now a regular visitor,  the STS Tenacious has berthed in the dock.

The Tenacious is a wooden sail training ship which was specially designed to be able to accommodate disabled sailors. Launched in Southampton in the year 2000, it is one of the largest wooden tall ships in the world. It is 65 metres long with a beam of 10.6 metres at its widest point.

The Tenacious and the Lord Nelson  are owned by the UK-based charity the Jubilee Sailing Trust who have for many years have pioneered sailing for the disabled. The Jubilee Sailing Trust became a registered charity in 1978 and was the brainchild of Christopher Rudd, a school teacher and sailor who wanted to give the disabled children he taught the same experiences his able-bodied students had.

Since its launch Tenacious has taken nearly 12,000 people sailing of these 3,000 were physically disabled and 1,000 were wheelchair users.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Tall Ship Cuauhtémoc in West India Dock

The West India Dock is quite full today with the HMS Enterprise  and the ARM Cuauhtémoc which is a sail training tall ship that is part of the Mexican Navy.

She is one of four sister ships that were built by the Naval Shipyards of Bilbao in 1982 to a 1930s design similar to the famous German Tall ship Gorch Fock.

The Cuauhtémoc is a sailing ambassador for her home country and is a frequent visitor to many of world ports, having sailed over 400,000 nautical miles (700,000 km) in her 23 years of service. She has also appeared in a number of Tall Ships races all over the world.

The ship has around 186 officer and crew and 90 trainees.

At this time, it is not known if she will be open to the public, last time when she visited West India Dock in 2016, she was open for a number of days.

 

 

 

 

HMS Enterprise in West India Dock

It has been very quiet in West India Dock recently but today we welcome the HMS Enterprise which is one of the Royal Navy’s most advanced survey vessels and also acts as a floating base for mine countermeasures activities.

The ship is 90.6 m (297 ft 3 in) long, has a beam of 16.8 m (55 ft 1 in) and draught of 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in).

HMS Enterprise is the tenth ship to bear this name in the Royal Navy and is a multi-role survey vessel, she has a sister ship, HMS Echo, and together they make up the Echo class of survey vessels.

HMS Enterprise was built by Appledore Shipbuilders and was launched in 2002, and commissioned in 2003.

Photograph from Eric Pemberton

Enterprise’s crew consists of 72 personnel, with 48 on board at any one time. The ship is operationally available 330 days a year.

Photograph – Eric Pemberton

Over the past five years, she’s been involved in a range of activities, from detecting mines in the Arabian Gulf to surveying hundreds of thousands of square miles of ocean floor.

The good news is that the ship is open to visitors on Saturday 22nd 2019, to have a visit you must get a ticket from the Eventbrite website.

Many thanks for the photographs from Eric Pemberton of the ship coming into the dock

For more information about tickets, visit the Eventbrite site here