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West India Dock Visitors Review 2019

It is that time of the year when people begin to review the past 12 months, carrying on the tradition from previous years, we are listing the ships that have visited West India Docks in the last year. No doubt we may have missed one or two ships but we have certainly had quite a number of fascinating visitors.

The development surrounding West India Dock and Canary Wharf seems to have had a considerable effect on the numbers visiting the dock. It has been generally a very quiet year for visitors in the dock compared with previous years.

Some old Tall Ships favourites returned with Tenacious, other tall ships included Marienborgh, ARA Libertad, Gulden Leeuw and Cuauhtémoc.

Superyachts included Reef Chief, Kismet, Bellami.com, Ocean Dreamwalker III and Bristolian.

Royal Navy ships included HMS Westminster and HMS Enterprise.

Dutch training ships Sittard and Rigel were unusual visitors.

Marine exploration was a bit of a theme this year with the arrival of DSSV Pressure Drop, Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior III and MV Esperanza.

The Marienborgh yacht seems to be permanently in the dock and Tenacious has been berthed for several weeks. The Massey Shaw, The Portwey and the Lord Amory which are permanently moored in the dock provide year round interest.

With all the development, it is unlikely that in the foreseeable future that numbers visiting will pick up quickly but we will keeping our eye on the many different ships that circle around the Isle of Dogs.

This year we spotted on the Thames, Dutch Tall Ship Stad Amsterdam, Polish Tall Ship Dar Mlodziezy, cruise liners Silver Spirit and Le Champlain.

May we wish all our readers a Happy New Year and we look forward to welcoming new visitors to the dock in the New Year.

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.