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HNLMS Groningen (P843) and HNLMS Van Amstel (F831) of the Royal Netherlands Navy in West India Dock

Friday saw the arrival of a couple of ships from the Royal Netherlands Navy into West India Dock, another ship the HNLMS Karel Doorman is moored in Greenwich.

The HNLMS Groningen is a Holland-class offshore patrol vessel operated by the Royal Netherlands Navy. The vessel was built in the Romanian shipyards in Galati, by the Dutch firm Damen Group. The ship was laid down in 2010, launched in 2011 and commissioned in 2013.

It has a length of 108.4 m (355 ft 8 in) and beam of 16 m (52 ft 6 in). It has a crew of 54 and carries helicopter on board. The ship has been used counter-drug operations and coast guard duties in the Caribbean and off the coast of Somalia, as part of the EU anti-piracy mission Atalanta.

HNLMS Van Amstel (F831) is a ship of the Karel Doorman-class of multi-purpose frigates (also known as “M-fregat” class) of the Royal Netherlands Navy. Built by the shipyard Koninklijke Schelde Groep in Vlissingen. The ship is named after the Dutch Captain Jan van Amstel.

The ship was laid down in 1987,launched in 1990 and commissioned in 1993. The ships has a length of 122 m (400 ft 3 in) and beam of 14.4 m (47 ft 3 in). It carries a crew of 154 and helicopter.

The ship has been deployed in 2005 to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina. In 2012, Van Amstel apprehended 11 Somali pirates off the Somali coast. In 2016, Van Amstel joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2). In October 2022, Van Amstel along with HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën deployed to conduct drills with the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford.

There seems to be little information as to the reason for the visit but this is not unusual for NATO ships.

Pioneer Superyacht in West India Dock

There is an unusual assortment of yachts in West India Dock at the moment, the latest arrival is the 46.2m/150’11” long Pioneer motor yacht. The yacht built by Palmer Johnson in the United States and was launched in 1996.

Pioneer was previously named Dione Sky, Putty VI, Turmoil, and features exterior design by Vripack, while her interior was designed by Axel Vervoordt, with naval architecture by Vripack.

Up to 10 guests are accommodated on board the superyacht, and she also has accommodation for 8 crew members including the captain of Pioneer.

Pioneer is known as a explorer yacht because it is used to travel to Canada, Alaska and Greenland and North & South America as well as Caribbean and Mediterranean.

As usual it is not known how long the yacht will be in dock or who the owner is ?

Stardust Superyacht in West India Dock

At the beginning of the holiday weekend, we have the arrival of the Stardust superyacht which has a length of 62.5m.

The yacht was built by Amels in Netherlands who delivered the superyacht to its ownder in 2020.

The Stardust exterior design is by Tim Heywood Design Ltd., while her interior was designed by Studio Laura Sessa and Amels, with naval architecture by Amels.

She can accommodate up to 12 guests in 6 staterooms and has accommodation for 14 crew members.

Other than this information, little is known about the owner or plans for yacht. The yacht does have a very unusual design and is well worth a trip to the dock where you can see plenty of other boats including the confiscated PHI and some heritage boats near Dollar Bay development.

Slipstream Superyacht in West India Dock

Another newcomer to the dock is Slipstream superyacht, the 60 m (198 ft) yacht was launched by French shipyard CMN Yachts in 2009.

The interior of the yacht was designed by British design firm Winch Design, There is accommodations for 12 guests in 7 cabins with one master, 1 VIP, two doubles, and two twin rooms. There are accommodations for 15 crew onboard.

The yacht’s exterior also features a design from Winch Design with a striking black hull and a silver superstructure.

She was built by CMN Yachts, a French shipyard based in Cherbourg Cedex, who delivered the award-winning yacht in 2009.

Considered to be worth 50 million dollars, the yacht is owned by Canadian billionaire Jack Cowin.

We certainly have a wide assortment of ships and boats in the dock at the moment and it is well worth a visit.

INS Tarangini in West India Dock

After a quiet few years, we are certainly seeing more ships and boats coming into West India Dock, the latest arrival is the INS Tarangini which is a sail training ship for the Indian Navy.

INS Tarangini is a three-masted barque, commissioned in 1997 as a training ship for the Indian Navy. She was constructed in Goa to a design by the British naval architect Colin Mudie, and launched in 1995.

In 2003–04, she became the first Indian naval ship to circumnavigate the globe.

The ship sails across the Indian Ocean region for the purpose of providing sail training experience to the officer cadets of the Indian Navy.

When Tarangini did its first circumnavigation of the globe in 2003–04, the ship covered 33,000 nautical miles (61,000 km) and visited 36 ports in 18 countries.

The Tarangini has sailed to The Great Lakes in Canada for races and has also participated in European tall ship races.

During the last 15 years Tarangini has participated in 13 expeditions sailing over 188,000 nautical miles (348,000 km; 216,000 mi), remaining at sea for over 2,100 days, visiting 74 ports in 39 countries.

The INS Tarangini is visiting London for a few days and will set sail on 18th August.

Götheborg of Sweden in West India Dock

Well, shiver my timbers, is that a pirate ship in West India Dock ? No, but it is the Götheborg of Sweden which is a sailing replica of the Swedish East Indiaman Götheborg I, which was launched in 1738 and sank in 1745.

When the wreckage of the original Götheborg was found in 1984, the idea to make a replica of the vessel was considered. The keel for the replica was laid in 1995 at the Eriksbergs wharf by the Göta älv in Gothenburg.

The construction and historical design of the ship was made by Joakim Severinsson. The vessel was built using old, traditional techniques, and it was made as close to the original as possible.

While the exterior is close to the original, the interior has an electrical system and propellers powered by diesel engines. The engines are only intended for port navigation and emergency situations. The ship has other modern aids like satellite navigation, communications equipment, modern facilities for the crew, watertight bulkheads and fire protection.

The vessel was launched on 6 June 2003 with ten tons of hemp ropes are used for rigging the vessel, together with some 1,000 blocks and 1,964 m2 (21,140 sq ft) linen sail. The replica has a crew of 80 sailors and is one of the world’s largest operational wooden sailing vessels.

The ship arrived in London on 8 August and is open to visitors every day from 8-12 August. Before docking at Canary Wharf the ship went up the Thames to pass under Tower Bridge. It is fifteen years since the ship last visited London, in 2007.

Unlike most ships which offer free admission, it will cost £15 to have a tour of this ship.

Opening hours in London
8 August: Open 14:00 pm – 20:00 pm
9 August: Open 10:00 am – 2:30 pm
10 August: Open 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
11 August: Open 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
12 August: Open 09:00 am – 11:00 am

The visit takes about an hour.

Tickets & prices
Adults: £15
Children 5-16 years: £7.5
Children 0-4 years: Free of charge

RNOV Shabab Oman II in West India Dock

After a few days in Canada, it was a surprise to see a rather crowded West India dock on my return. One of the more interesting visitors is the Shabab Oman II is a sail training ship for the Royal Navy of Oman and is 87-metre (285 ft) long with a beam of 11 metres (36 ft). When fully rigged there is a total of 2,700 square metres (29,000 sq ft) of sails.

Shabab Oman II was built to replace the popular ageing Shabab Oman. The new ship is a three-masted squared rigged clipper, with a sailing speed of up to 17 knots. She has a crew of at least 90 made up of 54 permanent crew and 36 trainees.

Shabab Oman II was designed by Dykstra Naval Architects, Amsterdam, Netherlands. She was built by Damen Shipyards, Galaţi, Romania and launched on 2 December 2013.In 2014, she was towed to Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, Vlissingen, Netherlands for fitting out, including the fitting of her masts.

She entered service with the Royal Navy of Oman in August 2014. Her first long voyage was the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Sea of Oman to reach Muscat, the Omani capital.

In 2019, Shabab Oman II visited 17 ports in 12 countries and is a welcome visitor to London where she follows a long line of sail training ships that have visited the dock. It is always a thrill to see ships that are continuing the skills and traditions of sailing ships.

Gitana Superyacht in West India Dock

It is like the old days (pre Covid) in West India Dock with the arrival of another superyacht. The latest visitor is the Gitana which has a length of 48.2m and was built in 1997 at the Feadship yard in the Netherlands.

The Gitana which was previously named Carolina, Noa VII and Katrion, features exterior design by Guido de Groot Design, interior design by John Munford Design, with naval architecture by De Voogt Naval Architects.

Up to 12 guests are accommodated on board the Gitana, and she also has accommodation for 10 crew members.

The yacht Gitana has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. She is powered by 2 Caterpillar Inc engines, which give her a cruising speed of 13.5 kn and a top speed of 14.8 kn.

According information on the net, Gitana superyacht is currently for sale at an asking price of €16,500,000.

Motor yacht A2 in West India Dock

On a beautiful spring day, I took a wander into West India Dock to see the latest arrival. The motoryacht A2 has a very interesting history of owners.

The yacht A2 was built by Feadship in 1983. She was built as Circus II, for William Bennett. He was the founder of the gaming giant Circus Circus Enterprises. She was later sold to Les Wexner who named her Limitless. Later she was bought by Sir Thomas Ogden, who named her Masquerade.

In 2011 she was bought by George Lindemann, who named her A2 and sent her for a refit to Pendennis. The yacht’s classical design led to her use as a support vessel for the schooner Adela, which is owned by the Lindemann family.

What makes the yacht really interesting is to see the way that superyachts have developed since the 1980s, the A2 looks old fashioned compared to modern yachts but has a lot more character.

The refit by Pendennis took the classic yacht but bought it up to date with re-engineering all systems, installation of new deck equipment, modern bridge technology and state-of-the-art AV equipment throughout. The yacht can accommodate 12 guests and has a crew of 9.

Also in the dock is PHI which has been the subject of much debate, allegedly owned by a Russian oligarch, the ship has been in the dock for a number of weeks and may be here for a considerable time.

Dutch Navy Ship HNLMS Tromp in West India Dock

On a very windy day, I went to have a look at the latest arrival in West India Dock. The HNLMS Tromp (F803) arrived yesterday and I am sure they were happy to get away from the various storms.

The 144.24 metres (473.2 ft) long HNLMS Tromp is a Provinciën-class frigate of the Royal Netherlands Navy. The ship was laid down in 1999, launched in 2001, and commissioned in 2003. The frigate is named after Dutch naval heroes Maarten Tromp (1598–1653) and Cornelis Tromp (1629–1691).

In 2010, Tromp was deployed to the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa as part of Operation Atalanta, which is composed of European Union naval units. The operation was tasked with suppression of piracy in the region. In the same year Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands visited Norway aboard Tromp for a 3-day state visit.

Not sure why the ship is visiting the dock, but is a welcome visitor after a very quiet 2021.