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It has been a very quiet year for boats visiting West India Dock but we have the arrival of a regular visitor over the years. The Super Yacht Kismet was last here in 2019 before the pandemic.
Kismet is a large superyacht and has visited the dock a couple of times before in 2014 and 2016. It often comes to London when its owner Pakistani-American billionaire businessman Shahid Khan wants to entertain guests attending NFL matches in London. His NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars play Maimi Dolphins at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the 17th October 2019.
The yacht is often tucked away at the bottom of the dock for some time before being taken up to near Tower Bridge for entertaining guests.
Kismet is 308ft long has three decks and a private sundeck with a pool-Jacuzzi-BBQ area and all mod cons. The ship features exterior styling by Espen and interior design by Reymond Langton Design featuring marble and rare woods, it will accommodate 12 guests in six staterooms, and has a crew of 20.
This ship is the second vessel named Kismet owned by Mr Khan and estimated to have cost 200 million dollars, a previous 223ft yacht was sold for a rumoured £70 million in 2013. The new Kismet was built at German boatyard Lurssen.
Unusually for the secretive super yacht world, a great deal seems to be known about Kismet and it was rumoured in 2019 that the yacht was up for sale.
After a very quiet period, we welcome an old favourite back to West India Dock with the arrival of the STS Tenacious tall ship
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.
I was delighted to receive news of a major exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands in October, the exhibition entitled London: Port City explores how the Port of London has changed and shaped the city, its people, places and language, over centuries. The exhibition will trace more than 200 years of experiences and intense activity on a river.
It is appropriate the the exhibition is in the Museum of London Docklands, itself originally part of West India Docks, London’s first enclosed dock system and packed with valuable cargoes from around the world from 1802 until its closure in 1980.
The exhibition will draw upon the extensive archives of the Port of London Authority (PLA) to present a wider picture of the complex operations that have enabled the Port to connect London to the rest of the world, from the final days of the 18th century to the creation of the huge London Gateway ‘mega port’ in the Thames Estuary. The exhibition will full of stories, incidents, major operations, characters, technological advances, pivotal moments, surprising details and little-known facts.
Exhibition highlights include:
Revealing the stories behind 80 words and expressions that entered the English language and the place names of streets and pubs as a result of the docks including ‘crack on’, ‘aloof’ and ‘Mudchute’.
An impressive audio visual display that will transport visitors into the PLA control room, using large-scale projections to create a day in the life of the Port of London, with multiple spectacular views of the river and all of the activity happening 24 hours a day.
An interactive timeline reveals stories from the docks since 1800, using 222 objects from the PLAs vast and eclectic archive. Material ranges from sandals with hollowed out soles to smuggle opium, seized in the 1870s, to original plans for the world’s most innovative purpose-built dock complexes.
Many of the dockers whose voices feature throughout the exhibition recall being hit by a heady aroma as a new cargo was unloaded or as they made their way through different areas of the docks. Visitors will experience a suite of distinct scents, carefully blended to capture the original pungency of the port.
Trade Winds: London, a new artwork by contemporary artist Susan Stockwell, using archive material and international currency to explore themes of international trade, economies, migration and empire. Elsewhere, a new artwork by Hilary Powell uses experimental photographic techniques and film to explore the container shipping industry and the people who keep it going.
Importantly, the exhibition will address the wider global context of London’s seaborne trade, most notably its historical dependence on the sugar trade and slavery. A document commemorating the original unveiling of the statue of merchant and slave owner Robert Milligan, which was removed from outside the museum in 2020, is displayed alongside original plans for docks.
For more information visit the Museum of London Docklands here
It is that time of the year when people begin to review the past 12 months, carrying on the tradition from previous years, normally we would be listing the ships that have visited West India Docks in the last year.
This year has been like no other and the only visitor we had was the Super Yacht Ilona in April.
For the marine lovers out there, I have decided to feature a few favourites from the last few years to show us what we have missed. The most exciting visitors of recent years have tended to be the tall ships which always cause plenty of excitement and gives us a reminder of how the dock would have looked in the 19th century.
Mexican Tall Ship Cuauhtémoc visited West India Dock in 2019.
American Tall Ship USCGC Eagle visited in 2016.
In 2014, the dock featured ships from The Royal Greenwich Tall Ships Festival.
Royal Navy ships have been regular visitors over the years, here is the HMS Westminster from 2014.
Other Navies have provided ships at the dock, most unusual were the Chinese Navy Ships Huanggang and Yangzhou in 2017.
NATO Ships often berthed in West India Dock, here are some from 2015.
Many types of ships have visited the docks including Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior III in 2019.
Perhaps the most unusual visitor was a H.M. Bruinvis, a Dutch submarine in 2012.
Let us look forward to the return of ships to the dock. The development surrounding West India Dock and Canary Wharf is gradually becoming completed and hopefully we can put the pandemic behind us in 2021.
I would like to wish our readers a happy and healthy New Year.
On a cold grey day, we welcome the arrival of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior III into West India Dock. Rainbow Warrior III is a purpose-built motor-assisted sailing yacht owned and operated by Greenpeace and is used for environmental protests and scientific excursions.
The vessel is the first Rainbow Warrior that is not converted from another vessel. Her hull was constructed in Poland and she was built in Germany and launched in 2011, to provide state-of-the-art facilities including advanced telecommunication equipment, specialised scientific equipment and a helicopter landing pad. The ship was designed to be one of the “greenest” ships afloat using primarily wind power, with a 55 m mast system which carries 1255 sq meters of sail and incorporates green marine technology.
Rainbow Warrior III was custom built for Greenpeace International at a cost of $32m (€23m) with funds raised from about three million sponsors. The ship has the capacity to carry and launch inflatable boats in tough weather conditions.
Rainbow Warrior III is the third Rainbow Warrior Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior I was a converted trawler which was sunk by the French intelligence service while in harbour in New Zealand in the 1985, Rainbow Warrior II completed two decades of campaigning across the world before it was found unfeasible to upgrade to modern specifications.
Rainbow Warrior III was designed by naval architects Gerard Dijkstra & Partners in Amsterdam with superstructure made of aluminium while the hull is made from steel. The ship’s mast has A-frame masts for semi-automatic sails.
Rainbow Warrior III is not the only Greenpeace ship to visit West India Dock in recent years, MV Arctic Sunrise visited in 2013 and MV Esperanza in 2019
Another interesting visitor for West India Dock is the ARA Libertad tall ship which is a training ship for the Argentine Navy. Ara Libertad is one of the largest and fastest tall ships in the world and holds a series of speed records.
The tall ship was designed and built in the 1950s by the Río Santiago Shipyard in Argentina and made her maiden voyage in 1961. Since then she has been a training ship and a travelling goodwill ambassador for Argentina. The ship is estimated to have covered more than 800,000 nautical miles (1,500,000 km), visited about 500 ports in more than 60 countries and trained over 11,000 navy personel.
The ship has a total length (including bowsprit) of 103.75 m (340.4 ft); a beam of 14.31 m (46.9 ft) and is world’s sixth longest tall ship and the third heaviest. The crew usually numbers around 350, including 24 officers, 187 crewmen and 150 naval cadets. Unusually the ship has four fully functional cannons which are used for salutes.
It is the first time that the Libertad has visited London for 17 years and marks the half-way point on the 48th midshipman training voyage.
The Frigate departed from Buenos Aires on 17th of August and will navigate over 23 thousand miles in 2019, visiting 15 ports in 10 countries, including: Salvador de Bahía (Brazil); Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Cadiz (Spain); Lisbon (Portugal); Brest (France); Antwerp (Belgium); London (United Kingdom); Dublin (Ireland); Boston and Miami (U.S.A); Bridgetown (Barbados); Recife and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and Montevideo (Uruguay).
The ship is due to be open for visitors for free tours on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th of October before the ship departs on the 29th October.
The nights may be drawing in and there is a slight chill in the air but we are still having a few interesting visitors in West India Dock. Today saw the arrival of the Super Yacht Kismet.
Kismet is a large superyacht and has visited the dock a couple of times before in 2014 and 2016. It often comes to London when its owner Pakistani-American billionaire businessman Shahid Khan wants to entertain guests attending NFL matches in London. His NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars play Houston at Wembley Stadium on the 3rd Nov 2019.
Last time the yacht arrived it was tucked away at the bottom of the dock for some time before being taken up to near Tower Bridge.
Kismet is 308ft long has three decks and a private sundeck with a pool-Jacuzzi-BBQ area and all mod cons. The ship features exterior styling by Espen Øino and interior design by Reymond Langton Design featuring marble and rare woods, it will accommodate 12 guests in six staterooms, and has a crew of 20. This ship is the second vessel named Kismet owned by Mr Khan and estimated to have cost 200 million dollars, a previous 223ft yacht was sold for a rumoured £70 million in 2013. The new Kismet was built at German boatyard Lurssen.
Unusually for the secretive super yacht world, a great deal seems to be known about Kismet and it was rumoured last year that the yacht was up for sale. If you would fancy life aboard the Kismet, the super yacht can be chartered for £940,000 or 1.6 million dollars a week.
After a quiet summer, West India Dock is welcoming a number of visitors and the latest has a varied and fascinating history. The DSSV Pressure Drop is a research ship which is 68.3 m / 224 ft in length, and has accommodation for up to 47 persons.
The ship started life as the USNS Indomitable and was a United States Navy Stalwart class ocean surveillance ship in service from 1985 to 2002. Indomitable was laid down by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company at Tacoma, Washington and launched in 1985.
From 2003 until 18 June 2014, she was in commission in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the oceanographic research ship NOAAS McArthur II (R 330).
In 2017 the vessel was bought by Caladan Oceanic LLC and prepared to serve as a mother ship for the manned deep-ocean research submersible DSV Limiting Factor.
From December 2018, the Pressure Drop has been used in the Five Deeps Expedition to support a manned submersible visit to the bottom of all five of the world’s oceans.
The Five Deeps Expedition is the first attempt to reach the deepest point in each of the Earth’s five oceans: the Puerto Rico Trench in the Atlantic, South Sandwich Trench in the Southern Ocean, Java Trench in the Indian Ocean, Challenger Deep in the Pacific and Molloy Deep in the Arctic.
Four of the dives have been successfully completed and have been filmed for a Discovery Channel series. It is expected that the ship will leave the dock tomorrow to continue its epic journey.