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West India Dock Visitors Review 2017

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.

With all the development surrounding West India Dock and Canary Wharf, there was some concern that the number visiting the dock would be severely curtailed but although numbers were down again this year, we still had an interesting mix of ships and boats.

TS Royalist

Some old Tall Ships favourites returned Stavros S Niarchos, STS Lord Nelson and TS Royalist and we had the impressive Tall Ships Cisne Branco and Bap Union.

Cisne Branco

We seemed to get a lot fewer Super Yachts this year, perhaps the building works are putting off some of the more prestigious owners.  

Sea Falcon

There were visits from a large number of Navy Ships including the Netherlands, Norway, France, Portugal, Estonia, Belgium and perhaps more surprising China and India.

Chinese Navy Ships Huanggang and Yangzhou

There were also more visitors from the Royal Navy including HMS Sutherland, HMS Richmond,  HMS Exploit, HMS Explorer, HMS Smiter and HMS St Albans.

There was a degree of nostalgia when I joined the thousands of people in Island Gardens and at vantage points at the bottom of the Island to watch the spectacular Parade of Sail which was the final element of the Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta in Greenwich & Woolwich and Tall Ships Festival.

The Massey Shaw, The Portwey and the Lord Amory which are permanently moored in the dock provide year round interest.

Super Yacht Justa Delia

Super Yachts

Super Yacht Sea Falcon II

Super Yacht ‘Gene Machine’

Super Yacht Justa Delia

Super Yacht Kismet

Peruvian Navy BAP Unión Tall Ship

Tall Ships

Brazilian Navy Tall Ship Cisne Branco

Peruvian Navy BAP Unión Tall Ship

Stavros S Niarchos Tall Ship

TS Royalist

The Lord Nelson

HMS Richmond

Navy Ships

Royal Navy

HMS Sutherland

HMS Richmond

HMS Exploit,

HMS Explorer

HMS Smiter 

HMS St Albans

Portuguese Navy

Portuguese Navy ship NRP Francisco de Almeida

Norwegian Navy

Norwegian Navy ship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup

Norwegian Navy ship Hinnøy (M343)

French Navy

French Navy Ship Flamant

French Navy Ship Lapérouse 

Chinese Navy

Chinese Navy Ship Huanggang

Chinese Navy Ship Yangzhou

Belgian Navy

Godetia (A960)

Bellis (M916)

Indian Navy Ship Tarkash

Indian Navy

Indian Navy Ship Tarkash

Estonian Navy

Estonian Navy Ship EML Wambola

Dutch Navy

Dutch Navy Ship Schiedam

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

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Superyacht Sea Falcon II in West India Dock

After a number of warships in dock in recent weeks, we welcome a superyacht to West India Dock with arrival of the Sea Falcon II.

Sea Falcon II is a 150.92ft /46m motor yacht which was built in 1993 by Puglia, the yacht was previously named Elle and her interior designed is by Kerry Alabastro and her exterior design by Gerhard Gilgenast.

The yacht has high quality leisure and entertainment facilities on board and Air Conditioning, Stabilizers at Anchor, WiFi and Deck Jacuzzi.

The Sea Falcon II’s sleeps up to 10 guests in 5 rooms, including a master suite, 4 double cabins and she can accommodate up to 10 crew on-board.

Winter does not tend to be the season when we have many superyachts in the dock and it is not known at this time how long the Sea Falcon will be in dock.

Portuguese Navy ship NRP Francisco de Almeida and Norwegian Navy ship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup in West India Dock.

Two new arrivals in West India Dock are the Portuguese Navy ship NRP Francisco de Almeida (F334) and Norwegian Navy ship HNoMS Otto Sverdrup (F312).

Both ships are part of the NATO’s standing maritime group 1 (SNMG1) which has been carrying out operations in the North and Baltic Sea.

NRP Francisco de Almeida is a former Karel Doorman frigate that Portugal bought from the Netherlands. The ship was previously the HNLMS Van Galen and was renamed to NRP Francisco de Almeida in 2010.
The 122 meter frigate has a crew of around 180 and includes a Lynx helicopter on board.

The HNoMS Otto Sverdrup is a Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate, the ships are named after famous Norwegian explorers. The Otto Sverdrup was one of five ships ordered from Spanish shipbuilder Navantia and was launched in 2006. The ship is 440 feet (134.11 metres) long and carries a crew of around 120.

The main mission of the frigates is anti-submarine warfare and the ships are equipped to detect, identify and engage hostile submarines.

The ships involved in NATO’s standing maritime group 1 (SNMG1) are regular visitors to West India Dock, although I am not sure these particular ships have visited before.

As usual with these type of naval ships, how long they are in dock is not known at this time.

Photo –  Fraser Gray

Photographer Fraser Gray sent a couple of photographs of the HNoMS Otto Sverdrup heading back to sea.

Photo – Fraser Gray

French Navy Ship Flamant in West India Dock

DSCN5824

On a grey miserable day,  we welcome the arrival of French Navy ship Flamant (P676).

DSCN5828

FS Flamant is a Flamant class patrol boats of the French Navy used for fishery monitoring, search and rescue, and patrolling France’s coastal waters.

DSCN5826

FS Flamant  and sister ships FS Cormoran and FS Pluvier were built and are based in Cherbourg. The three boats were ordered 1993 and entered service in 1997.

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Cormoran and Pluvier have visited West India Dock previously in 2013 and 2014, Flamant is 54 m (177 ft 2 in) long and has a beam of 10 m (32 ft 10 in). The ship usually carries a crew of 21 which includes 3 officers and 18 men.

Flamant photo Fraser Gray

Photo – Fraser Gray

The FS Flamant visited West India Dock at this time last year and the visit is likely to be related to Remembrance Sunday which takes place this weekend.

HMS Sutherland (F81) in West India Dock

Over the weekend saw the arrival of the HMS Sutherland (F81) in West India Dock, HMS Sutherland is a Type 23 frigate which was launched in 1996 at the Yarrow yard (BAE) on the Clyde. One unusual aspect of the official launch was the smashing of a bottle of whisky against the hull not champagne which is the usual tradition. The Sutherland’s home port is Devonport in Plymouth.

Since she was launched, HMS Sutherland has undertaken a number of missions, in 2000 she undertook the first circumnavigation of the globe by a Royal Navy ship for 14 years.

More recently she has taken part in Exercise Griffin Strike, a UK-French combined exercise. The Sutherland escorted the Russian warships through the English Channel in 2016 and 2017. Also the Sutherland was the first vessel assigned to escort HMS Queen Elizabeth when she embarked on sea trials in 2017.

The ship is 133 m (436 ft 4 in) long with a beam of 16.1 m (52 ft 10 in) and draught of 7.3 m (23 ft 9 in).
The ship has a general crew complement  of 185 with accommodation for up to 205.

At this moment, the plan for the ship is not known or how long it will stay in dock .

Chinese Navy Ships Huanggang and Yangzhou in West India Dock

After travelling for a few weeks, it is nice to be back and reporting on local events. A major surprise, this morning was the arrival of two Chinese Navy ships in West India Dock.

The frigates Huanggang (577) and Yangzhou (578) are part of the Chinese Fleet which are rare visitors to UK shores and especially London.

Both of the new frigates are part of the East China Sea Fleet and belong to the Type 054A missile frigate family developed and built by China.

The frigates are 135 meters long and 16 meters wide and were built-in the Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.

The Type 054 A frigate can be used to attack surface ships and submarines with long-range surveillance and air defense capabilities.

Both the Huanggang and Yangzhou were recently at the Port of Antwerp in Belgium on a friendly visit, therefore it can be assumed that the trip to London is part of a tour of European ports.

It is not known how long the ships are in port or if they will be open to the public for visits.

On Board the Brazilian Navy Tall Ship Cisne Branco in West India Dock

After yesterday’s arrival of the Cisne Branco of the Brazilian Navy, this morning I decided to have a closer look at the tall ship. Whilst taking a few pictures, I was invited to step on board and have a look around.

Although smaller than the recent visitor to the dock BAP Union, the Cisne Branco is much sleeker which reflected the ships design that was inspired by 19th century clippers.

There is something very nostalgic about these tall ships even if they have built recently, the Cisne Branco which means “white swan.” was built in the Daman shipyard in Amsterdam and was launched in 1999, the ship was commissioned as a Brazilian naval vessel in 2000.

Like many of these naval tall ships, the Cisne Branco is used to promote Brazilian Navy and Brazilian culture and the crew is made up of permanent crew and cadets of the Brazilian Naval School, Academy of Merchant Marine, and other naval schools.

Talking to some of the crew, the ship left Brazil in April and is due to return to its base in Rio in October.

The good news is that the ship will open to the public from 1pm today and open everyday till the ship departs on Saturday.

So if you would like to visit  a working tall ship, take this opportunity to have a look around.