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Belgian Navy Ships – Godetia (A960) and Bellis (M916) in West India Dock

After a visit from the French Navy ship last week, we welcome the arrival of two Belgian Navy Ships,  BNS Godetia (A960) and the BNS Bellis (M916) in West India Dock.

The Godetia last visited the West India Dock in 2015 with a number of other NATO ships. The ship is a command and logistical support vessel of the Belgian Navy and was launched in 1965 at the Boelwerf in Temse. Godetia has a length of 91.30 m (299.5 ft) with a beam of 14.00 m (45.93 ft) with a crew complement of around 95; 8 officers, 29 NCO’s and 55 sailors.

The Godetia undertakes fishery protection, humanitarian aid, support and supply ship for minesweepers, and acting as a command ship for NATO mine countermeasure operations.

The BNS Bellis is a Tripartite-class minehunter of the Belgian Navy which was launched in 1986 at the Mercantile-Belyard shipyard in Rupelmonde. The ship was the second of the Belgian Tripartite-class minehunters.

In 1987, the ship participated the rescue of the survivors of ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise which capsized outside the port of Zeebrugge.

The Ship has a length of 51.5 m (169 ft 0 in) and beam of 8.96 m (29 ft 5 in), it carries a crew complement of 4 officers, 15 non-commissioned officers, 17 sailors.

It is not known how long the ships will remain in dock at this time.

Super Yacht ‘Gene Machine’ in West India Dock

After a relatively quiet period in the dock, we welcome the Super Yacht Gene Machine to West India Dock.

The 179.99ft yacht ‘Gene Machine’ was built by Amels in Netherlands at their Vlissingen shipyard and was delivered to her owner in 2013. Her exterior design was by Tim Heywood Design and the luxurious interior was designed by Laura Sessa Romboli.

Like many super yachts, the Gene Machine’s interior has been designed for the greatest comfort and can accommodate up to 10 guests overnight in 5 cabins including a master suite, 2 double cabins, 2 twin cabins and 4 Pullman beds. The yacht is also capable of carrying up to 15 crew onboard in 8 cabins.

The yacht is equipped with an ultra-modern stabilization system which reduces roll motion effect and anchor stabilisers.

Amenities on board include Helicopter Landing Pad, Swimming Platform, Jacuzzi (on deck), Air Conditioning, and Owners Balcony.

In the secret world of super yachts, information about ownership and how long the ship will be in dock is often hard to come by. However this yacht and the French Navy ship add a lot of interest to the dock.

French Navy Ship Lapérouse in West India Dock

We have an unusual visitor to West India Dock with arrival of the FS Lapérouse ( A791 ) which is a hydrographic survey ship of the French Navy and one of their Lapérouse-class survey ships.

Lapérouse is a current serving ship of the Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service of the French Navy and was launched at Brest in 1988.

In 2016, we had a visit from French Navy Ship Laplace which is also a hydrographic survey ship of the French Navy and a Lapérouse-class survey ship.

The ship is nearly 200 feet long and the crew usually consists of 3 officers, 10 non-commissioned officers, 18 enlisted personnel and 11 hydrographers.

It is not known how long the ship will be in dock, but a visit from this interesting type of ship is quite rare.

Stavros S Niarchos Tall Ship in West India Dock

With the warm weather, summer seems to have finally arrived and we welcome a regular visitor to West India Dock with the arrival of the British Tall Ship Stavros S Niarchos into dock .

The Stavros S Niarchos was last in the dock in September 2016 and is a regular visitor to the Thames and Tall Ship events.

The Stavros S Niarchos is a British brig-rigged tall ship owned and operated by the Tall Ships Youth Trust. Built in 2000, she has been used to give young people the opportunity to develop skills and talents whilst undertaking voyages to various locations. She is also available for voyages and holidays which provide revenue to maintain the operation of the ship.

In the last couple of years, the Stavros S Niarchos has been put up for sale to enable the Trust to get a smaller ship, so if you have dreamed of owning your own tall ship here is your opportunity.

The ship has a length of 197ft , masts of 148ft and beam of 32ft, she usually operates a crew of 69 which include regular crew and volunteers. The Stavros S Niarchos is quite a bit larger than the TS Royalist which is still in the dock.

In the midst of all the building work around the dock, it is nice to see a couple of tall ships to remind us of the past.

TS Royalist in West India Dock

After the departure of one training ship, the Lord Nelson, we see the arrival of another with the TS Royalist.

This is the new TS Royalist, the old TS Royalist was decommissioned in 2014 after 40 years service. In her years of service it is estimated she had taken over 30,000 cadets to sea. The cadets generally join the ship for a week and learn the rudiments of sailing a large ship.

To build a replacement for the ship, the Sea Cadet organisation had to raise nearly 4 million pounds in two years, when the target was reached the organisation awarded the contract to a Spanish shipbuilder but sourced a considerable amount of the equipment from the UK.

The new ship which is the Sea Cadets flagship looks on the surface very similar to its predecessor but is fitted to better suit the modern sailor and is more economical to operate. The training brig takes twenty-four cadets to sea for six day voyages.

The new TS Royalist is beginning to build its own reputation appearing at the recent Tall Ships Festival 2017. It is one of a number of training tall ships that play an important role in providing training for young people to learn seamanship, sailing skills, leadership and teamwork.

The Lord Nelson in West India Dock

Wandering around the West India Dock, it is nice to see the familiar masts of the STS Lord Nelson which arrived a few days ago.

The Lord Nelson was the first tall ship that was purpose-built with the aim of integrating disabled with able-bodied people. The ship was the fulfilment of the vision of JST’s founder, Christopher Rudd who believed that physically disabled people should be able to sail alongside able-bodied people as part of the crew.

The Lord Nelson sailed on her maiden voyage in 1986, Since that voyage, the STS Lord Nelson has sailed 461,943 Nautical Miles and taken nearly 29,000 people to sea. Of these, 10,500 people were physically disabled and more than 3,500 were wheelchair users.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the ship is that Lord Nelson’s has many facilities for disabled crew including flat wide decks, powered lifts, speaking compass, Braille signage and bright track radar for visually impaired crew members.

However, the whole purpose of these facilities is to enable the disabled crew to work side by side with the able-bodied crew.

Between 2012 and 2014, the Lord Nelson undertook its greatest challenge by completing a voyage around the world visiting 7 continents and 30 countries. Whilst in Australia and New Zealand she raced in tall ships races and also carried out an Antarctic Expedition.

The Lord Nelson and her sister ship, the Tenacious are regular visitors to West India Dock and both ships are a wonderful reminder of what can be achieved by fulfilling a vision of providing opportunities to people with a wide range of abilities.


HMS Richmond in West India Dock

Yesterday saw the arrival of the HMS Richmond, the ship is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy and was launched in 1993. HMS Richmond was last warship to be built by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders.

Since her launch, the ship has been deployed all around the world. In 1997, the ship was the first Royal Navy vessel to visit the Russian port of Vladivostok in over 100 years.

The ship took part in 2003 Iraq War and provided support in the Caribbean in the aftermath of a series of devastating hurricanes.

The ship had a refit in 2004/2005 before returning to the fleet.

More recently, HMS Richmond and HMS Duncan ( another recent visitor to the dock) escorted a fleet of Russian Navy vessels, including their flagship Admiral Kuznetsov passing through the English Channel.

The ship has a length of 133 m (436 ft 4 in) and beam of 16.1 m (52 ft 10 in) and a crew complement of around 185.

Today, the 13th May 2017, HMS Richmond will be open to the public for free tours, the ship visit will be strictly for ticket holders only ( book on Eventbrite)  and the visit will last approximately 60 minutes.