Notices to Mariners Week 16

UK Permanent/Temporary/Preliminary Notices – River Thames or Belgium and Holland.

1. ENGLAND – East Coast – Depths. – Two small reductions of depth just north of the main channel of the River Thames off the jetty off Tilburyness. Unlikely to hinder leisure craft.;
2. BELGIUM – Buoy. – New North Cardinal buoy just off the De Panne beaches of Belgium.;
3. ENGLAND – East Coast – Buoy. – An update to the Preliminary Notice No 1736(P) reported last week to amend the two quoted charts. River Thames – Same details.
4. ENGLAND – East Coast – Buoy. – Deletion of the South Cardinal buoy that had been established off the Oil Jetty off Deanston Wharf, Woolwich Reach, River Thames.
5. NETHERLANDS – Depths. – Two small reductions of depth on the Flemish Banks off Zeebrugge.


1. Harwich Harbour – Temporary extinguished lighted beacon – the aid to navigation light beacon 2 FG situated on the Seaward S Deep Water Quay Extension at Felixstowe Port is temporarily extinguished in position; 51° 56.557’ N 001° 19.018’ E Aid to navigation number as listed in Admiralty list of lights: N18317
2. Harwich Harbour – This might be good to watch – on the cameras! – Non-routine towage; rig arrival – the arrival of the jack-up Rig ‘Prospector 5’ (IMO 8771813), to arrive at Harwich International Port under tow on the 7th of April 2020.
The tugs involved with the operation will be: Lead tug- Princess (IMO 9232766), Flank tug- Multratug 4 (IMO 9360582), Flank tug- Multratug 20 (IMO 9695470). The operation may also utilise additional harbour tug(s) once approaching the Beach End. The Tugs and tow will navigate utilising the Harwich Deep Water Channel and board a pilot at the Sunk Pilot Station. Approximate timings (BST): Arrival Sunk Pilot station 0600 hrs. Arrival off Harwich International Port 1330 hrs.

The lead tug Princess, the other tugs and their towed Rig will be Restricted in their Ability to Manoeuvre (as defined within COLREGS and will the exhibit lights/ shapes as required therein). The tugs and tow will take up the entire width of channel in which they navigate and thus require a clear run throughout their passage. Other vessels may be subject to additional traffic management by Harwich VTS.

3. Felixstowe – Maintenance dredging – From the 7th April 2020 the plough dredger Baloe (length overall 23.35m) will start plough dredging within the Haven for approximately 14 days. From the 7th of April 2020 the survey vessel Libertas will start survey operations within the Haven for approximately 14 days. From the 10th of April 2020 the trailer suction dredger Alexander Von Humboldt (length overall 120.30m) will be undertaking maintenance dredging in the Haven and approaches for approximately 10 days. Detailed dredger movements can be obtained from Harwich VTS on VHF 71.

4. This might be fun as well – MOD Shoeburyness – Unusual Activity Alert: Illuminating Rounds – On 7, 8, 9 & 15 April 2020, from approximately 08:30hrs, QinetiQ will be carrying out activities at the Shoeburyness Range on behalf of the MOD, which may be visible in the vicinity of the Thames Estuary. The activity involves the use of airborne munitions which are designed to illuminate large areas and therefore, members of the public may observe objects similar to distress signals/flares in the sky up to 3km out to sea. All activity on the Range is conducted in a strictly controlled environment and presents no danger to the public. This work, as with the vast majority of work undertaken on the site, is subject to suitable acoustic forecasts and tide times, which are governed by weather conditions on the day. Consequently, the date of the activity may be subject to change. If members of the public are concerned by Range activity, they can call the freephone Careline on 0800 0560108. Nicki Uden – Community Liaison Officer, Shoeburyness Range. Careline: 0800 0560108. Email:

5. Port of Wells – The Virus rules (my words) – This week the Harbour Commissioners have had several enquiries from organisations and members of the public wanting to use the harbour for leisure purposes.
On the 26th March, Parliament passed new legislation giving the Home Secretary new powers to request Port closures, however currently the Government guidelines is to keep Ports open for commercial activities.
The Port of Wells remains fully operational for Commercial vessels ie fishing vessels, windfarm etc but manned on reduced staff, which means there is fewer harbour staff out on the water to assist if required. The VHF CH 12 is manned during tide times between the hours of 08.00 & 22.00.
The use of leisure/recreational vessels is NOT considered to be essential and those who break the new laws could risk being fined for doing so. Wells Harbour Commissioners are following Government guidelines and working closely with the local Police and other Agencies as matters develop. Our understanding is that the exercise period does NOT include boating, sailing, kayaking etc. Our understanding is exercise should be short and the public should not drive to the Port from another location.
The Harbour Staff or the Police will challenge the public using the harbour slipways and facilities to check voyages are deemed essential and will be enforcing accordingly.
The RYA statement below on the 23rd March also support the stance for leisure users not to take to the water at this time.
“From the 23rd March, people must stay at home and only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home ) This includes us all and the RYA strongly urges recreational boaters to respect the new government rules so that those who may become ill do not increase the pressure on local services and facilities.”
The Harbour Commissioners wish to thank all users in advance for your cooperation during these difficult times.
For any urgent maters call the Harbour Office 01328711646 and leave a message, or the Harbour Master can be reached on 07775507284.
Stay Safe
Robert Smith
Harbour Master

Local NtMs compiled by and reproduced by kind permission of Roger Gaspar, author of Crossing the Thames Estuary