On passage to the Shingle banks

By Steve Turner

Photo:The Arco Seven

The Arco Seven

This page was added by Richard Beckett on 24/10/2008.
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Apart from Newhaven, Arco Severn served various ballast plants on the South and East Coasts, London River and the occasional foray to the Continent. Our least favourite was Dover; that was because of a maintenance job that we carried out there. The berth we used was the old coal wharf, and she would sit on the bottom at low tide. This gave us the chance to grease the hub and blades of the controllable-pitch propeller. An hour or so before low water, we would lower the port boat; we couldn't leave it too late otherwise we wouldn't be able to let-go the blocks (lifeboat davit falls are only long enough to launch a boat when the ship is afloat!). We would manoeuvre the boat round under the stern and then do the necessary greasing, also inspecting the blades for damage and clearing any debris that had got past the rope-guard. When all was done, we would punt back to the falls and wait while the the tide made enough for us to engage the blocks (it always seemed longer if it was raining). After climbing up the rope ladder, we then had to wind the boat up by hand (strangely, there was never a seaman available to assist when this job had to be done!). During 1982, Severn was engaged in a non-dredging job; we did a regular run from Dunkerque to Dagenham carrying blast-furnace slag. This was for road-base in the construction of the M25. Even that long ago, I reflected on the state of British industry, in that we were having to import industrial waste-products!

By Bruce Macphee
On 01/02/2014

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