Utilitarian but essential work-horses

By Derek Longly

They called into the harbour time after time but because they were unlovely, sometimes even ugly, they rarely attracted much attention.  Yet these little vessels were essential in many different ways.  Some were employed in keeping the channel to the harbour clear whilst others brought in cargoes of sand and gravel to the North Quay for onward travel to road building and other construction sites. 

I took photos of a number of them and attach some of these as a record of their part in the harbour scene.  I have managed to find out a little bit of information about each of those shown and this is set out below:

W D Medway - Owned by Westminster Dredging was a split hopper dredger as depicted in the photograph and was built in 1976 by Verolme Scheepwerf Heusden BV.  She was rebuilt later in her life to be provided with bottom doors instead of the split hull configuration and at that time was re-named WD Medway II. 

Humber Lee - Is the oldest of the vessels shown, having been constructed in 1959 by Goole Shipbuilders and originally she was a general cargo vessel operated by ICI under the name Calcium.  She later became the Clonlee in 1965 before being converted into a dredger and taking the name Humber Lee.

Sand Lark - Built by J Bolson & Sons in 1963. She was of 540 gross tons and was owned by South Coast Shipping.  The vessel was sold to Portugal, re-named Dragacor and now works in the Azores.

Sand Serin - Also belonged to South Coast Shipping. She was built by Clelands Shipbuilders in 1974, being of 1,283 gross tons.

Arco Severn - Was a member of the fleet of ARC Marine being constructed in 1974 by Appledore Shipbuilders and was of 1,951 gross tons.  In 2005 she was sold to the Al Namal Group, re-named Achus 1 and is currently employed in the Persian Gulf.

They were hard working ships and this took its toll, with at least two of them having reached the end of their lives and since being broken up, the Humber Lee in 1984 and the Sand Serin in 2009. Others have moved on to other employment elsewhere in the World as indicated in the above notes. However I hope this short article will remind Newhaven residents of the part they played in the work and traffic of our harbour when they called here.

Photo:WD Medway

WD Medway

Derek Longly

Photo:Humber Lee

Humber Lee

Derek Longly

Photo:Sand Lark

Sand Lark

Derek Longly

Photo:Sand Serin passing through the swing bridge

Sand Serin passing through the swing bridge

Derek Longly

Photo:Arco Severn

Arco Severn

Derek Longly

This page was added by Derek Longly on 21/06/2012.

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