Port of London Authority launching new fleet of pilot boats on the Thames
- Credit: PL:A
New pilot boats are appearing on the Thames as part of a programme to replace older vessels used for transfer operations guiding big ships on the river.
The fleet replacement plan is being carried out by the Port of London Authority in a joint modernisation programme with the Medway port authority.
A fleet of six vessels is currently being operated for the port authorities by Estuary Services company that carry marine pilots to board 10,000 passenger liners and cargo ships arriving in the Thames every year, guiding them to terminals and jetties. These include cruise ships, containers vessels, tankers and general cargo carriers.
The new fleet of pilot boats being built in Great Yarmouth, with 28 knot top speeds and a-quarter more fuel efficiency than the older vessels, are being launched one by one to give Estuary Services crews time to train and adjust as they replace the older vessels in the fleet. The first two new pilot boats are already operating on the Thames.