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27 Oct - Cargo work in Immingham

Date:  Sunday 27 October 2002
Position @ 1200 (UTC): 53° 37'N 000° 11'W - Alongside No2 Berth, Immingham Dock
Next destination: Montevideo
ETA: 23rd November 2002 To be confirmed once vessel departs Immingham.
Distance to go: 6327 NM
Total Distance Sailed this Season: 0 NM

Wind:  W'ly Force 11
Barometric pressure:  990.0 mb
Sea state: Rough outside the dock
Air temperature:  9.0°C.
Sea temperature: 10.1°C.

Following the successful refloating of the Ernest Shackleton on Sunday 20th October, the final preparations were made for the vessel to leave the dry-dock and move out to a berth on the river, just adjacent to HMS Warrior.

The move took place on Wednesday afternoon and was completed without any problems. It was necessary to move in order to load bulk Avcat (aviation fuel), which is used by the bases for fueling their generators, running snowcats and vehicles, and also for the four Twin Otter aircraft, and it is hoped to use the bulk Avcat this season at Halley.

Thursday morning and a barge loaded 150 tonnes of Avacat across the river from our berth, on the Fueling Jetty, and then was brought across to the Ernest Shackleton by tug, and once secured alongside the transfer of fuel to our bulk Avcat tanks (located at the aft end of the vessel) commenced.

The fueling did not take too long and preparations were made for the vessel to sail from Portsmouth at 1600.

Following our departure from Portsmouth on Thursday afternoon a good passage was made to the River Humber overnight, arriving off Spurn Point Friday afternoon with several hours to spare prior to the pilot boarding, and this time was used to test the thrusters to ensure that they were working correctly.

At 1900 the Pilots joined the vessel for the journey up the River Humber to Immingham Docks. During the passage up the river, taking about one and half hours, the weather was none too nice with some heavy showers of rain and wind gusts to 50 kts. This did not cause us any delay and the vessel was tied up at No2 Berth in Immingham East Dock.

Cargo work commenced on Saturday morning with ships stores and victuals being loaded and now our freezers are full to overflowing!

The ships freezer - Click to enlarge The first layer of drums in the hold - Click to enlarge Halley steelwork loaded in the lower hold - Click to enlarge

Above: Left to right - the ships freezer, the first layer of drums being stored in the lower hold and the Halley steelwork loaded in the aft end of the lower hold. Also shown is our small Tele-Truck with an adapter for moving drums around the hold. Click the images to enlarge them.

Sunday morning saw the commencement of the Antarctic cargo, with a small amount of Halley steel-work and then the first of the drummed Avtur. Each drum holds 205 litres (formerly know as 45 gallons!) and there are 2020 drums to be loaded into the holds. This operation alone will take two days to complete before the remainder of the cargo can be loaded.

The weather on Saturday started dull and cold, but by mid-morning the sun had appeared and the day was perfect for cargo work. Alas this was not to last and Sunday saw the winds increasing and the rain lashing down upon the ship. Humber Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) advised that the wind at Spurn Point was at 70 kts and increasing! In Immingham it steadily increased as the day progressed and the only consolation is that we are not sailing today.

The cargo loading will continue until late Wednesday or early Thursday, and once the vessel is secure for sea it will depart for Montevideo. Our first passenger should be joining Sunday evening, with a further two joining just prior to our sailing.

27th October 2002