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23 May - Arrival in Immingham

Date: Sunday 23 May 2004
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT +1): 53°37.8' North 000°06' West. Vessel lying to port anchor at Bull Anchorage, River Humber
Next destination: Immingham
ETA: Sunday 23 May 2004
Distance to go: Just up the River Humber
Distance sailed from Stanley: 7247.9 nmiles
Total distance sailed: 33093 nmiles

Current weather: Few clouds, fine and clear
Sea State: Vessel lying quietly to rippled sea and low swell
Wind: ESE, 10 kts
Barometric pressure:1029.4 mmHg
Air temperature: 12.8°C
Sea temperature: 13.5°C

This Week on ES


The last week of our 4-week passage from Stanley to Immingham saw the vessel doing a good 11.0 knots all the way to ensure our arrival at the Humber on the 23rd May. Not too much to report this week other than continued sunbathing, workouts on the back decks, yoga on the Monkey Island and preparation for our arrival back in the UK. And on this fine Sunday morning, the vessel arrived at the pilot station just 20 miles or so down the Humber River.The pilot had been arranged to escort the vessel up the river to the lock gates of the Immingham Docks. Mobile phones rang with anticipation as ‘nearest and dearest’ all descended on the fair metropolis of Immingham to meet those returning from Antarctica. Some had been away from home for up to 33 months, so expectations were high.It was a beautifully sunny and calm morning and promised to be a superb day.

Then the news came through from Humber VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) on VHF radio, that ‘the lock gates had broken’ and we would have to wait. And wait.And wait. And wait. As it transpired we had to wait all day. The Gates at Immingham were fixed reasonable swiftly, however, it is a commercial port and a very busy one at that. Lots of commercial ferries and container ships were queued at the anchorages outside of the River Humber and now we all had to take a turn in getting into the locks. It was the turn of the Ernest Shackleton at 1930 hours when the Humber Pilot came onboard and everything was ‘fired up’ to take us the last remaining miles up the river. For those waiting on shore, it must have been the worst.It has been said that Immingham is not the very best place in the world to spend a day (these are not the views of the management) and so parents, friends and spouses all disbursed to Grimsby, Cleethorpes or even home in preference to spending the day in Immingham which is largely a container port. Having arrived in time for a 09.00 hour arrival, the poor punters were left to await the ship’s arrival at the quayside by 23.00 hours that night.It was a long day for all concerned.

Here is an extract from the Capt’s log :

0400 - 4 hours notice given to Spurn Pilot and vessel advised of problem with Immingham Lock Gates.

0930 - Vessel anchored in position "V" Bull anchorage as instructed by VTS Humber.

Agents and VTS Humber confirm pilot arranged for 1930 for Immingham Locks at 2100.

Not having anyone awaiting me at the shore, am I wrong to mention that I thought it was a wonderful day ? It was a great day at sea, which even allowed ‘Rab’ the Cook to go sunbathing aloft in the afternoon, and it was an unexpected additional day to catch up with last minute chores before arriving home in the UK. It was a very productive day, except for the FIDS who were forced to sit one more time in front of the DVD machine and feast their unwilling eyes on yet another movie !

Wavey Davey's Wit Spot

Due to Wavey Davey doing night-shift for some of the days after arrival, and then busying himself down the holds during the backloading operations, he has not been around on the bridge to annoyhis colleagues with his usual barrage ofinane prattlings What a relief !!! Don’t worry, Dave will be back with more anon.

Crewman of the Week

We are ALL crewmen of the week.The previous week, the ETO Comms was busy with the ship’s ‘web camera’ snapping away at digital photographs of all the crew in order to send off to BAS Cambridge and arrange ‘security passes’.As from July 01st, all persons entering and leaving Port facilities will have to have Photo Identification at the very least. However, once all the photos were taken and the originals despatched to shore, then ‘7 Bellies’ the Steward started to attack the digital representations that were left on the common computer drive for all to see. Not one, but eventually every crewman fell victim to the ‘Bellies Curse’ and the virus spread like wildfire amongst the crew. Any members that Mark missed first time around, were adequately ‘done’ by one of his fellow Photoshop artists !!

The results are funnier than a Wavey-Davey Bumper Edition Wit Spot !! Don’t take my word for it, but click on the images below to see the results. !!!

Mugshots Mugshots Mugshots

Finally, the word was given that the pilot was aboard and the FIDS could watch our progression up the river to the Dock Gates on the Red Room monitors.

Click on the images to see Dr.Sue, Izzy, and Ed McGough trying to ‘urge’ the vessel on to an even earlier docking than was physically possible !

Waiting to dock

Click on image to see the sign that regaled the side of the Shackleton when she finally came to rest at the berth in Immingham dock. ‘Ice To See You’ said the sign. I’m sure it was a sentiment reflected by all those waiting, waving and welcoming on the quayside as the lines were made fast, the gangway was placed into position and the crew and Fids felt ‘terra firma’ under their feet for the first time in 4 weeks !

Ice to see you

Here is a slightly blurred image of our arrival at the gates.As you can see, it was late in the evening when we finally arrived, and prolonged visits onboard were curtailed in favour of loading the cars and departing for home for most of the FIDS and Friends.It is a good thing that Richie and Rab had made a ‘cold cuts and salads’ finger buffet for the evening meal.The food was still available for last minute nibbles before the end of a very l-o-n-g day.

Dock gates

And finally, a picture from the bridge when we awoke in the morning to commence the business of the day.


Forthcoming Events: Commence the offloading of all the Antarctic cargo, Refrigerated containers, and vehicles and say goodbye to all the remaining FIDS returning to some well-earned leave in England. Then welcome onboard all the spares necessary to fix any outstanding jobs of work, and stock up for the forthcoming North Sea Season. Prepare for the North Sea DP Trials* , and mobilize the Light Taut Wire reference system for the DP Desk.

Also welcome onboard the MCA who are going to audit our newly introduced Shipboard Security Plan, and the Reibers representative from Norway to do our annual Company Safety Audit for Reibers the Owners of the vessel. (Ex-Polar Queen).

*( DP Trials – Dynamic Positioning System Trials off the East Coast of England).

Contributors this week: Me, for finally getting the words down on paper (screen) and also all the would-be Photoshop Artists onboard – namely Mark !

Diary 001 of the North Sea Season 2004 should be written by Monday 31st May for publication soon thereafter.

Stevie B
ETO Comms