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Why did the Meeching Tug have to tow in large freighters? I would have thought these vessels could have made their own way into the harbour, as they were usually only moored along the East Quay by the Fishers Terminal.

By Laurie Stonehouse
On 07/06/2012

Large ships like freighters aren't designed with slow manouevering in confined spaces in mind Laurie. In fact, they're pretty bad at it. Which is why almost every port has a tug or two to handle large ships as they enter and leave. Meeching was the last in a long line of Newhaven tugs.

Of course, with only one ferry (that's quite capable of handling itself, as it was designed to) and the small ships using the North Quay, we lost our need for a full time tug some years ago.

Of course, should things go wrong and our ferry runs aground, or has a big problem, we've had it, as the nearest tugs are at Dover or Portsmouth, maybe six hours away at maximum tug speed! I can imagine that the port owners would then incur the severe wrath of the MCA!

By Andy Gilbert
On 08/06/2012

There's also an insurance element to it. When a ship enters a harbour or a controlled area (the approaches) they can sign a waiver or have one on file that says the harbour authority won't be held liable if anything happens. If they don't have this waiver in place then it is the responsibility of the port authority to make sure nothing untoward takes place. When I was in the navy we would always have an accompanying tug or two, not always connected, but there just in case, whether we were leaving or entering a naval dockyard, visiting a foreign port or transiting a confined area like the Suez or Corinthian Canals. Imagine if that freighter screwed up and swung sideways and blocked the harbour for any length of time.

One did just that - Rockhampton Star - even with the help of the tug! Andy, Editor

By Rob Patten
On 09/06/2012

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