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July 2006

Report to Estuary Forum Meeting Monday 17th July 2006
Taw Torridge estuary and Bideford Harbour




Bideford shipping has been slow, since the small Spring tides prevented the maximum draught ships from loading over some months. However the big springs arrived last week and two maximum draught ships loaded 4 different grades of clay for Castellon in Spain. Interestingly one ship, the Grace, had carried 70 tons of Uranium from South Africa to France back in March. The berths at Bideford have been problematic with the usual accumulation of sand extending further across the river than is normal, preventing the crane driver Michael from scattering it into the channel – the usual practice. 

Last Friday evening one of the ‘hulks’ has successfully been removed from the foreshore adjacent to the shipyard and was due to arrive at Bideford quay on Saturday morning last. A temporary berth alongside the HMS Hindustan was used for the overnight stay. However a misinformed vigilante from Limers Lane area shone a powerful torch from a boat into the wheelhouse as the deep-draughted tug was proceeding down river to a safe berth, causing it to ground near Snuffy corner. It was stuck overnight and only re-floated near to high water thus preventing the tow to continue to Bideford Quay. 
The new owner of the ‘Dawn Monarch', as the partly converted vessel is called, will now await the next set of Spring tides before the vessel can be prepared and inspected for the tow from Bideford to Central Manchester where she will be used as office space and accommodation.

The mud from shipyard dredging works remains, together with the bund bags adjacent to the shipyard. 

Approval has been given by Torridge to write a letter to Trinity House requesting clear marking of the navigable channels in the estuary for the safety of the large ships operating at present.

The reshuffle at Torridge has now enabled the placing of slipway wardens at Appledore slip, who will provide information and try to ‘educate’ the fast craft owners, as well as sighting and registering the third party insurance of these craft.

No new houseboats have been allowed in Bideford Harbour, though requests are regularly made.

The superyacht built at Appledore Shipyard arrived safely at Plymouth. 

The volunteer Marine Watch Co-ordinator (Keith Knowles) has produced posters and boat stickers, which are available via the Harbour Office, to help make all aware of the small but continuing crime wave in the estuary.



Roger Hoad Pilot / HM 
Taw Torridge/ Bideford
 

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