Marine Reports‎ > ‎

July 2008

Taw Torridge estuary and Bideford Harbour July 2008.

Bideford harbour continues to be quiet with large commercial shipping since my last report. Reasons given by the clay company and shipping agents are the high cost of fuel and the high charter rates for ships brought on by the high profits in bio fuel transportation and metals transportation from farmers and others that leads to the raising of freight rates and the consequent expense of transporting less valuable commodities.

Enquiries have been received for the importation of 50,000 tonnes of China Clay waste for use at the new College project at Barnstaple by contractors bidding for the job.

Appledore shipyard (now owned by Babcock Marine) is on stream to launch its 90 metre super yacht hull later in the year, and encouragingly is advanced in its plans to build huge sections for an aircraft carrier order from the Ministry of Defence. Appledore Babcock will build the complete bow section of the carrier on order, which will be shipped out on huge barges in sections over the next few years. Therefore a welcome boost to shipping activity at Appledore will occur over the next several years.

The Bideford Harbour Committee is due to meet on Wednesday 30th July 1700 hrs at Riverbank House. 

After its last meeting the following was decided;

• Approval was given to allow the operation of a ‘Tea on the Tug’ enterprise at Bank End subject to conditions, Licences for the operation are being drawn up at present.
• That the Harbour Master discuss the renewal or otherwise of the licence to moor the large vessel ‘Hindostan’ within the Harbour at Bank End.
• That the Harbour Master investigates the possibilities of alternative cargoes into the port.
• Local Sea Cadets were given approval to lay pontoons for the mooring of their boats at Bank End. 
• Approval for certain increases in Harbour Charges was given.
• That approval for the purchase of a replacement Harbour Crane is given.

Bideford quay has hosted several successful farmers markets so far this season, as well as a car show and the successful re – introduction of the Bideford Water Festival.

The local fishing fleet still awaits completion of its new facility at Bidna, Appledore – with completion date uncertain, but the very large new building being well advanced, and wharf front piling having been completed.

Very small amounts of river sand have been landed for local farmers during April.

Babcock shipbuilders (ex Appledore Shipbuilders) have commenced ‘plough dredging’ of the approach channel to the shipyard to facilitate the launching of its latest build. The Taw and Torridge Pilots have monitored depths.

The Harbours efforts to improve the river has received a boost from an offer by Mr Sean Mackay, of the Environment Agency to help clear up a section of the river at East the Water which contains much metal and timber detritus accumulated over many years. 

The Kathleen and May is away at present at a Tall Ships Festival at Brest, she underwent work at the Seawind Barclay Curle yard prior to departure. 

Seawind/ Barclay Curle at Bidna continues to be busy with large pleasure and commercial vessels on the slip.

Major works on the Long Bridge at Bideford are due to commence before the end of the year.

Captain Roger Hoad Pilot Harbour Master.