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October 2008

Taw Torridge estuary and Bideford Harbour October 2008.

Bideford harbour shipping visits have remained at the lower end of averages over the last few years, but with the welcome arrival of a Rock Salt vessel late last week and a 3100 tonnes Ball Clay export to Spain in the same week, trade is definitely improving. 
The Rock Salt ship which brought in 2,200 tonnes of material for North Devon Council Depots, came from Kilroot in Northern Ireland. Previously salt vessels were routed through Plymouth and road transport brought it to North Devon. Arriving by ship to Bideford saves an estimated 9000 + lorry road miles for each shipment – definitely a green alternative, as well as a less expensive option and of course a timesaving operation too.

North Devon Fishermen’s Association have written to Bideford’s newly formed Harbour Board and requested that local boating organisations and clubs are made aware of several incidents where fishing vessels – which are constrained by their draught to stay within the unmarked estuary channels – have been hampered by the action of the leisure vessels whilst navigating within the estuary. 
Due consideration must be given to Fishing and other vessels that can only navigate within the channels by all vessels that are not so constrained – including for example; sailing craft when racing. Water skiers and the like should be aware of the consequences of taking a tumble in the path of large vessels and the fact that it would be unlikely that such a vessel could avoid running over such a person.
Incidents within the estuary outside of Bideford Harbour should be reported to the relevant estuary authority ie the Marine and Coastguard Agency based at Swansea.

At the beginning of September Appledore shipyard received a delivery by sea from Germany of large ramps for the super yacht hull being constructed in the main shed – it was originally proposed to bring these in by road, but it was realised that great economies and efficiencies were to be made if the loads were co-ordinated, and sent by ship.

The Bideford Harbour Committee is due to meet on Thursday 23rd October at 1500 hrs. at Riverbank House. 

Bideford’s old crane will be semi – retired on Friday next after giving many years of excellent and speedy service in loading many thousands of tonnes of clay. 

A brand new Fuchs ‘Re – Handler’ hydraulic crane will arrive from Portishead on the same day, promising greater efficiencies with easier repairs and maintenance.

The new crane represents a long term and large investment by Torridge for the Harbour, thanks to the support of Mr Ricky McCormack, Operational services Manager. 
The new crane is capable of being used for lifting as well as for bulk handling, and is available for boat, mast and engine lifts on Bideford Quay. The crane is road licenced for short journeys.

The local fishing fleet’s new Co- op building at Bidna, Appledore is virtually complete and will open during next week – Facilities are second to none and include a state of the art ice production and delivery system, a highly efficient fish box washing system and a new fixed small crane to unload fish. 

The monitoring of the channel in the vicinity of Babcocks main yard approach has continued by the Pilots as preparations are made for the launch of the new 90 metre super yacht hull.

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 – a date of October 29th has been set for the removal of debris.

The Kathleen and May spent sometime on Bideford Quay prior to a planned voyage to London via France which was eventually thwarted by a short availability time and poor weather – she has now returned to her berth for the winter and will have her masts removed for maintenance. 

Major works on the Long Bridge at Bideford have commenced.

Captain Roger Hoad Pilot Harbour Master. October 2008
 

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