As you will know by now, Suntis comes in every fortnight to unload a supply of wood to Anglo-Norden. The normal process is that it arrives on Sunday sometime – comes through the lock at the next high tide during the night in the Summer or at the next high tide at any time in the winter. She then gets unloaded on Monday with the balance being taken out on Tuesday. She then gets the next high tide out.
Recently, she came in on Tuesday night and they used two cranes to unload her on Wednesday and got her out again. This week, we had a timing issue. She came through on Sunday afternoon but they seemed a bit leisurely in unloading on Monday leaving them with a lot to do before the Tuesday afternoon high tide set for 14.28pm. They were still working when the lock gates were fully open – normal at high tide to reset the level of water in the Wet Dock. As they were finishing off, the ABP (Associated British Ports) personnel were untying the hawsers to release her – it was that tight. They were just in the process of putting all the unloading ropes back on board when the outer lock gates closed and the swing bridge came across. The ABP people retied the boat up again and everything calmed down. Suntis then left of the next high tide at 02.48am.
The Harbourmaster has a responsibility to maintain the level of water in the Wet Dock to ensure that no vessel finds itself beached – even for a short period. Hence, the gates must be shut at a certain point after high tide. Unfortunately, Suntis got caught up in this. I didn’t get any images – well there wasn’t much to see anyway that would have been interesting – but I thought that you might be interested in the little break from routine.