PLA’s £7million boat does the trick after storm damage closes pier temporarily


Thames pierA busy London pier that was shut briefly after Storm Katie struck was reopened thanks to a new tidal Thames superboat.

Fans of TV illusionist Dynamo flocked to North Greenwich Pier last week for a spectacular show at The O2, but they almost had to make other travel arrangements – until the Port of London Authority stepped in with a little bit of magic of its own.

Its £7 million mooring maintenance vessel, London Titan, used her 20-metre extending crane arm to remove part of a damaged canopy which was overhanging the MBNA Thames Clippers stop. The pier had been shut for a day and a half, after the storm struck.

Titan’s crew, who were carrying out extensive repair works at nearby Greenwich ship tier, worked quickly to winch the canopy arm safely down onto the pier, before engineers ensured that the site could safely reopen. That meant thousands of MBNA Thames Clippers passengers could disembark there in time for Dynamo’s show.

PLA’s Marine Manager Afloat, Michael Russell, said: “Other vessels on the river could’ve done the job Titan did, but I doubt any would have got there at such short notice.

“When there’s a show on at The O2, Thames Clippers extends its service to bring more people to North Greenwich Pier. If we hadn’t been there to sort the problem out, the pier would’ve remained closed and a lot of people might have missed the event.”

Sean Collins, CEO of MBNA Thames Clippers, revealed that two stops on its 20-pier network were temporarily closed on 28th March due to stormy weather. One, Tower Pier, was reopened within a few hours after TFL staff repaired a piece of roof that had broken off.

“The other was North Greenwich Pier that remained closed for 34 hours and would not have reopened then if it wasn’t for the PLA providing a quick response in mobilising London Titan,” he added.

It lifted part of a large cylindrical roof structure that had collapsed in the wind, allowing the pier to safely reopen.  Their actions enabled our evening commuters to resume using our service and the many customers that wished to use our services get to The O2 for the Dynamo performance.”

Designed by MacDuff Ship Design, multi-purpose Titan is designed both to keep the river clear of obstructions and ensure channels are clearly marked for all to use. She’s capable of working from Richmond in west London all the way out to the Thames estuary. Her work is vital on a waterway that’s home to the UK’s second-biggest port, the busiest inland waterway for passengers and freight – as well as a centre for recreational activity.