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Cat loose in Port

Angela Smith MP names the vessel

Angela Smith MP names the Galloper watched by the PLA's David Snelson (left) and John Dillon-Leetch
(Click on image to enlarge)

A £115,000 catamaran, tasked with charting the Thames, has gone into official service with the Port of London Authority after being officially named by Basildon MP Angela Smith.

Galloper replaces the PLA's 10-year-old survey boat Brent, and will work alongside sister vessels Verifier and Yantlet, covering the tidal Thames between Teddington and the North Sea

The 7.9 metre survey vessel was built by Cheetah Marine on the Isle of Wight. It's powered by twin Honda 135hp outboard motors, giving it a maximum speed of 28 knots. And it's fitted with £200,000-worth of equipment including state-of-the-art multibeam echo sounders for measuring the depth and shape of the river bed.

Image 2
David and John lead the applause as the vessel is named by Angela Smith
(Click on image to enlarge)

Unlike its mono hull predecessor, Galloper's twin hulls and low centre of gravity make it a very stable working platform.

Angela Smith, whose constituency sits on the north bank of the Thames in Essex, officially named the boat during a special ceremony at the PLA's headquarters in Gravesend on July 23. She said: "This state-of-the-art vessel will provide crucial research and is a great investment for the future."

David Snelson, the port authority's chief harbour master added: "Galloper gives our hydrographic surveyors access to parts of the river which are too shallow for our larger craft to reach.

"It also fits onto a trailer, making it easy to transport when we’re doing survey work for other organisations on the south east's coasts."

The boat takes its name from a sandbank in the outer Thames Estuary.

More information and photos from: Martin Garside, Port of London Authority. Telephone 01474 562366 or email

Notes to Editors:

  • London is one of the top three ports in the UK and handles over 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.
  • The Port comprises over 70 independently owned and operated terminals and port facilities at different locations on the Thames. These handle a wide range of cargoes
  • The Port of London Authority (PLA) is responsible for navigational safety and related matters on 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington in west London.
  • The PLA provides navigational, pilotage and other services for users of the Thames
  • London also has a busy passenger boat trade for tourists and commuters and is a popular destination for international passenger cruise ships.
  • The tidal Thames is also used widely by those with small recreational craft of many types
    Photos of 'Galloper' are available on request