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08.03.2002

Shipping Minister visits Port of London

UK shipping and ports minister David Jamieson MP visited the Port of London on Thursday (March 7). Mr Jamieson travelled down the Thames from Tower Bridge to Gravesend on the latest Thames passenger vessel ‘Hurricane Clipper’. During this journey the Minister had discussions with PLA Chairman Simon Sherrard, Chief Executive Steve Cuthbert and other key executives about a number of current issues facing the Port.

On arrival at Gravesend, Mr Jamieson visited the PLA Port Control Centre. He was able to see the operation of the PLA Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) centre which uses the latest computerised radar tracking systems and communications technology to monitor ship movements within the Port. With some 30,000 vessel movements a year on the Thames, close surveillance to ensure safety is paramount.

The Minister’s visit concluded with a demonstration of the capabilities of the oil spill response vessel ‘Recover’. This specialist craft is part of the comprehensive system in place within the Port to respond promptly to any spillage of oil.

Commenting on the visit, PLA Chief Executive Steve Cuthbert said:

“This visit was a very useful opportunity for us to meet with the Minister and discuss the key role of the Port of London in the economy of the whole south-east.  It was also helpful to show the Minister the diversity of the Port of London – made up as it is of over 70 terminals and port facilities.”

Note to Editors:

1. The PLA is the port authority for the 93 miles of the tidal Thames. The Port of London is the UK’s third largest port with an annual throughput in excess of 50 million tonnes. The port comprises over 70 independently owned operational terminals and port facilities, which handle a very wide range of cargoes.

2. ‘Recover’ is part of the service offered by the Thames Oil Spill Clearance Association (TOSCA), managed by the PLA in conjunction with oil companies operating on the Thames.