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Viking Star sets London cruise ship benchmark

Central London has welcomed its biggest-ever cruise ship, the 228-metre long Viking Star, which tied up on Port of London Authority (PLA) moorings at Greenwich today (12 May).

The moorings have been specially lengthened to accommodate the cruise ship, which is calling on the Thames on her maiden voyage.

The authority’s marine experts – harbour masters, pilots, hydrographers and marine services team – planned, reorganised and then checked the mooring buoys ready for Viking Star’s arrival.

Pilots at the authority had several days’ of ‘trial runs’ in the PLA’s ship bridge simulator, to prepare for Viking Star’s arrival. The high tech kit at the PLA’s Gravesend base is used to help pilots get to grips with new ship types and berth designs as port trade develops. It enables PLA pilots to gain experience of everything from a cruise ship to a naval destroyer.

PLA deputy harbour master upper, Ryan Hall, explained: “Viking Star is the longest ship we have moored at our Greenwich ship tier and it’s a pleasure to welcome her. On average, 170 metres is as long as our visiting ships get. We hope to be able to accept more cruise ships of Viking Star’s size. It means more vessels can stop at a central London berth, giving tourists excellent access to the city.”

Viking Star’s arrival continues a trend of larger ships calling on the Thames. Earlier this year, the largest ever container ship on the river, the 399-metre long Munkebo Maersk, was guided to her berth at DPWorld London Gateway by PLA pilots.

“Today is the result of a great PLA team effort, shows what we can do and leaves us well set to welcome Viking Star-size ships to central London in the future,” concluded Ryan Hall.