The North Cardinal Buoy of the Spanish Prince Wreck, Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

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Comments (2)

John Latter on July 9, 2010

The Spanish Prince, built in 1894 as the Knight Bachelor, had its superstructure removed in 1915 and replaced by at least four metal latticeworks towers - very much like truncated modern-day electricity pylons - prior to being sunk as a blockship on the Southern Breakwater side of Dover Harbour's Western Entrance.

The North Cardinal Buoy marks the location of the stern of the Spanish Prince. The bow lies close to the lighthouse at the western end of the breakwater, which is the structure behind the buoy. The whole of the wreck is shown in remarkable detail in A Multibeam Sonar Survey Image of the Spanish Prince.

The above photo was taken at 5.20 pm on Friday, 25th of June 2010, from the lighthouse end of the Prince of Wales Pier. Its a zoomed shot: the buoy is 380 yards away and the corner of the buildings on top of the breakwater is 800 yards away.

At the time of writing (July 4th), the Waasland Sea Barge and the Gaverland Sea Barge (both owned by Herbosch Kiere Marine Contractors) are in Dover charged with removing the Spanish Prince wreck. More information on the Waasland can be found on either the see Waasland Sea Barge or Waasland Sea Barge 2 photos.

Also see the Rust-covered remains of the Spanish Prince photo for a first glimpse of the wreck (or at least, a very small part of it!). Further information on the Dover blockships is contained in the captions to each of the preceeding three photos.

More photos will eventually be uploaded under the Spanish Prince tag.

Trinity House has the following to say on "Cardinal Marks":

Used in conjunction with the compass to indicate the direction from the mark in which the deepest navigable water lies, to draw attention to a bend, junction or fork in a channel, or to mark the end of a shoal. The mariner will be safe if they pass North of a North mark, South of a South mark, East of an East mark and West of a West mark.

Cardinal Marks are also used for permanent wreck marking whereby North, East, South and West Cardinal buoys are placed around the wreck. In the case of a new wreck, any one of the Cardinal buoys may be duplicated and fixed with a Radar Beacon (RACON).

The buoy in the photo is identifiable as a North Cardinal Buoy because the two cones at the top (the triangles) are both pointing upwards and the colour scheme is black on top with a yellow base. At night, a white light (the white rectangle with black centre below the cones) flashes continuously at 100+ times per minute (VQ: "Very Quick"). Click for info on East, West, and South Cardinal Buoys.

Notice to Mariners No. 7/2010 issued by Dover Harbour Board on June 11th, 2010:


Works to remove the Western Entrance Block Ship are expected to commence on or after Wednesday 16th June and are currently programmed to last 10 weeks.

During this period the block ship position is to be marked by various small buoys and two 60m crane barges with legs and marked anchors will remain on station, principally to the east side of the site. The recovered steel will transported to the Jet Foil Basin by a tug and barge.

The Western Entrance will remain open for use but when manoeuvring in the vicinity all vessels are advised to exercise caution, proceed at slow speed and maintain a safe distance from the floating plant.

The North Cardinal Buoy, (Wreck Buoy), will remain on station until such time as it becomes necessary to lift it clear of the area to progress work at the northern end.

On completion of this work the charted depth will be increased to 8.5m over the entire area and the North Cardinal Buoy permanently removed.

Captain Roy Bird

Date 11th June 2010

Port Operations Manager/Deputy Harbourmaster Port of Dover

Two of the "small buoys" referred to can be seen to the right of the North Cardinal Buoy in the photo (the red spheres).

Click to see all Ships photos (related tags: Boats, Ferries, Cruise Ship).

John Latter / Jorolat

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on July 4, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2010/06/25 17:20:15
    • Exposure: 0.008s (1/125)
    • Focal Length: 200.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash