Xplorer Gemini Fastcat Catamaran, Western Docks, Dover Harbour, Kent, UK

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Comments (7)

John Latter on August 10, 2010

The Xplorer Gemini Fastcat catamaran is owned by FD Marine Ltd who "operate a wide range of highly stable and versatile multi-purpose workboats that can be adapted for most marine and offshore work and transportation projects."

The Xplorer is described as a fast and stable, highly manoeuvrable twin hulled vessel and is shown in front of the concrete apron of Dover's old Hoverport (1) in the Inner Harbour (ex-Commercial Harbour), part of the Western Docks.

The North Pier, which forms one side of the entrance to the Tidal Harbour and non-tidal harbours of Granville Dock and Wellington Dock docks, is at top-left.

This Dover Harbour photo was taken at 2.57 pm on Monday, 9th of August 2010, from a point between the Porthole Shelters (to the right) and the Lighthouse (to the left) on the Prince of Wales Pier (western side).

The reason the Xplorer is in Dover is described in the following Dover Harbour Board "Notice to Mariners No. 8/2010", issued on the 13th of June, 2010:

HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEY VESSEL "XPLORER"

Please be advised that on Wednesday 14th July the survey vessel "Xplorer" will be commencing a full hydrographic survey of the Port of Dover. The survey is expected to take 6 weeks and in addition to the survey inside the Port, will include the coastline either side of Dover up to a distance of 1 nautical mile from the shore. This survey is being conducted on behalf of the local government for their South East Coastal Monitoring Programme (2).

Please keep a sharp lookout and where possible give the "Xplorer" a wide berth when she is engaged in survey operations.

The vessel will be transmitting her AIS identification and maintaining a continuous watch on VHF Channel 74.

Nick Shearman

Duty Harbour Master/Pilot

Port of Dover

Xplorer details (3):

MCA Workboat Code: Area 2, 60 mile

Licensed for: 12 passengers and 2 crew

Loadline: 4000Kg of cargo/equipment

Power: 2 X Cummins 430hp engines

Max speed: 25 knots

Cruising speed: 18 knots

Loa: 12.00 metres

Beam: 5.20 metres

Draft: 1.20 metres

Headroom: 2.00 metres

Xplorer features (3):

Extended wheelhouse

Spacious working desck (sic; deck or desk?)

Stern door access for divers/equipment

Deck crane with winch

Hydraulic capstan - 1 tonne

Survey equipment mounting brackets

Dive ladder

This is my second attempt to get a close-up of the Xplorer. About a month previously (July 13th) the vessel was in a similar position and very obliging came even closer so I could take a photo or two. I felt a bit guilty about that because the Xplorer was horribly back-lit and I knew I would be very lucky to get anything usuable. The above photo may not be quite the one I want yet, but it'll certainly do for now :)

Another workboat, the Sarah Grey tug/multicat, is also in port this summer to help with removing the wreck of the Spanish Prince blockship. The Spanish Prince was scuttled in 1915 during the First World War and was previously named the Knight Bachelor - the ship which Charles Lightoller of the RMS Titanic should have joined in 1899 if he hadn't been "shanghaied" (as he put it) onto a rust-bucket called the Knight Companion.

Click to see all Port of Dover Boat photos (related tags: Cruise Ship, Ferries, Ships, Tugs).

(1) For more information, see the Dover Hoverport website

(2) Extract from the South East Coastal Group webpage, "Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme for the South-East":

The programme began in August 2002. At present, 31 Local Authority and Environment Agency partners are involved. Its primary aim is to provide a repeatable and cost effective method of monitoring the coastline between the Isle of Grain on the North Kent coast and the Bristol Channel. All data collected by the Monitoring Programme are managed and archived at the Channel Coast Observatory in Southampton.

(3) Official Xplorer webpage; also see the Full Xplorer Specification

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

This is the Images of Dover website: click on any red or blue "John Latter" link to access the Entry Page.

John Latter on January 10, 2013

When in range of AIS, the vessel's current position is shown at:

MTS Xplorer Gemini Fastcat Catamaran

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and AIS Base stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

John Latter on January 10, 2013

From the Marinetraffic entry for Xplorer:

Call Sign: VSQN2

MMSI: 235004166

IMO: 0 (None)

John Latter on March 28, 2013

When in range of AIS, the vessel's current position is shown at:

MTS Xplorer

The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships and AIS Base stations. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on August 10, 2010
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by John Latter
    • Camera: PENTAX Corporation PENTAX K100D
    • Taken on 2010/08/09 14:57:02
    • Exposure: 0.003s (1/400)
    • Focal Length: 55.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/10.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: 0.00 EV
    • No flash

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