Look at Life - Strait of Dover - World's Busiest Shipping Lane
This is another documentary in the Look at Life Vol One - Transport series called - Strait of Dover - A closer look at the 750 ships that pass through the five-mile wide shipping channel every day from June 1967.
Most maritime traffic between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea and Baltic Sea passes through the Strait of Dover, rather than taking the longer and more dangerous route around the north of Scotland. The strait is the busiest international seaway in the world, used by over 400 commercial vessels daily. This has made traffic safety a critical issue, with HM Coastguard and the Maritime Gendarmerie maintaining a 24-hour watch over the strait and enforcing a strict regime of shipping lanes.
In addition to the intensive north-east to south-west traffic, the strait is crossed from north-west to south-east by ferries linking Dover to Calais and Dunkirk. Until 1994 these provided the only route across it except for air transport. The Channel Tunnel now provides an alternative route, crossing beneath the strait at an average depth of 45 m (148 ft) below the seabed.
Several Ships are shown in the film some of which are detailed below:
Texaco Bristol – Chemical/Oil Tanker
Built – 1944
Rebuilt at Blythswood Shipbuilding Glasgow in 1962 and Renamed Texaco Bristol.
New Fore and mid Sections – lengthening and widening her.
Length – 575 feet; Breadth – 79 feet; Depth – 42 feet; Draft – 32 feet.
12200grt/14412grt (before and after) – 16613dwt/23426dwt (before and after)
Former Names – Hubbardton (1948)
Texaco Alabama (1962)
Broken up on 20 Aug 1976 at San Esteban de Pravia
MS Free Enterprise II Ferry
MS Free Enterprise II was a cross-Channel ferry operated by Townsend Thoresen between 1965 and 1982. The ship features prominently in the comedy film San Ferry Ann. In later life as Moby Blu she served Corsica and Elba.
Length 108m Beam 18m
Built – Schiedam, Netherlands
Free Enterprise II was built in 1965 in Holland for Townsend Brothers Ferries’ Dover-Calais service. From 1966 she also operated Dover-Zeebrugge. In 1968, ownership passed to Townsend Thoresen. Between 1970 and 1974 Free Enterprise II served on the Southampton-Cherbourg route during the summers. Final service at Dover was in the Spring of 1980, after which she had a charter to Sealink. She spent the summer on Portsmouth-Cherbourg before being laid up in Southampton. She was sold in 1982 to become the first large ferry in the NAVARMA/Moby fleet as Moby Blu. Moby Blu introduced the distinctive livery and naming system to the Moby Fleet. NAVARMA originally used her on routes to Corsica, but in recent years Moby Blue has served on the Piombino-Elba route. She was sold for breaking up in India in 2004
Chantilly was built in Nantes for SNCF in 1966. She primarily served Dover-Calais until 1987, with occasional relief work at Dieppe. Chantilly was sold in 1987 to Agapitos Brothers for a Chalkis-Rhodes-Kapathos service as the Olympia. In 1990 she was sent to the UK for rebuilding, and returned to service with GT-Link as Europa Link, serving between Gedser-Travemunde and Gedser-Rostock. In 1993 she was sold to Polish interests and was renamed Baltavia, intermittently working charters with Europa Linjen (successors to GT-Link) on services from Gedser. In 1996 Baltavia was sold to El Salaam Shipping and renamed El Salam 93, entering the Red Sea Pilgrim trade.
Mary Livanos (Monrovia) Chemical/Oil products Tanker
Build 1960 by Damen Ship Repair Rotterdam.
13592grt 21726dwt (Summer)
Length – 172m; Beam - 22m
VARNE – Lightvessel
Marking the dangerous Varne bank, a five and three quarter mile long sand bank in the Dover Strait, lying nine miles southwest of Dover in Kent.
Sure – Hovercraft
Built 1968 – Converted to Mk.II specification in 1972, broken up in 1983 for spares.
Mark 1 & 2
Length – 130 feet; Beam 78 feet; Height – 37 feet.
165grt Load – 30 cars – 250 passengers
Speed – 65 knots – Max speed (calm water – zero wind at GRT)
Normal Speed – 40-60knots
200grt - Load 36 cars – 278 passengers
Speed- 70 knots (Max Speed)
Normal Speed – 40-60 knots