Over the last five years, all vessel masters and mates wishing to work on the Tideway Project, which is using barges and tugs to transport spoil and construction materials, have been assessed at our UK Ship Simulation Centre. In that time we have run 30 masters courses and 24 mates courses, resulting in 52 masters and 44 mates being certified to work on the project.
Tideway is upgrading London’s sewerage system, built in the 19th century, to cope with a population that has more than doubled from the 4 million inhabitants for which it was originally designed. The excavation of the 25-kilometre-long Thames Tideway Tunnel, which will intercept, store and transfer the sewage overflow for treatment, is under way and generating immense volumes of spoil. To avoid congesting roads, Tideway is aiming to transport at least 4.2 million tonnes of this by barge, manoeuvred by tugs, and is also using the river to move construction materials.
To ensure that tug crews were prepared for the tasks, we developed and operated a simulation model using our UK Ship Simulation Centre. The simulation, which covers an extensive section of the tidal River Thames from Putney Bridge to Margaret Ness, has accurate visual scene, tides, flows, all timetabled passenger vessels and changeable weather conditions. The hydrodynamic model uses data from tide gauges and flow measurements along the Thames to simulate realistic flow and tide conditions on the river. Our naval architects also developed a suite of realistic ship and tug manoeuvring models for the vessels used in the simulation.