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South Eastern Tug Society

I met with Rob Chandler, in Chatham Marina recentlywho runs a small family business selling cathodic anodes to the commercial shipping companies on the Medway and Thames. More upon that subject another time but Rob kindly introduced me to the tugboat men who take care of the MT Kent and the VIC 96 in the marina and I was given a conducted tour of both vessels

Roger, the engineer on Kent, was a mine of information and the procedures to keep the engine running efficiently are mind boggling and not for the forgetful!. He told me that the five pot diesel engine on Kent develops 900 HP, at just 260rpm which equates to a 10 ton pulling strain, puny by modern standards I was told. Also this vessel has a constant mesh transmission with no clutch, which means to change drive from forward to reverse involves stopping the engine.

As you will see from the pictures, the engine room has love and care lavished on it but it is all run by volunteers without outside funding which is a very impressive achievement for this modest Trust,

Our HNYC members would be most welcome to visit the ships and to do so one must leave the Medway Tunnel underpass and take the direction for St. Mary Island. Just before the small bridge leading on to the island, take the small slip road on the left towards the ‘Ship & Trades Pub’ and immediately bear right which brings one alongside the vessels.

Roger tells me that he is involved in building model boats now and his fellow club members meet every Sunday at the mast pond in Chatham Maritime (follow the signs for the Ramada Hotel) and spectators are welcome.

Gordon Pickett

Date Published 6th Aug 2010