The 24 metre long wooden row barge “Gloriana” that headed up Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant on the Thames was under Lloyd’s Register supervision and was just one aspect of the involvement of Maritime London members in the celebration. The barge was built in London and supervised by Lloyd’s Register’s Southampton-based UKI Marine Operations Team.
Keith Vernon, LR’s principal specialist, said: “While the vessel will not be classed it will be certificated as an MCA Class V Passenger Vessel. To achieve this level of certification, it has been our responsibility to ensure that the hull was built in accordance with the approved plans and that the machinery and electrical aspects comply with our special service craft rules.”
The Gloriana carries the LR coat of arms which was granted in 1957 and bears a mercantile crown, symbolising links with the merchant marine, above an open Register Book, emblazoned by the image of a sailing ship and set against a red cross for the City of London. Apart from a team of 18 oarsmen, the craft can move silently through the water with the aid of twin propellers driven by electric motors. The power is drawn from a bank of lithium iron phosphate batteries.
“While the motors are not very powerful, they could be upgraded later on for operation in the lower reaches of the River Thames, ” said Mr Vernon.
Launched on 19 April and built specifically for the pageant, the Gloriana is the first royal barge to be built for almost 100 years. Going forward it will be used for more royal occasions and for corporate events by the Mayor of London.
Meanwhile maritime professionals’ union Nautilus says that its diverse membership was well represented at the historic event. Nautilus members were among the crews taking part in one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river — with more than 1, 000 powered, rowing and sailing vessels taking part from all over the world moving at the gentle pace of four knots set by the Gloriana.
The union notes that the importance of seafarers in the global economy was be highly visible. Former Merchant Navy and other ships from around the world with sails too high to pass under London’s bridges were moored on both sides of the Thames from London Bridge to Wapping creating a one-mile ‘Avenue of Sail’.
More than 100 staff at the Port of London Authority (PLA) crewed the 30 boats involved in marshalling the event, while PLA pilots, harbour masters, vessel traffic services officers, marine engineers, navigation experts and IT specialists kept the rest of the port (the UK’s largest) working as normal.
(source: Maritime London 11 June 2012)