How do you turn around a 3,500+ tonne warship on a river?
Having arrived in London some time ago, the frigate Brasil – a training vessel for the Brazilian navy – was off for the open seas.
I don’t know where it had been moored but having sailed in, and presumably being too large at 131m to perform the ship’s equivalent of a three-point turn, it was facing the wrong way to leave.
Enter the tugs. One fastened itself to its back (aft?) and towed it as far as Rotherhithe – roughly level with the Old Salt Quay pub on the south side of the river and The Prospect of Whitby on the north.
At this point, the tug that was fixed to the front (fore?) came forward slowly, very slowly – pulling the Brasil around with it as the tug fixed to the aft did the reverse.
Et voila. The Brasil is now facing front and, with a parp on its horn, she was off. A tricky manoeuvre made to look easy, underneath the watchful eye of Lord Sauron in The Shard.
The photo shows the Brasil being pulled backwards, then the video her being turned around.
It was quite windy, so excuse the background noise.
I caught this on a walk from Catford to Deptford and Greenwich along the Ravensbourne river then to Rotherhithe along the Thames.
Here’s some other snaps taken along the way.