On Saturday 24 Oct 2020, the Delta Lifeboat crew became aware that a native fishery was open in the river.
Proceeding out into the main river it was discovered that about 20 gillnetters were fishing between Crown Forest and Tilbury. At 11:15 the Delta Lifeboat was hailed by the Rail ferry ‘Carrier Princess’ who was attempting to leave her berth at Tilbury. A fishing vessel had set his net across the ferries stern blocking him in. The captain requested Delta’s help in moving the fishing vessel.
On the scene in 5 minutes, the fishing vessel was requested to move his net which he did and the ferry was able to sail.
A short while after another fishing vessel was requested to move as he was blocking the progress of a tug and barge attempting approaching the Gravesend barge tie-up. The fishing vessel complied.
The next day, it was decided to conduct a patrol from 0900 – 1800.
There were fewer fishing vessels out in the morning and most deployed in the area just below the tunnel.
11 escorts were provided including one container ship and the ferry ‘Northern Adventure’ which was moved into Deas Dock by 4 tugs. Delta stood by to ensure no net would interfere with this difficult manoeuvre.
While escorting the container ship the pilot called to advise he had observed an oil slick around one of the gillnetters. Delta broke away to investigate and found a possible diesel sheen extending downriver. A phone call was made to the Coast Guard pollution who had a boat on the scene in about 30 minutes. No further action was required by Delta Lifeboat.
Commercial Fishery patrols were conducted from 02 Nov 2020 to 06 Nov 2020. Delta Lifeboat conducted more than 40 hours of patrols and escorts during this time.