The new boat, named Thame, will use the latest technology to detect potential danger and ensure that the River Thames is safe for vessels

Deputy Mayor of London for Transport Heidi Alexander, has named the latest addition to the Port of London Authority (PLA) fleet of vessels that survey the bed of the tidal River Thames.

The craft, named Thame, covers the stretch of the river that extends from Richmond in Surrey to Gravesend in Kent. It is used to ensure that the river – the UK’s busiest inland waterway and second biggest port – is safe for freight and passenger vessels, as well as recreational boaters.

Thame deploys state-of-the-art sonar, laser and photographic equipment to map the river’s ever-changing contours and identify potential artefacts and hazards that may be hidden in its bank, jetties and walls. The new boat is also available for commercial work.

Named after the Thames tributary that rises in Buckinghamshire, Thame was christened this morning  on Thursday (8 November) in a ceremony at Tower Pier, which also included a blessing by the Reverend Sophia Acland of All Hallows by the Tower.

Deputy Mayor Heidi Alexander names survey vessel Thame

2018-11-08 Photo © Magnus Andersson

Heidi Alexander, who also chairs the London and Thames Waterways Forum, said: “I’m delighted to officially name Thame. Her projects so far have included crucial work to support Transport for London deliver the new Woolwich Ferry terminals and ensure they can accommodate our new low-emission ferries.

“Safety on the water is of paramount importance for everyone connected with the Thames, so it’s reassuring to know there is another vessel out there working to ensure risks to river users are kept as low as possible.”

Currently Thame is providing survey support for Tideway, the company delivering London’s new “super sewer”, the Thames Tideway Tunnel.  Other recent commissions include survey work for several Thames crossings and terminal operators, including the Port of Tilbury.

PLA chief executive Robin Mortimer, commented: “Thanks to vessels like Thame, the 2035 Thames Vision, which targets greater river use at the heart of our growing city, is becoming a reality.

“Making sure our expert hydrographers have access to the latest technology and highly capable boats, is an essential part of our work to ensure that people can make the most of the river, safely.

“The preparatory work Thame is undertaking to help deliver key projects, such as the Thames Tideway Tunnel and new river crossings, is a great example of her flexibility, sustaining the long-term health and prosperity of the river.”