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New Thames patrol boat named after Southwark Bridge

A new Thames patrol boat has been named 'Southwark'. It is the latest in a fleet of Port of London Authority vessels which are named after bridges across the river.

New Thames patrol boat named after Southwark Bridge
The patrol boats Southwark and Kew

Two new river patrol boats – Southwark and Kew – were officially named on the Thames during a special ceremony at HMS President on Tuesday by Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey and Battersea MP Jane Ellison.

Catamarans Kew and Southwark are the latest of four new boats the PLA has ordered at a cost of more than 2 million.

They have been delivered as preparations continue for an unprecedented year on the Thames with the river pageant to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and events linked to the London Olympics.

"The crews who man these boats are our eyes and ears on the river," says Richard Everitt, chief executive of the Port of London Authority.

"They work with our navigational control centres to help keep vessels on the river safe and to control river traffic during major events such as New Year's Eve fireworks.

"Southwark and Kew will patrol the river between Southend and Putney. This stretch of river is used by everything from large container ships to sailing dinghies, commuter ferries to barges.

"And with more traffic than ever expected on the river next year and beyond their role is crucial.

"Getting these new boats into service is just a small part of the work we're doing to prepare for 2012. We've also upgraded our two control centres and are busy working with the organisers of both the pageant and the Olympics to put the river at the heart of events next year.

"In total we have so far invested over 3 million gearing up for the Olympics.

Kew and Southwark join the first of the boats, Lambeth, which has been in service for the last two years. The last of the new boats, Barnes, will enter service in the autumn.

They have been specially designed to work on the tidal Thames with reduced weight and lower fuel consumption than the boats they are replacing.

The launches have twin hulls made of aluminium and each weighing 11 tonnes. They were built by Northumberland's Alnmaritec following a five year PLA-led design and research project with Newcastle University to create a new design boat for the Thames.

The 13.5-metre launches are each powered by two 200bhp John Deere marine diesel engines and can achieve top speeds of around 20 knots.

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