Cruise-liner docks at the Wharf with inches to spare

By Rob Virtue on July 14, 2011 10:49 AM |

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The largest ship to ever berth in South Quay arrived on Wednesday evening after a tight squeeze.

Cruise-liner MS Deutschland is visiting Canary Wharf to try out the site before next year's Olympics when it will be home to German Olympic Committee.

At 175.3m in length and 23m across the ship narrowly fit in the 178m by 24.4m lock.

British Waterways' dockmaster and tidal locks supervisor Billy Smith said there was inches to spare.

"I've worked on the River Thames and in the docks since 1962, and have lived on the Isle of Dogs for most of my life," he said.

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"This is the largest ship that I have ever seen navigate through the lock. To fit her in we use the high tides and insist she's brought in stern first, an unusual and interesting operation for the river pilots and the captain."

The ship, which took about two hours to get through the lock from midnight, will be leaving the area on Friday.

It will be returning for next summer's Olympics.

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