A new £7million vessel has been launched to keep the Thames clear of obstructions as the river becomes an increasingly important way of moving people and freight through the capital.

The London Titan was named by Thurrock MP Jackie Doyle-Price at Tower Pier on Thursday, December 3, watched by shipping minister Robert Goodwill. It represents the Port of London Authority’s biggest single investment in 20 years.

PLA chief executive Robin Mortimer said: “This is a unique river which is busy and getting busier. We've got the world’s largest container ships calling, passenger trips reaching 10million a year and inland waterways freight, like construction materials and rubbish, now at a steady five million tonnes a year.

“We’ve got to keep the Thames fit and ready for all these vessels and with over 40,000 jobs depending on the Thames, London Titan is a vital upgrade to our fleet.”

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Titan has been specially built to be capable of working from Richmond through the Docklands all the way out into the Thames estuary. Her work is vital on a river that is home to the UK’s second biggest port, busiest inland waterway for passengers and freight and a centre for recreation.

Mr Goodwill said: “Britain has a proud maritime history and this investment by the Port of London Authority will help ensure the sector continues to thrive. The government is doing everything possible to back this industry as part of its long-term economic plan.”

• Also online: £2.8m river pier opens

Jackie Doyle-Price said: “The PLA investment in London Titan underpins operators’ confidence to invest, generating jobs and growth and underlines that fact that the Port of London remains a key part of the economic infrastructure of London and the South East.”

London Titan has been specially designed to work along virtually all of the PLA’s 95 miles of the tidal Thames. She is squat and shallow enough to negotiate bridges as far upriver as Richmond, and robust enough to operate in the outer estuary.

Titan’s duties include:

  • Mooring maintenance.
  • Laying and recovering navigation buoys.
  • Hauling wreckage from the riverbed.
  • Supporting diving and civil engineering operations.
  • Plough dredging operations.

London Titan passes The O2