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Platform thing at bow of Dover ferries


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Just wondering what the platform things are there for at the bow of Dover ferries - something to do with the link spans at each port? If so, what is so different about the link spans in Dover and Calais from those elsewhere? It's only Dover ferries I've seen with these platform things.

 

Also, is there a correct name for them?

 

Thanks in advance

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Cow catchers. It's because the linkspan arrangements at the Dover Straits ports are the opposite of elsewhere - ramp lowered from shore onto ship rather than the other way round. It's a feature that has been a pain in the neck for ferries moving from Dover to elsewhere or vv for decades. Ships not designed for Dover moved to Dover have had to have cow catchers installed at the bow for the Calais ramp to rest on. And ships designed for Dover moved to elsewhere have had to have funny contraptions to act as ship-based ramps installed at the stern - eg on FE5 when she was based at Portsmouth.

 

If anyone in the know can shed any light on why the Dover arena does (and has always done for the last 50 years!) things differently from everywhere else I'd love to know!

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On the current generation of ships built specifically for the Dover services the platform is known as a spade, see P&O European Class and DFDS D class for examples of this arrangement.

 

Away from the Eastern Channel I believe the only UK route with a similar ramp set up is Cairnryan-Larne though the cowcatchers on European Highlander and Causeway are not for resting the ramp on they are for berth fit. Newhaven also has a Dover style linkspan but the Transmanche twins don't have a cow catcher as their bow ramp is self supporting.

Edited by Timmy
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This configuration allows a much quicker berthing. As soon as the ship is in position, the fingers of the linkspans are lowered onto the cow catchers (or platform at the stern) and the doors opened. It virtually takes a couple of minutes. The upper linkspans in Ports, Caen, Cherbourg and Poole have the same configuration i.e fingers lowered on ship deck.

Edited by crechbleiz
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Why is t quicker? (Ie why does which way the ramp is lowered affect berthing speed?)

 

Sorry, the mooring of the ship is not quicker. But when it comes to link the berth to the ship, the Dover-Calais configuration is much quicker than the conventional configuration where for example the bow doors are opened and then the ramp deployed onto the linkspan (e.g. Arm in Plymouth).

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Sorry, the mooring of the ship is not quicker. But when it comes to link the berth to the ship, the Dover-Calais configuration is much quicker than the conventional configuration where for example the bow doors are opened and then the ramp deployed onto the linkspan (e.g. Arm in Plymouth).

 

Still don't understand why which way the ramp lowers makes a difference to the speed - sorry, not being argumentative, just curious, I'd like to understand it!

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Still don't understand why which way the ramp lowers makes a difference to the speed - sorry, not being argumentative, just curious, I'd like to understand it!

 

In Dover and Calais the fingers at the end of the linkspans drop onto the ship deck within 10 seconds so vehicles can be unloaded as soon as the doors or gates are opened.

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