Queen Elizabeth II dock.

 

This specialist oil dock is situated on the Cheshire side of the canal at Eastham,   alongside the canal entrance locks. 

Construction of the dock started in 1949 when it was realised that the larger tankers then coming into service could not be accommodated on the existing canal. At the same time as the dock was being built, an underground storage facility was built nearby and pipelines laid to link the dock and storage facility to the refineries at Stanlow. The dock opened for business in January 1954.

The dock is constructed  with four berths, each capable of handling 30,000 tonners, and each is capable of handling petroleum, chemical, or edible oil cargos.

A separate entrance dock to the Mersey opens out alongside the canal entrance locks but is built to a totally different design to those along the canal.  The lock chamber measures  some 807 x 100 feet in size and the lock itself has a water depth of forty feet.

The lock has a single  gate at each end, and a further  gate one third of the way along  ( measured from the Mersey entrance) Each gate is constructed of welded steel weighing 1,700 tons and operates by sliding into the dock wall.

Eventually vessel size again exceeded what could be accomodated and the larger tankers moved down the river to Tranmere, then later to offshore berths at Anglesey although the dock is still  extremely busy with the smaller vessels.