Friday, 31 August 2007

Friday Box Boats

Two of the regular callers at Greenock visited the port today. First in this morning was MERIWA on her weekly sailing to Bilbao and Liverpool.

She was followed up to Ocean Terminal a little while later by RHEINTAL, which operates on a regular service linking the Clyde with Rotterdam, with a call at Belfast on the northbound sailing. This service is operated by BG Freight Line, a subsidiary of Peel Ports Group, owners of Clydeport. RHEINTAL is owned by Ems Fracht, a German company, and was built in Portugal in 1996. Full details of the vessel can be found in her operator's website. The above view shows the ship passing Cloch Point as she sailed for Rotterdam this afternoon.


Sailing from Finnart early this morning was TROMSØ TRUST, a Liberian-flagged Suezmax tanker of some 154,790 tonnes deadweight. Built in 1991 in Korea by Hyundai Shipbuilding and Heavy Industries at their Ulsan shipyard, she had arrived earlier in the week with a cargo of crude oil. Her next port will be Covenas in Colombia. Her length is 274 metres, her breadth 43.93 metres and her draft when fully laden is 17.5 metres. She is driven by a six-cylinder Burmeister & Wain engine. She recently changed hands together with a sister ship for US$ 96 million, and it appears that her current owners are actually based in Indonesia.

Thursday, 30 August 2007


A regular caller at Finnart to load cargoes of refined petroleum products, BRO DEVELOPER is the newest of a class of four sisterships built in 2006-07 in China. Owned by one of the Swedish Brostrom group of companies, she flies the Swedish flag, and is 14,737 tonnes deadweight.


One of the large fleet owned by Arklow Shipping arrived on the Clyde this afternoon, anchoring at the Tail o' the Bank before heading upriver to Glasgow to load scrap metal. This vessel, ARKLOW RANGER, was built in 2002 and is registered in the Netherlands, like many of Arklow's fleet. She is 89.95 metres long, and of 2,999 gross tons. Her deadweight is 4,581 tonnes.


Over the years, there have been many members of the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service fleet based at the Great Harbour in Greenock. One such vessel is the mooring and salvage vessel SALMOOR. Originally there were three members of this class, one being sold fairly recently as part of a general fleet reduction programme. All three ships were built by Hall, Russell at Aberdeen in 1985-86, and their role is to lay and maintain underwater targets, navigation marks and moorings.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007


Making an early arrival on the Clyde this morning was HMS LANCASTER, one of the Royal Navy's Type 23 anti-submarine frigates. Fourth of the class to enter service, LANCASTER was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders at Scotstoun, and was launched in May 1990. She entered service with the Navy two years later. Details of previous ships bearing the same name can be found here.

Monday, 27 August 2007

On The Wrong River?

Seen arriving on the Clyde on Monday morning was this little coaster, RIVER TYNE. Despite her name, she is owned by a German company, and like many of that country's fleet is registered at St John's in Antigua and Barbuda. She dates from 1999, when she was completed under the name THOR but adopted her current name in May 2000. For some more details of this ship, click here. She is here to load scrap metal for Seville, in Spain, a common destination for such cargoes.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

First time caller : CONELBE

Another new ship paying her first visit to the river this month was the container ship CONELBE, which called at Greenock on Sunday. Handed over by the Sietas shipyard in Hamburg as recently as 6th August, she sailed during the afternoon with containers for Southampton. A Type 168b vessel, she is an open-hatched vessel, and has a deadweight tonnage of 11,400 tonnes. She flies the Antigua and Barbuda flag and can carry up to 868 20-foot containers. Although operating for Peter Dohle, CONELBE is owned by another German company, Bernd Bartels.


Western Ferries also had a very busy weekend and for most of it, operated all four of their ferries on the crossing from Hunter's Quay to McInroy's Point. This view of the four-year old SOUND OF SHUNA, shows her approaching McInroy's Point on Sunday morning with a full load.

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Cowal Games Ferries

As usual, the Cowal Highland Gathering was held at Dunoon on the last weekend of August, and resulted in additional capacity being provided on the ferry services from Gourock.

This year, the hourly timetabled Caledonian MacBrayne sailings were augmented when the regular ferry JUPITER was joined on both Friday 24 and Saturday 25 August by her quasi-sister SATURN, taking a break from her summertime duties as the extra Arran ferry.

Joining the two 'streakers' as they are affectionately known, was the little passenger catamaran ALI CAT, which provided additional sailings on the Saturday, and she is seen here filled to capacity on one of her crossings to Dunoon.

As she has done for the few years now, the paddle steamer WAVERLEY sailed directly from Glasgow to Dunoon on the Saturday morning, before retracing her steps back to Greenock and Helensburgh for another complement of passengers. Following her afternoon cruise to Rothesay and Tighnabruaich, WAVERLEY then returned via Dunoon to Greenock and Helensburgh before heading back to Dunoon, collecting her Glasgow passengers, and taking them back up-river. She is seen here passing McInroy's Point at speed on the final leg of her journey that night after a busy day.

Friday, 24 August 2007

A familar outline : MERIWA

Formerly a regular caller at Greenock every Tuesday, when named ARKLOW CASTLE and owned by the Irish company ARKLOW SHIPPING, this little container ship has recently returned to the Clyde. Now named MERIWA, she was sold by Arklow in January 2005 to German owners, Tom Worden. After an absence of a couple of years, MERIWA has taken up service on a charter to MacAndrews on their Liverpool - Greenock - Bilbao service. Full information about this 11-year old ship can be found here.


Another cargo of aviation fuel arrived on Friday morning in the tanker ALACRITY. She is owned by the well-known British company, Everard Shipping, since December 2006 a subsidiary of another well-known British shipping company, Fishers of Barrow. Built at Lowestoft by Richards Shipbuilders Ltd in 1990, her length overall is 80 metres. This 3,145 tonnes deadweight tanker has a Ruston main engine driving a single screw, giving her a service speed of 12.5 knots.

Thursday, 23 August 2007


A first visit today for a new ship recently delivered to her owners, Maersk Tankers, which was handed over to the Danish company by her Chinese builders, the Jiangnan Shipyard at Shanghai, in June 2007. NORDBY MAERSK, 16,564 tonnes deadweight, was delivering a cargo of aviation fuel to Rothesay Dock. With an overall length of 144.10 metres, this tanker has a fully laden draft of 8.9 metres. Propulsion is by a Wartsila 6L46 engine.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007


And finally for today, the former Clyde Shipping Company's tug FLYING SPINDRIFT headed off this afternoon for pastures new. She is being transferred to Swansea, to cover for another tug once familiar on the Clyde, SHANNON, while she has her drydocking [Thanks to 'anonymous' for the info!] .


Closely following LYS-SKOG this evening, was the larger SUOMIGRACHT, a Dutch ship belonging to the Spliethoff company. She and her sisterships are frequent visitors to the Clyde, where they load paper products for the eastern seaboard of the USA. In this case, SUOMIGRACHT is heading for Jacksonville. Built at Szczecin in 2004, her tonnages are 18,321 gross and 23,660 deadweight. She is 185.4 metres long. As well as paper products, the Spliethoff ships often carry interesting deck cargoes, large yachts and motor cruisers being amongst the most common loads carried on deck.


After spending just a few hours at Greenock (she arrived from Belfast this morning) , the paper carrier LYS-SKOG sailed again tonight for her next port. While on the Clyde, she had discharged a cargo of newsprint. Part of her specialised cargo-handling gear can be seen on her starboard side.

BOW FLOWER outbound

Outbound from Finnart this afternoon was the Clyde-built chemical/products tanker BOW FLOWER. Launched at Govan on 25 February 1994, she is owned by the Norwegian company Odfjell Chemical Tankers AS. She is of 37,221 tonnes deadweight, and has four sisterships, two of which (BOW CLIPPER and NCC RIYAD) were also built by the Kvaerner yard on the Clyde.


Another regular visitor to Sandbank arrived this morning, for more round timber. A typical low air draft coaster, FINGAL had last been at Londonderry, a common destination for timber cargoes, although this latest shipment was destined for Troon. Dating from 1984, she was built by Gebr. Kötter Schiffswerft-Sägewerk at Haren in (West) Germany. Originally named KIRSTEN, she has had numerous name changes over the years. Registered at Willemstad in the Netherlands Antilles, this 79.40m long ship has a gross tonnage of 1,409 tons and a deadweight of 1,452 tonnes.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

And then there were none!

The last of the three Offshore Patrol Vessels built for the Royal Brunei Navy by BAE Systems at Scotstoun has finally left the Clyde under tow for Barrow-in-Furness. Following several months of protracted wrangling about the ships, BAE Systems and Royal Brunei Technical Services eventually settled a contractual dispute over the delivery of the ships, and with no prospect of the ships entering service, a German shipbuilder, Lürssen Werft, was approached to act as a broker for the onward sale or lease of the ships.

Each of the three ships has been towed to Barrow by Clyde Marine Services' new tug BRUISER, with the third ship, JERAMBAK, last to go. Highly sophisticated little vessels, it was claimed that they had failed to meet required specifications and they have lain at Scotstoun since they completed extensive sea trials some time ago.


As mentioned in the previous post, this little coaster spent the night at anchor whilst awaiting transit up the river to Glasgow. Built in 1989 as PORT VOUGA by the only shipyard in Portugal which is still operating, she later was renamed BORKUM in 1993 and LADY GRETA two years later. She took her current name in 2004 when she was acquired by her German owners, Erwin Strahlmann. 82.73m long, she is of 2,351 gross tons and has a deadweight of 3,432 tonnes. Like many similar German-owned ships, she is registered in St Johns, and flies the Antigua and Barbuda flag. She headed upriver this afternoon to load scrap metal.


A regular visitor to Greenock is the container ship ENDEAVOR, seen arriving this morning. She is employed on a regular weekly container service from Greenock to Bilbao, with calls at Dublin (southbound) and Avonmouth (northbound). ENDEAVOR, a 750 TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) container ship, has been on this run since the spring of 2005, when she entered service. Owned by JR Shipping, her hull was built at the Daewoo-Mangalia shipyard in Romania but the ship was completed in the Netherlands by the Bodewes Volharding Frisian Shipyard. Her principal dimensions are 134.65m length overall, 21.50m breadth, and 7,680 gross tons, with a deadweight of 9,450 tonnes. Flying the Dutch flag, she is capable of 18 knots.

In the background, just to the right of ENDEAVOR's bow, is a small coaster, HOLSTENTOR, which was waiting to move up-river to Glasgow.

Some local ferry news

A couple of brief news items about CalMac ferries on the Clyde . . .

The usual Lochranza-Claonaig ferry LOCH TARBERT is currently at Gourock pier for some repairs. Her duties were taken over on Monday morning by LOCH BHRUSDA (shown here lying at Fairlie Quay) making her first appearance on the thirty-minute crossing.

Gourock-Dunoon ferry JUPITER suffered from technical problems today, and was relieved for most of the afternoon by ALI CAT, the chartered passenger-only catamaran normally just used for the extra morning and evening relief sailings between Gourock and Dunoon. JUPITER resumed service with the 1820 sailing from Gourock.

Monday, 20 August 2007


Passing Cloch Lighthouse on her way to Greenock Ocean Terminal this afternoon was the Norwegian-flagged palletised paper carrier NORNEWS LEADER. This interesting ship was built in Germany in 1990, and is operated by the Norwegian Seatrans company. A regular caller at Greenock, she discharges rolls of newsprint destined for the Scottish press. A description of the ship's paper handling equipment can be found here.

Another survey vessel

Slightly smaller than the survey ship JAMES COOK seen at Fairlie yesterday (which sailed today, incidentally) is the Greenock-based survey vessel owned by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA). Named SIR JOHN MURRAY after an eminent 19th century marine biologist, this little ship was built at Millers boatyard at St Monans in Fife in 2004.

Sunday, 19 August 2007


Lying at anchor in Irvine Bay for a few days now has been the BP Tanker BRITISH ROBIN. Already having discharged cargoes of crude oil at Finnart twice this month, the 113,782 tonne deadweight tanker is currently awaiting further orders for her next cargo. She is one of the numerous 'Bird' class of ships, which were all built recently in South Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries at their Koje shipyard. BRITISH ROBIN was completed in September 2005.

[EDIT: sailed late afternoon Monday 20 August]

Fairlie Quay today

CalMac's spare ferry LOCH BHRUSDA has lain at Fairlie Quay since she had a spell of relief duty on the nearby Largs-Cumbrae Slip service during July, following a breakdown of the new LOCH SHIRA, the main ferry on that crossing. LOCH BHRUSDA was herself replaced in June on the Sound of Barra service, which links Barra and Eriskay, by the former Cumbrae ferry LOCH ALAINN.

Also berthed at Fairlie Quay is the Natural Environmental Research Council's ship JAMES COOK. She was built in Norway by Flekkefjord Slipp & Maskinbabrikk AS, and replaced an older vessel, CHARLES DARWIN, in August 2006. Capable of operating worldwide, this ship undertakes continental margin and deep ocean research projects.

Measuring 89.5m overall, JAMES COOK carries 22 crew and up to 32 scientists. She (he?) was named at Southampton in February this year by HRH The Princess Royal. The diesel electric machinery powers Dynamic Positioning thrusters to give exceptional control and manoeuvrability, and allow the ship to hold a stable position to within one metre of a given point - crucial for deployment of scientific equipment and gathering of samples.

Saturday, 18 August 2007


Paying another visit to Greenock today was P&O Princess Cruises' GRAND PRINCESS. Previous visits have been in slightly better weather - it could hardly have been any wetter for her passengers who 'enjoyed' the various excursions laid on to give them a taste of this part of the world!

GRAND PRINCESS is one of a fleet of similar vessels built by the Fincantieri shipyard at Monfalcone in Italy for Princess Cruises, and at the time of her delivery in 1998 was the world's largest cruise ship, measuring some 108,806 gross tons. Her 2,600 passengers are accommodated in 1,296 cabins. She is 289.51 m long, and has a draft of 8.50 m. Six Sulzer main engines push her along at 22.5 knots.

Having left Southampton on 9 August, GRAND PRINCESS has called at Le Havre, Zeebrugge, Copenhagen, Oslo, and South Queensferry. Following her call at Greenock today, the final port on her current cruise is Dublin before she returns to Southampton.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Sandbank Quay

Another ship is due at Sandbank this evening to load timber. This view shows the latest cargo being stacked prior to the arrival of RED DUCHESS on her second visit to Sandbank this week. At the east end of the pier (left hand side in this picture) is the recently acquired MultiDocker loader used to load the ships calling for timber. Previously, the ships were loaded using the Hiab cranes mounted on the back of the timber lorries such as the one visible on the pier.

Also at the Holy Loch Marina today was the 'smertest boat in the trade', otherwise known as the Inveraray Maritime Museum's diesel puffer VITAL SPARK of GLASGOW.

This vessel, built in 1944 as VIC 72 by Richard Dunston at Hull, was purchased in 2005 by local businessman, and puffer enthusiast, Archie MacArthur. At that time she was named EILEAN EISDEAL, and until just four years previously, had been the last working example of her type, once a common sight in western Scottish waters. Mr MacArthur decided that a more appropriate name for her would be VITAL SPARK, and she was duly renamed at the Glasgow River Festival in July 2006.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Another Load of Logs

It's been a busy week for the Holy Loch with a third ship sailing this evening with a load of round timber, this time bound for Södra Cell Tofte paper mill in Norway.

Following visits from both of Taylor's coasters (RED BARONESS and RED DUCHESS) earlier in the week, it was the turn of SCOT ISLES, a fairly new coaster owned and operated by the Scotline Group. This ship was launched at the Tille Shipyard in Holland in 2001 as ECLIPS, but was later renamed SOMERS ISLE ('01) and finally SOMERS ISLES ('02) before adopting her current name in 2006 when she joined the Scotline fleet.

Now flying the Red Ensign and registered at Rochester, SCOT ISLES measures some 91.25 metres overall, and her fully loaded draft is 4.93 metres on a deadweight tonnage of 3,179 tonnes. Her main engine, made by Wartsila, drives her along at more than 14 knots.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

It must be summer . . .

. . . if for no other reason, the preserved paddle steamer WAVERLEY is still sailing on the Clyde. This picture shows her on her usual Wednesday cruise from Ayr to Carrick Castle, which has been a feature of her summer schedule for a number of years.

Meantime, Caledonian MacBrayne's car ferry JUPITER passes astern of the paddler on another of her regular sailings from Dunoon to Gourock. The future of this subsidised service has yet to be decided by the politicians at Holyrood following the failure last November to entice an operator to run the service on a purely commercial basis.

CRUISER's funnels

Clyde Marine Services' largest passenger vessel, CRUISER, has had her dummy funnels reinstated, following her recent spell of tender duty to the new Royal Navy destroyer DARING. For that role, CRUISER had her two red and black funnels removed, and a new landing platform added to her upper deck. The landing platform will be retained, as CRUISER is often to be found on corporate charter work from various locations in Glasgow, and will improve access to the vessel at low tides.

DARING sea trials a success

Following a month of extensive sea trials off the west coast of Scotland, DARING, the first of the new Type 45 destroyers being built for the Royal Navy, has returned to her builder's yard at BAE Systems, Scotstoun.

The first British frontline warship to be propelled by electric motors alone, DARING was also the largest ship to have been launched from the former Yarrows Shipyard. Other sisterships of the class - DAUNTLESS and DIAMOND - are under construction on the Clyde at BAE's two shipyards at Govan and Scotstoun. Their construction has also involved Vosper Thorneycroft at Portsmouth, who built the bow section and various other modules.

Good descriptions of the trials can be read in The Herald or in Technology News Daily.

The above picture, taken on Thursday 2 August, shows DARING heading south past Lunderston Bay at 19 knots during her trials.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Timber Traffic

As the timber planted over the years in many parts of western Scotland reaches maturity, it is being harvested and sent to the pulpmills for processing. Much of this traffic is carried by sea,and coasters are regular visitors to the Holy Loch, where they load round timber from the former MoD pier at Sandbank, now operated by the Holy Loch Marina.

One such vessel engaged in this trade is RED BARONESS, owned by Taylor and Taylor of Troon. Built in Holland in 1979, this neat little 1,450-tonne deadweight coaster was originally named HARMA, but adopted her present name in 2000.

RED BARONESS is seen here leaving the Holy Loch for Londonderry on Monday 13 August 2007. [You can see a larger image by clicking on it.]


Welcome to ClydeSights, a new blog which will cover some of the contemporary local shipping scene on the River and Firth of Clyde.

Photographs, and the occasional news story relevant to the River Clyde will appear on this blog. Updates will not necessarily be made on a regular basis, so please feel free to bookmark it and check back now and again to see what's new.