Sunday, 30 September 2007


The feeder ship AMSTELDIJK arrived this afternoon, having spent a little time anchored at Brodick whilst awaiting her berth at Greenock Ocean Terminal. This ship, built by Weihei Shipyard in China, in 2005, is managed by WMS Shipping of Holland, and flies the Cypriot flag. With an overall length of 99.62 metres and a deadweight tonnage of 4,711 tonnes, she can carry up to 366 TEU. Previously employed on a service from Rotterdam to St Petersburg, she is currently on charter to BG Freight Line (a subsidiary of Peel Holdings Ltd, owners of Clydeport) for their Belfast-Greenock-Rotterdam service.


Also leaving the Clyde this afternoon was USS COLE, following the exercise which finished with the arrival of the ships on Friday morning. Commissioned in June 1996, COLE also served in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean before the attack made on her in Yemen in October 2000. Further information about the ship herself can be found here.


One of the American participants in Neptune Warrior 072 left the Clyde this afternoon. USS NICHOLAS, an 'Oliver Hazard Perry' class frigate which was commissioned into the United States Navy in 1984 and has seen extensive active service in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean since then. NICHOLAS bears the same name as a World War 2 destroyer, and was actually sponsored at her commissioning by the same lady who commissioned that vessel, a Mrs Edward B Tyron. Interesting articles giving details about the ship can be found here and here.

Saturday, 29 September 2007


With the distinctive profile of a Damen-built ship, FRI OCEAN arrived on the Clyde this afternoon with a cargo of grain. Like many other Damen ships, this one had her hull constructed in Romania at the Daewoo Mangalia shipyard and was completed in Holland at Damen's Bergum shipyard in 2000 as VERA. Now operated by a Norwegian company, Kopervik Ship Management, this coaster is 3,640 tonnes deadweight and is 89.4 metres long. Her gross tonnage is 2,218 and she is registered at Nassau in the Bahamas.


Passing a slightly smaller yacht, Sir Arnold Clark's DRUM has an unmistakable profile, thanks to her 98-foot high mast, whenever she is sailing on the Clyde. Originally built for pop star Simon Le Bon who planned to participate in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1985, the 78-foot long DRUM was entered into the Fastnet Race the same year as part of a crew familiarisation programme. However, during the race, extreme weather was encountered, and the yacht capsized after her keel fell off. Thankfully, nobody was seriously injured and all were rescued, the yacht herself being later salvaged. After repairs, DRUM took part in the 1986 Whitbread Race and came third. In 1988 Sir Arnold Clark, of the Scottish motoring empire, purchased the yacht, and he used her to race. Later she was used for corporate charters and short cruises around the Clyde, a role which she still fulfils today. In 2005, Sir Arnold agreed to loan DRUM back to her original owner so that he could take part in the Fastnet Race and complete 'some unfinished business'. This Simon Le Bon achieved, in very different weather from his previous attempt.


Glasgow & Strathclyde Universities Royal Naval Unit was at sea today aboard HMS SMITER, the Coastal Training Craft based at Faslane and attached to the Unit. Several of these 'Archer' class vessels are attached to universities to provide training for undergraduates, who join the Royal Naval Reserve as Midshipmen. SMITER was built by Watercraft Ltd at Shoreham, in 1986, and although unarmed is capable of 20 knots. She carries a full time complement of five, and up to twelve students.

Friday, 28 September 2007

SCOT VENTURE at Sandbank

A view of the coaster SCOT VENTURE alongside the pier at Sandbank illustrates the requirement to move the timber loading operation away from the main marina berths. The close proximity of pleasure craft at the marina has led to proposals to develop a new timber-loading berth, at a new two-berth pier a little further up the loch. These plans are shown on the Holy Loch Marina website. A further three ships are due to call in the next few days, such is the quantity of timber being shipped out through Sandbank. SCOT VENTURE sailed soon after this picture was taken, for Campbeltown, where she was to load a further 600 tonnes of timber.


Making her regular fortnightly call at Greenock today was the German container ship WERDER BREMEN, seen here leaving this evening well-laden for Rotterdam. For more information about this colourful vessel, see earlier post here.


One of the six submarines currently serving with the Royal Norwegian Navy arrived this morning, having taken part in the recent 'Neptune Warrior 072' exercise. This vessel, KNM UREDD, is a diesel-electric submarine, and the result of a joint Norwegian-German project, with hull sections being built in Norway, and assembly being carried out by Thyssen Nordseewerke at Emden, in Germany, in 1990. She is equipped with eight torpedo tubes forward.

Thursday, 27 September 2007


Another of Faslane's Single Role Mine Hunters is shown here, passing McInroy's Point today. HMS WALNEY was launched on 25 November 1991, and commissioned nine months later. The fourth of the class, she was built by Vosper Thorneycroft at Woolston, as were all of her sisters. WALNEY was one of the ships which took part in the Trafalgar 200 Fleet Review at Spithead in June 2005. In the background, HMS PENZANCE can be seen exercising in Loch Long.

Clydeport's TORCH

The Multi-Role Vessel TORCH, more commonly seen tending to the buoys and other navigation aids around the River and Firth of Clyde, has been employed at Western Ferries' terminal at Hunter's Quay for a couple of days, undertaking some work on the seabed around the new pier and linkspan. TORCH was built in 1993, and has previously been named MSC NIKKI, when owned by Marine Craft Services, Ltd of Largs, and SEEONEE, when she was owned by Marineco UK Ltd. This 20-metre multi-cat was purchased by Clydeport Operations Ltd to act as their navaids tender in October 2005, and was given the traditional name then. When not is use on such duties, she is available for charter for other work, such as this contract.


Another of Scotline's coasters, SCOT VENTURE, arrived at Sandbank this morning from Wicklow, to load 1,900 tonnes of round timber. This ship, built at the Tille Shipyard in Holland, was completed in April 2002, and is a 3,330 tonne deadweight coaster with a box hold specially designed for the carriage of such cargoes. At 89.98 metres long, she is 2,594 gross tons and, like the rest of Scotline fleet, registered at Inverness.


The tanker MAERSK RAPIER, which is currently on charter to the Ministry of Defence, called at Loch Striven NATO jetty yesterday, where she was seen last night. Owned by The Maersk Co Ltd, she flies the British flag and is registered at London. A versatile ship, she can carry up to five different grades of cargo at any one time. She is 34,985 tonnes deadweight, and has a gross tonnage of 22,181 tons. She was built, like so many tankers nowadays, in China, and came from the Guangzhou shipyard in 2000. She is 171.2 metres in length, and has a MAN B&W 5-cylinder main engine which gives her a service speed of 14.5 knots. She sailed this afternoon for Gosport.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007


After loading timber at Sandbank today, the small coaster BOISTEROUS is seen heading for Troon this evening. Originally named BOISTERENCE, she was built in 1983 by Nordsovaerftet, Ringkobing, in Denmark. She was renamed in 2001, when she was acquired by her present owners, Campbell Maritime. At 664 gross tons, she is one of the smallest vessels to load timber in the Holy Loch. Her deadweight is 1,020 tonnes, and she is 59.6 metres in length.


Taking the place of STEN EMBLA at Finnart was another Chinese-built Scandinavian-owned tanker, BRO DEVELOPER, also seen on the Clyde on a previous visit here. She had arrived at Brodick Bay on Sunday, having come from Belfast. This ship was constructed for Brostrum Tankers by the Jinling Shipyard at Nanjing, and was completed in February this year. She is driven by two Rolls Royce Azipull thrusters mounted aft, each with a separate diesel engine to drive it. This allows totally independent control of each unit, in line with the latest developments in tanker design.

One out... STEN EMBLA

Departing from Finnart this afternoon was the Norwegian tanker STEN EMBLA, with a cargo of refined oil products for Amsterdam. STEN EMBLA was built in 1999 by the Jiangnan Shipyard at Shanghai, for Stenersen AS of Bergen. She is designed to carry oil products or chemicals, and has a deadweight tonnage of 13,754 tonnes. 134.3 metres long, she is currently operating on charter to the Teekay Corporation.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007


This afternoon, BALMORAL left her temporary Glasgow home and commenced her journey back to the Bristol Channel. For the passage, her forward saloon windows have steel shutters in place to prevent any damage should she run into heavy weather. Although it appeared that she was bound for Campbeltown, she in fact anchored off Lamlash for the night. BALMORAL is currently wearing the colours of her owners from 1969 until 1981, those of P&A Campbell which was the main operator of 'steamer' services on the Bristol Channel. In the background of this picture is the church at Kilmun, on the shores of the Holy Loch, which has connections with the Campbell family. In the latter half of the 19th Century, Captain Robert Campbell operated steamer services from Glasow to many parts of the Clyde, and in particular to the Holy Loch. He also made Kilmun his family home, and his sons Peter and Alexander later followed in his footsteps as owners of Clyde steamers. When Captain Robert Campbell died in 1888, he was buried in Kilmun churchyard.

The two sons later moved south, to Bristol, and soon became well-established there. In 1914, Alex Campbell, by then Managing Director of P&A Campbell, moved back to Kilmun, although during the early summers he would return to Bristol while the excursion season got under way.

Captain Alexander Campbell passed away in December 1928, and was also buried in the churchyard at Kilmun.


Another of Brostom's 'G' class tankers was at Rothesay Dock today, delivering aviation fuel. This ship, BRO GRATITUDE, is identical to BRO GLOBE, which was on the river a few days ago. She is, however, a little newer and was completed in November 2003 by the same builders. Of identical dimensions, her deadweight tonnage is marginally less at 7,554 tonnes. After discharging at Clydebank, BRO GRATITUDE was heading for Pembroke.


The Royal Navy's Single Role Mine Hunter HMS PENZANCE is one of the surface warships based at Faslane, on the Gareloch. A member of the 'Sandown' class, and commisioned in May 1998, she is one of eight ships of her type still in service. Armed with a single 30mm cannon mounted forward of the superstructure, she is fitted with 2 PAP 104 Mk 5 remote controlled submersibles which form her main mine countermeasures equipment. These ships are driven by two Voith Schneider propellers, which together with a pair of Schottel bow thrusters, make them extremely manoeuverable indeed. For further details of the 'Sandown' class, visit the Royal Navy website and

Monday, 24 September 2007


Both of the RMAS salvage and mooring ships are on the Clyde at the moment, and this morning SALMAID left the Great Harbour to undertake a task at Lamlash. This view shows her passing Gouorck earlier today, on her way south. SALMAID was the third, and last, of the 'Sal' class ships to be built by Hall, Russell for the Ministry of Defence (Navy). By the time these vessels were built in the mid-1980s, the shipyard had been reclassified as a warship building yard, and following privatisation in 1986, it was difficult to compete for merchant orders. Although other orders were received, most were later cancelled, and SALMAID was to be the second last ship completed at the Hall, Russell yard.


Pictured passing Inverkip this evening on her way to Ellesmere is the small coaster PAMIR, which had arrived at Glasgow late yesterday. She was built in Slovakia on the River Danube by Slovenske Lodenice Komarno in 1994 for German owners, and she is operated by Wessels Rederei GmbH of Haren. Measuring 88.46 metres in length, her gross tonnage is 2,061 tons while her deadweight is 3,002 tonnes. Like many ships of her size, her wheelhouse is capable of being lowered hydraulically, to enable her to pass under river bridges.

Sunday, 23 September 2007


The preserved motor ship BALMORAL leaves Dunoon Pier this afternoon for a cruise to Rothesay and Loch Striven in pleasant sunshine. Yesterday, she made her annual cruise to the Millport Illuminations with a capacity crowd aboard.


Caledonian MacBrayne's Gourock-Dunoon ferry JUPITER crosses to Dunoon this afternoon ahead of the motor ship BALMORAL. Both ferries were using the timber pier today, so BALMORAL had to await the departure of the ferry.


Approaching the Ashton Buoy this morning as she leaves the Clyde for Greenock, the container ship EUPHORIA shows her fine lines well. This ship was completed at the Sietas shipyard in Germany a little over a year ago. Capable of doing 19 knots, she has a single screw driven by a 9-cylinder MaK engine.


The mooring and salvage ship SALMOOR returned to the upper firth this morning, and headed into the Gareloch. This particular Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service ship, built in Aberdeen in 1985, is Clyde based, but is frequently to be seen elsewhere.

Saturday, 22 September 2007


Following the earlier departure of THAMES FISHER this afternoon, another cargo of aviation fuel arrived aboard the small products tanker BRO GLOBE. Operated by Brostrom Tankers of Sweden, this vessel is Dutch owned, managed, and flagged. She was completed in 2001 by the Ferus Smit shipyard at Hoogezand in the Netherlands. She is 114.66 metres long, and her tonnages are 4,107 gross and 7,559 deadweight.


Making good progress as she passes McInroy's Point, the French Anchor Handler ARGONAUTE sailed this afternoon for Brest, following completion of her trials with the NATO submarine rescue system that she had been fitted with. [See previous post for more information about the equipment.]


Pictured passing McInroy's Point this afternoon on passage to Eastham is the tanker THAMES FISHER, which had been delivering a cargo of aviation fuel to Rothesay Dock. One of the James Fisher Tankships fleet, she was built in 1997 by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness, more usually associated with building naval ships. THAMES FISHER was the first of three sisterships built at Barrow, details of which can be seen here. She is 91.4 metres long, and her deadweight tonnage is 4,765 tonnes. A Ruston 8RK main engine gives her a service speed of 12 knots.

Friday, 21 September 2007


The tanker SCF CAUCASUS arriving at the entrance to Loch Long this afternoon, with the tug FLYING PHANTOM awaiting her arrival. The tanker was completed by Hyundai Heavy Industries at Ulsan in Korea, in 2002. She is 274.5 metres in length, and with a fully loaded draft of 17.07 metres has a deadweight of 159,173 tonnes. Her gross tonnage is 81,085 tons. Registered in Monrovia, her owners are the Gulfstar Corporation, and she is operated by a Cypriot subsidiary of Sovcomflot, the largest Russian shipping company today.

Four Tugs

The current three-strong Svitzer Clyde tug fleet was bolstered today with the appearance of the Belfast tug WILLOWGARTH. Heading up Loch Long this afternoon past Ardentinny are, from left to right, SVITZER MALLAIG, WARRIOR III, WILLOWGARTH and FLYING PHANTOM. All four tugs were required to berth the tanker SCF CAUCASUS at Finnart jetty.


Spliethoff's STADIONGRACHT was noted discharging plywood in King George V Dock yesterday, and she sailed early this morning for Southampton. She is one of the company's ships that was built in Poland, by the New Sczeczin Shipyard, and was launched in 2000. She is 16,641 gross tons. This particular vessel is one of the ten-strong 'S' class, six of which were built in Japan (by two different yards), and the remainder at Sczeczin.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

QE2 underway

Out in the channel, and with the tugs away, QE2 gets into her stride. SVITZER MALLAIG sends plumes of water into the air using her firefighting monitors as a salute to the regal visitor.

QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 threads her way carefully past Gourock as dozens of small boats escort her on her way.

As well as BALMORAL, CalMac's SATURN and Clyde Marine's fleet all offered special cruises to view QE2 as she sailed from Greenock.

Once clear of the Upper Firth QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 forged ahead into the night, later being noted passing out to sea at more than 26 knots, as she headed south to Liverpool, her next port of call.


Seen from Lyle Hill while tying alongside Greenock's Ocean Terminal, QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 basks in the sun as sighteseers pass by in of the Clyde Marine Services' small passenger boats.

The tugs assemble shortly before QE2's departure time, together with VITAL SPARK and a wide variety of other small craft, all wanting to witness the sailing of the great liner.

The tugs take the strain and begin to gently pull QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 off the berth. Once clear, she was turned in the river and commenced her voyage to her next port, Liverpool, on this 40th Anniversary Cruise.

Happy Birthday, Ma'am

The Cunard liner QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 arrived back on the river of her birth a little while ago, on this, the 40th anniversary of the day that she was launched at Clydebank.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

BALMORAL is back!

Making a return to the Clyde this morning was the motor vessel BALMORAL, running mate of our own paddle steamer WAVERLEY. Traditionally, BALMORAL visits the Clyde each September, although 2006 was an exception, for a short programme of cruises during the Glasgow September weekend holiday. This year, she will be performing two cruises to meet up with another famous visitor, QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, which is due to berth at Greenock tomorrow morning on a Round Britain cruise celebrating the 40th anniversary of her launch.


Having arrived on Friday 14 September, CELTIC AMBASSADOR loaded a cargo of scrap metal at the former Lobnitz Basin in Renfrew, but has since moved across the river and is now berthed on the west wall of Rothesay Dock. Built in 1994 with the same name that she bears now, she has twice been renamed. From 1994 until 1996, she was named FAIRWIND, and in 2005 she was given the name LUCY BORCHARD for a year. Such renamings are common, usually when vessels go to other operators for a charter. Many of the container ships visiting the Clyde are examples of this. CELTIC AMBASSADOR is a British-flagged ship, owned by the Willie Group of Cardiff. She is 3,739 gross tons, and her deadweight is 5,788 tonnes. 92.8 metres in length, she can be used to carry up to 381 containers, as well as bulk cargoes.


Loading at Greenock today was the Dutch-owned STATENGRACHT, built for Spliethoff by the New Sczcecin Shipyard in Poland, in 2004. Full details of the ship can be found in this PDF file, together with a profile drawing. One of her fleetmates, STADIONGRACHT, is also on the river today, although she is in King George V Dock discharging plywood. STATENGRACHT sailed this evening for Jacksonville.


This little coaster arrived at the Tail of the Bank this morning, awaiting a berth up-river to load scrap metal. Built by Scheepseerf Ferus Smit BV in the Netherlands in 1993 as IKIENA, she has been named ISIDOR since 2005. Originally operated by a Dutch company, she now flies the Cypriot flag although her operators are Estonia. She is 4,273 tonnes deadweight, with a gross tonnage of 1,587 tons, and is 89.4 metres in length. She sailed up-river this afternoon.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007


Making another appearance today was the French anchor handling tug ARGONAUTE, which left her berth in King George V Dock and headed down river toward the Cloch for a further period of trials with the rescue submarine she is now carrying. Her earlier trials were shown here.

As she returned back to Glasgow this afternoon, ARGONAUTE was photographed passing below the Erskine Bridge. This view shows some of the sophisticated rescue equipment mounted on her decks.

Greenock Arrivals

As STAR DERBY was sailing from Greenock, two other ships were waiting to berth. On the left is NORNEWS LEADER, while the container ship ENDEAVOR was also lying off waiting her turn to get alongside.

First to berth was NORNEWS LEADER, bringing her regular consignment of paper from Norway.

Finally, ENDEAVOR, which had been waiting for some time, was able to get alongside, using her bow thruster and high-lift rudder to turn through 180º before berthing.