Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Slightly newer, and certainly less newsworthy, than the last sizeable bulk carrier to pass Port Glasgow, the Cypriot flagged SILVERSTAR is seen heading down the channel. This is her second name, as when she was launched in 1999 at the Hakodate Dock shipyard in Japan, she was named CENTURY FOREST, taking her new name in 2006. She is now owned by Oceanbond Shipping and managed by Seastar Chartering, and was bound for Norfolk, Virginia after she left the Clyde. Of 31,762 tonnes deadweight, SILVERSTAR is 176.75 metres long, and is a member of her builder's 'Super Handy 32' class of ships, capable of handling both bulk cargoes and logs with her box-shaped holds.


Seen passing her birthplace, the tug FLYING PHANTOM was launched at Ferguson Brothers shipyard in 1981, for the Clyde Shipping Company. By the mid 1990s, the company had been taken over by Cory Towage, and in 1997, FLYING PHANTOM was given a major refit which included the installation of a retractable Aquamaster thruster forward. This, together with her two Ruston 6RKCM main engines driving a single screw via a gearbox, give her a bollard pull in excess of 40 tons. In 2001, her owners became part of the Svitzer group of companies. She is 37.95 metres in length, and is 347 gross tons. Her two firefighting pumps can each deliver up to 1600 gallons per hour, and her mast structure includes a fire monitor 70 feet high.

Hover Barge

Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd at Port Glasgow are currently working on a rather unusual contract - a hover barge. The contract to build it was awarded during the summer, with the proviso that the yard employ forty Romanian welders supplied by the agency that placed the order. The hover barge is being built for Hovertrans, based in Southampton.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

OCEAN LIGHT outbound - at last!

Following her mishap off Langbank last Friday, the bulk carrier OCEAN LIGHT was able, at last, to continue her passage to Antwerp today, where she is to bunker fuel oil. After she had been refloated early on Saturday, she berthed at Inchgreen Repair Quay where she was inspected, and essential repairs were carried out. Pictures of her departure from Inchgreen can be seen here. OCEAN LIGHT is currently operating on charter to Oetker of Hamburg, and is one of the older vessels so employed.


Normally operating during the period of Caledonian MacBrayne's summer timetable between Mallaig and Armadale on the Isle of Skye, the ferry CORUISK spends her wintertime on the Clyde. She arrived back at Gourock yesterday evening, and this morning visited Rothesay for berthing trials at the Bute resort. She is seen in this view returning to Gourock today, while in the background her older fleetmate JUPITER heads for Dunoon. CORUISK was built in 2003 by Appledore Shipbuilders, and is 65.0 metres in length, and is 1,599 gross tons. Her design remains quite unique amongst the British ferry fleet!

Majestic Fleet

Based at Sandbank, the Majestic Line now operates two converted 85 ft fishing boats as luxury cruise boats during the summer months. Both vessel are originally from Ireland, and the first, originally named OCEAN GAIN but now renamed GLEN MASSAN (seen on the left), was purchased in 2004. Built at Baltimore in County Cork, she dates from 1975. Converted during the following winter while lying at the Holy Loch Marina, by early summer 2005, she was ready to enter service. Fully fitted out to carry up to 12 passengers in the utmost luxury, she cruises around the Clyde estuary on sailings of up to a week's duration. She was joined in May 2007 by a second vessel, built at Killybegs in 1976 as MARTHA DAVID, and which following a similar refurbishment, joined the fleet as GLEN TARSAN. She has been based during the past summer at Oban. The tongue-in-cheek name of the company, and the livery, was inspired by the Para Handy Tales by Neil Munro, in which the engineer of the VITAL SPARK fantasised about having joined a company called 'The Majestic Line', and which operated vessels with gold-painted funnels.


Making plenty of smoke this morning while she was warming up, the Professional Diving Academy's diver training vessel SLEAT prepares to move from her moorings in the Holy Loch to Kirn, to allow her trainees the opportunity to dive in deeper water. Read more about this vessel here.


NORNEWS LEADER paid another visit to Greenock today, and is seen here shortly after passing Cloch Point inbound for Ocean Terminal. This ship, one of a class of three, was built at the Herman Sürken shipyard at Papenburg in Germany, and is some 115.86 metres long. Her deadweight is 5,670 tonnes, while her gross tonnage is 5,339 tons.She is ice-strengthened, and was completed in December 1990.

Monday, 29 October 2007

BEN ELLAN outbound

Since her visit to the Clyde a few days ago, Ramsey Steamship's BEN ELLAN has been back to Liverpool, and left there again yesterday, again bound for Coulport. She arrived this morning at the same time as FORT ROSALIE, and sailed again this afternoon, this time bound for Belfast.


One of two ferries acquired by Western Ferries from Amsterdam City Council in the 1990s, SOUND OF SCALPAY leaves McInroy's Point this afternoon on another crossing to Hunter's Quay, just north of Dunoon. Originally built in 1961 at Arnhem, her original owners used her on a short crossing on the North Sea Canal at Amsterdam. She was purchased by Western Ferries in 1995 and towed, via the English Channel, to Greenock, where she was converted to meet her new owner's requirements. She is 48.43 metres long, and 403 gross tons. Propulsion is provided by two Caterpillar main engines, each driving an azimuthing propeller, one at either end.

OMAGH - A285

The fleet tender OMAGH, looking very smart this morning, sets off on a 'task' down the Firth from her base at the Great Harbour at Greenock. Sister of ORONSAY, she was the third, and last, of the class to be launched when she entered the Mersey in August 2000. She was delivered in the following month.


Arriving in the early sunlight this morning, the Scott Lithgow-built FORT ROSALIE (ex FORT GRANGE) heads past the entrance to the Holy Loch on her way into Loch Long, and to the MoD jetty at Glen Mallan. This jetty, as well as being used for handling general stores for naval vessels, is also used to handle explosives from the nearby Glen Douglas Munitions Depot.

Sunday, 28 October 2007


Out for an autumn cruise this afternoon was the former 'Clyde' class 70-foot steel lifeboat GRACE RITCHIE. Formerly named GRACE PATERSON RITCHIE, this attractive little vessel was built forty years ago, at Yarrow's shipyard at Scotstoun. One of three similar lifeboats built for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, she now resides at Largs Marina, and has been maintained in almost original condition by her owners over the years. She was stationed at Kirkwall from 1968 for a twenty year spell, before spending several years working for the Icelandic Life Saving Association, based at Reykjavik. She returned home in 2002.


Arriving at midday today from Liverpool was Erwin Strahlmann's coaster BÖKLUM, which dates from 1984. She is a 'Combi Coaster 125', with a hull built at IHC Holland Beaver Dredgers at Sliedrecht, and completed at the Damen yard at Gorinchem. Originally named SONJA B, she became LEA in 1999, and took her current name in 2002. She is 89.31 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 2,818 tonnes. She will be loading scrap metal on the upper river.


As STEERSMAN passed Cloch Point outbound for Pembroke, another member of the Fisher tanker fleet passed inbound. This vessel, a sistership of one shown previously, was FORTH FISHER. She flies the Red Ensign, and is one of four built at the Qui Xin Shipyard in China. Delivered in 1997, she is 4,972 tonnes deadweight, and her overall length is 91.0 metres. She too was delivering fuel to Rothesay Dock, which she had loaded at Stanlow on the Manchester Ship Canal.

STEERSMAN outbound

Although flying the Liberian flag, the 6,403 tonne deadweight tanker STEERSMAN is operated by James Fisher Tankships Ltd. She arrived yesterday afternoon, and having completed her discharge at Rothesay Dock, sailed this morning. One of four sisters, the others being ANCHORMAN, CHARTSMAN and RUDDERMAN, this ship was built by the Malaysia Shipyard at Johore Bahru in 1994. She is 101.6 metres in length, and was originally a member of the P&O Tankships fleet, which inherited the names of the former Rowbotham company.

Saturday, 27 October 2007


The Greek-flagged tanker ZUMA, 104,856 tonnes deadweight, had been anchored in Irvine Bay and came up the Firth this afternoon to discharge her cargo of crude oil at Finnart. Built in 2005 by the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, a newly constructed yard, she was delivered as CORCOVADO but was renamed in late 2006. She is operated by a Greek company, Cardiff Marine Inc, and is 243.8 metres long. Her six-cylinder Hudong B&W main engine delivers 18,420 bhp at 105 rpm, and has a bore of 600mm with a stroke of 2,400mm.

PUR-NAVOLOK outbound

Built at the Slovenska Lodenice shipyard at Komarno in Slovakia in 1997, PUR-NAVOLOK is a 'Ryn' type ship of 87.97 metres length and 3,720 tonnes deadweight. Although owned by the Russian North Shipping Co Ltd, and registered at Limassol in Cyprus, she has German managers. She was sailing for Seville with a cargo of scrap metal from Renfrew.


With the river re-opened following yesterday's incident off Langbank, the mini-bulker APOLLO EAGLE, a sistership of APOLLO HAWK which had visited the river earlier this month, was able to sail from Glasgow today. Built by A Vuyk & Zonen's Scheepswerven at Capelle an der Ijssel in Holland, this ship was originally named CHRISTIANE SCHULTE when completed in 1972, having her name abbreviated to CHRISTA in 1987, and her original one restored again in 1992. She became APOLLO EAGLE in 1998. Like her sister, she too has been lengthened although she was done the following year, in 1992, but by the same Spanish shipyard. She is now 101.17 metres overall, with a deadweight of 6,341 tonnes. She is operated by L&L Shipping GmbH of Stade in Germany, and is registered in Antigua and Barbuda.


OCEAN LIGHT was refloated shortly after 0100, with the assistance of tugs, and proceeded down the channel to Greenock. She berthed at the former Scott Lithgow Repair Quay about an hour later, for inspection. For the operation, Serco Denholm tugs were called in from Faslane to provide additional help to the other local tugs which had been present throughout.

Friday, 26 October 2007


During the blustery conditions around lunchtime today, the Maltese-flagged bulk carrier OCEAN LIGHT, which had sailed from Glasgow shortly before, ended up going aground opposite Langbank. At the time of grounding, the tide was at its highest, and despite the best efforts of tugs, she remained fast aground. The ship was built in 1977 in Japan, and originally named TOMEI MARU. In 1986, she was renamed GLORY FIELD, becoming GOODPAL two years later. She was given her present name in 1999. With an overall length of 196.5 metres, her deadweight is 39,287 tonnes. She had been discharging animal feeds at Glasgow, and was sailing for Antwerp. As the tide fell away, the ship began to list and around half of her crew were taken off. Another attempt at refloating her is due to be made at high water, which will be around 0200 on Saturday morning. This picture shows the bulker stuck fast with the tugs WARRIOR III and SVITZER MALLAIG alongside. An excellent selection of views showing the ship aground earlier this afternoon, and the attempts by tugs to refloat her, can be seen here.


Taken in attrocious weather conditions, this view shows the German coaster WALTER HAMMANN heading down the Firth of Clyde past Inverkip around lunchtime today. A neat little ship, she dates from 1988 when she was built by Kötter-Werft at Haren Ems for Hammann and Prahm Reederei GmbH. She is 58.8 metres in length, with a deadweight of 1,323 tonnes. She was bound for Antwerp.


Today was a somewhat blustery day on the Firth of Clyde, as this picture of Western Ferries' SOUND OF SHUNA leaving Hunter's Quay illustrates. SOUND OF SHUNA was built by Ferguson Shipbuilders Ltd at Port Glasgow, and joined the Western Ferries fleet in October 2003. She is 49.95 metres overall, with a gross tonnage of 489 tons. Propulsion is by two Cummins engines driving Aquamaster azimuthing units, one forward and one aft.

Thursday, 25 October 2007


Taking pilots out to, and collecting them from commercial shipping using the Clyde, is entrusted to the two pilot cutters owned by Clydeport Operations. This vessel, MOUNT STUART, is the newer of the two and was built in 2003 by VT Halmatic at Portsmouth. Twin Scania diesel engines give the 16-metre cutter a top speed of 24 knots. A very comprehensive description of MOUNT STUART can be read here.


This strange looking ship arrived through the mirk this morning. JAEGER ARROW, described as a 'Totally Enclosed Combined Forestry and Liquid Pitch Carrier', was built by the Hyundai Mipo shipyard in Korea in 2001. She has five dry cargo holds, and two tanks for the carriage of pitch. Under the 'roof' of her structure, she has two overhead cranes. JAEGER ARROW is 171.4 metres long, has a deadweight of 23,529 tonnes, and her gross tonnage is 29,103 tons. Operated by Gearbulk, a large international shipping company specialising in the carriage of forest products, she is currently employed in the carriage of woodpulp from north-eastern Canada to Europe. JAEGER ARROW was recently the subject of a blockade by Greenpeace.


The Royal Navy's only coastal survey ship, HMS ROEBUCK, has been on the Clyde for a little while, and today was exercising at the mouth of Loch Long with one of the 'Sandown' class minehunters, HMS BANGOR. ROEBUCK was commissioned in 1986 and was built at the Brooke Marine shipyard at Lowestoft. She is 64 metres in length, and was recently the subject of a life extension refit programme. As well as acting in a hydrographic capacity, ROEBUCK also performs duty as a support ship for mine countermeasures vessels. Further information about the ship can be found here.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


The sale of the Clyde waterbus PRIDE O' THE CLYDE was announced at the weekend, and she was taken out of the Clyde today. Her new owners are the Sir Walter Scott Trust, who will be transporting the vessel to Loch Katrine shortly. She will be used to offer cruises on the Loch while the steamship SIR WALTER SCOTT is having major work carried out on her during the next year. PRIDE O' THE CLYDE will be missed by the many enthusiasts of the river who supported her sailings between Glasgow and Braehead over the past six years. However, she will provide much needed income for her new owners, and hopefully will be well supported in her new role on Loch Katrine.

Ramsey Steamship visitors

The Ramsey Steamship Company, based on the Isle of Man, currently has a fleet of three ships, two of which arrived together on the Clyde this afternoon. Leading the pair, which had sailed in company from the Mersey, was BEN ELLAN, built in 1981 at Wivenhoe by James Cook. Originally named RIVER TAMAR, she joined Ramsay Steamship in 1990, and is 824 tonnes deadweight. BEN ELLAN is 49.90 metres in length, and 498 gross tons.

Arriving a few minutes later was BEN MAYE, which joined the company in 1995, and was originally named PEROTO before becoming VENDOME in 1994. She was built at Bideford Shipyard in 1979, and is 873 tonnes deadweight. Her overall length is 48.73 metres, and her gross tonnage is 488. Both ships anchored off Greenock this evening, and are due to move to Coulport tomorrow morning. They are probably on charter to the MoD, having been engaged on such work in the past.


On a hazy afternoon, the Brostrom tanker BRO DEVELOPER sailed from Finnart for Belfast, with a cargo of refined products. A frequent visitor to Finnart, she has been described before here. According to her owner's website, her crew are Philipino, as they are on another of her sisters, while the other two ships of the class have Swedish crew. Prior to 1998, only Swedish nationals were permitted to work aboard Swedish-flagged shipping.


Regular caller AMSTELDIJK arrived this morning, on her weekly Belfast-Greenock-Rotterdam service. This view shows in detail her rather unusual stern arrangement, including a ladder running down the transom from her main deck bulwark. Why it's there, I really don't know, although it may have something to do with making recovery of her free-fall lifeboat a little simpler. Note too, the open bridge wings like those found on some of the Sietas-built ships which have featured before on this site.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


The yacht CLYDE CHALLENGER is a regular sight on the Clyde, and was noted today off Dunoon. She is owned by a charity, the Clyde Sail Training Trust, and is a 38 tonne, 18 metre yacht. In the past, she completed four Round-the-World races when she was named GLASGOW CLIPPPER, and has since won other races. She was modified for her present role as a sail training vessel in 2006, and is now based at Rhu on the Gareloch.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Another Bit Arrives!

Arriving this evening as it was starting to turn dark was the barge WOOLSTON which had been towed from the VT shipyard at Southampton by the Svitzer tug ORMESBY CROSS. The 433 gross ton tug, built in 2000, has been a regular visitor to the Clyde over the past few years, bringing in modules for the Type 45 destroyers which are assembled by BAE Systems at Scotstoun and Govan.

This section, the bow for the fourth ship of the class, will form the forward section of HMS DRAGON. As the tow passed Gourock, it was joined by the Greenock-based tug WARRIOR III. The third ship of the class, HMS DIAMOND, is due to launch next month.

EUPHORIA outbound

The container ship EUPHORIA called at Greenock today, and sailed looking fairly light in the water, but with rather more containers than she seems to have carried on her recent other visits. Noteworthy is the 'XCL' logo that now embellishes her hull, like that applied to her sister CONELBE, which called here last week. EUPHORIA is seen here on her departure this afternoon from the Clyde for Southampton.


This tanker, ST MICHAELIS, arrived at Finnart to load a cargo late on Friday night. She sailed this afternoon for Malta, and is due there on Monday next week. Built in 2005 by the STX Shipyard at Busan in Korea, this 51,218 tonne deadweight ship is 183 metres in length, and when fully laden has a draft of 13.13 metres. She is operated by Parakou Shipping of Hong Kong, where she is registered, and is currently on a six-year time charter to Rudolf A. Oetker KG, a subsidiary of the Hamburg Süd Group. Along with three sisters, ST MICHAELIS has been named after a church in Hamburg.

POLE STAR leaving the Clyde

Overhaul completed, the navaids tender POLE STAR left the Clyde this morning to resume her duties around the Scottish coast. She was heading for Oban, where the Northern Lighthouse Board have one of their main shore bases.

MASALLI outbound

Another view of the new tanker MASALLI, taken as she sailed from the Clyde this morning. Bound for Kaliningrad in the Baltic, she had come downriver yesterday morning and spent the day lying at anchor off Greenock Esplanade.

Sunday, 21 October 2007


Seen yesterday at Ayr Harbour, but still there today loading coal for Northern Ireland is the smart little coaster WILSON BREST. Owned by Wilson ASA of Norway, she is a 3,704 tonne deadweight ship of 88.0 metres length. Built in 1995 by Slovenska Lodenice AS, at Komarno in Slovakia, she is of their 'Ryn' class, and was originally named NORTHERN LESNES before taking her present one in 2002. She flies the Maltese flag.


An arrival late this afternoon, and heading for Rothesay Dock with a cargo of fuel, was the Swedish tanker TÄRNVÅG, a sister of a ship shown on ClydeSights previously. Built in 2003 by the same shipyard at Shanghai, TÄRNVÅG had been sitting off Brodick at anchor for some days awaiting the departure of MASALLI, which was apparently delayed by problems with her cargo pumps. TÄRNVÅG's overall length is 141.20 metres, and her deadweight 14,796 tonnes.

Busy Garvel Drydock

A busy scene at the Garvel Drydock's berths in the James Watt Dock this afternoon, following the arrival of LORD OF THE ISLES for her annual overhaul. For the past few years, she has variously been surveyed at Aberdeen, Birkenhead and on the Tyne although she did visit Garvel in October 2005. Completing her own overhaul is SATURN, built at the Ailsa shipyard at Troon in 1978, while still in the drydock itself is CalMac's LOCHNEVIS, also built by Ailsa ( in 2000), and which normally serves the Small Isles - Muck, Eigg, Rum and Canna - from Mallaig. LOCHNEVIS is just visible behind SATURN's starboard funnel.


After a spell in the Garvel drydock, the North Lighthouse Board's POLE STAR was this afternoon undergoing engine trials in the James Watt Dock, as can be seen here. Now looking very smart, during her spell in the Garvel yard her hull was completely shot-blasted back to the bare steel, and fully repainted. POLE STAR dates from 2000, and was built at Port Glasgow by Ferguson Shipbuilders. Main propulsion is by a diesel-electric system driving two Kamewa Aquamaster azimuthing propeller units. These, combined with twin bow thrusters, provide her with very accurate dynamic positioning. POLE STAR is 51.52 metres long, and is 1,174 gross tons. Her main role is buoy handling around the coasts of Scotland and the Isle of Man.


Seen berthing at Gourock this afternoon, rather unusually stern-first, is Caledonian MacBrayne's 1989-built ferry LORD OF THE ISLES. Normally vessels such as this berth bow-in, but for several weeks she has been sailing with her bow visor sealed up following technical difficulties with it. She arrived today from Oban, and is on the Clyde to have her annual survey and overhaul at the Garvel drydock. Following her brief call at Gourock, where she landed cars belonging to her crew, she headed for the James Watt Dock.


With very little deck cargo, if any at all, the Spliethoff freighter SNOEKGRACHT sailed from Greenock today after having loaded her usual cargo of paper. She was previously on the Clyde in early September, and is now on passage to Jacksonville, Florida, where she is due to arrive on 30 October.

Saturday, 20 October 2007


A new tanker, handed over to her Turkish owners only at the beginning of August, arrived at Rothesay Dock on Friday afternoon. MASALLI, built at the Krasnoye Sormovo Shipyard in Russia, has an unusual profile for the type of tanker more usually associated with bringing cargoes to the Clyde. With an overall length of 150.15 metres, and a deadweight of 13,030 tonnes on a draft of 6.97 metres, this twin screw tanker is built to the maximum size of ship capable of transitting the rivers and canal systems leading to the Caspian Sea. Registered at Valetta in Malta, she is operated by Palmali Shipping.

New Workboat MEGAN M

Gareloch Support Services today named their new workboat MEGAN M at Rhu Marina, following an almost total rebuilt of a former Port of London Authority salvage vessel. The conversion, by Mustang Marine in Wales, took 8 months to complete, and resulted in a very modern, well-fitted out little vessel. Almost the only thing remaining of the original vessel is the hull, which has even been fitted with a new bow to meet the requirements of GSS. All underdeck spaces have been fitted out to her new owners' specifications, with new Daewoo main engines and auxiliary machinery, and well fitted out accommodation for her crew. MEGAN M is due to return to Wales next week, where she will be employed on a long-term contract for QinetiQ on the Aberporth Target Range.

CalMac castoff?

CalMac's JUNO has been lying at Rosneath since she was withdrawn from the Wemyss Bay-Rothesay service last April, her place in the active Clyde fleet having effectively been taken by the new Polish-built ferry ARGYLE. What the future holds for the 1974 veteran remains to be seen. Also lying at Rosneath is the former Sound of Barra ferry LOCH BHRUSDA, which was relegated to spare vessel status when LOCH ALAINN took over that service in the summer. However, LOCH BHRUSDA remains an active member of the fleet, having already seen service on the Largs-Cumbrae Slip service twice during the past few months.

Friday, 19 October 2007


Very similar to MOKSHEIM, this ship was built by Severenaya Shipyard in Russia, although she is a little older. Like MOKSHEIM, she was laid down in 1991, but was completed in 1995. Her overall length is 109.7 metres, and her deadweight is 6,985 tonnes. Dutch-registered, she is managed by the Management Facilities Group, on behalf of the German ASC Alstership company.


One of the two little ferries which are operated by Strathclyde Transport and run between Yoker and Renfrew is currently undergoing its annual overhaul and survey at the River Clyde Boatyard at Clydebank. YOKER SWAN was built at Ardrossan in 1984 and has been employed on the short service across the river ever since. Recently, there have been suggestions that the ferries, now considered to be approaching the end of their useful lives, could be replaced within the next couple of years. There has even been talk of building a footbridge!


A new ship belonging to Arklow Shipping and registered at their original home port of Wicklow, ARKLOW FLAIR arrived yesterday from Belfast, and is seen loading scrap metal at Diesel Wharf, thus known as it was formerly the berth for Barclay Curle's engine works. ARKLOW FLAIR was built in Spain by Astilleros de Murueta and delivered in May 2007. With an overall length of 89.95 metres, she is 4,500 tonnes deadweight, and has a gross tonnage of 2,998 tons. An MaK main engine gives her a service speed of 11.5 knots.


Built in 1991 as WANNSEE, this German coaster was constructed by the Estaleiros Navais de Viano do Castelo shipyard in northern Portugal. Since then, she has had several names, most recently having been named MF MALTA (2000) and NORDSTRAND (2001). She took her current name, GRAF UKO, in 2005, and is managed by Krey Schiffahrt GmbH. Her overall length is 87.5 metres, and her deadweight is 2,900 tonnes. She arrived last night and anchored at the Tail o' the Bank before heading upriver this afternoon, to load scrap metal at Renfrew.