Monday, 31 December 2007


Spending Christmas and New Year alongside the NATO fuel jetty at Loch Striven is the 'one-stop' Royal Fleet Auxiliary replenishment ship FORT GEORGE. Completed in 1993 by the Swan Hunter shipyard on the River Tyne, this 204 metre long ship acts as a combined fleet support tanker and stores ship. Not only are FORT GEORGE, and her sister FORT VICTORIA, able to replenish ships steaming alongside them at sea, they can also supply fuel to another ship astern, using their 'Hudson Reel'. FORT GEORGE is capable of working with helicopters, for which she has a flight deck and large hanger facility aft. Two Crossley-Pielstick main engines give her a service speed of around 18 knots. More information about these ships can be found here.

I would like to thank all visitors to this site for their support and encouragement since August, and wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

New Tug in Port

Four tugs lying in the James Watt Dock this evening, three of them 'locals' with a new tug in their midst. On the left is SVITZER MALLAIG, with WARRIOR III berthed astern of her, while KINDEACE, the new tug which arrived on the Clyde during the early hours of today, lies ahead of AYTON CROSS. Owned by J P Knight, KINDEACE was acquired in July, and is more usually found working from her Invergordon base on the Cromarty Firth. She was built in 2005 in Japan, and originally named FUJI MARU. She is fitted with twin azimuth units, like the other tugs shown in this view. I understand that she will be assisting the Clyde fleet for a few weeks. Meanwhile, the tug RED DOLPHIN, has left Rotterdam with a 400-tonne floating crane, GPS ATLAS, to recover the wreck of FLYING PHANTOM. They are due to arrive in around a week's time.


The place of CONELBE on the X-Press Container Line service from Rotterdam to UK and Irish ports appears to have been taken by this new ship, X-PRESS MULHACEN, which spent only a couple of hours at Greenock today. Delivered in July 2007 to her German owners, K & K Schiffahrts GmbH as K-WAVE, this 131.5 metre long ship was renamed in October, and transferred from her original Antigua and Barbuda flag to the UK register. She was built in China, by the Zhejiang Yangfan Ship Group, and has a capacity of 700 TEU. X-PRESS MULHACEN arrived this afternoon from Belfast, and sailed again less than three hours later for Southampton.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

RED JASMINE outbound

Finally sailing from the Clyde today, the bulk carrier RED JASMINE was escorted as far as Greenock Ocean Terminal by the tugs SVITZER MALLAIG and AYTON CROSS, with WARRIOR III also in attendance. All three tugs are presently wearing their owner's houseflag and ensigns at half mast in the traditional show of respect for their lost colleagues.

Svitzer UK has, following a request made by the crews of the Clyde tug fleet, set up a fund for the families of Stephen Humphreys, Bob Cameron and Eric Blackley. A special account has been set up by the tug company, and I will gladly forward the relevant details to anyone wishing to make a contribution either by cheque or by a direct bank transfer. I can be contacted by e-mail at clydesights @

A Book of Condolence has also been opened at the Wellpark Mid Kirk in Greenock's Clyde Square, and is available Monday to Friday from 1000 to 1400, Saturday and Sunday from 1200 to 1400.


Passing Lunderston Bay this afternoon as she heads down the Clyde bound for Stanlow, the tanker SPECIALITY has been described by her owners as "the most environmentally friendly small product tanker in the world”. Already seen on ClydeSights just a couple of days ago, SPECIALITY has twin funnels carrying the six uptakes from her diesel machinery, three generator sets being located in each of her two engine rooms, arranged port and starboard. She also has a very low noise profile, using advanced techniques to silence her exhausts, and ventilation fans, and employing electric deck machinery instead of the more conventional hydraulic equipment.

Friday, 28 December 2007


Arriving yesterday, the DFDS Lys Line ship LYSVIK sailed again from Greenock this evening. This ship has been on the Clyde before, although she is not such a regular caller as LYS-SKOG, being normally employed on a service from Scandinavia to North European ports. Other movements on the Clyde today included the departure of the tanker MINERVA ROSA, the coaster NORDERAU which had loaded scrap at Diesel Wharf, and AMSTELDIJK on her weekly service to Belfast and Rotterdam.

Thursday, 27 December 2007


The name ship of James Fisher Everard's four 'Speciality' class tankers is discharging fuel at Rothesay Dock. She anchored in Brodick Bay on Saturday 22nd, and moved up the river on Christmas morning. SPECIALITY was built by the Qingshan Shipyard in China, and was delivered to Everards in May 2006. She has a deadweight of 4,426 tonnes, and an overall length of 95.14 metres. Her crew of eight are mainly British, and she is registered at Nassau in the Bahamas. Propulsion is provided by a sophisticated diesel-electric installation, driving twin screws and giving a service speed of 11.5 knots. Thanks to an impressive array of modern bridge equipment, SPECIALITY and her three sisters have been permitted to sail without paper charts in most European waters.


Seen passing Innellan as she returned to Rothesay after being diverted to Gourock this morning because of bad weather, the CalMac ferry ARGYLE is the latest large ferry to have joined the company's fleet. Built at a cost of £9.5 million by the Remontowa Shipyard at Gdansk in Poland, she arrived on the Clyde in April this year, and took her place on the Wemyss Bay-Rothesay service at the beginning of May. ARGYLE is 72 metres long, and has a capacity for around 60 cars and 450 passengers. She has only recently begun to operate as a drive through ferry, with the new linkspan at Rothesay only having been brought into use a few weeks ago. In the background, her elder sister BUTE can be seen loading at Wemyss Bay pier, weather conditions having improved during the time that ARGYLE had been up the Firth.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

JAEGER ARROW alongside

Although she has featured previously on ClydeSights, this view of JAEGER ARROW alongside Greenock Ocean Terminal may be of interest as it shows her in the process of discharging her cargo of woodpulp, the white plastic-wrapped pallets of which can be seen on the quayside. Note too the large open doors in her hull, through which the cargo is handled by her own gear.


Another new tanker arrived this morning, as is seen passing the Gantocks beacon on her way to Finnart oil terminal. MINERVA DOXA, built in Japan by the Universal Shipbuilding Corporation (formerly Hitachi Zosen) and completed at the end of June this year, is operated by Minerva Marine, a Greek tanker company. She is a Suezmax-sized ship, of 159,438 tonnes deadweight. A typical modern double-hulled tanker with an overall length of 276.88 metres, she is driven by a Mitsui MAN-B&W 6-cylinder main engine, producing 18,600kW at 91 rpm. MINERVA DOXA arrived on the Clyde with her cargo of crude oil on Sunday 23rd, and had been lying at anchor in Irvine Bay until this morning.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007


With one exception, the Rathlin ferry CANNA, all ferries operated by Caledonian MacBrayne normally spend Christmas Day tied up. This view shows the Kyles of Bute ferry LOCH DUNVEGAN alongside the pier at Colintraive, having some rare time off in daylight. Previous vessels on the crossing had lain overnight at a mooring buoy a little to the northwest of the ferry slipway, but with her greater bulk, it was considered necessary to build a new structure to give LOCH DUNVEGAN a safe overnight berth before she took over the Colintraive-Rhubodach service in 1999.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas!

As the CalMac car ferry JUPITER heads towards Dunoon on a cold, calm, moonlit evening, and Western Ferries' SOUND OF SHUNA heads towards Hunter's Quay, I would like to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas from ClydeSights!

ASTRAL outbound

One of the ships now able to sail from the upper river was the Swedish tanker ASTRAL, which had been in Rothesay Dock delivering a cargo of fuel. This ship, built in Turkey for local owners by the Torlak Shipyard, was completed in October 2006 as BESIKTAS FINLAND, and flew the Maltese flag originally. Sold shortly afterwards for $26.5 million, she assumed her current name in May this year, and was transferred to the Swedish registry. Now owned by Veritas Tankers, ASTRAL has a deadweight of 11,317 tonnes, and is 129.75 metres in length. Following her visit to Clydebank, she was heading for Amsterdam.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

KIELDER upriver

This afternoon, following the reopening of the River Clyde after the body of the third member of FLYING PHANTOM's crew was recovered from the sunken tug, two ships were permitted to sail to Glasgow. ALSERBACH was first, followed an hour later by KIELDER. The latter ship is seen passing the BAE Systems yard at Scotstoun late this afternoon, as she made her way slowly upriver towards Shieldhall, and her berth in King George V Dock. KIELDER was noted with her Red Ensign flying at half-mast as a mark of respect to the victims of the accident.

Two very poignant reports concerning the tragedy appeared in 'The Scotsman'. They can be found here and here.

AVAX inbound

A new name, and a new ship, bound for Finnart to load product this morning - the Liberian-flagged tanker AVAX, which was completed at the start of this year by the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Korea for Capital Ship Management of Piraeus. This tanker, which is 47,835 tonnes deadweight, has an overall length of 183.88 metres. One of a class of seven ships, she is driven by a Hyundai MAN B&W main engine producing some 15,820 bhp at 127 rpm. She has a Romanian master, Romanian, Russian and Latvian officers, and Filipino crew. There are six cargo tanks, each divided into two by a solid centreline bulkhead, all capable of handling crude, product, or chemicals.

Saturday, 22 December 2007


One of the four coasters lying at the Tail o' the Bank awaiting the reopening of the river is Stephenson Clarke's KIELDER. This ship, loaded with a cargo of aggregates, was built in 1983 as the East German naval tanker MONCHGUT, by VEB Schiffswerft 'Neptun' at Rostock. In 1991, she became EIDE RESCUE II, under the Norwegian flag. Following a rebuild, conversion to a cargo ship in 1995, and later lengthening in 1999, she was renamed STALVANG. After carrying other names and sailing for different owners, she joined her current owner's fleet and was renamed KIELDER in 2003. Self-discharging, she is 3,000 tonnes deadweight, and 89.97 metres long. She is registered in the Isle of Man. Passing beyond KIELDER is the Svitzer tug AYTON CROSS, which arrived back on the Clyde early this morning. She was returning to Greenock from Finnart, where she had been berthing the tanker ALFA GERMANIA, with assistance from IMPETUS and IMPULSE.

The River Clyde remained closed today, despite earlier suggestions that it may have reopened on a partial basis. Following specialist salvage divers from Holland joining police in the hazardous operation, two bodies have now been recovered from inside the wreck of FLYING PHANTOM.


Arriving this morning during heavy rain, the tanker ALFA GERMANIA is seen passing one of the ships at anchor at the Tail o' the Bank as she heads into Loch Long on her way up to Finnart. Registered in the Bahamas, this 1998-built tanker has a deadweight of 99,193 tonnes, and an overall length of 248 metres. Operated by the Finnish company Lundqvist Rederierna, she was built by Daewoo Heavy Indutries in Korea.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Foggy Day, Foggy Night

With the Clyde still closed to navigation, apart from local ferry traffic, few other vessels were moving today. The tanker BRO AXEL arrived at Finnart early this morning and Fisher's SUMMITY berthed in the Gareloch too. The container ship WERDER BREMEN arrived later this evening at Greenock. The two ships waiting at anchor for passage upriver were joined late yesterday by RANTUM, and during the night by KIELDER. For most of the day, the Clyde was cloaked in fog, seen here enveloping one of Western Ferries vessels as she picks her way cautiously across the Firth.

There is still no news of the three missing crew from FLYING PHANTOM, as a Marine Accident Investigation Branch inquiry into her loss gets underway. Meanwhile, this evening, news reports have suggested that there may be a limited re-opening of the river on Saturday, on a ship-by-ship basis.

Thursday, 20 December 2007


With the Svitzer tugs WARRIOR III and SVITZER MALLAIG effectively trapped in the upper reaches of the river, together with three commercial vessels, the coaster BOISTEROUS, the bulk carrier RED JASMINE and the tanker ASTRAL in Rothesay Dock, the assistance of three of Serco Denholm's tugs was enlisted today to sail the bulk carrier DURA from Hunterston. SD-DEXTEROUS, which has only in the past few days received the prefix to her original name, was seen this afternoon heading for Hunterston from her base in the Gare Loch.

River Clyde Closed

Following yesterday evening's tragic events, the River Clyde has remained closed to all commercial traffic today, and will remain closed until FLYING PHANTOM has been lifted cleared of the channel at Clydebank, where she appears from TV pictures to be lying on her side, barely visible at low water. Although rescue teams continued their search from early this morning until it turned dark again this evening, the bodies of three of her crew have yet to be found.

With the river being closed, shipping awaiting berths at Renfrew and Glasgow are having to anchor at the Tail o' the Bank for the time being. Waiting today was the German coaster NORDERAU, one of Erwin Strahlmann's ships, built in 2005 by Slovenske Lodenice A.S in Slovakia. This 3,712 tonnes deadweight coaster is 87.9 metres long, and is a sistership of RODAU, which visited the river in September.

A second coaster arriving at the anchorage today was ALSERBACH, a Dutch ship built in 1997 as CLAUDIA ISABELL. She is 87.88 metres long, and has a deadweight of 4,490 tonnes. A product of the Rybinsk Shipbuilding Plant on the River Volga, she is owned by Rederij K&T Holland.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007


After spending a few days lying at anchor in Brodick Bay, the bulk carrier RED JASMINE, loaded with a cargo of animal feed from South America moved upriver this afternoon. She was built in Japan in 2006, and has an overall length of 224.9 metres. Her deadweight is 76,596 tonnes. For the river transit, she was escorted by all three of the Svitzer tugs currently based on the Clyde - SVITZER MALLAIG, WARRIOR III and FLYING PHANTOM (AYTON CROSS has been employed elsewhere in the past few weeks).

As the convoy passed Clydebank, it appears that FLYING PHANTOM got into difficulties, and capsized. With freezing fog settling over the river, a rescue operation was commenced. Although one of the tug's crew was saved, the remaining three crew members are still missing. Local coastguard units and lifeboat crews from Helensburgh, Largs and Troon, together with the Police Launch STRATHCLYDE, MoD Police launch 07001, ALI CAT, Clyde Marine's FENCER, and other vessels, are assisting in the search.

Our thoughts go out to the families of the missing men.


Looking very smart following her overhaul at the Garvel repair yard at Greenock, Western Ferries' SOUND OF SHUNA lies this afternoon at the new berth at Hunter's Quay taking on fuel and preparing to resume service tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007


On a cold afternoon, SOUND OF SCARBA loads traffic at the newly completed berth at McInroy's Point, while in the background, CalMac's JUPITER heads across to Dunoon. The new linkspan and pier were brought into regular use three weeks ago, and were part of a £4 million investment by Western Ferries. Construction of the new facility commenced in October 2006, and was carried out by George Leslie of Barrhead, while the linkspan itself was built by Ferguson Shipbuilders at Port Glasgow. It was lifted into place by MERSEY MAMMOTH in May.


Taylor and Taylor's coaster RED BARONESS catches the soft morning light today as she heads towards the Holy Loch, where she would load another cargo of round timber, before sailing again from Sandbank for Londonderry this evening.

Monday, 17 December 2007


Bringing another cargo of wind turbine components to the Clyde from Denmark, the cargo ship DEO VOLENTE is seen this afternoon with the Clydeport pilot cutter TOWARD, as she approached the Ashton Buoy. DEO VOLENTE was described on ClydeSights previously, and is a regular caller. It may be of interest to note that the ship that this vessel replaced, and which bore the same name, is also on the Clyde at the moment. CORAL SEA, as she is now named, arrived this morning at around 0700.


The small German cargo ship APOLLO HAWK was photographed this morning as she lay at anchor at the Tail o' the Bank, awaiting this afternoon's tide for her passage upriver to Glasgow to discharge her cargo of cement. Details of this ship, dating from 1972, can be found in this post when she visited the Clyde on a previous occasion.

Sunday, 16 December 2007


STAR HARDANGER, one of Star Shipping's 'open hatch' bulk carriers, was at Greenock on Friday and Saturday on her regular voyage from the West Coast of Canada and the USA to Europe. Built at the Daewoo shipyard at Ulsan in Korea, STAR HARDANGER flies the Singapore flag. With an overall length of 199.9 metres, she is of 44,251 tonnes deadweight. She sailed early this morning for Flushing.


Discharging a cargo of animal feed at Shieldhall riverside berth yesterday, the Russian-flagged bulk carrier SERGEY LEMESHEV was built in 1983 at Varna in Bulgaria. Operated by Novoship, which is the shortened version of her owner's full title, the 'Joint Stock Company "Novorossiysk Shipping Company"', this ship is named after a famous Russian operatic tenor. She is 184.6 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 24,105 tonnes.


Another barge with modules for the latest Type 45 destroyer, HMS DRAGON, under construction at Govan arrived yesterday from Portsmouth. Under the charge of the Spanish tug RED DOLPHIN, the barge was photographed passing BAE Systems' yard at Scotstoun, where the other Type 45 ships are in varying stages of completion. The first, DARING, is continuing her fitting out on the riverside berth. In the nearer drydock, DIAMOND, which entered the River Clyde on Tuesday 26 November, is visible above the bow of the barge. The second ship, DAUNTLESS, is in the further away drydock - the 'golfball' radar on the top of her mast is just visible above the shed, and to the right of the mast aboard the barge.

The tug RED DOLPHIN, which until recently was named REMO, is currently operating on long-term charter to Svitzer and is managed by Specialist Marine Services from their base on the Humber. She was built in Spain in 2005, and with her twin azimuth thrusters has an impressive bollard pull of 83 tonnes ahead. She is 35.4 metres long, and has a gross tonnage of 747 tons.

Inchgreen Drydock

As the tanker ARTISTRY passes the entrance to the Great Harbour, construction of a floating jetty for the Royal Navy's submarine base at Faslane continues in the former Firth of Clyde Drydock at Inchgreen. The jetty, which is being built by AMEC plc will form part of updated facilities required for the new 'Astute' class boats, currently being built by BAE Systems at Barrow, and due to enter service from 2009. On the left of the picture the coaster RIVER BLYTH is lying at the Scott Lithgow Repair Quay, where she berthed yesterday morning for repairs. She is one of three sisters operating on charter to Stephenson Clarke Shipping, one of which, RIVER TYNE, visited the upper firth earlier this year.

ARTISTRY outbound

Seen yesterday afternoon passing the new housing being built on the former Lithgow shipyard at Port Glasgow, was the new tanker ARTISTRY as she made her way downriver from Rothesay Dock, en route to Rotterdam. ARTISTRY, which is operated by the Singapore company Hong Lam Marine, was constructed by the Yangzhou Kejin Shipyard Co in China, and delivered to her owners in May this year. She is 9,040 tonnes deadweight, and her overall length is 110 metres. Her crew are mainly Indonesian.

Friday, 14 December 2007

VECHTBORG outbound

Although Wagenborg is one of Europe's largest shipping companies, with a fleet of 160 dry cargo ships, their vessel rarely visit the Clyde. VECHTBORG, a ship built in 1998 by the Volharding Shipyard at Hoogezand in the Netherlands, arrived on Thursday with a cargo of animal feed, and sailed again this afternoon. She is 8,664 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 132.2 metres. As she headed down the Firth past Inverkip, bound for Aughinish in south-western Ireland, she met Caledonian MacBrayne's LOCH ALAINN, heading for Gourock following her annual survey on the slip at Ardmaleish Boatyard, on the island of Bute.

Thursday, 13 December 2007


Also having been given her overhaul at Garvel while I was away was Western Ferries' SOUND OF SHUNA, which today was out on the river running trials. She is seen returning to the James Watt Dock this afternoon, with Spliethoff's STATENGRACHT visible in the background at Ocean Terminal, sharing the berth there with regular caller AMSTELDIJK. Like her elder sister SOUND OF SCARBA, SOUND OF SHUNA has now had her exhaust casing painted black.


Taking the place of CALEDONIAN ISLES and ADAMANT in the Garvel Drydock was CalMac's CORUISK, which was towed from her berth in the James Watt Dock to the drydock entrance this afternoon by BATTLER and BITER.

ADAMANT leaving dock

Sharing the Garvel Drydock with CALEDONIAN ISLES was Serco Denholm's submarine personnel carrier ADAMANT. After being hauled down the drydock, the tug IMPULSE made fast alongside her and towed her round to the neighbouring Great Harbour. ADAMANT, which as can be seen clearly in this view is a catamaran, was built by FBM at Cowes, and is based on a commercial ferry design. She is driven by two water jets at speeds of up to 22 knots. Her principle role at the moment is to ferry personnel to Royal Navy submarines changing crews on the Clyde.


During my absence, the regular Arran ferry CALEDONIAN ISLES has been undergoing survey and drydocking at Greenock, in the hands of the Garvel Drydock company. Today, she left the drydock under tow, with Clyde Marine's tugs BATTLER and BITER taking charge for the short journey into the James Watt Dock.

Lying off the entrance to the Garvel Basin was the tug IMPULSE, while BATTLER and BITER lined CALEDONIAN ISLES up with the wet dock entrance.

Once inside the Watt Dock, CALEDONIAN ISLES was berthed on the south wall of the dock, and while there, her port side lifeboats were both lowered. She was later moved to the Garvel berth across the dock, previously occupied by CORUISK.