Thursday, 31 January 2008


Another minesweeper seen today was HMS SHOREHAM, the last ship in the 'Sandown' class of the Royal Navy. Joining the Navy late in November 2001, SHOREHAM is based at Faslane, although she spent several months last year on operations in the Mediterranean Sea. These 52.5 metre long, 600 tonne ships have a high degree of manoeuvrability, provided by Voith Schneider propellers, with Schottel bow thrusters.


One of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 ships currently visiting the Clyde is the Belgian minesweeper BNS PRIMULA. A large class of vessels, serving with the Belgian, French and Dutch navies, with one or two other countries also having examples, PRIMULA is 51.5 metres in length, and has a displacement of 595 tonnes. Armed with a single 20mm gun forward, and 2 12.7mm MG cannon, PRIMULA and her sisters are single screw ships. She was commissioned in 1991.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008


Rounding the Garvel Bend today, the coaster APOLLO HAWK was heading up the river to Glasgow with a cargo of cement. Owned by Apollo Shipping, she and her sisters have been seen on ClydeSights previously, usually with similar cargoes from Brunsbuttel at the western end of the Kiel canal. RED DOLPHIN and GPS ATLAS remain alongside at Ocean Terminal, awaiting a weather window.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Greenock Ocean Terminal

The Gibraltar-flagged ship TISTEDAL was alongside Greenock's Ocean Terminal today, discharging her cargo of paper from Norway. She is currently sailing on the schedule previously worked by NORNEWS LEADER, and was in Belfast yesterday. Also alongside, having finished working at Finnart, was GPS ATLAS, the crane that was brought over to the Clyde from Rotterdam to raise FLYING PHANTOM. She was accompanied by the tug RED DOLPHIN, as the pair prepare to leave the Clyde.

Inbound Submarine

One of the Royal Navy's 'V' Class submarines returned home to HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane this morning. As usual, the submarine, HMS VANGUARD, was escorted by a flotilla of small vessels with armed police and Royal Marines on board, as well as CONDOR, one the the MoD Police launches based on the Clyde. The four 'Vanguard' class boats, which are armed with Britain's nuclear deterrent, the Trident missile system, are all based at Faslane. They displace 15,900 tonnes when submerged, are 149.5 metres in length, with a Rolls Royce Pressurised Water reactor producing steam to drive two GEC turbines. These give her a quoted submerged speed of around 25 knots. Each vessel carries a crew of around 130.

Monday, 28 January 2008


Another cargo of wood products from Canada and the north west of the USA was discharged today at Greenock from STAR OSAKANA, a Singapore-registered ship belonging to Masterbulk, one of the two partners of Star Shipping. STAR OSAKANA was built by the Oshima Shipbuilding Co in Japan in 2004, and is one of four sisterships. She is 199 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 50,470 tonnes. She sailed this evening for Flushing.

Sunday, 27 January 2008


Attempting to brighten up an otherwise 'dreich' day, the Norwegian shuttle tanker TOVE KNUTSEN passes the Inverkip chimney this afternoon as she heads up the Firth towards Finnart, with a cargo of North Sea crude oil. Built in 1989 at Bilbao in Spain, TOVE KNUTSEN was originally a conventional tanker, but was converted in 1992 to become a shuttle tanker for work in the North Sea. In 1994, she underwent another conversion, when she was given a submerged loading system. Ten years later, she was again modified, this time to bring her into line with new regulations requiring all tankers to have double hulls; this conversion was done at the Remontowa Shipyard in Poland. Major changes were also made to her propulsion systems at that time. TOVE KNUTSEN now has a deadweight of 105,295 tonnes, while her overall length is now 245.61 metres. She is owned by Knutsen OAS Shipping.


Another view of the Norwegian coastguard ship HARSTAD, this time showing her in King George V Dock, being fitted with the equipment to operate the NATO Submarine Rescue System. She sailed this afternoon from Glasgow to conduct trials with this, and is currently working off the east coast of Arran. A picture showing her with the same equipment mounted on her decks, but setting off on her previous set of trials, can be seen here. Although not visible in this picture, the crane GPS ATLAS, and tug RED DOLPHIN were berthed ahead of HARSTAD. Today both also sailed from Glasgow, and are now at Finnart on the Loch Long, where the crane is being used to underatke some repair work on one of the tanker jetties there.

Saturday, 26 January 2008


After spending over a week in Belfast discharging, the bulk carrier PLANICA arrived at Shieldhall this afternoon with a cargo of animal feed. Operated by Genshipping, a subsidiary of the Slovenian Splošna plovba company, PLANICA was built in 1984 by the Mitsui shipyard in Japan. She is 182.80 metres overall, with a deadweight of 42,239 tonnes. Somewhat unusually for a ship of her size, she flies the Antigua and Barbudan ensign. She is currently sailing on charter to Peter Döhle, the German shipowners, who are also major shareholders in the ship's owners.

Friday, 25 January 2008


With a fresh westerly wind behind her, the Norwegian coaster AASLI passes Greenock on her way to King George V Dock today with a cargo of cement. Owned by Aasen Transport, AASLI was built in 1994 in Holland by the Bodewes Shipyard, and is 99.95 metres in length. With a deadweight of 6,630 tonnes, she is registered on Norway International Register although her port of registry is Haugesund. This register was established in 1986 to encourage Norwegian shipowners not to use flags of convenience while remaining competitive.

Thursday, 24 January 2008


Currently berthed at the NATO jetty in Loch Striven is one of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary's oldest vessels, the fleet tanker BLACK ROVER. Built in 1973 by Swan Hunter Shipbuilders at Wallsend on the River Tyne, she was one of five similar ships, of which just two now remain in service. Due to be decommissioned in 2010, BLACK ROVER entered service with the RFA in 1974. She is 140.6 metres in length, and her deadweight is 6,992 tonnes. Main propulsion is from two Crossley-Pielstick engines driving a single screw. She recently underwent a three-month long refit at Falmouth.


In between the wintry showers today, the Antigua and Barbudan-flagged coaster UPHUSEN makes her way past Greenock on her way upriver to Diesel Wharf, where she will load scrap metal. UPHUSEN was built in 1996 as SAAR BREMEN by Bodewes Shipyards BV at Hoogezand in the Netherlands, but was renamed early in her career. Owned by the Bockstiegel company, she is 90.4 metres long, and has a deadweight of 4,334 tonnes.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


The 11,317 tonne deadweight tanker ASTRAL headed upriver this morning, taking another cargo of fuel products to Rothesay Dock. This is her second visit to the Clyde, her previous one having been in December, and she was seen leaving the Clyde on that occasion.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008


Following the departure yesterday of PACIFIC CONFIDENCE from Hunterston, another ship arrived today with a cargo of coal. She is the Hong Kong-flagged Panamax bulk carrier JIN HE, a vessel completed in April 2006 for Jinhui Shipping and Transportation Ltd. Built by the Oshima Shipbuilding Co in Japan at a cost of $31,500,000 she is 77,250 tonnes deadweight and has an overall length of 225 metres. She was with the assistance of three tugs, AYTON CROSS on her starboard side forward, WARRIOR III starboard aft, and SVITZER MALLAIG aft.


These four images show the launch today of the new HoverTrans HOVERBARGE built at Ferguson Shipbuilders yard at Port Glasgow. The launch procedure was interesting. Two heavy recovery lorries were securely anchored in the yard, and the hoverbarge made fast to them.

The barge's lift fans were then run up, and the barge slowly lifted until it was hovering. The winches on the two lorries then paid out their cables, allowing the barge to slip down the ways until partially in the water, at which point the lift fans were stopped and the barge allowed to settle on the slip again.

Lines from Clyde Marine's tug BITER were made fast, and the wires from the two trucks released. The fans aboard the hoverbarge were started again, and with BITER taking the strain, the barge was taken clear of the shipyard ways.

Once afloat - perhaps airborne would be a better description! - the hoverbarge was towed down river and across to the Holy Loch, where it will be conducting trials on the mudflats at the top of the loch. The attached video clip shows some moments from today's launch.


The sunken tug FLYING PHANTOM was lifted from the river bed opposite Clydebank yesterday afternoon, and after being pumped out, was towed to King George V Dock in Glasgow. She will be examined by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch in an attempt to determine the events leading to her tragic capsize and sinking on Wednesday 19 December 2007.

Monday, 21 January 2008


The bulk carrier PACIFIC CONFIDENCE left Hunterston this afternoon, sailing in ballast for Tenerife, where presumably she will bunker before continuing on to pick up here next cargo. Like most ships calling at Hunterston, she had been discharging coal for onward transport by rail to coal-fired power stations, such as Longannet in Fife. Completed in March 2004, this 180,181 tonne deadweight bulk carrier was built at the Saijo yard of the Imabari Shipbuilding Co in Japan for the Nissen Kaiun Co. Flying the Panamanian flag, PACIFIC CONFIDENCE is 288.93 metres overall, and her Mitsui-built 6-cylinder main engine has an output of 18,630 kW.


J P Knight's KINDEACE is back on the Clyde, assisting the Svitzer tugs as required, having already been away for a few days shortly after she arrived here. This morning she was captured leaving Greenock as she headed down to Hunterston to assist AYTON CROSS sailing a bulk carrier. Below the name on her stern, her new port of registry - Inverness - has been added, KINDEACE having previously been registered in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.


Sharing the Garvel Drydock with ISLE OF LEWIS was the new Cumbrae ferry LOCH SHIRA. Built at Ferguson Shipbuilders at Port Glasgow, and only handed over to CalMac in May 2007, LOCH SHIRA replaced LOCH ALAINN on the short crossing from Largs to Cumbrae Slip. While ISLE OF LEWIS was carrying out her boat drill, LOCH SHIRA berthed across the end wall at the entrance to the James Watt Dock, joining the larger vessel once she had moved to the Garvel berth.


ISLE OF LEWIS left the Garvel drydock today, and berthed in the James Watt Dock to complete her annual overhaul. She was moved out of the drydock by Clyde Marine Services' BRUISER and BATTLER, and berthed initially on the south wall of the dock while she lowered her port lifeboat. She later moved across the dock to the Garvel berth.

Sunday, 20 January 2008


Anchored of Greenock Esplanade this afternoon, the Norwegian Coastguard ship HARSTAD is paying her second visit to the Clyde. She was here last July, when she undertook trials with the Nato Submarine Rescue System off the coast of Arran. This is the same equipment which was trialled aboard the French ship ARGONAUTE in September 2007. HARSTAD is a modified Ulstein UT512 design multi-role vessel, completed in 2005 by the Aker Søviknes shipyard in Norway for Remøy Shipping, and she is on long-term charter to Kystvaken (Norwegian Coastguard). She is capable of offshore standby and rescue duties, firefighting, salvage, and pollution prevention, and has a bollard pull of 110 tonnes which will enable her to tow tankers of up to around 200,000 tonnes deadweight. HARSTAD is 83 metres in length, 3,132 gross tons, and has two Bergen diesel engines which drive Kamewa controllable pitch propellers. She is fitted with sophisticated Dynamic Positioning equipment. She is also armed, a single 40mm Bofors gun being mounted forward.


The recently renamed SD-SALMOOR was seen passing down the Firth this morning as she made her way from the Great Harbour to Fairlie. Recently, the vessels belonging to the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service have, as previously noted, all been given the 'SD' prefix to their names. From April this year, they will not only be operated by Serco Denholm, but also be owned by them following a lengthy tendering process resulting in the award of a fifteen year contract to provide marine support services to the Royal Navy throughout the UK.

Saturday, 19 January 2008


Running on the Bilbao-Avonmouth-Dublin-Greenock service for DFDS Suardiaz which was previously operated by ENDEAVOR, PETUJA was seen passing McInroy's Point this morning as she headed for Ocean Terminal. Rather unusually for a German-owned ship of this size and type, she is actually registered in Germany, at Hamburg, instead of flying the Antigua and Barbuda flag.

SWEDICA HAV outbound

The coaster SWEDICA HAV outward bound this morning, heading for Szczecin with a good load aboard. This evening she is passing the west coast of Islay, and is due to reach her destination on Thursday. Although this vessel is over twenty years old, she appears to be very well maintained. She also appears to have retained the same basic colour scheme throughout her career, with the initial addition of her first owner's name when new, although her funnel colours have altered with different owners.

Friday, 18 January 2008


In a freshening westerly wind, the Norwegian self-discharging coaster AASFJORD spent the day at the Bravo anchorage off Gourock. Built in 1978 by Svendborg Skibsværft A/S in Denmark, and originally named CHARM, she is 94.21 metres overall, and has a deadweight of 3,960 tonnes. In 1982, she was renamed KELFAVIK, and in 1989 she became IRAFOSS. Following acquisition by Aasen Transport, she was given her current name. Carrying aggregates from Belfast, she will use her Hitachi excavator, which is fitted with a 5 tonne bucket, to discharge her cargo at Rothesay Dock.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

FLYING PHANTOM salvage update

The salvage of the tug FLYING PHANTOM took a step forward today when she was lifted upright this morning by the 400-tonne crane GPS ATLAS. As can be seen here, the tug remains sitting on the river bed, but will probably be raised during the next couple of days. According to press reports, she will be taken to drydock at Scotstoun for a detailed examination by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.


SD-TORMENTOR is one of Serco Denholm's fleet based at the Great Harbour. She is a torpedo recovery ship, but is also used to operate as an exercise minelayer. She was built in 1980 by Hall, Russell at Aberdeen, and is 47 metres in length. She has a gross tonnage of 560 tons. Originally there were four ships in this class, although two were sold from naval service.


HMS CATTISTOCK, a member of the 'Hunt' Class minehunters was seen back on the Clyde this morning. Attached to the Second Mine Counter Measures Squadron, she is based at Portsmouth where she has recently undergone maintenance. Following a period of sea training, she is shortly due to be deployed to the Northern Arabian Gulf.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008


The floating crane GPS ATLAS was moved into position above the wreck of FLYING PHANTOM on Monday, and work has progressed since then in preparation for lifting her from the river bed. Assisting the crane is GRAY MAMMOTH, a 27 metre, 224 gross ton multicat owned by Felixarc Marine Ltd, part of the Adsteam Group which was recently taken over by Svitzer. Based at Felixstowe, GRAY MAMMOTH was built in 1989, and has been laying moorings for GPS ATLAS.


Another coaster waiting her turn to head upriver today was SWEDICA HAV, managed by Hav Ship Management AS, a Norwegian company, but registered at Nassau in the Bahamas. A typical low air draft coaster fitted with a hydraulic bridge which can be lowered, she was built in 1986 as JAN MEEDER by Hugo Peters Schiffswerf at Weselsfleth on the River Elbe in Germany. She is 2,283 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 82.45 metres. In 1997, she was renamed SEA WESER, and in 2001, OPHIR. She took her present name in 2006.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008


With the recovery of FLYING PHANTOM now underway at Clydebank, the River Clyde is subject to closure during part of the day while the salvors are working on the wreck. One of Erwin Strahlmann's fleet of coasters, ARLAU, spent most of the day at anchor while the closure was in effect, awaiting passage to Shieldhall this afternoon to load a cargo of scrap metal destined for the Spanish smelters. ARLAU is from the same shipyard that built RODAU and LINNAU, the Slovenske Lodenice Komarno yard on the River Danube. Delivered in May 2004, ARLAU's deadweight is 3,701 tonnes, with an overall length of 87.79 metres. Like most of the ships built at this yard, her hull construction commenced several years before launch took place; in this case her keel was laid in 1998.

Monday, 14 January 2008


Another new name on the Clyde today, in the form of the container ship HERM, seen here heading past McInroy's Point on her way to Greenock Ocean Terminal. Built in 2004, her hull was constructed at the Daewoo Mangalia shipyard in Romania, then towed to Holland where it was completed by Bodewes Scheepswerf Volharding at Foxhol. Capable of carrying up to 750 containers, she is 134.60 metres overall, and has a deadweight of 9,368 tonnes. She was arriving today from Rotterdam and Southampton, and appears to have encountered heavy weather on passage. Note the light blue topped container which has broken its lashings! She is a near-sister ship of a regular visitor, ENDEAVOR, and is operated by the German company, Reederei Unitas.


A small survey vessel which is seen quite often on the Clyde, was noted passing McInroy's Point this afternoon. She is the unusually named REMOTE SENSOR, operated by Aspect Surveys based at Irvine, and used to conduct hydrographic surveys. 8.0 metres in length, she is driven by two 90hp outboard engines.

Sunday, 13 January 2008


On a very damp and blustery afternoon, the British-registered tanker MAERSK RAPIER sailed from the NATO fuel jetty at Loch Striven for a fairly short voyage. Bound for Finnart to back-load a cargo, she is seen here clearing the berth with two of Serco Denholm's MoD tugs in attendance. Both SD-DEXTEROUS and SD-IMPETUS are carrying their new names, having been renamed during December, in common with the rest of the Serco Denholm fleet.

Friday, 11 January 2008


Loading scrap metal at Diesel Wharf, the coaster COASTAL WAVE was a common visitor to Greenock a few years ago when employed on a container service between the Clyde and the Irish sea ports such as Dublin and Liverpool. Built in 1983 by Sietas as CRAIGANTLET, she later became NEPTUNUS then PELLWORM, before joining the Coastal Container service as COASTAL WAVE in 1998. Now registered at Dundalk, and owned by Lee Shipping, she has a deadweight of 1,874 tonnes and is 78.0 metres in length.


After spending several days awaiting an improvement in weather conditions the tug RED DOLPHIN and her tow left Belfast last night, and arrived on the Clyde this morning. The floating 400-tonne crane GPS ATLAS will be used to raise the wreck of FLYING PHANTOM sometime in the next few days, although she may have to await the arrival of another support vessel. GPS ATLAS was built in1967 at Kiel in Germany as MAGNUS V for owners based at Hamburg. In 1971, she was sold to Smit Tak International of Holland and renamed TAKLIFT 3. Now operated by GPS Marine Contractors, she was given her current name in 2005. With dimensions of 46.86 metres by 20.00 metres, she has a gross tonnage of 904 tons.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

STEN EMBLA outbound

Another view of the tanker STEN EMBLA, this time showing an interesting bow wave as her bulbuous bow cleaves its way through the water as she heads down the Clyde this afternoon, on her way to Mongstad for another cargo of oil.


The Bulgarian built bulk carrier KYODO PROGRESS sailed after completing her discharge of animal feed at Shieldhall on a quiet, peaceful afternoon, after high winds prevented her from sailing over the past couple of days. She was built in 1981 by the Georgi Dimitrov Shipyard at Varna for Bulk Nedlloyd BV of Holland, and was originally named AMSTELVOORN. When she was relatively new, she had the misfortune to suffer from a steering gear failure while transitting the Lower Mississippi River. She succeeded in ramming a jetty belonging to the Lower Bayou Steel Company, suffering damage to bow above the waterline. Shoreside damage was later estimated to be in the region of $8 million. Later becoming SUN VALLEY after being sold in 1987, she was again renamed on a further change of owners in 1991 when she became OSLAND. This name was abbreviated in January 1996 to LAND, the ship finally taking her current name in October 2007. With a deadweight of 37,991 tonnes, KYODO PROGRESS has an overall length of 201.56 metres. She was sailing for Riga, in the Baltic Sea.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008


Although her colour scheme is a little less garish, this ship is a sister of WERDER BREMEN and is one of the numerous Sietas Type 160 container carriers. PETUJA, under which name she was launched before being renamed almost immediately, spent three years sailing under the name JOANNA BORCHARD, reverting to her original name in 2000. She was completed in March 1997, is 6,800 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 121.94 metres. PETUJA arrived this afternoon from Dublin, just a few minutes behind TISTEDAL.


A stranger arrived today on the regular DFDS Lys Line service carrying paper into Greenock. She was this ship, the 4,800 tonne deadweight TISTEDAL, built in Oldenburg, Germany, in 1996. She arrived from Belfast after a very boisterous passage, sailing again later today for Skogn. She is 117.62 metres long, and from 1997 until 1999 carried the name LYS POL. She is owned by the German company, Wolfgang Hammann KG and is registered in Gibraltar.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


Escorting the tanker STEN EMBLA up river this morning, were both of Clyde Marine's Damen Stan Tugs, BATTLER and BRUISER. The latter was delivered to the company in June 2007 from the Dutch tug-builder for use on the river and in particular for handling tanker traffic. With an overall length of 19.33 metres, BRUISSER manages to achieve a bollard pull of almost 28 tons, and is driven by two Caterpillar engines producing 2,000 bhp. Further information about her can be read on this data sheet from her builders, or a similar one supplied by her owners.


Launched for her Norwegian owners in 1999 by the Chinese Jiangnan Shipyard Group, the 13,754 tonne deadweight chemical and oil tanker STEN EMBLA made her way slowly up the River Clyde this morning to Rothesay Dock. Measuring some 134.3 metres in length, she would normally have been canted using the mouth of the Cart. However, today she berthed in Rothesay Dock facing east, the wreck of FLYING PHANTOM having prevented this turn from taking place. STEN EMBLA is operated by Rederiet Stenersen, although her owners now appears to be a company based in the Marshall Islands. She was seen previously on ClydeSights, when she was sailing from Finnart on one occasion last September.

Monday, 7 January 2008


CORUISK was out on the Firth today running trials, following her recent spell at Garvel. Tonight, with no other berth available to her, most unusually she is lying at Greenock's Customhouse Quay. This is the berth used as the regular Greenock calling point for the paddle steamer WAVERLEY, although it occasionally sees other visitors such as POLE STAR last November.

Ferguson Trio

Having just arrived at the Garvel Drydock's berth in the James Watt Dock, for some unscheduled repairs, Western Ferries' SOUND OF SHUNA completed a line-up of three ships all built at the Ferguson shipyard. Ahead of her lies ISLE OF LEWIS, which arrived yesterday afternoon, and beyond her, MINNA, a fisheries protection ship.


Lying off the north end of the Great Cumbrae island, the bulk carrier LOTUS BLOSSOM is awaiting a berth at Hunterston. This ship, built in 2005 by the Sanoyas Hishino Meisho Corporation at Mizushima in Japan, is od Panamax size, and has a deadweight of some 75,804 tonnes. Her length is 225.0 metres overall. Owned by Crest Ocean Traders, she is registered in Panama. LOTUS BLOSSOM was involved in an incident at New Orleans when she was a little over a year old, and ended up aground for a few hours in the Mississippi River while carrying a cargo of phosphate rock.

Sunday, 6 January 2008


Making a return to the Clyde today for her annual survey and overhaul at the Garvel Clyde repair yard, Caledonian MacBrayne's largest ferry, ISLE OF LEWIS, is seen passing two other products of her 1995 birthplace, Ferguson Shipbuilders at Port Glasgow. In the background SOUND OF SCARBA, built in 2001, is loading at the new linkspan which also came from Fergusons, and was installed at McInroy's Point in May 2007.

ISLE OF LEWIS berthed briefly at Gourock to discharge cars belonging to her crew, and while there met LOCH ALAINN, currently awaiting her next spell of relief duty, which will be on the Cumbrae service next week.

She then headed up the River Clyde channel past Ocean Terminal before turning in the river, and heading stern-first into the James Watt Dock. For the 101 metre long ferry, it seemed like a fairly tight squeeze through the dock entrance - her beam is 18.5 metres, and the entrance not much wider.

The final shot in this set shows her, after successfully negotiating the dock entrance, slipping past CORUISK, which is nearing the completion of her overhaul. Although ISLE OF LEWIS has gone to other UK shipyards for her annual surveys in recent years, she has been to Garvel many times in the past, her last visit being in May 1998 when she had to be drydocked to allow urgent repair work to be carried out. An excellent selection of other views depicting her arrival can be seen here.