Monday, 30 June 2008


The surviving member of the 'Hunt' class which was built on the Clyde by Yarrow Shipbuilders has been exercising on the river for the past few weeks. HMS MIDDLETON, which was commissioned into naval service in August 1984, recently visited Manchester, becoming the first naval ship to transit the Ship Canal for quite some time. She is currently undergoing Basic Operational Sea Training, to regain operational experience following a 3-month long docking, which included shaft refurbishment, a new Mine Disposal System, and fitting of the Warship Automatic Identification System as well as other modifications.


Also seen arriving this morning was BG Freight Lines' chartered container ship BG ANTWERP. The 700 TEU ship was arriving from Belfast, and sailed again this afternoon for Rotterdam. She was built in 1996 by J.J. Sietas at Hamburg, just one of more than a dozen ships of the Type 160 class, several of which have been seen calling at Greenock.


A new arrival this morning was the Dutch-owned and flagged ro-ro freighter TIMCA, one of a number of similar vessels operated by Transfennica, a subsidiary of the Spliethoff company. TIMCA was built in Poland by Szczecinska Nowa, and was completed in 2006. Her overall length is 205.0 metres, while her deadweight is 17,564 tonnes. TIMCA has been employed mainly on routes within the Baltic, although more recently she and some of her sisters have been taking cargoes of woodpulp to the east coast of the USA. She will be loading paper reels which, until recently, have usually gone to the USA aboard Spliethoff's own 'S' class freighters. As well as having a ro-ro capability, she can carry standard containers in the forward section of her hull.

Sunday, 29 June 2008


Following the visit to Loch Striven by BAYLEAF earlier in the week, this morning witnessed the arrival of her sistership ORANGELEAF. Another Stat 32 tanker, she was also built at the Cammell Laird shipyard at Birkenhead but was competed a few years previously. ORANGELEAF was launched in 1975, originally named HUDSON PROGRESS, but was not completed until 1979, by which time she had been renamed BALDER LONDON. She was requisitioned during the Falklands conflict to supply fuel to the British forces, and her fulltime naval career as a member of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary commenced when she was chartered to the MoD(N) in May 1984, following conversion to allow replenishment of other vessels at sea. She is 170.7 metres overall, with a deadweight of 33,751 tonnes. Both ships of this class are due to leave naval service in the not-too-distant future, as they are single hulled tankers. ORANGELEAF is due to be decommissioned next year, despite having fairly recently completed a Service Life Extension Programme.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

STADUM outbound

Passing Cloch Point, Erwin Strahlmann's coaster STADUM was on passage this afternoon to Aviles in Spain, with another cargo of scrap metal. She was completed in 1989 by Damen at their Gorinchem yard as BARBEL, being renamed ALPHA four years later. In 1999, she was again renamed, becoming WESTERHUSEN, and took her present name in 2002. Her overall length is 89.31 metres, and her deadweight is 2,851 tonnes.


Another view of a regular visitor to the Clyde, TISTEDAL, as she makes her way towards Greenock with another cargo of reels of paper from Skogn, in Norway. Like a number of German-owned vessels, she has Gibraltar as her port of registry, which allows them to take advantage of the UK's Tonnage Tax rules.


Another tanker also headed to Finnart today. She was a little larger at 159,549 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 274.7 metres. DA LI HU is owned by the Dalian Ocean Shipping Company, part of the COSCO group, and was completed at the end of 2004 by the Bohai Shipbuilding Heavy Industry Co. DA LI HU is operating for Blue Fin Tankers, the subsidiary company of the Heidmar Group that specialises in the Suezmax size of ship. As might be expected for a Chinese-built, Chinese-owned, and Chinese-flagged ship, her crew are indeed Chinese!


After having discharged a cargo of fuel at NuStar's terminal at Clydebank (until recently, known operated by Kaneb), the Russian tanker AGDASH lay off Greenock for a couple of days. This morning, AGDASH moved from the Tail o' the Bank to Finnart to backload her next cargo. She is seen passing Kilcreggan together with the tug KINDEACE, which would be assisteing her berthing there.

Friday, 27 June 2008


Loading timber for export at Troon today was the Dutch-flagged coaster FLINTERBELT. She is operated by Nordic Chartering, and was built in 2004 in Poland by Marine Projects Ltd at Gdansk, although her completion took place at the Bodewes shipyard at Hoogezend in Holland. FLINTERBELT has a deadweight of 3,481 tonnes, and an overall length of 82.50 metres.


The German cruise ship EUROPA visited Ayr today, anchoring about a mile off the harbour entrance and using her own tenders to ferry passengers ashore. The Berlitz Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships has awarded this ship, owned by the German company Hapag Lloyd, their highest rating for eight consecutive years. She was built in 1999 by Kvaerner Masa Yards at Helsinki. She is 198.52 metres in length, has a gross tonnage of 28,890 tons, and can carry up to 408 passengers in the utmost luxury. She is currently on a cruise round the British Isles, entitled 'English Style and Celtic Mysticism'. Her ports so far have included Greenwich, Torquay, Tresco (Scilly Isles), Bantry, and Galway. She sailed this afternoon for Portree, Invergordon and Leith. The cruise started from, and will end at, Hamburg.

Thursday, 26 June 2008


Clyde Marine Services' little passenger ferry KENILWORTH spent a couple of hours alongside the breakwater at Dunoon this afternoon. She is currently being used on a programme of short cruises from Greenock and Helensburgh to Dunoon, Blairmore and Loch Goil. The Argyll Forest Park ferry service, as it is billed, operates until the end of August. Sadly, today's sailing from Dunoon to the mouth of Loch Goil was cancelled due to a lack of support. Since having been replaced on the SPT ferry service from Gourock to Kilcreggan and Helensburgh last year by SEABUS, her owners have extensively refurbished KENILWORTH and she now has an appearance, internally as well as externally, more in keeping with her age. Built in 1936, she still sees occasional use on her former route.


The second ship to call at Sandbank since ELVITA 1 departed was SCOT PIONEER, seen here alongside the pier loading round timber today. Like many ships completed by Dutch shipyards, her hull was built elsewhere, in her case at the Shipyard Leda in Croatia. She was completed in 2006 by the Peters Shipyard at Kampen as HARNS for a Dutch owner. In February 2008, she was renamed SCOT PIONEER and became a member of the Scotline fleet. With an overall length of 89.99 metres, her deadweight is 3,614 tonnes.


One of the Royal Fleet Auxilary tankers arrived at Loch Striven yesterday morning, and sailed again this afternoon. BAYLEAF, which was built in 1982 by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, started life as a merchant ship named HUDSON SOUND but was completed as a fleet support tanker at the time of the Falklands War. Based on the Stat 32 design, she was originally operated by the RFA on charter, but was later purchased by the Ministry of Defence. Of 33,000 tonnes deadweight, BAYLEAF is capable of performing replenishment at sea (RAS) and refuelling warships both steaming alongside, and astern. She is 170.7 metres in length, and has a complement of 56. She is lightly armed with two Oerlikon 20mm guns and four 7.62mm machine guns.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

YEOMAN BANK outbound

Following ENCOUNTER down the Clyde this afternoon was the bulk carrier YEOMAN BANK, which had been at Shieldhall, discharging a cargo of stone from Glensanda. Last seen on the Clyde two months ago, YEOMAN BANK was heading for Garrucha, on the Mediterranean coast of Spain.

ENCOUNTER outbound

Seen passing Inverkip as she headed down the Clyde today on passage to Bilbao, ENCOUNTER is still running on the MacAndrews charter. Details of JR Shipping's 2004-built ship can be found here.


Sitting in the Lobnitz Basin at Renfrew, Arklow Shipping's ARKLOW RAMBLER was loading scrap metal for for Portugal. The 4,500 tonne deadweight ship was launched in 2002 at Lemmer by Scheepswerf Bijlsma, and is a sister of ARKLOW RALLY. Flying the Dutch flag, this 89.95 metre long coaster sailed for Leixoes this afternoon.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008


HALLOWEEN is a Bermuda sloop, and was built in 1926, coming third in the Fastnet race that year before embarking on an illustrious racing career elsewhere. 82 feet overall, she was initially restored in the USA and later in Italy at the same yard that had restored MARIETTE, seen on her starboard side. Further offshore is the gaff cutter MOONBEAM III, a 105 foot long vessel built at Fairlie in 1903.


The gaff schooner MARIETTE dates from 1915 and is not actually a Fife design. She was built in the USA for a Boston textile merchant, and has an overall length of 124 feet. She underwent a major restoration in Italy in 1995. The tiny yacht seen ahead of her is the 27 foot long replica gaff cutter OBLIO, and ahead of her is MARIQUITA. She is a 19-metre gaff cutter, possibly the last of her type still in existence. She was built at Fairlie in 1915, and was restored by Fairlie Restorations in 2004. Note how small the crew member sitting on the spreader halfway up her mast appears to be! On the left of the picture, with the pink, blue and white spinnaker, is ROSEMARY, a 38 foot 6 inch long Bermuda sloop built in 1925.


As they belong to the same owner, THE LADY ANNE is often seen in the company of ADIX, and this regatta is no exception. THE LADY ANNE is a 15-meter gaff cutter which was built at Fairlie in 1912, originally belonged to George Coats of Paisley, owner of several yachts and steamyachts. She is one of the faster yachts taking part, and won the last Fife Regatta when it was held on the Clyde in 2003. Her topmast and bowsprit contain carbon fibre sheaths, a feature that causes much debate amongst the classic yachting fraternity. She was extensively rebuilt by Fairlie Restorations in 1998/99.

Fife Regatta 2008

A selection of images from today's Fife Regatta Rothesay Race, which started from the Tail o' the Bank. The upper view shows ADIX, ALTAIR, the diminutive little OBLIO - a replica gaff cutter built in 2007, an (as yet!) unidentified yacht, PEGGY BAWN - one of the oldest vessels present dating from 1894, SONATA with her multi-coloured spinnaker - a sloop from 1950 with THE TRUANT - an 8-metre yacht from 1910 - behind her, the little AYRSHIRE LASS - newly restored and the oldest dating from 1887, and VIOLA - a century old gaff cutter - with SOLWAY MAID behind them (with the pinkish sail) - she dates from 1940.

The larger yachts included ALTAIR - a 130' schooner from 1931, MARIQUITA - a 19-metre gaff cutter from 1911, MARIETTE - a 124' gaff schooner from 1915, THE LADY ANNE - a 15-metre gaff cutter built in 1912, HALLOWEEN - a 79' Bermuda sloop from 1926, and MOONBEAM III - another gaff cutter of 105' and built in 1903.

Monday, 23 June 2008

SAXEN outbound

Another outbound ship seen today was the tanker SAXEN. She started life in 1989 as SKUTSKÄR, a ship capable, according to her entry in Lloyd's Register, of carrying 'general, container and oil cargoes'. Built by Van der Giessen-de Noord at Krimpen an der Ijsssel, she was sold in 1993 and renamed COLDSTREAM MERCHANT. Three years later, she was sold again, and renamed SAXEN. In 2005 she was given a major refit in Poland, emerging as a double-hulled tanker and meeting the latest regulations. She is owned by Ahlmarco BV, a Dutch company which appears to be a subsidiary of the similarly named Ahlmark Lines of Sweden, and technical management is entrusted to Marin Ship Management. Her commercial managers are Iver Lundh & Co, a Swedish company. She is 99.55 metres overall, and has a summer deadweight of 6,279 tonnes.

DEO VOLENTE outbound

After delivering another of her cargoes of wind turbines, the Dutch cargo ship DEO VOLENTE was seen this afternoon making good headway down the River Clyde, as she passed Port Glasgow on her way back to Esbjerg in Denmark.


Very much in keeping with the visiting Fife classic yachts currently on the Clyde, the appearance of the three-masted schooner ADIX is a little deceptive. She is a relatively new vessel, built in Spain in 1984 and originally named JESSICA. When new, she was square rigged on her foremast, and was also shorter. In 1991 she was given a major refit, which included lengthening, at the Pendennis Shipyard at Falmouth and as a result ADIX is now 64.9 metres long. Her masts are made of an aluminium alloy, while her booms and gaffs are timber-clad carbon fibre.

DRUM high and dry

Also seen sitting (very) high and dry at Fairlie today, was Sir Arnold Clark’s yacht DRUM, receiving underwater attention. The 78-foot long yacht was previously shown here. It seems strange that she is out of the water just now, given the presence of the locally designed and built Fife yachts visiting the area at the moment.


Pictured today at Fairlie Marina, the Kilcreggan and Helensburgh passenger ferry SEABUS had just been lifted out of the water for some attention below the waterline. Normally employed by her owners, Clyde Marine Services Ltd, on the SPT subsidised service from Gourock, SEABUS joined her owner's fleet in March 2007. She was built at Plymouth, and is 19.5 metres long. She can carry up to 100 passengers.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Fife Regatta 2008

The spectacular sight of classic yachts has returned to the Clyde again, with the assembly of 22 of one of the world's most prestigious groups of yachts. All designed by William Fife and Sons at their boatyard at Fairlie, they vary greatly in age and size. With the NLB's POLE STAR heading downfirth, the 130 foot long schooner ALTAIR was seen today leading the 'Clyde Race' from Largs to Rhu. She dates from 1931.

The dark-hulled vessel in the centre of this view is even older, and is the 1915-built MARIETTE, A little shorter at 124 feet, she is a gaff schooner.

Another view showing some of the participants in today's race. The fleet is spending a full week on the Clyde, and will be racing to Rothesay on Tuesday, and from the Kyles of Bute to Largs on Thursday. The final race in the 2008 Fife Regatta takes place on Friday.


Transferring stock between some of the salmon fishfarms operated by Pan Fish (Scotland) in Loch Fyne and Loch Striven during the past few days, the Norwegian live smolts carrier GRIPFISK was seen working at one in Loch Striven this afternoon. She was built in 1997 by Aas Mek Verksted, and is 40.3 metres long, with a gross tonnage of 475 tons. She is owned by a company with the same name as the vessel herself, Gripfisk.

Saturday, 21 June 2008


One of Royal Caribbean Cruises' ships called at Greenock today, on a cruise which started at Harwich, and called at Le Havre, Plymouth, Cork, and Dublin before heading up the Clyde very early this morning. She is seen passing Inverkip this afternoon as she sailed for Flam in Norway, and is due to visit Alesund and Bergen before returning to Harwich. JEWEL OF THE SEAS was delivered from the Meyer Werft shipyard at Papenburg in 2004. She is 293.2 metres overall, and has a gross tonnage of 90,090 tons. She is one of four 'Radiance' class ships in her owner's fleet, and she can carry up to 2,501 passengers. She is registered in the Bahamas, and usually spends the late spring and summer based at Harwich, the autumn cruising from Boston and the rest of the year based at Miami.

ELVITA 1 outbound

Pictured this afternoon sailing at last from the Holy Loch, the Russian-owned, Panamanian-flagged coaster ELVITA 1 was seen as she turned to head down the main channel, on her way to Plymouth. Having been detained by the MCA following an inspection on 29 May, ELVITA 1 effectively closed Sandbank to other vessels calling to load timber, a trade which is now expected to resume shortly. During her unexpectedly long stay at the Holy Loch Marina, her crew were on strike claiming that they had not been paid for several months, and it appears that some of them actually left the vessel, leaving her undermanned. Presumably a new crew has been found allowing her to sail again.


Now almost one year old, JEVENAU, a sistership of Erwin Strahlmann's MÜHLENAU which sailed yesterday, arrived last night at the Bravo anchorage. Seen awaiting this morning's tide, she later proceeded upriver to Diesel Wharf to load another cargo of scrap metal. JEVENAU was also pictured on a previous visit to the Clyde last April.

Friday, 20 June 2008


Outbound with a wide variety of containers aboard, BG ANTWERP was making the relatively short journey this afternoon to Belfast, before continuing on to Southampton on the BG Freight Line UK West Coast service. More details about this Sietas-built ship, dating from 1996, can be found in this earlier posting.

MÜHLENAU outbound

Seen passing McInroy's Point this afternoon on her way to Liverpool with a cargo of scrap metal, was Erwin Strahlmann's 2004-built coaster MÜHLENAU. She is one of a series built for the company on the River Danube by Slovenske Lodenice Komarno, and belongs to the 'Rhein' class produced at their Bratislava shipyard. She has a deadweight of 3,680 tonnes and an overall length of 87.90 metres. Like most of the Strahlmann fleet, cargoes are arranged for this ship by Meerpahl & Meyer, a German firm of shipbrokers. As well as full details of the ship herself, there is an interesting view on Strahlmann's website, showing her proceeding downriver from her builders, with the wheelhouse sitting on her hatch covers.


Heading from the Great Harbour this morning, to Luce Bay, Serco-Denholm's SALMOOR shows off her new funnel colours which, thankfully, appear to have had the masking tape removed from the top of the red portion (see picture on previous posting). Also apparent is the large clear working area of her foredeck, used for handling moorings and buoys in her role as a salvage and mooring ship.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Ardmaleish Boatyard

A view showing the Ardmaleish Boatyard this evening, with CalMac's LOCH BHRUSDA on the slip. She recently returned from a spell of relief duty in the Western Isles, where she was operating the crossing between Barra and Eriskay. MISNEACH, the small vessel on the right, has been there for some considerable time, and does not appear to have moved in the past six months.


Making her, by now, usual Greenock call this morning was Peter Dohle's container ship VELAZQUEZ, on her fortnightly round trip between the UK, NW Europe and Portugal. According to the latest MacAndrews schedules, her running mate on this service is now another ship, HELGALAND, while CANOPUS J has taken the place of MERIWA on the Bilbao run.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A.B. BILBAO outbound

After a quick load at Shieldhall - she only arrived yesterday morning - A.B. BILBAO sailed this afternoon with another load of scrap metal for recycling at Ferrol, in the north-west corner of Spain. Another of Bockstiegel's coasters, A.B. LIVERPOOL, was on the Clyde at Ayr, and she also sailed today for Ferrol with a cargo of scrap.

FRIDA outbound

Obviously her machinery problems have been cured, and FRIDA managed to make her own way down the Clyde this afternoon as she heads for Esbjerg, and more than likely, another cargo of wind turbines like those she arrived with at the beginning of the week. The two green objects amidships, either side of her hatches, appear to be ventilation trunkings, unusual items to see in that location on a ship of her size.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008


As SVITZER MALLAIG has returned to Clyde service following her modifications at Newark Quay, AYTON CROSS has temporarily left the Clyde, and sailed from Greenock yesterday afternoon. Over the next few weeks, the ore terminal at Hunterston is closed for maintenance purposes, so to keep her fully employed, AYTON CROSS has crossed the North Sea to work in Amsterdam allowing local tugs there to be drydocked.

Monday, 16 June 2008


Bringing a cargo of grain to the Clyde, the Wagenborg coaster VIRGINIABORG arrived this afternoon and proceeded directly upriver to Shieldhall. Dating from 2001, she is, like most of her owner's fleet, registered at Delfzijl. She is a sizeable vessel of some 9,600 tonnes, and has an overall length of 132.2 metres. Her hull was built in Romania by Daewoo Mangalia Shipyards, then towed to Holland for completion by the Volharding Shipyard.


The German coaster FRIDA spent today at anchor with her cargo of wind turbine parts, after arriving very early this morning from Esbjerg in Denmark. FRIDA is owned by Nimmrich & Prahm, and was built at the Rousse Shipyard in Bulgaria in 2005. She has an overall length of 100.72 metres, and a deadweight of 4,800 tonnes. This afternoon she moved up river, not under her own power, but under tow, accompanied by one of Clyde Marine's tugs, and WARRIOR III.

Sunday, 15 June 2008


Another Clydebuilt ship arrived today, in the form of the Fisheries Research Services' SCOTIA, a highly specialised ship built by Ferguson Shipbuilders in 1998. Based usually at Aberdeen, she operates mainly in North Sea and North-eastern Atlantic waters, undertaking fish stock assessment and environmental surveys. Bristling with scientific equipment and sensors, considerable attention was paid during her design and construction to reduce her noise signature to extremely low levels. SCOTIA is 68.60 metres in length, and has a crew of 17, plus 12 scientists. This 2,916 gross ton ship is driven by an advanced diesel electric propulsion system, and a single screw.


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary FORT AUSTIN arrived back on the Upper Firth this afternoon after having spent the past couple of weeks on exercise in the English Channel. Clydebuilt, she was laid down at the Scott Lithgow shipyard in December 1975, and launched in March 1978. Since entering naval service in 1979, she has seen service in the Falklands War, the Gulf War and in the Adriatic.


SVITZER MALLAIG has spent the past few days at Ferguson Shipbuilders Newark shipyard at Port Glasgow, having some modifications carried out to the rubber fendering at her bow. The eagle-eyed will also note that her name has been repositioned aft of the fairleads port and starboard; see here for a view showing the previous arrangement. SVITZER MALLAIG returned to the James Watt Dock today to resume towage duties.

Saturday, 14 June 2008


Another cargo of fuel for the Kaneb depot at Rothesay Dock arrived this evening aboard Fisher's tanker CLYDE FISHER, inbound from Amsterdam. This tanker has been seen several times on the river, most recently in April.

Friday, 13 June 2008


The two other ships in Ayr Harbour on Friday were both at the coal berth. RED DUCHESS, more often seen carrying cargoes of timber, was loading coal for Belfast, from which the other ship, IMI, had arrived earlier in the day. IMI is a Bahamas-registered coaster belonging to Misje Bulk AS, a Norwegian company, and dates from 1993. She was built by Scheepswerf Bijlholt BV as MARJA, and was renamed in September 2006. She is 89.9 metres long, with a deadweight of 4,297 tonnes.


Berthed astern of FAME was a coaster, also registered in Bergen, and loading a cargo of round timber, destined for Pietersaari, in Finland. NORDIC CHANTAL was built in 1994 as BREMER SATURN, and completed by the Bodewes Volharding shipyard at Foxhol, she is 89.72 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 4,045 tonnes. She is equipped with an elevator on her port side, visible beside the stack of containers she is carrying. Renamed in 2006, she is now operated by Nordic Chartering, although she is owned by a Cypriot company and managed by Riga Shipping, another of whose ships was also seen on Wednesday.


An elderly little coaster was noted in Ayr Harbour on Friday afternoon. FAME was built in 1966 by Leirvik Sveis A/S, a yard which nowadays constructs living quarters modules for offshore platforms, and has borne just three names since new. Launched as SOLFJORD, she became EIDSVAAG MARIN in 2002 and was renamed FAME four years later. Only 788 tonnes deadweight, she is 53.45 metres long. She is registered in Bergen, although her owners are based in the Faroe Islands. She appears to have loaded cargo at Ayr, possibly fertiliser.