Sunday, 31 August 2008

Coasters at Anchor

Two coasters arrived at the 'Bravo' anchorage on Sunday afternoon, and were seen as they both awaited passage upriver to Glasgow. On the left, Faversham Ships' NORDSTRAND was bringing a cargo for BAE Scotstoun, now renamed BVT Surface Fleet Ltd to reflect the joint venture between BAE and Vospers for the construction of the new aircraft carriers to be built for the Royal Navy. The ship on the right was JOHN-PAUL K., a member of the Alstership fleet which has also been seen on the river recently. She was due to move upriver for a cargo of scrap metal.

McInroy's Point

SOUND OF SCARBA spent a good part of the weekend running a shuttle service between her owner's terminals at Hunter's Quay and McInroy's Point, carrying traffic in one direction only and overtaking her sisters on passage. This was possible as the company had been granted a special dispensation to utilise both linkspans at either side of the firth for this weekend only, and proved to be very effective at keeping traffic on the move.

STEN ODIN inbound

JUPITER didn't just have the red-hulled ferries of the Western Ferries fleet to contend with over the Cowal Games weekend - on Sunday the regular visitor STEN ODIN arrived during one of the day's numerous showers with a cargo of fuel for Rothesay Dock. JUPITER was crossing from Dunoon to Gourock, with SATURN also assisting her over the weekend prior to her taking over the run on Monday, to allow the older vessel some time off.

Saturday, 30 August 2008


All ferries serving Dunoon were, as expected, very busy over the weekend with traffic heading for the Cowal Games. This view shows Western Ferries' SOUND OF SHUNA making her way across the firth between Hunter's Quay and McInroy's Point on Saturday evening with a full load of vehicles and passengers, as Solent and Wightline Cruises' catamaran ferry ALI CAT - which is on long-term charter to CalMac - heads back to Dunoon to pick up another couple of hundred foot passengers.


Bringing a part cargo of animal feed to Glasgow on Saturday morning was the bulk carrier CHUETSU MARU, a Panamanian-flagged ship of some 42,791 tonnes deadweight. Built in 1987 by the Imabari Shipbuilding Co in Japan, she is now managed by the Canadian office of Fairmont Shipping, a Hong Kong company. With an overall length of 199.97 metres, CHEUTSU MARU is the second high freeboard bulker, specifically designed for the carriage of wood chips, to have been on the Clyde this year; in February the Korean-flagged ship BIG GRACE visited Shieldhall to discharge a similar cargo.

Friday, 29 August 2008


Passing the Cloch on her way towards Kempock Point, where she embarked her river pilot for Glasgow, SCOT VENTURE had sailed from Ayr in the afternoon. She loaded a cargo of timber in King George V Dock for Domsjö, the second time that she has taken timber to Swedish ports in the past few weeks.


Making good progress as she returns to the Victoria Harbour at Greenock, Clyde Marine Services' tug BITER had been working down the Firth. BITER is a twin-screw Stan Tug 1 and was built in Holland in 1982 by the well known Damen Shipyards. She has two Cummins engines which give the 15.7 metre long vessel a bollard pull of 10 tonnes. BITER has been on the Clyde since 2001.

CANOPUS J. outbound

Heading down the Firth on Friday afternoon, the German 750 TEU container ship CANOPUS J was, as usual, sailing for Bilbao with a good cargo onboard. On deck today her containers included some belonging to CMA CGM, the parent company of MacAndrews, and also some with markings from their previous owners, AWS - Andrew Weir Shipping.

Thursday, 28 August 2008


As the close of her main Clyde summer season approaches, the preserved paddle steamer WAVERLEY was seen this evening approaching Dunoon, which hosts the annual Cowal Highland Gathering this weekend. Together with WAVERLEY, the Caledonian MacBrayne and Western Ferries fleets will be running augmented services over the weekend to cater for the influx of visitors. WAVERLEY's last Clyde sailing is on Monday, from Glasgow, Largs and Ayr around Ailsa Craig, weather permitting, and then she will be heading south for a few weeks to sail on the south coast of England and the River Thames. She will then return to the Clyde for a final weekend of sailing in October.


A new ship, completed a few months ago in Holland using a Chinese-built hull, arrived this evening with a cargo of wind turbines for Glasgow. FILIA ARIEA is 89.95 metres long, and has a deadweight of 2,950 tonnes. One of two sisters, she is owned by Filia Shipping and flies the Dutch flag.

VELAZQUEZ outbound

Seen shortly after she passed round the Ashton Buoy, the MacAndrews container ship VELAZQUEZ was well loaded as she headed for Rotterdam, following her regular fortnightly call at Greenock today.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

SD ADAMANT and 'customer'

Following a personnel transfer at the southern end of Loch Long, Serco Denholm's catamaran SD ADAMANT heads back to Faslane as the 'Vanguard' class submarine heads out to sea to resume her patrol.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

DEO VOLENTE outbound

On an afternoon more like winter than late August, the Dutch heavy lift coaster DEO VOLENTE was seen as she headed past McInroy's Point outbound from the Clyde back to Denmark, where she will load another cargo of wind turbines for Glasgow. Now two years old, this ship is still as smart as ever, a real credit to her crew and owners.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

SEADANCER outbound

Also seen as she left the Clyde on Sunday afternoon was the tanker SEADANCER, sailing in ballast for Teneriffe after discharging at Finnart. The double-hulled crude oil carrier is registered at Nassau in the Bahamas.


Heading downriver on Sunday afternoon, bound for the Norwegian port of Skogn, was the Gibraltar-registered ship TISTEDAL, which had arrived from Belfast during the night. Although she is owned by a German company, her name is taken from the region of Norway where her cargoes originate.

Saturday, 23 August 2008


Usually, cruiseships visiting Greenock sail during the early evening, but tonight GRAND PRINCESS remained alongside to allow some of her passengers to visit the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, as part of their shore excursion programme. This is her final visit to the Clyde this summer, and GRAND PRINCESS has been the largest ship (by gross tonnage) to call at Ocean Terminal during the past twelve months.


Managed by a Greek company, Thenamaris Ships Management, the crude tanker SEADANCER appeared to be down by the head as she arrived this morning, inbound for Finnart. The bulbous bow of the 163,288 tonne deadweight ship can be seen working to good effect in this view as it pushes water aside. SEADANCER, which was built Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries in South Korea in 2006, has an overall length of 274 metres.

Friday, 22 August 2008


P&O Irish Sea Ferries have operated a number of fast craft on their seasonal service between Troon and Larne for a number of years now, and the vessel which has been used since 2005 has been EXPRESS. Built in Tasmania in 1998 by International Catamarans, she started life as CATALONIA, and has been employed in South American waters as well as on the English Channel. At 5,902 gross tons and 91.3 metres in length, EXPRESS can carry up to 225 cars and 868 passengers at speeds of more than 40 knots. Propulsion is provided by four Caterpillar diesel engines and Lips steerable waterjets. EXPRESS briefly held the Hales Trophy, awarded to passenger ships making the fastest crossing of the North Atlantic, perhaps better known as the 'Blue Riband', and was the first commercial vessel to cover more than 1,000 miles in a 24-hour period.


Another export cargo of round timber was noted today being loaded aboard Scotline's SCOT ISLES, which sailed later this evening for Varberg in Sweden. It was to this Swedish port that the company carried its first cargo of timer, from Inverness, in 1979. SCOT ISLES joined the fleet in 2006, having been built five years previously in Holland. Managed by Intrada Ships Management, she is 91.25 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 3,179 tonnes.

Thursday, 21 August 2008


Heading downfirth this evening, the container ship HELGALAND is seen passing Skelmorlie with the CalMac ferry BUTE making her way across the Firth towards Rothesay on her last run of the day. The five-year old HELGALAND was on her fortnightly service to Rotterdam and Portugal.


Seen today lying at her 'home port' of Keppel Pier (not, incidentally the same Keppel Pier that was used by Clyde steamers in the past), was the University Marine Biological Station's survey and research vessel AORA. Behind the five-year old vessel can be seen two large sandstone buildings which form part of the Station. These house a small museum and aquarium which feature many local examples of marine life.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

MARNE inbound

Arriving back on the Clyde from Liverpool this afternoon, and ready to lift another cargo of scrap steel for recycling, Strahlmann's coaster MARNE was seen as she headed past Inverkip. After embarking her pilot at Kempock Point, MARNE proceeded upriver to the riverside scrap berth at Shieldhall.


On her weekly run from the Clyde to Rotterdam, BG Freight Line's JOHN MITCHELL was seen this afternoon passing the disused tanker jetty at Inverkip. The jetty saw little use during the short period that the power station there was in operation, with rare visits from small tankers bringing oil to top up the tanks, one of which can be seen. The jetty was last used by gas tankers that had been laid up in Loch Striven, while they were being prepared for further service.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Tarbert Pier - the end?

What may turn out to be the last call by a Clyde steamer at the 139-year old pier at Tarbert, on Loch Fyne, took place today. Over the past few years, Tarbert pier has deteriorated to such an extent that unless major repairs, estimated to cost around £750,000, are carried out in the immediate future, then it will be forced to close to vessels larger than small fishing boats. This summer WAVERLEY, which usually calls there on a weekly basis, has been forced by the pier's owners to omit these calls unless the tide has been high. In addition, all berthings have had to be made using the assistance of two small boats, which are also used to move the paddler clear of the pier when departing. Until 1969, Tarbert was served with a daily call by the MacBrayne mail steamer from Gourock, which gave an onward connection to Islay and other islands on the west coast.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Ardmaleish Boatyard

As mentioned already, LOCH RIDDON has been temporarily displaced on the Largs-Cumbrae Slip ferry service to have some repairwork undertaken. This view shows LOCH RIDDON being taken out of the water at the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company's yard this afternoon, where she will receive attention to one of her Voith Schneider propellers.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

GLEN inbound

Yet another red-hulled tanker heads up the Clyde to load at Finnart. After lying off Irvine for four days, where she anchored after arriving from Coryton on the Thames, GLEN moved upfirth late this afternoon to take her place on the berth at Finnart's No 2 Jetty once AGDASH (which had lain at anchor off Greenock after completing her discharge at Ckydebank) had sailed. GLEN was built by Samho Shipbuilding in South Korea in 2005, and when new was named SONGA PEARL. Shortly after she was launched, she was renamed BRØVIG FJORD, and again LIQUID BEAUTY in June 2007. Three months later she took her present name. Like her sister BEN, which was seen on the Clyde last November, GLEN is a 12,956 tonne deadweight ship with an overall length of 127.2 metres. Her management and commercial operation are the same as BEN's, while her manning consists of a variety of East European and Filipino officers, with Filipino ratings.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

STEN ODIN and Pipers

As this view shows well, the Clyde is not only host to commercial shipping traffic such as the tanker STEN ODIN, seen off Gourock this afternoon as she was on passage from Clydebank to the Norwegian port of Slagen for her next cargo. The three yachts in the foreground are all members of the Piper One Design class, taking part in the Piper Championships being hosted by the Royal Gourock Yacht Club. These yachts were designed locally, and many were completed between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s by the world renowned Robertson's of Sandbank, on shores of the Holy Loch. In all, 57 of the 7.4 metre boats were built, with several still sailing on the Clyde to this day.


Regular caller PETUJA was seen this morning as she arrived from Dublin on the DFDS Suardiaz Line service which links the UK, Ireland and Spain. Loadings on this sector of the service currently appear to be fairly light -PETUJA seldom seems to be carrying much on deck.


The United States Navy's Fast Attack submarine JACKSONVILLE sailed from Faslane this morning, and was noted as she passed Cloch Point on her way out to sea. This vessel is one of the older members of the 'Los Angeles' class boats. She was launched by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics at Groton, in Connecticut, in November 1978, and commissioned in May 1981. Based at Norfolk, Virginia, since new, JACKSONVILLE is 360 feet in length, and displaces approximately 6,900 tons when submerged. She is capable of carrying Tomahawk missiles, and has four torpedo tubes. She carries a crew of around 130.

Friday, 15 August 2008

EIDER outbound

Down to her loadline with a cargo of scrap metal bound for Bilbao, the coaster EIDER looked very smart this afternoon as she headed past the Cloch Light at the beginning of her three day passage to the northern Spanish port. Unusually for a Strahlmann ship, her hatches are painted green rather than the more common dark red, with white bulwarks fore and aft. Another of the company's 'Rhein' class vessels, KRÜCKAU, also has this livery variation.

CANOPUS J outbound

After departing from Greenock this afternoon for Bilbao on her regular MacAndrews sailing, CANOPUS J (left) passed VEGA STOCKHOLM (right) off Dunoon, the latter arriving from Dublin. As noted previously, VEGA STOCKHOLM is operating on charter to Orient Overseas Container Lines as sails between Southampton, Dublin, Greenock and Belfast on a weekly basis.

STEN ODIN inbound

Inbound this morning for Rothesay Dock, the Sternersen tanker STEN ODIN had spent the night anchored off Brodick before heading upriver. Like her sisters, she too is on charter to Swift Tankers, now wholly owned by the Danish Maersk company.

Thursday, 14 August 2008


Five years ago today, Ferguson Shipbuilders launched Contract No. 715, a 49.95 metre long ro-ro passenger and car ferry, for Western Ferries (Clyde) Ltd. She joined the company's fleet in October 2003 as their SOUND OF SHUNA, and she has operated since then across the Clyde between Hunter's Quay and McInroy's Point. Exactly four years later, ClydeSights was launched!


Another coaster arriving today for a scrap metal cargo was Alstership's BETTINA K. Dating from 1993, she was built by Peene-Werft at Wolgast in Germany. She is 87.9 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 3,713 tonnes.


Operated by Coastworks, a company based at Fairlie, the workboat BEN CROM was noted passing Gourock this afternoon towing one of her owner's barges, CW1. BEN CROM was built in 1966 as a buoy maintenance tender by James Cook at Wivenhoe, for Carlingford Lough Commissioners. She is 21.3 metres in length, and is 70 tons gross. A common sight on the Clyde, BEN CROM is often to be seen dredging and working on a wide variety of civil engineering projects. Originally fitted with Kelvin engines, these were replaced a few years ago with two Cummins engines.


One of the many 'Rhein' class coasters built at Komarno in Slovakia and belonging to Erwin Strahlmann arrived this morning. EIDER, completed in February 2003, was seen passing McInroy's Point as she made her way towards Kempock Point where she embarked her Pilot for the river transit to Shieldhall. EIDER is 3,672 tonnes deadweight and has an overall length of 87.98 metres.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

RAMONA inbound

The Swedish tanker RAMONA has visited the Clyde before, and she arrived this morning lightship from Belfast to load a cargo of product at Finnart. She is currently operating for Broström Tankers Denmark A/S. An extensive selection of pictures showing her construction can be seen on her owner's website, which also includes a videoclip of her launching.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008


Having moved from Rosneath to Gourock Pier on Thursday 7 August, CalMac's spare 'Loch' class ferry LOCH BHRUSDA moved today to Largs, where she is to spend a few days relieving while one of the two regular ferries there undergoes some repairs. At Largs, LOCH BHRUSDA joined LOCH SHIRA on the Cumbrae Slip service thus allowing LOCH RIDDON to head for Gourock.

Monday, 11 August 2008


With the usual interesting collection of small craft at the River Clyde Boatyard in Rothesay Dock, the Maltese-registered tanker AGDASH was seen today as she neared the completion of her discharge. She arrived yesterday afternoon with a cargo of fuel from Amsterdam.


Discharging a cargo of aggregate from Glensanda at Shieldhall Riverside berth, the Norwegian flagged coaster AASFJORD arrived on the Clyde once more early this morning, and sailed again this evening.

Sunday, 10 August 2008


The Dutch heavy lift coaster DEO VOLENTE is seldom seen underway on a Sunday, largely due to her owners' strict Sabbatarian beliefs. This view shows the ship - the name of which translates as 'God Willing' - at her regular berth in Glasgow's King George V Dock, discharging another cargo of wind turbine parts.

Saturday, 9 August 2008


After a quick turnaround at Shieldhall, A.B. VALENCIA was seen as she passed Cloch Point and its lighthouse, which dates from 1797, as she left the Clyde with a cargo of scrap steel for Bayonne.

Friday, 8 August 2008


Almost a year after the first posting on ClydeSights, it seemed appropriate to post another view of RED BARONESS sailing from the Holy Loch with a cargo of timber, in this instance bound for Troon. Ahead of her, and slowed down to allow RED BARONESS to pass her, is Clyde Marine's KENILWORTH, returning to Dunoon froma cruise to Loch Long and Loch Goil. In the distance are two of the Clyde's regular container ship visitors, CANOPUS J on her way from Greenock and VEGA STOCKHOLM heading slowly towards Ocean Terminal.


Another arrival on Friday bound for the Gareloch was the Royal Navy's 'Trident' submarine VICTORIOUS. This vessel recently underwent a major three-year long refit at Devonport, which was reported to have cost around £270 million.

Inbound US submarine

Inbound to Faslane on Friday morning was one of the United States Navy's 'Los Angeles' class nuclear attack submarines. As usual, she was escorted by one of the MoD police launches - today it was GIGHA that shadowed her, following her absence from the Clyde for the past few weeks.


Heading up the Clyde this morning to uplift a cargo of scrap metal from Shieldhall, Bockstiegel's coaster A.B. VALENCIA dates from 1996. She was launched in Romania as SAAR VALENCIA, but like other members of the class was renamed while being completed in Holland. A.B. VALENCIA is 89.75 metres long, and has a deadweight of 4,211 tonnes. Her last port was Liverpool.


One of the smaller cruise ships to call at Greenock this year arrived this morning from Liverpool. OCEAN MAJESTY, owned by a Greek company, Majestic International Cruises, is operated each summer by Pay & Moy, a British travel agency. She was built in 1966 as a Spanish ferry named JUAN MARCH, and has undergone several name changes since. By 1995 she had been totally reconstructed as a cruise ship, and given her current name. Now registered in Madeira, OCEAN MAJESTY is 135.3 metres in length, and is 10,417 gross tons. She can carry up to 535 passengers. Following her visit to the Clyde, she sailed this evening for the Faeroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland.

Thursday, 7 August 2008


As noted two weeks ago, a new vessel is now operating on the MacAndrews UK-Spain/Portugal container service. HELGALAND, which is an identical sistership of VELAZQUEZ, was seen this afternoon as she passed Cloch Point on her fortnightly visit to Greenock, having sailed from Liverpool early this morning.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

FORT AUSTIN and tugs

As mentioned previously, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary FORT AUSTIN has spent some time over the past few days conducting exercises with two of the Clyde's Serco-Denholm tugs. What is unusual about the arrangement seen here is that both tugs are bow-on to the ship under tow, rather than both facing the direction of tow, in the conventional manner. At FORT AUSTIN's bow is SD-IMPETUS, with SD-IMPULSE at her stern. FORT AUSTIN has been working with these two tugs in the lower Loch Long area since Monday, returning to anchor at the Tail of the bank each evening. I am grateful to a correspondent for having sent this image to ClydeSights.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


Ferrying personnel ashore from and back to FORT AUSTIN while she lies off Greenock is Serco Denholm's fleet tender SD ORONSAY, seen here in the East India Harbour as she awaits her next sailing out to the Tail of the Bank. SD ORONSAY is one of two sisters operating on the Clyde, while a third sister, SD OBAN, which was also based at Greenock when new, now works at Devonport.