Tuesday, 30 September 2008


THE SECOND SNARK which, as mentioned in the previous post, has been based at Largs for the past few days, is seen making another trip out to SOLITAIRE this afternoon. On SOLITAIRE's port side can be seen two Yokohama fenders (the large black objects) as well as additional protection on her hull where the supply vessels such as BOA FORTUNE, HAVILA FAVOUR and HAVILA FAITH, all of which have both been on charter to Allseas, lie alongside her while transferring the sections of pipe that the larger ship then assembles into a continuous length on board.

Largs Pier

Clyde Marine's THE SECOND SNARK - called so as when she was new, and built by and for the famous Denny shipyard at Dumbarton some 70 years ago, she replaced and earlier vessel named SNARK - has been based at Largs for several days. Unusually, she was seen this afternoon on the inner side of the pier, where she is only able to berth at high water. During the coming winter months, Largs Pier is due to be rebuilt, as the existing stone structure is now in a very poor state of repair. The new pier will allow LOCH SHIRA, seen heading across to Cumbrae, to lie there overnight instead of using Fairlie Quay as she has to do at the moment.


Having only visited Hunterston two weeks ago, the Russian bulk carrier GRIGORIY ALEKSANDROV returned to the Ayrshire port this afternoon, bringing in a second cargo of coal from the Russian port of Vystotsk, close to the Finnish border.  Completed in 1986 at the Georgi Dimitrov Shipyard at Varna, in Bulgaria, she is 184.62 metres long, and has a deadweight of 24,105 tonnes. GRIGORIY ALEKSANDROV is operated by Russia's third largest shipowner, the Far-Eastern Shipping Company. Mount Stuart house on the island of Bute is visible in the background as the bulk carrier rounds the northern end of Great Cumbrae before heading south past Largs.


Another naval exercise, Joint Warrior 082, is about to commence and this afternoon saw the arrival of CORNWALL, one of the Royal Navy's Type 22 Batch 3 frigates. She was built on the Clyde, by Yarrow Shipbuilders, and was commissioned into naval service in 1988. Displacing 5,300 tons, CORNWALL is 148.1 metres long. She is capable of speeds of up to 30 knots thanks to her COGAG propulsion system, with two Rolls Royce Spey gas turbines coupled to two Tyne gas turbines. , and is armed with one 4.5 inch Mk 8 gun, one Goalkeeper close-in weapons system (CIWS), twin Sea Wolf anti-missile systems, two quadruple Harpoon missile launchers and two 20mm close range guns. She can also deploy helicopters. Her complement numbers around 250. CORNWALL has just returned from a week-long visit to Hamburg.

Monday, 29 September 2008


Tagging along behind the three tugs and the barge was the passenger catamaran ferry ALI CAT, which had to wait while the barge was manoeuvred clear of the dock entrance before she was able to proceed to her overnight berth on the north wall of the dock. The CalMac ferry SATURN can also be seen in the James Watt Dock - she is awaiting a slot in the Garvel Drydock, where the new gates (visible on the left of this picture) were fitted a few days ago.


A German tug belonging to the long-established Bugsier company reached the Clyde on Sunday afternoon. BUGSIER 21 anchored at the north end of Cumbrae, and is presumably involved with the repairs to the pipe-layer SOLITAIRE. This afternoon, with freshening weather and a northwesterly wind building up, BUGSIER 21 left her anchorage and headed up the firth to seek shelter in the James Watt Dock along with CARRON. In the first view BUGSIER 21 is seen heading past BOA FORTUNE, one of the support ships currently on charter to Allseas, owners of SOLITAIRE.

She is seen in this second view as she approached the entrance to the James Watt Dock. BUGSIER 21 was built in 2000 by Hitzler Werft at Lauenburg on the River Elbe, east of Hamburg, and is one of three sisters. Powered by two Voith Schneider propellers, she has a bollard pull of 50 tonnes, and overall length of 30.62 metres, and is 382 gross tons. 


Seen this evening entering the James Watt Dock to seek shelter from freshening weather was the tug CARRON, and the barge E3001, which after working with SOLITAIRE over the past few days had been lying at Fairlie Quay. CARRON is now, as noted previously, owned by Irish owners, Sinbad Marine of Killybegs, where an operating base had been established to provide support for the pipe-layer SOLITAIRE.

Assisting CARRON and E3001 through the dock entrance, Clyde Marine's BATTLER had been made fast to the aft end of the barge at the entrance to the river channel off Greenock Esplanade. The barge's width is 17.02 metres; the dock entrance is around 20 metres across.


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker BAYLEAF arrived at Loch Striven jetty this morning, and is seen here being berthed by two of Serco Denhom's Clyde based tugs, SD IMPETUS and SD NIMBLE (at the tanker's bow). The local workboat FRAOCH, which is the Gaelic word for 'heather', was performing her usual line-running duties. Above the aft deck of SD IMPETUS, theMoD Pilot Cutter SD MONEYPENNY can be seen arriving to convey the pilot back to Faslane. BAYLEAF's visit is likely to be in connection with a forthcoming NATO exercise due to start in a week's time.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


Approaching the Ashton Buoy this afternoon, the Royal Research Ship DISCOVERY had left Glasgow following her visit to King George V Dock for stores, and was heading out to sea on passage to Santa Cruz on the island of Tenerife.

BALMORAL at Clydebank

With a seal visiting the waters at the confluence of the Rivers Cart and Clyde, BALMORAL was seen this morning making a special call at Clydebank, on her sailing from her berth at the Science Centre to Lochranza. This is not the first time that she has called there, having previously visited Rothesay Dock on a special sailing in spring 1990.


Warming up this morning at her overnight berth in the Pudzeoch at Renfrew, the small SPT ferry RENFREW ROSE is seen here as she prepares for her day's duty on the short crossing across the River Clyde from Renfrew to Yoker, on the opposite bank of the river. RENFREW ROSE, whose sister YOKER SWAN is completing her annual survey at the River Clyde Boatyard, was built at Ardrossan in 1984 and can carry up to 50 passengers. The two ferries are also capable of transporting an ambulance in an emergency.

Friday, 26 September 2008


Another support vessel involved with SOLITAIRE arrived today. She is BOA FORTUNE, which like CARRON was also built on the Clyde. Launched at Ferguson Shipbuilder's yard at Port Glasgow in 1992 as STAR PEGASUS, and has since carried the names STIRLING PEGASUS and HAVILA FORTUNE, taking her current name in 2006. She is operated by a Norwegian firm, Taubatkompaniet, and now flies the Singapore flag. 3,100 tonnes deadweight, she is 68.7 metres long, and is on charter to Allseas Ltd, owners of SOLITAIRE.

Tug CARRON and barge

After a night at Sheifdlhall, the tug CARRON and the Smit barge E3001 returned down river today and headed for SOLITAIRE. The tug was built on the Clyde in 1979 by Scott and Sons at Bowling, for Forth Tugs Ltd at Grangemouth. In 2000 she was transferred to Cory Towage, then as a result of a takeover, she became a member of the Wijsmuller fleet. A further takeover saw her donning the Svitzer colours familiar on the Clyde. She was sold out of the Svitzer fleet recently to Irish owners. CARRON is 28.45 metres in length, and 210 gross tons. She has a bollard pull of 24 tons. The barge that she was towing is owned by Smit International, and was built in 1999. It has a maximum capacity of 3,091 tonnes and is 67.1 metres long.


Silhoutted against the Lunderston Bay shoreline, the Canadian anchor handling tug MAERSK CHALLENGER was returning from Glasgow to Killybegs, the port on the west coast of Ireland where the operation to recover the missing 12-metre long, 50 tonne section of SOLTAIRE's pipe-laying equipment is based.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Two arrivals this evening were both vessels involved with SOLITAIRE, the pipe-laying ship presently lying off Cumbrae. First to pass Cloch Point inbound was the tug CARRON, towing a barge with this ship, MAERSK CHALLENGER, following a few minutes later. MAERSK CHALLENGER, which was built in Denmark in 1986 as CHALLENGER III, is owned by a Canadian subsidiary of the parent Maersk company. She is 2,906 tonnes deadweight and has an overall length of 75.4 metres. In 2002 she was tranferred to the Canadian registry, and spent some time working off the east coast of that country. A powerful ship, her 14,400 bhp engines gve her a bollard pull of some 173 tonnes. MAERSK CHALLENGER, and CARRON, both headed upriver to Glasgow and are berthed at Shieldhall.


The preserved motorship BALMORAL, owned by the same company that operates the paddle steamer WAVERLEY, arrived back on the Clyde yesterday morning, and berthed at Largs pier. This afternoon she continued her journey to Glasgow, and was seen as she passed McInroy's Point on her way upriver. She is scheduled to perform a series of cruises over the September Holiday weekend, with sailings to Rothesay, Millport, and Lochranza on offer.

NORDSCOT outbound

Making an early departure from Finnart this morning, NORDSCOT had loaded a cargo of reformate pumped across Scotland from the Ineos refinery at Grangemouth. NORDSCOT, which had arrived on Sunday, is heading west across the Atlantic, and into the Gulf of Mexico, her destination for this particular cargo being Houston, Texas.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


An occasional visitor to Glasgow, where she picks up stores, is the National Environmental Research Council's Research Ship DISCOVERY. Built at Aberdeen in 1962 at the long-closed Hall, Russell shipyard, DISCOVERY originally presented a completely different profile, as can be seen here. In 1991 she was given a major refit, which included lengthening to give her an overall length of 90.25 metres, and a corresponding gross tonnage of 3,008 tons. DISCOVERY operates worldwide, acting as a trials platform while undertaking marine biology and oceanographic research projects. Propulsion comes from a single screw driven by a diesel electric installation, and she can carry up to 28 scientists. She is due to be replaced by a new ship in 2011.


A close-up shot of HMS VICTORIOUS as she sailed from HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane, on the Gareloch, this afternoon, with one of the armed escort craft running alongside her as she made her way past Gourock and down the firth. VICTORIOUS (S29) recently underwent a major refit at Devonport, which lasted three years, and is currently in the process of running trials prior to her returning to operational service.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008


Making her final crossing tonight from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay, the CalMac car ferry BUTE will remain at her 'home' port tomorrow due to industrial action by pier staff at Rothesay Pier. In the background, the pipe laying ship SOLITAIRE remains at anchor off the north end of Great Cumbrae, awaiting repairs following the loss of part of her equipment off the western Irish coast.

Monday, 22 September 2008


The lead ship of the Type 45 destroyer programme, DARING, arrived back at the 'Bravo' anchorage yesterday evening, following completion of ther third set of sea trials. This afternoon DARING returned upriver to Scotstoun, her birthplace, for the final finishing touches to be applied before she is handed over to the Royal Navy. DARING is due to remain on the Clyde until early next year, then head for her new home at Portsmouth, and start her career as a commissioned naval ship. By that time, the second ship - DAUNTLESS - should be undergoing her first sea trials.

Sunday, 21 September 2008


Following NORDSCOT up the Clyde this afternoon, literally minutes behind her, was another tanker, this one being bound for Rothesay Dock with a cargo of fuel from Mongstad. Dating from 1991, EURO SWAN is now Danish owned, managed and registered, although she was built in Croatia and was a member of the Norwegian Stenersen fleet. The 14,800 tonne deadweight ship is currently working for Brostrom Tankers, and measures 138.9 metres in length.


Operating for Handytankers K/S, the Liberian-flagged tanker NORDSCOT arrived this afternoon to load a cargo at Finnart. NORDSCOT was built in 2001 in Korea by the Daedong Shipbuilding Co, and is  managed by the Ahrenkiel Group. She has a deadweight of 35,770 tonnes and an overall length of 183 metres. In the foreground, the little diving boat CLUTHA, based at Kip Marina, was sitting above the wreck of the Swedish ship AKKA, which sank in 1956 after running onto the Gantocks.

Saturday, 20 September 2008


A brand new bulk carrier arrived at Hunterston this evening. The Maltese-flagged SIVOTA, only completed in June this year, was carrying a cargo of coal from Santa Marta in Colombia. Built in Shanghai, she is 292 metres long and has a deadweight of 177,804 tonnes. SIVOTA is operated by Cardiff Marine, a Greek company.


Lying on her side on a sandbank at the Tail of the Bank since January 1974, the wreck of the Greek cargo ship CAPTAYANNIS has become home to numerous seabirds, as can be seen here this afternoon. Laden with a full cargo of sugar from Portuguese East Africa, CAPTAYANNIS had arrived on the Clyde and proceeded to anchor while she awaited a berth in the James Watt Dock. While she lay there, a severe gale developed, and she began to drag anchor. Before she could get underway using her own power, she collided with the anchor cable of another ship, the BP tanker BRITISH LIGHT, and as a result was holed in her port side. CAPTAYANNIS began to fill with water and soon ended up listing badly. Her crew were taken off by small boats, including Munro's ROVER, and the ship, by now stuck fast aground on the sandbank, later rolled over onto her port side. A subsequent wrangle broke out between the ship's owners and other parties, and there she has remained to this day.


HM Naval Base Clyde has, since June 2006, been home to the First Mine Countermeasures Squadron of the Royal Navy.  The squadron consists of the eight ships of the 'Sandown' Class remaining in the RN; originally twelve strong, some members of the class have already been withdrawn. This view shows four of the class - from left to right, WALNEY (M104), PEMBROKE (M107), GRIMSBY (M108) and SHOREHAM (M112) alongside this afternoon, while one of the MoD Police launches keeps a watchful eye over them.

Friday, 19 September 2008


A most unusual vessel arrived at No 6 Anchorage at the northern end of Great Cumbrae this afternoon. SOLITAIRE, built as a bulk carrier in 1972 and given a major conversion to become the world's largest pipe-laying ship in 1998, was working off the west coast of Ireland when she suffered problems with the 'stinger' - the boom extending from her stern over which the pipelines are laid onto the seabed. The incident has caused embarrassment to Shell, which has already had to contend with protesters on the Irish coast. SOLITAIRE is 299.9 metres overall (excluding the pipelaying boom) and has tonnages of 94,855 gross and 127,435 deadweight. She carries up to 420 personnel when working on pipelaying duties, and can work with pipes of up to 60" diameter. This view also shows Clyde Marine's THE SECOND SNARK which was carrying officials out to the newly arrived ship.

Thursday, 18 September 2008


Another Norwegian live fish carrier was seen at Ardyne today, working at the Lighthouse Caledonia fish farm. ROY KRISTIAN is owned by Sølvtrans, and was originally named RUNE VIKING when new in 2001. She is a little smaller than the vessels seen at Mallaig yesterday, at 40.6 metres overall, and 496 gross tons. Her cargo tank is 650 metres³ and she sailed tonight for Mallaig.


Currently conducting a seabed survey off the Cowal coast in connection with Scottish Water, and seen with a passing 'Vanguard' class submarine outbound today, was Williams Marine and Port Services' multicat workboat WMPS SEAHORSE. She was built by Mustang Marine at Pembroke in 1997 for local use at Milford Haven, and received a major refit in 2005. She is 18.7 metres in length, is fitted with a 65-tonne crane, and has a bollard pull of 10 tonnes.


More usually seen carrying coal from Hunterston to Northern Ireland, the self-discharging coastal bulk carrier MORNES arrived on the Clyde this morning shortly after BRO GLOBE. Her cargo was road salt from Kilroot, the Northern Irish port that she normally takes coal to. MORNES, on long-term charter to Clydeport, is operated by Citadel Shipping, a Swedish company. A description of her cargo-handling equipment can be seen here.


Passing Lunderston Bay this morning, the Dutch-flagged tanker BRO GLOBE headed up the Clyde to Rothesay Dock with a cargo of fuel from Rotterdam. Working as a member of the Broström Tankers fleet, BRO GLOBE sails with a Norwegian master, Dutch and Polish officers, and Filipino crew. She was previously seen on ClydeSights almost exactly one year ago.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

RONJA sisters

Mallaig developed as a fishing port following the extension westward from Fort William of the West Highland line of the North British Railway in 1901. Nowadays, although there are still a number of fishing vessels based at the port, it also acts as a base for some of the Norwegian live fish carriers, such as this pair, RONJA COMMANDER and RONJA VIKING. RONJA COMMANDER was built in 2003 by Aas Mek Verksted specifically for use in Scottish waters by Sølvtrans, her Norwegian owners. She has an overall length of 54.07 metres, and measures 1,021 gross tons. Her two well tanks can hold around 30,000 salmon in 940 metres³  of water, which are then pumped ashore at Mallaig and transported by road to Marine Harvest's processing plant at Fort William. RONJA VIKING is a slightly newer vessel, details of which can be seen here, and she is capable of holding slightly more fish as her tanks total 1,080 metres³.

Mallaig Ferries

Two of the three CalMac ferries in this view are normally to be found at Mallaig, CORUISK serving on the crossing over te Sound of Sleat to Armadale on the island of Skye, and LOCHNEVIS, which serves the isolated communities on Muck, Eigg, Rum and Canna, collectively known as the Small Isles. The ferry on the left, LOCH BHRUSDA, is currently lying at Mallaig as well, having just undergoing trials on the Small Isles service, with a view to her relieving LOCHNEVIS next month when the latter goes to drydock for her annual overhaul.

Monday, 15 September 2008


Also seen passing Clydebank was the Defence Police launch JAMES DALTON. These vessels are more usually seen further down the river, in and around the Gareloch and on escort duty for naval visitors to the Clyde, although they have occasionally made forays upriver as well.


Seen in the river shortly after sailing from Rothesay Dock this morning, TORILL KNUTSEN had been assisted away from her berth by AYTON CROSS, with SVITZER MALLAIG standing by to lend a hand should she be required. The trio are shown making their way past the former John Brown's shipyard fitting out basin at Clydebank on a rather damp day.

Sunday, 14 September 2008


A coaster that featured on ClydeSights exactly one year ago, was back on the Clyde to load another cargo of scrap metal at Shieldhall. Erwin Strahlmann's RODAU had arrived from Bilbao on Saturday evening, and was seen awaiting the start of cargo work.


The Norwegian tanker TORILL KNUTSEN was seen alongside the NuStar berth shortly after arriving at Rothesay Dock, after spening several hours lying at Shieldhall as poor visibility had prevented her berthing at her intended destination on arrival. TORILL KNUSTEN is owned by Knutsen Tankers, and operated by Neste Oil, the Finnish company. She is currently working on charter to Eiger Shipping, part of the giant Russian oil company Lukoil. Built in Spain in 1990, she is 141.6 metres long, and has a deadweight of 14,910 tonnes. Also visible in this picture, at the far end of Rothesay Dock, is the SPT ferry YOKER SWAN, completing her annual overhaul. The masts of two of the Type 45 ships currently being fitted out by BVT Surface Fleet at Scotstoun are also visible, one above the left of the two green marker buoys in the picture, and the other shrouded in green netting at the right side of the picture.

Saturday, 13 September 2008


Solent and Wight Line Cruises' ALI CAT, very much part of the scene on the Upper Firth, was seen this afternoon making her way back to the James Watt Dock, following a brief slipping at the Ardmaleish Boatyard on Bute, where she had been undergoing her annual  Passenger Certificate survey. In the background, the bulk carrier GEORGETE K. was sailing for Casablanca, following completion of cargo discharge at Shieldhall.

Friday, 12 September 2008

The BBC Box

At the beginning of this week, the BBC started a year-long project following a standard forty-foot container as it moves around the world carrying a variety of commodities. On Monday it left Southampton, and was taken by train to Coatbridge, then by road to Paisley. There it received its first cargo, a consignment of whisky destined for export to the Far East. This afternoon, the 'BBC Box' was loaded aboard VEGA STOCKHOLM at Greenock Ocean Terminal and, with its bright red livery, was clearly visible on her deck as she sailed past McInroy's Point for Belfast and Southampton. The container has been fitted with a GPS tracking device to allow its movements to be followed. For more details about the project, visit the BBC website.


After undergoing some repairs to her hatch covers in the James Watt Dock, the self-discharging bulk carrier CLYDENES was seen today heading down river for Hunterston, where she will load a cargo of coal for the Mersey. After an absence for many months from the river, her return appears to have allowed AASHEIM to return to carrying cargoes of stone once again.

NORDIC PIA outbound

Fully laden down to her marks with a cargo of reformate, used to manufacture petrol, NORDIC PIA sailed this morning from Finnart bound for New York. Taking her place almost immediately at Finnart's No 2 Jetty was STEN ODIN, which had been waiting at Brodick for the berth to become available. Seen heading upriver, with a cargo of cement from Brunsbuttel, was Apollo Shipping's APOLLO FALCON.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

SD IMPULSE and barge

On a very short tow, Serco Denholm's sullage lighter 1710 (U) was towed from the Gareloch this morning down firth by SD IMPULSE, and the pair were seen passing Cloch Point heading for Loch Striven. The lighter is used to store waste oil from naval vessels, which is then pumped ashore for processing and eventual recycling.


Despite the weather, the bulk carrier GEORGETE K. moved from Brodick Bay early this morning for her voyage to Shieldhall, where she will discharge her cargo of animal feed. GEORGETE K. was built in 1984 by Mitsubishi in Japan, and was originally named HIGH CHALLENGE. A charter to Star Shipping saw her being renamed STAR ORCHID in 1989, then STAR CASTOR in 1994. In 2000, she was given her present name. GEORGETE K. is 176.0 metres long, and has a deadweight of 34,607 tonnes. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


Exercising today off the mouth of Loch Long, as indeed she has been for several days now, the 'River' class offshore patrol vessel SEVERN was seen working with one of HMS GANNET's helicopters, a Sea King Mk 5. SEVERN is 79.5 metres long, and has a displacement of 1,677 tonnes. She was the second of three ships built by Vosper Thorneycroft in 2001/02, and was leased from her builders on a five year contract, which was later extended to remaion in force until 2013.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


Seen passing Cloch Point on a blusterly autumnal day, the motor tanker TANGO had been at anchor off Irvine since Friday, before heading up the Firth today to Finnart to discharge her cargo of Nigerian crude oil. Delivered by her Japanese builders to German owners in May this year, TANGO is managed by Hartmann Reederei, and is operating as part of the Heidmar Blue Fin tanker pool. She is 150,096 tonnes deadweight, and 274.3 metres overall. She currently carries a German master, while her crew are a mix of German, Polish and Filipino.

Monday, 8 September 2008


Liberian-registered, Dutch-managed, Danish-operated, Indian-manned, and Chinese-built, this tanker has a name which almost implies a further Scandinavian connection. NORDIC PIA was built at the Guangzhou Shipyard and delivered to her Dutch owners in August 2006. She is 183.0 metres overall, and has a deadweight of 38,395 tonnes. 


A training vessel belonging to the Sea Cadets has been on the Clyde for the past few days. The T.S. JOHN JERWOOD was built for the organisation thanks to a grant of £1,216,700 from the Jerwood Foundation. Equipped to accommodate 12 cadets and eight officers /senior rates, the hull of the 23.5 metre long vessel was moulded in GRP in Sri Lanka, then brought to the UK for fitting out. She has two Perkins diesel engines, and is usually based at Gosport, although she regularly saild around the coast of Britain with Sea Cadets aboard.


The United States Navy's submarine JACKSONVILLE returned to Faslane early this morning, and was seen as she passed McInroy's Point, with one the HMNB Clyde's MoD Police launches escorting her. Today that duty was undertaken by JAMES DALTON.