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.