Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Garvel Tonight

The Claonaig ferry LOCH TARBERT berthed in the James Watt Dock this evening after her short stay in the Garvel Drydock, where she had hull repairs carried out. On the right of this picture, the navaids tender POLE STAR remains alongside, while PHAROS, her larger compatriot, moves up the drydock to allow DEEPWORKER to join her. It is unusual to see both NLB ships together other than at one of their operating bases, so a transfer of some equipment between the two may be about to happen.


About to join PHAROS in the drydock, DEEPWATER was seen as she lay in the Garvel Basin. She had just moved out of the James Watt Dock, with a little assistance from Clyde Marine Services' tug BITER.


The Northern Lighthouse Board's Polish-built ship PHAROS, previously seen in an earlier view at Customhouse Quay, arrived this afternoon for her first survey. In failing light, she is seen as she enters the Garvel Drydock, which had recently been vacated by CalMac's LOCH TARBERT.


After a speedy discharge of her cargo, the bulk carrier YEOMAN BANK left Shieldhall Riverside Berth this afternoon. Two tugs were required to help her turn - in the upper view KINDEACE takes the strain as she begins to pull her stern round while SVITZER MALLAIG waits at her bow. Using the entrance to King George V Dock, ships of this size can be turned quite easily despite the narrowness of the Clyde at this point.

The lower view depicts YEOMAN BANK as she negotiates the main channel past Old Kilpatrick, as she heads down river and to Glensanda to pick up her next cargo.


A rare sight this afternoon, as Scotland's two remaining coastal steam-driven preserved ships were seen at Glasgow. WAVERLEY, which has lain throughout the winter at her berth at Plantation Quay adjacent to the Science Centre, is being gradually reactivated in preparation for a weekend of sailings at Oban. The other vessel, the preserved 'puffer' VIC32 was paying a courtesy visit to Finnieston Quay, which required the opening of the two pedestrian bridges just upstream of the Science Centre.

VIC 32, launched by Dunston's at Thorne for the Admiralty in 1943, was built to a traditional Clyde Puffer design able to fit into the locks of the Forth and Clyde Canal, with an overall length of 66ft 4in. She still retains her original two-cylinder compound steam engine, although her boiler is not as old, VIC32 having been reboilered in 2006. She has operated since 1979 in Scottish waters, and has been seen each year on the Clyde and in the Western Isles as she cruises at a sedate pace with her small complement of passengers. Further details of this interesting little ship can be found here.


Heading down the Clyde past Dumbarton Rock this afternoon, the dredger WD MEDWAY II was making her last trip from the upper reaches with spoil for the dumping ground off the mouth of Loch Long, as her charter to Clydeport has finished. During the past month, she has dredged extensively the river itself as well as King George V and Rothesay Docks. She also cleared the river bed at the BAE shipyards.


An unusual sight this afternoon was one of Erwin Strahlmann's low air draught coasters sailing light from the Clyde, instead of loaded with a cargo of scrap metal. ROGER, built in 1984 on the River Elbe to a standard design by Hugo Peters Schiffswerf at their Weselsfleth yard, arrived yesterday with fabrications for the Type 45 destroyers under construction at Govan, and berthed in the former Fairfield basin. After completing her discharge, ROGER moved yesterday afternoon to King George V Dock, then sailed this afternoon for Felixstowe. She was originally named GUDRUN, then for a short time from March 1990 until February 1992 AROS ANGLIA, reverting to her original name briefly, before taking her current name the following autumn. She is 82.22 metres long, and has a deadweight of 2,183 tonnes.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008


Another arrival on the Clyde this morning was previously seen fairly often in her original guise as the Naval Armament Vessel KINTERBURY. As a member of the RMAS, she carried military cargoes between the UK's armament depots and stores, but was disposed of in 2005. The 64 metre ship was sold to become an offshore deep salvage vessel, and conversion work, including fitting dynamic positioning equipment and a moonpool, was undertaken at Hull. Renamed DEEPWORKER, she now flies the Panamanian flag, and has recently had extensive spells apparently laid up at Newport, in South Wales. She is due to be drydocked along with POLE STAR once LOCH TARBERT, barely visible in the drydock , is refloated later in the week.


The Dutch Navy's Submarine Support Ship and Torpedo Recovery Vessel MERCUUR was seen exercising today off the north end of Arran. Commissioned in 1987, this 1,400 tonne ship is 64.8 metres in length, and has twin screw diesel electric drive. She is equipped with two Oerlikon 20mm guns, and and well as being able to launch and recover torpedoes, MERCUUR is able to act as a minelayer.


Although she is usually to be found at Largs during the period of the summer timetable, CalMac's LOCH RIDDON is currently spending a few days serving between Lochranza, on Arran, and Claonaig at the north end of the Kintyre peninsula while the regular vessel, LOCH TARBERT, undergoes some repairs in the Garvel Drydock. LOCH RIDDON, no stranger to Lochranza as she serves it daily from Tarbert for around three months each winter, is seen here departing from Claonaig on another of her crossings to Arran.


One of CalMac's oldest ferries is used for the summer season on the crossing from Tarbert to Portavadie, at the southern end of Loch Fyne. ISLE OF CUMBRAE, dating from 1977, seen arriving at Portavadie today, has been employed here for the past nine years, where her 18 car capacity is seldom taxed.


Not a new visitor to the river, although it's been quite a while since YEOMAN BANK was seen on the Clyde. She arrived this morning with a cargo of stone from Glensanda, anchoring for a time before proceeding to Shieldhall this evening. YEOMAN BANK was built in Greece in 1982 and purchased while on the stocks by Ropners, a British shipping company, for whom she was named SALMONPOOL. As built, she did not have the self-discharging gear, which was added after she joined Egon Oldendorff, a German company with widespread interests, when she was also renamed YEOMAN BANK for a charter to Foster Yeoman, owners of the massive quarry at Glensanda. Foster Yeoman has fairly recently become part of the Aggregate Industries Group. YEOMAN BANK is 204.95 metres overall, with a deadweight of 43,728 tonnes. She is registered in Monrovia.

Monday, 28 April 2008

KINDEACE in James Watt Dock

After sailing SPAARNEGRACHT from Ocean Terminal, KINDEACE returned to the James Watt Dock to join the other tugs at their berth. On the left is the Commissioners of Northern Lights navaids tender POLE STAR, which arrived in dock this morning for some repairs at the Garvel yard.


SPAARNEGRACHT is seen this evening leaving Greenock on Spliethoff's regular liner service from Europe to North America. The Japanese-built ship's previous visit to the Clyde was at the beginning of March, and a fuller description can be found here. Her departure tonight, for Baltimore, was assisted by JP Knight's tug KINDEACE.


The Polish frigate GENERAL K PULASKI sailed for sea from Faslane this morning, and is seen here passing another Polish ship, the Remontowa-built CalMac ferry ARGYLE lying at Wemyss Bay Pier. The 133.5 metre long warship, which was originally a member of the US Navy's 'Oliver Hazard Perry' class, is driven by a single screw powered by two gas turbines. She is fitted with Mk-46 torpedoes launched from two triple mounts, one 76 mm rapid fire gun, one Vulcan Phalanx close-in-weapons system and also carries guided missile systems with Surface-to-Air Missiles and Harpoon Surface-to-Surface Missiles.

Sunday, 27 April 2008


Passing under the Erskine Bridge this evening, the Customs Cutter SEEKER was heading upriver to Glasgow. She was built for HM Customs and Excise (now HM Revenue and Customs) in the Netherlands by the Damen Group, and completed in 2001. For more details about her, see here, and another view taken on the Clyde last October can be seen here.


The fleet of ships on the BG Freight Line charter which have visited the Clyde was added to with the maiden arrival of B.G. ROTTERDAM. Normally scheduled for the Rotterdam-Cork-Dublin run, she arrived from Belfast this morning having been at Rotterdam and Felixstowe prior to that. B. G. ROTTERDAM was launched as MARSTAN in 2000 by the Peene-Werft shipyard at Wolgast in Germany. She is 8,672 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 132.23 metres. Owned by Reederei Unitas, who also own HERM which visited the river previously, B.G. ROTTERDAM has a capacity for 698 TEUs.

Saturday, 26 April 2008


Making good progress this evening as she heads down the channel and out to sea, BLACK PRINCE was sailing today on her second cruise of the season from Greenock, this time bound for Gibraltar and the Mediterranean. She is due back at Greenock in three weeks time.

PETUJA outbound

Finally able to get alongside Ocean Terminal this morning once ENCOUNTER had sailed, PETUJA didn't waste any time working cargo, as she was underway within just a couple of hours on her weekly DFDS Suardiaz service to northern Spain.


The privately-owned former lifeboat GRACE RITCHIE was seen this afternoon heading from her base at Largs Marina to the Holy Loch. This fine-looking craft was built by Yarrow Shipbuilders using a £57,000 legacy from a Miss Grace Paterson Ritchie, after whom the lifeboat was named at a ceremony at Wemyss Bay pier in 1965. Some details of her career can be found here, while an article about a rescue she took part in while based at Scapa in the Orkneys is described here.

Friday, 25 April 2008


A trim little coaster, MARY CHRISTINA, arrived at Glasgow a few days ago with a cargo of wind turbine components, which she discharged at King George V Dock. MARY CHRISTINA is Dutch built and owned, having been constructed at Barkmeijer Stroobos in 1998, and when new she was named SIROCCO, receiving her current name in 2004. She is registered in the Netherlands Antilles, is 87.85 metres long, and has a deadweight of 3,155 tonnes. She is managed by Wagenborg Shipping. Passing her is the police launch STRATHCLYDE. On completion of her cargo discharge, MARY CHRISTINA loaded scrap steel at Shieldhall, and now appears to be heading for Spain.


Making her regular Friday appearance this afternoon, the Dutch container ship ENCOUNTER had to anchor at the Tail o' the Bank, joining PETUJA, seen in the distance in this view. Greenock's Ocean Terminal was busy today, with four container ships all requiring a berth. First to arrive this morning was VEGA STOCKHOLM, which berthed on arrival. She was followed upfirth by PETUJA, which anchored while MERIWA berthed a little later on. Last to arrive was ENCOUNTER, which went alongside once MERIWA and VEGA STOCKHOLM had sailed. This evening, PETUJA remains at anchor.

Thursday, 24 April 2008


Passing Cloch Point this afternoon, the Liberian-flagged KASTOR is a new ship belonging to the Wessels Reederei GmbH, and operated by Arkon Shipping. Like her sister ARGOS, named on the same day in August 2007, KASTOR was built at the Slovenska Lodenice shipyard at Komarno, and is of their 'Rhein-M' class. Second of a class of twelve ships of this type to be delivered, and 87.9 metres in length, this 3,675 tonne deadweight coaster has arrived to load scrap metal.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Escorted by the Ministry of Defence Police launch JAMES DALTON, the Danish coaster VEGA was seen this morning as she sailed from Faslane for Plymouth, presumably with a military cargo on board. VEGA, which arrived in the Gareloch early yesterday morning from Campbeltown, was built in 1975 and originally named NINA BRES. A product of the JJ Sietas shipyard at Hamburg, VEGA is a typical general cargo coaster of 75.52 metres and 2,374 tonnes deadweight. The helicopter in this view is Rescue 177 from HMS GANNET, the Naval Air Station at Prestwick, which was exercising with HMS TYNE off Kilcreggan.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008


After spending a week at Faslane, the United States Navy Military Sealift Command's submarine support vessel CAROLYN CHOUEST, together with the small nuclear submarine NR-1, sailed this afternoon. Both vessels are seen as they headed past the entrance of the Holy Loch.

As she is only capable of operating at speeds of up to 5 knots using her turbo-electric drive, NR-1 is towed wherever she goes, although she is manned by a crew of eleven - three officers and eight enlisted men. She is capable, when necessary, of spending up to thirty days submerged, thanks to her nuclear power plant.

The final view shows the duo setting off down the main channel, and out to sea. As well as her own civilian crew of 15, CAROLYN CHOUEST carries a support crew for NR-1, all of whom are submarine trained.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Joint Warrior 081 - European Ships

The Portuguese frigate VASCO DE GAMA (F330) was built at Hamburg to the German MEKO 200 design by Blohm and Voss, and entered service with the Portuguese Navy in 1991. With a displacement of 3,200 tonnes, she is 115.9 metres in length, and has combined diesel or gas (CODOG) propulsion, giving a speed of 32 knots. Her main armament comprises 1 100 mm Mod68 CADAM polyvalent gun, 1 Phalanx CIWS 20 mm Vulcan anti-ship missile defence system, Sea Sparrow surface-to-air and Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles, and 2 triple 12.75" Mk46 torpedo tubes. She also operates 2 Super Lynx Mk.95 helicopters.

One of the numerous 'Tripartite' type of minehunter found with the Belgian, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Pakistani and Latvian Navies, the French ship ANDROMÈDE (M643) is a member of their 'Éridan' class which numbers 13 ships. In the distance, HMS BULWARK can be seen at the Tail o' the Bank.

With one of the longest names bestowed on a serving warship, the German frigate MECKLENBURG-VORPOMMERN (F218) dates from 1996 and is a member of the 'Brandenburg' class. Built by Bremer-Vulkan she is 4,700 tonnes and 138.9 metres long. Also propelled by CODOG machinery, she has a speed of 29 knots. Her main armament consists of 1 x 76mm gun, Exocet and Sea Sparrow missiles, and 2 twin torpedo tubes. She can carry 2 Sea Lunx helicopters.

With her British courtesy ensign showing clearly as she heads out on exercise, the Turkish frigate GEMLIK (F492) was shown lying at Garelochhead already. Of 3,700 tonnes, she is 135.5 metres in length and is driven at up to 29 knots by gas turbines. She is armed with 1 76mm gun forward, Harpoon surface-to-surface missiles, 1 20mm Phalanx CIWS, and 2 triple torpedo tubes.

Joint Warrior 081 - UK and US Ships

Making a return this morning, the British assault ship BULWARK (L15) passed McInroy's Point inward bound for the Tail o' the Bank, where she spent the day working with her landing craft.

Late this afternoon, BULWARK completed her operations and proceeded out to sea to work with the other units in JW081. She is seen here with Kilcreggan in the background.

One of the American destroyers taking part in the exercise is the 'Arleigh Burke' (Flight 1) class ship DONALD COOK (DDG75). Her full load displacement is 8,900 tons, and this 505 ft long ship was commissioned in 1998. Gas turbines give her a speed in excess of 30 knots. She carries a 127mm gun mounted forward, a variety of missile systems including Tomahawk cruise missiles and Harpoon, and is also fitted with 2 Phalanx anti-missile systems. She also has 2 triple torpedo tubes, and can embark a helicopter.

One of the British submarines taking part is HMS SUPERB, one of the two remaining members of the 'S' class boats still in commission. They can readily be identified from the similar 'T' class vessels by their shorter rudder.

Another American surface ship taking part is the guided missile cruiser ANZIO (CG68). Built by Ingalls Shipbuilding, ANZIO joined the US Navy in 1992, and is 567 feet in length. Her displacement is 9,600 tons, and her gas turbine machinery will give her a speed of more than 30 knots. Like DONALD COOK (above), she carries Tomahawk and Harpoon missile systems, and she is also fitted with two 5 inch guns forward. Two triple torpedo tubes are fitted, as are 2 Phalanx CIWS. She can carry 2 Sikorsky Seahawk helicopters.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Iberian Visitors

Three of the naval vessels which had been berthed at King George V Dock came down the river this morning, and anchored at the Tail o' the Bank. Two ships, the Spanish frigate BLAS DE LEZO (F103) and the Portuguese frigate VASCO DE GAMA (F330) are seen in this view. USS NICHOLAS was the other ship. Two German warships remain at Glasgow tonight.

HMS BULWARK - L15 outbound

After having a few days alongside at Glen Mallan, the Royal Navy amphibious assault ship BULWARK sailed late this afternoon. She is seen passing the entrance of the Holy Loch as she made her way downfirth, an early departure for the Joint Warrior 081 exercise. Her large flight deck is clearly visible, as are two of her landing craft. As BULWARK plays host to 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, she wears the Combined Operations badge on her after funnel.


Arriving this afternoon, the German coaster LEESWIG was seen as she passed Lunderston Bay heading for the Bravo anchorage, before making her way upriver to Glasgow to discharge. LEESWIG was built on the Volga River at Rybinsk in 1996 as FRIEDA, taking her present name in 2007. Operated by Meerpahl and Meyer, this little ship is an 88.0 metre coaster of 4,515 tonnes deadweight.

Saturday, 19 April 2008


Completing the line-up at Faslane, the contingent of NATO minehunters. On the left, from inboard are HMS HURWORTH (M39), FGS BAD BEVENSEN (M1063) and FGS WEILHEIM (M1059). The group in the middle of the picture are HMS LEDBURY (M30) and FGS KULMBACH (M1091). On the right are BNS PRIMULA, and outboard of her is LvNS IMANTA (M-04). Two other minehunters - a 'Sandown' class ship and FS ANDROMEDE - are to the immediate south of the three American warships.

US Visitors

Also visiting Faslane, and due to take part in Joint Warrior 081 over the next couple of weeks, are these three ships belonging to the US Navy. Alongside the jetty is the 'Ticonderoga' class guided missile cruiser ANZIO (CG 68), which entered naval service in 1992. Outboard of her, in the middle, lies USS DONALD COOK (DDG 75), one of the first batch (Flight 1) of 'Arleigh Burke' Class guided missile destroyers, which started her commissioned naval career in 1998. On the outside of the three is USS BARRY (DDG 52), which was the second ship of the 'Arleigh Burke' class. She was commissioned in 1992. The small barge lying alongside BARRY is a Serco-Denholm sullage lighter.


Just to the south of ROEBUCK, at the No 2 Fuel Jetty, two former members of the United States Navy lie double-berthed. Inboard is the Polish ship GENERAL K PULASKI, and beside her the Turkish frigate GEMLIK. She was built as USS FLATLEY by the Bath Iron Works and entered commissioned service in 1981. In 1997, she was transferred to the Turkish Navy, and the ship is currently part of STANFORMED, the NATO Standing Naval Force Mediterranean.


Lying this afternoon at Garelochhead No 1 Refuelling jetty, HMS ROEBUCK is no stranger to Faslane, having spent some considerable time in the area last autumn. ROEBUCK is currently serving as flagship of the multinational Standing NATO Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 (SNMCMG1).


One of two Landing Platform Dock (LPD) ships in the Royal Navy, HMS BULWARK is currently berthed at Glen Mallan jetty in preparation for the multi-national multi-force exercise Joint Warrior 081, due to start next week. BULWARK was built at Barrow by BAE Systems, and launched in November 2001. She was formally commissioned into naval service in April 2005. This 176 metre long vessel has a floodable well dock, and can carry four landing craft (LCU Mk 10), with a further four, smaller, landing craft (LCVP Mk 5) carried on davits. BULWARK is also capable of operating helicopters in her amphibious assault ship role. She has been adopted by County Durham.

Friday, 18 April 2008


Continuing to dredge the river, WD MEDWAY II was also noted passing Clydebank today, as she made her way back upstream from the dumping ground off the entrance to Loch Long. In the past, dredging of the Clyde was undertaken by a fleet of dredgers owned by the Clyde Port Authority, which used a fleet of hopper barges to take the spoil downriver. With the decline in commercial usage of the river over the years, dredging is now done on an 'as required' basis, using chartered vessels such as WD MEDWAY II. Over the past couple of weeks, as well as working in the river itself, she has also dredged King George V Dock and Rothesay Dock.


Shortly after the barge was secured in Rothesay Dock, the Swedish tanker TÄRNHOLM sailed, and is seen here as she moved out of the dock and into the River Clyde. Despite the strike by Clyde Pilots, one must have been on duty today as there were a few movements on the river which necessitated the presence of one on board. TÄRNHOLM is a sister of other Tärntank Rederi AB ships which have visited the Clyde in the past, although she is a little newer having been completed in 2005. 14,796 tonnes deadweight, this 141.2 metre long tanker was built by Shanghai Edward Shipbuilding Co in China.

River Cart

The road bridge across the River Cart was opened this morning to allow the Stemat barge that arrived on 9 April to bring its cargo downstream. It had been moved from Rothesay Dock to the Babcock Basin just upstream of the bridge early on Monday morning.

Towage was provided by two of the Offshore Workboats fleet, the tug TRIO at the head of the tow with BARROW SAND assisting aft. OWL are based at the River Clyde Boatyard in Rothesay Dock.

The barge's cargo, fabrications built for Parkburn Precision Handling Systems by Steel Engineering Ltd, are destined for a Dutch cable-laying barge. Once the load has been secured for sea, the barge will leave Rothesay Dock.