Saturday, 31 January 2009


Another tanker seen today was the Swedish ship TÄRNHOLM, heading upriver to Clydebank with a cargo of fuels. Operating on charter to Swift Tankers on behalf of Maersk, this 14,796 tonne deadweight ship was seen on an earlier visit to Clydebank as she left Rothesay Dock.


The motor tanker ICE EXPLORER, paying a second visit to Finnart in a little over a month, sailed this morning but only as far as No 6 anchorage at the north end of the Great Cumbrae. After 'dropping the hook', one of Clyde Marine's small craft headed out to her with personnel and equipment - presumably she is undergoing some repair work whilst in the shelter of the Clyde.

Friday, 30 January 2009


Passing Cloch Point outbound for sea, ILLUSTRIOUS - sistership of ARK ROYAL - had been paying a visit to Glen Mallan, where it is believed she collected equipment landed by her younger sister last week. Like ARK ROYAL, ILLUSTRIOUS was built by Swan Hunter on the Tyne, and was launched in 1978. She joined the Royal Navy four years later, having been rushed into service due to the conflict in the Falkland Islands. Nowadays, the carriers deploy a Tactical Air Group for operations; today no aircraft were apparent as she sailed. ILLUSTRIOUS differs from her younger sibling in certain respects, one noticeable feature being the fitting of the Goalkeeper CIWS instead of the Phalanx system aboard ARK ROYAL. These weapons can be seen mounted at either end of the flight deck. 


A recent visitor to the Garvel Drydock left Greenock this morning and headed back to the Solway Firth, where she has been working in connection with the construction of an offshore windfarm. Owned by J P Knight (Caledonian) Ltd, the tug KEVERNE is a sister of KINDEACE, which spent several months working on the river last year. She was built in Japan in 2006, and completed as AZUMA MARU. Purchased with her two sisters by the Invergordon-based company, she made her way to the UK under her own power in 2007. KEVERNE is 32.5 metres in length, and has a gross tonnage of 393 tons. Twin Niigita azimuthing units give her a bollard pull of around 65 tons.

Thursday, 29 January 2009


Both vessels employed on MacAndrews services from the Clyde to the Iberian peninsula called at Greenock today, with VELAZQUEZ being the first to arrive this morning. Still serving on the Greenock-Rotterdam-Leixoes-Lisbon-Dublin-Liverpool route, VELAZQUEZ sailed this evening for the Dutch port. She was joined later today at Ocean Terminal by CANOPUS J., which sails on the other MacAndrews service from Northwest Europe to Spain.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Lying off service at Kilmun, SOUND OF SCARBA spent the day there while an underwater survey was carried out prior to her annual overhaul. The pier at the small village was often used as an overnight berth for railway steamers serving the local communities over the years, and dates from the 1820s, when it was first opened by David Napier, the well-known 19th Century engineer. It was officially closed to passenger services in 1971, but has been used since 1974 by Western Ferries, who now own the pier. 


After bringing a cargo of roadsalt from Kilroot to Glasgow, Arklow Shipping's coaster ARKLOW RALLY loaded a cargo of scrap metal at Renfrew. She was seen passing McInroy's Point on Wednesday afternoon as she left the Clyde for the Portuguese port of Barreiro.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


Apollo Shipping's APOLLO EAGLE, which has lain at 'Bravo 4' for almost two weeks now, was joined briefly this morning by her sister APOLLO HAWK. The latter had arrived early today from Brunsbuttel with a cargo of cement, which she took upriver to Glasgow this morning after spending a few hours in the company of her sister.

Monday, 26 January 2009


Passing Cloch Lighthouse on Monday afternoon, Lys Lines' LYS-SKOG arrived from Norway with another of her usual cargoes of newsprint. Following her visit to Greenock, she sailed later that evening for Drogheda.

Sunday, 25 January 2009


The carrier ARK ROYAL sailed from Glen Mallan this afternoon for Scapa Flow, where she will anchor for a couple of days before heading for the Tyne, where she was built in 1985. In the foreground, Serco Denholm's tug SD-NIMBLE was heading for Loch Striven, where together with other Serco Denholm tugs she was to assist in a move of the fleet auxiliary FORT GEORGE.


Like her fleetmate RED DUCHESS, Taylor and Taylor's coaster RED BARONESS has also been sold by the Troon-based operator to an Irish concern trading under the name of Coast Lines Shipping Ltd. So far the only obvious alteration has been to the vessels' funnels, now repainted white with dark green bands top and bottom, and the letters JH (or HJ?) superimposed on the white part. RED BARONESS was seen this afternoon sailing from Sandbank with a cargo of timber for Troon, a voyage which would take her around four hours. On the opposite shore of the Holy Loch, Western Ferries' SOUND OF SCALPAY lies at Kilmun pier.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


On her last day of Clyde relief duty, the temporary Arran ferry CLANSMAN is seen arriving at Brodick in considerably better weather than the conditions which she endured on her arrival here. With CALEDONIAN ISLES ready to resume duty from Sunday morning, CLANSMAN will be heading north to relieve ISLE OF LEWIS on the Stornoway-Ullapool service from Monday morning.

Friday, 23 January 2009


Almost as much a part of the local shipping scene as FORT AUSTIN had become, the bulk carrier SILVER CONSTELLATION finally sailed from the Clyde this evening, initially bound for Falmouth. Following her inspection last November by Maritime and Coastguard Agency surveyors, which uncovered 28 deficiencies, three  of which gave grounds for detention, her crew went on strike over unpaid wages after the deficiencies had been remedied. It was reported in the press that provisions had been running low, and that there was only enough water remaining on board for a few more days.


Having been employed for the past few days with Serco Denholm tugs undertaking towage exercises, and also making several runs over the degaussing range off Baron's Point, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary was seen as she lay at the 'B2' anchorage on Friday evening, a short while before she proceeded out to sea. Apart from the occasional brief sortie, FORT AUSTIN has been in the vicinity for the past couple of months.

Thursday, 22 January 2009


BG Freight Lines' chartered container ship JOHN MITCHELL was seen on Thursday catching the afternoon sunlight as she made her way past McInroy's Point to Greenock. Arriving from Rotterdam and Belfast, it was back to the Ulster port that she sailed again later that night, before heading for Antwerp.


One of the two 'Oban' class fleet tenders based at the Great Harbour was seen on Thursday morning making her way downfirth. The lead ship of the class, SD-OBAN, was originally based on the Clyde too, but for several years has been stationed at Devonport. The other two, SD-OMAGH and SD-ORONSAY, have remained here since new.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


Loading timber today at Campbeltown, the Lithuanian-flagged coaster KLAIPEDA dates from 1995, when she was built by the Romanian Severnav shipyard. She was completed as ESPERO, and renamed a year later, becoming LADY SERENA. In 1999, she was again renamed, this time becoming KREMS, and in August 2008, she took her present name. She is 87.8 metres in length, with a deadweight of 4,068 tonnes. She is now managed by Afalita Ship Management.


The Norwegian live fish carrier RONJA VIKING has been operating on the Clyde over the past few days, and was seen today at work at the fish farm at Portavadie. She and her sisters are often seen all over west coast waters, being frequent callers to Mallaig Harbour, where she was seen last September.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


The flagship of the Royal Navy arrived on the Clyde this morning, and ia seen heading past Coulport as she made her way up Loch Long to Glen Mallan. Once she leaves the Clyde, she is due to head for the Orkneys, where she will visit Scapa Flow, before heading for Newcastle. Following these visits, she is due to enter a period of refit at Portsmouth.


The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency's flagship survey vessel SIR JOHN MURRAY was seen on Tuesday morning in the Holy Loch and Loch Long. This vessel, which was built in 2004, is designed to operate around the Scottish coastline, and as well checking water quality is capable of monitoring the effects of water-borne chemicals on fish stocks.

Monday, 19 January 2009


With two Serco-Denholm tugs lying alongside, the Royal Navy's newest warship returned to Glen Mallan early this morning. Pictured here between snow showers, the Type 45 destroyer DARING was seen loading stores and munitions, before returning to the 'Bravo' anchorage later this afternoon.

Sunday, 18 January 2009


The coaster RED DUCHESS has been back at Sandbank twice this week, the first call having been on Tuesday. After loading round timber for Youghal, she sailed again that evening. Her return to the Clyde to load another cargo was on Saturday afternoon, and she is seen here shortly before departure, again for Youghal, on Sunday afternoon. Towards the end of last year, both RED DUCHESS and her fleetmate RED BARONESS changed hands, and are now owned by an Irish company, based in Cork and named Coast Lines Shipping. So far the only apparent change is that her funnel has been repainted.


Making a seemingly routine approach to Loch Long, the Swedish tanker BRO DESIGNER spent a considerable part of Sunday afternoon sailing round the Lower Loch Long buoy as she awaited the delayed departure of the Maersk tanker MAERSK BELFAST from Finnart. BRO DESIGNER, which was inbound from Belfast, was eventually able to berth as darkness fell.

'Bravo' anchorage

Two ships were anchored at the 'Bravo' anchorage overnight, one of which - APOLLO EAGLE - had already been there for a few days. HMS DARING joined her on Saturday evening, having spent the previous 24 hours manoeuvring in the lower firth.


Currently relieving on the Cumbrae route, CalMac's LOCH ALAINN sought shelter on Saturday night at Gourock while gales swept the Firth of Clyde, as well as most of the rest of Scotland. During the course of the day, almost every ferry service in Scotland was affected. LOCH ALAINN was seen returning to Largs on Sunday morning.

Friday, 16 January 2009


Lead ship of the six Type 45 destroyers being built on the Clyde for the Royal Navy sailed from her birthplace at Scotstoun this afternoon. HMS DARING, which had been escorted downriver by two Serco Denholm tugs, was seen off Dunoon in miserable conditions while she used her own seaboat to transfer her pilot to the cutter which had been unable to go alongside the new warship. She was offically handed over to the Royal Navy on 10th December 2008, following the successful completion of several months of trials. DARING will now head for Portsmouth, where she will remain until formally commissioned and put into service later this year.

Thursday, 15 January 2009


The tanker MAERSK BELFAST was seen on Thursday morning approaching Finnart to load a cargo of reformate for South Africa. MAERSK BELFAST, operated by Handytankers K/S, was built at Guangzhou Shipyard in China and delivered to Maersk in October 2005. She is 29,031 tonnes deadweight, and 175.21 metres overall. Her last port was Rouen, and before heading up Loch Long, she had lain at anchor at Brodick Bay for a couple of days.


Making light work of the stiff southerly wind as she sailed downfirth this afternoon, Spliethoff's ro-ro freighter TIMCA was heading from Europe across the North Atlantic, her first scheduled discharge port being Baltimore. She and her sister GENCA appear to have displaced the earlier 'S' class Spliethoff ships on the service from Greenock carrying paper reels. These vessels were originally designed to operate on short-sea routes in the Baltic and North Sea.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009


Two ships, both of which have appeared on ClydeSights before, were seen today at Oban. The Northern Lighthouse Board's large navaids tender PHAROS was in the process of transferring a navigation buoy to Briggs Marine's buoy maintenance vessel CAMERON. With her cargo well secured, CAMERON sailed shortly afterwards, and headed west up the Sound of Mull.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


Heading for Finnart to lift another cargo of refined products backloaded from Grangemouth, and destined for Belfast, the tanker BRO DEVELOPER was seen catching the afternoon sun while Western Ferries' SOUND OF SANDA made her way towards Hunter's Quay.


Last of the three 'Sal' class salvage and mooring vessels built by Hall, Russell and Co at Aberdeen in the 1980s, SD SALMAID was seen this morning as she sailed from the Great Harbour for 'exercise grounds'. Like her sister SALMOOR, her name was prefixed with 'SD' at the time of her tranfer to Serco Denholm in April 2008, her funnel being repainted into the new red livery of her current operators shortly afterwards. 

Monday, 12 January 2009


Outward bound for Liverpool, ARKLOW FAME had loaded a cargo of scrap metal at Diesel Wharf which will be transhipped for onward shipment in a larger vessel from the Mersey. She was built in Spain in 2006 by Astilleros de Mureata, and has an overall length of 89.95 metres with a deadweight of 4,480 tonnes. Like her sister ARKLOW FLAIR, she is registered at Arklow in the Republic of Ireland.

Sunday, 11 January 2009


The Arran car ferry CALEDONIAN ISLES has now been relieved on the Ardrossan-Brodick service for her annual overhaul by one of CalMac's other large vessels, and this year her replacement, as it has been for most years in the recent past, is the Western Isles ferry CLANSMAN. Her arrival on the Clyde has been greeted with two days of bad weather, and after taking over from CALEDONIAN ISLES, both yesterday afternoon and this morning the service was diverted to Gourock. This view shows CLANSMAN heading back down the Firth past Cloch Point on her way southward to Brodick. CLANSMAN was built at Appledore Shipyard in 1998, and spends most of the year working out of Oban on routes to Coll, Tiree, Barra and South Uist. During the winter months, she acts as relief ferry on other routes. She is 99 metres in length, and can carry up to 638 passengers and a maximum of 90 cars.

Saturday, 10 January 2009


Despite pretty attrocious weather conditions affecting the Firth this morning, the tanker ANTARCTIC, which had been anchored in Irvine Bay for a few days, was able to make her way upfirth to Finnart. Greek-registered, but owned by a Panamanian company, ANTARCTIC is operated by the Tsakos Group in the charter market and was carrying a cargo of Nigerian crude from Forcados. She was built in 2007 by Hyundai Heavy Industries, and has a deadweight of 163,216 tonnes. Her overall length is some 274.12 metres.

Friday, 9 January 2009


Following closely behind CANOPUS J was HERM, a vessel which previously appeared on the Clyde for a few weeks but now back again on the OOCL Southampton-Ireland-Greenock 'SIX' schedule. She was heading for Belfast, having arrived earlier in the day from Dublin.


Two of the Clyde's regular container ships were at Greenock on Friday, this view showing CANOPUS J making her way downriver past Cloch Point in the late afternoon. Still employed on the MacAndrews container service linking the UK and Spain, she was en route to Bilbao.


Also passing Lunderston Bay as BREGEN was sailing by was this coaster, the 90.12 metre long, 4,279 tonne deadweight PERU. She was built in Serbia by Brodogradiliste "Sava" in 1998, and is operated by the German company Wessels Reederei GmbH. Arriving from Liverpool, PERU - a standard Type Rousse ship - is due to load a cargo of scrap metal at Renfrew.


The Norwegian tanker BREGEN, built in 1994 by the Ching Fu Shipyard in Taiwan, sailed from Finnart on Friday morning, bound for Milford Haven. Owned by Fram Tankers, she is managed by Bergshav A/S and is currently working on charter to Swift Tankers. BREGEN has an overall length of 150.0 metres, and a deadweight of 13,941 tonnes. She is manned by an Indian crew.

Thursday, 8 January 2009


Having been employed on the combined Tarbert-Portavadie and Lochranza sailings since late October, CalMac's LOCH TARBERT is seen here arriving at Tarbert, Loch Fyne. In the background, Tarbert pier, which was threatened with closure last summer, appears to have been given a partial reprieve. Once again, it features on four occasions in the newly released timetable for the paddle steamer WAVERLEY's forthcoming summer schedule (PDF file) of Clyde cruises. LOCH TARBERT will complete her stint of duty on this service in the next couple of weeks, when LOCH RIDDON is due to return to the route for the remaining period of the winter timetable.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009


Having moved upriver from her usual waters yesterday morning, Western Ferries' SOUND OF SCALPAY is now berthed in the Garvel Drydock, where she is undergoing her annual survey. Having joined the company's fleet in 1995, SOUND OF SCALPAY is now their longest serving ferry. Originally employed on a short crossing across the North Sea Canal in Amsterdam, she was given a major refit by Garvel when she was brought to the UK, including replacement of her original diesel-electric powerplant.

Monday, 5 January 2009


Another Serco Denholm vessel seen this afternoon was SD WATERMAN, making her way back to the Great Harbour after delivering water to the Royal Fleet Auxiliary FORT AUSTIN, at Glen Mallan. SD WATERMAN is the last of her type remaining in naval support service.


The first of the new Pilot Cutters delivered by Damen Shipyards to Serco Denholm as part of the contract to supply 29 new vessels was SD CLYDE SPIRIT, which was handed over in June 2008. Built to their successful Stan Tender 1905 design, SD CLYDE SPIRIT was exhibited at the Seawork 2008 International Exhibition at Southampton shortly after delivery. Steel hulled, she has aluminium upperworks, and is 19.15 metres long. Twin Caterpillar engines give her a maximum speed of 20 knots. She is one of two Pilot Cutters which have been brought into service on the Clyde, the other being the smaller SD CLYDE RACER. 

SEEKER inbound

Her Majesty's Customs Cutter SEEKER was seen on Monday afternoon heading for the James Watt Dock after one of her routine patrols around the UK coastline. Built in 2001 by Damen Shipyards in Holland, she was later joined by three sister vessels, all built to the Stan Patrol 4207 design.

Sunday, 4 January 2009


Many of the movements observed so far this year on the Clyde have been tanker traffic heading for Rothesay Dock, and this - the third such vessel to transit the river in the past four days - was caught as she headed beneath the Erskine Bridge on her way to discharge a cargo of products loaded in Copenhagen. Italian owned, CURZOLA was built in Croatia in 1993 and is 142.3 metres in length. She has a deadweight of 13,991 tonnes. Most of her crew are Italian.


Another Western Isles ferry was seen today on the Clyde, which she is visiting to have her annual survey at Ardmaleish, like most of the smaller drive-through CalMac ferries. LOCH RANZA had been lying at Gourock Pier over New Year to await her turn on the slipway and is seen here passing AASLI which is due to move to Inchgreen to discharge shortly. LOCH RANZA was built by Richard Dunston at Hessle on the Humber, and was the last of four ferries introduced in 1986/87, to meet growing traffic patterns on several of CalMac's shorter routes. As her name might imply, she started her career on the Lochranza-Claonaig service, but was later moved to serve the island of Gigha from Tayinloan, on the Kintyre peninsula.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Rosneath Jetty

Four members of the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry fleet have been lying at Rosneath over the holiday period. Berthed on the outside of the pier is JUNO, which has been there since she was withdrawn in April 2007, while SATURN - spare during the winter months - lies alongside her. On the inner side of the pier are two of the smaller ferries: ISLE OF CUMBRAE has been laid up at Rosneath since October, while LOCH BUIE, normally used on the short crossing between Mull and Iona, joined her a few days prior to Christmas. LOCH BUIE is due to return to her regular route in the next few days.


The Fleet Auxilary FORT AUSTIN has remained at Glen Mallan throughout the Christmas and New Year period, a berth at which she seems to spend most of her time nowadays. A closer look at her port anchor shows that the last time that it was used, it was weighed in a foul condition - there is a considerable length of old wire wrapped around the flukes. This is the anchor that she had used when lying off Baron's Point a couple of weeks ago.

Friday, 2 January 2009


Western Ferries' SOUND OF SCARBA is seen midstream in this view, with the small tanker STOLT KESTREL making her way past McInroy's Point, following her visit to Rothesay Dock yesterday. The tanker was on her way back to the Mersey, presumably for another cargo of refined products.

Thursday, 1 January 2009


The second cargo ship to head upriver today was PRINCE OF OCEAN, a wood chip carrier bringing a cargo of animal feed to Glasgow. For a ship of her age - she was built in Japan in 1991 - she is somewhat unusual as she has retained her original name throughout her career. She is 41,639 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 195.0 metres. PRINCE OF OCEAN is registered in Panama, and is managed by a company based in Taiwan.


The River Clyde's first-footer this year was the tanker STOLT KESTREL, seen here at the NuStar berth in Rothesay Dock. Owned by Stolt Tankers - a well known tanker company but not a name commonly seen on the Clyde - she was built in Japan by Fukuoka Shipbuilding in 1992. She is 99.9 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 5,741 tonnes. STOLT KESTREL was bringing a load of fuel from the Mersey. Registered at George Town in the Cayman Islands, she carries a British master, with Latvian, Russian, Ukranian and Filipino nationals making up the remainder of her crew.