Saturday, 28 February 2009

Five Sisters?

Currently the James Watt Dock is home to five Svitzer tugs, and not one of them with a local registration! Nearest is AVONGARTH, registered at Bristol, while behind her, from left to right are SVITZER MILFORD (Milford Haven), WARRIOR III (Westport, Ireland), YEWGARTH (Liverpool) and AYTON CROSS (Middlesbrough).


As previously mentioned, a second Svitzer tug arrived on the Clyde on Thursday evening to assist with the company's towage commitments while two of the 'resident' fleet are out of action. YEWGARTH, recently drydocked, has lately been working in South Wales, and was built in 1985 by McTay at Bromborough on the River Mersey. She has a bollard pull of 50 tonnes, delivered by two Ruston main engines and Niigata Z-Peller azimuth units. The 36.85 metre long vessel, which is of 452 gross tons, was seen as she returned to Greenock having assisted with the departure of the tanker GLADIATOR this afternoon. Seen beyond her at anchor at the Tail o' the Bank is the Briggs Marine anchor handling tug KINGDOM OF FIFE.


Another coaster seen today was A.B. VALENCIA, one of the Bockstiegel fleet and no stranger to the Clyde. She had sailed from Diesel Wharf with a cargo of scrap bound for Liverpool, from where she had arrived late on Thursday afternoon. At 4,211 tonnes deadweight, she is 89.75 metres overall, and was completed in Holland in 1996 using a hull launched in Romania.


Waiting to head upriver to Glasgow, the Dutch coaster ARKLOW STAR was seen today at the 'Bravo' anchorage. She is one of a class of seven ships built for Arklow Shipping between 1995 and 2000 by the Barkmeijer Stroobos shipyard. Of 3,211 tonnes deadweight, the ships are all 89.98 metres in length. ARKLOW STAR dates from 1999, and had arrived earlier today from Londonderry to load a cargo of scrap metal.

Friday, 27 February 2009


Heading towards Finnart early this morning with a cargo of Nigerian crude oil, the Liberian-registered Suezmax tanker GLADIATOR was seen shortly after passing Cloch Point. This ship, managed by Dynacom Tankers and owned by Tourel Ltd, was delivered by the Universal Shipbuilding Corporation from their Tsu shipyard in Japan in March 2008. GLADIATOR is 274.2 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 149,944 tonnes. 

Thursday, 26 February 2009


Temporarily allocated to Greenock, the Avonmouth-based tug AVONGARTH was used today to sail a ship from Hunterston, and was seen as she returned to her berth in the James Watt Dock. AVONGARTH was built as a Japanese harbour tug in 1981 by Kanagawa Zosen at Kobe, and was originally named IWASHIMA MARU. She was renamed in 1991, following acquisition by Cory Marine, and is now a member of the Svitzer fleet. She is 32.07 metres in length, and has a gross tonnage of 241 tons. Two Niigata main engines, driving twin azimuthing propellers, give her a maximum bollard pull of 35 tonnes. AVONGARTH is due to be joined this evening by another tug from the Bristol Channel, YEWGARTH. Both tugs are here to provide cover while WARRIOR III and SVITZER MILFORD undergo some maintenance.


Making her usual early morning arrival on the Clyde this morning, the container ship VELAZQUEZ is now sporting a dark blue hull - previously it was grey but appears to have been repainted towards the end of last year while she underwent drydocking.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Unusually for a container ship of her age - she was built at the Elbewerft Boizenburg shipyard in 1998 - MARGARETA B has retained the same name throughout her life so far. Operating on charter to BG Freight Line, she was seen today sailing from Greenock for Belfast. MARGARETA B can carry up to 523 TEU containers, is 5,059 tonnes deadweight and has an overall length of 99.98 metres. She is managed by Reederei Thekla Schepers, and flies the Antigua and Barbudan flag.


Sold by the Ministry of Defence several years ago, the former Fleet Tender ABERDOVEY spends most of her time lying at at mooring at Garelochhead. She was seen today, however, leaving the Holy Loch and crossing the mouth of Loch Long. ABERDOVEY, built in 1963 by Isaac Pimblott & Sons at the Weaver Shipyard at Northwich, was latterly used as a Sea Cadet Corps training ship based at Portsmouth, and is 79 feet long.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Today saw another visit from the Swedish tanker BRO DEVELOPER, making one of her routine calls at Finnart to load a cargo from Grangemouth. An interesting 3D animation of the ship, together with an interview with her master, can be seen on her owners' website. Since 19 January 2009, Brostrom Tankers has been owned by the Maersk Group, although it seems that there will be no change to this ship's operation, at least for the time-being.

Monday, 23 February 2009


After taking a short detour into Loch Long while she was waiting for a berth at Gourock, CalMac's CLANSMAN had arrived back on the Clyde to head for the Garvel Drydock where she will undergo her annual survey. She is seen in this view passing HMS SHOREHAM off the village of Cove.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Led downriver by AYTON CROSS, the bulk carrier SPIRIT OF BRAZIL was seen on Sunday morning passing the former shipyards at Port Glasgow with the tug WARRIOR III made fast at her stern. This area is being redeveloped for housing, and it was here that the dredger SOSPAN-DAU was working last year. The Marshall Islands-flagged bulker, which arrived last Tuesday was heading for Rouen in north west France. The two cranes in the foreground are at the head of the Inchgreen Drydock.


The arrival this morning of KINGDOM OF FIFE brought a welcome splash of colour to the otherwise drab liveries more usually seen in the Great Harbour. Built by the Damen Group for Briggs Marine, this 61.2 metre long anchor handing tug/supply vessel is being used by her owners, as subcontractors to Serco Denholm, to work with buoys and moorings, as well as for general towage duties. The hull of KINGDOM OF FIFE, a Damen 6114 design, was built a number of years ago in Romania but completed in Holland in 2008 at an reported cost of €14 million. She has a quoted bollard pull of 75 tonnes.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

DEFENDER on the stocks

Both the fifth Type 45 destroyer, which is to be named DEFENDER, and part of the sixth and final ship, DUNCAN, can be seen under construction at Govan. All of the sections for DEFENDER are on the slipway, waiting to be joined up, and between the fore and aft parts the bow of the last of the class can be seen. It arrived at Govan shortly after the launch of the fourth ship - DRAGON - last November.

Friday, 20 February 2009


Having first visited the Clyde two weeks ago, the container ship X-PRESS ELBRUS was seen as she sailed this afternoon from Greenock past McInroy's Point on the OOCL SIX service. She was built in 2005 at the Qingshan Shipyard in China, and completed as TS NAGOYA, shortly afterwards becoming TS PUSAN. Two years later she became GABRIELLA, and again shortly afterwards was renamed, this time to her current name. She is managed by Johs Thode, a German company, and is 140.4 metres in length. Her deadweight is 11,023 tonnes and she can carry up to 830 TEU containers.


Over the past week, the small catamaran ROYAL CHARTER has been surveying the river bed on behalf of Clydeport. This view of her passing the mouth of the River Cart was taken earlier in the week, when she was surveying at Rothesay Dock on Tuesday. She has also been surveying off Greenock Ocean Terminal, and in the mouth of the River Leven. Built at Cork in southern Ireland by Safehaven Marine in 2007, ROYAL CHARTER is owned by the Port of Liverpool and is 12 metres long. She is capable of speeds of up to 27 knots.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


Inbound from Brunsbuttel in Germany, the coaster APOLLO CONDOR was seen on Thursday afternoon approaching the Whiteforland Buoy, with Clyde Marine's Kilcreggan ferry SEABUS in the background heading for Gourock Pier. Apollo Shipping vessels - 'Condor' is one of four similar ships - are regular visitors to Glasgow where they discharge cargoes of cement, although in the past couple of months they have not been seen so often as before.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Inveraray Maritime Museum

The two vessels owned by the Maritime Museum at Inveraray were seen on a misty morning on Wednesday. The preserved diesel puffer VITAL SPARK, berthed astern of the Museum's main attraction ARCTIC PENGUIN, has remained at Inveraray since June last year. ARCTIC PENGUIN, a converted Irish Lightvessel originally named PENGUIN, was built in 1910 and is listed in the Register of National Historic Ships. She has an unusual hull construction with iron plating being attached to steel frames, and since leaving Irish waters in the mid-1960s has been resident on the Clyde. The 100-foot long ship lay in some of the Clyde lochs for a number of years, and in 1982 was converted into a schooner. In 1995, she found a new home at Inveraray when she embarked on her current career as a museum.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


Another large bulk carrier, this time a more conventional Panamax sized ship, arrived at Shieldhall on Tuesday afternoon, after having lain overnight at the 'Alpha' anchorage off Greenock. SPIRIT OF BRAZIL was carrying animal feed from the country that she is named after, and had part-discharged her cargo at Belfast before heading here. Built in Japan in 1986 as RAIJIN MARU, she has since borne the names IRRAWADDY, ALEXANDRAKI, and perhaps appropriately since this view shows her passing the shipyard formerly named Yarrows, YARROW, before taking her present name in February 2008. She is 225 metres long, and has a deadweight of 70,653 tonnes. SPIRIT OF BRAZIL is registered at Majuro in the Marshall Islands, and is managed by Kristen Marine in Athens.


Another ship loading a cargo of scrap metal, this time at the former Lobnitz basin at Renfrew, and also flying the Dutch flag, was the coaster INGUNN, which had recently arrvied from Ayr. This 95.16 metre long ship, which has a deadweight of 5,004 tonnes, illustrates well the complexities of modern shipping - although registered in the Netherlands, where she was completed by the Damen company in 2001, she is owned by a Norwegian firm, and operated by Carisbrooke Shipping who are based in the Isle of Wight. When built she was named MERWEZOON - her name was changed in June 2007 when she was sold to Vaagebulk.


Completing her discharge of a cargo of fuel from Mongstad at Rothesay Dock, the tanker FALCON towers above the survey vessel ROYAL CHARTER as she makes her way up and down the dock doing an underwater survey on behalf of Clydeport. FALCON is currently working as a member of the Swift Tankers pool of ships, operating in the smaller tanker market on behalf of Maersk.


Seen loading scrap metal at Shieldhall, the Dutch coaster ANTJE K. is no stranger to the Clyde, having also been seen a few months ago on an earlier visit. She appears to be remaining fully employed while some other coastal ships are suffering from general downturns in trade, and Alstership, her managers, appear to have negotiated a number of recent contracts for her to carry scrap, as usual for the Spanish and Portuguese smelters. A few hours after this picture was taken, ANTJE K. sailed for Seville.


The barge WOOLSTON, which has previously visited the Clyde bringing sections of Type 45 destroyers from the BVT shipyard in Southampton, arrived on the river a few days ago with modules of new patrol boats being built for Trinidad and Tobago. The order for these craft was originally placed with the Woolston yard, but transferred to Scotstoun following the recent demerger of the BVT concern.

To take the barge south again, the tug BRAVEHEART arrived yesterday evening, and brought the barge downriver this morning. Currently on charter to Svitzer, and most recently based at Swansea, she was built in Italy in 2003. The 34.9 metre long anchor handler/escort tug is owned by a Madeira registered company, and she flies the Portuguese flag. BRAVEHEART has twin azimuth units delivering a bollard pull of 100 tonnes. More details about her design can be found here.

Monday, 16 February 2009


Ferries overhauled at Ardmaleish Boatyard are not limited to those of CalMac - Argyll and Bute Council use the yard for their annual refit of the Jura ferry EILEAN DHIURA too. She arrived at Rothesay on Sunday afternoon, where she was seen lying at the pier on Monday afternoon . EILEAN DHIURA is employed by the Council on the short crossing between Port Askaig on Islay, and Feolin on Jura, and was built by the McTay shipyard at Bromborough on the River Mersey. Originally commissioned by Glasgow-based Stirling Shipping to replace a ferry that they managed, she entered service in 1998 but managed by Serco Denholm. After a number of years, management was transferred to ASP Seascot, another Clyde-based company. Her bow ramp was replaced in 2002 following a series of problems with the original.

Sunday, 15 February 2009


Formerly seen on the Clyde on a regular monthly basis, today witnessed the first visit for almost a year by one of the 'S' class freighters belonging to the Dutch Spliethoff company. SCHELDEGRACHT, one of the company's ships that last visited the Clyde in October 2007, arrived at Brodick Bay yesterday from Rauma, moved upriver to Greenock early this morning and loaded a cargo of paper, and was seen as she sailed this afternoon for Jacksonville in the USA. She was built by Stocznia SzczeciƄska Nowa, and joined the fleet in December 2000. 172.6 metres in length, she has a deadweight of 21,449 tonnes. Her three deck cranes are rated at a maximum of 120 tonnes each, and five side loaders are fitted within the two large housings on her starboard side.

AASLI outbound

With her crew busy out on deck washing down after discharging cement from Port Talbot in King George V Dock, the Norwegian coaster AASLI was seen as she passed Cloch Lighthouse this afternoon, on her way to Kilroot to load a cargo of rock salt.

Saturday, 14 February 2009


In recent weeks, tankers belonging to companies not previously seen regularly on the Clyde have been calling both at Finnart and at Rothesay Dock, and it was to the former that this ship, TORM CLARA, was seen heading today. Built in Korea by STX Shipbuilding in 2000, she was delivered as HIGH SVART FALK, later renamed SVART FALK, and since August 2005, she has carried her present name. Now owned by the Danish company A/S Dampskibsselskabet Torm, TORM CLARA is 182.94 metres in length, and has a deadweight of  44,946 tonnes. She is due to laod a cargo of reformate and was arriving from Belfast.

Friday, 13 February 2009


Following the Pilot Cutter MOUNT STUART downriver, the wood chip carrier WORLD TRADER was seen passing the Gantocks off Dunoon this afternoon. This stretch of water was where a small fishing boat came to grief on Thursday afternoon. The three man crew of JUBILEE STAR were successfully rescued, largely due to the quick actions of another local fishing boat which was in the vicinity at the time of the accident.

CANOPUS J inbound

Heading towards the Ashton Buoy, the regular MacAndrews-chartered container ship CANOPUS J was seen as she arrived today. It would appear that her crew were anticipating an early berthing - note the mooring rope dangling from her starboard quarter!


Awaiting passage upriver to load a cargo of scrap metal, the Dutch-flagged coaster ALSERBACH was seen as she lay at anchor this morning. She was built in 1997 and originally carried the name CLAUDIA ISABELL. Of 4,490 tonnes deadweight, she is 88.2 metres in length and is operated by the German company Alstership.

Thursday, 12 February 2009


Once SD SALMAID had moved out of the James Watt Dock and back round to the Great Harbour, the Serco Denholm pilot cutter SD CLYDE SPIRIT was lifted out of the water to allow the removal of one of her propellers. It appears to have suffered from some contact damage, and after it was removed the cutter was lowered back into the dock. I am grateful to a correspondent for having sent me this image.


Since arriving at Greenock in May 2008, the first new vessel delivered for Serco Denholm's Clyde-based fleet has languished in a corner of the Great Harbour, but today SD EMILY made the short journey from there into the James Watt Dock. There she was lifted out of the water by a large crane, and placed aboard SD SALMAID, which will be heading south to Devonport shortly.


Seen approaching the entrance to the James Watt Dock this afternoon, SD SALMAID had not travelled far, having only left the Great Harbour a few minutes earlier. The reason for her visit to the dock is explained here.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


Serco Denholm's bunker barge SD OILPRESS was caught as she made her way back from Glen Mallen, where she had been bunkering FORT AUSTIN, to the Great Harbour. The last of a class of several similar ships built by Appledore Shipyard, she may well be due for replacement in the next year or two by some of the new tonnage currently being built by Damen in Holland as part of an extensive fleet renewal programme.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Headiong down the main river channel on Tuesday afternoon for the short sail to the Tail o' the Bank was the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency's 2003 Ferguson-built MINNA, which had just spent a few days alongside their berth in the James Watt Dock. Lying at Customhouse Quay, to the left of the picture, is POLE STAR, another vessel built at the Port Glasgow shipyard although she dates from a little earlier, having been launched in April 2000.


Lying at the 'Alpha' anchorage off Greenock for a few days, FORT AUSTIN was seen on Tuesday morning as she awaited the departure that evening of HURST POINT from Glen Mallen. Just visible peeking out on her starboard side is the bow of the water barge SD WATERMAN.

Monday, 9 February 2009


Another cargo of imported South American animal feed arrived today from Argentina aboard the wood chip carrier WORLD TRADER, whose last discharge port had been Belfast. WORLD TRADER dates from 1981, when she was completed as EIYO MARU at the Aioa Shipyard of Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries. Of 44,270 tonnes deadweight, she is 198.08 metres in length, and is managed by the Glasgow office of V Ships, although her owners are a Panamanian company.


One of the four German-built sisters of HARTLAND POINT and ANVIL POINT arrived on the Clyde today, and was seen entering Loch Long where she headed up to Glen Mallen. HURST POINT, delivered in August 2002 from the Flensburger Shipyard, was here to load military cargo for Becancour in Canada, and her last port was Marchwood. Like her sisters, HURST POINT is owned by Foreland Shipping, and managed by Andrew Weir Shipping Ltd. This class of ship is adapted from a standard ro-ro freighter design.

Saturday, 7 February 2009


Arriving at the north end of the Largs Channel on Saturday afternoon, the bulk carrier GIANNI D is seen with the new tug SVITZER MILFORD alongside her starboard quarter. GIANNI D was built in 1998 as ST. NICHOLAS by the Okean Shipyard at Nikolaev in the Ukraine. She was renamed in 2002, and is now managed by Goldenport Holdings. Flying the Maltese flag, this 69,100 tonne deadweight ship is 224.9 metres in length, and was carrying a cargo of coal from the Russian port of Ust-Luga.


The Clyde tug fleet has a new member, following the departure of SVITZER MALLAIG to Milford Haven, where she will be used at a new LPG terminal which required modifications to her bow fendering, carried out at Fergusons Shipyard last year. Her replacement is one of the earlier vessels in the 'M' class, SVITZER MILFORD, which has the slightly lower bollard pull of 62 tonnes ahead, and 55 tonnes astern. 'Milford' differs from 'Mallaig' in that she is fitted with only one towing winch, and a conventional towing hook aft. Built at the Baltija Shipyard in Lithuania, SVITZER MILFORD is registered at Milford Haven, meaning that possibly for the first time there is no Svitzer tug with a local port of registry - AYTON CROSS is registered at Middlesbrough while WARRIOR III flies the Irish flag and is registered at Westport.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Greenock Box Boats

A similar view to one shown earlier this week, but this time showing two container ships and the small passenger catamaran ALI CAT, which was returning to Greenock following her morning duties on the Gourock-Dunoon ferry service operated by CalMac. Berthed alongside at Ocean Terminal is CANOPUS J, a regular caller on MacAndrews' services to the Iberian peninsula. The other ship, about to berth, is a new visitor to the Clyde making her first appearance on the river. X-PRESS ELBRUS is on charter to OOCL for their SIX service between Southampton, Dublin, Greenock and Belfast. X-PRESS ELBRUS was built in 2005 and previously carried the names TS NAGOYA, TS PUSAN and latterly GABRIELLA while on various charters.

Thursday, 5 February 2009


The container ship HELGALAND - employed on MacAndrews Europe-Portugal service - was seen on Thursday afternoon as she passed Ashton on her way from Greenock to Rotterdam. In the background, one of the gantry cranes at Ocean Terminal is visible, as is the top of the Sir Gabriel Woods Mariners Home. This home was built in the mid 19th Century and is now managed by the Merchant Navy Welfare Board, where it provides residential care for retired seafarers from both the Merchant and Royal Navies.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


The Sanko tanker BM MIMOSA was seen against the snowy hills as she entered Loch Long on Wednesday morning. She had lain at the anchorage at the north end of the Cumbraes since Sunday when she moved from Brodick to take bunkers.


Sailing on Wednesday morning for Rotterdam, the products tanker MARIDA MIMOSA was seen heading down the firth after discharging her cargo at Clydebank. In the distance, the somewhat larger tanker BM MIMOSA can be seen as she began her passage from No 6 Anchorage north of Cumbrae to Finnart. I would suggest that the likelihood of two ships with 'Mimosa'  as part of their name both being on the Clyde at the same time is fairly small!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009


A year after her last visit to the Clyde, CalMac's LOCH FYNE arrived back today for her annual overhaul at the Garvel Drydock. After discharging crew cars at Largs, she made her way upriver and is seen here entering the James Watt Dock where she will wait for a few days before being drydocked. The tower on the left is survivor from the past, and was originally just one of a number of signal masts on the river used to control shipping movements. They were similar in operation and appearance to railway semaphore signals, but the increasing use of VHF radio led to their demise several years ago.


Heading back to the Great Harbour, Serco-Denholm's torpedo recovery vessel SD TORMENTOR catches the afternoon sun today as she passes Garvel Point. Both she and her sister, SD TORNADO, have been exercising in the Loch Long area over the past few days.

Greenock Ocean Terminal

A view showing Greenock's Ocean Terminal this morning, with BG ANTWERP arriving from Belfast on the BG Freight Lines service. The fresh easterly wind required her to take the services of Clyde Marine's small tug BATTLER to hold her stern off the quay as she was berthing. At the east end of the container terminal is TISTEDAL, which arrived yesterday afternoon from Skogn.

Monday, 2 February 2009


Passing the Garvel Drydock this afternoon in between snow showers, the tanker MARIDA MIMOSA, like her sister MARIDA MAGNOLIA began her life at the Jinse Shipbuilding Co in Korea as part of an order for the Eitzen Chemical company, and was destined to join their fleet as SICHEM ROTTERDAM. Before she was completed, she was sold to Marida Tankers in a four-ship deal reported to be worth US$112 million enbloc, and was completed at the end of September 2008 as MARIDA MIMOSA. She has a deadweight of 13,174 tonnes, and an overall length of 127.9 metres. Her cargo of fuel was loaded at Rotterdam, and her passage upriver to Clydebank was accompanied by Clyde Marine's BATTLER and BRUISER. Technical management for the ship is carried out by a German subsidiary of the W-O Shipping Group.

Sunday, 1 February 2009


Two tankers were seen this afternoon at anchor to the north of Cumbrae - ICE EXPLORER and this ship, BM MIMOSA. This vessel moved from Brodick Bay this morning, where she arrived yesterday afternoon with a cargo of North Sea crude from Mongstad. Taking advantage of more sheltered waters, she was able to take bunkers (fuel) from the smaller WHITCHAMPION, which arrived from the Stanlow refinery on the Manchester Ship Canal. BM MIMOSA, which was built in 2007 in Japan, is an Aframax ship operated by the Sanko Steamship Co, one of Japan's oldest shipping companies. The 105,576 tonne deadweight ship, which is 237.71 metres overall, is managed by Bernard Schulte Shipmanagement's Singapore office. WHITCHAMPION is operated by Whitaker Tankers, a British company which specialises in ships of her type and that are often seen in UK ports refuelling larger vessels. Built in Turkey in 2003, she is a double-hulled vessel of 4,200 tonnes deadweight.