Sunday, 31 May 2009


Loading paper reels for export to the USA at Greenock's Ocean Terminal on Sunday afternoon was Spliethoff's SLUISGRACHT, a ship dating from 2001 when she was built at Sczcecin in Poland. She has a deadweight of 21,402 tonnes, and is 172.6 metres long. Just beyond her is Clydeport's CLOCH, which had just left the small boat harbour. She is currently deputising for one of the regular pilot cutters.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Hunterston Jetty

Lying at the deepwater berth at Hunterston are two regular callers, MORNES on the outer side of the jetty and CLYDENES on the inner berth, where she has been loading coal for Manisty, near Ellesmere Port, which will be taken onward to the Fiddlers Ferry power station by rail.

Friday, 29 May 2009

The Great Harbour

An overall view of the Great Harbour at Greenock shows the multitude of craft used by Serco Denholm to support the Royal Navy in some of their activities on the Clyde. Amongst the vessels present are, from left to right, SD WATERMAN, SD HUSKY, SD OILPRESS, SD COLONEL TEMPLAR and SD SALMAID, which was recently drydocked at the nearby Garvel yard. Also visible behind SALMAID is one of the torpedo recovery ships, SD TORMENTOR.

Thursday, 28 May 2009


After spending a few days in drydock on the Mersey at Birkenhead having some repair work carried out, SMIT BARRACUDA was seen returning to Greenock to rejoin the Smit team working on the installation of the Valiant Jetty. As seen previously, she was the tug that brought the barge with the boom extensions used by TAKLIFT 7 during the operation.


Also discharging at Shieldhall was the coaster HAV SNAPPER, unloading a cargo from Vierow in Germany. She was completed in 1991 at the Damen shipyard at Gorinchem as SAAR LONDON, later being renamed GROOTHUSEN and then WALZBERG, before becoming HAV SNAPPER just a few months ago. She is 88.16 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 2,767 tonnes.


Arriving at Shieldhall on Thursday afternoon was Arklow Shipping's ARKLOW ROCK, arriving from Bordeaux with a cargo of grain. Built at Stroobos in 2004 by the Barkmeijer yard, she is 4,530 tonnes deadweight and has an overall length of 89.99 metres. On completion of discharge, she will be loading a cargo of scrap metal.

Valiant Jetty

The bridge linking the new concrete jetty to the shore was lifted into place on Thursday afternoon. It was built by the Ferguson Group at Newark Shipyard, Port Glasgow, and lifted aboard TAKLIFT 7 on Wednesday afternoon. After spending that night in the Great Harbour, TAKLIFT 7 moved to Faslane, accompanied as usual by EERLAND 26, and passed through the barrier surrounding the submarine berths. The structure weighs in the region of 500 tonnes.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Leaving Greenock this evening was SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER, a ship owned by Regent Seven Seas Cruises and which was built in Genoa, Italy by the Mariotti Shipyard. Launched in September 2001, she was completed in March 2003. At 42,363 gross tons, SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER is 206.5 metres long. Her current cruise commenced on 21 May at Reykjavik, and called at Thorshaven, Kirkwall, Portree and Belfast before she arrived here this morning. Her next ports will be Dublin, Cobh and Portland before she ends the cruise at Southampton on 31 May. She was recently drydocked at Genoa to have one of her podded propulsion units repaired, after it had sustained damage from fishing gear that got entangled in the Indian Ocean.


Having recently been on the Clyde a few times delivering both aggregates from Glensanda and cement from Port Talbot, it was to Narvik that AASVIK was sailing this evening as she left the river. Built in 1986, she was originally named HYDROBULK and was acquired by Aasen in 2000, who converted her into a self-discharging ship. She is 94.4 metres in length and has a deadweight of 4,319 tonnes.


Delivered from the Mizushima yard of the Sanoyas Hishino Meisho Corporation to Taiwanese owners Ta Tong Marine in January 2008, GOLDEN SPRING is a Panamax bulk carrier of 83,703 tonnes deadweight and 229.0 metres overall length. Seen leaving Hunterston for Norfolk, Virgina, GOLDEN SPRING had been discharging a cargo of coal from Ventspils in Latvia.

Fairlie Quay

Scheduled to call at Ayr today on the second last day of her National Trust for Scotland cruise, SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE diverted upfirth and instead berthed at Fairlie Quay, her passengers being taken by coach to visit the attractions of Ayr. Also alongside the quay is CalMac's LOCH SHIRA, spending some unscheduled time off her usual Largs-Cumbrae service, currently being served by two smaller vessels, LOCH RIDDON and LOCH BHRSUDA.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009


Clyde Marine's Kilcreggan and Helensburgh passenger ferry SEABUS usually lies overnight at Gourock Pier, but as the berth that she normally uses is currently unavailable due to CalMac needing it themselves, SEABUS has instead been heading upriver each evening to berth in the Victoria Harbour at Greenock, where her owner's fleet is based. She is seen approaching the harbour entrance with WAVERLEY lying a few yards downstream at Customhouse Quay.


Looking immaculate after her spell in the Garvel Drydock, the paddle steamer WAVERLEY berthed at Customhouse Quay while she prepared to go on sea trials following her annual survey. Her summer season commences a little late this year, when she sails on Friday for Oban, and a weekend of sailings from the West Highland resort. The magnificent cast iron beacon and clocktower on the quayside was made in 1860 at the Eagle Foundry in Greenock by Rankin and Blackmore, Engineers, a company later renowned for building steam machinery including the three crank, triple-expansion, main engine installed in WAVERLEY in 1947.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Maersk Lay-ups

Now joined by a sistership, MAERSK BEAUMONT is seen here with MAERSK BENTONVILLE, a slightly older vessel, but also British-flagged, while they await their move to Loch Striven in the near future. It is suggested that as many as twenty-five vessels could end up laid up on the Clyde. MAERSK BENTONVILLE arrived on Friday from Rotterdam, having previously spent several weeks at anchor off Margate.

Also awaiting a move into Loch Striven is the older US-flagged ship SEALAND PERFORMANCE. Now twenty-five years old, her days of trading are likely to be over with so many ships of similar size, but which are more modern, also being laid up.


Passing Coulport on her way to the tanker berth at Finnart, the Croatian-flagged tanker HRVATSKA had arrived on the Clyde and lain off Bute at No 3 Anchorage for a week while she was undergoing main engine repairs. Built in Croatia by the Brodosplit Shipyard, HRVATSKA was delivered to Tankerska Plovidba in 2005, and is a Suezmax crude carrier of 166,447 tonnes deadweight with an overall length of 280.98 metres. Her cargo was loaded in Nigeria and she is presently employed as a member of the Heidmar Group's Blue Fin Suezmax pool.

Sunday, 24 May 2009


At one time the busiest pier on the Clyde, BLACK PRINCE hurries past the sad remnants of Gourock Pier on Sunday afternoon after her latest visit to Greenock. From the Clyde she will be sailing to Bergen, Olden, Flam, Gudvagen and Eidfjord, all in Norway, before returning to Greenock via Tobermory on Monday 1 June.

Valiant Jetty

Now firmly secured in place by four massive guide piles, the new facility at Faslane is taking shape in readiness for the arrival of the first of the 'Astute' class submarines, currently under construction at Barrow-in-Furness. Driving the fourth, and last, pile into the seabed was being carried out by TAKLIFT 7, seen with her supporting vessel EERLAND 26 alongside. At the other end of the jetty is the Dutch crane barge DINA-M, on her second visit to the submarine base.


Passing McInroy's Point early on Sunday morning was the Dutch Naval vessel MERCUUR, returning on completion of Joint Warrior 091. The torpedo recovery vessel had been working in conjunction with the submarine WALRUS. MERCUUR was built at the Damen shipyard in the Netherlands, and was formally accepted into naval service in August 1987.

Saturday, 23 May 2009


Outbound from Faslane on Saturday afternoon following her role in Joint Warrior 091, the United States Navy's guided missile destroyer ARLEIGH BURKE was seen as she passed Dunoon after two nights enjoying the hospitality of HM Naval Base Clyde. This class of warship now numbers 55, the latest having just been named a few days ago. The earlier vessels in the class have, as can be seen here, a helicopter deck aft but no hanger - the later ships of 'Flight IIA' are fitted with an extended flight deck which include hanger facilities.


Another view of MARIDA MALLOW as she makes her way towards Kempock Point on Saturday morning with, in the far distance (actually about 6 miles away), the Dutch sheerlegs TAKLIFT 7 making her slow way from the Great Harbour to Faslane. The floating crane is being towed by the small tug EERLAND 26, and suspended from the boom is the one of the four guidepiles which will locate the Valiant Jetty, and allow it to rise and fall with the tide. For this task TAKLIFT 7 is fitted with a longboom of 130 metres, while the pile itself is about 75 metres long.


Another tanker belonging to Marida arrived at Brodick early on Saturday morning, and spent a couple of hours at anchor before heading upfirth. MARIDA MALLOW was delivered in August 2008 from the Sekwang Shipyard in Korea to OMCI Germany, and she operates as a member of the small tanker pool for the Heidmar Group while her technical management is entrusted to W-O Shipping. She is 128.6 metres in length, and with a deadweight of 13,160 tonnes, was carrying a cargo of petroleum products from Brunsbuttel in Germany.

Friday, 22 May 2009


A first visit to Greenock on Friday was made by the container ship ACHIEVER, a vessel dating from 1992 when she was completed by the JJ Sietas shipyard at Neuenfelde as JUPITER. A sister of CERVANTES, a ship that was for many years a regular caller to the Clyde, she was renamed GRACECHURCH JUPITER in 1999 and subsequently became KATHERINE BORCHARD in 2002. She was renamed ACHIEVER in 2005. Now flying the Gibraltar flag, ACHIEVER has an overall length of 116.79 metres and a deadweight of 6,545 tonnes. She can carry up to 510 TEU containers. She is owned by a Norwegian company, which bought her and a sister vessel in 2006 for a reported $22 million, and is now employed on the MacAndrews service in place of CANOPUS J.


Seen departing from the Clyde on Friday afternoon, the 'Arleigh Burke' class destroyer PORTER had spent the previous night alongside the lead ship of the class at Faslane at the conclusion of the Joint Warrior exercise. PORTER had, like her sister, taken part in a variety of scenarios to prepare her for future deployment this summer on the African coast. These included surface, anti-submarine, and air defense exercises.


Two views showing the Type 22 frigate CORNWALL arriving this morning, following her participation in Joint Warrior 091. In the upper picture, she is stopped off Cloch Point after one of her crew had the misfortune to fall overboard while preparing a sea boat. Orange smoke can be seen coming from a float marking his position. Unfortunately the boat that was launched to rescue him suffered from difficulties and a second boat had to be launched. Although a 'Mayday' was issued, no help was required from vessels other than Serco Denholm's SD CLYDE SPIRIT, which was waiting at the mouth of Loch Long for CORNWALL to arrive. The sailor injured his back during his fall, and was later taken to hospital.

SD CLYDE SPIRIT is seen in the second view embarking the Navy Pilot to CORNWALL, in readiness for her making her way up Loch Long to Glen Mallan. CORNWALL sailed later in the day.


Another early arrival on Friday was X-PRESS MATTERHORN, just a few hours behind her sister X-PRESS MONTE BIANCO but running between UK ports and Dublin, whereas her sister also serves Rotterdam on her rotation.


Although owned by a Dutch company, Acta Marine, SARA MAATJE VI is on long-term charter to the MoD and is now  managed by Serco Denholm. She was built in the Netherlands in 1986 as ZUS, renamed SARA MAATJE VI in 1990, and in 1993 was lengthened from 26.8 metres to 31 metres. A further rebuild followed, more extensive this time, in 1998 and she was lengthened again to 32.4 metres and also widened from 6 metres to 10 metres. Built with twin screws, the additional width allowed modification to her propulsion too, and SARA MAATJE VI is now a triple screw vessel. She has been used at the BUTEC range near Kyle of Lochalsh since 2001.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


Originally named ENSEMBLE but renamed just a few weeks ago for her current charter - together with her sister ENFORCER - to OOCL for their 'SIX' service between the Clyde, Dublin and Rotterdam, X-PRESS MONTE BIANCO makes a fine sight as she steams upriver past Wemyss Bay to Greenock. Built in 2005 for JR Shipping, her charter is due to last at least until September. Her first visit to Greenock was four weeks ago, when she was alongside for around an hour in the middle of the night. She was built in 2005, the newest ship in the class of six ships. Charters for these ships are arranged by Confeeder Shipping, a subsidiary of her owners.


Returning to Faslane to debrief after taking part in Joint Warrior 091, the United States Navy's destroyer ARLEIGH BURKE was seen as she approached Cloch Point, with the Arran hills forming a backdrop.  She was followed upfirth by her sistership PORTER.


RUDDERMAN, a tanker owned by James Fisher Everard, arrived shortly after SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE with a cargo of fuel for Rothesay Dock, wehich she had loaded at Eastham. As she headed for the river channel, the tug SVITZER MILFORD awaited her arrival at No 1 Buoy. RUDDERMAN was buil in Malaya in 1994, and is 6,418 tonnes deadweight.


Belonging to Saga Cruises, the small cruise ship SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE arrived at Greenock early on Thursday morning from Dublin, ready to embark passengers on the first of her 2009 National Trust cruises. She dates from 1980, and was completed as BERLIN for German owners. She was lengthened in 1986, and after carrying two other names, she joined Saga in 2006 and was renamed SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE. Used for cruising worldwide, she will be in northern European waters for the summer, and will be returning to Greenock on two more occasions this year.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Exercising at the Tail of the Bank and in the Lower Loch Long area over the past few days in the company of QUORN, one of her sisters, the 'Hunt' class minehunter HURWORTH was seen approaching the Lower Loch Long buoy on Wednesday afternoon.  She is currently undergoing sea training as part of her programmed return to operational duty following a maintenance period that last some five months. HURWORTH is now fitted with the latest SEAFOX Mine Disposal System, which utilises small unmanned, underwater drones.


Built by the Slovenske Lodenice shipyard at Komarno on the River Danube, STEINAU is one of Erwin Strahlmann's numerous 'Rhein' class ships of 3,680 tonnes deadweight and with an overall length of 87.9 metres. Seen heading for the pilot embarkation point at Gourock, STEINAU was heading upriver to Shieldhall to load scrap metal.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tugs in the Sun

As ANTJE K. continued her journey down the Clyde, two of the small tugs owned by Clyde Marine Services were seen heading back to Greenock. BRUISER (right) and BATTLER had been delivering stores to vessels at anchor further down the Firth.

ANTJE K. outbound

Alstership's coaster ANTJE K. was seen sailing on Tuesday afternoon with a full cargo of scrap metal loaded at Shieldhall, and bound for Seville. After a lean period earlier in the year, the scrap metal export trade appears to have picked up once more, with a number of similar coasters visiting the river recently.

Valiant Jetty

This picture, taken by John Crae and used with his kind permission, shows the Valiant Jetty leaving the Inchgreen Drydock on the first stage of its 12-mile journey to Faslane. The concrete jetty, named after the first British designed and built nuclear submarine, has been almost three years under construction in the drydock, and is 200 metres in length and weighs around 44,000 tonnes. Many of the ancillary structures on the jetty have been fabricated locally, much of the work having been carried out by nearby Ferguson Shipbuilders. The jetty, costing around £150 million, was towed to Faslane in a six-hour long operation by five tugs, with SVITZER MALLAIG as lead tug. AYTON CROSS and SD DEXTEROUS were on the left side of the structure, and SVITZER MILFORD and SD IMPETUS on the right. The jetty will be used by the new 'Astute' class advanced attack submarines due for delivery over the next few years.


Having towed the barge TAK 5 from Rotterdam to the Great Harbour, SMIT BARRACUDA left Greenock early on Tuesday for Liverpool. SMIT BARRACUDA was built by the IHC Holland Delta shipyard, and delivered to Smit Transport BV in 2006. She is 25.4 metres long, and 230 gross tons. Twin screws, driven by Caterpillar 3508B main engines, give a bollard pull of 28 tonnes and a free-running speed of around 11 knots.

Monday, 18 May 2009


Seen on Monday night at Loch Striven, the US Navy's Fleet Replenishment Oiler KANAWHA had arrived earlier in the day, having been involved in the multi-national Joint Warrior 091 exercise off the west coast. KANAWHA was launched by the Sun Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., at Chester, Pennsylvania, in September 1990, and joined the Military Sealift Command at the end of 1991. A twin-screw ship, she has a service speed of around 20 knots, and a crew of 81 civilains and 23 military personnel.


The arrival of a military vessel at the fuel jetty at Loch Striven requires the services of a Naval Pilot as well as a Clyde Pilot. On Monday, the arrival of a US Naval tanker meant that Serco Denholm's pilot cutter SD CLYDE SPIRIT was used to take her pilot downfirth from Faslane to Loch Striven, and she is seen here passing McInroy's Point at speed. SD CLYDE SPIRIT was delivered from Damen Shipyards in 2008 as part of a major fleet renewal programme.

Sunday, 17 May 2009


After her brief visit to Fairlie on Friday, Briggs Marine's tug FORTH HUNTER was seen heading for the Great Harbour with a navigation buoy on her after deck. She is likely to be seen on the river for a while yet, undertaking work on behalf of Serco Denholm. FORTH HUNTER was recently involved in the recovery of a helicopter that crashed into the North Sea in February 2009.


This small ferry arrived at Greenock on Friday and will be drydocked for annual survey together with the paddle steamer WAVERLEY on Monday. She is FOYLE RAMBLER, built in Germany in 1972 and operated on a crossing on the River Weser, under her original name STEDINGEN. In 2004, following the opening of a new road tunnel, she was sold to the Lough Foyle Ferry Company for service on Lough Swilly between Buncrana and Rathmullan. In previous years, this ferry has been towed across from Ireland to the Clyde for overhauls, but this year she made the crossing on her own. Prior to coming to Greenock, FOYLE RAMBLER had her car ramps removed.

Saturday, 16 May 2009


Paying another visit to the Riverside berth at Shieldhall today was the Panamanian-registered wood chip carrier BUENA VISTA, last on the Clyde in March. She was seen approaching the berth with AYTON CROSS made fast foward, and SVITZER MILFORD on her stern. Clyde Marine Services' BRUISER was pushing hard on her port side, against the effects of the fresh south-easterly wind. Unusually, the bulker was berthed facing upriver, as her high freeboard would have made it rather difficult to cant her today.


The Antigua and Barbudan-flagged coaster ISARTAL arrived this afternoon, heading straight upriver to renfrew to load a cargo of scrap. She was built in 1989 by Hermann Surken at Papenburg, and is a member of the Ems-Fracht fleet, managed by Reederei Held. 87.92 metres long, ISARTAL has a deadweight of 3,782 tonnes.

TAKLIFT heavy lift cranes

Next week should see the floating out of the new jetty being built at Inchgreen for the forthcoming 'Astute' class submarines, and to assist in the installation of the jetty at Faslane, a number of large cranes are arriving on the Clyde. DINA-M, belonging to Stemat Marine,   arrived on Thursday from Rotterdam under tow by the tug FORTH HUNTER. Today saw the arrival of the tug EERLAND 26, also from Rotterdam, and a member of the Smit fleet. She was built in 1967 in Germany, and has a bollard pull of 20 tonnes.

EERLAND 26 was towing the sheerlegs TAKLIFT 7, built by HDW Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft at Kiel in Germany as the HEBELIFT 3. In 1994 she was acquired by Smit and renamed. With an ability to lift 1,200 tonnes on her A-frame alone, she can also be fitted with an extended boom to have a reach of 160 metres, but with a reduced capacity of 335 tonnes. TAKLIFT 7 does have her own propulsion - three rudder propellers are mounted aft - but for longer journeys she is usually towed.

The other parts of TAKLIFT 7's boom were brought to the Clyde aboard the Smit-owned barge TAK 5, which was towed by the tug SMIT BARRACUDA. Built in the Netherlands by IHI Beaver Dredgers, SMIT BARRACUDA was completed in 2006. She has a bollard pull of 28 tonnes. Both she and the barge TAK 5 berthed at Ocean Terminal this evening.

Friday, 15 May 2009


The vessel that had dragged her anchor off Largs was the former MacBrayne ferryboat LOCHNELL, which has been privately owned for several years. Built in 1941 by Silvers at Rosneath, she was originally a hospital launch used to ferry patients ashore from ships at anchor at the Tail of the Bank during the Second World War. She was bought by David MacBrayne Ltd in 1947 and placed on their Oban-Lismore ferry service. After spells in other areas, she was later employed on the Tobermory-Kilchoan route, until replaced by another vessel in 1981. She was then sold and embarked on a varied career, being reported as operating cruises on Loch Leven at one stage. LOCHNELL returned to the Clyde in more recent years, and in June 2003 had the distinction of being the last vessel to use the former Clyde Navigation Trust's slipway at Renfrew. LOCHNELL is seen here shortly after having been brought back to the safety of Fairlie Quay by FORTH HUNTER and the Largs lifeboat.


Also involved in the rescue off Largs was Briggs Marine's small anchor handling tug FORTH HUNTER. She was built in 2008 in the Far East by the Shin Yang Shipyard in Malaysia, and is 37 metres in length. She has a bollard pull of 35 tonnes, and is powered by two Cummins KTA38M2 engines driving twin screws. FORTH HUNTER was on the Clyde a few weeks ago undertaking survey work, but her most recent visit was to deliver a floating crane to Greenock.

Largs Lifeboat

The Largs inshore lifeboat PEGGY KEITH LEARMOND was launched on Friday afternoon, after a vessel that had been anchored off the lifeboat station was seen to be dragging its mooring. An Atlantic 75 class boat, it was new in 1998 and has been stationed at Largs throughout its life. The 7.5 metre boat has a top speed of 32 knots, and like most inshore lifeboats, is beach launched.