Sunday, 28 June 2009


Also seen on Sunday was the tanker TARNBRIS as she neared completion of discharge in Rothesay Dock. Built in 2007 at the Selah yard in Turkey, TARNBRIS has a deadweight of 10,300 tonnes and is 129.5 metres overall. Owned by Tarntank Rederi AB, she had originally been ordered by Turkish Atlantic Denizcilik but was resold to Tarntank just six months prior to her completion.


The majority of wood chips carriers that occasionally visit the Clyde to discharge cargoes of animal feed are elderly vessels - this one is an exception. CATTLEYA is a new ship, delivered to in December 2008 to Panamanian owners by the Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. She is 199.9 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 49,368 tonnes. CATTLEYA was seen on Sunday as she berthed at Shieldhall with a cargo of feed from South America, part of which had been discharged at Amsterdam prior to her arrival on the Clyde.

'Archer' class patrol boats

Not just one, but four of the small 'Archer' Class patrol boats belonging to the University Royal Navy Units were seen on Sunday afternoon, following the recent arrival of HMS RAIDER in Princes Dock at Glasgow. Congregating for their annual summer deployment up the west coast were, from left to right, EXPLOIT (P167), attached to Birmingham University, RAIDER (P275), attached to Cambridge University, EXAMPLE (P165), attached to Northumbria University and EXPLORER (P164), attached to Yorkshire Universities. EXAMPLE was the first vessel of the class, and was originally a member of the Royal Naval Auxiliary Service from 1985 until 1994, prior to being commissioned as as member of the Royal Navy.

Saturday, 27 June 2009


Seen departing from Greenock Ocean Terminal on Saturday afternoon, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's JEWEL OF THE SEAS was on a cruise around the Britain Isles and Norwegian Fjords, which had started at Harwich on Monday 22 June. This is a similar sailing to that which the 90,090 gross ton ship undertook a year ago.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Loch Striven Anchorage

Once both vessels had anchored, each one placing around 1,100 feet of cable in the water, they were very carefully and slowly manoeuvred alongside each other. Again, the tugs played an integral role in controlling the positioning of these massive ships, as did the pilots and crews aboard the vessels involved.

Finally, after several hours, the two ships were safely moored alongside each other, with four large Yokohama fenders between them to prevent damage. Once secured together, each of the anchor cables of the two ships was adjusted to give an even tension, all done to satisfy the rules of the classification societies.


As MAERSK BEAUMONT arrived from No 6 Anchorage at the north end of the Cumbrae, the workboat TORCH laid temporary dan buoys to indicate where each of her anchors should be lowered to the loch bottom.

SEALAND PERFORMANCE, although anchored, was being held clear by the tugs while MAERSK BEAUMONT slipped past towards her position. An orange buoy can be seen just ahead of TORCH - that was where she would drop her port anchor. Her starboard anchor would be dropped later, once she had moved across to the east shore a few yards to the position marked by the white buoy visible below her starboard quarter.

Now nearing position, MAERSK BEAUMONT lowered her port anchor at the designated spot, and then using a combination of thruster power and the tug made fast aft - SVITZER MALLAIG - moved across to lower her starboard anchor.


The first view shows the containership SEALAND PERFORMANCE turning within the confines of Loch Striven just to the west of Inverchaolin, with assistance of two Svitzer tugs, SVITZER MILFORD on her starboard shoulder and AYTON CROSS working at her stern. Both anchors had been walked out in readiness for lowering.

The orange buoy just ahead of SEALAND PERFORMANCE was there to indicate the position that her port anchor was to be lowered - a similar buoy had been placed by the Clydeport workboat TORCH to show where her starboard anchor was to go.

TORCH is seen checking that the ship was lying correctly and that her anchors had been run out as planned. As SEALAND PERFORMANCE was the first ship to enter the loch, positioning her accurately was important, as all the other vessels would be anchored in positions relative to hers.


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker BAYLEAF is back at Loch Striven following a major refit on the Mersey. Having just completed a £9.1 million Service Life Extension Programme at the Cammell Laird repair yard - formerly Northwestern Shiprepairers and Shipbuilders Ltd - BAYLEAF is just one of a number of vessels being refitted as part of a 25-year contract the Birkenhead shipyard signed with the Ministry of Defence. Beyong BAYLEAF is the containership SEALAND PERFORMANCE, making her way into Loch Striven to be laid up.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


Built in Croatia by the Uljanik Shipyard in 1991 as TRELSI, and operated for a time by Stenersen Tankers, this 138.9 metre long, 14,800 tonne deadweight tanker was renamed EURO SWAN in April 2001. Now owned by Uni-Tankers A/S and working for Brostrom Tankers, EURO SWAN flies the Danish flag. She was seen heading for Brodick Bay after she had delivered a cargo of fuel from Mongstad.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Maersk B's

Although lying fairly close together at No 2 anchorage, the difference in their headings gave a rather unusual perspective to the two Maersk containerships, MAERSK BENTONVILLE (closest) and the newly-arrived MAERSK BALTIMORE, which had only moved to the anchorage on Tuesday morning from the outer firth. In the distance, the CalMac Arran ferry CALEDONIAN ISLES is seen heading for Ardrossan.


Five vessels feature in this picture, four of them utterly dwarfed by the massive pipe-layer SOLITAIRE. On her starboard side, on the left of the picture, is the small coaster MOORMERLAND which had arrived ahead of the bigger ship with a cargo of stores for her. Berthed outside her is the tanker AMALIA THERESA which was delivering bunkers to SOLITAIRE in preparation for her deployment off the Irish west coast. Alongside a pontoon secured to SOLITAIRE's port side was Clyde Marine's CRUISER - her stern is just visible - which was ferrying personnel to and from the ship. Sitting just off the pontoon was the PSV MALAVIYA THIRTY, using her dynamic positioning to keep station while her cargo was transferred to SOLITAIRE, which also used her DP while on the Clyde, as she had done last September.


Seen heading down the firth on Tuesday morning, the Indian platform supply vessel MALAVIYA THIRTY was taking her cargo of stores, equipment and pipes to the Allseas pipelayer SOLITAIRE, which had arrived at No 3 anchorage on Monday. MALAVIYA THIRTY, looking very fresh from her recent spell in Dales Marine's drydock at Aberdeen, had loaded her cargo at the north-eastern port before setting out for the Clyde.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Lower Firth Anchorages

It's getting busy on the Clyde at the anchorages to the east of Bute! This view, taken from Skelmorlie, shows four large vessels at them, and from left to right are SEALAND PERFORMANCE, MAERSK BEAUMONT, MAERSK BENTONVILLE, the platform supply vessel OCEAN MAINPORT and the pipelaying ship SOLITAIRE, which had arrived a few hours earlier. A fourth large containership, MAERSK BALTIMORE, was lying further south. SOLITAIRE is here to load pipes and other equipment from a number of supply ships before she sets off back to Ireland to have a second attempt at laying a new gas line from the Corrib field, following the failed effort last year.


Built by Astilleros de Sestao at Bilbao, the shuttle tanker ELISABETH KNUTSEN is one of of her owner's fleet that flies an Isle of Man ensign. Delivered in 1997, the 264.7 metre long vessel had loaded crude oil from one of the North Sea fields. With a deadweight of 124,768 tonnes, ELISABETH KNUTSEN is operated by Teekay Navion Shuttle Tankers.


Another Ulstein UT-755 platform supply ship arrived on Monday. HIGHLAND ROVER, seen passing the Gantocks light as she headed upriver to Shieldhall, was built (like MALAVIYA THIRTY which arrived yesterday) by Aker Yards at Braatvaag. She is a little older, having been completed in 1998 for Gulf Offshore and until 2007, she flew the British flag. Now registered in Panama, HIGHLAND ROVER is 71.8 metres in length and had a deadweight of 3,200 tonnes. HIGHLAND ROVER is on long-term charter to Allseas, and has worked with SOLITAIRE in a support role for quite some time.

Sunday, 21 June 2009


Moving astern and away from Ocean Terminal for the last time, Fred Olsen's cruise ship BLACK PRINCE sailed from Greenock on Sunday afternoon. As she sailed, she gave one long farewell blast on her whistle at the close of twelve years of regular visits to the Clyde.

BLACK PRINCE is seen in the second picture heading down the Skelmorlie Channel past MAERSK BEAUMONT, with her sister MAERSK BENTONVILLE lying off Mount Stuart in the background partially obscured in the drizzle. The Pilot Cutter TOWARD was shadowing BLACK PRINCE ready to disembark her Clyde Pilot off Little Cumbrae after she had passed Largs and Hunterston. The veteran then continued on her cruise to Dublin and Liverpool. Another vessel in the Fred Olsen fleet will take over many of her cruises from October, when BLACK PRINCE finally leaves European waters for a new career in South America.


One of the flotilla of vessels required to work with the pipe-laying ship SOLITAIRE, due to arrive shortly, passed Cloch Point bound for Glasgow on Sunday morning and headed upriver to join MANTA III at Shieldhall. MALAVIYA THIRTY is an Indian-owned offshore platform supply vessel, built in 2006 by Akers Yards at Brattvaag in Norway. She is owned by Great Offshore Ltd and will be transferring equipment to SOLITAIRE at one of the Lower Firth anchorages. MALAVIYA THIRTY is 3,300 tonnes deadweight and has an overall length of 72.2 metres. She is one of the popular Ulstein UT755 class of supply ships.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

VICTORIA outbound

Outward bound for Le Havre on her first West Coast Feeder 2 service, the small containership VICTORIA was seen passing Cloch Point with two of the larger Maersk containerships, SEALAND PERFORMANCE and MAERSK BEAUMONT, lying at No 6 anchorage in the background.

Friday, 19 June 2009


Seen approaching the mouth of the Holy Loch, where she lay overnight on Friday, the Northern Lighthouse Board's tender PHAROS, built in Poland in 2007 was undertaking an inspection of lighthouses on the Clyde. The inset picture shows two flags that were being flown by PHAROS - to starboard the white Commissioners' flag which dates from the Board's foundation in 1786, and does not have the St Patrick flag within the union flag in the upper quadrant, and the NLB pennant seen on the port yardarm. More about these flags can be found here.


The maiden visit of a new ship is always of interest, and Friday's arrival of the Sietas Type 151 containership VICTORIA was made even more so as she was on the first voyage of a new service too. Having left Southampton on Tuesday, she called at Avonmouth before heading up the Irish Sea to the Clyde. VICTORIA is on charter to CMA CGM and will operate between Avonmouth, Greenock and Le Havre on the West Coast Feeder 2 service running on a weekly basis, and connecting into her charterer's worldwide network at the French port. She was built at Hamburg and completed in February 1998 as RIJA. Renamed in July 2007, VICTORIA is 101.1 metres oveerall, and has a deadweight of 5,200 tonnes. She can carry 508 TEU containers. Before going alongside, VICTORIA had to anchor to await a berth, as both ACHIEVER and X-PRESS MATTERHORN were alongside Ocean Terminal.

Thursday, 18 June 2009


Another 'Rhein' class coaster, built at Komarno in Slovakia for Erwin Strahlmann, arrived on Thursday in ballast from Garston to load a cargo of scrap metal. LUHNAU was completed for the German coaster owner in February 2007, and is 87.9 metres long. An interesting picture showing the 3,680 tonne deadweight ship, presumably heading down the River Danube, before final completion, can be seen here.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Her work at Faslane now completed, the Dutch floating crane DINA-M left the Gareloch on Wednesday afternoon for Rotterdam, towed as she had been on her way to Scotland, by the tug FORTH HUNTER. DINA-M is owned by Stemat Marine Services, and is fitted with two spud legs that are lowered to the seabed to secure her in place when working. She can lift up to 350 tonnes, and her boom can be extended to a maximum of 90 metres.


Passing McInroy's Point on Wednesday morning in weather conditions that did not reflect the time of year, the Swedish tanker FURE NORD was heading for the Alpha anchorage off Greenock, before heading upriver to Rothesay Dock to discharge a cargo of fuel that she had loaded in Rotterdam. FURE NORD was built in China by the Shanghai Edwards Shipbuilding Co in 2004, and is owned by Furetank Rederi AB. Her commercial operation is by a newly-formed company, Milestone Maritime A/S. With an overall length of 144.0 metres, she has a deadweight of 15,999 tonnes. She is a sister of FURE WEST.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009


Catching the evening sun at the fuel jetty in Loch Striven, MAERSK RAPIER was seen alongside on Tuesday evening. Having arrived from Rotterdam earlier in the day, she appeared to have already discharged a good part of her cargo into the MoD storage facility's tanks.

Monday, 15 June 2009


Despite having been at the Garvel yard in Greenock SD SALMAID during May, after running trials she returned a few days later to the drydock for further attention. Since then, she has remained in the Great Harbour just a few yards upstream. On Monday afternoon, she ventured out as far as the Ashton Buoy on further engine trials, before returning to her base. The appearance of this vessel has been altered considerably with the removal of the white band around her hull, and the former 'A187' pennant number that she carried previously.


Without the sailing dinghies present that impeded her progress into Loch Long, the Greek tanker ROMANTIC was seen as she made a smart exit from the loch on Monday afternoon, outward bound for Sines in Portugal.


An early arrival on Monday was the German coastal bulk carrier APOLLO HAWK, arriving from Blaye, carrying a cargo of maize for discharge at Shieldhall. The ships of Apollo Shipping are more usually associated with the carriage of cement, often seen bringing such cargoes to the Clyde from Brunsbuttel.


Now working for Fisheries Research Services under the Marine Scotland organisation, the Port Glasgow-built research vessel SCOTIA was seen as she sailed on Monday morning from Greenock. Now eleven years old, SCOTIA is one of two modern research vessels operated by the FRS, the other being the smaller ALBA NA MARA which only joined her larger counterpart last year.

Sunday, 14 June 2009


The coaster BEKAU, which arrived on Sunday afternoon, presented an unusual sight as she passed upriver towards Glasgow - Erwin Strahlmann ships very seldom arrive on the Clyde with cargo on board! Arriving from Hamburg, this 3,701 tonne deadweight coaster is 87.84 metres overall and a member of the successful 'Rhein' class built at Komarno on the River Danube in Slovakia. She dates from 2005.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


Six days after she arrived at Irvine Bay, the Greek-flagged Suezmax tanker ROMANTIC finally headed upfirth to Finnart on Saturday afternoon. Carrying a cargo of Nigerian crude, ROMANTIC is owned by Nereus Shipping, and was built in 2004 by the Universal Shipbuilding Corporation in Japan. She is 150,249 tonnes deadweight, and measures 274.2 metres overall.

Friday, 12 June 2009


Nestling on the inside of Fairlie Quay, this small vessel has recently been tendering to SEALAND PERFORMANCE at anchor off the north end of Great Cumbrae. LYRAWA BAY was built in 1970 as a Faroese ferry, and was originally named SAM. She was purchased by the Orkney Islands Shipping Company in 1976 and after being renamed and converted to suit their purposes, she served the South Isles (Hoy and Flotta) from Stromness for a number of years, later becoming a relief ferry. Sold in 1991, she later became a fishfarm workboat, and was subsequently rebuilt extensively, now bearing little resemblence to her original profile. LYRAWA BAY, still retaining her Orcadian name, was more recently acquired by Offshore Workboats, although I am not sure if she is still owned by them or not.

Thursday, 11 June 2009


Once again, CalMac are providing a second ferry on their service between Ardrossan and Brodick during the summer months, and on Thursday SATURN headed down the firth to Arran from Goruock. She is seen here moving away from Brodick pier, where she had landed a number of passengers who had enjoyed a one-way cruise from the upper firth.


Lying a little further south of the other two containerships waiting to move to Loch Striven is MAERSK BENTONVILLE at No 2 anchorage off Mount Stuart. When they do move into lay-up, it is likely that the ships will be 'rafted' together, berthed alongside each other bow to stern, with mooring laid out at each end to prevent them from swinging in the confines of the loch.


With the entrance to the Kyles of Bute forming the background, the containership MAERSK BEAUMONT appeared to be lying in the right direction for her imminent move to Loch Striven, where she, and other vessels, are likely to be moving into lay-up in the next few weeks. At the moment, however, no moorings appear to have been laid in the loch for the visitors.

Pilot Cutters

A busy view showing two of Clydeport's pilot cutters passing Skelmorlie. TOWARD, nearest, was towing MOUNT STUART from the Small Boat Harbour at the west end of the container terminal to Largs Marina, where she was to be lifted out of the water for maintenance. In the background, heading upfirth past Innellan is Serco Denholm's SD COLONEL TEMPLER, returning from her first sortie out of the Great Harbour for several months. Heading south is the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency's research vessel SIR JOHN MURRAY.


After being slightly delayed on her return to the Clyde by a medical emergency off Lewis, the small cruiseship SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE berthed at Greenock on Thursday morning at the end of her National Trust cruise to Iceland. Seen lying alongside Ocean Terminal as she prepared for her next cruise, SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE was about to be passed by Serco Denholm's personnel carrier SD ADAMANT.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


Now likely to be sailing on borrowed time, Stena Line's HSS STENA VOYAGER is the company's principal vessel on their North Channel crossing between Stranraer and Belfast, slightly longer than the rival P&O service. Built in 1996 by Finnyards at Rauma, STENA VOYAGER is one of three similar craft. Using four gas turbines to provide power to waterjets, these massive craft have a service speed of 40 knots, although at that speed fuel costs are astronomical. She is 126.6 metres long, and has a gross tonnage of 19,638 tons. She can carry 1,520 passengers, and 375 cars or 50 HGVs. Recently, one of her sister craft, STENA DISCOVERY, was reportedly sold to South American interests - she was previously employed on Stena Line's service from Harwich to Hook of Holland, but was withdrawn at the beginning of 2007. The third vessel, STENA EXPLORER, is also used on the Irish Sea, and she sails between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire.


Also employed on the P&O service between Northern Ireland and Scotland is the fatscraft EXPRESS. She makes three trips daily from Larne - the first and third go to troon while in between them she makes a return sailing to Cairnryan. EXPRESS makes the crossing in one hour, around half the time that it takes one of the conventional ferries to cross. During the winter months, EXPRESS is laid up at Belfast, and she usually reappears on the service between March and October.


Relieving the two P&O ferries in turn for their overhauls is a vessel more usually found sailing between Liverpool and Dublin. NORBAY was built by Van der Giessen de Noord in Holland in 1994 for North Sea Ferries, and she entered service on their Hull-Europoort crossing. At 17,464 gross tons, she is 166.77 metres in length, and has a service speed of 23 knots. She can carry 114 passengers, and 156 12-metre trailers. NORBAY was transferred to the Irish Sea in 2002, and is partnered by her twin sister NORBANK.


With the southern end of the Firth of Clyde forming the background, and Ailsa Craig standing sentinel on the left, P&O Irish Sea's EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER sets out on another routine crossing to Larne. The younger, by two years, of the two regular P&O ferries used on the route, EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER arrived from her Japanese builders in 2002. At 163 metres overall, the 21,188 gross ton ferry can accommodate up to 410 passengers and a maximum of 375 cars, or 115 13.5 metre freight units. Sailing at a service speed of 23 knots, EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER completes the crossing to Northern Ireland in around two hours. Fresh from her bi-annual drydocking, carried out by Harland and Wolff at Belfast, she is an almost identical sister to EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY, now having her overhaul at the same yard.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


This powerful looking vessel arrived on the Clyde on Tuesday afternoon from Killybegs, in Ireland. MANTA III is owned by Allseas, operators of the pipe-laying ship SOLITAIRE which spent several weeks last autumn lying off the north end of Great Cumbrae. MANTA III was launched as NEFTEGAZ-73 in 1991 by Stocznia Szczecinska in Poland, but completed as PETEKA SUPPLY II. In 1995 she was reportedly converted to become a cable-layer, and after further modifications, she became MANTA in 2000. Five years later, she took her present name. MANTA III is 82.4 metres in length, and is some 1,397 tonnes deadweight. She was heading upriver to Shieldhall. Press reports suggest that resumption of the laying of the pipeline off the west coast of Ireland may be imminent, which may be connected with the visit by MANTA III to Glasgow.

Monday, 8 June 2009


After lying overnight at Customhouse Quay, the Jubilee Sailing Trust's LORD NELSON set off from Greenock in the late afternoon for Lochmaddy, on the first leg of a short voyage to Aberdeen. After a few days at Aberdeen, LORD NELSON will be heading course for the Baltic Sea, and the Polish port of Gdynia, where the Tall Ships Race 2009 is being held. She is due to arrive there on 2nd July.


Passing Greenock on Monday afternoon, inbound for Shieldhall, was Arklow Shipping's coaster ARKLOW VENUS, fully laden with a cargo of grain from Bayonne. Last year, the 4.940 tonne deadweight ARKLOW VENUS made a number of visits to the Clyde with road salt from Northern Ireland. She is a little unusual in the Arklow fleet in that she was acquired second-hand.


Joining LOCH SHIRA in the Garvel Drydock on Monday was the Sligo, Ireland, registered mussel dredger RONA. The hull for this 40 metre long vessel was built, of steel, in Poland and towed to Holland for outfitting, which was carried out by Scheepswerf Gebr. Kooiman at Zwijndrecht. Some of the steelwork was actually formed in Holland before being sent to Poland for assembly. Her upperworks are of aluminium. Delivered to Atlanfish in June 2005, RONA has a gross tonnage of 343 tons. She cost €3.1 million to build, and was partly funded by Irish State and EU grant assistance. An article about the vessel appeared in the July 2005 issue of 'Fishing Boat World'.