Monday, 31 August 2009


Also seen in the James Watt Dock was Briggs Marine's CAMERON, fresh from a recent docking in the adjacent Garvel drydock. During the afternoon, CAMERON had been at Faslane, having just left drydock earlier in the day. Previously, CAMERON had retained the buff upperworks and black hull of her original owners, the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service, but whilst in dock was repainted into her present owner's more colourful livery.


Once a common sight in all military dockyards, the 'Dog' class tugs have been reduced over the years to a mere handful of examples, including two on the Clyde. SD SPANIEL is the oldest survivor, having been built in 1967 by Appledore Shipbuilders and was seen on MOnday in the James Watt Dock. With two new tugs - SD MARS and SD JUPITER - having recently arrived at Greenock, her days are numbered. The 28.65 metre long vessel, which has a gross tonnage of 152 tons, has a bollard pull of 16 tonnes. Many of her sisters have found use in the commercial towage sector since disposal from the former RMAS.

Sunday, 30 August 2009


Unfortunately not seen while under sail, this impressive vessel had also been lying in the James Watt Dock for several days. She is the brand new superyacht CINDERELLA IV, seen heading on Sunday afternoon from Greenock to Dun Laoghaire. Designed by Tripp Marine, her hull - manufactured of carbon fibre - was built in Southampton and taken to Holland for fitting out at the Vitters shipyard. She is 39 metres in length, with an 8.4 metre beam, and is fitted out with four luxurious cabins forward for guests, and three cabins aft for her crew. Her mast, dwarfing the smaller yacht seen on her port side, towers some 48 metres above her deck. A lifting keel is fitted to allow her to visit ports and harbours with strict draft limitations. CINDERELLA IV is due to be on display at the Monaco Yacht Show in late September.


This old tug, HERMES, was built in 1957 for the Swedish Navy and had been lying for a number of days in the James Watt Dock. Towing a barge that appeared to have been fresh out of the Garvel Drydock, HERMES has recently been working on the construction of a new ferry terminal on the island of Raasay. Now owned by Atlas Marine Contractors (reportedly reformed as Atlas Subsea), HERMES is of 185 gross tons, is 24.5 metres in length, and has a bollard pull of about 10 tonnes. Her icebreaking bow - essential in the cold waters of the Baltic - is just visible.

Saturday, 29 August 2009


Fully laden with a cargo of fuel for discharge at Rothesay Dock, Fisher's tanker PEMBROKE FISHER was seen arriving late on Saturday afternoon from Milford Haven. As noted on a previous visit, PEMBROKE FISHER is the company's largest tanker, and was acquired second-hand from an Italian owner in 2002, when she was five years old.


ARLAU, another of Strahlmann's Antigua and Barbudan-flagged coasters, was seen heading upriver to Shieldhall where she would load scrap metal for export to Bilbao. ARLAU, like many of her sisters, came from the Slovakian shipyard at Komarno, and she dates from 2004. At 87.8 metres, she has a deadweight of 3,701 tonnes.


In a rare sunny spell, the Serco Denholm-operated and former torpedo recovery vessel SD TORNADO was seen on Saturday afternoon making for Kyle of Lochalsh from her home base at the Great Harbour in Greenock. Her sister, SD TORMENTOR, appears to have remained berthed alongside in the harbour for several months while SD TORNADO has made occasional sorties north to work at the BUTEC range.

Friday, 28 August 2009

WAVERLEY - at a new berth

Since having had an unfortunate mishap at the end of June, WAVERLEY had reverted to calling at Dunoon's old Victorian pier rather than the end of the less forgiving steel and concrete breakwater which had inflicted some damage to the paddler. With two CalMac ferries running to and from Dunoon over the Cowal Games weekend, it was decided however that the best place for WAVERLEY to berth would be alongside the unused car ferry berth at the town's breakwater. She is seen here on the Friday afternoon, making her second berthing there on her return sailing to Glasgow from Rothesay. An inquisitive yacht can also be seen having a closer look.

Loch Long

Although FORT ROSALIE returned to the Clyde from her towage exercise off Lewis on Thursday, it was not until Friday that she was able to head back to her berth at Glen Mallan, as the fleet tanker ORANGELEAF had been lying there for a few days. The two ships are seen passing at the entrance to Loch Long, with two of Serco Denholm's tugs ready to assist with her berthing.

Thursday, 27 August 2009


Regular caller VELAZQUEZ was seen on Thursday afternoon, as she sailed past Cloch Point on her regular service for MacAndrews to Rotterdam and Portugal. She appeared to be better laden on this visit, both on arrival and on departure, than on some of her earlier calls at Greenock.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


Another vessel that had arrived yesterday was TIMCA, herself no stranger to the Clyde having been seen on regular visits to Greenock to load paper reels for her owners, the Dutch company Spliethoff. As usual, she had arrived from Rauma in Finland, and was seen departing for Baltimore.


Having arrived in the rain on Tuesday, it was in somewhat brighter conditions that the Maersk tanker NORDBY MAERSK left Finnart on Wednesday afternoon, bound for Belfast with a cargo of petroleum products from Grangemouth. NORDBY MAERSK first visited the river when she was fairly new back in August 2007, and more recently, has become a fairly regular visitor.

Monday, 24 August 2009


Like a number of smaller cruiseships, LE DIAMANT commenced her life as a car ferry, before being converted for a more luxurious role. She dates from 1974, and was originally to be named FERNHILL but was launched by her Norwegian builders - Kristiansands Mek Verksted - as the ro-ro freighter BEGONIA. In 1986, she underwent major alterations, emerging as EXPLORER STARSHIP. Her new owners, Exploration Cruiseline, went into receivership just two years later, and the ship was taken over by a Japanese company which later formed Seven Seas Cruises. With new owners came a new name - SONG OF FLOWER - and a new career cruising in Alaskan waters. Following a merger with Diamond Cruises, SONG OF FLOWER became a member of the Radisson Seven Seas Cruises fleet, remaining with that company until 2003. That year she was sold to a French company, and now trades under the French flag as LE DIAMANT. She has an overall length of 124.19 metres and a gross tonnage of 8,282 tons. She can accommodate 226 passengers. LE DIAMANT had arrived earlier in the day from Dublin, and her next port of call was to be Portree.

FORT ROSALIE - A385 outbound

Following another lengthy spell alongside at Glen Mallan, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary fleet replenishment ship FORT ROSALIE left the shelter of Loch Long on Monday afternoon. Her destination was the Minch - the stretch of water between mainland Scotland and the Isle of Lewis - where she took part in an exercise with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's emergency response tug ANGLIAN PRINCE.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Pictured at Finnart oil terminal, the Norwegian-flagged products carrier STAVFJORD was seen loading a cargo of reformate for Amsterdam on a dreich August Sunday. STAVFJORD - owned by a subsidiary of Det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab (DSD) AS - was delivered in March this year from Chinese builders, and has a deadweight of 16,635 tonnes. Operating for Brostrom, this 144.1 metre long tanker has a Polish master, while the rest of her crew are from the Philippines.

Saturday, 22 August 2009


Heading slowly past Greenock as she awaited her pilot boarding, Erwin Strahlmann's coaster PINNAU had just arrived from Limerick. Completed in 2003, PINNAU was on her way upriver to load a cargo of scrap metal at Shieldhall. She had previously visited the Clyde one month earlier.


Based at Largs Marina, Maritime Craft Services (Clyde) Ltd operate a fleet of workboats and support vessels mostly in northern European waters. MCS ALIX is a Damen Shoalbuster 2609 vessel, and was delivered to the company by the prolific Dutch shipbuilder in December 2005. With an overall length of 26.08 metres, and a gross tonnage of 161 tons, MCS ALIX has a bollard pull of 29 tonnes thanks to her twin Caterpillar main engines. She had arrived at Largs from Belfast on Thursday 13.


Having spent the night at anchor in Rothesay Bay, the Type 23 anti-submarine frigate ARGYLL was seen on Saturday afternoon passing Cloch Point as she headed towards Faslane. ARGYLL - second ship in the 'Duke' class to be commissioned - was launched at Scotstoun by Yarrow Shipbuilders in April 1989 and commissioned into naval service two years later. ARGYLL is due to remain a frontline unit in the Royal Navy for the next ten years and recently took part in a deployment with other NATO ships in the Mediterranean.

Friday, 21 August 2009


Seen in the former Lobnitz shipyard basin, which has now been dredged following the recent visits from the dredger CHERRY SAND, the coaster RIVER BLYTH had newly arrived from Londonderry to load a cargo of scrap. RIVER BLYTH is managed by Stephenson Clark Shipping, a British company well known in the past for their fleets of colliers and which claims to be the oldest British shipping company. She is 4,935 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 89.75 metres. She was built in 2000 by Scheepswerf Pattje at Hoogezand, and is owned by a German company.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Loch Striven Lay-ups

Earlier on Thursday morning, MAERSK BOSTON joined the four other Maersk Line containerships at the designated deep water anchorage in Loch Striven. Over the next few weeks, she, like the other vessels, will be gradually decommissioned. Most of the exhaust uptakes on the other vessels have already been covered over with tarpaulins as the laying up procedure continues. The ships are (from left to right) MAERSK BENTONVILLE, MAERSK BALTIMORE, SEALAND PERFORMANCE, MAERSK BEAUMONT and MAERSK BOSTON.


After having paid the first of her two visits this year to Greenock, Hapag Lloyd's small cruiseship c. COLUMBUS was seen as she passed Cloch Lighthouse. She arrived from Dublin earlier in the day, and her next port of call was to be Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. Heading back to Greenock, the little workboat LYRAWA BAY was returning from Loch Striven.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


The lastest containership to arrive on the Clyde for lay-up in Loch Striven is MAERSK BOSTON. She was the first vessel in the class of seven, all built by Volkswerft Stralsund in Gremany and delivered between May 2006 and December 2007. Sadly, the current economic situation worldwide, combined with the relatively high fuel consumption of these 29-knot ships, has led to their temporary withdrawal from service. Four Yokohama fenders on MAERSK BOSTON's stanrboard side suggest that her move into Loch Striven is imminent.


Another view of Princess Cruises' CROWN PRINCESS this time showing her alongside at Greenock Ocean Terminal. This was her third visit to the Clyde while on cruises from Southampton circumnavigating the British Isles, and she is scheduled to make one more call at Greenock later in the month.

Sunday, 16 August 2009


Although ships on the Coastal container service were once a regular sight on the Clyde, it has been some time since one was seen on such a service. COASTAL ISLE was noted heading for Greenock on Sunday afternoon on a rare visit - she is normally employed on a service between Liverpool and Belfast by Coastal Container Line, a subsidiary of Peel Ports. COASTAL ISLE, which was built as JOHANNA in 1991, is owned by a German company, and the 258 TEU ship has an overall length of 89.37 metres. She is 2,972 tonnes deadweight.


Seen berthing at Loch Striven fuel jetty, newly vacated by ORANGELEAF, the Maersk products tanker MAERSK RAPIER was arriving to load fuel. The presence of some of her fleetmates in the form of the four containerships laid up a little further up the loch caused some specualtion that she, too, was to join them. In fact, MAERSK RAPIER sailed two days later to Garelochhead.


After having spent two weeks alongside at the Loch Striven fuel jetty, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker ORANGELEAF moved on Sunday afternoon to the upper firth anchorages, before heading into the Gareloch the next day. She is seen here passing Lunderston Bay with the Serco Denholm tug SD IMPULSE escorting her.


Brand new, having only been delivered from her builders in China to the Overseas Shipholding Group at the very beginning of 2009, the Aframax tanker OVERSEAS YELLOWSTONE was seen on Sunday morning as she left Loch Long after having discharged a cargo of North Sea oil at Finnart. OVERSEAS YELLOWSTONE is 250 metres overall, and has a deadweight of 113,005 tonnes.

Saturday, 15 August 2009


Following the departure of MAASDAM, both SVITZER MALLAIG and BATTLER headed downfirth to sail the bulk carrier SEAWIND from Hunterston coal jetty. SEAWIND, which had been discharging a cargo of coal from Murmansk, was preparing to sail for Riga in Latvia. Measuring 224.97 metres overall, she is of 74,012 tonnes deadweight. SEAWIND was built in Japan in 1996 by Imabari Shipbuilding, and was completed as JASPER. Now owned by a Liberian company, she is managed by Thenamaris, a Greek firm, and flies the Maltese flag.


Also visiting Greenock on Saturday was the smaller cruiseship TAHITIAN PRINCESS, which had arrived before MAASDAM but was not due to sail until the early hours of Sunday morning. She had come from Dover via Dublin, and was also making her way across the atlantic, in her case to New York, with a number of ports of call en route. TAHITIAN PRINCESS is one of a number of identical sisterships that were built for the now defunct Renaissance Cruises - her original name was the somewhat unimaginative R FOUR. She came from the French L'Atlantique shipyard at St Nazaire in 1999, is 181.0 metres overall and 30,277 gross tons. Following the failure of her original owners in 2001, she was leased to Princess Cruises the following year, and later purchased outright by the company. Following deployment in the southern Pacific Ocean, TAHITIAN PRINCESS has spent most of this year cruising worldwide, and to reflect this new role, she is due to be renamed OCEAN PRINCESS later this year before embarking on a series of Asian voyages. This was the second occasion this year that two cruiseships were berthed at Ocean Terminal simultaneously.


Although - like Cunard, Princess Cruises and AIDA Cruises - Holland America Line is part of the Carnival Corporation, this has been the first recent visit by one of their ships to Greenock. MAASDAM had arrived at Greenock early on Saturday from the Mersey, as part of a lengthy 'Voyage of the Vikings' cruise that had started at Boston on July 25. After visiting various ports in Canada, Greenland and Iceland, MAASDAM had touched in at Invergordon and South Queensferry before heading for Rotterdam. A brief call was made at Dunmore in southern Ireland, and at Liverpool before heading for Greenock. MAASDAM - which has visited Greenock before - was completed in 1993 by Fincantieri and is 219.2 metres in length, with a gross tonnage of 55,451 tons. Carrying 1,258 passengers, she is usually based in American waters. From the Clyde, MAASDAM was sailing for the Faeroes, before retracing her steps back to Boston.


Still working in both the cement and aggregates trades, the Norwegian coaster AASLI was seen heading towards the pilot station at Kempock Point on Saturday afternoon. She had sailed from Port Talbot in South Wales around 24 hours previously with a full cargo of cement for King George V Dock.

Friday, 14 August 2009


Arriving early on Friday, before the weather deteriorated, was the containership BELIEVER on her weekly MacAndrews Bilbao-Liverpool-Greenock service. A similar service links Dublin with Liverpool and Bilbao, using - at least for the time being - the slightly larger ENCOUNTER.

Thursday, 13 August 2009


Passing the containership VELAZQUEZ off Kilcreggan, the Briggs Marine tug FORTH HUNTER was heading for the Great Harbour after having spent a number of days in Kilchattan Bay. VELAZQUEZ was making her fortnightly visit to Greenock on her regular McAndrews service to Rotterdam and Portugal.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Setting sail from the Clyde with a cargo of scrap metal for Bayonne, Strahlmann's coast BURGTOR was seen as she passed Gourock on Wednesday afternoon. She is one of four sisters, all of which were built in Portugal for Portuguese owners in the late 1980s. BURGTOR, which started her career as PORT LIMA when new in 1989 was subsequently renamed MELLUM nad then LADY LINDA before taking her current name in 2004, when she hoisted the Strahlmann houseflag. She is 87.0 metres in length and has a deadweight of 3,399 tonnes.


Currently working on the upper reaches of the river is the dredger CHERRY SAND, a vessel built in 1968 at Appledore Shipbuilders for the British Transport Docks Board, and later transferred to Associated British Ports before they were reformed as UK Dredging. CHERRY SAND is a grab hopper dredger and has previously been noted working at Ayr and Troon over the years as well as at other British ports. She is 62.5 metres in length, and has a hopper capacity for 765 cubic metres of spoil. She has been working at the Lobnitz Basin at Renfrew.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


Built a little over fifty years ago, the 12-metre Bermudan sloop SCEPTRE was designed by David Boyd as a challenger for the Americas Cup, and entered the waters of the Holy Loch at Alexander Robertson's Sandbank boatyard in April 1958. Unfortunately, at her first race at Newport in Rhode Island, she was beaten by another challenger and then returned, defeated, to the UK. Sols, she was shortened by 3 feet and had her mast moved aft. Following the alterations, she raced successfully for many years until 1976, when she was placed in storage and restoration commenced. Now owned by 'Sceptre Preservation', SCEPTRE, which is built of wood on steel frames, has recently taken part in the West Highland Yachting Week. She is due to remain on the Clyde, based at Rhu, for the remainder of this season.

Monday, 10 August 2009


Seen passing the Cloch after her second visit to Greenock, AIDACARA was on her way to Oban as she continued on her cruise around the British Isles. She had arrived in somewhat dismal conditions earlier in the day from Dublin, having previously called at Dover, Le Havre, Falmouth and Cobh. From Oban, she would continue to Lerwick and Invergordon before returning to Hamburg, from where she had started. Completed in 1996, the 38,531 gross ton ship is 193.3 metres in length and is owned by AIDA Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Cruises that caters almost exclusively for the German cruise market.


As ARKLOW VIKING arrived, another of the company's coasters was leaving the river. ARKLOW SAND, fully loaded with a cargo from Shieldhall, was on passage to Antwerp. She was built in 1998 at Stroobos and is 89.98 metres in length. She has a deadweight of 4,351 tonnes.


Inbound for Shieldhall with a cargo of grain from Bordeaux, Arklow Shipping's ARKLOW VIKING was seen as she passed McInroy's Point. ARKLOW VIKING flies the Dutch flag, and was built for the company in 1999. She has a deadweight of 4,940 tonnes and is 89.75 metres overall.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

SD Twins

Two of the new Serco Denholm fleet are seen in the Great Harbour, the Dutch-built tugs SD JUPITER and SD MARS. SD JUPITER arrived from Holland at the beginning of July, and has spent some to Faslane for trials and familiarisation. These two tugs are due to replace SD SPANIEL and SD HUSKY.

Saturday, 8 August 2009


Passing Lunderston Bay, the coastal tanker HENTY PIONEER was heading for Glasgow, where she would await the arrival of another vessel to which she would supply bunkers. HENTY PIONEER was built in Denmark in 1985 as BLACKFRIARS, her original owners being Bowker and King. In 2006, she was acquired by Henty Oil and renamed. She is 69.9 metres overall, with a deadweight of 1,674 tonnes. She still flies the Red Ensign.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Upper Clyde Ferries

Three regular users of Gourock Pier are seen in this view. ALI CAT is returning to Gourock after her early evening sailing to Dunoon, JUPITER is heading for Dunoon on another routine crossing, and Clyde Marine's SEABUS can also be seen in the distance making her way from Kilcreggan to Helensburgh.


The Tarbert-Portavadie ferry ISLE OF CUMBRAE was seen limping towards her owners' base at Gourock Pier at around half speed, after she developed problems with the drive to her forward propeller unit a few days previously. Her place on the Loch Fyne crossing has been taken by LOCH RIDDON, which in turn has been relieved at Largs by CalMac's spare ferry LOCH BHRUSDA. In the background, the containership VICTORIA was heading from Greenock to Le Havre.


Fresh out of the Garvel Drydock at Greenock, the Dover-registered dredger ADMIRAL DAY was seen as she made her way back to Fleetwood. She was recently employed at Largs pier, where she was dredging material and then dumping it at the mouth of Loch Long. During her docking, her hull has been repainted into Wyre Marine Services' red colour scheme.

Thursday, 6 August 2009


Returning to Greenock following another cruise on the Clyde, the preserved paddle steamer WAVERLEY was seen speeding across the Clyde on Thursday evening with the Arran hills in the background. At her bow, she is flying the White Horse flag of Invicta, the banner of Kent, representing the area in which her current master resides. Over the years there has been considerable debate about which flag should be displayed at her stem, with the Scottish saltire, Welsh dragon, and British Pilot Jack all having appeared recently.


Seen heading towards the 'Bravo' anchorage, the feeder container ship VICTORIA did not appear to have a particularly heavy cargo aboard, judging by how high she was sitting out of the water. One lonely twenty foot container can be sitting in isolation on her foredeck. She was arriving from Avonmouth on her weekly service for CMA CGM.


Making good progress past Cloch Point, ARKLOW RIVER was sailing from Renfrew with scrap metal for Seville, having arrived a few days before from France carrying grain which she discharged at Shieldhall. ARKLOW RIVER dates from 2003, when she was built at the Barkmeijer yard at Stroobos in Holland, and is one of Arklow Shipping's Dutch-registered ships. She is 89.99 metres overall and has a deadweight of 4,485 tonnes.

Sunday, 2 August 2009


Arriving on Sunday morning with a cargo of refined products from Mongstad was the Danish tanker FIONIA SWAN, which is owned by Uni-Tankers A/S and run by Brostrom. She was built in Turkey by the Cicek Shipyard, and named PULI when she was launched. When completed she was, however, renamed and joined the Uni-Tankers fleet. At 148 metres in length, she has a deadweight of 15,601 tonnes. Her forward end arrangement is unusual for a tanker, with the covered forecsatle similar to that seen on many container ships.

Saturday, 1 August 2009


The privately owned former RNLI 70-foot long lifeboat GRACE RITCHIE was seen as she passed Dunoon on her way towards the Holy Loch. Normally based at Largs Marina, GRACE RITCHIE is looking immaculate, and a real credit to her current owner, Iain Crosbie. She was built on the Clyde, the first of a class of three similar vessels that took the river's name as the class title. She dates from 1965.


After a very brief spell at anchor in Irvine Bay, the Greek-owned tanker MINERVA CLARA moved upfirth to Finnart on Saturday morning. Carrying a cargo of North Sea crude, this Aframax ship was built in 2006 by Samsung Heavy Industries in Korea. MINERVA CLARA is 103,231 tonnes deadweight, and 243.6 metres in length. She is owned and operated by Minerva Marine.