Tuesday, 29 September 2009


An early arrival on the Clyde on Tuesday in advance of the forthcoming Joint Warrior exercise was the Brazilian Navy's frigate DEFENSORA. One of a group of sisters built in the 1970s by Vosper Thornycroft at Woolston to their 'Mark 10' design, DEFENSORA was launched in 1975 and commissioned two years later. An anti-submarine frigate of 129.2 metres length, she is equipped with a Vickers Mk 8 114mm gun forward, ASPIDE surface-to-air missiles and Exocet missiles as well as 2 x triple 12.75 inch torpedo tubes for Mk 46 torpedoes. Power comes from twin screws driven by four diesel engines, giving a speed of 22 knots, with additional power coming from two gas turbines giving a top speed of around 30 knots. One helicopter can be embarked.

Monday, 28 September 2009


Having been seen arriving back on the Clyde just two days earlier, the Royal Navy's Trident-equipped submarine VANGUARD was seen again on Monday morning as she headed back upfirth towards Faslane. She appears to be working-up for a return to duty following repairs required after an incident with the French submarine LE TRIOMPHANT earlier in the year. Repairs were carried out at Faslane.


Lying at 'Bravo 4' anchorage, Arklow Shipping's ARKLOW ROSE was awaiting a berth in Glasgow before proceeding upriver to Shieldhall to discharge a cargo from Bordeaux. ARKLOW ROSE, one of the company's Dutch-flagged coasters and which was built in 2002, visited the Clyde fairly recently but has since lost her distinguishing feature - the paintwork above her wheelhouse in now white. Previously, the top of her wheelhouse had been painted green.

Sunday, 27 September 2009


Seen leaving Gourock after making the briefest of calls, Clyde Marine Services' CRUISER was about to head back to Millport. She had spent the morning ferrying crowds from Fairlie to the Cumbrae capital, from where they were crossing to Little Cumbrae to take part in the island's inauguration as a peaceful yoga retreat, following its recent acquisition by a Glasgow couple. CRUISER had then been upriver during the afternoon on a private charter, before returning to millport to assist her fleetmate ROVER in bringing people back from the event on Little Cumbrae.


Heading down the Firth on an increasingly worsening afternoon, the Brostrom tanker BRO DESIGNER was seen as she started her short passage to Belfast, having backloaded a cargo of products for Belfast. This ship and her sisters have all been regular visitors to Finnart over the past few years, but more often now other companies have appeared to take over much of this short-sea traffic.


With SVITZER MILFORD in drydock in Liverpool and SVITZER MALLAIG still at Milford Haven, another of the company's tugs has been drafted in to assist AYTON CROSS and ANGLEGARTH. Unusually, SVITZER BRUNEL appears to have been using Fairlie Quay as a base, and it was to there that she was returning on Sunday morning after assisting with a shipping movement upriver. SVITZER BRUNEL is more usually found, as her name might suggest, working at Avonmouth Docks. She dates from 2003, when she was delivered to Svitzer from the Zamacona yard in Spain. Fitted with two Niigita azimuthing thrusters, the 29.5 metre long tug has a bollard pull of 60 tonnes.

Friday, 25 September 2009


Another new ship has appeared on the MacAndrews container service linking Greenock with Bilbao. Seen arriving from Rotterdam, the feeder ship PACHUCA has taken over from BELIEVER on the weekly service. She has only recently reverted to the name that she was initially intended to carry, although since being launched she has been named LYS POINT for another charter. Built in 2005 by Detlef Hegemann Rolandwerft GmbH, she is 139.8 metres in length, has a deadweight of 9,236 tonnes, and can carry up to 750 TEU containers. She is owned by the Harren & Partner Group.

Thursday, 24 September 2009


The Teekay-operated shuttle tanker ELISABETH KNUTSEN, built in 1997 in Spain, was seen heading for Finnart with a cargo of North Sea crude from recently-developed Alvheim Field off the Norwegian coast. The 124,768 tonne deadweight ship, which is 2643.7 metres in length, is registered at Douglas, and is one of around forty shuttle tankers in the Teekay fleet.


The sail training ship STAVROS S NIARCHOS was also seen as she sailed from Greenock heading for Lamlash Bay, where she would lie overnight in the lee of the Holy Isle at a sheltered anchorage. The houseflag of Stena Line can be seen on her foremast - their subsidiary company, the Clydebank-based Northern Marine act as managers for the Tall Ships Trust.

HMS VANGUARD - S28 - inbound

Accompanied, as usual, by a flotilla of small craft to ensure her safe transit of the Clyde estuary, the submarine VANGUARD was seen heading towards Loch Long on Thursday morning. On her starboard side is the Defence Police launch CONDOR.


Arriving almost simultaneously with AMANDA, Scotline's SCOT EXPLORER was bringing plywood from Waterford and, unlike the Danish vessel which anchored for the night, headed straight upriver to discharge her cargo in King George V Dock. SCOT EXPLORER was built in Romania in 1996 and was originally named BORNRIF. In 2004 she joined the Scotline fleet and was given her present name. With a deadweight of 2,521 tonnes, she is 81.9 metres overall.


An early example of a low air draft coaster, built in 1981, was seen arriving on Thursday morning. Built as ELDOR, she is a product of the Sietas shipyard at Neuenfelde and was originally German owned. In 2002, she was renamed AMANDA when she was sold to Danish owners. She is 80.94 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 1,795 tonnes. Arriving from Liverpool, she was heading upriver to Glasgow to load a cargo for Islay.


For the past couple of months, the 'Sandown' class mine countermeasures ship PENZANCE has been lying at Faslane while she underwent two months of intensive maintenance. During her time there, she has had her main engines completely rebuilt, and had her sonar replaced with new state-of-the-art equipment. After a spell of working up, PENZANCE is due to participate at the very front line of the forthcoming Joint Warrior exercise, due to start at the beginning of October, and will lead the multi-national fleet of 29 ships taking part through the practice minefield on the first day of the exercise.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


After lying at Glen Mallan jetty for a few weeks, FORT ROSALIE left the berth in Loch Long on Wednesday morning and proceeded to sea. She is seen here passing the entrance to the Holy Loch as she headed down the Clyde.

Sunday, 20 September 2009


Sharing the Garvel berth in the James Watt Dock was Serco Denholm's bunker barge SD OILPRESS. Judging by the paintwork, her owners must have been keeping work in the drydock to a minimum probably as she is due for early replacement with one of the new unpowered barges currently under construction at the Damen yard in Holland. SD OILPRESS had been sharing the drydock with an unpowered sullage lighters belonging to Serco Denholm, as well as LOUGH FOYLE.


Undocked from the Garvel Drydock just hours earlier, the Londonderry based dredger LOUGH FOYLE was seen as she lay in the adjacent James Watt Dock on Sunday evening. Acquired by Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners in February this year for a sum reported to be £2.2 million, LOUGH FOYLE was built in Holland in 1979 as SAEFTINGE. She was built by Van Goor's Schps & Mach BV at Monnickendam, and is 75.06 metres overall. At 848 gross tons, she had a hopper capacity of 850 cubic metres and will hold around 1,300 tonnes of spoil. Her trailing suction dredging gear can be seen clearly.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Loch Striven Anchorage

After leaving Tighnabruaich, ALI CAT cruised up Loch Striven affording close-up views of the five Maersk container ships at their anchorage off Inverchaolin. The closest ship is MAERSK BENTONVILLE, with BALTIMORE, SEALAND PERFORMANCE, BEAUMONT and BOSTON. Decommissioning of these ships continues to prepare them for a lengthy spell of inactivity.


On Saturday, in brightening weather, the small passenger catamaran ALI CAT was chartered by the Clyde River Steamer Club for an unusual afternoon sailing from Gorock to Tighnabruaich, in the scenic Kyles of Bute. Her call at the village pier was, in fact, her second visit there - she had previously called there on one occasion in 2004.


Seen on the slipway at Ardmaleish, CalMac's LOCH BHRUSDA has been at the repair yard for a few days while she is having some underwater work carried out. The Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company is used by Caledonian MacBrayne throughout the winter months to carry out repair and survey work for many of their smaller ferries.


Clyde Marine Services' ROVER is seen here at Gourock while on duty as the Kilcreggan and Helensburgh ferry. This route, normally undertaken by SEABUS, provides a lifeline service for commuters between the Rosneath peninsula and Gourock, and is operated by the company on behalf of the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. ROVER was built as long ago as 1964 by the long-closed boatyard at Renfrew belonging to Hugh McLean and Co and has been used as a tender to ships visiting the Clyde for many years, as well as seeing occasional passenger service.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Passing Port Glasgow, with the remains of the shipyard ways at Lithgow's yard visible on the right, the Portuguese coaster BALTICDIEP was heading for Glasgow with a cargo of grain from the Black Sea port of Nikolayev. BALTICDIEP, which is owned and operated by a subsidiary of the Hartmann Group, was built by the Bodewes shipyard in Holland. She was launched in November 2006 and completed six months later. At 106.9 metres in length, she has a deadweight of 5,490 tonnes.


Seen alongside at Customhouse Quay, the sail training ship STAVROS S NIARCHOS was about to leave for a week-long cruise around the Western Isles. Built in Appledore in 2000, she is rigged as a brig, with square sails on both of her masts. Her crew consists mainly of paying passengers - she carries up to 48 of them at a time, together with around a dozen volunteer crew and six full-time staff. Her sister, PRINCE WILLIAM, is currently for sale, as the Tall Ships Youth Trust wishes to acquire four 22-metre ocean going yachts.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


Another view of Serco Denholm's new crew transport vessel SD EVA, this time seen lying at her berth in the Great Harbour, where she has lain since her arrival a few days ago from Holland. Her arrival meant that so far, of the 29 new vessels being delivered by Damen, six have come to the Clyde - the pilot cutters SDs CLYDE RACER and SPIRIT, the tugs EMILY (now transferred elsewhere), MARS, JUPITER, and now SD EVA. Further deliveries including a new diesel lighter and water barge are expected soon.

Monday, 14 September 2009


Another of Arklow Shipping's 'R' class coasters - ARKLOW RALLY - was seen back on the river on Monday as she passed Port Glasgow inbound with a cargo of maize from Bordeaux. ARKLOW RALLY has been seen many times on the Clyde, usually sailing from Renfrew or one of the other upriver berths with cargoes of scrap metal. She dates from 2002 and is one of her owner's Dutch-flagged ships.

Sunday, 13 September 2009


Operating on a service from Europe to North America, the Swedish ro-ro freighter TRANSWOOD - renamed around a year ago from FINNWOOD - was seen sailing after loading paper at Greenock for Baltimore and Philidelphia. TRANSWOOD, owned by Rederi AB Transatlantic, was built in 2002 by Stocznia Gdynia in Poland, and is a sistership of TRANSPINE. Like her, TRANSWOOD too was lengthened by Blohm and Voss at Hamburg, and is now 178.6 metres in length. She has a deadweight of 18,885 tonnes.

Saturday, 12 September 2009


With another consignment of fuel from Mongstad for Rothesay Dock, the Norwegian regular visitor STEN EMBLA was seen on Saturday afternoon as she made her way upriver from her overnight anchorage at Brodick.


The low airdraft coaster BALLYHEALY arrived at the 'Bravo' anchorage very early on Saturday morning from Ayr, and moved upriver later in the afternoon to Renfrew to load scrap metal. She had been a member of the Strahlmann fleet until December 2007 when, as their HUNTER, she was sold to an Irish company called KQ Shipping, and given her present name. She was built at the Sietas shipyard in 1981 as DEIKE, retaining that name until 1998. BALLYHEALY is 2,820 tonnes deadweight and 88.0 metres in length.


Following CHEMBULK HOUSTON downriver on Saturday morning was the self-geared bulk carrier MED SALVADOR. She had been delivering animal feed to Shieldhall, and had arrived earlier in the week from Dublin. Seen sailing for Rouen, MED SALVADOR is a vessel of 185.8 metres and 31,829 tonnes deadweight. Built in 1978 by Eriksbergs Mek Verkstad at Gothenburg in Sweden, she was originally named COLUMBIALAND and was a member of the Brostrom fleet. For a short time in 1979, she was named SEATRAIN LONDON while on a charter, and in 1985 was sold to a subsidiary of Stena and was renamed STENA ARCTICA. In 1989 she returned both to Brostroms, and her original name. Since 1992, she has had a variety of owners, and since 2007 has carried her current name.


Destined for Stanlow on the River Mersey, the 135.53 metre long tanker CHEMBULK HOUSTON had been delivering a cargo of fuel to the NuStar terminal at Rothesay Dock. She was built in Japan in 2003 by Watanabe Zosen and has a deadweight of 16,922 tonnes. CHEMBULK HOUSTON is the smallest ship in the Chembulk Tankers fleet, and although originally registered in Panama, now flies the Singaporean flag.

Friday, 11 September 2009


After arriving on Thursday from Warrenpoint, the 'Rhein' class coaster KRUCKAU belonging to Erwin Strahlmann, sailed on Friday after a quick load at the riverside berth at Shieldhall. Carrying a cargo of scrap metal bound for Bayonne, the 3,683 tonne deadweight coaster - built in 2003 at Komarno - was seen outbound on Friday afternoon.


Making a tour around European ports, the replica of HMS BOUNTY arrived at Greenock for a few days on Friday. She is seen here making her way upriver past Gourock, having spent the previous night at anchor in Kilchattan Bay. This replica, which was built in Nova Scotia in 196o, was purpose-built for MGM studios' film Mutiny on the Bounty with Marlon Brando. She is 180 feet in length, and has now been fully restored by the HMS Bounty Organisation. As she was built specifically for film work, with increased space between decks, she has since been hired for many other film and television roles.


Named ENFORCER until April, the Dutch-flagged containership X-PRESS MATTERHORN was seen on Friday morning arriving shortly after sunrise on her weekly visit on the OOCL 'SIX' service, serving Greenock, Belfast, Southampton and Dublin.

Thursday, 10 September 2009


No stranger to the Clyde, having made an annual call at Greenock most years since she was built in 2002, the Maltese-registered cruiseship CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION was seen heading down the river from Ocean Terminal on Thursday afternoon, en route to Reykjavik. Originally named just CONSTELLATION, this 90,280 gross ton ship was built in France by Chantiers de l'Atlantique for Celebrity Cruises, and is the final member of their 'Millennium' class of four vessels. One of the first cruiseships to be fitted with azimuthing 'pod' propulsion, she takes her main power from two gas turbine power plants, although diesel machinery was added in 2007 in an attempt to reduce fuel consumption. In 2007 her owner's title was prefixed to her original name while at the same time, her port of registry was changed from Nassau to Valletta - until 2003 she had flown the Liberian flag. CELEBRITY CONSTELLATION can accommodate a maximum of 2,034 passengers, and is 294.0 metres long. She is rated with five stars in many cruiseship guidebooks.


Seen heading down the main channel on Thursday afternoon, the coastal tanker HENTY PIONEER, which also visited the Clyde a little over a month ago, was seen as she made her way back to Liverpool. She had been delivering a consignment of fuel to the passenger ship CONSTELLATION which was berthed at Greenock.


After completing her discharge of fuel at Loch Striven, the Danish-flagged tanker NORD MERMAID moved on Monday afternoon to Brodick Bay, where she anchored until Thursday morning. She is seen here heading towards Loch Long, where after berthing at the Ineos terminal at Finnart, she backloaded a cargo of fuel for Belfast.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Another ship from the same stable as POLE STAR and SOUND OF SHUNA was also seen on Wednesday afternoon. The Scottish Fisheries cruiser MINNA is seen here passing HMS BANGOR, which had just anchored at the 'Bravo' anchorage. Like her fleetmate NORNA, MINNA now is also operated by Marine Scotland, and she carries the saltire together with the word 'MARINE' on her superstructure.


Paying another of her periodic visits to Greenock, the Northern Lighthouse Board's buoy maintenance tender POLE STAR was seen passing upriver as another vessel from the Ferguson shipyard at Port Glasgow - SOUND OF SHUNA - headed off across the river to Hunter's Quay.


The shuttle tanker NAVION SCANDIA, owned and operated by Teekay Shipping, sailed from Finnart on Wednesday morning, and is seen here as she made her way back to the North Sea for another cargo of crude oil. She was built in 1998 in Spain by Astilleros de Sestao at Bilbao, and is a sister of NAVION OCEANIA, which visited Finnart some time ago. With an overall length of 264.7 metres, NAVION SCANDIA has a deadweight of 126,749 tonnes.

GUIDE ME - ashore

The small Greenock-based fishing vessel GUIDE ME had the misfortune to end up running aground on the South Cowal coastline between Dunoon and Innellan on Wednesday morning. Seen here at low water, the 10.98 metre long wooden-built vessel, which dates from 1971, is registered at Kirkcaldy. She later refloated on the afternoon tide, apparently with minimal damage.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

SD EVA - A First Glimpse

The arrival of Serco Denholm's new SD EVA on Tuesday morning was in some of the heaviest rain that fell that morning, but she is seen here passing McInroy's Point on her delivery voyage from Rotterdam to Greenock. SD EVA, built like most of the new Serco Denholm replacement fleet at the Damen Shipyard in Gorinchem, is of an entirely new concept known as an 'axe bow' which is designed to cope with heavy weather while maintaining high speeds. She is of the yard's 'Fast Crew Supplier 3307' design, and is 33.2 metres in length, and is built entirely of aluminium. When she enters service, she will replace SD ADAMANT on submarine tendering duties, and will carry 34 passengers at speeds of up to 22 knots, according to her builders' website.

Monday, 7 September 2009


After discharging a cargo of plywood at King George V Dock, which she had loaded in Waterford, SCOT RANGER was seen heading back downriver as she made her way to Stornoway. Owned by Scotline and registered at Inverness, SCOT RANGER was built in Hull by the Yorkshire Drydock Co, and was completed in March 1997. She is 84.9 metres overall, with a deadweight of 3,419 tonnes.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Type 45 Destroyers

An interesting angle on two of the Type 45 destroyers, currently under construction at Scotstoun, as seen from the seaplane that operates between Glasgow and Oban. In the drydock on the left is DIAMOND (D34), the third ship of the class. Unusually, as seen here, ships tend to be docked by BAE Systems stern-first in the former Elderslie Drydocks. On the river berth, DAUNTLESS - which has already run sea trials - continues her fitting out.

Saturday, 5 September 2009


Fully laden with a cargo for the Loch Striven fuel facility, the Danish tanker NORD MERMAID was seen making fast on Saturday afternoon. Owned by Dampskibsselskabet Norden A/S, she was built in China and completed in April 2006. NORD MERMAID, which has an overall length of 182.86 metres and a deadweight of 38,461 tonnes, had just arrived from Rotterdam. She is employed by her owners in the Norient Product Pool.

Friday, 4 September 2009


The former Royal Naval Auxiliary Service tender LOYAL WATCHER is seen here in Ayr Harbour. Built by Dunstons at Thorne in 1978, the 112 gross ton ship had been used as a fleet tender until paid off in the late 1990s, after which she started a new career as a dive exploration ship. Now operated by Inga Charters, LOYAL WATCHER was between expeditions, having been working off the Irish coast for a number of weeks, and was about to set off for the south coast.


Yet another ship from the Damen yard, this time a little larger, was seen on Friday as she made her way downfirth. The German coaster SUURHUSEN was on passage to Liverpool, with a cargo of scrap metal that had been loaded at Diesel Wharf. She had arrived earlier in the week from Greenore, in the Republic of Ireland. SUURHUSEN has been seen previously on the Clyde, usually beiong here to load scrap for export.

Clyde Marine Trio

Three of Clyde Marine Services' tugs are seen in this view, all products of the prolific Damen Shipyard in Holland. From right to left are BRUISER - a Stan Tug 1907 delivered to the Greenock-based firm in June 2007, BATTLER - a Stan Tug 1906 which joined CMS in October 2004 and the newest addition to the fleet, CMS BUSTER. She is a Stan Tug 2208 and was handed over to the company on August 18. Having left Gorinchem shortly afterwards, she sailed via the English Channel, calling at Portsmouth en route where she collected a barge from the Vosper shipyard, bringing it to the Clyde with parts for ships under construction at Scotstoun. CMS BUSTER, which has a bollard pull of 39 tonnes, is powered by two Caterpillar engines. She is 22.8 metres in length, and has a gross tonnage of 180 tons.

Thursday, 3 September 2009


Heading up Loch Long towards Finnart on Thursday afternoon was the 'Belfast Shuttle' tanker NORDBY MAERSK, seen here passing Coulport accompanied by AYTON CROSS and ANGLEGARTH. The latter was made fast aft, while AYTON CROSS remained on the starboard side of the tanker as it passed the military installations on the east side of the loch, before she was used to assist turning NORDBY MAERSK off the mouth of Loch Goil, close to the Finnart jetty.


While SVITZER MALLAIG is employed elsewhere in the Svitzer fleet, she has been replaced by ANGLEGARTH, more usually found at Milford Haven. She was built by Damen in Holland and was completed in 1996. ANGLEGARTH, which is 32.72 metres overall, is powered by 2 Stork main engines delivering a bollard pull of 66 tonnes ahead. Twin Aquamaster units give her a free-running speed of 13.5 knots.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


On Wednesday afternoon, the Cypriot-registered Suezmax tanker PROSCO MIZAR arrived from Nigeria witha full cargo of crude oil for Finnart. The 285.4 metre long ship was built by Hyundai in Korea in 2007, and has a deadweight of 166,468 tonnes. She is owned and operated by the Primorsk Shipping Company, and when delivered was the company's largest vessel.