Wednesday, 28 October 2009


Another view of DIAMOND, this time taken as she sailed from Greenock on Wednesday afternoon, although she was not heading far - only to the 'Bravo' anchorages in fact. The unusual effect of the water was because the camera was held literally just above its surface!


Seen on Wednesday afternoon as she was undergoing trials in the Upper Firth, CalMac's LOCHNEVIS had just completed her annual survey at the Garvel Drydock. After a couple of hours of steaming around she berthed at Gourock, and after loading the cars belonging to her crew, she sailed for Mallaig to resume service.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


After several days at sea, the new Type 45 destroyer DIAMOND paid a visit to Greenock Ocean terminal to load stores, and take on more fuel, replenishing her supplies from the Serco Denholm bunker barge SD OILPRESS. The pair were seen alongside on Tuesday afternoon.


Taking the place of ATLANTIC BREEZE at Hunterston jetty was the bulk carrier PRUVA, built as CHANNEL FORTUNE in Japan in 1994. She had been renamed MUSTAFA NEVZAT in 1997 and took her current name in 2003. Now working for a Turkish company, she is 225.0 metres long and has a deadweight of 74,137 tonnes.


After discharging a cargo of coal at Hunterston, the Douglas, Isle of Man, registered bulk carrier ATLANTIC BREEZE was caught close-up as she headed away from the berth at the start of her voyage across the North Atlantic to Seven Islands in Canada. ATLANTIC BREEZE was built in Japan by Sumitomo Heavy Industries at Yokosuka in 2004. She is 225.0 metres long, and has a deadweight of 76,267 tonnes. She is owned by Blenheim Shipping, a British company.

Monday, 26 October 2009


Waiting to be slipped at the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding yard on Tuesday afternoon was CalMac's LOCH LINNHE, a ferry which spends her summers working on the crossing from Tobermory to Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula. During the winter months, she is found on a number of other routes undertaking relief work. Visible in the yard's shed is her sister LOCH RIDDON.


Inward bound for Glasgow with a cargo from Antwerp, the coaster SEA SHANNON, owned by a Dutch company and managed by Amasus Shipping was seen as she passed Lunderston Bay. Her hull was built in Belarus but she was completed by Damen in Holland in 1997, having been named JORISTON when launched but renamed before entering service. She is 2,268 tonnes deadweight and has an overall length of 82.45 metres. SEA SHANNON is operated by the Seacon Group.

Saturday, 24 October 2009


Following BF ESPERANZA upfirth was Serco Denholm's personnel carrier SD ORONSAY, which was seen as she rounded Cloch Point after having been involved with naval activity further down the Clyde. Both she and her Greenock-based sister SD OMAGH still display their pennant numbers, although many of their fleetmates have had theirs painted out since Serco Denholm took over Marine Support Services for the Royal Navy 18 months ago.


Although the majority of the Sietas-built container ships have no cargo handling gear of their own, a few are fitted with deck cranes, including this Type 168a ship, BF ESPERANZA. She is the latest vessel to have appeared on the MacAndrews UK/Northwest Continent/Portugal service, and she has a capacity for up to 862 TEU containers. Like many other similar-sized vessels, her hull was built elsewhere, and was launched in 2002 by the Daewoo-Mangalia yard on the Danube, before it was towed to Germany for fitting out. Originally completed as MAERSK FREEPORT, her charter to the Danish company ceased just a few months ago, and she reverted to the name that she was provisionally allocated before completion, as well as losing her Maersk Line livery. The 134.4 metre long vessel, which has a deadweight of 12,386 tonnes, is now on charter to CMA-CGM.

Friday, 23 October 2009


Having spent a couple of months undergoing maintenance at Portsmouth, the tenth Type 25 frigate RICHMOND is currently back at sea preparing to resume duties as a frontline memebr of the Royal Navy. RICHMOND, which was the last warship to be built by Swan Hunter on the Tyne, was initially commissioned into the Navy in 1996, having been launched three years previously. Her visit to the Clyde was to permit her to spend some time on the noise range in Loch Goil.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


Lying at the 'Bravo 4' anchorage, Faversham Shipping's 3,400 tonne deadweight coaster NORDSTRAND was seen on Thursday as she awaited the tide for her passage upriver to Scotstoun. Her cargo was some more parts for the warships currently being built by BVT Surface Fleet on the Clyde, and which she had loaded at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. After discharging, NORDSTRAND sailed immediately for Southampton.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Time to go home!

With the warship safely launched, WAVERLEY then returned upstream to her Science Centre berth, where she will destore and commence her winter maintenance period over the next few days.

BATTLER too headed off, leaving COURIER and other small craft to clear the river of the debris from the launch as the larger tugs eased the new ship alongside.

Launch day - DEFENDER - D36

At 1514, DEFENDER was named by Lady Massey, wife of Vice Admiral Sir Alan Massey KCB CBE ADC, in front of the many people in the shipyard and on the north bank of the river. Moments later, the ship slid smoothly into the Clyde.

Once the dragchains had brought DEFENDER to a halt, the tugs moved in to take charge. Apart from AYTON CROSS, CMS BUSTER and BITER were present, as were Clyde Marine's line runners, COURIER and TERRIER. In the foreground is BATUG 12, a small workboat belonging to the shipyard.

As is customary nowadays at such events, fireworks were set off from the ship as she was launched, together with a number of balloons.

With AYTON CROSS made fast aft, CMS BUSTER took charge at the forward end and gently eased DEFENDER into the shipyard basin, where she would be berthed until moving downstream to Scotstoun for further fitting out.

DEFENDER - D36 - Launch Day

The launch of the fifth Type 45 destroyer to be built took place, appropriately, on Trafalgar Day at Govan. The fourth of the class to be built there - DARING was launched at BAE Scotstoun - DEFENDER was attended by a plethora of smaller craft including two Defence Police RIBs from faslane, and HMS SMITER, which can be seen heading down river from Princes Dock.

The paddle steamer WAVERLEY also put in an appearance. She had sailed earlier in the day from Plantation Quay across to Stobcross Quay, immediately opposite her usual berth, to embark a large party of official guests including the launching party. Having cruised downriver as far as the mouth of the River cart, she then returned to the former Fairfield Basin to allow them to go ashore for the launch itself. WAVERLEY was seen as she moved astern from the basin into the river - she then berthed alongside Meadowside Quay to view the launch herself. Two Clyde Marine tugs had been assisting her manoeuvre - BATTLER and BEAVER BAY were both in attendance.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009


On Tuesday afternoon, the tanker MARIDA MARIGOLD completed her discharge at Rothesay Dock and set sail initially for Brodick Bay, before continuing to Milford Haven. She had arrived upriver late on Monday night with a cargo of fuel from Eastham. Built - like many of her sisters - by Sekwang Shipbuilding in Korea, MARIDA MARIGOLD has a length of 128.6 metres, and a deadweight of 13,133 tonnes. She was delivered in January 2009.

Monday, 19 October 2009


Also seen from WAVERLEY at the BVT Surface Fleet Govan shipyard, the fifth Type 45 destroyer DEFENDER was being given the final praparations for her launch in two day's time. Waiting in the yard are several of the modules for the next, and final, ship, DUNCAN, including her radar mast.

One of the two grandstands in the yard was also undergoing final preparation. In this view seating for the VIP guests in the launch party was being lifted to the grandstand by forklift truck. The structures attached to DEFENDER's hull at either end, known as 'poppets', will give the ship stability as she slides down the ways and into the river. Below the poppets are the sliding ways - the white-painted timbers which will float free once the ship is in the water. Also visible on the right of this view is one of the steel hawsers which secures the dragchains to the ship's hull. These chains bring her to a swift halt in a pre-calculated position once she has been launched. Before the ship is towed to her berth, the chains must be released and pins - later removed by shipyard workers on board - are fitted to the brackets securing them to the hull.

To the right of DEFENDER, the bow of the last ship of the class waits for DEFENDER to be launched before it is positioned on the slip. Inside the building shed, some of the other hull modules are taking shape and will join the bow section, which was built in the south of England and delivered by barge earlier this year, on the slipway.


Seen at Shieldhall Riverside berth from WAVERLEY, the coaster SEA EMS was discharging a cargo that she had just arrived with from Amsterdam. SEA EMS was built in 1996 as LADON, and renamed HOLLAND in 2005 before taking her current name a year later. She is operated by Fehn Bereederung, a German company, and is 2,500 tonnes deadweight with an overall length of 82.0 metres. SEA EMS sailed later the same day, in ballast, for Belfast.

QUEEN MARY 2 - Departure

Finally, at around 1915 and more than an hour later than her original scheduled departure time, QUEEN MARY 2 broke away from Greenock Ocean Terminal and moved, completely unassisted, into the river channel.

Moving slowly down the channel, QUEEN MARY 2 was accompanied by a plethora of small craft. Prominent on her port side was the preserved puffer VITAL SPARK which had arrived from Sandbank shortly before the fireworks started.

Moving past Whiteforeland Point, QUEEN MARY 2 caught up with WAVERLEY, seen ahead of the liner.

As QUEEN MARY 2 glided silently past Gourock, the escorting vessels gradually dropped back as the liner picked up speed and headed for Liverpool, the next port on her 5th anniversary Round Britain cruise.

QUEEN MARY 2 - The Fireworks

As darkness fell, QUEEN MARY 2 gave a long blast on her whistle to signal the start of the fireworks display.

The entire display lasted for just over ten minutes and its end was also signalled by a long blast on the liner's whistle.

A Contrast in Funnels

Framed by WAVERLEY'S twin red, white and black funnels, QUEEN MARY 2's funnel presents a contrasting appearance. While the liner's funnel was originally intended to have the appearance of that fitted to QUEEN ELIZABETH 2, it underwent an alteration during the design proceess. This resulted in it having a squatter appearance, and was to allow it to fit below the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York, which she clears by just 13 feet at high water. Also visible in this picture are some of her numerous lifeboats and tenders. These are fitted higher than on most ships after it was conceded that to place them at a lower level could result in possible damage in the North Atlantic in winter.

QUEEN MARY 2 - Alongside

WAVERLEY offered two special sailings to mark QUEEN MARY 2's visit to Greenock. The first, a daylight sailing, offered passengers from Glasgow the opportunity of a close-up look of the liner as she lay at Ocean terminal. Sadly, the weather was not quite as nice as that which had graced her illustrious predecessor's final visit to the Clyde last year.

QUEEN MARY 2 is a ship of many superlatives. When built, she was the largest passenger ship ever constructed, both in length at 345 metres, and in tonnage, at 148,528 gross tons. She was also the widest and highest, as well as being the largest in terms of displacement at 76,000 tonnes. She was also the first major liner, as opposed to a cruise ship, that had been built since QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 was delivered in 1969.

QUEEN MARY 2 was built in France at the Chantiers de l'Atlantique shipyard at St Nazaire at a cost of £460 million, and was delivered to Cunard in December 2003. She can carry up to 2,620 passengers and she carries a crew of 1,253. Her main propulsion comes from a combined diesel-electric and gas turbine power plant, the latter being housed in the base of the funnel. Four electric propulsion pods - two fixed and two azimuthing - give the liner a speed of almost 30 knots, although she normally steams a little slower at around 26 knots.

QUEEN MARY 2 - Arrival

Now celebrating five years in the Cunard fleet, their flagship liner QUEEN MARY 2 is making her first Round Britain cruise with visits to the Forth, Clyde and Mersey. She arrived early on Monday morning, and was seen passing Cloch Point as she made her way gingerly towards Greenock.

Sunday, 18 October 2009


Following the conclusion of Joint Warrior 092, some of the various participants returned either to Faslane or to Leith for debriefing. One of those returning to the Clyde was ILLUSTRIOUS, which sailed again on Sunday afternoon for Liverpool to take part in celebrations to mark the Centenary of the Fleet Air Arm. On board were a number of Harrier GR9 aircraft, visible at the aft end of her flight deck.


Since leaving the Clyde at the end of August, WAVERLEY has been cruising on the south coast and the River Thames, but returned to the Clyde mid-week to undertake a few final sailings before being laid-up for the winter. On Sunday afternoon, she cruised from Glasgow to Tighnabruaich, and is seen here making her final call at Dunoon for the season, before heading back up the river to Glasgow. For today's calls, she reverted to using the old pier.

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Every Thursday between Easter and mid-October, CLANSMAN operates a lengthy day return sailing from Oban to Coll, Tiree and across the Sea of the Hebrides to Barra, at the southern end of the Western Isles. She is seen here lying at Castlebay with Kishmul Castle in the background.


Also seen at Oban, lying alongside the North Pier, was HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS, which in her former life as a CalMac ferry had used that same berth for many years when she sailed between Oban, Craignure on Mull and Lochaline in Morvern. Now catering for a more upmarket clientèle, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS recently changed hands following the demise of her previous owners, but thankfully she has continued operation as a luxury cruiseship sailing sedately around the west coast under new ownership.


Seen early on Thursday morning at Oban, the CalMac car ferry LORD OF THE ISLES prepares to move from the original linkspan berth to the new berth that was completed recently. There she would load traffic for Colonsay, the island that lies approximately midway between Oban and Islay. On the right of the picture, the small ferry EIGG had just arrived from Lismore.

Sunday, 11 October 2009


As she has done for the past couple of years, Caledonian MacBrayne's LOCHNEVIS handed over her duties as the Mallaig-Small Isles ferry to a relief vessel, and headed for the Clyde for her annual drydocking. Having left Mallaig late on Saturday evening, she arrived at Gourock shortly after lunchtime on Sunday, and after landing cars belonging to her crew, headed up the river channel to Greenock. Seen passing Greenock, she entered the Garvel Drydock straightaway to commence her survey.

Saturday, 10 October 2009


The second ship belonging to Herning Shipping that has visited the Clyde this year arrived from Brunsbuttel on Friday with a cargo of fuel, and after discharging at Rothesay Dock was seen passing downriver on Saturday afternoon. ANETTE THERESA was built in South Korea by Samho Shipbuilding, and although ordered by another company and intended to be named SONGA JADE, she was renamed upon delivery in May 2006. She is a 12,940 tonne deadweight ship, with an overall length of 127.2 metres.


Launched in November 2007, the third Type 45 anti-air warfare destoyer DIAMOND took her first steps to sea on Saturday, leaving the river of her birth for the first time. She was seen passing McInroy's Point as she made her way tentatively towards the Lower Firth, where she will spend the next few weeks undergoing her initial sea trials.


The feeder containership VICTORIA was also noted on Saturday morning as she sailed from Greenock for Le Havre. She had spent a couple of days at No 6 anchorage at the north end of Cumbrae, and while there had taken bunkers from a small tanker, a practice that appears to becoming more common. VICTORIA is now sporting a nice new charterer's houseflag - that of CMA-CGM - at the top of her mainmast.


Continuing her working up before resuming active service, the Type 23 frigate MONTROSE was seen on Saturday after leaving the Gareloch, as she made her way out to sea. Like some other members of the 'Duke' class, the rescue boats fitted on either side of the funnel have now been replaced with a fast rescue craft mounted in a wave-compensating davit. This posting, made last made, shows a comparison between the two.


Carrying a fine selection of expensive yachts and motor cruisers, the Spliethoff cargo ship SPUIGRACHT is the fourth of a class built in Poland in 2000-01 for the Dutch company. She was arriving from Flushing and Southampton, one a regular line voyage that would take her to West Palm Beach in Florida. SPUIGRACHT was built by Stocznia Szczecinska and delivered in March 2001. She is 172.0 metres in length and has a deadweight of 21,250 tonnes. She loaded a cargo of paper at Greenock before setting off across the Atlantic.

Friday, 9 October 2009


Making good progress, the self-discharging bulk carrier MORNES was seen on Friday heading to Hunterston. She had been upriver to discharge a cargo of roadsalt at King George V Dock, topping up supplies for the local authorities in the area in preparation for winter.