Thursday, 31 December 2009

A Blue Moon

As 2009 draws to a close, the clear skies over the west of Scotland allowed a clear view of a 'blue moon', the term given to the second full moon in any given calendar month. With the moon seen in its fullness above Gourock, Western Ferries' SOUND OF SCARBA loads at McInroy's Point on one of her last sailings of the year.

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

To all who have commented, sent messages, and (hopefully!) enjoyed visiting this site over the past year, may I wish you all the very best for the festive season.

Thursday, 24 December 2009


Having been disturbed from her winter slumbers at Rosneath in the Gareloch, CalMac's ferry SATURN has been operating the Dunoon service for a couple of days while her elder sister JUPITER is off service. Local press reports suggest that a number of JUPITER's crew have been suffering from a mysterious illness, and that the vessel will require to be fumigated prior to returning to service.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009


Another container ship has arrived on the Clyde for lay-up. The Liberian-flagged ship CIMBRIA, owned and managed by the German company Ahrenkiel, arrived from Rotterdam and initially anchored off Irvine before moving upfirth to the Tail of the Bank on Tuesday afternoon. Due to move to the Great Harbour shortly, CIMBRIA has already spent several weeks at anchor in the Moray Firth off Cromarty although since then, she does appear to have been back in service. She was built in Korea by Hyundai Mipo in 2002, and has a capacity for 2,824 TEU boxes. She is 221.2 metres in length and has a deadweight of 39,358 tonnes.

Monday, 21 December 2009


For a couple of weeks each year, Western Ferries' SOUND OF SANDA has undergone a minor transformation as her crew get into the festive spirit, renaming her (unofficially, I hasten to add!) 'SOUND OF SANTA'. To add to the effect, she carried a 'Christmas Tree' in lights on her mast. She is seen here at Hunter's Quay with newer sibling SOUND OF SCARBA.

Sunday, 20 December 2009


The Danish coaster AMANDA arrived early on Saturday 20th December, and is seen here lying at the anchorage while she waited to head upriver to Glasgow. AMANDA was recently seen on the Clyde when she loaded a cargo for Scottish Water, which she carried to Islay.

Saturday, 19 December 2009


Making her second appearance on the Clyde this week, the Danish tanker EURO SWAN was caught as she passed Cloch Point on her way towards Finnart on Saturday morning. She is currently employed on the Brostrom's service taking regular consignments of fuel to Belfast. Also seen in the distance, several miles down river at the No 6 anchorage off the north end of Cumbare, was the massive crude tanker ASHNA, which had moved downfirth from Finnart to await completion of her discharge when space became available at the Ineos oil terminal.

Friday, 18 December 2009


One of the six small landing craft operated by the Royal Logistic Corps was seen heading for Faslane on Friday morning. These craft, built by James Stone at Brightlingsea between 1984 and 1987, are 33 metres in length, and can carry a payload of around 100 tonnes. This vessel - AUDEMER - was built in 1987 and was one of the last of the class to join the RLC. A 360 degree tour of the vessel can be seen on the Royal Logistic Corps' website.

Thursday, 17 December 2009


Apart from having made a very brief visit to Glasgow in mid-September, Clyde Marine's Bristol-built catamaran CLYDE CLIPPER has spent most of her time lying at Ferguson Shipbuilders' yard at Port Glasgow since her arrival in July. While there she has been continuing her fitting out but moved back, under tow, to her owner's base in the Victoria Harbour on Friday last week. She eventually ventured out on trials on Thursday and appears to have circumnavigated the island of Bure before heading back to Greenock. She is seen here returning to the harbour that afternoon.


There have not been many ships visiting the Holy Loch recently, but on Thursday morning the coaster SNOWLARK was seen heading for Sandbank to load a cargo of timber for export to Youghal. SNOWLARK, whose last port had been Warrenpoint, was built in 1984, and was originally named MOSA. In 1998 she was renamed RMS WALSUM, later becoming RMS SNOWLARK in 2005, and in August 2008 the prefix to her name was dropped. At 1,555 tonnes deadweight, she is 74.85 metres in length. She is now owned by an Estonian company, and flies the St Vincent & The Grenadines flag.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


Making her way out to sea on Wednesday as the afternoon light faded away, the coaster APOLLO EAGLE was seen heading from King George V Dock to Avonmouth for her next cargo. She had arrived on Sunday morning from Brunsbuttel with a cargo of cement, but lay at the Bravo anchorage until the river re-opened the following day.


Repairs complete, Serco Denholm's SD MOORHEN left Greenock on Wednesday afternoon for Campbeltown, where she lay overnight before continuing to Oban and then onward to Kyle of Lochalsh, where she is based. SD MOORHEN is now mainly employed on duties around the Kyle area, principally as a diving tender.


Bringing in yet another cargo of aggregate from Glensanda, the coaster AASNES was seen heading upriver past Gourock early on Wednesday. Just a few hours later, she was underway again, this time heading for Port Talbot to load cement.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Another vessel that had suffered delays because of the thick fog upriver was the Gibraltar-flagged tanker STEN FRIGG, seen here passing McInroy's Point as she sailed on Tuesday afternoon. STEN FRIGG had initally anchored in Brodick Bay on Friday afternoon when she arrived from Mongstad, but later moved to the 'Alpha' anchorage off Greenock. She remained there until daylight on Monday, heading upriver once CURZOLA had cleared the berth in Rothesay Dock. STEN FRIGG was built by the Jiangnan shipyard in China and completed at the beginning of this year. Owned by Stenersen, she is 144.1 metres overall, and had a deadweight of 16,587 tonnes. On leaving the Clyde, she was returning to Mongstad.

Monday, 14 December 2009


While the river was closed to traffic, no less than seven ships were lying at anchor off Gourock and Greenock, awaiting transit upriver. Two of those are seen here, at 'Bravo 4', with Scotline's SCOT MARINER on the right and BBC ADRIATIC on the left. The latter had arrived from Antwerp on Saturday morning, but was unable to continue to Glasgow because of poor visibility upriver. She had been completed as MELLUMPLATE in February 2008, but was renamed BBC ADRIATIC some eight months later. With a deadweight of 6,042 tonnes, she is 115.5 metres long. She is owned by Briese Schiffahrt.

CURZOLA outbound

Having arrived from Brunsbuttel on Thursday afternoon, the Italian tanker CURZOLA had remained in Rothesay Dock after fog descended on the River Clyde, all shipping movements having been brought to a halt during the poor visibility. By Monday morning, conditions had improved significantly and CURZOLA was finally able to leave Clydebank, and was seen as she headed past Gourock on her way to the Mersey for her next cargo.

Saturday, 12 December 2009


Another tug making a brief visit to the Clyde was KESTREL, seen here at Port Glasgow having delivered the flat-top barge MICLYN 3319 which will be converted into a cable-laying barge at the Ferguson shipyard. KESTREL was built in Japan as IWAKI MARU in 2008. She was later sold to JP Knight (Caledonian), and after working in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf for a short time, as part of her delivery voyage to the UK – under the St Vincent & the Grenadines flag and managed by Redwise for the trip – called at Singapore to uplift the barge in September. KESTREL is 659 tons gross, has an overall length of 36.0 metres, and is driven by twin azimuthing units. The barge was built in China in 2007 for Singaporean owners, and has a deadweight of 12,000 tonnes. It is 100 metres in length, with a beam of 30.5 metres.


This Polish-owned tug, dating from 1977 when she was built as SUN LONDON for use on the Thames, was seen as she sailed from the Great Harbour back to Gdansk. She had been on the Clyde delivering the latest of Serco Denholm’s acquisitions, the dumb barge SD OILMAN, which will be replacing SD OILPRESS as the Clyde’s fuel barge. SERVAL, originally in the Alexandra Towing fleet, was built by Richard Dunston at Hessle and is 275 gross tons. She is 32.9 metres long, and had a quoted bollard pull of 45 tonnes when working in the UK before sale to her present owners.

Friday, 11 December 2009


One of two mooring lighters in the Serco Denholm fleet was seen at the Garvel yard on Saturday, undergoing some repair work. SD MOORHEN was built by McTay Marine and Bromborough in 1989, and was originally operated by the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service. As built, MOORHEN was fitted with two ‘horns’ at her bow, although these were removed some time ago.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


Heading down the firth after discharging aggregates from Glensanda, the Norwegian coaster AASNES was on passage back to the Argyllshire superquarry for another cargo. AASNES, one of a number of similar vessels in the Aasen fleet, was built in 1981 as MEDALLION by Svendborg Skibs in Denmark. She was renamed AASNES in 2002 and rebuilt, giving her a deadweight of 4,750 tonnes. Her overall length is 94.2 metres.


As TORM LOUISE as making her way south, another tanker was heading upfirth towards Finnart to load. PEMBROKE FISHER, the largest member of the James Fisher Everard fleet at 14,204 tonnes deadweight, has been on the Clyde on a number of occasions before, and on this instance was arriving light from Dublin to load for Belfast.


On a misty morning, the new tanker TORM LOUISE - she was only delivered in July - was seen passing Inverkip as she made her way downfirth from Finnart with a cargo for Las Palmas. TORM LOUISE was built in China for the Danish shipping company, Torm A/S, which recently celebrated its 120th anniversary. She is 183.2 metres inlength and has a deadweight of 53,048 tonnes. Her last port before coming to the Clyde had been Pembroke. She is currently working for her owner's MR tanker pool.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009


An unusual occurrence took place on Wednesday evening, when two of CalMac's Rothesay ferries were berthed together in the James Watt Dock. BUTE was nearing the end of her annual survey, while CORUISK had been relieving first ARGYLE and then BUTE in turn, on the service from Wemyss Bay to Rothesay. To allow BUTE to return to service, CORUISK had to act as a donor for some equipment - this was duly transferred overnight to permit the newer ship to resume her own duties on Thursday morning. Also berthed at the Garvel yard was SD-MOORHEN, a service vessel more usually found at Kyle of Lochalsh.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


The Swedish ro-ro freighter TRANSFIGHTER arrived from Finland on Tuesday morning to load paper products for shipping to Jacksonville and Savannah. She was delivered from her Polish builders, Stocznia Gdynia, in 2001 and later she was lengthened in Germany by Blohm and Voss, this work being done in 2006. She is now 178.6 metres overall, and has a deadweight of 18,855 tonnes. TRANSFIGHTER is a sister of TRANSPINE and TRANSWOOD, two ships that have called at Greenock over the past couple of years.

Monday, 7 December 2009


Identifiable by the single row of ports on her hull aft of the conning tower, the 'Vanguard' class submarine VENGEANCE was seen on Monday being 'cold-moved' from Faslane to Coulport. Accompanying her were the usual gaggle of Serco Denhol tugs and police launches. Of note on VENGEANCE is the platform around the top of her conning tower, which allows workers safe access for working on the many antennae and other protuberances from its top, and also the forward hydroplanes, seen angled sharply down.


Making another visit to the River Clyde, the coaster JAN/V was seen as she lay at 'Bravo' anchorage on Monday, having arrived from Londonderry during the night. This time, she was waiting to head upriver to Diesel Wharf to load a cargo of scrap metal for shipment to Liverpool.

Sunday, 6 December 2009


Making a return to the Clyde after an absence of several months, the Dutch-flagged containership HERM was seen on Sunday afternoon as she made her way towards Greenock. HERM is currently on charter to the CMA-CGM subsidiary MacAndrews for their UK-Portugal service. HERM was previously employed on another liner run for OOCL.

Saturday, 5 December 2009


Berthing at Finnart late on Thursday, the German tanker RHEINSTERN loaded a cargo for Rotterdam, and sailed on Saturday afternoon. She was seen as she made her way down the Firth past Dunoon. RHEINSTERN is owned by Rigel Schiffahrts GmbH and was built, by MTW at Wismar, in 1993. One of six similar ships, all bearing the names of German rivers, RHEINSTERN is 161.4 metres in length and has a deadweight of 17,079 tonnes. She flies the flag of the Isle of Man.

Friday, 4 December 2009


Having completed her annual overhaul and passenger certificate renewal at the Garvel repair yard in Greenock, CalMac's Islay ferry HEBRIDEAN ISLES was seen on Friday afternoon as she passed Cloch Point on her way back to Port Ellen, a journey that would take her around eight hours. JUPITER was, as usual, on the Gourock-Dunoon service, the future of which is likely to be decided within the next few months following the outcome of an EU investigation into the funding, past and present, of Scottish ferry services.


Bockstiegel's coaster A.B. BILBAO, arrived late on Thursday night to load scrap metal for export to Barcelona. The 4,212 tonne coaster is seen at anchor awaiting passage upriver to Diesel Wharf later the same day. A.B. BILBAO and her sisters have been seen on the Clyde quite regularly.

Thursday, 3 December 2009


The Antigua and Barbudan-flagged coaster JAN/V was seen on Thursday as she headed upriver past McInroy's Point to Shieldhall, having sailed from Dundalk. She was built in 1985 by Krupps at Duisburg and is 80.55 metres overall, with a deadweight of 2,276 tonnes.


Built in 1997 by the Tamano Engineering and Shipbuilding Co in Japan, the bulk carrier GOLDEN ELPIS was originally named ASIAN HAWK. In 2005 she became ASIAN HOPE, a year later becoming firstly ABG NARAYANA and then ELPIS, before being given her current name in 2008. She is 189.8 metres in length, with a deadweight of 46,645 tonnes, and had been discharging a cargo of animal feed at Shieldhall. While loading the cargo in Santos, Brazil, it appears that GOLDEN ELPIS suffered from a hold fire. On arrival at Glasgow, she was given a Port State Control survey which resulted in her detention for certain deficiencies; these were rectified prior to her departure. She is owned and managed by Greek companies, and is currently on charter to a Swiss-based concern.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Now fulfilling a dual role for the Royal Navy as a Hydrographic Survey ship and a support ship for the Mine Countermeasures fleet, ROEBUCK has been a familiar site on the Clyde recently. She was returning on Wednesday afternoon to the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane the Gareloch after spending a few days in the lower firth, where ROEBUCK had been conducting survey work off Campbeltown.

LOCH STRIVEN - the ferry

Although built for the short crossing from Largs to Cumbrae in 1986, LOCH STRIVEN has been serving the island of Raasay from Sconser on Skye for several years. Each year, however, she returns to her earlier home waters when she visits the Clyde for her annual overhaul. She is seen here approaching the slipway at Rhubodach on Bute, before heading to the boatyard at Ardmaleish where she was slipped shortly afterwards.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Early on Tuesday morning, the British-flagged coaster CELTIC FORESTER was seen arriving from Ellesmere Port as she passed McInroy's Point. The 3,600 tonne deadweight ship, built in 1985 as SPICA was renamed ANITA B in 1994, JORK in 2001 and five years later, joined the Cardiff based Wliie Group and renamed CELTIC FORESTER. She is a product of the Sietas shipyard at Neuenfelde in Germany and is 87.99 metres in length. She was heading for King George V Dock to load a cargo for Antwerp.