Thursday, 30 December 2010


Rounding off the year on the Clyde, this view shows AASVIK again, with yet another Norwegian flagged ship, SKOG, also lying at the 'Bravo' anchorage while she waited for orders to proceed to Rotterdam. 2010 has been an interesting year on the river, with what may well be the final dynamic launch having taken place at Govan when DUNCAN entered the water in October. It has also seen the likely departure of some well known names from the Royal Navy, with Defence cuts reducing numbers of ships, starting with the decommissioning of HMS ARK ROYAL, amongst others, although new ships are slowly taking their place under the White Ensign - DAUNTLESS and ASTUTE being just two. The year has also witnessed the departure of the eight large container ships laid up on the Clyde, all except one now having returned to commercial service.


Another Norwegian ship was seen lying at 'Bravo' anchorage, as she waited to head upriver to Glasgow. The coaster AASVIK, normally associated with the stone or cement trades, had arrived from Kilroot in Northern Ireland earlier in the week with a cargo of rock salt but after berthing in Glasgow, returned back downriver to Hunterston. She was pictured shortly after arriving back from the Ayrshire port, before heading once more to Glasgow.

Monday, 27 December 2010


Another Norwegian tanker spent Christmas on the Clyde, lying at anchor in Brodick Bay. Seen heading towards Clydebank, the 13,941 tonne deadweight BREGEN was carrying fuel from Mongstad. She dates from 1994, and was built in China by Ching Fu Shipbuilding. Somewhat unusual for her size in that she has twin funnels, she is operated by Bergshav.

Sunday, 26 December 2010


This winter, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS is undergoing her annual maintenance period in the James Watt Dock, the Garvel repair yard having won the contract to carry out any improvements to the elderly cruise ship following the demise of yards in the south that did the job previously. Behind her, in the Garvel Drydock, is CalMac's ISLE OF MULL which had arrived on Thursday 23rd from Oban. She was visiting the Clyde for emergency repairs to her rudders, despite having just completed her annual overhaul at Aberdeen just a day or two before. The two ships have met on many occasions, as both are based at Oban during the summer. In her original incarnation as MacBrayne's COLUMBA, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS had originally served Mull from Oban, as does ISLE OF MULL nowadays.

Friday, 24 December 2010


After lying at anchor in Irvine Bay since late on Tuesday 7th December, the Norwegian tanker SKS TANA moved to the 'Bravo' anchorage on Thursday 23rd. This allowed the 1996 Korean built ship to take on fresh water supplies from SD WATERMAN, seen alongside, before she was able to get alongside at Finnart. SKS TANA is owned by SKS Tankers, and she is 244 metres long. The 109,906 tonne deadweight ship was carrying a cargo of crude from Sture in Norway.

Monday, 20 December 2010


The large sub-sea construction ship HAVILA PHOENIX arrived on the Clyde and was forced to anchor off Gourock while fog meant that traffic movements on the river were restricted. She is a new vessel, built in Norway for Havila Shipping by Havyard Leirvik in 2009, and the 100 metre long ship is capable of working in depths of more than 2,000 metres. Her largest crane is rated at 250 tonnes and can be rigged with lightweight fibre rope that has many advantages over conventional steel wire rope of a similar capacity. On hire to an Australian offshore services company, she is possibly going to be loading plant in King George V Dock.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Arriving from Liverpool on one of her periodic visits to Greenock, the small container ship COASTAL DENIZ was seen making her way upriver past Dunoon. She sailed later in the evening for Belfast.

Saturday, 18 December 2010


A real veteran was seen at the breakwater at Dunoon after she had discharged a cargo of rock salt for use by the local authority to keep the roads safe for motorists in cold weather. Ironically, during the day while she was discharging, it was snowing heavily! KANUTTA dates from 1958 and was built, under that name, in Denmark. Since then, she has sailed under several other names but reverted to her original in 2007. She was recently chartered to carry round timber from Loch Etive to Inverness, her dimensions - she is only 44 metres long - allowing her to fit into the locks of the Caledonian Canal. Able to carry up to 840 tonnes of cargo, it is estimated that each voyage would be saving over 4,000 miles of road transport. During the cold spell, however, timber movements are limited and she has been chartered to carry salt supplies to a few west coast ports from Kilroot.

Thursday, 16 December 2010


Although the 'Teekay' name has been seen on the Clyde on many previous visitors, tankers wearing the 'Stena' branding are not so common. STENA SIRITA, wearing the joint company's logo proudly on her hull, was carrying a cargo of North Sea crude from the Statfjord Oil Field, north east of Shetland. She was built in Japan by the Tsuneishi Shipyard in 1999, she is 262.6 metres long and has a deadweight of 126,873 tonnes.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010


With a clear view ahead upriver, the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker MARIDA MISTLETOE heads for Rothesay Dock, after having lain at anchor at Brodick for a couple of days on her latest visit to the Clyde. As is often usual for tankers bound for Clydebank, she had loaded her cargo of fuel in the Netherlands at Amsterdam.


Fresh from the slip at Ardmaleish, the CalMac ferry LOCH STRIVEN was seen making her way to her owner's headquarters at Gourock Pier following her annual survey at the Bute boatyard. She was the first of the original four 'Loch' class ferries, all built on the Humber by Richard Dunston at their Hessle shipyard in 1986-87 for Caledonian MacBrayne. Employed initially on the route from Largs to Cumbrae, she moved north to serve Raasay after eleven years on the Clyde, and has remained on that run since.


After her most recent visit to the Clyde, FORT GEORGE was observed working in Lyme Bay before moving to Crombie on the Forth for some downtime. A quick visit to the Tyne followed before she was again on the move, heading around the north of Scotland back to the Clyde. She was seen heading towards the Gareloch, where she would be spending several weeks alongside. FORT GEORGE is likely to be another victim of the recent defence spending review. The fog seen in the distance lingering at the Tail of the Bank makes for a sinister reminder of the sad events that occurred on the river a few years ago.


Making more of her regular visits to the various Scottish military fuel depots at Loch Ewe, Campbeltown, Loch Striven and Garelochhead with cargoes of fuel, the chartered Maersk tanker MAERSK RAPIER was seen passing the Renfrewshire shore en route to Norway to pick up another cargo.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010


With the current Arctic weather conditions affecting most of the UK, it is hardly surprising that fog banks have affected many areas including the Clyde. Western Ferries' SOUND OF SHUNA was seen heading away from Hunter's Quay on a pleasant winter's day, only marred by thick fog that was still lingering along the Renfrewshire coastline.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Farewell to the 'Ark'

Against a fresh easterly wind, the aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL bids farewell to the Clyde as she heads out to sea following her visit to Glenmallan. She would be visiting the Tyne next, and then making a final overseas courtesy visit to Hamburg before heading back, probably for the very last time, to Portsmouth, where she would decommission after twenty five years in service.


Bound for Ventspils in Latvia, the Cypriot-flagged bulk carrier SHOVELER was finally leaving the Clyde after ten days on the river. Initially berthing at Hunsterston, where she discharged part of her cargo into other ships for export to Northern Ireland, the ship then headed upriver to Sheildhall once she was a little less deep in the water. SHOVELER was built in China, and completed in 2009. She is 30,928 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 185 metres. She is operated, currently, by Canfornav, a Canadian firm trading worldwide but with many ships sailing into the St Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

James Watt Dock

A night-time scene showing two very different CalMac ferries berthed at the Garvel repair yard's berths in the James Watt Dock at Greenock. On the left is the Rothesay ferry BUTE, completing her annual overhaul at the yard while on the right is the Islay ferry HEBRIDEAN ISLES, waiting to move into the drydock for her annual survey.


Discharging her cargo of Nigerian crude at Finnart, the massive tanker ASHNA was seen lying at the north jetty at the Ineos terminal on the shores of Loch Long. As already mentioned, her discharge is likely to take some time mainly because of storage constraints ashore.


One of the more immediate victims of the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review announced in October is the aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, which is to be withdrawn from service immediately. Consequently, she visited the Clyde to destore munitions, and was seen lying at the armaments jetty at Glenmallan.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


One of the two remaining ex-torpedo recovery ships in the Serco fleet was seen making her way back to Great Harbour. SD TORNADO, whose sister SD TORMENTOR has not moved from Greenock for some considerable time, had been working with divers in Loch Long.


At her new home in the Great Harbour, the recently delivered water barge SD WATERPRESS was seen berthed alongside the tug SD IMPETUS. Both SD WATERPRESS and SD OILMAN, delivered at the end of 2009, need to be towed around as required, neither being fitted with propulsion machinery. Both are, however, fitted with auxiliary engines to run the various pumping equipment that they are fitted with and like SD OILMAN, SD WATERPRESS is also fitted with a small wind turbine generator set, clearly visible in this view, to provide standby power.


A ship which has lived up to her name was finally seen on her third visit to the Clyde as she worked cargo at Greenock Ocean Terminal. The Dutch-flagged ELUSIVE, seen berthed together with WEC VAN GOGH, is sailing on charter to OOCL for the SIX service between Southampton, Dublin, Belfast and Greenock. She is operated by JR Shipping and was built in 1995 by JJ Sietas. She was originally named ARCTIC OCEAN but later became NORASIA ARABIA for a period. In 2007 she was given her present name. She is 133 metres long, with a deadweight of 8,001 tonnes, and can carry 660 TEU containers.


Another tanker was seen passing Gourock - EURO SWAN was making her way downriver from Clydebank after completing unloading a cargo from Mongstad. She was heading for Brodick Bay where she would lie until receiving orders for her next cargo.


The 'Hunt' class minehunter BROCKLESBY was seen off Gourock while she undertook exercises with the Roayl navy's rescue helicopter from HMS GANNET, the Naval Air Station at Prestwick. This airbase, recently threatened with closure, covers much of the west coast area, up to 200 miles offshore.


ASHNA, one of the largest tankers to visit the Clyde recently was seen entering Loch Long with her cargo of Nigerian crude oil, escorted by the tugs AYTON CROSS, made fast aft, and SVITZER MILFORD. She is 301,428 tonnes deadweight, and 330 metres in length. Now flying the Marshall Islands ensign, she was completed in 1999 as NORDBAY, but was renamed in 2004. She was built in Korea and is operated by the Dr Peters Group, a German company. ASHNA is expected to remain alongside at Finnart for some time - on a previous visit to the Clyde she made frequent moves to No 6 Anchorage while her cargo was pumped across Scotland to Grangemouth.


Another of CalMac's ferries was seen as she visited the Clyde from the west coast for her annual overhaul. LOCH BUIE, pictured arriving at Gourock, had just come up the firth from a night spent at Lochranza. On her passage from Iona, the island that she normally serves, she had spent a night at Campbeltown and another at Lochranza. She is due to visit Ardmaleish for slipping.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Rothesay Ferries

With winter in the offing, it is time for CORUISK to put in her now-annual appearance on the Bute ferry service, as she relieves both BUTE and ARGYLE in turn for their annual overhauls, CORUISK already having received hers at the Garvel Drydock. CORUISK was seen as she made her way to Rothesay to pick up this duty, and was caught passing BUTE on her last sailing before she headed to the same yard for her overhaul.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Outbound to Belfast with a cargo of fuel, the Dutch-flagged tanker BRO ALMA was seen as she left Loch Long after she sailed from Finnart. Like her sister BRO AGNES, she was built in Turkey and joined the company's fleet in 2008. BRO ALMA is 144 metres long and has a deadweight of 17,000 tonnes.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


The Polish tug CYKLOP was seen arriving from Gdansk with the latest craft to join the Serco fleet in tow. CYKLOP dates from 1966, when she was built in Sweden. Now owned by the Port of Szczecin, she is 28.5 metres long, and has a gross tonnage of 186 tons. Bollard pull is 22 tonnes.

Behind CYKLOP was the new water barge SD WATERPRESS, built by Damen at their Kozle yard in Poland and one of the last of their new fleet ordered as part of the contract to provide port services for the MoD. SD WATERPRESS is a dumb barge, unpowered, not unlike the oil barge SD OILMAN delivered earlier to Greenock, and will ultimately take the place of SD WATERMAN. The 29 metre long barge can carry 272 tonnes of potable water, and is equipped with its own generator sets to power onboard systems and pumps.


Powering back to her base at the west end of Ocean Terminal, the Clydeport pilot cutter MOUNT STUART had just embarked a pilot on board the tug CYKLOP, seen astern of her as it made its way upfirth.


Glasgow and Strathclyde University students were all at sea at the weekend as they underwent navigation training aboard the 'Archer' class patrol boat SMITER, based at Faslane. They did not venture far, however, as she did an about turn shortly afterwards and returned to the Gareloch.

Friday, 5 November 2010


BRITISH FALCON, one of the 'Bird' class tankers belonging to BP Shipping and built in Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries in 2006, was seen as she made her way up Loch Long with a cargo of North Sea crude oil from Sture. BRITISH FALCON, which is registered at Douglas in the Isle of Man, is 251.5 metres in length and has a deadweight of 113, 553 tonnes, putting her into the Aframax category.


The latest Type 45 destroyer to leave Scotstoun was seen as she made her way downriver at the beginning of her sea trials. DRAGON, still wearing the large red dragon on her bows, will undertake around three weeks of trials as her propulsion and navigation systems are throughly tested in the lower firth. She is expected to return to the builder's yard upriver early in December, were further outfitting work will continue. DRAGON, which was launched in November 2008, is due to be handed over to the Royal Navy in around two years time.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


The small luxury cruise ship HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS is once again on the Clyde to complete her cruising season for the year. Rather than using Fairlie as her base she is, however, using Greenock Ocean Terminal for her last few sailings. She was seen leaving the Holy Loch after a brief visit to allow her guests to visit Benmore Gardens, having lain the previous night at anchor in Loch Goil. Once her season finishes HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS will spent the winter in the James Watt Dock, rather than down south as she has usually done in previous years.


After discharging one of her regular cargoes of fuel from Amsterdam at Clydebank, the products tanker MARIDA MARIGOLD then headed to Finnart, as seen above, to backload a similar cargo, this time for Belfast. She was accompanied by AYTON CROSS and SVITZER MILFORD, both of which had been upriver to assist her departure at Rothesay Dock.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


After her sojourn at Glenmallan, the fleet auxiliary FORT GEORGE moved on Tuesday morning to Loch Striven, to load fuel for her next task, supporting other naval craft on exercise in Lyme Bay. FORT GEORGE was seen as she followed the Serco tugs downriver to the fuels jetty at Knockdhu.


As part of her work-up following a year long refit at Rosyth in the hands of Babcock Marine, HMS ARGYLL has just spent a day on the noise range in Loch Goil. The Type 23 frigate, seen here sailing after the trials on the loch, arrived on the Clyde on Monday morning. During the refit, which cost around £19 million, propulsion and weapons systems have been extensively upgraded, crew accommodation improved, and new paint systems applied to her hull. ARGYLL is the first of the class to receive a second major refit, and will be recommissioned in December at Devonport.

Monday, 1 November 2010


A former regular caller to the Clyde has recently, once again, been putting in an appearance with a cargo of wind turbine parts. DEO VOLENTE arrived at Glasgow early on Monday morning, but sailed again almost immediately for Campbeltown, where she berthed in the early evening.


LEDBURY, one of the 'Hunt' class of mines countermeasures vessels built for the Royal Navy was seen exercising on the Clyde following her recent participation in Joint Warrior 102 off the west coast. When built, LEDBURY was reputed to have been the most expensive Royal Naval ship yet built, per unit length, at more than £1 million per metre.


After a little over a month spent at Greenock, berthed variously in the Victoria Harbour and the James Watt Dock as required, Clyde Marine's veteran THE SECOND SNARK was observed making her way back to Fairlie, presumably to be lifted out of the water once again. Her profile now resembles that from her earliest days when she was used by the famous Denny shipyard of Dumbarton as a tug/tender, as she has had the bulwarks around her wheelhouse top removed.

Saturday, 30 October 2010


With MAERSK MAINE already well down the Firth, she was followed shortly afterwards by her sister MAERSK MARYLAND, both heading for the Lisnave drydocks at Sebutal. All was not well, however, with the second ship and she passed Cloch Light at around only 4 knots. By the time she was off Inverkip, she was moving even more slowly. It was then decided to anchor her off Great Cumbrae for the night while engineers worked to rectify whatever the problems had been. MAERSK MARYLAND was eventually able to leave the Clyde late the following evening. It was perhaps ironic that both the first of the seven container ships belonging to Maersk that had been laid up on the Clyde, SEALAND PERFORMANCE, and this ship, suffered from mechanical problems that delayed their departures.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


On Tuesday, under their own power, the laid-up container ships MAERSK MAINE and MAERSK MARYLAND both moved from the shelter of the Great Harbour to the Tail of the Bank. Both ships are due to return to service shortly, and will undergo drydocking in Portugal before picking up service running in the Mediterranean. Having already received bunkers from the coastal tanker KEEWHIT, MAERSK MAINE was seen as she was about to take on fresh water from Serco's Greenock-based water barge SD WATERMAN.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Corran Ferry

The ferry service across Loch Linnhe at the Corran Narrows is operated by Highland Council using either CORRAN, seen lying at a mooring in the distance, or the smaller ferry MAID OF GLENCOUL. Some time ago, it was discovered that the slipway at Nether Ardgour was suffering from extensive erosion and that repairs were urgently required. To allow a ferry service to be maintained while civil engineers set about rebuilding the slipway, a temporary solution was sought and a spud-leg barge brought to the site. The temporary arrangements, which allowed traffic weighing less than 3 tonnes to continue to cross aboard MAID OF GLENCOUL, were restricted to operating during daylight hours only. It is hoped that repairs will be complete by the end of the year.

Monday, 25 October 2010


Two of Serco's tugs were seen heading for the Great Harbour. SD NIMBLE was towing SD IMPETUS, both tugs having come across from the Gareloch, as the moorings vessel SD SALMOOR entered the river channel a little downstream. In the distance, Clyde Marine's SEABUS can also be seen as she makes her way across to Helensburgh.


Nearing the end of her annual overhaul, CalMac's LOCHNEVIS was undergoing boat drill in the James Watt Dock berthed immediately ahead of CORUISK, her Mallaig fleetmate during the summer months. LOCHNEVIS had arrived on the Clyde early on Monday 11th, and been drydocked in the adjacent Garvel Drydock the following day.


One of the many vessels that accompanied HMS ASTUTE on her passage to the Clyde from Skye was the anchor-handing tug TOISA DARING, which had been summoned from Aberdeen for the job. TOISA DARING, seen on her way back to Aberdeen afterwards, was built in China in 2007 for Sealion Shipping. She is registered is Nassau, and has a bollard pull of 150 tonnes, an overall length of 69.6 metres and a deadweight of 2,298 tonnes.


SD RESOURCEFUL, first of the new Serco ATD2909 tugs to join the Clyde fleet, is shown here at Faslane, taking a break between tasks. Delivered earlier in the year, she arrived on the Clyde on 23 May. Following extensive crew training, SD RESOURCEFUL finally entered service in the late summer.


The Royal Navy's newest submarine was seen being manoeuvred alongside at the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane, with two of Serco's tugs in attendance with a third standing off. HMS ASTUTE had just arrived back after an embarrassing incident, when she became stranded on a shingle beach just to the west of the Skye Bridge during what ought to have been a routine personnel transfer. Refloated after twelve hours aground, the submarine was thoroughly examined before being declared fit to return to the Clyde under her own power, although several escorting tugs were also present.


FORT GEORGE moved from the Tail of the Bank to Glenmallan in Loch Long on Monday morning, where she would spend a few days alongside the munitions jetty, situated about a mile or so north of the tanker terminal at Finnart.