Saturday, 30 January 2010


Making what was, I believe (but am open to correction!), her first visit to Greenock on Saturday afternoon was one of DFDS Lys Line's smaller sideport loading ships, LYSTIND. She was built in 1990 by the Kraljevia Shipyard in Croatia, and is a sistership of LYS-SKOG (now renamed SKOG). LYSTIND is 101.8 metres in length, having been lengthened in 2000, and she now has a deadweight of 3,700 tonnes. Seen arriving from Skogn with a cargo of paper, she sailed late on Saturday night for Belfast.

Friday, 29 January 2010


On Monday, ALI CAT was shown as she returned from Loch Striven to Greenock in the afternoon - here she is in the loch approaching the raft of laid-up Maersk Line containerships anchored off Inverchaolin.

For a six-week period Mission:2110, a children's television show, is being filmed by the BBC aboard the ships, and ALI CAT has been chartered to run twice a week - on Monday and Friday - to Loch Striven with production crews and children taking part in the programme. ALI CAT's first foray into the loch took place last September while she on a charter to the Clyde River Steamer Club.

'Sandowns' on exercise

Two of the Royal Navy's 'Sandown' class minehunters are seen here taking part in exercises in the Lower Loch Long area, with HMS BANGOR on the right and HMS PENZANCE on the left, heading away.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Garvel Drydock today

Sharing the Garvel drydock are two very different ferries, both built just a few miles to the east at the Port Glasgow yard belonging to Ferguson Shipbuilders. SOUND OF SCARBA arrived in the dock yesterday evening to commence her annual overhaul and Passenger Certificate renewal survey.

Having successfully entered the drydock this morning, ISLE OF LEWIS is sharing the drydock with SOUND OF SCARBA. As can be seen, she is one of the Garvel's larger customers. It takes between three and five hours to pump out the drydock, during which time the timber shores - seen hanging between SOUND OF SCARBA and the dock side - are positioned as required to help steady her while she sits on the keelblocks in the dock bottom. Being flat-bottomed, ISLE OF LEWIS does not need side shores, but is supported on additional blocks placed under her hull.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Garvel Bend

The Stornoway-Ullapool ferry ISLE OF LEWIS is seen on the left as she lay off the entrance to the Garvel drydock on Wednesday evening, waiting for the tide to rise a little further before she could enter the dock. A fresh north-westerly wind however, coupled with a lower high tide than predicted, meant that the 6,534 gross ton ferry was destined to spend the night in the adjacent James Watt Dock. Heading past ISLE OF LEWIS is the German coaster AB DUBLIN, heading downriver from Shieldhall with a cargo of scrap metal for Pasajes in Spain.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


Clyde Marine Services' new catamaran CLYDE CLIPPER, seen recently out on trials, paid a visit to Dunoon on Tuesday afternoon. Seen here alongside the linkspan berth at the old pier, she berthed initially starboard-side to, then turned around and berthed port-side to before berthing briefly alongside the breakwater. Following these trials, she returned to Greenock. The long-awaited announcement from the Scottish Government about the future of the Dunoon ferry service was finally made at the very end of last year. Prospective operators have been invited to intimate their interest to the Scottish Government to operate the service to Gourock over a 6-year period from June 2011, with an subsidy being made available for around £1.5-£2.0 million per annum. Currently CalMac is in receipt of around double that figure. This subsidy is for passenger traffic only, and operators will be allowed to offer an unrestricted service, using vessels of their choice.

Monday, 25 January 2010


Presumably bringing in another cargo of steel for the BAE shipyards at Glasgow, the coaster RMS RIGA was seen as she headed for the Bravo anchorage this afternoon. In the foreground, Solent and Wightline Cruises' small catamaran ALI CAT was heading back to Greenock after having taking equipment out to the container ships laid up in Loch Striven.


Having completed her annual overhaul at the Garvel Drydock, CalMac's Arran ferry CALEDONIAN ISLES was out and about on the upper firth today conducting trials. Later in the day, she returned to Ardrossan, ready to resume service to Brodick on Tuesday morning.

Friday, 22 January 2010


As daylight broke on Friday morning, the Diver Training Vessel SLEAT presented an unusual appearance in the Holy Loch. During the night, it appears that her forward engine room had become flooded, resulting in her settling down by the head.

Later in the morning, the Clyde Pilot Cutter TOWARD arrived, together with the workboat TORCH, and Svitzer's tug AYTON CROSS. Arrangements were made to pump out the water from the former car ferry, and later in the day, SLEAT was towed from her mooring to the nearby pier at the Holy Loch Marina.

Once alongside the pier, SLEAT was made watertight once more, and on Saturday she returned to her mooring in the middle of the loch.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Yesterday's ClydeSights: ICE QUEEN

This small refrigerated cargo ship paid a brief visit to Glasgow in June 2003, and was seen passing below the Erskine Bridge. ICE QUEEN, at that time registered in Belize, had been built in Denmark in 1979 and was launched as GOMBA REEFER II but was completed as PACIFIC REEFER. In 1990 she was renamed REEFER EXPRESS and became ICE QUEEN ten years later. Since 2005 she has been named SILVER ICE and has flown the flag of the Comoros. At 75.2 metres in length, ICE QUEEN had a deadweight of 2,175 tonnes.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Yesterday's ClydeSights: MAERSK APAPA

For a short time in the early part of the decade, Maersk Line operated a weekly container service between Greenock and the Mediterranean, calling at Rotterdam,Gioia Tauro, Salerno, Algeciras and Liverpool. Three sisterships were employed, named MAERSK ABIDJAN, MAERSK ACCRA and MAERSK APAPA for the charter. German owned, MAERSK APAPA (seen here) was originally named SAN FRANCISCO but like many container ships over the years , she has carried numerous names for various charters, reflecting the service that she has been used on. So far this vessel has been seen as CONTSHIP BRASIL, IVARAN RAVEN, LYKES RAVEN, and LYKES PILOT. She was built in Germany in 1996 by Thyssen Nordseewerke at Emden, and is 166.6 metres overall, with a deadweight of some 20,072 tonnes. She can carry 1,512 TEU containers. Sadly the service was short-lived.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Yesterday's ClydeSights: ARKLOW CASTLE

Arklow Shipping have had many ships visit the Clyde over the years, but one which was more regular than others was their 545 TEU container ship ARKLOW CASTLE. She was built in 1996 by Peterswerft Wewelsfleth GmbH in Germany and placed on a service from the UK to the Iberian Peninsula. ARKLOW CASTLE, which was 107.9 metres overall and had a deadweight of 7,000 tonnes, remained on this service until December 2004. Sold by Arklow Shipping, she was later renamed MERIWA, under which name she returned to the Clyde while on charter to MacAndrews, again operating between the UK and Spain.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Yesterday's ClydeSights: TRAPPER

One of four sister ships seen regularly on the Clyde in years gone by, Brostom's 14,329 tonne deadweight tanker TRAPPER was built in 1985 as THUNTANK 8 by Falkenbergs Varv in Sweden for Erik Thun AB. In 1991, following a reorganisation within the company, she was renamed UNITED TRAPPER and six years later, the prefix to her name was dropped although her sisters - TRADER, TRANSPORTER and TRAVELLER - all received 'BRO' names. In 2006, following the Liberian flag as ROYAL, operated by Aegean Shipping.