Wednesday, 31 March 2010


Continuing past Port Glasgow, ASPEN encountered the Swedish tanker BRO DISTRIBUTOR as she came downriver from Clydebank, accompanied by SVITZER MILFORD. The tanker had been discharging fuel at Rothesay Dock and was heading for Brodick Bay to await orders for her next cargo.


Passing Port Glasgow, the Dutch coaster ASPEN, owned by Nyki Shipping, was seen heading upriver to Shieldhall with a cargo of steel that she had loaded in Pasajes in Spain. Launched in 1989 at the Ferus Smit yard in Hoogezand, ASPEN was named AMY until 2006. She is 82.0 metres in length and has a deadweight of 3,037 tonnes.

ClydeLink ferries

Now in service between Renfrew and Yoker, ClydeLink are using these small aluminium ferries on the short crossing between the two communities. They are continuing a tradition of ferry services over the river at this point which can be traced back at least as far as 1710. The development of the service took a major step forward in 1868 when the first steam powered chain ferry was introduced. The service came under the auspices of the Clyde Navigation Trust in 1911, remaining with them when the CNT became part of the Clyde Port Authority in 1966. By the late 1970s, the ferry service was making heavy losses, and in 1984 the vehicular ferry service came to an end. After much deliberation, it was replaced by the two small passenger ferries RENFREW ROSE and YOKER SWAN, built at Ardrossan by William McCrindle and Son, Ltd. More recently, as the two ferries came towards the end of their lives, various options were considered, but withdrawal was inevitable as the service was reportedly making losses of up to £430,000 per annum. Today, ClydeLink, owned by Silvers Marine at Rosneath, stepped into the breech to continue to link Renfrew and Yoker by ferry.

Renfrew Ferry - the end of an era

Following a period of uncertainty about its future, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (formerly Strathclyde Passenger Transport) announced in January this year that they would cease operation of the heavily subsidised ferry service between Renfrew, on the south side of the river, and Yoker, on the north bank. The first view shows RENFREW ROSE on her last day of service at the slipway at Yoker.

Shortly after midday she was seen again, at Renfrew this time, as she prepared to set off on a short cruise downriver as far as Rothesay Dock, and back up to Braehead, loaded to capacity with officials from SPT and their invited guests.

RENFREW ROSE was seen again passing Yoker while on her short commemorative sailing, travelling at a speed she seldom achieved whilst on ferry duty.

Posing for photographers, SPT chairman Jonathan Findlay was seen standing on the ramp of the little ClydeLink ferry that will be giving the service in the future, as RENFREW ROSE landed her final passengers before moving to lay up beside her sister, YOKER SWAN, in the Pudzeoch.

RENFREW ROSE bids farewell to the Ferry slipway for the last time, as ISLAND TRADER, one of ClydeLink's two aluminium-hulled ferryboats approaches. The changeover from SPT to ClydeLink, although tinged with emotion, appeared to be seamless.

Sunday, 28 March 2010


One of Greenock Ocean Terminal's smaller visitors was this coaster, FLINTERFOREST, which arrived on Sunday morning with woodpulp from Halla, in Finland. FLINTERFOREST was built by Ferus Smit in the Netherlands in 2004, and has a deadweight of 4,537 tonnes. She is 89.8 metres long. She is one of a large number of ships operated by Flinter, one of Holland's leading shipping companies today.

Saturday, 27 March 2010


The Korean-managed and operated bulk carrier LOTUS SUN was seen arriving at Hunterston this morning. She was built in 1995 as ANANGEL ENOSIS by Hyundai at their shipyard at Ulsan, and took her present name in 2008. She is 225 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 73,556 tonnes. She was bringing in a cargo of coal from Murmansk in Russia.


Frequent visitor to the Clyde, the Norwegian coaster AASLI was seen passing Gourock as she headed for the 'Bravo' anchorage before continuing upriver to Rothesay Dock later that night. She was arriving from Glensanda with a cargo of aggregates, a passage that takes her around twelve hours.

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Western Ferries' SOUND OF SANDA was the last of the company's four vehicular ferries to be given her annual overhaul, and is seen here at McInroy's Point, having just returned from the Garvel Drydock in Greenock.


After paying the briefest of visits to Faslane - she only arrived during the morning - the Type 42, Batch 3, destroyer HMS GLOUCESTER sailed again mid-afternoon for sea. Having returned to the UK just before Christmas following a stint in the Falkland Islands, GLOUCESTER spent several weeks undergoing maintenance, training and systems trials culminating in the test firing of her Sea Dart anti-aircraft missile system on Wednesday. GLOUCESTER was built in Southampton by Vosper Thorneycroft, and was launched in November 1982. She later took part in the 1991 Gulf War.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010


After discharging at the Great Harbour yesterday, RED DUCHESS moved to Sandbank and lay overnight at the pier at the Holy Loch Marina. She sailed again this afternoon, having loaded a cargo of round timber, and was seen as she left the loch for Troon.


This ship, CEMSEA, built in 1994 by Ferus Smit at Hoogezand started her life as the coaster FLINTERLAND, but was converted in Poland to carry bulk cement in 2004. She had arrived from Brunsbuttel on Monday, following MARIDA MAPLE upriver. She has a deadweight of 4,216 tonnes, with an overall length of 91.5 metres. Registered in Cyprus, CEMSEA is managed by a member of the Brise Schiffahrt group.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010


Having arrived in the morning from Dublin, the Dutch container ship X-PRESS MATTERHORN was seen making a swift departure from Greenock in the afternoon, as she headed past Gourock en route to Southampton. She has been employed on the SIX service, which also serves Belfast, for the past year or so.


Well laden, and down to her marks, the coaster RED DUCHESS was seen in the early morning sun as she made her way to 'Bravo' anchorage before picking up the pilot, and proceeding up the main channel to the Great Harbour, Greenock. There she discharged a cargo of aggregates that she had loaded in Glensanda the day before. Following completion of discharge, she moved to Sandbank to load timber.

Monday, 22 March 2010


Now considered regular callers, one of the Marida Tankers fleet - MARIDA MAPLE - was seen on Monday as she made her way upriver past Gourock to Clydebank, with a cargo of fuel for the NuStar depot at Rothesay Dock. She was inbound from Rotterdam, and had spent the previous day at anchor off Brodick before heading upfirth.


The newest submarine now undergoing trials for the Royal Navy, ASTUTE, has been continuing her sea trials recently, which included meeting up with the Navy's latest surface ship HMS DAUNTLESS. A little over a month ago, on 18th February, ASTUTE achieved a milestone when she completed her first dive.

Sunday, 21 March 2010


One of BP Shipping's fleet, BRITISH EAGLE, was seen on Sunday afternoon as she left Finnart to head out to sea for her next cargo. Flagged in the Isle of Man, like the rest of the company's 'Bird' class tankers, she was built in Korea. BRITISH EAGLE, delivered to her owners at the end of May 2006, is some 251.5 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 113,552 tonnes.

Saturday, 20 March 2010


One of the surviving pair of 'Rover' class small fleet tankers, GOLD ROVER, was seen at Loch Striven oil jetty, preparing to sail shortly for Birkenhead, where she is due to undergo a refit. Having recently returned from duty in the Falkland Islands, GOLD ROVER has been stripped of some of her equipment for replenishment at sea, most notably the oil transfer hoses carried on the derricks midships. Having been built in 1974, the veteran GOLD ROVER is now the longest serving Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship and had moved to Loch Striven from Glen Mallan, at which she had arrived a few days previously. Both she and her sister, BLACK ROVER, which are single-hulled tankers, have remained in service beyond expected withdrawal dates, while delays in procuring new double-hulled tonnage under the Maritime Afloat Reach and Sustainability programme remain unresolved.


An unusual ship on a cement run from Port Talbot to the Clyde was the Cayman Islands-registered coaster SEA KESTREL, seen passing Lunderston Bay on Saturday as she made her way upriver. She was built in 1993 as HOO KESTREL for British owners Lapthorn and Co, coming from the Yorkshire Drydock shipyard at Hull. She was sold in 2003 and renamed UNION KESTREL, and a year later, following another sale, she became SEA KESTREL. She is 77.8 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 2,225 tonnes.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Clydelink Ferry

Following an announcement made by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport in January that in order to save some £430,000 per annum, they would be withdrawing the heavily subsidised Renfrew-Yoker ferry service, various proposals for continuation of the cross-river link have been put forward, including an amphibious bus service. On Friday, two companies were shortlisted to provide a service, Rosneath-based Silvers Marine, and Inverness-based Clyde River Taxis. This craft, belonging to Silvers subsidiary company Clydelink, set up to operate the service, was seen returning downriver after having performed trials on the 200-yard wide crossing.


While it is not unknown for smaller coastal bulk carriers such as MORNES to make trips upriver with cargoes of salt, it is more unusual to see ships of this size, 12,754 tonnes deadweight, carrying road salt to Glasgow, after discharging part of her cargo at Hunterston. DELTAGRACHT is a new member of the Spliethoff fleet, having been delivered in May last year from the Jinling Shipyard in China. One of eight sisters, they are all 156.9 metres long, and are capable of carrying bulk cargoes or up to 1,069 TEU containers. DELTAGRACHT was heading for Ghent in Belgium, to take up service on her owner's Europe-South America liner service.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010


This image was sent to ClydeSights by a reader from Largs, and shows HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS alongside the recently rebuilt pier, making her first call to the town although, many years ago, she had called there while still under Caledonian MacBrayne ownership as their car ferry COLUMBA.


After lying at 'Bravo' anchorage for the morning, ARKLOW REBEL was seen as she continued her voyage from Belfast to Renfrew to load a cargo of scrap metal, which she would be taking to Seville for smelting. This 4,485 tonne deadweight coaster dates from 2005, and is one of several sister ships in the Arklow fleet, all built in Holland by the Barkmeijer shipyard at Stroobos.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010


One of Fisher's tankers, STEERSMAN, was seen on Tuesday afternoon as she made her way up the firth to Finnart, having arrived at Brodick the night before from Fawley. Built in Malaya in 1994, she is of 6,403 tonnes deadweight. She was on the Clyde to load a cargo for Belfast.

Sunday, 14 March 2010


Inbound for Clydebank, the 14,796 tonne deadweight tanker TERNHOLM was heading upriver with a cargo of fuel from Mongstad. One of a class of similar ships all built in China she dates from 2005, and was originally named TÄRNHOLM , in which guise she was seen on the river in April 2008. She was renamed last November, at which time she was also transferred to the Danish flag.

Saturday, 13 March 2010


Gareloch Support Services' multi-role workboat LAURA M, which was built in 2002, was seen passing McInroy's Point on Saturday morning. At 19.5 metres in length, she is a versatile little craft, capable of carrying a maximum 50-tonne payload on deck, or a 40' container. Well appointed internally, she can accommodate four crew in comfort for working anywhere around the UK coast.

Friday, 12 March 2010


Regular Friday caller at Greenock CANOPUS J had arrived, as usual, earlier in the day from Liverpool, and was seen as she sailed again on the MacAndrews service to Bilbao.


Leaving Loch Long and the Ineos terminal at Finnart behind, the products tanker W-O DEVOCEAN was embarking on a rather unusual voyage. Loaded with a cargo that had been backloaded from Grangemouth, it was to the Forth port that she was sailing, back to Grangemouth. Such sailings are unusual but are performed occasionally after part of the Ineos refinery has been shut down for maintenance, where the cargo is used to recommence production of certain grades of fuel. Such a voyage would take a ship like W-O DEVOCEAN around 48 hours.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


Continuing her trials as a naval unit, the new Type 45 air defence destroyer DAUNTLESS returned to Faslane on Thursday morning. Having already spent time working with her elder sister DARING, DAUNTLESS would be joining the Navy's newest submarine, ASTUTE, for exercises on the Clyde.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


After her night at anchor off the mouth of Loch Long, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS paid another visit to the Holy Loch to allow her cruise passengers the opportunity to visit the nearby Benmore Gardens for a few hours. As usual, she lay off Sandbank at anchor while her passengers were ferried ashore by tender to the Holy Loch Marina. HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS will be returning to the Clyde in October.


Outbound from Rothesay Dock, Marida's MARIDA MARIGOLD was returning to Rotterdam for her next cargo, having arrived from the Dutch port on Monday afternoon and spending the night at anchor in Brodick Bay. A little over a year old, MARIDA MARIGOLD has been upriver previously, and was seen last October at the same spot.


Also seen heading past Gourock was the Troon-based tug RED COUNTESS, which would be assisting WILLPOWER with her barge on the upriver stretches of her task. She is owned by the Troon Tug Co Ltd, and was built in 1983 as CURLEW.


Following WILLPOWER and her tow up the firth was the Danish-flagged paper-carrier LYSTIND on one of her regular liner voyages from Skogn and Belfast carrying, as usual, newsprint.


This little tug, one of the Damen Stantug 1906 design tugs, arrived early on Wednesday with a barge belonging, like the tug herself, to Williams Shipping Marine Ltd. WILLPOWER, built in 1995 as DIAMANTE and later renamed KARIN S, came to the Southampton-based fleet in 2005, when she was given her current name. Twin screws give the 19.5 metre long vessel a bollard pull of 14 tonnes.

Being towed was the barge WILLCARRY 1500, built in 2002 in Russia, and which had been brought to the Clyde to carry steelwork modules from Renfrew to the Ferguson yard at Port Glasgow. In the distance HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS lies at anchor.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

PETUJA farewell

After serving the DFDS Suardiaz Line faithfully for two years, the German container ship PETUJA bade farewell to Greenock on Tuesday afternoon, heading for Bilbao for the last time, at least on her current charter. Following discharge there, she will head for Rotterdam, where she is due to be drydocked.


Heading for the Garvel yard at Greenock, to undergo her annual overhaul, CalMac's LOCH PORTAIN - normally employed on the Sound of Harris crossing between Harris and North Uist in the Western Isles - was seen passing McInroy's Point as she made her way upriver. Unlike most of the smaller CalMac ferries, LOCH PORTAIN is driven by water pump jets, the numerous shallows on her regular route making this form of propulsion more preferable.


After completing cargo operations at Glenmallan, the Foreland Shipping-operated ro-ro freighter HARTLAND POINT left Loch Long and was seen passing Cloch Lighthouse as she steamed downfirth. Heading for Canada, HARTLAND POINT is one of the four ships employed full-time in the Strategic Sealift Service, operated by the Ministry of Defence as part of their supply chain.

Monday, 8 March 2010


More usually seen running cargoes of either cement or aggregates from South Wales or from Glensanda, the Norwegian coaster AASVIK was seen heading for Teesport on Monday afternoon as she sailed from Glasgow.


SEPA, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, operate the small survey vessel SIR JOHN MURRAY all around the Scottish coastline. She was seen on Monday as she passed upriver towards Greenock, where she uses the Great Harbour as a base, after having spent a number of days at Troon. Built in 2004 by the now-closed Miller's boatyard at St Monans in Fife, she took her name from a well-known marine biologist of the 19th Century.


Following TIMCA was HARTLAND POINT, seen bow-on as she made her way upfirth towards the entrance to Loch Long. She was heading for Glenmallan, having sailed north from Marchwood near Southampton.


Arriving early on Monday morning, the Dutch freighter TIMCA was seen heading towards Greenock where she would load reels of paper for export to the USA. As usual, her first port of call on the far side of the Atlantic was to be Baltimore. TIMCA dates from 2006, when she was built in Poland for a subsidiary company of Spliethoff, a Dutch company which specialises in such cargoes.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


The second of the new Type 45 air defence destroyers sailed from Faslane on Sunday afternoon, having spent a few days back on the river that she was built upon. DAUNTLESS was formally commissioned into the Royal Navy at a ceremony in Portsmouth on 3rd December last year. DAUNTLESS is affiliated with the City of Newcastle.

Friday, 5 March 2010


Making her first visit to the Holy Loch this year, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS has now returned to her original dark blue livery, having been painted a much lighter shade last year. This is the first of her cruises this year, and the veteran cruiseship had only left her winter berth on the Tees the previous week. Based at Fairlie for a couple of weeks, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS will be taking her guests to various locations around the Firth of Clyde and its sea lochs during three cruises, and then head for Oban where she will, once again, spend the summer.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010


With part of her cargo of salt visible on the quayside behind her, the coaster A B DUBLIN sits high in Ayr Harbour on Wednesday afternoon. Following its discharge, she would move upriver to Glasgow to load a cargo of scrap metal. Her sister, A B LIVERPOOL, was already in Glasgow loading such a cargo, too.

Monday, 1 March 2010


Seen arriving at Oban towards the end of another glorious sunny spring-like day, the coaster RED DUCHESS was heading for the North Pier to discharge a cargo of road salt, part of which she had already unloaded at Craignure, on the isle of Mull. RED DUCHESS has been carrying numerous such cargoes around the west coast in recent weeks, supplying local authorities with salt from Kilroot in Northern Ireland for use on roads.


Another island served from Oban is Lismore, and it is at the island's car ferry slipway at Achnacroish that ISLE OF CUMBRAE is seen. Another small ferry - passenger-only - serves Lismore at its northern end. There has been considerable debate over the years about which ferry service suits the needs of the islanders best, but to date the current regime holds sway. ISLE OF CUMBRAE was deputising on the hour-long crossing for the regular ferry, EIGG, which had left that morning for her annual survey at Corpach Boatyard.