Sunday, 30 May 2010


Spending a few days in UK waters, the Danish training ship GEORG STAGE arrived today at Greenock Customhouse Quay for a short visit. The ship, which carries up to 63 cadets, was built in 1934 to replace an earlier ship of the same name. A regular participant in the Tall Ships Races, GEORG STAGE is a fully rigged ship, and carries twenty sails. She is 54 metres in length, including the bowsprite, and is operated by the Georg Stage Memorial Foundation.


Waiting to load the timber seen lying on the quayside at Holy Loch Marina, Scotline's SCOT RANGER had arrived a little earlier from Birkenhead. The 3,419 tonne deadweight coaster was due to take this export cargo to Tofte in Norway.


An interesting tanker was seen on Saturday as she left the Clyde following a discharge of crude oil from the North Sea's Troll Field. MASTERA, owned by the Finnish oil company Neste, is described as a 'double-acting tanker' and is one of a pair of ships designed by Kvaerner-Masa Yards and built in Japan by Sumitomo Heavy Industries at their Yokosuka shipyard. MASTERA, and her sister TEMPERA, are designed to be able to operate in an ahead direction in open water, or astern in pack ice, using her special hull design to break through the ice. Propulsion is by a single azipod unit with a single, fixed pitch, propeller. MASTERA is of 106,208 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 252 metres.

Friday, 28 May 2010


Seen discharging a cargo of fuel from Europoort at the Defence Fuels Groups Loch Striven jetty, the Isle of Man-flagged tanker ENERGY PRIDE dates from 2004. She was built by the STX shipyard in Korea for a Greek company, although her actual owners are based in South Africa. Ship management is provided by Enterprises Shipping and Trading. She is 183 metres in length, with a deadweight of 51,318 tonnes.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


Two coasters loading scrap metal at Shieldhall. Further away is Arklow Shipping's ARKLOW ROSE, one of their Dutch flagged vessels, while the closer ship, BALLYHEALY, owned by KQ Shipping of Wexford. BALLYHEALY, seen here on a previous visit to the river, appears to have had a somewhat chequered career since she left the Strahlmann fleet in 2007, as she has been the subject of two MCA detentions - once at Londonderry in January 2008, and again in Belfast a year or so later.


Originally named ELISABETH when built in 1983, this little coaster is now German owned and was renamed CEG COSMOS in 2007. At 1,350 tonnes deadweight, the 63.2 metre long ship was seen approaching Shieldhall Riverside Berth to load a dry cargo. Built by Husumer Schiffswerft, she is brokered by a company based in Hamburg.


After discharging her cargo of wind turbine components from Emden in Glasgow, the German coaster GEISE, registered in Gibraltar, was seen passing No 1 Buoy marking the start, or in this case, the end, of the river channel. The 4,299 tonne deadweight coaster was completed in Bulgaria in 2006 although her keel was laid several years earlier, in 1998. Like many ships built in that part of the world, her construction took so long as, in 1999, the River Danube closed to navigation for many years. GEISSE is a similar ship to DITZUM, seen recently, although fitted with two deck cranes of 35 tonne capacity each. She too is owned by the Briese company and was returning to Emden.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010


After spending two weeks at Loch Striven fuel jetty, the fleet tanker ORANGELEAF was seen berthing at Glenmallan, having just been escorted up Loch Long with two Serco tugs - SD NIMBLE and SD IMPETUS - together with Svitzer's ANGLEGARTH. ORANGELEAF was only paying a brief visit to the munitions jetty, as she moved to Garelochhead the following day.

Monday, 24 May 2010

A Serco Invasion?

One might almost be forgiven for thinking that the Serco fleet had vacated the Great Hatbour, and moved 'next door' into the James Watt Dock. Their tug SD DEXTEROUS is lying alongside the Garvel Drydock's berth while undergoing repairs following her recent fire in the Gareloch. Passing her, SD OMAGH had just arrived from sea and was heading up the dock to berth alongside SD ORONSAY for the night. The latter was not long out of drydock, and was completing her refit at the yard.


Seen departing from Greenock after her first visit to the port, Aida Cruises' AIDAaura is an improved version of AIDAcara, which visited the Clyde last year. Built in Germany by Aker MTW at Wismar, she was completed for the German company in 2003. The 203-metre long ship, which can carry up to 1,582 passengers, was on a cruise around the British Isles. Like other ships in the Aida fleet, she is aimed firmly at the German cruise market. She is 42,289 gross tons, and is due to make a number of other visits to Greenock this summer.


Coast Lines Shipping's trim little coaster RED DUCHESS was seen passing Hunter's Quay at the start of a 33-hour passage from Sandbank to Youghal. In the distance, the container ship SEALAND PERFORMANCE is lying off Greenock being prepared for her final voyage.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


One of Erwin Strahlmann's fleet of coasters was seen as she lay at the Bravo anchorage, prior to heading upriver to Diesel Wharf to load scrap metal. The 3,539 tonne ship, which is 86.6 metres long, had arrived from Heysham.

Saturday, 22 May 2010


The small car ferry FOYLE RAMBLER was seen passing Gourock as she made her way back to Northern Ireland following her recent visit to the Garvel Dydock at Greenock. FOYLE RAMBLER was built in Germany in 1972 for use on the River Weser, and was purchased by the Lough Foyle Ferry Company in 2004 after being made redundant following the opening of a road tunnel. The other ferry owned by the same company, FOYLE VENTURE, was also at Garvel recently for annual survey.


Emerging from a bank of thick fog covering the Firth of Clyde, the Russian-owned tanker NS BURGAS is seen passing Dunoon, as she headed towards Loch Long with a cargo of Nigerian crude oil from the Bonga Deepwater Project. NS BURGAS flies the Liberian flag, but is owned by JSC Novoship, the Novorossiysk Shipping Company, and was completed by Jiangsu Rongsheng Heavy Industries in October 2009. She has a deadweight of 156,572 tonnes and is 274 metres in length.

Friday, 21 May 2010


With the arrival on the Clyde of MAERSK CASSANDRA, the total number of ships belonging to the company, including it's Svitzer tug fleet, rose to fifteen - five 'B' class container ships in Loch Striven, SEALAND PERFORMANCE under tow to Greenock and visible on the left, two 'M' class ships laid up in the Great Harbour, and six tugs. MAERSK CASSANDRA started life in 1995 as BRO ALEXANDRE, having been ordered as PORT ALEXANDRE but renamed before completion at Halla Engineering and Heavy Industries shipyard at Inchon in Korea. Originally French flagged, she now flies that of the United Kingdom and, perhaps unusually, is registered at Dover. She is 45,999 tonnes deadweight, and is 183.2 metres overall. She was arriving from West Africa to load a cargo of reformate at Finnart, where her berthing would be assisted by SVITZER LAURA and SVITZER BRUNEL. MAERSK CASSANDRA is presently working as a member of the Handytankers pool.


The cruise ship SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE was seen at close range as she passed downriver from Greenock on her second National Trust for Scotland cruise of the year. From the Clyde, she would be heading for the island of Rum, off Scotland's west coast, followed by a visit to Longhope in Orkney, Fair Isle, Unst (at the northern end of Shetland) and Norway, before returning to Leith. SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE is not due to be back on the Clyde this summer, but should be returning next year.


Making her way to Greenock at a sedate five knots, SEALAND PERFORMANCE was seen passing McInroy's Point with AYTON CROSS leading the veteran. As can be seen, her port anchor was missing, as it still lay on the bottom of Loch Striven after having been cut free. The stock of her spare anchor is visible, behind the breakwater and just to the right of the foremast - it would later be fitted at Greenock.

As she passed upriver, the much smaller container ship CANOPUS J passed on her way from Greenock to Santander in Spain.

Clyde Marine's CRUISER also passed by. She was heading to Largs to undertake her nightly tendering duty to the Type 45 destroyer DIAMOND, undergoing trials further out in the Clyde.

Taking up the rear was ANGLEGARTH, while SVITZER MILFORD accompanied the ship, ready to assist in berthing her at Greenock. Outbound, in the distance, is the cruise ship SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE. Another selection of views of SEALAND PERFORMANCE passing McInroy's Point, together with other shipping, may be seen here.


Furthest travelled of the three tugs helping out at Loch Striven was SVITZER LAURA, which had come round the north of Scotland from the Humber, where she is usually employed. She later joined SVITZER BRUNEL on the tanker movement, as the three Clyde-based tugs were still involved with SEALAND PERFORMANCE. SVITZER LAURA was built in 2001 by Damen and she was originally named LADY LAURA, as a member of the Howard Smith Towage fleet, later being renamed ADSTEAM LAURA when her owners were taken over. She was given the 'SVITZER' prefix in 2007 after Adsteam was acquired by Svitzer. SVITZER LAURA has a bollard pull of 70 tonnes, and had been used together with SVITZER MILFORD on the east side of the raft, made fast to the bow of MAERSK BROOKLYN.


Having come north from Avonmouth, SVITZER BRUNEL had arrived earlier on the day to help out in Loch Striven and, like SVITZER WATERSTON, worked on the west side of the raft being made fast aft on MAERSK BROOKLYN. SVITZER BRUNEL had actually been on the Clyde before, when she stood in for one of the local fleet last year, and, having completed her task in Loch Striven came upfirth to assist with a tanker movement at Finnart.


To assist the three Svitzer tugs currently resident on the Clyde, the company also brought in three others from around the UK. SVITZER WATERSTON arrived from Milford Haven on Thursday 20 and berthed overnight at Fairlie before joining the flotilla of ships in Loch Striven. Made fast to the bow of MAERSK BROOKLYN, she returned to Fairlie on completion of her work in the Loch. SVITZER WATERSTON dates from 2008, and was built in Spain. Shortly after delivery, she had the misfortune to ground while on trials, requiring extensive repairs before she could enter service. With a massive 92 tonne bollard pull, SVITZER WATERSTON is one of a number of tugs built specially to work with gas tankers at Milford Haven's new LNG terminal.


After the better part of a year laid up in the sheltered waters of Loch Striven, the first of the six Maersk container ships to arrive in the loch was carefully extracted from the middle of the formation.

In a carefully planned and well executed manouvre, the raft was initially separated by four Svitzer tugs, two made fast to each of the outermost ships, MAERSK BOSTON and MAERSK BROOKLYN.

While SVITZER MILFORD, SVITZER LAURA, SVITZER BRUNEL and SVITZER WATERSTON held the two groups of ships out of the way, AYTON CROSS and ANGLEGARTH carefully drew SEALAND PERFORMANCE forward.

Also in attendance were the workboat LYRAWA BAY, working for Svitzer since the ships arrived on the Clyde last year, and Clydeport's workboat TORCH.

As SEALAND PERFORMANCE was moved forward and clear of the raft, she slowly recovered the cable from her starboard anchor, but then problems became apparent. Her port anchor was fouled by one of those from another of the ships.

As attempts were made to retrieve the port anchor, SEALAND PERFORMANCE was turned in the hope that doing so would clear the anchor. Unfortunately, all attempts to free it were defied, and it remained on the loch bottom. TORCH then manoeuvred herself into position, and the cable was burned through, thus freeing the ship. Meanwhile, the four tugs still made fast the the other ships carefully brought the raft back together.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


After unloading a cargo of cement at King George V Dock, APOLLO FALCON lay at the 'Bravo' anchorage for a day or two while she waited for orders. She was seen passing McInroy's Point after receiving those, as she was on her way to Glensanda to pick up a cargo of aggregates.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010


The Norwegian flagged palletised cargo ship FOSS, until recently named LYSFOSS, sailed from Greenock on Wednesday afternoon for Skogn after discharging a cargo of paper at Ocean Terminal. The name change is recent, having only been carried out in February. FOSS is a sistership of LYSTIND and LYS-SKOG, which has also been renamed recently, and both of which have been regular visitors to the Clyde. The hull and funnel marking denoting her ownership have also been painted out - 'DFDS LYS LINE' is still visible on her port side in the fresher dark blue paintwork.


The Type 23 anti-submarine frigate RICHMOND was seen passing Cloch Light on Wednesday as she made her way to HM Naval Base Clyde at Faslane. Recently, RICHMOND has been working with the new submarine ASTUTE, acting as her consort during her diving trials. RICHMOND has also just spent a week alongside in Cardiff as part of the the Cadet 150 celebrations. She was built by Swan Hunter and was tenth of the class to join the Royal Navy, being commissioned in 1995.


Making regular trips from the James Watt Dock to Loch Striven over the past few months, the workboat LYRAWA BAY was seen as she passed McInroy's Point on another of these journeys on Wednesday. She was previously been a ferry in Orkney but was later converted into a fishfarm workboat before she came to the Clyde a number of years ago. Recently her sailings to Loch Striven have been more frequent as one of the vessels prepares to leave the raft.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


After lying overnight at Greenock Ocean Terminal, where she took on stores, the Type 45 destroyer DIAMOND sailed on Tuesday morning to continue trials in the lower Firth of Clyde area. She is seen here passing Cloch Point as she made her way out to sea from Greenock. DIAMOND generally returns to the north end of the Cumbrae each evening where she it tendered to by Clyde Marine's CRUISER from Largs.

Sunday, 16 May 2010


With no Type 45 destroyer lying alongside at Scotstoun, Clydeport has taken the opportunity to dredge the river bed along the face of the fitting out quay using Westminster Dredging's trailing suction hopper dredger WD MERSEY. Seen passing DRAGON - now bereft of the large red Welsh dragon that emblazoned her bow until a few days ago - WD MERSEY had just completed another session at Scotstoun and was setting off for the dumping ground at the mouth of Loch Long. Built by Achille Lucchese at their Venice shipyard in 1984 and named BRAGADIN when new, she was initially used for dredging work locally. In 2007, she was renamed WD MERSEY when acquired by the Boskalis Group, parent company of Westminster Dredging. Her hopper has a capacity for 1,836 m³ of spoil which is around 3,000 tonnes. She is 67.6 metres in length, and was hired to dredge at Scotstoun and at the entrance to Rothesay Dock.


Sister to another tanker that recently visited Clydebank, CAPE DALY was seen as she headed downfirth, having discharged a cargo of fuel at Rothesay Dock that she had brought from Rotterdam. Like CAPE DAWSON, which was seen in Rothesay Dock last month, CAPE DALY was built in Korea but she is slightly newer, being delivered to her German owners in January this year. Her deadweight is 12,670 tonnes and she too is 120 metres in length.

Friday, 14 May 2010


Shortly after CANOPUS J and SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE had sailed, HELGALAND arrived from Liverpool on MacAndrew's other container service that uses Greenock. That service runs to Lisbon and Leixoes from Dublin, Liverpool, Greenock and Rotterdam, to where she sailed after finishing cargo on the Clyde. HELGALAND has been partnered on this service in recent months by HERM, but another vessel is due to be taking her place shortly.


Following CANOPUS J away from Greenock was SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE, making her first visit of the year to Greenock at the start of her first cruise on charter to the National Trust for Scotland. After being assisted to turn by Clyde Marine Services' BRUISER, SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE set off down the Clyde bound for Castlebay, on the island of Barra. Other ports on this cruise were scheduled to be Corpach (for Fort William) followed by the Isle of Muck, Stornoway, St Kilda and Gigha, before returning to Greenock.


Clydeport's pilot cutter CLOCH returns to Greenock after dropping off a pilot at Sandbank, and passes regular caller CANOPUS J sets sail from Ocean Terminal on her weekly voyage from the Clyde to Bilbao, in northern Spain, having arrived earlier in the day from Liverpool.


Wessels' coaster PAMIR was also seen passing downfirth past Cloch Point, as she set off for El Ferrol in Spain with a cargo of scrap metal that she had loaded at Henderson's scrapyard at Renfrew. PAMIR, which carries the name of one of the last famous square-rigged sailing ships used commercially, was built in 1994 and has a deadweight of 3,002 tonnes. She is 88.5 metres in length.


Third of the Type 45 destroyers being built on the Clyde by BAE Systems set out today on another set of sea trials. DIAMOND was seen as she picked up speed having passed the Cloch Light, east of which shipping is restricted to 12 knots but beyond which traffic is allowed, within Clydeport limits, to steam at up to 19 knots.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Serco Tugs

An unusual view showing three Serco tugs berthed alongside each other in the James Watt Dock. Innermost is SD IMPULSE, undergoing some maintenance work at the Garvel yard. On the outboard side of the trio is SD IMPETUS, which had recently also been in the hands of the Garvel yard while work was carried out aboard her. In between them is SD DEXTEROUS. She had just been towed to Greenock by IMPETUS from the Gareloch, following an outbreak of fire in her engine room. Quick action by her crew, together with the close proximity of other vessels, prevented any injury and nobody was hurt in the incident, now being investigated by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch. The fire broke out at around midday, and after CO2 flooding had been used, SD IMPETUS and other tugs used their fire-fighting equipment to make sure that the fire was well and truly extinguished before DEXTEROUS was brought across the river.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


Having spent the last few days alongside in Glasgow at Shieldhall Riverside berth, the Gibraltar-flagged coaster DITZUM had been discharging wind turbine components that had come from Germany. She was seen passing Lunderston Bay as she headed down the firth to Ayr, to load a coal cargo for Ghent. DITZUM was built by the Rousse Shipyard in Bulgaria and delivered to Briese Schiffahrt in 2005. A tween-decked cargo ship, she has a deadweight of 4,512 tonnes and is 98.85 metres long.

Monday, 10 May 2010


Seen alongside at Loch Striven fuel jetty, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker ORANGELEAF had arrived a little while before from Plymouth. ORANGELEAF recently underwent a refit and drydocking on the Mersey at the Cammell Laird shipyard in Birkenhead. She remains on long term charter to the Ministry of Defence (Navy) and is likely to remain in service for some time, despite being single-hulled, as the proposed Fleet Tanker replacement programme has been deferred.

Sunday, 9 May 2010


A fleetmate of another cement carrier, CEMSEA, which visited the river earlier in the year, was seen as she passed McInroy's Point on Sunday. CEMLUNA, also managed by the Brise Shipmanagement group, had been discharging cement at King George V Dock and was sailing for Eastham. She was built in 1991 by Sheepswerf Slob at Papendrecht in Holland and was originally the coaster ANJA II. In 2002 she was renamed LEA and in 2005, was converted in a Polish shipyard to become the self-discharging cement carrier CEMLUNA. Flying the Cypriot flag, she has a deadweight of 3,715 tonnes and an overall length of 89.5 metres.


On Sunday morning the Rothesay car ferry BUTE was seen passing Cloch Point as she made her way back to serve on the Wemyss Bay crossing for the day, after lying overnight at Gourock. As already mentioned, this is currently necessary while repairs are being carried out at Rothesay, where divers have been working at night placing armoured rock around the pier's structure.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


Another tanker was seen on Saturday, this time a German ship making her way upriver to Rothesay Dock with a cargo from Mongstad. HORNISSE, a ship built at Kiel in 1998 by the Lindenau shipyard, is managed by Carl Buettner and she has a deadweight of 13,050 tonnes. Her overall length is 145.56 metres.


Having been seen previously on ClydeSights some time ago, the shuttle tanker NAVION OCEANIA was seen after another cargo discharge at Finnart. Her last port was Scapa Flow, where she had discharged a cargo into another tanker in a ship-to-ship transfer, and it was back to Scapa that she was heading after leaving the Clyde.

Friday, 7 May 2010


The container ship HERM was also seen arriving on Friday evening, inbound from Liverpool on her MacAndrews charter. On completion of cargo work at Greenock Ocean Terminal, she would sail for Rotterdam. In the background, on the left, one of the former oil storage tanks for the disused Inverkip Power Station can be see in the process of demolition.


Two very different ferries seen off McInroy's Point. SOUND OF SCARBA was on her usual service between Western Ferries' Hunter's Quay terminal and McInroy's Point, while CalMac's ARGYLE was heading for Gourock Pier. Unable to lie at Rothesay while repair work was being carried out to the pier, she had to lie overnight at Gourock and head back to Rothesay early the next morning.