Saturday, 31 July 2010


Another of the Kopervik ships arrived on Saturday morning with a cargo from Brunsbuttel. FRI STREAM, which dates from 1995 and is registered in the Bahamas, was built as TERTIUS by the Barkmeijer Stroobos shipyard in Holland, and has a deadweight of 3,270 tonnes. She is 90 metres long, and joined her current owner's fleet in 2005.


Built by the Slip shipyard at Rybinsk in Russia, but completed by Peters at Wewelsfleth in Germany in 1997, CEMBAY started life as a conventional coaster named BORNEO but was almost immediately renamed GUTSHOF. By 1999 she had reverted to her original name. In 2005, she was acquired by her present German owners and converted in Poland to become a specialised cement carrier, placed under the management of the Briese group, and renamed CEMBAY. As such, she now has a deadweight of 4,216 tonnes and is 88.2 metres in length. The same company operates similar vessels CEMSEA and CEMLUNA, both of which have visited the Clyde fairly recently.


Shuttle tanker NAVION SCANDIA was seen arriving from the Alvheim Oilfield in the North SEa with a cargo of crude oil for discharge at Finnart. Spanish built in 1998 and owned by Teekay Shipping, she and her sisters have been seen on the Clyde on several occasions in the past.

Friday, 30 July 2010


With a cargo of timber awaiting export at Sandbank, the Gibraltar-flagged coaster FRI SKIEN was seen as she entered the Holy Loch on Friday evening. FRI SKIEN is owned by a Norwegian company and is managed by the Kopervik Group. She was built in 2000 by the Peters shipyard at Kampen in the Netherlands, and was originally named POLAR SUN. In 2004 she was renamed FRISIAN SUN before taking up her current name in March this year. She is 3,792 tonnes deadweight and is 89.25 metres in length.


After spending the night alongside the Glenmallan jetty in Loch Long, the fleet tanker WAVE KNIGHT sailed during the day and headed for Loch Striven, where she is seen arriving, accompanied by SD IMPETUS and ANGLEGARTH, still working with naval tonnage. Now approaching the tenth anniversary of her launching at Barrow in September 2000, WAVE KNIGHT is due to head shortly to Cammell Laird on the Mersey for refit work.


Following sea trials, the Trinidad and Tobago Government's new patrol vessel SCARBOROUGH lay overnight at 'Bravo' anchorage, before heading upriver back to Scotstoun. During her trials, she attained speeds of up to 29 knots. An excellent sequence of pictures of her further upriver, passing beneath the Erskine Bridge and returning to the BAE yard, can be seen on Upper Clyde Shipping. Barry also posted some fine pictures of the launch of her sister SAN FERNANDO on 16 July.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

James Watt Dock - Garvel Repair Yard

Two very different vessels were seen in the James Watt Dock, each receiving attention at the Garvel repair yard. SD WARDEN is a ship that was originally used as a trials vessel but is now employed on Range Maintenance duties at Kyle of Lochalsh. She was built in 1989 by Richards Shipbuilders at Lowestoft for the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service and later joined the Serco Denholm fleet when the operation of naval support services became a commercial operation in 2008.

Berthed ahead of SD WARDEN was the CalMac ferry CLANSMAN, completing repairs after having been fitted with a new crankshaft in one of her main engines. CLANSMAN sailed on trials later in the day and then returned to Oban to resume serving island communities on the west coast.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Following its inception earlier this summer, the Riverlink service provided by Clyde Marine Services is now being operated by their 1964-built ROVER. For this duty, ROVER has had much of her top hamper - her mast and railings above the deckhouse - removed to allow her to sail under some of the bridges that now span the River Clyde. ROVER is seen here passing some of the new flats at Meadowside, opposite Govan Shipyard.


The last of the current batch of Type 45 destroyers takes shape at the Govan Shipyard of BAE Surface Fleet. DUNCAN, as she is to be named, is due to be launched on Monday 11 October at 15:37. She is likely to be the last large ship to be launched on the river for the foreseeable future.


While the Bockstiegel coaster A.B. BILBAO was loading scrap metal at Shieldhall, the Strahlmann coaster NORDERAU was also loading a similar cargo on the north bank at Diesel Wharf. She is seen here shortly after having canted in the river and begun her journey to sea, heading for Liverpool. NORDERAU is one of the numerous 'Rhein' class coasters of which Erwin Strahlmann acquired several examples at good prices following the availability of several incomplete ships once the River Danube re-opened to navigation around 2001.


Like her sisters, the Danish-flagged tanker TERNHAV started life with a slightly different name, as she was delivered from her Chinese builders as TARNHAV in May 2002. Seen from WAVERLEY lying in Rothesay Dock at Clydebank, she was delivering fuel to the NuStar terminal, a cargo that had been loaded in Amsterdam. TERNHAV is 141.2 metres long and has a deadweight of 14,796 tonnes. She is owned by Tarntank Rederi and is managed by a Swedish associate company. Her name was changed, and she was transferred from the Swedish flag to her current one, in October 2009.


After spending the day at Greenock, QUEEN VICTORIA sailed in the early evening for her next port of call, the Forth, where she would anchor off Quensferry.

QUEEN VICTORIA is 294 metres in length and has a gross tonnage of 90,049 tons. She can carry up to 2,014 passengers and has a crew of around 900.

Passenger accommodation is on 12 decks, and QUEEN VICTORIA has seven restaurants, thirteen bars and three swimming pools.

As in previous visits by Cunard ships to the Clyde, Waverley Excursions provided special sailings to view the cruiseship while she was on the Clyde. WAVERLEY set out early from Largs and escorted QUEEN VICTORIA to Greenock, before she headed upriver to convey passengers down to Greenock for a close look at the ship as she lay alongside. In the evening, WAVERLEY sailed downfirth a short distance affording passengers a grandstand view as QUEEN VICTORIA made her way out to sea from Greenock.


The latest ship to join the Cunard fleet paid her maiden visit to Greenock Ocean Terminal on 28 July. QUEEN VICTORIA, on a 10 day cruise around the British Isles, sailed from her home port of Southampton on 22 July.

En route to the Clyde she called at Cherbourg, Cork, Dublin, Liverpool and Belfast, before steaming slowly through the night to arrive at Greenock at around 0730.

Like QUEEN MARY 2, the new ship pays homage to the much-lamented QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 with her funnel design.

This ship is one of a series of Panamax cruise ships built for the Carnival Corporation. Sixth of the class to be completed by Fincantieri at their Marghera shipyard in Italy, she was delivered to Cunard in December 2007. She differs slightly from earlier ships as she was modified while under construction to cope better with Atlantic crossings although her main role is as a cruise ship.

She is to be joined in October by a new ship of similar design, which will carry the name QUEEN ELIZABETH.


Almost finished loading scrap metal at Shieldhall, the coaster A.B. BILBAO sailed shortly after this picture was taken for Pasajes. The two cranes ahead of her on the Riverside quay represent two different generations. On the left, the modern trend and is one of a pair at the berth, while on the right is one of the survivors from an earlier age and dates from when the dock was opened in the 1920s. A similar crane was dismantled recently and scrapped on site.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Not looking at her best with streaked paintwork on her sides, the Spliethoff cargo ship SAIMAAGRACHT was seen passing the Cloch as she made her way downfirth from Greenock after, I believe, her first visit to the Clyde. One of the second batch of four ships built at the New Szczecin Shipyard in Poland for the company, SAIMAAGRACHT entered service in March 2005. She is 23,660 tonnes deadweight and 185.4 metres long. She was heading from Greenock across the Atlantic to Baltimore.

Sunday, 25 July 2010


Seen passing Cloch Light on her way from Greenock, the Italian registered cruise ship AIDAaura had just sailed from Greenock for the last time this year. As on previous occasions, she was heading for Oban as part of a cruise around the British Isles that had started a few days earlier in Hamburg. Ships of the AIDA Cruises fleet cater exclusively for the German market although the company is part of the large Carnival Corporation which also, amongst others, now owns P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises and Cunard Line.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Oban Ferries

Two of CalMac's larger vessels were seen together at Oban. LORD OF THE ISLES (right) was busy loading for a late afternoon sailing to Colonsay while HEBRIDEAN ISLES was doiong her best to cope with an amended version of CLANSMAN's roster, while the latter was still undergoing repairs at Greenock following a serious machinery breakdown. HEBRIDEAN ISLES was sailing for Castlebay and would return to Oban at 0600 the following morning.

Lying at their own berth beside the fish quay, the small 'Island' class ferries EIGG and RAASAY were waiting for their next duties. EIGG would not have long to wait as she was getting ready to cross from Oban to Lismore - she is the island's principal ferry and makes up to five return sailings each day. She had her wheelhouse raised a number of years ago to improve visibility forward, a modification that makes her unique amongst her sisters. RAASAY spends most of the summer lying idle as she is relief ferry for the run although in winter she is fully employed on other routes.

Thursday, 22 July 2010


In appropriate weather, the products tanker SUMMER lies patiently at anchor in Brodick Bay, having arrived a day earlier from Stanlow. She was awaiting clearance to head upfirth to Finnart to load a cargo for Belfast. SUMMER, registered in the Marshall Islands to Greek owners, was built in Korea by 21st Century Shipbuilding, and delivered in May 2009. At 13,022 tonnes deadweight, she is 128.6 metres long and is a sister of the numerous Marida Tankers' 'M' class ships that have been seen frequently over the past few months.

Arran Ferries

During the summer months, Caledonian MacBrayne operate two ferries on the crossing from Ardrossan to Brodick. Mainstay of the service and on duty all year is CALEDONIAN ISLES, seen at Brodick Pier shortly before departure back to the mainland. The smoke visible at her bow is from the diesel engines that drive her bow thrusters. Also of note in this view is the boom which forms part of the operating gear for her fast rescue craft, mounted immediately abaft the bridge on her starboard side. Just after she left the pier, it was deployed as part of a training exercise.

In July and August CALEDONIAN ISLES is joined on the route by SATURN, which has acted as secondary Arran ferry for a number of years, having been otherwise rendered surplus following the arrival of new tonnage on the Upper Firth. With a new ferry under construction in Poland for the Islay service, this may be the last summer that SATURN is used in her present role.

Also seen gracing the pier at Brodick during the summer months is the paddle steamer WAVERLEY, which calls twice each week on her programme of Clyde excursions. On Wednesdays WAVERLEY sails from Ayr, via Brodick, to Largs, Dunoon, Blairmore and Loch Goil, while on Thursdays she starts upfirth and from Brodick, offers a short afternoon cruise to Pladda at the southern end of Arran. Occasionally WAVERLEY also calls at Lochranza, Arran's other ferry terminal, situated on the north-west part of the island.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


On July 21, another of Fred Olsen's fleet of ships visited Greenock for the first and only time this year. BALMORAL, seen departing in dismal afternoon rain, was on a Round Britain cruise that started at Dover on 17 July and called at Guernsey, Dublin and the Isle of Man before heading north to the Clyde. After her Greenock visit she was continuing to Kirkwall, Invergordon and then back to Dover. BALMORAL started life in 1988 as the Greek cruise ship CROWN ODYSSEY, owned by the Royal Cruise Line. Built by Meyer Werft at Papenburg in Germany, she was originally 187.7 metres in length and had a gross tonnage of 32,242 tons. As built, she could accommodate a maximum of 1,230 passengers. In 1996, she was renamed NORWEGIAN CROWN following a transfer some years earlier to the Bahamas-based Norwegian Cruise Line. April 2000 saw her reverting to her original name, which she retained for a further three years before - yet again - becoming NORWEGIAN CROWN. In 2006 she was sold to Fred Olsen who took delivery of her the following year, drydocked her in Germany, and fitted a new 30-metre long midship section, giving her a new overall length of 217.9 metres and a gross tonnage of 43,537 tons. Following renaming, she entered service as BALMORAL in February 2008, now able to carry up to 1,778 passengers.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

MAERSK BROOKLYN - last in, last out

She was last to arrive in Loch Striven, and she was last to leave. Of the five Maersk Line 'B' class ships, MAERSK BROOKLYN had arrived on the Clyde and anchored initially off Irvine on 27 October 2009. On 3 November, she moved to No 7 anchorage where she then lay for ten days, moving into Loch Striven and joining her sisters on 13 November.

Together with MAERSK BENTONVILLE, the pair left the loch on 1 July and were towed to the Tail of the Bank off Greenock, where they underwent hull cleaning as they lay at anchor, and had their machinery brought back to working order after months of deep lay-up.

With an upturn in container shipping worldwide, the ships were brought out from the loch over a three week period and gradually returned to full running order. Initially being used to transport empty containers to the Far East - MAERSK BROOKLYN herself had been laid up with 1,000 40ft boxes onboard - the ships have all taken on fuel in Channel ports before steaming westwards across the Atlantic.

MAERSK BROOKLYN, however, had a slightly different voyage ahead of her as she left the Clyde, and after bunkering and storing at Le Havre was being sent to the Far east via the Mediterranean, calling at Malaga, Marseille, Genoa and Gioia Tauro before heading through the Suez Canal. She is being used initially to take over on a Maersk Line service that was being operated by CHARLOTTE MAERSK which recently suffered from an extensive cargo fire off the Malayasian coast.

They may have caused a lot of controversy during their spell of inactivity on the Clyde, but the Big Blue Box Boats will be missed, as will their crews who went out of their way to make friends with local residents.

Their departures over the past few weeks leaves just two container ships laid up on the Clyde - MAERSK MAINE and MAERSK MARYLAND remain in the Great Harbour at Greenock awaiting an uncertain future.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


On a typical West of Scotland summer's day, WAVERLEY leaves Dunoon as she makes her way back to Largs after a cruise to Loch Long and Carrick Castle that had started earlier in the day at Ayr. In the distance above her port paddlebox can be seen the jack-up barge being used in connection with the laying of new sewerage outfall pipes being built to serve Dunoon.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010


Now a little over two years old, BRO AGNES was seen as she left Loch Long after loading a cargo of fuel at Finnart for shipment to Immingham, on the east coast of England. BRO AGNES belongs to the Brostrom company and is registered at Delfzijl in the Netherlands. She has a deadweight of 16,796 tonnes and an overall length of 144 metres. She was built in Turkey and has a sister, BRO ALMA, in the same fleet.


Arriving from Brunsbuttel with another cargo typical for this type of ship, APOLLO HAWK was seen as she meandered slowly towards the 'Bravo' anchorage. She would head upriver to Glasgow's King George V Dock to unload her cargo of cement a few hours later once the tide had turned.

Monday, 12 July 2010


While the cable-ship ZEUS was at Garelochhead, she was joined at Faslane by this ship, the amphibious command ship MOUNT WHITNEY. She was laid down in 1969 by Newport News Shipbuilding and commissioned in 1971. With a length of 189 metres, she displaces 18,874 tons and is powered by geared steam turbines driving a single screw. In 1981, MOUNT WHITNEY became the command ship of the US Second Fleet and, in February 2005, command ship of the Sixth Fleet. She has a complement of 150 enlisted personnel, 12 officers and 150 Civilian Mariners from Military Sealift Command. In addition, she was the first US Navy warship to permanently accommodate women on board. As she sailed, MOUNT WHITNEY was escorted by the Defence Police launch GIGHA.


The second of two new Damen ATD 2909 tugs belonging to Serco Marine Services and intended for use on the Clyde was seen arriving early on 12 July. SD DEPENDABLE, whose sister SD RESOURCEFUL arrived a few weeks previously, is the last of four tugs of the type delivered from the Dutch shipyard as part of the 29-vessel contract signed in December 2007 (the other two tugs are SD RELIABLE and SD BOUNTIFUL, delivered to Navy Dockyards at Portsmouth and Devonport). Their hulls were built in Poland although final completion was carried out in Holland. With an overall length of 29.1 metres, they are powered by Caterpillar engines driving twin Rolls-Royce azimuthing units, mounted side-by-side to give a bollard pull of 42 tonnes. Fendering is achieved using a special light grey rubber material to avoid marking the hulls of warships, while additional fendering is fitted below the waterline to allow the tugs to work with submarines.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

WAVERLEY in dock

The steamer WAVERLEY berthed in the James Watt Dock at the Garvel repair yard after her afternoon cruise to Ailsa Craig had been substituted for one to Loch Long because of the weather. With a day off service scheduled for Monday, the opportunity was taken to have the Garvel Drydock repair the belting on her starboard paddlebox after it sustained some damage earlier in the season. Lying astern of her, CalMac's CLANSMAN remains off service while awaiting parts for her starboard main engine after suffering from a major breakdown some weeks before.


Sailing after another visit to Greenock, AIDAaura was seen shortly after leaving Ocean Terminal and about to pass MAERSK BROOKLYN, last of the five blue sisters that had, until recently, been laid up in Loch Striven. The cruise ship had arrived earlier from Liverpool and was heading next for Oban on another cruise around the British Isles.


Discharging animal feed at Shieldhall, the self-geared bulk carrier CLIPPER LIS dates from 2009 and was built in Japan for Danish owners, and she flies the Bahamas flag. At 28,321 tonnes deadweight, she is 169.4 metres overall. CLIPPER LIS had arrived after having discharged part of her cargo at Southampton. Berthed astern of her is the German coaster HOLSTENTOR, loading scrap metal for export to Bayonne.


This interesting little vessel was seen as she entered the James Watt Dock at Greenock, having just come downriver from Glasgow. She is the water-injection dredger NORMA, owned and operated by Westminster Dredging, part of the Boskalis Group. NORMA, which had been working on the upper reaches together with the dredger SHOALWAY, was built in 1981 and given a major refurbishment in 2001. She is the only vessel of her type in the Westminster Dredging fleet.

Saturday, 10 July 2010


A closer view of the US Naval Ship ZEUS, lying at Garelochhead. She is able to lay 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of cable at depths of up to 9,000 feet (2,700 m), and is the only vessel of her type operated by the US Navy at the present time. Her principal role is to transport, deploy, retrieve and repair submarine cables and also to test underwater sound devices, as well as conducting acoustic, hydrographic, and bathymetric surveys. ZEUS arrived on the Clyde on 28 June.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

MAERSK BENTONVILLE leaving the Clyde

Seen heading downfirth, MAERSK BENTONVILLE, the second last of the five Maersk sisters to have been laid up in Loch Striven, was making good speed past Innellan.

With Toward Lighthouse on her starboard beam, she was heading towards the pilot station at Little Cumbrae where she would slow down again to around 8 knots.

A mile or so north of the pilot station, MAERSK BENTONVILLE was beginning to reduce speed considerably as she passed Kilchattan Bay on Bute. Once clear of the Clyde, she would be heading for Le Havre to take bunkers before setting sail for Charleston in the USA, and a return to service.


Bringing another cargo of Nigerian crude oil to the Clyde was the Greek tanker SERENEA. Owned by the giant Chandris group, this Suezmax ship was delivered to the company in June 2009. She was built in Korea and has a length of 274.4 metres. Her deadweight is 158.583 tonnes.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


The German-owned coaster AJOS G. was seen loading round timber at Sandbank for export to Rostock. Regostered, like many German coasters, at St Johns in Antigua and Barbuda, AJOS G. was built in 1996 by Slovenske Lodenice in Slovakia and has a deadweight of 3,002 tonnes. The 88.5 metre long ship had arrived overnight from Belfast.