Thursday, 30 September 2010


The last large cruise ship to call at Greenock for the year was seen leaving the river on her short overnight passage to Belfast. NORWEGIAN SUN was on a voyage taking her to ports in Scandinavia, Lerwick, the Faroes, Greenock, Belfast and Dublin, before heading back up the English Channel to Dover, which was where she had started her cruise. Built in 2001 by Lloyd Werft in Germany, the 78,309 gross ton cruise ship is 258 metres in length and can carry 2,002 passengers. When she joined the Norwegian Cruise Line, she introduced the concept of 'Freestyle Cruising', allowing her guests more freedom than is found on many other comparable ships. This was her first season of European cruising, as NORWEGIAN SUN has spent most of her career so far sailing in North American waters, notably on the west coast to Alaska.


One of three US Navy 'Arleigh Burke' class destroyers about to participate in the latest multi-national Joint Warrior exercise was seen passing Lunderston Bay. Heading for Faslane, USS NITZE is one of the later Flight IIA ships that are capable of embarking two helicopters, unlike the earlier ships that only have a flight deck aft. NITZE is a product of Bath Iron Works and was entered naval service in 2004.


Arriving light from Cardiff, Fisher's Liberian-flagged tanker CHARTSMAN was seen passing the Cowal Buoy as she made her way towards Loch Long and on to Finnart to backload a cargo for, of all places, Grangemouth, from which the cargo had just been pumped! Such movements often occur after part of the refining plant at Grangemouth has been shut down for maintenance, and the products are used to re-start the refining processes. CHARTSMAN is one of four Malaysian built ships in the company's fleet and she joined Fisher's in 1993. She has a deadweight of 6,396 tonnes.

Monday, 27 September 2010


The coastal water barge SD WATERMAN was seen heading downfirth from her operator's headquarters at Greenock to deliver fresh water to a customer, presumably a naval ship, somewhere in the lower firth.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


One of Serco's two 'Sal' class moorings and salvage tenders, SD SALMAID, was seen as she left the Clyde on passage from the Great Harbour at Greenock to Portland on the English Channel. On her foredeck she is carrying a large floating target, used for military exercises.

Saturday, 25 September 2010


Now sitting much higher out of the water after discharging her cargo at Finnart, NAVION ANGLIA leaves Loch Long on her way to Coryton, on the River Thames. A new refinery was established there in 1953 although the site had been used in the oil industry for many years prior to that. It is now operated by Petroplus.


The Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities Royal Naval Unit 'Archer' class patrol boat SMITER was seen out on a weekend foray from Faslane as she made her way downfirth. Manned by undergraduate students, the various naval units attached to many of the UK's universities operate fourteen of these small boats around the country. In the background, Clyde Marine's CRUISER can be seen on her way from Blairmore to the Kyles of Bute with a private charter.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Although it is around 140 miles by road, it is considerably easier to transport wind turbines from Campbeltown to Glasgow by sea, and it was on just such a voyage that the Dutch coaster GERARDA was seen as she made her way upriver. The turbines, made at the Skykon plant at Machrihanish, were destined for the Clyde Wind Farm. GERARDA was built in 2006 by Ferus Smit and is managed by Flinter Shipping. She is 89.8 metres in length, and has a deadweight of 4,537 tonnes.


Another tanker seen on the Clyde was the Maltese-flagged ship DESNA STAR as she headed downriver from Clydebank, where she had been discharging a fuels cargo from Brofjorden. DESNA STAR was built in Korea, and only delivered to her German owners, Rigel Schiffahrts GmbH, in April this year as the first of a four-ship order. She is 12,551 tonnes deadweight and has a length of 129 metres. DESNA STAR was heading for Milford Haven.

OSPREY BOXER and barge

The tug OSPREY BOXER was seen arriving with a 60 metre barge, OSPREY WARRIER (yes - that is how its name is spelled!), the pair having sailed via the Pentland Firth from the Tyne, where their owners are based. OSPREY BOXER has a familiar profile - she is of the Damen Stan Tug 2208 design, and is a sister of CMS BUSTER, a locally-owned vessel that recently left the Clyde and returned to Holland where she has been advertised for sale. OSPREY BOXER was delivered to Osprey Shipping Ltd by the Dutch builder in January this year. The 22.6 metre long tug has a bollard pull of almost 40 tonnes.


After her two days on the Clyde, the Royal Navy assault ship ALBION sailed during the early afternoon. Her destination was the north-west of Scotland, where she would be taking part in amphibious landing exercises involving some seventy five Royal Marines in the Loch Ewe area.


One of the North Sea 'shuttle' tankers owned by Teekay Shipping was seen passing Cloch Lighthouse on her way towards Finnart. Like sisters NAVION HISPANIA, OCEANIA and SCANDIA, all of which have visited the Clyde over the years, NAVION ANGLIA was built in Spain, in her case being completed in 1999 by Astilleros EspaƱoles. She is 126,749 tonnes deadweight and was arriving from the Alvheim Field in the North Sea.


One of the first ships to arrive on the Clyde for Joint Warrior 102 was the Royal Navy's hydrographic survey ship ECHO. Arriving from Cardigan Bay, she had just completed survey work that had included the discovery of a previously uncharted shipwreck. ECHO is one of the RN's most sophisticated ships, and was built by Appledore Shipbuilders in North Devon, being commissioned into the Navy in March 2003. Both ECHO and her sister ENTERPRISE have participated in previous Joint Warrior exercises, often in support of mines countermeasures vessels.

Qinetiq T1

Whatever the problems had been the previous day, it appeared that they had been resolved as experimental landing craft T1 was put through its paces off Dunoon. This time she was carrying a number of military vehicles as a payload, running from ALBION downfirth as seen here, before returning to the mother ship.

Thursday, 23 September 2010


The 16,866 tonne deadweight products tanker HELLESPONT CENTURION, built in South Korea in 2009 by Sekwang Shipbuilding for German Greeks, was seen as she headed towards Loch Long and Finnart, where she would backload a cargo for Belfast. She is currently employed in the Seatramp Pool, managed by Hellespont Tankers.

QinetiQ T1 on trials

One of the smaller vessels embarked aboard ALBION is a new experimental landing craft, built by defence manufacturer QinetiQ and allocated pennant number T1 while on trial with the Ministry of Defence. The Partial Air Cushion Supported CATamaran (PACSCAT), to give it its full title, is a twin hulled vessel with air cushions forward and aft, similar to the surface effect craft employed by the Norwegian Navy. T1 is built of aluminium and is 30 metres long, with a beam of 7.7 metres. She has a payload of 55 tonnes and is intended - despite what this image might suggest - to operate at speeds of more than 30 knots, thanks to its waterjet propulsion. The novel craft has been operating with the Royal Marines since August.


With the customary police escort, a visiting submarine heads towards HM Naval Base at Faslane. UPPLAND is one of three submarines built in the 1990s by Kockums for the Swedish Navy, and she was commissioned in 1997. She is powered by an Air Independent Propulsion System, which comprises auxiliary Stirling engines that use liquid oxygen and diesel fuel to power 75 kilowatt generators, either for propulsion or to charge batteries. This allows an underwater capability of around two weeks at five knots. For surface use, two diesel engines are also fitted. UPPLAND was visiting the Clyde to exercise with the Swedish ship BELOS, seen arriving a few days before.


Seen exercising off the mouth of Loch Long, and with her stern door open and stern dock flooded, the assault ship ALBION was working with an experimental new type of landing craft, which can be seen at her well dock entrance. ALBION was built by BAE Systems at Barrow and entered naval service in 2003. Capable of carrying up to six Challenger tanks or considerably more armoured vehicles, ALBION is equipped to handle up to four utility landing craft in her dock, as well as another four, smaller, personnel landing craft that are davit mounted.


The Type 23 'Duke' class frigate HMS MONMOUTH was seen as she made her way upfirth, followed by the assault ship HMS ALBION. The frigate was heading for Faslane, while the larger vessel was about to spend some time at the mouth of Loch Long undertaking some exercises with landing craft.


Making her usual fortnightly appearance on the river was the Maltese-flagged container ship OELAND, seen heading to Greenock on regular run from Liverpool. As usual, she sailed for Rotterdam later before continuing to Lisbon and Leixoes.


The Danish-owned coaster JYTTE BRES lies at the 'Bravo' anchorage on a damp morning, waiting to head up the Clyde on a rising tide to Renfrew, where she would load a cargo of scrap metal for export to Seville. She was built in 1999 by Damen, and completed at the Dutch company's yard at Hoogezand, her hull having been built in Romania. JYTTE BRES, operated by Bres Line, is 89 metres in length and has a deadweight of 4,748 tonnes.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


APOLLO CONDOR was seen as she made her was slowly to anchor off Gourock, before she headed upriver later in the evening. As usual, she had come from Brunsbuttel with a cargo of cement. Sistership APOLLO HAWK, seen on the Clyde just a couple of months earlier, has recently been sold and renamed. How much longer the other Apollo ships will continue in service with the company remains to be seen, given that they are no longer in their first flush of youth.

Monday, 20 September 2010


Silhouetted against the afternoon sun, the sail training ship LORD NELSON was seen as she made her way down the Clyde after an overnight call in Glasgow. Her latest voyage would be taking her to Dublin, Cardiff and round Land's End to Dartmouth before finishing at Poole.


Heading out of Loch Long as HARTLAND POINT arrived, and into the rain, was the considerably smaller SD KYLE OF LOCHALSH, now employed as a trials vessel on the BUTEC range off the Isle of Skye. Originally named MSC LENIE prior to her acquisition by Serco, she was built as a conventional tug in 1997 by David Abel at Bristol, and is now used to support submarine trials and operations at Kyle. She had been loading a container at Glenmallan, and spent the previous night in the Great Harbour.


The ro-ro freighter HARTLAND POINT, one of six similar ships on permanent charter from Foreland Shipping to the Ministry of Defence, was seen arriving from Sunny Point in the USA as she made her way towards Loch Long, and the MoD ammunition jetty at Glenmallan. HARTLAND POINT was delivered from her Belfast builders, Harland and Wolff, at the end of 2002.


The 'Black Duke', as HMS MONMOUTH is known, was seen lying off Kilcreggan while she took bunkers from the Serco fuel lighter SD OILMAN. Lashed alongside the barge is SD MARS, which provides the means of propulsion as SD OILMAN is unpowered. MONMOUTH took part in events recently to mark the 70th anniversary of the Dunkirk Evacuation, and has since been working up prior to returning to full operational deployment early next year. She is due to take part in Joint Warrior 102 in early October.


Making an rare but brief visit to the Clyde the research vessel SD NEWTON, built in 1976 by Scott's at Greenock, was seen as she rounded Cloch Point on her way to Ocean Terminal. When new, she served with the Royal Maritime Auxiliary Service as an oceanographic trials and research vessel, but also had the capability to lay submarine cables. In 2001, she underwent a major refit and was then able to support amphibious troops during training, a role that she still fulfils today. Visible on board, forward, are a number of small Royal Marines craft. SD NEWTON is now likely to be superseded in this role by another new vessel from the Damen yard in Holland. Driven by a single screw, which takes its power from a diesel-electric installation, she is 98.6 metres in length.

Saturday, 18 September 2010


Overhaul complete, the offshore standby vessel VOS INSPIRER was seen off Kilcreggan as she underwent sea trials after her recent spell in the Garvel Drydock. On their conclusion, VOS INSPIRER would make her way back to Liverpool Bay to continue her duties as one of the safety vessels working on the Douglas gas field.

Friday, 17 September 2010


As BELOS made her way upriver, Clydeport's navaids tender and workboat TORCH was busy assisting with the recovery of a large yacht that had been blown ashore earlier in the week. The yacht, registered at Swansea and named LORNA, had broken adrift during north-westerly gales on Tuesday night.


The largest vessel in the Swedish Navy, BELOS arrived on the Clyde to take part in submarine rescue trials together with the Norwegian Coastguard ship BARENTSHAV that had arrived a few days previously. BELOS had begun her career as a commercial offshore supply ship ENERGY SUPPORTER, and was built by the De Hoop shipyard at Lobith in Holland in 1985. She was later acquired by the Swedish Navy and converted at Rio de Janeiro to become a submarine rescue and salvage ship, and was formally commissioned in October 1992. She has twin aximuth thrusters mounted aft, electrically driven, and three bow thrusters, giving her exceptional manoeuvrability. At 104.9 metres in length, BELOS is fitted with a helicopter deck forward, and carries an extensive array of diving equipment as well as various submersible craft.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Although the 'Archer' class patrol boats have frequently been seen on the river for several years, two members of the class have only recently arrived. PURSUER (P273) and DASHER (P280) are now stationed at Faslane, having spent a number of years based in Cyprus before returning to the UK in the spring of this year, aboard HURST POINT. Under their own power, both arrived on the Clyde at the beginning of May. PURSUER, seen off Sandbank in the Holy Loch, and her sister, are now employed on submarine escort duties, accompanying the Trident vessels as they arrive back from, or set off on, patrol. PURSUER was built in 1988 by Vosper Thorneycroft.


Stenersen's 2009-built products tanker STEN FRIGG was seen as she made her way upriver past the disused Inverkip power station, to Clydebank, bringing in another cargo of fuel from the Statoil refineries at Mongstad in Norway. STEN FRIGG has a deadweight of 16,587 tonnes and at 144 metres, is typical of the larger ships to use Rothesay Dock nowadays.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


ATLAS VALOR, one of six Aframax tankers operated by Atlas Maritime, arrived with a cargo of North Sea crude that she had loaded at Teesport and was seen as she passed Cloch Point on her way towards Loch Long. Registered at Nassau in the Bahamas, ATLAS VALOR is a ship of 107,181 tonnes deadweight and is 246.8 metres in length. She was built by the Imabari shipyard in Japan and completed in 1999. Until 2008, she was named OLYMPIA.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Another of the product tankers belonging to NGM Energy was seen as she headed south past Cloch Point, having been upriver at Clydebank discharging a cargo that she had loaded in Rotterdam. EL ZORRO, a vessel of the same class and dimensions as AUTUMN, SUMMER and their sisters, was heading to Brodick Bay to anchor while she waited for orders. Delivered in 2007, she is also a sistership of a tanker that visited Clydebank more than two years ago, MOJITO.


More commonly seen heading upfirth under power, the sail training ship LORD NELSON was actually using her sails to make her way past Innellan and towards the Holy Loch, where she would be spending the night at anchor before continuing up the Clyde to Glasgow.


One of the most advanced vessels in the world was seen passing Lunderston Bay as she made her way upriver to Glasgow. The Norwegian Coastguard Offshore Patrol Vessel BARENTSHAV was here to embark the NATO submarine rescue system that has previously been seen deployed on similar vessels. BARENTSHAV was completed for the Norwegian Navy, of whom the Coastguard forms part, by Myklebust Verft using a hull built in Romania, and delivered in August 2009. She is equipped with a hybrid diesel/liquified petroleum gas power plant to reduce pollution and can achieve a maximum speed of around 20 knots. Part of her duties involve emergency towage and BARENTSHAV has a bollard pull of 100 tonnes. The first of three identical ships, she is 92 metres long and is usually stationed in northern Norway.

ARGUS - A135

After completing her degaussing procedure, ARGUS then spent a night at anchor at the Tail of the Bank, followed by several hours of repeated steaming, roughly in a north and south direction, off the east coast of Arran. On conclusion of that, she then headed for Loch Striven, where she was seen approaching the fuels jetty with the assistance of three tugs. SD POWERFUL was made fast forward and SD IMPETUS aft, while SD DEXTEROUS was on ARGUS' starboard quarter.

Sunday, 12 September 2010


The small Turkish-built tanker MOHEGAN was seen at Clydebank discharging of a cargo of fuel that she had loaded at Immingham. She was delivered late in 2003 to local owners as AHMED SIRKECI but, early in 2004, was transferred to the Trefin Tankers fleet and given her present name. MOHEGAN is 94 metres in length and has a deadweight of 3,851 tonnes.


An unusual visitor to the Clyde, apparently helping out on the WEC container service as WEC VAN GOGH was so far behind schedule, was the Cypriot-flagged ship NORDSTRAND, owned by the German Klaus Oldendorff company. This ship, which has sailed under a number of different names while employed on a variety of charters, was built in 1993 at Gdansk in Poland and she has a deadweight of 34,082 tonnes. With an overall length of 205.9 metres, NORDSTRAND can carry a maximum of 2,280 TEU containers.


After completing her visit to the river of her birth, the Fleet Auxiliary FORT ROSALIE sailed from the anchorage at the Tail of the Bank as ARGUS, seen in the background, was running up and down the degaussing range. FORT ROSALIE was sailing to the Mersey, where she would be drydocked at the Cammell Laird shipyard.

ARGUS - A135

Silhouetted against the morning light, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Primary Casualty Receiving Ship ARGUS arrives on the Clyde, ready to spend the day steaming up and down the degaussing range at the southern end of Loch Long. A few days before, at Falmouth, the Maritime Aviation Support Force, which is based at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, was formally commissioned on board the ship.

Thursday, 9 September 2010


Making good speed back to base in the Victoria Harbour, Clyde Marine's tug BRUISER was probably returning to Greenock after delivering stores to a ship at anchor in Irvine Bay, a service that her owners often provide to vessels lying awaiting orders in the lower Firth.


After more than a week on the Clyde, it appears that the tanker AUTMN is now leaving the area as she sails from Finnart, fully laden, for Falmouth on the south coast. As noted previously, she is operated by NGM Energy, abbreviated from her owner's name Nicolas G Moundreas, whose initials can be seen formed into the marking on her funnel.


Having been in Liverpool and Milford Haven recently, Briggs Marine's buoy maintenance vessel CAMERON was seen heading towards Greenock. Although her former RMAS colleagues SD MOORFOWL and SD MOORHEN have now lost their 'horns' from their bows, CAMERON has retained hers.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


After discharging her last cargo from Amsterdam at Clydebank, the tanker AUTUMN had been lying in Brodick Bay awaiting her next orders. On Wednesday morning she returned upfirth to Finnart, where she was to pick up her next cargo.

Monday, 6 September 2010


Recently employed on support work in Liverpool Bay, from where she was seen arriving, the Vroon Offshore Services' support vessel VOS INSPIRER was heading to the Garvel Drydock for survey. She is British registered and was built in Spain in 2007. At 55.2 metres in length, she has a gross tonnage of 1,433 tons. Like many ships of her type, azimuth propellers are fitted and in her case, driven by diesel-electric power. Three Fast Rescue Craft are carried - these can be seen clearly on her after deck - and she is capable to carry up to 300 survivors at a time.


Outbound from Finnart, the tanker SEAHAKE, which is operated by German Tanker Shipping GmbH, was taking a cargo of refined petroleum products to the Icelandic port of Helguvik. She was built by the Lindenau Shipyard at Kiel and delivered in November 2003. She has a deadweight of 32,464 tonnes and is 177.7 metres in length.


Following her time alongside at Ocean Terminal, where FORT ROSALIE had spent the weekend as part of the 300th anniversary of Scott's shipyard, who built her back in the late 1970s, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary returned to Glenmallan to complete destoring before heading south to the Mersey for drydocking. She is seen here entering Loch Long accompanied by the Serco tugs SD IMPETUS and SD RESOURCEFUL, the latter now in full use after lengthy trials with the MoD. A 'Sandown' class minehunter is also visible, exercising in the same area.


As the submarine BOISE continued her journey towards the Gareloch, she passed the tanker MAERSK RAPIER outbound from Garelochhead to Loch Striven on her latest visit to the Clyde. She had arrived a few days previously from Gosport.


Taking a break from her routine patrol for a few days of rest and recreation at Faslane, the 'Los Angeles' class attack submarine BOISE was seen passing McInroy's Point as she made her way towards the Gareloch. BOISE joined the United States Navy in 1992, and was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co, having been laid down in August 1988 at the Virginia shipyard. She took part in the American-led Operation Iraqi Freedom, launching a full complement of Tomahawk missiles at its start in March 2003.