Saturday, 30 October 2010


With MAERSK MAINE already well down the Firth, she was followed shortly afterwards by her sister MAERSK MARYLAND, both heading for the Lisnave drydocks at Sebutal. All was not well, however, with the second ship and she passed Cloch Light at around only 4 knots. By the time she was off Inverkip, she was moving even more slowly. It was then decided to anchor her off Great Cumbrae for the night while engineers worked to rectify whatever the problems had been. MAERSK MARYLAND was eventually able to leave the Clyde late the following evening. It was perhaps ironic that both the first of the seven container ships belonging to Maersk that had been laid up on the Clyde, SEALAND PERFORMANCE, and this ship, suffered from mechanical problems that delayed their departures.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


On Tuesday, under their own power, the laid-up container ships MAERSK MAINE and MAERSK MARYLAND both moved from the shelter of the Great Harbour to the Tail of the Bank. Both ships are due to return to service shortly, and will undergo drydocking in Portugal before picking up service running in the Mediterranean. Having already received bunkers from the coastal tanker KEEWHIT, MAERSK MAINE was seen as she was about to take on fresh water from Serco's Greenock-based water barge SD WATERMAN.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Corran Ferry

The ferry service across Loch Linnhe at the Corran Narrows is operated by Highland Council using either CORRAN, seen lying at a mooring in the distance, or the smaller ferry MAID OF GLENCOUL. Some time ago, it was discovered that the slipway at Nether Ardgour was suffering from extensive erosion and that repairs were urgently required. To allow a ferry service to be maintained while civil engineers set about rebuilding the slipway, a temporary solution was sought and a spud-leg barge brought to the site. The temporary arrangements, which allowed traffic weighing less than 3 tonnes to continue to cross aboard MAID OF GLENCOUL, were restricted to operating during daylight hours only. It is hoped that repairs will be complete by the end of the year.

Monday, 25 October 2010


Two of Serco's tugs were seen heading for the Great Harbour. SD NIMBLE was towing SD IMPETUS, both tugs having come across from the Gareloch, as the moorings vessel SD SALMOOR entered the river channel a little downstream. In the distance, Clyde Marine's SEABUS can also be seen as she makes her way across to Helensburgh.


Nearing the end of her annual overhaul, CalMac's LOCHNEVIS was undergoing boat drill in the James Watt Dock berthed immediately ahead of CORUISK, her Mallaig fleetmate during the summer months. LOCHNEVIS had arrived on the Clyde early on Monday 11th, and been drydocked in the adjacent Garvel Drydock the following day.


One of the many vessels that accompanied HMS ASTUTE on her passage to the Clyde from Skye was the anchor-handing tug TOISA DARING, which had been summoned from Aberdeen for the job. TOISA DARING, seen on her way back to Aberdeen afterwards, was built in China in 2007 for Sealion Shipping. She is registered is Nassau, and has a bollard pull of 150 tonnes, an overall length of 69.6 metres and a deadweight of 2,298 tonnes.


SD RESOURCEFUL, first of the new Serco ATD2909 tugs to join the Clyde fleet, is shown here at Faslane, taking a break between tasks. Delivered earlier in the year, she arrived on the Clyde on 23 May. Following extensive crew training, SD RESOURCEFUL finally entered service in the late summer.


The Royal Navy's newest submarine was seen being manoeuvred alongside at the Clyde Naval Base at Faslane, with two of Serco's tugs in attendance with a third standing off. HMS ASTUTE had just arrived back after an embarrassing incident, when she became stranded on a shingle beach just to the west of the Skye Bridge during what ought to have been a routine personnel transfer. Refloated after twelve hours aground, the submarine was thoroughly examined before being declared fit to return to the Clyde under her own power, although several escorting tugs were also present.


FORT GEORGE moved from the Tail of the Bank to Glenmallan in Loch Long on Monday morning, where she would spend a few days alongside the munitions jetty, situated about a mile or so north of the tanker terminal at Finnart.

Kyles Ferries

Two CalMac ferries are occasionally seen in the Kyles of Bute, although only one is on service on the short crossing between Colintriave in Cowal, and Rhubodach on Bute. LOCH DUNVEGAN, the usual incumbent on the service, was joined briefly by LOCH LINNHE, which was dropping off some vehicles belonging to her crew before proceeding back down the East Kyle to the boatyard at Ardmaleish, where she was slipped for her annual survey.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary FORT GEORGE arrived on the Clyde on Saturday, and anchored off Greenock at the Tail of the Bank, where she is seen in this view. FORT GEORGE is likely to be an early victim of the recent defence cuts announced by the Government.


Cargo work completed, SINGELGRACHT is eased away from Ocean Terminal at Greenock by the tug SVITZER MILFORD and turned at the river channel entrance just off No 1 Buoy. Once the tug had assisted turning the freighter, SINGELGRACHT set off for Baltimore.


As the moon rises above Largs the car ferry LOCH SHIRA, used by CalMac on the service to Cumbrae Slip, unloads traffic heading for Millport, the main settlement on Great Cumbrae. During the winter period LOCH SHIRA, which has a capacity for 36 cars and 250 passengers, serves the island alone but during the height of summer, is generally assisted by one of the company's smaller ferries, to give a crossing every fifteen minutes.


Seen lying at the rebuilt Largs Pier, CalMac's small 'Loch' class ferry LOCH LINNHE was no stranger to the area as she had been commissioned on the Cumbrae service in 1986. Since then, she has served elsewhere around the company's network, most recently having been employed on the Tobermory-Kilchoan route for several summers. She returns to the Clyde each year to be given her annual survey by the Ardmaleish Boatbuilding Company on Bute, and had arrived the previous afternoon from Oban and Campbeltown, spending a night at each before heading to Largs.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


Heading out to Liverpool with her cargo of scrap metal from Diesel Wharf, Arklow Shipping's ARKLOW ROVER presents a slight contrast in coaster design to that of Erwin Strahlmann's STEINAU, lying at the anchorage and waiting to head upriver to load a similar cargo on the opposite bank at Shieldhall, for export to Bayonne. Although both of similar lengths - around the 90 metre mark - STEINAU has a deadweight of 3,680 tonnes while the Arklow ship was a little larger at 4,485 tonnes.


Spliethoff's palletised paper carrier SINGELGRACHT was seen arriving with the Svitzer tug SVITZER MILFORD about to make fast to her stern to assist her berthing at Greenock. As usual she was on passage from Europe, in this case her last port had been Eemshaven in the Netherlands, to Baltimore in the USA.


In slightly better weather than the previous day's, the Danish-flagged products tanker TERNVIK was seen as she passed the Ashton Buoy, outbound from Clydebank for Mongstad after delivering a cargo of fuel from the same port. As often happens, she had lain for a couple of days at anchor in Brodick Bay before proceeding up the river to Rothesay Dock.

Friday, 22 October 2010

On a Rescue Mission?

Also seen on Friday morning was the unusual sight of both Serco salvage and moorings ships SD SALMAID and SD SALMOOR heading down the Clyde together. Their departure together was because their presence was required following an embarrassing incident off the island of Skye, where the Royal Navy's latest submarine had run aground in shallow water during a boat transfer operation near to the Skye Bridge. Fortunately, HMS ASTUTE was refloated later in the day at high tide.


Depicted arriving on a dreadful morning, Wagenborg Shipping's EEMSBORG was bringing a cargo of grain from the Great Lakes port of Duluth, in Minnesota, USA. EEMSBORG was the first of a class of four similar ships built by Royal Niestern Sander at Delfzijl in the Netherlands, and was delivered in June 2009. With a deadweight of 11,500 tonnes, she has an overall length of 137.9 metres. It was claimed that she was the largest ship to be given a side-launch in the northern part of the Netherlands. Just ahead of EEMSBORG was the container ship CANOPUS J, heading for Greenock.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Arriving in ballast from Ellesmere Port, Arklow Shipping's 2004-built coaster ARKLOW ROVER was seen as she passed Cloch Lighthouse on her way upriver to load a cargo of scrap metal at Diesel Wharf. ARKLOW ROVER, which is registered in Eire at Arklow, was built by Barkmeijer Stroobos in the Netherlands and, like her 'R' class fleetmates, is 90 metres in length with a deadweight of 4,485 tonnes.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


After an overhaul at the Garvel Drydock the fleet tender SD MELTON, one of the last survivors of the once numerous 'Clovelly' class, set sail on Wednesday for her base at Kyle of Lochalsh, where she is employed on various duties in connection with the BUTEC test range. SD MELTON was built in 1981 by Richard Duston at Hessle on the Humber.


The tanker BRO GENIUS was seen arriving from Eastham, on the Manchester Ship Canal, with a part cargo for Rothesay Dock. Like her sisters of the 'G' class, BRO GENIUS is Dutch-flagged, and is managed by the Management Facilities Group. She was built by Ferus Smit in 2003, and is 115 metres in length. She has a deadweight of 7,559 tonnes.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Since the end of September, the container ship DS BLUE WAVE has been employed on the weekly OOCL/SIX service running between Southampton, Belfast and Greenock and was seen leaving the Clyde after her fourth such visit to Ocean Terminal which, as it turned out, was her final call. British-flagged, DS BLUE WAVE is owned by a German company, DS Schiffahrt GmbH, and was built in 2007 in China by Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding. Capable of carrying 698 TEU containers, she is 129.6 metres long and has a deadweight of 8,165 tonnes. When completed she was named JRS CANOPUS, but was renamed shortly afterwards.

Monday, 18 October 2010


After her short series of exercises on the Clyde, the 'River' class patrol boat TYNE sailed from Faslane for Plymouth on Monday morning. For much of the past week, she has however remained alongside at Faslane.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


With a blast on her steam whistle, the preserved paddler WAVERLEY leaves Largs for the final time this year. The cruise also marked the final sailing for her purser Jim MacFadzean, who has served aboard WAVERLEY each summer since 1988 and now is taking a well-earned retirement from the steamer.

Friday, 15 October 2010


On completion of Joint Warrior 102, the various naval vessels went their separate ways, some of them returning to the Clyde. One of those was the US Naval Ship LEROY GRUMMAN, seen above being turned in Loch Striven before berthing at the POL jetty at Knockdhu. Assisting with the manoeuvre were the Faslane-based tugs SD NIMBLE and SD IMPETUS (on the oiler's starboard quarter) and Svitzer's AYTON CROSS.

Monday, 11 October 2010

DUNCAN - D37 - Launch Day

Prior to the launch of DUNCAN, Clyde Marine conveyed parties of invited guests to the BAE Systems yard at Govan aboard two of their passenger vessels. Seen above making her way from the yard following this duty is CRUISER.

CLYDE CLIPPER, their newest vessel, was also present and she too was seen as she made her way back downriver to Greenock, leaving several of her fleetmates - the company's tugs - in attendance. Svitzer too, was represented, with SVITZER MILFORD on scene to assist with handling the warship once she had been launched.

As high water approached the tugs, together with other assembled small craft including HMS BITER that had come upriver from Faslane for the occasion, maintained position mid-river while they waited for the launch.

At 1549 exactly, DUNCAN slid into the Clyde, having been named after Admiral Adam Duncan, who defeated a Dutch fleet at the Battle of Camperdown in 1797 by Mrs Marie Ibbotson, wife of Vice Admiral Richard Ibbotson.

DUNCAN was soon brought to a halt by the dragchains attached to her her, quite possibly the last time that such an event will take place in the UK as future warships are likely to be constructed in drydock building berths.

SVITZER MILFORD was soon made fast to the stern of DUNCAN and held her in position while the smaller tugs of Clyde Marine busied themselves, clearing away some of the flotsam from the launch. Once this had been done, DUNCAN was manoeuvred into the adjacent fitting out basin where she would spend a few days prior to being moved downstream to Scotstoun. Once at the builder's North Bank yard, outfitting would continue on the last of the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers, which is due to become a commissioned warship in 2014. Meanwhile, the yard at Govan will be building some of the modules for the new aircraft carriers currently on order for the Royal Navy, although these will be transferred to Rosyth for final assembly.

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Seen at the Govan shipyard of BAE Systems, the last of the Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyers was seen as she spent her last night ashore before taking to the waters of the Clyde the following day. DUNCAN, as the ship will be named, may also be the last conventionally launched ship to enter the river.

Munro Fleet

Seen sheltering in the James Watt Dock were three of Clyde Marine's fleet, owned by the Munro family of Greenock. TERRIER, one of their small line-runners normally used at Hunterston, was berthed alongside their 1964-built ROVER, and the veteran THE SECOND SNARK was also present. She recently moved from Fairlie to her owner's base at the Victoria Harbour to have some work carried out on her, and despite local rumours that she had been sold this appears not in fact to have been the case.


Berthed alongside the laid-up container ship MAERSK MAINE in the Great Harbour at Greenock, the small coastal tanker KEEWHIT was seen while delivering bunkers to the larger vessel. KEEWHIT is owned by John H Whitaker Ltd, and has been a member of their fleet since they acquired her in 2004 when she was a year old, having previously sailed as the Turkish RECEP MERCAN. Built by Aykin at Tuzla in Turkey, she was later converted to meet the stringent regulations required nowadays, and duly upgraded to become a modern double-hulled tanker with a deadweight of 2,130 tonnes.


A regular visitor to Ocean Terminal with cargoes of paper from Skogn in Norway, the specialised paper carrier FOSS was seen as she made her way towards Greenock on Sunday morning. During the recent restructuring of the DFDS group of companies, some of her sister ships have been renamed - whether this will apply to FOSS remains to be seen.

Saturday, 9 October 2010


Outbound to Wismar with round timber loaded at Sandbank, the Norwegian-owned coaster FRI OCEAN was seen as she left the Holy Loch with the Clydeport pilot cutter TOWARD following astern, about to disembark the pilot. Ships belonging to the Kopervik group are becoming common sights on the river.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


One of two offshore patrol boats being built by BAE Systems on the Clyde for the government of Trinidad and Tobago sailed from Scotstoun following completion, and was seen passing McInroy's Point as she made her way south to the company's yard at Portsmouth. SCARBOROUGH, named after Tobago's capital, was launched in November 2009 and recently completed sea trials on the Clyde, attaining speeds in excess of 25 knots. Based on the successful 'River' class patrol boats in service with the Royal Navy, three ships were ordered by the Trinidad and Tobago Government from BAE at Portsmouth, two of the orders later being transferred to Scotstoun. SCARBOROUGH faces an uncertain future, however, as the Government that ordered her has now decided that they no longer wish to take delivery, and so she may end up in extended lay-up on arrival at Portsmouth.


After undertaking extensive exercises with the Swedish Navy's submarine rescue ship BELOS and submarine UPPLAND on the Clyde mainly in the waters to the north-east of Arran, the Norwegian coastguard ship BERENTSHAV returned to Glasgow to have the rescue equipment removed. On Thursday 7th, she left King George V Dock and set off back to Norway. She was seen passing Ashton with Clyde Marine's SEABUS in the background, making for Gourock Pier.


The Royal Navy's 'River' class offshore patrol boat TYNE was seen off Gourock at high speed as she conducted exercises during her latest visit to the Clyde. TYNE left Portsmouth on Monday 4th October and then spent a number of days exercising on the Clyde, based at Faslane during her stay.


One of Tarntank Ship Management's Chinese-built tankers was seen heading to Clydebank with a cargo of fuel from Brofjorden in Norway. TERNVAG, built in 2003 by Shanghai Edward, is one of four sisters each of 14,796 tonnes deadweight and an overall length of 141.2 metres. Cargoes for these distinctive looking ships are arranged by Tarn Chartering AB, a subsidiary company of the owners.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


Laden with wind turbine parts from the Skykon plant in Kintyre, the Dutch coaster GERARDA was seen heading upriver from Campbeltown to Glasgow. GERARDA was built in 2006 and is managed managed by Flinter Shipping.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Joint Warrior 102 - Faslane departures

Some of the larger ships taking part in the multi-national Joint Warrior 102 exercise were berthed at HM Naval Base at Faslane on the Gareloch. These included the Danish ship HDMS ABSALON (L16), seen here making her way out to sea escorted by one of the Defence Police 'Island' class launches.

The remaining 'Arleigh Burke' class destroyer USS NITZE (DDG94) also left Faslane on Monday, a day behind her sisters BAINBRIDGE and SCOUT, both of which had sailed on Sunday afternoon.

Also berthed at Faslane had been the Royal Navy's carrier HMS ARK ROYAL (R07), which for this exercise had embarked 656 Squadron Army Air Corps with three Apache attack helicopters. The exercise would provide valuable training for the ten pilots attached to the Squadron.

One of the smallest vessels taking part was the Norwegian submarine KNM ULA (S300) which left the Gareloch ahead of ARK ROYAL. She is seen here passing Cloch Point with the Dutch frigate DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN waiting to follow the carrier down firth.

Joint Warrior 102 - Frigates

On Monday 4 October, the remaining ships participating in Joint Warrior 102 sailed from Glasgow and Faslane. All five frigates that had been berthed upriver for the weekend left, first to sail being the leader of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, the Dutch frigate DE ZEVEN PROVINCIEN (F802).

The leader was then followed down the river by the ships in the reverse order to which they had arrived, with the Greek ship THEMISTOKLES (F465) being next.

Next to come down was the German frigate BREMEN (F207), followed by the Italian ship ITS AVIERE (F583).

Last to leave Glasgow was the Turkish frigate TCG BARBAROS (F244), seen here passing Greenock as she made her way to join her compatriots.

All of the frigates congregated at the mouth of Loch Long to await the departure of other ships from the Gareloch, before the flotilla proceeded out to sea down the Firth to begin the exercise.