Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Farewell to the 'Ark'

Against a fresh easterly wind, the aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL bids farewell to the Clyde as she heads out to sea following her visit to Glenmallan. She would be visiting the Tyne next, and then making a final overseas courtesy visit to Hamburg before heading back, probably for the very last time, to Portsmouth, where she would decommission after twenty five years in service.


Bound for Ventspils in Latvia, the Cypriot-flagged bulk carrier SHOVELER was finally leaving the Clyde after ten days on the river. Initially berthing at Hunsterston, where she discharged part of her cargo into other ships for export to Northern Ireland, the ship then headed upriver to Sheildhall once she was a little less deep in the water. SHOVELER was built in China, and completed in 2009. She is 30,928 tonnes deadweight, and has an overall length of 185 metres. She is operated, currently, by Canfornav, a Canadian firm trading worldwide but with many ships sailing into the St Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

James Watt Dock

A night-time scene showing two very different CalMac ferries berthed at the Garvel repair yard's berths in the James Watt Dock at Greenock. On the left is the Rothesay ferry BUTE, completing her annual overhaul at the yard while on the right is the Islay ferry HEBRIDEAN ISLES, waiting to move into the drydock for her annual survey.


Discharging her cargo of Nigerian crude at Finnart, the massive tanker ASHNA was seen lying at the north jetty at the Ineos terminal on the shores of Loch Long. As already mentioned, her discharge is likely to take some time mainly because of storage constraints ashore.


One of the more immediate victims of the Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review announced in October is the aircraft carrier ARK ROYAL, which is to be withdrawn from service immediately. Consequently, she visited the Clyde to destore munitions, and was seen lying at the armaments jetty at Glenmallan.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


One of the two remaining ex-torpedo recovery ships in the Serco fleet was seen making her way back to Great Harbour. SD TORNADO, whose sister SD TORMENTOR has not moved from Greenock for some considerable time, had been working with divers in Loch Long.


At her new home in the Great Harbour, the recently delivered water barge SD WATERPRESS was seen berthed alongside the tug SD IMPETUS. Both SD WATERPRESS and SD OILMAN, delivered at the end of 2009, need to be towed around as required, neither being fitted with propulsion machinery. Both are, however, fitted with auxiliary engines to run the various pumping equipment that they are fitted with and like SD OILMAN, SD WATERPRESS is also fitted with a small wind turbine generator set, clearly visible in this view, to provide standby power.


A ship which has lived up to her name was finally seen on her third visit to the Clyde as she worked cargo at Greenock Ocean Terminal. The Dutch-flagged ELUSIVE, seen berthed together with WEC VAN GOGH, is sailing on charter to OOCL for the SIX service between Southampton, Dublin, Belfast and Greenock. She is operated by JR Shipping and was built in 1995 by JJ Sietas. She was originally named ARCTIC OCEAN but later became NORASIA ARABIA for a period. In 2007 she was given her present name. She is 133 metres long, with a deadweight of 8,001 tonnes, and can carry 660 TEU containers.


Another tanker was seen passing Gourock - EURO SWAN was making her way downriver from Clydebank after completing unloading a cargo from Mongstad. She was heading for Brodick Bay where she would lie until receiving orders for her next cargo.


The 'Hunt' class minehunter BROCKLESBY was seen off Gourock while she undertook exercises with the Roayl navy's rescue helicopter from HMS GANNET, the Naval Air Station at Prestwick. This airbase, recently threatened with closure, covers much of the west coast area, up to 200 miles offshore.


ASHNA, one of the largest tankers to visit the Clyde recently was seen entering Loch Long with her cargo of Nigerian crude oil, escorted by the tugs AYTON CROSS, made fast aft, and SVITZER MILFORD. She is 301,428 tonnes deadweight, and 330 metres in length. Now flying the Marshall Islands ensign, she was completed in 1999 as NORDBAY, but was renamed in 2004. She was built in Korea and is operated by the Dr Peters Group, a German company. ASHNA is expected to remain alongside at Finnart for some time - on a previous visit to the Clyde she made frequent moves to No 6 Anchorage while her cargo was pumped across Scotland to Grangemouth.


Another of CalMac's ferries was seen as she visited the Clyde from the west coast for her annual overhaul. LOCH BUIE, pictured arriving at Gourock, had just come up the firth from a night spent at Lochranza. On her passage from Iona, the island that she normally serves, she had spent a night at Campbeltown and another at Lochranza. She is due to visit Ardmaleish for slipping.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Rothesay Ferries

With winter in the offing, it is time for CORUISK to put in her now-annual appearance on the Bute ferry service, as she relieves both BUTE and ARGYLE in turn for their annual overhauls, CORUISK already having received hers at the Garvel Drydock. CORUISK was seen as she made her way to Rothesay to pick up this duty, and was caught passing BUTE on her last sailing before she headed to the same yard for her overhaul.

Sunday, 7 November 2010


Outbound to Belfast with a cargo of fuel, the Dutch-flagged tanker BRO ALMA was seen as she left Loch Long after she sailed from Finnart. Like her sister BRO AGNES, she was built in Turkey and joined the company's fleet in 2008. BRO ALMA is 144 metres long and has a deadweight of 17,000 tonnes.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


The Polish tug CYKLOP was seen arriving from Gdansk with the latest craft to join the Serco fleet in tow. CYKLOP dates from 1966, when she was built in Sweden. Now owned by the Port of Szczecin, she is 28.5 metres long, and has a gross tonnage of 186 tons. Bollard pull is 22 tonnes.

Behind CYKLOP was the new water barge SD WATERPRESS, built by Damen at their Kozle yard in Poland and one of the last of their new fleet ordered as part of the contract to provide port services for the MoD. SD WATERPRESS is a dumb barge, unpowered, not unlike the oil barge SD OILMAN delivered earlier to Greenock, and will ultimately take the place of SD WATERMAN. The 29 metre long barge can carry 272 tonnes of potable water, and is equipped with its own generator sets to power onboard systems and pumps.


Powering back to her base at the west end of Ocean Terminal, the Clydeport pilot cutter MOUNT STUART had just embarked a pilot on board the tug CYKLOP, seen astern of her as it made its way upfirth.


Glasgow and Strathclyde University students were all at sea at the weekend as they underwent navigation training aboard the 'Archer' class patrol boat SMITER, based at Faslane. They did not venture far, however, as she did an about turn shortly afterwards and returned to the Gareloch.

Friday, 5 November 2010


BRITISH FALCON, one of the 'Bird' class tankers belonging to BP Shipping and built in Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries in 2006, was seen as she made her way up Loch Long with a cargo of North Sea crude oil from Sture. BRITISH FALCON, which is registered at Douglas in the Isle of Man, is 251.5 metres in length and has a deadweight of 113, 553 tonnes, putting her into the Aframax category.


The latest Type 45 destroyer to leave Scotstoun was seen as she made her way downriver at the beginning of her sea trials. DRAGON, still wearing the large red dragon on her bows, will undertake around three weeks of trials as her propulsion and navigation systems are throughly tested in the lower firth. She is expected to return to the builder's yard upriver early in December, were further outfitting work will continue. DRAGON, which was launched in November 2008, is due to be handed over to the Royal Navy in around two years time.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


The small luxury cruise ship HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS is once again on the Clyde to complete her cruising season for the year. Rather than using Fairlie as her base she is, however, using Greenock Ocean Terminal for her last few sailings. She was seen leaving the Holy Loch after a brief visit to allow her guests to visit Benmore Gardens, having lain the previous night at anchor in Loch Goil. Once her season finishes HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS will spent the winter in the James Watt Dock, rather than down south as she has usually done in previous years.


After discharging one of her regular cargoes of fuel from Amsterdam at Clydebank, the products tanker MARIDA MARIGOLD then headed to Finnart, as seen above, to backload a similar cargo, this time for Belfast. She was accompanied by AYTON CROSS and SVITZER MILFORD, both of which had been upriver to assist her departure at Rothesay Dock.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


After her sojourn at Glenmallan, the fleet auxiliary FORT GEORGE moved on Tuesday morning to Loch Striven, to load fuel for her next task, supporting other naval craft on exercise in Lyme Bay. FORT GEORGE was seen as she followed the Serco tugs downriver to the fuels jetty at Knockdhu.


As part of her work-up following a year long refit at Rosyth in the hands of Babcock Marine, HMS ARGYLL has just spent a day on the noise range in Loch Goil. The Type 23 frigate, seen here sailing after the trials on the loch, arrived on the Clyde on Monday morning. During the refit, which cost around £19 million, propulsion and weapons systems have been extensively upgraded, crew accommodation improved, and new paint systems applied to her hull. ARGYLL is the first of the class to receive a second major refit, and will be recommissioned in December at Devonport.

Monday, 1 November 2010


A former regular caller to the Clyde has recently, once again, been putting in an appearance with a cargo of wind turbine parts. DEO VOLENTE arrived at Glasgow early on Monday morning, but sailed again almost immediately for Campbeltown, where she berthed in the early evening.


LEDBURY, one of the 'Hunt' class of mines countermeasures vessels built for the Royal Navy was seen exercising on the Clyde following her recent participation in Joint Warrior 102 off the west coast. When built, LEDBURY was reputed to have been the most expensive Royal Naval ship yet built, per unit length, at more than £1 million per metre.


After a little over a month spent at Greenock, berthed variously in the Victoria Harbour and the James Watt Dock as required, Clyde Marine's veteran THE SECOND SNARK was observed making her way back to Fairlie, presumably to be lifted out of the water once again. Her profile now resembles that from her earliest days when she was used by the famous Denny shipyard of Dumbarton as a tug/tender, as she has had the bulwarks around her wheelhouse top removed.