Friday, 16 September 2011


The largest passenger ship to visit the Clyde during 2011 was Cunard's QUEEN MARY 2, making her second visit to Greenock. Once again, she was on a cruise around the British Isles, and had started at Southampton, visiting Cherbourg, Cobh and Liverpool on the way.

On board QUEEN MARY 2 were some passengers who had sailed south from Greenock a few days earlier aboard QUEEN ELIZABETH, and who had transferred from one ship to the other at Southampton.

From Greenock, QUEEN MARY 2 continued her cruise around the north of Scotland to the Forth, where she anchored off Queensferry before heading back to Southampton.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Another of the Princess Cruises fleet paid a one-day visit to Greenock during 2011. EMERALD PRINCESS is seen above making her way downriver after visiting the Clyde for the first time on a positiong voyage that was taking her from the Baltic to Fort Lauderdale in Florida. Having started at Copenhagen, she sailed to Oslo and Kristiansand before heading to Greenock. The 113,561 gross ton cruiseship, completed in the spring of 2007, was built by Fincantieri. She measures 290 metres, the maximum that can travel through the Panama Canal, and generally spends the summer months in European waters, and the winters in the warmer Caribbean.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Outbound for Belfast, another ship belonging to the combined Maersk/Brostrom fleet was seen leaving Loch Long with a cargo from Finnart. NUUK MAERSK, dating from 2008, is one of their six-strong 'N' class products carriers of 16,550 tonnes. She was carrying a cargo of refined products that had been pumped across Scotland from Grangemouth.

Saturday, 10 September 2011


The brightly coloured Dutch coaster REGGEDIJK was seen heading out to sea, fully laden with a cargo of scrap metal from Renfrew destined for the Spanish port of Seville. REGGEDIJK is the fourteenth, and last, ship of a series of 4,450 tonne deadweight coasters built by the Chowgule shipyard at Goa in India. She was delivered in April 2011, and is owned by Dutch company Navigia, and operated by German firm Apollo Shipping.

Friday, 9 September 2011


With SOUND OF SCARBA providing a splash of colour on an otherwise drab day, the products tanker BRO ATLAND heads past Hunter's Quay and the Holy Loch on her way to Finnart, where she would be loading a cargo of grades for Belfast, once a regular run for the ships of the Brostrom fleet.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


After calling at Greenock, PRINSENDAM had been due to sail overnight to Oban but, in light of the poor weather forecast, she remained alongside Ocean Terminal until early morning. With QUEEN ELIZABETH due alongside, PRINSENDAM moved clear of the berth and steamed the short distance across to the mouth of the Holy Loch, where she anchored for the day. Her tenders ferried passengers ashore at Sandbank, from where coaches were laid on to take passengers on excursions to parts of Argyll that they might have visited from Oban. PRINSENDAM sailed in the evening for Portree.


While SOUND OF SCARBA lies at her berth at Hunter's Quay, the cruiseship PRINSENDAM rides at anchor off the mouth of the Holy Loch. Diverted to 'Sandbank' instead of Oban because of a poor weather forecast, her tenders were running passengers ashore at the Holy Loch Marina. A couple of runs were also carried out by CRUISER.


Following QUEEN ELIZABETH up the Firth of Clyde was the Suezmax tanker VILAMOURA, fully laden with a cargo of Nigerian crude oil from Forcados. A modern double-hulled tanker, she was completed in March 2011 by Samsung Heavy Industries in Korea. 264 metres long, she has a deadweight of 158,621 tonnes and is operated by Heidmar.


Making her first visit to the Clyde, Cunard's latest cruise ship QUEEN ELIZABETH is seen above making her way upriver past Dunoon to Greenock Ocean Terminal. QUEEN ELIZABETH is slightly larger than her close sister QUEEN VICTORIA, which visited Greenock in July 2010. As she has a slightly different layout her tonnage is 90,901 gross tons. 

As QUEEN ELIZABETH made her way upriver, she passed another passenger ship, PRINSENDAM, which had lain overnight at Greenock. The pair exchanged greetings as they passed one another, both being owned by a subsidiary of the Carnival Corporation.

QUEEN ELIZABETH was launched in January 2010 and completed in October at the Fincantieri Molfalcone shipyard in Italy. She was named by Her Majesty the Queen at Southampton, her home port, on 11 October 2010 before setting out on a cruise to the Canary Islands.

Although several cruise ship have left Greenock and taken the Hunterston Channel on their way downriver, the departure of QUEEN ELIZABETH was unusual as it was probably the first time that a Cunard ship has done so. The last view shows her catching the evening sun as she heads towards Largs. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


Arriving from Skagen, BREMEN TRADER was heading to Finnart to load a cargo of reformate for Buenos Aires. BREMEN TRADER is operated by Lomar Shipping, a London-based company. Built in South Korea by KY Heavy Industries at Mopko, she was named AUSTER initially before becoming HELLESPONT CHIVALRY in 2008, under which name she visited the Clyde in June that year. She became a member of the Lomar fleet in January 2011, along with two sisters, and was renamed. BREMEN TRADER has a deadweight of 13,185 tonnes and is 128.6 metres in length.


Putting out to sea into a fresh westerly wind, the products tanker NORTHERN OCEAN had been delivering a cargo of fuel to Rothesay Dock that she had loaded at Brofjorden in Norway. NORTHERN OCEAN is registered at Nolsoy in the Faroe Islands but has, in the past, been a regular visitor to the Clyde as STEN ODIN, her original name. She is now owned and operated by the Swedish Furetank Group.


Holland America Lines' attractive cruiseship PRINSENDAM returned to the Clyde for another visit to Greenock while on a cruise around the British Isles. The 1988-built ship, originally named ROYAL VIKING SUN and later SEABOURN SUN, was seen arriving from Belfast.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Previously Serco's SD COLONEL TEMPLER, and having been for sale for several months, the former trials ship was drydocked by Garvel and has now been renamed SEAWAY ENDEAVOUR after being sold in July  to a Swedish company. Built at Aberdeen in 1966 as the stern trawler CRISCILLA, she is now being prepared for a new role as a survey vessel.

Saturday, 3 September 2011


One of the more varied container services running to Greenock is that operated by the Mediterranean Shipping Company from Antwerp. A wide selection of vessels of varying vintage and origin has appeared on the run, including this one, MSC IRIS, seen above on her first visit to the Clyde. MSC IRIS was built in 1982 by VEB Warnowwerft Warnemünde at Rostock, in what was at the time East Germany, for Soviet owners. Originally named KAPITAN GAVRILOV, she was later lengthened and, in 1995, renamed LISBOA. Now 203.1 metres long, and with a deadweight of 21,370 tonnes,  she was subsequently renamed several times eventually becoming MSC IRIS in March 2004.


Since the introduction of the new Islay ferry FINLAGGAN, the service has been maintained by both the new ship and one of the existing ferries on the crossing between Kennacraig and Port Askaig. With ISLE OF ARRAN on duty, the chance has been taken to take HEBRIDEAN ISLES off service and to update the control systems for her propulsion machinery. This work has been carried out afloat at Garvel, Greenock, and included the replacement of propeller pitch, steering and bow thruster controls with new electronic systems. In the view above, two of the new wiring looms can be seen dangling over the bridge wings before final installation.

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Arklow Shipping's 2004-built 4,485 tonne deadweight coaster ARKLOW ROCK is seen above passing Cloch Light as she arrives on the Clyde from Liverpool, to load a cargo of scrap metal at Shieldhall Riverside berth. ARKLOW ROCK was built, like most of the company's ships, by Barkmeijer Stroobos, and flies the Dutch flag.


Seen cruising on the Upper Firth at the end of August was OCEAN PRINCESS, diverted from a scheduled call at Rothesay because of bad weather. She had attempted to lie at anchor off the Bute town but it was decided instead to cruise towards Loch Long, and she was caught between showers heading past Cloch Lighthouse. Her cruise had started at Leith and visited Lerwick, Thorshavn and Stornoway, before continuing south. The voyage finished at Liverpool.

Saturday, 27 August 2011


Heading past Kirn, the Maltese-flagged tanker BESIKTAS SCOTLAND was on her way to Finnart to load a cargo of reformate for Amsterdam. Built by the Cicek Shipyard in Turkey, she is one of a number of similar vessels operated by the Besiktas Group, one of which - BESIKTAS GREENLAND - has previously visited the river.  BESIKTAS SCOTLAND is 147.5 metres overall, with a deadweight of 17.998 tonnes.


Leaving the Clyde for the last time under the defaced Blue Ensign, the Type 45 destroyer DRAGON was seen making her way downfirth as she started her voyage to Portsmouth, where she would be handed over officially to the Royal Navy. DRAGON is the fourth ship of the class.

Thursday, 25 August 2011


The Northern Lighthouse Board's buoy tender POLE STAR was seen making her way downfirth after a brief visit to Greenock. Although plans to lengthen her were drawn up by Macduff Ship Design, so far no firm announcement has been made to say that the work will go ahead.


Seen making her first visit to the new breakwater linkspan berth at Dunoon, CalMac's SATURN was conducting berthing trials between morning and afternoon services between Brodick and Ardrossan. She was carrying out these trials prior to spending Cowal Games Saturday on charter to Argyll Ferries Ltd, supplementing their own service to assist with conveying the anticipated crowds between Gourock and Dunoon for the Games.


After completing the discharge of animal feed at Shieldhall, the large oil/bulk ore carrier SEAPOWET was seen making her way out to sea for her next cargo. SEAPOWET is operated by B+H Equimar of Singapore, and is registered at Nassau in the Bahamas. She was built in 1992 by the Danish shipbuilder Burmeister and Wain, who also supplied her main engine. 228.6 metres long, she has a deadweight of 74,928 tonnes and c an carry both dry bulk and liquid cargoes.


Another of the many 'Vista' class ships owned by the various companies belonging to the Carnival Corporation made her first visit to the Clyde when P&O's ARCADIA called at Greenock. The fourth ship of a class that, with derivatives, eventually numbered eleven, ARCADIA was completed by Italian shipyard Fincantieri in 2005.

ARCADIA, which has an overall length of 290 metres, is 86,799 gross tons and can carry a maximum of 2,388 passengers although she normally sails with around 1950. She was on a cruise around the British Isles that had last called at Lerwick, and in the lower picture she was outbound for Liverpool.

Monday, 22 August 2011


The products tanker VALE, which has been on the Clyde before, was seen heading upriver to Clydebank with a cargo of fuel from Rotterdam. The 13,006 tonne deadweight ship flies the Singapore flag and dates from 2007. 


After having some work carried out at Fairlie, Clyde Marine's ROVER was noted under tow passing upfirth back to Greenock. She was lashed alongside one of her owner's tugs, BEAVER BAY, and the pair are seen above with Argyll Ferries' ALI CAT heading across the Clyde to Dunoon.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Colintraive Ferries

Although normally employed at Largs during the summer, LOCH RIDDON occasionally is sent to relieve on other nearby routes when one of the other CalMac ferries suffers from technical problems. She is seen here at Colintraive on one such occasion after the regular ferry LOCH DUNVEGAN had a breakdown and was unable to take up service that morning. A little while after this picture was taken, LOCH DUNVEGAN was repaired and managed to resume duty running across the Kyles of Bute to Rhubodach, and so allowing LOCH RIDDON to return to Largs.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dunoon Pier - 2011 style

Since the end of June the breakwater at Dunoon has been the main focal point for the ferry service to Gourock, and is used every half hour by Argyll Ferries' vessels. Seen arriving is ARGYLL FLYER, acquired by Argyll Ferries Ltd - a subsidiary of the David MacBrayne Group - from the Aran Islands earlier this year. She partners ALI CAT, a catamaran well known to Dunoon commuters, on a service that runs twice hourly to the railhead at Gourock, carrying passengers only. Argyll Ferries Ltd were the winners of the Scottish Government's tendering exercise to run a service across the Clyde for the next six years, and which saw the demise of the car ferry service run by CalMac. Berthed at the end of the pier is WAVERLEY, the steamer that back in 1954 had handed over to the first car ferry, ARRAN, when she was introduced to the Clyde fleet and hanselled the vehicle carrying service between the two towns.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


Clydeport's navigation aids tender TORCH was seen passing the entrance to Millport Bay, as she made her way towards Largs Marina. TORCH had been servicing some of the buoys and lights at the entrance to the main channel between the Cumbraes and Bute. In addition to this type of work, TORCH also undertakes some general workboat tasks both for Clydeport and commercially.

Largs Ferries

The two CalMac ferries employed during the summer on the ten-minute crossing between Largs and Cumbrae Slip have, for the past few years, been LOCH RIDDON (left) and LOCH SHIRA (right). Although the larger vessel is more than capable of handling most of the traffic on her own, the provision of the second ferry gives a ferry service every fifteen minutes during the summer months.


Well-laden with a cargo of wind turbine components made in Denmark, the Dutch-registered coaster FLINTERHUNZE was seen mid-channel as she made her way upriver to Glasgow. Each voyage from Esbjerg takes around four days for the 3,300 tonne coaster.


Seen between Toward and Bute, the 'Sandown' class minehunter GRIMSBY had just returned from a three-year stint of duty in the Persian Gulf. She left her base at Bahrain at the end of June and embarked on her seven-week, 7000-mile journey home to Faslane. Eight ports were visited during the voyage where GRIMSBY took on fuel and stores, and she passed through the Suez Canal on 28 July 2011, in the company of HMS CHIDDINGFOLD.


CalMac's Rothesay ferry BUTE, the first vessel built specifically for the company outwith the United Kingdom, is seen lying alongside the end-loading ferry berth at Rothesay. Built by Remontowa at Gdansk in Poland, she joined the company in the summer of 2005, and was the first of two sisters designed for the service that links the island of Bute with the railhead at Wemyss Bay.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011


After reaching the Tail of the Bank, the 120 ton bollard pull tug ERACLEA, built in Italy in 2010 and owned by the Augustea Group, took charge of AMT TRADER and her valuable cargo. ERACLEA had arrived earlier from Rotterdam to tow the barge to Rosyth, accompanied by SVITZER PEMBROKE.

Once under way, ERACLEA set off down the main channel still with AYTON CROSS made fast aft, while SVITZER PEMBROKE and BATTLER followed them.

As the tow approached the Cowal Buoy, it was passed by the Dutch coaster GERARDA. Shortly after this last picture was taken, AYTON CROSS was released and returned to Greenock.

QUEEN ELIZABETH carrier - Lower Block 03

The first Clydebuilt section of the new aircraft carrier being constructed by the Aircraft Carrier Alliance for the Royal Navy began its slow passage to Rosyth aboard the barge AMT TRADER. The module, known as Lower Block 03, had been loaded onto the barge at Govan at the end of July.

Taking charge of the barge as it made its way downriver were local tugs SVITZER MILFORD and ANGLEGARTH, while Clyde Marine's BATTLER had gone ahead of them clearing any debris from their paths.

Controlling the aft end of the barge was AYTON CROSS.  The full scale of the module can be gauged by the personnel standing on the deck of the barge.

A broadside view of the barge and its tugs as it passes Port Glasgow gives further indication of the size of the module. It weighs around 8,000 tonnes and is 63 metres in length.

Once it had reached the Tail of the Bank, another tug was waiting to take over for the 600-mile tow around the north of Scotland to the Forth, where assembly of the module with other parts of the new carrier is taking place at Rosyth. The Italian-flagged tug ERACLEA is seen here making fast to the semi-submersible barge as another Svitzer tug, SVITZER PEMBROKE, stands off. Also visible is BATTLER, waiting to take off personnel.

Monday, 15 August 2011


Seen previously some two years ago, UK Dredging's grab hopper dredger CHERRY SAND had arrived a few days earlier at Ayr to carry out scheduled dredging work on behalf of Associated British Ports. The work was expected to take around two weeks.


The preserved paddle steamer WAVERLEY is seen here arriving at Ayr, ready to take an afternoon cruise to Girvan and round Ailsa Craig. This summer has been a very difficult one for her owners, especially with the cost of fuel nowadays: it is estimated that her fuel bill is, on average, in the region of £5,000 per day.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


The German cruise ship AIDAblu was seen as she arrived from Liverpool on her maiden visit to the Clyde. Owned by Aida Cruises, she was on a 14-night Round Britain cruise that had started at Hamburg. Delivered to her owners in February 2010, AIDAblu was built by Meyer Werft in Germany, and she flies the Italian flag.

The 252 metre long ship, which has accommodation for up to 2,050 passengers, measures some 71,300 gross tons, and is one of four similar sister ships known as the 'Sphinx' class. She cost her owners around $420 million.