Thursday, 24 March 2011


Lying at anchor off Kilcreggan, the German coaster RMS LAAR had arrived from Belfast and was waiting to head upriver to Glasgow to load a cargo of scrap metal at Shieldhall for export to Antwerp. A typical low air draft coaster, RMS LAAR dates from 1985 when she was built as GEORG LÜHRS by the Hugo Peters shipyard at Wewelsfleth in Germany. She is 82 metres long, and has a deadweight of 2,304 tonnes. She is operated by Rhein-, Maas- und See-Schiffahrtskontor GmbH, hence the prefix to her name.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary fleet tanker WAVE KNIGHT was seen at Knockdhu jetty in Loch Striven enjoying a break before heading off on her next deployment. She had arrived the previous day from sea, having spent recent weeks exercising in the English Channel.


The shuttle tanker NANSEN SPIRIT, belonging to the Teekay Corporation, was seen making her way towards Loch Long with a cargo of North Sea crude oil from the Statfjord field, midway between Shetland and Norway. NANSEN SPIRIT was built by Samsung Heavy Industries in Korea and delivered in October 2010. At 109,289 tonnes deadweight, she is 249 metres long and flies the Bahamas flag.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Making what turned out to be a one-off visit to Greenock, the container ship ICE RUNNER was seen passing Cloch Point on her way upriver to the container terminal. ICE RUNNER was operating on the OOCL SIX service from Southampton and Dublin, sailing from Greenock for Southampton later the same day. Chinese-built in 2008, she is owned by the German Bockstiegel company and can carry a total of 698 TEU containers. With a deadweight of 8,137 tonnes, she has an overall length of 129.6 metres.

Monday, 21 March 2011


The first Type 45 destroyer built for the Royal Navy, HMS DARING, passes Cloch Lighthouse on her way to sea after a visit to Faslane. This ship was the only one of the class to have been launched at BAE's Scotstoun shipyard - all of the others entered the Clyde a little further upstream at Govan. DARING was commissioned into the Navy on 23 July 2009 and declared to be 'in service' a year later.


Seen arriving on the river, the small tug TIOGA B was heading up the Clyde to carry out some dredging work around the former Yorkhill Quay and other areas on the river. Working in conjunction with a larger dredger, TIOGA B performs bed-levelling duties by towing a large plough lowered over the A-frame at her stern. She was built in 1980 in Holland and is now owned by Bay Towage, based at Barrow. She was arriving from Heysham.

Thursday, 17 March 2011


Riding at anchor in the Holy Loch, the small cruiseship HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS was seen as she paid her first visit of the year to this part of Argyll, while her passengers were given the opportunity to visit Benmore Gardens, a few miles away. One of the ship's own tenders is seen approaching her.


The self-geared bulk carrier CALYPSO N was seen passing Lunderston Bay as she made her way out to sea after discharging, at Shieldhall, a cargo of salt from Caleta Patache in Chile. The 33,009 tonne deadweight ship, which was built in Japan in 1983 as SEAHOPE, is now owned and operated by Greek interests. In common with most ships of her size, she had called at Belfast to part-discharge before heading to the Clyde.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Heeling a little to starboard as she rounds the Cowal Buoy, the Dutch container ship X-PRESS MATTERHORN heads purposefully downfirth on passage to Southampton, after her regular weekly visit to Greenock on the OOCL SIX service.


The small Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker GOLD ROVER is seen here alongside Knockdhu POL jetty on the shores of Loch Striven. When last seen here she had her replenishment gear de-rigged prior to visiting Cammell Laird Shiprepairers on the Mersey for a refit. This was completed recently and she is now getting ready to resume naval service.

Monday, 14 March 2011


SD DEXTEROUS, one of the two tugs that had assisted HMS CAMPBELTOWN is seen leaving Campbeltown Loch on her way back to the Clyde submarine base at Faslane. Recent snowfall can be seen on the Arran hills in the distance.


The CalMac ferry LOCH BHRUSDA sailed from Campbeltown shortly after HMS CAMPBELTOWN had departed. She is seen here passing the port and starboard-hand buoys which mark a safe entrance to Campbeltown harbour past Davaar Island and the Dorlinn spit. LOCH BHRUSDA was making her way to Ardmaleish for a quick visit to the boatyard there after spending the winter in the Western Isles.


Assisted by the Serco tugs SD DEXTEROUS and SD IMPETUS, one of the Type 22 frigates to be decommissioned as part of the October 2010 defence cuts was seen leaving her adopted town of Campbeltown after paying a farewell visit.

After a few days at the Kintyre port, CAMPBELTOWN left the NATO fuel jetty and ran stern-first up Campbeltown Loch to fire an 11-gun salute to the town.

Followed back down the Loch by the two tugs, she was also accompanied by the local lifeboat, a 'Severn' class boat named ERNEST AND MARY SHAW, seen above taking a final salute from the warship's crew.

CAMPBELTOWN, built on the Mersey by Cammell, Laird, and was commissioned into the Royal Navy in 1989, the second of four Batch 3 ships of the class.

After an impressive departure from Campbeltown Loch, the frigate hove to just beyond Davaar island while she recovered one of her sea-boats, which had been used by some of her crew to let go her mooring lines at the fuel jetty. CAMPBELTOWN was due to be retired from active service at Plymouth in a ceremony on 7 April.


Looking immaculate following her winter at Greenock, HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS is seen here at Campbeltown during one of her early season Clyde-based cruises, before she heads to Oban for her main season.The white upperworks of CalMac's LOCH BHRUSDA are visible above her bow.


Pictured at Ardrishaig having just started to load timber, Coast Lines Shipping's RED BARONESS arrived the previous night from Troon, where she remains registered despite now being under Irish ownership. She is still mainly employed in the coastal timber trade, running similar cargoes around the West Coast and to Ireland.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


A close-up view of the 13,119 tonne deadweight products tanker SICHEM HIROSHIMA, seen as she made her way towards Loch Long and the Ineos oil terminal at Finnart. She was inbound from Stanlow, and would be loading a cargo of petroleum products for Belfast.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


Spic and span after her visit to the Garvel Drydock, CalMac's ISLE OF ARRAN was seen being put through her paces on the Clyde before returning to Greenock to complete her annual overhaul. A few days later she would return to Islay to resume service, likely to be her last regular spell of employment on the run from Kennacraig before a new ship is introduceed later this year.


Despite the recent defence cuts announced in October, it is likely that the 'Hunt' class minehunters will remain part of the UK's naval forces for a number of years yet, as the eight ships of the class are upgraded over a six-year period, starting later this year. The ships, including HMS QUORN, seen above, are to be fitted with upgraded propulsion systems at their home port of Portsmouth, in a contract worth £15 million that was won by BAE Systems.

Monday, 7 March 2011


Owned by local company Coastworks, based at Fairlie, the little multicat CHALLENGER OF LEITH was seen passing McInroy's Point as she made her way downfirth. CHALLENGER was built by Taylor Marine at Inverness, and completed in 2007. She is just 15.1 metres long, but can carry 37 tonnes of cargo on her small deck.


Overhaul at Garvel now complete, and after running trials in the morning, CalMac's LOCH PORTAIN was seen passing Cloch Point as she made her way to Largs, where she loaded the vehicles belonging to her crew before she set off to Campbeltown for an overnight berth. From there LOCH PORTAIN would continue back to the Outer Isles to resume service later in the week.

Naval Manoeuvres

Two of the 'Sandown' class minehunters, based at Faslane, were seen exercising on the Upper Firth. Above is HMS SHOREHAM, the final ship of the class which originally numbered twelve ships. Many have now been sold, and seven remain in active service, all allocated to the First Mine Countermeasures Squadron.

Also seen exercising, this time with a Royal Navy helicopter from HMS GANNET at Prestwick, was HMS RAMSAY. This view emphasises the diminutive stature of these versatile little ships, as the Mk 5 Sea King helicopter was hovering several metres astern of her at the time.


Since she last appeared on ClydeSights two days before the New Year, the Norwegian-owned coastal bulker AASVIK has changed flags and is no longer registered at Haugesund. Since 1st January, she has flown the defaced Red Ensign of Gibraltar, the port now appearing clearly on her transom, as this view of her arriving from Port Talbot with a cargo of cement clearly shows.

Sunday, 6 March 2011


Although doubtless causing a stir amongst the conspiracy theorists speculating about her cargo, the passenger catamaran secured on deck aboard BELUGA FAITH is not destined for the Gourock-Dunoon ferry service! Formerly operating for Norwegian owners in the Bergen area, the fast ferry has been sold to new owners in West Africa, and was being transported as deck cargo to Libreville in Gabon. The 35-knot craft initially operated for Spanish owners on the Mediterranean as LEOPARDO, before she was renamed in 1993 and sold to Norwegian owners, where she had been built in 1989. At 36.5 metres long, she can carry 276 passengers.


An unusual visitor to the Clyde was the heavy lift cargo ship BELUGA FAITH, seen as she passed the lighthouse at Cloch Point on her way upriver to Glasgow, where she would be loading cargo for West Africa. Built in China and delivered to Beluga a little less than a year ago, the 138 metre long ship has a deadweight of 12,744 tonnes. She is fitted with two cranes rated at a maximum of 180 tonnes each. Despite having a large, modern, fleet of similar ships, the Beluga Group is facing an uncertain future.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

ARKLOW Visitors

Although they are regularly seen on the Clyde, it is somewhat unusual that no less than three members of the Arklow Shipping fleet were on the river at the same time. The upper view shows ARKLOW VENUS, on the left, loading a cargo of scrap metal for export to Seville, berthed ahead of ARKLOW RANGER, discharging a cargo of salt from Kilroot, at Shieldhall riverside berth. She would also load scrap once fully discharged.

A little further downriver, ARKLOW RAVEN was also loading scrap metal, in her case in the former Lobnitz shipyard basin at Renfrew. Her cargo was destined for the Portuguese port of Barreiro, near Lisbon.


Fuel is delivered to the Type 45 destroyers at Scotstoun by Serco vessels from the naval fuel facility at Garelochhead. This view shows the barge SD OILMAN, which had been towed upriver by SD IMPULSE, alongside DRAGON, the fourth ship of the class.


Clydeport Operation's workboat TORCH was seen in the James Watt Dock at Greenock as she made her way back to her owner's base at the west end of the container terminal with two large 'Yokohama' fenders, which had been used by HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS during the winter months while she lay in the dock. LOCH PORTAIN remains alongside at the Garvel berth, completing her annual docking, together with SD MOORHEN.


Towering over HEBRIDEAN PRINCESS berthed astern of her at Ocean Terminal, the German container ship ANDROMEDA J is a new vessel to visit Greenock on the MacAndrew's weekly service to the Iberian peninsula. The 11,052 tonne deadweight ship had arrived earlier from Liverpool and was loading for Bilbao. She was built in 2006 by the Hegemann Rolandwerft at Berne, near Bremen in Germany. Note the German colours painted on the vents on the after side of her funnel, an unusual touch.

Gourock Pier

As SATURN makes her sweeping approach to Gourock Pier around Kempock Point, two of CalMac's smaller vessels lie alongside as they await the start of the summer schedule, when both will resume their duties. Closest is LOCH TARBERT, which had recently been overhauled at Ardmaleish and is usually employed, during summer, between Lochranza on Arran, and Claonaig on the Kintyre peninsula. Beyond her is ISLE OF CUMBRAE, which spends her summers running from Tarbert across Loch Fyne to Portavadie. She, too, had recently been to the Ardmaleish Boatyard and had just arrived at Gourock a few minutes earlier.