Saturday, 23 March 2013

Ships in the Sound

The Diary apologises profusely to those faithful followers of the 'Ships in the Sound' entries which are intended to be monthly - the last one went out as long ago as the end of January.  The intervening weeks have, however, been unusually quiet, despite two developments which should be bringing us more traffic.  The first is the opening of the timber loading facility at Fishnish on Mull, which results in our seeing more timber-carrying ships, such as the Fri Langesund, pictured above.

The second is the reopening of the silica sand quarry at Lochaline.  The Kine, shown above, is one ship which went down the Sound in the mucky weather of early February to load there.

The shape of cargo ships has become increasingly mundane as their role has become more specialised - no-one can call a ship which is nothing more than a long box with a point at one end, and a superstructure and propeller aft, beautiful, or even interesting.  The Bahamas-registered Kine seems even to lack the pride of a funnel.

However, the CSL Thames does almost look beautiful passing down the Sound in the bright light of a early March morning on her way to Glensanda quarry.

The Scot Ranger is as good-looking as modern bulk carriers get, although she's not helped by her entry on her owner's website, here, where she is described as a 'Box Shaped Singledecker'.

This is the Trans Dania which, while hardly lovely, is at least interesting.  She's a side-port pallet vessel which means she's loaded with cargo on pallets via two large doors in her side - there's a .pdf file here which has a picture showing how she is worked.

In contrast to so many cargo ships, there's nothing better-looking than a good, solid working boat.  The SD Moorfowl is frequently seen passing in the Sound, but this picture was taken from the vantage of Ardnamurchan Point lighthouse on a beautiful February day.

Fishing boats come in the category of working boats, and this picture of the Nicola Jane, OB 1043, was also taken from the lighthouse.  As recently as September 2011 she was registered in Newry as N5, under the same name.

CT77 is the Spaven Mor, registered in Castletown.  She's a scallop dredger, boats that don't attract a very positive press.  She was involved in an incident with the Port St Mary lifeboat station down in the Isle of Man some years ago, story here.

The Scottish Fisheries Protection ship Jura was in the Sound in early February.  We see one of the SFP's boats every few months, usually moving in a leisurely fashion, and certainly never stopping to check any of the fishing boats in the Sound.  Perhaps her presence is deterrent enough.

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