Monday, 5 May 2014

Ships in the Sound

The Diary apologises to any readers who may particularly enjoy its 'Ships in the Sound' features for not having posted one since January.  The winter months are never the best for passing shipping, and the few really exciting events, such as the panorama of warships in early April, were extensively reported.

FD Remarkable, above, is a platform supply vessel built in 2012 for Italian owners, who subsequently sold her to the American company GulfMark Offshore.  Her job is to supply and service offshore projects, anything from oil and gas drilling to offshore wind turbines - hence the design, which leaves plenty of space aft the superstructure for large cargoes.

There has been a steady stream of cargo ships through the Sound in the last few months and, as always, they represent a variety of different nations, though UK ships seem hard to come by.

The Diary frequently complains about ships not having female names, as was the tradition, so it's good to come across this ship, the Nordic Diana.  Despite her name, she's owned by the Dutch company, Flinter, and registered in Delfzijl, Holland.

As traffic built up in the Sound, the opportunity arose to picture two ships for the price of one.   The nearer ship, seen here on April 19th, is the Fri Kvam.  She's in ballast en route to Invergordon, and is one of several ships whose name starts with Fri, all owned by the Norwegian Kopervik shipping and registered in Limassol, Cyprus.  Going in the opposite direction is the CEG Cosmos, and she was down to her marks.  She's operated by Fehn Ship Management, a German company, and registered in Gibraltar.

A similar opportunity arose on 3rd May, when the Wilson Fedje passed the CalMac ferry Loch Alainn.  Wilson Ship Management's ships are common passers-by but, as the Diary has commented before, despite having a good Scots name, Wilsons is a Norwegian company with interests all over Europe.

The Loch Alainn was on her way south for 'lengthy repairs' having encountered problems on her usual Barra-Eriskay route - more about this here.
Cruise ships are beginning to appear in the Sound.  This is one we've seen before, the Quest, a ship designed for polar cruising but which seems to make a habit of popping into the Sound at this time of year.  She's a neat little ship offering some interesting cruises - details here.

The Hjalmar Bjorge, which passed us yesterday, is an even smaller 'cruise' ship. Launched in 1963 as an ocean-going towing and fleet support vessel for the Norwegian fishing fleet, she's been fully refurbished to accommodate twelve passengers, and is now operated by Northern Light Charters.  When we saw her she was on a cruise of the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

This 'Ships in the Sound' has no pictures of fishing boats, though there have been plenty around, not least scallop dredgers.  Instead, here's a picture of the FRV Alba na Mara which passed us on 27th April.  She's a fisheries research vessel operated by the Scottish Government - more about her here - which is employed to keep an eye on fishing practices in west coast waters.

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