Sunday, 6 September 2015

Ships in the Sound

As the year moves into autumn, so the numbers of yachts sailing through the Sound drops off. The smaller ones, particularly those which use their engines even when there's a favourable breeze and are, therefore, probably being 'sailed' by landlubbers, are the first to disappear, leaving the larger boats such as this one to enjoy the more testing conditions.

We're still seeing plenty of cruise ships so I have lost count of the number of times we've seen the Azores in the Sound this year - it's at least four. Each time she stops at Tobermory for half a day to give her passengers a chance to stretch their legs and buy Tobermory chocolate.

This is the first time we've seen Hapag Lloyd's Europa in the Sound. Completed in 1999, she's relatively modern by the standards of the other cruise ships working in British waters at this time of year but, as a ship aiming at the luxury end of the market, she's old. Despite this, she has consistently been rated at five stars for over a decade. Carrying only 400 passengers, she's primarily aimed at the German market.

We have continued to see relatively few merchant ships in the Sound, even though the number of yachts has fallen off considerably. This was one of the exceptions, the Arklow Wind, one of the Irish Arklow Shipping Company's fleet. The Wind has a length of 136m and a displacement of 17,800 tonnes, and was heading for Glensanda to pick up a cargo of aggregate. She passed on her way down the Sound at five in the afternoon, and came past us again at one the next afternoon.

I like the Arkow boats. They always look very well maintained, and are registered in their home port of Arlow in Co. Wicklow, not in some foreign port of convenience.

In this picture, the Grampian Defiance is seen off Ardmore Point passing the fish farm service boat, the Harvest Anne. The Grampian Defiance was built in Spain in 2012 as an "Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel", and is owned and operated by North Star Shipping, based in Aberdeen. Her main work is associated with oil and gas operations in the North Sea, but she's exactly the sort of emergency vessel we could do with on standby on the west coast ready for the next Lysblink Seaways.

The new Marine Harvest fish farm at Maclean's Nose is bringing some additional traffic past our door. This is the catamaran tug Ailsa Craig. She had spent the day moving between the fish farm and Tobermory, but is seen here butting into a swell as she headed west out of the Sound on her way to Mallaig.

Usually, one can learn a great deal about a ship in a few minutes on the internet but there's little available about this neat little boat, which suggests that she might be very new.

1 comment:

  1. Ailsa Craig works for Marine Harvest ASA, one of the largest seafood companies in the world, and the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon.
    Estimated salmon production for 2015 is 430,000 tonnes.
    The company employs 11,715 people, represented in 23 countries.