Thursday, 7 July 2016

Ships in the Sound

The last month has seen relatively few cargo ships passing up or down the Sound of Mull other than some regulars, such as the big bulk carriers which load at Glensanda quarry. This ship, the Nordic, is one we see fairly often. A side-loader, she's part of Sea Cargo's fleet and seems to specialise in shipping paper products from Scandinavia to places like Belfast and Clydeport. There's an interesting YouTube video of her in her Norwegian home waters in a storm - here.

This is the third time we've seen this little tanker, the Mersey Spirit, pass through the Sound. Her cargoes are 'hazard D' petroleum products. She passed us on a quiet evening, and came back twenty-four hours later, but there have been times when....

....the Sound has been busy with yachts. Perhaps this is one factor, along with the better weather, which encourages commercial shipping to pass to the west of Mull during the summer months.

Here's an old friend, the Sandown Class minehunter HMS Grimsby. She's seen here coming up the Sound on 28th June, and she went back down the Sound two days later.

This is another old friend, from the salvage of the Lysblink Seaways, the Kingdom of Fife. When she's not involved in ship salvage she's an offshore supply vessel.

Launched in 2014 by Arklow Marine Services and leased to Scottish Sea Farms, the Sally Ann is a salmon farm supply and servicing vessel. According to Arklow, "her main operations will be the repair and maintenance of nets, harvesting of salmon, treating of fish, deploying of anchors for holding the cages in position and fuelling of the fleet's smaller craft and operations." She's seen here leaving Tobermory harbour.

The paintwork on the port side of the hull of Campbeltown-registered CN4, Katie Claire, looks as if it was specially commissioned from a leading modern artist. The Katie Claire also seems to have a Penzance registration, PZ87. Perhaps she uses the Campbeltown registration when she's fishing in Scottish waters, and the PZ87 when she's fishing out of Brixham.

She's a dredger, and has been working the Sound a couple of times in the last month.

This is the season when the Sound belongs to the cruise ships. Voyager is a 15,396 ton, 550 passenger ship operated by Voyages of Discovery. Built in 1990 and refurbished in December 2012, Voyager's relatively compact size means that the vessel is able to access some of the more remote ports.

The much smaller, Bahamas-registered Hebridean Sky is another cruise ship that goes to out-of-the-way places, including Antarctica. Built in 1991 and of 4,200 gwt, she serves the luxury end of the market, with what operators Noble Caledonia call, "59 exceptionally spacious and well-designed suites." She's seen here on her way to Norwegian waters.

The Malta-registered Corinthian is almost the same size and is easily distinguishable by her strange funnels, which stick out at an angle and seemed designed to ensure that smoke comes back onto the passenger decks from whichever quarter the wind is blowing. In December 2010 the Clelia II, as Corinthian was then called, was disabled by a rogue wave while transiting the Drake Passage. Trevor Potts, who runs the Ardnamurchan Campsite, was in Antarctica when the incident happened, and his Diary report is here.

A year earlier, the Clelia II ran aground along the Antarctic Peninsula, her starboard propeller hitting the rocks resulting in the shutdown of the starboard engine and loss of electrical power. A nearby cruise ship helped pull her off the rocks. This is not a ship aboard which I would wish to travel to the Antarctic.

Trevor was on this ship, the French cruise ship L'Austral, in Antartica last November, when her sister ship, Le Boreal, caught fire. Many of the passengers were transferred to L'Austral, which rather disrupted her cruise. She's a very good-looking ship which Trevor describes as less attractive inside - she looks as if she's been furnished at Ikea.

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