Thursday, 8 September 2016

Ships in the Sound

This is a continuation of the blog post of 30th August when, with the usual monthly 'Ships in the Sound' feature well overdue, there were too many ships to report in a single blog. Today's ships are mainly cargo or fishing-associated.

The Arctic Rock was on her way from Rostock to Ayr when she passed through the Sound on 13th August carrying a cargo of what looks like wind turbine blades. She was one of several....

....with similar cargoes, the Vestis Eagle being photographed off Sanna by Kilchoan Early Bird, to whom many thanks for the picture.

These, again, look like parts of large wind turbines, this cargo being on the Nordic on her way from Brake in Germany to Corpach near Fort William. Such cargoes are a sign of the times: a few weeks ago, Scotland was generating its entire electricity needs from wind power alone. It was a very windy day.

Any commercial ship is only making money if it's at sea with a cargo, and the bigger and more valuable the cargo, and the longer the route, the better. In the old days, how busy a ship was could be reckoned by how deep she lay in the water, so a fully laden ship was said to be 'down to her marks', the marks being those on the Plimsoll line.

By those standards, the Scot Carrier should bring a smile to her owner's face, while....

....the Belterwiede might be cause for concern.

Her type of bulbous bow, sometimes called a ram bow, seems to have become increasingly common, so it was interesting to see....

....more than one cargo ship pass us which had completely different bow designs. This is the Marie Lehmann, and....

....this is the Arklow Breeze, both of which boast straight stems very reminiscent of the mixed cargo ships of First World War vintage.

In this picture, the Scot Explorer, with a ram bow, is seen passing the Migdale, right. The Migdale is a live fish carrier sailing under the Norwegian flag, but the parent company, Migdale Transport, is registered in Inverness.

Troon Tugs' landing craft, the Red Princess, is large by the standards of most landing craft operating in these waters. Her main business seems to be transporting timber from remote locations, such as the islands, to mainland sawmills. As with the Migdale, she's not registered in the UK but in the more exotic Caribbean island country of St Kitts and Nevis.

The Viking Caledonia is British-flagged, makes her living working with fish farms, and is a frequent visitor to the Sound. At 296 tonnes deadweight she's small compared to....

....the Mariette Le Roche II, a large, 999 tonne gross French fishing trawler. She's seen passing through the Sound on her way from Stornoway to L'Orient, where she's based.

At the opposite end of the size scale in fishing boats, SY46 is the Stornoway-registered fishing boat Challenger. She's an old boat, having been built in 1980 with a fibreglass hull. She's a creel boat, with her target species reported to be lobsters.

She caught our eye because of the screen down this side of the boat, presumably as protection for the crew against the weather.


  1. hi , i work for scotline at medway and the owner does have a big smile everytime he's boats are full up.

  2. Many thanks for your comment, Kevin. Good to read that this blog is read in Kent. We see a lot of your boats passing here. Jon