Thursday, 27 October 2016

Ships in the Sound

With the steady progress into winter, the Sound loses the excitement of cruise ships, square-rigged sailing ships, sail yachts, millionaires' yachts, pleasure boats and paddle steamers but, to compensate, we see more cargo ships which, to be honest, I far prefer. This is partly because they're the unsung work-horses of the ocean, the machines that bring us the bulk of our needs and carry out the goods which have to pay for them, but also because they come in so many shapes and sizes and from so many far-flung places.

This is the Bahamas-registered Swedica Hav with a sheer prow and undercut stern. She's part of Norwegian company Hav Fleet's fleet of modern shallow drafted ships designed for river work as well as deep sea conditions.

If the Swedica Hav's bow has a slightly strange shape, so does the Dutch Warber, but her slightly odd bow is part of her specialism: she's ice-strengthened.

The Donau is seen here on passage from Glensanda to Rostock in Germany. She's another Dutch ship and, like the Swedica Hav, is ice-strengthened. The ship is unusual in that she is the only ship owned and operated by Rederij Wantij B.V. while Hav Fleet, by comparison, own and manage sixteen, and....

.....the Dutch company Wijnne Barends, which owns both the Warber and this ship, the Lady Ariane, has thirty-five. With a few exceptions, the Wijnne Barends' ships are all given female names starting with Lady - which I rather like - and all are ice-strengthened. You can see them all here.

The Marfaam was pictured on her way to Riga, and is seen here passing the small well boat Norholm. She's part of Boomsma Shipping's fleet of eleven cargo ships, a Dutch.... Hang on, this is yet another Dutch company! There are times when one wonders whether the Dutch and Scandinavians are taking over in the cargo shipping world, it being rare these days to find a British-owned ship. And.... Why are so many of these Dutch ships passing up and down the Sound ice strengthened? Do the Dutch know something about global cooling which we don't?

Perhaps someone can tell us what the Aura was carrying when she passed us en route to Belfast. We're becoming accustomed to massive bits of wind turbine destined for offshore farms, but this looks like something quite different. The Aura is a Finnish 'heavy load carrier' owned by the Meriaura Group which, along with general cargo boats, specialises in these deck cargo ships designed for large loads.

In general, the last month has seen plenty of fine weather. This picture shows one of the Irish company Arklow's smart vessels, the Arklow Field, which may not be British-flagged but is a close thing.

A morning spent in Tobermory gave a rare opportunity to see a good number of the fishing boats that regularly work out of that port. OB19 is the Mary Manson, a dredger which sadly lacks....

....the loving care which has been the hallmark of the owners of these two lovely little creel boats, ones which work in all weathers throughout the year yet which always look as if they never move from the harbour.

There are a few cruise ships still around, mostly small ones operating local trips, such a the Majestic Line's new Glen Etive, and....

....the Hebridean Princess, seen here moving through the golden light of early morning.


  1. I think we have seen Swedica Hav in Ayr harbour unloading huge wind turbine parts.

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  3. Enjoying reading the Kilchoan blog for the last few days in Norfolk.

  4. I always enjoy reading it most days as I Sail in area every Summer and also live in Norfolk.

  5. They are wind turbine parts. There are four generator housings with three-blade rotor-hubs and two tower sections.

  6. Many thanks for the comments. Good to have the Aura's cargo identified, Derryck. Jon

  7. Beautiful photos (as always). 7 and 9 would be worthy competition winners.

  8. A picture of the Mary Manson looking better cared for here

  9. Yes, when she was young and beautiful. Jon