Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Ships in the Sound

As we move into calmer weather, so the Sound becomes busier with ships, including this long, lean bulk carrier, the Dutch registered Loireborg en route from Dublin to Kokkola in Finland. Built in 2008, her specialism seems to be grain carriage - link here. She's owned by Wagenborg, an international shipping company that operates a fleet of 173 vessels.

Another Dutch boat this month was the Moana, seen on her way from Cardiff to Bokn in Norway. She's in a sad state, high in the water, so she's not earning anything for her managers, Amasus Shipping.

Regular readers of this feature will know the author's liking for the Arklow ships, favoured because they always look so smart and cared-for, but this one, the Arklow Vale, has a very unusual bow shape which is described as 'energy saving'. The ship was launched in 2015, and there are some impressive pictures of the event here.

Working boats which have passed us include the beautifully named BB Troll. She's an offshore tug/supply ship, her tasks including anchor handling for oil rigs. She was built in 2000 and, as might be expected of such a name, sails under the Norwegian flag.

The Northern River was seen travelling south shortly after the Joint Warrior exercise came to an end. She's a large multi-purpose auxiliary ship, the largest operated by Serco Marine Services. Her main work is in support of the Royal Navy, her duties including target towing during naval training exercises, noise ranging and data gathering, as well as serving as a submarine escort.

At about the same time this ship, M112, HMS Shoreham, a Sandown Class minehunter and an old friend, came down the Sound. She, too, was probably involved in the exercise.

One of the pleasures of a trip to Tobermory is the opportunity to see some ships up close. The Eileanan is seen here leaving Tobermory Bay.

This neat little ship is the Scottish government's Alba na Mara which is involved in fisheries research, hydrographic sampling, surveying and camera work.

The Lord of the Glens (left) is a small cruise ship which is capable both of passing through the Caledonian Canal and feeling at home in reasonably calm coastal waters. She's seen here with the Elizabeth G, another ship we've seen before. She was a Norwegian rescue vessel commissioned by The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue. but is now owned by Hebridean Cruises which use her for "adventurous cruises to the Hebrides in comfort'. The Elizabeth G carries between ten and twelve guests.

A few of the large cruise ships have begun to appear, like the Stockholm and the Marco Polo (above), both of which are regular visitors at this time of year, but....

....the little ships of the Majestic fleet have been much in evidence, including their newest addition, the Glen Etive.

Staffa Tours has started its regular sailings out to the Treshnish Isles and whale watching, aboard the Islander. For the first few trips they were using another of their boats, the Ullin of Staffa, above. Although the Islander is based in Tobemory, she picks up passengers from Mingary Pier. This is an excellent trip, particularly as we move into May and the puffins are nesting on Lunga.

We sat in our sitting room one recent evening and enjoyed a display of horsepower from the Tobermory lifeboat, the Severn class Elizabeth Fairlie Ramsay, on the station's Tuesday evening exercise.

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