Monday, 9 January 2017

Ships in the Sound

The last 'Ships in the Sound' feature was a couple of months ago, the long interval a reflection of the season. The days are short, the number of ships passing is much fewer, particularly over the Christmas and new year period, and even when a ship does pass it's as often as not obscured by the weather. This ship, briefly glimpsed, is the Wilson Humber.

In October I mentioned the variety of bow types that are to be seen. The Crownbreeze, a ship we haven't seen before, has a bluff, rounded bow. She's a Dutch ship, part of a fleet of seven ships managed by a relatively young company, W&R Shipping.

The Arklow Cape has yet another variety of bow, somewhat reminiscent of the ram at the front of a Greek trireme. The ship, a bulk carrier, is almost new, having been launched in October and delivered to the Irish Arlow Shipping company in November. She passed us in late December. Of her bow, the Ship Technology website - here - says, "Her design integrates a bulbless bow design offering superior performance in various loading drafts and wave conditions."

There have been times when the only shipping moving in the Sound has been CalMac's ferries, and they have at times been severely affected by the weather. As well as the Isle of Arran, seen here passing the Forth Guardsman, the ferries passing us on the Oban to Coll, Tiree and Barra runs have included the Clansman, the Lord of the Isles, and the Isle of Lewis, the changes occurring because ferries at this time of year are being withdrawn for their annual service.

Working boats, such as those delivering feed to the numerous fish farms in the area, are a common sight. This is local firm Ferguson Shipping's Harvest Caroline II delivering fish feed from Mallaig to one of the farms in Loch Sunart.

We see fishing boats in the Sound whatever the weather. This is the prawn trawler Girl Alison, OB913, painted in a cheerful colour.

OB5, the Oban-registered creel boat Ceol na Mara, which means music of the sea, is a frequent visitor. She's seen here on an unusually fine day working in Kilchoan Bay.

In late November, the Campbeltown registered dredger Katie Claire CN4 seemed to attract the attention of....

....the Scottish Fisheries Protection ship Minna, which hove-to nearby. Launched in 2003 at Ferguson's Shipyard, Port Glasgow, she has a crew of 15, a top speed of 14 knots and is used mainly for inshore enforcement tasks.

Lastly, the only warship which visibly passed us was the Sandown class mine hunter HMS Grimsby, M108.

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