Friday, 17 March 2017

Ships in the Sound

The winter months aren't the most exciting for those of us watching for ships passing in the Sound of Mull. What we mainly see are those boats which work these waters throughout the year, in any weather, so the only passenger ships are the ferries heading out to Coll, Tiree and the Outer Isles and those being moved as CalMac carries out annual services on its fleet.

So most of the ships in the Sound are old friends, like the Yeoman Bridge (above) heading south to load another 70,000 tonnes of aggregate to keep the construction industry in business.

Interest therefore tends to centre on the question, "Is this a ship we've seen before?" The Arklow Field is new to us, though many of the ships of the Irish Arklow fleet are old friends, ships which we've complimented before on the high standard of upkeep. The Field has a conventional bulbous bow, while....

....another newcomer, the Dutch ship Marietje Andrea, has a similar bow but, as a ship designed for ice breaking, this is joined to the top of the bow by a steel plate - see picture here - hence the difference in profile.

Some of the more interesting ships come through either in the hours of darkness or when the weather is so mucky one can hardly see anything. This is the Antigua/Barbuda-registered Siegfried Lehmann en route from Kleipeda on the Baltic coast of Lithuania to Drogheda in Ireland. She's owned and operated by the Lehmann Group, a German company - here.

The Trans Dania, a pallet carrier, is a frequent visitor but is seen here with one of the other types of all-weather ships, a fishing boat, the Freedom II, CN111. They may be out in all weather but, if the forecast is poor, we suddenly see several of them working in the more protected waters of the Sound.

This is the Havilah N200, a British ship whose home port is Newry, passing Rubha nan Gall lighthouse with the early sun behind her. She's a trawler but a deep-water boat, and we see her fairly freequently.

One of the pleasures of a crossing to Tobermory is seeing some of these ships up-close. This neat little ship is the Seol Mara, a research vessel designed for inshore, shallow-water work. She's operated by the Scottish Association for Marine Sciences, website here.

Servicing the many and increasingly large and sophisticated fish farms in and around the Sound of Mull is big business, so we're seeing more and more of the ships involved in it. This one is a new to us, the Brudanes, whose home port is Aalesund in Norway. Like all well boats, she sits very deep in the water when fully loaded.

Viking Atlantic, built in 1997, is also a fish carrier but of a different and older design. She's seen sailing south on a calm evening against the backdrop of Beinn Tallaidh on Mull.

Ferguson Transport's Carly, seen here on a dull day but with the air beautifully clear, is one of many of this type of boat involved in serving the fish farms, bringing in food and other equipment.

Coastal Hunter came into the Sound from the north on a day when a brisk southeaster was blowing. One imagines that ships like this hardly bother to roll and pitch but simply butt their way through the waves. I have previously described Coastal Hunter as being the marine version of a Swiss army knife. She's owned by Acta Marine - website here.

The most notable moments were the rare sighting of a submarine in the Sound on 23rd February - post here - and the passing of a German warship, the Oker, on 1st March - link here - but it's always very good to see a modern vessel of the Royal Navy, as we did on 14th March when HMS St Albans (above) came into the Sound.

1 comment:

  1. A very wide selection Jon, thank you. This may be a big ask but a bow-on shot of Yeoman Bridge heading up the Sound fully laden would be intersting to say the least. A walk along the Ormsaigbeg road may be needed...! Geoff