Thames Ship Society



           2007 Review                 (Updated 2nd Nov 2007)

Saturday 20th January 2007 - Winter Social.

This year's Winter Social took place at The Pier at Harwich Hotel. The hotel has splendid views of the Stour and Orwell Estuaries, including the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe.

The early birds managed to photograph a few ships including the departure of the Trinity House Vessel Patricia from Harwich as well as the new Stena Trader, which was departing from Harwich Ferry Terminal for the Hook of Holland. There was also a wide array of container ships at Felixstowe, including the CSCL Hong Kong and James River Bridge.

36 members attended the social, which commenced at 11:30 in a very comfortable room in the hotel. Refreshments were served followed by a very tasty buffet lunch.

After lunch we were treated to a very interesting slide show given by Ron Davies. The slide show showed shipping in the ports of Ipswich, Felixstowe and Harwich from the 1970's and 1980's - before containers took over the port of Felixstowe. Slides of lovely old colliers and general cargo ships reminded us of how shipping used to be. Also we saw some interesting slides taken on early TSS trips from the same era.

The thoroughly enjoyable day finished at 5pm. 

With thanks to Ron Davies for the excellent slide show and Stephen Marginson for organising the day.

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CSCL HONG KONG was at Felixstowe.

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The THV PATRICIA departed from Harwich shortly before our social started.

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STENA TRADER departing for the Hook of Holland.

(Photos and report by Chris Brooks)

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HAVELSTERN passes our hotel in the evening sunlight on 14th April.

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A convoy passes Rendsburg with the Transporter Bridge in the background.

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The Polish tug ODYS provided interest for the tug enthusiasts.

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The ro-ro ELLA J passed Westbound on the 15th April.

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Perfect photographic conditions for the NATHALIE EHLER on the 16th April.

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The naval enthusiasts were catered for by the sighting of the German Naval Tug VOGELSAND.

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One of the many Russian ships photographed - the LADOGA-13

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NOBLEZA was probably the largest vessel photographed on the canal.

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Wagenborg's OSTEBORG passing on the 16th April.

(Photos and report by Chris Brooks)

13th to 17th April - Rendsburg, Kiel Canal

Thirty two TSS members gathered at Heathrow Terminal 1 for the short British Airways flight to Hamburg on 13th April. Although the flight was slightly late, we arrived at Hamburg in good spirits as we were looking forward to spending a relaxing few days on the banks of the Kiel Canal in good weather.

The coach quickly took us from Hamburg to the three star Conventgarten Hotel on the banks of the Kiel Canal at Rendsburg. On arrival we were quickly checked in and found our very comfortable and well appointed rooms. The hotel had a restaurant and outdoor terrace overlooking the canal which was very well patronised by our group for the remainder of our stay.

There is a famous transporter bridge at Rendsburg with a ship “greeting point” and it was not long before a number of our group were enjoying an evening meal at this location, enjoying the local hospitality and watching the ships passing in the darkness. This location would also prove very popular with many of our group during our stay. 

We awoke on Saturday to a cloudless sky and the prospect of excellent photographic conditions. A few members decided to take the train to Hamburg and partake of one of the public harbour cruises around Hamburg port. The majority of the group occupied various vantage points on the South bank of the Canal (our hotel was on the North bank, but is conveniently situated near a foot tunnel under the canal) to get the best photographic opportunities with the sun behind us.

The shipping traffic on the Kiel Canal consists mainly of feeder container ships, coastal tankers, ro-ro vessels and general cargo ships. Many of the ships transitting the canal are of Russian origin. The weekend days tend to be the busiest for shipping on the canal and we were not disappointed, as we photographed in the region of 40 ships on our first day.

Sunday was a very busy day on the canal with some members photographing 70 ships, passing in small convoys throughout the day. Some of our group took a cruise on the pleasure boat "Adler Princess" to Kiel and back, whilst others took the paddle steamer "Freya" from Rendsburg to Kiel and came back via the train. 

Monday was another glorious day with clear blue sky. We took up our usual positions on the canal and photographed the passing ships until dusk.

Finally the day of our departure came, but we were able to watch and photograph the shipping until 2pm on Tuesday when our coach left Rendsburg for Hamburg airport. The journey homewards was uneventful and we quickly arrived at Heathrow where we said our goodbyes and so the tour ended.

All of our members thoroughly enjoyed this short break made all the more enjoyable by the glorious unseasonal weather. Many first timers to the Kiel Canal were very pleased with the experience and vowed to return again soon. With thanks to Paul Mason, Paul Allen and Ray Smith for their usual excellent organisation during this thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Saturday 21st April - AGM and Solent Cruise

Fifty four members assembled on blue Funnel’s Ocean Scene in Ocean Village, Southampton for the Annual General Meeting activities on a gloriously sunny day on Saturday 21st April.

After renewing old acquaintances over a lunchtime drink at the on-board bar we settled down to a three course lunch provided as part of the AGM activites. After a very enjoyable meal we adjourned upstairs for coffee and the AGM.

The AGM business was conducted quickly and efficiently by the committee. After a presentation to our outgoing secretary John James and his wife Penny in recognition of John’s many years of service to the TSS, we got ready for the cruise of Southampton Docks and Southampton Water.

We were very lucky as Southampton Docks was quite busy. Three cruise ships were present, including our old favourite, the QE2. Also present was newly renamed Ocean Village Two which was in Southampton for her official naming ceremony and Celebrity Cruises large ship, Millennium.

Southampton Container Terminal was also full to capacity with four large container ships present as well as a feeder container ship. Amongst those present was the Berlin Express, Yorktown Express, Maersk Nottingham and MOL Priority. Various smaller general cargo vessels were also tied up at some of the other berths in the Western Docks.

We then made our way down to Fawley Oil Terminal and were again blessed with all the berths being occupied. Two large tankers Agathonissos and Ras Laffan were there as well as some smaller coastal vessels.

We made our way back down Southampton Water in order to see the QE2 departing at 17:00, but were told that her departure had been delayed until 17:30. With our cruise ending at 18:00 we were hoping that we would be able to still see her depart. 

Whilst we were slowly making our way back to Southampton for the QE2 departure we also witnessed the vehicle carriers Liberty and Montlhery leaving the port. Finally the QE2 was slowly pulled off the berth by the local tugs and we were able to take some nice photographs of her departure in the evening sunlight.

We then made our way back to Ocean Village where our cruise ended.

With thanks to Simon Martin and the members of the TSS committee for a thoroughly enjoyable day and also thanks to the crew and caterers of the Ocean Scene for looking after us so well.

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The OCEAN VILLAGE TWO was at 46 berth for her naming ceremony.

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Millennium at berth 101 in the Western Docks.

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MAERSK NOTTINGHAM was at the container terminal....

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RAS LAFFAN was one of two large tankers at Fawley.

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MONTLHERY departed as we made our way back to Southampton.

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The QE2 is pulled away from her berth by the local tugs....

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....and so she departs for New York.

(Photos and report by Chris Brooks)

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Our vessel on the Thames - the PRINCESS POCAHONTAS.

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SNOW CRYSTAL seen at Sheerness on our 2006 cruise.

Saturday 5th May - Thames and Medway Cruise

Our first Princess Pocahontas cruise of the year. 

We will depart from Gravesend at 10:00 and cover the Thames up to Dartford and the remainder of the Thames downstream including the tanker berths at Coryton out as far as Southend Anchorages. 

We will then turn our attention to the Medway covering Sheerness and Thamesport container terminal.

The cruise will finish at Gravesend at 17:00.

All times and cruise itinerary are subject to tide and weather conditions on the day. 

Unfortunately, this trip had to be cancelled due to technical problems with the Princess Pocahontas..

16th to 23rd June - Summer Continental

Early on Saturday 16th June, 22 members of the TSS gathered for the 2007 Continental Tour at the ferry terminal in Harwich. We departed on the recently enlarged Stena Britannica at 9am for the sailing to the Hook of Holland. 

After a quiet crossing we arrived mid-afternoon at the Hook of Holland and were soon on our coach to the Delta Hotel in Vlaardingen, where we were met by several other TSS members who had elected to travel to Rotterdam by their own means including Eurostar and by air to Schiphol.

The Delta Hotel is situated on the banks of the River Maas and during the evening many members spent quite a few hours in the restaurant and bar of the hotel overlooking the river, photographing the passing vessels in the pleasant evening sunlight.

Sunday morning dawned cloudy with rain showers, which was a shame as it was time for our nine hour private cruise of Rotterdam and Europoort on our usual vessel the “Partyschip Diane”. We commenced the cruise by travelling down the Nieuwe Waterweg to Europoort - luckily the weather had started to brighten up. Many bulk carriers, tankers and container ships, large and small, were photographed in the various havens in Europoort. 

We then made our way back to the Port of Rotterdam via the Caland Canal to cruise around Botlek, Eemshaven and Waalhaven harbours as well as all the other smaller havens in Rotterdam itself. Many different types of ships were photographed including the giant new Allseas pipe-laying vessel, Audacia being fitted out in Botlek Harbour.

The cruise ended in the early evening and we made the short walk back to the Delta Hotel for another relaxing evening watching and photographing the passing vessels whilst enjoying the fayre provided in the hotel bar and restaurant.

On Monday morning we made a leisurely departure from the Delta Hotel and made our way to our second base for the week in Vlissingen. Before arriving in Vlissingen we paid a short visit to “The Hill” at the Hook of Holland to see if any new ships had arrived since our cruise and photograph the passing shipping in the Nieuwe Waterweg. 

We arrived at Vlissingen, mid-afternoon, at the Arion Hotel, and quickly made ourselves at home in our hotel rooms overlooking the shipping channels on the River Schelde. Shipping in the North Channel passes close to the hotel and you can photograph the ships from your hotel room balcony. However, the best views of the passing shipping can be obtained by taking a short walk to the Pilot Station at Vlissingen where shipping in both channels passes within photographable distance. 

Tuesday saw us taking our coach to Terneuzen, one of the best places to photograph shipping arriving and departing from Antwerp. The ships pass close to the shore at Terneuzen and the uncluttered background with the sun behind you makes a good location for taking good quality photographs. The pleasant town is also where the Gent canal joins the Schelde via the locks situated at Terneuzen. The Gent canal is quite a busy shipping channel and regularly sees large bulk carriers making their way up to Gent docks. 

After spending the day at Terneuzen photographing many different ships in sunny weather, we made our way back to our hotel at Vlissingen for some more evening ship-watching whilst enjoying the many cafes and restaurants along the boulevard on the seafront.

On Wednesday, it was time for our five hour private cruise around the enclosed docks at Antwerp. We made our way by coach to Antwerp and after spending a short while at Antwerp locks where we photographed the arriving and departing shipping, we arrived at our embarkation point for the cruise. We were lucky to have sunny periods of weather during the cruise which made for some good photographs. In addition the docks were quite busy with a good selection of bulk carriers, tankers, container ships, reefers and general cargo ships present. After the docks cruise we made our way back to Vlissingen where a few hours were spent again photographing the shipping passing our hotel.

We went Terneuzen by coach again on Thursday, but this time there was an optional coach tour around Gent docks arranged by our Belgian friend Andre, which was enjoyed by all those who participated. The remainder of the party stayed at Terneuzen to photograph the ships underway in the Schelde. 

Friday saw us going to Terneuzen again followed this time by an optional trip to Antwerp on the coach in order to take the short public docks cruise around Antwerp. Some members elected to stay at Terneuzen photographing the passing shipping instead until early evening when the coach arrived back from Antwerp. We managed to dodge most of the showers of rain that day!

All too quickly the holiday was drawing to a close and it was time on Saturday morning to depart from Vlissingen back to the Hook of Holland for the early afternoon departure of the Stena Hollandica to Harwich. We travelled back to the Hook of Holland again via “The Hill” to photograph and new shipping arrivals at Europoort, before boarding the ferry for the trip home.

With grateful thanks to Paul Mason and Ray Smith for organising yet another successful continental trip. We will be looking forward to a similar trip planned for June 2008.

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The TSS Group at the Hook of Holland shortly before taking the ferry back to Harwich at the end of the 2007 Continental Tour. (Photo by Tony Dyer).

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A group of TSS members watch the MARBLE HIGHWAY passing close to Terneuzen. (Photo by Andrew Humphreys)

Trip Report by Chris Brooks.

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TOR FUTURA passing our hotel in Vlaardingen on 16th June.

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Kotug's SVEZIA passing the Delta Hotel in the evening sunlight.

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CAPE ISLAND during our cruise of Europoort on 17th June.

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The huge pipe layer AUDACIA under construction in Botlek Harbour during our Rotterdam port cruise.

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Chipolbrok's WIENIAWSKI berthed in Rotterdam on 17th June.

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Heavy lift JUMBO JAVELIN was in Rotterdam during our port cruise.

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SHARON SEA departed from Rotterdam shortly before we left our hotel for Vlissingen.

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The pilot boat EXPLORER arriving at Vlissingen Pilot Station.

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EIDE MASTER passed our hotel at breakfast time on 19th June.

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STAR LANGANGER passing Terneuzen during our visit there on 19th June.

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NORDERTOR passing Terneuzen bound for Antwerp.

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SIFNOS SUN at Antwerp during our cruise on 20th June.

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HANSA CENTURION arriving at Antwerp during our port cruise.

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NANDU ARROW was also caught underway during our cruise.

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CAPE ELLIS passed the pilot station at Vlissingen on 20th June.

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ELISA passing our hotel in Vlissingen on 22nd June.

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CMA CGM CASTILLA passing Terneuzen on 22nd June.

Photos by Chris Brooks

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MULTITANK BADENIA underway at the start of our cruise.

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HEATHER C inbound in the Thames.

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ILYA ERENBURG was at the tanker berths.

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RHINE approaching her berth with the tug STANFORD.

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CFS PANAMA inbound in the Thames Estuary.

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PONTOMEDON at anchor off Southend.

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ELBE HIGHWAY departing from Sheerness.

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CMA CGM Sambhar sailing from Tilbury at the end of our cruise.

Thursday 5th July - Thames and Medway Cruise

After the last minute cancellation of the first of this year’s very popular days out on the Princess Pocahontas, it was with some relief that a full contingent of members stepped aboard at Gravesend on a fairly sunny July morning. 

There were movements from the word go, with the Antiguan-flag coaster Antari heading downriver and the Balmoral leaving Tilbury stage. We then headed upriver as far as the ro/ro and tanker berths near the Dartford road bridge, passing on the way a couple of containerships berthed at Northfleet Hope, including the ’06-built CMA CGM Sambhar. The ro/ro traffic was dominated by Cobelfret vessels – the former “Dart” names having now disappeared in favour of names ending “ine”. After photographing a good number of vessels, including the underway tanker Multitank Badenia and, yes, a British-flag ship in the shape of Carisbrooke’s ’06-built Heather C, we turned back downriver. 

We passed Tilbury again, where there were attempts to identify several vessels in the enclosed docks – some success thanks to an up to date list off the Internet - then on past the Panamanian bulker Powerful at Tilbury Power Station and the tug moorings at Gravesend. Next up, the tanker berths at Coryton, which were dominated by the 114500 dwt Cypriot-flag Pantelis. Then we were treated to another movement at close quarters, the inbound OMI tanker Rhine, with the tug Stanford rushing to attend her. Incidentally, this tug and her two sisters have had the BP funnel colours painted out – presumably in connection with the sale of Coryton refinery to Petroplus. 

Heading on towards the estuary, where we could see several vessels tantalisingly at anchor, we passed another inbound vessel – this time the brand new geared containership CFS Panama. She was, unusually, devoid of any visible containers, due to this being her maiden voyage, I believe. In amongst all this, we also managed to do justice to the excellent ploughman’s lunch served up by the crew!

As we reached the anchorages the wind decided to whip up the sea a bit – a precursor to the threatened change in the weather – forcing us to make good use of our “sea legs”. After taking some excellent shots of the three vessels at anchor, including the smart Cypriot bulker Pontomedon, we headed off towards the Medway and Sheerness. Unfortunately, Thamesport was empty but we were treated to another movement at Sheerness – the bright red car carrier Elbe Highway – and a coaster and a reefer at the berths. 

The return journey up the Thames was in deteriorating weather, with the wind whipping spray over our bows; but this didn’t stop the diehards taking more photos as we passed several outbound vessels. Just after we had moored up at Gravesend, the finale of the trip was the arrival of the containership CSAV Santos, which had been following us, and the sailing of CMA CGM Sambhar

Once again, a successful day, with in excess of 40 vessels recorded, plus the tugs, and a good number of movements into the bargain. Thanks go to Mick Axford for organising and leading the trip. 

Trip Report and Photographs supplied By Geoff Hoather

Saturday 28th July - Solent Cruise

It seemed that the TSS had been very lucky, during a dismal summer, weather-wise, as a full complement gathered in Ocean Village, in sunshine, to board Blue Funnel’s Ocean Scene for the annual Solent Cruise. However, the clouds soon gathered and by the time we were leaving Ocean Village the sky was grey with a few light rain showers on the horizon.

Our cruise began with a visit to Empress Dock where the Beluga Recognition was loading wind turbine sails to deliver them to Milwaukee, USA. We then made our way around dockhead, past the Klazina C, loading grain, at 36 berth, and the Queen Mary 2, at berth 38/39, to meet a large outgoing container ship MOL Paramount, assisted by the Southampton tugs in their new Svitzer livery. Western Docks was home to the two large cruise ships Navigator of the Seas and the Grand Princess, as well as a coaster.

We then made our way up to the container terminal, past the general cargo ship Aleksandrov, which was unloading a consignment of yachts at 202 berth. The smart feeder container ship Euphoria was at 203 berth with the large Shanghai Express and CMA CGM La Traviata under the container cranes in the main terminal.

Retracing our steps we then headed for Southampton Water and Fawley. On the way down Southampton water we passed the incoming container ship Reinbek which made a good photographic subject. At Fawley, the large tanker Elka Athina was berthed and the Coral Meandra was in the process of berthing. At the same time the container feeder Philipp was passing inward bound to Southampton on the other side of us, so, it was difficult to know in which direction to point your camera!

With Fawley under our belt we made our way down the Solent to Portsmouth with a short diversion to the anchored BP tanker British Serenity, which has previously left BP’s jetty at Hamble earlier in the morning.

We arrived at Portsmouth well fed after our ploughmans/chicken and chips. Portsmouth was quite busy with the visiting French minesweeper Cephee and the Chilean (ex Royal Navy) frigates Almirante Lynch and Almirante Cochrane visiting the port. The Royal Navy was represented by the carrier Ark Royal and several frigates and destroyers.

After a quick visit to Fareham Creek to see the laid up warships there, we made out way out of Portsmouth and back across the North Channel in the Solent to view the departing cruise ships from Southampton. Unfortunately, we learned that the departure of the Grand Princess and the Navigator of the Seas was delayed and would not leave before our cruise was due to finish. We did, however, pass the Queen Mary 2 in Southampton Water on her way to New York and could see the Navigator of the Seas making her way out in the distance when we had to return to Ocean Village where the cruise ended.

With thanks to the organiser of the cruise, Simon Martin, and the other members of the committee for making the cruise a very enjoyable experience and the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene for their usual excellent hospitality.

Report and photographs by Chris Brooks

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MOL PARAMOUNT departing from Southampton during our cruise.

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EUPHORIA was at the container teminal as we made our way around Southampton Docks.

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GRAND PRINCESS was one of the three cruise ships present.

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We met the REINBEK bound for the container terminals as we made our way down Southampton Water.

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ELKA ATHINA was at Fawley.

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BRITISH SERENITY was anchored in the Solent having previously departed from BP Hamble.

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Chilean sisters ALMIRANTE LYNCH & ALMIRANTE COCHRANE were berthed in Portsmouth...

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... as was the French minesweeper CEPHEE.

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QUEEN MARY 2 was departing from Southampton for New York as we made our way back to Ocean Village at the end of the cruise.

19th to 22nd August - French Follies

A short tour of the Northern French ports of Dieppe, Caen, Le Havre and Cherbourg has been organised. The trip has been arranged so that we will see the maximum number of ships in these ports by keeping to weekdays as many French ports do not work cargo on the weekend.

There will be the possibility to organise at least two port tours at additional cost and subject to port permits.

Included in the tour :

  • Half board accommodation in three good quality hotels.

  • Travel by coach throughout with various pick-up points.

  • Ferry sailings.


Sunday 19th August : Coach pick up points at Woking, Gatwick, Brighton or Newhaven. Afternoon ferry sailing Newhaven to Dieppe. Accommodation in Hotel de L'Europe in Dieppe.

Monday 20th August (morning) : Subject to demand and port permits a coach trip of the port of Dieppe can be arranged.

Monday 20th August (afternoon) : Arrival at Caen staying at the Holiday Inn in the City Centre.

Tuesday 21st August : Arrival at Le Havre and subject to demand and port permits a harbour trip or a coach tour of the dock facilities will be arranged. Stay overnight at the Hotel Ibis in the City Centre.

Wednesday 22nd August : Travel to Cherbourg with early afternoon ferry departure to Portsmouth with Britanny Ferries. Coach drop offs on return to the UK. 

Note : Unfortunately this trip has been cancelled due to insufficient bookings.

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We passed the BRITANNIA BEAVER in the Thames. 

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EGMONDGRACHT heading upriver in the Thames. 

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MARE ACTION arriving at Coryton.

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DARIN NAREE was photographed in the outer anchorage.

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EVER DIAMOND was at Thamesport.

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The outbound containership MONTE CERVANTES in the Thames.

Saturday 1st September - Thames and Medway Cruise

The weather was not too bad as we started our cruise on the Princess Pocahontas.

Up-river, Kent Voyageur was at Northfleet Terminal and then on past the container terminal, which graced us with the presence of Mare Internum and Monte Cervantes. Then on to Purfleet with the usual collection of ro-ros, including Celestine. Here, we turned to head down river, passing Bekau newly arrived at the Grain Terminal. Bulker Tetien Trader was discharging at the Power Station. 

As we headed down river, we were passed by the inbound Sichem Defiance, Pembroke Fisher and Egmondgracht. Then Mare Action manoeuvring to her berth at Coryton which was otherwise devoid of shipping. 

At the inner anchorages were tanker Lady Martine and ro-ro Cervine. As we were heading towards the outer anchorages, we were passed by the inbound dredger Charlemagne and container ship MOL Cullinan

In the outer anchorages, we photographed tanker Shakhdag with bulkers Vinashin Island and Darin Naree.

We now headed for the Medway, overtaking the inbound Kingswear Castle. Unfortunately, Sheerness was completely empty, but Thamesport produced the newly arrived Ever Diamond and the rather shabby Alnoof

We now started our return journey up the Thames passing the outbound Sten Tor, Monte Cervantes and Louise Russ.

All too soon, we were back at Gravesend where our cruise finished. Grateful thanks to the organisers and to the crew of the Princess Pocahontas for a most enjoyable day.

Report and photographs by Roger Hammond.

15th to 30th September - Oriental Treasures

On Saturday 15th September twenty TSS members gathered at Heathrow Terminal 2 for the flight to Shanghai at the start of the 2007 TSS Far East Tour. After a long but uneventful flight we arrived in Shanghai on the afternoon of Sunday 16th and were soon on our way to the Sofitel Hyland Hotel on Nanjing Road. This comfortable and well appointed hotel was to be our base for the next five days in Shanghai.

Monday 17th dawned fine and sunny. This was to be a free day to recover from the long journey to Shanghai, however, most members gathered for the 2pm public cruise down to the mouth of the Huangpu River and back on a gloriously sunny afternoon, cameras at the ready. The river was busy, as usual, with many ships photographed during the three and a half hour cruise. The shipyards were busy with LNG tankers and bulk carriers and container ships under construction. There were also a number of vessel movements which were photographed including the traditionally designed North Korean cargo ship Chong Chon Gang. However, there was talk of a typhoon approaching the Shanghai area, amongst some members, who has seen the news earlier on in the day….

Tuesday, the day of our all day cruise on the Huangpu River dawned with heavy rain. Nevertheless we all turned up at the departure point for the cruise to be told that the government had closed the river to pleasure craft due to the impending arrival of typhoon “Wipha”. Disappointed, and after much heated discussion, with our local tour guide, we made our way back to the hotel. 

During the next two days we had various amounts of wind and rain as the typhoon neared, but it did not actually hit Shanghai. The river was more or less closed to traffic so we amused ourselves with some sightseeing, visiting museums, shopping and getting acquainted with the locally brewed beer in the hotel bar! Some members even went for a round trip to the airport on the magnetic levitation train (MAGLEV) which reaches speeds of 430kph – just for the experience!

On Thursday, our last full day in Shanghai, another private cruise had been organised, but this was shortened to a half day cruise in the afternoon, due to the after effects of the typhoon again. We went upriver and photographed the ships at the shipyards not normally accessible by the public cruises. Ships under construction included several bulk carriers, tankers and two satellite tracking ships. The river was also quite busy with shipping movements including the newbuild Sten Aurora departing and so the cruise proved quite productive.

Friday saw us making a morning departure from Shanghai for Bankgok. After a relatively short flight we found ourselves being greeted by our enthusiastic local guide in Bangkok. Very quickly we were transported to the excellent Sheraton Royal Orchid Hotel on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. 

The day dawned dry and bright on Saturday for our eight hour cruise to the mouth of the Chao Phraya River and back. Shipping in Bangkok is very varied and includes traditional general cargo ships which load and unload into barges in the centre of the river. Quite a few ships passed us underway during our cruise including reefer Well Success 103 and the inbound general cargo ship Yukki.

Sunday was a free day to relax in Bangkok. Some of our members hired “fishtail” boats from the landing stage at the hotel and headed off down the river to see what new shipping was about. They were well rewarded with a number of new arrivals as well as the sailing of the conventional cargo ship Hebei Peace.

On Monday we said goodbye to Bangkok and made our way to the airport again for the short flight to Singapore. We were met in the very efficient Changi airport in Singapore by our local guide who accompanied us to our hotel for our stay in Singapore - the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort on Sentosa Island, overlooking Singapore’s Western Anchorage. 

Our first private cruise of the Singapore anchorages was booked for Tuesday. We boarded our junk, the Fairwind V, for our eight hour cruise starting in the Eastern Anchorage. Many large tankers, bulk carriers and container ships were present and we visited each one in turn to take photographs in the hot and sunny weather conditions. Once the Eastern anchorage was covered, we briefly visited the Western Anchorage, including the cargo handling wharves at Pasir Panjang. Much of the Western Anchorage is out of bounds these days due to the increased security, no doubt something to do with the close proximity of the oil terminals to the anchorage itself.

Two free days were planned for Wednesday and Thursday. Members of our group spent these days sightseeing, shopping and relaxing by the hotel pool, whilst a few hired a local launch to take more photos of the ships at anchor, one member also paid a visit to a shipyard just across the straits in Indonesia.

Our last full day, Friday, saw us take another eight hour cruise of the anchorages, this time the limited visit to the Western Anchorage first, where we were lucky enough to get good photos of the F.Diamond, which was originally the 1967 built ferry Tor Hollandia. We also witnessed the departure of two cruise ships from the cruise terminal. The rest of our cruise was spent in the Eastern Anchorage where the usual array of large tankers, bulk carriers and container ships were present.

Saturday was spent relaxing and preparing for our early evening departure to the airport for a late evening Singapore Airlines flight back to Heathrow. We arrived back early in the morning on Sunday 30th September, tired after the long flight, but having thoroughly enjoyed the last two weeks - no matter what weather was thrown our way!

With thanks to Paul Mason and Ray Smith for leading the trip and our travel agents Silverbird, as well as the local tour guides in the respective countries for their hard work in organising an extremely enjoyable experience. 

Report and photographs by Chris Brooks.

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TAI HUA moored in the Huangpu River, Shanghai.

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BAO ZHONG 168 was photographed in the ship repair yards at Shanghai.

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DAPENG SUN under construction at Shanghai.

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FU YU SHAN outward bound at the mouth of the Huangpu River.

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Newbuild STEN AURORA passed us outbound during our cruise at Shanghai.

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BLUE OCEAN, one of the reefers photographed in Bangkok.

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YUKKI inward bound in the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok.

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HALO GAS outward bound in the Chao Phraya River.

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WELL SUCCESS 103 passes our cruise boat outward bound at Bangkok.

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TYCOON is typical of the many general cargo ships seen in Bangkok. 

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IOS ELAINE in Singapore's Eastern Anchorage during our first Singapore cruise.

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JI XIANG KOU was also in Singapore's Eastern Anchorage.

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ISLAND ACCORD, one of the many VLCCs sighted at Singapore.

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WIN SHUEN SHING was in the Western Anchorage during our second Singapore cruise...

F.Diamond-28-Sep-2007.jpg (100631 bytes) was the veteran ferry F.DIAMOND dating from 1967.

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Gas tanker CLIPPER STAR taken from our base, The Rock Hotel, on 15th October.

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Local ferry,AL MANSOUR heading for North Africa on 16th October.

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Bulk Carrier CONSUL POPPE from our trip on the the "Dolphin Boat" on 16th October.

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POLYDEFKIS receiving bunkers from the AEGEAN TULIP on 16th October.

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LPG tanker YUHSHO photographed off Europa Point on 17th October. 

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..and another gas tanker in the Eastern Anchorage - ARCTIC VOYAGER photographed on 18th October.

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Tanker BULDURI with The Rock as a dramatic backdrop on 18th October.

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Bulker GENCO CARRIER in the Western Anchorage on 18th October.

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The veteran gas tanker LAIETA was seen on 18th October.

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One of many Maersk container ships seen during the trip - MAERSK VYBORG on 18th October.

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.. yet another gas tanker,  METHANIA, in the Eastern Anchorage on 18th October.

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The wrecked bulker NEW FLAME off Europa Point on 18th October. 

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Tanker SEATURBOT at anchor on 18th October.


Trip report and photographs by Geoff Hoather.

15th to 19th October - A Rock, Some Apes and Ships

This trip was something of an experiment when first advertised – the last time the TSS visited Gibraltar was six years ago – but its popularity was soon realised, with maximum bookings being achieved quite quickly. 

Monday 15th October saw our group of 29 just about evenly split for the outward journey, with one bleary-eyed contingent opting for the 07.30 flight from Gatwick, (entailing being at the airport by 5am!) whilst the other (more sensible?) lot chose an early afternoon flight from Luton. Our base in Gibralter was to be the famous Rock Hotel, which commands great views over the busy bunkering anchorages towards the Spanish port of Algeciras with its extensive container and tanker berths. There are also frequent ferries across the Straits to North African ports, with both conventional and fast ferries.

I had opted for the Gatwick flight, which went very smoothly and, by lunchtime, we were checked into our very comfortable rooms with balconies overlooking the bay. I soon realised it was eminently possible, with a telephoto lens, to get quite reasonable shots of those vessels anchored nearest the hotel. I was also lucky in that my room mate from Scotland had brought his very powerful (60x) ‘scope, and “Big Bertha” (as we called it) proved its worth throughout the trip, even if her owner did complain a little about the resulting weight of his hand luggage! Anyway, thanks Dick!

We had decided not to include any “pre-organised” days on this trip so as to give people complete freedom of choice. This seemed to work well as the Rock itself is easy to get around by public transport, taxi or on foot and, for those with a head for heights, there is a cable car to the summit to see the famous apes and get magnificent views (so long as you choose a clear day). It is also easy enough to get a bus from the nearby Spanish border to Algeciras – at least one couple did this – and from there you can get day trips across to North Africa, although I don’t think anyone ventured that far. Of course, Gibraltar is a duty-free area, so the shopping too wasn’t neglected in between the shipping activities, and there were plenty of eating places and watering holes in the town itself if you didn’t want to frequent the hotel for that purpose all the time. If this was your first visit to the Rock there was plenty of friendly TSS expertise on hand too if you needed advice. 

Most of us spent the first day acclimatising and identifying the many vessels out in the Roads and over at Algeciras (courtesy of “Big Bertha”!), although unfortunately the weather wasn’t entirely helpful, as we had arrived on a cloudy and, at times, rainy day. Luckily though it did improve as the week progressed. By early evening we were joined by the Luton contingent and were able to tell them what they had missed before they arrived, although they had the extra time on the last day with the later flight time. It was early to bed that evening, at least for us “Gatwick” people, with the satisfaction of having identified some 70-plus vessels. These ranged from the extensive fleet of bunkering tankers, several being of Japanese origin, such as Vemaoil VIII and IX, to larger tankers such as the sisterships Wilana and Wilmina of 149,000 dwt, gas carriers (of which we were to see quite a number) – the veteran, but smartly painted, Laieta from 1970 being a highlight – through to bulkers of all sizes, and of course plenty of containerships – Maersk being the dominant company; the largest on that first day being Maersk Surabaya at 94000gt.
The next day, Tuesday, a number of us decided to go “dolphin watching” in the bay – well actually the main reason for taking this boat trip was to photograph ships, of course! The 90-minute trip enabled us to get photos of a good number of the vessels at anchor, although of course the dolphins dictate where the boat actually goes on any given occasion. The bay was surprisingly choppy though, so you needed a steady hand with the camera. We did also see some dolphins at close quarters by the way, as well as the gas tanker Hoegh Galleon, bulker Consul Poppe, reefer Izumo Bay and containership Maersk Nanhai amongst others. 

One of the “must visits” for the ship enthusiast is the southernmost point of the Rock, Europa Point, where a red and white striped lighthouse guards the Straits. It was a short ride from the hotel on the No 3 bus, which runs every 15 minutes during the day.
It was well frequented by us throughout the week as you can get good shots of vessels entering or leaving the bay, and also you can identify others waiting out in the Eastern Anchorage round the other side of the Rock. These seemed to be mainly tankers and gas carriers. A further attraction at the moment is the partly submerged bulker New Flame, which had the misfortune to collide with the tanker Torm Gertrud in August as she was leaving the bay. She drifted and grounded on a reef just off the point and is currently being attended by the large salvage tug Fotiy Krylov and the smaller Megas Alexandros. Apparently her hull is cracked so she may be there for some time. If you visit Europa Point when there is good visibility it is also possible to identify vessels passing through the Straits. I managed quite a few during several pleasant hours spent there on the Wednesday. 

Thursday was the last day for the Gatwick contingent as we were due to leave at 10am on the Friday. It was a pleasantly sunny day and some of us made the most of it by managing to locate and hire independently a (primarily) rod fishing boat but which also does sightseeing tours around the Rock for up to 12 people. The captain was more than happy to oblige our photography needs and, during a 4-hour cruise, took us right round everything in Algeciras Bay, even allowing us to get some shots of vessels alongside the container berths, including the giant Emma Maersk at 170000gt. We then did a comprehensive tour of the dozen or so vessels in the Eastern Anchorage – six of these being large gas carriers, including the Indian Maharshi Vamadena and the Hoegh Galleon again, which was now in the process of being renamed Margaret Hill. In addition, we were able to get some close quarters shots of the grounded New Flame.

As with all trips, just when you are enjoying yourself you have to go home! After breakfast on Friday morning, we said our goodbyes to the Luton contingent, who no doubt managed to add to their notebook tally during the rest of the day before their own flight home; however, I was more than happy with my own 200-plus sightings recorded. Apart from a hefty thunderstorm just before takeoff, causing a bit of turbulence for the first half hour of the flight, we had a smooth journey back to Gatwick. 

As always, thanks must go to the tour leader, Ian Cochran, ably assisted by Paul Mason, for an excellent visit to Gibraltar. 

October 20th - London International Ship Show

We had a table at this year's Ship Show on 20th October at the Royal National Hotel, Bloomsbury, where members of the committee were on hand to answer questions and have a chat.

For more details about the Ship Show use the following link : Ocean Liner Society

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