Thames Ship Society


                        2012 Review

Saturday 28th January 2012 - Winter Social at Dover.

The start of another TSS year and a return of the Winter Social to Dover following the re-opening of the Churchill Hotel as the newly refurbished Dover Marina Hotel. The day dawned cold with a stiff breeze but with periods of bright winter sunshine.

An added attraction to the winter social this year was that it coincided with the arrival of P&O's new ferry Spirit of France at Dover for the first time following her delivery voyage from her builders in Finland. Her arrival was conveniently timed at 11am an hour or so before the commencement of activities at the winter social. She arrived on time which allowed several members to take photos of her in a nice period of sunshine, with the Dover tugs escorting her into the harbour.

Over 40 members attended to social which began with a pre-lunch drink (hot or cold!) in the bar, with time to catch up with old acquaintances. The excellent three course meal was served in our function room, the food being of a very high standard.

Lunch was followed by an interesting slide show given by Andrew Humphreys. the slide show started with a small selection of slides taken on early TSS trips, which brought back pleasant memories for several members present. The second half of the show concentrated on a trip that Andrew and his wife had taken to Australia and New Zealand, with of course emphasis on the maritime aspects of the holiday!

Following the slide show the organised part of the social concluded, but many members stayed at the hotel, some for the remainder of the weekend.

With thanks to Paul and Carole Mason for organising the event and of course to Andrew Humphreys for the excellent slide show.

DHB-Dauntless--28-Jan-2012-1.jpg (271570 bytes)

The Dover Harbour Board's tug DHB DAUNTLESS dressed overall for the arrival of the SPIRIT OF FRANCE....

DHB-Doughty--28-Jan-2012-1.jpg (253103 bytes) was the DHB DOUGHTY.

Spirit-of-France--28-Jan-2012-1.jpg (184035 bytes)

The SPIRIT OF FRANCE approaching Dover for the first time...

Spirit-of-France--28-Jan-2012-2.jpg (213751 bytes)

....and on her maiden arrival in the harbour.

Report and photos by Chris Brooks.

Saturday 14th April 2012 - Portishead Ship Show.

We had a table at the Portishead Ship Show where committee members were in attendance.

Saturday 21st April 2012  - AGM & Solent Cruise

Around 60 members attended the AGM at Southampton on board the Blue Funnel vessel Ocean Scene. Following a pleasant three course meal, the AGM took place. At the AGM, the committee was re-elected, with the exception of Paul Mason who stepped down after many years as chairman of the society. Stephen Marginson, a longstanding member of the society and former committee member has taken Paul's place from this year. Paul and Carole Mason were presented with gifts as a token of the society's gratitude for all the hard work they have undertaken for the society.

Following the AGM we cast off for our cruise around the port of Southampton and as far down Southampton Water as Fawley Oil Terminal. The Eastern Docks produced photos of the vehicle carriers Autostar and Hoegh Shanghai as well as the P&O Princess cruise ship Grand Princess at the Ocean Terminal.

The Western Docks were unfortunately devoid of shipping, apart from Cunard's Queen Victoria. By the time we arrived at the container port, which was very busy a shower of light rain was upon us. The containerships Frankfurt Express, Rio Maderia, NYK Oceanus and Vega Stockholm were all photographed, the latter two in a brief spell of sunshine as we left the container terminal on our way back. The Autostar had meanwhile followed us into the Western Docks and was now at 201 berth.

We med our way past Marchwood where the ro-ros Hurst Point and Hartland Point were berthed. We were just in time to get some stern shots of the Grand Princess as she departed from Ocean Dock, bound for Las Palmas.

At Fawley, we photographed the large tankers BW Denise, Nord Goodwill and Navion Hispania were all photographed. We turned around now and made our way back to Southampton, hoping to see the departure of the Queen Victoria. Sadly her departure had been delayed and we missed her by a few minutes, as it was time for our cruise to finish.

With thanks to Simon Martin, Paul and Carole Mason and other committee members for organising the day and we wish Paul and Carole a happy retirement from the TSS committee.

Report and Photos by Chris Brooks.  

Hoegh-Shanghai--21-Apr-2012.jpg (171325 bytes)

HOEGH SHANGHAI in the Eastern Docks.

Queen-Victoria--21-Apr-2012.jpg (181535 bytes)

QUEEN VICTORIA in the Western Docks.

NYK-Oceanus--21-Apr-2012.jpg (229473 bytes)

The container terminal was busy with NYK OCEANUS...

Vega-Stockholm--21-Apr-2012.jpg (217224 bytes)

...and VEGA STOCKHOLM in port amongst others.

Autostar--21-Apr-2012.jpg (177093 bytes)

AUTOSTAR shifted from berth 31 to 201 during our cruise.

Grand-Princess--21-Apr-2012.jpg (203264 bytes)

GRAND PRINCESS departing from the Ocean Terminal.

BW-Denise--21-Apr-2012.jpg (188693 bytes)

BW DENISE at Fawley.

Amedeo-Matacena.jpg (248255 bytes)


Archimede.jpg (209539 bytes)

Ferry ARCHIMEDE at Messina.

Cartour-Gamma.jpg (186231 bytes)

CARTOUR GAMMA departing from Messina.

Rosalia.jpg (177762 bytes)

Train ferry ROSALIA at Messina.

Mar-Grande.jpg (221644 bytes)

MAR GRANDE at Reggio di Calabria

Thompson-Destiny.jpg (179181 bytes)

Cruise ship THOMSON DESTINY departing Messina.

Thor-Atlantic.jpg (242885 bytes)


28th April to 2nd May 2012 - Straits of Messina - Sun, Sea, Ships and Maybe Some Sparks!

16 members of the TSS gathered at Gatwick on Saturday 28th April for the 2.25 hour flight to Catania flying past Etna that had been recently erupting on the descent to Catania airport. Our coach driver and courier were eventually found - Heathrow arrivals seemed efficient in comparison!! After an hour journey to Messina by autoroute, we checked in to our hotel on the harbour side with views across the Straits of Messina for those of us having an East facing room. The hotel was clean and comfortable with very helpful staff.

Messina was a beautiful city with numerous tourist information panels. Messina was a beautiful city with a mixture of Moorish, Italian and Sicilian architecture as well as numerous examples of post world war two redevelopment. A modern tram network passed in front of the hotel with a frequent weekday service.

Numerous ferry routes crossed the Straits of Messina with a whole variety of craft ranging from fast catamarans to roll-on, roll-off ferries and train ferries from a different age. Passenger and freight railway vehicles were carried on the train ferries reminding me of Dover prior to the Channel Tunnel. Italian dock security was extremely lax with fishermen fishing off most of the linkspans! The same security enabled photographic opportunities that one would never have had back home. Most ferry routes were patronised by TSS members at a price of around 2.50 Euros per transit - a modern day bargain!

Sicily itself had plenty to offer with very good train and bus services. Six members of the TSS (Railway Section) after an information pooling exercise managed to go on the narrow gauge railway that went virtually the whole way around Etna, with excellent views of the still smoking volcano. The journey was not exactly high speed taking 3.5 hours for 110 kilometres (Average speed 21mph!), but at 7.80 Euros, one did think one was getting excellent value for money compared with Britain and the scenery was generally out of this world.

A bus trip to Milazzo gave us the information for a trip to the Aeolian Islands on a future occasion. 

There was something on this trip for everyone and our thanks go to Roger Hammond and Roger Thayne for putting it together and leading the tour.

Report by Peter Willey/Christine Rampley; Photos by Roger Hammond.     

Thursday 17th May 2012  - Thames and Medway Cruise (Midweek)

The ever popular midweek Thames and Medway cruise on board the Princess Pocahontas was attended by around 60 TSS members who congregated at Gravesend at 11am for our seven hour cruise. It was a dry day with light cloud and a little hazy sunshine at times. The chilly wind did however make it feel more like March than May.

As we were about to cast off there was a flurry of shipping activity. The outbound ro-ro Norstream was quickly followed by Cobelfret's Cymbeline on her regular run between Ford's at Dagenham and Vlissingen. Passing them inward bound was the large containership MSC Sariska which was bound for Northfleet. We cast off shortly after she had passed us and followed her up to Northfleet where we were provided with some excellent views of her berthing assisted by the tugs Svitzer Brunel and Svitzer Cecilia. Her light blue hull, unusual for an MSC vessel, provided a clue to her former name of Majestic Maersk. Carisbrooke's Kimberly C was at the grain terminal on the inside berth  so we took the opportunity to photograph her as well.

We then turned downstream past a couple of dredgers and small cargo ships including the Cemvale and Helen down past Gravesend where we met the incoming coaster Willeke and the second containership of the day the Nedlloyd Marita. One of the tugs for the containership, the Millgarth, followed us downriver at close quarters providing excellent photographic opportunities. A little further downriver the small containership Vantage, bound for Tilbury Dock passed us inward bound. 

There were three tankers at Coryton, the Excello, Twister and the large crude oil tanker Eagle Tucson. As there were no ships in Southend anchorage, we proceeded to the River Medway, at which point our ploughman's lunches were served. Suitably refreshed we arrived at Sheerness where the Turkish cargo ship Muharrem Dadayli and coaster Poet were berthed. At this point we chased two GPS tugs, one pushing a barge and one towing the sheerlegs GPS Atlas upriver towards Chatham. Having caught up with them the tugs Zepia and Napia were duly photographed. Back to Thamesport now where the containership AS Caria was berthed having just arrived. Then to Sheerness, to photograph the Muharrem Dadayli and Poet. Having ticked these two off a reefer appeared around the corner inward bound with two tugs in attendance. She was NYKCool's Summer Bay, looking decidedly grubby. We paused here and watched her being berthed by the Svitzer tugs Svitzer Harty and Svitzer Victory. To please the tug enthusiasts on board even more, the tug/workboat Coastal Vanguard also departed from Sheerness and passed us outward bound - probably ferrying out supplies to the offshore wind farms.

We then proceeded back up the Thames, pausing at Coryton to get close up views of the three tankers there. Targe Towing's local tug Stanford was also photographed underway. Two vessels passed us outward bound during the voyage back to Gravesend, the cement carrier Cemvale bound for Brunsbuttel and the German Tankers Apollo, outward bound from Thunderer Jetty, for the Tees.

Our final photos of the day were of the tugs and other vessels moored near Gravesend, including the 1949 built Thames tug Silver Beam, still looking quite smart.

Our cruise was now over and we disembarked at Gravesend after another successful trip. Our thanks go to Mick Axford and other members of the TSS committee for organising this trip. Of course our thanks also go to Captain Potter and the crew of the Princess Pocahontas for looking after us so well, like they always do. We look forward to our next cruise in July.

Report and photos by Chris Brooks.

MSC-Sariska--17-May-2012.jpg (215828 bytes)

MSC SARISKA arriving at Northfleet.

Kimberly-C--17-May-2012.jpg (242089 bytes)

KIMBERLY C at Tilbury Grain Terminal.

Millgarth--17-May-2012.jpg (174496 bytes)

MILLGARTH followed us out to meet...

Nedlloyd-Marita--17-May-2012.jpg (167428 bytes)

...the incoming NEDLLOYD MARITA.

Napia--17-May-2012.jpg (147006 bytes)

NAPIA inward bound in the Medway.

Muharrem-Dadayli--17-May-2012.jpg (187029 bytes)


Summer-Bay--17-May-2012.jpg (186885 bytes)

SUMMER BAY arriving at Sheerness.

Stanford--17-May-2012.jpg (196485 bytes)

STANFORD underway at Coryton.

Eagle-Tucson--17-May-2012.jpg (183294 bytes)

EAGLE TUCSON at Coryton.

Excello--17-May-2012.jpg (182404 bytes)

EXCELLO at Coryton.

Silver-Beam--17-May-2012.jpg (231900 bytes)

SILVER BEAM moored near Gravesend.

Tamerlane--9-June-2012.jpg (189515 bytes)

TAMERLANE at Southampton.

Snellius--9-June-2012.jpg (203266 bytes)

A802 SNELLIUS berthed at Portsmouth.

Wight-Ryder-II--9-June-2012.jpg (185975 bytes)

WIGHT RYDER II departing from Portsmouth.

Torm-Alice--9-June-2012.jpg (193015 bytes)

TORM ALICE anchored in the Solent.

Handytankers-Miracle--9-June-2012.jpg (197927 bytes)


Grande-Roma--9-June-2012.jpg (198288 bytes)

GRANDE ROMA departing from Southampton.

Celebrity-Eclipse--9-June-2012.jpg (207955 bytes)

CELEBRITY ECLIPSE, one of four cruise ships in Southampton.

OOCL-America--9-June-2012.jpg (215506 bytes)

OOCL AMERICA at Southampton Container Terminal.

Report and photos by Chris Brooks

Saturday 9th June 2012 - Solent Cruise (1)

Luckily the 70 mph winds and rain of the previous day had abated by the time over 40 TSS members assembled at Ocean Village, Southampton, for the first Solent Cruise of the year. It was to be a day of sunny intervals, but with a stiff breeze.

We boarded Blue Funnel's Ocean Scene shortly before midday and were soon departing for our cruise. As we entered the River Itchen, the first two ships of the day were spotted. First was UECC's Autostar, arriving from Zeebrugge at 31 berth assisted by Itchen Marine's tug Wyestorm. Next was the large Wilhelmsen vehicle carrier Tamerlane at 35 berth.

Due to the tide and weather conditions our captain decided to head for Portsmouth first. Heading down Southampton water, we came to Fawley Oil Terminal, where the tankers Patea, Handytankers Miracle and Sallie Knutsen were berthed. Heading out into the Solent, we passed the vehicle carrier Bishu Highway and the tanker Torm Alice, which were both at anchor.

Having arrived at Portsmouth, the Dutch naval vessel Snellius (A802) was the first sighting. Along the quayside from her was HMS Illustrious (R06) and one of the Navy's new destroyers HMS Diamond (D34). Several other naval ships, both in active service and decommissioned were also in port.

Having made out way out of Portsmouth Harbour being overtaken by Wightlink's Wight Ryder II, we started to make our way back to Southampton, in time for the departure of the cruise ships. On our way down Southampton water we were passed by two outward bound vehicle carriers, firstly, the Grand Dahlia, followed by Grimaldi's Grande Roma, which was bound for Emden. 

The first of the cruise ships to depart was the Celebrity Eclipse, bound for Zeebrugge, closely followed by the Grand Princess whose first port of call was to be Cadiz.. As we arrived back in Southampton Harbour, the third cruise ship to depart was the Oriana which was just coming off her berth assisted by a Svitzer tug as we passed. The departure of P&O's Azura, the fourth cruise ship in port, had been delayed by several hours so she was still on her berth.

We then made our way up into the Western Docks where the small general cargo ship Olza was at berth 107. There were two large container ships in the container port, NYK's NYK Olympus which had finished loading and was awaiting her departure for Le Havre. The other containership was the OOCL America, which had arrived at Southampton when we were in Portsmouth. 

By this time our cruise was drawing to an end so we made our way back to Ocean Village where the cruise finished. 

As usual, thanks go to Simon Martin and other members of the committee for organising the day. Also thanks to Captain Rob and his crew on the Ocean Scene for another enjoyable cruise.

Sunday 24th June 2012 - Rotterdam and Europoort Cruise on Partyschip Diane.

The 10-hour, ‘Diane’ Rotterdam and Europoort cruise is always one of the highlights of the TSS year for many people. The cruise is held in June to maximise daylight hours for ship photography and hopefully to ensure that the weather is reasonable. Sadly, this year, nearly 40 members turned up at the Diane's berth at Vlaardingen in heavy rain.

We cast off at 9am in very poor conditions and made out way via the Hartelkanaal up to Europoort. At least the coffee was hot and the apple pie was welcome! Our first ships photographed were the bulk carriers in Mississippihaven, including the 2012 built Athina Carras. The container terminals were not that busy, but the new Euromax Terminal in the Yangtzehaven produced the 141,823grt Cosco Development and the even larger 170,794grt Estelle Maersk was in Europahaven.

Making our way through the Beerkanaal with the rain still coming down we entered the Caland Canal. The FSPO Gryphon A was near the entrance to the Beneluxhaven, fresh from her year long refit at the Damen shipyard in Rotterdam. Some work was still being carried out on her.

The tanker berths in the Caland Canal were very busy and several large tankers were also moored in the Caland Canal, either awaiting berths or performing ship to ship transfers. Of note was the NYK VLCC Toba of 299,970dwt. Other tankers present included the Dubai Glamour awaiting a berth.

Having transitted the Caland Canal, with the rain now easing slightly, we entered the lock at Rozenburg in order to make our way back to Rotterdam. Our excellent hot buffet lunch was served at this time, when there was nothing to photograph as we made our way via the Haartelkanaal back to Rotterdam.

Botlek Harbour was our next destination and this produced the Dutch naval amphibious transport Johan De Witt. Happily the rain had near enough stopped making photography much easier! Several other bulk carriers and tankers were also photographed before we departed from Botlek Harbour.

We proceeded upriver now, to Eemhaven, populated mainly by feeder container ships, then on to Waalhaven, which was quite busy shipping wise. The Happy Dover was departing so we paused to watch the tugs assisting her out of the harbour. In addition a couple of bulk carriers including the TMM Phoenix and Genco Leader were moored in the harbour. Other vessels included several tankers including the FSL New York and Liquid Force.

Up now to view the veteran cruise ship Rotterdam, now a floating hotel and the coasters at the Parkkade. Merwehaven produced several vessels to photograph. Making our way back to Vlaardingen we passed the brand new tug SD Rover assisting an incoming tanker. The Damen Shipyard at Schiedam produced several interesting vessels including the futuristic looking vehicle carrier City of Rotterdam. Also present was the impressive pipe laying vessel Seven Borealis sporting a 5000 tonne SWL crane on her stern.

The final harbour visited was the Vulcaanhaven, which produced the veteran Russian bulk carrier Mikhail Strekalovskiy.

By now the sun was making an appearance but unfortunately it was time for us to disembark. We may not have had great weather but it was still an enjoyable cruise and our thanks go to Ian Cochran and other TSS Committee members for organising the event and of course our friends on the Partyschip Diane for their superb hospitality. 

Cosco-Development-24-Jun-2012.jpg (233529 bytes)

COSCO DEVELOPMENT at the Euromax Terminal at Europoort.

Gryphon-A-24-Jun-2012.jpg (180930 bytes)

GRYPHON A in Europoort after her year long refit.

Dubai-Glamour-24-Jun-2012.jpg (158225 bytes)

DUBAI GLAMOUR moored in the Caland Canal.

Johan-De-Witt-24-Jun-2012.jpg (133060 bytes)

L801 JOHAN DE WITT in Botlek Harbour.

TTM-Phoenix-24-Jun-2012.jpg (173362 bytes)

TMM PHOENIX unloading in the Waalhaven, Rotterdam.

SD-Rover-24-Jun-2012.jpg (225977 bytes)

The brand new tug SD ROVER assisting an arriving vessel.

City-of-Rotterdam-24-Jun-2012.jpg (164774 bytes)

The futuristic CITY OF ROTTERDAM at the Damen Shipyard at Schiedam.

Seven-Borealis-24-Jun-2012.jpg (175425 bytes)

Also at the shipyard was the impressive SEVEN BOREALIS.

Mikhail-Strekalovskiy-24-Jun-2012.jpg (215615 bytes)

The veteran Murmansk Shipping bulk carrier MIKHAIL STREKALOVSKIY at Vulcaanhaven.

Report and Photos by Chris Brooks.

OBBOLA.jpg (175742 bytes)

OBBOLA inbound passing Shellhaven.

BIT-OKTANIA.jpg (203000 bytes)

BIT OKTANIA inbound passing Coryton.

EEMS-DELFIA.jpg (176518 bytes)

EEMS DELFIA inbound in the Thames Estuary.

MEGAN-C.jpg (194118 bytes)

MEGAN C anchored off Southend.

CHERRY-SAND.jpg (201017 bytes)

CHERRY SAND in the Medway Estuary.

BBS-SPIRIT.jpg (187190 bytes)

BBS SPIRIT inbound at Gravesend.

Report and Photos by Roger Hammond

Saturday 7th July 2012 - Thames and Medway Cruise (2)

Another fully booked TSS Thames and Medway trip got underway from Gravesend, from where we headed down river, towards the estuary, passing the Flevoborg 10/8911 which was berthed at Tilbury Power Station unloading biomass. Tucked in amongst the tugs at Denton moorings was the small tanker Culex 68/344. At Shellhaven, the dredger Berughel 11/11136 was pumping her cargo ashore. One tanker was on berth at Coryton Cabo Sounion 04/40038. Now it was off to the anchorages to where coaster Sea Shannon 98/1638 was moving upriver to Tower Wharf. Megan C 11/9530 was at anchor, being passed by container ship Alexandra Rickmers 97/26131 inbound. Also noted was Ostgard 01/2868 inbound to Ridham Dock. Now, we had close up views of the dredger Cherry Sand 68/1080 and also Wilson Algeciras 10/2451 inbound for Pinns Wharf in Barking Creek. But the star of the day was bulk carrier Yangtze Eternal 11/20969 at anchor waiting for a berth at Thames Refinery to unload her cargo of sugar. Heading back for the Medway we passed Bulknes 09/20234 in bound for Tilbury Dock. It was now time for our ploughman’s lunch break.

In the Medway we had the unusual sight of Cobelfret’s Clementine 97/23986 together with cable ship Responder 01/12184 berthed at Sheerness. Passing outbound was Wolthusen 95/2846. On our way back up the Thames, we passed Selandia Seaways 98/24196 on her way out and then we were at Tilbury where SD Waterman 78/290 was tied up at the jetty.

At Tilbury Container Terminal the previously seen Alexandra Rickmers was already unloading her cargo whilst the container ship Santa Teresa 11/85676 was just turning off her berth assisted by tug Svitzer Cecilia 91/314. At the grain terminal Wilson Blyth 95/2446 was sighted and at Vopak, Bro Anton 99/11375 and Bit Oktania 04/9490 were on berth.

Turning back towards Gravesend, Aristote 83/1426 was at Tower Wharf. As we approached the end of our trip, cruise ship Marco Polo 65/22080 was moving towards the Cruise Terminal. She was slowly being overtaken by the inbound BBS Spirit 95/2271.

All too soon, it was time to say our farewells and prepare for our next trip. Another successful TSS trip, with thanks to Mick Axford for organising it and to the crew of the Pocahontas who made it all happen.

Saturday 11th August 2012 - Solent Cruise (2)

Saturday, August 11th, dawned with blue skies and warm sunshine. it was a perfect day for our final Solent Cruise of the year. Approximately 50 members boarded Blue Funnel's Ocean Scene at midday for our six hour private cruise of Southampton and Portsmouth harbours.

We started off with a tour of Southampton, which sadly was a little quiet shipping wise, although there were four cruise ships in port. The first of these photographed was Fred Olsen's Balmoral on 38/9 berth. The Grand Princess was also at the Ocean Terminal, with the vehicle carrier Georgia Highway immediately opposite her at 44 berth. The UECC vehicle carrier Autostar was at 49 berth, apparently having some work done on her.  Royal Caribbean's cruise ship Independence of the Seas was at the City Cruise Terminal. At 104 berth the dredger Shoreway was being bunkered by the tanker Whitonia. The fourth cruise ship, MSC's MSC Opera was at 106 berth. Southampton Container Terminal was a little quiet, with Hamburg Sud's Rio Madeira, being the only vessel present. She is currently engaged on a North Atlantic Express service to New York.

Down Southampton water now, against a stiff breeze towards Fawley and Portsmouth. Fawley Oil Terminal was busy with five tankers present, the largest being the North Sea shuttle tanker Navion Oslo. She later departed in the direction of Aberdeen. Our excellent lunches were now served as we proceeded on to Portsmouth with our captain skillfully avoiding a large number of yachts which were involved in racing associated with Cowes Week.

Portsmouth harbour was fairly busy, with the impressive Italian flagged tall ship Amerigo Vespucci in port on a weekend visit. Three of the Navy's new type 45 destroyers were present also, including the latest to join the fleet, HMS Defender. The reefer Star Endeavour I was in Portsmouth commercial port.  

It was now time to make our way back to Southampton in order to photograph the departure of the four cruise ships on their respective cruises. We managed to get back to Calshot in order to see the first cruise ship out of Southampton, the Grand Princess, sadly she got to Calshot before we could cross the channel to the best position for photography on the "sunny side". Our captain skillfully took us over to the sunny side before the next cruise ship, the impressive, Independence of  the Seas passed us at close quarters, bound for Gibraltar. She was closely followed by the MSC Opera, bound for Ijmuiden. The Balmoral brought up the rear, bound also for Gibraltar.

It was nearing the end of our cruise now, but there was time for a quick look into Empress Dock, where the Trinity House vessel Galatea and the research ship James Cook were berthed as well as several smaller craft.

We arrived back at Ocean Village at 6pm, after a thoroughly enjoyable day. Our thanks go to the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene for their usual excellent hospitality. Also thanks are due to Simon Martin and other members of the committee for organising the day.

Rio-Maderia--11-Aug-2012.jpg (238231 bytes)

RIO MADEIRA at Southampton Container Terminal.

Amerigo-Vespucci--11-Aug-2012.jpg (196860 bytes)


D36-Defender--11-Aug-2012.jpg (153871 bytes)

The Royal Navy's new destroyer HMS DEFENDER at Portsmouth.

Navion-Oslo--11-Aug-2012.jpg (165653 bytes)

NAVION OSLO at Fawley Oil Terminal.

Independence-of-the-Seas--11-Aug-2012.jpg (185355 bytes)

INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS outbound from Southampton.

MSC-Opera--11-Aug-2012.jpg (178732 bytes)

... followed by MSC OPERA.

Balmoral--11-Aug-2012.jpg (179770 bytes)

BALMORAL was the final cruise ship to leave Southampton.

Galatea--11-Aug-2012.jpg (200190 bytes)

Trinity House's GALATEA in Empress Dock, Southampton.

Report and Photos by Chris Brooks.


LR2 PIONEER at Shellhaven.


Reefer TENO at Sheerness.


SCOT PIONEER inbound in the Thames Estuary.


SANTA CRUZ departing from Northfleet.


GANT FLAIR at Tilbury Grain Terminal.


CONTI AGHULAS departing from the Vopak terminal.


WILHELMINE at Purfleet Deep Water terminal.

Saturday 1st September 2012 - Thames and Medway Cruise (3)

A smaller group than usual joined the Thames cruising vessel Princess Pocahontas for our last ‘one day trip’ of 2012. Visible from the Gravesend berth were the vehicle carrier MORNING CROWN (‘05/57692 BHS) on the Tilbury RoRo berth and the bulk carrier EQUINOX GLORY (‘12/33232 CYM) off loading biomass fuel to the recently converted Tilbury Power Station.

Departure at 10.00 hours saw us passing the tug berths of Svitzer at Dentons and the anchored small tanker SAURIA (‘68/352 SLE). Further downstream found the dredgers BREUGHEL (‘11/11136 BEL) and CHARLEMAGNE (‘02/5682 LUX) of Dredging International NV., together with their smaller utility vessel ALLIGATOR (‘84/194 BEL), all working on the construction of the new Thames Gate facility. At the Shellhaven oil berth was the tanker LR2 PIONEER (‘08/59172 HKG). Several other local dredging vessels were passed during the down river passage together with two of the Royal Navy’s security patrols (HMS EXPRESS P.163 & HMS BLAZER P.279) covering the Paralympics events currently in hand in and around the Capital.

Unfortunately our normal area for uncluttered photography, the Southend ‘Zulu anchorages’ was devoid of shipping so it was a direct entry into the River Medway, passing the outward bound BEAUMONDE (‘04/2545 NLD) and then Sheerness Docks where the reefer TENO (‘87/10298 BMU) and the small cargo vessel NIKLAS G (‘11/4255 ATG) were working. Again, a lack of ships at the Thamesport Container Terminal found us turning early to retrace our course back into the Thames, meeting the in bound SCOT PIONEER (‘06/2528 GBR).

Back up the Thames and passing our start point of Gravesend we found the SANTA CRUZ (‘11/85676 LBR) and attending tugs departing from the Tilbury container berths. The bulk carrier GANT FLAIR (‘10/17018 MLT) was to be found on the Tilbury Grain Terminal. Further up river, the tugs SVITZER CECILIA & SVITZER MERCIA were unberthing the CONTI AGULHAS (‘08/23403) from the Vopak terminal and after passing under the QE.2 bridge we found the ‘new build’ RoRo vessel WILHELMINE (‘12/17278 LUX) on the Cobelfret terminal of Purfleet Deep Water.

Turning at this point, we returned to the Gravesend berth of the Princess Pocahontas for disembarkation. Our thanks go to Captain Potter and the crew of the Princess Pocahontas for another great day out.

Report and Photos by Ray Smith

15th to 22nd September 2012 - Turkish Treasures 

This year 30 members enjoyed a week sampling the delights of Istanbul – the highlight of the TSS calendar for the year. The majority of the participants took the BA flight on the morning of 15th September from Heathrow. Others made their own way there including two members from Australia. Our base for the week was the Golden Horn Hotel in Sirkeci, situated conveniently near the main Bosphorus ferry terminal at Eminonu.

The first day was lovely and sunny, ideal photography weather. Many members joined the tourist ferry which departed from Eminonu twice a day on it’s journey up to the top of the Bosphorus near the entrance to the Black Sea. Others had ventured out earlier to various viewpoints on the Bosphorus where photographs of the passing vessels could be obtained at close quarters. The vessels transitting the Bosphorus do so in one-way convoys, normally Northbound in the morning and Southbound in the afternoon. During our time in Istanbul the convoy system was unpredictable and mostly in the reverse direction to normal which had it’s advantages and disadvantages.

The second day, Monday 17th , the day of our first private 8 hour boat trip dawned partly cloudy. We boarded our vessel the KAPTAN BEGO SEVKET at 10am and were soon underway to Ambarli Harbour, several miles up the coast from Istanbul. The harbour is home to a container port, ro-ro terminal and also bulk wharves. The main Istanbul anchorage is also on the way to Ambarli. We eventually got to Ambarli and photographed the many varied vessels there. On our return journey we spent a couple of hours photographing the numerous vessels in Istanbul anchorage, the highlights of which included the very large bulk carrier MAXI BRAZIL, the Pioner type general cargo ship AMR R underway and the ex Stephenson Clarke bulk carrier SYLVIA entering the Bosphorus. We also photographed vessels in Haydarpasa Harbour including four laid up reefers.

Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th were free days with the time spent either on the tourist ferry, at various photographic locations on the shores of the Bosphorus or even sightseeing!

Our second private 8 hour boat trip took place on Thursday 20th in superb sunny conditions. This cruise took us to Tuzla Harbour several miles up the coast from Istanbul and a major centre for shipbuilding and ship repairs. A large anchorage at Kartal and Tuzla was also covered. Highlight of the Kartal anchorage was the large tug IZMIR BULL more familiar to many as ITC’s SIROCCO. The shipyards at Tuzla were not as busy ship-building as in previous years, but the ship repair business seemed as busy as ever with many interesting vessels packed into the harbour. On our way back to Istanbul we had an hour to spare so we proceeded to the Istanbul main anchorage and spent an hour there photographing many vessels in superb lighting conditions.

Our final full day Friday 21st dawned cloudy with rain, heavy at times. Most members opted for a trip on the tourist ferry in the hope of the weather clearing up later on. A few hardy souls who persevered were rewarded with a sunny end to the afternoon and some excellent shots of the Northbound convoy from the return tourist ferry to Istanbul. The highlight of these shots was undoubtedly the ex Pioner type general cargo ship KAREEM R, sister to the AMR R photographed earlier in the week.

All too soon Saturday morning arrived and it was time to make our way to Ataturk airport for the return flight to London. A superb week, thoroughly enjoyable, with some great photo opportunities. Our thanks go to Roger Hammond and Ray Smith for leading the trip and other members of the committee for their organisational work behind the scenes.


ZIM KINGSTON in the Bosphorus, Southbound, on 16th September.


Bulk carrier ANGEL SEHAM in Ambarli Harbour on 17th September.


Large bulk carrier MAXI BRAZIL in Istanbul Anchorage on our first boat trip.


SILVIA entering the Bosphorus during our first cruise.


Bulk carrier SHAN HAI entering the Bosphorus from the Black Sea.


IZMIR BULL in Kartal Anchorage during our second boat trip.


Bulk carrier LIBRA in one of the shipyards in Tuzla Harbour.


G INEBOLU in the anchorage off Tuzla on 20th September.


ORCA K in Istanbul anchorage on our second boat trip.


KAREEM R passing the tourist ferry on 21st September.

Report and photos by Chris Brooks



Copyright  © Thames Ship Society 2004-2015 : All photographs on this website are copyright of the copyright holder as indicated for each photograph. Photographs may not be re-produced in any way without prior permission in writing from the TSS. Whilst we try to ensure that all information contained on the website is free from error, the TSS and it's members cannot be held responsible in any way for the validity of the website content. Send mail to ThamesShipSociety with questions or comments about this web site.