Thames Ship Society



             2016 Review               (Updated 14th Sep 2016) 

The review of events for 2016 is shown below.

TSS Members at the social.

TSS Members at the social.

TSS Members at the social.

... waiting for lunch!

The birthday cake!

Bob Boorman's 70th birthday cake!

Spirit of Britain

P&O's Spirit of Britain departing from Dover.

Dunkerque Seaways

The DFDS ferry Dunkerque Seaways departing from Dover.

Malo Seaways

...and her fleetmate Malo Seaways.

Photos by Ian Cochran and Paul Mason.

Report by Ian Cochran.

Saturday 30th January 2016 - Winter Social at Dover.

Some 32 members met at the Dover Marina Hotel on the last Saturday of January for our regular Winter Social get together.

A few had battled through a demonstration in the town centre. We thought that the police escort was for us but this notion was soon dispelled by two large groups either supporting or objecting against the number of immigrants coming into the area.

However, this did not stop members enjoying an excellent three course lunch the highlight of which was long standing member Bob Boorman’s 70th birthday celebration cake provided by Carole Mason.

For those wishing to take photographs of the ferries, the wind and rain held off until Sunday and excellent views were had of the Channel and passing shipping.

The day took on its usual format with pre-lunch drinks, teas and/or coffees, before sitting down in the Chartwell Suite for the lunch, which was up to its normal very high standard.

Following lunch, the tables were cleared back and the chairs re-arranged to enable everyone to enjoy the slide show, which was again given by retired professional photographer Don Smith, ably backed up by his son - TSS Membership Secretary Dave Smith.

The slides covered several decades and many places in the world, including the UK, Greece, Singapore and Canada. Don showed a good selection of vintage cruise ships, cargo liners, tramps, bulk carriers, and not forgetting the tugnologists, slides of vintage Thames tugs and others were also shown.

Once again, our thanks go to Roger Hammond for organising the day, Don and Dave for the slide show and to the staff of the Dover Marina Hotel who looked after us very well.

Due to its popularity, the committee will discuss holding this event again on the last Saturday of January, or the first Saturday of February, 2017. Members will be informed as soon as the details have been ironed out.

Saturday 9th April 2016 - AGM and Southampton Cruise.

Over 50 members attended the AGM on board the Ocean Scene at Southampton - one of the best attended AGMs in recent years. Following a tasty three course meal served on board the AGM commenced. Reports were given by the various committee members and thanks were given by our president, Paul Mason to the committee for their hard work during what had at times been a difficult year for the society. The committee were re-elected together with our new treasurer, bookings secretary and tour leader.

Shortly after the conclusion of the meeting we cast off for a private cruise around Southampton Docks and Southampton Water as far as Fawley Oil Terminal. Our cruise enjoyed fine sunny weather for the majority of the time, which was very lucky considering the amount of cloud about during the afternoon. We were lucky to witness the departing containership OOCL Southampton, bound for New York, and our captain got us in a good photographic position near Marchwood to satisfy the photographers. In the Western Docks was the large bulk carrier Pessada which had just completed discharging a cargo of soya from San Lorenzo, Argentina. She departed later in the afternoon. Also in the Western Docks was the UECC vehicle carrier Autostar. Her fleetmate Autopride was also in the Eastern Docks.

As there were no containerships at the container terminal we turned around and proceeded outward bound to Southampton Water. In Southampton Water we passed the incoming dredger UKD Bluefin. She was followed by the large containership CMA CGM Samson, arriving from Tangiers on the Europe Pakistan India Consortium (EPIC) service for CMA CGM.

There was a full line up of tankers at Fawley, but the highlight was the large VLCC Nautic which had arrived earlier with a part cargo of crude oil from Sidi Kerir via Antifer in France. After photographing the tankers, we made our way back to Ocean Village where our cruise ended.

An excellent afternoon made better by our luck with the weather and shipping movements. Our thanks go to Simon Martin and the committee for organizing the day and also to the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene for looking after us so well, as they always do.


AUTOPRIDE at berth 40, Eastern Docks.


OOCL SOUTHAMPTON departing from the Western Docks.


Another UECC vessel, the AUTOSTAR in the Western Docks.


The large bulk carrier PESSADA in the Western Docks.


UKD BLUEFIN inbound in Southampton Water...


...followed by CMA CGM SAMSON.


The VLCC NAUTIC at Fawley Oil Terminal.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks.


Tug KIEL towing the old Rendsburg icebreaker ANSCHUETZ to Rotterdam.


LPG tanker TEMSE passing on 23rd April.


Several container feeders passed on 23rd April including the FREDERIK.


Heavy load carrier PAPENBURG passing with a newbuild ship section on board.


OOCL RAUMA, bound for St Petersburg passing in early morning light on 24th April.


... she was followed by the CELLUS bound for Monsteras, Sweden.


Veteran coaster MISTRAL passing on 24th April bound for Szczecin.


German naval vessel A515 Main passing Southbound on 25th April.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks

Thursday 21st April to Tuesday 26th April 2016 - Visit to Rendsburg, Germany.

Early on the morning of Thursday 21st April 21 TSS members assembled at Terminal 5, Heathrow for the short British Airways flight to Hamburg. The flight was uneventful and after a coach ride from Hamburg we found ourselves at Rendsburg later in the afternoon. Following a speedy checkin process at the Hotel Conventgarten members were straight down to the adjacent canal to make the most of the last few hours of daylight. Amongst the varied shipping noted on the first afternoon were the large bulker Clipper Izumo and general cargo ship BBC Skysails.

Most of our group were up early the following morning and rewarded with the unusual sight of the old canal icebreaker Max Waldeck, now named Anschuetz being towed to Rotterdam by the tug Kiel. We all found our favourite photographic spots and settled down for a day of ship photography. Notable vessels passing were the ro-ro Stena Foreteller and the offshore support vessel Normand Progress. Meanwhile some of the group had taken the train to Hamburg to view the shipping there.

Our third day, Saturday, started bright and sunny and early risers experienced some superb light for photography. Shipping highlights were included the LPG tanker Temse, various container feeders including the Frederik and for the tug enthusiasts Bugsier 9 towing a large barge through the canal. In the late afternoon the heavy load carrier Papenburg passed carrying a large pre-fabricated part for a newbuild ship bound for Papenburg. Some of our group had also ventured to Kiel by train to photograph shipping there.

Sunday, again dawned bright and sunny, though cold. The container feeder OOCL Rauma and general cargo ship Cellus, amongst others made a colourful sight in the nice morning light. Later in the day the forward half of the new German frigate Rheinland-Pfalz passed being towed by two Taucher Wulf tugs bound for Hamburg where it would be married with the stern section. Sadly their passing coincided with a snow shower! Later in the day in sunny conditions the veteran coaster Mistral, dating from 1966 passed bound for Szczecin.

On our last full day the weather deteriorated in the morning with some rain showers curtailing photography. It did however brighten up in the afternoon and we had reasonable light for the passing of the German naval vessel Main (A515) . She was followed by the general cargo ship Marseliborg.

We had snow on the morning of our final day in Rendsburg. Luckily it had stopped by mid morning, so the hardy were out on the banks of the canal to photograph the last few passing ships before our coach arrived and we had to depart for the airport. Our flight back was slightly delayed by bad weather at Heathrow, but by the time we landed it had cleared up. We said our goodbyes and departed the airport for our onward journeys home. Our thanks go to Stephen Marginson and other members of the TSS committee for organizing a very enjoyable stay on the Kiel Canal. I look forward to our next visit.

Saturday 14th May 2016  - Thames and Medway Cruise (1)

49 TSS members assembled at the pier at Gravesend for the first Thames and Medway trip of the year on board the Princess Pocahontas. We set off upriver in cloudy and rather chilly conditions. Over at Tilbury the veteran cruise ship Marco Polo had just arrived. Northfleet container terminal hosted the Marfret Marajo and MSC Angela. The grain terminal was shrouded in dust from the cargo being loaded on the bulk carrier Navios Lyra. At Purfleet the tankers Obsidian and Baltic Force were present. We then turned back downstream and followed the outward bound Cobelfret ro-ro Undine bound, as usual, for Vlissingen from Fords at Dagenham.

As we passed Tilbury, the feeder containership DS Blue Ocean was entering the locks having arrived from Leixoes. At Northfleet, the Dutch dredger DC Vlaanderen 3000 was berthed with the local dredger City of London. We also passed the inward bound Cobelfret ro-ro Catherine off Denton, which had also arrived from Leixoes. We continued down river to the London Gateway container terminal where the general cargo ship BBC Nordland was getting ready to depart. The containerships Maersk Lavras and MSC Caterina were at the container berths.

Off now to Southend Anchorage passing the inward bound tanker LS Concorde on the way. The sole occupant of the anchorage was the bulk carrier Pola Pacific which was waiting for a berth at Silvertown having arrived from Ocho Rios, Jamaica with a cargo of the sweet stuff. As we crossed the estuary to the Medway, we passed the outward bound dredger City of Westminster and the BBC Nordland seen previously at the Gateway.

In the Medway the vehicle carrier City of Oslo was preparing for departure from Sheerness. Sadly the new tug Svitzer Kent was obscured by other members of the Sheerness tug fleet. At Thamesport was the small coaster Anton and the unusual looking tanker RN Privodino equipped with ice-breaking bow was at the fuel jetty. She departed later in the day for Porvoo, Finland.

Back into the Thames now and we headed back upriver for Gravesend. The containership Marfret Marajo passed us outward bound for Rotterdam from Northfleet Hope. She was closely followed by the cruise ship Marco Polo outward bound from Tilbury for Hull. On arrival back at Gravesend we said our goodbyes. Our thanks go to Captain Potter and members of the crew of the Princess Pocahontas and also to the members of the TSS committee for organising the day.


Tanker OBSIDIAN at Purfleet.


UNDINE outward bound from Fords at Dagenham.


MAERSK LAVRAS at London Gateway container terminal.


POLA PACIFIC in Southend Anchorage.


BBC NORDLAND outward bound in the Thames Estuary.


Tanker RN PRIVODINO in the Medway.


MARFRET MARAJO outward bound from Northfleet Hope.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks.


ARINA in the Western Docks, Southampton.


LPG tanker POLAR at Fawley.


HMS RICHMOND at Portsmouth.


The Serco tug SD INDULGENT at Portsmouth.


EMERALD PRINCESS was the first crusie ship to leave Southampton...


...she was followed by the INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS.


Fred Olsen's BRAEMAR was the last cruise ship to depart.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks

Saturday 4th June 2016 - Solent Cruise (1)

Over 50 TSS members gathered at Ocean Village, Southampton for the first Solent Cruise of 2016. Sadly the weather was not too bright with a lot of cloud cover. Also the shipping was a bit sparse. We departed at midday and headed for Southampton Docks, past the Wallenius vehicle carrier Don Carlos, and the new 2016 built Arklow Valiant at the grain terminal. Having rounded dockhead, Fred Olsen’s Braemar was at the QE II terminal, sporting her new colour hull. The vehicle carrier Morning Calypso was berthed next to her. She is being used as a floating storage facility for vehicles as all the shoreside vehicle storage parks are at capacity. In the Ocean Dock was the Princess Cruises cruise ship Emerald Princess.

Sadly the Western Docks was a lot quieter, with just the cruise ship Independence of the Seas at the City Cruise Terminal and the small coaster Arina at berth 107/108. There were no container ships at the container terminal, so at this point we turned around and headed down Southampton Water for Fawley. At Fawley there were three medium sized tankers present. The LPG tanker Polar was at berth 2, the Croatian flagged Vukovar was at berth 3, and the Excelsior Bay was at berth 4. We then headed for Portsmouth past the inbound containership CMA CGM Samson inbound from Tangier (by coincidence we also saw the same vessel inbound on the AGM cruise!). She was followed by the small tanker Typhoon in for Fawley.

On arrival at Portsmouth, we were greeted by an almost empty naval base. The only warship present was the frigate HMS Richmond. We did however pass the outbound ferry Mont St Michel departing for Caen. The reefer Colombian Star was at the commercial port. By now, the weather had brightened up a little bit with some sunshine. On our way back out of Portsmouth we passed SD indulgent one of the local Serco tugs underway and the sail training ship Stavros S. Niarchos inbound in the Portsmouth channel.

Back to Southampton now for the departure of the cruise ships. The first out was the Emerald Princess bound for Zeebrugge. She was closely followed by the Independence of the Seas bound for Gibraltar. We then waited off Hythe for the final cruise ship departure – the Braemar bound for Aviles. By this time it was time to return to Ocean Village where the cruise ended. With thanks to the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene for looking after us so well and thanks also the Simon Martin and other members of the committee for organising the day.

Sunday 19th June 2016 - Rotterdam and Europoort Cruise on Partyschip Diane.

In contrast to previous years the 2016 Partyschip Diane trip around Rotterdam and Europoort took place on a dry day with some sunny intervals. Approximately 40 members assembled at Vlaardingen for the 9am departure. We were soon heading off down the New Waterway bound for the Europoort complex. A few inward bound vessels were passed on the way and we were soon approaching the Beerkanaal at the entrance to Europoort and Maasvlakte 2. Several large containerships were present as well as a couple of large tankers, the Stena Sirita was making preparations to depart. We then made out way towards the new port complex at Maasvlakte 2 where the heavy load carrier Trustee was moored. At the new container terminal there were several vessels including the Maersk Triple-E class vessel Morten Maersk.

We retraced out steps and then visited the rest of the Europoort container berths and the bulk berths in Mississippihaven which were sadly empty. Then it was down the Caland Canal, where several large bulk carriers were discharging including the John Wulff. The petroleum berths on the Caland Canal were busy as usual, including a couple of vessels performing ship to ship transfers. At the top of the Caland Canal we entered the lock which took us into the Hartelkanaal back in the direction of Rotterdam. At this point with the lull in shipping activity we were served a tasty buffet lunch by the crew of the Diane.

We eventually emerged back into the River Maas and then into Botlek harbour where a variety of shipping was seen. Then it was up to large dock complexes at Eemhaven and Waalhaven. Ships of all shapes and sizes were photographed including the heavy lift ship Fairplayer, containership CMA CGM Marseille, bulk carrier Jag Arya and the new pipelaying vessel Sapura Rubi to name but a few. We proceeded upriver as far as the Parkkade where several coasters were tied up waiting orders.

We then turned downriver to explore the docks on the Northern bank of the river. Several tugs were berthed in Lekhaven including the Polish Amber II and the veteran ocean going tug Mtide Taurus. We passed the interesting Russian general cargo ship Inzhener Trubin inbound assisted by a couple of local tugs. At the Damen Shiprepair yard the new pipelaying vessel Seven Cruzeiro was being fitted out as well as the well stimulation vessel Siem Helix 1. By this time we were getting to the end of our cruise and arrived at Vlaardingen where the cruise ended. Thanks go to the captain and crew of the Partyschip Diane for their excellent hospitality and Ian Cochran and other members of the TSS committee for organising the day.


STENA SIRITA preparing for departure at Europoort.


Heavy load carrier TRUSTEE moored in Maasvlakte 2.


MORTEN MAERSK at Maasvlakte 2 container terminal.


Bulk carrier JOHN WULFF discharging at Europoort.


Heavy lift ship FAIRPLAYER at Rotterdam.


Polish tug AMBER II berthed in Lekhaven.


SEVEN CRUZEIRO fitting out at the Damen shipyard.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks.


AASTUN inbound at London Gateway...


...followed by the Dredger REIMERSWAAL.


HENRIETTE bound for Tilbury Dock.


CMA CGM PLATON inbound off Southend.


Cobelfret's ADELINE outbound off Southend.


FORTH FISHER passing Gravesend.

Photos by Roger Hammond.

Report by Ian Cochran.

Thursday 7th July 2016 - Thames and Medway Cruise (2)

About 45 members assembled at the pier at Gravesend for the second Thames and Medway trip of the year on board the Princess Pocahontas. We set off down river in almost ideal conditions.

While embarking, we were greeted by a convoy of outward bound vessels, which included the Norstream, Cymbeline and CO2 carrier Embla.

Inward bound off London Gateway were the Clementine overtaking the Aastun, followed by the Reimerswaal. Unfortunately, all the berths in this stretch of the river were empty. However, off Hole Haven Creek we passed the veteran Faroe Islands flagged Henriette bound for Tilbury Dock. She was followed by the CMA CGM Platon, City of London and the Undine, all inward.

In the distance could be seen the Gran Canaria Car, which had just left the Medway and it was time for our excellent Ploughman’s lunch. At the Thamesport Container Terminal, the Sea Shannon was discharging steel and the regular container feeder, A2B Future had just arrived. At Sheerness was the Navalis managed mini-bulker Nyland, plus a plethora of tugs, one of which, Svitzer Kent, later followed us up the Thames giving ideal photographic opportunities, but not before we had seen the Cement Trader inward bound off Garrison Point for Chatham.

As we proceeded back up Sea Reach, we passed the Adeline and the geared bulker Sider Joy, while in Gravesend Reach, the Sand Fulmar and Forth Fisher passed outward.

Continuing upriver, we passed the Arco Arun at Northfleet, while alongside Tilbury Container Terminal were the CMA CGM Platon, seen earlier and the Nicolas Delmas, which was about to sail. Three coasters were alongside the grain terminal - Fri Ocean, Geert K and the Anna on the inside berth.

At Grays, we saw the tanker Patara, while alongside Purfleet were the tankers STI Commandante and Sten Bergen,plus the Aastun and Clementine, both seen earlier and the chartered ro-ro Cemil Bayulgen.

Retracing our steps back to Gravesend, we passed very close to the inward bound containership Georgia Trader, while as we disembarked,the STI Commandante could be seen entering Gravesend Reach outward bound.

Our thanks once again go to Captain Potter and members of the crew of the Princess Pocahontas and also to Mick Axford and Dave Smith for organising the day and ordering superb weather.

Saturday 6th August 2016 - Solent Cruise (2)

Nearly 50 TSS members participated in the second Solent Cruise of 2016. The weather was very kind to us, a few clouds for the first hour, but after that clear blue skies.

After departing from Ocean Village on board the Ocean Scene, the first ship to be viewed in the Eastern Docks was the vehicle carrier Morning Lucy, which departed later in the day for the Far East. The small Danish research ship Skoven, was at berth 48 somewhat dwarfed by the cruise ship Emerald Princess at the Ocean Terminal. In the Western Docks was the NYK vehicle carrier Spica Leader, carrying UECC funnel colours. UECC’s Autostar was at berth 105 and the bulk carrier Triton Valk was loading a cargo of scrap at 109 berth. The container terminal was a little quiet, with only one vessel present, the Hapag-Lloyd vessel Dallas Express.

Having viewed all the vessels in Southampton docks we made our way down Southampton Water, passing Fawley Oil Terminal, which was busy with four tankers on the main outside berths. Of particular interest was the Libyan flagged Cartagena and the BW Yangtze. We continued on to Portsmouth via the North Channel, the Solent being full of yachts participating in Cowes Week. Portsmouth was fairly busy with most of the new Type 45 destroyers in port, several undergoing maintenance. Photographically HMS Dragon provided the best opportunity with the dragon emblem adorning her bow. The ex HMS Illustrious could be seen in the enclosed dock, awaiting her fate.

At Portsmouth commercial port was the refrigerated cargo ship Crown Ruby which had arrived from Pepillo Salcedo, Dominican Republic, with another cargo of produce. The local ferries were busy as usual with the Wight Sun awaiting a berth at the Camber. She was built for the Lymington to Yarmouth route, but has lately been operating the Portsmouth to Fishbourne service.

Having viewed all the shipping in Portsmouth we retraced our route back to Southampton. Sadly we missed the arriving container ship CMA CGM Othello and the container feeder Conmar Gulf which could be seen ahead of us making their way into Southampton. On the way back we photographed the tanker FSL Singapore which was at the BP jetty at Hamble. She had previously arrived from Amuay, Venezuela. Luckily the departure of the Emerald Pricess had been delayed, so we managed to get back to Southampton Water and into a good photographic position to photograph her departing for Stavanger. At this point it was time for the cruise to finish.

Our thanks go to Simon Martin and other committee members for organizing the day and to Captain Rob and the crew of the Ocean Scene for their hospitality.


SPICA LEADER in the Western Docks.


TRITON VALK loading a cargo of scrap at berth 109.


Research ship SKOVEN at berth 48 with EMERALD PRINCESS behind.


Type 45 destroyer HMS DRAGON at Portsmouth.


Wightlink's WIGHT SUN awaiting a berth at Portsmouth.


FSL SINGAPORE at the BP Jetty at Hamble.


EMERALD PRINCESS departing Southampton for Stavanger.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks.


PALATINE inbound for Purfleet from Leixoes...


...followed by AASVIK arriving from Port Talbot.


MAERSK LAVRAS at London Gateway.


NORSTREAM overtaking us, outbound for Zeebrugge.


SEAMARLIN inbound for the Vopak Terminal.


Super yacht A bound for Tower Bridge.


Bulk carrier LINTAN in Southend Anchorage.


ZP BEAR performed a dance for us at the end of our cruise.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks.

Saturday 3rd September 2016 - Thames and Medway Cruise (3)

The weather forecast for our last Thames and Medway Cruise of 2016 was not good, with rain forecast for the afternoon. As members gathered on Gravesend Pier ready for boarding, there was no sign of the forecasted rain with blue skies and sunshine. Once we were all boarded, we departed downriver. The first inward bound vessel was was Cobelfret’s Palatine arriving from Leixoes for Purfleet. She was followed by the elderly coaster Aasvik in from Port Talbot for the Civil Marine wharf.

There were two containerships at the London Gateway, the Maersk Lavras and MSC Caterina. Soon after passing the container terminal, the outbound P&O ro-ro Norstream overhauled us on her usual run to Zeebrugge. Sadly, she prevented us getting close to the inbound tanker Seamarlin,, bound for Vopak from Porvoo. Also inward bound was the containership CMA CGM Cayenne. As we proceeded downriver the cloud started to build up but we just managed to get to Southend Anchorage ahead of it.

The main objective in the anchorage was the Swire bulker Lintan. She had arrived in the anchorage on 29th August from Lautoka, Fiji with a cargo of sugar for Silvertown Refinery. We had two goes at photographing the bulker as the futuristic looking super yacht A was inward bound for Tower Bridge so we broke off to photograph her as she passed the anchorage.

We then crossed the estuary over to the River Medway. As we did so the Coberfret ro-ro Undine passed outward bound on her regular Fords run to Vlissingen. It was now time for our ploughman’s lunch which was finished just in time as we arrived at Sheerness. The Medway was sadly devoid of shipping apart from the bulk carrier Pagona at Sheerness. After photographing the Pagona we turned back into the Thames where we passed the coaster Swe-Freighter inbound for Ridham Dock.

By this time the cloud associated with the forecast rain had arrived, though it remained dry for most of the afternoon until our cruise was almost finished. On our return journey up the Thames we passed two bulk carriers outbound. The Star Hyperion out from Tilbury dock for Damietta and the Amorgos outbound for Algeria from the grain terminal. We proceeded up river as far as the Dartford Crossing to photograph the vessels on the berths at Vopak and Purfleet.

As we returned to Gravesend the tug ZP Bear performed several manoeuvres for us just off our stern which pleased the tug enthusiasts on board. We arrived back at Gravesend just as it started to rain – thankfully several hours later than forecast. Out thanks go to Captain Potter and the crew of the Princess Pocahontas for their hospitality and to Dave Smith and other members of the committee for organising the day. I look forward to next year’s cruises on board the Princess Pocahontas.

Saturday 10th September 2016 - South East Ship Show at Chatham.

We had a table at the South East Ship Show which was held at St George's Centre, Pembroke Road, Chatham Maritime, ME4 4UH, from 10.00 to 15.30. Committee members were in attendence to welcome friends old and new.

For more information about the Ship Show, visit the Coastal Shipping website.



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