Thames Ship Society



             2018 Review              (Updated 19th November 2018) 

The review of our programme for 2018 is shown below.


Members enjoying the meal at the 2018 Winter Social.






The Panama Canal Slide Show.


The Afon Lligwy at Dover.


The ferry Cote Des Dunes arriving at Dover.

Photos by Ian Cochran and Roger Hammond.

Saturday 27th January 2018 - Winter Social at Dover.

Some 36 members met at the Dover Marina Hotel on the last Saturday of January for our regular Winter Social get together in a developing strong wind and rain, which arrived later in the afternoon.

The visibility was reasonable giving views of westward passing shipping and the ferry movements in and out of port. The new Eastern Docks development was underway outside of the hotel, giving the tug enthusiasts views of the Holyhead Towing contingent working on the site.

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.

After lunch, Roger Hammond presented a cake to John (Sam) Pellat who was due to celebrate his 80th birthday on Sunday. The cake was topped with a Buries Markes funnel and flag being the company with which Sam had spent some of his career.

This year’s slide show highlighted the successful Panama Canal trip and included vessels taken in the various anchorages, some of which had been abandoned and the main areas of the canal, including the new Neo-Panamax locks.

The slides were put together by Dave Smith, aided by Peter Willey plus the technical input of Andrew Humphreys and his wife Eddy. Some of the slides were donated by John Campbell, especially of the anchorages.

A good variety of shipping was seen, including gas tankers, product tankers, containerships, cruise ships, car carriers, reefers, bulkers and of course the tugs.

Following the Panama Canal, Mike Jackson showed around 20 slides of the vessels operating in and around the new Western Harbour development, including coasters bringing piling and building materials, which discharged at the old Admiralty Pier.

The reefer Pacific Klipper was unloading at Dover during the day and for those staying overnight, Sunday dawned relatively clear and mild.

Once again, our thanks must go to Roger Hammond for organising the day, Dave, Peter, Andrew and Mike for the slide shows and to the staff of the Dover Marina Hotel who looked after us very well once again.

Due to its popularity, the committee has provisionally booked the venue again for Saturday 26th, January, 2019. Members will be informed as soon as the details have been ironed out via a circular due to be issued later in the year.

Report by Ian Cochran.

Saturday 7th April 2018 - AGM and Southampton Cruise.

The AGM was held once again on the Ocean Scene but with a difference, as we had to board at the Hythe Ferry Terminal on Town Quay, due to Blue Funnel’s normal Ocean Village being now closed.

Boarding of the 33 participants was accomplished without any problem and while the AGM was being held, followed by an excellent meal, the Ocean Scene slowly made her way up the Western Docks to the container terminal.

Once the formalities were over, the cruise began in earnest by the container terminal where the large UASC (Hapag-Lloyd) containership AL-JASRAH 16/153148 was berthed. We were to see her later underway off Dock Head.

The SHIELDHALL 55/1753 had left her berth at the top end of the Western Docks at around 13.00 and we passed her again later. In the former KGV drydock, the Supramax bulk carrier NEW VENTURE 09/32505 was handling scrap, as was the ARKLOW FERN 10/2998 alongside the bulk handling berths in the Western Docks.

Also at the Western Docks were four Kotug Smit tugs, while we were to see the Svitzer tug fleet in the Ocean Dock and at the Dock Head at their usual berths.

The amount of shipping in port was disappointing but at 35 berth was the Kawasaki car carrier HAWAIIAN HIGHWAY 15/75126, which we were to see later outward bound. The HUELIN DISPATCH 12/2597 had arrived at her usual berth in Ocean Dock.

The day could not be complete with out a sighting of the UKD BLUEFIN 97/4171, which duly presented herself. At the Fawley 1 LPG berth was the EMMY SCHULTE 09/11233, while at Esso 2 another LPG carrier NAVIGATOR GRACE 10/16823 was seen, as was the MR type NORD GAINER 11/30241 on Esso 3.

On the inside berths were the CAROLINE A 11/3364 and SUPERIORITY 07/3859, while the UKD SEALION 03/224 was working nearby, at much the same place as seen on the 2017 AGM trip.

Retracing our steps back up Southampton Water, we passed the Hawaiian Highway outward bound and then sailed up the River Itchen to see the aggregates carriers CITY OF CHICHESTER 97/2074 and SAND HERON 90/3751, the latter is soon to be replaced by a newbuilding.

We also passed Williams Shipping’s array of small tugs and various other craft before turning into the Empress dock, where again there were the usual number of small craft plus the bunkering tankers WHITONIA 07/4292, JAYNEE W 96/1689 and SPECIALITY 06/3859.

As we came back down the Itchen, the eagle-eyed had spotted the Al-Jasrah on her way down from the container terminal, so we waited off the Dock Head to watch her pass.

And so ended another excellent day on the Ocean Scene. The verdict on the new embarkation/disembarkation arrangements was very positive and Town Quay is ideally placed for local buses, taxis, car parking, etc.


NEW VENTURE loading scrap in the Western Docks.


NORD GAINER was at Fawley...

Navigator-Grace.jpg was the NAVIGATOR GRACE.


HAWAIIAN HIGHWAY outward bound.


SAND HERON in the Itchen.


SPECIALITY in Empress Docks.


AL JASRAH outward bound at the end of our cruise.

Report by Ian Cochran. Photos by Ian Cochran and Roger Hammond


SAL heavy lift vessel SVENJA passing on our first afternoon.


Colourful Swedish tanker RAMONA passing early on the 27th April.


TINA passing Southbound for New Holland on the 27th April.


HEINRICH EHLER, one of the many feeder containerships seen during our visit.


Bulk carrier PORT BOTANY passes Northbound for Ventspils.


Russian fish factory ship AKADEMIK ALEKSANDR KARPINSKY bound for St. Petersburg.


SEA EXPLORER catches the early morning sunshine on 28th April.


Carrisbrooke's KELLY C passing on 28th April for Rostock.


TSS members watch Fred Olsen's BALMORAL passing the hotel on 29th April.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks

Thursday 26th April to Tuesday 1st May 2018 - Rendsburg and the Kiel Canal.

Having assembled at Terminal 5, Heathrow, we soon found ourselves boarding the BA962 flight to Hamburg for our five night stay in Rendsburg on the Kiel Canal. After the short flight we boarded our coach for the 1.5 hour journey from Hamburg Airport to Rendsburg. Our base was to be the comfortable ConventGarten Hotel conveniently situated alongside the canal at Rendsburg.

Soon after we were checked in many of us wasted no time in positioning ourselves on the canal bank in order to photograph several late afternoon vessel movements. The pick of the movements being the SAL heavy lift ship Svenja which passed whilst on a voyage from Vlissingen to Rostock. Another vantage point to observe passing shipping is from the restaurant located at the Transporter Bridge, which is a 10 minute walk from the hotel and a favourite for many of the TSS members for an evening meal.

As well as observing and photographing passing shipping on the canal at Rendsburg, some of the group ventured further afield via the local train services to Hamburg and also to Kiel. The more energetic either hired bikes or hiked along the canal. For the mornings it is essential to be on the opposite bank of the canal to have the sun behind you for photography and this is easily achieved by using the foot tunnel under the canal which is conveniently situated right next to the hotel. Some of us were up with the larks on the first morning to catch the first movements of the day even before the hotel restaurant was open for breakfast!

Included in the early morning movements of our first day, in good light, was the colourful Swedish tanker Ramona. As the day wore on the early brightness was replaced by more cloud, which was a shame as the more interesting afternoon movements included the Hong Kong flagged bulk carrier Port Botany bound for Ventspils and the Russian fish factory trawler Akademik Aleksandr Karpinskiy bound for St. Petersburg from Las Palmas.

On our second full day, the weather was similar, sunny in the morning and clouding over in the afternoon. The Norwegian tug Boa Brage provided some interest for the tug enthusiasts towing a barge through the canal assisted by the Cuxhaven tug VB Roennebeck. We were averaging about 35 ship movments per day which kept our cameras busy. On the third day Fred Olsen’s cruise ship Balmoral passed, bound for Warnemunde.

Sadly on our final full day, we had heavy rain showers and a thunder storm in the morning. So, most of us based ourselves in the hotel and braved the elements for various ships passing the hotel. The final morning was also wet with quite heavy rain. We departed the hotel shortly after midday for the coach trip back to Hamburg Airport where we joined the short afternoon flight back to Heathrow. Despite the rather wet end to our stay it was a very pleasant way to spend a few days. Our thanks go to Stephen Marginson for organising the trip and to the other members of the committee for assisting in the organisation when required.

Saturday 2nd June 2018 (12:00 departure) - Solent Cruise

47 TSS members participated in the first Solent Cruise of 2018. The weather was perfect, with warm sunshine and blue skies. Soon after boarding at Town Quay we set off up to the Western Docks, just as the vehicle carrier Hoegh Chiba was arriving. In the Western Docks the cruise ships Independence of the Seas and Sapphire Princess were berthed. The bulk carrier Sirina was in the dry dock berth loading scrap. She had had a fire in one of her holds a few days before our cruise.

At the container terminal, the ultra large container ship MOL Tribute was at berth 5 whilst around the corner the smaller containerships Ever Delight and CMA CGM La Traviata were working cargo. We then retraced our steps and made our way down Southampton Water where we got in a good position to photograph the arrival of another large containership, UASC’s Al Murabba arriving from Antwerp. Two of the Kotug-Smit tugs SD Stingray and Buffalo were attending to her which kept our tug enthusiasts happy. We also passed the tanker MTM Antwerp arriving at Fawley.

We then made our way, via the North Channel, to Portsmouth passing the inbound coastal tanker Maria Theresa. In Portsmouth the main attraction was the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. The only other naval vessels being HMS Forth and HMS Mersey and Serco’s SD Victoria. The Colombian Reefer was in the commercial dock, but the departure of the fast ferry Normandie Express prevented us getting close to her.

We then made our way back to Southampton, and got to Calshot on the sunny side of the channel just before the first of six depatures from Southampton passed. She was the vehicle carrier Daedalus Leader bound for Savona. She was followed by the first of four cruise ships, the Independence of the Seas, followed by the Sapphire Princess bound for Zeebrugge the first port of call on a 14 night Baltic Heritage cruise. She was followed by the Marina bound for Oslo, also on a Baltic cruise. The final cruise ship to depart was the Azura bound for Stavanger. Bringing up the rear of the convoy as the containership Ever Delight on CMA CGM’s Independence Bridge service from the East Coast of America. Her next port of call being Le Havre.

Finally, after a quick look in the Ocean Dock where the Hoegh Chiba was berthed, we arrived back at Town Quay. An excellent first trip on the Solent made better by the wonderful weather and the shipping movements. Our thanks go to Dave Smith, Ian Cochran and other members of the committee for organising the day and to the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene for looking after us so well.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks


CMA CGM LA TRAVIATA at the container terminal.


UASC's AL MURABBA inbound in Southampton water for the container terminal.




First of the outbound ships from Southampton was the DAEDALUS LEADER.


INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS was the first cruise ship to depart.


...She was followed by the SAPPHIRE PRINCESS...


...and then the MARINA bound for Oslo.


The AZURA was the last cruise ship to depart.


EVER DELIGHT was the final departure leaving for Le Havre.


SEASPAN ZAMBEZI at Amazonehaven, Europoort.


CMA CGM MARCO POLO at Maasvlakte 2.


Heavy load carrier ZHEN HUA 24 with new cranes for Maasvlakte 2.


MAERSK GIBRALTAR at Europahaven.


GOLDEN ENDURER at the Grain Terminal on the Caland Canal.


NISSOS SCHINOUSSA outbound in the Caland Canal.


FRONT PRINCE and SEAROVER performing a cargo transfer in the Caland Canal.


Russian pusher tug CONWENNA in the Lekhaven.

Photos and report by Ian Cochran.

Sunday 17th June 2018 (09:00 departure) - Rotterdam and Europoort Cruise on Partyschip Diane.

Some 43 members and friends gathered at Vlaardingen for the usual 9am departure in cloudy conditions.

This year’s 11-hour Partyschip Diane trip around Rotterdam and Europoort/Maasvlakte started with a trip along the Hartel Canal, due to high winds along the Nieuwe Waterweg.

While waiting to sail, the tug Alp Winger was spotted outbound. The tanker Celsius Eagle was lying directly across the river at Pernis.

After an uneventful trip along the Hartel Canal, we entered the Mississippihaven to be greeted by the large bulkers Bulk Switzerland and Ikan Kerapu. The Amazonehaven only yielded one large containership - Seaspan Zambezi - plus a few feeders. The tug SD Rebel put on a display for us while she was going up to the Seaspan Zambezi to escort her out.

In the 8th Petroleumhaven, the Tsakos Aframax Proteas could be seen. The Euromax terminal was quiet with only the Georgia Trader of any size berthed. On the way to Maaskvlakte 2 we saw the shuttle tanker Petronordic moored awaiting orders.

Fortunately, both sides of the container complex at Maasvlakte 2 were busy. One one side were the CMA CGM Marco Polo, Vladimir and Sydney Trader, while on the other, the heavy lift ship Zhen Hua 24 was discharging two large container cranes onto APM Terminals facility and the MSC Ingy was also berthed at the terminal.

Retracing our steps into the Europahaven, we saw the recently arrived MSC Atlantic, ER Yokohama and Maersk Gibraltar lying alongside, while the petrochemical complex had the Chembulk Savannah and Chem Houston berthed.

On to the Caland Canal where the bulk berths were full with the bulkers Linda Oldendorff, Voluda and Iolcos Unity on EECV and the bulkers Harvest Frost, Golden Endurer, Mondial Iris and Maia on the grain terminals.

Norient’s Baltic Mariner 1 passed us outward bound in the Caland Canal as did the Nissos Schinoussa. Other tankers seen included three VLCCs - Nisalah, Atromitos and Front Prince, the latter lying on the buoys with the Searover transferring cargo.

Other large tankers in the complex included the Minerva Georgia, British Cormorant, Spirit II, Horizon Aphrodite, Searunner, Pacific Treasurers, Targale among others.

The Brittaniehaven yielded the usual number of Cobelfrets before we entered the lock to return to the Hartel Canal to view Botlek. Alongside the repair yard outer jetty was the bulker Peace Garden and in the one of the drydocks was P&O’s Spirit of Britain with the tankers Sadah River, Stolt Apal, Cartagena, and some smaller ones at the various petrochemical complexes.

Again some smaller tankers were lying alongside Vopak’s Vlaardingen complex and as a large En Avant tug was outward bound towing a pontoon, we passed by the Eemshaven which was fairly empty and headed for the Waalhaven.

In the Waalhaven was the Zola, Seajacks Scylla, CGM CMA Saint Laurent, Rio Thelon and the Delphis Bothnia, which was coming in from Europoort, plus some smaller ships.

The bulk carrier Athena Triumph passed us inbound before we headed for the Lekhaven to see a Russian tug (to keep the ‘tugnologists’ happy!), plus others and then headed into the Wiltonhaven, which revealed the Marfret Marajo in drydock.

So ended another successful day around the Rotterdam harbour complex and our thanks must go the TSS committee, Tony Bussel and Hans and his crew for looking after us so well again with another excellent selection of food.

A provisional booking has been made for Sunday, 16th June, 2019, taking in the same format.

Saturday 4th August 2018 (12:00 departure) - Solent Cruise

A beautiful sunny day greeted the TSS members assembling on Town Quay, Southampton for the second Solent Cruise of the year. We were soon boarding the Ocean Scene for our cruise around Southampton and the Solent. Due to the lack of shipping in Portsmouth it was decided by the tour leaders to replace a cruise around Portsmouth Docks with a trip out to the St Helen’s anchorage where several vessels were anchored.

Once underway we proceeded up to the Western Docks, where the cruise ship Celebrity Silhouette was at the City Cruise Terminal. The vehicle carrier Viking Odessa was at berth 105 having arrived from Le Havre. At berth 5 on the container terminal was UASC’s large containership Barzan. Evergreen’s Ever Lucky was around the corner on berth 1. We then retraced our steps passing Fred Olsen’s cruise ship Braemar in the Eastern Docks as well as the Wallenius Wilhelmsen vehicle carrier Thalatta.

On our way down Southampton Water we passed the incoming vehicle carrier Autostar. The tankers Angela, Aziz Torlak, British Cirrus and Vinland were berthed at Fawley.

Out now via the North Channel in the Solent for St. Helen’s Anchorage, whilst our lunch was served. There were four vessels in the anchorage. The ro-ro Arrow which had previously been standing in for the Condor Ferries out of Portsmouth when they were away for their refits was the first to be photographed. Also in the anchorage was the large Cypriot flagged tug/offshore vessel Artemis. She had previously arrived at Portsmouth with a Cable Laying Vessel in tow from Elefsis, Greece. In addition there were two small tankers, Epic Bell and Aland which were also photographed.

Having covered the anchorage we made our way back to Southampton. On nearing Calshot we passed the outbound cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse bound for Zeebrugge. Crossing the channel to be on the sunny side of the channel we photographed the next departure, the vehicle carrier Thalatta, bound for Baltimore. The final departure of the afternoon was Fred Olsen’s cruise ship Braemar all photographed in lovely light.

By now we were approaching Southampton, where our cruise finished around 6pm. Our thanks go to our tour leaders Dave Smith and Ian Cochran and also to the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene who always look after us well.


BARZAN at the container terminal.


EVER LUCKY was also at the container terminal.


Ro-ro ARROW in St Helen's Anchorage.


Offshore vessel ARTEMIS in St Helen's Anchorage.


CELEBRITY SILHOUETTE was the first cruise ship to depart.


The vehicle carrier THALATTA outward bound in Southampton Water.


Fred Olsen's BRAEMAR departing for Eidfjord.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks.

Saturday 10th November 2018 (10:00 to 16:00) - Southampton Ship Show

We had a table at the Ocean Liner Society's Southampton Ship Show. The show was held at Southampton Masonic Hall, Albion Place, Southampton SO14 2DD.

Members of the committee were present and attendance at the show was good.

Date confirmed.



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