Thames Ship Society



             2019 Review              (Updated 21st Oct 2019) 

The review of our programme of events for 2019 is shown below.

Saturday 26th January 2019 - Winter Social at Dover.

Some 38 members met at the Dover Marina Hotel on the last Saturday of January for our regular Winter Social get together in almost Spring like weather with good views of shipping in the Channel.

There were plenty of ferry movements in and out of port, including a few Cypriot flagged P&O ferries. Long may these movements last uninterrupted by political events.

The new Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development was now very noticeable outside the hotel. Most of the jetties appear to have been completed with the infrastructure now being put into place together with a new lock being built connecting the inner basin. It was thought that the reefer and general cargo complex could be open by the end of this year, so an incentive to return again in 2020.

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. It was good to see Norman Smith from France and our old friend Andre van Hee who, although in his 90s, had come across from Belgium to join us the day.

After lunch, the tables and chairs were re-arranged to enable local resident Mike Jackson to give a slide show of vessels calling at Dover. These included the ferries, cruise ships, bunker tankers and the various craft involved with the building of the new cargo berths, plus a few coastal vessels that had arrived with various cargoes, also connected with the new works.

Mike also showed pictures of a couple of large cable laying vessels that were operating in the area repairing and inspecting the cables running along the seabed connecting the UK with France and Belgium - the only things that will be soon - Ed.

Of course, the tragic human cargo trying to cross the Channel has led to various military craft being stationed at Dover and Ramsgate and during the weekend, ‘HMS Enterprise’ was on standby in Folkestone Bay.

For those staying overnight, Sunday dawned relatively clear but cold following a rain storm. There was plenty of shipping observed in the Channel with the help of AIS.

Our thanks must go to Dave Smith and Stephen Marginson for organising the day, Mike for the slide show and to the staff of the Dover Marina Hotel who looked after us very well once again.

It is hoped to repeat the Winter Social on or around Saturday 28th January, 2020. Members will be informed as soon as the details have been ironed out via a circular due to be issued later this year.

Photos from our 2019 Winter Social.











Photos and report by Ian Cochran.

Saturday 6th April 2019 - AGM in London (AGM commencing at 14:00)

This year, in a break with tradition, the AGM was held at the Wetherspoons Public House, Ledger Building, West India Quay, Canary Wharf, London.

We had a private room hired for the day from 10:00 for a committee meeting, followed by the AGM commencing at 14:00. This give participants time before and after the AGM to explore Canary Wharf and the surrounding area.

The Ledger Building is located along West India Quay (the old North Dock) next to the Museum of London Docklands and near to the shopping malls in Canary Wharf.

There was no charge to attend the AGM and participants had the opportunity to purchase food and drink at the bar at reasonable prices.

Saturday 27th April 2019 - South West Ship Show

We had a table at the South West Ship Show. The ship show took place at the BAWA Social Club, 589 Southmead Road, BRISTOL BS34 7RG from 10:00 to 15:30.

Members of the committee were present for the day.


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


CHEM NEW ORLEANS arriving at Fawley with the tug APEX.


The vehicle carrier MANON at th Eastern Docks.


CHRISTINE berthed in the River Itchen.


SWAMI loading scrap at Princes Wharf.


COSCO VIETNAM at the container terminal.


AZURA departing for Warnemunde.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks

Saturday 8th June 2019 (12:00 departure) - Solent Cruise

Due to the remnants of Storm Miguel still being with us the first TSS Solent Cruise of 2019 was confined to Southampton Harbour and Southampton Water as far as Calshot. The Solent was rather rough with wind gusts up to 40 mph so we were unable to visit Portsmouth Harbour. The weather, apart from the wind was generally bright, with sunny spells and the occasional shower.

Having cast off from Town Quay we proceeded down Southampton water passing the incoming UECC vehicle carrier Autostar arriving from Zeebrugge and the large UASC containership Salahuddin, arriving from Antwerp for the container terminal. At Fawley the tanker Betty Knutsen was leaving. Shortly afterwards, the tanker Chem New Orleans arrived from Antwerp, assisted by the Fawley tugs Apex and Phenix in rather choppy seas. On our way back to Southampton we passed the outbound cruise ship Seven Seas Navigator which was making an early departure for a cruise ship. She was bound for Brest for dry-docking.

We then made our way up the River Itchen. The Wallenius Wilhelmsen vehicle carrier Manon was at berth 35, loading for Halifax. In the Itchen the smart tug Christine was berthed having arrived from Poole. The veteran tug Princeton was also berthed on the river undergoing renovations. At Princes Wharf, the Swami was loading scrap before departing, bound for Tilbury. On our way back down the Itchen we called into Empress Dock where the research ship Discovery was berthed having previously arrived from Walvis Bay.

Then around Dockhead past Fred Olsen’s Braemar at 38/39 berth. P&O’s Britannia was in the Ocean Dock, together with the dredger Sand Heron. In the Western Docks, the Azura was at berth 106 and the coaster Arklow Valiant was at berth 109. In the container terminal, the Cosco Vietnam was berthed, together with the previously photographed Salahuddin.

Retracing our steps we paused to watch the departure of P&O’s Azura for Warnemunde in interesting lighting conditions. By this time it was time to make our way back to Town Quay where the cruise ended. Our thanks go to Dave Smith and Ian Cochran for organising the day and also to Captain Rob and the crew of the Ocean Scene for looking after us so well.

Sunday 16th June 2019 (09:00 departure) - Rotterdam and Europoort Cruise on Partyschip Diane.

Some 40 members gathered at Vlaardingen in fine weather for the usual 9 am departure.

Once again, 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, there were a few movements, including the Navig8 Andesine seen outward bound.

Once through the Hartel Canal to keep the barge enthusiasts happy, we entered the Beer Kanal where the feeder Conmar Bay was at a layby berth. The Mississippihaven revealed the large bulkers Captain Vangelis L and Lacon, as well as Carisbrooke’s Kristin C.

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to enter the Amazonehaven as the MOL Empire was departing and the MOL Tribute was arriving. The eagle eyed spotted Evergreen’s new containership Ever Golden and a ‘K’ line containership berthed.

Idling off the Europahaven was the Munich Maersk, which was outbound from Maasvlake 2. She was being held until the MOL vessels had cleared.

In the 8th Petroleumhaven, the Tsakos Suezmax Alaska could be seen. The Euromax terminal contained the Talos and the usual collection of feeders. On the way to Maasvlakte 2 we saw the shuttle tanker Jag Leela on the buoys awaiting orders and the relatively new Ice Class Maersk containership, Vilnia Maersk, which was was moving off the buoys to berth at Euromax.

The only vessel of note at Maasvlakte 2 was the Maribo Maersk, which set off a chain of jokes about sweets.

Retracing our steps into the Europahaven, we saw the MSC Vidisha R, ER Tokyo, MSC Alessia and Maersk Enping lying alongside, while at the petrochemical complex the Handysize Omodos and RHL Dresden were berthed.

Onto the Caland Canal where the large bulk berths contained the Leo Facility, JSW Salem and Golden Endeavour on EECV and the bulker Anglo Barinthus on the grain terminal outer berth.

Moving up the Caland Canal, we saw the Oinoussian Star and Pacific Jewels. Other tankers seen included the VLCC Farhah, Bow Star, Troy, ex Cape Troy, Affinity V, Baltic Sky 1, Seamusic, STI Hammersmith and Navigator Leo, plus several smaller chemical and products tankers.

The Brittaniehaven yielded the usual number of Cobelfrets but as the lock was ready we did not stop and returned via the Hartel Canal to view Botlek. In the drydocks were the Happy Buccaneer and the Songa Fortune with the tankers Southern Quokka, which had everyone on Google to find out what a ‘Quokka’ was - a little Australian furry animal - Greta Maersk, Stolt Inspiration, and some smaller ones at the various petrochemical complexes.

In the St Laurenshaven were the bulkers Mandarin Singapore, Sofia and Solitaire 1.

In the upper petroleum harbours and alongside the Vlaardingen complex were the tankers Champion Trader, Genuine Venus, Elandra Baltic and Agisilaos, plus smaller tankers.

In the Eemshaven was the usual collection of feeders, plus the MACS multi-purpose vessel Bright Horizon and the laid up Russian vessel Inzhener Trubin.

The Waalhaven proved to be busy with the tankers Gold Point, Stena Primorsk, Navig8 Aragonite, Selenka and Atlantic Guard lying at various berths and buoys. A bonus was the Sri Lankan flag containership Mercs Jaffna, plus the CMA CGM Marseille, CMB Adrien, Talia H, Captain Tassos D, and several tugs and offshore units. The nearby Franklin Offshore base also yielded a couple of larger offshore units.

Crossing the river, we noted the Orange Wave at her usual berth and in the Lekhaven were the tugs MTS Viscount and the Greek Christos XXII.

The Laxfoss passed us inward bound before we headed into the Wiltonhaven to see CMV’s cruise ship Columbus languishing in drydock having suffered rudder damage at the end of May. Two new dredgers were also seen as was the self discharger Stornes undergoing repairs.

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

A provisional booking has been made for Sunday, 21st June, 2020, taking in the same format - weather willing.


MUNICH MAERSK departing from Maasvlakte 2.


Bulker SOFIA in Botlek.


SAMIRA in Eemhaven.


MERCS JAFFNA moored in Waalhaven.


Greek tug Christos XXII in Lekhaven.


The new dredger VOX AMALIA in the shipyards at Wiltonhaven.


UNIQUE INFINITY artiving at Vlaardingen.

Report by Ian Cochran and photos by Roger Hammond.


MORNING CROWN inbound for Southampton off Calshot.


THE WORLD anchored in the Solent off Cowes.


HAMBURG BRIDGE in the Solent bound for Southampton.


The ro-ro ARROW in St. Helens anchorage.


DORNUM was also in St. Helens anchorage.




The new tug MARKSMAN in Portsmouth.


SAPPHIRE PRINCESS outbound at Cowes.


VINGA SAFIR outward bound from Southampton.


P&O's ARCADIA departing from Southampton.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks.

Saturday 13th July 2019 (12:00 departure) - Solent Cruise

About 50 TSS members congregated at Town Quay, Southampton for a Solent Cruise with a difference. For the first time we were on Solent & Wightline’s vessel Ali Cat . The Ali Cat is a faster boat allowing us to cover more areas of the Solent and allowing us to include St. Helen’s anchorage and travelling to Portsmouth via the main shipping channel and thus missing less shipping movements.

We started the cruise under generally overcast skies as we made our way around Southampton Docks. The cruise ships Independence of the Seas and Azura were in the Western Docks with the sole occupant of the container terminal being the Cosco Vietnam. In the Eastern Docks was P&O’s Arcadia and the Sapphire Princess. The vehicle carriers Iris Leader and Asian Trust were also in the Eastern Docks. As we made our way down to Fawley the skies began to brighten and by the time we were at Fawley the sun was out and remained out for the remainder of the trip.

Fawley was busy with the Navigator Grace and Dubai Beauty amongst the tankers present. Just after Fawley we passed the first movement of the day, the rather rusty Grimaldi vehicle carrier Grande Ellade arriving from Antwerp. She was closely followed by the vehicle carrier Morning Crown also arriving from Antwerp. We then proceeded out into the Solent via the main channel to Cowes where the residential passenger ship The World was anchored off Cowes. After the small detour to photograph The World we returned to the main channel to intercept the inbound container ship Hamburg Bridge bound for Southampton and travelling at speed having arrived from Le Havre.

Then it was out towards the anchorage at St Helen's, passing the inbound container feeder Elbstrom on the way. There were three ships in the anchorage, the Arrow which has been providing extra capacity on Condor Ferries service from Portsmouth to the Channel Islands, the small cargo ship Dornum which had arrived from Shoreham and finally the Gundem Serra which had previously arrived at Southampton from Aviles.

Having photographed the ships in the anchorage we made our way to Portsmouth, passing the outbound ferries Mont St Michel and Etretat on the way. Portsmouth yielded the naval vessels HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Dragon, HMS Defender and HMS Kent, amongst others. The new SMS Towage harbour tug Marksman was photographed in the commercial port. We then retraced out steps back out of Portsmouth Harbour, passing the new Wightlink ferry Victoria of Wight on the way.

It was now time to make our way back to Southampton, via the main channel so we would pass any outbound vessels. First out was the Sapphire Princess which we passed off Cowes. She was bound for Bergen. Next out was the bunkering tanker Vinga Safir, bound for Cork, which had provided bunkers for the Azura in Southampton. Next we passed the cruise ship Independence of the Seas, bound for Gibraltar. She was followed by the UECC vehicle carrier Autostar on her way to Santander. As we got back to Sothampton P&O’s cruise ship Arcadia was swinging off dockhead, before departing for Cherbourg. The final departure was P&O’s Azura bound for Stavanger.

Our cruise was now over and it was time to return to Town Quay and say our farewells. A very successful cruise with plenty of excellent photo opportunities. The Ali Cat is an excellent and stable platform for photography and I for one look forward to our next cruise on board her. Our thanks go to the captain and crew of the Ali Cat and our committee members Ian Cochran and Dave Smith for organising the day. Finally to Neil Richardson our “Navigating Officer” for ensuring we were in the right place at the right time for the best photo opportunities.

Saturday 14th September 2019 (12:00 departure) - Solent Cruise

In bright sunny weather, 43 TSS members set off on the Ocean Scene for the third Solent Cruise of 2019 visiting Portsmouth via Southampton Docks, Fawley and the Solent.

Having cast off from Town Quay we proceeded upriver passing the Western Docks, where the cruise ship Independence of the Seas was berthed. Passing the Shieldhall, on 106 berth was the coastal vessel Tollund and on the western side of the KGV drydock, the Najade was loading pallets. Onto the container terminal where the NYK Wren was berthed. The only other containership at the terminal was the feeder Bernhard Schepers.

Retracing our steps to head out into Southampton Water, we saw that the Southampton Boat Show was in full swing. Sapphire Princess was on 46 berth with the car carrier Garnet Leader on 44 berth. On 38/39 berth, we passed Fred Olsen’s Braemar, which was being bunkered by the Skaw Provider. At the grain loading berth (36 berth) was the coaster John Friedrich K, which had just completed cargo work and was preparing to sail.

An uneventful run to Fawley revealed the LPG carrier Navigator Ceto, and the products tankers, Ami, Askholmen, Thames and dwarfing everything else, the VLCC New Vanguard. Berthed inside was the coastal tanker Mary A. Having passed the tankers it was time for lunch.

Heading into the Solent, the eagle eyed spotted the OSV Aethra, which had just weighed anchor and was headed off towards the Nab. Approaching Southsea, the Mont St. Michel was spotted outward bound for Ouistreham. On entering Portsmouth Harbour it became clear that the fleet was ‘not in port’. At the Gosport fuel depot was the MoD chartered Cumbrian Fisher. In the navy base could be seen around three destroyers, HMS Mersey, HMS Westminster and Endurance, plus a plethora of tugs and small craft, We waited just off the area to allow the ropax Etretat to pass on her way to Le Havre. Alongside the cargo berth was the Ferryspeed chartered Musketier.

Ocean Scene then sailed back up the North Channel towards Southampton Water to catch the cruise ship departures.Leading the convoy was the Sapphire Princess, closely followed by the Independence of the Seas and the Braemar. UECC’s Autostar was also following outward bound as was the car carrier Garnet Leader. Following us up Southampton Water was the bunker tanker Whitchampion, which was arriving from Poole. The bunker tankers now serve Southampton, Portsmouth, Poole and Portland.

So ended another successful day on the Solent in gorgeous weather and our thanks must go to the TSS Committee for organising the day and also to Captain Rob and the crew of the Ocean Scene for looking after us so well once again.

Report by Ian Cochran


NYK WREN at the container terminal.


JIF ARTEMIS off Lee on Solent.


ETRETAT departing from Portsmouth.


ISLAND FLYER departing from Southsea for Ryde.


GARNET LEADER departing from Southampton.

Photos by Roger Hammond


Tanker LUKE passing Rendsburg on 27th September.


VECTIS OSPREY passing Rendsburg, Northbound, on 27th September.


The ATLANTIC SAIL in the floating dock at Hamburg on 28th September.


The new fire fighting vessel BRANDDIREKTOR WESTPHAL was also at Hamburg.


The preserved vessel SCHAARHORN underway in Hamburg Harbour on the 28th.


Ro-ro TIMCA passing under the Rendsburg Transporter Bridge on 29th September.


Tug FAIRPLAY-33 passing Rendsburg, Southbound, on 30th September.

Photos by Roger Hammond / Des Upcraft

26th - 30th September 2019 - Trip to Rendsburg

Fifteen TSS stalwarts turned up at Heathrow on Thursday 26th September keenly looking forward to a long weekend at the Convent Garden Hotel, Rendsburg. Our late departing flight had the inevitable knock on effects to our arrival in Hamburg and thence in Rendsburg although, we did have time for some photography before it got dark.

Friday saw members getting their breath back and spreading out along the banks of the canal to their preferred viewpoints. Vessels passing during the day included BBC Delaware; Vectis Osprey; M1067 FGS Bad Rappenau; Thor Friendship; Seine Highway and Fast Sus.

On the Saturday, a small group set off to look at the shipping in Hamburg, this included Atlantic Sail; Europa 2; fire tender Branddirektor Westphal; CMA CGM Neva; F225 Rheinland-Pfalz and F223 Nordrhein-Westfalen of the German Navy; Lapis Arrow and various rebranded VB tugs.

Sunday saw most members gathered near the hotel sheltering from the almost continuous rain. Ships seen included Eva Schulte; Loraland; Balmoral; three Rambows, Vera Rambow, Ida Rambow and Bianca Rambow and Huelin Dispatch.

On Monday, our 13.30 departure meant a short day and ships were few and far between, Snow Crystal; Scot Venture; Fairplay 33 and Kristiina were logged. Our coach was on time for our trip back to the airport at Hamburg and after check-in, snacks, etc., we were soon on board for our flight home in the pouring rain.

Arriving back at Heathrow, we found that it was raining here as well. Baggage collection saw us wishing each other well and see you at the Dover Winter Social. With thanks to Stephen Marginson and SQT for organising another successful trip.

Report by Roger Hammond

Saturday 16th November 2019 - Southampton Ship Show

We took a table at the Ocean Liner Society's Southampton Ship Show.

The show took place at The Southampton Masonic Hall at the City Centre location of Albion Place SO14 2DD. Doors were open from 10:00 to 16:00.

Members of the committee were present throughout the day.



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