Thames Ship Society



             2022 Review              (Updated 24th October 2022) 

Saturday 23rd April 2022 (12:00 departure) - AGM, 60th Anniversary Celebration and Solent Cruise

On Saturday 23rd April over 40 TSS members assembled on Town Quay, Southampton, for the AGM and Cruise on board the Blue Funnel vessel Ocean Scene. This year, the cruise also celebrated the 60th Anniversary year of the TSS with a special buffet lunch included. It was a bright and sunny day but with it a fresh North Easterly breeze. We cast off and commenced our cruise around Southampton Docks. We headed up to the Western Docks where the first vessel photographed was the brand new cruise ship Celebrity Beyond which had arrived straight from her builders in St. Nazaire a couple of days previously. Next was the vehicle carrier Hoegh Trigger and ahead of her was the smaller vehicle carrier Autoprestige. The P&O cruise ship Ventura was at berth 106 and finally at berth 109 the bulk carrier Ocean Innovation had just arrived to load a cargo of scrap metal for Damietta.

At the container terminal the large containership Al Nefud was at berth 5, with two smaller vessels, Hapag-Lloyd’s Torrente and the Chinese Cosco vessel Xin Yan Tai completing the vessels in the Western Docks. We then retraced our steps and proceeded out of the harbour past P&O’s cruise ship Iona and the cruise ship Sky Princess in the Eastern Docks. At Fawley Oil Terminal the tankers Epic Sicily, Atlantic Symphony and Navig8 Prestige JKB were berthed, whilst on the opposite banks of Southampton Water the tanker Thornbury was berthed at the Hamble Jetty.

At this point our excellent 60th anniversary buffet lunch was served and enjoyed by everyone on board. As we crossed the Solent in the North Channel bound for Portsmouth we passed the inbound coastal tanker LS Jamie which was heading for Fawley and she was followed by the dredger City of Cardiff, an infrequent visitor to Southampton. Portsmouth Harbour was dominated by the two aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. In the commercial port, the refrigerated cargo ship Atlantic Klipper on the Geest Line service was discharging produce from the Caribbean.

Having completed our circuit of Portsmouth Harbour we headed back to Southampton. At this point the Annual General Meeting was held during which members of the committee presented reports on the activities of the previous year and the financial and membership details. As we arrived back in Southampton the cruise ship Sky Princess was swinging off dockhead prior to departing on a cruise with first stop Bergen. Unfortunately some pollution in the form of smoke from a wildfire in Surrey, which had been blown across Hampshire on the stiff North Easterly breeze was affecting Southampton, reducing the visibility and the quality of light for photographs. Having photographed the Sky Princess we made our way into Empress Dock in the Eastern Docks, where the research ship James Cook and the vehicle carrier Autostar were berthed. Having explored the Eastern Docks we made our way back into the harbour where the Celebrity Beyond was departing for a short promotional cruise in the channel. Unfortunately the escorting tug spraying water and the air pollution made photography difficult for the bow shots of the new vessel, but we accompanied her out of the harbour and were able to get some good stern shots of her as the tug stopped the water spraying.

All too quickly, it was time for our cruise to end and we arrived into Town Quay at 6pm. Our thanks go to Captain Rob and the crew of the Ocean Scene for an excellent cruise and to the members of the committee, especially Ian Cochran and Dave Smith for organising the day.


Bulk carrier OCEAN INNOVATION in the Western Docks.


COSCO containership XIN YAN TAI at the container terminal, Southampton.


LS JAMIE inward bound in the Solent for Fawley refinery.




Refrigerated cargo ship ATLANTIC KLIPPER at Portsmouth.


SKY PRINCESS departing Southampton for Bergen.


JAMES COOK in Empress Dock, Southampton.


CELEBRITY BEYOND receiving the traditional water spraying escort.


CELEBRITY BEYOND departing from Southampton.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks








Photos from our 2022 Summer Social

Photos by Dave Smith and report by Ian Cochran

Saturday 18th June 2022 (12:00-17:00) - Summer Social

For a second year in a row, we decided to arrange a Summer Social at Dover.

Members met at the Dover Marina Hotel on Saturday 18th June this year for our regular get together in reasonable weather following the hottest day of the year thus far, the day before.

There were plenty of ferry movements in and out of port and participants could take the opportunity of walking along the pedestrian pier next to the new multi-purpose general cargo berths, which are now fully operational.

An added bonus was the geared bulk carrier Interlink Quality alongside the No 1 Cruise Terminal. She had been discharging steel from Algeria at the multi-purpose berth but it was thought she had been moved, due to the cruise ship Jewel of the Seas being scheduled to be alongside the general cargo berth on Sunday, while the Carnival Pride would occupy Cruise Terminal No 2.

Our Dover correspondent, Terry Harman, has since advised us that the bulker has moved back to the cold store on the multi-purpose berth, following the brief visit of the Pacific Reefer, which sailed for Vlissingen. In addition, another bulk carrier, HC Jette Marit had shifted to Deal anchorage from the berth and was due to return.

There was also the usual stream of traffic clearly visible passing through the Strait on a reasonably clear day.

The day took on its usual format of pre-lunch drinks, teas and/or coffees and a chat, before sitting down in the Chartwell Suite for lunch, which was up to its normal very high standard. Due to social distancing being lifted, we were placed on tables of six persons each, enabling members to enjoy a conversation over lunch.

After lunch, the tables and chairs were re-arranged to enable a presentation to be given by Derek Sands, a shipping photographer from Dovercourt near Harwich. Derek showed photographs that he had taken around the Haven region, covering Felixstowe, Ipswich, Harwich/Parkeston, Mistley and with a couple showing shipping movements at Brightlingsea.

Many of the pictures were taken from the Harwich/Dovercourt area looking across to where every ship must navigate around a sharp 90 degree bend to enter the Haven ports area, which marks the confluence of the rivers Orwell and Stour. Others were taken from various vantage points along the rivers, including the old Ha’Penney Pier at Harwich, Wrabness and from Shotley across the other side of the river.

Almost the full range of ship types were covered in the presentation from the world’s largest containerships, mini-bulkers, tankers, coasters, tugs, dredgers, wind farm service and research vessels, plus other types associated with a busy shipping area. Perhaps the presentation’s ‘jewel in the crown’ was the 1966-built Danish-registered 772 dwt coaster Saturn, which was photographed crossing Dovercourt Bay in ballast having discharged a cargo at one of the Essex river wharves. She was built by JJ Sietas as the Wilma Frank for German owners.

Our thanks must go to Stephen Marginson for organising the day and to Derek Sands for an informative presentation, and to the staff of the Dover Marina Hotel who looked after us very well once again.

Saturday 9th July 2022 (12:00 departure) - Solent Cruise

Just over 40 TSS members congregated on Town Quay, Southampton, on the 9th July for the first of this year’s Solent Cruises on board the Solent and Wightline Cruises vessel Ali Cat. After a cloudy morning, as we were boarding the boat, the clouds started melting away and we had a lovely calm and sunny afternoon cruising around Portsmouth, Southampton and the Solent.

We started by exploring the Eastern Docks at Southampton where, unusually, the two research ships were in port. Discovery was at berth 31 in the River Itchen and James Cook was in the Empress Dock. The vehicle carrier ARC Independence was at berth 35 in the Itchen having arrived from Gdynia. The tanker Stolt Breland was about to depart from Fawley Oil Terminal, so we made our way down Southampton Water to make sure we didn’t miss her. However, she was taking a long time to leave her berth, so we decided to proceed out into the Solent with a view of catching her as she passed the St. Helen’s Anchorage.

Inward bound in the Solent to take the Stolt Breland’s berth was the tanker Habip Bayrak. We passed her at close quarters just before she picked up her pilot for the voyage to Fawley. Unfortunately there was only one vessel in the St. Helen’s Anchorage, the tanker Caroline A, which had previously arrived from Antwerp and was awaiting a berth at Fawley. By the time we had photographed the Caroline A the Stolt Breland had almost caught us up, so we photographed her next as she headed out to the Nab Anchorage and subsequently to Rotterdam.

Then it was time to do our circuit of Portsmouth Harbour. Both aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales were in port as well as the usual clutch of destroyers and frigates. The Oceania Cruises cruise ship Marina was at the cruise terminal having arrived from Kirkwall. We also went up Fareham Creek to view the laid up ex HMS Monmouth awaiting disposal. Having completed Portsmouth Harbour we headed back to Southampton via the North Channel. At this point the Gosport Inshore Lifeboat, which was on exercises, did a transfer of some crew members to our vessel for a practice.

Once back in Southampton Water, we passed the outward bound Princess Cruises cruise ship Sky Princess at close quarters. She was bound for Kristiansand. We then proceeded up to the Western Docks in Southampton, where the cruise ships Celebrity Silhouette, Bolette and Ventura were getting ready for departure. The vehicle carrier Autoprestige was also in the Western Docks casting off for Bremerhaven. At the container terminal the OOCL Asia and CMA CGM Tosca were both working cargo. Having photographed all the shipping in the Western Docks, were started to make our way back to Town Quay, following the cruise ship Ventura out of the dock.

All too soon it was time for our cruise to finish. Our thanks go to the captain and crew of the Ali Cat for looking after us so well. Also thanks to members of the committee, Ian Cochran and Dave Smith for organising the day and finally to our navigator Neil Richardson for making sure we were in the right place at the right time in order to maximise photographic opportunities.


HABIP BAYRAK in the Solent bound for Fawley.


Tanker CAROLINE A was in St. Helen's Anchorage.


The STOLT BRELAND outward bound in the Solent having departed from Fawley.


HMS PRINCE OF WALES in Portsmouth Harbour.


Cruise ship MARINA at the cruise terminal, Portsmouth.


SKY PRINCESS in Southampton Water, bound for Kristiansand.


Fred Olsen's BOLETTE in the Western Docks, Southampton.


OOCL ASIA in the container terminal, Southampton.


P&O's VENTURA departing the Western Docks, passing the BOLETTE and CELEBRITY SILHOUETTE.

Report and photos by Chris Brooks


Dredger SAND FALCON at Harwich.


MARCHEN MAERSK was at Berth 8&9, Felixstowe...


... her fleetmate VENTA MAERSK was at the Trinity Terminal.


NAVIOS VERMILION was also at the Trinity berths.


MSC MICHELLE was the last ship photographed at Felixstowe.


MAGPIE S was at Ipswich.


ANTJE K was also at Ipswich.


ARKLOW ARTIST, one of two Arklow vessels at Ipswich.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks

Wednesday 17th August 2022 - River Orwell Sailing Barge Trip

Despite the forecast of rain and thunderstorms TSS members gathered on a sunny morning at Ha'penny Pier, Harwich, for the cruise around Felixstowe and Ipswich on board the historic Thames sailing barge Thistle. Thistle was built on the Clyde in 1895 and traded for many years around the Thames and East Coast, transhipping cargoes from local wharves and jetties to and from ships on the rivers or to and from vessels in the London docks.

We set off at 12:30pm and headed for Felixstowe. Felixstowe was well populated with container ships. First photographed at berths 8 and 9, was the 21,413 TEU OOCL Scandinavia which had previously arrived from Singapore. Astern of her was the Maersk Line Triple-E class vessel Marchen Maersk, once one of the largest container ships afloat, she is now well down the list with a capacity of 18,300 TEU.

At the Trinity berths were the 3,600 TEU Venta Maersk which had arrived from London Gateway and the Navios Vermilion whose previous port was Salerno. Finally the MSC Michelle with a capacity of 23,656 TEU took the crown for the largest vessel in port. With her sisters she is equal sixth in the list of the largest container ships operating at the moment.

We then headed up the River Orwell, towards Ipswich. Still in sunshine, however, the weather in the direction of Ipswich looked rather grey and wet. Sure enough, soon, we had a short period of rain. Luckily this cleared up as we approached the Orwell Bridge and Ipswich Docks, though it was still rather overcast. The first ship photographed at Ipswich was the Magpie S. She was built in 2007 at Varna as the Tangra, becoming the Magpie S in 2020. She had arrived at Ipswich from Hull. Next was the Antje K of Alstership which had previously arrived from Rotterdam. The final two ships present were fleetmates from the Arklow Shipping fleet. First was the Arklow Clan which had arrived from Bilbao and then the Arklow Artist a relatively new addition to the fleet, built in 2021.

Having covered Ipswich Docks, we made our way back down the River Orwell and headed back to Harwich where, all too soon, the cruise ended. With thanks to the crew of the Thistle for looking after us so well and to Stephen Magginson, Dave Smith and the other members of the committee for organising a very enjoyable day out.

Saturday 3rd September 2022 (12:00 departure) - Solent Cruise

On Saturday 3rd September it was time for our final Solent Cruise of the year. We were booked on the Solent and Wightline Cruises vessel Ali Cat, but for some reason her sistership Solent Cat arrived at Town Quay, Southampton for our embarkation.

The aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales which had made the news earlier in the week, having suffered a broken propellor shaft on her way to America off the Isle of Wight was anchored in the Solent. She was due to enter Portsmouth under tow later in the afternoon, which would mean Portsmouth port would be closed for her entry – so it was decided to head for Portsmouth first to avoid getting stuck in the harbour. We therefore headed down Southampton Water, passing the tanker Excello berthing at Fawley, having arrived from Rotterdam. She was being assisted by the tug Ibex as she swung on to her berth. Also present at Fawley were the tankers Alpine Marina and Atlantic Jupiter.

We proceeded out via the main channel and met the incoming cargo ship Breb Mukran off Cowes. She was bound for the Western Docks in Southampton and had arrived from Hull. HMS Prince of Wales looked rather forlorn anchored in the Solent waiting to be towed into Portsmouth. In Portsmouth her sistership HMS Queen Elizabeth was getting ready to take over the duties of her sistership. The refrigerated cargo ship Baltic Klipper was in the commercial port at Portsmouth on her regular service from the Caribbean. Having completed our circuit of the port we headed out towards St. Helen’s anchorage. It was at this point we were informed that our captain was licensed to proceed as far as the Nab Anchorages 1, 2 and 3 where the larger ships awaiting a berth in Southampton anchor. A first for the TSS to get this far out!

At the Nab anchorage we photographed the LPG tanker Clipper Hermes which was waiting for a berth at Portland, the vehicle carrier Morning Carol which had arrived from Antwerp, and the bulk carrier Carolina Bolten which had arrived from Garrucha and was awaiting a berth in Southampton. On the way back from the Nab Anchorage, we photographed the coastal tankers berthed in St. Helen’s anchorage, namely the Eco Universe, Mona Swan and Stolt Cormorant. They were all awaiting berths at Fawley.

On our way back to Southampton, we passed the HMS Prince of Wales, being towed into Portsmouth by several tugs. The first of the afternoon departures from Southampton, the cruise ship Sky Princess passed us off Fawley in nice sunshine. She was bound for Gdynia. She was followed by the Cosco containership Cosco Malaysia which was bound for Antwerp. We then headed for the Western Docks, Southampton, where the cruise ships MSC Magnifica, MSC Virtuosa and Ventura were berthed. The Ventura and MSC Virtuosa were both getting ready to depart.

At berth 109, the bulk carrier Canary was loading a cargo of scrap metal, destined for Alexandria. At the container terminal the feeder Atlantis A, the Hapag-Lloyd containership Tolten and the MSC Maria Elena were working cargo. By the time we got back to the Western Docks, the Ventura had departed and the MSC Virtuosa was underway, bound for the Upper Swinging Ground to turn around. By now, it was time for our cruise to end and we arrived back at Town Quay.

As usual our thanks go to Dave Smith and Ian Cochran for organising the day and to Neil Richardson for his expert navigation. Lastly our thanks to the captain and crew of the Solent Cat for looking after us so well.


EXCELLO arriving at Fawley.


BREB MUKRAN inward bound in the Solent off Cowes.


HMS PRINCE OF WALES anchored in the Solent.


LPG tanker CLIPPER HERMES was in the Nab Anchorage.


... as was the bulk carrier CAROLINA BOLTEN.


HMS PRINCE OF WALES being towed through the Solent and into Portsmouth.


SKY PRINCESS departing from Southampton...


...followed by the COSCO MALAYSIA.


MSC MARIA ELENA at the container terminal, Southampton.


MSC VIRTUOSA departing from the Western Docks, Southampton.

Photos and report by Chris Brooks


BRITISH LISTENER at the gas terminal at Nijlhaven.


MSC DORINE at Europahaven.


LEMESSOS NAPA in Botlek Harbour.


BRICHT SPARK in Eemhaven.

Photos and report by Roger Hammond

Saturday 24th September 2022 - Returning to Rotterdam

Twenty-plus members of the TSS gathered on a cool, damp and rather gloomy Saturday morning on Boompjeskade just by the Erasmusbrug for our first Rotterdam port cruise since losing the Diane.

Our new boat was Nehalennia. She has plenty of covered and open seating areas with excellent "facilities". We were welcomed on board with hot teas and coffees and soon set sail in persistent drizzle, although some blue patches were appearing ahead of us.

Our journey took us up the New Waterway to the Breediep where we cut through to pass the EECV bulker berths and the gas terminal at Nijlhaven where British listener(19/115366) was discharging her precious cargo. Then into Europahaven where there was a good selection of ships, including container ship MSC Dorine(06/54193); crane ship Seaway Strashnov(11/47426) and products tanker MTM Yangon(03/29220). The weather was now brightening up and photography became easier.

Next, we headed to Beneluxhaven where amongst the ships seen were crude oil tanker Red Nova(13/161296) and bulk carrier Jin Zhu Hai(09/40896).

Then it was back to the New Waterway towards Rotterdam with a visit to Botlek, which as usual gave a good haul of ships including bulk carrier Lemessos Napa(17/41747) and products tanker Ginga Bobcat(10/16222).

We headed to Eemhaven where feeder Elbstar(09/11550) and training ship Bright Spark(90/7949) were amongst the ships seen. Then, off to Waalhaven where there is always something of interest, we were not disappointed, with a wide range of offshore and other vessels to be seen, including crane ship Uglen(78/3977); products tanker Agartha(03/3057) and bulk carrier Handy Perth(13/23495).

We then started our journey back to our berth at Boompjeskade. En route members enjoyed an excellent buffet lunch and an enjoyable day was had by all.



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