Thames Ship Society



Pre-2009 Reviews 

2008 Review


Saturday 26th January 2008 - Winter Social.

48 members attended the kick-off to this year's events - the Winter Social which took place at the Churchill Hotel, on the seafront at Dover. 

We were lucky to to have dry bright conditions for the weekend and some members took advantage of special rates we had negotiated with the hotel and made a weekend of it.

Fred Olsen's new addition to their fleet, the Balmoral was in port for the weekend before her planned inaugural cruise (which was later cancelled due to technical problems).

The social kicked off with an enjoyable three course meal followed by a slide show given by Mike Jackson, assisted by Andrew Humphreys. The entertaining and informative slide show covered Mike's time sailing on tankers from the 1960's onwards.

On Sunday, for those members who has stayed overnight, a visit to Dover Coastguard Station was organised by Andrew Humphreys.


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Fred Olsen's new BALMORAL was berthed at Dover during our Winter Social.

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Dover Harbour with the Churchill Hotel on the seafront on a sunny January day.


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The brand new vehicle carrier GARNET LEADER taking her pilot in the Elbe on 18th April.

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COSCO NAPOLI departing from Hamburg on 18th April, taken from one of the passing ferries.

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HARBOUR BRIDGE departs from Hamburg on 18th April.

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WAPPEN VON STUTTGART catches some evening sunshine as she arrives on 18th April.

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The bulk carrier BLED photographed from my hotel room early on the morning of 19th April.

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The classic reefer ELECTRA also passed our hotel early in the morning of 19th April.

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Chipolbrok's CARNIVAL catches the last rays of sunshine during the evening of 19th April.

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The Hamburg tug ACCURAT photographed during a harbour tour on 20th April.

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KIRCHDORF is one of the vessels operating the Harbour Tours at Hamburg.

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Feeder ZEALAND departs from Parkhafen, Hamburg during one of our harbour tours on 20th April.

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The bulk carrier TARANG passed our hotel outward bound on 20th April.

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ALEKO KONSTANTINOV passing our hotel on 21st April.

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The NEUENFELDE is one of the ferries calling at the ferry terminal near our hotel.


Thursday 17th April to Monday 21st April 2008 - Relax by the Elbe.

On Thursday 17th April, 30 TSS members assembled at Terminal 5, Heathrow, for the trip to Hamburg. Happily, there were no issues with the operation of Terminal 5 on that day and we were quickly checked in and through security for our mid afternoon British Airways flight to Hamburg. 

After an uneventful, but slightly delayed flight, we soon found ourselves on-board our coach for the short transfer to The Golden Tulip Hamburg Aviation Hotel on the banks of the River Elbe near the Airbus factory at Finkenwerder. The Hotel is perfectly situated for ship photography with a landing stage for the local ferries directly in front of it. The rooms were very comfortable and as our rooms were all river facing, it was possible to photograph passing shipping from our hotel rooms!

Friday morning dawned with partially sunny conditions, so we were all up early planning our day ahead. In order to keep costs down for the basic trip it has been decided not to plan any organised trips during our stay in Hamburg, but, very soon we were exploring the local ferries, buses and rail network. Some of the group stayed at the hotel as the photography of the passing shipping was very good. Others made their way into Hamburg by the cheap and frequent ferries to take a “Grosse Hafenrundfahrt”, in other words one of the frequent one hour harbour trips, which explored the container berths and some of the other dock complexes as well as the river, of course. 

Examples of the shipping seen during the day included large container ships LT Cortesia and APL France; the brand new vehicle carrier Garnet Leader, completed in Gdynia in March 2008; the elderly Russian sea-river ship Tyovo Vyakhya and the huge bulk carrier BW Fjord, which departed in the early evening.

Saturday was mainly cloudy but bright at times with no rain. Again, members of the group did some exploring by public transport with Bremerhaven and Brunsbuttel visited amongst other places. The less intrepid settled for the usual mix of ferry rides, harbour trips or merely relaxing at the hotel watching and photographing the passing shipping.

The highlights of Saturday’s shipping included an early morning arrival of the reefer Electra; the arriving container ship CSCL Zeebrugge and, finally, as the sun was setting, Chipolbrok’s classic cargo ship Carnival passed the hotel inward bound. (Why do the interesting ships always move at dawn or dusk??).

Sunday was spent similarly, the one exception was that the ferries had a “free day” and were consequently quite crowded. Unfortunately some of our group did not realise this until they had purchased tickets from the automatic ticket machines!

Sunday’s highlights included the arrival of the container ships Kota Latif and Skagen Maersk, as well as the departure of the bulk carrier Sigrun Bolten.

Too quickly, Monday dawned – a beautifully sunny day. We were due to leave at 3pm for the airport, so most people stayed in the vicinity of the hotel and photographed the passing shipping in excellent photographic conditions. Unfortunately the river was quite quiet and as usual started to get busy when it was time to depart for the airport, with the arrival of the Hanjin Rio De Janeiro and feeder container Taipan being our last ships photographed during the trip.

Our flight home was again slightly delayed, but at least our bags turned up on time at Terminal 5! Good-byes were said and we were on our way home after a very successful time in Hamburg. I hope that this enjoyable trip can be repeated in future years.

Finally, thanks go to Roger Hammond, Ray Smith and Mark Teadham for organising and leading the trip and to other committee members involved in making this trip the success it was.

Report and photographs by Chris Brooks.


Saturday 26th April 2008 - Annual General Meeting and Southampton Harbour Cruise.

Around 40 TSS members attended the AGM and Southampton Harbour Cruise on a gloriously sunny and warm Saturday on Blue Funnel's vessel the Ocean Scene.

The day started with drinks followed by an excellent three course meal. Once we had finished the meal, coffee was served upstairs and the formalities of the Annual General Meeting were conducted efficiently by the members of the committee.

At about 14:30 we cast off for the cruise of Southampton Harbour. Unfortunately, one of the cruise ships visiting Southampton on that day, the Brilliance of the Seas had already departed by the time our cruise started. However, we were pleased to see that the Sea Princess, Queen Elizabeth 2 and the brand new Independence of the Seas were all in port. Independence of the Seas had arrived on the previous day on her maiden voyage from her builders in Finland. She will be named in Southampton on 30th April and will spend her 2008 season cruising from Southampton.

As well as the cruise ships, the vehicle carrier Grande Spagna and three large container vessels were present in the Western Docks. When we had completed our cruise of the Western Docks, we made our way down Southampton Water to Fawley Oil Terminal, where several tankers were moored as well as the newly delivered tug Apex (which was unfortunately not in a position to get a photograph). The tanker Cape Beira made for a colourful photograph at Hamble Oil Jetty.

We then made our way back to Southampton where we witnessed the departure of the cruise vessel Sea Princess and also the moving of the Queen Elizabeth 2 from 105 berth in the Western Docks to her normal berth 38/39 in the Eastern Docks.

It was interesting to compare the graceful lines of the QE2 with the new Independence of the Seas as she passed the latter vessel at the end of our cruise.

With thanks to Simon Martin and the committee members for organising what was a very enjoyable day and of course the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene for yet another successful day out.

Report and photographs by Chris Brooks


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The brand new INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS was in Southampton for her naming ceremony.

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GRANDE SPAGNA was at 102 berth in the Western Docks.

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OOCL EUROPE was one of three large container ships at the container terminal.

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CAPE BEIRA provided some colour was we passed Hamble oil jetty.

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The SEA PRINCESS passed us at close quarters as she departed for Vigo.

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QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 was moved from 105 berth to 38/39 berth at the end of our cruise.

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The graceful QE2 against the more modern lines of the INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS.

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C.COLUMBUS takes her pilot off Gravesend at the beginning of our cruise.

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FINNFIGHTER turning in the river in order to enter Tilbury Lock.

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OSTEND WAY slowly passing our vessel after departing from her berth.

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ALEXANDRA RICKMERS inward bound in the Thames for Northfleet Hope.

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MONTE ROSA passes us at speed on our way back to Gravesend.

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HILDEGAARD was berthed at Coryton.

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CMA CGM HOMERE outward bound in the Thames having departed from Northfleet Hope.


Report and Photographs by Chris Brooks

Saturday 17th May - Thames and Medway Cruise

On a dull and cloudy morning, on Saturday 17th May, almost 60 TSS members congregated at the landing stage at Gravesend for the first Thames and Medway cruise of the year. After a period of warm and sunny weather, unfortunately the weather had taken a turn for the worse, with rain being forecast.

Whilst waiting to board our vessel, the Princess Pocahontas, we were lucky enough to witness the arrival in the Thames of the cruise ship C. Columbus, which was making her way upriver. We boarded our vessel at 10am and shortly after casting off the outward bound tanker Laguna D passed us. We then made our way upriver to photograph the vessels at Northfleet Hope container terminal where Hamburg-Sud’s Monte Rosa was present as well as the CMA CGM Homere. We continued past the grain terminal where there were two small coastal vessels, up to the Vopak and Cobelfret berths at Dartford to photograph the various ro-ros and product tankers there before turning downstream. Two of the Cobelfret ro-ros passed us outward bound as we got to Dartford. By now, the weather had closed in and it was raining quite heavily at times. 

On our way downriver we passed the ro-ro Finnfighter being eased into the locks at Tilbury by the tug Svitzer Laceby. We continued past Gravesend, slowly being overtaken by the outward bound ro-ro Ostend Way to witness the inward bound container vessel Alexandra Rickmers looming out of the misty rain. She was to take the Monte Rosa’s berth at Northfleet Hope as the latter vessel was on the point of departure.

The next point of interest was the tanker berths at Shellhaven and Coryton. The ex Russian Arctic tanker Stavrodromi was at Shellhaven with the large Hildegaard at Coryton, together with the smaller FS Philippine and Sigas Earl. Inward bound to Coryton was the product tanker Aurora which we passed downriver from the tanker berths. 

We pushed on further downriver in deteriorating weather conditions when our ploughman’s lunch was served. It was at this point due to the weather and the fact that there was only one vessel in Sheerness, and with no vessels at Thamesport, that we made the decision to turn back upriver and miss out the Medway part of the cruise.

So, we made our way slowly back up the river past Coryton, where, by now, the Aurora was being berthed by the tugs Stanford and Corringham. We were quite lucky to witness the departure of the container vessels Monte Rosa and CMA CGM Homere, both of which passed us at speed as we headed back for Gravesend.

The cruise finished at Gravesend, slightly earlier than planned, where everyone said their goodbyes in the rain. The cruise did not really proceed as we had planned, nevertheless, it was good to meet up with everyone and we were quite lucky with the container vessel movements.

With thanks to the organisers of the trip and Captain Potter and the crew of the Princess Pocahontas for making us welcome, as always. We look forward to the next trip on the Thames and Medway and hope for some better weather next time!

14th to 21st June - Summer Continental

On a sunny Saturday 14th June sixteen TSS members gathered at Harwich Ferry Terminal for the early morning Stena line sailing to the Hook of Holland at the start of the 2008 TSS Continental Tour.

Celebrity Constellation was the first ship photographed as she was alongside the adjacent cruise terminal at Harwich. We were soon on our way, past the container terminals at Felixstowe out into the channel for our crossing to Holland. After a smooth crossing, we were approaching Rotterdam for our mid-afternoon arrival, photographing the shipping arriving and leaving Europoort and the New Waterway.

For the first two nights we stayed in the Delta Hotel, conveniently located on the banks of the river at Vlaardingen. There we were joined by other members of our group who had travelled independently to Rotterdam. The hotel has a restaurant and bar which has an open balcony overlooking the river. Soon after our arrival we were photographing a whole manner of shipping, particular favourites being the departing bulk carrier Julia and the container carrier Frisia Lissabon. They made excellent photographic subjects in the early evening sunshine.

Sunday 15th dawned bright and sunny and after breakfast we made our way down to the nearby landing stage to our cruise vessel for the day, our old friend, the “Partyschip Diane”. A ten hour cruise had been planned to cover the entire Rotterdam and Europoort docks complex. We were soon on our way down to Europoort via the Caland Canal. By the time we got to Europoort some cloud had built up and we had a few showers of rain. Happily the rain did not last too long and we were soon in sunshine again. Many large tankers, container ships and bulk carrier were in port, examples being the bulk carrier Bao Fu, container ship APL France and tanker Barents Sea.

We then made our way back to Rotterdam where a whole array of shipping was photographed in the old port area, including the Russian general cargo ship Ivan Shadr, large Finnish tug Zeus and newbuild offshore vessels Toisa Pegasus and Toisa Perseus. The cruise finished at 7pm when we adjourned for dinner at the hotel.

On Monday 16th it was time to depart the Delta Hotel for the second part of our tour, our stay in Vlissingen on the River Schelde. We took our leave of Rotterdam mid-morning and made our way by coach to Vlissingen via “The Hill” at the Hook of Holland where we photographed some passing vessels and any new ships berthed in Europoort. The drive down to Vlissingen took a couple of hours so we arrived early afternoon at the Arion Hotel in Vlissingen for our five night stay. The Northern Channel into the River Schelde passes close along the seafront at Vlissingen so it is possible to photograph vessels from your hotel room balcony. The rest of the day was spent at leisure – some members walked a short distance to the pilot station where it is possible to photograph vessels in both channels in the River Schelde on their way to and from Antwerp, Gent, Terneuzen and Flushing.

The next day was spent at Terneuzen after a short coach journey from Vlissingen. Terneuzen is probably the best place on the River Schelde to photograph vessels bound for Antwerp. It is also the location of the locks for the Gent canal. It was a busy day on the river and beautiful, sunny, weather. Many excellent photographs were taken of the passing traffic, which included MSC Sarah, Maersk Vyborg, CMA CGM America, Stina Kosan and Josco Nanjing.

On Wednesday 18th we departed from the hotel for a day trip to Antwerp by coach and our five hour private cruise around Antwerp Docks. After a brief stop at Antwerp Locks to see if any shipping was moving, we boarded our vessel, the “Kempenland”, and we were soon underway photographing the diverse range of shipping at Antwerp. This included the conventional general cargo ships Namibia and Krokus, reefers Caribbean Star, Lady Racisce and Star Prima and many other bulk carriers, container ships and tankers. On completion of our cruise we made our way back to Vlissingen and our hotel.

Thursday saw us visiting Terneuzen again and also taking a coach tour of Gent Docks kindly arranged by our friend from Belgium, Andre. Unfortunately the weather was dull with light rain at times, but we still managed to photograph a number of ships in Gent docks including HMS Fearless being broken up at the scrapyard. We made our way back to Terneuzen for mid afternoon by which time the weather had brightened up. On departure from Terneuzen we returned to our hotel in Vlissingen.

Friday saw us again take the coach to Terneuzen, but there was the option of continuing on the coach to Antwerp for the public harbour cruise of Antwerp, which some members of our group decided to do. Some members stayed at Terneuzen again to photograph the passing shipping.

All too soon, our tour had come to and end. We checked out of the Arion Hotel on Saturday and made our way back to Rotterdam, by coach, again via “The Hill” at the Hook of Holland. Here we spent some time photographing passing shipping including the tanker King Everest and container carrier ANL Esprit. Our 14:30 ferry sailing back to Harwich left on time, and, after an uneventful crossing we arrived back at Harwich at 8pm, where our tour ended.

With thanks to Paul Mason, Roger Hammond and Ray Smith for their hard work in ensuring that the 2008 continental was, as always, a very enjoyable and successful trip. 

Photos and report by Chris Brooks

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The evening sunshine illuminates JULIA as she passes the Delta Hotel.

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SOCRATES was seen during our Rotterdam cruise.

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BAO FU berthed at Europoort during our cruise.

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Traditional general cargo ship IVAN SHADR in Rotterdam during our cruise.

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TOISA PEGASUS under construction at Rotterdam.

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VAAL RIVER passing our hotel at Vlaardingen on 15th June.

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PIONER YAKUTII catching the morning sunshine as she passes our hotel at Vlissingen.

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MAERSK VYBORG passing Terneuzen on 17th June.

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The brand new STINA KOSAN passing Terneuzen on 17th June.

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KROKUS at Antwerp during our port cruise.

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Bulk Carrier MAKIKI at Antwerp during our cruise.

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The large LNG carrier METHANIA dominated the scene at Antwerp during our cruise.

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TSURU ARROW passing Vlissingen on 20th June.

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MSC BENEDETTA, one of the many container carriers to pass during one of our visits to Terneuzen.

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COTE D'IVOIRIAN STAR passing our hotel in Vlissingen.

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An unusual visitor for Southampton - bulk wood-chip carrier MIMOSA DREAM 

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NEW BREEZE was at 202 berth, Western Docks

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BERGE SUMMIT at Fawley Oil Terminal

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ECUADOR STAR outward bound in Portsmouth Harbour

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ARK ROYAL was at Portsmouth Naval Base

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NORMANDIE EXPRESS also departing from Portsmouth

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EURODAM rounding Calshot after departing from Southampton...

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...followed by OCEANA...

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...which was followed by INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS....

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...and then SEA PRINCESS....

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...with APL GERMANY bringing up the rear!

Saturday 28th June - Solent Cruise

Fifty-six TSS members gathered at Ocean Village at Southampton on a breezy, sunny day on 28th June for the first Solent Cruise of the year. We were soon boarding blue Funnel’s Ocean Scene for our six hour private cruise of Southampton, the Solent and Portsmouth.

We were encouraged to note that Southampton Docks were quite busy with four cruise ships and a number of other vessels present. We departed at midday and started by exploring the Eastern Docks. After photographing the bunkering tankers in Empress Docks we cruised round Dockhead to photograph P&O’s Oceana at berth 38/9, followed by the tugs in Ocean Dock. A new tug for Southampton was present, the Portgarth, normally to be found in the Bristol Channel.

We continued on to Western Docks, where the massive Independence of the Seas was at the City Cruise Terminal at berth 101. She is based in Southampton for the cruising season this year. At 104 berth was Holland America Line’s brand new vessel Eurodam, straight from the builders in Italy on a courtesy visit to the port. 106 berth was taken by the Sea Princess, the fourth cruise ship to be photographed.

At berth 107 was an unusual visitor for Southampton, a large bulk wood-chip carrier – Mimosa Dream, unloading cargo. 201/202 berth was taken by Autotransporter, Atlasgracht loading yachts for Palma and the reefer New Breeze which had been lying at the berth for some time. Just around the corner, the container terminal housed the feeder WMS Harlingen, and the large container ships APL Germany and CMA CGM Nabucco.

We re-traced our steps through the docks and out into Southampton Water where it was time for our lunch. Lunch was interrupted by the arrival of the vehicle carrier Integrity and several tankers at Fawley Oil Terminal, comprising the Berge Summit, Eland and Overseas Reinemar. The new tugs moored at the oil terminal were also of interest to our tug enthusiasts.

Off to Portsmouth now, via the North Channel, passing the incoming dredger Arco Dee on the way. Portsmouth was quite busy with the RFA tanker Bayleaf being berthed by two tugs, as well as the departing reefer Ecuador Star passing very close to us as we went through the entrance to the harbour. 

For the naval enthusiasts the Ark Royal and the Illustrious were in port as well as several destroyers and frigates. We also paid a visit to Fareham Creek to photograph the laid up warships there. On our way out of the harbour we were overtaken by the Brittany Ferries fast ferry - Normandie Express.

We were on our way back to Southampton now to witness the departure of the four cruise ships, the first one, Eurodam, being scheduled to depart at 16:00. Unfortunately the Eurodam made it to Calshot just before we did so we could only take a stern photograph of the vessel as she rounded Calshot, bound for her inaugural visit to her home port of Rotterdam. We crossed the channel after she had passed to get into the optimum position for photographing the Oceana which passed us shortly afterwards, followed by the Independence of the Seas and Sea Princess. Luckily the sun stayed out to photograph the passing cruise ships and some excellent shots were taken. Following the cruise ships was the large container ship APL Germany which also passed us at close quarters. Time was getting on - so we then made our way back to Ocean Village, where our cruise ended.

A thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all, with a varied range of shipping seen in good photographic conditions. Thanks go to our tour leader Simon Martin for arranging the day, and the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene, for their usual excellent hospitality. We look forward to the next Solent Cruise of 2008 in August. 

Report and Photographs by Chris Brooks

Thursday 31st July  - Thames and Medway Cruise

The weather forecast for the second (midweek) cruise on the Princess Pocahontas was reasonably promising, although with the threat of some thundery showers later; certainly better than the conditions I had left behind in the Westcountry the previous day and those experienced on the first Thames and Medway trip back in May. 

We all gathered as usual at the Gravesend Ferry Terminal and, just before boarding, we got our first vessel underway – the ro/ro Norcape 79/14807 heading downriver for Zeebrugge. We then set off upriver as far as the ro/ro and tanker berths in the vicinity of the Dartford road bridge. One of the two vessels at Northfleet Hope Container terminal, the Cypriot flag Ariake 05/28592, caused a certain amount of interest. She was wearing the funnel colours of the old P&O Nedlloyd consortium – dark blue with orange band – and, coincidentally, her name had been carried by one of that group’s ships until a few years ago. She is actually owned within the German Schulte Group and was launched as Sarah Schulte. Her last port was listed as Philadelphia and next port Bremerhaven, and a recent LSI lists ports of call as Melbourne and Dunedin in mid June. Quite a range.

Our captain then deftly took us right into the inside berth on Tilbury Grain terminal to get some close-ups of the Strahlmann low air coaster Rantum 89/1984, before re-emerging to catch the sailing from Tilbury lock of the feeder containership JRS Capella 05/7464 for Rotterdam. 

Up in the vicinity of Dartford we were treated to the usual collection of Cobelfret roros, including the now ageing, but still smart, Anglian Way 77/7628 – a sistership to the ill-fated Riverdance 77/6041, of Blackpool Beach fame. There were several tankers too at the berths on the North side of the river, including the red-hulled Italian Turchese 99/8428, a flag not often seen in British waters, and FS Philippine 05/11118, registered in Marseille (a reminder that a group of members would be heading off to that part of the World the following week). 

Heading back downriver now, we caught the arrival of Arklow Willow 03/8938 just berthing on Tilbury Grain Terminal to load for Carthagena. I was quite pleased with this one as she completed my sightings of all three of the “big” Arklow “W” ships. Next, some interest for the tug enthusiasts at the Gravesend/Denton moorings, and in amongst the more modern Svitzer shiphandling tugs, one of the oldest Thames lighterage tugs still in service, Unico 27/51, and another (although young by comparison) Silver Beam 51/92. Then a lull in proceedings before the tanker berths at Coryton; time to grab some lunch and something to quench the thirst on what was turning out to be quite a warm day.

With lunch barely finished (in my case not quite finished) our captain announced over the tannoy that there were two coasters inbound ahead of us. They turned out to be the feedership Ara Zeebrugge 91/3815 and the general cargo coaster Sea Ruby 92/1382. The latter was originally Hoo Larch. Both made for good shots as they passed by. Then back to the saloon to quickly finish off lunch before we arrived off the tanker berths at Coryton, where there were three tankers in residence. 
We had expected to venture out into the anchorages in the Estuary but the reports were that nothing was at anchor (although there were vessels due), so we headed straightaway into the Medway. Sheerness provided some variety with the bulker Carrara Castle 84/30163 (renamed from Star Evanger earlier this year), reefer Summer Flower 84/12659 and bright red car carrier Seine Highway 07/23498. Thamesport too provided a containership in the shape of the smart-looking MOL Solution 01/66332, and then the eagle-eyed amongst us spotted a vessel over in the River Swale at Grovehurst Jetty. She turned out to be the Dominican flag Fairplay 71/1834; now something of a veteran at 37 years of age. Unfortunately, she was a little out of camera range.

By now the sky was beginning to show signs of the threatened thundery showers and the visibility towards the anchorages had become somewhat hazy. However, as we headed back towards the Thames we could make out a 6-crane bulker now anchored off. She would be Alinda 77/17855, which was due for the Thames Refinery jetty at Silvertown. Unfortunately though, time was now pressing and our return to Gravesend would be against the ebb tide, so we were unable to make the detour to get photographs. We did, however, have enough time to get in nearer to the berths at Coryton on the way back, for close-ups of the three shiphandling tugs and better shots of the three tankers. The return journey also provided some underway shots of the low air coaster Sea Shannon 96/1670 departing, and feedership Georg Mitchell 98/2599 and Cobelfret ro/ro Victorine 00/23987, both arriving on their regular runs to the Thames. 

Once again, another successful outing on the Thames and Medway, with in excess of 30 vessels recorded plus local tugs and dredgers. As always, thanks are due to the TSS organiser, Mick Axford, and to the captain and crew of Princess Pocahontas for looking after us. 

Report and photos by Geoff Hoather


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NORCAPE outward bound in the Thames after departing from Tilbury.

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Containership ARIAKE at Northfleet Hope container terminal.

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Italian tanker TURCHESE berthed in the Thames.

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ARA ZEEBRUGGE passes us inward bound in the Thames.

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Reefer SUMMER FLOWER berthed at Sheerness.

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The well loaded CARRARA CASTLE at Sheerness.

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MOL SOLUTION berthed at Thamesport.

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Tug CORRINGHAM awaiting her next customer at Coryton.

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USMA getting ready to sail from Coryton.

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VICTORINE speeds past us inward bound.


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Destroyer D641 DUPLEIX was at Toulon during our harbour cruise.

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Dock landing ship L9012 SIROCO was also at Toulon during our visit...

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... as was the new Dock Landing Ship L9013 MISTRAL. 

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Ferry MONTE CINTO at Marseille during our harbour cruise of the port, having arrived from Corsica.

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MARFRET MEJEAN was berthed on the outer breakwater in Marseille port.

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The cruise ship CORAL at Marseille cruise terminal.

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SUPER SERVANT 4 was also in Marseille port during our cruise.

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Turkish coaster AYGUN was in Port De Bouc, Fos.

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STAR LADY berthed at the Oil Terminal at Port St Louis, Fos, during our port cruise. 

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Local tug MISTRAL 10 on her way to assist a departing car carrier at Port St Louis,Fos.

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BYZANTION was anchored in the bay of Fos during our cruise...

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... as was the bulk carrier ANGELIC POWER.

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DANIELLE CASANOVA arriving at Mareille from Bastia, Corsica, on 10th August. Photographed from the Isle d'If tourist boat.

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CORSE arriving at Marseille from Ile Rousse, Corsica, early on the morning of 11th August. Photographed from Jardin de Pharo.

8th to 11th August - Marseille / Fos & Toulon by TGV - A Unique Opportunity

A new destination for the TSS for 2008 was Marseille and Toulon, so, on Friday 8th August, TSS members gathered gathered at the Eurostar terminus in St. Pancras Station, London for the trip to Marseille. We boarded the 09:57 Eurostar departure to Brussels calling at Ebbsfleet and Lille and were soon speeding through the Kent countryside to the Channel Tunnel. We had also been joined by the remainder of our party at Ebbsfleet, making a total of 46 members in total on the tour.

Our train arrived in Lille, on time, and we had a short while to wait before the TGV service to Marseille arrived in the station. We were soon departing for Marseille, calling at, amongst others, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Lyon. We arrived in Marseille after a scenic journey through France in the early evening. On arrival we transferred, by coach, to our base for our holiday, the comfortable and modern, four star, New Hotel of Marseille. The hotel is situated by the Vieux Port, the large marina at Marseille and directly opposite the Jardin du Pharo which overlooks the entrance to the busy ferry port.

After checking in to our excellent rooms, it was not long before several members congregated at the vantage point in the Jardin du Pharo in order to find out the best position for photographs and to see what shipping was in port. In the evening, from the Jardin du Pharo, the sun is slightly against you for taking photographs of the arriving and departing ferries, however, in the morning it is a perfect vantage point for photography. There are several ferry services from Marseille, to Corsica, Sardinia, Tunisia and Algeria, served by a large number of vessels. Most ferries arrive early in the morning and depart in the late afternoon and evening. Soon it was dusk and it was time to explore the Vieux Port area which is full of open air restaurants and bars for our evening meal.

Saturday was an early 08:00 start in order to travel by coach to Toulon. It is a very scenic drive through the hills to Toulon. On arrival, we met our local guide and were soon on our private hour long cruise of the harbour, taking in the various French naval vessels berthed at the naval base, including the large dock landing ships L9013 Mistral and L9012 Siroco as well as the destroyer D641 Dupleix. Once our cruise had ended, we had a scenic drive through Toulon to the Tour du Mourillon at the entrance to the harbour. Unfortunately, there were no shipping movements due so we adjourned to the harbourside restaurants for lunch. After lunch we had special permission to have a guided tour of the naval base on a “road train” followed by a visit to the maritime museum. By now it was late afternoon and time to return to our hotel in Marseille.

On Sunday a private six and a half hour boat trip taking in the port of Marseille and the several ports in the bay of Fos had been organised. We met our boat in Vieux Port in beautiful sunny conditions and then made our way through the ferry port and commercial port of Marseille, photographing a wide variety of shipping, including many ferries, the cruise ship Coral, semi-submersible heavy lift Super Servant 4 and general cargo Marfret Mejean. We then made out way around the coast to the Bay of Fos, where we first of all visited the Port de Bouc. This harbour contained several tankers and a couple of general cargo ships. On crossing the bay, we passed close by several anchored vessels including the tankers STX Ace 8 and Dattilo M. We were now nearing Port St Louis which comprises several harbours handling tankers, bulk carriers, containerships and vehicle carriers. Several large vessels were photographed including bulk carriers Cape Veni and Cape Riviera, tankers Star Lady and Baltic Sun II, container vessels Bangkok Express and Ibn Asakir and car carrier St. Barbara which was getting ready for departure with attendant tugs. Once we had visited all the harbours in Port St. Louis, it was time to make our way back to Marseille passing the anchored ships in the Bay of Fos again, this time including the tanker Byzantion and the large bulk carriers Castillo de San Jorge and Angelic Power. We eventually arrived back in Vieux Port at around 16:30 after a thoroughly enjoyable day. 

After the boat trip some members went back to the Jardin du Pharo to photograph the incoming ferries and two of us took a public boat trip to an offshore island, Isle d’If to get better photographs of the incoming ferries, we were rewarded with excellent shots of the large ferry Danielle Casanova entering the port. 

All too soon, Monday morning came and it was time (after some early morning photography of the incoming ferries) to take our leave of the hotel and head for the railway station. Our TGV train arrived on time and we started the journey back to the UK, changing at Lille as we did on our outward journey. We arrived back in St Pancras just after 19:00 where goodbyes were said and the trip ended.

Thanks go to the organiser of the trip Mark Teadham for all his hard work and the other members of the TSS committee who assisted him. I thought it was an excellent trip, with good weather and an interesting range of vessels noted and photographed. I hope that this enjoyable trip will be repeated in future year's programmes. 

Report and photographs by Chris Brooks.

Saturday 23rd August - Solent Cruise (2)

The day had started off beautifully sunny and hot, but, by the time we boarded Blue Funnel's Ocean Scene at midday, clouds were somewhat obscuring the sun. Once our 60 plus members were on-board the Ocean Scene we were soon on our way on the second Solent Cruise of the year.

Our six hour cruise started off with a trip around Eastern and Western docks at Southampton. We had planned the date of the trip carefully as we knew that four cruise ships were in port on this day. At berth 38/9 in the Eastern Docks was the Norwegian Jade, with the remaining three, Independence of the Seas, Black Watch and Oceana berthed in the Western Docks. also in Eastern Docks were the car carriers Don Carlos and Hoegh Oslo, both of which had just arrived in the port. At the grain berth was the coaster Velox

We continued past the cruise ships in Western Docks to the container terminal which was busy with the large vessels OOCL Faith, Chicago Express and CMA CGM Don Giovanni present and the feeder WMS Harlingen.

We then made our way out of Southampton and down Southampton Water, bound for Portsmouth. On our way we passed Fawley Oil Terminal, at which was berthed the Maersk Nordenham, Baltic Champion, Clipper Inge and the Greek Agathonissos. We could also see the large tanker Thornbury leaving the BP Jetty at Hamble as we were approaching Fawley and we eventually got close enough for some photographs of her at Calshot as she turned into the main channel. 

At this point we also passed, at close quarters, after our captain had obtained permission from the pilots, the incoming dredger Thames, which had recently been renamed, followed by the Cobelfret ro-ro Undine. We then proceeded on to Portsmouth via the North Channel and, believe it or not, the sun was coming out!

Portsmouth yielded the visiting US warship USS Barry which generated some interest, especially as she was flying her courtesy Union Jack upside down! This was reported to the relevant authorities by our Captain on VHF radio! Portsmouth was quite busy with RN ships too, including HMS Scott, St Albans, Ark Royal, Richmond and Westminster to name but a few. As we departed Portsmouth, Brittany Ferries' Mont St Michel departed ahead of us and we were closely followed out of the harbour by one of the Isle of Wight ferries as well.

Back to Southampton now for the finale of the cruise, the departure of the four cruise ships. On our way back we passed the dredgers Arco Dee and Donald Redford outbound, passing both on the "sunny side" thanks to our skillful Captain. We were followed and eventually overtaken by the local tug Bentley as well, returning to Southampton after escorting the departing tanker Thornbury to the Nab. The Thornbury's place at the BP Jetty, Hamble had been taken by the Indian tanker Jag Pushpa which we photographed on our way back up Southampton Water.

We then learned that the first of the departing cruise ships, the Norwegian Jade had been delayed due to some lost luggage, but shortly afterwards we were informed that it had been found and she was leaving Southampton 30 minutes late. This proved fortuitous for us as it allowed Captain Sid to position the Ocean Scene in a prime position so that we could photograph the four cruise ships "sunny side up" as they passed us in Southampton Water. 

The Norwegian Jade was the first to leave, closely followed by the Oceana and the Independence of the Seas with over 5,000 passengers and crew on board! The Black Watch was the last to leave and our Captain, with the agreement of the relevant authorities took the Ocean Scene in to the harbour to meet the outgoing vessel at close quarters. The graceful Black Watch made a beautiful photograph as she passed us in excellent photographic conditions.

After a quick visit to Empress Dock to photograph the various bunkering tankers based there our very successful cruise ended at 6pm. 

With thanks to Simon Martin and the other committee members  for organising yet another excellent Solent Cruise. Also, our thanks to Captain Sid and the crew of the Ocean Scene for their hospitality and excellent organisation once again. We look forward to being on the Ocean Scene again next year. 

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OOCL FAITH was one of the containerships at the container terminal.

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Dredger THAMES inward bound for Southampton.

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The USS BARRY provided some interest for our naval enthusiasts.

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HMS SCOTT was also in Portsmouth during our cruise.

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BENTLEY overtaking us on our way back to Southampton.

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BALTIC CHAMPION was at Fawley Oil Terminal.

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NORWEGIAN JADE was the first cruise ship to leave Southampton.

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...closely followed by P&O's OCEANA ...

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...then the huge  INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS passed us....

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... with the graceful BLACK WATCH bringing up the rear.

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The not so beautiful HOEGH OSLO catches the evening sunlight at 40 berth, Southampton.

Report and photographs by Chris Brooks.

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ID HARMONY and KENT LOCOMOTION passed our hotel on 2nd September....

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The cruise ship DISCOVERY and HAPPY BEE passed early on the morning of the 3rd September. 

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The small coasters TINA and HELA also passed on 3rd September.

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WILHELM and DANUBE HIGHWAY passed on the sunny morning of 4th September.

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The naval oiler TEGERNSEE and ro-ro ELEKTRON also passed on 4th September.

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NADVOITSY and LEHMANN LOADER passed on our final morning, 5th September.

1st to 5th September - Relax by the Kiel Canal - Visit to Rendsburg

24 members assembled at Heathrow Terminal 5 for the British Airways flight to Hamburg on 1st September. The flight was slightly late, but we arrived in Hamburg and after smoothly clearing immigration our waiting coach quickly took us from Hamburg to the Conventgarten Hotel on the banks of the Kiel Canal at Rendsburg.

The great advantage of a free form trip like this, is that everyone is free to do his or her own thing. So during the week, various excursions were made to Kiel, Brunsbuttel & Hamburg. However some chose to remain in the vicinity of the hotel, transporter bridge & the local shops.

The weather for the week was nothing to write home about, but the rain did manage to hold off each day until the light was no longer good enough for photography. There was a wide range of traffic on the canal from the smallest tug to tankers, feeder ships, bulk carriers & even a cruise liner. In fact, something to suit all tastes.

However, all too soon it was back to Hamburg airport for our flight back home. A good time having been had by one and all.

With many thanks to Paul Mason & Roger Thayne for leading the trip.

Report and Photographs by Roger Hammond


4th to 11th October  - Turkish Treasures - A seven night tour to Istanbul and the Bosphorus.

On the morning of Saturday, October 4th, 50 TSS members gathered at Terminal 5, Heathrow for the last trip of the year. A week in Istanbul.

After a trouble free flight we arrived in a sunny Istanbul and were soon on our coach to the 4 star Best Western President Hotel which would be our base for the next seven nights. The hotel is situated in the Beyazit area of Istanbul near the Grand Bazaar and a short walk from the tram which runs down to the ferry terminal at Eminonu. The breakfast room and roof terrace on the 6th and 7th floors of the hotel has an excellent view over the busy anchorage at Istanbul.

Shipping transitting the Bosphorus does so on a convoy system with the Northbound convoy entering into the Black Sea between midnight and midday. The Southbound convoy sailing out of the Black Sea does so between midday and midnight. Hence, there is an anchorage at each end of the Bosphorus, for ships waiting to transit the Bosphorus, as well as many vessels taking on bunkers or waiting for orders.

On Sunday 5th, after breakfast a large number of our group made their way down to the ferry terminal at Eminonu for the 10:30 "Tourist Ferry" sailing which makes it's way up the Bosphorus as far as the entrance to the Black Sea. The ferry is a good platform from which to photograph shipping underway in the Bosphorus. The ferry also stops at Rumeli Kavagii at the top of the Bosphorus which affords a good vantage point from which to see the afternoon Southbound convoy of ships making their way out from the Black Sea.

Unfortunately, after arriving at the top of the Bosphorus, the weather took a turn for the worse and we had a couple of hours of rain which put paid to our photography from Rumeli Kavagii. Luckily the rain disappeared for the return ferry journey, so we photographed a few ships during that time. On arrival back at Eminonu, we also took a trip to Kadikoy by ferry, which also passes the container terminal at Haydarpasa.

Luckily Monday 6th dawned bright and sunny, as it was our first private boat trip of the tour. We boarded our boat, the "Kaptian Bego Sevket" at 10am and set off for Istanbul anchorage and Ambarli harbour via the cruise terminal and Haydarpasa container terminal. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the tour organisers, our travel agents and the boat company, we were unable to get permission to enter Ambarli Harbour, but, this did not detract from the boat trip in any way as there was a large amount of shipping in the various anchorages off Istanbul which kept us busy for the entire 8 hours of the trip. Many general cargo ships were photographed, of the type no longer seen in Western Europe, as well as bulk carriers and tankers of all types. 

The next two days were free days and members either did some sightseeing in this interesting and vibrant city, found good places on the shores of the Bosphorus to photograph the passing shipping and of course the daily 10:30 "Tourist Ferry" was a popular choice. The weather during these two days was pretty good with sunny conditions mainly prevailing.

Thursday 9th again dawned bright and sunny, which we were very happy about, as it was the second of our 8 hour trips - this time down to coast from Istanbul to the shipyards at Tuzla. As well as an extensive harbour containing many shipyards where vessels are built as well as repaired, Tuzla has a large anchorage offshore as well.

We arrived at Tuzla at about midday and spent over an hour slowly cruising around the semi-circular bay photographing as many of the vessels tightly packed into the shipyards as possible. In fact there were so many ships present that we did a second circuit of the harbour to photograph and log any ships missed during the first sweep! After the harbour, and lunch we made a start on the vessels in the anchorage and this kept us buys for another two hours, with many interesting vessels noted, of varying types. We eventually got back to Istanbul at 6pm where the day's cruise ended.

Friday, our final full day in Istanbul, again dawned bright and sunny with the early birds managing to get a few hours of photography in before some rain showers arrived mid-morning. Luckily the rain cleared up in the afternoon, which was quite busy with a large Southbound convoy starting just after midday.

All too soon Saturday came along and it was time to pack our cases and head for the airport. Our 13:55 British Airways flight was soon departing and we soon found ourselves at Heathrow where our tour ended. Goodbyes were said and we all departed for the far flung corners of the British Isles.  

All that remains is for me to thank Paul Mason and Roger Hammond for leading the tour and for the assistance of the other committee members who contributed to make this a very successful and enjoyable end to the year's tours. I hope that we will visit Istanbul again in the near future as it is without doubt one of the best locations to observe and photograph shipping in Europe (or is it Asia!?).

Report and Photographs by Chris Brooks.


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CRISTAL was at the cruise terminal on our first day in Istanbul.

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ALTENAVI was in the anchorage at Istanbul during our first private cruise...

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ELLA J passed our vessel at close quarters at the end of our cruise on 6th October.

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The captain and crew of our vessel at the end of our cruise. 

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EMIN KUL one of the many Istanbul ferries photographed during the week.

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ZIM INDIA passing Rumeli Kavagii at the Black Sea end of the Bosphorus.

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RASHA STAR photographed at Rumeli Kavagii on 7th October.

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COSTA SERENA was at the Cruise Terminal at Istanbul during our cruise to Tuzla....

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.... as was the OCEAN MONARCH.

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BIRLIK 1 was berthed at Tuzla during our private cruise. 

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ECE NUR K - one of the many newbuildings photographed at Tuzla.

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GOZDE D was under repair at one of the many Tuzla shipyards.

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GEORGIOS I was photographed in the anchorage off Tuzla...

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... as was the OXFORD CASTLE.


25th October  - London International Ship Show

We will, as usual, have a table at this year's London Ship Show on 25th October at the Royal National Hotel, Bloomsbury, where members of the committee will be on hand to welcome both old and new members at table number 23.

For more details about the Ship Show use the following link : Ocean Liner Society


2007 Review

Saturday 20th January 2007 - Winter Social.

This year's Winter Social took place at The Pier at Harwich Hotel. The hotel has splendid views of the Stour and Orwell Estuaries, including the ports of Harwich and Felixstowe.

The early birds managed to photograph a few ships including the departure of the Trinity House Vessel Patricia from Harwich as well as the new Stena Trader, which was departing from Harwich Ferry Terminal for the Hook of Holland. There was also a wide array of container ships at Felixstowe, including the CSCL Hong Kong and James River Bridge.

36 members attended the social, which commenced at 11:30 in a very comfortable room in the hotel. Refreshments were served followed by a very tasty buffet lunch.

After lunch we were treated to a very interesting slide show given by Ron Davies. The slide show showed shipping in the ports of Ipswich, Felixstowe and Harwich from the 1970's and 1980's - before containers took over the port of Felixstowe. Slides of lovely old colliers and general cargo ships reminded us of how shipping used to be. Also we saw some interesting slides taken on early TSS trips from the same era.

The thoroughly enjoyable day finished at 5pm. 

With thanks to Ron Davies for the excellent slide show and Stephen Marginson for organising the day.

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CSCL HONG KONG was at Felixstowe.

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The THV PATRICIA departed from Harwich shortly before our social started.

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STENA TRADER departing for the Hook of Holland.

(Photos and report by Chris Brooks)

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HAVELSTERN passes our hotel in the evening sunlight on 14th April.

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A convoy passes Rendsburg with the Transporter Bridge in the background.

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The Polish tug ODYS provided interest for the tug enthusiasts.

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The ro-ro ELLA J passed Westbound on the 15th April.

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Perfect photographic conditions for the NATHALIE EHLER on the 16th April.

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The naval enthusiasts were catered for by the sighting of the German Naval Tug VOGELSAND.

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One of the many Russian ships photographed - the LADOGA-13

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NOBLEZA was probably the largest vessel photographed on the canal.

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Wagenborg's OSTEBORG passing on the 16th April.

(Photos and report by Chris Brooks)

13th to 17th April - Rendsburg, Kiel Canal

Thirty two TSS members gathered at Heathrow Terminal 1 for the short British Airways flight to Hamburg on 13th April. Although the flight was slightly late, we arrived at Hamburg in good spirits as we were looking forward to spending a relaxing few days on the banks of the Kiel Canal in good weather.

The coach quickly took us from Hamburg to the three star Conventgarten Hotel on the banks of the Kiel Canal at Rendsburg. On arrival we were quickly checked in and found our very comfortable and well appointed rooms. The hotel had a restaurant and outdoor terrace overlooking the canal which was very well patronised by our group for the remainder of our stay.

There is a famous transporter bridge at Rendsburg with a ship “greeting point” and it was not long before a number of our group were enjoying an evening meal at this location, enjoying the local hospitality and watching the ships passing in the darkness. This location would also prove very popular with many of our group during our stay. 

We awoke on Saturday to a cloudless sky and the prospect of excellent photographic conditions. A few members decided to take the train to Hamburg and partake of one of the public harbour cruises around Hamburg port. The majority of the group occupied various vantage points on the South bank of the Canal (our hotel was on the North bank, but is conveniently situated near a foot tunnel under the canal) to get the best photographic opportunities with the sun behind us.

The shipping traffic on the Kiel Canal consists mainly of feeder container ships, coastal tankers, ro-ro vessels and general cargo ships. Many of the ships transitting the canal are of Russian origin. The weekend days tend to be the busiest for shipping on the canal and we were not disappointed, as we photographed in the region of 40 ships on our first day.

Sunday was a very busy day on the canal with some members photographing 70 ships, passing in small convoys throughout the day. Some of our group took a cruise on the pleasure boat "Adler Princess" to Kiel and back, whilst others took the paddle steamer "Freya" from Rendsburg to Kiel and came back via the train. 

Monday was another glorious day with clear blue sky. We took up our usual positions on the canal and photographed the passing ships until dusk.

Finally the day of our departure came, but we were able to watch and photograph the shipping until 2pm on Tuesday when our coach left Rendsburg for Hamburg airport. The journey homewards was uneventful and we quickly arrived at Heathrow where we said our goodbyes and so the tour ended.

All of our members thoroughly enjoyed this short break made all the more enjoyable by the glorious unseasonal weather. Many first timers to the Kiel Canal were very pleased with the experience and vowed to return again soon. With thanks to Paul Mason, Paul Allen and Ray Smith for their usual excellent organisation during this thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Saturday 21st April - AGM and Solent Cruise

Fifty four members assembled on blue Funnel’s Ocean Scene in Ocean Village, Southampton for the Annual General Meeting activities on a gloriously sunny day on Saturday 21st April.

After renewing old acquaintances over a lunchtime drink at the on-board bar we settled down to a three course lunch provided as part of the AGM activites. After a very enjoyable meal we adjourned upstairs for coffee and the AGM.

The AGM business was conducted quickly and efficiently by the committee. After a presentation to our outgoing secretary John James and his wife Penny in recognition of John’s many years of service to the TSS, we got ready for the cruise of Southampton Docks and Southampton Water.

We were very lucky as Southampton Docks was quite busy. Three cruise ships were present, including our old favourite, the QE2. Also present was newly renamed Ocean Village Two which was in Southampton for her official naming ceremony and Celebrity Cruises large ship, Millennium.

Southampton Container Terminal was also full to capacity with four large container ships present as well as a feeder container ship. Amongst those present was the Berlin Express, Yorktown Express, Maersk Nottingham and MOL Priority. Various smaller general cargo vessels were also tied up at some of the other berths in the Western Docks.

We then made our way down to Fawley Oil Terminal and were again blessed with all the berths being occupied. Two large tankers Agathonissos and Ras Laffan were there as well as some smaller coastal vessels.

We made our way back down Southampton Water in order to see the QE2 departing at 17:00, but were told that her departure had been delayed until 17:30. With our cruise ending at 18:00 we were hoping that we would be able to still see her depart. 

Whilst we were slowly making our way back to Southampton for the QE2 departure we also witnessed the vehicle carriers Liberty and Montlhery leaving the port. Finally the QE2 was slowly pulled off the berth by the local tugs and we were able to take some nice photographs of her departure in the evening sunlight.

We then made our way back to Ocean Village where our cruise ended.

With thanks to Simon Martin and the members of the TSS committee for a thoroughly enjoyable day and also thanks to the crew and caterers of the Ocean Scene for looking after us so well.

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The OCEAN VILLAGE TWO was at 46 berth for her naming ceremony.

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Millennium at berth 101 in the Western Docks.

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MAERSK NOTTINGHAM was at the container terminal....

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RAS LAFFAN was one of two large tankers at Fawley.

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MONTLHERY departed as we made our way back to Southampton.

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The QE2 is pulled away from her berth by the local tugs....

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....and so she departs for New York.

(Photos and report by Chris Brooks)

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Our vessel on the Thames - the PRINCESS POCAHONTAS.

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SNOW CRYSTAL seen at Sheerness on our 2006 cruise.

Saturday 5th May - Thames and Medway Cruise

Our first Princess Pocahontas cruise of the year. 

We will depart from Gravesend at 10:00 and cover the Thames up to Dartford and the remainder of the Thames downstream including the tanker berths at Coryton out as far as Southend Anchorages. 

We will then turn our attention to the Medway covering Sheerness and Thamesport container terminal.

The cruise will finish at Gravesend at 17:00.

All times and cruise itinerary are subject to tide and weather conditions on the day. 

Unfortunately, this trip had to be cancelled due to technical problems with the Princess Pocahontas..

16th to 23rd June - Summer Continental

Early on Saturday 16th June, 22 members of the TSS gathered for the 2007 Continental Tour at the ferry terminal in Harwich. We departed on the recently enlarged Stena Britannica at 9am for the sailing to the Hook of Holland. 

After a quiet crossing we arrived mid-afternoon at the Hook of Holland and were soon on our coach to the Delta Hotel in Vlaardingen, where we were met by several other TSS members who had elected to travel to Rotterdam by their own means including Eurostar and by air to Schiphol.

The Delta Hotel is situated on the banks of the River Maas and during the evening many members spent quite a few hours in the restaurant and bar of the hotel overlooking the river, photographing the passing vessels in the pleasant evening sunlight.

Sunday morning dawned cloudy with rain showers, which was a shame as it was time for our nine hour private cruise of Rotterdam and Europoort on our usual vessel the “Partyschip Diane”. We commenced the cruise by travelling down the Nieuwe Waterweg to Europoort - luckily the weather had started to brighten up. Many bulk carriers, tankers and container ships, large and small, were photographed in the various havens in Europoort. 

We then made our way back to the Port of Rotterdam via the Caland Canal to cruise around Botlek, Eemshaven and Waalhaven harbours as well as all the other smaller havens in Rotterdam itself. Many different types of ships were photographed including the giant new Allseas pipe-laying vessel, Audacia being fitted out in Botlek Harbour.

The cruise ended in the early evening and we made the short walk back to the Delta Hotel for another relaxing evening watching and photographing the passing vessels whilst enjoying the fayre provided in the hotel bar and restaurant.

On Monday morning we made a leisurely departure from the Delta Hotel and made our way to our second base for the week in Vlissingen. Before arriving in Vlissingen we paid a short visit to “The Hill” at the Hook of Holland to see if any new ships had arrived since our cruise and photograph the passing shipping in the Nieuwe Waterweg. 

We arrived at Vlissingen, mid-afternoon, at the Arion Hotel, and quickly made ourselves at home in our hotel rooms overlooking the shipping channels on the River Schelde. Shipping in the North Channel passes close to the hotel and you can photograph the ships from your hotel room balcony. However, the best views of the passing shipping can be obtained by taking a short walk to the Pilot Station at Vlissingen where shipping in both channels passes within photographable distance. 

Tuesday saw us taking our coach to Terneuzen, one of the best places to photograph shipping arriving and departing from Antwerp. The ships pass close to the shore at Terneuzen and the uncluttered background with the sun behind you makes a good location for taking good quality photographs. The pleasant town is also where the Gent canal joins the Schelde via the locks situated at Terneuzen. The Gent canal is quite a busy shipping channel and regularly sees large bulk carriers making their way up to Gent docks. 

After spending the day at Terneuzen photographing many different ships in sunny weather, we made our way back to our hotel at Vlissingen for some more evening ship-watching whilst enjoying the many cafes and restaurants along the boulevard on the seafront.

On Wednesday, it was time for our five hour private cruise around the enclosed docks at Antwerp. We made our way by coach to Antwerp and after spending a short while at Antwerp locks where we photographed the arriving and departing shipping, we arrived at our embarkation point for the cruise. We were lucky to have sunny periods of weather during the cruise which made for some good photographs. In addition the docks were quite busy with a good selection of bulk carriers, tankers, container ships, reefers and general cargo ships present. After the docks cruise we made our way back to Vlissingen where a few hours were spent again photographing the shipping passing our hotel.

We went Terneuzen by coach again on Thursday, but this time there was an optional coach tour around Gent docks arranged by our Belgian friend Andre, which was enjoyed by all those who participated. The remainder of the party stayed at Terneuzen to photograph the ships underway in the Schelde. 

Friday saw us going to Terneuzen again followed this time by an optional trip to Antwerp on the coach in order to take the short public docks cruise around Antwerp. Some members elected to stay at Terneuzen photographing the passing shipping instead until early evening when the coach arrived back from Antwerp. We managed to dodge most of the showers of rain that day!

All too quickly the holiday was drawing to a close and it was time on Saturday morning to depart from Vlissingen back to the Hook of Holland for the early afternoon departure of the Stena Hollandica to Harwich. We travelled back to the Hook of Holland again via “The Hill” to photograph and new shipping arrivals at Europoort, before boarding the ferry for the trip home.

With grateful thanks to Paul Mason and Ray Smith for organising yet another successful continental trip. We will be looking forward to a similar trip planned for June 2008.

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The TSS Group at the Hook of Holland shortly before taking the ferry back to Harwich at the end of the 2007 Continental Tour. (Photo by Tony Dyer).

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A group of TSS members watch the MARBLE HIGHWAY passing close to Terneuzen. (Photo by Andrew Humphreys)

Trip Report by Chris Brooks.

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TOR FUTURA passing our hotel in Vlaardingen on 16th June.

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Kotug's SVEZIA passing the Delta Hotel in the evening sunlight.

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CAPE ISLAND during our cruise of Europoort on 17th June.

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The huge pipe layer AUDACIA under construction in Botlek Harbour during our Rotterdam port cruise.

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Chipolbrok's WIENIAWSKI berthed in Rotterdam on 17th June.

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Heavy lift JUMBO JAVELIN was in Rotterdam during our port cruise.

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SHARON SEA departed from Rotterdam shortly before we left our hotel for Vlissingen.

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The pilot boat EXPLORER arriving at Vlissingen Pilot Station.

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EIDE MASTER passed our hotel at breakfast time on 19th June.

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STAR LANGANGER passing Terneuzen during our visit there on 19th June.

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NORDERTOR passing Terneuzen bound for Antwerp.

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SIFNOS SUN at Antwerp during our cruise on 20th June.

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HANSA CENTURION arriving at Antwerp during our port cruise.

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NANDU ARROW was also caught underway during our cruise.

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CAPE ELLIS passed the pilot station at Vlissingen on 20th June.

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ELISA passing our hotel in Vlissingen on 22nd June.

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CMA CGM CASTILLA passing Terneuzen on 22nd June.

Photos by Chris Brooks

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MULTITANK BADENIA underway at the start of our cruise.

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HEATHER C inbound in the Thames.

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ILYA ERENBURG was at the tanker berths.

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RHINE approaching her berth with the tug STANFORD.

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CFS PANAMA inbound in the Thames Estuary.

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PONTOMEDON at anchor off Southend.

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ELBE HIGHWAY departing from Sheerness.

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CMA CGM Sambhar sailing from Tilbury at the end of our cruise.

Thursday 5th July - Thames and Medway Cruise

After the last minute cancellation of the first of this year’s very popular days out on the Princess Pocahontas, it was with some relief that a full contingent of members stepped aboard at Gravesend on a fairly sunny July morning. 

There were movements from the word go, with the Antiguan-flag coaster Antari heading downriver and the Balmoral leaving Tilbury stage. We then headed upriver as far as the ro/ro and tanker berths near the Dartford road bridge, passing on the way a couple of containerships berthed at Northfleet Hope, including the ’06-built CMA CGM Sambhar. The ro/ro traffic was dominated by Cobelfret vessels – the former “Dart” names having now disappeared in favour of names ending “ine”. After photographing a good number of vessels, including the underway tanker Multitank Badenia and, yes, a British-flag ship in the shape of Carisbrooke’s ’06-built Heather C, we turned back downriver. 

We passed Tilbury again, where there were attempts to identify several vessels in the enclosed docks – some success thanks to an up to date list off the Internet - then on past the Panamanian bulker Powerful at Tilbury Power Station and the tug moorings at Gravesend. Next up, the tanker berths at Coryton, which were dominated by the 114500 dwt Cypriot-flag Pantelis. Then we were treated to another movement at close quarters, the inbound OMI tanker Rhine, with the tug Stanford rushing to attend her. Incidentally, this tug and her two sisters have had the BP funnel colours painted out – presumably in connection with the sale of Coryton refinery to Petroplus. 

Heading on towards the estuary, where we could see several vessels tantalisingly at anchor, we passed another inbound vessel – this time the brand new geared containership CFS Panama. She was, unusually, devoid of any visible containers, due to this being her maiden voyage, I believe. In amongst all this, we also managed to do justice to the excellent ploughman’s lunch served up by the crew!

As we reached the anchorages the wind decided to whip up the sea a bit – a precursor to the threatened change in the weather – forcing us to make good use of our “sea legs”. After taking some excellent shots of the three vessels at anchor, including the smart Cypriot bulker Pontomedon, we headed off towards the Medway and Sheerness. Unfortunately, Thamesport was empty but we were treated to another movement at Sheerness – the bright red car carrier Elbe Highway – and a coaster and a reefer at the berths. 

The return journey up the Thames was in deteriorating weather, with the wind whipping spray over our bows; but this didn’t stop the diehards taking more photos as we passed several outbound vessels. Just after we had moored up at Gravesend, the finale of the trip was the arrival of the containership CSAV Santos, which had been following us, and the sailing of CMA CGM Sambhar

Once again, a successful day, with in excess of 40 vessels recorded, plus the tugs, and a good number of movements into the bargain. Thanks go to Mick Axford for organising and leading the trip. 

Trip Report and Photographs supplied By Geoff Hoather

Saturday 28th July - Solent Cruise

It seemed that the TSS had been very lucky, during a dismal summer, weather-wise, as a full complement gathered in Ocean Village, in sunshine, to board Blue Funnel’s Ocean Scene for the annual Solent Cruise. However, the clouds soon gathered and by the time we were leaving Ocean Village the sky was grey with a few light rain showers on the horizon.

Our cruise began with a visit to Empress Dock where the Beluga Recognition was loading wind turbine sails to deliver them to Milwaukee, USA. We then made our way around dockhead, past the Klazina C, loading grain, at 36 berth, and the Queen Mary 2, at berth 38/39, to meet a large outgoing container ship MOL Paramount, assisted by the Southampton tugs in their new Svitzer livery. Western Docks was home to the two large cruise ships Navigator of the Seas and the Grand Princess, as well as a coaster.

We then made our way up to the container terminal, past the general cargo ship Aleksandrov, which was unloading a consignment of yachts at 202 berth. The smart feeder container ship Euphoria was at 203 berth with the large Shanghai Express and CMA CGM La Traviata under the container cranes in the main terminal.

Retracing our steps we then headed for Southampton Water and Fawley. On the way down Southampton water we passed the incoming container ship Reinbek which made a good photographic subject. At Fawley, the large tanker Elka Athina was berthed and the Coral Meandra was in the process of berthing. At the same time the container feeder Philipp was passing inward bound to Southampton on the other side of us, so, it was difficult to know in which direction to point your camera!

With Fawley under our belt we made our way down the Solent to Portsmouth with a short diversion to the anchored BP tanker British Serenity, which has previously left BP’s jetty at Hamble earlier in the morning.

We arrived at Portsmouth well fed after our ploughmans/chicken and chips. Portsmouth was quite busy with the visiting French minesweeper Cephee and the Chilean (ex Royal Navy) frigates Almirante Lynch and Almirante Cochrane visiting the port. The Royal Navy was represented by the carrier Ark Royal and several frigates and destroyers.

After a quick visit to Fareham Creek to see the laid up warships there, we made out way out of Portsmouth and back across the North Channel in the Solent to view the departing cruise ships from Southampton. Unfortunately, we learned that the departure of the Grand Princess and the Navigator of the Seas was delayed and would not leave before our cruise was due to finish. We did, however, pass the Queen Mary 2 in Southampton Water on her way to New York and could see the Navigator of the Seas making her way out in the distance when we had to return to Ocean Village where the cruise ended.

With thanks to the organiser of the cruise, Simon Martin, and the other members of the committee for making the cruise a very enjoyable experience and the captain and crew of the Ocean Scene for their usual excellent hospitality.

Report and photographs by Chris Brooks

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MOL PARAMOUNT departing from Southampton during our cruise.

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EUPHORIA was at the container teminal as we made our way around Southampton Docks.

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GRAND PRINCESS was one of the three cruise ships present.

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We met the REINBEK bound for the container terminals as we made our way down Southampton Water.

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ELKA ATHINA was at Fawley.

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BRITISH SERENITY was anchored in the Solent having previously departed from BP Hamble.

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Chilean sisters ALMIRANTE LYNCH & ALMIRANTE COCHRANE were berthed in Portsmouth...

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... as was the French minesweeper CEPHEE.

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QUEEN MARY 2 was departing from Southampton for New York as we made our way back to Ocean Village at the end of the cruise.

19th to 22nd August - French Follies

A short tour of the Northern French ports of Dieppe, Caen, Le Havre and Cherbourg has been organised. The trip has been arranged so that we will see the maximum number of ships in these ports by keeping to weekdays as many French ports do not work cargo on the weekend.

There will be the possibility to organise at least two port tours at additional cost and subject to port permits.

Included in the tour :

  • Half board accommodation in three good quality hotels.

  • Travel by coach throughout with various pick-up points.

  • Ferry sailings.


Sunday 19th August : Coach pick up points at Woking, Gatwick, Brighton or Newhaven. Afternoon ferry sailing Newhaven to Dieppe. Accommodation in Hotel de L'Europe in Dieppe.

Monday 20th August (morning) : Subject to demand and port permits a coach trip of the port of Dieppe can be arranged.

Monday 20th August (afternoon) : Arrival at Caen staying at the Holiday Inn in the City Centre.

Tuesday 21st August : Arrival at Le Havre and subject to demand and port permits a harbour trip or a coach tour of the dock facilities will be arranged. Stay overnight at the Hotel Ibis in the City Centre.

Wednesday 22nd August : Travel to Cherbourg with early afternoon ferry departure to Portsmouth with Britanny Ferries. Coach drop offs on return to the UK. 

Note : Unfortunately this trip has been cancelled due to insufficient bookings.

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We passed the BRITANNIA BEAVER in the Thames. 

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EGMONDGRACHT heading upriver in the Thames. 

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MARE ACTION arriving at Coryton.

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DARIN NAREE was photographed in the outer anchorage.

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EVER DIAMOND was at Thamesport.

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The outbound containership MONTE CERVANTES in the Thames.

Saturday 1st September - Thames and Medway Cruise

The weather was not too bad as we started our cruise on the Princess Pocahontas.

Up-river, Kent Voyageur was at Northfleet Terminal and then on past the container terminal, which graced us with the presence of Mare Internum and Monte Cervantes. Then on to Purfleet with the usual collection of ro-ros, including Celestine. Here, we turned to head down river, passing Bekau newly arrived at the Grain Terminal. Bulker Tetien Trader was discharging at the Power Station. 

As we headed down river, we were passed by the inbound Sichem Defiance, Pembroke Fisher and Egmondgracht. Then Mare Action manoeuvring to her berth at Coryton which was otherwise devoid of shipping. 

At the inner anchorages were tanker Lady Martine and ro-ro Cervine. As we were heading towards the outer anchorages, we were passed by the inbound dredger Charlemagne and container ship MOL Cullinan

In the outer anchorages, we photographed tanker Shakhdag with bulkers Vinashin Island and Darin Naree.

We now headed for the Medway, overtaking the inbound Kingswear Castle. Unfortunately, Sheerness was completely empty, but Thamesport produced the newly arrived Ever Diamond and the rather shabby Alnoof

We now started our return journey up the Thames passing the outbound Sten Tor, Monte Cervantes and Louise Russ.

All too soon, we were back at Gravesend where our cruise finished. Grateful thanks to the organisers and to the crew of the Princess Pocahontas for a most enjoyable day.

Report and photographs by Roger Hammond.

15th to 30th September - Oriental Treasures

On Saturday 15th September twenty TSS members gathered at Heathrow Terminal 2 for the flight to Shanghai at the start of the 2007 TSS Far East Tour. After a long but uneventful flight we arrived in Shanghai on the afternoon of Sunday 16th and were soon on our way to the Sofitel Hyland Hotel on Nanjing Road. This comfortable and well appointed hotel was to be our base for the next five days in Shanghai.

Monday 17th dawned fine and sunny. This was to be a free day to recover from the long journey to Shanghai, however, most members gathered for the 2pm public cruise down to the mouth of the Huangpu River and back on a gloriously sunny afternoon, cameras at the ready. The river was busy, as usual, with many ships photographed during the three and a half hour cruise. The shipyards were busy with LNG tankers and bulk carriers and container ships under construction. There were also a number of vessel movements which were photographed including the traditionally designed North Korean cargo ship Chong Chon Gang. However, there was talk of a typhoon approaching the Shanghai area, amongst some members, who has seen the news earlier on in the day….

Tuesday, the day of our all day cruise on the Huangpu River dawned with heavy rain. Nevertheless we all turned up at the departure point for the cruise to be told that the government had closed the river to pleasure craft due to the impending arrival of typhoon “Wipha”. Disappointed, and after much heated discussion, with our local tour guide, we made our way back to the hotel. 

During the next two days we had various amounts of wind and rain as the typhoon neared, but it did not actually hit Shanghai. The river was more or less closed to traffic so we amused ourselves with some sightseeing, visiting museums, shopping and getting acquainted with the locally brewed beer in the hotel bar! Some members even went for a round trip to the airport on the magnetic levitation train (MAGLEV) which reaches speeds of 430kph – just for the experience!

On Thursday, our last full day in Shanghai, another private cruise had been organised, but this was shortened to a half day cruise in the afternoon, due to the after effects of the typhoon again. We went upriver and photographed the ships at the shipyards not normally accessible by the public cruises. Ships under construction included several bulk carriers, tankers and two satellite tracking ships. The river was also quite busy with shipping movements including the newbuild Sten Aurora departing and so the cruise proved quite productive.

Friday saw us making a morning departure from Shanghai for Bankgok. After a relatively short flight we found ourselves being greeted by our enthusiastic local guide in Bangkok. Very quickly we were transported to the excellent Sheraton Royal Orchid Hotel on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. 

The day dawned dry and bright on Saturday for our eight hour cruise to the mouth of the Chao Phraya River and back. Shipping in Bangkok is very varied and includes traditional general cargo ships which load and unload into barges in the centre of the river. Quite a few ships passed us underway during our cruise including reefer Well Success 103 and the inbound general cargo ship Yukki.

Sunday was a free day to relax in Bangkok. Some of our members hired “fishtail” boats from the landing stage at the hotel and headed off down the river to see what new shipping was about. They were well rewarded with a number of new arrivals as well as the sailing of the conventional cargo ship Hebei Peace.

On Monday we said goodbye to Bangkok and made our way to the airport again for the short flight to Singapore. We were met in the very efficient Changi airport in Singapore by our local guide who accompanied us to our hotel for our stay in Singapore - the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort on Sentosa Island, overlooking Singapore’s Western Anchorage. 

Our first private cruise of the Singapore anchorages was booked for Tuesday. We boarded our junk, the Fairwind V, for our eight hour cruise starting in the Eastern Anchorage. Many large tankers, bulk carriers and container ships were present and we visited each one in turn to take photographs in the hot and sunny weather conditions. Once the Eastern anchorage was covered, we briefly visited the Western Anchorage, including the cargo handling wharves at Pasir Panjang. Much of the Western Anchorage is out of bounds these days due to the increased security, no doubt something to do with the close proximity of the oil terminals to the anchorage itself.

Two free days were planned for Wednesday and Thursday. Members of our group spent these days sightseeing, shopping and relaxing by the hotel pool, whilst a few hired a local launch to take more photos of the ships at anchor, one member also paid a visit to a shipyard just across the straits in Indonesia.

Our last full day, Friday, saw us take another eight hour cruise of the anchorages, this time the limited visit to the Western Anchorage first, where we were lucky enough to get good photos of the F.Diamond, which was originally the 1967 built ferry Tor Hollandia. We also witnessed the departure of two cruise ships from the cruise terminal. The rest of our cruise was spent in the Eastern Anchorage where the usual array of large tankers, bulk carriers and container ships were present.

Saturday was spent relaxing and preparing for our early evening departure to the airport for a late evening Singapore Airlines flight back to Heathrow. We arrived back early in the morning on Sunday 30th September, tired after the long flight, but having thoroughly enjoyed the last two weeks - no matter what weather was thrown our way!

With thanks to Paul Mason and Ray Smith for leading the trip and our travel agents Silverbird, as well as the local tour guides in the respective countries for their hard work in organising an extremely enjoyable experience. 

Report and photographs by Chris Brooks.

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TAI HUA moored in the Huangpu River, Shanghai.

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BAO ZHONG 168 was photographed in the ship repair yards at Shanghai.

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DAPENG SUN under construction at Shanghai.

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FU YU SHAN outward bound at the mouth of the Huangpu River.

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Newbuild STEN AURORA passed us outbound during our cruise at Shanghai.

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BLUE OCEAN, one of the reefers photographed in Bangkok.

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YUKKI inward bound in the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok.

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HALO GAS outward bound in the Chao Phraya River.

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WELL SUCCESS 103 passes our cruise boat outward bound at Bangkok.

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TYCOON is typical of the many general cargo ships seen in Bangkok. 

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IOS ELAINE in Singapore's Eastern Anchorage during our first Singapore cruise.

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JI XIANG KOU was also in Singapore's Eastern Anchorage.

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ISLAND ACCORD, one of the many VLCCs sighted at Singapore.

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WIN SHUEN SHING was in the Western Anchorage during our second Singapore cruise...

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Gas tanker CLIPPER STAR taken from our base, The Rock Hotel, on 15th October.

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Local ferry,AL MANSOUR heading for North Africa on 16th October.

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Bulk Carrier CONSUL POPPE from our trip on the the "Dolphin Boat" on 16th October.

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POLYDEFKIS receiving bunkers from the AEGEAN TULIP on 16th October.

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LPG tanker YUHSHO photographed off Europa Point on 17th October. 

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..and another gas tanker in the Eastern Anchorage - ARCTIC VOYAGER photographed on 18th October.

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Tanker BULDURI with The Rock as a dramatic backdrop on 18th October.

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Bulker GENCO CARRIER in the Western Anchorage on 18th October.

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The veteran gas tanker LAIETA was seen on 18th October.

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One of many Maersk container ships seen during the trip - MAERSK VYBORG on 18th October.

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.. yet another gas tanker,  METHANIA, in the Eastern Anchorage on 18th October.

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The wrecked bulker NEW FLAME off Europa Point on 18th October. 

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Tanker SEATURBOT at anchor on 18th October.


Trip report and photographs by Geoff Hoather.

15th to 19th October - A Rock, Some Apes and Ships

This trip was something of an experiment when first advertised – the last time the TSS visited Gibraltar was six years ago – but its popularity was soon realised, with maximum bookings being achieved quite quickly. 

Monday 15th October saw our group of 29 just about evenly split for the outward journey, with one bleary-eyed contingent opting for the 07.30 flight from Gatwick, (entailing being at the airport by 5am!) whilst the other (more sensible?) lot chose an early afternoon flight from Luton. Our base in Gibralter was to be the famous Rock Hotel, which commands great views over the busy bunkering anchorages towards the Spanish port of Algeciras with its extensive container and tanker berths. There are also frequent ferries across the Straits to North African ports, with both conventional and fast ferries.

I had opted for the Gatwick flight, which went very smoothly and, by lunchtime, we were checked into our very comfortable rooms with balconies overlooking the bay. I soon realised it was eminently possible, with a telephoto lens, to get quite reasonable shots of those vessels anchored nearest the hotel. I was also lucky in that my room mate from Scotland had brought his very powerful (60x) ‘scope, and “Big Bertha” (as we called it) proved its worth throughout the trip, even if her owner did complain a little about the resulting weight of his hand luggage! Anyway, thanks Dick!

We had decided not to include any “pre-organised” days on this trip so as to give people complete freedom of choice. This seemed to work well as the Rock itself is easy to get around by public transport, taxi or on foot and, for those with a head for heights, there is a cable car to the summit to see the famous apes and get magnificent views (so long as you choose a clear day). It is also easy enough to get a bus from the nearby Spanish border to Algeciras – at least one couple did this – and from there you can get day trips across to North Africa, although I don’t think anyone ventured that far. Of course, Gibraltar is a duty-free area, so the shopping too wasn’t neglected in between the shipping activities, and there were plenty of eating places and watering holes in the town itself if you didn’t want to frequent the hotel for that purpose all the time. If this was your first visit to the Rock there was plenty of friendly TSS expertise on hand too if you needed advice. 

Most of us spent the first day acclimatising and identifying the many vessels out in the Roads and over at Algeciras (courtesy of “Big Bertha”!), although unfortunately the weather wasn’t entirely helpful, as we had arrived on a cloudy and, at times, rainy day. Luckily though it did improve as the week progressed. By early evening we were joined by the Luton contingent and were able to tell them what they had missed before they arrived, although they had the extra time on the last day with the later flight time. It was early to bed that evening, at least for us “Gatwick” people, with the satisfaction of having identified some 70-plus vessels. These ranged from the extensive fleet of bunkering tankers, several being of Japanese origin, such as Vemaoil VIII and IX, to larger tankers such as the sisterships Wilana and Wilmina of 149,000 dwt, gas carriers (of which we were to see quite a number) – the veteran, but smartly painted, Laieta from 1970 being a highlight – through to bulkers of all sizes, and of course plenty of containerships – Maersk being the dominant company; the largest on that first day being Maersk Surabaya at 94000gt.
The next day, Tuesday, a number of us decided to go “dolphin watching” in the bay – well actually the main reason for taking this boat trip was to photograph ships, of course! The 90-minute trip enabled us to get photos of a good number of the vessels at anchor, although of course the dolphins dictate where the boat actually goes on any given occasion. The bay was surprisingly choppy though, so you needed a steady hand with the camera. We did also see some dolphins at close quarters by the way, as well as the gas tanker Hoegh Galleon, bulker Consul Poppe, reefer Izumo Bay and containership Maersk Nanhai amongst others. 

One of the “must visits” for the ship enthusiast is the southernmost point of the Rock, Europa Point, where a red and white striped lighthouse guards the Straits. It was a short ride from the hotel on the No 3 bus, which runs every 15 minutes during the day.
It was well frequented by us throughout the week as you can get good shots of vessels entering or leaving the bay, and also you can identify others waiting out in the Eastern Anchorage round the other side of the Rock. These seemed to be mainly tankers and gas carriers. A further attraction at the moment is the partly submerged bulker New Flame, which had the misfortune to collide with the tanker Torm Gertrud in August as she was leaving the bay. She drifted and grounded on a reef just off the point and is currently being attended by the large salvage tug Fotiy Krylov and the smaller Megas Alexandros. Apparently her hull is cracked so she may be there for some time. If you visit Europa Point when there is good visibility it is also possible to identify vessels passing through the Straits. I managed quite a few during several pleasant hours spent there on the Wednesday. 

Thursday was the last day for the Gatwick contingent as we were due to leave at 10am on the Friday. It was a pleasantly sunny day and some of us made the most of it by managing to locate and hire independently a (primarily) rod fishing boat but which also does sightseeing tours around the Rock for up to 12 people. The captain was more than happy to oblige our photography needs and, during a 4-hour cruise, took us right round everything in Algeciras Bay, even allowing us to get some shots of vessels alongside the container berths, including the giant Emma Maersk at 170000gt. We then did a comprehensive tour of the dozen or so vessels in the Eastern Anchorage – six of these being large gas carriers, including the Indian Maharshi Vamadena and the Hoegh Galleon again, which was now in the process of being renamed Margaret Hill. In addition, we were able to get some close quarters shots of the grounded New Flame.

As with all trips, just when you are enjoying yourself you have to go home! After breakfast on Friday morning, we said our goodbyes to the Luton contingent, who no doubt managed to add to their notebook tally during the rest of the day before their own flight home; however, I was more than happy with my own 200-plus sightings recorded. Apart from a hefty thunderstorm just before takeoff, causing a bit of turbulence for the first half hour of the flight, we had a smooth journey back to Gatwick. 

As always, thanks must go to the tour leader, Ian Cochran, ably assisted by Paul Mason, for an excellent visit to Gibraltar. 

October 20th - London International Ship Show

We had a table at this year's Ship Show on 20th October at the Royal National Hotel, Bloomsbury, where members of the committee were on hand to answer questions and have a chat.

For more details about the Ship Show use the following link : Ocean Liner Society

2006 Review

28th January - Winter Social

Our Winter Social, the first TSS event of the new year, took place at the Churchill Hotel, on the seafront at Dover. 41 members enjoyed a very pleasant three course meal.

The meal was followed by a very entertaining and informative slide show given by Mike Jackson entitled "My Voyages on Bulk Carriers". This covered Mike's voyages on several bulk carriers during the 1970s and 1980s. Some wonderful slides of many ships long departed from today's shipping scene were shown.

Many members stayed in the hotel on Saturday night and partook in a organised visit to Dover Coastguard Station on Sunday morning.

After breakfast a convoy of 21 members plus 2 local guests of the organiser made the short journey to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency building at Langdon Battery on the cliffs at Dover. We were treated to a two hour presentation of how the organisation
is run, explaining their responsibilites in the both keeping an eye on the traffic separation zones in  the Dover Straits (where there can be around 600 vessel movements in any one day) and the surrounding areas, plus the duties involved as the coastguard.

We even received a surprise close by fly-past by one of the search and rescue planes 'Echo November'.

A thoroughly enjoyable two hours and thanks goes to Ted Ingham and Gordon Wise of the MCA, both shipping enthusiasts, for taking the time to show us around. It was most refreshing to be 
welcomed somewhere as a 'ship spotter'. 

Thanks also to TSS members Mike Jackson and Andrew Humphreys for organising the visit and also for putting together the slide show on Saturday afternoon. 

Final thanks go to Paul Mason for organising an excellent weekend.


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Dover - bathed in winter sunshine during our Winter Social!

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TSS members being shown around the MCA building at Dover.



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The veteran steam turbine cruise vessel OCEANIC at Barcelona on 20th March.

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Pullmantur's BLUE DREAM departing from Barcelona with MSC's MELODY in the background.

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Bulk carrier ELECTRA I catches the evening sunlight during one of our harbour trips.

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Gaudi's Parc Guell during our city tour.

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Gaudi's unfinished cathederal Sagrada Familia

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Reefer COOL EXPRESS in Barcelona Docks.

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GRAND MISTRAL was inactive in the port for our entire stay.

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ROSE BROOK was in the port on our last day in Barcelona.

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The modern AIDACARA at the cruise terminal on the 23rd March.

Photographs by Chris Brooks

20th March to 23rd March - Barcelona

Early on Monday morning, 20th March, 19 members of the TSS assembled at London Gatwick airport for a three night trip to Barcelona taking in some sunshine, shipping and Gaudi!

Having left a cold grey London it was pleasant to arrive in Barcelona on a warmer, bright day. After a painless check-in at the three star Montblanc Hotel close to the city's main tourist area, La Rambla, members of the group eagerly made the short walk down to the harbour and were surprised to see that there were five cruise ships in the port.

Unfortunately a number of the harbour cruises run by the Las Golondrinas were pre-booked by various school parties, which meant that TSS members had to wait until the late afternoon harbour cruise, or take the longer "coast cruise" which toured part of the dock complex on it's way back from the coast in order to view the shipping at close quarters.

Some excellent photographs of the various cruise ships were obtained during the harbour trips - with the highlight of the cruise ships being the veteran steam-turbine Oceanic dating from 1965, as well as the New Flamenco, Grand Mistral, Blue Dream and MSC's Melody.

Tuesday morning was taken up by a city tour organised by our travel company. This tour was very interesting and took in Gaudi's eccentric Parc Guell, the famous cathederal of La Sagrada Familia, which is still being constructed, as well as a walking tour of the old city and the La Rambla thoroughfare.

On Tuesday afternoon  a number of members took another harbour cruise. Only the Grand Mistral was left from from the previous day's cruise ships, but other bulk carriers, container ships, ro-ro's and ferries were noted and photographed, including the departure of the container carrier Melfi Italia II assisted by a local tug.

Wednesday was another free day, some members explored the city of Barcelona, some visited the excellent Maritime Museum, whilst others made their way down to the harbour to see what shipping had turned up overnight. A number of TSS members took another harbour cruise in the afternoon.

We were booked on a late afternoon flight on Thursday, which meant leaving the hotel at 14:30 for the airport. Luckily a coastal cruise was due to leave the harbour at 11:30 and return by 13:00, so this gave a number of members one last chance to photograph the new ships in the port. Two cruise ships had arrived early in the morning, these being the Coral and AIDACara and these were duly photographed during the cruise as were some new merchant shipping arrivals.

After an uneventful flight back from Barcelona we arrived at Gatwick airport on Thursday evening after a thoroughly pleasant few days. 

Our thanks go to Ian Cochran and everyone else who contributed to the organisation of a very pleasant trip.



22nd April - AGM at Southampton

On a beautifully sunny Saturday afternoon, 48 TSS members attended the AGM on-board Blue Funnel's Ocean Scene at Southampton. 

An excellent three course lunch was first served followed by the AGM. After the AGM business was completed, we had a 3 hour cruise of Southampton Docks and Southampton Water as far as Fawley Oil Terminal.

As the cruise season has just started in earnest in Southampton, we were fortunate to be able to view the cruise ships Black Watch at the City Cruise Terminal and P&O's Arcadia at the Mayflower Cruise Terminal, in perfect photographic conditions.

The container terminal was also busy with three large container ships present, the Shanghai Express, CMA CGM Verlaine and NYK Castor

After viewing the Western Docks, we proceeded down Southampton Water to photograph the tankers on Fawley Oil Terminal, passing the inbound Grimaldi vehicle carrier Grande Mediterraneo, arriving from Antwerp, on the way.

Fawley was quite busy with four tankers present, including the large Stellar Voyager. The new Solent Towage tug Tenax was also present at Fawley and viewed at close quarters.

We then slowly cruised back to Southampton, with just some time to see the departure of the Black Watch, before the cruise ended in Ocean Village.

With thanks to Simon Martin for organising the day and the crew of the Ocean Scene for another successful day in Southampton.


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P&O's ARCADIA was at Mayflower Cruise Terminal....

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.... and the BLACK WATCH was at the City Cruise Terminal.

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SHANGHAI EXPRESS was one of three large container ships present.

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GRANDE MEDITERRANEO inward bound in Southampton Water.

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Photographs by Chris Brooks


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ADSTEAM ANGLIA performed a little dance for us even before we had set off on our cruise.

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AMNA S was out in the anchorage awaiting a berth...

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The new Medway tug ADSTEAM HARTY passes us to meet....

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... the HYUNDAI SHANGHAI which was bound for Thamesport ...

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... which passed the EVER DIVINE outward bound from Thamesport.

Photographs by Chris Brooks


6th May - Thames and Medway Cruise

Unfortunately, Saturday 6th May turned out to be a cloudy day with weather forecasts predicting rain in the afternoon. Nevertheless, TSS members from all over the country converged at Gravesend in good spirits for the first Thames and Medway cruise for 2006 on board the Princess Pocahontas.

Before the cruise had left the landing stage, one of the Adsteam tugs, Adsteam Anglia, gave us a demonstration of her manoeuverability at close quarters as she was escorting the large outward bound container ship Monte Pascoal.

After casting off we proceeded downstream, bound for the anchorages off Southend. One the way we passed the oil jetties at Coryton which were quite quiet with only a couple of small tankers present.

By the time we reached the anchorages, it had started to rain slightly, but we still got some good pictures of the ro-ro Eva Oden, the BP tanker British Experience and the old bulk carrier Amna S, all waiting for berths in the Thames. Luckily the rain did not persist for very long.

We then turned out attention to the Medway, with reports that two large container ships would be moving in the next hour or so. We were not disappointed, as we arrived in the Medway to witness the Ever Divine departing from Thamesport, assisted by the new Medway tug Adsteam Harty. Having pulled the Ever Divine from her berth the new tug then sped past us to meet the inward bound container ship Hyundai Shanghai. The Hyundai Shanghai was on her maiden voyage from the Far East, having been delivered from her builders in Ulsan, South Korea earlier this year.

We made our way back up the Thames, passing the outward bound EK-Sky on the way. Unfortunately, the container terminal and grain terminal at Tilbury were both devoid of shipping. We continued upriver as far as Dartford before turning around and returning to Gravesend, where the cruise ended.

With thanks to the organisers and the crew of the Princess Pocahontas for another enjoyable day out.

20th to 27th May - Continental Tour

On Saturday 20th May, fourteen participants of the Continental Tour arrived in Harwich to take the Stena Discovery HSS ferry over to the Hook of Holland. Despite some windy conditions on the previous day, we had an uneventful, comfortable crossing. On arrival at the Hook of Holland, we transferred to the Delta Hotel by coach where the remainder of the twenty-three participants joined us after making their own way to Rotterdam.

Having settled into the hotel, the ship photography started with several vessels being photographed underway passing the hotel, the highlight of which was the outbound container ship Kota Pelangi

On Sunday morning we awoke to heavy rain which was less than ideal conditions for our private Rotterdam and Europoort port cruise on our old friend the Diane. However, shortly after we departed from the landing stage for Europoort the rain stopped and we even had some periods of sunshine! At Europoort, the highlight of the shipping present was the Chinese semi-submersible heavy lift ship Kang Sheng Kou which had arrived with a deck cargo consisting of the SSP Piranema platform, from China for the Keppel Verolme yard. Many ships of all shapes and sizes were photographed during the full day's cruise.

Monday morning saw us departing from the Delta Hotel for the second part of our week long stay, based at the Arion Hotel on the seafront at Vlissingen. After a quick visit to "the hill" at the Hook of Holland to witness any new shipping that had arrived in Europoort overnight, we proceeded to Vlissingen. The Arion Hotel at Vlissingen overlooks one of the channels used by shipping using the ports of  Antwerp, Gent, Terneuzen and Flushing on the River Schelde. You can even photograph the passing shipping from your hotel balcony.

On Tuesday morning we travelled by coach to Terneuzen, which is one of the best places on the Schelde to photograph shipping underway. It is also the point at which the Gent Canal joins the River Schelde, via the Terneuzen Locks. Several ships were photographed underway passing Terneuzen as well as the Chinese An Bao Jiang and the large bulk carrier Medi Taipei arriving at Terneuzen Locks. 

Wednesday saw us travel by coach to Antwerp for our five hour private cruise of the enclosed docks at Antwerp. After a short visit to the Antwerp locks in our coach where we photographed two ships arriving, we boarded our vessel for the day, the Kempenland. Antwerp, as always produced some interesting vessels, including a variety of reefers, bulk carriers and general cargo ships. We were lucky to witness a number of movements of vessels as well, including the tanker Sealing and the bulk carriers Clipper Morning and Amna S (previously seen on the Thames & Medway trip a few weeks ago).

A visit by coach to the port of Gent was arranged for Thursday, with our local member Andre kindly arranging for permission for our coach to visit all the quays in the port. Several vessels were photographed in changeable weather conditions, the highlight of the tour being the Russian general cargo ship Fedor Varaksin which made a great photograph. After our tour of Gent we returned to Terneuzen and photographed some more passing shipping, before returning to our hotel in Vlissingen.

On Friday, the weather was not too good with heavy rain. In spite of the rain we spent the morning in Terneuzen (with many coffees in the Westkant restaurant overlooking the River!). During the afternoon we drove to Antwerp and boarded the public two and a half hour cruise around the docks to see what had changed since Wednesday. Despite intermittent rain we managed to photograph a number of new arrivals in the port including two large bulk carriers, Cape Cathay and Kohyohsan, the Chinese Tong Ji Men and the bulk sugar carrier CHL Progressor.

All too quickly, our week came to an end, and on Saturday morning. we said goodbye to our friends who were making their own way back to the UK via Eurostar. Our coach took us back to the Hook of Holland via "the hill" to witness any new shipping at Europoort. Several large tankers and a nice little general cargo ship, Oluk were photographed. Our coach then took us to the Stena Line terminal at the Hook of Holland where we boarded the Stena Discovery for the journey back to Harwich. 

On arrival at Harwich we were lucky enough to be able to photograph two departing cruise ships, the Athena and Discovery as we made our way into the port.

Alas, it was time to say goodbye to our friends and the end of the Continental Tour for another year. A thoroughly enjoyable experience, despite the changeable weather conditions. A count indicates that about 480 different ships were seen during the week.

With thanks to Paul Mason and Ray Smith for organising what was another very enjoyable week. 

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KOTA PELANGI passing our hotel in Rotterdam.

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MILTIADIS M departing from the Caland Canal during our Rotterdam port cruise.

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SWIFT FLIGHT berthed in Waalhaven, Rotterdam during our port cruise.

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Chinese semi-Submersible heavy lift ship KANG SHENG KOU moored in Europoort with the SSP PIRANEMA on board.

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AN BAO JIANG arrived in the Gent Canal during our visit to Terneuzen.

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Tug 80 gave us a demonstration of her manoeuvrability during the Antwerp port cruise.  

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ATLANTIC HOLLYHOCK was in Antwerp during our port cruise.

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AMNA S arrived in Antwerp during our port cruise.

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FEDOR VARAKSIN was at Gent during our port visit.

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SOUTHERN JUICE passing Terneuzen during one of our visits.

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MERCHANT catches the evening sunlight as she passes the hotel at Vlissingen.

Photographs by Chris Brooks

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THE CALYPSO at 102 berth Western Docks, under repair.

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CEC MISTRAL loading yachts in Western Docks, Southampton.

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MOL PERFORMANCE was at the container terminal.

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KINGSTON LACY outward bound in Southampton Water.

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MISTRAL inbound in the Solent for Fawley.

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D89 EXETER was at Portsmouth Naval Base.

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Not just shipping! The Coastguard helicopter off Hythe.

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OCEANA departing Southampton at the end of our cruise.

Photographs by Chris Brooks


8th July - Solent Cruise

Sixty members, a "full compliment", enjoyed the popular Solent Cruise on the 8th July. On a bright and sunny, if a little breezy Saturday we departed Ocean Village on Blue Funnel's Ashleigh R for our six hour private cruise.

After casting off at 11:30am we first explored the River Itchen, which does not see much commercial traffic these days, but there are many tugs and smaller vessels moored and laid up.

Once we had covered the Itchen we made our way around Dockhead and were pleasantly surprised by the number of vessels berthed in Southampton Docks. Four cruise ships, Oceana, Legend of the Seas, Aurora and The Calypso (under repair after her engine room fire in the Channel) were keeping the cruise terminals busy.

As well as the cruise ships there was plenty of commercial shipping in the form of vehicle carriers Alioth Leader, Asian Dynasty, Grande Scandinavia, L'Audace and Autoline. General cargo ships were represented by Mike, CEC Mistral (loading yachts for Palma) and Fjord Pearl (which had arrived with marble chips from Marina Di Carrara). Finally the container terminal had one large ship present - the MOL Performance.

On completing the tour of the docks we made our way down Southampton Water for Fawley, overtaking the nice old tug Kingston Lacy towing a barge and some workboats.

At Fawley there were four tankers present including the Ligovsky Prospect and the Robert Maersk.

At this point we headed for Portsmouth Harbour via the North Channel, so, as there was a lull in shipping activity, lunch was served. We passed the gas carrier Mistral, heading for Fawley, in the North Channel in excellent photographic conditions - unfortunately some of our members missed this due to being too interested in their lunch!

Portsmouth Harbour was busy with ferries as usual. We witnessed the arrival of the fast ferry Normandie Express as well as the departure of the conventional ferry Mont St. Michel. The Naval Base at Portsmouth was a little quiet, but the relatively new carrier Ocean was a new sighting for many of our members. We also headed up Fareham Creek as far as the laid up warships there.

Once we have finished our cruise of Portsmouth Harbour we retraced our steps back via the Solent and Southampton Water hoping to see the departure of some of the cruise ships which were due to leave at 5pm. We waited off Hythe for the departure of the cruise ships as the Solent Coastguard Helicopter put on a bit of a display for us (actually they were "on a job" looking for something near Hythe - I think).

Unfortunately the Legend of the Seas departure had been delayed, but we managed to get some good photographs of the Oceana departing from berth 38/39 and the Aurora was making our way out of the harbour as we headed back for Ocean Village at 5:30pm.

Yet again a very enjoyable cruise, with thanks going to the crew of the Ashleigh R for looking after us, as well as the organisers of the trip.


10th August - Thames and Medway Cruise

Over 60 TSS members gathered on a grey and blustery morning at Gravesend for the second Thames and Medway Cruise of the year.

On departure from Gravesend and after a quick call at Tilbury Landing Stage, where Fred Olsen's Black Prince and the vehicle carrier Morning Power, were moored, we made our way up the Thames as far as Dartford. On the way we passed the container carriers Sydney Express and HMS Rotterdam at Tilbury Container Terminal. Several tankers were also noted, including Kihuland, Ellen Knutsen and Prince Henri. Just before we turned downstream we photographed the soon to be replaced ro-ro Maersk Voyager which is on Cobelfret's Purfleet to Rotterdam service.

Just off Tilbury, on our way down the Thames we encountered several ships arriving, which we passed at close quarters. By now, the sun was even shining a little so many photographs were taken during this busy period. The RMS Rahm was closely followed by the Aasnes, which in turn was closely followed by the general cargo ship Go Pride, complete with a deck cargo of wood, bound for Tilbury Docks. The local tugs were busy connecting up to the Go Pride so our tug enthusiasts were well rewarded with some close-up photographs.

Shortly afterwards we also passed the inward bound dredger City of London and the container carrier Cap Vincent.  It was now time for our lunch before the next ships appeared before us.

At Coryton Number 3 Jetty, the tanker Emerald Star was being berthed by two of the new tugs Corringham and Castle Point, and the large tanker Delta Pioneer was also present. Our captain even took us around the back of the jetty in order to photograph the third of the three new tugs - Stanford.

In the anchorage, only the small tanker Clipper Bordeaux was present, so, after photographing her we made our way to the Medway.

Unfortunately the container terminal at Thamesport on the Medway was devoid of shipping, but Sheerness was quite busy, with the classic reefer Snow Crystal, the reefer Jorgen Lauritzen, and vehicle carrier Autoprestige making excellent photographs in a brief period of sunshine

After leaving the Medway we made our way back up the Thames passing several outbound ships including the container carrier Sydney Express, the tanker Kihuland, Union Sun, and SC Baltic.

Our cruise finished at Gravesend just as the Black Prince was departing from Tilbury and the large bulk carrier Heinrich Oldendorff was preparing to sail from Tilbury Power Station, with tugs in attendance.

Although the weather was changeable with periods of sunshine, showers and a brisk wind, the cruise was very enjoyable with many ships photographed underway at close quarters.

With thanks to Mick Axford for organizing the day as well as the crew of the Princess Pocahontas for their usual hospitality.


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The vehicle carrier MORNING POWER was at Tilbury Landing Stage...

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GO PRIDE arriving for Tilbury assisted by ADSTEAM ANGLIA.

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EMERALD STAR at Coryton.

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ADSTEAM VICTORY inward bound in the Thames.

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The classic reefer SNOW CRYSTAL at Sheerness.

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SYDNEY EXPRESS departing from the Thames.

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KIHULAND passed us outward bound at the end of our cruise.

Photographs by Chris Brooks

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Our vessel for the day - Blue Funnel's ASHLEIGH R


9th September 2006 - Solent Cruise

A re-run of the ever popular Solent Cruise on board Blue Funnel's Ashleigh-R.

The cruise will start at Ocean Village, Southampton at noon and cover Southampton Docks, Fawley, Hamble, the Solent and Portsmouth Harbour.

The cruise vessels Golden Princess, Legend of the Seas and Oriana are expected in Southampton on this day. We will hopefully witness the sailings of these ships before the cruise ends at 18:00.

Lunch will be provided.

Unfortunately this cruise is cancelled due to insufficient bookings received.


11th to 22nd September - Black Sea Cruise

11th September – An early morning start due to the current extra security measures at Heathrow but all our 22 participants managed to board our BA Boeing 757 on time for our 0750 flight to Milan Malpensa airport. On arrival we were faced with a coach journey through the Italian countryside to Genoa which lasted just over two hours. On arrival in Genoa we boarded mid afternoon our home for the next 11 nights, the MSC Lirica. Delivered in March 2003 from Chantiers D’Atlantique, St Nazaire the vessel is of 58,600 GRT with a service speed of 21 knots and capable of carrying upto 2,065 passengers with approximately 700 crew. The crew on this cruise came from 52 different nationalities.

The port of Genoa contained 25 vessels, including a sister ship MSC Opera berthed at the other side of the quay, with other vessels including ferries, bunker tankers and roro vessels with an occasional container ship and coaster. Sailing was scheduled for 1700 and after clearing the port it was time to finish the unpacking and get ready for our second sitting dinner at 2100

Genoa to Naples – 344 miles

 12th September – 1030 arrival at Naples after having passed the E enroute. A good selection of 45 vessels in port dominated by Italian coastal, inter island and cross Mediterranean ferries. MSC were also prominent with MSC Selma, MSC Carla and MSC Shirley in port working cargo or under repair, and in the afternoon the MSC Toronto also arrived. Various other types of vessels were also noted at the busy repair yards and the veteran cruise ship Grand Victoria was also in port. Departure 1800

Naples – Piraeus 682 miles

 13th September – Our first day of leisure ‘’at sea’’ with only one vessel noted, the roro Jolly Amaranto. The first Gala Night dinner in the evening, so a chance for the ladies to wear their best outfits.

 14th September – Awake around 0600 and a visit to the balcony saw us the passing near sister ship MSC Armonia with all lights blazing also inbound for Piraeus, where we arrived at 0700. There were to be six cruise ships in port on the day, the others being Nautica, Superstar Libra, Costa Marina and Ocean Odyssey. Around ten of our members took the ferry to Aegina, skirting the anchorage enroute, while others visited the Corinth Canal or Athens. The anchorage was quieter than on previous visits, probably due to high freight levels obtainable in today’s strong market. Over 70 vessels noted on the day including the usual large collection of Greek ferries and some of the vessels under repair in the distant shipyards of Perama were identifiable. Departure 1700

Piraeus – Yalta 615 miles

15th September – At sea again with ships to see this time. At 0700 we were still the Dardanelles so a good chance to see some passing traffic and around 0800 we entered the Sea of Marmara which was very busy, and further on we entered the Bosporos Strait at around 1300. The scenic journey through the Bosporos brought back memories of previous TSS visits and as usual it proved to be busy with vessels on the move. We exited the Bosporus around 1515 heading north to Yalta not knowing what ships we might find there. In total some 76 vessels noted on the day, including 31 in the Bosporus (excluding the local ferries). In addition there were probably 40 unidentified vessels in the SW anchorage and a further dozen or so in the NW anchorage.

16th September – 0800 arrival in Yalta with not very much to report on the shipping scene. One Russian river cruise vessel, two local tugs and two fast ferries under repair were the only vessels to be seen, with the Saga vessel Spirit of Adventure arriving shortly after us. The only rain of the trip in the afternoon and another Gala Night dinner in the evening after 1800 departure

Yalta – Odessa 205 Miles

 17th September – Early morning arrival in Odessa revealed some 19 vessels in port, a mixture of bulkers, containerships, vessels under repair including the Russian liner Odessa and local craft. Departure at 1300 gave time to identify a further nine vessels in the anchorage with a further six unidentified.

Odessa – Istanbul 330 miles

18th September – Pilot onboard for the busy southbound Bosporus transit at 0630 and we arrived at the berth at around 0900, with the cruise ships Grand Princess and AIDAaura already berthed astern of us. Members headed of in various directions or on guided tours, but we took the ferry to Kadikoy on the Asian side in order to photograph the ships at the container terminal and the nearby berths. Departure at 1700 and a few photos still to taken around the SW anchorage where estimates of around 80 vessels of all sizes in view, waiting for their various reasons, but most were unidentifiable in the distant haze. A total of 96 names went into the notebook on the day, again excluding the local ferries. 

Istanbul – Catania 765 miles

19th September – Another day at sea, passing through the Greek islands with light winds and a very hot day with sunbeds at a premium in the afternoon. Some 15 vessels identified on the day including the OMI tanker Rosetta and Lebanese flagged bulker Alexander K. The final Gala Night of the trip.

20th September – We arrived at Catania around 1130 and as expected a very small port with only five vessels noted including the cruise ship Hebridean Spirit and the French cable layer Rene Descartes. Another hot day and after a short trip ashore it was time for some more sunbed therapy before departure at 1900

Catania – Capri 213 miles

21st September – Arrival at our anchorage in Capri Bay was at 0730 with only a few local ferries that cross to Naples on view. Time for a visit to the famous Blue Grotto, and some retail therapy before heading back to the ship to start the packing. The sailing cruise ship Royal Clipper arrived shortly before our departure at 1300.

Capri –Genoa 332 miles

22nd September – We were supposed to vacate our cabins by 0800 so all on deck for the 0900 arrival in Genoa where some 19 vessels were further noted, a large proportion of them being ferries of the Moby, Tirrenia and Grimaldi Lines with a few container vessels and tankers also on view. We left the ship around 1015 to face the return coach journey to Genoa with a few hours waiting at the airport before our return flight on a full BA Airbus A320 back to Heathrow where goodbyes were made and we headed off in our different directions.

Many thanks to our Society Secretary, John James, ably assisted by his wife Penny, for organising a splendid cruise and I am sure all those who participated brought home some very happy memories. Thanks again John and Penny

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FAUNO was one of the many ferries sighted at Naples.

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SALERNO EXPRESS in dock at Naples.

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KNOSSOS PALACE was at Piraeus.

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We passed the MEGA STAR in the Sea of Marmara.

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Passing the OVERSEAS LUXMAR in the Bosphorus.

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KRYMCHANIN - one of the local tugs at Yalta.

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At Yalta was the Saga cruise ship SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE.

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The ARIAKE REEFER was one of 19 vessels noted in Odessa.

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The SPAR LYRA passed us as we headed down the Bosphorus.

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AIDAaura was one of the other cruise ships at Istanbul.

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Our home for the cruise, the MSC LIRICA berthed at Istanbul during our call there.

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We spotted the RADOMYSHL during our voyage from Istanbul to Catania.

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Our group attending the final Gala Night of the cruise. 

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A bird's eye view of the MSC LIRICA at Capri.

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ROYAL CLIPPER arrived at Capri as we were about to depart.

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JOLLY ARANCIONE was at Genoa where our cruise came to an end...

.New-Endeavor-22-09-06.jpg (96004 bytes) was the NEW ENDEAVOR.

Photographs and Report by Paul Mason

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HALUNDER JET was spotted on 29th September.

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The Chinese heavy lift DA FU passed outward on 30th September. 

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FRANCOP was one of the many feeder container ships seen.

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The geared bulker SPAR GARNET passed inwards on 30th September.

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Newbuilding SULTAN HOUMED L BOKO was being towed to Rotterdam on 30th September.

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TOR BELLONA arriving on 2nd October.

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JUTTA B arriving at Cuxhaven Harbour.

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Polsteam's MIELEC inward bound in the Elbe.

All photographs by Roger Hammond

28th September to 2nd October - Relax by the Elbe - Cuxhaven

We undertook a four night trip to Cuxhaven. Flights by British Airways to Hamburg with coach transfers to Cuxhaven.

Hotel accommodation was at the Best Western Donners Hotel for four nights - a stone's throw from the viewing area on the River Elbe. Shipping bound for Hamburg and the Kiel Canal pass close by the viewing area.

Although no formally arranged excursions were arranged for the four days at Cuxhaven, advice was given on the possibility of travelling further afield by public transport to ports such as Bremerhaven, Bremen and Hamburg.

The following report is by TSS Member Roger Hammond :

So what was it like?

The BA scheduled flights to Hamburg were very good and comfortable. The Best Western Donners Hotel was also very good and comfortable. Weather was generally, acceptable. Slightly showery only one day and a ginormous storm one night.

This was my first visit to Cuxhaven. It produced something for everyone – tugs, ro-ros, reefers, container ships, bulkers, tankers, cruise ships, grey funnel etc, etc.

There is an almost perfect viewing platform at the ‘Alte Liebe’ allowing good shots of everything passing, except the very small in the very distance. This was where most of us spent our days. All facilities were within a very short walking distance, Port Control even announcing the names & schedules of the shipping as it passed (Can you imagine that happening in the UK?).

Four intrepid explorers made their own way to Hamburg for the Hamburg harbour tour which I gather was very good indeed. However, at the end of the four days of the trip, we had nearly all seen the same ships – albeit in different locations. 

I am sure that the eleven of us who went thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Would I recommend it? YES. Would I do it again? YES.

Here’s hoping that the 2007 proposed trip to Rendsburg on the Kiel Canal garners sufficient support to enable the trip to go ahead.
Just think, 4 days sitting beside the Kiel Canal, a full stein in one hand, a camera in the other, a pencil in another and a notebook in another!

October 21st - London International Ship Show

We were at Table No 27 at this year's Ship Show on 21st October at the Royal National Hotel, Bloomsbury, where members of the committee were on hand to answer questions and have a chat.

For more details about the Ship Show use the following link : Ocean Liner Society

                 2005 Review                 

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Lunch Time at the Winter Social. Photo by Chris Brooks.

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COTE D'IVORIAN STAR at Dover on 29th January, taken by Roger Hammond.

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Cable Layer PETER FABER at Calais on 28th January, taken by Roger Hammond.

29th January - Winter Social

Our Winter Social, the first TSS event of the new year was attended by 31 members at the Churchill Hotel, on the seafront at Dover.

After some brisk trade at the hotel bar, a  three course lunch was enjoyed by all present. 

The meal was followed by an informative slide show given by Mike Jackson on "Dover Shipping from 1989 onwards". Instead of the usual ferries the slide show concentrated on the wide variety of other shipping using the port, from reefers to preserved tugs to North Sea shuttle tankers! Thanks to Mike for a great slide show. 

Some of the members attending the event made a weekend of it, staying at the hotel and also taking a trip on one of the many ferries over to Calais.

9th April - AGM at Southampton

Over sixty TSS members attended the AGM on-board Blue Funnel's Ocean Scene at Southampton. 

An enjoyable three course lunch was first served followed by the AGM.

Following the AGM we had a 3 hour cruise of Southampton Docks, Southampton Water as far a Fawley Oil Terminal and the River Itchen.

Unfortunately the docks we quite quiet, however, we were fortunate to be able to view P&O's new liner, Arcadia, which had arrived on it's delivery voyage a few days previously and was due to be named on Tuesday 12th April.

We then proceeded up to the container terminal where the NYK Lodestar was the sole occupant.

Whilst proceeding out of Southampton docks, we witnessed the arrival of the Malaysian containership Bunga Raya Dua at dockhead, before making our way down Southampton Water to view the busy Fawley Oil Terminal.

At Fawley there were four tankers of varying sizes present including the Young Lady, Freja Atlantic, Rita and Bro Galaxy. .

On our way back to Southampton we viewed some of the various craft in the River Itchen before an enjoyable cruise ended in Ocean Village.

Photographs and report by Chris Brooks.

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P&O's new ARCADIA at Mayflower Cruise Terminal.

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A close encounter with the ARCADIA.

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A stern view of the ARCADIA.

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BUNGA RAYA DUA arriving at dockhead.

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YOUNG LADY was one of the tankers at Fawley.

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ADSTEAM VICTORY at the tug moorings.

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PRIORITY at Tilbury Landing Stage

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The new tug CASTLE POINT at Coryton.

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HAVTANK departing from the Thames.

14th May - Thames and Medway Cruise

On a cool windy morning 60 TSS stalwarts met onboard the Princess Pocahontas. The bad news was that Sunk pilots were not working & so our expected container ships & tankers would not be coming in. 

Priority 83/2113 was at Tilbury landing stage. The recently renamed Adsteam Victory 495/00 was at the tug moorings. Further down river Yuko 920/86 was inbound followed by Finnwood 11839/73. Coryton produced the new BP tugs Stanford 381/05 and Castle Point 374/05 plus tanker Ganges 23246/04. 

We headed for Southend but regrettably due to the sea conditions Captain Potter had to pull the plug on crossing to the Medway. So we pottered back up river passing Havtank 1083/69 on her way out. 

Not a huge amount of shipping photographed, but still an enjoyable day out.

With thanks to Roger Hammond for the report and photographs.

18th to 25th June - Continental Tour

On the warm sunny morning of Saturday 18th June, 27 members of the TSS made their way to the four star Delta Hotel on the banks of the river in Vlaardingen for the start of the 2005 Continental Tour. The main party of 19 members travelled by the Stena HSS to the Hook of Holland whilst some travelled by other means including Eurostar via Brussels.

Early the next morning on a beautifully sunny day, the members assembled on the PartySchip Diane for our usual 9 hour private cruise of the port complexes of Rotterdam and Europoort. Europoort was quite busy with many tankers (including the Chinese Da Ming Hu) and bulk carriers (including Main Ore and Elbe Ore) present. We also witnessed the arrival of the impressively large VLCC Ocana at Europoort. From Europoort we made our way back up to Rotterdam where we viewed many other interesting vessels in the port of Rotterdam. During the nine hour cruise we noted and photographed over 100 vessels.

On Monday 20th we checked out of the Delta Hotel and made our way by coach, via our normal viewing area at the Hook of Holland to the Arion Hotel at Vlissingen, where we stayed for the remainder of our tour. The Arion Hotel is situated on the seafront at Vlissingen and overlooks the main channels of the River Schelde. All the shipping for Antwerp, Gent and Flushing passes this point. One of the shipping channels passes along the seafront at Vlissingen, making it possible to photograph vessels at close quarters from your hotel room balcony.

On Tuesday we travelled by coach to Terneuzen, which is one of the best vantage points from which to photograph vessels in the River Schelde. Although the river was quite quiet shipping wise, we managed to get some great photographs of the shipping that did pass, including, Ibn Khaldoun II, Moritz Schulte, Kota Pekarang and Kopalnia Rydultowy.

Wednesday saw us travelling by coach to Antwerp, via a short stop at the locks to view an arriving container ship. Our private five hour cruise of Antwerp yielded approximately 50 ships, from bulk carriers (including Olympic Merit, Kras and Peach Mountain), to reefers (including Elsebeth, Glacier, Hansa Lubeck and Cormoros Stream), to tankers (including Eagle Tacoma, Sichem Padua and Amber) to general cargo ships (including Leopold Staff, Boris Babochkin, Emmagracht).

On Thursday we repeated our visit to Terneuzen where quite a few ships were photographed underway in excellent sunny conditions, including, MSC Korea, Nina, Maersk Rouen, MSC Venice, North Friendship and Atlantic Concert

On Friday we again proceeded to Terneuzen with the added attraction of a coach trip around Gent docks arranged by our Belgian friend Andre. Gent was quite quiet, but Terneuzen was busy, with preparations for a Haven Festival underway. The festival had attracted many preserved tugs including the magnificent Holland. The finale at Terneuzen was the passing of nine large ships within 30 minutes, which necessitated many reels of film being used up!

On Saturday 25th under the first cloudy skies we had seen on the whole trip, we made our way from Vlissingen to the Hook of Holland for our return trip on the Stena HSS to Harwich. On arrival at Harwich goodbyes were said with our minds full of the fantastic past week of sun, sea and shipping. 

A great trip, with almost 500 different ships (excluding tugs and other harbour craft) being logged. 

Photographs and report by Chris Brooks.

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SANTIAGO EXPRESS passing our hotel at Vlaardingen whilst leaving Rotterdam.

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JO BIRK outward bound in Rotterdam during our port cruise.

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VLCC OCANA arriving at Europoort during our Diane cruise.

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ASTRAKHAN passing Terneuzen on Tuesday 21st, bound for Antwerp.

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EMMAGRACHT during our Antwerp Port Cruise

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WELS passing our hotel in Vlissingen

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MSC BRIANNA passing Terneuzen on Friday 24th bound for Antwerp.

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The preserved tug HOLLAND was at Terneuzen for the Haven Festival.

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Bulk Carrier C.S. STAR passing Vlissingen pilot station.

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SEA PRINCESS at Eastern Docks, Southampton. 

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CMA CGM BERLIOZ inward bound for the container terminal.

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MINERVA LISA approaching Fawley with tugs THRAX and SILEX.

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HMS NEWCASTLE laid up in Portsmouth Harbour.

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Nigerian Frigate ARADU in Portsmouth.

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DON CARLOS leaving Southampton.

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P&O's OCEANA departing from Southampton.

9th July - Solent Cruise

On a grey Saturday morning, 60 TSS members met at Ocean Village to board the new Blue Funnel vessel Ashleigh R for the annual six hour Solent Cruise. Luckily the grey skies soon started to break up and by mid afternoon the weather was pleasant and sunny.

On departure from Ocean Village we made our way up the River Itchen to view the various small craft moored in the river, including the Itchen Marine tugs and some laid up MoD craft.

Making our way back down the Itchen we were able to view three vehicle carriers Don Carlos, Trianon and Hoegh Trooper in the Eastern Docks, as well as the cruise vessel Sea Princess (ex Adonia). Condock IV was meanwhile passing us bound for the Western Docks.

In the Western Docks was P&O's cruise ship Oceana. There were no vessels in the container terminal, so we turned after viewing the Oceana and made our way out of Southampton, passing two large container ships inbound for the empty terminal - the MOL Priority and the CMA CGM Berlioz.

Lunch was then served as we made our way up to Fawley Oil Terminal. Two small tankers were already on Fawley Jetty, but we then passed the inbound large tanker Minerva Lisa, being assisted by the tugs Thrax and Silex. Meanwhile the ro-ro Valmont Express passed inwards closely followed by another ro-ro Le Castellet.

On arrival at Portsmouth we were able to view the Royal Navy warships including Illustrious, Exeter, Leeds Castle and Marlborough, but, the highlight for many was the Nigerian frigate Aradu and the Romanian frigate Regina Maria.

We also viewed the ferries at the ferry port and the arrival of the fast ferry Normandie Express, followed by the departure of Brittany Ferries vessel Mont St. Michel.

Completing the tour of Portsmouth Harbour, we viewed the laid up warships in the harbour, including Fearless, Intrepid, Glasgow, Newcastle and Rame Head.

We then made our way back to Southampton to be ready to view the departure of the vehicle carrier Don Carlos and the cruise ship Sea Princess followed closely by the Oceana, which made a nice photograph in the early evening sunlight.

Finally we arrived at Ocean Village and the end of another successful Solent Cruise, with a good range of shipping viewed and photographed, with many of the vessels being underway.

Photographs and report by Chris Brooks.

4th August - Thames and Medway Cruise

On a reasonably warm August morning, 55 TSS members swarmed onto the Princess Pocahontas under the watchful eye of Cpt John Potter. This was our second Thames and Medway trip for 2005. 

As we left Gravesend, the feeder Veritas-H 4048/95 & roro Valentine 22986/99 were inbound. At the tug moorings was Lady Cecilia 314/91 one of Adsteams recent re-allocations. Meanwhile, Tilbury power station was graced by bulker Spar Vega 38779/95. The small general cargo vessel Schulenburg 2265/81 was inward bound for Tower Wharf. At Coryton was a clutch of tankers, including brand new Paul E 4500/05. Also on station were the three BP tugs, with the brand new Corringham 374/05 being the focus of many cameras. 

On now to Sheerness where the lone reefer Triton Reefer 8818/90
was unloading. At Thamesport, a single containership Lykes Pathfinder 30526/94 provided the only interest. On now to Kingsnorth power station where Lord Hinton 14201/86 and Tinnes 6944/83 were unloading coal. 

We returned to the Thames just in time to see Cambodian registered Havtank 1083/69 on her way out. Off Canvey Island, we encountered outward bound CMA CGM Manet 26050/01. We returned via Purfleet, passing tankers Libelle 8007/99 and Tikhvin
. Finally, returning to Tilbury, we passed the eldery tug Hazel - E 124/39 at Greenhithe. 

A very good day, just a little short of shipping, but the weather & the
company made up for it.

With thanks to Roger Hammond for the report and photographs.

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The new BP tug CORRINGHAM at Coryton.

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Newbuilding, PAUL E was at Coryton too.

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TINNES unloading coal at Kingshorth.

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CMA CGM Manet outward bound off Canvey Island.

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Bulk Carrier BONANZA at Botlek Harbour, Rotterdam

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Also in Botlek Harbour was the BRITISH EXPERIENCE

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SUPREME HARVEST at Rotterdam Refrigerated Terminal

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ABU ZENIMA was at Antwerp

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FONTHIDA NAREE shortly before leaving Antwerp

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PRIVILEGE, one of the many reefers at Antwerp

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Conventional cargo ship THEOFANO at Antwerp.

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A close encounter with Tug 82 at Antwerp

10th to 13th September - Weekend Visit to Holland and Belgium

Twenty TSS members were whisked very efficiently by the Eurostar departure from London Waterloo and Ashford to Brussels. Once we had found our coach at Brussels Midi station, we proceeded to the four star Hotel Brabant in Breda which was to be our base for three nights.

Early the next morning, we made our way by coach to Vlaardingen where we boarded our usual cruise vessel, the Diane, for our nine hour Rotterdam and Europoort cruise.

After starting the cruise in misty conditions, the sun started to shine through by the time we arrived at Europoort. However, it was to be a mixed day of mist, sunny intervals and cloud for our cruise.

Europoort was quite busy with four large bulk carriers in port - Main Ore, Cecilia, Cape Orchid and China Steel Responsibility as well as a few large tankers including Safwa, Minerva Zenia and Iran Abadeh. The container terminal was busy as usual, with P&O Nedlloyd Heemskerck and LT Cortesia being the highlights.

Botlek Harbour was also quite busy with a number of bulk carriers, including Aviona, Bonanza and Saffron in the harbour.

Eemshaven and Waalhaven also produced some interesting vessels including the Italian cable ship Pertinacia and the conventional freighter Ever Happy

Undeterred by the changeable weather, over 100 vessels, were logged and photographed by the members participating in the cruise.

On Monday morning we drove to Antwerp, to board our vessel the Kempenland  for our five hour private cruise of the enclosed dock area. 

Weatherwise, the mist had disappeared and the sun even shone for a while!

Approximately 50 vessels were photographed in Antwerp, with the highlights being the conventional freighters Rasha Star, Wealthy Star and Theofano as well as five reefer vessels - Privilege, Dole Europa, Colombian Star, Duncan Island and Antarctic Mermaid.

As we returned to our boarding point towards the end of the cruise we were escorted for part of the way by the Antwerp Port tug "82", which produced some excellent photographs. 

After the cruise we made our way back to Antwerp for our final night at the hotel before our return journey to London via the Eurostar train from Brussels.

A very enjoyable long weekend, with good company, and approximately 150 ships photographed. 

Photographs and report by Chris Brooks.

October 16th - London International Ship Show

At this year's Ship Show to be held on Sunday 16th October at the Royal National Hotel, Bloomsbury, the TSS will be exhibiting at Table No  22. Committee members will be in attendance who look forward to welcoming both members and non-members old and new.

For more details about the Ship Show use the following link : Ocean Liner Society

October 22nd to November 6th, 2005 - Jewels of the East Tour

40 TSS Members assembled at Heathrow on the afternoon of Saturday 22nd October for what was going to be a superb 15 night tour of the Far East. 

Following an uneventful flight by China Eastern Airways, we arrived at Shanghai in the afternoon on Sunday. After a coach transfer we found ourselves checked into the Peace Hotel for a five night stay at this famous hotel on "The Bund" overlooking the Huangpu River.

Monday was a free day to be spent at leisure in Shanghai, however, a large number of our party congregated on the Bund for the 2pm public cruise down to the mouth of the Huangpu River. Those new to Shanghai were amazed by the amount of activity on the river. Barges, tugs, coasters, large merchant ships, naval craft - everywhere!

On Tuesday we had our first private eight hour cruise down to the mouth of the River. Many reels of film were used up!

Wednesday was a free day again - the early risers were lucky to photograph the SD14 Xin He Er Hao making her way down river past the Peace Hotel. The daily routine of the 2pm public cruise down the river enticed many members to spend their afternoon this way again.

On Thursday our private eight hour cruise up river took place. We had to get special permission to go up river as the tourist boats are usually not allowed to cruise up river. Members were amazed at the amount of activity, including shipyards, and many general cargo berths. Once the shipping thinned out we turned around and our boat took us downriver to the mouth of the Huangpu again.

Friday saw a departure in the first rain of the holiday to Shanghai Airport for the short fight to Bangkok. On arrival in a very humid Bangkok we transferred to the very impressive Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel for a three night stay.

Saturday was our private six hour cruise down to the mouth of the river. Some members thought that Bangkok would be a quiet river compared to Shanghai, but we were not disappointed, with many general cargo vessels being present, some anchored in the middle of the river unloading into barges, the old fashioned way. The river was very busy with many vessel movements being witnessed in very warm and sunny weather.

On Sunday it was a private day to relax and take in the sights of Bangkok, some members took a trip to the Bridge on the River Kwai. Others, went off in search of a SD14 at Ko Sichang and found and photographed the Hermes.

Monday saw a late morning departure to the airport for another short flight by Singapore Airlines to Singapore, arriving at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa hotel on Sentosa Island late in the afternoon. 

On Tuesday we had our eight hour private cruise of the Eastern Anchorage at Singapore followed by the Western Anchorage on a beautifully sunny day. Many, many ships of all types were photographed.

Wednesday was a free day, during which some spent exploring Singapore, others relaxed at the hotel while others photographed yet more ships.

Thursday was another free day. One group of explorers even ventured across the Straits to Indonesia to find the laid up SD14 Spring - but this time they failed to find it.

Friday was the day for our last organised boat trip. This time we started in the Western Anchorage, then explored the port area followed by the Eastern Anchorage.

Our final day in Singapore was on Saturday. It was a free day before an early evening departure to Singapore airport and then a comfortable flight back with Singapore Airlines to London.

A wonderful two weeks of sun, ships and the sea, which was enjoyed by all who participated.  










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CHANG AN 116, a typical Chinese coaster, outward bound in the Huangpu River on 24th October.

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Salvage tug DE DA outward bound in the Huangpu River on 24th October.

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SD14 XIN HE ER HAO passing the Peace Hotel (with the green roof) on 26th October.

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XUE LONG was berthed in the Huangpu, downriver from Shanghai on 26th October.

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Traditional bridge forward tanker DA QING 42 berthed at Shanghai on 26th October.

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YONG LONG 68 inward bound at Shanghai during our upriver cruise on 27th October.

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RATTANA MANII outward bound from Bangkok on 29th October.

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It's not only traditional cargo vessels at Bangkok! YANTRA BHUM inward bound on 29th October.

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Reefer WINTERNGFAR arrives at Bangkok on 29th October.

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V.L.8 was one of many small product tankers at Bangkok.

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KOTA SINGA at Singapore on 1st November.

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SALVAGE CHAMPION at Singapore during our private cruise on 1st November

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CE PACIFIC was one of many large tankers photographed at Singapore.

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NEW AN HUI was in the Western Anchorage at Singapore all week.

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LAINE was in the Eastern Anchorage at Singapore.



2004 Review

24th January - Winter Social

Our winter social this year was held aboard the preserved steamship Shieldhall at Southampton, between 12:00 and 17:00. A three course lunch was provided followed by a slide show by Ray Smith covering a recent trip to Piraeus in October 2003. 

The Shieldhall had been moved to 110 berth in the Western Docks and this provided us with excellent photographic opportunities of shipping using that area of the docks. Three container ship movements were witnessed by over 30 members. A fine, sunny, January day added to the enjoyment. 

Thanks to the staff of the Shieldhall and Ray Smith for the slide show.

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KWINTEBANK berthed next to the Shieldhall

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OOCL FREEDOM arriving during the afternoon

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

26th to 28th March - Antwerp Weekend

Over 25 members enjoyed a fine sunny weekend in Antwerp and Bruges. Coach travel was provided from London and Dover, with a ferry crossing to Calais. The hotel was in the scenic city of Bruges. A five hour private boat trip around Antwerp docks was the highlight of the weekend. This was undertaken in excellent weather with over 70 ocean going vessels photographed. 

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On the return journey a coach tour of the port of Dunkirk was also enjoyed by all participants, before the return ferry crossing from Calais to Dover.

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ILE DE SEIN at Dunkirk

(Photos by Chris Brooks)


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CARONIA departing Southampton and the DOULOS

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BALTIC TRADER at Southampton and the BOURGOGNE at Fawley Oil Terminal

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

17th April - AGM at Southampton

The Annual General Meeting was held on board the Ocean Scene in Ocean Village at Southampton. A three course meal was enjoyed by approximately 50 members, followed by the AGM. 

A three hour private cruise on the Ocean Scene around Southampton Docks and Fawley Oil Terminal followed the AGM. The veteran passenger ship Doulos was in port on the day as was Cunard's Caronia.

At Fawley we were lucky enough to see one of the VLCCs that occasionally visit the oil terminal - the Bourgogne.

22nd May - Thames and Medway Cruise
A repeat of the successful seven hour private cruise on the Princess Pocahontas on the River Thames and the Medway - with ploughman's lunch included.

Over 50 members enjoyed the cruise down the Thames and into the Medway. Southend Anchorage produced four vessels at anchor including the conventional cargo ship Daniel, and there were several movements of vessels witnessed in the River Thames including the P&O Nedlloyd Barossa Valley and the tankers Meriom Pride and Tellus

Unfortunately the Medway, including Sheerness and Thamesport was devoid of shipping so we ventured up to Ridham Dock - which was a first for the TSS - where there were two vessels berthed.

The cruise was rounded off by sailing back up the Thames as far as Tilbury and the container terminal where the S.A. Winterberg made a fine sight in the late afternoon sunshine.

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DANIEL anchored off Southend.

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TELLUS departing from the Thames.

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S.A. WINTERBERG at Tilbury Container Terminal

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

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The graceful QE2 at berth 106, Southampton.

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The huge QUEEN MARY 2 at berth 38/39, Southampton.

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A close encounter with the HELLE WONSILD at Fawley!

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

5th June - Solent Cruise

An additional Solent Cruise on Blue Funnel's Ocean Scene - arranged to coincide with the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 being in port on this day. Also the Sundream was in port at 101 berth.

Unfortunately the container terminal was empty and the rest of the port was quite quiet.

The cruise ventured up Southampton Water to Fawley, which had a few small tankers berthed and we also did a circuit of the departing coastal tanker Helle Wonsild (with the agreement of the pilot!).

The cruise finished by sailing up the River Itchen to view the various dredgers and tugs moored in the River.

A very pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

19th to 26th June - Continental Tour
The week long Continental tour was enjoyed by 23 members. We stayed in the excellent Arion Hotel in Vlissingen, which overlooks one of the shipping lanes into Antwerp - it is possible to take photographs of the  passing shipping from your hotel balcony!

Travel was via the Harwich to Hook of Holland route on the Stena Discovery. A local coach met us at the Hook of Holland and was available to us during the week when required.

Although the weather was changeable we were lucky enough to have good conditions during our two private harbour cruises.  

The ever popular nine hour private cruise of Rotterdam and Europoort on board the Diane, allowed members to photograph over 100 ships in the busy port.

The five hour private cruise of Antwerp on our vessel the Kempenland also yielded many interesting vessels.

Other days were spent with optional coach visits to Terneuzen for photography from the river bank and a tour of the port of Ghent by coach.

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MADDALENA D'AMATO passing Terneuzen for Antwerp

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WEICHSELSTERN arriving at Europoort during our Rotterdam cruise

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Indian tanker RABINDRANATH TAGORE at Antwerp during our port cruise

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Heavy-lift ship MARIA passing our hotel at Vlissingen

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VLCC AL-SALHEIA at Europoort during our Rotterdam cruise.

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PRINCE OF STREAMS made a fine sight steaming past us during the Rotterdam cruise

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Reefer SUMMER BAY berthed at Antwerp during our private harbour cruise

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WEALTHY STAR makes a fine sight passing Terneuzen.

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

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MARATHON arriving at Fawley

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HMS INVINCIBLE at Portsmouth

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CHERBOURG EXPRESS arriving at Portsmouth

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A close encounter with the EMDEN in Southampton Water

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OCEANA at her berth in Southampton.

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

17th July - Solent Cruise

Over 50 members enjoyed the annual six hour private Solent Cruise. Although we departed from Southampton in dull, grey conditions, very soon, we were blessed with sunshine, which stayed with us for the rest of the day.

We started by cruising up the River Itchen a short way to see the laid up tugs and dredger traffic. We then headed down to Fawley which was very busy with an interesting selection of tankers, with the LPG carrier Marathon arriving at the oil terminal.

Continuing on to Portsmouth we photographed the naval vessels in harbour, including the aircraft carrier Invincible. For the ferry enthusiasts, present in port were the Pride of Portsmouth and the Mont St Michel. We also witnessed the arrival of the fast ferries Max Mols (trading as the Caen Express) and the Express (trading as the Cherbourg Express), as well as several of the regular Isle of Wight ferries.

On our way back to Southampton, in Southampton Water, we encountered the arriving vehicle carrier Asian Parade and the departing vehicle carrier Emden, passing at close quarters.

Finally we took a short trip around Southampton Harbour to photograph the cruise ships QE2 and Oceana, and also witnessed the departing vehicle carrier G and C Parana, before returning to our berth in Ocean Village where the cruise ended.

All in all a very successful day with a good variety of shipping, a number of movements and bright sunny weather.

5th August - Thames and Medway Cruise
Nearly 50 members boarded the Princess Pocahontas at Gravesend on a misty Thursday morning for another trip on the Thames and Medway.

Fortunately the mist soon cleared as we headed down river, enabling us to see the inward bound pallet carrier Corner Brook and dredger Charlemagne. There were three tankers at Coryton, including Murmansk. In the anchorages were one dredger and two bulkers Handy Trader and Elwine Oldendorff.

At Sheerness, reefer Wild Heather was between two small general cargo ships and moving on to Thamesport, we were able to watch Lykes Navigator leaving with two tugs.

 Sailing back up the Thames to Purfleet, we passed Weston at Northfleet and S A Helderberg just leaving Tilbury Container berth. We returned to Tilbury landing stage just in time to welcome the inward bound P & O Nedlloyd Juliana.

Another enjoyable day.

(With thanks to Roger Hammond for the report and photos)

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CORNER BROOK inbound in the Thames.

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Ro-ro CAROLINE RUSS in the Thames off Tilbury.

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WILD HEATHER at Sheerness

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A new tug in the Thames - Adsteam's GURRONG

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Mini Cruise BM092 was aboard the BRAEMAR..

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ST. ANNASTRAND assists the Braemar at Antwerp.

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FEDERAL SETO at Antwerp during the Flandria dock cruise.

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THURO MAERSK at Honfleur.

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Dinner on-board the Braemar.


28th to 31st August - Braemar Mini Cruise BM092

Despite the numbers being reduced to 9 participants, after 4 cancellations for various reasons, a good time was had by all on this three night cruise from Dover, calling at Honfleur and Antwerp, before arriving back at Dover.

The weather could have been kinder, especially on the river passage to Antwerp, where there were surprisingly few ships on the move. 

Several participants undertook the Flandria public cruise in Antwerp Docks and were rewarded with sightings of over 50 vessels, which quite impressed the 2 members new to TSS trips.

We arrived at Honfleur at the right time as it must have been nearing high tide - as there was a good selection of passing traffic both up and down river.

The Braemar is still a fine ship, not too big, with a happy and friendly crew from 18 nationalities and no complaints were received as everything went smoothly.

Thanks to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines for a comfortable and relaxing few days that ended far too quickly. 

(With thanks to Paul Mason for the report and photos)


11th September - Thames and Medway Cruise

36 members arrived at Gravesend and Tilbury for the final Thames and Medway cruise of the year aboard our old friend the Princess Pocohontas. It was a blustery day, but luckily, the sun was with us for the majority of the time to give some good photographic conditions.

Unfortunately the riverside berths in the Thames were very quiet, but this was compensated for by a good number of movements of ships being noted and photographed.

After proceeding up river following the inward bound Sigas Champion as far as the Dart Terminal, we made our way down river, with a diversion via the inside berth of the grain terminal at Tilbury to photograph the well laden Georgian flagged coaster Arcus.

We then proceeded down river via the tug berths at Gravesend and past some inbound container feeders. At Coryton there were three tankers present as well as the inward bound bulk carrier Dallington.

Is Southend anchorage two ships were photographed - the ro-ro Marabou and the tanker St Mary

We then crossed to the Medway where we witnessed the departure of the container ship Alexandra and the reefer Amer Annapurna. The large container ship LT Unicorn was at Thamesport and the bulk carrier Petrel Arrow at Sheerness. On our departure from the Medway we passed the arriving Tern Arrow, being assisted by the Medway tugs.

We then made our way back up the Thames passing the outward bound Louise Russ at close quarters on the way, until the cruise ended at Tilbury and Gravesend at 5pm. 


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Thames tug COBHAM moored at Gravesend.

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Reefer AMER ANNAPURNA departing from Sheerness.

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LT UNICORN at Thamesport.

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STENHEIM berthed in the Medway.

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LOUISE RUSS outward bound in the Thames.

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

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MINERVA NOUNOU arriving at Istanbul during our Tuzla Cruise.

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YAMM berthed at Tuzla during our cruise.

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TASMAN START passing one of the many vantage points along the Bosphorus .

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AMELIA in Istanbul Anchorage during our cruise to Ambarli.

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LALE UNALDI berthed at Ambarli during our visit to the port.

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RHAPSODY underway in the Bosphorus, taken from the Tourist Ferry.

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

18th to 25th September - Istanbul

36 TSS members enjoyed a week of sunshine and shipping in the interesting and vibrant city of Istanbul. We stayed at the comfortable President Hotel in the heart of the city close to the Grand Bazaar and other attractions such as the Blue Mosque. The hotel had a rooftop restaurant which gave magnificent views of the anchorages at Istanbul as well as the entrance to the Bosphorus.  

There were four free days, which allowed members to either partake in some sightseeing or watch the shipping in the busy Bosphorus. The "tourist ferry" which cruises the Bosphorus up as far as the entrance to the Black Sea was a popular attraction for many members. This ferry gave close up views of the shipping transitting the Bosphorus as well as delivering members to the best vantage points for photographing the passing shipping.

Two seven hour private cruises were arranged for the group. The first cruise was to the ship construction and repair yards at Tuzla. Tuzla was an amazing sight with a large number of ships in various stages of repair and construction crammed into the harbour. On the way to Tuzla there are several small harbours and anchorages which were also covered. On the way back to Istanbul we also visited the container terminal and port at Haydarpasa.

The second cruise took us through the busy anchorage at Istanbul to the port of Ambarli, several miles up the coast from Istanbul. Ambarli is a compact but busy port and provided us with the opportunity to photograph several bulk carriers, general cargo ships and coasters. On the way back to Istanbul we comprehensively photographed the shipping in Istanbul anchorage before passing close to several ships underway at the entrance to the Bosphorus.

All too soon the end of the week arrived and the group found themselves arriving back at Heathrow Airport with memories of the wide variety of shipping of all types and ages that had been seen in the unforgettable setting of Istanbul and the Bosphorus.


14th to 17th October - Mini Continental

Starting and finishing in London, we will travel by luxury coach to Antwerp for a three night stay. Travel via Calais/Dover. Three nights accommodation will be arranged in a three star hotel in Antwerp city centre.

There will be a six hour private cruise of Rotterdam including Maasvlakte, Europoort and Botlek, on our old friend the cruise vessel Diane plus other areas if time allows. 

Also included will be a five hour private and comprehensive cruise of the Antwerp port complex.

If time permits there will be a short stop in Dunkirk on the return journey.

This trip has unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the minimum number of participants not being achieved.

17th October - International Ship Show 2004

This year's show will be held at the Royal National Hotel, Bedford Way, London between 10:00 and 16:00.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to cancel the stand at this year's Ship Show to be held on Sunday 17th October. We hope to be exhibiting again at the Ship Show next year.

2003 Review

25th January - Winter Social

Our annual Winter Social was held onboard the Shieldhall at Southampton. 

43 members attended in favourable weather conditions for an enjoyable afternoon consisting of a three course lunch, followed by a slide show given by Peter Ives on a visit to Ho-Chi-Minh City, in preparation for the trip to the Far East later in the year. 

With thanks to all the volunteer crew of the Shieldhall, Bill Gambling the catering manager for an enjoyable lunch, and Peter Ives for his excellent slide show.

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Lunch aboard the Shieldhall (Photo by Paul Mason)

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Shieldhall at Southampton (Photo by Chris Brooks)

8th to 23rd March - Far East Tour

We returned to the Far East with a 15 night tour starting from London Heathrow airport. Five nights in Singapore, staying at our usual Rasa Sentosa Hotel on Sentosa Island, overlooking the Western Anchorage.

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Interocean No 2 at Singapore

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Sang Yang anchored in the Saigon River

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Tiger Durban at Saigon.

Thereafter three nights were spent at the Majestic Hotel on the riverbank in Ho-Chi-Minh City followed by five nights at the Marco Polo Gateway Hotel in Hong Kong close to the Star Ferry and cruise terminals, before returning to London. Two private full day harbour cruises were undertaken in both Singapore and Hong Kong, including lunch, which covered as much shipping as time allowed in two of the worlds busiest ports.

In addition a six hour cruise was undertaken on the Saigon River taking in the old and new ports in the city centre and as far downriver to the anchorages as time allowed. There was  also plenty of free time for shopping / sightseeing etc.

It was an excellent trip with no major problems. Depending on how much time was spent shopping or sightseeing instead of 'spotting' between 700 and 1,000 vessels were noted by our various members. Saigon seemed to be the highlight of the tour, being a new location for us, and we found many vessels in the anchorages downriver in the right location for us.

In a 'thank you' letter one of our members commented 'all I can do is to admire the end result and say 'magnificent''. What more can we say apart from a big 'thank you' to Silverbird Travel for their usual first class organisation.

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Maria C at Hong Kong

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Millennia Tower at Hong Kong

(All photos by Paul Mason)

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Black Watch at Southampton

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Bunga Raya Satu at Southampton Container Terminal

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MOL Advantage arriving at Southampton

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

12th April - AGM at Southampton

55 members attended the AGM was held onboard the Ocean Scene at Southampton's Ocean Village after an enjoyable lunch. Then we enjoyed a cruise covering Southampton docks, Fawley and Hamble.

The AGM went smoothly with all resolutions carried without any issues. This was followed by the cruise as outlined above which lasted approximately three and a half hours. the cruise ship Black Watch was in port on the day.

Fortunately there were quite a few shipping movements on the day, including the inbound container ship MOL Advantage which made up for for the lack of tankers at Fawley and Hamble. Thanks to everyone who attended, especially to Bo Godfrey for organising the days event and Blue Funnel for their usual excellent arrangements.



25th to 28th April - Mini Continental

21 members took part in a Mini Continental tour staying three nights at the Delta Hotel, Vlaardingen on the riverside near Rotterdam with our usual private boat trips around Antwerp and Rotterdam. We travelled via the HSS from Harwich to Hook of Holland.

Some 275 vessels were noted during the trip and the three members new to our Continental trips enjoyed the experience. Lets hope they return for more of the same in the future.

Unfortunately it was raining for for much of the time in Antwerp, but being under shelter did not prevent the taking of photographs, and lunch was taken when the rain was at its heaviest. There was an average number of vessels in the enclosed docks during our five hour private cruise.

The nine hour private cruise around Rotterdam and Europoort on our old friend the Diane, started off cloudy and windy, but brightened up later in the day, resulting in good photographic conditions with a varied selection of vessels, especially large bulk carriers.



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Annie Sierra berthed at Antwerp

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Apostolovo arriving in Botlek Harbour, Rotterdam

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Ocean going tug Husky outward bound from Rotterdam

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Ocean Friend at Rotterdam

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

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Harry S Truman in the Solent.

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A close encounter with the Alfa Germania off Terneuzen

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APL India leaving the riverside container terminal at Antwerp.

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Puffin Arrow changing pilots off Vlissingen

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TSS Members aboard the Braemar.

(Photos by Paul Mason)

6th to 10th May - Braemar Cruise

The first TSS cruise.

25 members sampled a four night mini cruise on the cruise ship  Braemar. In direct association with Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines we organised a trip departing from Southampton and calling at St Malo and Antwerp with an overnight stopover before disembarkation at Dover. 

It was a most enjoyable four nights on a vessel not too large like some of the modern cruise ships. A happy smiling crew looked after us very well and we had arranged group tables for dinner which looked directly out over the stern. 

One of the highlights was sighting the US aircraft carrier Harry S Truman anchored in the Solent on her return from the Gulf. 

St Malo was a most enjoyable place to visit but with very little shipping as expected.

The transit of the River Schelde into Antwerp produced the usual busy and varied collection of ships.A few members undertook the public harbour cruise in Antwerp where around 50 ships were noted in the enclosed main dock.

The on return to Dover the cruise ships Norweigan Dream and Black Prince were also in Dover on the same day.

A highly recommended 'taster' for a proper cruise and we propose to do a similar trip in August 2004.

18th to 24th June - Helsingor

Eight members undertook a trip to Helsingor in Demark for watching ship movements in the Sound - the narrow channel between Denmark and Sweden. 

Travel was via the DFDS ferry Dana Sirena - on its maiden crossing from Harwich to Esbjerg and onwards by train to Helsingor for a four night stay.

Our base was the Hotel Hamlet which was very comfortable and friendly. Members made good use of free time by either visiting Copenahgen, undertaking ferry trips across to Sweden, by visiting the maritime museum in Helsingor, or watching the shipping passing through the Sound. 

A successful and enjoyable trip.

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Li Bai negotiating the Sound

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Mercandia IV - one of the local ferries

(Photos by John Campbell)

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The new cruise ship Crystal Serenity at Southampton

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The new Indian frigate Talwar anchored off Portsmouth

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Mighty Confidence at anchor in the Solent

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Pride of Portsmouth departing from Portsmouth

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

5th July - Solent Cruise

Our annual six hour private cruise from Southampton on the Ocean Scene starting at midday. This cruise covered the River Itchen, Southampton Docks, Fawley and Hamble, plus Portsmouth Harbour. 

Despite late notice of a change of departure point all 66 participants arrived within time. It was really a day of newbuildings with the new cruise ship Crystal Serenity being in port as expected.

There was the usual collection of roro's and car carriers in and around Southampton but Fawley was faily quiet. At anchor off Portsmouth was the newbuilding Indian frigate Talwah.

On to Portsmouth where the aircraft carriers Ark Royal and Invincible were both in port. We were also to see the simultaneous sailing of the ferries Pride of Portsmouth and the relatively new Mont St Michel.

On the return leg we were treated to a 'surprise' cream tea, and the gas carrier Northumberland sailing from Fawley. Finally, the Caronia sailed as expected on our way back to Southampton.

A thoroughly enjoyable day with good weather a good selection of shipping.

17th July - Thames and Medway Cruise

A repeat of last years experimental midweek Princess Pochahontas seven hour private Thames and Medway cruise including buffet lunch. 

Admittedly not one of our better trips - a technical fault delayed our departure from Tilbury and there were no tankers berthed at Shell Haven or Coryton. Only one coaster was at Southend anchorage and there were no vessels at all at Sheerness. In the Medway the only vessels were the Yeoman Bridge and the laid up Donetsk, while Thamesport was also empty.

En-route back to Gravesend we passed the departing Maersk Constantia and several bulk carriers, container ships and car carriers were noted at Tilbury. Despite everyting including the cloudy and windy weather, everyone seemed quite happy at renewing contacts with old friends.

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A close encounter with Dart 2!

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Donetsk under arrest in the Medway

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Maersk Constantia outbound in the Thames.

(Photos by Paul Mason)

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The preserved Cap San Diego and the new Oosterdam at Hamburg 

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Inna Gusenkova with pilot boat departing from Cuxhaven

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Lydia Oldendorff passing Cuxhaven

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Nordjarl departing from Cuxhaven

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The busy River Elbe!

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

27th July to 2nd August - German Tour

German Tour - starting from Harwich and travelling on the DFDS recently chartered Duchess of Scandinavia and return the same route. 

A four night stay at Donners Hotel in Cuxhaven with day trips to Hamburg, for our usual five hour private harbour cruise, and also to Bremen/Bremerhaven

Another excellent trip with no problems in warm and sunny weather, with around 260 vessels noted during the trip. Cuxhaven is an ideal location for photography with an uninterrupted background.

The public cruises around Bremerhaven port and from Bremerhaven to Bremen were not too crowded, but it was sad to note the decline of Bremen as a major port with very little shipping to note. 

Some members also undertook a public cruise from Cuxhaven to Hamburg and it was pleasing to do again the journey that DFDS don't do anymore into the centre of the port.

The hotel was also very good with views over the river, especially from the sixth floor restaurant, and was just a short walk away from the riverside.


16th August - Thames and Medway Cruise

A repeat of the successful Princess Pocahontas seven hour private Thames and Medway cruise including buffet lunch. 

A day in total contrast with the previous trip this year. Good weather and numerous ship movements, about 15 in total, plus four vessels anchored off Southend including the bulk carrier Balticland and the ro-ro Seahawk.

The Medway was especially busy with five movements, including the container ships Lykes Explorer and HSH Ubin and the bulk carrier Yeoman Bontrup

A very good day with probably more activity than we have seen in recent years.

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HSH Ubin and Lykes Explorer underway in the Medway

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Navion Scandia in the Thames

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Balticland and Seahawk in Southend anchorage

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

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Anglian Way at Ipswich (Photo by Chris Brooks)

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A full container port at Felixstowe (Photo by Chris Brooks)

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Members on the Thistle during the cruise. (Photo by Paul Mason)

7th September - Orwell Cruise

A new venture - a five hour private cruise on the Thames sailing barge Thistle departing from Ipswich Docks and covering Harwich and Felixstowe.

Despite the bad weather forecast, all turned up on time and the weather was fine with no rain and little wind. Ipswich Docks produced some seven coastal vessels and other local craft.

For the container ship enthusiasts, Felixstowe Container terminal was more or less full.

In addition there were three ferries and one bulk carrier at Harwich. A very good day out with thanks to Topsail Charters and our Stephen Marginson for the organisation.

27th September - Solent Cruise

Another repeat - this time of the successful six hour private Solent cruise onboard the Ocean Scene. Departing from Ocean Village at midday, covering the River Itchen, Southampton Docks, Fawley and Hamble plus Portsmouth Docks. With a buffet lunch included.

Another good day out although a few members unable to attend through illness etc.

The weather remained fine throughout but although there were quite a few vessels in Southmpton and Fawley there was not too much on the move.

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Kapitonas Simkus at Southampton.

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Mont St Michel departing from Portsmouth

(Photos by Chris Brooks)

18th October - International Ship Show 2003

As has now become a tradition, the TSS took a table (number 20) at this year's show at Westminster Central Hall. Several committee members were in attendance to answer questions and pass the time of day talking ships.

Three new members signed up on the day and a great deal of interest was shown in the leaflets we produced, hopefully producing some more members when the leaflets are read in full at home. Some twenty five or so TSS members came to say 'hello' at the stand.

December 26th - Queen Mary 2 Arrival at Southampton

In co-operation with our friends on the Shieldhall, we took some places on their "Welcome to Queen Mary 2" cruise on the liners first arrival in Southampton, direct from the builders yard in France.

Despite the weather not being too good, the members who attended had an enjoyable and memorable cruise on the Shieldhall to greet the QM2.

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The Queen Mary 2 arriving for the first time at Southampton

(Photo by Paul Mason)


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