Shipping News from Southampton and the Solent

As Southampton is the port I most regularly visit to take shipping photographs, I intend to keep a record of noteworthy shipping events in the Port of Southampton and the Solent on this page. I will attempt to update it regularly....

Please note : Whilst I try to ensure the validity of the information displayed on this page I take no responsibility whatsoever for any errors or inaccuracies in the information displayed.

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AIS Ship Positions in Southampton Harbour via - more

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ABP Movement List

ABP List of ship arrivals and departures for Southampton - more

Southampton  Radar

Live ABP radar feed for Southampton - more

Cruise Ship Calls

ABP's list of cruise ship calls for Southampton in 2012 - more

Portsmouth Movements

Queen's Harbour Master, Portsmouth - ship movements list - more

Southampton Weather

Local weather from - more

Shipping Database

Free shipping database from - more

Future Notable Southampton and Solent Ship Movements (Updated 23rd January 2014)

The cruise ship schedule for 2014 is available, on the Southampton VTS website.

Some of the more unusual callers include :

  • Crystal Serenity - will in Southampton on 18th April 2014.
  • Emerald Princess - will make several calls this year, the first on 3rd May.
  • Dawn Princess - will be calling on 12th July.
  • Azamara Journey - will be in port on 20th August.

Estimated dates of arrival only - dates are subject to change without notice please check the ABP cruise ship schedule.


Norwegian Getaway arriving in Southampton on 14th January.


A pair of smug looking pelicans make up part of the hull decoration.


She swung off the berth...


...without the aid of tugs.


Are you a fan of the hull murals?


Berthed at the City Cruise Terminal on a beautiful calm morning.

14th January 2014 - A colourful visitor!

The brand new cruise ship Norwegian Getaway arrived at the City Cruise Terminal, Southampton today on a beautifully calm and sunny morning. She had arrived from Rotterdam. She will be in port for three days. On 14th and 15th January she will depart early evening for a shake down cruise in the channel, returning the following morning. On the evening of 16th January she will depart Southampton for New York on her maiden cruise. From New York she will proceed to Miami which will be her home port.

She will be christened at Miami on 7th February, with the cheerleaders of the Miami Dolphins football team taking the role of the ship's Godmother. She will cruise out of Miami year round and will be the largest vessel to do so. She will offer mainly seven night cruises out of Miami calling at destinations such as Philipsburg, Sint Maarten, Charlotte Amalie, United States Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

The Norwegian Getaway was built at the Meyer Werft shipyard Papenburg, Germany. She was handed over to her new owners in Bremerhaven on 10th January and from there, proceeded to Rotterdam and then Southampton. She is the second of the two Breakaway class ships, the Norwegian Breakaway making her debut in Southampton in April 2013. The 145,655grt vessel has an overall length of 325 metres, has 18 decks and accommodation for 3,969 passengers. The passengers have a choice of 27 restaurants on board! She flys the flag of the Bahamas.

The hull of the vessel is decorated by artwork by miami based artist David “LEBO” Le Batard. The mural features a whimsical mermaid holding the sun above the waves, pelicans and palm trees.

4th October 2013 - Eurocargo Salerno towed in

The Grimaldi roll-on roll-off vessel Eurocargo Salerno was towed into Southampton today after she suffered engine problems in the channel off Selsey Bill whilst on a Voyage from Antwerp to Lagos on 3rd October.

She was assisted to the Nab Anchorage by the Southampton tug Svitzer Bentley. From the Nab Anchorage she was towed into berth 40, Southampton by the Fawley tug Apex, assisted by Svitzer Bentley at the stern.

Update 23rd January 2014 - the Eurocargo Salerno remains at berth 102, Southampton under repair.


Eurocargo Salerno approaching calshot whilst being towed into Southampton.



Makalu inward bound for Southampton on 31st August.



31st August 2013 - An unusual caller.

The brand new offshore supply ship Makalu made a short call today at Southampton. She is owned by Global Offshore Services of India and flys the Cypriot flag.

She was recently delivered by Havyard in Fosnavaag, Norway on 23rd August and christened on 24th August. She arrived from Flushing and departed during the night for Las Palmas, being chartered to Shell for work offshore West Africa.

29nd August 2013 - Another VLCC for Fawley

After a period of a couple of years when we didn't see any VLCCs at Fawley Oil Terminal, they are now arriving quite frequently. The latest to arrive, the Yangtze Crown berthed at Fawley in the early hours this morning. She arrived with a part cargo of crude oil, having previously discharged part of her cargo at Antifer, France.

The Hong Kong flagged Yangtze Crown was built in 2011 and is managed by the Nanjing Tanker Corporation of China, operating for Sinotrans & CSC a large logistics and shipping business based in China. She has a deadweight tonnage of 317,960 tonnes and is of 164,680grt.


Yangtze Crown at Fawley on 29th August.




Discovery departing from Southampton on 29th August.


29th August 2013 - A new Discovery

The National Environment Research Council's new research ship Discovery which arrived at Southampton on her delivery voyage from her builders in Vigo on 26th August, departed today for a short trial voyage into the Solent.

The 100 metre vessel, built at a cost of £75m has berths for 28 scientists and 24 crew. she will be involved in research including physical, biological and chemical oceanography, marine geology and geophysics, ocean engineering and atmospheric science.

22nd August 2013 - University Ship Explorer

Operated by Semester at Sea, the smart looking Explorer is a floating university for mainly American students. She arrived at 38/9 berth today from Lisbon and is due to stay until 24th August when she will depart for St.Petersburg.

She was built in 2002 for Royal Olympia Cruises as Olympia Explorer by Blohm & Voss of Hamburg. With a top speed of 33 knots and a cruising speed of 27 knots they were, and still are, one of the fastest cruise ships in service. Semester at Sea took over the vessel in 2004 following the collapse of Royal Olympia Cruises. She has berths for 836 students and is of 24,318grt.


Explorer at berth 38/39, Eastern Docks, on 22nd August.




Royal Princess departing from Southampton on 5th June.



14th June 2013 - A Royal Princess

The latest new cruise ship to make her debut at Southampton, the Royal Princess, departed from Southampton today following a ceremony on 13th June, where she was christened by the Duchess of Cornwall. She departed for a two day promotional cruise to St Peter Port and will return on 16th June. On 16th she departs from Southampton on her maiden cruise - a 19 day cruise in the Mediterranean ending in Venice. She will spend the summer cruising in the Mediterranean before moving to the Caribbean for the winter months.

She was built at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy and is of 142,714grt with an overall length of 330 metres. She has berths for 3,600 passengers.

6th/7th May 2013 - The new Europa 2

Hapag-Lloyd's new cruise ship Europa 2, arrived in Southampton on 6th May and berthed at the QE2 Terminal for a two day promotional visit. during this time she departed for an overnight cruise along the South Coast on the evening of 6th May with over 200 guests embarked, returning on the afternoon of the 7th May. She departed in the evening of 7th May for Cuxhaven and then on to Hamburg.

She was built by STX at Saint Nazaire and handed over to Hapag-Lloyd on 26th April. She operates in the five star luxury market and has berths for 516 passengers in 251 suites, served by 363 crew members. She is reputed to offer more space per passenger than any other cruise ship afloat. The 42,380grt vessel has an overall length of just over 225 metres.

The Europa 2 will depart for her maiden cruise from Hamburg following her christening on 10th May, calling at Amsterdam, Antwerp, Honfleur, La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Bilbao, Leixoes and Lisbon. Following that she will primarily be based in the Mediterranean for the summer months, moving to Dubai in November and Singapore and Hong Kong in December.


Europa 2 at berth 38/39, Eastern Docks, on 6th May.



Europa 2 arriving back in Southampton on 7th May.


Europa 2 at berth 38/39 on 7th May.



OOCL Berlin arriving at Southampton on 1st May.



1st May 2013 - Another new containership!

These days, hardly a week goes by without another new containership arriving at Southampton. This week it was the turn of the OOCL Berlin. She arrived at Southampton from Le Havre on 1st May and departed on 2nd May for Hamburg.

She is the second of OOCL's new 13,208 TEU sisterships to be completed and was recently christened at Geoje Island, South Korea.

OOCL Berlin is employed on Loop 4 of the Asia–Europe service. The port rotation being Ningbo, Yangshan, Yantian, Singapore, Suez Canal, Le Havre, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Suez Canal, Jeddah, Singapore, Yantian, Ningbo. Her sistership OOCL Brussels arrives for the first time next week.

29th/30th April 2013 - Norwegian Breakaway debut

Norwegian Cruise Line's latest addition Norwegian Breakaway, made an early morning arrival at Southampton at the end of her one night maiden cruise from Rotterdam on 28th April. She arrived at the City Cruise Terminal for a two day promotional visit, before departing on 30th April for New York where she will be christened.

She was built by Meyer Werft of Papenburg and handed over to NCL on 25th April at Bremerhaven. She will serve the American market and will be based at her home port, New York, with cruises to the Caribbean. Her sistership Norwegian Getaway is scheduled for delivery early in 2014.

The 146,600grt vessel has 2,014 cabins and is able to accommodate 4,000 passengers, served by 1,600 crew. She has an overall length of 324 metres.

The Norwegian Breakaway has distinctive paintwork on the hull, by Peter Max the iconic New York based artist. The artwork features images of New York City, the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, a giant sunburst, planets, stars, and musical notes.


Norwegian Breakaway arriving at the City Cruise Terminal on 29th April.



Norwegian Breakaway departing from Southampton for New York on 30th April.



HMSC Preserver at 40 berth, Eastern Docks, Southampton on 29th April.


28th May 2012 - Canadian naval ship Visit

An interesting vessel to arrive at 40 berth, Eastern Docks, Southampton today was the Canadian naval auxiliary oiler replenishment vessel HMCS Preserver. She arrived at Southampton from Canada. She departed on 2nd May for Halifax, Nova Scotia.

She was laid down in 1967 at the Saint John Shipbuilding yard in Saint John, New Brunswick. She was launched in 1969 and commissioned in 1970. Preserver was the second of the two Protecteur class of replenishment oilers to be built and is powered by a General Electric steam turbine.

She has a displacement of 24,700 tons and capacity of 14,590 tons of fuel, 400 tons of aviation fuel, 1,048 tons of dry cargo and 1,250 tons of ammunition.

10th December 2012 - Largest in the world!

The brand new containership CMA CGM Marco Polo , arrived at Southampton at the end of her maiden voyage from the Far East on 9th December. She is, so far, the largest container ship in the world with a capacity of 16,020 TEU. With an overall length of 396 metres and a beam of 54 metres, she has a maximum draught of 16 metres. She is of 175,343 grt and a deadweight tonnage of 187,625. She flys the British flag

She was built in South Korea by Daewoo at Okpo and is the first of three sisterships, the other two being delivered in 2013.

She is empolyed on CMA CGM's FAL1 route calling at, on her maiden voyage, Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Yantian, Port Kelang, Tanger, Southampton, Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Marsaxlokk, Khor Al Fakkan, Jebel Ali and Ningbo.

She departed, sadly just after the sun went down, on 10th December for Hamburg assisted by four of Svitzer's tugs.

Next year Maersk Line will also introduce their Triple-E series of containerships which will have a capacity of approximately 18,000 TEU.


CMA CGM Marco Polo at Southampton on 10th December.




CMA CGM Marco Polo departing from Southampton on 10th December assisted by the Svitzer tugs.


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The Vice-Admiral Kulakov arriving at Portsmouth on 24th August.

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Above and below : the vice Admiral Kulakov departing from Portsmouth on 28th August.

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24th August 2012 - A Russian Visitor

A rare visitor to Portsmouth on 2nd August was the Russian Uladoy Class destroyer Vice-Admiral Kulakov. She arrived from service in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy duties and also after taking part in exercises off the coast of Syria.

She has an interesting history. She was launched in 1980 and commissioned in 1982. In 1991 she was taken out of service for repairs. The repairs were to last for over 18 years, partially caused by the break up of the Soviet Union. She returned to her base Severomorsk for active service with the Northern Fleet in 2010. 

The Vice-Admiral Kulakov will be in Portsmouth for four days and will be open to the public on Sunday 26th August.

Update - 28th August:

The Vice-Admiral Kulakov departed from Portsmouth today after her four day visit. She is now bound for Cobh, Ireland, where she will arrive on 30th August.

9th August 2012 - Hyundai Ambition maiden call

The new Hyundai containership Hyundai Ambition, arrived at Southampton at the end of her maiden voyage from the Far East on 7th August. She departed on 9th August for Hamburg.

She is owned by the Danaos Corporation of Greece and is the last of five similar containerships built for them by Hyundai Heavy Industries at Samho, South Korea. She was handed over to her owners on 29th June 2012 and began a 12 year time charter to Hyundai. 

She has a capacity of 13,100 TEU and has an overall length of 366 metres and a beam of 48 metres. She is of 140,979grt.

She is currently employed on the G6 Alliance's Asia North Europe Service (Loop 4), calling at Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian, Singapore, Suez, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Suez, Singapore, Yantian and Ningbo. 

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The Hyundai Ambition departing from Southampton on 9th August.

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The Mein Schiff 2 at berth 38/9, Southampton on 3rd August.

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3rd August 2012 - Mein Schiff 2

An unusual visitor to Southampton on 2nd August was the cruise ship Mein Schiff 2. She arrived from Guernsey at 38/39 berth and departed on 3rd August for Hamburg.

She was built in 1997 at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, as the Mercury for Celebrity Cruises. She was renamed Celebrity Mercury in 2008. In 2011 she was purchased by TUI Cruises GmbH of Hamburg, and became the Mein Schiff 2. This saw her operating alongside her sistership Mein Schiff 1, the former Celebrity cruise ship Celebrity Galaxy.

She flys the Maltese flag and is of 77,302grt. She has berths for 1,886 passengers. She will return to Southampton once more this year, on 13th September. 

25th July  2012 - HMS Defender arrives at Portsmouth

The Royal Navy's newest vessel arrived at Portsmouth for the first time today. The type 45 destroyer Defender (D36) arrived at her new home port and was handed over by her builders BAE Systems of Govan, Glasgow, to the Royal Navy later the same day at a ceremony at the naval base.

Defender is the fifth of the class to be delivered and will be followed by the last of the class Duncan next year. Defender was laid down in July 2006 and launched in October 2009. She left her builders yard in October 2011 on her maiden voyage and since that time she has been engaged in sea trials. She is due to be commissioned in March 2013 on completion of her sea trials.

Defender has a complement of 190 and a displacement of 8,000 tonnes. She is to be equipped with the Sea Viper anti-air missile system using Aster missiles. 

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HMS Defender arriving at Portsmouth for the first time on 25th July.

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The Caribbean Princess departing from Southampton on 26th May.

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26th May 2012 - Caribbean Princess

The P&O Princess cruise ship Caribbean Princess made her second call of the year to Southampton today, arriving from Le Havre and departing for St. Peter Port, Guernsey on an "Around Britain" cruise. She made her maiden call to Southampton on 14th May.

She will operate an number of cruises from Southampton this year, before setting off on a repositioning cruise from Southampton on 25th August to New York via Iceland and Canada. She then cruises out of New York until the end of October when she returns to the Caribbean. 

Built in 2003 she is a sistership to the Grand Princess and Golden Princess, who are more frequent visitors to Southampton.

21st May  2012 - Malik Al Ashtar - Maiden Arrival

The new United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) containership Malik Al Ashtar arrived in Southampton today at the end of her maiden voyage from the Far East. She was recently delivered to her owners by the Samsung shipyard at Geoje Island, South Korea.

Malik Al Ashtar flys the Maltese flag and is of 141,077grt and 145,527dwt. She has an overall length of 366 metres and a beam of 48 metres. She has a capacity of 13,092 TEU.

On arrival at Southampton from Algeciras, she was greeted by the Svitzer tugs Svitzer Ferriby and Svitzer Bristol who provided the traditional water display for vessels arriving on their maiden voyage.

She departed from Southampton on 22nd May for Hamburg.

She is employed on the FAL1 Far East to Europe service operated by CMA CGM. Her sistership the Jebel Ali also operates on this service and is due at Southampton for the first time on 12th June.

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The Malik Al Ashtar arriving at Southampton on 21st May.

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The Hyundai Tenacity arriving in Southampton for the first time.

24th April 2012 - Hyundai Tenacity arrival

The new containership Hyundai Tenacity arrived at Southampton from Le Havre today on her maiden visit. She was completed at Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co. Ltd, South Korea, for her owners, Danaos Shipping of Greece, in March of this year. She is chartered to Hyundai Merchant Marine. She is of 141,770grt and has an overall length of 366.5 metres, giving her a capacity of 13,100TEU. 

She is employed on the G6 Alliance's Far East Services, specifically Loop 4, which calls at Southampton - Hamburg - Rotterdam - Singapore - Yantian - Ningbo - Shanghai - Yantian - Singapore - Le Havre - Southampton. Several other large new Hyundai vessels are due to be phased in on this service in the near future.

12th March  2012 - German Navy at Portsmouth

Three German naval vessels arrived at Portsmouth on Friday 9th March and departed early on the morning of 12th March. The three  vessels were the FGS Emden (F210), FGS Hessen (F221) and FGS Frankfurt am Main (A1412). They are on a seven month training deployment and will train with the Royal Navy, and other navies in Europe, America and Canada.  

The FGS Emden is one of eight Bremen class frigates in service with the German navy. She was launched in 1980 at the Nordseewerke shipyard in Emden and commissioned in 1983. Primarily an anti-submarine frigate, the Bremen class have a displacement of 3,680 tonnes, a top speed of 30 knots and are manned by just over 200 crew. They are due to be replaced in 2016 by the F125 class frigates.     

FGS Hessen is one of three F124 Sachsen class air-defence frigates in service with the German navy. Also built at the Nordseewerke shipyard in Emden, she was laid down in 2001, launched in 2005 and commissioned in 2006. Her combined diesel and gas (CODAG) propulsion system gives her a speed of 29 knots. She has a displacement of 5,690 tonnes and a complement of 230 crew.

FGS Frankfurt am Main (A1412) is one of two type 702 Berlin class fleet replenishment ships in service. A third ship of the class is due in to be completed later this year. Both ships were built at the Flensburger shipyard in Flensburg with Frankfurt am Main being commissioned in 2002. She has a displacement of 20,240 tonnes, a speed of 20 knots and a complement of 139 crew.

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FGS Emden was the first to leave Portsmouth on 12th March...

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... followed by FGS Hessen...

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...with FGS Frankfurt am Main bringing up the rear.

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The Zim Rio Grande making her last call to Southampton on the Atlantic Express service on 6th March. 

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6th March  2012 - Container Ship Changes (updated)

As reported in January there will be several changes to the container ship services serving Southampton in the next month or so.

CMA CGM & MSC's FAL 6 - Silk Express which was originally intending to call at Southampton will now call at Felixstowe instead. This means that we will not be seeing the large MSC vessels in the port for the first time.

CMA CGM's FAL1 service will now be operated by nine of CMA CGM's ultra large vessels, as well as two new ultra large (140,500grt) UASC vessels, Al Riffa and Al Qibla.

CMA CGM's FAL 3 (Asia - Red Sea - Malta - Beirut - Northern Europe) service will now continue to call at Southampton. (Originally it was announced that the Southampton calls would be dropped). This service will now be operated predominantly by the CMA CGM Andromeda (131,332grt) type vessels.

Changes are also being made to the G6 Alliance services calling at Southampton. Included in this alliance are APL, Hapag Lloyd, Hyundai, MOL, NYK and OOCL.

On the G6 Alliance's Far East Services, we can expect new vessels which will be operating on their Loop 4 service. These will include several new APL 10,000TEU vessels. Hyundai will also have several new 13,000 TEU vessels on this service.  

The G6 Alliance's ATX Atlantic Express (New York - Norfolk - Charleston - Rotterdam - Southampton - Hamburg - Le Havre) service will also have larger vessels employed on it. The service has until now been operated by Cap Stephens, OOCL Nagoya and Zim Rio Grande. These vessels are being replaced by OOCL America, OOCL California, OOCL Netherlands and Rio Madeira (Hamburg-Sud). The Zim Rio Grande made her final call on this service to Southampton today, 6th March.  

1st March  2012 - HMS Tireless visits Southampton

The Trafalgar class nuclear powered submarine HMS Tireless (S88) arrived in Southampton today for a five day courtesy visit. She was escorted through the Solent and Southampton Water by two Serco tugs from Portsmouth, SD Bountiful and SD Reliable, as well as police and harbour master launches. She berthed at 38/39 berth in the Eastern Docks. During her time in Southampton, she will host civic dignitaries and parties of cadets, scouts and school children. 

Tireless was launched in 1984 and commissioned in 1985. She has a length of 84.5 metres and a displacement of 4,740 tonnes whilst surfaced. She has a speed of 32 knots whilst submerged. 130 crew man the vessel. She is equipped with five torpedo tubes using Spearfish torpedoes and is equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles.

In May 2000 she developed a leak in her nuclear reactor cooling system which resulted in her reactor being shut down. She limped into Gibraltar on her auxiliary diesel engine and spend over a year at Gibraltar undergoing extensive repairs.

In 2003, whilst in the Arctic, she collided with an iceberg sustaining some damage. In 2004 she surfaced at the North Pole, having rendezvoused with the American submarine USS Hampton. In 2007 she was again at the North Pole with USS Alexandria. During this operation two crew members were killed in a small explosion on the vessel.

Having spent 2010 and 2011 in the Gulf and surrounding areas, it was rumoured in February that the UK will be sending either HMS Tireless or HMS Turbulent to the Falkland Island following increased tension between the UK and Argentina over the islands.

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HMS Tireless in Southampton Water...

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...escorted by the tugs SD Bountiful...

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... and SD Reliable.

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SD Bountiful.

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SD Reliable.

3rd January 2012 - Container ship changes

One of the major operators serving the DP World container terminal at Southampton has just announced a major reorganisation of it's services. CMA CGM and MSC will join forces on their Far East to Europe services from March 2012.

This will mean a number of ultra large containerships calling at Southampton will increase dramatically and Southampton will now see ships from the MSC fleet making regular calls.

The FAL1 - Condor  service which already calls at the port will now be served by 13,000 to 14,000 TEU vessels from the Explorer series, including the CMA CGM Alaska, CMA CGM Amerigo Vespucci, CMA CGM Christophe Colomb, CMA CGM Corte Real, CMA CGM Laperouse, CMA CGM Magellan etc. The smaller vessels currently on the service will be transferred out to other services. The vessels will visit the following ports on the FAL1 service : Ningbo, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Yantian, Vung Tau, Southampton, Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Marsaxlokk, Korfakkan, Port Kelang, Singapore.

CMA CGM's FAL3 service (Asia - Red Sea - Malta - Beirut - Northern Europe) will no longer call at Southampton or indeed anywhere in the UK.

A new service the FAL6 - Silk Express service will now call at Southampton. This service, at the moment, run by MSC currently calls at Felixstowe, but will now call additionally at Southampton on the outward leg of the service. The following ports will be served Dalian, Xingang, Kwang Yang, Pusan, Qingdao, Ningbo, Shanghai, Singapore, Port Kelang, Felixstowe, Zeebrugge, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Southampton, Valencia, Jebel Ali, Singapore, Hong Kong. Vessels on this service will be MSC's 14,000 TEU ships such as the MSC Beatrice.

1st November 2011 - the Canary Islands service resumes

The seasonal reefer service delivering Canary Islands produce to Southampton has recently resumed. The first reefer to visit was the Humboldt Rex on 25th October, arriving from Las Palmas. She departed on 26th October back to Las Palmas. 

The second vessel to visit was the Columbia, arriving on 1st November again from Las Palmas. She has been an infrequent visitor to Southampton in previous years.  She was built in 1991 as the Columbia at Imabari, Japan, and is currently managed by the Kyokuyo Shipping Company based in Japan. She is a relatively small vessel of 6399grt and flys the Panamanian flag. She departed back to Las Palmas on 2nd November.

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The Columbia arrives at Southampton on 1st November from Las Palmas.

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The tug Pantodynamos departing Portsmouth for Spithead.

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Southampton was towed out by the local Serco tugs...

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....including SD Bountiful.

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Departing for the last time...

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14th October 2011 - Farewell to HMS Southampton

Today, the former HMS Southampton (D90) was towed out of Portsmouth bound for Aliaga for scrapping. She was laid down in 1976 and launched in 1979 at Vosper Thornycroft at their shpyard at Woolston, Southampton, and commissioned in 1981. She was decommissioned in February 2009, having been placed in a state of extended readiness in 2008. She was finally sold to ship-breakers in Aliaga, Turkey, at auction during March 2011.

She was towed out of Portsmouth by the local Serco Marine Services tugs SD Bountiful and SD Indulgent. At Spithead she was connected to the Panamanian flagged tug Pantodynamos for towage to Aliaga.

The tug Pantodynamos is itself a veteran being built in 1971 in Bremerhaven, Germany, as the Seetrans I. From 1987 until 2007 she operated for Fairplay as the Fairplay XIV. She is currently operated by Diavlos Salvage and Towage, a company based in Greece. 

Another type 42 destroyer, the former HMS Nottingham is due to leave Portsmouth on 18th October also for scrapping at Aliaga. She will be towed by the Gigilinis operated tug Spartan.

15th August 2011 - the Dorra at Fawley

The third VLCC to arrive at Fawley in recent months, the Dorra, arrived during the night of 14-15th August. She had arrived in the Nab anchorage, from her previous port, Rotterdam, on 10th August, having discharged part of her cargo of crude oil from the Middle East there.

The Dorra was built in 2009 at the Hyundai Shipyard in Samho, South Korea. She flys the flag of the Bahamas and is owned by the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia. The Dorra has an overall length of 333 metres with a beam of 60 metres. She is of 160,782grt and 317,521dwt.

She departed from Fawley on 16th August, for the Nab anchorage, presumably awaiting orders. 

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The Dorra in the early morning sunshine on 15th August.

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The BW Edelweiss at Fawley on 14th July.

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13th July 2011 - another VLCC for Fawley

The VLCC BW Edelweiss arrived at Fawley Oil Terminal today from Rotterdam. She is the second VLCC to arrived in recent weeks, the Maersk Nectar having called a few weeks ago.

BW Edelweiss was built in 2008 at the Daewoo Shipyard at Okpo, South Korea and is operated by BW Maritime of Singapore. This company was formed when World-Wide Shipping acquired Bergesen of  Norway in 2003. 

BW Edelweiss flys the Hong Kong flag. She is of 158.569grt and 301,021dwt with an overall length of 332 metres. She departed on 14th July for Falmouth Bay, presumably for bunkers, but is still anchored there as of 16th July.  

27th May 2011 - Refit for RFA Fort Austin

The Fort class replenishment vessel RFA Fort Austin (A386) was today towed out of Portsmouth. The 1978 built Falklands Islands veteran was decommissioned in 2009 and placed in reserve at Portsmouth. She is bound for the Cammel Lairds Shipyard in Birkenhead where she will be refitted in order to remain in service until 2021.

In charge of the tow is the Belgian ocean-going tug Union Wrestler. She is a new vessel being built in 2011 in Spain for URS of Belgium. Assisting in the tow is the Svitzer Pembroke, normally based in Milford Haven and delivered to Svitzer's Milford Haven fleet in 2010. As well as the two tugs already mentioned, the Fort Austin was escorted out of Portsmouth harbour by the local Serco Marine Services tugs SD Reliable, SD Indulgent and SD Independent.

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RFA Fort Austin departs Portsmouth on 27th May.

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Towed by the Belgian tug Union Wrestler.

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Heading off to Birkenhead.

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USS Truxtun arriving at Portsmouth on 27th May....

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... closely followed by the Almirante Juan De Borbon.

27th May 2011 - Saxon Warrior ends

A large naval exercise which has been taking place in the South Western Approaches and the English Channel has recently finished. The exercise involved the American nuclear powered aircraft carrier George H W Bush (CVN-77), which arrived in the Solent today and will depart on 31st May. 

In addition several naval vessels, including the American Arleigh-Burke class destroyer USS Truxtun (DDG-103), and the Spanish frigate Almirante Juan De Borbon (F102) arrived in Portsmouth today after completing the exercise. They will also be in port until 31st May. 

25th May 2011 - MSC Opera

The MSC Opera arrived back in Southampton today from repair at Gdynia, Poland, following her problematic first cruise. She suffered electrical and propulsion failure off the coast of Sweden whilst on her first cruise from Southampton. She was subsequently towed into Nynäshamn by tugs where her passengers were discharged and flown home. Her second cruise was subsequently cancelled due to the necessity for repairs in Poland.

The MSC Opera was built in 2004 and can accommodate 1,712 passengers in 856 cabins. She weighs in at 59,058grt.

Update : 27th May. Her third cruise, a Norwegian Fjords cruise, due to depart today at 16:00 was delayed by several hours after the vessel failed a MCA inspection and was detained. She eventually sailed at 18:45. 

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MSC Opera arriving back in Southampton on 25th May.

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Swinging on to berth 101, off Mayflower Park.

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Adonia arriving for the first time on 20th May.

20th May 2011 - Adonia arrives

P&O's "new" cruise ship Adonia arrived in Southampton today ready for her naming ceremony and maiden cruise. She was escorted into the Mayflower Cruise Terminal at berth 106, by two tugs spraying water in the traditional way. She arrived from Freeport, Bahamas, where she had been in refit. She will be an "adults only" vessel and carries just 710 passengers. Due to her smaller size she will be able to visit many ports that the larger vessels cannot visit. She is a replacement for the Artemis which was sold by P&O and left the fleet last month.

She was built in 2001 by Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St Nazaire, as the R Eight for Renaissance Cruises, the last of a set of eight sisterships built for the company. When Renaissance Cruises collapsed in 2003 she became the Minerva II for Swan Hellenic and then Royal Princess in 2007 when she joined the Princess Cruise Line fleet. She weighs in at 30,277grt and flys the flag of Bermuda.

Adonia will be named by Dame Shirley Bassey on Saturday 21st May in a ceremony attended by over 500 guests, who will be treated to a lavish firework display in the port. She sets sail the following day on her maiden cruise, a two week trip to the Mediterranean, covering Lisbon, Gibraltar, Alghero, Civitavecchia, Portofino, Sete, Port Mahon, Barcelona and Cadiz, arriving back in Southampton on 7th June. She will be based in Southampton for the remainder of the year. 

29th April 2011 - Cruise News

Artemis : P&O's Artemis arrived in Southampton on 26th April at the end of her farewell cruise for P&O. She was sold last year by P&O to MS Artania Shipping. She subsequently departed for Bremerhaven where she will undergo a refit and emerge as the Artania. She will then be chartered to Phoenix Reisen, a tour operator based in Germany.

Discovery : the cruise ship Discovery began her schedule of cruises from Portsmouth this year on 23rd April 2011. The vessel operated by Voyages of Discovery, part of the All Leisure Group, will be operating cruises out of Portsmouth International Port this summer. As well as the Discovery, All Leisure will also base the Minerva of Swan Hellenic and Hebridean Princess of Hebridean Island Cruises at Portsmouth for a series of cruises this year. This follows a large investment at Portsmouth in a new terminal to cater for cruise ship passengers. 

Saga Pearl II : The Saga Pearl II is to be transferred to the company's Spirit of Adventure brand and will be renamed Quest for Adventure. Her farewell cruise for the Saga brand is due to depart from Southampton on 22nd April 2012, calling at El Ferrol, Alicante, Palma, Barcelona, Cartagena, Gibraltar, Portimao, Lisbon and arriving back in Southampton on 6th May 2012.

Saga Pearl II will be replaced by Saga's new ship the Saga Sapphire. She is due to depart from Southampton on her maiden cruise on 26th March 2012, visiting the ports El Ferrol, Cartagena, Palma, Valletta, Dubrovnik, Sibenik, Venice, Hvar, Corfu, Civitavecchia, Gibraltar, Lisbon, arriving back in Southampton on 18th April. The Saga Sapphire was built in 1981 as the Europa for Hapag-Lloyd. After periods as the Superstar Europe, Superstar Aries and Holiday Dream, she was sold in 2004 to Croisieres de France who currently operate her as the Bleu de France.

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Artemis arriving at Southampton on 16th April 2010.

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Discovery arriving at Portsmouth for her first Portsmouth based cruise on 23rd April 2011.

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Saga Pearl II at 38/9 berth Southampton on 29th April 2011. 

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Astute arriving at Southampton on 6th April with tug escort...

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...inward bound off Calshot.

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At 38/9 berth on 7th April.

6th April 2011 - HMS Astute visit

The Royal Navy's newest nuclear attack submarine HMS Astute arrived at Southampton today for a 5 day courtesy visit. She was escorted into Southampton by three Serco tugs from Portsmouth as well as police launches and the harbour master's vessel.

The vessel hit the news headlines in October 2010 when she ran aground off the Isle of Skye, whilst on trials, having been commissioned into the Navy in August 2010. She has a displacement of 7.400 tonnes and a length of 97metres. She can travel at 29 knots when submerged and has an infinite range, which is only limited by the amount of supplies she can carry for her 98 crew members. She is normally based at Faslane. She is armed with spearfish torpedoes and tomahawk cruise missiles.

Southampton city will adopt HMS Astute's sistership, HMS Artful, currently under construction, at the BAE shipyard in Barrow-in-Furness. HMS Astute will be visited by Southampton city leaders, school and scout groups during her stay here.

Update 8th April : a sailor on board the Astute was arrested today having shot two other sailors on board the vessel. One of the sailors died in the incident. The incident happened whilst several civic dignitaries were being shown around the vessel. 

8th February 2011 - Salt from India

The large Maltese flagged bulk carrier Michael S arrived today at 108 berth, Southampton, from Jakhau, India. She was carrying a cargo of salt, presumably the type for use on roads during the cold weather. This is the second cargo of salt to arrive in recent weeks from Jakhau, the previous cargo arriving in the bulk carrier Western Santiago at the beginning of February. 

Michael S was built in 2001 as the Hong-Kong flagged Darya Gyan. She became the Michael S in 2008 when she was sold to Greek interests. At that time her flag was changed to Malta. She is of 27,996grt and has an overall length of 190 metres. She departed on 11th February bound for Quebec.

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The Michael S arriving with her cargo of salt on 8th February.

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The Chuetsu Maru arriving at Southampton on 3rd February.

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3rd February 2011 - Another consignment of soya

The large bulk woodchip carrier Chuetsu Maru arrived today for 107 berth. She arrived from San Lorenzo, Argentina. Argentina is one of the largest exporters of soymeal which is used in animal feed. Several consignments arrive in Southampton from Argentina and Brazil every year. Normally only part of the vessel's cargo is discharged, with the remainder being taken to places like Glasgow or Belfast. The Chuetsu Maru is due to depart on 8th February for Glasgow to discharge the remainder of her cargo.

The Panamanian flagged  Chuetsu Maru, a bulk woodchip carrier by design, was completed in 1987 in Marugame, Japan. She has retained her original name since completion. She has an overall length of 189 metres and is of 33,883 grt. Owned by Japanese interests, she is operated as part of the Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) group. 

19th January 2011 - Tug titbits

Itchen Marine purchased a new tug in September 2010. The Wyestorm was originally Serco Denholm's SD Atlas. She was built in Tuzla, Turkey in 1999 as the Turkish flagged Yenikale. In 2005 she became the RMAS's Atlas and later the SD Atlas. She was laid up at Portsmouth prior to her purchase by Itchen Marine. Today was my first chance to photograph her off dockhead, Southampton. 

Another tug changing hands at the moment has also been in Southampton this week. The St Vincent & Grenadines flagged Tocopillano is currently at 49 berth and is scheduled to leave for Guayaquil, Ecuador, on what I presume is her delivery voyage to her new owners on 21st January. She was built in 2001 as the Russian flagged Vladimir Kolotnev, at Severodvinsk, Russia, but completed by Damen in Gorinchem.  She became the Tocopillano in December 2010. Her new owners are Ultratug, from Chile, a large company with bases in many South American countries.

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The Wyestorm off dockhead on 19th January.

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The Tocopillano at 49 berth on 19th January.

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The Nanos arriving at Southampton on 19th January.

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19th January 2011 - Nanos arrives

The large bulk carrier Nanos arrived today for No.7 Dry Dock, presumably to load scrap. She arrived from Immingham.

She was built in 2002 in Tamano, Japan, as the Nord Monaco flying the Panamanian flag. In 2005 she was renamed Chios under the flag of the Marshall Islands. She became the Nanos in 2006, being managed by a company in Slovenia with the wonderful name of Splosna Plovba Doo. She is of 27,986grt and has an overall length of 189.8 metres.

She is due to depart from Southampton on 23rd January for Alexandria, Egypt.

2nd November 2010 - Yet another new containership

The latest in a long line of new containerships arrived at Southampton today. NYK's new vessel NYK Altair arrived at 205/6 berth from Hamburg, on their Asia - Europe Loop A service. This service links ports in Japan, Yantian, Hong Kong, Singapore and Jeddah with Rotterdam, Hamburg, Southampton and Le Havre.

The "green" NYK Altair was built by IHI in Japan and is fitted with a Wartsila engine which provides smokeless operation at low speeds, lower fuel consumption and reduced Nitrogen Oxide emissions. She has an overall length of 332 metres, a beam of 42 metres and a capacity of 10,000 TEU.  

She departed Southampton on 3rd November for Le Havre.

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The NYK Altair arriving at Southampton on 2nd November.

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The CMA CGM Magellan arriving at Southampton on 30th October....

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... certainly big, but not beautiful?

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28th October 2010 - The second explorer

Today saw the arrival of the second of CMA CGM's "explorer" class of giant containership to arrive at Southampton. The CMA CGM Magellan, completed earlier this year in South Korea, arrived at 204/5 berth from Marsaxlokk, Malta. She takes the joint record for the largest containership to arrive in Southampton, sharing it with her sister CMA CGM Christophe Colomb which called in July.

She is sailing on a single voyage on CMA CGM's FAL1 service linking the Far East with Europe. She previously called at Dalian, Tianjin Xingang, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Yantian, and Port Kelang. She then transitted the Suez Canal and called at Marsaxlokk, Malta, before arriving at Southampton. After departing from Southampton on 30th October, she will call at Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge and Le Havre, before returning to the Far East.

She is of 153,022grt and has a length of 365 metres and a beam of 52 metres. Capacity is provided for 13,344 TEU. She flys the British flag and is registered in London.

8th October 2010 - The new Queen arrives

Cunard's latest new cruise ship, Queen Elizabeth, arrived out of the early morning mist at the Ocean Terminal, Southampton, early this morning. Escorted by two of Svitzer's tugs, the Svitzer Sussex and Svitzer Surrey, with the normal water spraying display, she was greeted by two other cruise ships, the Saga Pearl II and P&O's Ventura with blasts on their horns. Crowds lined Town Quay and Mayflower Park to welcome the ship to her home port, as she proceeded to the upper swinging ground to turn and make her way back to Ocean Terminal. 

She arrived directly from her Italian builders yard, the Fincantieri shipyard at Monfalcone, near Trieste, with a brief call at Algeciras on the way.

The Queen Elizabeth is a Vista class vessel, similar to, but slightly larger than the Queen Victoria. In actual fact she is the second largest vessel to be built for Cunard, behind the Queen Mary 2.

The new vessel weighs in at 92,400 grt. She has a length of 964.5 feet and a breadth of 106 feet. She has a service speed of 23.7 knots and accommodation for 2,068 passengers and 996 crew.

She will be christened by Her Majesty the Queen on Monday 11th October and will set sail on her maiden cruise to the Canary Islands the following day - with calls at Vigo, Lisbon, Seville, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma and Madeira

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HMS Diamond arriving for the first time at Portsmouth.

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The SD Victoria departing from Portsmouth on 22nd September.

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22nd September 2010 - New ships at Portsmouth

Today saw two new vessels at Portsmouth. 

The third of the new type 45 destroyers HMS Diamond (D34) arrived at her home base, Portsmouth for the first time early this morning. She is to be handed over to the Royal Navy, from her builders BAE Systems based at Govan on the River Clyde at Portsmouth. The 152 metre vessel has a displacement of 7,500 tonnes. Her twin Rolls-Royce turbines give her a top speed of 29 knots. She is classed as an air defence destroyer and is fitted with the PAAMS air defence system including anti air Aster missiles.

Leaving Portsmouth, after a brief visit was the "Worldwide Support Vessel" SD Victoria. She was completed by Damen Shipyards, Galati, Romania, this year and handed over to Serco in June. She is powered by two Caterpillar engines giving a maximum speed of 15.2 knots. She has an overall length of 83 metres and a deadweight tonnage of 1162 tons. Accommodation is provided for 88 personnel.

7th September 2010 - MSC Poesia visit

Mediterranean Shipping Company's cruise ship MSC Poesia made a one-off call at Southampton today, arriving at the City Cruise Terminal at 9:30 from Copenhagen. She departed the same day, bound for Le Havre.

She was built in 2008 at Aker Yards, St Nazaire, France and has an overall length of 293.8 metres and is of 92,409grt. She is one of MSC's "Musica" class of vessels. She is a sistership of the MSC Magnifica which made her debut at Southampton earlier this year.

From 2011, Southampton will be the base for all ex-UK MSC cruises, with the MSC Opera providing 13 cruises from Southampton during the 2011 season. 

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The MSC Poesia off Calshot on 7th September, bound for Southampton.

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The Princess Daphne arriving at Portsmouth on 31st August.

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31st August 2010 - A Princess visits Portsmouth

Classic International Cruises veteran cruise ship Princess Daphne arrived in Portsmouth today. She arrived from Bremerhaven and departed the same day on a round Britain cruise with her next port of call being Falmouth.

She was built in 1955 at the Swan Hunter shipyard at Wallsend as the fast cargo ship Port Sydney for Port Line for their UK to Australia service. She was sold in 1972, initially for conversion into a ferry, but was finally rebuilt into the cruise ship Daphne. After periods of operation for Delian Cruises, Lauro Lines and Prestige Cruises, she was sold in 1996 and renamed Switzerland.

In 2002 she became the Ocean Odyssey and then the Ocean Monarch in the same year operated by Monarch Classic Cruises. In 2008 Monarch sold her to Classic International Cruises and she became the Princess Daphne. She is now operated by them alongside her sistership the Princess Danae (built in 1955 as the Port Melbourne).   

8th July 2010 - A record smashed!

The record for the largest container ship to visit Southampton Container Terminal was smashed today with the arrival of the huge container ship CMA CGM Christophe Colomb

The previous record was set in April 2009, with the arrival of the CMA CGM Andromeda. She has an overall length of 363 metres, a beam of 45.6 metres and weighs in at 131,332 gross tons, with a capacity to carry 11,400 TEU.

The CMA CGM Christophe Colomb has an overall length of 365.5 metres, a beam of 51.2 metres, a gross tonnage of 153,022 and capacity to carry 13,344 TEU. She was built for CMA CGM at the Daewoo shipyard in Goeje Island, South Korea, being completed late in 2009. She has an accommodation block situated towards the bow of the vessel with the funnel in a separate structure towards the stern of the ship.

The CMA CGM Christophe Colomb arrived on 8th July from the Far East via Tangiers and departed on 10th July bound for Le Havre. She is currently employed on CMA CGM's FAL1 service, linking the Far East with Northern Europe, calling at Dalian, Tianjin Xingang, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Yantian, Port Kelang, Tangiers, Southampton, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Le Havre, Marsaxlokk, Khor Al Fakkan, Port Kelang, Yantian and Dalian. This is likely to be her only call to Southampton for the time being as she is being re-deployed on the FAL5 route, again linking Northern Europe with the Far East, but serving Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian, Tanjung Pelepas, Port Kelang, Le Havre, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Zeebrugge, Port Kelang, Singapore and Ningbo.

For her departure on 10th July, four Svitzer tugs were used to assist her, including a tug from Bristol, the Svitzer Sky, who escorted her down Southampton Water, before proceeding back to her base in Bristol. Apparently, the Svitzer Sky has a higher bollard pull of 70 tons than the Southampton based tugs. 

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Above : CMA CGM Christophe Colomb at berth 205, Southampton on 9th July.

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Above : Departing on 10th July escorted by the Bristol tug Svitzer Sky (below).

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Arriving at the Hook of Holland.... 

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....bound for Rotterdam....

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....on 19th June, directly from her builders.

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Departing from Southampton on 23rd June on an overnight cruise. 

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22nd June 2010 - Epic visit delayed

The brand new cruise ship Norwegian Epic arrived today in Southampton several hours late due to a bearing problem on a propellor shaft and problems with the system checking passengers onto the vessel. Her "taster" cruise sailing from Rotterdam to Southampton was delayed and she proceeded at a reduced speed with tug escort to Southampton. The problem will be fixed at Southampton and her crossing from Southampton to New York is scheduled to depart on time on 24th June. She is due to arrive in New York on 1st July. The new ship will be christened in New York on 2nd July by country music star Reba McEntire.

Additionally she will depart on an overnight cruise from Southampton on 23rd June into the Channel, arriving back at Southampton on the morning of 24th June.

Her first cruising season will be based in Miami until May 2011 when she will be based in the Western Mediterranean for six months.

She has had an unlucky start to her career - on 3rd May 2010 she had a fire whilst being fitted out at her builders STX Europe, Chantiers de l'Atlantique at St. Nazaire with another fire on 6th June. Both fires were thought to have been started deliberately.

The 153,000grt vessel has an overall length of 329 metres and accommodation for 4,200 passengers. She has a cruising speed of 22 knots.

In common with other modern mega cruise ships, she boasts all the usual amenities including an Ice Bar, one of only 14 in the world. An Aqua Park also features three multi storey water chutes, clearly visible on the upper deck forward of her twin funnels.

(Southampton Photos by kind permission of  Graham Darling.)

13th June 2010 - Another new container ship...

The Hapag-Lloyd container ship Prague Express made her first call at Southampton today. She was completed at the beginning of this year at the Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyard at Ulsan, South Korea.

She has an overall length of 335 metres and weighs in at 93,750grt. She flys the German flag and is registered in Hamburg.

She arrived from Antwerp and sails on 15th June for Jeddah. This is her first visit to Europe. After completion at her builders in March 2010, she made one return voyage from the Far East to the West Coast of America. She then set sail from China, via Singapore to Hamburg, where she arrived on 6th June. 

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The Prague Express inward bound for Southampton on 13th June. 

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Fram arriving at Portsmouth on 12th May from Hamburg.

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12th May 2010 - Pining for the Fjords!

The Norwegian cruise ship Fram operated by the famous Hurtigruten company of Norway arrived today in Portsmouth from Hamburg. She is scheduled to depart from Portsmouth later today on a cruise circling the British Isles. On departure from Portsmouth, she proceeds to Penzance, Cobh, Dublin, Iona, Stornoway, Aberdeen and back to Hamburg.

Although it's vessels are mainly involved in cruises and ferry services around the Norwegian coast, Hurtigruten's Fram is involved almost exclusively in cruising. She offers cruises to Antarctica during the Southern Hemisphere's summer months (Normally November to March), usually based in Argentina. For the rest of the year she operates cruises in Northern Europe and the Baltic.

She was built in 2007 at the Fincantieri Shipyard at Monfalcone, Italy. She has an overall length of 113 metres and is of 11,647grt.

28th April 2010 - Very old and very new...

Very old... the veteran Liberian flagged bulk carrier Dora arrived at 108 berth today from Cork. She was built in 1982 at Sunderland Shipbuilders Ltd. at Sunderland (yard number 20) as the Nosira Madeleine. She is one of an ever decreasing number of British built ships still in service. Subsequent name changes saw her as the Bella Dan in 1989 for J Lauritzen of Denmark, Hope 1 in 1993 and Hope in 2002 for Jadroplov Ltd. of Croatia. She has been the Dora since 2007. She is of 17,152 grt and has an overall length of 188 metres. She is due to depart on 1st May for Ventspils.

Very new... on the same day the containership APL Oregon arrived at 206 berth at the end of her maiden voyage from the Far East, having previously called at Colombo, Sri Lanka. She was completed in early March 2010 at the Koyo Dockyard at Mihara, Japan. since completion she loaded containers at Shangahi, Fuzhou, Xiamen and Hongkong, before calling at Singapore and Colombo on her voyage to Europe. She departs Southampton on 29th April for Zeebrugge. She has an overall length of 293 metres and a gross tonnage of 72,200 tons and flys the flag of Panama. She has a capacity for 6,350 TEU.

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The Dora arrives at Southampton on 28th April.

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APL Oregon arriving at Southampton on her maiden voyage.

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The Athena arriving in Portsmouth on 23rd April...

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...with 82 rescued British tourists on board.

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Celebrity Eclipse arriving back in Southampton on 23rd April...

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...with 2,220 rescued British tourists on board.

23rd April 2010 - Rescue Missions Return

Today a large number of British holidaymakers who had been stranded abroad must have been relieved to have finally returned to British shores. Two vessels which had "rescued" a number of British travellers arrived back in Portsmouth and Southampton.


The veteran cruise ship arrived at Portsmouth late morning on the last leg of her 40 might cruise from Fremantle, Australia to Portsmouth. At her last port of call, Lisbon, Portugal she picked up 82 stranded British tourists and ferried them back to Portsmouth. Some of Athena's cruise passengers were scheduled to leave the vessel in Lisbon so she had space available for the stranded tourists.

Athena was built in 1948 as the Swedish liner Stockholm for Swedish American Line and gained notoriety for colliding with the liner Andrea Doria off New York in 1956 causing the Andrea Doria to sink. After and number of name changes, she became the Athena in 2005 and is operated by Classic International Cruises.

Celebrity Eclipse

The Celebrity Eclipse arrived back at Southampton from Bilbao with 2,220 British package tour tourists on board. On arrival back at Southampton the celebrations to do with her naming ceremony and maiden cruise will re-commence. She will be named by yachtswoman Emma Pontin on 24th April. Her first cruise for fee paying passengers will be a three night taster cruise to Le Havre, departing on 26th April followed by a four night cruise to Cork, departing on 29th April. The ship will be based in Southampton over the coming summer cruise season.

21st April 2010 - Jakarta Tower arrives, Tagus leaves.

The Zodiac Maritime operated container ship Jakarta Tower arrived in Southampton today from Hamburg for lay-up. She has been moored on the Afterbarn Mooring Buoy in Southampton Water and her current provisional departure date is set at 20th June 2010.

She was built in 2008 as the Thirsk, becoming the Jakarta Tower when she was completed at the Xiamen Shipyard, Xiamen, China. She is of 212 metres overall length and has a gross tonnage of 26,688 tons. Since July 2009, she has been engaged in a service between Western European ports (including Felixstowe) with countries on the West Coast of Africa, including Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Togo and Benin.

The Wallenius, Wilhelmsen vehicle carrier Tagus, which arrived in Southampton for lay-up on 15th June 2009, departed from Southampton today after a long period of inactivity. She had engine problems on her departure off Ocean Dock and again off Cowes and was escorted by a tug through Southampton Water and the Solent. She is bound for Gdansk, presumably for overhaul after her lay-up. 

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Jakarta Tower laid up in Southampton Water on 23rd April 2010.

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The Tagus photographed on 16th June 2009 shortly after her arrival for lay-up in Southampton Water.

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Arriving at Southampton with accompanying tugs...

Celebrity-Eclipse--20-Apr-2010-2.jpg (188327 bytes) the April sunshine...

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... together with circling helicopter...

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Passing Town Quay...

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...bound for...

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...the City Cruise Terminal.

20th April 2010 - Celebrity Arrival

Celebrity's new cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse arrived in Southampton today directly from her builder's yard, Meyer-Werft in Papenburg, Germany. She was greeted in Southampton in the traditional way with the local tugs putting on a water spraying display as she made her way to the City Cruise Terminal in the Western Docks. 

She is the third of five "Solstice" class vessels built for Celebrity. The Celebrity Equinox, her elder sister, made her debut at Southampton last year. Weighing in at 122,00 grt and with an overall length of 315 metres, she has berths for 2,850 passengers, in 1,425 cabins, situated on thirteen decks. She is powered by two azipods, giving a cruising speed of 24 knots. She is registered in Malta.

The original plan was that she would entertain the travel industry for several days at Southampton, including a one night cruise before her naming ceremony to be held on Saturday 24th April. She would then depart on her maiden commercial cruise.

However, due to the crisis in the airline industry caused by the volcanic activity in Iceland, and the accompanying ash cloud, she is to be used to ferry stranded tourists in Spain back to the UK. She departs tonight for Bilbao and returns to Southampton on 23rd April with the returning tourists. The passengers will be treated by Celebrity Cruises to all the usual facilities offered to paying cruise guests.

On her return from her mercy mission she will be named on 24th April by the ship's godmother, yachtswoman Emma Pontin, who has been battling breast cancer. The naming ceremony will be televised in Mayflower Park, Southampton, with a "Celebrity Sunwalk" which will see thousands of participants walking through Southampton raising awareness and funds to fight breast cancer. 

She departs on a  short cruise to Le Havre on 26th April, returning to Southampton on 29th April. Her official maiden cruise will be a four night cruise to Cork on 29th April. She is again in port on 3rd and 7th May. 

Celebrity Eclipse will be based in Southampton throughout this summer season running cruises to the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Russia. During the winter season she will be based in Fort Lauderdale providing cruises to the Caribbean. 

With two new cruise ships already arrived in Southampton this year, P&O's Azura and the Celebrity Eclipse Southampton is set for a bumper cruise season. The Norwegian Epic makes her debut at Southampton in June and Cunard's new Queen Elizabeth arrives in October.

12th April 2010 - P&O's new Azura

P&O's new cruise ship Azura set off on her maiden cruise today to the Mediterranean with her first port of call being Malaga. 

Azura arrived in Southampton, directly from her builders yard, Fincantieri in Monfalcone, Italy, on 7th April. She was officially chistened at the Ocean Terminal, Southampton on 10th April, being named by her godmother, ballet star, Darcey Bussell. Her naming ceremony was shown on a large screen in Mayflower Park where public celebrations were held as well as a large firework display.

Azura is an almost identical sistership to P&O's existing vessel Ventura, with a gross tonnage of 115,055 tons and an overall length of 289 metres. She has a capacity of approximately 3,100 passengers, looked after by 1,200 crew members. She as an alfresco cinema where passengers can enjoy films in the open air. A recent innovation is a number of purpose built single cabins for single travellers.

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Azura catches the last rays of evening sunshine as she passes Calshot on 12th April having departed on her maiden cruise.

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SD Reliable escorting HMS Daring out of Portsmouth...

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...accompanied by SD Independent.

8th March 2010 - New Portsmouth Tugs

Two new tugs have recently entered service at Portsmouth for Serco-Denholm.

The SD Reliable was built in Gdansk, Poland and completed at Gorinchem in the Netherlands. She arrived at Portsmouth late in November 2009. She is a vessel of 290grt and is powered by two Caterpillar engines driving two controllable pitch propellors.

Meanwhile the SD Independent was built at Tczew, Poland, and completed again at Gorinchem, Netherlands. She arrived in Portsmouth in October 2009. She is a slightly smaller vessel of 186grt, and is again powered by two Caterpillar engines.

They were photographed escorting HMS Daring out of Portsmouth harbour on 8th March.

8th March 2010 - Armorique at Portsmouth

Brittany Ferries 2009 built ferry Armorique has been filling in for the Normandie, when she is away for refit, on the Portsmouth to Caen ferry service.

She is seen in the accompanying photos departing Portsmouth for Caen on 8th March. She normally operates on the Plymouth to Roscoff route. Whilst the Armorique is at Portsmouth the Bretagne is operating the Plymouth sailings. Armorique's last visit to Portsmouth on this service is on 14th March, at which point the Normandie returns.

Brittany Ferries new vessel Cap Finistere is due to make her debut later this month at Portsmouth. She will operate two sailings a week to Santander on a Tuesday and Friday, and also three sailings a week to Cherbourg on Thursday, Sunday and Monday. The Cap Finistere used to operate as the Superfast X and was acquired this year from Superfast Ferries.

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The Armorique departing from Portsmouth on 8th March.

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7th March 2010 - Crane barge collapse

The crane barge Cormorant collapsed today whilst at 102 berth in the Western Docks, Southampton. The Cormorant had arrived on the 7th March towed by the tug Multratug 7 from Portugal.

The Cormorant was built in Hamburg in 1973 as the Sudopodyom-2 for Ukrainian owners, SATCO Towage and Salvage, based in Odessa. She was acquired by Multratug in 1999 and renamed Cormorant.

She departed from Southampton on 9th March, still in her collapsed state, for Flushing towed by the tugs Multratug 7 and Multrasalvor.

5th March 2010 - Farewell Caedmon

The ex Lymington to Yarmouth Wightlink ferry Caedmon finally departed from Marchwood today in tow of the Danish tug Westsund (ex Red Funnel's Clausentum!) She is bound for the breakers in Esbjerg, after her new owners had failed to sell her on for further trading.

Her two sisters Cenwulf and Cenred remain at Marchwood, but are being made ready for towing to Esbjerg for scraping as well.

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Cenred & Caedmon laid up at Marchwood in April 2009.

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The MSC Magnifica ...

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... arriving in Southampton ...

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... on 26th February.

26th February 2010 - Magnificent Magnifica

MSC Cruises new vessel MSC Magnifica arrived today in Southampton on her delivery voyage from her builders, STX in St Nazaire, France. She is paying a three day visit to Southampton during which time she will be showcased to the UK travel industry.

She will depart on the morning of 28th February for Montoir, and then make her way to Hamburg, where she will be christened by actress Sophia Loren on 6th March. Her first cruise is from Amsterdam on 9th March - a 11 night cruise terminating in Venice.

MSC Magnifica is the fourth of the "Musica" class of vessels and joins her three sisters, the MSC Musica, MSC Poesia and MSC Orchestra in the MSC fleet. She is of 92,409grt and has accommodation for 3,013 guests. She has an overall length of 294 metres.

As is usual with cruise ship these days, she is equipped with a host of amenities, comprising a 4-D cinema, bowling alley, 17 bars and a retractable roof over her pools allowing all year cruising.

Some good news for Southampton port was also recently released - from 2011, Southampton will be the base for all ex-UK MSC cruises, with the MSC Opera providing 13 cruises from Southampton during the 2011 season. 

31st January 2010 - St Catherine sold

It has been reported that the Wightlink ferry St. Catherine has been sold to a company called Delcomar, based in Sardinia, Italy. She has been laid up at Hythe for the last few months.

Delivery of the vessel is likely to be in March and will be dependent on the weather conditions for her delivery voyage.

She was built in 1983 at the Henry Robb shipyard in Leith for Wightlink. 

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St Catherine at Portsmouth on 23rd August 2008.

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The Pride of Bilbao arriving at Portsmouth on 25th August 2001. She will cease to sail from Portsmouth in September.

20th January 2010 - More Portsmouth Ferry Changes

P&O have announced that the Portsmouth to Bilbao route will cease to operate when the current vessel on the route the Pride of Bilbao finishes her charter on 27th September 2010. 

Although the route is well used, the costs of running the route mean that the route has lost money over the last few years.

This bad news for Portsmouth comes after the new Portsmouth to Cherbourg service operated by Celtic Link ferries was halted abruptly after the vessel operating the route, the chartered Norman Voyager  was detained in Portsmouth at the end of November. Her crew failed an emergency procedures test organised during an inspection by the MCA. Although the vessel was later cleared to sail, Celtic Link chose not to resume the service.

The good news is the Brittany Ferries are expanding their service to Santander with their new vessel the Cap Finistere (ex Superfast V) making twice weekly sailings to the Spanish port from mid March 2010. In addition three return sailings per week between Portsmouth and Cherbourg will also be operated by the Cap Finistere

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