Archived 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. 

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.

Archived News Items 

These news items appeared on my Southampton and Solent News page during the period April 2004 to December 2009.

To return to the current Southampton and Solent News page please click here.

6th December 2009 - Farewell to the Saga Rose

The Saga Rose arrived back in Southampton today from her 37 night farewell cruise which started on 30th October and covered 19 ports extending as far as the Eastern Mediterranean. She is currently moored at the City Cruise Terminal at 101 berth, with her departure date set for tomorrow, 7th December at 17:00. 

She was built in 1965 as the Sagafjord for Norwegian America Line, coming under the operation of Norwegian American Cruises in 1980. In 1983 Cunard acquired Norwegian American Cruises and she joined the Cunard fleet, though retaining her name. She was briefly chartered to Transocean Tours in 1996, becoming the Gripsholm. The charter did not last for long, for in 1997, she began operating for Saga Cruises as the Saga Rose. With the imminent arrival of the SOLAS 2010 regulations, her owners have decided that it would be too costly to upgrade her to comply, hence her retirement. 

So what does the future hold for her? The answer to that question is being kept a closely guarded secret by her current owners. There have been whisperings of her being sold to "West African interests", but this did not materialise. Also, rumours of her becoming a floating hotel at Southampton, moored at Town Quay, have, like many other plans for retired icons of our maritime heritage, sadly, come to nothing. 

One can only fear the worst and assume that she will be broken up. If so, she will be missed by many ship enthusiasts and cruise passengers alike.

Update 12th December : She departed from Southampton on 7th December bound for Gibraltar. She arrived at Gibraltar on the 11th December and remains there, in the Eastern Anchorage. 

Update 20th January 2010 : The Saga Rose remains at Gibraltar, presumably awaiting a buyer? 

Update 21st February 2010 : The Saga Rose has departed from Gibraltar bound for Kenya... 

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Saga Rose arriving at Southampton on 25th August 2009.

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(Above & Below) The Saga Rose at the City Cruise Terminal, Southampton on 6th December after her final cruise.

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The Red Jet 5 being assisted to Royal Pier by the Itchen Marine tug, Wyeforce.

6th December 2009 - Red but not a Jet!

The fast ferry Red Jet 5 was not so fast today. The 13:45 West Cowes to Southampton service limped back to Southampton on one engine. On arrival at Southampton she berthed at Royal Pier and disembarked her passengers having been assisted to her berth by two Itchen Marine tugs.

26th November 2009 - Methania Arrives

The large LNG tanker Methania arrived at berth 38/39 Eastern Docks, Southampton today. She had previously been anchored in Bravo Anchorage in the Solent since 25th November. Prior to that she has been inactive off the South Coast, primarily in the anchorage off Falmouth for approximately a year. Her current departure date is set at 31st March 2010, so she will be a familiar sight at Southampton for many months to come, laid up at 38/39 berth.

She was built at Temse, Belgium in 1978 and has retained the same name throughout her long career. She is owned by Distrigas S.A. of Belgium. She has an overall length of 280 metres and has a gross tonnage of 81,792.

Update : 29th September 2010 - The Methania departed from 202 berth, Southampton, today bound for Setubal after a 10 month layup.

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Methania inward bound in Southampton Water on 26th November...

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...and at 38/39 berth a few hours after her arrival.

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The Lian Yun Hu at Fawley on 26th November.

26th November 2009 - Chinese tanker at Fawley

An unusual visitor to Fawley this week was the Chinese tanker Lian Yun Hu. She arrived at Fawley berth 4 on 24th November from Tracy, Canada which is in the Great Lakes. She departed on 26th November for Rotterdam.

She was built in 2006 at Dalian, China for the Dalian Ocean Shipping Co. (COSCO Dalian). She has an overall length of 228 metres and a gross tonnage of 43,153. She has spent most of this year trading around South America, and the US Atlantic and Pacific coasts. I believe this is her first call to a UK port. 

4th November 2009 - Yet more Portsmouth ferry changes...

As previously reported the Norman Spirit had now left Portsmouth, her place on LD Lines night crossing to Le Havre being taken by the Cote D'Albatre.

LD Lines have since announced that a chartered vessel, the Birka Exporter will operate a daytime sailing, providing freight only capacity. She made her first sailing to Le Havre from Portsmouth on 4th November.

The Birka Exporter is operated by Birka Line and flys the flag of the Aland Islands. She was built in 1991 as the Grano and renamed Birka Exporter in 2002. 

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The Cote D'Albatre has now transferred to the night-time sailing to Le Havre.

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Departing from Southampton on her final cruise on a grey 2nd October 2009.

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At berth 38/9 Southampton on 18th October in the process of handing over to her new owners. With funnel colours painted out. 

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Removing the Fred Olsen logo on 17th October.

17th October 2009 - Goodbye Black Prince

The Fred Olsen cruise ship Black Prince arrived back at Southampton from her farewell cruise on 16th October, her last port of call being Lisbon. By 17th October, her funnel colours had been removed and the "Fred Olsen Cruise Lines" on the side of her bridge was being painted over. She has also had her bronze figurehead removed from her bow.

On Tuesday 20th October she will be handed over to her new owners Savteca who will use her to provide cruises in the coastal waters of Venezuela. They will rename her Ola Esmeralda, though it is currently unclear was to whether the renaming will occur in Southampton or not. She is currently due to leave Southampton on 27th October.

As most of you will know she was built as a ferry in 1966 at the Lübecker Flender Werke yard at Lubeck, Germany for Fred Olsen. She was built for the company's Kristiansand to Harwich and Kristiansand to Amsterdam services in the summer months, but operated a London to Canary Islands service in the winter months. In the early 1970's she operated a Newcastle to Bergen service and also a Rotterdam to Canary Islands service in the winter time. She was renamed Venus at this time.

After a short spell in the early 1980's operating for DFDS and Norway Line, she was converted for use as a cruise ship by Fred Olsen in 1987, being the company's first dedicated cruise ship. She has remained in this role ever since.

Update 6th November 2009 : the Black Prince, renamed Prince departed today at 19:00 from Southampton for the last time. She was showing a AIS destination of St. Kitts-Nevis.

14th October 2009 - Ferry Services Update

It is all change at Portsmouth...

LD Lines

LD Lines have announced some changes to their services.

  • The Norman Spirit which currently operates the overnight ferry to Le Havre will leave the Portsmouth route on 1st November and will operate from Dover to Boulogne. She will replace the fast ferry Norman Arrow on this route. The Norman Spirit has a higher passenger and freight capacity than the Norman Arrow which will better satisfy the Dover route.
  • The Cote D'Albatre will move from the day crossing and take over the overnight sailings to Le Havre from 3rd November. This will leave no year-round day crossing to Le Havre.
  • In the summer months the fast ferry Norman Arrow will provide a day service from Portsmouth to Le Havre, departing early morning from Portsmouth.

Celtic Link Ferries

The daily service from Portsmouth to Cherbourg has now started.  Celtic Link have chartered the Norman Voyager and she now runs the weekday service, sporting a new livery. The weekend service is run by Celtic Link's own vessel the Diplomat.


The new Portsmouth to Ryde catamaran ferries Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II have entered service, but have been plagued by engine problems. Luckily the old Fastcat ferries Fastcat Shanklin and Fastcat Ryde have been retained and have taken over the service during periods when the Wight Ryders have been out of service.

The Wightlink service between Lymington and Yarmouth has also been hit by technical problems, with several sailings cancelled on 9th October.

Red Funnel

The Red Funnel ferry Red Falcon has been out of action since 8th October, with propulsion problems, leaving to a cancellation of several sailings a day between Southampton and East Cowes. She is due back in service on 15th October.

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The Cote D'Albatre will be transferred to the night-time sailing to Le Havre.

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The Wight Ryder I arriving at Portsmouth on 13th October.

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The Cote D'Albatre departing from Portsmouth on 21st September 2009.

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The Norman Voyager will return to Portsmouth to run for Celtic Link.

25th September 2009 - Portsmouth Ferry Update

The Cote D'Albatre has recently made her debut on LD Lines Portsmouth to Le Havre daytime crossing. She has replaced the Norman Voyager which was transferred to a new LD Lines service linking Rosslare to Cherbourg. Although she has a larger passenger capacity than the Norman Voyager she has a reduced vehicle capacity. The Cote D'Albatre was built in 2005 at Vigo, Spain, for Transmanche Ferries, for their Newhaven to Dieppe service.

The plans for the Norman Voyager, have, however, now changed. She has been chartered by Celtic Link ferries to run their new Portsmouth to Cherbourg service, which starts in the next few weeks. So, she will be back in Portsmouth, running for Celtic Link.

21st September 2009 - NATO warships depart from Portsmouth

Early on the morning of 21st September five NATO warships departed from Portsmouth. They had arrived in the previous week and were due to take part in a four day NATO warfare trial, accompanied by the Royal Navy's type 23 frigate HMS St Albans.

The vessels involved were :

  • TCG Oruç Reis (F245) - Turkish Barbaros class frigate built in 1994 at the Gölcük Naval Shipyard, Turkey.
  • SPS Álvaro de Bazán (F101) - Spanish Álvaro de Bazán air defence frigate.
  • HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802) - Dutch air defence and command frigate, launched in 2000 in Vlissingen. She is the first of the De Zeven Provinciën class of four frigates.
  • HNoMS Otto Sverdrup (F312) - Norwegian Frigate of the Fridtjof Nansen class, launched in 2006 and commissioned in 2008.
  • FNS Latouche-Tréville (D646) - French F70 type anti submarine frigate, launched in 1988.


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TCG Oruç Reis departing from Portsmouth on 19th September...

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...followed by SPS Álvaro de Bazán...

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...followed by HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën...

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...a little later the HNoMS Otto Sverdrup departed... 

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..and finally FNS Latouche-Tréville.

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German tugs Arion and Wolf at 103 berth on 16th September.

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The jack up barge Odin with the tugs at 103 berth.

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Saligna at berth 107 on 16th September.

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CSCL Kobe departing from Southampton on 19th September.

16th September 2009 - Unusual Callers

1. Odin, Arion and Wolf.

The jack up crane barge Odin owned by Hochtief Contrauction AG of Germany arrived at 103 berth on 15th September, towed by the German tugs Arion and Wolf. She arrived from Dublin and departed on 19th September, bound for Harwich. The tugs are bout owned by Bugsier Reederei of Germany. The Arion dates from 1979 and the more modern Wolf from 1993.

2. Saligna.

The bulk woodchip carrier Saligna also arrived on 15th September from San Lorenzo, Argentina via Santos, Brazil with a cargo of soya. She berthed at 107 berth in the Western Docks and departed on 19th September for Belfast. She flies the flag of the Philippines and was built in Yokohama in 1994. She is 39,308 grt and has an overall length of 199 metres.

3. CSCL Kobe.

An unusual container ship arrived in Southampton on 18th September. The CSCL Kobe owned by China Shipping has been chartered by CMA CGM to operate on their FAL1 (French Asia Line) service, linking ports in China, Singapore and Malaysia with European ports.

She arrived from Port Klang, Malaysia via Tangiers and departed on 19th September for Hamburg. According to the CMA CGM vessel schedule she will just do one round trip on the FAL1 service and then be replaced by the CMA CGM Aquila.

15th September 2009 - Ugly but functional!

The United European Car Carriers (UECC) vehicle carriers Auto Bank, Auto Bay and Auto Baltic have recently made their debut at Southampton over the summer months. This trio were originally completed as the Serenaden, Heralden and Transgard respectively and operated by Transfennica of Finland. They were originally completed with an open vehicle deck aft of the wheelhouse, but in 2007 were converted to have closed vehicle storage. In 2007 they all commenced a long term charter to UECC.

The Auto Baltic is, as her name suggests, currently employed on a Nordic/Baltic service linking Southampton with the ports of Zeebrugge, Bremerhaven, Malmo, Gdynia, Hanko and Kotka and made her first call at Southampton on 29th June 2009. The Auto Bank, meanwhile, currently operates between Southampton, Montoir, Vigo and Le Havre. Her first call at Southampton was on 29th May 2009. Auto Bay links Southampton with Santander, Pasajes and Zeebrugge and made her first call at Southampton on 24th May 2009. 

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Serenaden as built. Photographed in the River Schelde on 22nd July 2004.

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The Auto Baltic, now with her enclosed vehicle deck, at Southampton on 12th September 2009.

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Ocean Majesty departing from Southampton on 10th September.

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10th September 2009 - Cruise Ship Veteran

The veteran cruise ship Ocean Majesty visited Southampton today on the first of two calls she will make this year. She is owned by Majestic International Cruises and operated by Page & Moy. She arrived at 38/39 berth from Warnemunde and departed at 16:00 for Vigo.

She was built in 1966 as the Spanish ferry Juan March in Valencia, Spain for Trasmediterranea. She was converted in 1989 from a ferry for cruising and was renamed Ocean Majesty by Majestic International Cruises. For a short while during 1994 to 1995 she was renamed Olympic and then Homeric, but has operated as Ocean Majesty since that time.

Ocean Majesty is due back in Southampton on 24th September.

2nd September 2009 - Portsmouth Ferry Changes

LD Lines

The LD Lines ferry Norman Voyager, which currently operates the weekday service between Portsmouth and Le Havre will be replaced in mid September by the LD / Transmanche Ferries Cote d'Albatre. This vessel currently operates a service between Newhaven and Dieppe.

This change is taking place in order to free the Norman Voyager which will be used on a new service between Rosslare and Cherbourg - starting on 19th September. She will make three round trips per week on this service.

Celtic Link Ferries

Celtic Link Ferries have announced a new service to start in October 2009, connecting Portsmouth to Cherbourg. The service will operate 365 days a year by an as yet un-named 1000 passenger and 130 truck/500 car ferry.

During the weekdays the new ferry will operate the service, and the weekend service will be operated by the Diplomat currently operated by Celtic Ferries on Cherbourg to Rosslare route. The Diplomat was built in  1978 as the Stena Trader, and up to 2005, P&O's European Diplomat.

Let's hope that Celtic Link will have more luck with this service. In early 2007 they tried to start a similar service between Portsmouth and Cherbourg, which did not get off the ground due to the fact that the vessel they chartered for it, the Celtic Mist, was detained with many deficiencies. 

Update 7th September 2009 - Regarding the above announcement by Celtic Ferries - it appears that Portsmouth Port has not been approached by Celtic Link yet. So the likelihood of the service starting in October is remote at the least!!

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The Norman Voyager will be replaced mid-September by the Cote d'Albatre.

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Celtic Link's previous chartered vessel for the Portsmouth to Cherbourg service, the Celtic Mist at Southampton in April 2007.

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Bremer Forest with her name painted out in Ocean Dock on 25th August.

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The smartly painted Svitzer Bentley at Southampton on 23rd August.

25th August 2009 - Name changes Huelin and Svitzer

1. The general cargo ship Bremer Forest arrived at berth 44, Eastern Docks, Southampton on 23rd August from Emden. She was built in 2000 is of 2528 grt, Gibraltar flagged and owned by Briese Schiffahrts of Germany. She has carried the name of Bremer Forest since 2001... until now. On 25th August her name was being painted out, so presumably she is due to be renamed? 

Update : 2 Sept 2009 - She will be the new Huelin Renouf vessel and is to be renamed Huelin Dispatch.

Update : 10th September 2009 - the Coastal Wave, which has been maintaining the Channel Islands link for Huelin Renouf over the last few months has been renamed Huelin Endeavour.

2. The local tug Bentley, arrived back from refit on 12th August in smart Svitzer livery with her name changed to Svitzer Bentley. There is now only one of the Southampton tugs which has not been renamed with the Svitzer prefix - the Adsteam Surrey. In fact I believe the Adsteam Surrey is the last tug in the UK still carrying the Adsteam name?

17th August 2009 - Saga Rose to become a floating hotel?

It has been reported in the local press that there are plans being considered to turn the Saga Rose into a floating hotel berthed at Southampton's Town Quay.

The Saga Rose is due to be retired at the end of this year, making her final call at Southampton on 6th December.

The Saga Rose was originally built in 1965 as the Sagafjord, becoming the Gripsholm in 1996 and then the Saga Rose in 1997.

The berthing of the Saga Rose in Southampton as a floating hotel is apparently only one of three possible locations for the liner to spend her retirement. 

Berthing a vessel the size of the Saga Rose at Town Quay is not without it's complications. The structure of the quay is not able to support a vessel the size of the Saga Rose, and parts of it are already unsafe. It will be interesting to see whether this plan comes to fruition.

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The Saga Rose departing from Southampton on 5th May 2009.

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The Margaret Hill at 202 berth, Southampton shortly after her arrival on 24th November 2008.

8th August 2009 - Margaret Hill detained

The Margaret Hill, which was recently sold for scrap, and was due to depart from Southampton on 8th August has been detained in port. The Environment Agency intervened and used it's powers fro the first time to stop the sailing of the vessel, which was destined for an undisclosed foreign destination for breaking. The vessel may contain hazardous substances such as asbestos which means the vessel must be dismantled in authorised sites within the European Union or an OECD country.

International law states that any vessel leaving a UK port for breaking must obtain permission from both the Environment Agency and the local authorities at the destination port. This permission had apparently not been sought.

The Margaret Hill originally arrived at Southampton on 24th November 2008. She is a veteran of 1974 having been launched at Moss in Norway as the LNG Challenger. She has had a string of names, most recently she was the Hoegh Galleon until her sale in 2007 to Maverick LNG Holdings who renamed her Margaret Hill. The vessel is currently owned by the Fortress Investment Group, having been acquired by that company in July 2009.

Previous to her arrival in Southampton, she had been laid up at Ferrol in Spain. Maverick LNG Holdings had planned to turn her into a floating LNG plant, which means she was to perform offshore gas liquefaction directly from the wellhead or offshore production facility. She was planned to be converted by 2010 and was to be the first LNG vessel in the world to be converted for this type of work. The project failed, hence her sale to the Fortress Investment Group earlier this year. 

23rd July 2009 - Grand Oji Pioneer

The large, Panamanian flagged, bulk woodchip carrier Grand Oji Pioneer arrived in Southampton today for 107 berth in the Western Docks. She arrived from Santos, Brazil, but her voyage started in San Lorenzo, Argentina. She brought in a cargo of Soya and is due to depart on 26th July for Belfast. A number of this type of ships have called at Southampton this year, all discharging Soya, originally loaded in San Lorenzo. 

Grand Oji Pioneer was built in 1997 in Mizushima, Japan and is operated by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines of Japan. She has an overall length of 195 metres and weighs in at 36,712 gross tons.

This is her second call at Southampton she last arrived in October 2007, again from San Lorenzo, Argentina.

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Grand Oji Pioneer arriving at Southampton on 23rd July 2009.

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Two views of the Celebrity Equinox at the City Cruise Terminal, Southampton on 19th July 2009.

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Two views of the Celebrity Equinox departing Southampton on a taster cruise to Guernsey on 23rd July 2009.

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...and departing on her maiden cruise on 31st July to the Norwegian Fjords.

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19th July 2009 - Another new cruise ship - Celebrity Equinox

The latest new cruise ship arrived in Southampton today on her delivery voyage from her builders. The Celebrity Equinox arrived at dawn from Eemshaven, Netherlands, having been completed at the Meyer Werft Shipyard at Papenburg, Germany, in June.

She will play host to the UK press and travel industry over the next few days departing on a number of single night taster cruises starting on the 23rd July.

She will be christened on 29th July by Nina Barough - founder of the breast cancer charity "Walk the Walk".  

Her first cruise for paying passengers will be on 31st July when she departs for a 8 night Norwegian Fjords cruise, returning to Southampton on 8th August. She will then depart for Civitavecchia, Italy, which will be her home port for the rest of this year.

She is the second of five Solstice class cruise ships to be built for Celebrity Cruises. The third ship, the Celebrity Eclipse, currently under construction, will be based in Southampton next year.

Some measurements - she has an overall length of 315 metres and weighs in at 117,200 gross tons. She has berths for 2,852 passengers in 1,426 cabins.

Innovative features on this vessel include a half acre of "live" grass on the top deck forming the "Lawn Club", where passengers can enjoy activities such as boules or a game of croquet. The vessel is also equipped with 61 solar panels generating electricity to bring down the energy consumption of the vessel. 

19th July 2009 - Red Jet 5 arrives at Southampton

Red Funnel's new Red Jet 5 arrived at Southampton today from her refit at Portsmouth. She will be christened at Cowes, Isle of Wight on 21st July.

Although designed by FBM Marine in Cowes, she was built at the Pequot River Shipworks in New London, Connecticut, USA. She has a passenger capacity of 187 and is just under 33 metres in length. She is a near sistership to the Red Jet 3, but has an extra open deck with seating aft of the bridge. It will be interesting to see whether Red Funnel utilise this open area. 

Since being built in 1999, and up to her sale to Red Funnel in 2009, she was owned by the Bahamas Ferries Services Ltd, of Nassau, Bahamas and named Bo-Hengy. For Bahamas Ferries she used to run a daily service between Nassau and Harbour Island. She arrived in Southampton originally as deck cargo on the CEC Meadow early in June 2009. 

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Red Jet 5 at Royal Pier, Southampton on 19th July 2009.

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Two views of Red Jet 5 departing from Royal Pier for engine trials on 23rd July 2009.

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The Grand View arrives at Southampton on 18th July 2009. 

18th July 2009 - Grand View arrives

The large bulk carrier Grand View arrived in Southampton today. She arrived from Genoa and will load a cargo of scrap at 109 berth in the Western Docks, before departing on 24th July.

The Grand View was built in 1994 at the Daewoo Shipyard in Okpo, South Korea. She has an overall length of 190 metres and a gross tonnage of 26,818 tons.

She is owned by Honour Team Shipping of Hong Kong, but managed by COSCO (Hong Kong) Shipping. She is Hong Kong flagged.

13th July 2009 - Another container crane collapses at Southampton 

Early this morning, another of the cranes at the container terminal at Southampton collapsed whilst performing loading operations on the container ship NYK Themis. The boom of the crane fell on to the container ship crushing a number of containers. The crane operator we seriously injured in the incident and flown by helicopter to hospital with life threatening injuries.

This is the second crane at the terminal to have failed in recent times, on 20th January 2008 a similar accident happened, which caused significant disruption to the operation of the terminal for many months. 

The NYK Themis is a new vessel completed at the Hyundai Heavy Industries yard at Ulsan, South Korea in October 2008. She has an overall length of 300 metres and weighs 76,928 tons. She arrived at Southampton 12th July from Hamburg. She is employed on the EU1 Europe to Asia service calling at Amsterdam, Hamburg, Southampton, Le Havre, Singapore, Kobe, Nagoya, Tokyo, and Shimizu. 

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NYK Themis on a previous visit to Southampton on 24th November 2008. 

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HMAS Ballarat departed from Portsmouth on 30th June...

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...followed by HMAS Sydney.

30th June 2009 - Australian warships depart Portsmouth.

The two Australian warships, FFG03 HMAS Sydney and FFH155 HMAS Ballarat which arrived in Portsmouth on 26th June, departed today on a trip across the Atlantic to St. John's and Halifax, Canada and then on to New York on 20th July.

The two vessels are involved in Northern Trident 09, a six month deployment that sees them circumnavigating the globe, visiting several ports in Asia, Western Europe and North America.

HMAS Sydney is an Adelaide Class Guided Missile Frigate, one of 6 currently in the Royal Australian Navy. She was commissioned in 1983, but extensively upgraded recently.

HMAS Ballarat is an Anzac class Guided Missile Frigate, commissioned in 2004. There are eight ships of this class in the Australian Navy.

20th June 2009 - FastCat Shanklin Aground

The Portsmouth to Ryde fast ferry FastCat Shanklin ran aground today at about 18:00, whilst on a voyage from Portsmouth to Ryde. There were 65 passengers on board at the time and the ferry was taking a course to avoid some of the 1,700 yachts taking part in the Round the Island yacht race, when she ran aground on Ryde Sands. She was successfully refloated at 19:35 with no damage and continued her voyage. 

16th June 2009 - It's vehicle carrier day at Southampton!

The vehicle carrier Tagus (built 1985, 48,357grt) operated by Wallenius Wilhelmsen arrived in Southampton Water on 15th June and was laid up on the Afterbarn Mooring Buoy, near the Hamble Oil Terminal. She arrived from Galveston, USA and had recently been trading between Brazil and  other countries in Central and South America. According to the VTS website she is due to stay in Southampton Water until 30th June.

The vehicle carrier Atlas Highway, (built 1987, 45,742grt) operated by "K" Line, also arrived in Southampton today from the Nab anchorage where she had been moored since 19th May. She is not due to leave Southampton until 19th June, bound for Emden. When photographed today she did not appear to be working any cargo.

The Southern Highway (built 2008, 39,422grt) and the Sierra Nevada Highway (built 2007 44,364grt) are still in the Nab Anchorage. The Southern Highway has been inactive in the Nab anchorage since 8th May. The Sierra Nevada Highway since 8th June, having arrived from Bremerhaven at Southampton on 7th June and sailing from Southampton for the Nab Anchorage on 8th June.

Today there were NINE car carriers in Southampton including the laid up vessels :

  • Grande Detroit arrived from Valencia for 201 berth on 16th June and sailed on 17th June for Antwerp.

  • Grande Scandinavia arrived from Antwerp at 102 berth on 16th June and sailed on 16th June for Salerno.

  • Faust was at 46 berth, having arrived from Zeebrugge on 16th June. She departed on the same day for Halifax.

  • Pacific Spirit was at 43 berth, having arrived on 16th June from Le Havre. She departed on the same day for Santander.

  • Triumph and Tokyo Car remain laid up at 40 berth. Their current departure date is 1st August 2009. (Update 2nd November 2009 - both vessels departed today for Brixham).

  • Atlas Highway was at 39 berth, having arrived from the Nab Anchorage as mentioned above. She will sail on 19th June for Emden.

  • Morning Crown was at 34/35 berth having arrived on 16th June from Antwerp. She departed on the same day for Djibouti.

  • Tagus was moored in Southampton Water as mentioned above.

This must be a record!

Update 30th June - the departure date of the laid up Tagus has been put back a month to the 30th July 2009.

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Tagus laid up in Southampton Water on 16th June.

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Atlas Highway at 39 berth on 16th June, having arrived from layup in the Nab Anchorage.

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Grande Detroit arriving on 16th June from Valencia.

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Atlas Highway at berth 39 on 16th June with Tokyo Car and Triumph laid up on 40 berth.

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Tokyo Car and Triumph laid up on 40 berth on 16th June, with Faust on 46 berth and Pacific Spirit on 43 berth.

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Tokyo Car and Triumph at 40 berth on 22nd May.

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Tokyo Car and Triumph at 40 berth on 16th June.

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Our Lady Pamela in the Solent on 14th December 2003...

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...and departing from Portsmouth on 8th April 2007.

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Fastcat Ryde arriving at Portsmouth on 16th March 2009.

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Wight Light and Wight Sky at Lymington on 7th February 2009, before their introduction.

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The Cenred arriving at Lymington on 7th February 2009, shortly before her withdrawl.

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The St. Faith will have a second car deck and be lengthened in 2009.

3rd June 2009 - Wightlink - Solent Ferry Update

Portsmouth to Ryde

Wightlink have reportedly sold their high speed catamaran Our Lady Pamela which has been a familiar sight on the Solent, operating the Portsmouth to Ryde service since their introduction in the 1980's. She was built in 1986 by InCat of Hobart, Australia. With a top speed of 29.4 knots, she was capable of crossing from Portsmouth to Ryde in about 18 minutes. 

She has been sold for scrap and is due to leave Portsmouth within the next week. Her sistership Our Lady Patricia was withdrawn from service in May 2006 and was subsequently scrapped.

Two new catamaran vessels are currently being completed in a shipyard in Cebu in the Philippines to replace the current vessels, the Fastcat Ryde and Fastcat Shanklin, on this route. Named Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II, they are due to leave Cebu in June, ready for a autumn introduction on the Solent.

Update 12th July 2008 - the Wight Ryder I and Wight Ryder II have arrived at Portsmouth on the general cargo ship BBC Georgia

Lymington to Yarmouth

The last of the three new ferries to operate the Lymington to Yarmouth service, the Wight Sun, arrived at Lymington on 14th April from her builders in Croatia. All three ferries are now in service.

The three previous ships to run this service, the Cenred, Cenwulf and Caedmon remain laid up at Husband's Shipyard in Southampton, having been reportedly sold to Danish shipbreakers. 

Portsmouth to Fishbourne 

In order to increase capacity on this route, the St. Faith and the St. Cecilia will be converted, to have a fixed upper vehicle deck and will be lengthened by 12 metres. The capacity of these ships will be increased by about 40%. This is due to take place later this year.

The terminals at Portsmouth and Fishbourne will also be reconfigured to allow loading of the upper vehicle deck.

Of the remaining vessels, St Helen or St Catherine will be converted to a freight only vessel, the other one being sold in spring 2010. St Catherine is currently laid up at Hythe, Southampton.

18th May 2009 - Chelsea loses power

The Singapore registered LPG tanker Chelsea lost engine power after departing from Fawley Oil Terminal at 13:00 today whilst she was off Calshot Spit.

The tugs Thrax and Phenix came to her rescue and escorted her out of the Solent after her engines were re-started. Luckily she did not ground in the shallow water nearby.

The Chelsea had previously arrived at Fawley from Mohammedia, Morocco and was departing for the same port at the time of the incident.

She is a new vessel having been completed in 2008 at the shipyard of K.K. Miura Zosensho at Saiki, Japan. She has an overall length of 120 metres and is of 7,218 gross tons. 

17th May 2009  - Amadea makes a call 

The cruise ship Amadea called at Southampton today - her only call at Southampton during 2009. She arrived mid morning at the City Cruise Terminal, 101 berth, from Dublin and departed in the evening for Hamburg.

She was built in 1991 at the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries shipyard in Nagasaki as the Asuka for Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) Line. She was sold by NYK in 2006 to Amadea Shipping Ltd., Bahamas and became the Amadea flying the flag of the Bahamas. She is operated by Phoenix Reisen of Germany.

Amadea is 190 metres in length and is of 28,856 gross tons. She has a passenger capacity of 584. 

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Amadea at the City Cruise Terminal on a blustery 17th May 2009.

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Oceana at Ocean Terminal on 9th May 2009.

9th May 2009  - Ocean Terminal Opens 

The new cruise terminal, Ocean Terminal, at berth 46 in the Eastern Docks opened for business today. 

P&O's cruise ship Oceana was the first vessel to use the berth, before she set sail for a Norwegian Fjords cruise, with the first port of call Stavanger. However, it was a low key event, designed to be a dry run for the official opening ceremony later this month.  

The official opening ceremony of the £19m facility will, however not take place until 29th May when P&O's Ventura will set sail from the berth.

9th May 2009 - Red Jet 1 and Red Jet 2 Sold!

Red Jet 1 and Red Jet 2 have been sold to a company called Caspian Mainport. They have been imaginatively renamed CM Jet 1 and CM Jet 2 respectively. At the moment they are moored by the vehicle ferry terminal at Royal Pier, being prepared for their new owners. They have both been registered in Aktau, a port in Kazakhstan in the Caspian Sea.

Caspian Mainport is an Irish company mainly engaged in the servicing of the offshore oil industry. It has offices in Aktau, Kazakhstan concentrating in the oil production and exploration taking place in the Caspian Sea. Presumably the CM Jet 1 and CM Jet 2 will be used in this operation - very different to their current role. The Red Jet 1 and Red Jet 2 were both built by FMB Marine in Cowes, in 1991.

In addition Red Funnel have purchased a new 190 seat high speed ferry to replace the Red Jet 1 and Red Jet 2. This vessel is due to enter service in July of this year. The new vessel is 38 metres long. It was designed by FBM Marine in Cowes but built in The United States in 1999.  

Update 14th May 2009 : The newly renamed CM Jet 1 and CM Jet 2 departed from Southampton today as deck cargo on the low air draught vessel La Rochelle, built in 1991, and of 2691 gross tons. This vessel used to be a familiar sight in the continental ports as Cast Salmon. The vessel departed from Southampton on 14th May with a destination of St. Petersburg. Presumably the vessel will make her way through the inland waterway system in Russia to the Caspian Sea which it is presumed will be the new area of operation for the ex Red Jet vessels.

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Red Jet 1 off Town Quay on 2nd March 2009.

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Red Jet 2 in the Solent on 29th April 2006.

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The newly renamed CM Jet 1 alongside CM Jet 2 at Royal Pier on 9th May 2009.

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Triumph and Tokyo Car laid up at berth 40 on 9th May 2009. 

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9th May 2009 - Laid up car carriers.

Two car carriers have arrived in the Eastern Docks, Southampton in order to be laid up.

The Triumph arrived on 6th May at berth 40 in the Eastern Docks from Zeebrugge. She is a new vessel built in China at the Xiamen Shipbuliding Company of Xiamen. She was completed in May 2008, is of 46,800 gross tons and 182 metres overall length. She is operated by Zodiac Maritime Agencies, flying the British flag. The same company operated the bulk carriers which were laid up in Southampton for a period earlier this year.

The Tokyo Car arrived in Southampton on 8th May, also at berth 40 and berthed alongside the Triumph. Tokyo Car is an identical sistership to the Triumph, having been completed at the same shipyard in Xiamen, China in November 2008. She has arrived at Southampton from Jacksonville, USA. She has the same tonnage, 46,800 gross tons, and 182 metres overall length as the Triumph and is also operated by Zodiac Maritime Agencies, again flying the British flag.

Both vessels have a departure date of 1st August 2009, according to the VTS website. 

Update : 2nd November 2009 - both vessels departed today from Southampton with a destination of Brixham.

5th May 2009 - Saga Sisters

The two sisterships Saga Rose and Saga Ruby were in port together today the last time both will be in Southampton together - as the Saga Rose is due to be retired at the end of this year.

The Saga Rose arrived at berth 101 from Vigo whilst the Saga Ruby had arrived at 106 berth from Falmouth.

Both departed slightly after their advertised time of 17:00, the Saga Rose first, bound for Funchal and then the Saga Ruby for a "Mystery Cruise". 

The Saga Rose was originally built in 1965 as the Sagafjord, becoming the Gripsholm in 1996 and then the Saga Rose in 1997.

The Saga Ruby was built as the Vistafjord in 1973, becoming the Caronia under Cunard in 1999 until 2003 when she was sold to Saga to become the Saga Ruby.

The Saga Rose will be retired at the end of this year. Her final departures from Southampton will be on 30th October and 6th December. Who knows what the future holds for her.... 

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The Saga Rose departing from Southampton on 5th May...

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....followed by the Saga Ruby.

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The Voyager of the Seas at berth 101 on the 3rd May 2009...

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...and departing from Southampton bound for Hamburg.

3rd May 2009 - Voyager of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International's cruise ship Voyager of the Seas made a short call at Southampton today berthing at the City Cruise Terminal, berth 101, early in the morning and leaving at noon. She arrived from Cherbourg and departed for Hamburg, for a short refit. She is due back in Southampton for her second and final call of 2009 on 13th May after her refit is complete.

She was built in 1999 at the STX yard at Turku, Finland and 137,276 gross tons and a length of 275 metres. She has accommodation for 3,840 passengers.

She is not a regular caller to Southampton, in the summer of 2008 she was based in the Mediterranean cruising out of Nice, Barcelona and various Italian ports. In the winter she cruises in the Caribbean and Mexico.

28th April 2009 - Vestas to close Isle of Wight factory

Wind turbine blade manufacturer Vestas is to close it's manufacturing facility at Newport on the Isle of Wight due to a decrease in orders.

This will mean the self propelled barges MTB Blade Runner One and MTB Blade Runner Two, which ferry the completed blades from Cowes to the Eastern Docks in Southampton, will be surplus to requirements.

Also, the various general cargo ships which called at Empress Dock to export the blades around the world will, of course, be a thing of the past.

18th April 2009 - Container Ship Record Broken

The new container ship CMA CGM Andromeda arrived at Southampton today on her maiden voyage from the Far East - breaking the record for the largest capacity container vessel to visit the port. She has an overall length of 363 metres and weighs in at 131,332 gross tons, with a capacity to carry 11,400 TEU.

She arrived from Xingang, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Yantian and Port Klang via the Suez Canal and is employed on CMA CGM's FAL (French Asia Line) service.

The vessel departed on 19th April for Hamburg and then Rotterdam.

Further large new CMA CGM container ships will call later this year, including the CMA CGM Aquila due in July.

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CMA CGM Andromeda departing from Southampton on 19th April. 

(Photo by G Darling)

4th - 8th April 2009 - Portsmouth Naval Visitors

American Warships

The American aircraft carrier CVN 71 - USS Theodore Roosevelt and the destroyer DDG 68 USS The Sullivans arrived on 4th April. The USS The Sullivans berthed in Portsmouth Harbour and the USS Theodore Roosevelt anchored in the Solent off Stokes Bay. They will both leave on 8th April.

USS The Sullivans is an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, commissioned in 1997. For more information use this link.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt is a Nimitz class aircraft carrier, which was commissioned in 1986. She has an overall length of 332.8 metres and is powered by two Westinghouse nuclear reactors. She has recently been supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, providing air support for forces in Afghanistan and is on her way back to America with her escort USS The Sullivans. For more information use this link

HMS Endurance

Arriving on 8th April is the damaged Antarctic patrol vessel A171 HMS Endurance. She is being transported back to Portsmouth having suffered flooding in her engine room whilst off the coast of Chile on 17th December 2008. She is arriving on the semi-submersible heavy load carrier Target owned by Dockwise of the Netherlands. She will be floated off this vessel on Friday 10th and towed into Portsmouth harbour where she will be repaired.

HMS Endurance was built in 1990 in Norway as the commercial vessel Polar Circle. She was chartered by the Navy and operated as HMS Polar Circle until the Navy purchased her in 1992 and renamed her HMS Endurance. 

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The Belgian Reefer arriving at Southampton on 5th April.

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5th April 2009 - Belgian Reefer

The Belgian Reefer arrived in Southampton today, from Las Palmas on the service normally operated by the three usual callers Mogami Reefer, Nagato Reefer and Global Harvest.

She departed on the same day bound for Rotterdam. Previously she had been trading between South and Central America and ports in the Black Sea. Whether she will become a regular on the service, remains to be seen.

She was built at the Hashihama Shipbuilding yard at Tadotsu in Japan in 1983 and is of 12,383 grt and is operated by the NYK Star Reefers Group. 

4th April 2009 - Laid up Ferries

The three former Wightlink vessels from the Lymington to Yarmouth route, the Caedmon, Cenwulf and Cenred are currently laid up at Marchwood awaiting their fate.

There are unconfirmed reports that they have been sold to Danish breakers so will no doubt be leaving Southampton soon.

They were all built in 1973 at the Henry Robb shipyard in Dundee so have had a long life of 36 years.

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Cenred and Caedmon at Marchwood on 4th April.

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Cenwulf also at Marchwood on 4th April.

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The Kingdom of Fife in Southampton Water on 1st April.

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The CPO Russia at Fawley on 1st April.

1st April 2009 - Unusual Visitors

The anchor handling tug / supply vessel Kingdom of Fife is spending the week in Southampton, servicing the mooring buoys at Netley in Southampton Water. 

The Kingdom of Fife is owned by Briggs Marine Contractors of Burntisland and was built at the Wadan Yard, Nikolayev, but completed in Galatz, Romania in August 2008. She arrived in UK waters in January this year.

Arriving at Fawley today was the nearly-new tanker CPO Russia. She is of 23,353 gross tons and was completed at the Hyundai yard at Ulsan, South Korea in September 2008. She flys the British flag, but is operated by Reederei Claus-Peter Offen in Germany. She arrived at Fawley from Flushing, and is due to depart on 2nd April for Rotterdam.

30th March 2009 - Aurora's Problematic World Cruise

Passengers on board P&O's cruise ship Aurora for her 93 night world cruise, have formed a protest committee, after five port calls were cancelled and only two ports had been visited in 22 days.

The problems started when Aurora developed a engine problem shortly after leaving Sydney, Australia. She was then delayed in Auckland, New Zealand for five days whilst the problematic thrust bearing was rectified.

The vessel then missed out calls at Wellington, Napier, Bay of Islands, Moorea and Tahiti in order to make up the lost time. P&O will compensate the passengers for the missed calls. 

The Aurora is due back in Southampton from the world cruise on 13th April. 

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Aurora departing from Southampton on 19th May 2007.

28th March 2009 - Maersk to switch service to Felixstowe

A bit of a blow to Southampton based shipping enthusiasts - Maersk Line are to switch their AE1 Westbound (Asia to Europe) weekly service to call at Felixstowe instead of Southampton from the 2nd May. 

However, looking at the sailing schedules on it is still showing the AE21 Asia to Europe service calling at Southampton.

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Humber Star moored at Weston Jetty in happier times on 2nd June 2007.

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On the slipway at Marchwood on 4th April 2009 having been raised on 27th March. 


20th March 2009 - Humber Star Sinks!

The Humber Star has partially sunk at her jetty at Woolston at the mouth of the River Itchen, at 04:00 this morning. There was no-one on the vessel at the time of the incident.

The Humber Star has been a familiar sight in Southampton for many years and regularly ferries effluent between Slowhill Copse and the jetty at Weston in the River Itchen.

The vessel was carrying approximately 400 tons of treated sewage and a quantity of diesel at the time of the sinking and efforts are underway to minimise any pollution of Southampton Water. The vessel was working for Southern Water at the time of the incident and is owned by Oran Environmental Services. 

The Humber Star was built in 1969 at the yard of John Harker in Hull and was the Wade Stone until being renamed Humber Star in 1988.

Update : 27th March - the Southampton floating crane Canute was involved in the salvage of the Humber Star at Weston Jetty today and the Humber Star is now on the slipway at Marchwood. 

It has been reported that the Humber Star will be scrapped.

19th March 2009 - New Vessels in Port


Wallenius Wilhelmsen's new vehicle carrier Tijuca made her maiden call at berths 34/35 in Southampton today. 

She was completed at the Daewoo Shipyard in Okpo, South Korea in December 2008.

With an overall length of 228 metres, she weighs in at 71,673 gross tons. 

She arrived at Southampton from Bremerhaven, having previously visited Japan, the East Coast of America, the Panama Canal, the West Coast of America and ports in Europe on her maiden voyage from her builders. 

She departed from Southampton on 19th March bound for Le Havre. 

Maersk Tukang

The large 2008 built container ship Maersk Tukang arrived at Southampton Container Port today. It was her first call at Southampton.

She measures 332 metres in overall length and is of 94,193 gross tons. She was built at the same shipyard as the Tijuca - the Daewoo yard at Okpo, South Korea.

The vessel arrived at 206 berth from Valencia and is due to depart on 20th March for Gothenburg.

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The Tijuca at berth 34/35, Eastern Docks on 19th March.

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Two views of the Maersk Tukang arriving at Southampton on 19th March.

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18th March 2009 - New Ferry Route - Portsmouth to Santander

Brittanny Ferries kicked off it's new Portsmouth to Santander service today with their vessel Pont-Aven. The 184 metre vessel has berths for 2,300 passengers.

The ferry will make one return journey per week, departing from Portsmouth on either 11:00 on a Wednesday or 17:00 on a Tuesday.

16th March 2009 - Portsmouth Naval Departures 

Today, two French Naval ships, the FS Tourville (D610) and FS Flamant (P676) departed from Portsmouth on a rather misty morning. The FS Tourville had previously arrived at Portsmouth on 12th March.

The FS Tourville is a member of the F67 class of large anti-submarine destroyers. There were originally three members of the class, the D610 Tourville, D611 Duguay-Trouin and D612 De Grasse. However the D611 was decommisioned in 1999. The D610 Tourville was laid down in 1970 and commissioned in 1975. She looks well kept despite her being in service for 34 years.

The  FS Flamant, is the name ship of her class, consisting of three vessels, the Flamant (P676), Cormoran (P677) and Fluvier (P678). They are small patrol vessels, mainly engaged in fishery protection duties and were commissioned in 1996 to 1997.

In addition the Royal Navy's newest, HMS Daring (D32) departed shortly after the two French ships.

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FS Flamant departing from Portsmouth on a misty 16th March.
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FS Tourville followed the FS Flamant out of the harbour.
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HMS Daring followed the French ships out of the harbour. Her modern lines presented a stark contrast to the older style FS Tourville.

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Western Highway at berth 40 on 31st October 2008 on the North Atlantic Shuttle Service.

12th March 2009 - Inactive vehicle carriers

The Nab anchorage again plays host to inactive vehicle carriers.

The K-line car carrier Western Highway (2007 built / 39422grt) arrived on 19th February from Bremerhaven and is still there.  

Also belonging to K-line, the Southern Highway (2008 built / 39422 grt) arrived on 6th March from Bremerhaven and remains in the anchorage. 

The reason for these inactive vessels is that K-line has suspended it's weekly Bremerhaven - Southampton - Baltimore - Charleston (North Atlantic Shuttle) service. Presumably due to the current economic conditions. This service was operated by the Sierra Nevada Highway, Western Highway, Southern Highway and Caribbean Highway. The last vessel to perform this service will be the Sierra Nevada Highway departing from Southampton on 10th April. See their schedule here.

Their sistership Eastern Highway (2006 built / 39422 grt) was also at the anchorage from 19th February, but recently departed on 10th March bound for Antwerp and Emden - presumably she has found further employment. She has recently been employed on a service linking several Japanese ports (Yokohama, Nagoya and Toyohashi) with ports in South America (Corinto in Nicaragua, Acajutla in El Salvador, Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, Caldera in Costa Rica and Buenaventura in Colombia).

25th February 2009 - Collision at Fawley

There was a collision at around 11am today at Fawley. The tanker Vallermosa (built 2003, 25,063 gross tons) which was arriving at the BP Jetty at Hamble was in collision with the tankers Navion Fennia (built 1992, 95,195 gross tons) and BW Orinoco (built 2007, 76,580 gross tons). The Navion Fennia was at berth 5 at Fawley and the BW Orinoco was at berth 4. There was a small oil spillage, but there were no injuries.

After discharge the Navion Fennia was moved to berth 101 in the Western Docks, Southampton, on the 26th February, presumably for repairs to be made to her damaged stern. She departed for Mongstad, Norway on 1st March. 

The Vallermosa was berthed at the BP Jetty with damage to her bow visible. She departed on 27th February.

The BW Orinoco was subsequently anchored in the Solent, but arrived back at Fawley to finish her cargo operations and finally departed on 2nd March. She subsequently arrived at the Shipdock shipyard in Amsterdam for repairs.

An enquiry will take place to determine the reasons for the collision in the near future.

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Navion Fennia at berth 101 in the Western Docks after the collision.

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Vallermosa at BP Hamble, after the collision on 26th February.

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The damaged bow of the Vallermosa.

All above photos by G. Darling.

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The BW Orinoco at Fawley on 2nd March showing her damaged stern.

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Cenred at Lymington on 7th February 2009.

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Cenwulf at Lymington during her last month in service on 7th Febraury 2009.

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The new Wight Light and Wight Sky berthed in Lymington on 7th February 2009 before entering service.


25th February 2009 - Wightlink New Ferries in Service!

Finally, Wightlink have brought the new ferries Wight Light and Wight Sky into service on the Lymington to Yarmouth route.

The two existing ferries on the service, the Cenred and the Cenwulf are now laid up. With the third vessel Caedmon laid up in Southampton.

The new ferries have been brought into service despite opposition from local environmental groups and Lymington Harbour Commissioners who maintain that the wash from the larger ferries will cause damage to the mudflats of the Lymington River.

Wightlink maintain that all environmental concerns have been resolved, but that is not the view of  the Lymington Harbour Commissioners. 

It was inevitable that they would be put into service despite the opposition since the passenger certificates of the existing ferries expire shortly.

The ferries which were delivered to Wightlink in late 2008 have been lying out of use at Lymington since their arrival from builders in Croatia. The third ship of the class, the Wight Sun is on her way from the builders in Croatia.

12th February 2009 - Arrivals and Departures.

HNLMS Evertsen, (F805) the fourth of the De Zeven Provincien class frigates built for the Netherlands Navy arrived at berth 106, Southampton today. She was launched in April 2003 at the Schelde Groep Shipyard at Vlissingen, and commissioned in June 2005. She is due to be in Southampton until 16th February.

The bulk carrier Waterford, which has been laid up at 101 berth since 5th December 2008 finally sailed today for Ponta do Ubu, Brazil.

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HNLMS Evertsen arriving on 12th February.

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Waterford, departing on 12th February for Brazil.

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The Liverpool Express at berth 38/39 on 10th Feb.

10th February 2009 - The cruise ship, Liverpool Express!

The Hapag-Lloyd containership Liverpool Express, built in 2002 and 49,002 gross tons, is currently berthed at 38/39 berth in the Eastern Docks. This is the "QE2" berth normally used for cruise ships.

She is berthed there as she currently has engine problems and is awaiting a new cylinder to be flown in from Singapore. She sailed on 12th Feb for New York. 

January 2009 - The economic downturn hits Southampton

The economic downturn is being felt at the Port of Southampton, in common with other ports around the world.

  • With demand for new cars falling, the vehicle trade has suffered. Honda is to stop production at it's Swindon plant for two months and production has been cut at the Ford Transit plant locally in Southampton. The docks multi storey car compounds are full of cars which the car manufacturers are unable to sell. Calls of vehicle carriers have dropped in recent months and several are anchored off the coast of the UK inactive.
  • It has been reported in the media that container volumes at Southampton Container Terminal are down 10% in 2008 compared with 2007. The volumes have been hit due to the slowdown in trade between Europe and the Far East. Expansion plans for the container terminal at Southampton, where it was planned to take over part of the vehicle exporting area at 202 and 201 berths are now in question.
  • The "Grand Alliance" of container shippers Hapag-Lloyd, MISC, OOCL and NYK have announced the temporary suspension of the EU5 container service which made weekly calls at Southampton. The EU5 service connected Europe and Asia and employed eight vessels, calling at Shanghai, Ningbo, Ziamen, Singapore, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Southampton and back to the Far East to Singapore and Shanghai, with the rotation taking 56 days. It is hoped to resume this service in June. the service had recently been operated by vessels such as the Copenhagen Express, OOCL Faith, Conti Singa, Wan Hai 605, Bunga Pelangi Dua, MISC Merloin and Meta.
  • On a brighter note, on 15th December, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) returned to the port with their South China Express Service. Although MOL ships have been calling at Southampton as part of the New World Alliance, this marks a return for an exclusive MOL operated service. The MOL Cosmos arrived at Southampton on 15th December to start off the service. The European ports of call on this service include Zeebrugge, Hamburg and Rotterdam and the ports served in the Far East include Ningbo, Shanghai, Xiamen, Hong Kong, Chiwan, Singapore and Colombo. Other vessels on the service include MOL Competence, MOL Creation and MOL Celebration.

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The MISC Merlion departing from Southampton on the 22nd November 2008. She was employed on the now suspended EU5 Grand Alliance service. 

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The MOL Competence at Southampton on 29th January on the new South China Express Service. 

28th January 2009 - HMS Daring arrives at Portsmouth.

The new destroyer HMS Daring arrived in Portsmouth today. Hundreds of onlookers welcomed the new ship as she arrived in the harbour shrouded in fog. A flypast of a Typhoon aircraft could not be seen due to the fog and low cloud.

A 15 gun salute was fired by HMS Daring as she arrived at the harbour, followed by a 7 gun salute, in reply, fired from Fort Blockhouse, Gosport.

HMS Daring is the first of the new Type 45 destroyers to be completed for the Royal Navy and will spend much of this year at Portsmouth preparing her systems for operation. The second of the class, HMS Dauntless has already undertaken sea trials.

Details about HMS Daring

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The Sinegorsk in No.7 Dry Dock, Southampton - note the barge of timber alongside. 

19th January 2009 - Timber ship in trouble

The Russian flagged vessel Sinegorsk lost most of it's deck cargo of 1,500 tons of timber whilst in the English Channel, 14 miles off Newhaven this morning. She was on a voyage from Oskarshamn in Sweden, to Alexandria, Egypt. The 1991 built vessel is of 7,095 grt and has an overall length of 132 metres. She is operated by the Russian based Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO).  

The vessel is not in any danger and having spent a few hours in the Nab Anchorage, is now due to arrive at 106 berth, in the Western Docks, Southampton, this evening. Presumably this is to allow her remaining deck cargo to be re-stowed. 

The timber, meanwhile, is heading for the area around Dungeness in Kent.

It is exactly a year ago that the Ice Prince sank off the Dorset coast and deposited it's cargo of timber into the Channel. Eventually most of the timber from the Ice Prince washed up on the beach at Worthing. 

Update 23rd January - she is currently due to depart from Southampton on 27th January for her original destination, Alexandria.

Update 29th January - her departure date from Southampton has been put back to 5th February. She is still in No.7 Dry Dock, with a pile of wood on a barge alongside her which looks to have fallen off her deck onto the barge. 

Update 18th February - she finally departed from No.7 Dry dock today, bound for Alexandria.

17th January 2009 - Red Funnel, Yellow Funnel...

The Red Funnel ferry Red Osprey, currently undergoing her winter overhaul in Empress Dock, Southampton, is sporting an "interesting" new colour scheme. 

Presumably this is to coincide with the opening of the new IKEA store in Southampton.

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Red Osprey's hideous new colour scheme.

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The Domina loading grain at 36 berth.

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15th January 2009 - Large grain shipment

The large Hong Kong flagged bulk carrier Domina arrived at berth 36, Eastern Docks, Southampton today in order to load a cargo of grain. This is by far the largest bulk carrier to call at the grain berth so far this year.

The Domina is operated by the Canadian company Oak Maritime Inc. and was launched at Shanghai in 2007. Her overall length is 225 metres and she is 40,224grt.

She sailed on 23rd January for Port Said Roads.

12th January 2009 - Nab anchorage now a car park

A further sign of the tough economic times, three K Line vehicle carriers have been inactive in the Nab Anchorage area for quite a while...

The 2007 built, 44364grt, Sierra Nevada Highway arrived in the Nab Anchorage on 20th December from Bremerhaven. Her AIS signal is not showing a next destination. 

The 1987 built, 45783grt Triton Highway arrived from Zeebrugge in an area South of Selsey Bill, a few miles from the Nab Anchorage, on 25th December. Her AIS signal is currently showing her next destination as Zeebrugge with an ETA of 22nd January.

The 2007 built, 39422grt Western Highway arrived from Bremerhaven in the Nab Anchorage on 25th December. Her AIS signal shows her next ETA as 21st January, but no destination.

Update 14th Jan - the Sierra Nevada Highway departed the Nab anchorage on 13th January, for Bremerhaven, arrived in Southampton on 16th January and then departed the same day bound for Baltimore.

Update 23rd January

The Triton Highway is still anchored off Selsey Bill.

The Western Highway departed from the Nab Anchorage around 20th January for Bremerhaven. She arrived in Southampton on 23rd January from Bremerhaven and departed from Southampton on 23rd for Charleston and Baltimore. 

The Sierra Nevada Highway, having departed from Southampton on 16th January, then spent several days anchored off Brixham before departing on 21st January for Charleston, South Carolina.  

Update 25th January - 

Guess what? The Western Highway is now anchored off Brixham, having departed from Southampton for Baltimore on 23rd January. Same thing that happened to the Sierra Nevada Highway!

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Triton Highway arriving in Southampton on 28th February 2008 in busier times.

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Sierra Nevada Highway at berth 40 on 24th October 2008.

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...and Western Highway at berth 40 on 31st October 2008.

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Saga Rose at Southampton in December 2005.


5th January 2009 - Saga Rose breaks a record

The Saga Rose departed from berth 39, Eastern Docks, Southampton, today, on her 44th world cruise - first call Funchal. The cruise will last for 104 nights and finish in Southampton on 20th April. She leads the field for the number of world cruises completed, with the QE2 having completed 25 world cruises before her retirement this year.

As well as the Saga Rose, her running mate the Saga Ruby was also in port and as they both left at 21:30 a firework display was organised off their berth.

The Saga Rose was launched as the Sagafjord in 1965, before briefly becoming the Gripsholm in 1996 and then the Saga Rose in 1997. 

Sadly, this beautiful vessel will be retired later this year as she does not meet the Solas 2010 safety requirements and will be too costly to upgrade. Rumour is that she will be turned into a floating hotel, but where that will be has not yet been confirmed.

4th January 2009 - Huelin-Renouf starts it's service

Huelin-Renouf Shipping, who provide a regular freight service from the mainland to the Channel Isles, today started it's service from Southampton. The service was formerly based in Portsmouth, but has now been moved to Southampton after a 25 year deal was signed with ABP Southampton earlier this year.

The service is based at berth 44/45 Ocean Dock, Southampton, which has been equipped with two Gottwald 64 tonne mobile harbour cranes.

As well as the move of base, a new ship is under construction at the NesseWerft shipyard in Leer, Germany for delivery early in 2009. The Huelin Dispatch, the existing ship, has already been sold and departed from Portsmouth for Rotterdam on 28th December.

The Maltese flagged vessel Soul Sound, a sister vessel of the Huelin Dispatch, has been chartered as an interim measure and departed today for Jersey on her first voyage for Huelin-Renouf.

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Soul Sound at the new Huelin-Renouf berth in Ocean Dock on 6th January 2009.

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The Soul Sound departing from Southampton on 5th April 2009.

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Broadgate inward bound at Calshot for layup at Southampton.

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19th December 2008 - Another one for lay-up

A third Zodiac Maritime operated bulk carrier arrived in Southampton today for lay-up. She is the Liberian flagged Broadgate, built in Shiogama, Japan in 1984. She has an overall length of 176m and 20,986 gross tons.

She arrived from Lyme Bay where she was anchored for a few days after departing from Rotterdam on 12th December. She is at berth 47, Eastern Docks and her current departure date is set at 1st March 2009.

5th December 2008 - Unusual Visitors II

Two more unusual visitors to Southampton Docks arrived today...

1. Waterford

Another large bulk carrier arrived at 101 berth, Western Docks today. She is the Bermudan flagged Waterford, not quite as large as the Atlantic Bridge, previously at this berth (see below), but still a considerable 77,113 gross tons, and 270 meters overall length. The Waterford was launched in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1990. She is operated by Zodiac Maritime, the same operators as the laid up Morning Cloud on berth 46 (see below).    

She arrived from Lyme Bay, her previous commercial voyage being from Ponta da Madeira, Brazil to Rotterdam. It appears she will be laid up as she is not due to sail until 30th March 2009.

Update 11th Feb - The Waterford is now due to sail on 12th February for Brazil.

2. HMS Trafalgar

The nuclear powered submarine HMS Trafalgar sailed into Southampton today much to the consternation of local environmental groups. She berthed at 38/39 berth, Eastern Docks and is on a courtesy visit to Southampton. She was berthed by two mod Serco-Denholm tugs, Powerful and SD Bustler which had sailed around from Portsmouth and escorted the submarine up Southampton Water.

The submarine will be in port for five days hosting visits by local scouts, colleges and cadets. Potassium Iodate tablets have been handed out to schools and residents within a 2km zone around the Eastern Docks in case of an emergency occurring.

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Waterford catching the winter sunshine in the Solent...

Waterford-5-Dec-2008-(2).jpg (91911 bytes) Calshot, bound for Southampton....

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..approaching the turn at Calshot lightfloat.

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Waterford at her layup berth in Southampton on 6th January 2009.

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HMS Trafalgar arriving at berth 38/39 assisted by tugs Powerful and SD Bustler.

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At 38/39 berth later in the day.

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...departing from Southampton on 10th December.

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The bulk carrier Atlantic Bridge at 101 berth, Western Docks.

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Margaret Hill - the first visit of an LNG carrier to Southampton?

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Morning Cloud inward bound in Southampton Water, for 46 berth...

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...she arrived on a wet and grey 28th November, and is not due to sail until 30th April 2009!

November 2008 - Unusual Visitors

Late November has seen a number of unusual ships arriving at Southampton Docks...

1. Atlantic Bridge

The large Panamanian flag bulk carrier Atlantic Bridge, built in 2005 at Imari, Japan and of 89588 gross tons arrived at 101 berth on the evening of 23rd November. She measures 287 metres overall length and has a 45 metre beam.  By far the largest bulk carrier to visit Southampton for a long time, she arrived from Falmouth. She departed on 30th November for a short stopover in Lyme Bay and then on to Tubarao, Brazil. 

2. Margaret Hill

An LNG tanker in Southampton Docks! The Margaret Hill arrived at 202 berth, Western Docks on 24th November. She is a veteran of 1974 having been launched at Moss in Norway as the LNG Challenger. She has had a string of names, most recently she was the Hoegh Galleon until her sale in 2007 to Maverick LNG Holdings who renamed her Margaret Hill.

Previous to her arrival in Southampton, she had been laid up at Ferrol in Spain. Maverick LNG Holdings plan to turn her into a floating LNG plant, which means she will perform offshore gas liquefaction directly from the wellhead or offshore production facility. She is planned to be converted by 2010 and will be the first LNG vessel in the world to be converted for this type of work.

Presumably she is in Southampton for some of this work to take place as she is not scheduled to leave until September 2009.

3. Morning Cloud 

The Liberian flag bulk carrier Morning Cloud arrived on 28th November at berth 46, Eastern Docks. She is a large vessel of 36,303 gross tons, and 229 metres overall length, launched in 1983 at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

She arrived at Southampton from Rotterdam via Lyme Bay. The unusual thing about this vessel is that she is not due to depart from Southampton until 30th April 2009 - so will spend some months in Southampton laid up. 

Update 10th March 2009 - the Morning Cloud has departed today for Trombetas which is in the Amazon, Brazil. 

22nd November 2008 - Plane Spotting on the Solent!

An unusual visitor to Marchwood Military Port this week was HMS Illustrious. She departed on 22nd November for Portsmouth and was sporting an unusual deck cargo -  a Lockheed Martin F35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II.

The F35 JSF that the Royal Navy will be using is not yet in service and is still under development. The F35 on the deck of the Illustrious is a mock up of the final version of the aeroplane, which has been on show at various airshows and Navy Days this year.

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HMS Illustrious outbound on 22nd November from Marchwood, bound for Portsmouth.

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You can see the F35 at the stern on her flight deck.

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A close up of the F35 on Illustrious's deck.

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QE2 departing from Gibraltar, bound for Vigo on her last cruise on 8th November 2008.

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The QE2 at berth 38/39, Eastern Docks, Southampton for the last time on 11th November 2008, shortly before departing during a firework display off Mayflower Park....

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...farewell grand old lady.

11th November 2008 - Farewell to the QE2.

Early in the morning on the 11th November the QE2 arrived back at Southampton from her final cruise ready for her one way voyage to Dubai and retirement.

In high winds, she grounded on a sandbank at West Brambles off Calshot on her final approach to Southampton. She was quickly refloated by five tugs from Southampton on a rising tide and continued her journey to Southampton escorted by the local tugs.

During the day the Duke of Edinburgh visited the ship and she was showered by poppies to commemorate Remembrance Day at 11:00. RFA Mounts Bay and three patrol vessels also sailed past her paying their respects at 13:30.

Her hull was inspected by divers during the day to ensure the she was not damaged after her grounding. Happily she was given a clean bill of health for her final voyage.  

Her final departure to Dubai was at 19:15 that night amid a firework display off Mayflower Park. By this time thousands of onlookers had lined Southampton harbour and hundreds of local pleasure craft had gathered around the great liner as she was eased off her berth and towed stern first to Mayflower Park for the firework send-off.

Once the fireworks were over she slowly steamed out of the harbour for the final time escorted by many local craft packed with onlookers. 

Her final voyage to Dubai will take in Lisbon, Gibraltar, Civitavecchia, Naples, Valletta, Port Said and the Suez Canal, before arriving in Dubai on 27th November.

Southampton will not be the same without this icon of British maritime history. We wish her a safe and long retirement in Dubai.

26th September 2008 - The new "Ocean Terminal" 

The new cruise terminal, being constructed in Ocean Dock is the be named "Ocean Terminal" after the famous passenger terminal that once stood on the opposite side of Ocean Dock - where the famous liners of the past called during the last century.

The £19m terminal, whose construction has already started following the signing of an agreement earlier this year with Carnival UK, will be the base for many of the largest cruise ships calling at Southampton next year.

The terminal is due to open in May 2009. P&O's Ventura will be the first vessel to sail from the new terminal. 

27/28th June 2008 - Holland America Line's Eurodam debuts in Southampton.

Holland America Line's latest cruise ship arrived at berth 104, Western Docks, Southampton on 27th June, straight from her builders, Fincantieri in Venice.

She was on a courtesy visit to Southampton, before departing on 28th June for her home port, Rotterdam.

Eurodam has a gross tonnage of 86,500 tons and an overall length of 285 metres. She is powered by two azipods with a top speed of 23.9 knots. She has berths for 2044 passengers.

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands will name the Eurodam at a ceremony in Rotterdam on 1st July.

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Eurodam at berth 104, Western Docks on 28th June

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Rounding Calshot after her departure for Rotterdam on 28th June.

11th June 2008 - Deal with Huelin-Renouf

ABP Southampton have signed a £6m deal with Huelin-Renouf Shipping to move it's base supplying freight to the Channel Islands from Portsmouth to a new purpose built facility at berth 45, Eastern Docks, Southampton. Two new Gottwald 64 tonne mobile harbour cranes will be installed at the berth.

The deal will span 25 years and cover three calls a week. The company's existing vessel Huelin Dispatch will also be replaced later this year by a new purpose-built vessel, capable of carrying 148 containers.

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Independence of the Seas at the City Cruise Terminal on 26th April 2008.

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Independence of the Seas dwarfs the other vessels in Western Docks including the QE2 on 26th April.

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Another view of the Independence of the Seas at the City Cruise Terminal.

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Outward bound in Southampton Water on 28th June 2008.

25th April 2008 - The arrival of the Independence of the Seas

Holding the title of the largest cruise ship in the world, the brand new Royal Caribbean vessel, Independence of the Seas arrived in Southampton on 25th April. She shares the title with her two sisterships Liberty of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas.

The vessel weighs in at 158,000 gross tons and is 339 meters long and arrived at Southampton from her builders Kvaerner Masa Yards at Turku in Finland.

The vessel will be based in Southampton for the coming 2008 cruising season.

She will depart on a short shakedown cruise on 28th April before returning for her official naming ceremony on 30th April. She will be named by Elizabeth Hall, a member of the British public who was selected from over 1,700 nominations for the role. Elizabeth is a founder of the Gamelea Countryside Training Trust which helps disadvantaged and disabled children.

The vessel has berths for 3634 passengers who will be able to take advantage of facilities including a full size boxing ring, surf simulator and a rock climbing wall.

22nd April 2008 - Meeting of the three Queens

Tuesday 22nd April was a day to remember in Southampton. For the first and last time the Queen Elizabeth 2, Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Victoria met in their home port. Hundreds of spectators had made their way to the waterfront to witness the important event.

The Queen Victoria was berthed at the City Cruise Terminal and the Queen Elizabeth 2 was at 105 berth, Western Docks. Queen Mary 2 was at berth 38/39 in the Eastern Docks.

The Queen Mary 2 on her departure from 38/39 berth, steamed up past the Queen Elizabeth 2 to turn around in the upper swinging ground. She then made her way down past both the Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Victoria before departing for a transatlantic crossing. Ships horns were sounded as they passed each other.

The Queen Victoria later departed on a cruise to Funchal.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 was in port for a minor refit before her cruising season for 2008. The day was extra special as it was the anniversary of her entering service with Cunard 39 years ago. 

10th April 2008 - Call of the Summit

An unusual visitor to Southampton today was Celebrity Cruises vessel Summit. This vessel is normally to be found cruising in the Caribbean. She made a brief call at Southampton, arriving at Southampton in the early hours of the morning and departing at 10:30 for a refit at Hamburg.

She is due to make a return call to Southampton on 29th April on her way back to her normal cruising area.

She was built in 2001 at Chantiers de L'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, France, has a gross tonnage of 90,280 tons and an overall length of 294 metres. she has berths for 2,449 passengers.

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Summit departing from Southampton on 10th April 2008.

(Photo by Graham Darling)

6th April 2008 - The debut of the Ventura

P&O's new cruise ship Ventura arrived on her maiden call at  Southampton today accompanied by snow showers.

Built in the Fincanteiri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, at 116,000 gross tons, and an overall length of 289 meters, she is the largest cruise ship ever built specifically for the UK market. She has berths for 3,597 passengers.

She is due to depart on shakedown cruises to Guernsey and Zeebrugge, before her official naming ceremony at Southampton on 16th April by Dame Helen Mirren.

Her initial cruise, which departs on 18th April sees her visiting Barcelona, Leghorn, Italy, Alicante and Gibraltar.

10th March 2008 - Tanker in trouble

The Swedish flagged tanker Astral, built in 2006 and 7190 gross tons, was in St. Helen's Anchorage waiting for a berth at Fawley to unload her cargo of gas oil when she dragged her anchor in force 11 winds and grounded on Bembridge Ledge, damaging her rudder and jamming it 20 degrees to port. 

She was refloated, and towed into Southampton, by the coastguard standby tug Anglian Earl. She was then towed Fawley Jetty for discharge of her cargo.

She departed on March 17th for Portsmouth in tow of the tug Tenax for an inspection of her damaged rudder. She subsequently sailed in tow on March 22nd from Portsmouth for Denmark for repairs.

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The Balmoral berthed at the City Cruise Terminal, Southampton, on 9th February 2008.

4th February 2008 - Fred Olsen's new Balmoral

Fred Olsen's new cruise ship Balmoral arrived at 101 Berth, Southampton, from Dover on 4th February.

At this point she was supposed to be on her maiden cruise for Fred Olsen from Dover to the Canary Islands, but this had been cancelled due to technical problems with watertight doors and fire control systems. She had arrived at Dover from Blohm & Voss's shipyard at Hamburg where she had been lengthened by the addition of a new 30 metre mid-section. 

The 34,242grt Balmoral was built in 1987 as the Crown Odyssey for Royal Cruise Lines of Greece. She became the Norwegian Crown in 1996 for Norwegian Cruise Lines and then reverted to the Crown Odyssey in 2000 for three years before once again becoming the Norwegian Crown. She was acquired by Fred Olsen last year before going to Hamburg for the addition of the new mid-section.

She departed from Southampton after the technical problems had been overcome for Dover on 12th February for a 20 night Caribbean cruise which sailed from Dover on 13th February.

January 2008 - Mishaps!

8th January - the general cargo ship BBC Ems broke away from berth 30 in the Eastern Docks during strong winds. She dropped her anchor in the River Itchen until a tug arrived to assist her back to her berth. The BBC Ems had arrived on 30th December from Ferrol in Spain to load wind turbine blades at 25 berth. She encountered technical problems whilst at Southampton and eventually sailed for Port Arthur and Houston, USA on 11th January.

20th January - the boom of a container crane collapsed on to the 93,750 grt container ship Kyoto Express at Southampton Container Terminal (SCT). No-one was hurt in the accident, however, operations at the container terminal were suspended so that checks could be undertaken on the other cranes at the terminal. There was no major damage to the the Hapag Lloyd container ship, and she sailed several days later after the debris from the crane boom had been cleared.

The crane that collapsed had been fitted with an extended boom to service the larger ships visiting the port these days. Another five cranes from the same manufacturer were taken out of service to have safety checks run on them. The safety checks may take up to a month to complete which means that the port is running at reduced capacity, with many vessels diverted to other ports or waiting in the anchorages for berths at Southampton.

Four new post-panamax container cranes are on order for SCT, two are expected to arrive in June 2008 with a further two to arrive later. The new cranes will be able to service vessels carrying up to 22 rows of containers.  

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Phenix with her sister Tenax shortly after her arrival at Fawley on 30th December 2007.

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...and with the other units of the Solent Towage fleet at Fawley on 9th February 2008. 

29th December 2007 - A new tug arrives at Fawley

On 29th December, the Phenix, a brand new tug arrived at Fawley from her builders, Astilleros Gondan at Castropol, Spain, after delivery to her new owners, Solent Towage Limited, a subsidiary of Ostensjo Rederi A/S of Norway. 

She is a sistership of the Tenax, which arrived at Fawley in March 2006. The Phenix has a gross tonnage of 643 tons and a bollard pull of 67 tons. She is powered by two Rolls Royce diesel engines giving a top speed of 15 knots.

She will be used on tanker escort and berthing duties alongside the other tugs already stationed at Fawley Marine Terminal. 

7th December 2007 - A fourth cruise terminal for Southampton!

A deal was signed today between Carnival UK and ABP sealing Southampton's future as a major cruise port. The 20 year deal will give Carnival's brands (Cunard, P&O, Princess Cruises and Ocean Village) priority use of the existing QE2 and Mayflower cruise terminals at the port.

Included in the agreement is an investment of £19m by ABP to build a new cruise terminal at Ocean Dock, opposite the site of the old Ocean Terminal.

Southampton has enjoyed 245 cruise calls at the port this year, with over 800,000 passengers passing through the existing three terminal. Next year there is scheduled to be 290 cruise calls and approximately 1 million passengers expected next year.

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Queen Victoria arrives at Southampton on 7th December.

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Turning in the Upper Swinging Ground, assisted by tugs before berthing.

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Tugs welcomed her in the usual way.

Photographs by Martin Penwright

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Approaching City Cruise Terminal with P&O's Aurora at 106 berth. 

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Berthed at City Cruise Terminal shortly after arrival at Southampton.

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Her first night at Southampton ready for her naming ceremony.

Photographs by Martin Penwright

7th December 2007 - The Queen Victoria arrives

Cunard's new cruise ship Queen Victoria arrived in Southampton today after her delivery voyage from the yard of Fincantieri in Venice. The 90,049 gross tonnage, 294 metre long ship has berths for 2014 passengers over 12 decks.

Her early morning arrival was witnessed by hundreds of onlookers who lined the vantage points in Southampton. She berthed at 101 berth, in the Western Docks, home to the City Cruise Terminal, watched by hundreds of people in the nearby Mayflower Park as she was given the traditional water spray display by the local tugs. 

The ship was named by the Duchess of Cornwall on Monday, December 10th, accompanied by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of many dignitaries and the world's press. Unfortunately the bottle of champagne refused to break during the naming ceremony - a bad omen if you are superstitious. The Queen Victoria was the first "Queen" not named by the reigning monarch in Cunard's history.  

She departed from Southampton on  her maiden 10 day cruise, to Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Hamburg accompanied by a firework display on Tuesday, December 11th. 

18th June 2007 - The QE2 is sold

Cunard, today, announced the sale of their grand old lady, Queen Elizabeth 2 to Dubai World in a deal worth US$100 million.

The QE2, which this year celebrated her 40th year in service, will become a luxury floating hotel, retail and entertainment centre at Dubai's Palm Jumeirah complex and will be delivered to her new owners in November 2008.

The end of an era.

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The QE2 berthed at Southampton on 26th August 2007.

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Sir Bevois on 2nd June 2007 with Svitzer funnel colours but yet to receive her new paint job.

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Adsteam Lyndhurst in Svitzer livery but still with the Adsteam name on 4th August 2007.

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Svitzer Sarah in full Svitzer livery including her new name on 28th July 2007.

June 2007 - The tugs are changing again 

Following the UK's Competition Commission approval of the takeover of Adsteam Marine by SvitzerWijsmuller, the tugs in the Southampton fleet have been transforming into the Svitzer livery.  

First to go was the Adsteam funnel colours in May/June and then the repainting of the hulls and superstructures in June. Finally, in July the first renaming was sighted - Adsteam Sarah becoming Svitzer Sarah. The remaining members of the fleet will, no doubt, be renamed over the coming months.

April 2007 - New Cruise Ships calling at Southampton

Reflecting the growing trend for cruising in the UK market, and the popularity of Southampton as a cruise ship port, Royal Caribbean have expanded their schedules from Southampton this year. In addition Celebrity Cruises have already made occasional calls at the port.

Celebrity Cruises vessels Millennium and Constellation have already used the port this year. Millennium arrived at the City Cruise Terminal on 21st April to start her cruising season having completed repairs to her Azipods at the Sobrena Shipyard at Brest. She departed for a cruise to Amsterdam and Barcelona. 

A few days later her sistership Constellation made a call on the 25th April having arrived from Fort Lauderdale. She departed for a short cruise to Dublin and Cobh and was back on the 30th April when she left for a refit.

In addition, Royal Caribbean’s large 2002 built 138,279 grt cruise ship Navigator of the Seas which is able to accommodate 3,807 passengers is based in the port this year. She was built in 2002 and is of 138,279 grt. She has increased capacity over the 2,060 passenger Legend of the Seas which was Royal Caribbean’s ship based in Southampton last year. 

Navigator of the Seas will be undertaking various cruises from Southampton throughout the season to various destinations including the Western Mediterranean.

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Millennium arriving in Southampton Harbour on 21st April. (Photograph by Martin Penwright).

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Millennium at 101 berth on 21st April.

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Navigator of the Seas at 101 berth on 28th April, with Sea Princess at 106 berth in the distance.

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Navigator of the Seas departing Southampton on 28th April 2007...

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... for a cruise to Copenhagen.

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Liberty of the Seas in Southampton Water on it's maiden arrival at Southampton on 22nd April 2007. (Photograph by Graham Darling)

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...and arriving at 101 berth. (Photograph by Martin Penwright)

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A view of her berthing at the City Cruise Terminal. (Photograph by Martin Penwright)

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She departed on 26th April for New York. (Photograph by Graham Darling)

22nd April 2007 - Liberty of the Seas arrives at Southampton 

The joint largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas, made her first and only European port of call at Southampton on 22nd April. She has recently been completed and handed over by her builders, Aker Yards of Turku, in Finland. 

The Liberty of the Seas is a sistership to Freedom of the Seas which made her debut at Southampton last year. She is of 160,000 tonnes, 1,112 feet long and capable of carrying 4,375 passengers over 15 decks. Facilities include an ice skating rink, boxing ring, surf simulator and water park. 

Liberty of the Seas will cruise for the American and Caribbean market so is unlikely to be seen in Southampton again. Another sistership of the series, Independence of the Seas, is, however, expected to cruise out of Southampton next year. 

The Liberty of the Seas made a short promotional cruise to Guernsey on 24th April and then left for New York and her home market on 26th April.

21st April 2007 -

The second in the “Ocean Village” brand of cruise ships “for people who don’t do cruises” was in Southampton today, arriving at berth 106 in the Western Docks. 

The Ocean Village Two is the former AIDAblu built in 1990 as the 70,310 grt Crown Princess. She will be officially named by supermodel Jodie Kidd and her sister Jemma Kidd on 24th April at a ceremony to be held at 46 berth in the Eastern Docks. She is unlikely to be a regular visitor to Southampton – her usual area of operation will be the Mediterranean with a home port for 2007 of Palma, Majorca. 

As well as the naming ceremony for Ocean Village Two taking place on Tuesday 24th April, the port of Southampton will play host to the brand new joint largest cruise ship Liberty of the Seas, the Queen Mary 2 and P&O’s Oriana. This will be the culmination of the port’s busiest ever passenger week. 

The Ocean Village Two will depart on 25th April when she will leave Southampton for a cruise to Gibraltar, Cartagena, Barcelona and Palma, her base for the 2007 season.

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Ocean Village Two is moved from berth 106 in the Western Docks to berth 46 on 21st April.

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The Millennium waited in the Upper Swinging Ground when the Ocean Village Two departed from 106 berth.

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Ocean Village Two at 46 berth ready for her naming ceremony.

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Whitonia seen in Empress Dock on 21srt April 2007.

April 2007 - A New bunkering Tanker

The Southampton based fleet of tankers owned by John H. Whitaker has been boosted by a recent addition. The newly built Whitonia, was recently named in a ceremony at Southampton. 

The Whitonia is apparently the largest bunkering tanker to be based in the UK and can carry 6,214 tonnes of fuel, with her pumps delivering 1,000 tonnes of fuel per hour. She was built in Dubai and will be used to bunker the ever increasing number of cruise ships using the port as well as the usual cargo ships.

4th March 2007 - The Celtic Mist saga

The new ferry service from Portsmouth to Cherbourg operated by the Irish based company Celtic Link, which was due to commence it's service from Portsmouth on 15th January 2007, has been cancelled. This is due to the vessel which was to be used for the service, the Celtic Mist, being detained in Southampton due to the poor condition of the ship.

The Celtic Mist (ex Lithuanian owned Klaipeda) of 21890 grt, built in 1987 was described by an inspector as 'being fit for not much more than scrap'. She had been chartered by Celtic Link from Jay Management of Greece.

The Celtic Mist arrived at 102 berth, Southampton, on 4th March from Portsmouth for repairs and has now been moved to 46 berth.

The ship was detained following complaints from the crew members to the International Transport Federation (ITF). The vessel will no longer be allowed to operate in UK waters until major repairs are carried out. 

The engine room has been described as a "nightmare", she suffers from excessive vibrations, crew members refuse to work in the boiler room and the crew accommodation is the worst the inspectors had seen for a long time. 

Update - 7th April 2007

The Celtic Mist departed from Southampton for Piraeus on 7th April, where repairs will be made to the vessel. Celtic Link have been barred from using the vessel on the Portsmouth to Cherbourg route whose launch is several months overdue until the repairs take place. In the meantime Celtic Link are looking for other appropriate tonnage with which to operate the route.

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The Celtic Mist approaching berth 46 on 17th March 2007. 

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Due to the windy conditions and the poor state of the vessel, tugs had to be called and the move to 46 berth was aborted on 17th March 2007...

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....she was towed back to 102 berth. The vessel was successfully moved to 46 berth the day after.

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Kincraig in Southampton Water on 16th December 2006 escorting an arriving container ship.

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The Kincraig meeting the arriving container ship Hyundai Liberty in Southampton Water on 17th March 2007.

December 2006 - New tug at Southampton 

The tug Kincraig owned by J.P. Knight (Caledonian) Ltd. arrived at the beginning of December to provide towage services with the Adsteam fleet in Southampton. 

The Kincraig is usually based at Invergordon in Scotland. She was built in Japan in 1998 and is of 290grt. 

21st December 2006 - Collision in the Thorn Channel 

Red Funnel's ferry Red Eagle was in collision with Whittaker's tank barge Humber Energy in the Thorn Channel in the Solent at 19:30 today.

Damage sustained by both ships was minor and they continued on their respective voyages. no passengers or crew members on either ship was injured.

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The Humber Energy in Southampton Water on 7th October 2006.

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The Multratug 7 departing on 14th January.

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Multratug 7 departing with the barge Limosa 2 on 14th January 2007.

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10th December 2006 - Casualty towed into Southampton 

The newly built tank barge NS702 (subsequently named Limosa 2) had grounded off Hope Point, Newhaven, whilst being towed from a shipyard in Gdynia, Poland to Nantes, France by the Polish tug Ajaks on December 7th.

The barge was refloated on 10th December by the Belgian tug Fighter and other salvage vessels from the Dutch salvage company Multraship. She was towed into Southampton and spent several weeks in Ocean Dock being repaired.

The Dutch tug Multratug 7 arrived in Southampton on 6th January to tow the barge back to the shipyard in Gdynia for permanent repairs. She departed with her tow on 14th January, but aborted the departure and came back to Southampton on the same day, eventually departing on the 24th January.

1st December 2006 - Nice paint job!

Norwegian Cruise Line's "colourful" new cruise ship Norwegian Pearl arrived at the port today, from Rotterdam, completing her inaugural visits to European ports after delivery from her builders Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. She was handed over to her new owners on 28th November in Eemshaven, Holland. 

The latest in the "Freestyle Cruising" Jewel class fleet, she  weighs in at 93,500 grt and is 294m long. A feature of this ship is that it has the first four lane ten-pin bowling alley afloat. 

Capable of carrying 2400 passengers, she departed Southampton on 2nd December with 1,198 passengers on a positioning, transatlantic, non-stop 10 night cruise to Miami.

She will be christened by American actress and TV star Rosie O'Donnell at Miami on December 16th. She will then operate cruises based in the Caribbean and Alaska, so is unlikely to be seen at Southampton in the near future.

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Norwegian Pearl at berth 38/39, Eastern Docks, on 2nd December showing off her unusual paint job.

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You can see the rock climbing wall behind the funnel in this stern view.

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Departing from Southampton on 2nd December on her transatlantic crossing to Miami.

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The new RFA Largs Bay at Marchwood in the early morning sunshine on 4th November.

4th November 2006 - The Arrival of RFA Largs Bay 

The new Royal Fleet Auxiliary Amphibious Landing Ship,  Largs Bay (L3006) arrived at Marchwood Military Port this week.

Built by Swan Hunter on the Tyne, she is one of four Bay Class ships which are set to replace the long serving RFAs Sir Tristram, Sir Geraint, Sir Percivale and Sir Galahad which have been familiar visitors to Marchwood for a number of years.

Launched on 19th July 2003, and delivered on 25th April 2006, she has been performing sea trials off the South Coast, before entering service later this year. She joins the already delivered Mounts Bay (L3008) and the Cardigan Bay (L3009) and Lyme Bay (L3007) which are due for delivery in the near future.

The Largs Bay weighs in at over 16,000 tonnes, and, with a length of 177 metres she is nearly twice the size of her predecessors. she has storage capacity for 32 Challenger II Main Battle Tanks, 350 armed troops and the appropriate landing craft to deploy these forces and their accompanying stores from offshore. 

17th October 2006 - Can you smell gas?

The port of Southampton was closed to shipping today due to a leakage of  Propane from the Hong Kong registered LPG tanker Ennerdale, which was berthed at Fawley Oil Terminal. The 4,227 gt, 1997 built ship had previously arrived on 15th October from Leixoes and was loading 1,600 tonnes of Propane from Fawley.

The leak, from a faulty valve was discovered at 22:00 on 17th October and Southampton Water was closed to shipping from 22:30 until 05:40 the next morning.

The Solent's Maritime Response Plan (Solfire) was put into action, but luckily the gas dispersed over Southampton Water, which meant that nearby homes did not have to be evacuated. Fine water jets were used by Fawley's staff and teams from Hampshire Fire Brigade to disperse the gas.

The Ennerdale eventually departed from Fawley on 19th October bound for Leixoes. 

27th September 2006 - Expansion at Southampton.

Southampton Container Terminals

Associated British Ports today announced that it has drawn up plans to dramatically increase the container capacity at Southampton Container Terminals (SCT).

The plan is to create two new deepwater berths within the existing dockside for container handling. It is thought that this relates to berths 201 and 202 which are adjacent to the existing container terminal and currently used for car storage and handling of vehicle carriers at the port. 

Further proposals are to create a new dedicated berth for feeder container ship handling, which will free up a deepsea berth currently used for this activity.

It is also intended to invest in more automation and to use the existing land in a more efficient way.

The cost is likely to be several hundred million pounds and the work will take place in a number of phases. It is hoped that this development will be ready before other new planned container terminals at the Thames Gateway in London and at Bathside Bay in Harwich and will increase the capacity of SCT from 2 million to 3.7 million teu per year. 

Bulk Terminal

ABP is to invest over £4 million in a new multi-purpose transit shed and new mobile harbour crane at Solent Stevedores facilities at berth 107 to 109 in the Western Docks. The bulk terminal will also be expanded to use the site of the King George V dry-dock thus providing more land for cargo handling.


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Adsteam Lyndhurst as the Lyndhurst underway in Southampton Water on 28th December 2005.

3rd September 2006 - Fire!

The Southampton based Adsteam harbour tug Adsteam Lyndhurst had a fire in her engine room at about 1am on 3rd September, whilst underway in the harbour.

The crew sealed off the engine room and returned to the quayside where the fire was dealt with by Hampshire Fire Brigade.

None of the four crew on board at the time was injured.

12th August 2006 - I name this ship....

On 12th August, Wallenius Wilhelmson's new vehicle carrier Topeka was named at berth 38/39, Eastern Docks, Southampton. Although owned by a Norweigan company, she flies the British flag and is registered in Southampton.

She had previously arrived on 10th August on her delivery voyage from her builders, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Kobe, Japan via Zeebrugge and Malmo.

Topeka weighs in at 61,321 grt, has a length of 190 metres and has capacity for 6,540 cars. 

After departing Southampton on 12th August, she was back again on the 19th  before departing for East London, (South Africa) and then Australia.  

Two views of Topeka at berth 38/39, Eastern Docks, for her naming ceremony on 12th August 2006.

Photos by Graham Darling

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Hamtun as Multratug 16 in the River Schelde at Ternuezen on 19th July 2006...

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..and again catching the evening sunlight as she departs Terneuzen locks on 13th August 2006.

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In her Adsteam colours at Southampton on 12th June 2004...

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... and in her Red Funnel days at Southampton on 3rd November 2001.

July 2006 - Bye-bye Hamtun.

Adsteam's Southampton based tug Hamtun has been sold to Multraship Towage and Salvage of Terneuzen, Netherlands and has left the Solent for her new home port of Terneuzen on the River Schelde.

Hamtun was one of the original tugs owned by Red Funnel, which was taken over by Howard Smith and subsequently Adsteam.

Multraship also own two other ex-Red funnel tugs, the Gatcombe, which is now Multratug 6 and the Vecta which is now Multratug 8

May/June 2006 - Cruise ship mishaps...

The Calypso

On the 6th May, the Cypriot registered cruise ship The Calypso, owned by Louis Cruise Lines had a fire in her engine room whilst 16 miles off Beachy Head in the Channel. The Calypso has departed Tilbury on 5th May for St. Peter Port, Guernsey, with a party of 462 mainly Dutch passengers.

Although the fire was put out by the crew, fire fighters from  East Sussex attended the ship, as well as numerous merchant ships and four RNLI lifeboats.

The immobilized ship was taken in tow by the tug Anglian Monarch and arrived at berth 38, Southampton on 6th May. She was later moved to102 berth in the Western Docks where she is to be repaired.

Sea Princess  

Princess Cruises' Sea Princess was the centre of media attention when over 200 of her passengers fell ill on a "French and Spanish Coast" cruise, cutting the cruise short by one day. The virus was thought to be the "novovirus" which has plagued several cruise ships over the last few years. The last port of call - Lisbon was cancelled and she returned to Southampton one day early.

She arrived at 38/39 berth at Southampton on 2nd June where the ship was disinfected ready for the next cruise to the Western Mediterranean starting on Saturday 3rd June.

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The Calypso at 102 berth on 3rd June, undergoing repairs after her fire.

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Sea Princess at berth 38/39 Southampton on 3rd June, preparing for her next cruise after the virus outbreak


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Freedom of the Seas inward bound in Southampton Water on 29th April.

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The length of the Freedom of the Seas can be appreciated in this view of the cruise ship. 

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The Freedom of the Seas was escorted down Southampton Water by a local tug spraying water.

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....and a helicopter!


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The Freedom of the Seas at City Cruise Terminal dwarfs P&O's Arcadia which was at Mayflower Cruise Terminal.

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She doesn't look too good from the stern....

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....but not too bad from the bow.

29th April 2006 - She's big, long, but not so beautiful...

Today, the largest cruise ship in the world arrived at Southampton. Royal Caribbean Cruises' Freedom of the Seas has surpassed the record set by the Southampton based Queen Mary 2, to take the title. The 338 metre long vessel, with a breadth of almost 39 metres, weighs in at 158,000 Grt. Her 1,360 crew can cater for 4,370 passengers. 

The ship boasts 15 decks and such innovative features as the largest fitness centre afloat, a surf machine where passengers can ride artificially generated waves, a rock climbing wall (on the funnel) and a family sized water park.

She was built by Aker Finnyards at Turku in Finland, and before calling at Southampton, she also paid courtesy visits to Hamburg and Oslo.

Hundreds of members of the public lined vantage points along Southampton Water and Southampton Harbour to witness the arrival of the Freedom of the Seas at 08:45 on a gloomy Saturday morning. She was escorted by local Southampton tugs which put on the customary water spraying salute as she made her way to her berth at the City Cruise Terminal at 101 berth.

The Freedom of the Seas is due to leave Southampton on Wednesday 3rd May for New York where she will be officially named. 

The ship will cruise the Caribbean for the American cruise market and so is unlikely to be seen very often, if at all, in Southampton.   

23rd April 2006 - Five in one day!

On Sunday, April 23rd, five cruise ships were in port at the same time. This was the first time this has happened since 1966!

At the City Cruise Terminal at 101 berth the Saga sisters Saga Ruby and Saga Rose were moored. The Saga Rose departed Southampton at 17:00 for a 23 night cruise to Egypt. The Saga Ruby departed an hour and a half later for a two week Atlantic Islands cruise.

At the Mayflower Terminal, at 106 berth P&O's Oceana was moored. She departed at 17:00 for a 13 night Canary Island cruise.

The Cunard flagship Queen Mary 2 was at the Queen Elizabeth II Terminal at berths 38/39, preparing for a transatlantic crossing to New York.  

The highlight of the arrivals and departures was undoubtedly the departure of the Queen Elizabeth 2 from 105 berth at 12:45 at the end of her annual World Cruise. She was bound for a refit at Bremerhaven.

As the Queen Elizabeth 2 sailed past the berthed Queen Mary 2 they saluted each other with a blowing of horns and the Queen Mary 2 played the  hit song, "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt followed by Diana Ross singing, "Forever Young".

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The new Tenax assisting a tanker at Fawley on 19th March 2006. (Photo by Martin Penwright)

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Tenax underway in the Solent on 3rd June 2006.

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The Silex has departed from the Solent for Italy. She is seen here in the Solent on 4th April 2004.

March 2006

The new Spanish built tug Tenax has arrived at Fawley Oil Terminal to replace the Silex which has previously been stationed there. Delivered in 2006, the Tenax is a large tug of 664 Grt.

The Silex has departed the Solent for warmer waters in Ancona, Italy. 

The tugs at Fawley are operated by Ostensjo of Norway, but are owned by the Ostensjo subsidiary Solent Towage Ltd. 


10th March 2006

The largest container ship ever to call at Southampton, the Arnold Maersk (built 2003, 93496 Grt) arrived at Southampton today from Rotterdam. The 352.6 meter long ship departed on 11th March for the Far East.

Maersk Line ships now call regularly at Southampton after an absence of almost eight years. Three Maersk Line Asia-to-Europe services were re-located to Southampton in February 2006.   

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The Arnold Maersk departing from Southampton on 11th March 2006. (Photo by Graham Darling)

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The Red Falcon inward bound in Southampton Water on 11th December 2005.

10th March 2006

The Red Funnel vehicle ferry Red Falcon struck the link span at speed whilst docking at Town Quay this afternoon. Several passengers of the 130 on-board at the time were injured and taken to hospital. The bow doors of the Red Falcon were severely damaged as was the link span. 

It is expected that the ferry service will be significantly disrupted as a result of the damage to the link span and the ferry, especially as one of the three vessels which operate the service (Red Osprey) is currently away for it's annual winter refit.  

8th March 2006

The bulk carrier Daviken (built 1987, 23306 Grt) arrived in Southampton today, after main engine camshaft failure whilst off the South Coast during a voyage from Philadelphia to Antwerp in ballast.   

Due to the forecast of bad weather the Daviken was towed into Southampton by the tug Anglian Earl for repairs to be undertaken. The Daviken was escorted into Southampton by local tugs as well as the Anglian Earl and berthed at 38/39 berths in the Eastern Docks. 

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Two views of the Daviken at berth 38/39 Southampton on 11th March 2006. (Photos by Graham Darling) 

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December 2005

The final dry-dock in Southampton - the historic King George V drydock (also known as No.7 Dry dock) has been closed by ABP.

Apparently, the caisson gate is in a poor state of repair and will be dismantled. In future it is planned that the dry-dock will be used for the working of bulk cargoes.

The dry-dock was opened in 1933 by King George V and Queen Mary and was intended for use by the newly built liner Queen Mary.

The last ship to use the dry-dock was Grimaldi's vehicle carrier Grand Benelux in September. 

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The newly renamed Adsteam Redbridge assists the arrival of the vehicle carrier Franconia on 25th February 2006.

December 2005

Adsteam's purchase of Howard Smith Towage is finally having an effect on the naming of the existing Southampton tugs. 

In recent weeks :

  •  The ex Red Funnel tug Redbridge has been renamed Adsteam Redbridge

  • The Sun Surrey, which arrived in Southampton from the Thames in 2004 has been renamed Adsteam Surrey.

  • The Deben which arrived in Southampton from Felixstowe in 2003 has been renamed Adsteam Deben

It is suspected that the remainder of the Southampton tugs will be renamed in a similar way soon. 

December 2005

The Channel Freight Ferries service between Radicatel on the Seine and Southampton closed on 16th December. The vessel currently employed on the route, the CFF Seine, will be re-deployed.

Channel Freight Ferries lost approximately £2.5m on the route this year, before the exceptional costs incurred by the closure. This lead the parent company, the shipbroking company, Clarksons to close the service. 

December 11th 2005

A record shipment of grain was exported from the Frontier Agriculture facility at berth 36, Eastern Docks. The 2002 built 69,999 ton deadweight Greek bulk carrier Athina Zafirakis called to load 60,000 tons of milling wheat for export to Spain. 

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Athina Zafirakis at berth 36, Southampton.

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Stella departing Southampton on 20th November at the beginning of her long voyage to Piraeus.

November 20th 2005

Red Funnel's relief car ferry Bergen Castle finally departed from Southampton today after being laid up for sale at 110 berth for a number of months. The Bergen Castle was used as a stand-in vessel when Red Funnel's three "Raptor" class ferries were enlarged in Poland over the last year.

The Bergen Castle has been purchased by Greek interests and renamed Stella. Her initial destination was Piraeus. It is interesting to note that she has been registered in Wonsan (North Korea) under her new owners.  

October 11th 2005

The former Royal Navy Landing Ship Sir Geraint (L3027) departed Husbands Shipyard, Southampton after being sold and renamed Sir G, registered in Panama. On departure from Southampton she was bound for the Tees. It is rumoured that she will make a final voyage from the Tees for scrapping in the India or the Far East.

Her sistership, Sir Percivale remains at 49 berth, Southampton for sale. 

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Sir G laid up at berth 49, Eastern Docks

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The Sea Princess, followed by Legend of the Seas and finally the Aurora departing from Southampton (Photos by Martin Penwright)

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June 18th 2005

Three in a row!

The Sea Princess, Legend of the Seas and Aurora made a simultaneous departure at 17:00 from Southampton today.

The Sea Princess and Aurora were both on Norwegian Fjord cruises whilst the Legend of the Seas was bound for the Mediterranean. 

June 6th 2005

The Russian general cargo ship Yamal was in collision off the coast of Dorset with the container feeder Jessica B

The Yamal was on a voyage to South Wales with a cargo of pig iron whilst the Jessica B was bound for Dublin. 

Jessica B suffered some minor damage to her bow, but the Yamal sustained a large hole in her hull above the waterline and damage to her aft superstructure. 

The Jessica B continued on her voyage, whilst the Yamal which also took on a list was escorted to Freshwater Bay for inspection and then on to berth 108, Southampton, where temporary repairs were made.

The Yamal eventually left the port on 19th June bound for South Wales.

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Jessica B passing Terneuzen on 17 July 2005 still with minor damage to her bow.

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Yamal at Western Docks on 18th June 2005 showing the temporary patch on her hull and the damage to her superstructure. (Photos by Martin Penwright)

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Legend of the Seas berthed at the City Cruise Terminal on 7th May 2005.

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Legend of the Seas following P&O's Arcadia down Southampton Water on 7th May 2005 at the start of an "Atlantic Islands" cruise.

April 30th 2005

Royal Caribbean International's cruise ship Legend of the Seas arrived in Southampton today and was berthed for the first time at the City Cruise Terminal. The Legend of the Seas will be making regular cruises out of Southampton during the summer months.

The Legend of the Seas was built in 1995, weighs in at 69,490 Grt and carries approximately 1,800 passengers.


April 30th 2005

An unusual cruise ship called at Southampton today. The Ocean Village arrived in Southampton for refit in No 7 Drydock. Once a familiar sight at Southampton under her previous name of Arcadia, the Ocean Village is now based in Barbados during the winter time and Palma in the summer.

The Ocean Village's refit is due to be completed by 11th May at which point she will depart Southampton for her summer base at Palma.

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Ocean Village arriving at Southampton on 30th April 2005. (Photo by Sean Sparks)

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Thomson Celebration arriving for the first time in Southampton on 27th April 2005 (Photo by Sean Sparks)

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At the City Cruise Terminal on 8th May 2005

April 27th 2005

The new cruise ship Thomson Celebration arrived at Southampton's city Cruise Terminal today on her first visit to Southampton. She was built in 1984 as the Noordam for Holland America Line. Sold to Thomson at the end of last year she was converted to her new livery at Falmouth earlier this year.

Thomson Celebration will spend this summer cruising out of Southampton, performing a series of private cruises before leaving for an "Atlantic Isles" cruise on 8th May.

April 16th 2005

An unusually busy day for cruise ships in Southampton. As well as Fred Olsen's Braemar at the City Cruise Terminal and the Adonia in No.7 Dry Dock, Southampton witnessed both the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2 at Southampton today.

The Queen Mary 2 departed from berth 106 at 18:00 whilst the Queen Elizabeth 2 departed from berth 39/39 at 18:30. The QM 2 then lead the QE2 down Southampton Water watched by hundreds of onlookers.

The Queen Mary 2 was bound for New York on one of her regular liner voyages, whilst the Queen Elizabeth 2 was heading for Funchal on a cruise. 

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Queen Mary 2 departing Southampton with the Queen Elizabeth 2 following her in the background.

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Adonia departing from Southampton on 7th August 2004.

April 15/16th 2005

P&O's cruise ship Adonia was in port today for the last time. After arriving from an Atlantic Islands cruise she proceeded to No.7 Dry Dock in Southampton for a refit. 

On emerging from the dry dock on 28th April she will have been renamed back to her original name of Sea Princess and will sail under the Princess Cruises banner once more. The Sea Princess will sail out of Southampton for the Summer months of 2005. 

April 6th 2005

The Arcadia, P&O's new £200m cruise ship arrived in Southampton at the end of  it's delivery voyage from the shipbuilders in Italy. The 83,000 ton vessel will be based in Southampton from where it will serve the British cruising market.

The Arcadia set sail for a private cruise to the Channel Islands on the 7th April and returned to Southampton on 9th April. 

Arcadia is due to be named by Dame Kelly Holmes on 12th April at berth 102 in Southampton and will set sail on her maiden cruise on 14th April for a 16 night Mediterranean cruise. 

The vessel was originally intended to sail as the Queen Victoria for Cunard, before Carnival, the parent company of both companies transferred her to P&O Cruises prior to completion.

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Arcadia arriving at Mayflower Terminal Southampton for the first time on 6th April.(Photo by Sean Sparks)

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Arcadia at Mayflower Cruise Terminal, Southampton having arrived back from her private cruise to Guernsey on 9th April.

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A bow view of the Arcadia taken on 9th April

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Red Eagle before conversion on 4th September 2004....

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...and after conversion on 2nd April 2005.

March 21st 2005

Red Funnel's Isle of Wight raptor class ferry, the Red Eagle returned from Gdansk, Poland where a second vehicle deck and a 11m new section of hull was inserted into the ship. The Red Eagle is now 93.4m long instead of 82.4m and can take 200 instead of 140 cars. The Red Eagle sailed for Gdansk to be converted during December 2004. 

This completes a 10m investment programme in the vehicle ferry fleet and new terminals. The Red Eagle's two sister ships Red Osprey and Red Falcon were both converted in the same manner during the winter of 2003/2004.

February 7th 2005

The Saga Ruby, Saga Shipping's new cruise ship arrived in Southampton today from her £17 million refit in Malta Drydocks, Valletta. Saga Ruby will be better known as Cunard's Caronia, built 1973, 24492 Grt., which was sold to Saga in 2004. Saga Ruby will spend much of February in Southampton, preparing for her maiden cruise on 1st March to South America for 32 nights, visiting The Azores, Antigua, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, USA and Bermuda. 

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The Saga Ruby at Southampton at the end of her inaugural cruise on 2nd April 2005.

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NYK Lynx at lying idle at 101 Berth, Southampton, with the ill fated Aurora at 106 berth.

January 23rd 2005

The NYK Lynx, built 2002, 75201 Grt, made an impressive site whilst moored at 101 berth, Western Docks, Southampton for most of January. She arrived at Southampton on 1st January, and was idle at 101 berth until 29th January when she moved to the container terminal and then departed for the Far East. It seems that she was waiting for a slot on the service on which she was operating.

January 20th 2005

The unlucky P&O Cruise ship Aurora today, finally, had it's round the world cruise cancelled. The cruise which started on 9th January, was curtailed off the Isle of Wight due to problems with one of the ship's propulsion units. The ship proceeded back to Southampton for repairs which were finally completed by January 19th when the ship left Southampton for tests in the open sea. However, these tests were unsuccessful and the Aurora limped back to port on the evening of 20th January, when the cruise was cancelled. The passengers had remained on board the vessel for the duration of the repairs in Southampton Docks.

The Aurora subsequently departed for Bremerhaven for repairs which are likely to take 10 weeks.

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Aurora on a previous visit to Southampton in May 2004.

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CFF Seine at Berth 30, Southampton on 17th July 2004.

October 18th 2004

Channel Freight Ferries, which operates the roll-on roll-off freight only service between Radicatel on the River Seine and Southampton has announced an increase in the frequency of it's services from November. It will now operate additional daytime crossings on weekdays, Tuesday to Friday, as well as the existing night-time crossings. This will lift the capacity of the service by 66%. The two existing vessels, CFF Seine and CFF Solent will continue to be used. 

Update 21st November : The existing CFF Solent has been returned to it's owners and will revert to it's previous name of Tango. The Tango will be replaced by the Dart 2 which has been chartered by CFF and is to be renamed CFF Solent.

Update January 2005 : The Dart 2 has been replaced by the Estonian flagged Lembitu, built 1998, 7606 Grt, which is now operating the service with the CFF Seine.

Update April 2005 : The Lembitu no longer is employed on the service. All sailings are now made by the CFF Seine

September 22nd 2004

ABP have today announced a further investment of £0.5 million in the City Cruise Terminal at Berth 101, Southampton. This will be spent enlarging the facilities at the terminal in order the cater for the ever increasing size of cruise ships using the facility. 

Over 220 cruise ship calls are already booked for the port next year with vessels from Royal Caribbean International, Fred Olsen and Saga Shipping, amongst others using the City Cruise Terminal. 

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Saga Pearl at the City Cruise Terminal with Oriana and  Oceana at the Mayflower Terminal on 11th Oct 2003.

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The San Sapor and North Africa moored in the River Itchen on 5th July 2004.

August 14th 2004

The three ex US Army tugs, North Africa, Lundys Lane and San Sapor which have been laid up in the River Itchen for many months departed for the Rijnwaal Shipyard, Hardinxveld Gissendam in Holland under their own power. It is understood they have been purchased by the Nigerian Port Authority and have been  renamed Ogbomoso, Balali and Irrua respectively. They are part of a 35 ship consignment which have been purchased / renovated by the shipyard for the Nigerian customer.

June 3rd 2004

The Italian registered chemical tanker Attilio Ievoli built 1995, 4,550 grt ran aground off Lymington River today. She had just departed Fawley Oil Terminal for Barcelona. The tanker was refloated four hours after running aground, with no apparent damage. After inspection, she continued on her voyage to Barcelona two days later.

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Attilio Ievoli photographed departing from Rotterdam on 1st June 2004.

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Jewel of the Seas departing on her maiden voyage on a dull 8th May 2004.

May 7/8th 2004

The latest new cruise ship to be built for Royal Carribean Cruise Lines arrived at Southampton for her naming ceremony. The Jewel of the Seas was christened on 7th May 2004 at berth 38/9 Southampton. She departed on her first cruise for Vigo and Lisbon on 8th May.

May 1st 2004

Both the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth 2 were in the port of Southampton today, after crossing the Atlantic together from New York. At the port the Boston Cup was handed over from the QE2 to the QM2. This means the the QM2 is now officially the flagship of Cunard. The QM2 will now take over the Trans-Atlantic liner voyages to New York whereas the QE2 will be used mainly as a cruise ship.

April 20th 2004

A bad day for Associated British Ports and the Port of Southampton. The plan for the proposed new container terminal at Dibden Bay in Southampton has been turned down by the government on environmental grounds. There are now questions about the future of the Port of Southampton as one of the major container ports in the UK. 

April 17th 2004

The capesize bulk carrier Bosporus arrived at Berth 47, Eastern Docks, Southampton under tow of the tug Fairplay XIV. The Bosporus had suffered a total engine failure whilst in the English Channel on a voyage to Brazil. Local tugs assisted her arrival through the Solent and Southampton Water. She is the largest vessel I have seen in Southampton for quite a while - built as the World Place in1995 and 150,973 tons deadweight.

On 25th April she departed for Rotterdam for repairs being towed by the Belgian salvage tug Alphonse Letzer. 

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Bulk Carrier Bosporos at Southampton on 24th April 2004. Interesting paint job!


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Queen Mary 2 arriving at Southampton on 12th April 2004

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April 12th 2004

The Queen Mary 2 arrived into Southampton from Lisbon today - over four hours late. This delay was due to problems with her bow thrusters experienced at her previous port of Lisbon. Some negative publicity about this delay appeared in the press. This was the first time the QM2 was in Southampton since her inaugural cruise to Fort Lauderdale in January.

So, today, the longest, tallest, heaviest (QM2) and oldest (Doulos) passenger ships in the world are in Southampton!

April 6th 2004

The world's oldest ocean going passenger ship - m.v. Doulos - built 1914 - arrived at 101 Berth Southampton today from Dubrovnik. The Doulos is a floating Christian bookshop and will be open to the public from 8th to19th April. She sails on 21st April for Scheveningen in the Netherlands.

The Doulos was built in 1914 as the Medina - a name which she retained up to 1949, when she became the Roma, carrying pilgrims to Rome in 1950. In 1952 she became the cruise ship Franca C for Costa Line. She has been the Doulos since 1978. 

For more information see 

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Doulos at Southampton on 9th April 2004


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