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Sunny Merseyside

David Crolley and Alan Bishop inspect the Mersey Shipping Scene

Where else in the UK can you see seven different "fast ferries" in one day?

25 February

I left Huddersfield in the rain but was pleased to find Merseyside sunny! Enjoyed a rummage around the W H Smith book sale got two volumes I wanted for 6.98 a 75% saving!!


Met up with David at 1100 and we set off to the riverside where three ships were on the move! The Isle of Man SPCo ferry LADY OF MANN was berthing at the Landing Stage as opposite the two modern roro ferries BRAVE MERCHANT and MERSEY VIKING left the Twelve Quays development at Birkenhead, line astern!

From the car parks south of Albert Dock we looked across to A&P Birkenhead (was Cammell Lairds) and saw laid up fast ferries STENA LYNX III, SUPERSTAR EXPRESS, SEACAT FRANCE, SEACAT SCOTLAND and SUPERSEACAT THREE. On Tranmere Jetties awaiting unloading was tanker CHANNEL DRAGON (Bs).

We drove north past the Police Station and observed the "Blue Peter" ship now tethered alongside probably safer here than elsewhere! Liverpool was lovely in the sun the architecture here is superb!

We passed the Merseyside Maritime Museum and saw EDMUND GARDNER (pilot ship), JAMES JACKSON GRUNDY and WINCHAM (ex ICI barges), sailing ship ZEBU (looking good!), BROCKLEBANK (tug) and former University of Wales research ship MADOG. The museum has had one of the largest, high quality collections of ship models. The new regime has withdrawn these as not being of "modern interest" and smashed into skips all the display cases. It has been suggested that the models are going to "Chatham" lets hope they are not "lost" through "criminal" indifference? Let us all be vigilant and why not query these events with the authorities?

[JHL's NOTE: It now appears that the Maritime Museum Models are NOT going to leave Merseyside and many will go on show again at the museum.]

Next we visited the Adsteam tugs and three of the local fleet were preparing for work on the tide. The six present looked good in their new liveries BRAMLEY MOORE, GLADSTONE, TRAFALGAR, CANADA, COLLINGWOOD and WATERLOO.

Svitzer tugs were mostly absent working! Nonetheless NORTON CROSS was alongside the quay together with anti-pollution craft POLLGARTH and a visitor from the Clyde small tug FORAGER. Nearby were sand dredger SAND SWAN and laid up compatriot NORSTAR.

Next we saw the good looking geared bulker EASTERN GLORY loading scrap and registered at Jeju in South Korea! Nearby, in Canada Drydock, was P&O ro/ro EUROPEAN SEAFARER. We turned into Huskisson Dock. Here we saw freighter MARIANNE unloading timber and met WSS member Norman West for an impromptu chat! Here too we saw Environment Agency survey vessel COASTAL GUARDIAN. Nearby was Customs & Excise "training coaster" ALTEA.

We turned back into Sandon Dock which has become a haven of really interesting craft

  • Smartly restored large yacht LIBERATEA
  • Recently dry-docked ex German ferry now PRINCESS ROYAL
  • Laid up survey vessel SCAN WARRIOR
  • Ex naval ammunition tender Scarab now survey vessel SCAN SCARAB
  • Ex RMAS oiler Oilman now PATER
  • Ex Lever barge SAFE HAND now with new funnel colours
  • Ex London & Rochester m/barge LOACH
  • Ex Trinity House tender? now TRINITY LOACH!

Svitzer tug YEWGARTH sat outside Langton Lock awaiting work for the day. Sisters OAKGARTH and WILLOWGARTH were in Liverpool Bay assisting a rig.

Next we saw the MDHC vessels resting! These were dredgers MERSEY VENTURE and MERSEY MARINER, pilot vessels SKUA and PETREL, driftwood collector WATER WITCH and survey launch AESTUS.

Further north were Polish bulker RODLO now Maltese flag and survey vessel NORTHERN HORIZON (Bs). We then ran up to the top of Seaforth Dock. Here we saw Dutch coaster ALERT, feeders COASTAL SOUND and COASTAL ISLE, container ship MSC SINTRA (ex Jork Valiant), Polish, Maltese flagged bulker WALKA MLODYCH and nearby in Gladstone the smart bulker AGHIA SOPHIA.

Looking north from the wall we could see the incoming Russian freighter ZAMOSKYVORECHYE with a superstructure much larger than necessary for the size of ship perhaps a working training ship? In the distance behind her we were pleased to see the inward ro/ro container ship ATLANTIC COMPASS for Seaforth Dock.

We ran back down the docks seeing bulkers ANGELIC POWER (Gk) and EVDOXOS (Cyp). We also saw floating crane MERSEY MAMMOTH and bunker vessels WHARFDALE H and HUMBER JUBILEE.

We listened to the shipping broadcast then drove on under the Mersey to Seacombe on the Wirral.

Here we met Paul Fazackerley briefly and saw smart short sea freighter SAVA LAKE inbound to Birkenhead. We had a great lunch (two for 5!) and looked out over the sunny river as ferry WOODCHURCH called at the Pier. Outbound was tanker STOLT DIPPER and pilot launch KITTIWAKE.

We went on, into the docks at


Here we saw lightship PLANET (For sale) and warships ONYX (submarine), U534 (submarine), landing craft LANDFALL, frigate PLYMOUTH and minesweeper BRONINGTON (ex Manchester). Alongside were Mersey ferries ROYAL DAFFODIL and ROYAL IRIS OF THE MERSEY. In the docks too were tugs GEM (ex BEAVER GEM) and VANGUARD, laid up tankers WHITIDE and WHITCREST plus fast ferry SUPERSEACAT ONE. Further towards Bidston we saw SEACAT ISLE OF MAN (in drydock) plus Russian bulker YURIY DOLGORUKIY.

Back on the river we saw coaster ANNIE MALINNE (StV) outbound, coaster SEA THAMES (inbound) and tanker STOLT KITTIWAKE (outbound).

Upstream at


was freighter LILIANA


We watched as tankers TURCHASE and EVA THERESA slowly approached the Manchester Ship Canal from sea.

Unfortunately we saw no other ships at Ellesmere Port or Runcorn. There was an unidentified tanker at Stanlow. On then to


Only the SEA THAMES was here, locking in!

David dropped me back to Lime Street for my train home!

It was a great day out


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