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Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond



26 April 1998

Compiled by: John Luxton 



LADY OF MANN - Remains in Wright and Bayer's yard and is still afloat. Painting of the ship's port side now appears complete. When seen on Friday evening her hull is now blue to port and black to starboard. By next week one anticipates that the work will be completed. The LADY OF MANN will be undertaking an additional pre-TT day excursion from Fleetwood to Douglas on Wednesday 27 May. Fares will be £25.00 adults, £12.00 children. Fleetwood dep. 10.30, Douglas arr.14.00. Depart 19.30, Fleetwood arrive 23.00 Bookings via central Sea Co central reservations 0990 523523. On the following day the LADY will operate a Llandudno - Douglas excursion which has already sold out.


More updates from Michael Pryce on CONDOR 10 revealed that she didn't make it to InCat's yard from Wellington, New Zealand to repair the damage sustained during March. Plans were changed and she left Wellington Harbour at 13.30 Tuesday 21 April this time bound for Singapore via refuelling stops at Cairns and Darwin. ETA Singapore is 30 April. As she will not now be operating in UK waters this summer she probably won't make Merseyside for her autumn refit. Incat 44 [CONDOR VITESSE] will be used to operate the new Weymouth - St Malo service.


Historic Brigantine returns to the Mersey.

The Brigantine ZEBU is returning to the Mersey for a short stay before she embarks on the new Sea Adventure Challenge. The Sea Adventure Challenge will take her to Lisbon in the 1998 Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race with a crew composed of Young Adventurers from the North West backed up by the dedicated volunteer team. The team have spent the last several months on an intensive refitting project to return her to world-wide operational status. Mersey-based tug skipper Brett Metcalf will be at the helm.

ZEBU will enter the Mersey on the afternoon of Monday 27th April, bound for Ellesmere Port Boat Museum, where the refit will continue to a tight deadline aimed at seeing her put to sea in early July.

ZEBU has been lying at Preston since last year, where she has found a long-term welcome at Preston Marina. Much help being extended by Marina operators Chris and Dave Miller, and by a large number of firms in the area who have donated materials to help a keen team of volunteers replace all her systems and most of her interior. She will return to Preston, now her homeport, after this year's Adventuring.

The progress of the work is being documented in a series on Granada Television which is broadcast as part of Granada Tonight (6 - 7pm). As transmission dates vary, anyone keen to follow the series should ring Granada Newsroom on 0161 832 7211 to find out the next transmission date. The excellent Elaine Wilcox is Reporter on the project, and she will be on board on the 27th finding out what it will be like to be a Young Adventurer, on the air during the week. Elaine will follow ZEBU into the start of the Voyage, and a further national series, entitled "Windjammer", has started shooting on board with independent Merseyside film-maker James Schorah.

ZEBU, built in 1938 at Raa, Sweden, as a Baltic Timber Trader and then converted to an International Training Ship in the 1980's to Circumnavigate the World on a 4 year Voyage of 69,000 miles for Operation Raleigh. ZEBU is one of the finest examples of an authentic sailing merchantman available for Adventure Training. Her 1850's style brigantine rig was rebuilt for Operation Raleigh by a team headed up by Square Rig Master Godfrey Wicksteed, who also rigged the Cutty Sark at Greenwich, though she will enter the Mersey without her yards crossed, as her spars are finishing their refurbishment at Preston and will follow down on Chris Miller's road transporter in May.

The refurbishment of ZEBU has been massively helped by International Timber of Trafford Quay, who on finding that she used to carry timber for them in the Baltic, offered all the timber required for the project, and ordered her a new suit of sails. They are sponsoring a public visiting and educational event over Whit week at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum, and discussions are underway to send the ship on a Baltic States Tour in 1999, which will take her back to her home and trading ports.

Volunteers from all over the North-West are bringing their skills to ZEBU'S refit. Most of them joined the ship after seeing her stripped back to basics in the first Granada TV, programme, and rose to the challenge she presented. Project Director Susan Place describes the team as "the salt of the earth standing up to be counted, in their overalls, with the tools of their trade in their hands - Kipling's Sons of Martha". The reward for these hard-working individuals will be a permanent association with this lovely ship, crewing her on local and long-distance voyages, and some will take her across the Atlantic on Tall Ships 2000, the Tall Ships Race of the Century.

Heading up the engineering team is Geoff Hanley, workshop Supervisor at P&O Ferrymasters, Liverpool. Other Mersey-based stalwarts include Dave Bridson of Merseyside Information Services (formerly in charge of Mersey Heritage Events such as the Liverpool Waterways Festival at Stanley Dock); former Mersey tug and barge hand John Neal, now driving stackers for Spillers, who is the ship's Leading Topman specialising in working High Canvas 70ft aloft.

THE VOLUNTEER LIST IS STILL OPEN. It could include you, if you have time and skills to contribute. Susan Place says: "I would like to stress that whilst existing seafaring skills are an advantage, they are not a necessary qualification. The ability to work hard, apply your best practical skills within the context of a good team and give plenty of time to the ship are the real qualities we value and need. 50% of the crew who have been associated with ZEBU in the past few years were not career seafarers but people with a life-long dream to be involved with a big sailing ship. Part of the deal is that we train you to crew a square-rigger in return for your time and effort."

The SEA ADVENTURE CHALLENGE office is based on Merseyside; contact Susan Place on 0151 733 0699 to get involved in this great initiative, which is set to enrich the lives of thousands of people from the North West in years to come. ZEBU is on the Mersey, in the Final Countdown to the Tall Ships Race. She is offering you the chance to be part of something very big


The annual Liverpool Dock and River Cruise will take place aboard the MV OVERCHURCH on Saturday 13 June. This popular cruise involves one of the Mersey Ferries sailing through a number of Liverpool Docks offering a different view of other vessels than those normally available from the quayside.

The cruise departs Seacombe at 11.40, Liverpool 11.50 and Birkenhead Woodside at 12.10.

Fares are £7.00 for adults and £3.50 for children.

Tickets are should be booked in advance and are obtainable from Friends of the Ferries, 7 Foxcovers Road, Bebbington, Wirral, Merseyside. L63 3EQ. Applications should include an SAE. Enquiries regarding this cruise: 0151-334-2685


The BUFFALO arrived at the A&P Falmouth shipyard in Cornwall last week for her refit and enlarging. She will return to service as the EUROPEAN LEADER.



The company has established through its subsidiary, Coastal Container Line, a new rail container service between Cork and Dublin Port in conjunction with Iarnrod Eireann. This will enable containers to be brought to the dockside in Dublin from the south of Ireland for conveyance to Liverpool by CCL vessels. CCL traffic has reported have grown by 10% during the past year.


The TSS EDINBURGH CASTLE is scheduled to leave Merseyside on 26 April for Madiera for what was to have been her first Liverpool departure. However, delays meant that her inaugural UK cruise two weeks ago departed from Merseyside, rather than Greenock as originally planned.


The deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott has announced plans for a new link between the Freightliner Terminal at the ABP owned Garston Docks and the port of Tilbury. Unlike conventional container services, the new service will involve the loading of complete semi-trailers and their loads onto special rail wagons and is the first of its kind in the UK.


The hopper barge VILLE continues to travel from Mortar Mill Quay in the East Float, Birkenhead where she is being loaded with stone for the project to New Brighton and Egremont where the stone is dumped. This little ship has been very busy since it commenced operations in January and the results of its many frequent though very short trips are becoming very prominent features at New Brighton and Egremont. She is also supported by another larger vessel the MARIE which brings the material to Mortar Mill Quay for loading onto the VILLE.



The new tug TRAFALGAR remains at the McTay fitting out berth in the East Float.


The Geotechnical Vessel BLUE SKY ONE remains in #6 Dry Dock.


Once again the company's share price ended the week on a record high of £4.385p - up another 45p on the week.

Acknowledgements: RC/MP

John Luxton





19 April 1998

Compiled by: John Luxton 70374,30



In case you missed it, there was an MSN news posting made on 13 April though originally I stated that there would not be one until the posting on 19 April. There was so much news that I decided not to hold it over. The 13 April news follows on immediately below this news posting.

In the next week or two I intend to produce a gallery featuring the Mersey Tugs and other utility work vessels which often get overlooked but are a familiar part of the Mersey shipping scene.



LADY OF MANN - Returned to Liverpool from Douglas on Tuesday 14 April at 20.00 at the end of her short Easter outing. She was scheduled to enter Alfred Lock, Birkenhead at 22.00. On Thursday she was noted in Wright and Beyer's yard, afloat, but apparently undergoing preparations for painting. By Saturday morning she still remained but most of the port side hull from boot topping upwards [her bottom was painted whilst undergoing engine repairs last November] was covered in grey primer. Obviously no time is being wasted in getting the LADY ready for the summer season. What of course the summer season hold in store beyond the TT festival remains to be seen - is it too much to hope she might appear as relief on the increasingly busy Liverpool to Dublin route?

SUPERSEACAT TWO - Appears to have been operating normally since the bad weather last weekend, though the 18.00 departure on Friday 17 April had not left the stage by 18.50. A message was sent to Mersey Radio to ascertain sea conditions off Lynas. Bookings appear to be very heavy on the Liverpool - Dublin route; I have encountered difficulties securing day trip reservations for Saturdays/Sundays through to July.


Thanks to Captain Michael Pryce of New Zealand I have had an update on the globetrotting CONDOR 10. The vessel has appeared on Merseyside for refits over the past few years. Readers may recall that her bow visor was damaged recently.

CONDOR 10 completed her season's sailings across Cook Strait as "The Lynx" when she arrived back at Wellington from Picton on the evening of 14th April. She cleared Wellington Harbour at 1430 on 17th April bound for Hobart, where she is due to arrive on the evening of 19th April. Permanent repair work at the Incat yard is scheduled to start on 20th April, and is expected to take between 4 to 7 days. Her northbound voyage is planned to be via fuelling stops at Geraldton, Cilacap (probably), Colombo, Djibouti, Suez, and Malta (probably).

Intended destination is understood to be Algeciras in Spain for her next charter. No details, but probably on the Algeciras to Ceuta service. Hobart to Algeciras will take about 20 days.

We will have all our winter/your summer to play a guessing game of which fast-ferry Tranz Rail will charter for the service for the December 1998 to April 1999 southern summer season.

CONDOR 10 does not appear to have experienced a winter for four years now!"

In a later message Michael Pryce informs me that CONDOR 10 did not complete the crossing as she was experiencing 5 to 6 metre swells in the Tasman Sea and has turned around and is heading back to Wellington - ETA 10.00 on Sunday 19th April.


SQUARE SAIL is an organisation that operates a number of sailing ships. Originally based at Bristol, the company moved to the historic port of Charlestown, near St. Austell in Cornwall a few years ago. Square Sail's vessels are often chartered to TV & film companies.

Last Saturday afternoon I noted their barque KASKELOT anchored in Mount's Bay off Penzance. Little did I realise that on Wednesday I would be watching the ship enter Canada Half Tide Basin adjacent to the Albert Dock complex in the company of the small Salvesen Tug ODIN. Though the KASKELOT has an auxiliary engine the tug was present to facilitate movement in the dock whilst berthing and during filming.

KASKELOT has come to Liverpool to take part in filming a production being undertaken by a Portugese film crew about the life of a Brazilian industrialist who was inspired by his experience of Liverpool and the North West of England. The quays had been provided with suitable props in the form of barrels, handcarts etc. Some of the more modern fittings had been covered up and the name of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, high on the side of the converted warehouse was briefly partially covered to enable it to be read as the Merseyside Maritime Company.

On Friday afternoon's tide KASKELOT was due to leave Canning Half Tide basin, enter the River Mersey and anchor in the Middle Deep. However, strong winds kept her in canning, KASKELOT eventually departing on the early morning tide of Saturday 18 April.


As readers will be aware, the recent film Titanic contains a number of inaccuracies concerning events on the ill-fated, Liverpool registered liner.

The portrayal of the ship's first officer William Murdoch was far from complimentary and offended many, not least his relatives. This week Scott Neeson of 20th Century Fox went to Dalbeattie, Scotland, William Murdoch hometown to give a personal apology to Mr Murdoch's 80-year-old nephew an apology and presented £5,000 to the Murdoch Memorial fund.

However, it is not proposed to add an apology to the credits at the end of the film when it is due to be released on video in the autumn.


Apparently the BBC is reported to be interested in filming a fly on the wall documentary about Liverpool's Docks along similar lines to the controversial documentary series "Hotel" which portrayed Liverpool's Adelphi hotel in a rather poor light! A pilot episode will be filmed in May and if successful could be turned into a 20 part documentary series.


The hopper barge VILLE continues to travel from Mortar Mill Quay in the East Float, Birkenhead where she is being loaded with stone for the project to New Brighton and Egremont where the stone is dumped. This little ship has been very busy since it commenced operations in January and the results of its many frequent though very short trips are becoming very prominent features at New Brighton and Egremont.


The latest produce from McTay Marine's Bromborough shipyard was noted in the East Float on Saturday. The TRAFALGAR is another tug constructed for Howard Smith towage and is of similar design to the  tug delivered to the company in 1996.


The Geotechnical Vessel BLUE SKY ONE remains in #6 Dry Dock.


On Wednesday David Cobb, Chairman of James Fisher and Sons PLc and Chairman of the Chamber of Shipping officially opened Dry Docks #6 and #7.

The local press highlighted the success of the company's recent reopening of the former RN Gibraltar Yards points out that they have received job applications from Spain, Morocco and Portugal as well as London and Liverpool. The company plans to open an apprentices school and steel production unit in Gibraltar. Staff from Birkenhead will apparently meet any labour shortages at Gibraltar.

The company's share price closed the week at yet another record level: £3.935p this compares to the initial opening price last summer of £1.09p!

Acknowledgements: MP.

John Luxton





13 April 1998

Compiled by: John Luxton 70374,30

As I was away last week, I had not planned on producing Mersey Shipping News this week. However, when I returned I found much new news. If I were to hold this until next Sunday the update will become very long. Therefore, I have decided to upload what I have already.

Some of the news is not particularly good. Bad weather has apparently played havoc with Sea Containers' services and EDINBURGH CASTLE offended her first UK passengers causing over 30 to walk off in disgust.

On a brighter note there is some more information on the BEN-MY-CHREE VI and additional technical details concerning JAMES FISHER's TANKERMAN soon to be renamed SEVERN FISHER.

Happily the last submarines to be built by the old VSEL Cammell Laird operation in the early 1990s - the UPHOLDER class have found a new home in Canada after being withdrawn from RN service after a very short career.




KING ORRY - Steering repairs were undertaken on Saturday 11 April whilst she lay alongside Prince's Landing Stage.

LADY OF MANN The Lady re-entered service on 9th April under the command of Captain Fargher. She ran engine trials out to the Bar and then anchored in the Sloyne as the Landing Stage was occupied by SUPERSEACAT TWO, which appeared to be suffering from weather and technical problems. The LADY OF MANN departed late, carrying some of SSC2s cars, which were being conveyed to Dublin via Douglas!

BEN MY CHREE [VI] the launch on Saturday 4th April the van der Geissen yard near Rotterdam was covered by a double page spread in the Manx Independent. Construction work is reported to be two weeks ahead of schedule. The vessel is substantially complete and appears to carry a new "legs of man" logo on the funnel which differs significantly from that carried on the LADY OF MANN and KING ORRY.

Delivery to the Isle of Man should take place during late June. She will be sailed to the Isle of Man by Captain Kinley who has served on BEN-MY-CHREE IV and BEN-MY-CHREE [V]. On Manx Radio James Sherwood played down the new ship's low passenger capacity of 500 stating that he expected most passengers to travel on the two SeaCats to be operated on Manx routes in 1999.

SUPERSEACAT TWO. Bad weather caused extensive problems during the Easter period. On Thursday 9 April the 08.15 to Dublin was cancelled "due to the weather". Cars and passengers were sent via Holyhead and IRISH FERRIES. SSC2 Then blocked the stage for much of the day forcing the LADY OF MANN to anchor in The Sloyne. SSC2 failed to depart for the 18.00 sailing. Some Dublin bound cars were then loaded onto the LADY OF MANN for conveyance to Dublin via Douglas. The Lady of course departed late due to the late vacating of the Princes Stage by SSC2.

On Friday 11 April SSC2 only made one round trip due to the weather. The 13.00 ex-Dublin did not arrive at Liverpool until 18.50.

On Saturday the 08.15 departure was forced to turn around off Anglesey and return to the Pier Head to off load at around noon due to adverse conditions. Apparently the HSS STENA EXPLORER continued to run through the adverse weather though over 2 hours behind schedule. When she had unloaded she came off the stage to allow KING ORRY to berth.


The TANKERMAN has received the new centre section, which will lengthen the ship by 21 metres. When she leaves Cammell Laird she will have lost her P&O Tankships style name and carry the name SEVERN FISHER. The ship's service life will be extended 10 to 15 years as a result of the work. Originally, the TANKERMAN was designed as a single-hull clean products tanker without segregated ballast tanks. The arrangement includes fore and aft peak and deep ballast tanks and 13 cargo tanks arranged three across. As a result, loading or unloading cargo took 18 hours after the ship arrived in ballast. After the lengthening, the ship will have a berth occupancy reduction of a third and ballast and cargo operations will occur at the same time.

Several cargo tanks will become ballast tanks but the cargo capacity will be offset through the new mid-body section, which also allows larger wing tanks for ballast. A double-hull will cover the centre cargo tanks. As completed, the vessel will have a segregated ballast capacity of 4,500 tons with 3,200 in the double bottom and new side tanks and 1,300 tons in the deep and peak tanks.

Two hydraulic pumps, which can handle 330 cubic meters/11,550 cubic feet of water per hour, are being added. The pumproom has three centrifugal cargo pumps and are engine-driven. Due to space limitations, the ballast pumps will have independent power supplies. The ballast pumps will lead to two 450-cubic-meter/15,750-cubic-foot eductors in the pumproom. The tanker will also receive a trunk deck extending 1.28 meters/4.20 feet above the main deck in line with the longitudinal tank bulkheads for the length of the cargo tanks. The tanker is also getting a high-lift rudder from A. van der Velden with a new rudder stock. As long as the ship is in dry dock, James Fisher Tankships is also having a hull renovation survey done by Marspec in addition to a fourth special survey and an enhanced special survey.


Since the last edition of Mersey Shipping News the intentions of two separate companies have been published in the national press stating that White Star Line and another company RMS Titanic propose the construction of a full scale replica of the Liverpool registered RMS TITANIC. One would guess that this inspiration has come as a result of the media hype surrounding the new Titanic movie and the fact that 80% full size replica was constructed for the film.

White Star Line is a American-Swiss partnership, which would hope to construct their TITANIC II at Harland & Wolff in Belfast. RMS Titanic is a South African company, which would construct the vessel in Durban, though the interiors would be constructed in the UK.

RMS Titanic plan that their vessel will depart from Southampton on 29 December 1999 and arrive in New York just before the end of the millennium at 23.00 on 31 December.

The alternative White Star Line has a slightly more realistic time scale to construct the vessel to re-enact the original TITANIC's maiden voyage in April 2002 ninety years after the event.

The proposed new vessels are claimed to be almost exact replicas, though for obvious reasons there will have to be some differences. The ships will also be oil fuelled though I do not know if this will be via turbine or diesel.

Fares will not be cheap: RMS Titanic offering tickets for the maiden voyage at around £100,000 mark imperial class down to £12,000 third class. The Swiss-American proposals featured lower fares with the first class maiden voyage fare being in the region of £75,000.

The big question is: Will a replica be constructed or is it just pie in the sky? If RMS Titanic are going to have their TITANIC II afloat and operating within 20 months time they had better get started now!


I erroneously stated in the last MSN that the NORMANDY was operating on Stena's Rosslare - Cherbourg service. That should have read IRISH FERRIES! Thanks to the several people who pointed out the error!


The hopper barge VILLE continues to travel from Mortar Mill Quay in the East Float, Birkenhead where she is being loaded with stone for the project to New Brighton and Egremont where the stone is dumped. This little ship has been very busy since it commenced operations in January and the results of its many frequent though very short trips are becoming very prominent features at New Brighton and Egremont.


Readers will be aware that P&O have been renaming its "animal class" freight ro/ro ferries as they have passed through refits. LEOPARD and BUFFALO retain their original names at present. However, here is a full list of vessels showing old and new names:









The EDINBURGH CASTLE got off to an inauspicious start on Friday 10 April. The ship should have commenced its first British cruise from Greenock in Scotland before returning to the Mersey for its first Liverpool departure in late April.

However, the ship's late arrival on Merseyside meant that passengers had to be bussed down to Liverpool.

However, over 30 passengers then left the vessel complaining of a disgusting smell and being shown to water sodden cabins. Apparently a water pipe had burst causing the flooding. The company claimed that stand-by cabins were available for such an emergency and the passengers should have been taken to these instead.

Those passengers leaving the ship were given a refund whilst those remaining on board have been given £150 compensation.


At last a new future has been secured for the four unused and laid up UPHOLDER class submarines constructed by VSEL, Barrow and at Cammell Laird's, Birkenhead.

The Canadian government said on 6 April it would lease, with an aim of buying, four attack submarines from the United Kingdom for Canadian $750 million/U.S.$527 million. The purchase is under an eight-year,

Interest-free lease with an option to buy at a cost of C$610 million/U.S.$429 million. Canada will also purchase training simulators, spare parts, a technical data package and training by the Royal Navy personnel in Canada for C$140 million/U.S.$98.4 million. The United Kingdom will also be allowed to use Canadian Forces Bases Goose Bay, Suffield and Wainwright for training under the deal. The deal will be partially funded by decommissioning two active and three reserve Canadian Maritime Command vessels earlier than planned and cancelling the refit of one of three Ojibwa-class attack submarines. The moves will save C$160 million/U.S.$112 million.

The four are the former Royal Navy Upholder-class: the UPHOLDER (S

40), the UNSEEN (S 41), the URSULA (S 42) and the UNICORN (S 43). The first, built by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd. at Barrow-in-Furness, was commissioned at July 12, 1990. It was ordered 28 Nov., 1983. The other three were built by Cammell Laird Group at Birkenhead under a 3 Jan., 1986, order, with the UNICORN entering service on 25 June, 1993. All were offered for sale or lease on 5 July, 1993, and were decommissioned in 1994. They were briefly part of the 2nd Submarine Squadron at H.M.S. Defiance in Devonport, England.

The new deal is forecast to produce C$250 million/U.S.$176 million for Canadian businesses including 200 civilian jobs over 30 years for work to maintain the submarines. Another C$100 million/U.S.$70 million will be in the form of waivers to provide industrial offsets to the United Kingdom for Canadian firms bidding on defence contracts. The first will arrive in 2000 with one of the rest arriving every six months after. The first Canadian Maritime Command crew will begin training next year. The arrival of the new submarines will enable Canada to permanently base submarines on its Pacific coast for the first time in 25 years.

Work to the submarines will require installation of new communications equipment and new towed array sonar, which will replace a Type 2026 in the Upholder and Type 2046 in the rest. Also, the class was built with six 533-millimetre/21.3-inch forward torpedo tubes for Mk 24 Mod. 2 Tigerfish torpedoes. Modifications will be made to use the similarly-sized Mk 48 Mod. 4, which is used by the Ojibwa-class. Some of the work will be done by GEC Marine.


Though the company's headquarters have long since moved from Merseyside and the company has gone through several changes of ownership its is worth recording that on 3 April Cunard Line was sold by Kvaerner to the Carnival Cruise line.

Carnival Corp.'s purchase of Cunard Line Ltd. from Kvaerner A.S.A., announced 3 April, may cost it double tthe reported purchase price o U.S.$500 million. Carnival will acquire a two-thirds interest while Norwegian investors led by Christiania Markets of Christiania Bank and Kreditkasse will take the rest. Carnival also said that Seabourn Cruise Line, which it owns with Norwegian businessman Atle Brynestad, will merge with Cunard Line. Carnival will have two-thirds of the Cunard Line/Seabourn Cruise Line business and Brynestad will have a stake as well. It is not known what will happen to the two brand names.

As part of the deal, Carnival agreed to order two passenger ships from Kvaerner Masa-Yards Inc. in Finland, reportedly for about U.S.$250 million. The total deal could therefore be worth U.S.$1 billion.

Kvaerner expects an accounting gain of U.S.$35 million. It bought Cunard Line in 1996 when it purchased Trafalgar House for U.S.$1.5 billion. Cunard Line, which can trace its history to 1847, lost 16.4 million pounds/U.S.$27.4 million in 1995-1996, the last years for which information is available. It has five ships with a total of 3,400 berths.


Regular MSN readers will recall that I happened to be present on the Isles of Scilly just prior to Easter 1997. During my short stay, the container ship CITA struck Newfoundland Point on St. Mary's and subsequently sank not before all her containers had floated off and their contents salvaged by the local populace! If you have not checked out the CITA pages do so soon as it will be removed during May as it has been on-line for almost a year.

Now P&O Nedlloyd Container Line Ltd. has filed a writ in London's High Court against Bugsier-Reederei Bergungs GmbH over the Cita (Antigua and Barbuda-registry 3,083-gt, 3,086-dwt, 241-TEU dry cargo vessel built in 1976; owned by Martin Shipping and operated by Reederei Gerd A. Gorke). The ship was time-chartered to Bugsier-Reederei Bergungs and was sailing from Southampton, to Belfast.

The eight crewmembers, all Polish citizens, abandoned the ship one suffering a broken leg. Reportedly, the writ relates to claims on 34 of 200 containers aboard the ship. P&O Nedlloyd Container Line is also taking action in Germany. Ince & Co. is representing the plaintiff while Constant & Constant is acting for Bugsier-Reederei Bergungs.

Cita's master and mate were charged under Section 58 of the British

Merchant Shipping Act of 1995 and after pleading guilty, were fined in October. The master was fined £2,000 with £250 costs. The mate was fined £1,500 with £250 costs.

The section specifies breach or neglect of duties. It alleged that the actions of the two caused property damage to the ship because an adequate watch was not kept. The mate, who was on watch, admitted falling asleep two hours before the grounding.

The second edition of the book "CITA - Scilly's Own Whisky Galore Wreck" is now available priced £3.99 and is strongly recommended reading on this interesting wreck. Published by Shipwreck and Marine, Ropewalk House, Charlestown, Cornwall PL25 3NN  ISBN0-9523971-1-0.


The Geotechnical Vessel BLUE SKY ONE remains in #6 Dry Dock.


Acknowledgements: RC; WORLD MARITIME NEWS

John Luxton




04 April 1998

Compiled by: John Luxton 70374,30


Please note that next week there will be no news posting as I will be away on holiday. Next Mersey Shipping News will be posted on 19 April. Just as I was completing this week's edition I have just heard that SSC2 is in trouble, details below. Perhaps the most shocking news this week concerns the jailing of the Master of the PS WAVERLEY at Glasgow Sheriffs' Court.

What ever you are doing over the Easter period - enjoy yourselves and remember the next MSN posting will be 19 April. This will hopefully be accompanied by a number of new graphics galleries too! I will post next week's World Maritime News on 14 April.




LADY OF MANN - laid up in Vittoria dock no sign of her turning blue before she re-emerges to provide additional sailings over the Easter period. She featured in the Liverpool Echo on 3 April which announced that the "popular old lady" would be returning to service. The article erroneously states that she "has not been used through the winter"! One day the local press will get their facts correct.

BEN MY CHREE was launched today Saturday 4th April 1998 from the van der Geissen yard near Rotterdam at 12 noon local time. After prayers for the ship by the Bishop of Sodor and Man (Rt Rev Noel Jones), Mrs Joan Gelling, wife of the Chief Minister of the isle of Man, launched the ship from the covered slipway into an overcast April day.

SUPERSEACAT TWO. Twice daily sailings commenced 3 April. However, as I am just completing this week,s compilation on 4 April it looks as though the 18.00 sailing has been aborted after departure due to large scale technical problems. Generators were reported down as is navigation equipment. Mersey Radio talked her in along the approach channel along which she was picking her way at 15 knots. Two tugs stood by at Tower Buoy to bring her to the landing stage sometime after 21.15.



The TANKERMAN, which arrived at Cammell Laird's wet basin on 25 March, has already been cut in half ready for the insertion of an additional 20-metre section.


It was revealed this week that the remaining Government owned shares in the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company have been sold. The government share holding dates back to the rescue of the former Mersey Docks and Harbour Board back in the early 1970s.

Diving work continues at Liverpool Landing Stage. On Friday 3 April MERSEY MAMMOTH was noted at the Ferry Landing Stage holding what looked like some dredging device over the landward side of stage.


The NORSE LAGAN was noted in Bremerhaven on 30th March landing troops, which had participated in a NATO exercise in Norway.


The hopper barge VILLE continues to travel from Mortar Mill Quay in the East Float, Birkenhead where she is being loaded with stone for the project to New Brighton and Egremont where the stone is dumped. This little ship has been very busy since it commenced operations in January and the results of its many frequent though very short trips are becoming very prominent features at New Brighton and Egremont.


A P&O road tanker loaded with methanol caused problems this week when it overturned at a road junction close to the Stanlow Refinery complex in Cheshire. About 5 tons of Methanol, which burns with an almost invisible flame, spilled out of the tanker and caught fire. Fortunately the driver escaped unhurt. The area around the refinery complex was sealed off whilst fire crews dealt with the incident. The Manchester Ship Canal pilots also had to move vessels from the vicinity of the refinery during the incident.


NORMANDY commenced operations on Stena's Rosslare - Cherbourg service on April 1.

Stena Line HSS sailings were disrupted on 2 April when Garda officers intercepted a bomb in a UK-bound car at Dun Laoghaire. The 980lb bomb was made of home-made explosives. A BMW car was reported to be involved in the apparent terrorist attack bid.

Gardaí arrested five people of which four were subsequently released. However, a 41 year old man from Kildare was charged with the offence on 3 April.

Stena are heavily promoting the HSS service from Holyhead to Dun Laoghaire on Merseyside. Several adverts have appeared in the local press advertising 99 minute crossings but failing emphasise that one has to go to Holyhead. Another advert aimed at day-trippers was advertising rail and HSS day trips to Dublin for several pounds more than the day £19 day return offered by Sea Containers. With a from Liverpool to Chester, another train to Holyhead to board the HSS and then the DART train from Dun Laoghaire to Dublin its hardly the most convenient way to travel when one can go direct from Liverpool in under 4 hours. Even the slower 6.5 hour journey on the Lady was much more convenient for foot passengers.

It looks as though STENA CAMBRIA will enter service on the P&O Stena Newhaven - Dieppe route instead of the PRIDE OF BRUGES


This year's WAVERLEY, BALMORAL and KINGSWEAR CASTLE timetables are now available from the company.

Liverpool & North Wales sailings will be undertaken by BALMORAL between June 3 and June 9 with a further cruise by WAVERLEY from Holyhead on Monday June 15.

Ireland & Isle of Man cruises will be undertaken by BALMORAL between May 21 and May 31.

Work has commenced on design work for the rebuild of P.S. WAVERLEY by Naval Architects Burness, Corlett and Partners. Some IoMSPCo. followers may recall this company's involvement with the MONAS ISLE - ex-FREE ENTERPRISE III!] The rebuild work will commence at the end of October, with WAVERLEY back in service during mid summer 1999.

 A statement has been issued concerning Captain David Neill, former master of WAVERLEY:

"On Friday 13 March 1998 Captain Neill was found guilty at Glasgow Sheriffs' Court of offences relating to his personal conduct on board during the period 1981-1987. He was released on bail for three weeks and is due to be sentenced on 3 April. The Sheriff said that her would have to consider a custodial sentence. A senior police spokesman said: "There has been an exhaustive enquiry but it didn't uncover any evidence against anyone else on the Waverley""

"In view of the nature of the offences referred to in the trial, a review of working practices aboard WAVERLEY and BALMORAL is being undertaken to ensure the personal conduct of all officers and crew is beyond reproach. Changes considered necessary will be brought into effect before the beginning of the 1998 season."

Captain David Neill appeared in Glasgow Sheriff Court on 3 April and was sentenced by Sheriff Daniel Convery to three years imprisonment. The Sheriff remarked, "As master of the WAVERLEY you commanded respect amongst the many adolescent boys for whom the ship was a great attraction. With some of these boys, you exploited your considerable authority by sexually interfering with them, and you did so in a manner and on a scale which was systematic and cynical". The abuse was reported to have occurred during Clyde cruises and whilst the ship was berthed at Glasgow.

It is a great tragedy that someone who has given much of his life to the active preservation of the much-loved WAVERLEY should have such an inglorious end to his career. I dare say many enthusiasts will be quite shocked by this and the possible repercussions for the reputation of the Waverley organisation. In 1994 the Reverend Clem Robb, membership secretary of the P.S.P.S. and the WAVERLEY's chaplain, was jailed for seven years for the abuse of seven boys.

The WAVERLEY is now under the command of Captain Graeme Gellatly who acted as Chief Officer last season.


The EDINBURGH CASTLE arrived on Merseyside on Tuesday 31 March for attention by Cammell Lairds. Berthed near Langton Lock, Liverpool She is then due to sail for Greenock for her first cruise before returning to Liverpool in preparation for her first Mersey departure at the end of April.


A memorial service is due to be held in Dolgellau on 31 May. During the service a replica of the submarine's flag will be flown.


The Geotechnical Vessel BLUE SKY ONE remains in #6 Dry Dock. TANKERMAN has already been cut in half in #7 . DEEPSEA WORKER remains in #5.

John Luxton



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