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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 July 1998

Compiled by: John Luxton


First of all, apologies if anyone expected to find the QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 in Dublin Bay on Friday. When I compiled the liner information last November, I mis-read the information and put down 21st and 24th July. The second date of course proving to be incorrect and should have read 24th August. Of course I even believed my own posting, and duly booked a trip to Dublin for 24th. I realised my mistake at the start of the week and did update last week's posting on Tuesday evening. Sorry about this error! I often moan when the local press get their facts incorrect on transport matters, though this time I have to slap my own wrists!

This week's voyage report is more expansive than usual taking in the some other points of maritime and other interest around Dublin Bay, including the Maritime Museum at Dun Laoghaire.

Finally a few reminders:

The next posting of the MSN news update will be at 21.00 on MONDAY 3 August and not next Sunday as I will be on the Isle of Man next weekend. [Had hoped to be on the KO's farewell cruise!].

There is no World Maritime News update this week as Steve's next posting will not be until mid August.

Planned posting dates for MSN news updates in August will be on MONDAY 3 August, 17 August and 31 August. However, additional postings may be made on 12 August and 19 August should significant happenings occur or the amount of news grows to the extent that additional postings are required! Usual Sunday updates recommence September. However, you may find that some pages and the layout of parts of the web site may change during this period as I plan to make further improvements.

Don't forget to check out the photographs of the BEN-MY-CHREE on the Mersey by Mike Edmondson and a new entry in the Maritime Queries section. There is also a colour photograph supplied by Martin Edmondson of MONA'S QUEEN now operating in the Philippines as MARY THE QUEEN.

I have some pictures of IoMSPCo interest supplied by Dave Worth but I am going to have to hold them over until the next MSN posting on 6 August as this week's edition has taken something like 8 hours work today!

Once again thanks to those who have sent information and/or pictures - much appreciated.



This has been a very sad week for the company. Captain Vernon Kinley passed away suddenly early in the week. IoMSPCo company flags have been noted as flying "half mast". A tribute to Captain Kinley follows the SeaCo/IoMSPCo news and voyage report.

The BEN-MY-CHREE appears also to have been attracting a fair amount of criticism in the media and the rumour mill appears to have begun work!

BEN-MY-CHREE - Various complaints and rumours appear to be flying round concerning the ship. In the complaints department the lack of high-back seating continues to play its part along with the overall lack of passenger carrying capacity, children's play room etc. The complaints have also featured in Manx Radio phone-ins.

The BEN also appears to have other problems, including the fact she does not fit the Heysham #1 linkspan at the moment and has to use Heysham #3, the former South Edward Pier Linkspan. Her trim does not appear correct either as she sits so high in the water. I understand that the cabins do not have tea/coffee making facilities, the intention being to provide a steward, though these are not yet available.

This week Joan Gelling, wife of the Isle of Man's first minister has been defending the ship, which she launched in the Manx press.

She is quoted as saying that the new BEN is "Doing three trips every day". She obviously hasn't looked at the timetable. Mrs Gelling goes on to say, "With that amount of journeys it [passenger accommodation] should not be a problem." She also points out that "Many short journey's are now done by plane" - not a very helpful comment - though one she used to justify the amount of space given over to freight. Putting things in context it might have been better to say than many passengers now travel by SEACAT!

The fact is that the BEN-MY-CHREE is first and foremost a replacement for the well-worn and low capacity PEVERIL with extra passenger accommodation. When it was ordered last year Sea Containers stated that it would supplement the SEACAT services. It is not a direct replacement for the KING ORRY. This was emphasised again recently in the Manx press.

Of course the Heysham - Douglas route still attracts quite a few passengers, despite the greater emphasis being placed on Liverpool and it is not difficult to see how the BEN-MY-CHREE could easily fill up. She certainly would have had difficulty carrying all the coach parties I saw arriving at Heysham last Saturday. Well what could be the possible solutions to the problem?

Studying the present timetable, the final day of intensive SEACAT services to and from the Isle of Man from the UK is on Sunday 27 September. After that the SEACAT DANMARK operates Friday - Sunday on the Douglas - Liverpool route previously operated by KING ORRY, however, the BEN-MY-CHREE continues to operate to Heysham. Thus additional passenger capacity between the Isle of Man and the UK is provided at weekends until the start of November.

Apart from 9 round trips to Dublin by SEACAT DANMARK during this period nothing else is shown. Perhaps SEACAT DANMARK could support the BEN on DOUGLAS to HEYSHAM routes then if required?

In the future with the delivery of SUPERSEACAT THREE perhaps one of the InCats could be freed up to provide extra capacity on the Manx routes during the summer season with SEACAT sailings also operating from Heysham?

Only on rare occasions have SeaCats called at Heysham in the past when needed to cover for the KING ORRY, a strange situation when one considers the short nature of the crossing.

As far as the 1999 timetables are concerned I think it would be a safe bet to assume that Manx SEACAT operations could commence earlier next year providing further support for the BEN-MY-CHREE. This year there has already been an extension through to the start of November. Of course the viability of extending SEACAT operations all depends on that unknown variable - The Weather! CONDOR certainly came in for a lot of criticism when they decided to operate InCats craft year round and as part of their new deal for the Channel Islands routes are reported to be looking into the purchase of a ro/pax vessel of similar design to the BEN-MY-CHREE! In fact I have even been told that there is a rumour going round the Isle of Man that the BEN is going to be sold to CONDOR!

PICASSO - The PICASSO remains laid up in Vittoria Dock.

PEVERIL - The PEVERIL remains laid up alongside PICASSO.

KING ORRY - The KING ORRY farewell cruise, which was suggested to be operated on the first week-end in August, is off. Apparently KING ORRY may remain in service until September and perhaps even beyond that!

SUPERSEACAT TWO - This week as a mark of respect to Captain Kinley, SSC2 has been flying the IoMSPCo flag at "half mast". There also exists the possibility that SSC2 operation may continue through the winter. This is not good news for those who had been looking forward to the possibility of the LADY OF MANN returning to the route for the winter months.

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's engineering subsidiary Fort Street Services is looking to cut its work force of 27 by two thirds, though it is hoped to avoid compulsory redundancies. The company blames the introduction of the BEN-MY-CHREE would reduce the amount of work for Fort Street Services. Discussions are underway with the TGWU and GMB unions over the plans.


Shipping enthusiasts will be shocked and saddened by the news that Captain Vernon Kinley of the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company passed away suddenly this week. Captain Kinley was very much an enthusiast's skipper. If there were a mundane route or an interesting route Vernon would always take the interesting route and give interested passengers "added value".

 Recalling an incident back in June or July 1996 whilst on the LADY OF MANN heading for Douglas. - Quite a few passengers were standing on port side A deck when Captain Kinley came out onto the bridge wing and shouted down to everyone that we were about to pass a basking shark. We passed it with just feet to spare. the Lady passing the creature just a few feet from its snout. Touches like that certainly singled him out.

 Later that summer, the liner SPLENDOUR OF THE SEA paid her first call to Liverpool. I had booked a day trip that Saturday to Douglas and Vernon was to give his passengers a fine view of the liner and a much better vantage point than that offered by the packed Mersey Ferries cruises. Backing the LADY OF MANN off the stage he slowly sailed astern along the port side of the SPLENDOUR OF THE SEAS until we had almost reached Woodside Landing Stage at Birkenhead. Then we sailed back down the port side and then off to Douglas.

On the return trip in the afternoon Vernon circled the SPLENDOUR OF THE SEAS offering some superb photo opportunities before bringing the LADY OF MANN on to the landing stage. 

I finally met Captain personally in September 1997 when on a magical day I covered the whole Liverpool - Dublin route on the bridge of the LADY OF MANN. On the outbound trip things were rather rough so we couldn't go between islet of Middle Mouse and the Anglesey cliffs, a favourite route of Vernon's. However, in the gathering dusk on the return things had calmed down and we sailed between Middle Mouse and the cliffs. It was a beautiful clear evening as we sailed along the Welsh coast and then up the channel to Liverpool.

A colleague of mine who had been to Ireland for his holidays last summer had obviously returned on one of Captain Kinley's sailings. He told me how the ship had sailed so close to the Anglesey shore on his return sailing that he thought they were dodging the rocks!

Captain Kinley had only recently brought the new BEN-MY-CHREE VI into Douglas on Tynwald Day [6 July] on her delivery voyage from the Netherlands. He had also served on her predecessors BEN-MY-CHREE IV and V. His photo has appeared on a number of occasions recently in conjunction with the new BEN in the Manx press. It is so very sad to think that he was not go on to complete his career with the Steam Packet and enjoy a long and happy retirement.

You may be gone Vernon, but many enthusiasts will not forget you or "Kinley's Coastal Cruises" the likes of which we are unlikely to see again. Thanks for the memories. R.I.P.


The Russian owned, Panamanian registered cruise ship ASTRA I called at Liverpool on Friday 24 July. Operated by Caravella Shipping of Moscow, the vessel previously visited Liverpool during the EURO96 football tournament. ASTRA 1 is 117m long and weighs in at 5,634. She brought 260 Russian holidaymakers to Liverpool and remained anchored off Cammell Laird until around 19.00. The Mersey Ferries providing tendering facilities to the landing stage.


 Work modifying the Canada #3 Branch Dock north berth for ro/ro operations by Merchant ferries has been completed. Work on the portakabin also appears to be nearing completion. However, apart from the "Coming Soon" notices at the dock gates the prospect of an August start appears to be receding as no adverts have appeared in the local press as yet.


HMS SPLENDID, Swiftsure Class submarine constructed by Vickers in 1980 was announced as heading in bound by Mersey Radio on Saturday morning 25 July. The tugs Canada and Collingwood were in attendance.


Direct Holidays the parent company of Direct cruises which is operating the chartered EDINBURGH CASTLE and APOLLON out of Liverpool this year has been sold to Airtours. Airtours have paid 81 million for the business and intend to operate a cruise programme out of Liverpool for 1999. However, for the following year, operations are subject to review. Airtours apparently wants to expand operations to Harwich, Tilbury and Southampton.

Airtours claim that there is no reason to suggest that there will be not be other cruises from Liverpool in the future.


It looks as though Stena Line has a replacement ship in mind for the Irish Sea. The company has purchased the former RMT flagship PRINS FILIP for US$50 million. The ship will be renamed STENA ROYAL. The vessel is currently laid up at Dunkirk, but is expected to enter service in the not too distant future. STENA ROYAL is expected to replace KONINGIN BEATRIX on the Fishguard - Rosslare route.


Fisher's TANKERMAN now renamed SEVERN FISHER remains in the wet basin after her lengthening. BLUE SKY ONE remains in #6 Dry Dock, whilst the DEEPSEA WORKER remains in #5. Royal Fleet Auxiliary Landing Ship [Logistic] L3027 SIR GERAINT remains in the wet basin.

John Luxton

26 July 1998



19 July 1998

Compiled by: John Luxton 70374,30


First of all apologies - no BEN-MY-CHREE voyage report! SeaCo obviously had a change of plan and the BEN operated freight only on 18th July!

This week there are two contributions from readers. There are photographs and information on PENDENNIS a Fairmile launch which  ended its days as a Pleasure Steamer in the North West for the Blackpool Steam Navigation Co [1947] Ltd.

New replies have been posted to several queries in the Maritime Queries Section.

Please note that Steve Schultz's WORLD MARITIME NEWS is taking a summer break and will be back in August. I should have his 7 August edition on line by the 11th as I will also be away for a few days.

Thanks again for all those who have sent news and information and photos. Its is a great pleasure to be able to share information with like minded people via this medium.

I will be finishing work for the summer break on Wednesday so obviously thoughts are turning towards holidays [and ships!] Though I hope to spend some time making further improvements to MSN! - If you are off on your travels this summer have a good time and a good sail!



BEN-MY-CHREE - Last Saturday [11 July] the BEN-MY-CHREE open day at Douglas attracted 5,000 visitors according to the Manx Press. She entered service on the 20.00 sailing carrying freight only. Reports in the Manx Independent suggest that the company may get the contract for conveying newspapers to the island in preference to the current contract holder Emerald Airways. Apparently the BEN's arrival time is at least 15 minutes earlier in Douglas than the first flight can be handled out at Ronaldsway Airport near Castletown.

PICASSO - The PICASSO remains laid up in Vittoria Dock.

PEVERIL - With the BEN-MY-CHREE now in service, the PEVERIL arrived at Alfred Lock, Birkenhead around 13.30 on Monday 13 July. She proceeded to the company's berth at Vittoria Dock and laid up alongside PICASSO. All very reminiscent of the days when the LADY OF MANN and her redundant fleetmate MONA'S QUEEN spent much of each year rubbing fenders at the same berth. It will be interesting to see where the KING ORRY will lay up after her withdrawal next month.

SEACAT DANMARK - SCD went fishing again this week. She did not operate the evening Douglas - Liverpool and return sailing after she ingested at Lobster pot! Sharks and lobsters in a week, at this rate she's certain to catch a kipper by the end of the month! <grin>!

KING ORRY - The KING paid another unscheduled call at Merseyside this week. She replaced SEACAT DANMARK on the Monday evening sailing from Douglas arriving at Liverpool at 01.30 on Tuesday 14 July. She sailed again at 02.15.

SUPERSEACAT TWO - She was reported significantly late with a Liverpool arrival time of 03.45 on Tuesday 14 July, presumably due to bad weather.

The Liverpool Echo carried a report on Friday from some angry would-be passengers for SSC2. Apparently they arrived around 08.00 for an 08.15 sailing and were not allowed to board. The company pointed out the condition which clearly states on all timetables "Services may depart up to 15 minutes before scheduled departure time" and the captain had decided with the prospect of bad weather an earlier departure was appropriate. Consequently 50 passengers were left behind. They claimed not to know anything about the condition, but then if they had bothered to check their tickets they would have spotted that last check-in printed on their ticket would have stated 07.15. [Though in practice for foot passengers up to 07.45 is acceptable.] The passengers only have themselves to blame and as most people take the time to arrive in good time, why should they not benefit from an early departure.

LATE NEWS: Monitoring Mersey Radio on Sunday evening [19 July] suggested that the 18.00 SUPERSEACAT TWO departure to Dublin was delayed until 18.45 and consequently SEACAT DANMARK's arrival was delayed until after SSC2 had cleared.


 A rather poor photograph of Merchant Ferries DAWN MERCHANT appeared in the Liverpool Echo this week. Badly cropped, it failed to do justice to this vessel, which looks quite impressive. DAWN MERCHANT will inaugurate the service during August with one round trip sailing daily, increasing to two sailings when her sister ship enters service in the autumn.


 Further to last week's report, Keith Messant has sent the following information:

 "A Windermere lake Cruises Ltd spokesman confirmed today [18 July] that a contract for the demolition of the above vessel has been made with Wyre Construction Ltd. of Fleetwood, Lancs, and that work is due to start within a very short time (i.e. days).

 "SWIFT", 203 gt, 150 x 21 x 10 ft, built by T. B. Seath of Rutherglen, Glasgow, 1899/1900, and launched Jan 1, 1900 on the very slipway that may become the site of her demolition. SWIFT was a controversial member of W.L.C. Ltd's fleet, having been sold to them by Sea-Containers (successors to British Rail) as a serviceable vessel. However, she has never moved for at least 15 years under her own power, being used as the floating base for the Campbell Blue-bird Exhibition, staged in a large tent on her decks.

 The "SWIFT" is surely a prime subject for preservation/restoration, being an important relic of the former FURNESS RAILWAY, and associated with Windermere for nearly a century, carrying thousands of Lancashire Wakes holidaymakers and many other happy passengers on cruises down the lake. When compared with the active and very similar but slightly smaller, Loch Katrine Steamer, the "SIR WALTER SCOTT", it can be readily seen what a wonderful asset to tourism she could still be. It is very sad that, short of a gallant knight to rescue her, she will end her days very, very shortly as scrap, the price of which, due to the Asian recession can hardly justify the work expended in cutting her up.

Keith Messent Friends of SWIFT Group, Skipton, UK "

This is certainly very sad news. Given her small size and the popularity of the Lake District to tourists surely her restoration and operation could have been a viable proposition? Last year I paid two visits to Windermere. On the first in June, I had an enjoyable trip on board the beautifully restored TERN. The attractive presentation of this vessel is certainly a testament to her former owners SEA CONTAINERS, which carried out refits on SWAN TEAL and TERN, but somehow overlooked SWIFT.

During August I decided to drive up to Lakeside again for a trip on TERN. Well perhaps my unfamiliarity with the Lake District was to blame but as I parked up at Lakeside on a rather hot day the pier was a seething mass with no further tickets being sold for the next sailing, reluctantly I came away. Now if only four "steamers" had been operating!

 The demolition of SWIFT will mark another blow to Britain's maritime heritage. Presently a number of fine vessels face an uncertain future - ROYAL IRIS, MANXMAN, SOUTHSEA and the Welsh Maritime & Industrial Museum's steam tug [her name escapes me at present!] could all end up reduced to a pile of scrap.


The Isle of Man Fisheries Minister has confirmed that the patrol vessel ENBARR is due to be replaced by a new vessel costing 748,000. There was some concern that local companies had not been involved in its construction, but then no tenders had been received. The construction contract has been won by Souter Marine of the Isle of Wight. The new 20 metre vessel will replace the ENBARR which has been in use for the last 11 years and is often dubbed as being the only vessel in the Manx Navy! However, as the patrol area has been extended from a 3 mile limit to a 12 mile limit a larger vessel is required. The new vessel is expected to be in service in 12 months time.


Waverley has apparently hit problems as Josh Reynolds writes: "Well, there I was on the train to Helensburgh this morning (Thursday) peering   across the Clyde to Greenock and having difficulty making out the expected   shape of a paddle steamer. Obviously a bad eye day, nothing unusual in that.

At Helensburgh, I went for my usual wander to kill time and when I reached the   front just after 1030 and peered across the water I still could see no   steamer. Oh well, obviously lost against the confused dockside background.

However as I approached the pier at about 10.45 and could not discern a paddle   steamer passing the Captianis, I could no longer blame everything on my   eyesight and began to fear a horrible possibility - I was at Helensburgh but   Waverley was not.

My worst fears were confirmed as I wandered down the pier and saw Uncle Bob in   conversation with Dr. Joe who was not dressed for a sail.

Apparently, the boiler overheating alarm has been ringing off and on a lot   recently and this was not cured by replacing the alarm so on Monday, an   off-service day, they had a look at the boiler and discovered - a - boiler water contaminated with, it looks like, sulphur probably from the  fuel oil.

b - some distortion of the plating.

Waverley has remained at Anderson since but repairs are in hand, first clean  the boiler then get Babcocks to fix the plating. The boiler is being acid  cleaned (whatever that is) today (Thu) and Babcocks are scheduled for Fri, Sat  and Sun.

No sailings till Tuesday at the earliest. I am planning to sail Tue and Wed  but will make enquiries before I set out!

Aye, to lose the Glasgow Fair weekend after so much wet weather. 'Sno fair."


Keith Messant's enquires last week regarding Glasson Dock, produced some interesting responses.

Michael Pryce forwarded the following:

"QUEEN OF SCOTS, one of the loveliest steam schooners in the world, has seen was sold into Greek ownership, and renamed DOLORES. She left Lancaster on 4/1/47, for Swansea.

The 1949-50 edition of Lloyds Register lists DOLORES as:- ex-yacht QUEEN OF SCOTS 1947.Converted to passenger vessel 1947. Twin-screw, 626 gross, 353 net. 162.0 ft. registered length x 28.4 ft. beam x 13.3 ft. depth. Built 5/1904 by Fairfield Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., Glasgow. In 1949 she was registered in Panama and owned by Manzilla Navigation Ltd. Sold for demolition and arrived at Savona 27/4/52. The mention of the small coastal naval craft which used Glasson Dock during the war reminds me of one which ended her days at Glasson. The Fairmile "B" type ML 113, built by Tough Bros.(Teddington), and was converted and renamed PENDENNIS in 7/1948 by Blackpool S.N.Co.(1947) Ltd. She made summer cruise sailings from Blackpool, and sometimes called at Heysham for oil bunkers. She was often laid-up at Glasson Dock, and ended her days there about 1962, when her engines and fittings were removed, and the remains of her wooden hull were burnt."


That lost anchor reported last week still appears to be recorded as a hazard.


Fisher's TANKERMAN now renamed SEVERN FISHER left #7 dry dock on Tuesday and has moved into the wet basin after her lengthening. BLUE SKY ONE remains in #6 Dry Dock, whilst the DEEPSEA WORKER remains in #5. Royal Fleet Auxiliary Landing Ship [Logistic] L3027 SIR GERAINT remains in the wet basin.


Acknowledgements: Ron Mappelbeck, Keith Messant and Michael Pryce, David Butler, Josh Reynolds and R.C.

John Luxton





12 July 1998

Compiled by: John Luxton 70374,30



During August I will be away at least two weekends, therefore it makes sense to reschedule the principal weekly update to Monday. Updates will take place by 21.00 on Mondays August 3, 17 and 31st. There will be no updates August 10 and 24 there may be additional updates should I be inundated with news!

A full illustrated report on the Friend's of the Ferries Dock and River Cruise on 13 June can be accessed from the Maritime Features Section on the front page. Do take a look as it shows an illustrated journey through most of Liverpool's remaining commercial docks.




BEN-MY-CHREE - The BEN MY CHREE made her debut at Douglas on the Tynwald Day Bank Holiday - Monday 6 July. She arrived as scheduled at 09.30 at Douglas after the KING ORRY departed for Heysham. The previous night anchored off Port St. Mary.

The BEN travelled to Heysham for berthing trials on Wednesday and called at Liverpool on Thursday. Apparently things didn't quite go to plan. SEACAT DANMARK developed a technical problem, which was apparently electrical in nature. This meant she was stuck on the landing stage. The BEN MY CHREE arrived and sailed past the stage, turning off Cammell Laird. She then swung to port to pass close to SCD blowing her horn. The BEN then headed off towards New Brighton.

Turning again she repeated the exercise before making another turn and passing the stage close to on her port side. It had been planned that she would take bunkers alongside the landing stage. However, she dropped anchor off Cammell Laird and bunkers were taken from the bunkering barge.

She was open to the public for inspection on Saturday 11 July and apparently drew large crowds, before taking her first scheduled [freight only] sailing to Heysham. From then on she will operate the PEVERIL's sailings. SEACAT DANMARK finally departed at 13.00. The BEN MY CHREE finally berthing at 13.45. The BEN MY CHREE departed again at 15.30.

Preliminary reports suggest that the ship is well furnished internally, but the passenger accommodation area is quite small which means a full load [500 pax] could make the accommodation rather crowded. Furthermore, it appears that there is little in the way of high backed seating, which calls into question the suitability of the vessel as a "night boat" particularly on the early morning sailing from Heysham.

PICASSO - The PICASSO remains laid up in Vittoria Dock.

SEACAT DANMARK - It was a case of SEACAT 0 - basking shark 0 on Monday when the ship collided with a large basking shark off the Isle of Man on 6 July. The Merseyside press managed to get SCD mixed up with SSC2 and showed a picture of SSC2 at the landing stage. SCD lost her stability foils in the collision and consequently her 14.30 departure from Douglas to Dublin was delayed until 19.00 whilst repairs were undertaken. The Manx press reports that the company may attempt to retrieve the foils with the help of a local diving club. It isn't known what happened to the shark!

KING ORRY - It had been thought that the KING ORRY had made her last service visit to Merseyside back in May However, the mishap with SEACAT DANMARK meant that SCD was not in position to work the 21.30 Douglas to Liverpool. Consequently KING ORRY operated the 21.30 sailing from Douglas and the delayed return working from Liverpool.

With unsettled weather forecast for the coming week, there is the possibility that we may see the KING again on Merseyside before she bows out.

SUPERSEACAT TWO - The 08.15/13.00 sailings on Sunday 5 July were cancelled due to strong winds in the Irish Sea. The ship is reported to have carried 114,000 passengers on the Dublin - Liverpool route in its first three months of operation; 21,000 vehicles were also carried during this period.

This year's latest article of clothing for the fashion conscious enthusiast has gone on sale aboard SSC2 priced 19.95. Available in white with blue trim or a close approximation to Sea Co blue with white trim and both bearing an embroidered SUPERSEACAT LIVERPOOL - DUBLIN logo. I had spotted a couple of the crew wearing them last week, whilst this week they were on sale in the shop. Somewhat on the pricey side compared to the traditional IoMSPCo sweatshirts [15.99] - great for keeping warm on board in winter - or the IoMSPCo "T" shirts {11.99]. The T-shirt carried a label "Authentic SuperSeaCat Product" - is this the first of a new line of "SuperSeaCat" branded merchandise? How long will it be before one can buy battery operated SSC to play with in the bath? Stena has battery operated HSSs on sail when the ship entered service!

The company reports that carryings during the 1998 TT festival were slightly down on the same period last year. A total of 28,816 passengers travelled between 28 May and 8 June which compares to just over 30,000 last year. Cars and vans totalled 2,846 compared to 2,907 in 1997. The number of bikes fell from 13,725 to 13,120, However, the fall has been attributed partly to the fact that the TT fortnight was a week later this year and did not include the May Bank Holiday period as it has done in recent years.


The small car ferry EILEAN DHIURA departed from Alfred Lock, Birkenhead at 10.00 on Monday 6 July. She put into Douglas at 19.30 on her delivery voyage for repairs to a loading ramp problem. It is probably the first time that two brand new ships have arrived at Douglas harbour on the same day. The new BEN arriving at 09.30 that morning.


On Saturday 11 July Lifeboats and a helicopter were called out to search for a male passenger who was seen to fall over the side of the KONIGIN BEATRIX which was 10 miles off Fishguard.

Lifeboats from St David's and a Sea King helicopter from RAF Chivenor in north Devon were assisted in the search but were unable to locate the man, believed to be a student at Swansea University.

KONINGIN BEATRIX spent a few days in Cammell Laird's yard last summer following a mishap whilst berthing at Rosslare.


Little further work appears to have been done at the MERCHANT FERRIES Canada Dock terminal this week.


Keith Messant has written regarding SWIFT, ex Furness Rly., launched Jan 1 1900, which is reported to be up on the slipway at Lakeside. This ship has been out of service and laid up at the Lakeside Pier for 15 years. Unlike the other three "steamers" she was not restored or rebuilt by Sea Containers when they owned the Windermere Iron Steamboat Company.

Does anyone know what work is being carried out and whether the rumour of a possible restoration to steam power has any basis in fact?


Keith Messant is seeking information regarding a vessel seen at Glasson Dock, Lancashire, being refitted after war service as a hospital ship during the immediate post - war period 1945-49.

Keith has forgotten the precise name, but it had something to do with Mary, Queen of Scots.

She had a clipper bow with figurehead, counter stern and twin triple expansion steam engines (which I was shown and which were in pristine condition), single funnel and was berthed at Glasson, taking up most of the west side of the salt basin. Keith explains that at that time this was an unmade - a grassy bank, merely having a marvellous circular stone plinth, about halfway along the basin, topped by a capstan, which was reminiscent of the sort of thing found on the fore decks of ships like "Victory").

Keith is interested to ascertain her exact name and her name carried during WWII. He also wants to know who was she built for pre-war and what washer post-war fate?

She was reported at the time as being sold to Greek Shipowners for use as a yacht.. Was she used in this role? Does anyone have further details of her career?

Glasson was a very interesting place at that time, being a demob point for countless MFV's and other small craft. It was a base for MTB's also. Keith remembers seeing the last one put to sea when the base was closed.

If anyone can fill in details it would be appreciated.


Announced this week on Mersey Radio's Notices to Mariners. There is an anchor and seven shackles lying on the seabed 1.5 miles due south of the Bar light float. - Its not known which vessel it belongs to.


Fisher's TANKERMAN/SEVERN FISHER remains in #7 dry dock. BLUE SKY ONE remains in #6 Dry Dock, whilst the DEEPSEA WORKER remains in #5. Royal Fleet Auxiliary Landing Ship [Logistic] L3027 SIR GERAINT has arrived in the wet basin.

John Luxton


05 July 1998

Compiled by: John Luxton 70374,30



First of all, thanks again to those people who have sent in reports and additional information.

However, now a request! Last week in the queries section I published a query which was replied to within hours of its posting by MSN reader. I don't know if the person making the reply had also tried to e-mail the information directly to the person seeking information or not. However, when I tried to forward the information the mail was bounced back to me. Presumably the e-mail address was incorrect. Please, make sure that your e-mail addresses are correct and that direct responses can be made if you are seeking information.

Next week I hope to have on line a selection of Photos of Liverpool Docks taken from the ferry MV OVERCHURCH during the annual Friends of the Ferries Across the Mersey Dock Cruise.

 Please note I have been further re-organising the directory structure of the site, please report any broken page links or graphics which do not appear when they should! - Thanks.



BEN-MY-CHREE - The BEN is due to make her debut at Douglas on the Tynwald Day Bank Holiday - Monday 6 July. She is expected to arrive at around 09.30. Mrs. Gelling, wife of the Chief Minister, will provide an official welcome at 14.00. Berthing trials at Liverpool and Heysham are likely to be undertaken during the coming week. She is scheduled to take over the PEVERIL sailings from 11 July.

PICASSO - The PICASSO remains laid up in Vittoria Dock.

SEACAT DANMARK - Late running of SSC2 appears to have delayed the early evening arrival and departure on Friday and Saturday.

SUPERSEACAT TWO - The 08.15 ex Liverpool and 13.00 ex Dublin on Sunday 5 July were cancelled due to strong winds in the Irish Sea. The ship is reported to have carried 114,000 passengers on the Dublin - Liverpool route in its first three months of operation; 21,000 vehicles were also carried during this period.


In 21 June posting I wrote the following concurring a sighting of the BALMORAL:

"David Stewart reports that The BALMORAL was meant to do a trip yesterday 14/06 from Burntisland to Edinburgh (Granton). She was to proceed to Eyemouth (arrive 14:00) then cruise to Lindisfarne and back to Eyemouth (17:00) and onto Granton (20:30), however he spotted her crossing from Burntisland to Granton at about 16:00, so something must have been wrong!"

Though North Sea shipping movements are really outside the area of scope of MSN I have received the following information from Josh Reynolds concerning the unusual positioning which will be of interest:

"The Sunday cruise was cut short due to adverse sea conditions outside the Bass Rock. There is a limit to what one can do for a cruise inside the firth so BALMORAL returned to Burntisland rather than the advertised coach return from Granton.

I went through to Granton on the following Wednesday for the cruise to Eyemouth and Lindisfarne and BALMORAL rolled (as only BALMORAL can!) in a beam sea all the way from the Bass Rock to Eyemouth. Not pleasant! I am told conditions were much worse on the Sunday, to the point that they closed The Britannia Lounge bar and opened the bar on the lower deck instead (less roll nearer the keel).

It was touch and go at Eyemouth, the harbour entrance is very narrow (maybe ten feet wider than BALMORAL) with a lot of rocks outside the breakwater. Difficult getting in, more difficult getting out, requiring a very high standard of ship-handling."

I'd had enough of the rolling and decided to pass on Lindisfarne so got off at Eyemouth. BALMORAL did not return in the evening, going in to Berwick-on-Tweed instead.

On Thursday morning, I went down to Berwick on the off-chance that there might be no Eyemouth call but after a good look and consultations with the harbour master, BALMORAL did go in, carefully, and got out again safely.

We rolled back up the coast and I was quite relieved when we got into the Forth."


Stena is reportedly seeking to cut 40 jobs from the 213 aboard its KONINGIN, which sails between Rosslare and Fishguard. The action is part of a restructuring of Fishguard operations in which a lower passenger certificate will be sought for the vessel. It is now certified for 1,800 passengers but Stena has said that 500 would be enough for eight months each year. [WMN: 03/07/98]


Harland & Wolff Ship Repair and Marine Services Ltd. will end its general ship-repair business, citing the UK pound's strength compared to other currencies and over-capacity in the industry. The decision suspends ferry work as well. The firm was the only British yard available for certain fast ferries such as the STENA HSS vessels. The company will now seek refurbishment, conversion and other major projects, particularly in the cruise and offshore areas. [WMN:03/07/98]. This news is probably like to be of benefit to the two Mersey yards of Wright and Beyer and Cammell Laird which undertake many off-season ferry refits, but neither of which look capable of dealing with an HSS!


The small car ferry EILEAN DHIURA was scheduled to depart from Alfred Lock at 08.00 on Saturday. However, when I was on SSC2 on Saturday morning's 08.15 sailing I did not see EILEAN DHIURA so presumably her departure was cancelled or delayed. On Friday evening she had been observed at the McTay berth in East Float carrying a container, Land Rover Discovery and Caravan! Is the latter living accommodation for the crew on the delivery voyage?


In case anyone missed the posting the other week. Anyone wishing to obtain a free return trip [up to 72 hours] for upped 4 adults or a discount of 70% on 72 hour car and passenger vehicle fare for the Holyhead - Dublin and Pembroke - Rosslare service should collect the wrapper from the promotional packs of Kerrygold Butter!


Thanks to Mike Pryce of New Zealand MSN has had regular updates concerning CONDOR 10 which left Merseyside after refit last autumn to spend the northern hemisphere winter on charter to New Zealand Railways as she had done in previous years. Originally it had been intended that the company would use the craft for a new Weymouth-Channel Islands-St Malo route due to begin this summer. Revised plans saw a larger Incat craft being substituted.

 Earlier in the week Mike sent me the following message concerning CONDOR 10:

 "She has been chartered by new company EUROFERRIES, formed by a group of Spanish travel agencies and local business families. CONDOR 10 is presently operating on a service from Algeciras to Tangier. EUROFERRIES have also taken CATLINK II (ex CONDOR 11) on a four-year charter. She is operating on a service between Algeciras and Ceuta, and has been renamed EUROFERRIES 1. No news yet as to whether CONDOR 10 is to become EUROFERRIES 2."

Mike later had further information:

"No sooner had I sent you the e-mail yesterday about CONDOR 1O than more news came to hand. Euroferries have taken over the Algeciras to Ceuta route from the now defunct ferry operator Flebasa (Isnasa), together with the two conventional passenger ro/ro's PUNTA EUROPA and BAHIA DE CEUTA.

As said yesterday, Euroferries have taken CAT-LINK II (ex CONDOR 11) under a four-year charter, and renamed EUROFERRY 1, and under the Spanish flag, she entered service between Algeciras and Ceuta on 31st May. She is still owned by Holyman Ltd.

CONDOR 10 was planned to be introduced into service between Algeciras and Tangier on 1st June. However, for reasons not known, this did not

take place, and CONDOR 10 remains laid up at Algeciras, but is expected to leave for an undisclosed destination early in July.

It thus looks as if the original charter to Euroferries has fallen through, and another charter arranged by her owners."

 It appears as though CONDOR 10's wanderings are set to continue!


The entrance gate to Canada #3 Branch Dock has been set back further from the road, including the dock police gate office, almost adjacent to the new terminal building.


Next year TITANIC enthusiasts will have the opportunity to dine in an exact replica of the Titanic's restaurant. The aim being to recreate the food, drink and ambience of the Liverpool registered liner. The restaurant is to be located at Scott's Building, Cobh, Ireland. Cobh was the Titanic's final port of call in April 1912. The building is located close to the Pier from which the liner tenders sailed, the restaurant development is being undertaken by Vincent Keaney, a millionaire winner of the Irish Lotto.

On Tuesday 7 July a monument dedicated to the victims of the disaster will be unveiled along with a ceremony to mark the commencement of work on the restaurant. The youngest survivor of the Titanic Disaster, Mulvina Dean, is expected to be present for the ceremony.

The restaurant complex will open in two stages. The lower floor comprising a bar/smoke room will open in December, with the restaurant completion around Easter 1999.

Cobh [Queenstown], was a major port of call for trans-Atlantic liners on their way from Liverpool or Southampton to the USA. The Cork Heritage Centre, located in part of the Railway Station/Liner Terminal building tells recreates the history of the port and is well worth a visit in its own right.


Following last week's Legionnaire's Disease scare aboard the EDINBURGH CASTLE, the vessels water system was completely cleansed when it docked at Greenock. The ship's departure was delayed whilst the work was carried out.


The "replica" has left Clarence Dry Dock after attention by Mannings Marine and on Saturday afternoon was seen berthed at Trafalgar Dock, nearby.


Fisher's TANKERMAN/SEVERN FISHER remains in #7 dry dock. BLUE SKY ONE remains in #6 Dry Dock, whilst the DEEPSEA WORKER remains in #5. The company reported its full year results during the past week of profits totalling 4.15 million. On Friday evening the MERSEY MAMMOTH entered the yard to undertake work she was still there on Sunday morning.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Josh Reynolds, Mike Pryce, RC

John Luxton



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