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Voyage Report: Sea Containers


by John H. Luxton

12th July


COMMANDER: Captain Steve Cowin

08.30 Liverpool to Dublin

16.30 Dublin to Liverpool

Weather Conditions: Sea Mist, occasionally light drizzle, winds light to moderate breeze, sea state calm to slight.

The Liverpool to Dublin service appears to be establishing itself well. I arrived at the Sea Terminal at about 07.30 to find a large number of cars waiting to board the LADY OF MANN. By the time loading was completed cars were occupying the main car deck, the C-Deck car space as well as 18 cars up on the stern ramps. I missed the vehicle figures for the sailing but would estimate them to have been in excess of 100. Passenger loadings were 430 with 58 crew

She sailed promptly at 08.30, the AB Port's dredger UK DOLPHIN passed heading up river for Garston. Apart from a few pleasure craft there were few vessels in the channel on the falling tide.

09.07 P&O's BISON was passed in-bound from Dublin near Formby Light float.

09.25 SEACAT ISLE OF MAN passed in-bound from Douglas.

09.28 Bar Light Float passed.

Anchored at the Bar was a bulk freighter and an unidentified Stolt Tanker.

The ship proceeded on towards the Douglas Gas Field, visibility was rather poor and the Welsh coast had disappeared. Since my last trip two weeks ago the sea was covered with large patches of sediment and in places this was accompanied by and oily scum which presumably had originated from the Douglas platform. It did not appear to have done the local jelly-fish population much good as quite a number of dead jellies were to be seen.

Once a few miles passed the Douglas platform no more evidence of this pollution could be seen.

Through the murk little else was to be seen due to poor visibility. The sea was calm, with only the slightest of ripples. Time to go and get some breakfast!

11.35 - Skerries Light - just visible off port side.

After leaving the lee of the Welsh coast the light breeze strengthened and the sea state changed from calm to slight swell.

13.20 the MERCHANT BRAVERY was passed east-bound on its run to Heysham.

14.18 Just off Howth Head the BG Freightlines coastal container vessel BRIGIT JURGENS was overtaken.

14.24 Howth [Bailey] Lighthouse was passed. Visibility was still poor and there had been some light drizzle. The sky over Dublin looked quite threatening.

Speed was reduced shortly after passing Howth probably to give the pilot the opportunity to rendezvous with the ship at the appropriate point. The pilot was picked up once again from the pilot cutter DODDER shortly before approaching the breakwater. As the LADY passed the red lighthouse the container vessel WESER was passed outbound.

Some of the vessels noted in Dublin docks included: MERCHANT VENTURE, KATHERINA B, RHINE MASTER, and the regular Liverpool to Dublin container ship CHRISTOPHER MEEDER. On the south quay was the large Greek bulk carrier ELLISPORTOS loading scrap. The Dublin Corporation Sludge Boat, Sir Joseph BAZALGETTE was at its berth adjacent to the power station.

Ropes were on the quay at 14.55 and passenger disembarkation commenced at around 15.01. On entering the new terminal building which is still under construction there was a "welcoming committee" of dark green suited gentlemen. Standing by tables - it wasn't clear if these were customs officials or security men. They have not been there on previous trips and neither have such persons been seen at the Stena Terminal at Dun Laoghaire.

On the matter of security it was interesting to note that the LADY OF MANN carried two security guards. These have not been noted on previous occasions. A fellow enthusiast who had been on a Wednesday SeaCat sailing told me that the trip had been spoiled by a group of day-trippers who had decided to get themselves drunk. Unfortunately, given the design of the SeaCat it is impossible to get away from such rowdies. Perhaps that was the reason for the higher security presence?

Boarding for the return journey commenced at 15.50 after the crew had taken the opportunity to replenish the duty free stores. It must be hard work carrying trays of beer from the quayside down to the duty free shop located in the lowest bottom of the LADY.

16.00 the PHILLIP a Hamburg registered container vessel passed the LADY, noted amongst the cargo of containers were two new luxury cabin cruisers. At 16.04 P&O's ro/ro vessel LION arrived.

16.20 the small tanker PETRO AVON departed from the Liffey. Though it was not possible to see the vessel this week, the STENA EXPLORER's radio messages to Dublin Port Control suggested that the vessel left Dun Laoghaire very much on schedule a little after 16.00.

Departure from Dublin was delayed until clearance was received at 16.39 even though the vessel had been closed up and ready for sea at around 16.20

The LADY departed Dublin at 16.39 with 111 Cars, two motor cycles, 398 passengers and 59 crew. Another good car load which vehicles even more tightly packed on the stern ramps.

At 17.44 the STENA CHALLENGER was seen to pass on the starboard side, quite closely followed by the ISLE OF INISHMORE.

Passing back into the lee of the Welsh coast the sea state reduced from slight to calm once again. Skerries Light was passed at 19.25 and visibility was slightly improved.

Little traffic was noted apart from a west bound coastal tanker at 20.27.

The Bar Light was passed at 22.14. On entering the channel the HERM J - on charter to Coastal Container lines was seen en-route to Dublin. This was shortly followed at 22.19 by the NORSE MERSEY on its Belfast sailing.

Ropes were on at Prince's Landing Stage at 23.20. Arrival being some 20 minutes late a further 11 minutes being lost en-route.

One feature of the LADY'S journey which fascinates is the vessel's course. The slower P&O Liverpool to Dublin freight ferries appear to take a much more southerly course along the welsh coast whilst the LADY heads much further north - can anyone account for this?


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