The Irish Sea Shipping Archive

About ISSContactContentVoyage ReportsISS Amazon Shop
PhotographsFeaturesShip AISShips on FilmNews
Finished With Engines: Irish Sea Shipping is now closed to new updates
 
www.jhluxton.com - J.H. Luxton Photography - Transport, Industrial History, Regional Photographs UK & beyond
Voyage Report: Sea Containers

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN

Photographs  John H. Luxton 2012

21 June 1997

11.00 Liverpool to Douglas

21.30 Douglas to Liverpool

Commander: Captain Albiston

 The weekend's weather did not look too promising when I arrived at the Sea Terminal. SEACAT ISLE OF MAN had just arrived and was unloading passengers. The terminal was quite busy with foot passengers and one had the impression that it could be a capacity load. There were a large number of school children waiting to go aboard.

 Loading of foot passengers commenced at around 10.30. Whilst we were waiting for departure the Mersey Ferry MOUNTWOOD departed the landing stage on its Manchester Ship Canal cruise. Ropes were cast off at 10.58, two minutes a head of schedule. Final passenger numbers were 334 [not as busy as one had originally thought] 72 vehicles and 21 crew. The SeaCat departed on the incoming tide. In the channel we overtook the dredger CAVESAND on yet another one of its journey's from Cammell Laird to the spoil ground. There were a number of ships visible in the channel in bound. At C19 buoy the cargo ship WEILSA was passed with a cargo of timber visible. A little way behind was a Russian vessel the MOBCKNM 7 [I don't know how you pronounce that!] again loaded with a visible deck cargo of timber. At C3 buoy James Fisher's tanker CABLEMAN was passed in-bound loaded at C1 a second Fisher ship TILLERMAN was heading in unladened.

In Queen's Channel at Q7 the coaster DANIEL was passed closely followed by the gas tanker LIVIA and Arklow shipping's coaster EASTFERN. The Bar light float was passed at 11.34. At around 12.20 a Merchant Ferries vessel was seen heading westbound on that company's Heysham to Dublin service. During the course of the voyage a number of the school children aboard were becoming a nuisance to say the least. Running round the saloon, bar and on the observation deck. This resulted in the Captain instructing the teachers over the PA system to ensure they properly supervised their pupils! This was a welcome intervention and must certainly have caused their teachers some embarrassment - but certainly that was needed. It is an unfortunate aspect of ship travel that a minority of children believe that a vessel is nothing more than a big adventure playground round which to chase on another, run, climb over fixtures, fittings and even sit on deck rails with possible fatal consequences. This makes life unpleasant for other travellers and creates other hazards as people try to get refreshments. Why parents and teachers can't try more to interest pupils in the journey is beyond me. Not all children are going to become transport enthusiasts but there is often sufficient to be seen and done on such a trip to maintain interest. In Queen's Channel at Q7 the coaster DANIEL was passed closely followed by the gas tanker LIVIA and Arklow shipping's coaster EASTFERN. The Bar light float was passed at 11.34. At around 12.20 a Merchant Ferries vessel was seen heading westbound on that company's Heysham to Dublin service. During the course of the voyage a number of the school children aboard were becoming a nuisance to say the least. Running round the saloon, bar and on the observation deck. This resulted in the Captain instructing the teachers over the PA system to ensure they properly supervised their pupils! This was a welcome intervention and must certainly have caused their teachers some embarrassment - but certainly that was needed. It is an unfortunate aspect of ship travel that a minority of children believe that a vessel is nothing more than a big adventure playground round which to chase on another, run, climb over fixtures, fittings and even sit on deck rails with possible fatal consequences. This makes life unpleasant for other travellers and creates other hazards as people try to get refreshments. Why parents and teachers can't try more to interest pupils in the journey is beyond me. Not all children are going to become transport enthusiasts but there is often sufficient to be seen and done on such a trip to maintain interest.

On arrival at Douglas the Shell Transport coastal tanker ARIANTA was seen discharging fuel oil at the Battery Pier terminal. Ropes were on the Victoria Pier, Douglas at 13.22. Crossing time 2 hours 26 minutes. The weather at Douglas was sunny with cloud and a fine day was to follow.

As I made my way back to the Sea Terminal at Douglas for the return sailing, the KING ORRY which had arrived at around 18.00 from Heysham was preparing to depart though not on a scheduled service. She was carrying signal flags on her mast. As SEACAT ISLE OF MAN approached she began to run up her engines. The SeaCat coming to a stop in the bay to allow her to leave. The KING ORRY then departed at around 20.15 swinging to starboard and appearing to pass in a south-westerly direction behind Douglas lighthouse. The nature of this run [possibly a charter? is not known.

Boarding of the SEACAT commenced at around 21.00. Departure was at 21.23 - seven minutes ahead of schedule. [It is interesting to note that the company's small print on this year's timetables state that they reserve the right to depart up to 15 minutes a-head of schedule]. There were 153 passengers, 44 cars and 22 crew on board. Once again the commander was Captain Albiston.

As we left Douglas, it was apparent that the weather was closing in somewhat. The Isle of Man became silhouetted against the darkening cloud. However, it remained dry during the crossing. At around half-way on the voyage it became apparent that there were electric storms about with some very impressive lightning flashes to be seen particularly over Lancashire. Lightning seen from the sea and is much more impressive than on land. 000It was almost dark at 22.54 when the NORSE LAGEN was seen heading out from the Mersey on her overnight voyage to Belfast. In the distance the sky was dramatically and brightly lit by the flares of the Hamilton Gas Platform off the Welsh Coast. As the SEACAT entered the Mersey approach channel it was apparent that there was a fair amount of traffic around and about. Several unidentified vessels were seen in and outbound. The SEACAT overtook a Pilot Cutter, and several other in bound coasters and also the ARIANTA which had been seen at Douglas earlier in the day. She was now making her way back to Stanlow Terminal on the Manchester Ship Canal. Just off the Port Radar Tower the IBEX was passed on her overnight sailing to Dublin. LADY OF MANN which had arrived earlier from Dublin was then seen to move off into the River to a position off Seacombe Stage to allow the SeaCat to berth. The SEACAT was made fast at the Landing Stage at 23.47 almost 15 minutes ahead of schedule

 

Visit www.jhluxton.com for Transport, Industrial Heritage & Regional Digital Photographs and Growing Online 35mm Archive

Irish Sea Shipping - What's New July 2008Irish Sea Shipping - What's New August 2009Back Home Up Next 

Irish Sea Shipping John H. Luxton 1995-2018. Content John H. Luxton and Contributors