08.15 Liverpool - Dublin
Monday 25 May 1997
Weather NW 3-4
Commander: Captain Padevan
Pilot: Captain Cowin.
Bank holiday Monday saw a good crowd down at the Pier Head when I arrived with my car for the 08.15 sailing. Whilst I was waiting to drive on board I was interested to see Captain Cowin go onto the SUPERSEACAT TWO and just wondered if his presence might just mean the northerly track - even though he was only the pilot!
Efforts were being made to get loading completed as quickly as possible and singling up took place at 08.01. However, there was an almost capacity load with two vehicles unable to board and having to be sent round via Stena at Holyhead!
SSC2 departed with 754 passengers on board. Though there appeared to be problems with the video system. No safety demo film was shown only a demo by a cabin attendant, actually one of the Liverpool booking office clerks. Apparently these staff are covering for shortages of onboard crew.
The Bar was passed to port at 09.01 and it was obvious that the northerly track was being taken, as we headed north west passing to the north of the Douglas platform. This being the first occasion that I have been on SSC2 when she has taken the northerly track. This route which passes some 12 miles or so to the north of Anglesey was favoured by Captain Cowin whenever he was in command of the LADY OF MANN.
At the Bar a number of vessels were awaiting the tide including James Fisher's OARSMAN, STOLT TERN, another unidentified Stolt tanker and another unidentified coaster. ARKLOW VALLEY was seen heading outbound.
SSC2 appeared to be off Lynas at 09.56 and passed north of the Skerries at 10.26. At around 11.20 ISLE OF INISHMORE and STENA CHALLENGER were seen heading eastbound for Holyhead.
Bailey light was passed to starboard a 11.50 with ropes on at Dublin at 12.16.
Whilst monitoring comms on the approach to Dublin, Dublin Port radio asked if a pilot needed to be booked for SSC2's evening sailing from Liverpool. This was confirmed suggesting that IOMSPCO captains are not being carried on all SSC2 sailings now. Presumably the Italian captains have now acquired pilotage certificates for the Mersey?
As I was staying in Ireland for a few days, I now had the opportunity to drive round to the Great South Wall Breakwater and photograph SSC2 as she departed from the berth. Whilst on my way round to Poolbeg the P&O chartered LEMBITU was to be seen. This vessel is currently covering for the EUROPEAN LEADER [ex-BUFFALO]. Whilst waiting for SSC2 to depart the Dublin Corporation sludge boat SIR JOSEPH BAZALGETTE sailed up the channel inbound for her berth opposite the sewage treatment works at Poolbeg. SSC2 departed at 13.15. her place on the berth being taken by SEACAT DANMARK which appeared from a berth further up river. SCD had operated into Dublin on the 07.15 sailing from Douglas and was due to depart Dublin at 17.15.