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Voyage Report: Sea Containers


by John H. Luxton

Liverpool – Dublin – Liverpool

Saturday May 1, 1999

Weather: fine, visibility good

Somehow or other I managed to leave home later than usual and did not arrive at the Pier Head until around 07.15, by which time boarding had already commenced. By the time I boarded SSCIII there where quite a few passengers on board and it looked as though it would be a busy sailing.

Whilst the main saloons where busy the Blue Riband Lounge was very quiet. Unusual, really, as I have noted that on busy days quite a few passengers appear to upgrade for some peace and quiet!

Departure from the Pier Head was two minutes ahead of schedule at 07.58 under the command of Captain Marco Bertini. There were 614 passengers on board. Speed was increased as usual at the Rock off New Brighton, which was passed at 08.13. The drill ship BUCENTAUR was passed inbound in Crosby Channel at 08.22 whilst COASTAL BAY passed in bound from Dublin at 08.31 in Queen's Channel.

At The Bar two vessels were anchored to the port side. The LPG tanker LINDA KOSAN and a James Fisher Tanker, which I think was SOLENT FISHER. ACL's ATLANTIC CONVEYOR passed inbound for Seaforth at 08.44 whilst off Llandudno at 08.56 an eastbound tanker could be seen a nearer the coast.

Lynas was passed at 09.28 with the Officer of the watch giving the mid journey progress report to passengers shortly before passing the Skerries at 09.52. A speed of 37 knots was reported with an ETA at Dublin of 12.00.

At 10.47 STENA CHALLENGER passed eastbound for HOLYHEAD followed some minutes later by ISLE OF INISHMORE. At 11.01 SSCIII advised Dublin Port Radio that the ship was 30 minutes from the Baily.

In actual fact the Baily was reached and the radio check made at 11.27. Heading outbound from Dublin was P&O's EUROPEAN LEADER enroute to Merseyside whilst HSS STENA EXPLORER could be seen departing from Dun Laoghaire. Radio transmissions revealing that the HSS STENA EXPLORER had 920 passengers on board.

In Dublin Bay there were two vessels anchored BG Freight Lines container ship believed to be KATARINA B and a Coastal Container Lines vessel [COASTAL ISLE?].

Running up the Liffey RIVER LUNE could be seen at the Merchant Ferries berth loading for her afternoon sailing to Heysham.

Ropes were on in Dublin at 11.53 a few minutes behind schedule.

Proceeding through the terminal and up into the departure lounge it was obvious that the return sailing would be more lightly loaded. Venturing into the overspill waiting area, which is sometimes closed off it, was possible to see the container cranes handling containers from the AMRUN TRADER. In the next berth was the CELTIC KING.

Boarding commenced a little after 12.15 with departure one minute ahead of schedule at 12.44. On the return run 310 passengers were on board. In bound in the channel was the P&O Chartered CELTIC STAR on her morning sailing from Liverpool. Having been thwarted a few weeks ago in getting a decent photograph of this vessel when a film ran out at the crucial moment I was able to get three great shots with the Hill of Howth in the background, these will appear on Mersey Shipping in due course!

Venturing out onto SSCIII's open deck on several occasions during the voyage it was pleasing to note that the gate leading into the rear of the open deck area had been unsealed. It had been open on the maiden voyage but had been sealed with a large cable tie when I made a subsequent journey on April 10. Lets hope this arrangement is continued during periods of good weather, with only the restricted area being kept open in poor conditions.

The Kish was passed at 13.05. Approaching Anglesey the HSS STENA EXPLORER could be seen heading back to Dun Laoghaire at 14.02. Passing South Stack at 14.12 good progress was made to the Mersey Bar.

An inbound tanker ATLANTIC WIND was overtaken at the Mersey Bar. SSCIII entered Queen's Channel at Q1 Buoy at 15.48. At 15.55 BUCENTAUR was passed again, this time she was heading outbound by C10 buoy. Arrival on Princes Landing Stage was at around 16.32 almost a quarter of an hour ahead of schedule.

The weather had been fine and SSCIII appeared to run just like a sewing machine!


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