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Voyage Report: Sea Containers


by Charlie Tennant

MAY 22, 1999

11.15 Troon to Belfast - Captain Maguire
On approaching Troon by car SEACAT SCOTLAND could be seen closing on the harbour more or less on time at 10.20 approx. However she had to make 3 attempts to enter the harbour with the tug RED KNIGHT on standby due the high winds and swell. SEACAT SCOTLAND eventually berthed rather carefully at 10.58 with assistance from RED KNIGHT. The previous night's 18.15 sailing from Belfast had been diverted to Stranraer due to the weather conditions. The turnaround was fairly swift and we departed at 11.42 with a reasonable load.
We were passed by RNLB NEWSBUOY (52-31) the relief Troon Lifeboat which had been waiting off to enter the harbour. I understand that the Troon allocated RNLB CITY OF GLASGOW III (52-38) is under maintenance at Rosneath on the Gare Loch.
Ailsa Craig rock was passed some 700 metres to starboard affording excellent views despite the foul weather. On drawing level with Loch Ryan an unidentified P&O Freighter could be seen in the distance heading north possibly for  Ardrossan. We were then passed on opposite sides by the P&O
JETLINER closely followed by the HSS STENA VOYAGER making for Cairnryan and Stranraer respectively.
The Belfast outer harbour berths were empty apart from one small container vessel. The dry dock at Harland and Wolff continues to be occupied, and has been since my visit on 27th February this year, by CLYDE a floating crane/oil rig support vessel. STENA CALEDONIA was berthed at the Stena Terminal. Arrival at Donegal Quay was at 14.17. Crossing - Very wild, wet and rough.
 18.15 Belfast to Troon - Captain Maguire
 SEACAT DANMARK was berthed at Donegal Quay when we arrived at 17.05 and departed at 17.15 on time for Heysham. While in the departure lounge it was announced that our return sailing would be subject to a 45 min. delay.
SEACAT SCOTLAND arrived ex Stranraer at 18.30 and departed for Troon at 18.58 (43 min. late) with a moderate load.
STENA GALLOWAY had just arrived at the Stena Terminal a few minutes prior to our passing. SPHEROID of Belfast Freight Ferries was off loading at an outer harbour berth while LAGAN VIKING had just turned in front of us and was reversing onto her berth at 19.10.
Just outside Belfast Lough a P&O Freighter (again unidentified) could be seen well off heading for Larne. Shortly after as we turned north the outline of PRIDE OF RATHLIN was just visible in the distance leaving Loch Ryan. Before we reached the Ailsa Craig we were passed by RFA FORT GEORGE (A388) heading south.
Arrival at Troon was at 21.32 with the tug RED KNIGHT again on standby. Crossing - Wet and overcast but not near as windy or rough as earlier.


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