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SuperSeaCat Three

Liverpool to Dublin and Return June 29, 2002

Photographs John Luxton 2002

Having been rather busy recently I have not taken a trip on SSC3 since early May, I was therefore surprised to discover that a passenger car park is now available at last at the Pier Head terminal. Sea Containers have recently  secured use of the MD&HC Private car park . Parking is 5 per day. There appears to be about 30 spaces. Certainly a useful facility and 5 is a lot cheaper than an after midnight taxi fare when returning from a day trip from IoM. I am sure it will prove a popular facility.

They appeared to be heading for a quick getaway but there was a delay whilst a passenger was found not to have a boarding card, and whilst that was sorted out some late arriving foot passengers came scurrying along.

SUPERSEACAT THREE got away slightly early under the command of Captain Birtini at 08:12 with 485 passengers and 100 vehicles after the usual scurrying latecomers arrived.  Pilot boat PETREL moved off the stage to facilitate departure.

Running down the river Wijsmuller's Belfast tug COLERAINE could be seen outside of Clarence Dry Dock. She was sporting a very dark blue hull livery, which appears a great improvement over the previous light blue Wijsmuller livery.

Nothing has changed at Sandon Dock, with PRINCESS ROYAL [ex HABICHT II], PATER [ex OILMAN} and LIBERTATEA [ex NAHLIN] laid up along the west quay.

Over at Twelve Quays MERSEY VIKING was loading for her morning sailing for Belfast.

At Seaforth  ATLANTIC CONCERT was noted loading containers at Seaforth. Running down the channels C22 was passed at 08:30, C12 at 08:37 Q1 at 08:48. ETA back at Liverpool Bar was expected to be 17:00 

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN was observed heading in bound for Liverpool at 08:50 from Douglas whilst Liverpool Bar Lightfloat was passed to starboard at 08:53. A few minutes later a tanker could be observed off the Liverpool Bay OSI some miles to the north.

09:09 very pronounced swing to starboard after several short blasts on whistle. From where I was sitting in the Blue Riband Lounge on the starboard side I couldn't see why the whistle was blown.

At 11:05 EUROPEAN ENVOY was overtaken as she headed eastbound to Dublin on her morning sailing from Mostyn.

11:12 some distance to the north several coasters could be seen heading in various directions off starboard.

By 11:28 SUPERSEACAT THREE was half an hour to Baily. Around this time SSC3 passed through some light drizzle for a while but this soon cleared up.

As we came round the Baily NORBAY could be seen heading out past Poolbeg, the vessels passing at 12:04 on her sailing to Liverpool.

Poolbeg was passed at 12:14 with ropes on the berth at 12:25. Over at Norse Merchant, VARBOLA was on berth 53.

Boarding for the 13:45 departure commenced around 13:15, as I walked down the gangway, EUROPEAN ENVOY could be seen approaching Poolbeg.

EUROPEAN ENVOY passed berth 49 at 13:31, as she headed inbound BG Freightlines container ship MONIKA EHLER which had been berthed at the South Wall container terminal when SSC arrived passed outbound followed by a Pilot Boat #1 as EUROPEAN ENVOY passed inbound.

The passenger gangway was removed at 13:40 though vehicles were still being loaded. Engines started at 13:45 though loading vehicles appeared to cause some delay. Perhaps because there were some larger vehicles?

EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR which had been loading at the P&O Terminal departed around 13:45 for Cherbourg. She had 200 passengers on board and indicated an arrival time at Cherbourg of 08:00 GMT, Sunday. It was interesting to note that this summer season once weekly sailing appears to be attracting some freight as one had the impression that it would be primarily for private cars and their passengers.

It is a great shame that P&O have such a negative attitude towards foot passengers. One could have a wonderful weekend cruise from Mostyn to Cherbourg and back if one didn't have to take a car. Come on P&O what about a few tickets available on each sailing just for the cruise?  

SSC3's stern doors were reported closed at 13:55 and ropes were let go at 13:56, 417 passenger and 110 vehicles were on board.  ETA in Liverpool being notified to Dublin Port Radio as being 18:00. 

As we ran down the channel to Poolbeg a large number of yachts could be seen on their weekend manoeuvres in Dublin Bay.

SSC3 passed the work boat VOE TRADER outbound at Poolbeg which was making her way to join the work boats working on the Dublin Bay Sewage Pipeline Project.

14:12 Passed Point India, EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR could be seen heading away to the south east.

14:18 South Burford Buoy.

14:46 HSS STENA EXPLORER passed westbound on her afternoon sailing to Dun Laoghaire.

15:52 passing approximately 6 miles north of Holyhead Bay.

16:40 Captain advised passengers that one engine had gone technical and had been shut down. Revised ETA at Liverpool 18:15. Ship was now running at 27knots.

16:55 Chemical CHEM RIVER passed eastbound.

17:04 Passed off Prestatyn.

17:27 Passed Q1.

17:31 Formby Lightfloat NORBAY was noted off the Radar Tower as we came around Crosby bend.

17:40 overtaken German coaster CANUM

SEACAT ISLE OF MAN passed outbound . She had departed from Liverpool at 17:36 bound for Dublin with just 19 cars and 84 passengers. Passenger loadings on this Saturdays only sailing have not been very good.

NORBAY was in Gladstone Lock as SSC3 passed by. WHITKIRK passed northbound off the former Sandon Entrance. LAGAN VIKING was on the south berth at Twelve Quays discharging the last of her trailers. ROYAL DAFFODIL was operating the Mersey Ferry service.

SSC3 turned opposite Woodside landing stage drifting into the middle of the river. Adsteam tug COLLINGWOOD could be seen scurrying up river from Langton. SSC3 and COLLINGWOOD rendezvoused off the former Waterloo River Entrance.

With the aid of the tug SSC3 then moved slowly astern, making fast at 18:45. A large number of vehicles were assembled for the delayed sailing to Douglas. I understand that SSC3 managed to get away at around 20:20 but fortunately did not loose anymore time so presumably the engine difficulty was rectified.

Once again it had proved to be an enjoyable trip



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