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KIEL CANAL Classic coasters

FEBRUARY 2018 • Vol 53

YORKTOWN Aircraft carriers


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SHIPS IN FOCUS PUBLICATIONS incorporating MAINMAST BOOKS John and Marion Clarkson 18 Franklands, Longton, Preston

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A selected range of maritime books from quality publishers economical postal charges secure packing prompt service. Payment must accompany all orders and from overseas must be in Sterling with cheques payable to Ships in Focus. Remittances can be made by Maestro, Switch, Mastercard, Visa/Delta. We require card number, 3?K!) %8:< ?;) 'H9!8G )?5'6C K?65 ( D#48'6 :% 6'+48!5G +:)' ?;) +465:<'806 ;?<' ?6 :; +?8)A -' ?K6: ?++'95 9?G<';5 =G 1?G1?KA 28)'86 ?++'95') =G 9":;' !% 9?G<';5 =G +8')!5 +?8) :8 1?G1?KA 1:65?#'L .F :8)'86 49 5: /*> ?)) /*A>>C /*>B/$> ?)) /(A$>C :3'8 /$>A>> %8''A 23'86'?6 :8)'86 =G 6'?<?!KL J48:9'@E:85" 7<'8!+? ,$M :% 5:5?K +:65 :% =::N6C 'K6'I"'8' *>MC =:5" I!5" ? <!;!<4< :% /&A$>A 7!8<?!K ?5 +:65A

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Next OPEN DAY will be held at 18, Franklands, Longton, PR4 5PD, from 10.00 am to 3.30 pm on Saturday, 13th January 2018. SHIPS IN FOCUS ‘RECORD 2017’ is now available: an enlarged, 124page, annual hardback with exactly the same mixture of accurate, wellresearched features and photographs as our 64 four-monthly editions. It features owners old and not-so-old: British, Belgian and Anglo-Swedish; including Union-Castle, Cockerill and Burmah Oil. Coverage of shipbuilding HA%F IH#' 9 F'9;; 4J;FD &9H" C# CDJ '9?#H 3GAHJ #I 7#D% EHBJFC'9%+ 0=#ACD West Scenes’ rounds off our pictorial coverage of the diverse maritime activities at Falmouth, and there is the story of an epic Second World War convoy battle. It covers a range of vessels, from cargo liners, tramps, trawlers and tankers to coasters and other small vessels. More pages mean longer, complete articles. Hardback, 128 pages £17.50 A MARITIME REVIEW OF 2016 World Ship Society – various authors, snapshots of events in the shipping industry in 2016 144 colour photos and 2 B&W A4 76pp £15.00 KNUD E HANSEN Ship design since 1937 80 YEARS Bruce Peter, designers of many merchant ships over 80 years with outstanding contributions to the design of car ferries and cruise liners, well illustreated 256pp bargain at £22.50 THE LONDON, TILBURY AND SOUTHEND RAILWAY A History of the Company and Line, Volume 6 THE GRAVESEND FERRY Peter Kay the ferry service and the ferries, well illustrated A4 s/b 80pp £11.95

THE ABERDEEN LINE George Thomson Jnr’s Incomparable Shipping Enterprise Peter H King, lightly illustrated company DBFC#H& )BCD 6HBJI 1JJC ;BFC D*6 256pp £25.00 SWANSEA DOCKS IN THE 1960s Mark Lee Inman s/b 128pp £12.99 SVITZER TUGS WORLDWIDE Bernard McCall full colour with captions 112pp s/b £10.95 also SVITZER TUGS UK Bernard McCall Photo album of Svitzer tugs working in the United Kingdom s/b A5 88pp £9.95

WARTIME STANDARD SHIPS Nick Robbins illustrated 160pp h/b £25.00

WARSHIP 2017 John Jordan 208pp h/b £40.00 LIFE IN THE TONS Ton Class Association Stan Hudson illustrated s/b 156pp £13.99 DE SCHEPEN VAN DE VCK (Vereenigd Cargadoorskantoor, Amsterdam) 1915-1919 & 1952-1988 (Stegro /#+852 :;;AFCH9CJ" 1JJC ;BFC- ,AC$D language h/b 198pp £23.00 HALF A CENTURY AND MORE OF SHIP PHOTOGRAPHY AT BARROW Ken Royall Warships and merchant ships seen at Barrow, photos with illustrative captions s/b £9.99 THE FOTOFLITE FILES Volume 1: RN Warships Steve Bush photos with descriptive captions 144pp s/b £17.99 ATLANTIC CONTAINER LINE 1967-2017 Philip Parker history with many illustration h/b 144pp £19.50 DANSKE REDERIER Volume 19 Bent Mikkelsen C.Clausen/ Sonderborg Rederi A/S and Corral Line £29.50 SAILING PAST THE POINT Bernard McCall full colour with captions 80pp £16.00

CUNARD CRUISE SHIPS Ian Collard illustrated in black and white and colour s/b 96pp £14.99

EVERARD OF GREENHITHE 2nd Edition K.S. Garrett this second edition takes the story through to its conclusion with the sale of the company in 2006. All ships bought since 1991 D9>J 6JJ% 9""J" C# CDJ 1JJC list, along with managed and time-chartered vessels. Many photographs from the 1st edition have been replaced h/b £36.00 THE SHIPS THAT CAME TO THE POOL OF LONDON From the Roman galley to HMS Belfast illustrated s/b 160pp £15.99 RMS QUEEN MARY – THE FINAL VOYAGE Michael Gallagher, Miles Cowsill 9%" @B$D9H" <J%%9%C- FDB!.F 3%9; voyage out to Long Beach via Cape Horn in 1957 over 200 photos h/b 292pp £24.95 FERRIES 2018 features on Silja and Tallink and full listing of major UK and Northern European ferries h/b 224pp £18.75 QUEEN VICTORIA Miles Cowsill 2017 new edition B%$;A"JF DJH J(CJ%FB>J HJ3C B% May 2017, h/b 96pp £16.00 THE BUILDING OF QUEEN ELIZABETH 2 –the world’s most famous ship, not only the story of her building but also aborted Q3 project h/b 172pp £24.50 TOWNSEND THORESEN – THE FLEET covers Forde through to Pride of Dover, each ship detailed and with photo or illustration h/b 96pp £16.95 STRANDED IN THE SIX DAY WAR Cath Senker The story of the 14 ships trapped in the Suez Canal for eight years, illustrated s/b 192pp £13.50 PUT NOT YOUR RUST IN PRINCES from Bannockburn to the Burdekin, by sea. Denis Gallagher Career at sea starting with Alfred Holt’s Blue Funnel Line and includes an account of the demise of Blue Funnel s/b 336pp £14.95



EDITORIAL Editor • Nicholas Leach Art Editor • Mark Hyde ADVERTISEMENT SALES Talk Media • 01732 445325 Production • 01733 363485 MANAGEMENT Managing Director • Phil Weeden Chief Executive • Steve Wright Chairman • Steve Annetts Finance Director • Joyce Parker-Sarioglu Retail Distribution Manager • Eleanor Brown Audience Development Manager • Andy Cotton Brand Marketing Manager • Rebecca Gibson Events Manager • Kat Chappell Publishing Operations Manager • Charlotte Whittaker SUBSCRIPTIONS 12 issues of Ships Monthly are published a year UK annual subscription price • £51.00 Europe annual subscription price • £64.49 USA annual subscription price • £64.49 Rest of World annual subscription price • £70.49 CONTACT US UK subscription and back issue orderline: 0333 043 9848 Overseas subscription orderline: 00 44 (0) 1959 543 747 Toll free USA subscription orderline: 1-888-777-0275 UK customer service team: 01959 543 747 Customer service email • Customer service and subscription postal address: Ships Monthly Customer Service Team Kelsey Publishing Ltd Cudham Tithe Barn, Berry’s Hill, Cudham Kent, TN16 3AG, United Kingdom WEBSITE Find current subscription offers and buy back issues at ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER? Manage your subscription online at DISTRIBUTION Seymour Distribution Ltd 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT • 020 7429 4000 PRINTING William Gibbons & Sons Ltd Kelsey Media 2017 © all rights reserved. Kelsey Media is a trading name of Kelsey Publishing Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden except with permission in writing from the publishers. Note to contributors: articles submitted for consideration by the editor must be the original work of the author and not previously published. Where photographs are included, which are not the property of the contributor, permission to reproduce them must have been obtained from the owner of the copyright. The editor cannot guarantee a personal response to all letters and emails received. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of the Editor or the Publisher. Kelsey Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for products and services offered by third parties. Ships Monthly is available for licensing worldwide. For more information, contact

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n this issue our major feature article examines how big cruise ships could become. The factors governing their size are not just technical ones, in that building an enormous cruise ship is certainly possible, but rather practical ones, in terms of accessing ports, and having facilities where such ships can be drydocked. While there has been a trend towards building ever bigger ships, not only in the cruise market but also in the container sector, have ships actually reached an optimum size? Or are they approaching it? It seems unlikely that ferries, for example, will ever be built much bigger than the ones

currently in service, such as Stena Britannica or Color Magic. And will we see many boxboats much above the 20,000TEU size? Cruise ships between 170,000gt and 220,000gt seem to be the optimum, so the Oasis ships will probably remain as the world’s largest cruise ships, as even bigger ships seem not to bring many advantages. Perhaps the question should not be, will we see ships getting bigger, but rather, have ships reached their optimum size?

Nicholas Leach Editor

Contributors this month Byron Clayton Byron Clayton has been travelling on ships since 1984 and contributing to Ships Monthly since 2009, writing mainly about cruise ships.

David Fairclough David lives and works on Merseyside. His love of ships began when he was five and he is particularly interested in the UK and European ferry Industry.

John Martin Formerly a master with Cal Mac, John Martin now writes about the interesting ships, ports and companies that he has encountered during his sea-going career.

Nick Hawkins Nick Hawkins is a naval historian and professional photographer who has worked for the Ministry of Defence and on various cruise ships.

Ships Monthly on Facebook REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Andrew & Donna Cooke • Roy Cressey • Gary Davies • Roy Fenton • Nick Hall • William Mayes • Russell Plummer • Jim Shaw • Conrad Waters Data protection Kelsey Media uses a multi-layered privacy notice, giving you brief details about how we would like to use your personal information. For full details, visit or call 01959 543524. If you have any questions, please ask as submitting your details indicates your consent, until you choose otherwise, that we and our partners may contact you about products and services that will be of relevance to you via direct mail, phone, email or SMS. You can opt out any time via data.controller@ or 01959 543524. • February 2018 •


06/12/2017 09:21

HMS Queen Elizabeth returned to Portsmouth, upon completion of phase 2 sea trials, on 21 November 2017. The aircraft carrier will be formally commissioned by HM The Queen on 7 December 2017, a year to the day that the former HMS Illustrious was towed for scrapping in Turkey. MARITIME PHOTOGRAPHIC









Glen Sannox launched on the Clyde, P&O freight-only service proves a success, COSCO to order 20 ships, and Arklow Cliff debuts.


14 NAVAL America demonstrates seapower, new vessel RFA Tidespring rolls in for the RFA, and submarine goes missing. Gary Davies

16 CARGO Container ship Milan Maersk makes her debut, bulk carrier goes aground, Stena Bulk reorganises, and Crowley acquires three ships.




KIEL CANAL Classic coasters

FEBRUARY 2018 • Vol 53

YORKTOWN Aircraft carriers


COVER Oasis of the Seas is one of the largest cruise ships ever built. See pages 20-25 for more on ever bigger cruise ships. (FotoFlite)


10 FERRY New French connections for Irish Ferries, Steam Packet to stay in Belfast, and excursion vessel Coronia on the move. Russell Plummer

12 CRUISE More major refurbishments for Fred. Olsen ships, record passenger throughput, and is LNG really the future? William Mayes

49 SHIPS PICTORIAL Photos of ships around the world, including at Terneuzen, Civitavecchia, Felixstowe, Gibraltar and Auckland.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY • See page 18 for more info CONTENTS Feb 2018_NL.indd 4

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FEATURES 20 BIGGEST CRUISE SHIPS How cruise ships have grown in size, but can they be built even bigger? Byron Clayton

Profile of two veteran European ferries, Kapetan Christos and Nearchos, that are ending their careers in Greece. Richard Seville

33 QUEEN VICTORIA Profile of Queen Victoria and a look at her ten years of service. Christian Reay

26 MARITIME MOSAIC Cargo vessels visiting Port Botany and Sydney harbour in 2002. Mike Prendergast


28 YORKTOWN CLASS The Yorktown aircraft carriers gained legendary status for their wartime exploits. Patrick Boniface

44 OCEANS APART Comparison of the ferry operators BC Ferries in Canada and Caledonian MacBrayne in Scotland and their fleets. John Martin

52 KIEL CANAL A history of the Kiel Canal and some historic photos of ships using it. Gordon Turner

38 BALTIC FERRY TRIP A trip on board some of the impressive cruise ferries of the Baltic. David Fairclough

56 MIKASA Profile of the British-built battleship Mikasa, preserved at Yokosuka, in Japan. Nick Hawkins

CHARTROOM 60 SHIPS MAIL A selection of letters from readers.

62 PORTS OF CALL Cruise ship calls. Andrew and Donna Cooke

62 MYSTERY SHIP Can you identify this month’s mystery ship?

63 SHIPS LIBRARY Reviews and details of new shipping books.

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Glen Sannox seen after launch from the Ferguson Marine Yard at Port Glasgow on 21 November 2017. ANDREW WOOD

SHIPYARD Ulstein, one of Norway’s leading shipyards, specialising in ships for the offshore market, celebrated 100 years of operations during 2017. In 1917 Martin Ulstein and Andreas Flø started Ulstein Mek. Verksted, a family-owned company now involved in shipbuilding and ship design. The company was initially involved in repairs and rebuilding wooden fishing boats, then starting in 1957 with modern shipbuilding in steel. The Ulstein propeller was developed in 1965, and the construction of offshore vessels for the oil industry began in 1974. Several developments, acquisitions and name changes in the 1980s and 1990s resulted in the establishment of Ulstein Design in 2000, the launch of the company’s unique X-Bow in 2005 and X-Stern in 2014, as well as a contract for the world’s largest plug-in hybrid ferry in 2017.

NEW FERRY Glen Sannox, the first British ferry to be powered by LNG, was launched from Ferguson Marine’s shipyard at Port Glasgow on 21 November 2017, but will not be making a 2018 summer debut on the Cal Mac service from Ardrossan to Brodick, Arran. Challenges presented by complex specifications for the

TORM SET TO EXPAND TANKERS In November 2017 the Danish tanker company TORM announced plans to list its shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market in New York, which will attract further investor interest to strengthen the company’s strategic and financial flexibility as it seeks to expand. Founded in 1889, TORM is

now a tanker company and carrier of refined oil products, such as gasoline, jet fuel, naphtha and diesel. It formerly had a bulk carrier division but the last two bulk carriers were disposed of in 2015 so it could concentrate on tanker operations. The company operates a fleet of 77 modern product tankers ranging in size from 35,000 to 110,000dwt. RC

5,000gt vessel delayed the launch by two months and Glen Sannox will not enter service until winter 2018, with an as-yet-unnamed sister vessel under a £97 million contract now following in 2019. This vessel will serve the Uig triangle services from Skye to Tarbert, Harris and Lochmaddy. Glen Sannox boasts an LNG tank over 20m long and 4.5m high, holding 70 tonnes of fuel.

ANOTHER NEW SHANNON The new lifeboat arrives at her Bridlington station. NICHOLAS LEACH


 The 46,922dwt products tanker Torm Kansas (2006) is part of the Torm fleet; TORM are listing their shares on the stock market. BRIAN COWBURN

She will carry 1,000 passengers and 127 cars or 16 lorries, with manoeuvrability enhanced by Bulb Flap rudders, three 620kW bow thrusters and a 480kW stern thruster. A stern ramp capable of sliding transversely will allow the ship to operate other routes on the Clyde and Hebridean network. The new vessel will be Arran’s fourth Glen Sannox, the first being a paddle steamer of 1892. RP

On 12 November 2017 Bridlington RNLI celebrated the arrival of the new 13m Shannon lifeboat. Hundreds of people turned out to welcome Antony Patrick Jones to her station, braving cold winds and heavy rain squalls to see the new craft. She is the latest Shannon in Yorkshire, joining the boat placed at Scarborough in 2016.

The Bridlington volunteer crew spent several days at the RNLI College in Poole training on the boat before heading home, via Portsmouth, Dover, Lowestoft and Scarborough. The boat then headed to Bridlington, arriving in the Bay around 12.30pm. She is named Antony Patrick Jones in memory of a local man who bequeathed a substantial amount to Bridlington RNLI.

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FREIGHT-ONLY SERVICE A SUCCESS FREIGHT RO-RO In late November 2017 P&O Ferries reported carrying almost 15,000 units on its new dedicated lift unit freight service between Zeebrugge and Hull since its launch in May 2017. The route has seen 14,804 lift units transported across the North Sea in the first

six months of operation. October was the most popular month, with 2,771 units accounted for. P&O Ferries has chartered the 118m Elisabeth to service the route. The 5,067gt container ship makes three round trips per week between Zeebrugge and Hull, complementing P&O Ferries’ existing combined tourist

and freight service between the Belgian port and the Humber. Nick Pank, Head of Freight North Sea at P&O Ferries, said: ‘The service offers fast and efficient turnaround times in both ports, with our expanded Zeebrugge terminal having optimised handling to help customers’ delivery commitments.’

Norway’s Ulstein Verft expects to deliver the new wind farm support vessel Acta Auriga to Acta Marine in 2018 following the installation of a motioncompensated gangway and a six-ton-capacity knuckle boom deck crane, each capable of safe operation in wave heights up to 2.5m. Using an optimised hull form incorporating both an Ulstein X-Bow and X-Stern, the new ship has 1,000m2 of deck space for cargo storage, as well as hotel facilities for 120 persons. JS

 The hull of the Polish-built Acta Auriga is being fitted with a motion compensated gangway and crane at Ulsteinvik, Norway prior to being commissioned. ULSTEIN VERFT

WALK TO WORK SUPPORT OFFSHORE SUPPORT The Ulstein-owned offshore vessel Blue Queen has been employed on a six-year contract by Wagenborg Offshore to support Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and Shell UK with their offshore operations on the southern North Sea. The so-called ‘Walk-toWork Emergency Response and Rescue Vessel’ (W2W ERRV) will be operated by Wagenborg

Offshore as a support vessel for inspection and maintenance of unmanned platforms in both Dutch and British waters. Built according to the Ulstein Accommodation Standard, the PX121 is fuel-efficient and has good load capacity. Blue Queen has been given Wagenborg livery and, at the Royal Niestern Sander yard in Delfzijl, Netherlands, the PX121 will be converted from a PSV into a W2W ERRV vessel. The Ulstein PX121 vessel Blue Queen will be converted in 16 weeks and is expected to be delivered to Wagenborg Offshore in March 2018.

 Already operating a number of large container carriers, China’s COSCO plans to order a series of 20 new ships. COSCO

COSCO TO ORDER 20 SHIPS CONTAINER SHIPS China’s COSCO plans to order at least 20 new container ships, 11 of which will be able to carry over 21,000TEU, as it finalises its merger with Hong Kong’s OOCL. OOCL is already taking delivery of six 21,413TEU vessels from South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries, which will place a massive amount of new capacity

on the east-west trade lane between Asia and Europe, the bulk of it operating within just a few major alliances. COSCO’s order is expected to include six 21,237TEU ships, five 20,119TEU vessels, four of 14,568TEU capacity and five capable of carrying 13,800TEU. COSCO states that the new ships will allow the company to become more competitive. JS • February 2018 •

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WATERFRONT • • Cudham Tithe Barn, Berry’s Hill, Cudham, Kent TN16 3AG • t > 01959 541444 • e >


The 2000-built container ship Elisabeth is currently working for P&O Ferries.


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WATERFRONT MEIN SCHIFF 1 NEARLY READY The cruise ship Mein Schiff 1 is the fifth of six ships being built for TUI Cruises.

The penultimate ship of TUI Cruises’ six-ship order entered the water for the first time at the Meyer Turku yard on 29 September 2017. Although Mein Schiff 1 is the fifth ship, she





is in fact bigger than the four preceding sisters, as the vessel is 20m longer, at 315m in length, and measures 111,500gt. The extra volume means there are 180 more cabins, and she can accommodate 2,894 guests, while also having extended public areas.

When delivered in the spring, she will replace the old Mein Schiff 1 (ex-Celebrity Cruises Galaxy), which was built by Meyer Werft in 1996 before becoming TUI Cruises’ first vessel in 2009. The old Mein Schiff 1 is due to be renamed TUI Explorer. JP

The Government of Ontario and Damen Shipyards Group have signed a contract for the design, build and delivery of two ‘road’ ferries to operate in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. The ferries will be a 68m Damen Road Ferry 6819 and a 98m Damen Road Ferry 9819. Although one vessel is 30m longer than the other, they share many design features and specifications. Both will also be hybrid-ready, enabling them to be fitted with batteries when required. The new ferries will be based in Kingston and Loyalist Township, Ontario, at the north-eastern end of Lake Ontario. They will be significantly larger than the existing vessels and thus bring economic benefits to the area. The larger of the two new ferries will serve the nearby Wolfe Island, while the smaller will serve Amherst Island.


Arklow Cliff passes Tilbury in November 2017. FRASER GERY

NEW COASTER The latest addition to the Arklow Shipping fleet, Arklow Cliff, has entered service. She is the fifth vessel in a series of ten C class multipurpose ships that Ferus Smit’s Westerbroek yard in the Netherlands are delivering to the Irish shipping company. She was launched on 4 July 2017 and has recently started trading, coming down the Thames in November 2017.

The 107,498dwt container ship COSCO Yantian (pictured) completed the 2,000th transit of the new Panama Canal locks in

late September 2017 while sailing within the Ocean Alliance’s service. According to the Panama Canal Authority, the container sector makes up more than 54 per cent of all transits through the new locks. JS

The 87m vessel has a maximum hold volume of 220,000ft3 (6,229.7m3) and a carrying capacity over 5,000dwt. She features a single hold and carries an 1A ice class notation. Power comes from a 1,740kW MaK engine driving a single ducted propeller Arklow Shipping provides logistics and transport services for project cargoes and offshore structures, pipes, bulk grain, and bulk and general cargoes.

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The Honourable Company of Master Mariners Formed in 1926, we are a professional body for Sea Captains and a City of London Livery Company with membership open to British and Commonwealth Master Mariners, from both Royal and Merchant Navies, and to others with a strong association with the maritime industry in general. For further information, please contact The Clerk:

HQS Wellington, Temple Stairs, Victoria Embankment, London WC2R 2PN Tel: 020 7836 8179 Email:

GE OF 01453 825381 N A R E V I S MAS


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FERRY NEWS IN BRIEF LINK RESTORED • The heavily subsidised twice-weekly Greek ferry route from Piraeus to Kythira, Antikythira and Kissamos in Western Crete, previously served by LANE Lines ferry veteran Vitsentzos Kornaros, the former Viking Viscount and Pride of Winchester of 1975, has restarted, with Abelmon NE using the 1,031-passenger/200-car Ionis, ordered in 1971 and completed in Greece six years later. LANE Line’s contract was cancelled by the Greek government after sailings ceased when the Crete-based company was unable to pay for repairs to Vitsentzos Kornaros. RO-RO ORDER • Grimaldi continue to expand, ordering six 7,000-lane-metre ro-ro ferries from China’s Yangfang Yard. With deliveries starting in 2020, the contract also includes an option for four further vessels. All of them will be fitted with lithium batteries for use in port. Ro-pax sisters Cruise Barcelona and Cruise Roma, both from 2008, are to be lengthened to take 400 extra passengers, and will then also use lithium batteries in port. NEL VETERANS • Two vessels idle since the failure of the Greek operator in 2012 are in the news. Fast craft Panagia Parou (1995/4,934gt) capsized and sank in Algeciras in April 2016, but was raised in mid-October. Meanwhile, European Express (1974/15,074gt), abandoned in Piraeus, is to be sold at auction.

Russell Plummer An impression of W.B.Yates due in service for Irish Ferries next summer.

FRENCH CONNECTION EVERY DAY IRISH FERRIES When 55,000gt cruise ferry W. B. Yeats enters service in July 2018, Irish Ferries will offer daily summer sailings between Ireland and France, with the 1,885-passenger/1,200-car newbuilding from FSG at Flensburg, departing Dublin for Cherbourg up to four times a

week, while the 1987-built Oscar Wilde continues to link Rosslare with Cherbourg and Roscoff. Coupled with an increase in autumn/winter sailings frequency, and an expansion in passenger, car and freight-carrying capacities on the prime Ireland-UK route between Dublin and Holyhead, the new plans are seen by Irish Ferries managing director,

Andrew Sheen, as a significant boost to Irish tourism and trade. When delivered, W. B. Yeats will be the largest and most luxurious ferry to sail on the Irish Sea, with 4km of vehicle space and 441 cabins with a variety of grades, including luxury suites. From mid-September W. B. Yeats will transfer to the Dublin-Holyhead route alongside flagship Ulysses.

CORONIA ON THE MOVE EXCURSION VESSEL Long part of the Scarborough local excursion scene, Coronia has been sold by recent owner, local MP Robert Goodwill, to Hartlepoolbased Graham Beesley, who is aiming to complete a restoration in time for the 72gt vessel to join the Dunkirk little ships for their next Channel crossing marking the 80th anniversary in May 2020. The 200-passenger motor vessel ran sea cruises from

Great Yarmouth Town Quay and Britannia Pier until she was requisitioned in September 1939 as base vessel for HMS Watchful and, in 1940, reportedly ferried 900 troops from the Dunkirk beaches to larger vessels offshore. Coronia was on the Thames in 1951, before being taken to Scarborough, where she has sailed from the resort’s North Pier. She was bought by Mr Goodwill in 2011 after a spell out of service and is to be used for Tees trips.

 The long-serving single-screw excursion vessel Coronia, which was built for Longfield Brothers as Brit.


NORTHERN SEA WOLF • The former Greek Seajets ferry, built in 2002 and latterly sailing as Aqua Spirit, left Piraeus to begin a 10,079-nautical-mile delivery voyage, taking 35 days via the Panama Canal, to new Canadian owners BC Ferries early in November 2016.

STENA BUY • Danish operator Faergen, whose Swedish Government contract for links to Bornholm ends on 1 September 2018, when Molslinjen take over, are disposing of their current vessels, including the 2005-built Hammerodde, which is reportedly heading to Stena RoRo for €22 million. The 14,551gt vessel had freight capacity boosted to 1,548 lane metres after a conversion by STX in Finland in 2010. Faergen’s other conventional ferry, Povl Anker (1987/12,358gt), has already been bought by Molslinjen.

HARWICH BOOST • Chartered roros Capucine and Severine went back to CLdN at the end of 2017, and Stena Line is bringing the 3,000-lane-metre Stena Forerunner to the Harwich to Rotterdam route. Recently on charter to Transfennica, Stena Forerunner (2003) will be supported by the 1,692-lane-metre Stena Scotia.

NEW NAMES • Piraeus-based Greek company Portucalense have renamed recent acquisitions Moby Baby and Moby Love, bought in 2017 from Italy’s Moby Group after lengthy service to Elba, but have not given details of where they are to serve for a new operator named as Med Lines. Moby Baby (1966/4,129gt), once at Weymouth as Sealink’s Earl Godwin, is now Anemos, while Moby Love (1975/5,434gt), originally the Dunkirk West-Dover Western Docks train ferry St Eloi, and later with the IOM Steam Packet as King Orry, becomes Aiolos.

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The IOM Steam Packet Company fast craft Manannan is to continue using Belfast as its Northern Ireland terminal port.

IRISH SEA Despite intensive consultations and even a visit to the port for berthing trials by ro-pax vessel Ben-My-Chree and fast craft Manannan, the Isle of Man Steam Packet Co has decided to retain Belfast as the Northern Ireland terminal port for services from Douglas for the 2018 season.

Although a switch to Larne, already used by P&O’s North Channel service to Cairnryan, would have reduced crossing times and enabled heavier vehicles to be carried, a survey found most preferred services to continue from Belfast’s Albert Quay, with its good transport connections by road and rail to the province and south.

Both Steam Packet vessels suffered cancellations as storms hit the Irish Sea in late October 2017, with Manannan also suffering problems after technical problems caused a crossing to Liverpool to take almost eight hours with tug assistance. The same storms saw Stena Line’s BirkenheadBelfast vessels, Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey, cancelled.

NAVIERA ARMAS IN MAJOR TAKEOVER SPANISH OPERATORS One of the world’s largest ferry operations will be created by the end of the first quarter of 2018, with Spanish family-controlled Naviera Armas taking over Acciona Trasmediterranea, the country’s premier ferry operator, and in which it has held a minority stake since privatisation in 2002. Acciona has reached an agreement to sell its 92.7 per cent stake in Trasmediterranea to the Armas Group, who will pay €260.4 million plus €127.3 million

of debt. Trasmediterranea and Naviera Armas will achieve an operation with few route overlaps, and flexibility to consolidate in the highly competitive Spanish market. To finance the deal, Armas went to the markets with sevenyear bonds that were more than twice oversubscribed. While Armas mainly concentrates on services to the Canary Islands with conventional and highspeed vessels, Trasmediterranea operates 32 routes, linking Spain with the Balearics, North Africa and the Canaries.

 Volcan de Tijarafe joined the Armas fleet in 2008.  Almariya, in Trasmediterranea’s 2017 livery, was Olau Hollandia.

The new £30 million ferry terminal at Brodick, Arran was officially opened on 27 November 2017 by Derek Mackay, the Scottish Parliament’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, who was supported by Minister for Transport and the Islands, Humza Yousaf. Work to transform the harbour began in January 2016, and included the construction of a new pier, a larger marshalling area using reclaimed land, and a modern terminal building with bus bays and parking facilities. It is the single biggest port infrastructure project delivered by Caledonian Maritime Assets. The Cal Mac service from Ardrossan to Brodick is set for a further boost when the 1,000-passenger/120car vessel Glen Sannox, now nearing completion at the Ferguson yard at Port Glasgow, is delivered. An as-yet-unnamed sister follows for Skye triangle services from Uig to Tarbert, Harris and Lochmaddy, North Uist, with pier improvements also taking place at all three terminals, the biggest spend being more than £26 million at Uig by the Highland Council. • Martin Dorchester, managing director of David MacBrayne Ltd and Clyde and Western Scotland services provider Cal Mac Ferries since 2012, is leaving the industry for a fresh challenge, starting from March 2018, as chief executive officer for Includem.


TOR BAY RUN ENDS • The passenger ferry linking Brixham and Torquay across Tor Bay ended on 25 October 2017, with the catamaran Brixham Express quickly leaving the area. Owners Ciaran and Mary O’Driscoll said they had been unable to achieve a viable service.

AQUA AZZURRO • Another Greek stalwart reintroduced following a lengthy period of inactivity is the former Ierapetra L, dating from 1975, which first served in Japan as Green Arch. LANE Lines and ANEK service followed arrival in Greek waters, but was stopped after a serious engine room fire which occurred on the Bari-Durres service in 2014. Now completely restored under the new name of Aqua Azzurro, the 12,891gt vessel, carrying up to 1,500 passengers, looks set to join the Aegean service network of Seajets.

EARLY FINISH • A first season of Helsinki-Tallinn traffic for HSC Express (1988/5,902gt), branded as Viking FSTR, finished on 17 October 2017, five days earlier than planned, due to ‘technical reasons’. The 91.3m Incat wavepiercer spent a decade in P&O colours from 2005 and went to Sweden’s Gotlandsbaten in 2016.

MOLS UPGRADES • Two Incat wavepiercers in the Molslinjen fleet are being upgraded, including the 91m Max Mols (1998/5,617gt), which spent 2000 on charter to Canadian operator Marine Atlantic before a summer 2004 stint for P&O Ferries marketed as ‘Caen Express’. Work includes installing a new lift from the car decks to the passenger areas, while the 112m Express 1 (2009/10,505gt), which ran DoverBoulogne as Norman Arrow for LD Lines, is to have a 400-seat lounge fitted above the present upper deck. • February 2018 •

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CRUISE BRIEF NEWS REGENT SEVEN SEAS • the sister to Seven Seas explorer, due for delivery in 2020, will be named Seven Seas Splendor. giving the new ship this name is something of a surprise, as it does not fit with the names of other regent ships. ROYAL CARIBBEAN • the fourth ship in the Quantum class, Spectrum of the Seas, had her keel laid at the Neptune Werft yard in rostock on 10 November 2017. the partially completed hull will be towed to the Meyer yard at Papenburg in due course. MSC • three MSc ships, MSc Musica, Poesia and orchestra, will have exhaust scrubbers fitted at their next overhauls. on 15 November 2017 the keel-laying and coin ceremony for MSc Bellissima, as well as the first steel cutting for the third but larger ship in the series, took place at the StX yard at St Nazaire. the third ship will be named MSc grandiosa. DREAM CRUISES • World Dream was handed over by Meyer on 26 october 2017 and then sailed for hong Kong, where she was named on 17 November by Puan Sri cecilia Lim, wife of the chairman and ceo of genting hong Kong. NCL • While partway through an 11-night cruise from New York, Norwegian gem suffered azipod problems and was forced to run at reduced speed, making a timely return to New York impossible. instead, she finished her cruise in Barbados and passengers were flown back to New York. the following cruise, due to begin on 11 November 2017, was cancelled. NEW RECORDS • on 9 october 2019 Fred. olsen’s Braemar (1993/24,344gt) will make history when she becomes the largest and longest ship ever to transit the corinth canal. currently the record is held by celestyal Nefeli (1992/19,093gt), Braemar’s unlengthened sister ship. a record was set on 9 November 2017 when the 118ft beam caribbean Princess became the first cruise ship exceeding the 106ft wide dimensions of the old locks to transit the Panama canal.

William Mayes

Braemar has recently had a big internal refit. WiLLiaM MaYeS

MORE MAJOR REFURBISHMENTS FRED. OLSEN Following the refitting and upgrading of the interior of Black Watch (ex-Royal Viking Star) in 2016, the three remaining Fred. Olsen ships undergoing

a similar treatment between now and spring 2018. In late November 2017 the 24,344gt Braemar was upgraded at the Blohm + Voss yard in Hamburg, and Balmoral followed her at the end of the month.

RECORD THROUGHPUT PORT NEWS With ever-increasing passenger numbers and several ports, mainly in the Mediterranean, either out of bounds for various reasons or having visitor numbers restricted, there have been several new records set in 2017 for passenger throughput. In Europe, Hamburg fared particularly well, with 197 calls and 810,000 passengers, up from 170 and 722,000. For 2018 further growth is forecast, with 210 (including ten maiden) calls and 880,000 passengers expected. Hamburg is a very cruise ship-friendly city, and is thus chosen by cruise lines for naming ceremonies and other events. Cruise Days are held every other

year, which can bring up to ten cruise ships. The Hafengeburtstag each year also attracts a good number of ships. Helsinki and Copenhagen also did well, with significant increases at both ports. Away from Europe, Victoria BC saw calls rise from 224 to 239, bringing 600,000 passengers. Further south, passengers passing through Quebec were up by 30 per cent, at 201,000 from 134 calls. Throughput in Montreal was up by 33 per cent, at 115,000. In the USA, Port Canaveral exceeded 4.5 million for the first time. In Hong Kong the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal saw its highest ever number of passengers in a single day on 29 October, when more than 13,000 passed through.

 Ovation of the Seas contributed to record throughput at Kai Tak. W. MAYES

Both refits lasted for nine days. Much of the work was centred on cabins and restaurants. The final ship, Boudicca, will get a more extensive treatment when she visits Hamburg for a 13-day stay in March 2018.


 The new Celebrity ship for the Galapagos Islands. ceLeBritY crUiSeS

CELEBRITY Celebrity Cruises is set to expand its Galapagos cruise business again. In 2016 the company acquired an interest in Ocean Adventures with its two ships, the 48-passenger Eclipse and the 12-passenger catamaran Athala II, renamed Celebrity Xperience and Celebrity Xploration respectively, when put back in service in March 2017 after refit. Now Celebrity has ordered the first ‘large’ purpose-built cruise ship for its Galapagos operation, the 100-passenger Celebrity Flora, from the De Hoop yard in Holland. At 5,739gt, the new ship will be twice the size of Celebrity Xpedition (2001/2842gt), but will carry a similar number of passengers. That ship will be displaced from her routes from Baltra by the new Celebrity Fauna and will take over the routes of the two small ships.

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news AIDAprima was the first large cruise ship with dual fuel technology. WiLLiaM MaYeS

POWER GENERATION It started with some Norwegian ferries, and now the use of Liquefied Natural Gas as a fuel source has hit the cruise industry in a big way. First came AIDAprima and AIDAperla, able

to run on LNG when in port, and now there are 16 very large ships on order designed for operation on LNG, both in port and at sea where possible, but with engines that utilise dual-fuel technology. Initial supply difficulties and safety concerns over the new

technology made the refuelling of both the ferries and the Aida ships somewhat complicated and inefficient, but the issues have been gradually resolved. However, that does not address the fundamental problem of fuel availability on a wide scale, so it is

ANOTHER EXPEDITION SHIP LINDBLAD The much anticipated larger newbuild for Lindblad has finally materialised. The as-yet -unnamed 12,000gt vessel will be built at Ulsteinvik in Norway and will carry 138 passengers. The design features Ulstein’s signature X-Bow for improved sea-keeping and reduced fuel consumption. The contract price has been reported as $135 million, and it is believed that there are options for a further pair of similar ships. The first ship should enter service

Lindblad’s first large purposebuilt ship. LiNDBLaD eXPeDitioNS

with the company in January 2020. Lindblad recently took delivery of the 2,920gt National Geographic Quest, with sistership National Geographic Venture due for delivery in 2018. Both of these shallow-draught 100-passenger vessels are designed for coastal and river cruising, while the latest ship will be deployed in the Polar Regions and elsewhere. Meanwhile, National Geographic Orion will return to Australia waters in 2018-19 for the first time in five years when she operates a season of South Pacific cruises.

 Adonia is about to leave the P&O Cruises fleet. WiLLiaM MaYeS

FROM EIGHT TO SEVEN P&O CRUISES Arcadia emerged in midNovember 2017 from the Blohm + Voss yard in Hamburg after a major internal refit. Oceana followed her into the yard at the end of the month. Both ships have had cabins and public spaces renovated and updated in order to, in the words of the company, give them a fresher and more contemporary feel. P&O Cruises has sold its smallest ship, Adonia. Although she seems to have a loyal following with P&O, as a small ship she does not really fit in with the current fleet. Adonia

is one of the eight former Renaissance Cruises ships that has had the most identities. Built at St Nazaire as R Eight in 2001, she operated only briefly for Renaissance. In 2003 she became Minerva II for Swan Hellenic and on the closure of that business by Carnival Corp in 2007 she moved to Princess Cruises as Royal Princess. Four years later she was transferred to P&O Cruises as Adonia, and in 2016 started the fathom (sic) brand. Although advertised to operate until March 2019, cruises after March 2018 have been cancelled, and she will go to Azamara Club Cruises. • February 2018 •

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likely that most new tonnage will still use fuel oil or diesel for the foreseeable future. In conjunction with the engine manufacturers, the Meyer yards at Papenburg and Turku seem to be at the forefront of LNG technology, with 12 of the new 16 ships contracted to them. Carnival Corp has seven, Royal Caribbean two and Disney three. The other four ships are on order for MSC at the STX yard at St Nazaire. Carnival has an agreement in place with Shell to provide LNG by means of an LNG bunker barge for its first two North America-based LNG-powered vessels, the first of which should arrive in 2020. A similar arrangement is thought to exist in Europe for the first of the Aida and Costa LNG vessels. An alternative route, adopted by Hurtigruten and others for smaller ships, is to run partially on electrical power when in areas of particular environmental sensitivity. Presumably, though, some of the electricity will still be generated conventionally.


05/12/2017 10:37


Gary Davies

AMERICA DEMONSTRATES SEAPOWER US NAVY For the first time in a decade three US Navy carrier strike groups have conducted a joint exercise in the western Pacific. The forward-deployed USS Ronald Reagan was joined by USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt and their escorts to practise air defence drills, sea surveillance, replenishments at sea, defensive air combat training, and closequarter manoeuvres. The three-day exercise also involved three Japanese warships: the helicopter carrier JS Ise and the destroyers JS Inazuma and JS Makinami, and followed earlier joint exercises with Republic of Korea warships. The latest display of American military might took place as the US President was concluding his first official tour of Asian countries. It was no doubt intended to serve as a warning to the North Korean

regime about its ballistic missile test programme, although Navy officials said the arrival of two


SOVEREIGNTY AND UNITY The Republic of Singapore Navy commissioned two new warships at a joint ceremony at Changi Naval Base on 14 November. RSS Sovereignty and RSS Unity are the second and third of a new class of eight so-called Littoral Mission Vessels (LMV), locally designed and built by ST Marine at Benoi. At 80m long and displacing 1,250 tonnes, the LMVs are more than twice the size of the Fearless class patrol vessels that they are replacing. Each

 Three US carrier strike groups have exercised together for the first time since 2007. US NaVY


Eight of the RSN’s high-tech Littoral Mission Vessels will be in service by 2020.


carriers in the 7th Fleet area of operations as Trump was visiting the region was just coincidence.

ship features a bridge with a 360-degree line of sight that also houses the integrated command centre from where the crew of 30 can operate all the combat, navigation and engineering systems. The weapons fit includes an Oto Melara 76mm main gun, a remote-controlled Hitrole 12.7mm naval turret, a Rafael Typhoon 25mm mounting, and MBDA’s Mica missile system with 12 vertical-launch missiles. The versatile LMVs are also equipped with a flight deck and two stern-launched RIBs.

The Sevmash shipyard has unveiled the lead Project 955A Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN). The future RFS Knyaz Vladimir (Prince Vladimir) was floated out at a high-profile ceremony at Severodvinsk on 17 November. The latest SSBN is the fourth of the Borei (North Wind) series, but is effectively the first of a new class of five vessels that incorporates a host of design modifications and performance improvements compared with Project 955 boats.

The new profile has a more streamlined hull, with the bulges ahead of the fin and around the missile deck blended into the hull, and redesigned rudder planes. With a six-year gap between batches, the latest boat benefits from advances in missile technology, sensors and measures to suppress noise. Prince Vladimir will be delivered in 2018. The other 955As, Prince Oleg, Generalissimus Suvorov, Emperor Alexander III and Prince Pozharsky, are at advanced stages of construction and all are slated to be in service by 2020. The fourth generation Borei class will supersede the Soviet-era Typhoon and Delta III class SSBNs.

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news RAN • Australia’s future naval replenishment ships will be named HMAS Supply and HMAS Stalwart. Supply will be the second RAN vessel to bear a name which has its origins with the armed tender ship that accompanied the First Fleet to Australia. Stalwart follows two previous Australian Navy vessels with that name, one a destroyer that served between 1920 and 1925, and the second a destroyer tender that served 1968 to 1990.

MaritiMe PhotograPhic

NEW TIDE ROLLS IN FOR RFA ROYAL NAVY RFA Tidespring became fully operational following a formal dedication service at Portsmouth on 27 November 2017. The milestone comes after the successful completion of first-of-class air-sea acceptance trials and her first underway replenishment-at-sea. The air trials were carried out by a team from the Empire Test

Pilots School. Using a Merlin Mk.2 helicopter, they embarked for a series of tests to determine the safe operating limits for Merlin, Wildcat and Chinook aircraft using the deck of the Tide class ships. The 39,000-tonne tanker, which can carry up to 19,000m3 of fuel and 1,300m3 of fresh water, subsequently carried out her first underway replenishment at sea in mid-November, hooking up with

Wave Knight, another RFA tanker, and then the Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland. The Tide class programme is nearing its conclusion, with Tiderace, the second of class, already undergoing final fittingout at Falmouth. Tidesurge was accepted off contract on 15 November 2017, and the last ship, Tideforce, is due to be handed over early in 2018.

GO GOWIND ARGENTINIAN SUB LOST UAE NAVY The United Arab Emirates has selected the Gowind 2500 corvette from Naval Group to reinforce its anti-submarine warfare capabilities in the Gulf. The value and details of the contract remain subject to negotiation, but the ships are expected to be built in France at the company’s Lorient shipyard and moved to the UAE for fittingout by Abu Dhabi Ship Building. The agreement for two ships with an option for two more is another export success for the French company, formerly known as DCNS, which has had previous sales of ten corvettes to Egypt and Malaysia. The contract was won against strong competition from CMN, Damen and Fincantieri. Fincantieri built a single anti-submarine corvette for the Emirates in 2013, while CMN recently completed a partnership with ADSB to supply six Baynunah class Fast Attack corvettes.

ARGENTINE NAVY An international search for a missing Argentinian submarine is continuing, although it has become a recovery operation. Contact with ARA San Juan and her 44 crew was lost as the TR1700 class boat was returning to the naval base at Mar del Plata. The 34-year-old German-built submarine is now thought to have perished on 15 November 2017, just hours after reporting in with

news of a battery short circuit caused by an influx of water during snorkelling. The analysis of an hydro-acoustic anomaly by undersea sensors, deployed to monitor nuclear test explosions around the world, recorded ‘underwater impulsive events’ close to the last known position. The signals were said to be consistent with an explosion and subsequent implosion, probably from the hull being crushed by extreme water pressure as it sank. The search for ARA San Juan is now concentrated in an area close to her last known position.

FREMM • Fincantieri and Naval Group are set to team up with a joint bid to meet Canada’s requirement for 15 frigates. While often competing against each other, the Italian and French shipbuilders have previously worked together to produce FREMM frigates and Horizon class destroyers for their respective nations’ navies. The move comes as the two defence giants consider merging to form a ‘Naval Airbus’, which would be better able to compete worldwide. ROYAL NAVY • The MoD has confirmed an approach for HMS Ocean from Turkey. The expression of interest in buying the soon-to-be-decommissioned helicopter carrier was revealed in reply to a parliamentary question. Turkey is currently building its own helicopter landing ship, based on Navantia’s Juan Carlos I LHD design, which is already in service with Spain and Australia. HMS Ocean is currently being marketed, with sale to another government one of the disposal options under consideration. US NAVY • An internal report has poured scorn on an idea to reactivate ten Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates to quickly boost fleet numbers. The cost of returning the mothballed warships to service has been estimated at more than US$4 billion. Opponents of the plan argue that such money would be better spent on extending the life of the Ticonderoga class cruisers, which are planned to be decommissioned at the rate of two per year from 2020. • February 2018 •

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RFA Tidespring called at Portsmouth for the first time on 16 November.


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CARGO BRIEF NEWS SWISSMARINE SELLS BULKERS • geneva-based SwissMarine has sold five relatively new bulk carriers, the latest being the 182,600dwt choully, which was completed by Japan’s Marine United yard in 2016. the vessel fetched $45 million, similar to sums from two other 2016-built ships, cartigny and chevrier, both disposed of by SwissMarine. also sold have been the 171,000dwt chambesy (2004) and the 177,300dwt carouge (2003). this has reduced the company’s owned capesize fleet from ten to five vessels, but its owned and managed bulk carrier fleet still averages some 170 ships. JS VLOC ORDER • South Korean’s Polaris Shipping has contracted for five more Very Large ore carriers (VLocs) with compatriot builder hyundai heavy industries (hhi) at a cost of $400 million. the 325,000dwt ships, to measure 340m by 62m, were options included in an earlier contract for ten VLocs of the same size signed in September 2017 (see SM, Jan). TANKER SCRAPPED • Parcel tanker operator Stolt-Nielsen has sold one of its oldest ships, the 31,400dwt Stolt Vinland, for $3.46 million to shipbreakers in india. the 25-year-old vessel is one of eight tankers in the Stolt-Nielsen fleet built in South Korea during 1992. JAPANESE COMPANIES MERGE • the liner divisions of Japanese shipping groups NYK, K Line and MoL are preparing to merge as ocean Network express (oNe) in april after all three carriers posted profits in the final quarter of 2017. NYK, considered Japan’s largest container line, will be the senior partner in the new joint venture. LPG CARRIERS • South Korea’s hyundai hi has been contracted to deliver two 84,000m3 capacity LPg carriers to energy transporter Vitol by the first half of 2019, with six additional ships on option. if the options are taken up, the total value of the contract will be $600 million. this represent’s Vitol’s first order for new LPg vessels, as it has previously relied on chartered tonnage for LPg transport. JS

BULK CARRIER GOES AGROUND The bulk carrier Glory Amsterdam dragged her anchor and drifted aground near Helgoland on 29 October 2017. SiMoN SMith

MARINE INCIDENT On 29 October 2017 the 77,171dwt bulk carrier Glory Amsterdam was pushed aground by storm Herwart on the eastern Langeoog coast in Germany. The Panamanian-flagged vessel had been anchored off Helgoland when, at about 0600, her anchor dragged and she started to drift towards Langeoog. A tug took her in tow, but the towline

broke and further attempts to get a line aboard the vessel were unsuccessful, due to the strong winds and heavy seas. Glory Amsterdam was in ballast after discharging in Hamburg, and she had been moved to the anchorage to see out the storm before returning to Hamburg. Shallow waters off the island where she grounded forced officials to revise a plan to dislodge her, and it was to be

Mega Star, with her Stulken-type derricks, in the Bosphorus. She has gone for recycling as one of the very last of her type. SiMoN SMith

2 November 2017 before two tugs pulled her to deeper water, where 16,000 tons of ballast water were pumped out. There were warnings of the consequences to the Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site, if the vessel began leaking the 1,800 tons of heavy oil and 140 tons of marine diesel on board. However, fortunately, there was no leaking of oil during the tow, which took the ship to Wilhelmshaven. RC


MEGA STAR DEMOLISHED GENERAL CARGO A notable vessel in the demolition sales in late October 2017 was the general cargo ship Mega Star. Delivered in 1979 as Bel Abbes, she was one of four sisterships built for the Algerian state shipping line by Kanasashi Zosen. The other three vessels were Bechar,Biskra and Bouira. Mega Star outlived two of her sisters by 13 years and the other by eight years. Of particular note were their 100-tonne

Stulken-type derricks and, in addition, the four vessels were fitted with six ten-tonne derricks and two 12-tonne cranes. The demolition of Mega Star almost brings an end to an era for this type of vessel. Ahmad Prince, which was one of two sisterships built as Bizerte for Tunisian owners, continues to trade for Lebanese interests, but her days must surely be numbered. Does any reader know of any other vessels trading with Stulken-type derricks?

Crowley Alaska Tankers, a new subsidiary of Crowley Petroleum Holdings, part of the Crowley Group, has signed an agreement to purchase three oil tankers from SeaRiver Maritime, the marine arm of ExxonMobil. The twin 800,000 barrel crude carriers Liberty Bay and Eagle Bay and the 342,000 barrel product tanker SR American Progress are to be chartered back to SeaRiver. Crowley currently has the largest fleet of tank vessels under the US flag. JS

 The 114,756dwt tanker Eagle Bay (2015) is one of three ships being acquired by Crowley Alaska Tankers for chartering back to former owner SeaRiver Maritime. croWLeY groUP

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news Milan Maersk arrives at Southampton in brilliant sunshine on 8 November. aNDreW McaLPiNe

CONTAINER SHIP On 8 November 2017 Southampton welcomed the 214,286gt container ship Milan Maersk, which, with a capacity of 20,568TEU, became the largest boxboat, in terms of capacity, ever to visit the port. Milan Maersk is the fourth in a series of 11 Triple-E Mk.II vessels, which were ordered by Maersk Line in June 2015 at a total cost of about £1.35 billion (US$160 per vessel) and are all due for

delivery by the end of 2018. Like the original Triple E ships, the new class measure 399m by 58.6m and are being built in South Korea by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME). But although Milan Maersk has the same dimensions as the original Triple Es, her capacity has been increased through a number of design enhancements. The bridge/accommodation block has been moved two bays forward, and higher lashing bridges allow for additional

 The 2016-built Stena Imperative, a 49,777dwt product carrier, is one of the ships involved in a major reorganisation of Stena Bulk. SteNa groUP

containers to be carried on deck, while the hull depth has been increased from 30.3m to 33.2m, allowing 12 tiers of containers to be loaded underdeck. Milan Maersk is deployed on the 2M Alliance Far East-Europe AE-1/Shogun loop, which offers weekly calls at Southampton. The size of container ships calling at Southampton has been steadily increasing as all the major lines build higher capacity vessels. In 2016 the largest container vessel calling in

Norway’s Belships, but now a bulk carrier operator, took delivery of a 63,000dwt eco-design Ultramax bulk carrier from Japan’s Imabari Shipbuilding in November 2017, and she will join Belstar, Belnor, Belisland, Belforest and Belocean in the Belships fleet.

COMPANY NEWS Sweden’s Stena Bulk has undergone a major reorganisation that has seen it split into three business areas focussing on crude and fuel, products and chemicals, and LNG. At the same time, its business activities, previously conducted under the

name of Stena Weco, have been incorporated into Stena Bulk, following the purchase of Weco Shipping’s interest in the latter company during 2017. Together with Stena Weco’s fleet of 65 tankers, Stena Bulk now operates around 100 tankers, a third of which are owned and twothirds of which are chartered. JS

Southampton was of 16,000TEU, with the 20,170TEU MOL Triumph being the first to exceed the 20,000TEU barrier. AM



 Milan Maersk dwarfs the quayside as she comes alongside at Southampton. aNDreW McaLPiNe

A second Ultramax bulker is expected to be delivered to the company by Imabari in 2020, with both ships to be operated under long-term time charter agreements with a purchase option. Three of the smaller Belships bunkers are chartered out to Canada’s Canpotex, while two are working for Cargill. JS The 57,970dwt Belstar (2009) is to be joined by two 63,000dwt newbuildings. BeLShiPS • February 2018 •

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HOW BIG CAN CRUISE SHIPS BECOME? Byron Clayton looks at how cruise ships have grown in size over the last few decades and assesses the factors limiting their further growth.

W  Isambard Kingdom Brunel and his ship, Great Eastern. Great Eastern, at 18,915gt and 692ft in length, held the title of World’s largest ship for 30 years. ALLAN C. GREEN

hen Isambard Kingdom Brunel announced his plans to build the ship Great Eastern in 1853, people thought he was mad – a brilliant Victorian engineer who had gone too far with his ideas. But when Great Eastern, iron-hulled and measuring 692ft in length and 18,915gt, was launched from the Isle of Dogs in 1858, she was the largest moving object ever created, four times larger than her nearest predecessor.

Although a financial disaster, she held the title of world’s largest ship for 42 years. After Great Eastern, ship owners and builders preferred a more gradual evolution in size, coupled with changes in design. A second boom in building large ships reached a climax with the 83,673grt Queen Elizabeth, completed in 1940, which measured 1,031ft by 118ft. She held the title of world’s largest passenger ship for 56 years until Carnival Destiny exceeded her tonnage in 1996. The first generation of modern cruise ships can be

traced to the late 1960s, with the launching of Starward, which measured 525ft 4in by 74ft 11in, for NCL in 1968. Cruise ships have evolved steadily since the mid-1980s, with an unprecedented growth in physical size over the last 40 years. In fact, the average size of a cruise ship has doubled almost every ten years. Since 1987 the average period that any single ship has held the title of world’s largest cruise ship has been less than two and a half years, with Royal Caribbean ships holding the title of world’s largest for a

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CRUISE HISTORY The Oasis class ships Allure of the Seas (left) and Oasis of the Seas (right), pictured off Florida, are currently the world’s largest cruise ships.

combined 23 years. Based on current newbuilding contracts, Symphony of the Seas, due to be launched in 2018, will be the largest of the Oasis class ships at 230,000gt and is expected to hold the title of world’s largest passenger ship for some time. Projecting cruise ship growth 40 years into the future, perhaps the first Ultra Large Cruise Ship (ULCS), of 300,000gt, could be built by 2025 and the first 400,000gt ship by 2040. But what are the factors that determine how big cruise ships can become?

The Global class cruise ship for Star Cruises, which is proposed to be greater than 200,000gt. MV WERFTEN • February 2018 •

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And what might prevent them becoming ever larger? One factor that limits size is cost, but costs can be overcome as bigger ships offer increasing economies of scale. To get an idea of a ULCS, based on the largest ships produced today, take the largest container ships, such as UASC Brazan, as an example. She measures 1,300ft in length, 190ft in beam, and has a depth of 52ft, making her much larger than an Oasis class cruise ship. In a maximum density configuration of a passenger ship with similar dimensions, occupancy could reach 11,000 or more, not including crew. A ship transporting 15,000 people could be a possibility in the next 20 years, something not seen since the Queens transported returning soldiers at the end of World War II, albeit in completely different circumstances. However, such an enormous ship aimed at the mass cruise market will certainly not be for everyone. Other constraints facing the construction of larger ships are mobility, in relation to canals, bridges and waterways; port infrastructure; and the availability of a shipyard with facilities large enough to undertake such a project.


By design, cruise ships are meant to have mobility to travel the oceans. The aim of a cruise ship is for passengers to go on a holiday where

they unpack their bags once but visit several locations. It would be feasible to build a giant floating city a square kilometre in size, albeit with limited mobility, but that would defeat the object of being able to deploy to all areas of the world. While there have been plans for large passenger platforms that do not have defined itineraries, like Freedom Ship, these are not cruise ships and are thus not considered in this article. The life span of passenger ships increases considerably if the geographic deployment has fewer limitations. Modern cruise ships are often repositioned around the world. Many are first assigned to the Caribbean, Mediterranean or Asia after inauguration, but their ultimate lifespan might have more to do with their ability to work in other regions such as Northern Europe, Latin American or Alaska.

 Disney Wonder, 83,308gt and 964ft in length, was the first cruise ship to transit the new Panama Canal locks. PANAMA CANAL AUTHORITY


The major ship canals, primarily Suez and Panama, allow large ships to transit from one ocean or major body of water to another. Liners such as Queen Mary, Normandie and France/Norway were built to a size that meant they could not transit the important waterways. The Suez Canal was opened in 1869 and, because it has no locks, the length of a ship was not limited, so depth has been the primarily limiting factor.

 USS Nimitz (CVN-68), commissioned in 1975 and 1,092ft in length, passing beneath the Friendship Bridge that crosses the Suez Canal in Egypt. US NAVY

 Freedom Ship is designed to be 4,500ft in length and house about 40,000 people. FREEDOM SHIP PROJECT

Since the Canal’s inception, there have been many projects to deepen it, with the most recent dredging completed in 2009, giving an overall depth of 20m (66ft). For most of their careers, Queen Mary

(1936) and Queen Elizabeth (1940) had draughts too deep to pass through the Egyptian isthmus, so instead had to go the long way around Africa, passing the Cape of Good Hope to reach Asia.

 The container ship UASC Barzan, which, at 195,636gt and 1,300ft in length, is one of the largest boxboats in the world. HAPAG LLOYD

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CRUISE HISTORY Queen Mary 2 (148,258gt and 1,132ft in length) passing beneath the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York. CUNARD

The original locks of the Panama Canal were opened on 15 August 1914. The American architects modified the original dimensions of the Canal in the early 1900s to accommodate the latest battleships. When opened, the canal’s locks were 1,000ft in length (320m) by 110ft (33.5m) wide, with a depth of 42ft (12.5m). The architects thought these dimensions would be more than enough to meet future demand, yet within 30 years ships were being built that were too large to pass through the canal. Panamax dimensions are a hull size of 965ft in length, 106ft in width and a draught of 39ft. The largest passenger ship to use the original locks of the Panama Canal was Norwegian Pearl at 93,350gt. The new Panama locks, which opened on 26 June 2016, are 1,400ft (427m) long by 180ft (55m) wide by 60ft (18.3m) deep. The New Panamax dimensions for a ship’s hull are 1,201ft (366m) by 161ft (49m), with a depth of 50ft (15.2m). Most current and planned cruise ships will be able transit the new locks, except for those that exceed

DIMENSION DEFINITIONS LENGTH OVERALL • The full length of the ship from the furthest distance forward at the tip of the bow all the way to aft to the maximum protrusion of the ship’s stern, whether at the waterline or higher up. Sometimes length can refer to the length from bow to stern at the waterline, which can be less than the maximum, hence the use of the term length overall.  Allure of the Seas, 225,282gt and 1,187ft in length, passing beneath the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark. MARTIN NIKOLAJ CHRISTENSEN

the height requirements for the Bridge of the Americas connecting the Isthmus of Panama with Latin America.


Bridges also limit ship size. The space between the bottom of the bridge and the sea below is termed air draft, and a ship’s air draught determines whether she can navigate under a bridge, with tide heights sometimes taken into account. Of the many bridges round the world, three are critical for passenger ships: the Bridge of the Americas, which allows passage of the

Panama Canal; the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, which allows access to New York; and the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark, which allows access to the Baltic. Bridge of Americas has an air draught no more than 190ft. That gives a clearance of 11ft underneath the lowest portion of the 201ft bridge and represents a severe restriction on larger cruise ships, as many have an air draught greater than 201ft. NCL’s Breakaway class ships have noticeably short, squat funnels, to allow them to pass beneath the Bridge of

WIDTH or BEAM • The distance from one side of the ship to the other. As many ships built today increase their width with protruding lifeboats, bridge wings or upper deck overhangs, the maximum overall width is usually given to take account of these. DRAUGHT or SEA DRAUGHT • The depth of the ship from the waterline to the bottom of the hull or keel. AIR DRAUGHT • The height of the ship from the waterline to her maximum height, usually the top of the funnel or mast. These four dimensions together make a theoretical rectangular box, which you could fit a ship within. • February 2018 •

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 MSC Orchestra, 92,409gt and 964ft in length, can easily be accommodated within the giant Forme 10 drydock in Marseille, with room to spare. CNDM

 MSC World Class, a proposed 200,000gt+ ship for 6,000 passengers with split aft superstructure. MSC CRUISES

Americas, and Norwegian Bliss is scheduled to be the largest passenger ship ever to complete a full transit in 2018. The Verrazano Narrows Bridge has an air draught restriction of 215ft, which allows Queen Mary 2 to pass with less than 10ft (3m) to spare. To remain competitive and accept the largest container ships that use the new Panama Canal, the PANYNJ (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) spent US$2.1 billion on raising the roadway of the Bayonne Bridge to a height

Queen Mary 2 is unable to undertake Baltic cruises because her draught is too great for the Oresund passage between Sweden and Denmark, as only ships with a draft of 8m or less can access, and she is also too tall to pass under the Great Belt Bridge. The Danish government is unlikely to make any changes to the bridge and thus lose their competitive advantage for the northern deepwater ports of Aarhus or Copenhagen, both of

of 215m and dredged the channel so that larger ships could access the port. The Great Belt Bridge connecting the islands of Funen and Zealand in Denmark provides access for large ships into the Baltic. It has an air draught of 213ft (65m), allowing ships of Baltimax size to pass. When the Oasis class ships were being built in Finland, they had telescopic funnels to pass safely beneath the Bridge, and could then only do so at low tide.

which can be reached without passing the bridge. When circumnavigating the world, the major waterways that are usually transited are the Cape of Good Hope, the Straights of Malacca, the English Channel, the Straits of Gibraltar and the Straits of Magellan. The shallowest of these is the Straits of Malacca, which has a depth of 20m or 67ft. Because cruise ships have relatively shallow draughts compared to VLCCs and container ships, they are not

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CRUISE HISTORY usually bound by draught restrictions in waterways. And, overall, outside ports, draught is not usually a constraint for large cruise ships.


Because cruise ships need to land passengers ashore, port infrastructure is an important consideration, with cruise companies preferring to berth alongside rather than having to tender their guests. Ongoing infrastructure upgrades help to provide better access to ever larger ships in new locations, but in general the larger the ship the fewer the number of ports it can access. The Caribbean has adjusted to Oasis class sized ships and ports in southern and northern Europe can easily handle these leviathans as well, with RCI running periodic itineraries in conjunction with new ship launches or dry dockings. In Asia, all new major port infrastructure projects are being designed to handle Oasis class sized ships. These types of changes can be monumental projects costing billions of dollars and taking several years to complete.

Again, these challenges can be overcome.


Stephen Payne, the naval architect responsible for the transatlantic liner Queen Mary 2, believes that ship size is limited by both infrastructure constraints and, particularly, by construction challenges as ships get longer, and thus greater hull strength is needed. Very long ships can bend in heavy seas, causing great hull stresses at various points. To counter this, heavier steel is required, but this increases weight and cost. RCI’s Oasis class ships have overcome this by having a split superstructure, which provides tremendous strength and stability. And no doubt these construction challenges can be overcome in the future. However, the most crucial factor determining the size of ships is the availability of dry dock facilities. There are few dry docks that can handle a ship the length of QM2 or the Oasis ships. Northern Europe is home to two very large dry docks: Blohm+Voss has the Elbe17 dock in Hamburg, which regularly provides






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maintenance for QM2; and, in the Netherlands, Damen’s Drydock 7 can handle the Oasis class ships. In southern Europe, the newly reopened Forme 10, owned by Chantier Naval De Marseille, is massive. Others can be found in Asia, but while large dry docks do exist, they are not common.


Celebrity Infinity, 90,940gt and 964ft length, passing beneath the Bridge of Americas in Panama. CRUISEM ISS

So, can cruise ships become bigger? Yes, but by how much depends on whether the difficulties, such as the availability of construction and repair facilities, can be overcome. Bridges, canals and dry docks, as well as port infrastructure, are critical limiting factors that affect cruise ship movements and deployments. So is it worth rebuilding or raising the Bridge of the Americas or the Great Belt Bridge? Could larger dry docks be built, with reasonable investment? Liners of the early 20th century grew ever larger until World War II. Growth was then slowed by limited capital in the post-war era, but sizes gradually increased again with

a greater focus on flexibility in dual-design liners with cruising capability. Likewise, crude tankers grew rapidly through the middle of the 20th century, reaching a zenith with Seawise Giant. The Ultra Large Crude Carrier (ULCC) lasted to the late 1970s, but changing technology and demands slightly smaller designs being found to be more versatile and thus more useful. Even the aircraft carriers of the US Navy, the largest warships built, are expected to be resized downward in their next major incarnation as drones take over, needing less space and fewer operators. Although changes will come to the cruise industry, most cruise companies seem to be looking to build ever bigger ships and accommodate more passengers, turning the ships themselves into the destination and partially obviating any need to actually call at ports. For now, expansion still rules the day and the physical limits of cruise ship size yet have not yet been reached. • February 2018 •

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MOSAIC  The 1979-built Columbus Canterbury arriving at Port Botany; she was lengthened in 1985 and has traded as Cap Brett since 2004.

 The 2002-built P&O Nedlloyd Encounter departing Port Botany. The 45,803gt ship was one of seven built for PONL’s round the world container line service

During July and August 2002, the winter season ‘down under’, photographer Mick Prendergast enjoyed some unseasonably fine weather to capture a variety of cargo vessels visiting Port Botany and Sydney harbour. Port Botany is Sydney’s main commercial deepwater port and hosts a wide variety of shipping, which keeps the ship enthusiast entertained.

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 CSCL Kelang (2001/30,024gt) departing Port Botany; owned by Projex Schifffahrt GmbH, Hamburg, she was built as Chief.  The 1989-built container ship MSC Claudia (50,538gt, ex-Oriental Bay) arriving at Port Botany. She was built by Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co Ltd (IHI) at Kure, Japan. She was renamed Montreal in 2010 and broken up at Alang, India in April 2017  The 10,375gt reefer Regal Star (ex-Tau, Hornstrait, Chiquita Tau) at the Sydney Harbour Anchorage. She was built in 1993 at the Shikoku Dockyard, Takamatsu, Japan and is owned by Star Reefers of Gdynia.  The 1987-built fishing vessel Fukuyoshi Maru No.26 arriving in Sydney harbour. • February 2018 •

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The Yorktown class aircraft carriers earned themselves legendary status in the history of the US Navy through their exploits in World War II. The three ships were at the heart of the campaign to defeat the Japanese, yet only one of them survived the war. Patrick Boniface explores the history of these impressive ships.


he Yorktown design was developed during the late 1920s and early 1930s, with the US Congress authorising construction of new aircraft carriers in 1933 using the new plans. Contracts for the first two of the type, USS Yorktown and USS Enterprise, were awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding on 3 August 1933. The third ship, USS Hornet, was ordered on 30 March 1939 under the terms of the Naval Expansion Act. The class had a displacement of 25,600 tons full load as designed, and a length overall of 824ft 9in, a beam of 83ft 1in at the waterline and a 28ft draught. Power came from nine Babcock & Wilcox steam boilers producing 120,000shp and giving the carriers a top speed of 32.5 knots. Each ship could hold between 85 and 100 aircraft of all types, while the ships were initially armed with eight five-inch/38 guns, four 1.1-inch (quads) and 24 0.50-calibre guns. During the war years this number was increased considerably. The designers included a hull featuring a prominent bulbous bow to improve dynamic buoyancy, a round bilge and a cruiser style stern, together with a single large rudder. The four shafts each carried a three-bladed propeller. The flight deck was

 USS Yorktown steams out to sea; note the large overhang of her flight deck and the design of her cruiser style stern.

 Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Roosevelt, christened USS Yorktown at Newport News Shipyard.  USS Yorktown in dry dock after the Battle of Coral Sea.

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AIRCRAFT CARRIERS USS Yorktown at sea on sea trials in July 1937. She was commissioned into the US Navy on 30 September 1937.

 The Yorktown class were impressive-looking warships; they were a significant improvement over the preceding Ranger class of ships, as they were designed as aircraft carriers from the keel up. USS Hornet (CV-8) is pictured under way in Hampton Roads on 27 October 1941.

 Smoke pours from USS Yorktown after she was hit in the boilers by Japanese dive bombers during the Battle of Midway.

built of hardwood laid on a light steel plate. One of the most notable innovations over previous US Navy aircraft carrier designs was that a large portion of the hangar deck was open on both sides. This enabled the running of aircraft engines in the hangar deck, as the poisonous gases could escape. When engines were not running, shutters could be rolled down, useful in bad weather and blackouts. The Yorktowns were fitted with three offset elevators, of which two were on the centreline, with the third slightly offset. To launch the aircraft, three Type H-2 hydraulic catapults were fitted. These were capable of hurling a fully-loaded aircraft of up to 70,000lbs off the deck at speeds of up to 70 knots. At the other end of the flight deck the ships were equipped with Mk.4 hydraulic arresting gear. A barricade caught any aircraft which missed the arresting wires. USS Yorktown was the first US Navy aircraft carrier to be fitted with radar, a model CXAM in July 1940. USS Hornet received a new SC Radar at Norfolk in January 1942, although it was subsequently replaced by a CXAM set taken from the battleship USS California. USS Enterprise made history by becoming one of the first US aircraft carriers to have

airborne early-warning aircraft (AEW). One of her torpedo bombers was converted, under a secret programme called Project Cadillac, to carry a large radar radome to a height of 20,000ft and, from that altitude, could detect aircraft and ships out to a range of 200 nautical miles. The Yorktowns were designed in an era hindered by Naval Treaty Limitations and as a result many comprises had to be made with their design, size and equipment. Among these was the level of armour protection. Speed was seen as the best protection, so armour plating was of a standard similar to that given to contemporary cruisers of the period. A four-inch belt was added over the machinery spaces, magazines and fuel storage tanks. To protect against torpedoes, the hull was of double bottom construction, with numerous void spaces to deaden the explosive effects, although both USS Yorktown and USS Hornet were subsequently lost to torpedo strikes. Later in the war USS Enterprise received hull blisters during a major refit in October 1943.


The Yorktown class took part in most of the initial fighting in the Pacific campaign against Japan. On the day of the • February 2018 •

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attack on Pearl Harbor, USS Enterprise was fortunately at sea and evaded detection by the Japanese fleet. She went on to lead the first offensive actions, with attacks mounted against the Marshall Islands, Wake Island and Marcus Island. USS Yorktown had been in the Atlantic Ocean at the time of Japan’s assault on the Hawaiian naval base, but was soon transferred to the Pacific, and in early 1942 started offensive operations against Gilbert Island with USS Enterprise. USS Yorktown, together with the older USS Lexington, later raided enemy bases in New Guinea. During the Battle of the Coral Sea, USS Yorktown’s aircraft successfully targeted the Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho, sinking her and also severely damaging another carrier, Shokaku. The Americans did not, however, have it all their own way, as USS Yorktown herself was severely damaged and had to withdraw from the battle so that repairs could be undertaken at Pearl Harbor.

USS Enterprise steaming in Puget Sound in September 1945. The wartime additions to her weapons outfit at clear to see.

USS Yorktown alongside with a packed flight deck.


The third carrier of the class, USS Hornet, started the war at Norfolk, Virginia, undertaking

USS Enterprise was considered a lucky ship until she was hit by a Kamakaze on 14 May 1945.

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 The Yorktown class were designed to allow air to pass through the hangar deck to allow engineers to run aircraft engines; the hatches can clearly be seen in this image of USS Yorktown herself, under way at Midway in 1942.

training for new personnel before taking part in one of the most audacious aerial raids of World War II: the Doolittle Raid against Tokyo. This raid saw the aircraft carrier’s complement of aircraft landed and replaced with a squadron of 16 USAAF B-25 medium bombers. These aircraft, it was initially believed, were too large to fly from the deck of an aircraft carrier, but the doubters were proved wrong when they successfully launched their attack against Japan. Sistership USS Enterprise provided fighter cover for both ships during the operation. All three Yorktown class ships took part in the Battle of Midway, which started on 4

 USS Enterprise receives a direct hit that cause a huge explosion that rips the forward flight deck apart.

 A pilot’s eye view of the USS Yorktown and her Douglas fircovered flight deck, steaming in the Pacific in February 1942.

June 1942. Aircraft from all three played a crucial role in the destruction of four Japanese aircraft carriers, Kaga, Hiryu, Akagi and Soryu, as well as sinking a cruiser and severely damaging another. The four-day battle swung between the Japanese and Americans on a number of occasions, and USS Yorktown became a total loss after being torpedoed by the submarine I-168, and she sank on 7 June 1942.


USS Enterprise, meanwhile, continued to fight Japanese forces, playing a major role in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons and at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands,

 USS Enterprise receives a near miss from Japanese aircraft at the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.

 A USAAF B-25 bomber takes off from USS Yorktown at the start of the Doolittle Raid against Tokyo, led by Army pilot Jimmy Doolittle.

where she operated with USS Hornet. This battle saw the Japanese claim another victim when USS Hornet was severely damaged and had to be abandoned by her crew. The Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo eventually sank her with Long Lance torpedoes on 27 October 1942 after American scuttling attempts had failed. USS Enterprise, although damaged, survived and went on to assault the Island of Guadalcanal. During the battle, her aircraft attacked and sank the battleship Hiei as well as destroying a fleet of transport ships. Following this success, USS Enterprise was withdrawn to the US West Coast for repairs and modernisation at Bremerton Naval Station. On returning to service, she joined the Fast Carrier Task Force in the Central Pacific and went on to participate in every major action of that campaign, including the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the air raid against Truk Lagoon. She did, however, experience her share of damage, including being hit by a kamikaze plane piloted by Lieut Shunsuke Tomiyasu, which destroyed an elevator and badly damaged the hangar deck on 14 May 1945. While she was being repaired, the war ended and her role changed significantly. Her capacious hangar deck was fitted out with bedding

and toilet areas for servicemen and she transported servicemen home from the Pacific and Europe during Operation Magic Carpet. On completion of this, she was withdrawn from service on 18 January 1948 at New York Naval Shipyard. USS Enterprise was only eight years old, but already she was outclassed by the new Essex and Midway class aircraft carriers and so she was listed as surplus to requirements. A campaign to save the ship, affectionately known as ‘The Big E’, for the nation was started, but instead she remained in mothballs until 1959, when she was sold for breaking up at Kearney in New Jersey in 1960.


20,100 tons standard, 25,900 tons full load (as designed 1931)


770ft wl, 824ft 9in oa; beam 83ft wl, 109ft 6in flight deck level; draught 26ft


Nine Babcock and Wilcox steam boilers; 120,000shp


32.5 knots


12,500 n miles




(As designed 1931) eight 5in 38 calibre guns; four quad 1.1/75 calibre: 24 .50 calibre machine guns


Belt 2.5 to 4in, Tower 4in


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The small ship with the big heart ‘Balmoral Needs Your Support’


almoral is now back at her berth in Bristol after a truly rollercoaster Summer. Her third season with White Funnel Ltd saw excellent advanced bookings, beautiful weather, an attentive ship's company and the support of the many volunteers. Highlights of the season were charters, filming contracts and sailings to the Clyde, Western Isles, Isle of Man, Anglesey, the Bristol Channel and River Severn. Whenever and wherever Balmoral sailed the support was there and bookings were up almost 40% on 2016.

Then the British weather took a hand causing a string of cancelled sailings, although these are allowed for in the budget. Sadly other factors were completely out of the operating company's control. A weeping rivet required a return to Sharpness dry-dock, collapse of the Gravesend landing pontoon scuppered the Thames programme, followed by a summer storm and mechanical issues. The Maritime Coastguard Agency made a last moment decision to refuse permission to carry passengers to the Isle of Man, although Balmoral would have been allowed to go to Belfast, almost twice the distance on open water, and this cost a huge amount of money with no possibility of making up the deficit. Back on home waters with excellent advanced bookings, hopes were high until, on a full to capacity Bristol Channel sailing, a mishandled rope was dropped from the quayside, became entangled in a propeller, worked its way under the rope guard and damaged a shaft seal. That required divers, another trip to dry-dock and two weeks lost service. After repairs the ship then performed perfectly, visited North Wales, Liverpool and Scotland, whereupon she met the worst late Summer weather for years, preventing the additional sailings planned to recover lost revenue. Economic facts can't be avoided. In 2017 Balmoral managed only half of her 116 scheduled sailings. Despite much increased passenger numbers when she did operate, there is a very large deficit and serious doubts about continued operation without additional financial support. The charity that owns Balmoral needs to raise £450,000 in the near future, otherwise it may be impossible to book harbours, connections, the 2018 annual survey and to maintain her in operational condition.

This seems a huge amount. It is, but the response to previous appeals has been superb and the owning charity is making economies and the best use of volunteers while the ship will be used as a venue and educational facility in Bristol Harbour to help with winter costs. Balmoral is unique and the last of her type, please will you help this beautiful ship remain operational? Goodwill and affection is so obvious wherever she goes and keeping her sailing is the best way to preserve her and continue the coastal cruising experience she offers. Balmoral is reliable and comfortable, providing enjoyment and education for so many people. Various grant applications are in progress and there are firm enquiries about charters for 2018. An outline timetable is available at but if she is to continue operation your help is needed urgently. Over 2 million passengers have travelled on Balmoral since her launch in 1949 and there is a saying on board "Everyone loves Balmoral". She is a small ship with a big heart that has been part of so many people's lives for nearly 70 years. Her Trustees are custodians for future generations and will do all they possibly can to keep Balmoral sailing, but can't do it without your help, and there is only a short time to raise the money. Please give what you can so that Balmoral can continue doing what she does best - keep sailing. Send your donations via cheque to: The Treasurer, MV Balmoral Fund Ltd, 23 Adder Hill, Great Broughton, Chester CH3 5RA or go to the funds website at where you can download the donation form or just click on the MyDonate button where you may donate via Debit or Credit Card Thank you. Ross Floyd, Paul Doubler, Richard Mills, Dave Bassett, Doug Naysmith, John Thomas & Andrew Jardine. Trustees of the M.V. Balmoral Fund Ltd. REGISTERED CHARITY [1155339] [ENGLAND AND WALES]


QUEEN VICTORIA MARKING A DECADE OF SERVICE Christian Reay looks back over ten years of Queen Victoria’s service in the Cunard fleet.


unard’s Vista class cruise ship Queen Victoria celebrated the tenth year of her entry into service during 2017. She was laid down on 16 May 2006, floated out on 15 January 2007 and delivered

to Cunard on 24 November 2007. Queen Victoria was named by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall on 10 December 2007 and the following day began her maiden voyage. During the course of the last decade Queen Victoria has cruised initially from her

Queen Victoria makes her debut at Southampton on 7 December 2007. TREVOR BOSTON

homeport of Southampton on itineraries to Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, while also undertaking an annual world voyage and, more recently, fly-cruise itineraries in the Mediterranean. The intention of having a ship dedicated to cruising stemmed from the requirement to replace the aging transatlantic liner Queen Elizabeth 2, which had served for the majority of her career in a dual-purpose capacity, sailing on transatlantic crossings in the summer and longer cruises in the winter, to destinations such as the Atlantic isles and the Caribbean. From 1975 to 2008 she had also undertaken either an annual world cruise or extended winter voyage. However, by the time Cunard had been acquired by the • February 2018 •

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Queen Victoria inward bound in the Solent on 3 June 2017 for Southampton after completing a month-long refit at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo. She departed Southampton on 4 June 2017 for a four-night cruise to Amsterdam and Zeebrugge. CHRIS BROOKS

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The signature Cunard funnel.

The Grand Lobby with John McKennaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bronze frieze of the ship.

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Carnival Corp in 1998, the need to look at options to replace the aging QE2 and Caronia (III) (ex-Vistafjord, latterly Saga Ruby) – the only two ships in the Cunard fleet at this time – was raised. From this came the announcement of a new purpose-built transatlantic liner, Queen Mary 2, and that for the foreseeable future QE2 would take up a new programme of cruises starting and ending at Southampton. Though a bold move, and one which would safeguard the transatlantic crossings synonymous with the company since 1840, there was still a need for a ship that would take up the cruising itineraries when QE2 was retired from the fleet. This required acting upon sooner rather than later, as the aging liner was becoming increasingly costly to maintain, and impending changes to

safety regulations meant that she would soon not be a viable cruising operation. Nine months before Queen Mary 2’s maiden voyage, Cunard announced that order 6078, placed with the Italian shipyard Fincantieri, was to be delivered as their next new ship. However, on 5 April 2004 6078 was transferred to sister brand P&O Cruises and became Arcadia. The next day the company unveiled order 6127, which would be delivered to Cunard and named Queen Victoria. The experience of building Queen Mary 2 underpinned the decision that it was necessary to include signature features such as more suites, Queens and Princess Grill Restaurants, and a décor which had 21st century features but retained an association with the great Atlantic liners of the past. In homage to famous

 The new Yacht Club lounge, which was Hemispheres prior to the refit. CUNARD

Cunard liners, Queen Victoria’s interior designs were inspired by those of Mauretania (II) and Queen Mary, and included a Grand Lobby and Winter Garden. To accommodate these features, commonly associated with Cunard, the overall design of the ship had to be revised with a new design specification. The ship’s length was increased by 11.36m, and additional hull strengthening at the bow and forward superstructure was necessary so that longer ocean voyages and occasional transatlantic crossings could be undertaken. Cunard’s first ship built specifically for cruising was Caronia (II), which entered service in 1949. Apart from her sleek yacht style appearance, single funnel and tripod mast, she was most noted for the colour of her hull – seven shades of green, resulting in her gaining the

 Re-designed and enhanced Queens and Princess Grill suites offer enlarged balconies. CUNARD

nickname ‘green goddess’. Some features from Caronia (II), including an outdoor swimming pool and open air Lido deck, have been carried forward in most modern cruise ships, and are standard features on both Queen Victoria and her newer sister Queen Elizabeth, which was launched in 2010.

MOVE TO CRUISING With QE2, as well as other ships including Cunard Countess and Cunard Princess in the 1970s, the focus had been on cruising and longer voyages. However, the company tested the waters with fly-cruising using Cunard Adventurer and Cunard Ambassador. This lasted only briefly before both vessels were sold, Adventurer to another shipping line and Ambassador starting a rather less glamorous career transporting livestock.

 The ship’s refit maintains the art deco style, but intertwined with modern touches. CUNARD

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A notable milestone in Queen Victoria’s career was the appointment of the line’s first ever and currently only female Captain, Inger Klein Thorhauge (neé Olsen). She joined in 1997 as a Deck Officer and, prior to joining Queen Victoria as Captain, had overseen the delivery and inaugural season of P&O Cruises’ Azura as Staff Captain. Captain Thorhauge’s career began at the age of 16, when she was working as a stewardess, prior to furthering her career and starting nine years of study, culminating in her gaining her Masters licence. Since taking command of Queen Victoria, she has gone on to command Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth. During her 2017 world voyage, Queen Victoria made history, becoming the largest passenger ship to navigate the Amazon River to the port of Manaus, Brazil. Captain

Peter Philpott spoke of his pride at being in command of Queen Victoria, saying he was ‘immensely proud’ that they had successfully made the 900-mile transit inland to the Brazilian port. Other notable highlights during Queen Victoria’s first decade in service have included being part of the biggest celebrations outside London for the Diamond Jubilee of HM The Queen, when, with Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth, they saluted the Queen’s 60-year reign and Cunard’s links with the British Royal family. The Queen’s great-great-grandmother had signed the Admiralty contract enabling Cunard to carry the mail between the UK and North America. The ship also played a major role in the events to commemorate the loss of the liner Lusitania in 1914, and more significantly in 2015,

 The Queens Room, used for activities during the day and live entertainment in the evening.

when she joined Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth as part of a unique gathering on the Mersey to mark 175 years of Cunard and its historical links with the city of Liverpool. Thousands of people lined the banks of the river to see the amazing sight of the three ships being manoeuvred in the Mersey for the first time. From 5 May to 4 June 2017 Queen Victoria entered dry dock for a partial refit at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, with Cunard investing over £34 million in the work to enhance the guest experience. This included an upgraded and increased choice of staterooms, new Britannia Club dining, a broader bar offering, a new sun deck, and several other new features. With her refit complete, Queen Victoria remains an important member of the Cunard fleet, offering a premium travel experience.

 One of the two outdoor swimming pools. Both received attention during the partial refit.

 Queen Victoria (right) at Southampton in April 2008, with Queen Mary departing and Queen Elizabeth 2 in the background. This was the last time that all three ships were together, as QE2 was retired at the end of 2008.


2007, Fincantieri SpA (Marghera) Shipyard


3.12.2004, laid down 12.5.2006




294m/964.5ft x 32m/105ft x 8m/25.9ft


2,061 guests


Four 11,520kw and two 8,640kw Sulzer diesels; two 17,600kw ABB electrical propulsion motors


21 knots, 24 knots maximum


Hamilton, Bermuda


Northern Europe; Trans-pacific; World Voyage and Mediterranean flycruises

 Looking down the Promenade Deck on deck 7. ONBOARD PHOTOS THIS PAGE MARITIME PHOTOGRAPHIC • February 2018 •

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David Fairclough discovers the cruise ferries of the Baltic, where the industry is built on Scandinavian cruise culture and the fact that the Åland Islands are fiscally outside the EU, encouraging all kinds of different cruises.

 Lunchtime at Mariehamn sees Viking Grace and Amorella arrive, while Galaxy departs for Stockholm. Viking Grace’s LNG tanks can be seen on her stern.

n the UK we are used to the idea of ferries linking two ports, taking freight and passengers from one port to another. But ferry routes in the Baltic are different and offer more of a cruise ferry experience. Routes linking capital cities allow travellers to move around countries for work or leisure, but a significant number of passengers come for the ‘cruise experience’, enabling them to see a show, eat at a variety of fine restaurants, shop and, of course, drink. Local taxes on alcohol and goods are high in Scandinavia and the ferry industry can exploit this by taking advantage of the fiscal status of the Åland Islands between Sweden and Finland. Åland is an autonomous region and exempt from EU tax rules,

which allows tax-free sales on the ferries between Sweden, Finland and Estonia provided they stop at Mariehamn or Långnäs, the island’s two ports. This can lead to processions of cruise ferries lining up to berth for just a few minutes. The other route favoured by the cruise ferry passengers is that between Helsinki and Tallinn. Cheaper taxes in Estonia (EU) mean millions of Finns travel across the Gulf of Finland to shop and stock up on alcohol. Travellers admire the skill of locals who come armed with trolleys to wheel alcohol off the gangway after a pleasant few hours at sea. Some Finns even travel over to access dental care or see a hairdresser. All they have to do is decide which company they will sail with, and the competition is stiff.


Tallink Silja is the biggest company, with a fleet of 13 vessels, including two freight ships. Their ships are known for their individual liveries and character aimed at customers in both local and international markets. Competition comes in the form of the Åland-based Viking Line, which operates seven ships and offers a more ‘local’ flavour. Finally, another Åland-based company, Eckerö Linjen, have three ships operating under different banners which offer a truly local experience.


Passengers are greeted by the cruise directors and the steward staff as they board the ship, and often also by the company mascot: Ville Viking the cat, or Harry the Seal for Silja Line. After leaving luggage in their cabins,

passengers go onto explore the ship, which offers a variety of dining options and bars. A popular option for dinner is the buffet, a smörgåsbord, consisting of local and international dishes, seafood, meats and seasonal specials. It is an all-in price to eat, which includes soft drinks and alcohol – wine and beer are on tap and self-served. As diners leave, they move on to the bars or nightclubs. All the overnight ships have a dance show, which attracts many passengers, even if some acts are somewhere unusual. On the Tallink ship from Tallinn to Stockholm, a Spanish man jumped on a trampoline for 15 minutes while a force six gale raged, to rapturous applause. The nightclub may have a local band on board, playing a variety of hits.

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 The 2008-built Baltic Princess (48,915gt) at sea. SVERRE ANDREAS RUD Baltic ferry routes

At breakfast, the buffet or more sedate waiter service are options for passengers. Also on offer is the quieter champagne buffet. Daytime at sea is accompanied by bingo, quizzes, troubadours and dancing – making it very different to UK ferries.

THE TURKU ROUTE  Amorella heading for Stockholm from Mariehamn. She has served the Turku route since she was built in 1988. SVERRE ANDREAS RUD

 Tallink Silja’s uniquely liveried Galaxy leaves Turku in the morning and Stockholm each evening. Meeting Baltic Princess in Mariehamn, passengers can change ships to enjoy a ‘picnic cruise’ for the day. SVERRE ANDREAS RUD





Baltic Princess, Galaxy

Viking Grace, Amorella


Silja Symphony, Silja Serenade

Mariella, Gabriella



Baltic Queen, Victoria I


Romantika, Isabelle


Star, Megastar, Silja Europa

Viking XPRS, Viking FSTR




Birka Stockholm





Turku, in Eastern Finland, sees Tallink Silja and Viking Line ships sail daily to Åland and Stockholm. Every morning two ships depart Stockholm and sail through the archipelago, calling at Mariehamn just after lunch. Each ship call is met with a ship sailing in the opposite direction, so Tallink Silja’s Galaxy will meet the Turkubound Baltic Princess. Minutes later Viking Grace meets the Stockholmbound Amorella. This allows passengers to enjoy an 11hour ‘Picnic Cruise’, changing ships in Mariehamn to go back to their starting point. Some passengers will stay on board for the 23-hour round trip

and take a cabin. A midweek trip can see the ships sail full, with local Finnish folk stars Matti and Teppo, weekend cruises with Superstar DJs or 90s themes enticing a younger generation. The Tallink Silja sisterships offer bars, show lounges and restaurants and there is even a meatball bar. Both companies also chase the conference market, having dedicated facilities on board. Given the intensity of the schedule and navigational challenges, the bridge always has two officers at the helm, one navigator and one Officer-on-Watch. When the LNG-powered Viking Grace arrived on the scene in 2013, she provided a step change in Viking Line’s product, boasting a contemporary onboard design with an impressive three-deck atrium. Above the bridge, Oscar’s à la Carte restaurant offers nouvelle Finnish cuisine and views of the archipelago’s islands. A two-tier nightclub at the stern, Club Vogue, provides the venue for bands

 Baltic Queen at Helsinki, July 2016. SVERRE ANDREAS RUD • February 2018 •

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The 2004-built Victoria I carries 2,500 passengers and is operated between Tallinn and Stockholm by Tallink Silja. RICHARD SEVILLE

and dancing. Arriving in Turku in the evening, she has one hour to turn around. Armies of cleaners descend in a military style operation, while passengers prepare to board via one of the six air bridges 20 minutes prior to sailing.


Viking Line also sails from Kapellskär, a port on the east coast of Sweden. Passengers connect here by coach or car to board the vintage ferry Rosella, which sails across to Mariehamn in just over two hours. As well as a link to Åland, she offers a shorter cruise option, and the ship has a party feel. Rosella shows her age, having open bridge wings, and the joins between the original fittings and refurbished lounges can be seen. She faces competition from another vintage ferry, the 1979-built Eckerö, which is operated by Eckerö Linjen. The sleepy town of Grisslehamn on Sweden’s east coast comes to life twice daily as a fleet of coaches brings cruisers in to join the ship for the two-hour passage to

Eckerö on Åland. On board, many enjoy a buffet meal, which the company promote with a seasonally appropriate fare. Their website also advises travellers on the performers on board, whose acts can be enjoyed in between quizzes and shopping. Under the Birka Cruises brand, Eckerö Linjen also have a cruise ship that sails daily from Stockholm offering a ‘party night’, again with an impressive transport network bringing cruisers to the ship. Her competition comes from Viking Line’s Cinderella. Both ships sail out of Stockholm in the early evening and make their call in Mariehamn at breakfast-time to gain the dutyfree status, before heading back to the Swedish capital.

 The 1985-built Mariella at Helsinki in the snow after a passage from Stockholm. She has operated on this route since building, and in summer completes one daytime sailing to Tallinn. DAVID FAIRCLOUGH


Tallink Silja operate two cruise ferries on this route, sailing nightly from each port. These are two trend-setting classic sisterships, Silja Serenade and Silja Symphony. Built in 1990, they offer a huge variety of dining options for the ultimate cruise ferry experience.

 Silja Symphony at Helsinki, April 2017. SVERRE ANDREAS RUD

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 Silja Symphony Promenade.

 Bridge of Baltic Princess.

Passengers board via the internal promenade deck, an internal arcade that spans twothirds of the ship’s length and is five decks high. This design allows cabins to have a sea view or a promenade view. The area is lined by shops and restaurants, and also provides venues for singers and acrobats. Forward is the show lounge, which covers three levels. Below the promenade deck is the large duty-free shop and restaurants. From deck 11 there is access

to the nightclub and spa areas. The ship boasts a variety of cabin grades, including themed family cabins based on famous Finnish children’s characters. Viking Line’s product to rival these ships are Mariella, built in 1985, and Gabriella of 1992. These ships also provide a daytime rotation from Helsinki to Tallinn in the summer months, rather than a layover in the Finnish capital. Mariella has sees a passenger corridor on the starboard side on deck 7, with bars and restaurants accessed from it. At the stern is the nightclub, and the buffet is towards the bow. One deck below are the self-service Seaside Café and the Tax-Free Shop.


Tallink now offer daily departures from the Latvian and Estonian capitals to Stockholm. The ships are the mid-generation of cruise ferry design. From Tallinn they use Victoria 1 and Baltic Queen. Interestingly, Estonianregistered passenger ships must have two officers on the bridge at all times during a crossing. The ships call at Mariehamn en route, which is not the case for the Latvian ships, which sail direct. The options here are Romantika and Isabelle.

The 1993-built cruise ferry Silja Europa (59,914gt) at Tallinn, July 2016. SVERRE ANDREAS RUD


Over eight million people and 300,000 freight units travel between the capital cities of Tallinn and Helsinki every year. Cruisers, commuters and business travellers have a good choice of ships to use. The biggest share of the market lies with Tallink, who have two ‘shuttle ferries’, Star and Megastar, providing up to seven departures a day. Perfectly designed for the route, they cross the Gulf of Finland in two hours. Their newest ship, Megastar, came to the route in January 2017 and boasts a duty-free shop with a car park, where travellers can leave their vehicle and load up while at sea. Tallink also have a cruise product in the shape of Silja Europa, which sails in the late afternoon from Helsinki and cruises to Tallinn in three and

a half hours. She stays in the Estonian harbour overnight as the party continues on board, passengers having the option to stroll into the city the following morning before a lunchtime return sailing to Finland. She was completely refitted for the role in 2016. Viking Line use Viking XPRS, which straddles a cruise and shuttle ferry role. From April 2017, they also employed Viking FSTR, a fast craft that was formerly P&O Express. Eckerö’s cruise option comes in the form of Finlandia, which undertakes two rotations daily from Helsinki with a dedicated loyal base of regular travellers. With cheap airfares available to fly to these ports, and cabins at a reasonable cost, the Baltic ferry scene is there for all to enjoy, and is a highly recommended experience.

Star is one of Tallink’s two shuttle ferries operating from Helsinki to Tallinn, and partners the new Megastar. DAVID FAIRCLOUGH • February 2018 •

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New careers for veteran fe European ferries often end their careers in Greece, and Richard Seville visited two such vessels still going strong.


wo vintage ferries have recently entered freight service in the Aegean at a time in their career when most observers would have expected them to be heading for the scrapyard after busy and diverse careers. Dedicated freight services are relatively rare in the Greek domestic ferry market, but both Kapetan Christos and Nearchos have benefited from significant investment to prepare them for their new roles, particularly in the case of the latter, which has been extensively rebuilt. One of a quartet of purpose-built ro-ro freighters,

Kapetan Christos dates from 1970. She was built for the German firm J. A. Reinecke to operate on the charter market. All four sisters saw regular service around the UK in the 1970s, sailing for operators including Sealink, Truckline and Swedish Lloyd. Built as Isartal, Kapetan Christos served Sealink at Fishguard as Preseli and later P&O Ferries between Ardrossan and Belfast as Pointer, a role she continued until 1985. After two decades as Sea Malta’s Zebbug, she passed to Turkish interests to sail between Turkey and northern Cyprus. Having changed hands again twice,

she unexpectedly arrived at Drapetsona, close to Piraeus, in late 2016 for a refit. Smartly painted in a fresh new livery, in January 2017 she was at a berth in nearby Elefsis for internal refurbishment, with her drivers’ lounge and dining room being refreshed. Her wooden-panelled bridge sparkled, despite her being 47 years old, and 30 years on, P&O Ferries signs could still be found in her accommodation. She has been put into service transporting freight to islands, including Rhodes, in the Dodecanese chain. She is the last survivor from the quartet, which also included P&O Scottish Ferries’ St Magnus. Another old vessel in Greece is the former Fred. Olsen Skagerrak Express ferry Christian IV, built in 1968, which has been converted into

an open-decked freighter able to transport hazardous goods. Commissioned as a combination vehicle and train ferry, capable of accommodating up to 775 passengers, she was delivered to the Kristiansand Steamship Co for service to Hirtshals in Denmark. At the same time, Fred. Olsen took a majority stake in her owners, and she continued in their fleet until sold to Malaysian interests in late 1984.


After a decade of service in the Far East, including spending time as a troop transport, she returned to Europe for Mediterranean service in 1994, passing to the Porto Santo Line of Madeira two years later. Operation in the Cape Verde Islands from 2003 was followed by a reappearance in Greece in

The vintage 3,633gt Kapetan Christos sparkles while under refit at Elefsis in January 2017.

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n ferries

2005, and she spent the next decade languishing inactive at a shipyard on the island of Salamis. However, when sale for breaking appeared almost inevitable, she was acquired in 2016 by Creta Cargo Lines. Founded in 2013 by three brothers, this company already owned a veteran freighter, Talos (1971, ex-Starmark). The former Christian IV was renamed Nearchos, and Creta undertook a huge conversion, which saw two-thirds of the superstructure cut away to create an open vehicle deck, with new driver cabins added to tailor her for her new role. On board, the former rail tracks can still be seen in her garage, while her original builder’s plate remains in situ beneath her bridge. She carries dangerous cargoes and special shipments, including livestock and export vehicles, across the Aegean.

Nearchos shown in her original configuration, while she was laid up as Menhir at Salamis.

 The wood-panelled bridge of the former Christian IV.  The 1968-built Nearchos berthed at Drapetsona.

 Another photo of Nearchos (4,163gt), showing the extent of the rebuild, with significant parts of her superstructure removed.





1970, Bremerhaven

1968, Aalborg


96.8m × 15.83m

87m x 16m



Christian IV


12 drivers, 350 lane metres

775 passengers, 140 cars or 15 railway wagons


Antwerpen, Preseli, Pointer, Pernas Safari, Safari, Lobo Zebbug, Fehim Bay, Alistair Marinho, Lobo dos Mares, Menhir

CURRENT CAPACITY 12 drivers, 350 Lane metres

12 drivers, 25 trucks • February 2018 •

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OCEANS APART? Two ferry companies evolving in parallel John Martin profiles two ferry companies which operate on the eastern extremities of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, serving islands and communities large and small. Both BC Ferries in Canada and Caledonian MacBrayne in Scotland retain a mixed fleet of major and minor vessels in waters which can be challenging.


C Ferries are the biggest ferry operator on the North American West Coast and Caledonian MacBrayne the biggest on the West Coast of Scotland. Both companies receive government support to maintain their services, which cover a large geographical area and provide lifeline links for the inhabitants of many small and remote islands. Canada’s BC Ferries was established in 1960 after the services provided by Canadian Pacific and the Black Ball line of Vancouver became unsustainable due to the need

for heavy investment. As car ownership grew in North America, new roll-on roll-off ferries were needed, as well as major investment in terminal and port infrastructure to service these vessels. An integrated service was needed to link Vancouver Island to the mainland, and the myriad smaller islands north and south, border to border, between Alaska and Washington State. To the Victoria government’s credit, they recognised the enormity of the task and initiated a plan to provide the necessary services. In Scotland a similar situation existed, albeit

on a smaller scale. David MacBrayne Ltd and the Caledonian Steam Packet Co ran virtually all the passenger and cargo services linking the Inner and Outer Hebrides with the mainland, and the islands of the Firth of Clyde. The routes were in need of investment, but the fare structure and volume of traffic did not generate the profits on the scale needed. The two companies were merged into a single entity in 1973, a situation and resolution which mirrored that which had occurred in British Columbia a decade earlier. There are similarities in

the recent histories of the two companies, with new ferries being ordered to help refresh and improve the two fleets. In 2009 a new ferry, Northern Expedition, entered the BC Ferries fleet, while in 2015 Loch Seaforth arrived on Scotland’s West Coast. The newer Cal Mac vessel is a more advanced design, incorporating more ‘green’ credentials than the BC Ferries vessel. Both are around 8,700gt and have a similar vehicle and passenger capacity. However, Northern Expedition has 55 dedicated passenger cabins, and at 21 knots is around two knots faster than

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The 1964-built veteran Queen of New Westminster (6,122gt) passing an unidentified Coastal class vessel.

 The 1991-built Queen of Capilano, linking Bowen Island to Horseshoe Bay, is one of three Intermediate class vessels operated by BC Ferries.

 Cal Mac’s 8,680gt flagship Loch Seaforth entered service in 2015 on the Stornoway/Ullapool service. MARK NICOLSON

the Scottish ship. Both were built at the Flensburger yard in Germany, and both received the designation of ‘significant ships’ by the Royal Institute of Naval Architects. Northern Expedition was ordered during a time of great instability for the British Columbian ferry sector. The 1990s and early 2000s saw the fiasco of three large, fast multihull vessels entering service only to be quickly withdrawn, having proved unsuitable for the waters in which they were to operate. Then followed the loss in 2006 of Queen of the North while she was on passage from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, in circumstances which reflected badly on the competence and management of her crew.

Northern Expedition was a step away from these problems, and she entered service on the Port HardyPrince Rupert route in 2009. By 2015, following a long struggle within the Provincial BC Government and the Canadian Federal Government, a new framework was established for the provision of subsidised ferry operations under the terms of a new Coastal Ferries Act. This enabled BC Ferries to embark on a much-needed programme of newbuildings, led by three innovative LNGpowered ferries, for delivery in 2016 and 2017. These ships were built by the Remontowa yard at Gdansk, Poland. In August 2017 the latest vessel for BC Ferries fleet, Northern Sea Wolf, was • February 2018 •

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handed over in Greece. Built in 2000, she is destined for the route between Port Hardy and Bella Coola, and reached BC waters in early December after a 10,097-nautical-mile trip across the Mediterranean, Atlantic and through the Panama Canal to the west coast of North America. The 2,679gt Northern Sea Wolf, formerly Aqua Spirit, can carry at least 35 vehicles and 150 passengers and crew. When it comes to smaller vessels, BC Ferries and Cal Mac can build locally, and both are committed to ‘green’ energy projects using innovative design. A class of three new diesel-electric hybrid ferries from the Ferguson yard at Greenock recently entered service with Cal Mac. Hallaig was completed in 2012, Lochinvar

in 2013, and Catriona in 2016. These ferries run on a combination of diesel-electric and lithium-ion battery power, reducing fuel and CO2 consumption by 20 per cent.


BC Ferries introduced the Vancouver-built Baynes Sound Connector into service in February 2016. This ferry was the company’s first and only cable-driven vessel, and operates between Denman Island and Vancouver Island. The crossing is 1,900m, making it the longest cable-driven service in the world. Costing C$15 million, the ship represents a significant investment. However, the annual cost savings for the 50-vehicle/150-passenger vessel are around C$2 million, achieved through lower
















19.9 m

4.7 m


7.7 m

1.1 m




By route

By network


are the largest vessels in the fleet, and the busiest. In Scotland, Hebrides and Clansman at around 5,500gt, and certificated for over 600 passengers and 98 cars, were introduced between 1998 and 2000 to link Barra, South Uist and Harris to the mainland. The 5,626gt Finlaggan, which operates mainly between Islay and Kennacraig on the mainland, joined the Cal Mac fleet in 2011. Finlaggan can carry up to 550 passengers and 85 vehicles. Although both companies have invested in new ships and port infrastructure , a few ‘old timers’ soldier on and are held in affection. Ships such as the 1956-built Mill Bay (174 tons, 16 cars and 134 passengers) on the Saanich Inlet run near Victoria, the BC provincial capital, and the 1974-built Eigg The cable-driven vessel Baynes Sound Connector linking Denman and Vancouver Islands.


manpower and fuel costs. New terminals have been built at Denman Island and Buckley Bay, incorporating improved traffic management systems. Both companies have been grappling with the issues of investment and profitability, as islands and communities need services to be maintained and enhanced to help the island economies survive and flourish. In this context, both companies run not just mainland to island services, but also link small islands, and have continually introduced new tonnage on these routes. Ships such as the three that make up the Coastal class, of 10,034gt, were introduced between 2007 and 2009. With a capacity of 1,604 passengers and 370 cars, they now link Vancouver Island to Vancouver itself. Built in Germany, they

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(69 tons, five cars), linking the Island of Lismore with Oban, remain in operation. BC Ferries commissioned three new intermediate ferries for service to and from the Southern Gulf Islands, a group off the south-eastern shores of Vancouver Island. They took over from two 50-year old-ferries, Queen of Nanaimo and Queen of Burnaby, and were delivered in 2016 and 2017. Named Salish Orca, Salish Eagle and Salish Raven, they have a capacity for 584 passengers and 145 cars and were built at the Remontowa’s Gdansk yard. At 107.4m overall, they are powered by three dual-fuel Wärtsilä 8L20 main engines driving two Schottel ST1515 azimuth thrusters. They use either LNG or ultra-low sulphur diesel, and BC Ferries claim this saves over 9,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Cal Mac also continue to innovate, and currently await delivery of two new ships under construction at Ferguson’s of Greenock. At 102m overall, they also will be dual-fuel vessels. Ten years earlier Remontowa built two vessels for Cal Mac which could also be deemed as intermediate, Bute and Argyle, which are powered by twin MaK diesel engines driving twin Schottel azimuth propellers fore and aft. They are, however, much smaller than the Salish class vessels, having capacity for just 450 passengers and 60 cars. They operate on a relatively short route, linking the island of Bute with the mainland.


BC Ferries and Cal Mac continue to evolve in a similar

 The Cal Mac route network.

way, although the scale of their operations is very different. BC Ferries carried more than four times the number of passengers per year and more than seven times the number of vehicles. While Cal Mac takes 4.7 million passengers and 1.1 million vehicles, BC Ferries carries 19.9 million passengers and 7.7 million vehicles. Cal Mac employ approximately 1,350, whereas BC Ferries have in excess of 4,700 staff. BC Ferries operate 25 routes, have 15 major and 20 smaller vessels serving 47 different terminals. Cal Mac have 27 routes with 14 major vessels and 17 smaller ones, serving 51 terminals. The similarities between BC Ferries and Cal Mac are many, from the way they are funded to the areas they serve, how they have evolved over time to their plans for the future. Both are robustly managed and have high levels of employee loyalty and dedication. Both also deal with a travelling public who are proud and protective of their ferry services, and both continue to provide essential services for island communities.

 Cal Mac’s two new hybrid ferries: Hallaig (left) on trials in the Firth of Clyde and Lochinvar (right) undergoing berthing trials.

 The coast of British Columbia and the many islands served by BC Ferries.

 The 2007-built Loch Shira (1,024gt) departing Largs.

 The 2005-built Rothesay ferry Bute (2,612gt) in the Firth of Clyde. • February 2018 •

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The bulk carrier La Chambordais (2015/24,725gt) approaches Wynyard Wharf, Auckland, inbound from Gisborne to load scrap metal during her maiden call at the port; she is owned and managed by Louis Dreyfus Armateurs of Suresnes, France. WWW.SEAPIXONLINE

L A I R O T C I P S P I H S ge to Ships Monthly grace our gallery? Send your ima uld wo t tha to pho ng ndi sta out Have you an raphy around the world. showcase the best in ship photog for inclusion in these pages, which

The car/passenger ferry CTMA Vacancier operates weekly cruises between Montréal and the Magdalen Islands. The 44-year-old ship is operated by Coopérative de Transport Maritime et Aérien and was built by J.J. Sietas Schiffswerft in Hamburg as Aurella for SF Line. Between 1982 and 1998 she sailed as Saint Patrick II, between 1998 and 2000 as Egnatia II, in 2000 as Ville de Séte and between 2001 and 2002 as City of Cork, before being sold to her current owners. MARC PICHÉ • February 2018 •

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Svitzer Kent takes the strain while assisting a container ship departure Felixstowe. The Damen ASD 3212 tug is one of a pair delivered in 2015 for the port. MARITIME PHOTOGRAPHIC

The 2008-built general cargo vessel CFL Prudence (4,106gt), Netherlandsflagged and a regular visitor to Terneuzen, about to enter the Ghent Canal on 15 October 2017.

The 35,736gt Tirrenia Line ferry Bithia arriving in Civitavecchia in April 2017. Built in 2001, the 214m vessel can carry up to 2,700 passengers and 820 vehicles. ALAN MOORHOUSE

The small cruise ship Pacific Princess (30,277gt) at Gibraltar. She was built in 1999 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique in Saint Nazaire as R Three for Renaissance Cruises. BOB WRIGHT

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PICTORIAL • February 2018 •

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KIEL CANAL a busy waterway

The prime purpose for the construction of the Kiel Canal (or Nord-Ostsee Kanal) was to allow the country’s naval vessels quick passage between the North Sea and the Baltic without leaving German waters. It opened in 1895 and soon became a busy commercial waterway, as Gordon Turner’s historic photos show.


he Kiel Canal has been one of the world’s busiest waterways for more than 120 years. It was completed in 1895, but later widened, and links the North Sea at Brunsbüttel, and the Baltic at Kiel-Holtenau. Its construction obviated the need for ships to sail around the northern tip of Denmark, providing a shortcut. The Canal is the most heavily used artificial seaway in the world and, excluding small boats, an average of 80 ships per day used it in 2016. Known as the Nord-Ostsee Kanal, and formerly the Kaiser

Wilhelm Kanal, it is 98km long and is situated in the German state of SchleswigHolstein. About 250 nautical miles are saved by ships using the Canal instead of going around the Jutland Peninsula, enabling them to avoid storm-prone seas. The first connection between the North and Baltic Seas was constructed while the area was ruled by Denmark-Norway. It was called the Eider Canal, which used stretches of the Eider River. Completed during the reign of Christian VII of Denmark in 1784, the Eiderkanal was a 43km part

 Brook, owned by H. M. Gehrckens, photographed on 29 July 1972 when she was only five years old; she was built by Werft Nobiskrug at Rendsburg, a small city located about midway along the canal. In 1981 she was renamed Canaria, but her career came to an end when she arrived at Porto Nagaro, Italy on 10 November 1987 for demolition.

 The coaster Gesa Meinken, owned by Ernst Meinken, was completed in 1951 and went to the breaker’s yard in the mid-1980s. She was only 161ft in length and her service speed was eight knots. Grey-hulled and with two hatch covers, she was photographed on 2 August 1972 near the high-level railway bridge that crosses the canal.

of a waterway from Kiel to the Eider River’s mouth at Tönning on the west coast. It was only 29m (95ft) wide, with a depth of 3m (10ft), which limited the vessels that could use the canal to 300 tonnes. In the 1860s a new canal was considered by shipowners and by the German navy, which wanted to link its bases in the Baltic and the North Sea without sailing around Denmark. Construction started at Holtenau, near Kiel in June 1887, with over 9,000 workers spending eight years building it. On 20 June 1895 the canal was officially opened by Kaiser Wilhelm II. The next day, a ceremony was held in Holtenau where Wilhelm II

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Beate, photographed on 19 August 1973, was 202ft in length, with a gross tonnage of 423. Built in 1965, she became Windle Spray in 1975 and subsequently held at least five other names.

 Renate near the Kiel Canal’s high-level railway bridge on 22 August 1973. Small by the standards of the early 1970s, the 1939-built vessel was 127ft long, having been lengthened in 1953, and had a deadweight of 296 tons. According to Lloyd’s Register, her service speed was only 7½ knots.

named it the Kaiser Wilhelm Kanal after his grandfather, and laid the final stone. The canal enabled ships to transit from Brunsbüttel to Holtenau. The first transatlantic sailing ship to transit the canal was the wooden barque Lilly, commanded by Johan Pitka, a vessel of 390 tons built in 1866 in Sunderland. She measured 127.5ft by 28.7ft, had a depth of 17.6ft and a 32ft keel. The canal soon became busy, and to meet increasing traffic and the demands of the Imperial German Navy, the

canal was widened between 1907 and 1914 so that a Dreadnought-sized battleship could pass through. The enlargement projects were completed by the installation of two larger canal locks at Brunsbüttel and Holtenau. After World War I the Treaty of Versailles required the canal to be open to vessels of commerce and of war of any nation at peace with Germany, while leaving it under German administration. The United States rejected this proposal because it would have given


 The 999gt feeder vessel Nad Monarch, with containers as deck cargo on 20 August 1973, carries the funnel markings of Sea-Land Corporation, a large American company that was a pioneer in the container business. She was built in Germany by Schiffswerft Korneuburg. • February 2018 •

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 Janra, near the mid-canal city of Rendsburg on 11 June 1995 in her first year of service, was operating a container feeder service. Like many ships in this service, her accommodation block was several decks high with a wide fully enclosed bridge.

KIEL CANAL DIMENSIONS  All permanent, fixed bridges crossing the canal have a clearance of 42m (138ft).  The maximum length a ship can be to use the Canal is 235.5m (772.6ft), with a maximum width of 32.5m (106.6ft) and a draught of up to 7m (22.97ft).  Ships up to a length of 160m (524.93ft) may have a draught up to 9.5m (31.2ft).  The bulker Ever Leader (74,000dwt) is considered to be the cargo ship that has come closest to the overall limits.















other powers, notably Great Britain and France, an excuse to seek similar concessions on the Panama Canal. The government under Adolf Hitler repudiated its international status in 1936. After World War II the canal was reopened to all traffic and in 1948 the current name was adopted. The canal was partially closed in March 2013 after two lock gates failed at the western end near Brunsbüttel. Ships larger than 125m (410ft) were forced to navigate via the Skagerrak, a 450km detour. The failure was blamed on neglect and a lack of funding by the Federal Government, which has been in financial dispute with the state of Schleswig-Holstein regarding the canal.

 Lori Dreyer was already 64 years old when photographed on 20 July 1977. Only 163ft long, the 1913-built ship from the yard of C. Luhring, Brake was lengthened in 1962. She is en route to Brunsbüttel at the North Sea end.


There are traffic rules for vessels using the canal. Vessels are placed in one of six traffic groups according to their dimensions. Larger ships are

 The 424gt coaster Paula on 19 August 1973; she was owned by F. & H. Breuer, whose initials appeared on the funnel markings. She was completed in 1964 by the J.J. Sietas yard in the vicinity of Hamburg and was 184ft in length.

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‘There are traffic rules for vessels using the canal. . . . Many modern cruise ships cannot pass through this canal due to clearance limits under bridges.’

 The small coaster Freiherr vom Stein, owned by Hans Numssen, was built at the prolific yard of J.J. Sietas, near Hamburg, in 1955. She was 193ft long and had a gross tonnage of 499. Her service speed was 8.5 knots. Her final voyage in 1986 took her to a shipbreaker’s yard at Lübeck. She is seen on 20 August 1973.

 Halsingland, German-owned and -registered at Hamburg, was photographed on 11 June 1995 when she was only five years old. She measured 344ft in length, had a gross tonnage of 3,845, and was a product of the J.J. Sietas shipyard.

obliged to take pilots and specialised canal helmsmen, and in some cases a tug. There are further regulations regarding ships passing each other. Larger ships may also be required to moor at the bollards placed at intervals along the canal so that oncoming vessels can pass. Many modern cruise ships cannot pass through this canal due to clearance limits under bridges. Some vessels are adapted so that they can use the waterway, such as the 1992-built SuperStar Gemini (ex-Dreamward), which has special funnels and masts that can be lowered for passage. Smaller cruise ships, such as Swan Hellenic’s Minerva, P&O Cruises’ Adonia, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ Balmoral, CMV’s Marco Polo, Oceania Cruises’ Regatta and Nautica, and Prinsendam of Holland America Line, were able to transit the canal, and cruise companies often offer special Kiel Canal cruises. Several of the Viking cruise ships were built with Kiel Canal passages in mind, notably Viking Sea and Viking Sky. • February 2018 •

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HIJMS Mikasa in 1905.



At one time half of the world’s battleships were built in Britain, either for the Royal Navy or under contract for foreign navies. Today, only two of these historic British-built craft remain: HMS Warrior at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and Mikasa at Yokosuka, in Japan, as Nick Hawkins explains.


fter the ending of Japan’s isolationist policy in the 1860s, the country began to engage in foreign trade and made attempts to expand its empire into China and Korea. This, of course, necessitated a navy,

but by 1898 Japanese industry still lacked the technology to build something as complex as a modern battleship. Eventually an approach was made to Vickers Shipbuilding in Barrow-in-Furness, which was able to offer a version of the Formidable class battleship then entering Royal

Navy service. The Japanese ship would have a secondary armament of 14 six-inch guns as opposed to the British ships’ 12, but was otherwise almost identical and would cost £880,000 (£97.75 million in today’s prices). The new ship would displace 15,140 tons and be

powered by 25 coal-fired Belleville water tube boilers and two triple expansion engines generating just over 15,000hp. Her twin fourbladed propellers turned inwards gave a speed of 18 knots (18.45 knots on trials), but made manoeuvring at slow speeds difficult.

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FERRIES IN FOCUS Mikasa was launched on 8 November 1900 and entered Japanese naval service on 1 March 1902. She had a complement of 836 and her main armament consisted of four 12-inch Armstrong Mk.V guns, originally of 40 calibres (meaning 40 x 12 inches, making them 40ft long), which could be loaded at any angle of training or elevation, giving them a rate of fire of up to three rounds every two minutes. Each gun weighed nearly 50 tonnes and had a range of 10,000m, even though the sights were set for an optimum 6,000m, at which the Japanese crews claimed to achieve a ten per cent hit rate. The main armament was supplemented by the battery of quick-firing six-inch guns, 20 12lb and eight 3lb guns. There were also four submerged torpedo tubes on the broadsides, although the effectiveness of these was always doubtful.

Mikasa was extensively refurbished in the late 1950s and is now fully restored as a museum ship at Mikasa Park.


Mikasa is as famous to the Japanese as HMS Victory is to the British (there is a superb model of Victory in the Mikasa museum). Mikasa became famous after serving throughout the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05 as Admiral Togo’s flagship. The Japanese broke off diplomatic relations with Russia on 6 February 1904, when the Russians refused to allow Japan to take over the Liaodung Peninsula in northeast China, which had been ceded to them in 1895. The Japanese then attacked the Russian fleet in Port Arthur on the night of 8-9 February 1904 without declaring war. Ultimately, the loss of almost the entire Russian Pacific fleet forced Tsar Nicholas to send his Baltic fleet round the world to replace it. After showing outstanding seamanship in undertaking such a long voyage without any bases en route, the Russians arrived off Tsushima Island in the Korea Strait on 27 May 1905. There, a hospital ship, sailing fully

 Mikasa preserved in concrete at Mikasa Park in Yokosuka. She was laid down by Vickers at their Barrow-in-Furness shipyard on 24 January 1899, launched on 8 November 1900 and completed on 1 March 1902. After a visit to Devonport, she left Plymouth on 13 March 1902, bound for Yokohama, under the command of Captain Hayasaki.

illuminated in accordance with international law, was spotted by the Japanese auxiliary cruiser Shinano-Maru. The cruiser alerted Admiral Togo by wireless, which was advanced technology at the time and had only just been fitted to most of the Japanese

fleet. The Japanese had been stretched to the limit by the war and desperately needed a major victory to avoid total defeat. Togo had exercised his gunners on a daily basis and disciplined them to cease firing when they no longer had a clear view of the target.

This allowed the smoke to clear and saved ammunition. His four British-built battleships (Mikasa, Shikishima, Fuji and Asahi), fitted with the new telescopic gunsights, were deployed well strategically and were ready for battle. Despite Mikasa • February 2018 •

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Mikasa in her concrete berth in the 1960s.

being hit by ten ten-inch and 22 six-inch Russian shells, she survived and eventually accepted the surrender of the remainder of the Russian fleet. The Russians had lost 17 ships, with a further five captured, and 4,380 men, compared to Japanese losses of three torpedo boats and 117 men. Tsushima was one of the first major victories of a non-white nation over white men, and helped to fuel the fear in the east, as the other European powers worried about their colonies in the east. Mikasa suffered a magazine explosion during the night of 11-12 September 1905, shortly after the end of the war, which sank her. However, she

was raised the following year, repaired and put back into service, serving as a coast defence ship during World War I.

 The ship in her concrete berth, also showing part of the six-inch battery.

Mikasa was decommissioned in 1923, as she was in excess of the 315,000 tons of battleship Japan was allowed under the terms of the Washington Naval Treaty, and she should have been scrapped. However, she was important to the Japanese, who did not want to see her go to the breakers yard, so it was agreed that she could be preserved, embedded in concrete in Yokosuka, where she can now be visited as the centrepiece of ‘Mikasa Park’. Whereas King George

V famously ordered HMS Victory to be raised up so that her waterline was flush with the edge of her dry dock, no such measure was taken with Mikasa. She therefore sits low in her concrete berth, obscuring her armour belting, which was nine inches of casehardened Krupp steel, tapering to four inches at the ends. This was surmounted by six inches of extra armour between the main turrets, while 14 inches surrounded the barbettes. The deck armour amounted to another two to three inches. Sadly, the ship was allowed to deteriorate during and after World War II, but following the personal intervention of Admiral Nimitz, of the American occupation forces, she was

restored and reopened to the public in 1961. An interesting museum now occupies the former engine and boiler rooms and the 12 and six-inch guns have been replaced by thin steel replicas with a diorama showing how the latter would have been operated. The six-inch guns used quick-fire ammunition (the firing charge was supplied in brass cylinders as opposed to cloth bags) and could fire up to eight rounds a minute. Those on the main deck were contained in box armour to protect the gun crews from being injured by shells penetrating from the opposite side of the ship. At the time of Mikasa’s commissioning, naval gunnery

 Wireless room, with replica Type 36 radio that had a range of 80 miles.

 Forward end of upper gun deck with the rope splinter shield.

 The interior of the reconstructed armoured wheelhouse.


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 Admiral Togo Heihachiro (1848-1934), the victor of Tsushima.

was competing with the torpedo, which could be fired from comparatively small and fast torpedo boats. This threat would have been difficult to counter using the slow-firing main armament, or even the six-inch guns, so as a last-ditch defence battleships of this era would have relied on small quick-firing guns. In Mikasa’s case, these were three-inch guns, which could fire 12lb shells at a rate of up to

15 rounds per minute. They are now referred to as the Type 41 in Japan in honour of the 41st year of the reign of Emperor Meiji on 25 December 1908. Also of interest on the upper gun deck is an example of a rope shield set up in times of battle and made wet to protect the crew from flying splinters. The wooden decks were a known fire hazard and the Russian battleship Oryol had hers ripped up and thrown overboard just before the battle of Tsushima. Further round is a diorama of the wireless telegraphy equipment in use. The new Japanese Type 36 wireless had an output of 600 Watts, giving it a range of approximately 80 nautical miles, and was installed just before Tsushima, making this the first major sea battle in which wireless played a significant part. However, the Russians ultimately signalled their surrender by flag, as their wireless was not as advanced as that of the Japanese.

‘Mikasa is an interesting ship with an interesting history . . . and a visit to her is highly recommended’ The reconstructed armoured wheelhouse is a little spartan, and the armoured bulkheads have been replaced with thin sheet steel, but still give a reasonable representation of what the original must have looked like. Upon the open bridge is a duplicate Barr & Stroud rangefinder, which it was claimed could determine the range of a target up to 8,000 yards away. Despite this, it seems as though the Japanese preferred to rely on spotting their fall of shot at Tsushima to verify the range of the Russian ships. The British Royal Navy officer, Captain William Pakenham, was assigned to the Japanese fleet during Tsushima and was later described as the


Mikasa as she now is in Mikasa Park, Yokosuka, Japan.

 The onboard museum in the former engine and boiler room.

bravest man at the battle as he allegedly sat in a deckchair on the quarterdeck of Asahi taking notes, specifically of the performance of the Britishbuilt equipment and how it was used. His comments on the superior performance of the main armament are said to have influenced Admiral ‘Jackie’ Fisher’s decision to build the allbig gun battleship that was to become HMS Dreadnought. In conclusion, Mikasa is an interesting ship with an interesting history, and when you are in Tokyo the short train journey out to Yokosuka to see the famous ship is highly recommended. The trip can be enhanced further by a very interesting boat trip going round the modern naval base.

 Diorama depicting the operation of one Mikasa’s replica six-inch guns.

 Part of the six-inch secondary armament and the command bridge.


130m/426ft 6in x 22.9m/75ft 3in x 8.3m/27ft 3in


15,382 tonnes/ 15,140 tons


4 x 12in guns, 14 x 6in guns, 20 x 12lb and 6 x 3lb guns, 4 x 18in torpedo tubes


25 Belleville boilers, 2 shafts, 11,930kW/ 15,000hp


18 knots (18.45 kts on trials)




24 January 1899


8 November 1900


1 March 1902

 Mikasa’s foredeck with the replica 12-inch forward gun turret. • February 2018 •

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Ilala memories

I was delighted to read in the article by Thomas Rinaldi about Ilala (II) (SM, Nov 2017). My family lived in Monkey Bay for several years and both my father and I worked on the vessel. My father, an engineer, went to Monkey Bay in 1949, from India, and, six months later, in 1950, my mother, sister and I joined him. He was one of the engineers who helped to rebuild Ilala at Monkey Bay, after she was sent in crates from Yarrow in Glasgow (where I later served my apprenticeship as a marine engineer). My father served in Monkey Bay, along with several other British engineers and deck officers, for several years. There was a large

Torpedoes not guns

Regarding my article on the battleship Aurora (SM, Dec 2017), I need to point out that she had 15-inch torpedo tubes rather than guns. Nick Hawkins Ryde, Isle of Wight

Manxman remains

I was interested to read the article about TSS Manxman (SM, Nov 2017) and thought you might be interested to hear about some parts of Manxman that have survived. After registering an interest in acquiring them, I was contacted by G. O’Brien & Sons. The demolition contractor responsible for scrapping Manxman in 2012. In July 2012 I travelled to their yard in

workshop establishment there, as well as a floating dock, to maintain, repair and service the various vessels employed on Lake Nyasa by the Nyasaland Railways Lake Service Department. They sometimes repaired private craft as well. I can remember some of the interesting ships and smaller craft based at Monkey Bay that were employed on the lake, some of which

were mentioned in the article . Ilala was originally fitted with two Crossley two-stroke engines, which she still had when I left Monkey Bay in 1960. But I forgot to ask my father, who retired from Monkey Bay in about 1967, if Ilala still had the Crossley main engines then. The tugs on the lake had a variety of engines. The oldest during my time was Nsipa, which was powered by a

Sunderland, which incidentally was only a few miles from the dockyard where Manxman had been broken. Fully expecting to find a whole host of available memorabilia, I was surprised and saddened to see this fine vessel had been reduced to just three packing crates. From what was left I purchased the name and three-legs symbol off the bow and Manxman, Douglas and the timber three-legs off the stern. All of these were in a pretty poor condition, and so far all I have managed to restore is the name and three-legs off the bow (see photo adjacent). According to the Historic Ships Register, some other parts of Manxman also survived. Two

lorry-loads of parts were taken to Szczecin in Poland, where the former pilot vessel Bembridge was being restored. The parts included two sets of lifeboat davits, which have been shortened to suit a smaller boat. David Booth Warrington, Cheshire

One of Manxman’s name plates and the IOM three-legs symbol saved The by patrol boat KW 19 in Horumersiel. David Booth from scrapping.

Ten pound poms

Further to H. Moule’s letter Ten pound poms (SM, Sep 2017), I travelled on Orontes during my last visit to Australia as one of he emigrants going ‘down under’. I had married an Australian in the UK and we were returning to live with her mother after I had completed ten years in the Royal Navy. Orontes left the UK early in December 1961 and arrived in Sydney on 8 January 1962. She left Sydney on 12 January 1962, dressed overall, with the breaker’s yard in Valencia, Spain her final resting place. Sorry the photo attached is not the best. I did 30 years as pilot vessel master in Port Kembla, New South Wales. Eddie Nicholls Queensland, Australia

Probably not Leo

Regarding the September mystery ship, described by Christopher Frame (SM, Nov), the photo is as stated an Ellermans Wilson Line ship. But I do not think that it is Leo. I was radio

Gleniffer engine, while another had a Gardner, and the newer ones had Thornycroft engines. Power for the whole of Monkey Bay was supplied by two Blackstone diesel generators. My father really enjoyed his time there, and after he and the family left (I was at sea in the British Merchant Navy by then) and settled in Southampton, he regularly used to reminisce about the wonderful life in Monkey Bay, where he had many very good friends. Maybe someone from those days could make contact? I started my apprenticeship in Monkey Bay in September 1959, serving a year there before having a golden opportunity to go to Yarrows in Glasgow in September 1960. After completing my apprenticeship at Yarrows in 1964, I went to sea, having a wonderful and satisfying career, and retired in 2003, aged only 60. John A. Norris Bearsden, Glasgow

Write to Ships Mail, Ships Monthly, Kelsey Publishing, Cudham Tithe Barn, Berrys Hill, Cudham, Kent TN16 3AG, or email Please note that letters via email must enclose sender’s full postal address. Contributions to Ships Monthly must be exclusive and must not be sent to other publications. The editor reserves the right to edit material. Kelsey Publishing reserves the right to reuse any submission sent in any format.

officer on that ship for six months in 1955, and some aspects of her were different to those of the ship pictured. During my time at sea, I served on three Wilson Line ships, Sacramento, Trentino and Leo. Mike Curwen Lancaster

Extra from an author

Not long after my article on my voyage in Wendover in 1961 was published (SM, Dec 2017), I found a copy of the report I made to Watts, Watts in my loft. Here are a few figures: the round voyage from the Med to Canada was 11,450 nautical miles, at an average speed of 13.8 knots; the main engine used 15.1 tons diesel oil per day, and 1.2 tons was used by the generators. The maximum displacement on the voyage, with 7,200 tons cargo and 340 tons oil fuel, was 12,750 tons at

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 Herald of Free Enterprise being towed into the harbour at Vlissingen after her salvage, May 1987. I read with interest Mr MintonTaylor’s interesting letter recalling the launch of Townsend Thoresen’s Viking Viscount (SM, Dec 2017). However, it was disappointing to see a former Townsend Thoresen employee implying that the Zeebrugge disaster was only caused by poor seamanship. While this was the most significant factor, it is disingenuous to mention it without also referring to the numerous management a mean draft of 24ft 4in. Cargo from Lisbon to Montreal was 2,030 tons of wool, olives, vehicles, steel, wine, cork and cherries, plus 2,160 tons of water ballast. From Montreal/Quebec to the Med we carried 7,200 tons of wheat, flax, hides, aluminium and milk powder. From the Med we took to Canada marble, fishmeal, cork, cheese and chemicals. I thought these extras might be of interest and add detail. Ian Buxton Tynemouth

RFA man in the navy

Seeing the letter Childhood Memories (SM, November 2017) prompts me to write not of childhood but of my time in the Royal Air Force. This might seem to have nothing to do with ships, but in fact it is relevant. I served in the RAF in the mid-1950s and was seconded to the Home Fleet of the Royal Navy for the two months of their spring cruise to the

Correct credit The illustration of the not-built Cunard Q3 which appeared in Stephen Payne’s article about the Queen Elizabeth 2 (SM, Nov 2017) should have be credited to Mervyn Pearson, the artist who painted it, from Bembridge, IoW.

failings ashore, which were highlighted in the official findings and led to the judge’s ‘disease of sloppiness’ comments. Of course, Townsend Thoresen was probably no worse than many other companies at the time, but lessons can only be learned if everyone in an organisation tackles the root causes of a situation rather than the symptoms. Andrew Orr Bamber Bridge Mediterranean. Why I was chosen I do not know, particularly as I was to be on board the destroyer HMS Barrosa. Being an instrument technician with the RAF, I really could not see what use I could be on a destroyer, but the skipper thought it would be a good idea if I, and the other two airmen on board, learned how to handle and fire some sort of heavy machine gun mounted astern of the bridge. We understood that this particular gun had problems, so it was

no surprise that we did not succeed in firing a single shot. One day I was transferred to the aircraft carrier Theseus, which provided a more suitable environment, and I spent most of my time on or near the deck during flight operations, which was fascinating. Back on Barrosa I remember wandering out on deck one evening for some fresh air, not realising that we were in the middle of exercises, and was deafened by one of the big guns being fired. Returning to the messdeck, I was met with guffaws from the navy guys as my face was black with soot. What a magical experience the whole voyage was, and the sight of the green fields of the south coast of England as we steamed back to Portsmouth is in my memory. Unfortunately, I am now too old to travel on cargo vessels, which I thoroughly enjoyed over the past 20 years, and it is about time that I thanked the RN and the crew of HMS Barrosa, if any of them are still alive, for looking after me all those years ago. Nat Page Cowes, Isle of Wight

More on Killarney

Peter Asplin’s letter about the career of the cruise ship Killarney (SM, Nov 2017) was very interesting, but requires some correction. Killarney actually started her cruises in 1927, not 1930, and they were operated from the outset by Coast Lines, not Langlands. The starting date of 1930 or 1931 is quoted erroneously in most sources, and appears to have been based on the transfer of

her ownership to Coast Lines on 28 December 1931. However, the more significant date was the transfer of her port of registry from Cork to Liverpool in 1927. Killarney completed her last sailing from Fishguard on 25 March 1927 and sailed light the next day to Liverpool. She never made another passenger sailing between Fishguard and Cork, although she did return to Cork for 28 and 29 April 1929, when she loaded ‘Irish produce’, while on charter to the Irish Government, for a floating exhibition. Her first cruise started on 3 June 1927. Her cruise programme was more ambitious than the post-war cruises of Lady Killarney, and included a cruise round Britain with calls at Northern France, the Channel Islands, Inverness and the Northern Isles. Her final cruise ended at Liverpool on 31 August 1939, with the remainder of her programme being cancelled. During the war she was laid up initially, but was reactivated for Dunkirk, making one voyage, when she brought 625 troops back to Dover. For the rest of the war she was used by the Royal Navy as a depot and accommodation ship at Rosyth. After the war she was towed back to Liverpool, arriving on 9 August 1946. She was sold on 11 March 1947. Her greatest achievement under the name Attiki came in 1948, when she sailed from Marseilles to Aden, Mombasa and Lourenco Marques, returning from the same ports to Piraeus. Quite an achievement for a 54-year-old Irish Sea vessel. Malcolm McRonald Heswall, Wirral

Painting shows Queen of Bermuda at New York • The painting depicts RMS Queen of Bermuda, which was operated by the Furness Bermuda Line on the run between New York and Bermuda from 1933 to 1966, except during the war, when she served as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. The crest on her bow is the Bermuda coat of arms, and she was a wonderful ship. Neil Couper Bermuda • Regarding Kenneth Warne’s request for the identification of the passenger ship depicted in his painting (SM, Dec 2017), I think it shows the Furness Withy liner Queen

of Bermuda. She re-entered service on the New York-Bermuda route in 1949 after her wartime service, and was rebuilt with one funnel in 196162, so I think the painting shows her

in New York (judging by the tug in the painting) during this period. The crest on her bow certainly resembles the real one on the ship. Peter Sommerville Greenock • I believe the painting referred to in Mr Warne’s letter is of either Monarch of Bermuda or Queen of Bermuda. Colour photos I have seen of the ships seem to show she had a grey hull. However, the shape of the stem, the badge and the bridge front all identify these ships. Dr Paul Adams Cheltenham • February 2018 •

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CHARTROOM Ports of call • fEBrUarY






Saga Pearl II

Saga Cruises


Ventura Ventura Oceana Oceana

P&O Cruises P&O Cruises P&O Cruises P&O Cruises

116,017 116,017 77,499 77,499




0600/1630 0600/1630 0600/1630 0600/1630

Compiled by Donna and Andrew Cooke

Date 23 25

Arr/dep 0630/1630 0600/1630

Ship Saga Sapphire Oriana

Operator Saga Cruises P&O Cruises

GT 37,049 69,840

TILBURY 18 0700/1600 Magellan Cruise & Maritime Voyages 46,052 NOTES This information is given in good faith, and neither the authors nor Ships Monthly can be held responsible for any changes to ship arrivals or departures.

MYSTERY SHIP DECEMBER’S MYSTERY SHIP Florida towards the end of her career, with tapered funnel and closed-in decks at her stern.

The Mystery Ship is the Norwegian passenger steamer Florida, which was built by Newport News SB&DD Co, Newport News, Virginia in 1931 for P&O Steamship Co. The 4,945gt vessel measured 387ft by 56ft, and her steam turbines and twin screws gave her a service speed of 19 knots. She could accommodate 612 passengers in first and 130 passengers in second class. Most of

the 196 staterooms had an upper and lower berth and wash basin. Some triples also had a sofa bed, and there were a few quads with an additional upper berth; only about 42 cabins had a private bathroom. Public rooms included a dining room, cocktail lounge and small ballroom. Florida was easily the most spartan of the cruise ships sailing out of Miami, but she had a loyal following.

P&O owned the long-serving liner and operated her throughout her 37-year career, except for four years during World War II. She undertook her maiden voyage on 4 June 1931, leaving Tampa for Key West and Havana. In 1934 she was transferred to a Miami-Havana route, and in 1954 a weekly Miami-Nassau roundtrip was tried briefly, but Florida reverted to three weekly Miami-Havana round-

trip sailings. In the 1950s cruising from Miami to Havana cost $42 per person aboard Florida. The fare included all transportation, two nights aboard, a day in Havana and all meals. Florida was transferred to Liberian registry in 1955 and in 1959, with growing unrest in Cuba, she was permanently assigned to twice-weekly Miami-Nassau cruises until being laid up in 1966. In 1967 she served as a floating hotel, Le Palais Flottant, at the Montreal Expo in Canada, and in 1968 she was sold for scrap. P&O was a pioneer in the Florida cruise business. Johnny Magne Holmen Olsvik, Norway The mystery ship is Florida (4,923gt), which was built to operate out of Miami for P&O. She sailed from Miami to Havana and Nassau for most of her career. Her flag was changed from American to Liberian in the mid-1950s in an effort to reduce costs, and she was laid up in 1966. She had a name and ownership change in 1967, becoming Le Palais Flottant, and was used as a floating hotel before being broken up in Santander in 1968. Peter Sommerville Greenock

This month’s mystery photo shows a large tanker or oil storage vessel, but one with no markings. What was her name? When was she built and with which company did she serve? When and where did she serve? Where was the photo taken? And what was the ship’s ultimate fate? Send your answers, including a postal address, by email to, or by post to Mystery Ship, Ships Monthly, Kelsey Media, Cudham Tithe Barn, Berrys Hill, Cudham, Kent TN16 3AG. Emails preferred.

62 • February 2018 •

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bookof themonth

British Cruisers of the Victorian Era Norman Friedman Gradually evolving from the masted steam frigates of the mid-19th century, the first modern cruiser is not easy to define, but for the sake of this book the starting point is taken to be Iris and Mercury of 1875. They were the RN’s first steel-built warships, designed primarily to be steamed rather than sailed, and formed the basis of a line of succeeding cruiser classes. The story ends with the last armoured cruisers, which were succeeded by the first battlecruisers (originally called armoured cruisers), and with the last Third Class Cruisers (Topaze class), all conceived before 1906. This large volume has been well researched, is original in its analysis, and provides a major contribution to the history of British warships. JM • Published by Seaforth Publishing, 47 Church Street, Barnsley South Yorkshire S70 2AS; tel 01226 734555, info@, hardback, 352 pages, price 45.

SOUTH The Illustrated story of Shackleton’s Last Expedition 1914-1917 Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton In 1914 the polar explorer Ernest Shackleton announced an ambitious plan to lead the Imperial TransAntarctic Expedition, the first trek across Antarctica from the Atlantic to the Pacific via the South Pole.

Cunard: The Fleet Book

Marc-Antoine Bombail Michael Gallagher Published by Ferry Publications, PO Box 33, Ramsey, Isle of Man IM99 4LP; tel 01624 898445,; 96 pages; price £16 plus p&p

This is a unique reference book, which provides a complete and detailed list of all the Cunard ships that have served with the company since 1840, starting with Britannia of

1840, followed by Unicorn, Arcadia and Caledonia in the same year. The vessels are listed in chronological order of entry into Cunard service, with a brief description and history of each ship. The majority are accompanied by a photograph or one of Marc-Antoine Bombail’s specially drawn profiles, with notes on each ship’s history and eventual demise. For the more significant ships, such as Berengaria (1921), Queen Mary (1936), Saxonia (1954) and many others, there is a double page spread mostly given over to the profile drawing, as well as

Shackleton’s third expedition would prove tp be fraught with adventure and peril. South is the tale of that ill-fated expedition as told in Shackleton’s own words, and illustrated with the photography of expedition photographer Frank Hurley, as well as modern colour imagery. On the eve of World War I the ship Endurance left England with Shackleton and his team of six men. As Endurance approached the continent, she and her crew faced early ice, and the vessel became hopelessly locked in an ice floe, beginning a series of challenges for the men of Endurance, forcing them to brave untested overland routes into the vast unknown, including tackling ice-covered mountainous islands, spending days in a life raft in hurricane-force winds, braving untested overland routes into the vast unknown, and much more. Today considered an adventure survival classic, South is the true story of an extraordinary polar expedition. In this 384-page reprint of his volume, Shackleton’s lively prose has been extensively illustrated with a variety of stunning images. While the amount of content relating to the ship is limited, the story of early polar explorers more than makes up for it. NL

Britain has a history of producing and using a wide variety of fishing boats, some of which still sail under private ownership. These older vessels developed in their own unique ways, depending on local traditions and conditions, the type of fishing they were intended for, their place of operation and innovation from fishermen and boatbuilders. Later, with motorisation, they changed dramatically, through the steam era until the advent of the internal combustion engine. This small landscape-format book looks at the history of the fishing industry from fishing craft to deepsea fishing boats and small inshore craft to industrial fishing vessels. Profusely illustrated with a variety of photographs, it provides an excellent overview of the fishing industry in the UK and Ireland. NL

• Published by Zenith Press, 74-77 White Lion Street, London N1 9PF,, tel 0207 284 9300; hardback; price £25.

• Published by The History Press, The Mill, Brimscombe Port, Stroud, Gloucs GL5 2QG, tel 01453 883300, www., price £9.99.

The Fishing Boats Story

more detailed text. The book includes a brief history of Cunard and many reproductions of posters, brochure covers and various ephemera reflecting the company’s rich heritage from over 175 years. Although there have been many books published on Cunard, this one is notable for its easy-to-follow layout, well-reproduced photos and outstanding profile drawings. NL

The First World War at Sea in Photographs

Mike Smylie

Phil Carradice Phil Carradice has written a series of books about the warships, naval battles and engagements of World War I. One volume per year covers the 1914 to 1918 era, telling the history through images of warships, sailors, admirals and battles. The books are divided into one chapter for each month as the author goes through the major events of the conflict at sea. The story starts in August 1914, with Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse, one of Germany’s ocean liners, being lost off the coast of Africa; October 1914 saw the loss of Britain’s Dreadnought battleship HMS Audacious to a mine; and December 1914 the Battle of the Falklands. These, and the subsequent major events, are covered in volumes which are picture-heavy and text-light. • Published by Amberley Publishing, The Hill, Merrywalks, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4EP, www., each book is 128page softback, each priced at £14.99. • February 2018 •

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Antique Chart Table – US $1,900


The epic voyage of ‘the ship that saved Malta’ in the Pedestal convoy, August 1942.


The battle for convoy JW51B that had far-reaching effects for the Kriegsmarine.

By Michael Pearson Available from the publishers Pen & Sword Ltd Tel: 01226 734222 website: Available in paperback and ebook format, complete with maps, diagrams, illustrations and detailed appendices Also available from / / and all good bookshops and online retailers.

Ten drawer (2 x 5 drawer segments) all solid oak with solid brass drawer pulls and locking device. Completely refurbished. 45 1/2 “ x 34” tabletop, 37” high. FOB Houston TX. John Milligan 281-381-2216 (USA)


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Review of the vessels and future of the world’s pre-eminent fleet.


OCEANIC • With a distinct character of her own, the cruise ship Oceanic was one of the final products of a golden age of naval architecture. HMS OCEAN • With the withdrawal of the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean imminent following the arrival of HMS Queen Elizabeth, Patrick Boniface looks back at her 20-year career. CANARY ISLANDS INTERLUDE • Jim Shaw recalls the post-war ships of Spain’s Trasmediterránea.

WORLD SHIP SOCIETY Founded in 1947, the World Ship Society has some 2,000 members worldwide who are interested in ships, past and present. Its monthly journal “Marine News” and its naval companion ”Warships” are bywords for accurate information. MARINE NEWS - comprehensive listings of merchant ship activity for enthusiasts – some 10,000 entries a year covering launches, name and ownership changes, casualties and demolitions, in a 64-page digital magazine delivered to members’ computers around the first of each month. There are feature articles, topical warship coverage, photographs and Society news. MARINE NEWS SUPPLEMENT - The monthly digital supplement to ‘Marine News’ contains supplementary photographs Fleet Lists and long feature articles covering modern and historical subjects. NEW PUBLICATION – Everard of Greenhithe: 2nd Edition Completely Updated by K.S. Garrett. Hardback, 288 A4 pages dealing with 479 vessels the majority illustrated in colour or black and white. Tells the complete story of one of the UK’s best-known and much-missed coaster fleets from inception to final demise in 2006. Available from WSS, 274 Seven Sisters Road, Willingdon, Eastbourne, BN22 0QW United Kingdom, price £30 to members (quoting membership number) or £36 to non-members plus P & P £3 (UK), £13 (Europe) & £20 (RoW). Payment may be made by GBP cheque or credit card. For the latter please state whether Visa or Mastercard and quote card number, exact name on card, card expiry date, card validation number and address of cardholder. BRANCHES - The World Ship Society has over 50 local branches worldwide which hold monthly meetings involving slide shows, Powerpoint presentations and illustrated talks given by invited speakers and Branch members. MEMBERSHIP - annual membership of the World Ship Society (includes 12 digital copies of “Marine News” and digital Supplements per annum) costs £24 (£20 outside UK and EU). Get a trial digital copy of ‘Marine News’ by e-mailing your name and address to: or write to the Membership Secretary, World Ship Society, 17 Birchdale Road, Appleton, Warrington, Cheshire WA4 5AR (UK) • February 2018 •

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m o fr w e A vi idge the Br Lt Cdr Dries Bierman, who took command of the Belgian Navy’s Coastal Patrol Vessel BNS Pollux in 2016, discusses his career, his vessel and the navy with Patrick Boniface.

WHY DID YOU JOIN THE NAVY? I wanted to go into the armed forces when I was 18 or 19 years old, as I was not completely sure what I wanted to do. We had a Meet the Armed Forces Day and I spoke to some of the Navy’s sailors. Since my hobbies involved the sea, such as fishing, I opted to join the Navy. To gain entry to the academy I had to pass an exam, as there are limited numbers of places for those wanting to get into the Navy.


After the Academy I went to the nautical school in Bruges to train to become a watchkeeping officer, and then I had the privilege of touring with the French helicopter ship FS Jeanne d’Arc on an exchange programme, spending seven months on it and going round the world. I then came back to Belgium and officially started my career, firstly on the command and control ship BNS Godetia, the ‘old lady’ of the Belgian Navy.

WHAT WERE THE NEXT STEPS? I spent almost two years on Godetia, and afterwards became operations officer

on board a minehunter for a number of deployments. After further training at Den Helder in communications and anti-air warfare, I served on both the Belgian Navy’s frigates. I spent three years as an instructor at Den Helder and a further year in training, before taking command of this vessel, BNS Pollux, which was my first actual command.

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO HAVE A FIRST COMMAND? She is a pretty new ship and we are still determining what we can do with her. Operating with a full crew helps us to gain a broader view and provide a wide range of experiences. We have been asking, what can we do, what can’t we do? What can we make BNS Pollux commissioned into the Belgian Fleet on 6 May 2015 as one of two advanced coastal patrol vessels. She has a displacement of 579 tons and measures 54m by 10m.

better? Can we broaden the spectrum of operations which we undertake? We are still looking at how we can work together with the Federal Police, Customs and other agencies across all Belgian regions.

WHAT ROLE DOES BNS POLLUX PLAY IN THE BELGIAN NAVY? The ship is a coastal patrol vessel, with a fixed crew of 15, but we can carry up to 30 if needed. We undertake a defence role working with the Belgian Air Force and Army, perform training missions for the Navy, and patrol the Belgian EEZ (Economic Exclusion Zone). The other aspect of the ship’s work is with the Coastguard, Customs and fishery control. We respond to emergencies, from assisting small vessels that get into trouble up to acting as on-scene commander in the event of a major disaster, such as an oil spill.

CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT SEARCH AND RESCUE MISSIONS? We carry an AESO optical infrared sight, which means we can search in the dark, even for bodies. One of the search and rescue missions in which we participated involved two sailors from a commercial ship out of Zeebrugge who fell overboard. We co-ordinated about 15 ships, including six fishing vessels, two dredgers, five rescue vessels and two military craft, in what was a major operation and not something for which you can easily plan.

66 • February 2018 •

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YEARS (1917-2017)

Supporting seafarers in need and their families since 1917 To ďŹ nd out about our work or to make a donation visit phone 020 7932 0000 or email Seafarers UK (King Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fund for Sailors) is a Registered Charityy, no. 226446 in Eng gland and Wales,, incorporate ed under Royal Charter. Registered in Scotland, no. SC038191

A Happy New Year from Snowbow w

Another New Year, which hopefully will be full of positive thoughts and happiness for us all… Well we can only but hope, but one thing we do know is that these fantastic Award Winning DVDs will bring happiness to all ship enthusiasts wherever you are, so here below are some of the 42 x 65 min DVDs currently available for you to enjoy, all made from the rarest of maritime films.

I always dreamt that one day we would be able to watch TV documentaries that would show rare film of our once great Merchant & Royal Navies, our shipyards and ships as they were back in the days when they were the best in the world. Well now, thanks to this extraordinary Prize Winning 42 x 65 min video series we can. Using very rare film unique to us, this series has been made to TV broadcast standards and shows us things we never thought we would ever be able to see again, from the building and launching of ships to the great ports crammed full of them. We see and sail aboard passenger liners of every type, even on the Maiden voyages of Queen Mary, Elizabeth & Normandie etc. There are 100’s of other passenger liners and ferries, plus conventional dry cargo ships, tankers, bulk carriers, tramp ships, coasters, paddle steamers and 100’s of tugs. Dating right back to the turn of the last century, some of these films will make the hair stand on the back of your neck, especially the Atlantic crossing of White Star’s “Olympic”, filmed not long after the sinking of her sister. showing you just what it would have been like on the “Titanic”. We transit the great Canals of Panama and Suez as we sail to every far corner of the world, allowing us to experience just what it was like to have gone to sea in those days, but beware, they also show what it was like to have sailed through some of the greatest sea storms ever recorded. Oh, and we have also restored lots of film covering our fighting ships as well, allowing us to show great sea battles including the highly secretive WW2 “Arctic Convoys”, and as with all these programmes, the images amd sounds are so real that you, the viewer, will feel as if you are actually there in person, right in the middle of it all… Remarkable. Here are a few more of the titles available. For full details of all 42 DVDs and how to order, go to our website at: To order by phone or to request a free brochure, call us on: 00 44 (0) 1273 585391/584470. Price per DVD incl UK postage and packing is £18. 95p. Please allow £2 extra p&p for elsewhere in the world. Oh, and we still have our special offer of 3 DVDs for the price of 2, which is a massive saving.

Finally, please may 2018 bring us back a world that we can all enjoy once again. Best wishes, Des and Ulla.