Well, that's about another year drawing to a close. A bit of a topsy turvy one to say the least. Next year - will it be the bright tomorrow, let's hope so. In the meantime time we may be off to Peebles for three nights or to my other daughter's home at Glencarse, Perthshire so I'll put the text through next Wednesday, if that's ok? Thank you for your patience during the past year and we'll catch up eventually for a yarn. Seonaid will put the image/s through as usual.
So, all the best to you and yours for the coming year,
WHEN STORM CLOUDS BUILD UP ALONG THE COAST
To put it into seasonal terms weather prophets foretold of imminent stormy conditions on the way following an aggressive weather front. Unfortunately, they proved to be correct. By the end of the week in question during the last days of November, Storm Arwen had driven in and by the Friday evening it had swept down the east coast.
By Saturday morning substantial damage had been reported on a broad front with serious destruction in many places to property, power supplies, woodlands as well as building up heavy seas. This was in contrast to the relatively calm conditions of the previous week-end which had seen the arrival of the massive 2013-built, 115-foot long massive IRM support vessel Siem Day and the modest-sized coaster CEG Universe registered at Riga, Latvia. As it happened both ships were painted red and white and were conspicuous lying off Scurdie Ness awaiting the tide.
In port around the time of the storm were the recently re-named GSP Perseu which has since sailed under new ownership after an extended stay-over in port; Atlantic Kestrel, for some time now registered at Bridgetown, Barbados; Magne Viking, a trio of Maersk anchor handling tug/supply ships plus several wind farm tenders.
By mid-week they had been joined by the Dutch-flag coaster Eems Cobalt reportedly arriving from Berwick-upon-Tweed. Built by Scheepswerf Peters b.v. at Kampen a/d Yssel in 1998, she had been ordered by Mr. F J Switynk. During her career she has had four names and three ports of registry – Harlingen, Kampen and Delfzijl.
The destination of her cargo was said to be a large seed crushing mill at Erith, situated on the Thames estuary. It apparently has the capacity to process one million tonnes of product per annum for the food industry and also for biofuel production for distribution across a wide geographical area.
The storm conditions pervading due to Storm Arwen followed by those of Storm Barra coincided almost to the week with the fortieth anniversary of the tragic loss of the Penlee lifeboat Solomon Browne and the coaster Union Star off the south coast of Cornwall, bringing home to lifeboat crews, their families, volunteers and supporters the unpredictability of the seas around the coastlines of the UK and Ireland.
For the record, the Solomon Browne was an advanced Watson-class lifeboat similar to The Good Hope, which gave sterling service while based at the Montrose station from 1939-72.
The first half of December brought two interesting vessels of vastly differing dimensions – firstly the Liva Greta of 1,280-ton deadweight and only 64 metres in length and similar in size to the recent arrival CEG Universe. Built by Ferus Smit at Westerbroek as Varnebank and registered in Monrovia the capital of the steamy West African republic of Liberia, one of the earliest examples of a “flag of convenience” state and now having one of the largest fleets alongside those of Panama and the Marshall Islands.
Many coasters of this size have been handled in Montrose over the years but they are becoming fewer as the market and economies of scale move inexorably towards vessels in the 80-90-metre range carrying around 3,000 tons plus.
At the other end of the spectrum was the 12,744-tons deadweight multi-purpose cargo vessel Alanis. As is the custom these days she was German managed/ operated but flagged out to Antigua & Barbuda being registered at St. John’s. With a length of 138 metres and fitted with two pedestal deck cranes giving a tandem lift of 360 tonnes, white lettering on her red hull showed “dship carriers”. When lit up a night she stood out prominently against the Ferryden skyline.
Caption: Seasonal illuminations at the South Quay.