Shipping LInes - After leaving Montrose not all found it plain sailing

Onego Traveller pictured at Montrose, September 29, 2022.Onego Traveller pictured at Montrose, September 29, 2022.
Onego Traveller pictured at Montrose, September 29, 2022.
Over the years quite a number of coasters and small cargo ships have been totally wrecked or seriously damaged after leaving Montrose but larger ships seem to have fared better.

Examples for the former were two of the beer boats, the first Lochside and the steam coaster Locksley. The first-named vessel was lost with all hands between the Medway and Stockton-on-Tees. while the other coaster was wrecked near Emmanuel Head on the Farne Islands.

That seemed until late December inst. until Internet sources reported the sinking of the general purpose cargo ship Onego Traveller while on a voyage from Roytta, Finland to New Orleans with steel products.

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Local ship watchers have taken a keen interest in her marine accident off the Bahamas. At the time of writing there had been a boom placed around the site to contain the leaking bunker fuel oil from the stricken ship and a vessel was near at hand to physically remove the liquid pollutant. What wasn’t known at that time was the composition of the seabed around the sunken ship – sand, coral or some other natural material.

The event brought to mind another large vessel which had called regularly at Montrose - the Irving Forest. Her crew of 18 plus one passenger were safely placed on board the oil tanker BT Nestor which was standing by. The event caught the news headlines at the time which covered the dramatic rescue co-ordinated by the Falmouth Coastguard and centres in Ireland and Canada after a Mayday call. Two of the crew had been washed overboard into the icy waters and a third had dived in to save them. The crew took to life rafts after being forced to leave their stricken 7,000-ton ship. Some rafts came from their ship but others had been dropped from a Nimrod aircraft from RAF Kinloss operating nearly 1,000 miles out from the Cornwall coastline.

The Irving Forest had left Montrose on December 11, 1989 but by mid-January of the following year she was about 860 miles off Land’s End on route to Rouen, France from her home port of St. John, New Brunswick. Her cargo of wood pulp had shifted in 20-30-foot waves.

Owned by Canadian-based Kent Line and registered at Hamilton, Bermuda she had a few years previously collided with a drilling rig off the Humber estuary and required repairs at Rotterdam. She was abandoned prior to capsizing and sinking. For a change nowadays the Onego Traveller had been built in a Dutch shipyard.

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Just to underline the distances travelled by today’s offshore support vessels the Highland Chieftain, owned by GulfMark UK Ltd., arrived at the very end of 2022. Built by Remontowa, Poland in 2013, the 80, 4,088-ton deadweight vessel had, according to AIS reporting, arrived from Nouakchott, Mauritania, via Las Palmas.

It’s always good to finish with some good news. This confirmed the safe arrival at her home port of St. John’s, Newfoundland on 4th January of Canadian-owned anchor handling tug/supply vessel Atlantic Merlin. For the past few years both her and her “fleetmate” Atlantic Kestrel, have been seen regularly in Montrose.

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