Monday, 31 January 2011

SS Shieldhall Appeal

SS SHIELDHALL is a classic steam powered cargo vessel, built in 1955, which has been preserved by a team of enthusiastic volunteers and today operates passenger cruises around the Solent (and sometimes further afield).
The operators of SHIELDHALL, Solent Steam Packet Ltd, do not have enough funds to complete the ship’s mandatory spring dry-docking, and have issued a plea for donations. They need in the region of £80,000 fast! – if the money cannot be raised, the ship will have to be laid up for at least the coming season, possibly longer, and could even be scrapped. The ship is a unique and a valuable asset to Britain's all too vulnerable maritime heritage.

If you can help, please do contact the company directly via


SHIELDHALL is included in the National Historic Ships Core Collection, and is generally recognised to be the largest working steamship of her type in Britain and probably Europe. Both boilers and triple expansion engines are original and it is interesting to note that they are similar, but on a smaller scale, to those fitted in SS TITANIC, giving the ship an interesting link with the past. The steam powered auxiliary machinery is also original. SHIELDHALL provides a reminder of the ship design philosophy and shipbuilding techniques of the 1950s and offers visitors the opportunity to experience the days of steam at sea and obtain a better understanding of the technology involved.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Scillonian III

Scillonian III was built by Appledore Shipbuilders Ltd, in Appledore, North Devon. After a naming ceremony by Prince Charles on 17th May 1977, she sailed her maiden voyage to the Isles of Scilly on 19th May that same year.

The ship remains on the route she was built for operating between March and October each year. The ships classic lines are clear to see and a visit to the Isles of Scilly from Penzance aboard her is strongly recommended.

Here we see her in her new funnel colour given to the ship in 2010 complete with her operators logo. Long may she continue to ply her trade!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Gry Maritha

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company purchased the Norwegian coaster, Gry Maritha in September 1989, she was named at Kolvereid, Norway in June 1981 after Captain Tor Sevaldsen’s daughter. The Gry Maritha operates an all-year round freight service proving a life line service to the Isles of Scilly catering for the increasing amount of freight required on the Islands. Here we see her arriving at Penzance in September 2010.

The ship, despite her looks, attracted the attention of model boat manufacturer Model Slipway who produced a model boat kit of the vessel.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

CSOV Rio Puelo arriving at Avonmouth 18/01/2009

We leave the subject of preserved tugs now for something different . .

I am fortunate that my job opens up many opportunities. In January 2009 I spent the morning with Bristol Pilot Paul Chase on the CSAV Rio Puelo arriving at Avonmouth. The ship is among the largest ever to arrive at the Avonmouth Dock.

Having joined the ship at the Pilot Boarding Area off
Barry, South Wales we headed up the Bristol Channel.

Approaching Portishead Point

Stern tug Svitzer Sky makes her approach to make fast.

Svitzer Sky all fast aft

Bow tug Stackgarth makes her approach to make fast

On route to Avonmouth we pass Royal Portbury Dock

Svitzer Brunel, the 3rd and pusher tug takes up position

Between the Piers at Avonmouth

Final approach to Avonmouth Lock
Lining up with the entrance

Safely in the lock

Monday, 10 January 2011

Motor Tug Volunteer

Here's the 1934 built Volunteer, predecessor to the John King. Like the John King she was built by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd for CJ King & Sons Ltd. She spent much of her working life towing ships up and down the Rover Avon and within Bristol City Docks. When built I understand her to have been the first diesel ship handling tug in the Bristol Channel.

She to moved to F.A. Ashmead & Son where she was renamed Robert A. She later left the Bristol Channel area for Wisbech where she worked into the 1990's before entering lay up. Sold to a private buyer she was partially restored before heading to the North West of the UK again in private ownership.

Motor Tug John King

Seen here at the Bristol Harbour Festival in 2007 undertaking passenger trips within Bristol City Docks.

John King is a steel hulled tug built in 1935 by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd of Bristol for the local tug operator CJ King & Sons Ltd She was purchased in 1970 by F.A. Ashmead & Son and renamed Peter Leigh. Sold again in 1978, she was renamed Pride. In 1986 she took the name Durdham.

Steam Tug Mayflower

Here we take a closer look at the steam tug Mayflower on 29 October 2005 at Bristol City Docks. Recently she has returned to steam following a lengthy refit.

Steam Tug Challenge

Here we see the ST Challenge at Bristol City Docks in 2004.

Challenge is the last steam tug to have worked on the Thames and took part in Operation Dynamo in May 1940 to evacuate British and French troops from Dunkirk. She is listed on the National Register of Historic Vessels "Core Collection" A small and dedicated group of volunteers keep her in full working order today. Challenge is now owned by the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust.

For more information on this wonderful example of a British Steam tug please have a look at

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Repatriated Turkish 8F's

A break in preserved tug pictures now for something special! Here we see the recently repatriated Turkish 8F's 45166 & 45170 at Portbury Dock on 05/01/2011. 45166 was loaded onto the trailer ready to depart for the Midlands.

Not the best weather for pictures, and unlikely to be weather the locomotives are used to!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Sleepboot Furie

The last steam powered seagoing tug in the Netherlands.
Preparing to depart Maassluis on 27 May 2010 for Dordrecht

Departing Maassluis

Arriving at Dordrecht from Maassluis.