Solway Shipping    


The Joint Warrior naval exercise for 2018 involving personnel from 17 nations got underway on April 23rd as warships assembled on the river Clyde in Scotland.   Normally held twice a year in Spring and Autumn this year there is just the one to be held because of other commitments later in the year which would overstretch personnel and ships.
A fine sunny day gave the chance to get a few photographs of some of the larger ships moored at the Faslane navy base.
HMS "TIDESPRING"  one of four new Tide class fleet replenishment tankers for the Royal Navy which entered service in 2017.
USS "ROSS"  an American guided missile destroyer capable of 30 knots, launched in 1996 she is the 21st vessel of her class.
Because of the large number of vessels attending the ships were moored in various locations around the Clyde. The Turkish frigate TCG "GEDIZ" helped by tugs manoeuvres into King George V (KGV) dock further up the river near to the Braehead shopping centre.
followed a few minutes later by the French minesweeper FS "ANDROMEDE"
The following day, Sunday, the ships began to leave their various location's for the open sea in preparation for the start of the exercise. The previous days weather also departed and had been replaced with mist and drizzle with passing heavy showers!  It turned out to be a hopeless task trying to photograph the early departures because of the conditions, but thankfully as the morning wore on the showers got more intermittent and the sun even made a brief appearance.
FGS "LUBECK" a German frigate commissioned in 1990 and one of 8 Bremen class vessels conveniently departed (for me) from Faslane as the rain cleared for awhile.
followed by HDMS "EBSERN SNARE" of the Danish Royal Navy, an Absalon class assault/support ship, which coincidentally went to the Scottish side of the Solway Firth for several days landing troops etc in the Luce Bay/Wigtown Bay area.
With another rain band moving in there was just time to catch HNLMS "EVERTSEN" a frigate of the Netherlands Navy which entered active service in 2005 and can reach 28 knots. She is 144m. in length, a feature on this ship appears in the June edition of "Ships Monthly" magazine.
With a lull in the departing Faslane  ships and the weather starting to deteriorate again it was time to move further up the river to catch some of the ships departing from KGV as they passed close to the shore near Port Glasgow.
Leading the convoy was the Royal Netherlands Navy minehunter "URK"
Followed by ZRMS "MECUUR"  of the Netherlands Navy's, specially built and designed to support the Dutch submarine fleet. She entered service in 1987 and is the only surface vessel attached to the submarines.
next up was BNS "NARCIS" a Belgium minehunter.
and KNM "OTRA" another minehunter, this time from the Norwegian Navy but much different from the normal style of minehunter. It has a catamaran type of hull and can reach speeds of 30knots, which is probably why it was the only one that I could hear any engine noise off as they all passed by.
"ANDROMEDE" which had arrived the previous day (pictured above) was next in line followed by FGS "BAD BEVENSEN" a German minehunter bringing up the rear.
With the visibility improving it was now possible to see clearly the USNS "WILLIAM McLEAN" lying at anchor mid-river. A dry cargo replenishment ship for the US navy, she was launched in 2011 and is 40,300 tons fully loaded
finally the last ship of the day for me was the French frigate "COMMANDANT L' HERMINIER" leaving KGV. She entered service in 1986 and specializes in coastal anti submarine warfare. The eleventh ship in a series of eighteen she made quite a sight with smoke belching from the funnel as she went down the Clyde for the open sea.