Solway Shipping    

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The news and views of the latest events along the Solway Coast

Ships Expected
Port of Workington    
Port of Silloth          "Vita" 30th April   "Zapadnyy" 1st May

March turned out to be the best month for shipping docking in Workington for over 6 years with 18 vessels arriving, 15 of these were carrying timber and/or wood chippings.

During the the 1960's/70's the Workington Town Band organised trips to the Isle of Man, usually on Bank Holiday Monday in August, as means of raising funds, which was extremely popular with West Cumbrians. The photo below shows the passengers on deck of the "Mona's Isle" as she sailed from Workington on one such trip.
It was always a time of much excitement as the Isle of Man Steam Packet vessel docked ready to receive the passengers. Workington was an extremely busy port in those days with lot's of activity with ships arriving with iron ore for the local steelworks, and ships loading up with steel products for export, so when a steamer turned up looking spick and span and covered with flags and bunting from one end to the other it was quite a sight from the dirty hard working commercial ships that usually called.
On the evening of August 30th 1982 after the "Manxman" had departed from Douglas on her return voyage back to Workington,  a force 8 gale had developed in the Irish Sea during the day and by the time she had arrived back at Workington it was deemed unsafe to attempt to dock so the 1000+ passengers on board had to spend a night on the storm tossed Solway Firth! (I'm pleased to report I had given that particular trip a miss!) This was to be the Manxman's last visit as a few days later she was decommissioned out of the Steam Packets service and was laid up in Birkenhead to wait for a new owner.
Manxman departing, it was not unusual to see the steamers leaving stern first at a similar speed and turning when clear of the entrance channel.
The sailing vessel "Pelican of London" (pictured below) is to visit Whitehaven Marina throughout the summer months as a port of call for the Adventure Under Sail programme and after which is to be permanently based there. The ship arrived on March 29th in preparation for the start of the voyages. The other ports involved are Liverpool, Dublin and Belfast.
Very strong easterly winds blowing off the land meant a slightly different approach to the Port of Silloth entrance for molasses tanker "Zapadnyy" a regular visitor to the port.
Things were looking good until the wind appeared to blow the ship off course and closer than planned to the wall.
A helpless crewman could only look on as the ships starboard bow hit the wall resulting in minor damage to the sandstone edging and a cloud of dust.
A bit of a scrape but nothing that a tin of green paint wouldn't sort out.
After a 2 year break, dredging operations have resumed at Workington to clear the build up of silt blocking the entrance channel. The "Sospan Dau" a Dutch vessel,  has began work and it is expected to take 2-3 weeks to complete depending on weather conditions. The same dredger visited in 2002 and 2007. Built in 1978 she has undergone major refurbishment since her first call in 2002. The two yellow arms on the side are holding a suction pipe in place on the seabed which sucks the silt into the vessels holding tank and when full the silt is taken out to sea and discharged clear of the port's entrance.

Pictured below is "JEANETTE" docking at  Workington carrying a cargo of pipeline for a United Utilities project to transfer water from Thirlmere reservoir in the Lake District to West Cumbria, this is the seventh shipment from Spain.  Eventually 60 miles of new pipeline will be laid at a cost of £300 million. The Environment Agency is to withdraw the companies licence to abstract water from Ennerdale Water, which it uses at present, in 2022 to prevent harming protected species.

Local film maker Julia Parks has made an amazing short timelapse film of ships in the Solway Firth ports, watch it  here.

                                 To see more photo's of shipping in the Solway Firth don't forget to check   Cumbria Ship Photo's