Solway Shipping    


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

Ships Expected
Port of Workington     
Port of Silloth    "Emma" 25th June  "Ayress"  28th June

It's believed EONs two vessels "Solway Challenger" and "Solway Spirit" which are responsible for transferring the engineers and other workers to the Robin Rigg windfarm have been disposed of and left Workington their home port for the Netherlands, they are currently in Lauwersoog and their fate is uncertain. Meanwhile three transfer vessels operated by CWind have taken over the contract. Two are pictured below.
Taking advantage of a ship docking and being required to move out of the way, the crews of "C Wind Adventure" and "C Wind Endurance" the personnel transfer vessels for the Robin Rigg windfarm, have the chance for a quick break and a natter.
After a journey of over 700 miles "ISIS" arrived safely at Rotterdam, pictured here going through the famous Erasmus Bridge in the city centre, Three and a half hours after leaving the open sea she arrived at her destination, a quiet dock further up river at De Schans to await her fate.
(see report below)
Looking rather smart in a new coat of paint is the 1978 built "ISIS" with the latest cargo of logs from Corpach near Fort William. A very regular visitor for many years, this is to be her final call before heading to Rotterdam to be sold. In 2012 out of a total of 130 ships arriving at Workington that year "Isis" called 56 times, an impressive 43% of the total.
The Port of Workington have announced they have sold the last two remaining portal cranes. The cranes over the years, have been used less and less and with the arrival of smaller mobile cranes their days were numbered. The cranes have a capability to lift 30 tonnes in one go compared to the smaller mobile types maximum of 26 but no doubt maintenance costs were high. It's a far cry from the heady days when the iron ore ships were calling with huge amounts of iron ore required by the the local steelworks but with that trade long gone the odd vessel that brings bulk dry cargo nowadays can be easily handled with the mobile cranes. Pictured below in 1990, one of the then new Nelcon portal cranes being unloaded. Below that is a view of the two Nelcon cranes working with some of the older cranes which they replaced.
A case of "right over might" as the coaster "Eider," with a cargo of furnace ash, was making the approach to the Port of Workington's entrance channel, despite the coaster lining up to enter a yacht continued its way directly across the ships path forcing the vessel to alter course so that it passed safely behind it. "Rules of the road" state sail has the right of way and this yacht skipper was taking it!
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.

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