BRANCH MEETING REPORTS FOR 2007

 

January 2007

At our January meeting held on New Years Day, Roy Leach showed slides taken during a short cruise on BOUDICCA, which included views of Travemunde, Korsor, the Kiel Canal and the Rivers Elbe and Scheldt. Tony Hogwood then entertained us with slides taken on the New Waterway, River Scheldt and Ghent Canal.

 

February 2007

February’s meeting is devoted to the annual slide competition for the Colin Viney Trophy. Six slides judged to be the best go forward into the Douglas Ridley Chesterton Slide Competition, which is to be hosted this year my Mid- Essex branch at Ingatestone on March 24th. This competition has been running for many years and takes in WSS Branches in the South and East of England This year we had five entrants; Ray Smith, Tony Hogwood, David Berg, Roy Kittle and Roy Leach. Ray Smith’s slides were mainly from his trip with the TSS to the Black Sea and Mediterranean, which we will see more of next month. Tony Hogwood, with his slides from his trips to Terneuzen was the over all winner and took the Colin Viney Trophy this year. Roy Kittle and David Berg also entered slides form their trips to the New Waterway and the Ghent Canal. Roy Leach entered slides from his voyage through the Keil canal to Sweeden. The subjects varied from tugs to container ships to cruise ships and the choice, as always, was difficult, with content and quality reaching high standards. Our thanks to Ian Wells whose mental arithmetic during a slightly longer than normal interval break gave us a result on the night. Following the break the 36 ship’s details and histories kept us occupied for the rest of the evening.

 

Competition results

Position Entrant

Set

1

Tony Hogwood 

2

2

David Berg 

5

3

Ray Smith

1 

4

Roy Kittle

3

5

Roy Leach 

4

  

 

David Brown, Chairman (left) presents the Colin Viney

trophy to slide competition winner, Tony HogwoodPhoto: David Berg

 

March 2007

At The March meeting Ray Smith entertained us with a slide show of large selection of ships taken on a Mediterranean / Black Sea cruise with the Thames Ship Society in September 2006. After a flight to Milan and a Coach transfer to Genoa they boarded "MSC Lirica". There was time before departure to photograph the tugs and ferries in the port before heading off to their first port of call, Naples. The numerous ferries were well represented and tugs were prominent. The 2006 built 90,000 grt "MSC Toronto" required three tugs to manoeuvre here, whereas at many ports, ships of this size try and berth without any assistance. The next port of call was Piraeus with another large number of ferries in port. There was then an impromptu quiz; name the ferry she used to be in more northern waters? This turned up “Hoverspeed Great Britain”, "Free Enterprise 8”, “Spirit of Free Enterprise”, “Senlac”, “St Columba”, and “Prince Phillipe”. They left Piraeus bound for Yalta in the Black Sea transiting the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorous Straits, where there were coasters, tankers, bulkers and cruise ships to be seen. Yalta proved a bit disappointing in shipping with only a few local craft, although the "Spirit of Adventure" arrived later. The next port of call, Odessa, proved to be more favourable with local craft, bulkers, containerships and vessels under repair including the Russian liner Odessa. The next day saw an early arrival in Istanbul and joined "Grand Princess"alongside. Ray took a ferry to catch some of the ships in the anchorage and on the Hydrapasha side. It was then a return trip to Genoa calling in at Catania in Sicily and then Capri where the sailng cruise ship "Royal Clipper" was to be seen and Ray made the rather “hairy” trip to see the Blue Lagoon. Thanks to Ray for a comprehensive coverage of the trip and detailed history of the ships seen on the way.

 

April 2007

Our meeting on 2nd April featured the tape slide show Ocean Voyages with Port Line compiled by John Gunning. This was made in the ‘80s and featured ships from John’s collection taken throughout the 1970s. We took an imaginary liner voyage from the UK across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and then across the Pacific to North Island New Zealand. We travelled down the East side to ports on South Island and then across the Tasman Sea to ports on the south and west coasts of Australia before heading back to the UK via South Africa. John Gunning has a unique relaxed commentary which briefly outlined the history of the fleet and gave us a more detailed description of the Port line ships or those chartered in or out at various times. There were a good selection of pictures of (pre box boat) ships, which ran the liner voyages and views of the ports which they visited. Thanks to John for his slide show which considering it has been round the world is in remarkably good condition.

 

 May 2007 

At our meeting on May 7th Ian Wells gave a second airing to his Tilbury No 7 Show (August 83 to January 84) that he had recently updated and was able to give us subsequent movements, sales and scrapping of the ships illustrated. The first was the 1973 built Elder Dempster’s SHONGA (9,239 grt) entering the lock with assistance of the tug WATERCOCK. SHONGA was sold later in 1984 to Liberia and renamed AROMA. It was probably on one of her last trips on Elder Dempster’s West Africa service.Other ships in this talk were the PEONIA an early Chinese built vessel of 17,200 tons with a cargo of plywood. Other Chinese visitors were the refrigerated ships bringing in frozen rabbits and some early container ships. PORTLAND bay was one of the then largest ships to enter the locks (a Tilbramax?) and had only inches to spare on the width. She was on an OCL charter and was subsequently broken up in 2002. Other ships were those of the ill-fated Nigerian National Line whose ships were all at some time or another arrested in various ports. Ian showed the RIVER NIGER that had spent some months in Tilbury. An unusual visitor was ST GEORGE now RMAS ARROCHAR after spending some time in the dry-dock. Regular visitors were ships of Russia’s Baltic –Orient Line who had a reasonably successful service but on the break-up of the Soviet Union was discontinued. There were also visits from the emerging pure container ships such as MORETON BAY and the gantry ship STAR DIEPPE, which is still trading today. Ships shown at Tilbury Landing Stage included MIKHAIL LERMENTOV and ENGLAND. The scrap berth was also busy at that time with some oldies making their last trip with scrap before their final voyage to the breakers. There were also some pictures of EPHESTOS laid up in the Royal Docks and having more than a passing connection with one of our branch members! Sadly, time once again overtook us, but we can look forward to completing this show at some other time. Our thanks to Ian for an excellent set of slides and the time spent updating and tracing ships details. It was remarkable that so many had lasted well into the 21st century and some were still trading today. Thanks to Ian for giving up his lunch and tea breaks to go and photograph ships whilst working in Tilbury.

 

June 2007

We were pleased to welcome the return of Derek Sands to our meeting at Ingatestone on Monday June 4th. Derek has been on several occasions with his slide shows of ships in East Anglian ports, but this time it was “The Port of Rotterdam” during the period 1975 to 1979. Rotterdam was, as is now, a very busy port. The ships then though were smaller with general cargo ships and reefers of about 8 to 10,000 gross a common sight. It was the early years of the containership conversions and first generation new builds. Derek’s photos portrayed amongst others, MANCHESTER VANGUARD, ASIA FREIGHTER, LIVERPOOL BAY and ACL’s ATLANTIC CHAMPAGNE. On the tanker front many were still centre-island such as Ropner’s THIRLBY and ESSO STUTTGART. SD 14s were a common sight, as were some of the old wartime standard T2 tankers, which by then had been largely modified almost out of recognition in some cases. It became almost a quiz with the many familiar ships that had found themselves under new ownership and colours. These included ex ships of Blue Funnel, Blue Star, Elder Dempster, Union Castle, and Cunard. There were also passenger ship visitors which included STEPHAN BATORY and CALYPSO (ex Shaw Saville’s SOUTHERN CROSS). Of the European owned ships there were examples of ships of the CMB, Fernley & Eger, DFDS, Nedlloyd, Wallanius, and MSC lines.Our thanks to Derek (and his minder Stuart) for coming to show us his collection of slides from this period, largely taken on a second hand fixed lens camera he bought for £5. This just demonstrates that you don’t need to spend a fortune to take good photographs. It was also noted that a large number of ships were under British registry somewhat different to today - so many changes in 30 years. We hope Derek will come again soon and show us the next in his series of “Rotterdam” shows.

 

July 2007

On Monday July 2nd Ken Flack gave a presentation, ably assisted by his projectionist Win, of a visit to Shanghai that he made on 24th April 1987 with the Thames Ship Society.At that time visitors to China by “Westerners” was something of an event organised by local government officials. This turned out to be a full day’s itinerary which not only included a trip on the Hangpu and Yangtze rivers, but a visit to the tourist shop where only tourist currency could be spent, to the Yu Garden, the temple of Jade, and to a banquet in the evening with entertainment from the aerobatic theatre.The only bar on photography was of military craft and installations. The weather was not the best for such a photo opportunity, being rather grey and a bit misty but quality photos were taken of the 119 vessels (some claimed 127) in port that day. Ships were along side and offloading into “barges” whilst anchored in the stream. There were also views of shipyards and scrap yards along the riverside, and in floating docks. At that time the road and rail infrastructure was not as good as it is now and many passenger ships and cargo ships with substantial passenger carrying capability were seen. These were used to ferry people up the river and around the coast. A diverse collection of local craft was photographed, from tugs to dredgers, and fishing vessels to coastal craft. Whilst there was a lot of locally sourced tonnage the majority was second hand and built in a variety of countries around the world, Finland; Japan; Yugoslavia; Poland; Russia; Denmark and the UK, most notable being Hai Long ex Blue Funnel’s Centaur built at John Brown’s. We thank Ken and Win for showing their collection of slides from this trip and for the research involved in finding vessel details, notoriously difficult for vessels that “disappeared” into China at that time.

 

August 2007

At our meeting on Monday August 6th we were pleased to welcome back our former branch member Neil Davidson who has now moved to Suffolk. His slide presentation, “Ships with Derricks & Cranes (General Cargo Ships)” was warmly received. Neil thread through the show was geographical with ships associated with various countries or areas of the world grouped together. These groupings were either standard ships of a country or ships registered within that country.The period covered the 1970s to the 1990s and ships were seen in the Thames and the port of Tilbury and the ports, rivers and canals of near Europe.Neil started with East Germany with some fine examples of the Neptune 461 class which had a seemingly large accommodation block compared to ships of today. Poland was represented by a large number of their standard designs starting with the B438 class of 1973. The AL YRMOUK (class B432) built in 1979 is still trading today. There are still many ex Polish ships trading in the Far East. It was speculated that these type of vessel owe their longevity to the fact that there were sturdily built and that to build such a type today would be too expensive.Russia came next under the spotlight with ships built in Russia and also ships built in Finland and other countries for the Russians.Those emanating from China, with pictures taken in Sheerness, Cardiff and Dunkirk, followed ships built in Yugoslavian yards.The British designed SD14 was featured, with, amongst others, pictures of WAVE CREST of 1968, only the second to be built on it’s last visit to Tilbury in the 1990s. Others shown with a British connection were the Rubens ex ORBITA and ex P&O Strath liners.No show on ships with derricks would be complete without heavy lift ships and a variety of examples with derrick capacities up to 630 tons were shown. The show ended with a picture of the 1984 built sail assisted IRAZU in Tilbury docks.It has been a long time since we had an evening devoted to just one type of ship and we thank Neil for an entertaining and interesting presentation and hope it is not so long before he visits again.

 

September 2007

At our meeting on Monday September 3rd Peter and Christine Ives paid their annual visit to the branch to present a show of their ship photographing expeditions during the preceding 12 months. This year (Christmas 06/ New Year07) their visit was to Santos in Brazil.Santos is the largest port in South America. It is located on the South East coast near to the industrial areas of Sao Paulo. Peter was able to show us stills and film of his visit on his recently purchased digital LCD projector. The port has a large container port; oil, chemical and gas facilities; a vehicle import wharf and general cargo. The bulk wharves handle ore; citrus fruit juice; coal; sugar; fertilisers; soya; vegetables; forest products; grain and salt. There is also a passenger terminal, which over the holiday period was busy operating 3-4 day cruises to Rio de Janeiro.Peter and Christine soon found a good vantage point on the waterfront near the beach area of Santos where the channel narrowed to the entrance to the harbour but still retained a good view of the ships in the offshore anchorage. The weather was however not always ideal with several days of fog and/or rain.There was obviously a huge variety of shipping to see and the presentation started with a selection of still pictures taken from the waterfront vantage point and from a harbour trip. This showed that Wilson’s ship building area was busy building and fitting out tugs and offshore supply vessels.Peter then showed us three videos that he took of shipping passing in and out of the harbour. He apologised for the noisy sound track but everyone thought this added to the atmosphere. There were a lot of ship spotters to be seen and viewing the passing ships appeared to be the evening entertainment for local people. Whenever a cruise ship passed out of the narrows there was long and repeated horn blowing and often fireworks, even during daylight hours. The tide difference at Santos is about a metre so ships sail on most states of the tide. Cruise ships seen included Costa Fortuna, MSC Armonia and Blue Dream. To Peter’s great delight on one day two SD14s were to be seen, one in the anchorage and the other, the Brazilian built ship TINA, departing Santos.We thank Peter and Christine for coming to Ingatestone once more and showing us their shipping experiences from around the world.

 

October 2007

On Monday October 1st, Ian Wells ably filled the gap when our planned speaker was unable to attend. (This presentation has been re-scheduled for early next year). Ian as always has a show in preparation and we were treated to one of Ian’s now famous “Thames Shipping Shows”, this one No 6, covered the period February to August 1983. To most of us this didn’t seem that long ago but, in reality 24 years have passed, and whilst many of the ships had made their last voyage, surprisingly more than a few are still trading.The first shown was ANASTASIA, built in France in 1958. She had bought in a cargo of meat destined for animal feed. It was a bitterly cold day and the Dockers had complained of frostbite unloading her. She only made one more voyage and was broken up in 1984 after a brief lay-up in Ghent.Newer ships were bringing in timber, fruit, plywood, containers, frozen rabbits from China, and a couple from China bringing in what Ian termed as “Woolworths” goods. The Burmese BASSEIN bought in timber and interestingly took out Horlicks for the Burmese Army! This was also the time of the dock strikes and several ships remained in the port for the duration. Other notable visitors to Tilbury at this time were the 29,419 grt KING ALFRED which had been laid up in the Royal docks for some time. She arrived after being sold to the Chinese Government and renamed LUO FU SHAN. Also the ANDALUCIA STAR arrived from the Falklands for a helipad to be fitted. She was subsequently sold and converted into an orange juice tanker named ORANGE STAR. She is still trading. One interesting visitor was the East German VOLKERFREUNDSCHAFT originally the STOCKHOLM (12,068 grt, 1948) that collided with the ANDRIA DORIA in 1956. After several name changes is still cruising as ATHENA.Our thanks to Ian for stepping in at short notice and showing us another interesting show from his collection.

 

November 2007

The Bristol branch tape slide presentation “Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion” was the programme for our meeting on Monday November 5th. We had seen this some many years ago now but it was well received and good to see again.The show covers the development of the port from a small tidal riverside harbour, some of which is now filled in. As an example the Roman Catholic church, St Mary’s on the Quay, is now on a busy city street!We are guided through the various developments of the port with the aid of both old and contemporary photographs. Albion dock is shown where Charles Hill & Sons the Bristol Ship builders and repairers were based. The last ship built here was MIRANDA GUINESS in 1976. Isombard Kingdom Brunell is closely linked with the city and there are pictures of GREART WESTERN and the groundbreaking GREAT BRITAIN. There is a good collection of pictures of GREAT BRITAIN arriving in Bristol from the Falkland Islands and at various stages of reconstruction in the Great Western Dock. There were many photos of visitors to the docks particularly during sea festivals and other maritime events. Ships are also seen from Battery Point and the grounds of the Royal Hotel. The emphasis then moves to Avonmouthwith maps to show the various developments of the port since it opened in 1877. Goods handled are various within the complex ranging from oil to grain, and bananas to walnuts and forest products.The dry dock is the largest in the Bristol Channel and can accommodate a fully loaded vessel. There are then pictures of the development of Royal Portbury Dock across the river. This started in 1972. Throughout the tour of these famous docks we saw a wide selection of vessels from the humble but vital dredger to the only cruise ship to visit (at that time) the KUNGSHOLM. Other visitors included sail training ships, warships, tugs, container ships, tankers, refers, coasters, and the Royal Yacht Britannia. Our thanks to all involved in producing this professional, well-illustrated and researched show, well worth the second showing

 

 

December 2007

On Monday 3rd December we held the branch AGM. The minutes of the previous AGM held in December 2006 were read and approved and the chairman, secretary and treasurer gave their reports. After a vote the standing committee were re-elected en bloc and the following members form the 2006/7 committee; chairman, David Brown; secretary and treasurer, Ian Wells; vice chairman Robin Butcher, and committee members, Roy Leach , Andrew Smith and Ray Smith. Ray Smith and Tony Hogwood were adopted as joint auditors. In “Any Other Business” the possibility of buying a digital projector was discussed. A lot of members had now abandoned film photography and several indicated that it would be their intention to convert to digital over the coming year. A digital projector would also allow us to screen Videos and DVDs thereby increasing the scope of our meetings. The decision to purchase a suitable projector was unanimous and would hopefully be made during the summer (or before if a suitable bargain presented itself) in preparation for next autumn’s programme.Roy Leach then gave us a presentation of a voyage he made on BLACK WATCH to the Baltic during 2007. Departure was from Dover and via the Kiel Canal. This was one of the highlights of Roy’s cruise with good weather and a steady stream of ships to photograph. The stop off in St Petersburg was also a great attraction. BLACK WATCH was able to navigate the Mezhevoy Canal and dock close to the city whereas larger cruise ships docked at the new cruise terminal some way from the city centre. There was also a visit to the Estonian port of Tallinn. Whilst proceeding to Stockholm there was an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease reported on board. The ship was ordered to return to Dover by the fastest route possible. Many passengers were dissatisfied that the cruise had been curtailed but Roy was not disappointed as this meant a further voyage down the Kiel Canal – an unexpected bonus. Thanks to Roy for an interesting and entertaining evening.