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Cóbh Maritime Log

July 22 to 28, 2004

By  John H. Luxton

This is a record of vessels and movements noted by myself from 18:00 on July 22 to 11:00 on July 28.


It is not comprehensive log as I did not remain in Cóbh all of the time - too many interesting places to visit in County Cork - and of course I did have to sleep at night - though that can be difficult! 


However,  this log aims to give an idea of the variety of movements in Cork harbour and illustrate why Cóbh should be visited by any ship enthusiast.


L1090507.jpg (70286 bytes)I have been taking at least one holiday at Cóbh each year since 1998. I have always stayed at The Commodore Hotel. This wonderful hostelry oozes maritime charm and also provides a splendid grand stand for any ship photographer as well as offering remarkable value for money. 


The roof garden provides an excellent high-level vantage point on the third floor. A harbour view bed room - small supplement payable - is to be recommended. If you do stay try and secure a third floor room as you will be clear of any street lights and have ready access to the roof garden.


If you want to find out more about the history of the Commodore Hotel visit the web site . You will find the hotel's history bound up in the maritime trade. It was to the Commodore that victims of the Lusitania were brought. Royalty including King Edward VI stayed there. Once it was the 19th and early 20th Century  equivalent of the 21st Century Airport Hotel. Passengers waiting the departure of trans-Atlantic sailings or arriving back at Cóbh would have stayed here. 


L1090394.JPG (64417 bytes)Well not all passengers! Those travelling steerage would have found accommodation else where as you will find out if you visit the Cóbh Heritage Centre. The heritage centre itself is an interesting development in the Station / Sea Terminal building adjacent to the Cruise Terminal. It also houses two rather nice gift shops and a refreshment rooms in surroundings which were extensively restored to their late early 1900 appearance a decade or so ago. A good place for ship enthusiasts to retreat to for a coffee, snack or light meal! 


Cóbh is itself famous as the last port of call of RMS TITANIC, there is a Titanic Restaurant and Bar, opened in the wake of the Hollywood movie, and situated in the former White Star Line Booking Office. "Titanic Queenstown" whilst open again, has had its ups and downs! Despite initial intentions to recreate the dining experience of the real Titanic it has turned more into a mass-market bar and noisy ""musak"" is often to be heard being played in the beer garden until late on a summer evening.


My own evening dining experiences in Cóbh revolve between two venues - the Commodore Hotel which offers excellent foot and very reasonable "Early Bird" meals. - Try the mixed grill! If you can, reserve a window seat, so you don't miss the ships sailing by.


The other location is Trade Winds Restaurant in Sir Roger Casement Square, just down the block from the Commodore Hotel. it has a cosy quiet bar downstairs and whilst the first floor restaurant overlooks The Titanic Bar, good views can be had from the windows of passing ships. Quite deservedly the Trade Winds has won the 2004 Best Restaurant Award. The fact it is popular with locals is testimony enough and the sign of a good eatery!

Thursday July 22

I arrived at Cóbh after driving down from Dublin a few minutes after 18:00. I had expected to see Fred. Olsen Lines BLACK PRINCE at the Deepwater Quay Cruise Terminal. Though there were some expectant people hanging around she was nowhere to be seen. 


This confirmed that the white ship I thought I had seen out at sea whilst passing Dungarvan around and hour earlier must have been BLACK PRINCE running late. 


BLACK PRINCE was on a "Round Ireland" cruise from Liverpool. She had departed the day before bound for Waterford, her first port of call on Thursday morning with the opportunity for passengers to go ashore, undertake coach excursions and then be conveyed to Cóbh to rejoin the ship.

BLACK PRINCE [11,209 grt / 1966]  arrived somewhat late at 19:40. She was assisted to berth by Port of Cork Tug GERRY O'SULLIVAN.

Over at the Whitegate Oil Terminal across Cork Harbour was the tanker BRAVEHEART [ 52,531 grt / 1992 ] owned by BRAVEHEART shipping of Hong Kong. At the anchorage was the large motor yacht MICHAELA ROSE. Investigation on the internet reveals that she is owned by an American Property developer and has undertaken two circumnavigations. Also in the anchorage was Seahorse Shipping's PEARL [ 1296 grt / 1986 ] an offshore support vessel.

Port of Cork Tug GERRY O'SULLIVAN  [ 338 grt / 1996 ] and Lee Towing's ALEX [ 397 grt / 1995 ] assisting BRAVEHEART off Whitegate at 21:15  

The tanker MAERSK RHONE [22181 grt / 1999] went onto the Whitegate Pier Later. BLACK PRINCE departed on schedule at 23:59 and was moving by the time the Cathedral Bells struck midnight.

Friday July 23

The German owned MÜHLENBERG [1,957grt / 1986] of Vega-Reederei passed inbound at 09:10. 

Swansea - Cork Ferries SUPERFERRY [15,127grt / 1972] passed Cóbh outbound for Swansea at 09:00


Everard's  ACTIVITY was undergoing a major refit in the dry dock of Cork Dockyard Ltd. Everard vessels appear to be regular visitors to the former Cork Verolme Shipyard which, now trading as Cork Dockyard Ltd, still undertakes repairs and refits.


Cross River Ferries car ferry GLENBROOK [225grt /1971] was operating the Glenbrook to Carrigaloe service. She appeared to be partially repainted with the car decks looking smart but the rest of the vessel appearing somewhat scruffy. GLENBROOK was originally constructed for Caledonian Steam Packet Company as LOCHALSH.


During the evening Wexford registered trawler JOSEPH S passed Cóbh inbound for Deepwater Quay for an overnight stop

Saturday July 24



Everard's  tanker ARDUITY [1,926grt / 1981] passed inbound at 07:00 with cargo. Swansea - Cork Ferries SUPERFERRY passed Cóbh in bound for Ringaskiddy at 07:05.


The general cargo ship YAMBURG [1,801grt / 1977] owned by Pterelaos Naviagtion of Georgia passed at 07:35 to Glenbrook Wharf on the River Lee.


Landing Craft style Deck Cargo Ship FASTNET GULL [218grt / 1954] locally owned by Seahorse of Cork passed outbound at 08:20 with pipes.


SUPERFERRY departed on time from Ringaskiddy at 09:00 and passed Grimaldi Lines Car Carrier GRANDE SCANDINAVIA [52,485 grt / 2001] inbound for Ringaskiddy 09:20 off Cóbh town hall.


The Norwegian off shore support vessel SIGGBAS [1,104 grt / 1974] passed in bound at 10:46.


MAERSK RHONE sailed from Whitegate Oil Terminal during the morning.


Alstership JOHN-PAUL K to anchorage freighter


At 11:35 tanker LINNEA of Linnea Shipping arrived at the recently vacated Whitegate Oil Terminal. The small tugs  TURBOT BANK and SOLEEN assisted at stern and bow respectively.


Trawler JOSEPH S of Wexford which had arrived the previous evening departed at 19:45.  


Brittany Ferries PONT-AVEN [41,748 grt / 2004] passed Cóbh at 20:35 bound for Ringaskiddy - she had been due to arrive at 20:30 and was running a little late.


PONT-AVEN was passed inbound by ARDUITY in the vicinity of Kennedy Pier. ARDUITY proceeded to Whitegate Terminal to lie on the inside of the pier overnight.


PONT-AVEN departed from Ringaskiddy just before midnight, passing Cóbh at 00:05. At some stage in the evening the tanker LINNEA departed from Whitegate Oil Terminal.


Sunday July 25

At 06:55 SUPERFERRY inbound to Ringaskiddy followed three minutes later by the German owned B.G. ROTTERDAM [ 5368 grt / 2000] chartered to Mersey Docks and Harbour Company owned B.G. Freightlines. She was inbound from Rotterdam with her weekly run of containers for the Tivoli Container Terminal, near Cork City.


07:20 Tugs SOLEEN & TURBOT BANK scurried off from their berth inside Kennedy Pier across Cork Harbour to Whitegate to assist inbound Brostrom tanker TRAPPER  [7,947 grt 1985]. Everard Tanker, ARDUITY was still on Whitegate Pier. 


An interesting arrival at 07:37 was former Royal Navy ship LOYAL MEDIATOR [ 117 grt / 1978 ] which is now operated by Mair of Fort William as an offshore support vessel. She appeared to have a lot of diving equipment on board. LOYAL MEDIATOR berthed at deep water quay.


07:47 ARKLOW SPRAY [ 2,300 grt / 1996 ] passed inbound for Cork City, South Quays.


At 09:40 SUPERFERRY departed Ringaskiddy, passing Cóbh at 10:02 bound for Swansea. Shortly afterwards ARDUITY was noted departing Whitegate for sea.


10:45 the TRANS TIND [ 1,635 grt / 1980 ]a Norwegian owned chemical tanker passed in bound for Cork City.


At 11:15 RCC SUIRBHÉIR - the new Irish Revenue Commissioners Customs cutter passed outbound passing Haulbowline Island. She is the first dedicated customs cutter to operate in Éire and is based in County Cork, with aim of intercepting drug smugglers on the extensive coast line in the county.


It was noted later that CARRIGALOE [ex CSPCo KYLEAKIN] [ 225 grt / 1970 ] had replaced GLENBROOK on the Carrigaloe - Glenbrook Car Ferry. She appeared freshly painted. GLENBROOK having retreated to Cork Dockyard presumably for the completion of her paint job.


SALEEN & TURBOT BANK had returned to Cóbh by 12:00 following duties at Whitegate Terminal.


At noon on Sunday I took the Marine Transport Services Harbour Cruise from Kennedy Pier. Usually this service is operated by the larger twin deck STEEL ISLE passenger ferry. However, the smaller BRYAN J looked to be the cruise vessel for this season appearing smartly turned out. Though she does have a relatively small open deck compared to STEEL ISLE which if you get more than twenty out there can be a bit full and restricting for photos.


These trips only operate June to early September though priced at €5.00 for around 50 minutes are excellent value for money. Some years ago when I did the trip a commentary was offered. Though in recent years it has not been. Though this is no loss, as one is left in peace to enjoy the views.


The trip certainly takes in the maritime points of interest even going into the Naval Base Dock at Haulbowline Island and giving close views of the Cork Dockyard at Rushbrooke. 


Everard's ACTIVITY remained in dry dock. On the quay wall was STELLA MARIS V [2,668grt / 1962] this well kept laid up vessel is owned by local interests. She appears to be maintained in a manner similar to the TAMAMINA on the River Fal in Cornwall.


Also laid up the ship yard but in not so good condition is the former Port of Dublin tug COLLIMORE registered in St. Domingo. Nearby is the locally owned and well turned out tug FASTNET FALCON [154 grt / 1961]. She is operated by Seahorse of Cork. 


An interesting vessel which had been lifted out of the water and appeared laid up on the quayside was the fast craft CAILÍN TURÁNA of Aran Islands Fast Ferries.


Cross River Ferries GLENBROOK was also alongside presumably the rest of her paint job was being completed whilst the CARRIGALOE was in service. Marine Transport Services larger tug BREEDBANK [ 274grt / 1969 ] was also to be seen. She was acquired by MTS in 2003 from Smit.


After crossing the harbour the BRYAN J passed naval ferry DAVID F alongside below the naval base control tower before passing the imposing warehouses built on Haulbowline Island by the Royal Navy enroute to the Naval Service Dock. 


The Irish Naval Service HQ is effectively split, with the now abandoned Irish Steel steelworks between the two halves. This occurred due to the fact that the steel works was constructed between the British withdrawal from Éire and the establishment of the Irish Naval Service.


Given that the works closed around three years ago. No attempt appears to have been made to demolish the plant. 


In the Naval Service Dock on the west side was the landing craft style ferry SPIKE ISLAND of Marine Transport Services, used to carry vehicles to the prison on the adjacent Spike Island. Spike Island Prison was the Irish equivalent to Alcatraz, however it closed last autumn. A regular private passenger service being operated for the prison service by MTS. Now closed, there only appears to be a limited service operating to Spike Island presumably for the benefit of those charged with looking after the property. - Located in the former British built Fort Westmorland it served the British and latterly the Irish authorities as a prison and is probably a developer's dream location! Time will tell!


Berthed outside of SPIKE ISLAND was MTS's STEEL ISLE. On the south side of the Dock was FIACH DUBH [tr: Raven] one of the Irish Naval services passenger vessels.


On the east side of the dock were Appledore built Róisín class patrol vessels LÉ RÓISÍN [P51] and LÉ NIAMH [P52] berthed alongside one another.


Astern were LÉ EMER [P21] berthed outside of LÉ ORLA [P41]. On the north side LÉ AISLING [P23] was berthed. With five naval vessels in port only three remaining members of the fleet were out and about guarding the coastline.


After departing the naval base BRYAN J headed off in the direction of the Spit Bank Lighthouse before running back along the waterfront to Kennedy Pier.


I left Cóbh and drove up to the Cross River Ferry - it was noted that the coaster BEN NEVIS [ex BEN VANE] [ 541 grt / 1977] was at Glenbrook Wharf in the company of YAMBURG.


There was some interesting shipping to be seen at the city quays.  There were several ships on the South Quays - tanker TRANS TIND, ARKLOW SPRAY, JOHN-PAUL K. and the Swiss freighter MARIE-JEANNE [ 2,999 grt / 1999]. On the cross berth between North and South Customs House Quay was the Port of Cork's tug / work boat THOMAS DOYLE. Only one vessel was berthed on the North Quays - the Scottish owned offshore support ship NORTHERN CHASER [2,335 grt / 1991]  of Trico Shipping, Aberdeen, registered in London.


A quick drive over to Kinsale revealed the imposing motor yacht MICHAELA ROSE in the harbour. But being a sunny Sunday afternoon safe parking was impossible and I deferred my plans to take a harbour  on board SPIRIT OF KINSALE which would have facilitated photos of the MICHAELA ROSE.


Returning to Cóbh and driving down to Whitepoint revealed that helicopter patrol ship LÉ EITHNE [P31] had berthed at the Naval Base refueling berth. At 17:30 LOYAL MEDIATOR departed from Deepwater Quay Cruise Terminal. Meanwhile rounding Spit Bank came United European Car Carriers AUTO PRESTIGE [11,596grt  / 1999] bound for Ringaskiddy.


AUTO PRESTIGE passed Cóbh outbound at 20:50, followed a seven minutes later by tug BREEDBANK. BREEDBANK returned at 22:52 with the bulker DARYA YOG [18,495 / 1996] of Yog Shipping, China. BREEDBANK acting as bow tug whilst Port of Cork's GERRY O'SULLIVAN brought up the rear.


Monday July 26

Dutch freighter ALBLAS [3,443 grt / 1996] passed inbound at 06:02. SUPERFERRY followed at 08:05 inbound. Brostrom's tanker TRAPPER  remained at Whitegate Oil Terminal. The Estonian freighter WINGER [2,161 grt / 1976] was at the anchorage. The German owned general cargo vessel VALIDUS [2,990grt / 2000 ]passed inbound with a load of containers at 10:16.


By the late afternoon the movable landing stage had been installed at The Port of Cork Cruise Terminal at Deepwater Quay, Cóbh. This serves both as a landing stage for the larger cruise ships and acts as a dummy barge to enable the ships to berth off the wall


 Alsterships JOHN-PAUL K. passed outbound at 19:40. Polish owned chemical tanker WEST MASTER [ 1,174 grt / 1973 ]  passed in bound at 21:08 in.  

Tuesday July 27

Tuesday would prove to be an interesting day with two cruise calls due.


The first vessel scheduled to arrived as Oceania Cruises INSIGNIA [30,277 grt / 1998] inbound from Plymouth. She had been scheduled to arrive at 08:00 but was off the Cruise Terminal at 07:06. Fortunately I have become used to early cruise ship arrivals at Cóbh over the years and a sixth sense usually ensures I am awake before the bow pokes its way round the side of Spike Island.



INSIGNIA was assisted to berth by TURBOT BANK and SALEEN. They had completed their duties by 07:30 whilst shore and ship's crew had been busy positioning the gangways. Coaches were already arriving on the quay for the popular tourist excursion of "Cork City and Blarney Castle".


LÉ AISLING [P23] sailed from the naval base at 09:00. SUPERFERRY passed inbound at 09:33. Tanker TRAPPER sailed from Whitegate Terminal at 10:00. 


Around 11:00 the large tugs were on the move. ALEX departed at 11:00 and headed for the harbour mouth at Roche's Point. BREEDBANK was on the move at 11:25. She was over taken by GERRY O'SULLIVAN near Spit Bank.


At 11:35 freighter YAMBURG passed outbound followed by TURBOT BANK. From the vantage point known as The Bench - close to the Port of Cork Control Tower one can see out to sea beyond Roche's Point. Beyond the point several ships could be seen at anchor, though it was rather misty. Lurking out of the mist came Fred. Olsen Lines BLACK WATCH [ 28,670 grt / 1972 ] which moved to the anchorage arriving shortly after 12:00.


Offshore support ship STERLING TAY of  Sterling Marine, Aberdeen passed inbound at 13:02. She was followed by  Netherlands owned container ship NORTHSEA TRADER [ 4,984grt / 1995 ].


The major tug activity earlier was accounted for by the arrival of NAVION SCOTIA [52,348 grt / 1993] at Whitegate Terminal. GERRY O'SULLIVAN was on the bow, BREEDBANK, mid and  ALEX stern.  


At 14:00 I did another Harbour Trip on the BRYAN J to take some photos of INSIGNIA from the water. Things were very hectic down at Kennedy Pier. A Garda was directing traffic whilst coaches had made their way down the Pier to pick up passengers from BLACK WATCH who were being ferried ashore by the ship's boats. Whilst I was on the BRYAN J I noted YAMBURG heading back in again. The second harbour trip facilitated the taking of further photos of INSIGNIA, though unfortunately we didn't get that close to BLACK WATCH at the anchorage.


With Cóbh very busy, I wandered off back to Kinsale where I did manage to get a trip on SPIRIT OF KINSALE. This attractive little harbour cruise vessel is well appointed with a bar and very comfortable seating both inside and out. Though small excellent use is made of space and she feels much larger than she actually is. The MICHAELA ROSE had departed, the only vessel of note was lifeboat RNLB INNER WHEEL ashore at the Kinsale boat yard undergoing refit.


Returning to Cóbh Wessels Rederij's general cargo ship DUTCH NAVIGATOR [2,999 grt / 1998] had arrived at Rushbrooke Dockyard.


Arriving back at Cóbh just after 18:00 saw INSIGNIA already moving off the berth being played out by Cóbh Town Band who had obviously only been engaged for the benefit of INSIGNIA as they showed no intention of remaining for the arrival of BLACK WATCH!


BLACK WATCH was already on the move from the anchorage to the terminal. The two ships passed silently, one might has expected and exchange of whistles but no.


The fact that BLACK WATCH was awaiting the return of one of its starboard side boats from Kennedy Pier meant that she slowed right down making for a very slow approach to the pier where passengers, the general public and a few ship enthusiasts mingled. A sight enough to give a security guard on this side of the Irish Sea nightmares! As you may have gathered security at the cruise terminal is low-key. Long may it remain that way. Cóbh is proud of its status as "Cruise Capital of Ireland" and actually encourages visitors to come and see the big ships. 


Eventually BLACK WATCH's 's errant boat returned from KENNEDY PIER sailing under the outstretched starboard side davit and was quickly winched aboard. With the boat clear of the water it was possible to bring her alongside the landing stage starboard side to.


TURBOT BANK assisted at the bow and SALEEN at the stern BLACK WATCH was all secure at 19:00.


The Chinese bulker DARYA YOG headed outbound at 19:50 with tugs BREEDBANK (bow) and GERRY O'SULLIVAN (stern).


General cargo ship LINDA passed inbound with a deck cargo of timber. The VALIDUS passed  outbound at 20:44 with containers. The locally owned standby safety vessel SEAHORSE SUPPORTER [ 692 grt / 1974 ] passed outbound at 21:09.


Fred Olsen Lines' BLACK WATCH departed from the cruise terminal promptly on schedule at 23:30.

Wednesday July 28

James Fisher & Sons TEES FISHER  [ 2,077 grt / 1980 ] was at the anchorage. 

Shortly after 09:00 LÉ AISLING [P23] arrived at the anchorage. There she rendezvoused with naval passenger vessel FAINLEOG and sailed again shortly afterwards.

Around 11:00 GERRY O'SULLIVAN removed towed the landing stage away from Deepwater Quay.

I departed from Cóbh around 11:30 after a highly satisfactory few days and now look forward to my return in October, though of course the cruise ship activity will be lacking.


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