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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Bibby SapphireTo Montrose in NE Scotland and other staple trades and here Brian Climie found thriving activity, largely of forest and agricultural products, both import and export.

Montrose states it is Scotland’s largest handler of wood-pulp. It may not be as large or as well known a port in comparison say to Aberdeen 30 miles away, but it is busy and can take vessels up to 164 metres long with a maximum draft of up to 7.5 metres, with larger vessels accommodated depending on type and tide.

All three ships seen here are part of larger fleets, with Scot Ranger 2,260,’97 of the ten strong Scot Line fleet repositioned from Hull to lift export logs for Varborg from where she will no doubt return to the UK with more processed timber.

Patria 3,519,’95, despite her Limassol registry, bears the funnel markings of Ahlmark the Swedish company which traces its origins to Karlstad in Central Sweden back to 1847. Their once numerous fleet of short sea tramps amongst other traffics in the ‘50s and ‘60s brought much Swedish pulp and iron ore to British ports.

Ahlmarks now have a fleet of five vessels, with more chartered, if required, specialising mainly in forest products as well as export steel carried on liner services between Lake Vänern and Northern Sweden ports and the UK, Germany, Netherlands and France. In the UK they serve their own terminal at King Gorge V dock, at least weekly serving Montrose and Shoreham at least fortnightly.

They are carrying approximately 0.8mn tones of forest and steel products from Sweden returning with 0.5mn tons of salt, pulpwood, biofuels and also some general cargo. After delivering a part cargo from Kristinehamn on Lake Vänern, Patria would depart on the Shoreham leg of Ahlmark’s liner service.

Montrose The third trader seen here, Wilson Astakos 2,451,10, represents the massive Norwegian based Wilson Ship Management combine which operates no fewer than 113 vessels, 86 of them owned and the rest chartered. Wilson Astakos is of their large class of short sea traders from the Komarno yard on the Danube. She is here unloading fertiliser from Terneuzen and would depart for Seaham.

I believe Montrose’s continuing prosperity, is in part due to the oil industry usurping so much of Aberdeen’s limited general cargo wharfage and Montrose too has long been a base for sophisticated oil industry vessels an example being the Bibby Sapphire 6,064,’05 seen here. She is a diving support vessel and was built at the Fosen yard near Trondheim then taken on long term charter by Bibby Offshore and since purchased by them.

She sports the traditional ‘Bibby pink’ funnel colours and houseflag symbol on her bow – a far cry from the four masted steam and motor ships engaged in the Colombo and Rangoon trades and the troopers that were once associated with this company. She is still a classy looking vessel and sports a 150 ton capacity crane among her many assets. Often at Aberdeen, she is North Sea based and is frequently at Montrose and Lerwick.

More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - December 2012 Issue
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