The Scandinavian connection this month, continues with the welcome reappearance of the magnificently versatile Severn Sea 147gt of Bideford seen at Troon working in the Firth of Clyde.
I first featured her in 2013 in Tugs and Tows when she was seen delivering the former steam naval water carrier Freshspring from her long lay up at Newnham on Severn down the Severn estuary via Sharpness to Bideford. The versatile 1,000hp Volvo engined workboat Severn Sea is a former Swedish minelayer delivered by Gavle Varv in 1947, her previous names being Vista 5, Mul 11 and Kalvsund. The Swedish navy knew what they were doing and had her built well and looked after her too. Her former aft mine handling deck, now equipped with a hefty crane, is a boon to her Appledore, Devon, based owner-contractors (and their clients) Keynvor Morlift Ltd working from Iron Yard, Middle Dock, Appledore.
Back at Bideford, Freshspring seems to have found, at long last, a welcome from people with the energy and enthusiasm to see her to a good state of preservation. I witnessed her during her long stay at Bristol. She is one of the few remaining examples of the once prolific and innovative Lytham Shipbuilding Co beside the River Ribble near Preston.
They, amongst more mundane coastal and harbour craft, once exported river steamers all over the world before they turned to the navy’s needs for freshwater during WW2 and launched her and her sisters into the River Ribble. She has interesting lines, at first glance resembling a steam trawler, but was, and is in fact, a tanker, though for water not oil. I wish her well and intend to visit her in due course.