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QUEEN OF SCANDINAVIA
The DFDS ferry "Queen of Scandinavia" arriving at the mouth of the Tyne in November 2007. She works the Bergen - Haugesund - Stavanger - Newcastle upon Tyne route. She displaces 33,500 tonnes and has room for 2000 passengers, 450 cars and 350 lorries.
She was built in 1981 by Wartsila in Finland for the Silja line, and was originally known as the Finlandia.
When I worked in the Soviet Union in the late 70s and early 80s, I travelled regularly on the Silja Line between Helsinki and Stockholm. I wish I had all my old photos to hand!
She was sold to DFDS in 1990 and renamed the "Queen of Scandinavia". A sister ship was sold to Stena lines and is known as the "Stena Saga". She does the Frederikshavn - Oslo route across the Skagerrak
KING OF SCANDINAVIA
Moored on the Tyne next to HMS Illustrious back in November was the King of Scandinavia. Despite its name, it sails the ferry service to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands.
Built in 1987 in Bremerhaven, she has carried several names. She was formerly known as the "Nils Holgersson" between 1987 and 1993 when she was owned by TT Lines (a company currently operating across the western Baltic from Travemunde and Rostock to Trelleborg), and subsequently as the "Val de Loire" between 1993 and 2006 when she was owned by Britanny Ferries, which runs ferries across the western part of the English Channel and over to Ireland and Spain.
Marginally smaller than the "Queen of Scandinavia", she displaces just over 31,000 tonnes and has room for 2140 passengers and 580 cars.
CITY OF NORDIC
This ship is the car carrier "City of Nordic", owned by the Lebanese company Abou Merhi Group and a frequent visitor to the Tyne.
Built in 1985 by the company Astilleros De Murueta S.A of Guernica in Spain, she displaces just over 8000 tonnes and has a carrying capacity of 800 cars. Her draught of about 6 and a half metres makes her ideal for going in and out of the smaller European ports.
From this angle, I must admit that the condition of her superstructure wouldn't give me all that much confidence in braving a force 10 Nor' Eastener out here in the North Sea at the height of the winter gales. She could really do with a good coat of paint or two.
But that's not going to bother anyone these days, unfortunately. On 29th April 2014 she set sail from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and arrived on 7th May of that year on the beach at Alang in India, the site of probably the largest shipbreakers in the world. And that was her career over.
You can see that there are traces of writing on the side of the ship. This writing is in fact the name of her previous proprietors, the Lineas Suardiaz who run a series of car-carrying routes out of Spain. Owned by the Arroyofrio company during her period with Lineas Suardiez, she was called the "Arroyofrio Dos". She was in their ownership until at least March 2006.
During her days sailing with that company, she was "known" to the French authorities for reasons not altogether healthy. Her captain was hauled into court in Rennes for having, on or about 2nd March 2004, dumped into the sea off the Brittany coast a quantity of fuel oil that left an oil slick 11 kilometres long and 100 metres wide.
He received a substantial fine, which was later reduced on appeal.
So off she goes steaming into the sunset up the Tyne in a Newcastle-bound direction. Her rear end looks rather more substantial than the front.
She normally works the route between Newcastle upon Tyne and the southern North Sea. There's no established commercial ferry route down to that end of the North Sea from here so I suspect she may be working out of the Nissan factory nearby, quite possibly delivering cars from there to that part of Europe.
At a certain point in the Tyne the ships going upriver have to swing hard to port. You can see the "City of Nordic" here making a dramatic turn in the river just before the Tyne Ferry crossing between South Shields and North Shields.
There's a huge car-holding complex on the south bank of the river Tyne just near the confluence with the River Don, and there are three loading piers. If City of Nordic is working the Nissan car plant, then it's likely that she'll be tying up at one of those.
I took a considerable number of photographs of HMS Illustrious when it was moored in the Tyne in November 2007. These are hosted on an exclusive page.
"Yarm Cross" is a Tyne River tug. She is actually described by her owners, the Svitzer Company, as a tractor tug, so evidently she makes a living pulling ships up and down river. She was built in 1979 and is the smallest of the three tugs here on the Tyne. Her engine is rated at 2640bhp.
"Yarm Cross", Tyne River tug
This tug is the "Rowangarth", registered in Liverpool. She was built in 1981 and has an engine of 3200bhp.
"Rowangarth" returns upriver after towing HMS Illustrious out to sea in November 2007. .
A close-up of the Tyne River tug "Svitzer Maltby". She was built in 2005 and her gross tonnage is 385 tonnes. She's a fairly powerful tug - her engine is rated at 5700bhp.
"Svitzer Maltby" returns upriver after towing HMS Illustrious out to sea in November 2007.