Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Goodbye Old Friend

While browsing earlier I was sad but not entirely surprised to see an old friend has gone to the breakers; a recent photo shows what's left of her at Aliaga in Turkey (the photo is sad for another reason, there are some reefers there way before their time). The Anthi Marina began life as Spirit of Free Enterprise in 1979, became Pride of Kent (I) after the Zeebrugge ferry disaster which wrecked her sister ship Herald of Free Enterprise, and went through further names, variations on 'Kent' - P&OSL Kent and P.O. Kent. She was lengthened in 1991, a process which completely ruined the ship and further ruination was visited on the poor thing when sold, in 2004, to a Greek ferry company which stuck a new bow on her.

I dug out some old photos I took of her in August 1990 at Dover and in 2002 and 2003 leaving Calais.

I was fond of this ship and her other sister (I never knew the Herald, as that came to grief before I ever visited Dover) so I am sorry that she has gone. Now, of the three original ships, there is only Oleander - Pride of Free Enterprise - left and I wonder how long she has until she, too, leaves us?

And here's a really old photo, from May 1988 (I think), of the ship in the Channel, taken from Pride of Dover. This was one of the last photos I took with a really crap old 35mm compact camera I had. This had a poor-quality fixed plastic 38mm lens and wasn't really fit for purpose but it was better than nothing.

If you click here and scroll down, there are some - rather horrific - pictures of her at the scrap yard in Turkey. It looks as if a fire had broken out as she was cut up.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Blasts from the Past

Having a sort out at home, with the idea of possibly moving house, and I found some old photo albums containing my old pre-digital ship photos, so I decided to scan some of them.
They are fairly poor quality prints to begin with and the scans don't make them look any better, but here they are.

Costa Allegra is seen here in Funchal harbour, Madeira, in April 1993. She recently arrived at the scrap yard at Aliaga in Turkey after spending months laid up after a fire.

QE2 and Canberra meet in the Solent during a review in 1994 to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-day landings.

The QE2 and Geestport meet in the Solent, in May 1993

And, going back even further into the past, here is the Canberra returning from the Falklands conflict in 1982. These were my first ever ship photos, I was 12 years old at the time.

I have got hundreds of photos so I expect some more Blasts from the Past will appear on the blog in due course.

Sunday, 28 October 2012


I am on Facebook anyway (as myself rather than the name of my site!) and, after three years, I have decided to do an FB page for my website. For those of you who are on Facebook, you can find it here: Ship-Photo's Facebook page.
I have updated my website, with some special features about QE2, P&O's 175th Anniversary Grand Event and the meeting of three Cunard 'Queen' ships in Southampton in 2008 and 2012. Click here and go to the 'Features' drop-down menu to see them.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012


There are some unpleasant rumours doing the rounds this morning regarding the possible eventual fate of the QE2, currently lying idle in Dubai. The owners, Istithmar World, have had a clearout of their board, with new people coming in and, according to The QE2 Story website forum, and the Daily Echo in Southampton, speculation is rife in Dubai that they have contacted ship-brokers to arrange for the possible sale and scrapping of a '300 metre cruise ship' in the UAE. There is, as far as we know, only one ship in that area which fits that description.

If this happens to be true then it is not a great surprise, although still very sad indeed. The ship has lain idle since she got there, as plans for a conversion into a hotel were put on hold and then abandoned, because the recession came along at exactly the wrong time as far as the ship was concerned. New plans were announced a few months ago, to convert her into a hotel based at the cruise terminal in Dubai (thankfully without the drastic alteration of her appearance the original plans called for) but, with these rumours around, could this mean that the new plans themselves have been abandoned?

I have seen internet forums with posts blaming Cunard and the Dubai-based company for the situation - Cunard for selling her and Istithmar World for buying her (and, I suspect, reading some posts, for having the temerity to be Arabs) - but, realistically, the ship was old, she was worn out and it would have cost a fortune to bring her up to the standards required to keep her at sea. Along came Dubai with an offer Cunard couldn't refuse - $100 million apparently - and Cunard snatched their hands off, and who could blame them? It's as if someone offered me £2000 for an old car worth a couple of hundred at best. It is neither the fault of Cunard or Dubai that the recession, caused mainly by greedy bankers in another part of the world, came along right at - for the QE2 - the wrong time. If Cunard hadn't sold her then, she'd no doubt have been scrapped by now anyway.

Personally, I'd love to see her back in Southampton where she belongs but the city can't afford it by themselves (although they have an expensive art collection gathering dust they could offload) without the input of a lot more cash. That said, Southampton is in dire need of a makeover, certainly along the waterfront, and the QE2 could be the centrepiece of a nice rejuvenation as a hotel for people embarking on cruises...if there is room.
Or New York, the other city with a claim to her as she visited that port nearly as much as her home port of Southampton. They have an old aircraft carrier, the space shuttle Enterprise and one of the BA Concordes on display...the QE2 and Concorde are old friends, so why not add her to the collection?

She's not gone yet, though, and where there's life there is hope.

Here are some pictures of her, some of which are from my old website.

In the Solent, sometime in the late 1990s:

In Southampton, on various occasions:

In Southampton on her last day:

As she left us for the final time:

And, my last ever photo of her...

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Southampton Water 14/10/2012

Ships on Southampton Water today. Note sunshine. Rare conditions indeed. This wasn't a ship spotting trip, but a visit to Newbury to visit my sister as it is her 40th birthday.

Torm Almena

With the Southampton Harbour Master ahead of her

Stena Alexita

King Ernest

And Queen Mary 2, later in the day, as we were going home; it was a pity she was in the 'wrong way round', so I couldn't get a better photo from the ferry as we went past, and also a pity about the annoying furled umbrella in the foreground. All being well, I am going on a short trip on her next month, a four-night 'party cruise' to Le Havre and Zeebrugge. I am looking forward to seeing her from the inside but not looking forward to paying for it!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Southampton, 5th October 2012

I was returning from a few days away and there were a few ships in a rainy Southampton. Most interestingly Red Jet 4 was being towed into her berth. I thought she'd broken down but an enquiry on Facebook revealed that she was returning from an overhaul at Marchwood.
One of the boats assisting her was the pun-tastically named Wyedawake.

Glorious Hibiscus and Grand Princess, in the western docks:

Discovery and Ventura:


Eships Dana:

Cielo Di Parigi:

SKS Saluda: