On a recent visit to Gravesend just before Christmas, I witnessed a parade of tankers of various shapes and sizes.
The only one familar to me was Forth Fisher 4,972 dwt of James Fisher Everard en route from Dagenham after a fuel delivery. She was on her way back to Immingham, but within the next couple of weeks she would see Teesport, Peterhead and Aberdeen. As I write, she is loading at Fawley refinery near Southampton.
Forth Fisher is one of their older vessels dating from ’97 and was responsible for much of the oil clean-up in 2007 of the stranding of the MSC Napoli in South Devon and is one of the officially designated tankers for cleaning up oil in European waters. A recent press statement from the company states they have fourteen veesels, most of them owned with some on charter serving all round the UK and Irish coasts including the Channel Islands and Scottish Highlands and Islands.
Reflecting this geography, two latest vessels have been named Corrib Fisher 6,090, dwt’08 from a lough in Western Ireland and Dee Fisher 4,653dwt,’06 from the Aberdeen River Dee. The former is currently in Galway Bay after loading at Whitegate and the latter is in Rouen. Another departure from their usual naming system, the Sarnia Liberty 3,532,dwt ’07 currently mainly delivering to the Scottish Isles, as I write she is off Great Yarmouth and Sarnia Cherie 4,765,’dwt 08 the latter being well known in the Channel Islands where she seems to have a particular expertise, though she is currently at Cowes.
James Fisher is well known as a Barrow-in-Furness, now Cumbria formerly in Lancashire, company that has moved with the times and is involved with continuingly successful trades. The basis of their initial success was a large fleet of coastal schooners trading round the UK and Ireland. Interesting to note the company’s merger with former coastal giant FT Everards linked them to another company with the wind and tide power in their DNA having a background of Thames sailing barges.
Tilbury power station, once busy with large size colliers filling its coal hoppers, is now no more, so it is ironic that the deep water quayside and the space around the demolished power station has proved a handy refitting base for a large self propelled drilling rig which can drill to a depth of 10,000 feet plus. The Maduro registered rig Sertao of 60,313gt built by Samsung in Korea in 2012, which arrived under tow from lay up on Teesside a year ago and work was under way using her own cranes in these last days of 2018, but where her next contract will be could be anywhere in the world as the market for hydrocarbons picks up once more.