Saturday, 14 April 2012

Bulk carrier Davakis D and trawler Valery Dzahaparidze in the Sound

The Bahamas registered single deck bulk carrier Davakis D (190 x 45m) passed Helsingør this afternoon on its way to Klaipeida, Lithuania. The ship, built in China in 2008, is one of ninety in the Athens based Enterprises Shipping and Trading S.A. fleet.

The name of the ship has a somewhat sad history, according to the ESTSA web site:

The 6th vessel was named Davakis G after a company’s late employee who, very
unfortunately and unexpectedly, lost his life two years ago during his sleep. George Davakis
was in his early 30’s at that time.

The next ship passing by was the Russian fish factory/trawler Valery Dzahaparidze (104 x 16m). The trawler  is on its way to Kaliningrad.


Here are two more freighters, which passed Helsingør/Helsingborg this evening:

The Bahamas registered bulk carrier Kent Tenacious (180 x 28m) on its way to Skaw. 

The bulk carrier Sandnes (166 x 24m) was heading for Copenhagen

Friday, 13 April 2012

A fine Tosca from Verona

The great Argentinian born tenor Marcelo Álvarez is outstanding  as  Cavaradossi

Blu-ray is definitively a blessing for all friends of grand opera. Another proof of that is the oustanding Tosca disc, recorded on a balmy July evening 2006 in the historic Arena di Verona.

The huge outdoor arena is of course not the easiest venue for a Tosca performance, but in this case the people behind the production succeeded marvellously. Watching this Tosca actually makes you want to attend a live performance in Verona!

The Arena de Verona, seating over 15.000 people, is a great setting for the opera

I have to agree with the review in the Opera Journal:

This budget release of Tosca by Arthaus (available for around £6 from online retailers) is an accessible and affordable introduction for anyone interested in discovering just how amazing opera can look and sound on Blu-ray.
If the scenes work and are scarcely less effective than usual, it’s down to Puccini’s score to a large extent, but it also needs strong casting to put it across, and this production certainly has that. Best of all is Marcelo Álvarez – better known for his Verdi tenor roles than for Puccini, but Cavaradossi suits him well in this particular opera. Fiorenza Cedolins is fine and occasionally brilliant as Flora Tosca, and Scarpia is in the capable hands of the great Ruggero Raimondi.  

Fiorenza Cedolins is convincing as Tosca
The famous Italian bass-baritone Ruggiero Raimondi here as Scarpia,  just before he is stabbed by  Tosca
Cedolins and Álvarez

Here is Marcelo Álvarez in the perhaps most famous Tosca aria:

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Swedish Coast Guard patrol vessel Poseidon in Øresund

The Swedish Coast Guard patrol vessel KBV001 Poseidon passed Helsingborg/Helsingør at 8 PM tonight on its way to Visby. The 81 x 16 m ship, which was built by the Romanian shipyard Damen, made its maiden voyage in October 2009.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Navigating in Øresund - one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world

The northern side of Øresund in an engraving from 1594

Øresund (also called the Sound), which connects Kattegat and the North Sea with Baltic Sea, has always been one of the world´s busiest shipping lanes. The number of ships annually passing through Øresund is now approximately 40.000.

This  Øresund chart was done by the famous Swedish cartographer  Gustav  af  Klint in the  early 19 th  century

Several large ports - Copenhagen, Malmö, Helsingborg and Landskrona - are located in Øresund. In addition to the ships on regular passenger and cargo routes, a large number of other ship types - e.g. cruise ships, oil tankers and chemical tankers - are passing through the Sound on their way to or from ports in the Baltic. In addition, a great number fishing vessels and leasure boats use Øresund.

Map of  Øresund

The Danish and Swedish maritime authorities in 2006 published a study, "Navigational safety in the Sound between Denmark and Sweden (Øresund)" in which they stated:

Thus, it is seen that the traffic in Øresund consists of a mixture of different ship
types and does thus require good skills and awareness from the navigator on the
ships when passing Øresund.

There are specific limitations and requirements for navigation in Øresund:

There are large differences in e.g. width of the navigation channels at various places,
in water depth etc. Ships coming into Øresund from north may have a draught of up
to 11.5 m when visiting the port of København and 13,5 m when visiting the port of
Malmö. However, further south - through Drogden and Flintrännan –the water depth
is 8 m and 8.4 m, respectively.

It is easy to understand the consequenses if there would be a major accident in the busy Øresund waters. Among the 139 accidents during the time period 1997 - 2005, covered in the report, the human factor and fatigue were responsible for almost one third of the cases.

Container ship Mito Strait prepared to take a Swedish pilot on board in Øresund

The small number of accidents is to a large part due to the pilotage offered both by Swedish and Danish pilots. The Danish-Swedish maritime safety report, mentioned above, describes the pilotage regulations in Øresund:

Requirements for use of pilot for specific ship cargos or ship sizes

Compulsory pilotage shall apply to the following merchant ships when navigating
interior and exterior Danish territorial waters, ref. [36] and includes the following:
• Oil tankers with cargo.
• Chemical tankers carrying cargoes of dangerous liquid chemicals included in
IMO’s chemicals code (International Maritime Organization’s “Code for the
Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in
• Gas tankers.
• Ships carrying radioactive cargoes.
Compulsary pilotage for Swedish territorial waters is described in ref. [37] and is in
general similar to the descriptions applying for Danish waters above.

A Swedish pilot boat approaching Helsingborg
On the way to meet a ship entering the Sound
The pilot boats in Helsingborg

This is a distinguished Swedish pilot from the early 1920s: 

Monday, 9 April 2012

The Joy of Singing

Usually the soloists and the conductors get most of the attention in classical music concerts. Often you get only glimpses of the choir,  which in many cases reflects the real joy of singing. That is why I decided to show some of the marvellous ladies, who play such an important role in choral performances. Here they have unfortunately to remain anonymous, but hopefully you will recognize some of them the next time e.g. a work of Bach, Mozart or Fauré is shown on TV.

The photos show members of the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, Les Eléménts Choeur de Chambre and Coro del Teatro Fenice.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

A wood pidgeon and flowers on Easter Sunday

Daffodils, although not wild, have found a home in the nature reserve

Just a couple of pictures which I shot during a short walk in the neighbouring nature reserve on this rather chilly Easter Sunday.

This is the time when wood-anemones brighten up the landscape in Scania

Another "half wild" daffodil in the Hittarp nature reserve

More wood-anemones

This pretty wood pigeon was observing the nature reserve from a nearby garden: