Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Swedish America Line´s S/S Drottningholm on its first arrival in Gothenburg in 1920

The S/S Drottningholm was built in Glasgow for the Allen Line in 1905. The 164,4 x 18,3m,  11,285 gross ton ship originally sailed between Liverpool and Montreal under the name "The Virginian". 

The classic ocean liner S/S Drottningholm, which the Svenska Amerika Linjen (The Swedish America Line) had acquired from its Canadian owners, was warmly welcomed to its new home port Gothenburg on February 20th, 1920. 

On the following day, the local newspaper Göteborgstidningen published an enthusiastic report: 

"The Drottningholm in Gothenburg"

"It will be the fastest Scandinavian America steamer"

"There are two smoking lounges and two meeting lounges for third class passengers"

"The Swedish America Line´s new steamer Drottningholm yesterday arrived in Gothenburg on its first voyage under the Swedish flag. At eleven in the morning it glided up the river and was greeted in the usual manner. The steamer was met at Bottö by a Swedish America Line tugboat, with managing director Lagergren, a couple of journalists and a cinematographer on board. The slender hull with the white topside decks were quite imposing." 

"The furnishing of passenger cabins, lounges and other areas is most elegant. Particularly, the hall, with a three floor high double staircase, catches one´s attention, as does the music lounge, the luxury of which is almost dazzling".

The  first class music lounge
The navigation room
The state of art radio room - the "Marconi station"
A first class cabin
"The first class dining room is also luxurious. It has comfortable seating for about 200  passengers.  In addition to the  side portholes, daylight is streaming down from a dome, richly decorated with gryphon ornaments and allegorical figures  composed of marine designs".  (Göteborgstidningen)
The second class smoking lounge
The third class music lounge
A third class cabin
"The steamer has altogether six decks, with the the promenade decks  more than  a couple  hundred  feet  long" (Göteborgstidningen)

The Drottningholm still painted with the Allen Line colours

The S/S Drottningholm, which sailed under the Swedish flag for 28 years, became a favourite of the Gothenburgians, who called it "the most beautiful ship of the harbor". In 1948 the Drottningholm was sold and began sailing between Genoa and South America under the name Brasil. A couple of years later it again had a new owner, which operated it on the route Hamburg - New York until 1955, when it was scrapped. 

More information on the S/S Drottningholm here and here

(The pictures above are from the book "Sveriges sjöfart", published in Stockholm in 1921)

Friday, 6 July 2012

Russian reefer Akademik Zavaritskiy in Øresund

The Russian reefer Akademik Zavaritskiy (131 x 21m) this afternoon close to Helsingør on its way from Kronshtadt to Jacksonville. (Russians will probably soon have a chance to enjoy fruits from Florida!).

The Akademik Zavaritskiy was built by the Aalborg shipyard in 1986. It was probably the last ship built by the shipyard, which closed two years later.

Pictures of London in the 1890s

A formal gathering at the Tower of London
London in the 1890s was the bustling center of both the United Kingdom and the British Empire. Towards the end of the Victorian era London was  Europe´s and the world´s greatest port and commercial center (a role it kept until the 20th century). London was also the first "world city": 

During the 19th century, London became the first "world city"; 1) it had a large population distributed over a very large geographical area; this dispersion of the population to suburbs was made possible, as we shall see, by the mechanization of transportation; the railroads were built beginning in the 1830s, the Underground was begun in 1865, and there were horse-drawn trams by the 1880s; 2) the population of a world city comes from the whole world; London attracted the dispossessed and ambitious from the British Isles; it attracted the poor and the politically oppressed from southern and eastern Europe; and it lured immigrants from British possessions throughout the world, particularly India and China; 3) a world city has direct industrial and commercial ties to the entire world.  In 1880, the Port of London received 8,000,000 tons of goods (up from 800,000 in about 1800).  A contemporary guidebook advised:  "Nothing will convey to the stranger a better idea of the vast activity and stupendous wealth of London than a visit to the warehouses, filled to overflowing with interminable stores of every kind of foreign and colonial product." (Willis, World Civilizations, p. 323); 4) a world city is involved in the internal affairs of other nations.  London was the capital of Great Britain, the capital of the British Empire, and the capital of the British Commonwealth of Nations.  In addition, its naval power made England a necessary participant in world affairs.
Like other capital cities, London was a political and administrative center, and it housed thousands of civil servants who worked for expanding bureaucracies; it also attracted ambitious political figures; it was also the financial center, the hub of the rail and road system, and a large marketplace for goods and services; industry tended to be located in the suburbs; city center housed government buildings and mercantile activities; capital cities were also cultural centers: newspaper and book publishers were there, as were theaters and operas, restaurants and pleasure gardens.
Problems facing 19th century capitals like London:  many were centuries old, and their centers were clusters of old streets, churches, and palaces; social structures and traditions were ancient; in-migration had flooded the old central districts and even some suburbs; hence urban development in the 19 century consisted both of the reconstruction of the ancient centers and rapid growth on the periphery;
19th century urban dweller faced common tensions and traumas of urban living, i.e. congestion and crime; but also new problems:  long commutes or a sense of isolation and despair.

Read the entire article here

London of the 1890s was also the setting of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle´s "The Return of Sherlock Holmes": 

The 1890s are unique for lots of reasons. Technology and culture is one of them. In this period, a lot of new technologies changed the way people lived. Bicycles were the new rage; electric lights were becoming more common; automobiles made their first appearance; the London subway system was growing; trains were faster; telegraphs made world-wide communication easier. We see evidence of a lot of these technological advancements in the Sherlock Holmes stories. Holmes and Watson ride the train all the time. Bicycles play a huge role in a number of stories. And Holmes and Watson also frequently read the newspaper, which changed a lot with the arrival of the telegraph. News was much faster and easier to get in the 1890s.

A lot of things were changing in the 1890s, which led to a lot of excitement and a lot of anxiety. This atmosphere is reflected in the Sherlock Holmes stories, particularly through the role of foreigners. (You can read more about this in the theme section on "Foreignness and the 'Other.'") The British Empire was huge, and growing, in this period. So even though a lot of the action in these stories occurs in London, these stories have a world-wide scope. A lot of the criminals Holmes deals with come from various places in the British Empire – South Africa, India, Australia, etc. London especially was an international hub in this era. Lots of people were anxious about the number of foreign people pouring into London and the crime rates of the city. Holmes, as a sort of ultimate crime-stopper, helped to combat that anxiety.

Read the entire article here

These drawings and photographs give you an idea about life in London in the 1890s:

Ships on the Thames river with the Tower in the background
Bank of England in the City of London
Westminster Abbey
Riders on Rotten Row in London´s Hyde Park
Busy traffic on London Bridge

Traffic on the Thames with St. Paul´s Cathedral in the background
The Thames Quay
The Tower of London in the 1890s

A short video showing life London in the 1890s: 

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Caribbean Princess in Helsingborg

The Caribben Princess "parked" in the Sound, between Helsingborg and  Helsingør  

Today there was an "invasion" of cruise visitors - more than 3000 - in Helsingborg. They arrived on board the huge Caribbean Princess (290 x 36m) which made a  stopover on its way from Copenhagen to Oslo.  Most of the visitors were American, many of them of Chinese origin. At least those I spoke with appeared to be pleased with their visit to Helsingborg, and the 7 day cruise in general. 

Some of the visitors also found the time to make a morning trip to Helsingør (Elsinore) in order to see Hamlet´s famous Kronborg castle. 

Copenhagen is of course the main destination for most cruise ships, but the "twin cities" Helsingborg and Helsingør also have a lot to offer, so let´s hope that more and more cruise ships find their way here ....

The Caribbean Princess was an imposing sight in the Sound

These guests are returning to the ship after their visit to Helsingborg
This Nepalese lady was in charge of security in the harbour 
He was the skipper on one of the motor boats shuttling between  the  Caribbean Princess and the  Helsingborg harbour
There are altogether 17 decks on the Princess
The small Belgian freighter Lazurite passing by in front of the Caribbean  Princess

Swedish schooner Nina in Øresund

The people on board this Swedish schooner must have enjoyed a nice evening of slow sailing in the Sound last night.

PS (5.7.)
Today I found out that the schooner is the Helsingborg based M/S Nina - an extremely well maintained charter boat:

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Cruise ship Celebrity Eclipse in the early morning sun

The Celebrity Eclipse approached Helsingborg/Helsingør today at 5.19 AM on its way to Copenhagen. The 314 meter long cruise ship shone almost like a lamp in the intense early morning sun, making it look almost unreal. 

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Second Russian landing ship - the Kaliningrad - tonight in Øresund

Tonight, at about half past nine the second Russian Ropucha class landing ship, the Kaliningrad (hull number 102), was heading northwards in the vicinity of Helsingborg/Helsingør in good speed. About twelve hours earlier the Kaliningrad´s sister ship Aleksandr Shabalin sailed through Øresund on its way nortwards. 

Interesting .....

The cruise ferry Pearl Seaways and two swans

Tonight the DFDS cruise ferry Pearl Seaways passed the Kronborg castle on its ordinary route from Copenhagen to Oslo:

On the Swedish side of the Sound these two swans seemed just to enjoy the nice evening:

The Russian Navy´s landing ship Aleksandr Shabalin in Øresund

The Russian Navy´s Ropucha class landing ship Aleksandr Shabalin (hull number 110) passed Helsingborg/Helsingør on its way northwards today at 10.45AM. The ships AIS transmitter was turned off, so it was not possible to find out where it was going. 

The Aleksandr Shabulin is one of the 28 ships of this type commissioned by the Soviet Navy from 1975 to 1991.

Wikipedia has some more information about the Ropucha class of landing ships: 

The Ropucha (toad), or Project 775 class landing ships are classified in the Russian Navy as "large landing craft" (Bol'shoy Desatnyy Korabl). They were built in Poland in the Stocznia Północna shipyards, in Gdansk. They are designed for beach landings and can carry a 450 ton cargo. The ships have both bow and stern doors for loading and unloading vehicles, and the 630 m² of vehicle deck stretches the length of the hull. Up to 25 armored personnel carriers can be embarked.
They were built for the Soviet Navy during the Cold War, but the current Russian Navy has little need for a long-range amphibious capability and most of them are kept in reserve or are retired. However, during the 2008 South Ossetia warships of this type were used for landing troops at the Georgian port of Poti.

Type:Landing Ship Tank
Displacement:2,200 tons standard
4,080 tons full load
Length:112,5 m
Beam:15 m
Draft:3.7 m
Propulsion:2 diesel engines; 2 propellers, 19,200 hp
Speed:18 knots (33 km/h)
Range:6,100 nm at 15 knots (28 km/h)
Capacity:10 main battle tanks and 200 troops or 12 BTR and 340 troops or 3 main battle tanks, 3 2S9 «Nona-S», 5 MT-LB, 4 army trucks and 313 troops or 500 tons of cargo
Armament:2* 2*57 mm AK-725 guns (Ropucha I)
1* 76 mm AK-176 (Ropucha II)
2* 30*122 mm rocket launcher A-215 Grad-M
Strela 2(SA-N-5) surface-to-air missile system(4 launchers)
2* 30 mm 
30AK-6 air defence gun(2 six-barreled gatling mounts

There have recently been news reports about Russian plans to send landing ships to Syria, where Russia has a naval base:

A day passed and another seemingly reliable daily, quoting "two sources in Russia's power ministries," reported that the Navy and "other power departments" were preparing for "a campaign in Syria". 

Plans were being prepared for a possible deployment of troops to help evacuate Russian military personnel and citizens from the naval base in Tartus and from Syria in general. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is quoted as putting the number of Russian citizens and members of families of Russian women married to Syrians at some 100,000. 
However, according to the Russian RIA Novosti news agency, the Aleksandr Shabalin seems to be on its way to Belgium

On July 2 a large landing ship of the Russian Baltic Fleet, “Alexander Shabalin”, laid a course for the Belgian seaport of Bruges (Zeebrugge), aiming to take part in the festivities on the occasion of the Belgian Navy Day.

Full moon over Øresund

Last night, just before 4 AM, there was a nice full moon over Øresund:

A couple of minutes later a small cloud had "broken" the moon:

The helmsman on this little freighter probably enjoyed the sight as much as I:

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Marine traffic in Øresund on the last day of June 2012

Here are four ships which passed Helsingborg/Helsingør last night:
The timber carrier Kapitan Mironov (98,20 x 17,60m) on its way from Kronshtadt to Hull
Kapitan Mironov from another angle
The Costa Luminosa ( 294 m x 32 m) on its way from Copenhagen to Hellesylt
The Grand Mistral (216 x 32m) was heading for Olden.
A close up of the Grand Mistral. (The paintwork maybe not my cup of tea)
The Antigua and Barbuda registered container ship Maris (101 x 18m)