#SistersDryDock - A pair of sisters, one Irish flagged the other recently transferred to the UK departed before noon today and within half an hour of eachother having vacated the docks system in Swansea, south Wales, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The Arklow Shipping Ltd (ASL) short-sea trader Arklow Raider was tracked by Afloat and a former sister, Arklow Rally which was only renamed Celtic Freedom this week.
Both Dutch built 2002 cargoships sisters underwent maintenance at the recently upgraded Swansea Drydocks Ltd, as the marine repair and shiprecycling business having been taken over. According to SDL, Arklow Raider became the first ship to use the refurbished facility last month.
Arklow Rally is an R class 4,950dwt cargoship that ASL has disposed and now as Celtic Freedom is part of Welsh shipowners fleet, Charles M. Willie & Co. (Shipping) Ltd. Only last year, the Cardiff based operator acquired Arklow Rose also dating to 2002. The pair form a 9 strong fleet for the Welsh company that had a previous Celtic Freedom, albeit smaller in dwt terms and was sold three years ago to Turkish interests.
The business of drydocking used to see ASL send some of their short-sea traders to Dublin Graving Docks until a lease of the facility from Dublin Port Company led to closure in April 2016. The strategic facility in the Irish capital though was temporaily reopened earlier this year but by DPC so to permit an overhaul of tallship, Jeanie Johnston.
Local tug, Svitzer Bently was joined in the loch by Celtic Freedom, while waiting astern in Kings Dock basin Arklow Raider having taken up position in the port operated by ABP South Wales.
Pilot cutter, Beaufort accompanied the cargoship beyond the port's piers into Swansea Bay, before returning to transfer again to an already departed Arklow Raider waiting in the channel. The double departures took approximately half an hour to complete by the time the second ship cleared Swansea's entance around 11.45 this morning.
The maiden commercial voyage of Celtic Freedom sees the almost 90m cargoship make a voyage bound for Fredrikstrad, Norway while Arklow Raider only has to head across the Bristol Channel to Royal (Portbury) Docks.
Portury docks which is the modern port for Bristol is where Arklow Raider made her first sailing following completion of dry docking late last month, before crossing the Celtic Sea to Cork followed by short coastal run to Limerick. It is from the Irish west coast estuary port that the cargoship had returned in recent days to the south Wales port.
Unlike, Arklow Raider the what was to become Celtic Freedom was allocated in Swansea Drydocks the adjacent smaller Prince of Wales dry dock (No.2) that measures 170m in length. This compared to the larger namesake counterpart at just over 200m. Dry dock No.2, previously known as Palmers Dry Dock, was established in 1923 and Dry Dock No.1, formerly known as the Duke of Edinburgh Dry Dock which was built in 1958.
In the preceeding year in Dublin Port was then unveiled the new dry dry No. 2 at 220m long was the largest in the State. A neighbouring much older dry dock dating to the 1860's was during the Celtic Tiger years infilled, however thankfully plans by DPC are to re-excavate the listed structure as part of a new heritage tourism venue.
The absence of Arklow Rally within the ASL fleet, leaves only one larger sized dwt R class sister, Arklow Rambler. As the rest of the remaining 11 class are marginally smaller given a dwt of 4,933dwt and built between 2004 and 2007.