NOVEMBER 2011 ISSUE
This month’s Ship of the Month feature looks at the new Caledonian Macbrayne ferry Finlaggan, which is now operating to the beautiful island of Islay on the west coast of Scotland. I was fortunate enough to travel on her for a crossing to Islay, meeting one of her captains and being given a guided tour of this impressive new ship. Despite being introduced only a few months ago, she has quickly become much liked by her officers and crew and all who have travelled on her, and the people of Islay seem to be particularly impressed. They regard her as their own mini-cruise ship, and the high standard of on-board facilities is widely appreciated.
Finlaggan should have a service life of at least 30 years, and if you ever get the opportunity to travel on her I recommend a trip to Islay and the chance to spend some time on an island which is home to many famous whisky distilleries. However, while Finlaggan is a new ship and is very much fit for purpose, a number of older ships have been in the news recently after grounding, sinking or being involved in collisions, and we have news reports on incidents at Littlehampton, off South Africa and in the Solent.
However, the tragedy off Tanzania, in which there was considerable loss of life, with reports suggesting over 200 people drowned, is the most noteworthy. The incident saw the ferry Spice Islander (836gt), built in Greece in 1967, capsize going from Zanzibar to Pemba Island on 10 September carrying in excess of 800 passengers, although her capacity is 645.
Finally, over the last few months we have been marking various anniversaries, and in this issue we remember the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor that took place 70 years ago. This proved to be one of the most significant events of World War II, and Nick Hall, in his excellent series of articles in this issue , documents the events before, during and after the attack on the US Navy.