The port of Birkenhead witnessed a sight that was more in keeping with the glory days of Blue Funnel and Clan Line on 12 March, when a bulk cargo vessel turned in the river Mersey with the help of three tugs to enter the lock. The vessel was the 30,838dwt Free Neptune owned by Free Bulkers SA.

The bulker, which measures 185m by 23m, arrived from Mandvi in India via Antwerp with a cargo of bentonite, which is a kind of clay associated with volcanic fallout, and can be used as drilling mud as well as for various medical uses. Assisted by the tugs Svitzer Maltby, Svitzer Bidston and Ashgarth, she swung to enter the port, where she stayed for over a week before sailing for Riga on 20 March.

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