ON the western side of Falmouth bay, anchored almost in line are six ships affected by the worldwide slump in shipping. The sub Panamax container ships ER Cuxhaven, ER Elsfleth and ER Stralsund are from the fleet of German ship owner ER Schiffahrt GmbH.

To the south of the trio is the Belgium registered LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) tanker Methania, a ship that can lay claim to being in the bay for the longest period. The severely depressed LNG market has seen a slump in prices and cargo volumes.

Last December, Methania was anchored off the port for four weeks as its owner Distrigas tried in vain to find a buyer for the ship’s LNG cargo. Methania eventually sailed back to Zeebrugge, where she discharged the cargo at the berth from which she had loaded it. Since then, the 1978-built ship has spent the majority of her time anchored off Falmouth.

To the east of these ships is the container ship Commander, which has been here for several months while her owners try to find a charter.

The refrigerated cargo vessel EW Snowden, complete with thousands of tonnes of frozen chicken loaded in the United States, remains at anchor off Porthoustock after the parent company Eastwind Maritime, based in New York, went into liquidation in June. The company controlled 56 container ships, reefers, bulk carriers, fish carriers and chemical tankers, including new buildings.

Around the coast of the United Kingdom, ships are anchored off ports awaiting orders. Off Brixham, nine large tankers remain in Tor Bay and further offshore.

The Chinese tanker Lian Ping Hu has spent the week anchored off Mullion.

During the 1930s’ slump more than 50 ships were laid up in the River Fal in January 1932.