In 2021, we started to put the spotlight on our passionate ship spotters. Each month, we introduce another ship spotter of FleetMon.com. In June, you’ll meet ship spotter Phil (User name: gibbogibbo), a truck driver and loyal FleetMon user from the United Kingdom.
What is your maritime background?
I am 60 years old and a truck driver for a well-known supermarket chain. I live in Greater Manchester in the northwest of England. My father was born and brought up in Fleetwood which was a very busy fishing port in years gone by so as a youngster I spent a lot of time in and around the docks watching the fishing fleet departing and returning. I have always had an interest in all things relating to the sea.
When did you start to take photos of vessels?
I started taking pictures around about 2009, when on a holiday in Las Palmas, just for a bit of fun at first but gradually started to take it more seriously.
Now, whenever I get a chance we take a short holiday to the Isle of Wight which is a great place to take pictures of ships visiting Southampton.
What is your motivation for being a ship spotter?
As I work long hours at night I find it relaxing to visit Liverpool and chill out with my partner and my dog when I get time off work.
Which technical equipment do you use for vessel photography?
I tend to use a Nikon P900 at the moment because it is handy as I always have it with me in the car just in case. I also have a Nikon D5300 which I am trying to get used to.
Which vessel types do you like to take photos of the most and why?
I will take pictures of anything really but I do like container vessels because of their amazing size and they come in all different shapes and sizes these days.
How many pictures of different vessels have you collected since you started?
At the moment, I only have about 3,000 pictures as I have lost quite a few having lost some memory cards while moving house in 2019.
What are your favorite ship spotting locations?
Cowes, Isle of Wight. You get a good variety of ships in and out of Southampton.
One day I would like to spend some time on the Kiel Canal as there isn’t much traffic on the Manchester ship canal.
Which is your best shot on FleetMon.com? Please tell us about the moment when you took it.
My favourite photo has to be a picture of MEKHANIK YARTSEV, which developed a bad list. I was very lucky to be travelling to the Isle of Wight as the vessel was being towed and escorted into Southampton. Right time and place.