Sunday, March 29, 2020

Life Goes On

Services such as shipping continue as much as possible to deliver essential goods, and they must do so safely.

MOL Marvel arrives in Halifax for the first time, with a whole variety of cargo. The ship, measuring 78,316 gt, 79,460 dwt, was built in 2010 by Mitsubishi Heavy in Kobe. In 2015 it was fitted with an experimental screen forward aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 2% by reducing wind resistance (while the ship was steaming at 17 knots). It has the added benefit of protecting containers stowed forward.

The ship's capacity of 6724 TEU (including 500 reefers) may have been reduced somewhat since the white containers just aft of the screen do not appear to be revenue boxes, but part of the screen. No other ships of the "M" class have been fitted with similar screens, so the results of the experiment may not have lived up to expectations.

For ships to navigate safely aids to navigation such as buoys must be maintained, and spring is usually the time to change then out as winter can be particular hard on them. Others are removed from service for the winter due to ice and are reinstated in spring.

CCGS Sir William Alexander sets this afternoon out for the eastern shore with a deck load of buoys. Having to dodge a solo sailor is a bit odd for this time of year, but the same boat has been running for all winter. (I took a photo of it on February 23: )

Only two of the buoys are identifiable. TA4 for Flying Point and PQ4 for Horne Shoal in the Port Felix /Dover areas.

Another arrival, just getting into the inner anchorage before dusk, was the tanker Tower Bridge. It is coming from Saint John, NB with a part cargo from Europe, but will have to wait until yesterday's arrival sails from Irving Oil's Woodside terminal.

Of typical MidRange size at 27,725 gt, 47,199 dwt the ship is a bit unusual however in that it was built at the Admiralty Shipyard in St.Petersburg. It is operated by the Russian company SCF. Despite the admonishment that Safety Comes First, the company initials represent Sovcomflot. Originally a soviet state owned shipping combine it has been a joint stock company since 1988.


Saturday, March 28, 2020


The mysteriously named Kibaz arrived at Irving Oil this afternoon. A fairly typical Mid Range tanker of 28,517 gt, 47,094 dwt, it was built in 2004 by Onomichi Zosen in Japan as Balzo. It acquired its current name in 2016. A nearly as I can tell its ownership may be in India, through International Andromeda Shipping. (Its official owner is listed as Kibaz Shipping LP). It is also listed as a member of the UPT Pool, but that site appears stale.

Kibaz carries a "Z" on its funnel, possibly for Zenith Shipping or possibly even from Zorca Shipping, its first owners. The ship arrived from Amsterdam where Irving Oil has terminal storage.

[Yes I did have to leave my house to take this photo, but I did not come into direct contact with other humans in doing so.]


Siem Cicero - what is up

The question is what is the autocarrier Siem Cicero doing off Halifax. Originally scheduled to arrive March 22, the ship has been drifting around offshore since that date. The ship sailed from Emden, Germany March 9.

Built by the Uljanik Shipyard in Pula, Croatia in 2017 it is a pure car and truck carrier of 56,677 gt, 17,416 dwt, with a capacity of 7,000 cars. Halifax was its first North American call on its maiden voyage in 2017 [see photo above] and the ship was last here in January.

If the ship is waiting out a two week self-isolation since leaving its last port that would have expired by now. So far no new ETA has been given. One has to wonder what is keeping it away from Halifax.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bunkering Update - AMENDED

Much has changed in the ship re-fueling business, not only in the types of fuel now required by international law, but by how fuel is delivered to ships in Halifax.

Since late 2018 ships wishing to refuel in Halifax must tie up alongside at Irving Oil in Woodside, or Wilson's Fuel at Pier 9, where fuel can be delivered to the ship by pipeline. Ships can also tie up at commercial piers where fuel is delivered by trucks. There is no longer the option to receive fuel while at anchor. The last bunkering tanker to serve Halifax, the Algoma Dartmouth now works in Saint John, NB where it can access a supply of fuel directly from the Irving Oil refinery.

There are no oil refineries in Halifax anymore, and all ships' fuel that is available here must first come from another port. Irving Oil has contracted to supply fuel to the Royal Canadian Navy. The RCN's hired supply / tanker Asterix is alongside at Irving Oil this morning.

I covered the history of fuel bunkering in Halifax in two previous posts, which require a little updating.

The tanker barge Halfueler was shown again in a post yesterday Tuesday after I recently discovered another photo in my negative file. As recounted in the 2013 post, the ship was acquired by Marine Industries Ltd when it purchased the Foundation Company tugs.  MIL had a large dredging contract on the St.Lawrence and renamed the tanker MIL Fueler with the intention of using it to refuel dredges. The general consensus is that they never used it and it was broken up in Louiseville, QC in 1978.

Fifty years ago, with Halfueler out of service,  Imperial Oil decided to take over the bunkering business in Halifax again. They ordered a specially designed vessel from Collingwood Shipyard. In the meantime they assigned one of their ancient tankers to Halifax. Imperial Cornwall was a steam tanker, built in 1930 as Acadialite and renamed in 1947.  Although it had crossed the Atlantic from its builders, Furness Shipbuilding, Haverton Hill-on-Tees, it was really a canal boat normally confined to the Great Lakes.

Imperial Cornwall passing the Graving Dock gate at Halifax Shipyard, en route to Nova Scotia Power's Tuft's Cove generating station. Although built to burn coal or oil the new plant only burned oil until it was converted to gas. Imperial Oil ran a steady shuttle from its Dartmouth refinery to the plant and another plant at the foot of Morris Street in Halifax. 

Now boasting three chimneys, the Tuft's Cove pant was built with only one. The enclosed and ramped conveyor, was to load coal, but was never used and later removed.
In this photo the tug Foundation Vim berths Atlantic Fury at pier 9C in 1970. The ship had apparently met up with some hard object.

Imperial Dartmouth was delivered late in 1970 and served until 2006 when it was sold to Northern Transportation. Renamed NT Dartmouth it worked under contract to Imperial Oil Ltd until July 2009.

The vessel was laid up in Newfoundland until 2012 when it was renamed Dartmouth under the Honduran flag. New owners Atlantic Pacific International were to operate the ship under the Caribbean Petroleum Services SA banner. In 2012 they renamed the ship Emporio under Panama flag. Last reported en route to Aruba in 2013, its current whereabouts are not traceable on the internet.

Replacement vessel Algoma Dartmouth began work in Halifax in 2009 and was transferred to Saint John, NB in 2018 without change of name. It still operates there.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

More throwbacks

With very little news I can report on in the harbour and being confined to quarters, its time to delve into the shoe box again and see what comes up.

The Yugoslavian state shipping company known familiarly as Jugolinija was formed in 1947 with a rag tag bunch of old ships, but in a few years began to build up a new fleet, eventually utilizing the country's own shipyard "3 Maj", in Rijeka (now Croatia).

In 1958 they built a trio of modestly sized general cargo ships to operate between the Adriatic, the UK and other European continent ports. Named Bratstvo, Pobjeda and Sloboda they measured 1817 gt, 2337 dwt and were smart looking ships with some refrigerated capacity. They were equipped with bipod masts and eight derricks of 3 to 5 ton capacity. Propulsion came from a 3,000 bhp Sulzer main engine which was located amidships, producing a brisk 14.75 knots.

 Pobjeda at pier 34 in 1969.

Sloboda at pier 23 in 1971, refueling from Halfueler.*

At some point the ships were shifted to Transatlantic service under the "T/A/ Express" banner. All three managed to achieve 20 years of age, but they were obsolete by that time.

  • Bratstvo foundered December 11, 1981 on a voyage between El Djazair (Algiers) and Augusta, Sicily. I don't recall this ship calling in Halifax.
  • Pobjeda caught fire December 16, 1982 in Huelva, Spain. It was broken up there in 1983.
  • Sloboda was broken up in Kladovo (now Serbia) in May 1983.

With the breakup of Yugoslavia, Croatia became the seafaring nation, and its ships still trade world wide, however they are more likely to be bulk carriers.

* More on the Halfueler in the next few days. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Covid-19 fallout

Cruise ship operators are certainly hurting as are most other ship owners as the pandemic cuts into trade patterns. Bad news will become all too common as the squeeze continues.
Container lines have announced "blanked" sailings in the Pacific, and all operators are dealing with reduced quantities of cargo. Particularly hard hit in this area is the automobile business as manufacturing has shut down and sales dried up.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines has announced that they will be sending four ships off for recycling and will place ten more ships in cold layup. All the ships bound for the scrappers are reported to be 24 years old. This would include regular Halifax callers Don Juan and Turandot and the Eukor charter Asian Vision.

Putting a ship in layup is a serious business. Warm layup means that the ship has a skeleton crew aboard for basic maintenance but the the ship can be re-activated on fairly short notice. Cold layup on the other hand means that only the most critical maintenance is carried out and the ship might need months to reactivate. Cold layup normally means the ship could be laid up for a year. This gives the owners time to decide if they should keep, sell or scrap the ship.

The decision on which ships to put in cold layup could be more difficult than just choosing ships by age. Newer, larger ships may be more costly to operate, particularity if running at well under capacity. Removing assets of little value may not help the bottom line very much either. By my reckoning W-W has about 10 ships that are 20 years old, so it is more likely in this case that the choice will be made by age.

Mignon, built in 1999 may be a cold layup candidate.

As a footnote, both Indian and Pakistan have closed their scrap operations to ships arriving from abroad due to fears of virus transmission. Bangladesh is reported to be still open for business so far.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

High, Wide and .....

I will leave the decision on "handsome" to others,as a matter of judgement, but there could be no disputing the choice of the words high and wide as CMA CGM T. Jefferson sailed this morning.

Boxes were stacked nine high and eighteen wide. Fortunately PSA Halifax has a pair of long reach cranes, with another one coming this year, to handle these very wide ships. (I believe the ship was 20 boxes wide amidships)

Speaking of wide however, someone mis-judged width when re-inscribing the Canadian port of registry for Ferbec. The ship sailed this morning for Havre-St-Pierre under Canadian flag, a little earlier than last year.

Last year's crew did find the centre line when doing the same job, painting out Bridgetown (Barbados), see: