Monday, June 21, 2021


 Most foreign flag tankers that call in Halifax are in the 50,000 tonne deadweight size and fall into the Mid Range MR2 category. They bring in refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. Therefore the arrival today, June 21, of Beatrice was unusual in a number of ways. 

In the first place the ship has no cargo for Halifax, but it may have instead have arrived for Canadian Food Inspection Agency clearance from Asian Gypsy Moth larva. That survey apparently went well, as the ship was in and out in a few hours. It is rare that tankers require CFIA inspection since they are usually coming from the US or Europe, well out of the native range for the invasive species.

This tanker is instead coming from Damietta, Egypt, a port known for its huge LNG complex and a methanol (methyl alcohol) production plant owned by the Canadian company Methanex. Methanol is an important component of many chemicals including solvents, industrial anti-freeze and fuels. (It is  flammable and highly toxic.) Methanex operates a tanker fleet, called Waterfront Shipping Ltd, numbering some 20 or more chartered ships, but is little publicized and not well known.

Beatrice is a specialized chemical tanker, built in 2013 by Asakawa Shipbuilding in Imabari, Japan. Although showing a similar profile to larger tankers it measures only 14,750 gt, 25,932 dwt - about half the capacity of most MR2 ships.

The ship's destination is Montreal, Quebec, which is within the deciduous forest region of Canada, most at risk of infestation by the Asian Gypsy Moth. Oddly the ship was in Becancour, QC as recently as May 9 to 11, so apparently Egypt is a potential source of the moth.


Sunday, June 20, 2021

Sunday Departures

 Weekends are frequently busy times in Halifax Harbour. At one time that was due to excessive weekend overtime rates for longshoremen in New York. Ships would clear out of New York on Friday and come to Halifax, or would time their arrivals and departures in Halifax so as to arrive in New York for Monday morning.

That may or may not be the case anymore, but things were certainly busy in Halifax this weekend. Among the visitors was the auto carrier Morning Peace.

Built by Hyundai Samho in 2017 it is 66,802 gt, 22,438 dwt pure car and truck carrier, with a capacity of 7,368 car equivalent units. Operator EUKOR is combined operation of Wallenius, Wilhelmsen, American RoRo and European Car Carriers, established to transport Korean built cars.

At Fairview Cove the YM Evolution called for THE Alliance's AL1 service. It has been a regular since May 2018. 
The 47,952 gt, 57,320 dwt ship, with a capacity of 4662 TEU was built in 2014 by China Shipbuilding Corp in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Due to its relatively small size it was an easy fit under the bridges, but still employed the tug Atlantic Fir as tethered stern escort to line up its course through the Narrows


Saturday, June 12, 2021

Repeats and a bonus

 The harbour was busy today June 12, with several ships at the container and breakbulk piers. All are repeat visitors, although one is under a different name.

At Irving Oil the European Product Carriers Ltd tanker Elka Bene arrived after unloading a part cargo in Saint John, NB, likely from Amsterdam.

The ship was last here April 6, 2021

At Fairview Cove it was the MOL Empire . Its last call (which was its first in Halifax) was November 20, 2019 

The ship is on THE Alliance's AL5 service , and will be skipping all the usual US east coast ports and sailing direct for Port Everglades, FL, then for the Dominican Republic and so on to the Panama Canal and the Pacific coast. If it does not get snagged in west coast congestion, it may be back in Halifax August 3 on its return leg to Europe.

Also a familiar sight in Halifax is an ACL ship, ploughing its usual furrow back and forth transatlantic. However it is always good to see one pass west of George's Island for a change, to give a slightly different angle of view.Atlantic Sun doesn't appear too heavily loaded.

At National Gypsum it was the familiar Algoma Integrity ex Gypsum Integrity, which loaded for Baltimore.

The one arrival which may not sound familiar is the bulker Helena G which arrived from Jebel Ali, UAE, with a cargo of reinforcing steel (rebar). It tied up at Pier 9C, where it began to unload using its own cranes and shore based forklifts.

The ship first called here December 25, 2103 and again November 2014, both times under its original name Garganey . The ship was named by its operators CANFORNAV (Canada Forest Navigation) for a species of duck, and on those trips loaded grain.

CANFORNAV ships are regular users of the St.Lawrence Seaway and primarily import steel products and export grain. Garganey was built in 2007 for charter to CANFORNAV and on completion of a ten year term was sold to Olof Brodin Shipowning AB of Sweden. Renamed Helena G it has continued trading to the Great Lakes.


The bonus ship today was HMCS Windsor which has been conducting surfaced operations in Bedford Basin for the past several days.


Friday, June 11, 2021

Hyundai Faith

 A new to us ship on THE Alliance's EC5 service arrived in Halifax June 11. Hyundai Faith is a 95,681 gt, 98,967 dwt vessel built in 2008 by Hyundai Samho, with a capacity of 8562 TEU. It is among the largest container ships to pass beneath the harbour bridges. (Passing the A.Murray MacKay bridge in the photo below.)

The ship has limited its air draft by eliminating or reducing masts and other devices above the navigating bridge top.

The HMM (formerly Hyundai Merchant Marine) logo appears on the housing of the exhaust gas scrubber, which appears to have been installed after the ship was built,

HMM Co Ltd is now a fully fledged member of THE Alliance with HAPAG-Lloyd, ONE and Yang Ming. When THE Alliance was formed in 2017 Hyundai Merchant Marine was on very shaky financial ground and was only allowed to participate by means of slot charters. However by 2020, after posting to a large contingency fund that would guarantee operation of the company's ships in case of bankruptcy, the US Federal Maritime Commission granted membership. At about the same time the company rebranded itself as HMM Co Ltd.

The company recently added to its 75 strong fleet with a pair of ships, each exceeding 23,000 TEU.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Container Veterans

 Larger and larger new container ships get the headlines, but a lot of the container carrying work is done by smaller sized vessels, some getting on in years. Adding to the longevity and value of these older ships is the current torrid demand for container capacity brought on by the economic recovery post COVID in many parts of the world. Ship owners are getting astronomical rates to charter their ships, and many lines are unable to meet the demand for cargo space.

It was not so long ago that container ships with a capacity of 5,000 TEU were deemed inefficient and undesirable, and would soon be heading for the scrappers in droves. Things have certainly changed and it is rare to hear of any container ship, of any size, which is not fully occupied.

There were two container veterans in Halifax today - both very much gainfully employed on busy routes.

MOL Glide, built in 2011 by Hyundai, Samho is a 59,307 gt, 71,339 dwt ship with a 5,000 TEU capacity. 

The ship is on THE Alliance's AL1 service, a transatlantic run from Europe to the North American east coast. The ship arrived last night and sailed this afternoon for Rotterdam. It is expected back in Halifax June 26.

The Mediterranean Shipping Co, MSC has always been known for squeezing the last useful years out of ships, and it's arrival for today is no exception.

MSC Aniello was built in 2000 by Hyundai, Busan and is rated at 40,631 gt, 56,903 dwt, with a capacity of 4,056 TEU, including 150 reefers. Chosen for MSC's St.Lawrence routes, because of its size, it must still load light to meet draft restrictions. However it can achieve better efficiency by loading deeper in Europe and by stopping in Halifax inbound (in this case) to decant some of its cargo and transferring it to rail or truck. Outbound from Montreal it tops off in Halifax with some added cargo loaded to salt / deep water draft. Depending on timing I think they could offer this as an "express" service also.

In the current economic environment both ships are likely to be valued very highly, and it will be some years before we gain hear that they may "inefficient".


Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Thorco Liva Returns

 The multi-purpose general cargo ship Thorco Liva is back in Halifax.  By my count this is the ship's fourth visit since 2016, and for the same reason. On first arriving early this morning the ship anchored for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection. When cleared after a few hours it proceeded to its berth.

The Thorco Liva makes a near ghostly advance in the Narrows to Pier 9C as a little morning fog lingers.

Built in 2012 by the family-owned Honda Shipyard in Saiki, Japan, Thorco Liva is a 13,110 gt, 16,901 dwt ship. It is fitted with portable pontoon tween decks and a pair of 50 tonne capacity cranes. Danish owner Thorco Projects operates more than seventy ships for heavy lifts, oversize and irregular shaped cargoes. The fleet includes seven of these "L" class ships, and sisters Thorco Luna , Thorco Logic and Thorco Logos have also called here for the same purpose.

At Pier 9C the ship will be installing prefabricated steel racks to carry fibreoptic cable. It will likely then proceed to Newington, NH to load the cable as it has done on the three previous visits. Each of those visits was noted in this blog:

 Fall 2016

January 2017 

January 2019

Monday, June 7, 2021

Meteoric Return

 THE Alliance's AL5 service had another returnee today. NYK Meteor, one of twelve sister ships that used to be regular callers here for the previous G6 Alliance.

Interestingly, the ship appears to have recently been repainted in traditional NYK colours (it was drydocked in January). It was not repainted in ONE magenta or given a ONE name even though NYK is one of the partners in Ocean Network Express.

The ship was built by Hyundai, Ulsan in 2007 and is registered at 55,534 gt, 65,935 dwt with a capacity of 4922 TEU.