Monday, October 20, 2014

Explorer of the Sea - explores a new itinerary

Hurricane Gonzalo brought some new business to the port of Halifax with the arrival this morning of Explorer of the Seas. The ship was originally intended to sail to Bermuda, but the routing was changed to visit Saint John and Halifax instead. Although damage was relatively low in Bermuda, most of the island was without power and many services have been disrupted.
However on September 14, 2012 when peacefully mooredin Bermuda, high winds resulted the Norwegian Star losing control and striking Explorer of the Seas in the stern. Damage to both ships was minimal, but a hurricane could have resulted in a more serious situation.

Explorer of the Seas heads for the western deepwater channel to give clearance to the inbound Atlantic Cartier this afternoon. The 137,308 grt ship was built in 2000 by Kvaerner Masa in Turku, Finland. It has a capacity of 3,114 passengers and 1,180 crew.


Season ends, not with a bang but a whimper

A sure sign of the impending end of the tourist season is when Sackville moves from its summer berth back to HMC Dockyard for winter safekeeping and maintenance. That move happened this morning, with motive power supplied by the tug CNAV Glenside.

As the last surviving World War II corvette, and Canada's naval war memorial, Sackville's move should be heralded with a lot more fanfare. As an example, in Boston, when Old Ironsides, USS Constitution, is moved it is a major event in the harbor. There are parties, unofficial escorts, fire tug displays and a lot of vying for places aboard the ship for the brief move when it is turned side for side at Charleston. Why can't something similar happen here?

In a very few years time Sackville is expected to become a static display in a new museum complex, and these twice yearly moves will be a thing of the past. We should celebrate them while we still can.
Sackville also moves form its berth for Remembrance Day Battle of the Atlantic wreath laying, but it is rarely seen off its berth.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lady Carina - in for a pit stop

The cargo ship Lady Carina made a brief pit stop in Halifax this morning. It tied up at pier 31 and was met by a fuel truck and the Canadian Border Services Agency. By 1300 it was ready to sail and departed for Montrose, Scotland. It did not appear to work any cargo.

Arriving from the south, it must have had a rough trip, being chased up the east coast by Hurricane Gonsalo, but didn't appear to have suffered any visible effects.

 The 4235 grt, 5360 dwt ship is fitted with a traveling gantry crane and hatch lifter of 35 tonne capacity, and has two high cubic capacity holds. Built in 2001 by Niestern Sander in Delfzijl, it is owned by Wijnne Barends of the same city. The company is best known for coastal and short sea ships, but Lady Carina is one of four sisters that are the largest ships in the fleet, and travel more widely.

Halifax also escaped the wrath of the  storm, although we did see some swells and surf. By this afternoon, Halifax was enjoying a warmer than normal fall day.

Zim Constanza sailed past a race of small sailboats, but they were clear of the channel when Lady Carina sailed by a few minutes later.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

S.S.Shatford - not a steamship

A familiar, but unheralded vessel in Halifax harbour for many years was named S.S.Shatford. However "S.S." did not stand for Steamship. The letters were the first initials of Sidney Smith Shatford, a native of Hubbards, NS (b. 1864). He established Shatford Brothers in 1885 and began importing kerosene and lube oil from the US and wholesaling and retailing it throughout Atlantic Canada. In 1894 he merged with Joseph Bullock of Saint John to form Eastern Oil Co, however in 1898 they sold out to Imperial Oil.

S.S.Shatford, the man, was then appointed head of Imperial's interests in Nova Scotia, and is credited with bringing Imperial's refinery into operation at Imperoyal on the Dartmouth side of Halifax Harbour.  He retired in 1930 and died in 1956.

During World War II, the refinery was so busy that it could not accommodate all ships alongside, particularly those requiring lube oil in barrels and other non-bulk supplies. Many of the ships anchored in Bedford Basin awaiting convoys were in need of these products, so Imperial built an 80 foot long wooden cargo vessel in Mahone Bay. (Steel was restricted for military and strategic use.) To honour their local founder Imperial named the boat S.S.Shatford - thus causing endless confusion about it being a steam ship. In fact it was a motor vessel of 152 bhp, and 82 gross tons. With a schooner-like hull, and typical coaster deck house, it also had a derrick with a long boom to lift cargo to ships' upper decks.

S.S.Shatford alongside the Cable Wharf, shortly after returning to Halifax in 1974It was still in superb condition, with no hogging of the hull, and a new stem post.

After the war the boat continued to work in Halifax for a time, but was sold to Claude White of North Sydney, NS, primarily to carry coal to Newfoundland outports. By the 1970s that was no longer a paying proposition, and the vessel returned to Halifax in 1974 under the ownership of Atlantic Salvage Ltd.. Based at the old Western Union cable wharf, legendary salvage man Walter Partridge, and his son Toby and other family members also operated harbour launches for people and stores to ships at anchor. S.S.Shatford went back to familiar work.

With its namesake's refinery in the background, S.S.Shatford makes one of its last harbour moves before being retired.

In 1982 the boat was in very poor condition and on December 9, 1982 while under tow to the Eastern Shore to be dismantled, it began to flood through the engine room and sank in 42 fathoms of water.

Today S.S.Shatford and Atlantic Salvage are no more, but the Cable Wharf is still there, adjacent to the Halifax ferry terminal. It is now home to a restaurant, gift shop, moorings for pleasure craft, and home base for harbour tour boats. It also houses the offices of the Waterfront Development Corporation.


Return of Capri

The German owned Capri made its third trip to Halifax this morning just over a year after its last arrival.  The 6806 grt / 10,273 dwt ship once again tied up at pier 27 with a cargo rails, just as it did July 1 and October 6 of 2013.

Built in 2002 by the Korean company Daewoo, but at is shipyard in Managalia, Romania, it is noted for its box shaped holds, pair of 40 tonne cranes and large turtleback over its forepeak. The ship can carry bulk cargoes, containers or general and oversize cargo.
It was originally to be named Onego Capri and Sider Alie, but was delivered as Sider Capri. It carried that name until 2009. Owners are Eckhoff GmbH+Co of Jork, and it is registered in Antigua and Barbuda. It is also likely on charter to Onego for this trip, since they seem to be the favoured carrier for rail imports.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halifax visitors in trouble in Australia

Two frequent callers to Halifax made the headlines after a vicious typhoon struck Australia on Tuesday.
With insufficient warning of the 126 km per hour winds (which lasted for 9 hours) the storm set the container ship Kiel Express adrift.  Despite risking their lives, tug crews could not control the ship and it struck OOCL Hong Kong, parting its lines and driving it into the pier. Kiel Express then struck another ship, Marutu then sideswiped it. OOCL Hong Kong could not be moved far from its berth since many of its containers were not lashed for sea. Apparently loading operations were in full swing when the storm struck.

Kiel Express was built as Hannover Express.

Kiel Express began calling Halifax in 1991 when it was new from builders Samsung, Koje, and then named Hannover Express. It was renamed Kiel Expres in 2007 and Halifax was its first port of call with the new name when it arrived June 19. It is now registered in Bermuda, but still owned and operated by HAPAG-Lloyd. With a capacity of 4,639 TEU, it measures 53,783 grt. Soon after renaming its was displaced from Halifax calls by larger ships.

OOCL Hong Kong turning in Bedford Basin March 2, 2013.

OOCL Hong Kong is registered in its namesake port and measures 66,046 grt, with a capacity of 5,344 TEU. It was built in 1995, aslo by Samsung, Koje, and is a post-Panamax ship.

 By May 13, 2013, the ship had been repainted.

All three ships received various degrees of damage, including hull punctures One tug narrowly escaped being crushed between the ships, and another had a mooring line caught in a prop.

This is a cautionary tale for Halifax - as if we needed one. When Hurricane Juan struck in 2003 ships in port also parted their lines and smashed into one another, and tugs were helpless to assist. The ships would have been safer if they had put to sea to avoid the storm - there was lots of warning. Juan was barely a category 1 storm at 100 kph  re-classified as a category 2 =100 mph/160 kph. The cyclone that struck Australia was category 2.
Hurricane Gonzalo, now nearing Bermuda is a category 4, with winds of 145 mph. It is expected to pass east of Sable Island on Saturday, however it may strike the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. High seas are predicted, in which case ships would probably be safer in Halifax than at sea, but would certainly need to make extra mooring provisions.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

More from pier 9c

With Onego St.Petersburg looking very tiny in the vast new pier9 extension, it nevertheless went to work today to unload its gantry components.

Looking south on a cloudy morning, it was possible to see the extent of the new pier area, without the glare of the sun.

With the sun out this afternoon Onego St.Petersburg was busy offloading the gantry crane beams onto waiting trucks,