Thursday, October 30, 2014

Athabaskan home again

HMCS Athabaskan returned to Halifax this morning after a 53 day mission in the Caribbean called Operation Caribbe (sic) during which it spent 53 days at sea, participated in six intercepts and recovered many tons of cocaine.
Canada's only operational command and control vessel, has returned to port just in time to see sister Iroquois paying off, likely before before Remembrance Day.
The ship's history is too well known to dwell on, but suffice it to say, it was laid down in 1969, launched in 1970 and commissioned in 1972. It completed a TRUMP refit in 1994 (roughly mid-life) and a refit in 2012. On return from the latter it was damaged in a collision with its towing tug. Workups following that refit started in April 2014.
Sister Tribal Huron was sunk as a dive site and Algonquin will not be repaired after it was rammed by another ship. With only one true destroyer in the fleet the RCN will be severely compromised for many years to come. Athabaskan is not likely to last much more that a year to eighteen months under the present plan. 

Back in 1984
HMCS Athabaskan was in its prime with its very racy twin canted funnels from its gas turbine propulsion system.:
Athabaskan is cold moved from November Alpha (Bedford Magazine) back to HMC Dockyard by Glen tugs (see today's Tugfax for more on the Glen class.)

Meanwhile at HMC Dockyard steamers ruled the day:
HMCS Annapolis and probably HMCS Huron.

HMCS Saguenay

Steam crane YD 2512 is connected to shoreside steam, but HMCS Sackville has been allowed to go cold. Its post war superstructure is being removed as it is restored to its war time appearance.

And visiting ships included RFA Sir Geraint L3027 a Roundtable class Landing Ship Logistic.

Built by no less than the Alexander Stephen shipyard it was commissioned on the glorious 12th of July 1967. It was just about to enter refit when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands April 2, 1982. The ship was very quickly returned to service, stored, bunkered and loaded with commandos, helicopters and other gear and sailed April 6. It arrived off Ascension Island April 14 transferring cargo to other combatants. From then until July it transferred bunkers from commercial tankers into the war zone, landing on several beaches to fuel and restore ground forces. It returned, unscathed, via the Ascension Island to the Marchwood, UK arriving July 23. Of the six sister LSLs in the war  Sir Galahad was lost  and three others were damaged.
The ship was finally decommissioned in 2003 and sold for scrap in 2005.


Left Behind

Are you feeling left behind?

If you access this blog through another site, you may be misled as to the most recent posting. Some aggregators and other sites, do not seem to register the most recent posting. This is beyond my control!

The best way to find out what is going on with Shipfax and companion site Tugfax is to enter the sites in the "favourites" bar on your home page and check it daily OR receive an alert by e-mail as a member/follower. That way you will be sure to get the latest posting.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Woodside pontoon - ready to launch

A new floating jetty for the Woodside ferry terminal is under construction and it is built of concrete.
Waterworks Construction is building the new unit at the IEL pier in the Woodside industrial area in Dartmouth, and will be launching it over the next few days. Perhaps by coincidence Waterworks Construction already owns a barge made of concrete.

October 11: the pontoon under construction at Woodside.

The new structure relies on Styrofoam blocks for its floatation capability, and concrete for protection and wearing surfaces, so there is really very little mystery- it's just that the Styrofoam is not visible in the completed form.

The present jetty was built of steel in 1986 when the Woodside ferry was built, and it needs major repairs. To drydock and repair it would disrupt ferry service and it was determined that a new pontoon could be built an installed with minimum inconvenience to commuters.

October 29: workers erect the steel frame for the sheltered pedestrian area. A channel has been dug to allow the pontoon to be launched into a protected basin.

The new concrete unit, if Waterwork's existing barge is any indication, should be good for at least 75 years.
Construction is taking place mere meters from the terminal, which again coincidentally is right next to Waterwork's own base.

For more information on the pontoon see Halifax Regional Municipality documents:
 5 page RFP outline, with drawing:

The pontoon will be similar in appearance and function to the Halifax and Dartmouth terminals:

A hinged ramp connects the floating pontoon portion to the fixed shoreside structure.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels - one step closer (we hope)

The first traveling gantry was lifted into position into the top of the new Halifax Shipyard building today.  It wasn't the only point of interest at the yard however - read on.
After several days of working round the clock assembling the crane sections on the ground using a 412 tonne capacity crane,

 a second crane, of 300 tonne capacity was brought in. With slings rigged, the first gantry was lifted off,

and lowered through a slot in the roof, to sit on its orange coloured rails.

It will be rolled along on its dollies, leaving room for the subsequent gantries to be lowered in.

Construction on the first ships to be built in the new building, the Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels, will begin next year.

Meanwhile Parliament was presented with the Budget Officer's opinion that Canada can't afford to build six arctic offshore patrol vessels, but maybe it could get four at the price in the estimates. The government vigorously denounced the report, as did the navy and Irving Shipbuilding. A contract will be signed before the end of the year, and it will be interesting to see how it will be managed. No warship known to man, at least in recent history, has been built for the original budget price - particularly, when the original estimate was based on a sketchy design with with few of the details worked out - whether it is an icebreaker or a warship or some delicately balanced product in between. The original mandate was to build six with an option for eight. May it will become four with an option for six.

Opposition parties of course will make hay of this talk as will others, but there is no doubt that four arctic offshore patrol vessels would be inadequate. If the role of these ships is to be realized, there is no point in halfway measures. Build the ships!


Monday, October 27, 2014

Transfer complete

The fuel transfer from the tanker Atlantic Muse to Travestern was completed late this afternoon.

Tugs Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Willow pulled Travestern away and while it recovered its fenders, Oak then went to Atlantic Muse and secured on her stern as tethered escort.

Travestern headed for an overnighter at pier 27. Its blue hull paint appeared gray in the low red sun.[As painters know from the colour wheel, Red plus Blue produces gray.]

Regrettably light had faded before I could catch Atlantic Muse outbound. It is headed for Montreal. As we near the end of daylight saving time, late afternoon photos will  become rarer and rarer until January.


Princess of Acadia replacement on the way

The ferry Blue Star Ithaki made its final visit to the island of Syros on October 25. It is now in Piraeus, making preparations to sail for Canada.

The schedule for replacement of Princess of Acadia was to have the selected vessel in Canada by July 31, 2014 and have it fully refitted and ready for service by December 31, 2014. Allowing the early spring for training and handover to operators, it was to enter service March 31, 2015.
That schedule slipped, due to availability of the replacement vessel, and it is now due in Halifax in November. It will tie up at pier 9 for an estimated four month refit, which will include a heads-off engine rebuild. It has four Wartsila engines, and the manufacturer has a major service depot here.
The Blue Star Ithaki, flies the Greek flag, and is owned by Blue Star Ferries SA of Athens. Built by Daewoo Heavy Industries in Korea, it has a capacity of 1500 passengers, and has been running Piraeus to Tinos, Syros and Mykonos for fourteen years.
Meanwhile Princess of Acadia passed Halifax (which no longer has drydock capacity) October 19 en route M├ęchins, QC for repairs to its bow thruster. The thruster has not been operational for many months, but the ship has been able to berth without too much difficulty, although a miniature tug has been stationed in Digby just in case. However with winter coming on, it will need an operational thruster.

Sunday, October 26, 2014



Halifax is noted for its spectacular sunrises. Since those often coincide with ship arrivals, I see the sunrise on many mornings of the year. Today's was particularly impressive, even though it meant that the ship had to take second place. Perhaps sailors took warning, from the red sky. Certainly passengers on Ruby Princess were treated to quite a sight for their arrival, although it did rain most of the afternoon.

By departure time however the sun reappeared.

Passengers on Seven Seas Navigator got the same treat on arrival, but they sailed in driving rain.

Once up the sun cast a wonderful glow, making the gypsum carrier Barkald almost luminescent.

Meanwhile in Bedford Basin there was an explanation for the tanker Travestern's stay at anchor. Last night the Hong Kong flag Atlantic Muse arrived and once it was anchored, Travestern came alongside to take off cargo.  We can probably expect more of these floating transfers since there is no point in offloading to storage tanks if the delivery tanker is immediately available.

Built in 2009 by STX Shipbuilding in Jinhae, Atlantic Muse is a typical handy size product tanker of 29,753 grt, 51,149 dwt. It is operated by Hyundai Merchant Marine.