Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dawn to Dusk (and 1984)

At this time of year, many ships arrive at dawn or before and sail at dusk or after. I call the 8 to 10 weeks of the year when this happens the dark ages, because photogrpahy is a challenge. However some ships just squeeze it close enough that I can get a photo.

This morning, with three cruise ships arriving in misty/rainy weather, it was not going to be a pleasant day for passengers or harbour watchers.

A brightly illuminated Crystal Serenity picked up its pilot at 0715, and it was well after sunrise when it reached the inner harbour at 0755 - but the sunrise wasn't visible!

Silver Whisper and Royal Princess were due for their pilots at 0730 and 0800 and were both some distance off by 0800 when I had to be elsewhere. Both these ships are remaining in port for the night, having jiggled their schedules due to weather.

At the other end of the day, two Zim container ships passed each other at Middle Ground.

 As Zim Haifa left Halterm it met the inbound Zim Texas, which held quite far to the east in the channel. Tugs met it and prepared to swing the ship round to back into the Halterm berth.

Note the lightly loaded Zim Haifa with a huge stack of empties on the stern, and the deeply laden Zim Texas. Nothing speaks so clearly to the trade imbalance than heavily loaded ships inbound from the orient, with little to go back except empties.

Meanwhile back in 1984
I have been asked to show more pictures from my deep archive, and what better than the following, which begs the question- why can't we have more days like this? A beautiful white ship against a dramatic black sky.

The cruise ship Mermoz sails from Halifax May 24, 1984, with tug assistance. Built in 1957 as the French cargo passenger ship Jean Mermoz by Chantier de l'Atlantique (Penhoet-Loire) in St-Nazaire, it ran between Marseille and West Africa. With capacity for 854 passengers (144 first class, 140 second class, 110 third class and 460 troops) it also carried mail and significant quantities of cargo. It was one of the last ships built for this type of trade, and lasted longer than many. Finally in 1970 it was rebuilt by T.Mariotti in Genoa, with a new funnel, and accommodation for 750 (later reduced to 580) cruise passengers in one class, and renamed Mermoz . Jean Mermoz (b.1901 - d. 1936) was a legendary French aviation pioneer.

 Although it changed hands from Paquet French Cruises to Costa Cruise lines it retained its name until 1999 when it went to Louis Cruise Lines of Greece, becoming Serenade, then in 2008 Serena for its trip to the scrap yard in Alang.

The rebuild retained the ship's elegant sheer and cleverly reused its cargo derricks to handle shore excursion boats.

 Not seen in the photo is the Point Vigour with a tremendously long bow line. Point Vibert stands by the stern, with orders not to touch the ship unless needed - her tire fenders would leave nasty black marks on the white hull.

Over the course of the next few weeks I will be flashing back to 1984 regularly. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Queen Mary 2 rules

The world's biggest ocean liner (but not the world's biggest cruise ship) always attracts attention. And when it is tied up at pier 22 in Halifax it dominates the waterfront. Unfortunately its before dawn arrival and after dark departure prevent any underway photography. However during daylight hours it seems to be in view from every corner.

 Seen from nearby Barrington Street, with the Via Rail train in the foreground,

Seen from the Young Ave bridge, it looms over the grain galleries.

Seen from Inglis Street, it tops an apartment building.

Even from the Dartmouth side of the harbour Queen Mary 2 dwarfs George's Island as the harbour ferry Christopher Stannix makes its way to Woodside.

It also tends to overshadow other cruise ships in the port, displacing them to the commercial piers.

Grandeur of the Seas at left at pier 30-31 and Brilliance of the Seas at right at pier 33-34 play second fiddle, and compete with overhead wires for a clear view.

This is Queen Mary 2's third and final visit of the 2014 cruise season. Its next call is in Quebec City October 24.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Explorer of the Seas - 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.