Sunday, March 29, 2015

All tankers -almost: Sunday report

The handysize tanker Star Express anchored today for bunkers and was underway again in a few hours. It is unusual to see a tanker arriving in ballast these days, most are bringing in product for Imperial Oil..

Sea Express with Algoma Dartmouth tied alongside for bunkering.

Shin Kurushima built the ship in Onishi Japan in 2005, and it operates for Synergy Marine Pte Ltd under the Panama flag. Its typical handysize dimensions are 28,059 grt and 45,838 dwt.

It took the anchorage that had been occupied last night by the similar size Overseas Atalmar. It arrived before the high overnight winds and remained at anchor until this morning when snow clearing operaitons at Imperial Oil allowed it to dock.

Overseas Atalmar at number 4 oil dock, with the unused number 5 (crude oil) dock at left.

Dating from 2004, it is a product of the STX Shipbuilding Co in Jinhae, South Korea. The 30,018 grt, 46,177 dwt ship operates under the Marshall Islands flag for OSG Tankers. It was built as Atalmar and took its present name in 2005.

Meanwhile in Bedford Basin another handysize waits its turn, but unlike yesterday's picture, today's is in sunlight, showing off the distinctive orange superstructure of its owners Torm Line.

Torm Rosetta, in addition to the usual "No Smoking" sign also advises: "Protect the Environment".

The only non-tanker activity to report (aside fromn those ongoing from yesterday) was the return of CCGS Hudson from refit at the Verreault shipyard in Les Méchins, QC. It tied up at its usual berth at the Bedford Institute, with the new CCG building in the background. 

The building replaces the old Coast Guard buildings and base in Dartmouth, which according to news this week will become an oceans R+D and industry centre. The Waterfront Development Corp has taken over ownership of the now disused facility.

The old CCG base (area below black dashed line) is a prime piece of Dartmouth waterfront land, but is surrounded by residential uses. It is does have a rail line running through it, hundreds of feet of pier space and considerable vacant land.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Oops at Dockyard

File photo of Algoma Dartmouth northbound in the harbour.

No one is saying why, but the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth spent a long time alongside the Dutch sub Bruinvis at HMC Dockyard Friday. An operation of a few hours, normally, took all day.
Reports that the entire November Charlie camber was boomed off have also reached me, with suggestions of feverish activity.
Maybe an oops.


Saturday roundup - avant le déluge

The early bird was rewarded today as another heavy snow fall began late morning blotting out the view.
CCGS Cape Roger arrived last evening and anchored until this morning when it moved to Imperial Oil to refuel. The ship is on Search and Rescue standby along the South Shore of Nova Scotia.

Also in this week is CCGS Alfred Needler at BIO. Both ship are based in Newfoundland, but are often displaced in winter and spring by ice, and exchange places with Halifax based ships.
One visitor this week that I failed to post was CCGS Terry Fox, in for refueling March 25. We have now seen the entire east coast icebreaker fleet this spring - so much for the wisdom of moving them to Newfoundland.

Bow doors open, ramp being lowered on hydraulic pistons.

Bow ramp in lowered position appears very narrow and of a very low weight capacity compared to the stern ramp.     [ Say  AAAAH!]

At pier 9A work on the ferry Canada 2014 is, if you will pardon the expression, "ramping up". This morning workers had both the bow and stern doors open for work.

The stern ramp, with a red painted pedestrian pathway. A temporary partition has been built inside the car deck to retain heat during the refit process. After this photo a mobile crane came along to take the weight of the ramp for work on the bearing.

The ship is expected to enter service between Digby, NS and Saint John, NB, sometime this summer.

See Tugfax for the tug Lois M and barge Nunavut Spirit at pier 9B.

At pier 9C Harefield is still tied up for repairs.

Work continues on the rudder using a raft and various tackles to take the weight off the pintle.

In Bedford Basin the Torm Rosetta lies at anchor until it is time to go alongside Imperial Oil Another handysize tanker product tanker, it was built in 2003 by Onomichi Dockyard in Japan as Rosetta for OMI. It was acquired by Torm A/S in 2008. The ship measures 28,567 grt, 47,038 dwt and is enrolled under the Danish International register. (Denmark and Norway, among others have offshore registers which have different regulations from their national registers, as to foreign crewing, taxes, etc.,)

At anchor the tanker Sloman Hermes will be sailing this afternoon for the St.Lawrence. It has been awaiting the opening of the St.Lawrence Seaway, which has been postponed from March 25  27 to April 5 2 due to ice. Rather than anchoring in ice off the Escoumins pilot station or farther upriver, the ship opted for the comforts of Halifax harbour. An ice adviser boarded the ship late in the morning from the launch Halmar.

Autoport is still struggling with frozen in cars - thousands are still in ice up to their hubcaps, but it appears that more recent arrivals are still being processed, as the trains keep rolling out every days with a dozen or more autoracks full of imports. [In the photo of Terry Fox above, there is a string of autorack cars waiting in a siding.] Recent arrivals are leapfrogging ahead of the January and February arrivals which are waiting for natural melting to free them.

Today Mermaid Ace made a morning visit. It was built in 2010 by Minami- Nippon in Usuki, Japan, measuring 58,939 grt, 18,828 dwt, with a capacity of 5,219 cars. It is owned by Masumoto Shipping Co Ltd under the Panama flag, on charter to MOL (Mitsui OSK Lines).


Friday, March 27, 2015

Elder Dempster

Back before container ships, there were general cargo liners, which operated on regular routes, although sometimes their schedules were flexible. In Halifax the array of general cargo ships calling on a regular basis was quite astounding by today's lights - particularly in winter.
One particular line that always made an impression on me was Elder Dempster Lines. Messrs Elder and Dempster first formed a partnership in 1868 in Liverpool, and began service to West Africa in the early 20th century. Admittedly, Halifax is not directly en route to West Africa, but their ships called here monthly and loaded a variety of goods, both general cargo and some bulk.
The most common Elder Dempster ships in the 1960s and 70s were their "D" class, but we also saw their "F" class. These were superb British general cargo ships of the highest class, fully outfitted to carry any and all cargoes to and from Africa.  In 1965 ownership of Elder Dempster had been taken up by Ocean Steamship Co Ltd (Blue Funnel) but the company identity was preserved. Shaw Savill + Albion Line stock was transferred to Elder Dempster in 1970.
I needn't go into a detailed history of Elder Dempster, particularly when there is such an excellent web site does just that:

However I will go into the story of some of the ships, in the chronological order of my sightings. All of the photos were taken after the Suez Canal was closed by war in 1967, and the company ceased it trade with Burma. Elder Dempster also served New Zealand, and had to do so by way of the Cape of Good Hope, but this as an extension of the West African service. In the late 1960s and into the 1970s, there was one ship a month from Elder Dempster calling in Halifax.


Dalla tied up at pier 26, the usual berth for ED ships. Note the grain galleries still extended to the end of pier 26 in those days, and the ED ships did load grain-but not full cargoes.

Dalla dated froim1961 when it was built by Lithgows in Port Glasgow, Scotland for the British+Burmese Steam Navigation Co (P. Henderson, managers). B+BSN had been owned by Elder Dempster since 1952 but dated back to 1934 when Patrick Henderson began as a ship owner in Glasgow, trading to New Zealand and Burma. He founded B+BSN in 1874, soon after the Suez Canal opened in 1869, trading from Glasgow and Liverpool to Burma.

Dalla was transferred to Elder Dempster ownership in 1964. It measured 8831 grt, 11,530 dwt and made a respectable 14 knots on its 4 cylinder B+W / Kincaid . It had an array of cargo handling gear, 14 winches powering one 50 ton, four 15 ton, eight 6 ton and two 3 ton derricks. It also had vegetable oil tanks.

In 1980 the ship was sold to Greek owners, renamed Marmaras, shifting to Cypriot owners in 1982. It was laid up at Lefkas in February 1982 and on September 1- 2, 1982 a fire gutted the engine room and accommodation. The ship was declared a total loss and was broken up by Brodospas, in Split, Yugoslavia (now Croatia) in June 1984.


 Fulani at pier 34 allowing for a close up view (in those days). Even with tug assistance, ships usually were ready to use one anchor while berthing to slow the ship if needed - sometimes called dredging the anchor.

Fulani also came from Lithgows in Port Glasgow, but in 1964. Its tonnages of 7,689 grt, 8,115 dwt are somewhat smaller than the "D" class of ships, but it appears to have more accommodation and certainly has more varied cargo handling gear.

Car spotters will enjoy the variety of vehicles operated by waterfront workers in1969. I must have climbed a pile of pallets to get this elevation on the photo. 
[ Another lesson learned was the limitation of fixed focal length range finder cameras. The image is not through the lens, and so doesn't always show exactly what will appear on the negative.]

Among the more modern touches were the bipod masts working one 80 ton, two 30 ton, four 15 ton, two 12.5 ton, four 7.5 ton and six 5 ton derricks. The ship could carry vegetable oil, latex and glycerine in tanks, in addition to general cargo. It still had the traditional slightly raked all buff funnel, with integral radar mast.

The Elder Dempster flag was used as a bow ornament. The aircraft overhead appears to be on flight path for the Shearwater naval air station.

The ship was sold to the Cameroon in 1976 and renamed CAM Azobe then in 1981 to Greek owners, becoming Cotton Trader. On July 13, 1983, while off the coast of Oman the ship suffered an explosion and fire. It was not until February 23, 1985 that it arrived in Djibouti in tow where it was declared a total loss. It was towed out later in the same month and arrived in Karachi May 5 and Gadani Beach May 13, 1985 where it was broken up.


The D class ship Dunkwa was built in 1960 by Scott's Shipbuilding + Engineering Co in Greenock, and powered by a 6400 bhp 4cyl Doxford, built under license by Scott's. It also made 14 knots, and had slightly different derrick capacities of one 50 ton, two 20 ton, two 10 ton, two 7.5 ton, eight 5 ton and two 3 ton.

Built directly for Elder Demspter, it lasted until 1981 when Greek owners renamed it Clare, but it passed to Panamanian owners the same year becoming Resolve.It arrived at Gadani Beach March 20, 1985 for breaking up.


Degema at pier 23, another of the 1960 built D class.

Also dating from 1960, Degema came from Wm. Gray + Co Ltd in Hartlepool, and carried a 5 cylinder Doxford of 5500 bhp, built by Central Marine Engineering Works. It carried a lighter array of cargo handling gear of two 20 ton, two 10 ton, two 7.5 ton, two 5 ton, eight  5 ton and two 3 ton derricks, and no jumbo. The after mast was a goal post type. It did have the tanks for vegetable oil, latex or glycerine.

In 1979 it went to Honduras flagged owners, and was renamed Veejumbo, but they changed it back to Degema in 1982. On December 21 of the same year it sailed from Port Sudan, and arrived at Gadani Beach January 30 for scrapping.

On another visit the ship tied up stern in at pier 26, allowing for a good view of the funnel and the goal post mast. There was more accommodation for crew aft,


Although I am not aware that the ship ever called in Halifax under its Elder Dempster name of Onitsha, the ship did put in a notable appearance later.

Built in 1952 by Harland + Wolff in Belfast, it carried unusually heavy gear for its time of one 150 ton and one 50 ton jumbo, four 10 ton, two 7 on, six 5 ton and two 3 ton derricks. Its 5 cylinder Harland + Wolf engine of 3,750 bhp drove the ship at 13 knots and it had vegetable oil tanks. As built it measured 5802 grt and 6927 dwt, but was later reconfigured as a closed shelter decker of 7267 grt, 9134 dwt.

It was sold in 1972 to Cisne Cia Nav SA and renamed Amvourgon under the Greek flag.
On January 8, 1975 when on a voyage from Quebec to Baltimore, it caught fire off Rivère-aux-Renards, QC. Unable to contain the fire, the crew of 30 were taken off by a nearby Russian ship and then by Canadian Forces helicopter. 

The fire burned itself out, but not before gutting the accommodation. The tugs Point Valiant and Point Victor, that had been working in Belledune, NB, took the ship in tow arriving Halifax January 11. [That seems like very quick work, so the date of the fire breaking out may be incorrect, though it is cited by most sources. The arrival date in Halifax is correct.]

Amvourgon ex Onitsha, at Purdy's wharf where it was patched up sufficiently to be towed to Europe for scrap.

It was berthed at the south side of Purdy's wharf where it was declared a total loss. Some work was done to right the ship to an even keel and make it sewaorthy enough for a tow. The German tug Dolphin X (the former Canadian navy tug St.John) towed it out May 7, 1975 and it arrived in Santander, Spain May 29 where it was broken up.


Tugs Point Vim and Point Viking push up on Dumurra as prepares to leave pier 23.

The D class Dumurra came from the Alex. Stephen + Sons yard in Linthouse, measuring 8,238 grt, 10,078 dwt, with the derricks of one 50 ton, two 20 ton, two 10 ton, two 7.5 ton, eight 5 ton and two3 ton capacity. The 5 cyl, 5500 bhp Doxford engine was built  by Hawthorn, Leslie and made 14 knots.
In addition to the usual vegetable oil tanks, the ship also had refrigerated cargo capacity.

Seen from astern, at the same pier, this ship, unlike the previous ones, has its forecastle and after castle painted white. It also has kingpost masts aft. 

The ship served Elder Dempster until 1980 when Isle of Man owners called Fumurra Ltd, renamed the ship Fumurra. It arrived in Gadani Beach May 2, 1983 where it was broken up.

Getting away from pier 23, the ship leans a bit under the control of tugs. It has machinery cargo on deck, and appears well loaded..  

Underway for sea, the tugs are ready to cast off.

General cargo ships, including those of Elder Dempster disappeared from the seaways as the container age developed. British shipowning and British shipbuilder also virtually disappeared too, thus changing the character and number of ships calling in Halifax. 


Preserver's cold move

For the second time in recent weeks HMCS Preserver spent a good part of the day at Imperial Oil taking on fuel. The ship is no longer in operational form, and will not be going to sea, but it is useful to the RCN as a floating fuel depot. Its oil cargo tanks store fuel for other RCN ships, which can refuel directly from her at HMC Dockyard rather than trying to find a berth at Imperial Oil.

HMC ships used to have priority berthing at Imperial Oil, but with the demand for space being what it is since the refinery closed and all refined product arrives by sea, there are days at a time when all berths are full.

Two Glens and three Villes provide the power and direction for Preserver as it heads back to HMC Dockyard this evening.

Today's move was made as a cold move - not using the ship's own propulsion, however its auxiliaries were running, since it had radar, communication and power to deck machinery, pumps, etc., It took two Glens and three Villes to move the ship, not to mention the oil boom boat and a line crew boat.

Service boat 128 tows 900 feet of oil boom from Preserver back to the Dockyard.

A rigid hull boat with inflatable collar carriers a squad of line handlers from the Imperial Oil pier back to HMC Dockyard. They are moving a lot more quickly than the Preserver.

HMCS Preserver en route to the Dockyard,

Passengers on the Woodside ferry Christopher Stannix got a good view of Preserver as it passes between the anchored Sloman Hermes and the Cable Wharf.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

HNLMS Bruinvis - Dutch sub

The Royal Netherlands Navy submarine Bruinvis [translation: harbour porpoise] arrived in Halifax early this afternoon to tie up at HMC Dockyard.

Had the sub intended to make an anonymous arrival, it very nearly succeeded as a rainy, drizzly  fog had descended on the harbour. Ferries Christopher Stannix (alongside) and Halifax III (arriving) in the foreground are much more visible, however the sub's "backwards ball cap" extension on the sail makes it readily distinguishable from one of ours.

The Atlantic Pilotage Authority pilot was transferred to the sub from the pilot boat by a Rigid Hull Inflatible Boat [RHIB] and the sub was met by an RCN Ville class pup tug, with Glenside hovering in the vicinity, until needed for docking.

Visiting submarines are rare, and non-nuclear subs are even rarer.This sub was laid down in 1980, launched in 1992 and commissioned July 5, 1994, making it a veteran in the sub world. It is diesel electric powered and can achieve 21 knots surfaced  submerged and 13 knots submerged surfaced, and its main weaponry is torpedoes.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ferries go off course - on purpose

The harbour ferries plow their furrows back and forth across the harbour day in and day out. Although any of the four current ferries may operate on either the Halifax - Alderney or the Halifax - Woodside route, they seldom vary their courses unless it is too avoid other harbour traffic. Even then they invariably arrive at their terminals to do it all over again.

Today was an exception as the boats took turns docking at the Svitzer Canada wharf (previously ECTUG, MILTug and Foundation Mariitmes). This surprise docking did not effect passengers - the re-routings took place during the morning post-rush hour schedule, when two ferries were on time-off from their usual runs, but it may have puzzled a few waterfront idlers.   

Dartmouth III gets away and Halifax III approaches the Svitzer Canada dock.

The reason for the visit to Svitzer, was that the Halifax Transit could use a boom truck to remove liferaft capsules for servicing and replace them with fresh ones. This servicing is required on a regular basis but there was no convenient way to do it at Dartmouth-Alderney Landing due to snow accumulation on the docks.

Halifax III in an unusual spot, but an easy one for a boom truck to lift off life raft capsules.
 In the background Algoma Dartmouth bunkers the tanker Sloman Hermes.