Saturday, February 17, 2018

Comings and goings

It was a sunny today today for a change, so some brighter photos than those posted recently. The comings and goings today were all familiar faces going about their regular business.

APL Santiago arrived on the Columbus JAX service operated by parent CMA CGM . One of 17 ships on the service, that call in 17 ports from Oakland and Los Angeles through Asia to the east coast of North America and back again. All the ships currently on the service are in the 8500 to 9500 TEU size, but rumours have it that next month APL Salalah, a 10,642 TEU ship will join the loop. If so it will inch up the size for largest container ship to call in Halifax. It is no surprise that larger ships are coming, since the Columbus JAX ships always look fully loaded. Halifax is their first stop after the 20 day transit from Colombo, Sri Lanka (30 days out of Hong Kong)..


APL Santiago used three tugs to berth at Halterm. Atlantic Oak was stern tethered escort, Atlantic Fir took the bow and Atlantic Willow was working the starboard side (out of sight in the photo) to assist in the turn.

APL Santiago, built in 2014 by Daewoo, Okpo, is a 109,712 grt, 108,000 dwt ship with a capacity of 9200 TEU. It called in Halifax for the first time on October 21, 2017.

Arriving early this morning and sailing from Halterm in the early afternoon, the veteran Maersk Patras was on schedule for its regular return across the Atlantic from Montreal.


The former P+O Nedlloyd Marseille, renamed in 2006, was acquired by Maersk when they took over PONL. Again with rumours it is said that the 1998 built sisters on the route will be replaced come spring.

Fairview Cove had Berlin Bridge today on the AL6 service operated for THE Alliance. Although wearing K-Line colours, it is in fact owned by Seaspan International, part of the Washington Group, on long term charter.

 Berlin Bridge made a rare passage west of George's Island outbound. There did not seem to be any particular reason for this, as the east channel was open. However there is deeper water west of the island.


 The stylized "W" below the bridge wing is the Washington Group logo.

The AL6 ships appear to be carrying more cargo these days than when the service started last year, and this will be good news at Fairview Cove, now that the service is assured for another year at least. [see previous post below]

At Pier 9C work continues on the annual refit of Fundy Rose. Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd seems to be working seven days a week on the inside and outside of the ship.

Rubbing stakes have been extended on the starboard side below the bridge. 
That is Atlantic Condor in the background at its usual berth between frequent trips to the Deep Panuke gas field for Encana.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

More Big

ZIM is adding larger ships to its Zim Container Service Pacific rotation as former post Panamax ships become available for world wide trading. Previously confined to the Pacific and Suez routes, they are now able to transit the enlarged Panama Canal and can take up different routes.


The bow of Hyundai Mercury looms over the south end pier 42  on a dead calm morning.

Today's arrival, Hyundai Mercury although no longer a giant is still an impressive 94,511 grt, 95,811 dwt with a capacity of 8562 TEU. Owned by Zodiac Marine of the UK it carries the name and markings of Hyundai Merchant Marine, the troubled South Korean operator. The ship was built in 2009 by - no surprise, Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea.

Hyundai Merchant Marine reports a loss of about $1bn in 2017, but is on the verge of ordering 12 new mega ships. Since the collapse of Hanjin, Hyundai has taken up much of the failed line's business, but is still only a small player on the world market (It is tenth largest). It now also has arrangements with ZIM and the 2M alliance (Maersk and MSC) for its ships to serve the US east coast.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

More icebreaker woes

It's been a difficult winter for the Canadian Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet. Various mechanical issues have kept some of the ships out of service for days at a time. This has been particularly awkward as it has been a winter for heavy ice on the upper reaches of the St.Lawrence.
In mid-January CCGS Terry Fox was sidelined, just when one of the Quebec ferries was beset by ice. This week it is CCGS Amundsen with problems. On February 10 it had a crankcase explosion off Gros Cap-à-l.Aigle (near St-Siméon) a few miles from my summer roost. It was still able to operate with five of its six engines, but has now tied up at Gros Cacouna.

 CCGS Amundsen at the Quebec City Coast Guard agency, below the Citadel ramparts.

Of course this prompted calls for an immediate solution to a problem that has been brewing for years. As Canada's icebreaker fleet continues to age with no action on replacements (but many costly refits and life extensions).  The government has been fixated on replacing other ships for the navy and seemingly has no time to deal with icebreakers.

Offers of foreign ships, which would also require costly upgrades, are still being considered, but they would not be available this year in any event.  So far shipping has not been delayed for extended periods, but patience is wearing thin in some circles.

Amundsen has been in Halifax many times over the years for annual refits (when Halifax Shipyard was still in the ship repair business). It was built in 1978-79 by Burrard Dry Dock Co Ltd in North Vancouver as Franklin. Renamed Sir John Franklin in 1981 it was based in St. John's, NL until laid up in 1995. It was re-activated and then transferred to Quebec for the winter of 1997-98, then placed in reserve in 2000..
In 2002-2003 it was converted to an arctic research vessel, but to help out with icebreaking in the winter and renamed Amundsen.

In 2007-2008 it was intentionally "frozen in" in the Beaufort Sea to conduct research.
In 2011 it was removed from service while four of its six main engines were replaced and did not return to service until 2013. Several times over the past few years its research programs have been curtailed or  scrubbed completely due to various ice conditions in the Strait of Belle Isle and Hudson Bay, where its services as an icebreaker were needed.

According to the CCG"s maintenance calender Amundsen was to have a lengthy drydocking and refit just last summer. However with ships of this vintage more such problems can be expected. Sister ship Des Groseilliers, Pierre Radisson and Henry Larsen have also had their own mechanical issues and have undergone extensive refits in recent years or have ones planned in the next year or two.

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Dutch General Cargo

Halifax general cargo stats were down last year, but they are getting off to a better start this year thanks to a pair of Dutch general cargo ships in port today, both carrying steel.

Ijsselborg arrived on February 12 with a cargo of rails for CN. The rails are manufactured in Poland and CN seems to have an inexhaustible demand. There is a more or less constant flow of rails into the port. They are stockpiled on pier 27-28 and shipped out on special railway cars. Once the stockpile begins to get low, another ship arrives.



Ijsselborg dates from 2010 when it was built by Damen's Yichang yard in China. It measures 8,999 grt, 12,016 dwt (also quoted as 11,000) and carries a pair of 80 tonne cranes that can work in tandem. The ship is currently operated by Royal Wagenborg, but has previously worked as Nordana Sarah (in 2015), Clipper Alba (2012-2015) Ijsselborg (2011-2012) and Onego Houston (2011) and was built as Ijsselborg.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of the port BBC Challenger was at pier 9C unloading drill pipe loaded in Louisiana. A similar vessel, it was built in 2008 by Damen Yichang and measures 7878 grt, 11,121 dwt, and also carries a pair of 80 tonne cranes.


It was built as Marina I and was renamed Clipper Marina (2008-2009), Marina I (2009-2010) and Thorco Challenger (2010-2017).
The drill pipe cargo is likely intended for the BP drilling program due to start later this spring.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

THE Alliance relents

After announcing that Halifax would be left out of THE Alliance's AL6 loop in favour of Baltimore starting in April, the line has apparently relented and re-instated the old port rotation.

This will mean that the four K-Line ships serving the loop will continue to call at Cerescorp's terminal at Fairview Cove. Starting in Italy, and calling in Spain and France, the ships make Halifax the first North American stop, then go on to New York, Norfolk and Savannah before returning to the Mediterranean.


Brotonne Bridge is the only one of the four ships built in 2010. 


The four  five ships on the loop, Brotonne Bridge, Bilbao Bridge, Brevik Bridge, Berlin Bridge and Budapest Bridge are 4526 TEU sister ships built by Samsung in 2010-2011.

Although THE Alliance members HAPAG-Lloyd, MOL, NYK, Yang Ming and K-Line operate the service, non-member ZIM also contributes containers.
HAPAG-Lloyd also owns UASC (United Arab Shipping Corp) and Hamburg-Sud. The Japanese container lines NYK, MOL and K-Line are also merging their operations this year, but how that will play out is still in the wind. NYK owns Cerescorp.

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Report

CSL Argosy arrived for bunkers today, making it the fourth CSL ship in Halifax in a week.
The first ship was CSL Tacoma, arriving February 3 to load gypsum. It did not sail until February 5, opting to stay in port as a storm passed. Next was CSL Acadian arriving February 5 at Pier 9C taking on parts and stores and sailing later in the day without taking any cargo.

Salarium, from CSL's domestic fleet, arrived February 9 and took a part cargo of gypsum to Bayside, NB for the CertainTeed Gypsum Canada Inc plant in MacAdam, NB. Salarium (the former Nanticoke) is on long term charter to carry salt from the Magdalen Islands but finds other work from time to time.

CSL Argosy is another of the former tankers that CSL acquired as single hulls were being phased out. Built by Sumitomo Heavy Industries in Oppama, Japan in 1981 it was a 41,471 grt, 65,755 dwt vessel named Ogden Nile. It was renamed Nile in 1984, and Niles in 2004.
In 2006, CSL sent the ship to Chengxi Shipyard in China where a new forebody was built, complete with extensive self-unloading equipment.  That was mated to the stern section, containing the accommodations and the original reliable Sulzer main engine. The new ship, renamed CSL Argosy now measures 46,409 grt, 74,423 dwt.

Drawing 12.7m, CSL Argosy anchored in number one anchorage south of George's Island for its short stay in port. 
 
It is a rare caller in Halifax since it is too large to load gypsum here, and on the occasions it has been here it took on stores or bunkers. It sailed this evening for Belledune, NB with a cargo of coal from Puerto Bolivar, Colombia..


Heroic Leader is another of large NYK fleet of autocariers. Built in 2011 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan, the 58,767 grt, 21,434 dwt ship has a capacity of 7,500 autos. It is owned by Ray Carriers and is on long term charter to NYK Lines.

Most car carriers look about the same size until they are nearly broadside. Then their length becomes apparent. This one is about 6 or 7 tugs long!

The merger of the major Japanese container lines (NYK, MOL and K-Line) will only effect their container fleets, so we can still expect to see NYK autocarriers. NYK claims to have the world's largest fleet of such ships, numbering in excess of 111 with a capacity of 600,000 units and carries 3.4 mn cars per year. At 7,500 cars Heroic Leader is a member of the largest class of ships in their fleet. It is also capable of carrying machinery, equipment and specialized cargo using a 200 tonne stern ramp and adjustable decks.


Also in port is the tanker Enegy Puma at Irving Oil.The 29,605 grt, 46,549 dwt tanker dates from 2008 when it was built by Sungdong Shipbilding + Marine Engineering in Tongyeong, South Korea.


Energy Puma arrived early Saturday morning.



Most foreign flag tankers calling at Irving's Woodside terminal arrive from the Netherlands and head for Saint John after unloading. This one arrived from Saint John, apparently with a partial cargo. Its last visit in Halifax was June 13, 2013.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Thorco Logos finally sails

A ship that has spent most of the time since November 4, 2017 in Halifax finally sailed today. The Thorco Logos first arrived at Pier 9C where it was fitted with cable racks (also known as tanks). It took until about November 12 to install the partially prefabricated structure in its hold and the ship then went to anchor in Bedford Basin. (see Shipfax 2017-11-05 )


On December 12 it returned to Pier 9C for stores but was back at anchor on the 14th. It remained there until January 3 when it went to sea before the "weather bomb" storm. As a light ship, it was unwise to remain at anchor in the Basin during very high winds.  It was due to return to port January 7, but this was put off until January 9 when it  came in to Pier 9C. Welders were back at work in the ship's hold, suggesting that there was some damage to the cable tanks from being tossed around in the storm. On completion of the repairs it returned to anchor in the Basin on January 13.


The ship got underway this afternoon, giving Portsmouth, NH as its destination. Newington, NH, just upriver from Portsmouth, is the home of Tyco Electronics Integrated Cable Systems LLC, manufacturers of fibreoptic cable. Ships often fit out in Halifax to carry the cable, and usually wait here until the cable is ready to load. Few linger here as long as Thorco Logos.
Once the ship loads the cable, it may return to Halifax to await the cable laying project to get underway. One cable project planned for this summer is 150 lm of fibreoptic to interconnect the French Islands of Grand Miquelon and St-Pierre and link to the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland at Lamaline and Fortune. Alcatal Submarine Networks has applied for Canadian coasting licenses to use the French cable ship Ile De Sein for the work, starting in May. About 30% of the work will be in Canadian waters.

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