Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pearl Mist - evening departure, footnote on Saint Laurent

Pearl Mist sailed at 1930 hrs ADT this evening after a half day visit to Halifax at pier 23.

The Halifax-built ship is slotted in for seven visits to Halifax this year as part of its eastern seaboard and Great Lakes schedule.

It is one of two small cruise ships working in the area this year, with Halifax calls scheduled. The other is Saint Laurent which has had to cancel some of its cruises after damaging its bow in the Eisenhower Lock of the St.Lawrence Seaway. The ship is currently at the Verreault shipyard in Méchins, QC for repairs.

On June 18 , while entering the lock, the ship surged ahead when its autopilot was disengaged. It struck the concrete sill at the west end of the lock, which protects the lock gate. It severely damaged 10 feet of the bow and flooded the forepeak. About 30 passengers were taken to hospital in Massena, NY for treatment of mostly minor injuries. Only two remained in hospital.
Because of the great depth of the lock, the only way to evacuate the 274 passengers and crew was by bucket lift, using a cherry picker type truck. They were then bussed across the nearby Canadian border and taken back to Montreal to be repatriated to France. (As is usual with ships transiting the Seaway, they had not been cleared in by US Border agents, so were essentially "in bond" until they could be returned to Canada, where the cruise had begun.)

The ship was inspected, then towed out of the lock on June 21 and escorted to the shipyard by tug Océan Pierre Julien.  
It appears that the ship may be able to resume service for its July 5 sailing from Montreal for Chicago, and sailing from there July 14 back to Montreal.

The ship made its inaugural call in Halifax June 4, and called again June 12.

It is not scheduled back in Halifax until October 26.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

East Coast new look (plus added info)

Irving Oil's tanker East Coast made a brief pit stop today for bunkers en route from Saint John, NB for Quebec City. This is the first time I've seen the ship since it returned last week from a refit in Gibraltar (via Amsterdam) , during which it was refitted with an exhaust gas scrubber [see added info below]. The unit will allow the ship to burn heavy fuel while still complying with newly introduced emissions regulations.

Fitted aft of the ship's funnel, the apparatus is enclosed in a large superstructure that is painted white, but with the blue of the funnel cap extended across the top. Installation necessitated relocating the ship's lifeboat, which had been on the centre line aft, and other work that is perhaps not obvious.

 One of four sister ships operating for Irving Oil on long term charters*, it was brought to the Canadian flag last November and its name was changed from Nor'Easter. For a time it still carried the identifying letter "N" on its superstructure, but I see that has now been replaced by "E".

Sister Acadian has always traded under the Canadian flag. It arrived Friday and was also in port today, sailing from anchorage as East Coast arrived. Presumably it and its sisters will also be similarly converted, since all are trading in areas where new emission requirements have been instituted. Many marine engines do not convert well from heavy fuel to diesel, and the exhaust scrubber is the solution to save the ship's engine from damage.

Acadian at Imperial Oil yesterday, is yet to be fitted with a scrubber.

All four ships were built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan, South Korea in 2005. East Coast measured 23,356 grt, 37,55 dwt when built, but the new structure will increase its grt if it is re-measured.
New England and Great Eastern continue to trade under the Marshall Islands flag, operating from Saint John, NB to east coast US ports.

*Irving Oil appears to have other ships under charter too, but they are not identified as Irving charters. Owners of these four sisters, FB Shipping, part of the Vroon Tankship group, have half a dozen other tankers, and at least one, Iver Progress, seems to have taken up the spot that Nor'Easter once filled.  

Added Info:
Marine exhaust gas scrubbers spray sea water on exhaust gas, forming sulphuric acid, but the natural salinity of the water neutralizes the acid and the wash water can be discharged back into the sea without environmental issues.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday - a bit thin (plus addendum)

The usual Saturday round up fell flat today with so little action in the harbour as to be laughable.
There was no Maersk ship today (nor is one scheduled until early next week) so Halterm was idle. There were no ships at Fairview Cove either. In fact there were no working ships in the harbour except two tankers at Imperial Oil and one taking bunkers.

What activity there was was limited to:
A very early morning departure of the ostentatious yacht Sea Owl from an anchorage in the Northwest Arm.
After a week or so at Salters pier it moved around to the Arm yesterday.

 At the stern a gigantic Bahamas flag flies over a retractable articulated and slewing gangway, which is being stowed (hydraulically).

 Regular washdowns are needed to keep the ship pristine.

(Contributed by friend Tom)

Once anchored in the Arm it deployed its tender. It had an 0445 hrs pilot call for this morning and headed for Chester.

Meanwhile down at pier 9B workers began to apply stick-on letters to the starboard side of the ferry Fundy Rose. They completed the port side yesterday, after which the ship turned so that the work can be done from the land side.

It can't be too much longer before the ship is ready for service.

Surprisingly Bay Ferries has done away with the red ball logo and adopted the wave pattern used by its sister company Northumberland ferries.

Late this afternoon the CCGS Alfred Needler arrived at BIO. It has been working out of Halifax for the last few days, doing short trips. Built in 1982 by Ferguson Industries in Pictou, the research trawler originally served for the old Fisheries Research Board, and was painted in a white over grey colour scheme,

When the Department of Fisheries took it over, it was painted white, in line with the hydrographic and oceanographic vessels based at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.

Finally in 1997 when DFO took over the Coast Guard it became red. A serious fire in 2003 resulted in a major rebuilding, which has extended its life considerably, but it is unlikely that it will see its 40th birthday in government service.

Three new Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSVs) will be delivered by Seaspan under the NSPS program during 2017, replacing four current vessels, Teleost, Alfred Needler and Wilfred Templeman on this coast and W.E.Ricker on the west coast. It is apparent that there will only be two of the new vessels on this coast. (Wilfred Templeman was retired in 2011.)

Read more on the progress (the first block is already under construction) from the June 12 briefing in Ottawa:

The first OFSV will be named CCGS Sir John Franklin. What this British explorer had to do with fisheries science is hard to determine. It is another example of the present government's politicization of the arctic and the promotion of its policies and favourite topics while blithely ignoring science.
There is no doubt that Franklin was a great man and some of his early explorations were notable, even if his last one went so wrong. He was not however noted for taking the advice of the indigenous population, something that the current government has unfortunately chosen to emulate.
Renaming the ship for some of the muzzled fisheries scientist who have quite in frustration over current policy would be a good first order of business for a new government to be elected in October.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

New to Clearwater

After a lengthy conversion process, the Halifax based fishing company Clearwater Seafoods has registered their latest acquisition in Canada. Now named Belle Carnell and measuring 4,325 grt, the ship likely bears only a fleeting resemblance to its original look, since it will be used as a clam harvester, beginning in the second half of this year.

It started life in 2002 when its keel was laid by Malta Shipbuilding, in Marsa, Malta. At a certain stage the hull was towed to Ulsteinvik, Norway where it was completed by Kleven Verft. It was delivered in 2004 as a platform supply vessel of the VS470 Mark II type of 2,603 grt..
Named Siddis Skipper it worked for O.H.Meling+Co AS of Norway until late 2013 when Clearwater began the process of acquiring and rebuilding it.

This is what it looked like as built:

Its large clear after deck has apparently been converted to a catching and processing area, but I have not seen the ship yet, as it is still in Santander, Spain where the conversion took place. However Clearwater has
converted other offshore suppliers to the same use, and they feature a large dredge apparatus mounted over the stern.

Atlantic Surf was built in 1974 as the platform supply vessel Maersk Tracker. It was renamed Tracker I in 1988 and converted to the surf clam dredger Scotian Surf. It was renamed Atlantic Surf in 1992 and in 1996 it became Atlantic Surf I. Its Canadian registry was closed in April 1966.

Although the new Belle Carnell will be much more modern, it will likely have a similar profile.

Read more about Clearwater's activities here:


St-Pierre et Miquelon changeover

 Fusion (October 2013)

The weekly RoRo container service between Halifax and St-Pierre et Miquelon entered a new phase on Friday June 12 when Nolhanava ex Shamrock replaced Fusion.
Fusion has now been laid up at pier 33 after seven years of service (off and on) on the run.Shamrock, which was built for the service and operated from 2001 to 2004 is now back under the new name.

Nolhanava this morning.

It returned to Halifax today after its first second trip.


Fusion was built in 1977 by Blohm+Voss in the Steinwerder district of Hamburg, Germany. Measuring 2279 grt it has a capacity of 219 TEU with two 30 tonne cranes.Originally named Osteexpress it was renamed 78: Ghazi II, 78: Osteexpress, 79: Zim Caribe, 81: Elma Ocho, 82: Osteexpress, 86: ScanDutch Iberia, 86: Express, 87: North Empress, 2000: DutchLiner, 06: Fort Ross. It was under the latter name that it first took over the St-Pierre et Miquelon service for the first time July 18, 2007.
In 2008 the Canadian flagged Dutch Runner took over until 2010. 

Dutch Runner has been laid up since 2012, first in Souris, PE, and since October 2014 in Port Hawksbury, NS.

In 2009-10 Fort Ross had a major refit in Europe, was renamed Fusion, and returned to the service in August of that year on what was understood to be a three year contract.

In April 2012 Fusion sailed for the Ukraine where it went into another lengthy refit and returned in September. Its replacement at that time was Nils B.
Fusion has run consistently on the weekly service, however it has been subject to some mechanical problems and in March 2014 was towed in to Halifax after three days adrift.and was off the service for three trips until April.


I covered the return of Shamrock as Nolhanava back in April

I did not comment on the ship's names however. The name Shamrock commemorated a legendary French trawler that worked out of St-Pierre for a number of years. It was the subject of a special postage stamp and a documentary.

As to Nolhavana I am stumped.Its possible that it commemorates a rum running vessel. They liked to have odd names, frequently with alternating vowels and consonants, but that it only a wild guess.
If anyone has any insights, I would appreciate hearing them.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Inbound traffic

There was a variety of inbound traffic this morning, including the usual paddle board commuter, who travels from his Northwest Arm home to his downtown office on a daily basis (weather permitting).

The cruise ship Saint Laurent made its second arrival of the season,

Before that the Maersk/CMA CGM service brought in the AS Palatia. It is the first vist for this well travelled ship since it was built in 2006 by STX Shipbuidling in Jinhae, South Korea.

The 27,100 grt, 34,600dwt ship has a capacity of 2602 TEU and carries four 45 tonne cranes. It was built as Palatia and immediately renamed MOL Supremacy. In 2008 it was renamed three times becoming CMA CGM Oceano, Palatia, and AS Plalatia, It became Niledutch Durban in 2011 and earlier this year became AS Palatia again. It is owned by Ahrenkiel Steamship of Hamburg. The ship seems to be substituting for CMA/CGM, since the regular Maersk ship, Maersk Pembroke is en route from Montreal.

Reefers form a large part of the cargo loaded in Halifax, and stacks of white "seacans" await the ship, which is actually arriving a day earlier than the normal schedule would indicate.


Thursday, June 11, 2015


Due to traveling for the next ten days or so, I will not be posting to this blog. The trip will start June 13 crossing the Bay of Fundy on Princess of Acadia.

Thereafter I will be traversing New Brunswick and Quebec in a clockwise direction hitting as many ports as possible in ten days. I won't be posting to this blog during that time, so will catch up on my return.