Monday, November 30, 2020

Grande Houston - new for Grimaldi

 The Grande Houston was delivered to the Grimaldi Euromed SpA by Yangfan, Zhoushan, China in January and entered service in March of 2020. Although slotted into Grimaldi's Mediterranean / North America service, today marked its first visit to Halifax according to my records. That it has not been here before indicates the current state of the auto industry with plant shutdowns and fluctuating demand.

Grande Houston  is the third of seven new ships ordered from Yangfan. The first, Grande Torino has called here, but not Grande Miafiori so far.

Measuring 65,148 gt, 15,863 dwt, it has a capacity of 7600 CEU and can carry a variety of RoRo cargo using a 150 tonne capacity stern ramp. It is also fitted with the usual side ramp, but these are rarely if ever used in Halifax.

The Grimaldi Group, which also owns Atlantic Container Line (ACL), continues to have bad luck with its autocarriers. Yesterday Grande Europe experienced an engine room fire while en route between Antwerp and Southampton and lost all power. A tug was dispatched to tow the ship. In May 2019 the captain and two other of the ship's officers were arrested on arson charges after two separate fires on the same ship while in Spanish waters. Some crew had to be evacuated by helicopter during the ensuing firefighting. The company however identified faulty car batteries as the cause. [I have been unable to find any further information on the arrests, except that the three were granted bail.]

Grimaldi also had the Hoegh Xiamen on charter when it caught fire in June 2020 off Jacksonville, FL. In that case it was thought that faults in the used cars on board were the reason for the outbreak. In addition the container ship Grande America was lost in the Bay of Biscay after a container caught fire. All these incidents occurred while the Grimaldi Group is in the midst of a $2 billion newbuilding and upgrade program to reduce emissions and increase the efficiency of its ships.

The company has been very proactive in measures to ensure the proper declaration of cargo in containers.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Onego Deusto brings More Rails

 The Canadian National Railway, known as CNR or simply CN is celebrating 25 years as an independent company. Formed in 1919 by the Canadian government when it folded its own government railway into a mix of failing companies, it was truly a national railroad, running from coast to coast and operating in all ten provinces. (Rails in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland have since been removed.)

CN celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.

In 1995 the government of Canada privatized the company and shares became available on the market. It has since become one of the most profitable North American railways, and has also expanded its reach well into the United States. That growth has fed an inexhaustible appetite for steel rail - either for new track or for upgrade / replacement. All of CN's new rail seems to come from Poland, and enters Canada through Halifax where it is stockpiled. It is then sent on special rail cars to Winnipeg where it is welded into huge lengths before being sent out for installation as "continuous welded rail".

Another rail shipment arrived in Halifax today aboard the Onego Deusto a Netherlands flagged vessel of 6312 gt, 9832 dwt. It is an open hatch type multi-purpose ship with box shaped holds and pontoon tween decks. It carries two 40 tonne capacity cranes.

The ship's hull was built by Vahali Shipyard in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2008 and completed by Volharding in Foxhol, Netherlands. Initially named Beluga Skysails it attracted considerable interest due to the large paraglider type kite which was rigged for wind assist. There are several online images and videos of the ship with the "skysail"  deployed. See: Skysail

The Beluga company failed and the ship was taken over by Briese in 2011 and renamed BBC Skysails. In 2019 management was taken over by Onego Shipping and Chartering B.V. and the ship was given its current name, which seems to commemorate a district of Bilbao, Spain, and makes no reference to sail. 

The ship tied up at Pier 27, the worst place in Halifax to take photos, but that is the pier where rail cargo is stockpiled until needed.

A black painted crane device mounted near the ship's bow was used to secure the paraglider, and remains in place, but is not likely in current use.

The black crane forward and amidships appears to be the telescopic jib used for the skysail.
Also at Pier 27 is the Port Authority's workboat Maintainer 1 hauled out for its own maintenance. 
[See previous post,  Wednesday November 25.]

The ship's current voyage from Szczecin was not without incident. On November 7, while ten miles off Beachy Head in the Dover Strait, the ship experienced a cooling problem and had to make an emergency shut down of its main engine. The ship drifted for about half an hour while the crew effected a repair. The Dover Strait is one of the word's busiest stretches of water and such incidents have widespread possibilities for disruptions and perhaps the crew were wishing for some sail assistance at the time.


Friday, November 27, 2020

CCGS Jean Goodwill arrives

 The CCGS Jean Goodwill, the second of three "interim" icebreakers acquired by the Department of Fisheries + Oceans for the Canadian Coast Guard, reached its home port of Halifax today. The ship sailed from Lévis, QC earlier in the week after a two year conversion process to transform it for Canadian duty.

Built by Havyard Lervik, Norway in 2000 it was originally named Balder Viking as an icebreaking anchor handling tug supplier. The 18,020 bhp vessel was built for severe arctic conditions and apparently proved itself over the years. In 2018 the Canadian government purchased the ship and two sister vessels [see below] to meet an urgent need for icebreaking capacity while older ships undergo life extension and eventual replacement. Chantier Davie Canada Inc, with its shipyard in Lévis (opposite Quebec City) did the deal for the acquisition and conversion. 

Conversion work included additional accommodation, and what appears to be an extension to the stern (and removal of the stern roller).

The first vessel in the series, the Vidar Viking was pressed into service last winter as CCGS Capt. Molly Kool without undergoing a complete conversion process. It has now returned to Davie for completion of that work. Work is underway on the third vessel, Tor Viking II to be named CCGS Vincent Massey

Today was my first chance to get a good look at one of these vessels, although I did witness their arrival in Canada in August 2018. Their passage up the St.Lawrence River was shrouded in dense fog, so what I saw was somewhat restricted!






 Before De Caprio there was Da Vinci, one of the great minds of all time. It was therefore no wonder that the Italian Line chose the name Leonardo Da Vinci for the replacement of the ill-fated Andrea Doria. When it was completed in 1960 by Ansaldo, Sestri Ponente, the writing was already on the wall for transatlantic passenger travel, and in fact this 33,340 gt ship was the last Italian liner on transatlantic passenger service. It served with the Cristoforo Colombo which was retired in 1973

Powered by four steam turbines, the ship could attain 23 knots. It was said that the ship was built to be converted to nuclear power, however that never took place. In 1977 the ship did some cruising but its third class accommodation was too spartan to appeal to tourists. With capacity reduced from 1326 to 984, it did not make enough to cover costs. The ship was laid up in La Spezia in 1978.

On July 3-4, 1980 an uncontrollable fire resulted in the ship capsizing. It was righted but was not repaired, and was scrapped in 1982.

I took this photo in August 1970 as the ship was inbound to Pier 21 in Halifax, still on liner service. To my mind more beautiful than most of today's cruise ships.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Port Patrol- amended

 The Halifax Port Corporation is responsible for most of the geographical area we know as the Port of Halifax. However they have contracted with the Halifax Regional Municipality for police services on their land and in the waters of the port. Until recently the boat unofficially named Garret Cotter, owned by the Port Corporation was operated by the police to perform some of the patrol duties. (Because the boat is under 15 tons gross, it is registered by the number only: C07536NS.)

Named for the first chief of police for Halifax, appointed in 1864, the Garret Cotter was capable of a nice turn of speed if needed. Built in 2004 by ABCO Industries Ltd in Lunenburg, it is all aluminum with a 710 bhp inboard / outdrive.

This morning while doing my own patrol of the harbour I noted the Garret Cotter passing by, but now without its Police insignia.

It appeared to be taking the place of the Port Corporation's workboat Maintainer I which could be out of service for regular maintenance. It later tied up at that boats normal berth.

The regular workboat Maintainer I is used to carry out repairs to floating fenders and other infrastructure, and removed floating debris and deadheads as required.

I covered it and its predecessors in a previous post back in 2015: 

Harbour Workboats


The Port also owns another vessel named (again unofficially) J.R.Mitchell , Official Number C14813NS. It is a passenger vessel that is used seasonally by the harbour master or others for facility inspections and dignitary tours. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Busy, busy - catch up

 There was a lot of activity in the harbour as the port caught up with weather delays. Very high winds starting yesterday resulted in suspension of pilotage operations until this morning when ships began to sail and arrive again. Most of the arriving ships had spent the night circling offshore waiting for the pilot boat to resume operation.

Among those sailing was the MOL Emissary a familiar caller for THE Alliance.

Built in 2009 by Hyundai, Ulsan the 54,940 gt, 67,170 dwt ship has a capacity of 5087 TEU including 330 reefers. As the ship is on long term charter from Seaspan Corp, it may well serve out its charter in MOL colours rather than take on the ONE magenta hull paint that owned ships would get.

Among the arrivals this morning was the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Titus which went first to Pier 31 to unload special RoRo cargo. It will shift to Autoport this evening to discharge cars.

The 73,358 gt, 23,889 dwt ship, with a capacity of 7656 cars, built in 2018  by Tianjin Xingang, is among the last to be delivered in the old paint scheme of its Wallenius parent.  Since mid 2019 ships are being painted in a new scheme of the merged Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean. Wilhlemsen ships were red/orange and Wallenius were green. The ships still retain the traditional naming themes, with Wilhelmsen ships beginning with the letter "T" and Wallenius named for operatic characters (some of whom have "T" names.)

There was lots of traffic for National Gypsum today too. Algoma Verity docked on arrival from Tampa. A familiar caller since it was built in 2000 as Alice Odendorff it was renamed in 2019 when Algoma acquired the three Oldendorff ships in the CSL self-unloader pool.

The 28,747 gt, 47,404 dwt ship is readily identifiable thanks to its unusual crane/ conveyor/ hopper self-unloading system. It was built by Shanghai Shipyard as a conventional four crane bulker, with the conveyor/hoppers added as a conversion.

A stiff northerly breeze across the Basin meant a wet ride for the tugs' deckhands.

Next in was Algoma Integrity from Baltimore. It was last here November 15, so I will not repeat its details.

With Algoma Verity along side at National Gypsum, Algoma Integrity will cool its heels at anchor until the berth is free.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

ONE Maxim shows up

 I am not sure when the novelty of Ocean Network Express ships painted in vivid magenta will wear off - not for a while I guess. As each ship is repainted or new ones delivered, it is still a shock to see a ship with such an "un-ship-like" paint colour.

Today's arrival at Cerescorp, Fairview Cove did not attract as much attention before August of this year when it sailed as MOL Maxim for Mitsui OSK Lines. Built in 2010 by Mitsubishi, Kobe, the 78316 gt, 79,373 dwt ship, with a capacity of 6724 TEU, including 500 reefers, was painted in MOL's standard blue hull paint. 

As the ship appeared in Halifax in February its hull paint looked a tad seedy, but as it was coming up on its ten year survey, it was expected to get a thorough overhaul, including a new paint job.

The ship apparently went in for refit in the summer and emerged in the colours of ONE, the entity that was formed by the major Japanese container operators, NYK, K-line and MOL to combine their operations.

There are ten sister ships of the MOL "M" class, and several are sailing for The Alliance shipping combine. As they all go through their refits and emerge in magenta, they will continue to attract attention. MOL Maxim arrived in the dark and sailed at dusk so photo opportunities were limited, but it will be back.