Saturday, April 18, 2015

Thorco in Pictou

The general cargo ship Thorco Asia appeared to be loaded and just about ready to sail this afternoon in Pictou.Owned in Germany (but registered in Antigua and Barbuda) and under the technical management of Marship Management GmbH of Haren (Ems), the ship operates commercially for Thorco A/S of Denmark.

The ship seems to have had an  identity crisis in 2012, the year it was built by Jiangsu Yangzi Changbo, China. Originally to be named Thorco Asia it was renamed Victory Scan then Surenes in a matter of months. It then re-assumed the name Thorco Asia in 2014. The ship measures 6351 grt, 9737 dwt, has two 60 tonne cranes (combined for 160 tonnes) and can carry  468 TEU. Its holds are fitted for grain and are ventilated, making it ideal to load paper pulp, which it did in Pictou.

Paper pulp is manufactures by Northern Pulp, just across the harbour at Abercrombie Point and is widely exported unlike the stench and waste from the mill itself which are concentrated locally in unpleasant and probably toxic quantities. The mill is under orders to clean up its odorific act with scrubbers, which are to be in place by May. The Province of Nova Scotia has just announced a multi-year program to clean up the mill's waste ponds at a cost exceeding $50 mn. The desecration of Boat Harbour with the lagoons has been a toxic stew, not to mention an eyesore and embarrassment since the mill was first established by Scott Paper in the 1960s.


Regal Princess [2] to skip

The cruise ship Regal Princess will not be opening the cruise season in Halifax April 19 as planned. This was to be the ship's inaugural call in the port, but it has been cancelled due to en route weather. Built in 2014 by Fincantieri, Monfacone, Italy the 142,714 grt ship has a capacity of 3,560 passengers and 1,346 crew. Owned by Carnival PLC, it operates under the Princess Cruises Lines brand.

It is the second ship of the name. The first Regal Princess, built by the same shipyard in 1991 was a much smaller ship of 69,845 grt, and called here over a period of several years

The first Regal Princess sailing from Halifax in September 2003. On the previous cruise, ending in New York Sept 4 up to 217 people came down with Norwalk virus.

The ship was originally ordered by Sitmar, explaining its very un-P+O-like appearance. P+O acquired the ship for its Princess Cruise Line in 1992 and it operated in various parts of the world, including Alaska, and was given major refits in 2000 and another in 2007. The latter was in Singapore, after which the ship was renamed Pacific Dawn and assigned to P+O Cruises Australia, where it has worked ever since, and carries 2,020 passengers.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Genmar George T. for bunkers - and a digression into Japanese shipbuilding

En route to Whiffen Head, NL for a cargo of crude oil, the tanker Genmar George T. put in to Halifax this afternoon for bunkers. The last port given for the ship was Dalian, China in February, - which would be a long and slow ballast voyage. It is likely that it loaded crude in the mid-east or Africa for delivery somewhere en route before arriving here. Since the ship was in the far east so recently it is also likely that it was inspected for asain gypsy moth before it sailed this evening.

The ship's truncated bow indicates that it can load or unload via offshore floating mono-buoy.

The ship was built by Universal Shipbuilding Corp* (former Nippon Kokan KK, shipyard), Tsu, Japan in 2007 and is operated by General Maritime of New York under the Marshall Islands flag. It s tonnages are listed as 79,236 gross, 149,847 deadweight.

* Universal Shipbuilding Corp may not sound familiar, nor sound like the name of a Japanese shipyard. In the face of intense competition with South Korea, then China, there have been a series of mergers in the Japanese shipbuilding industry, and many old names have disappeared and new ones have emerged. Therefore ships built in Japan between about 1995 and  2013 may be attributed in certain sources, to shipyards that, at least in name, did not exist when the ships were built. This a bit of a pet peave of mine, where these sources (and some should know better) use the current name of the yard when they should use the name of the yard at the time of construction.
Universal Shipbuilding Corp was in existence as a name only from 2002 to 2013. It was the result of a the consolidation (read merger) of Hitachi Zosen's shipbuilding interests with those of NKK (Nippon Kokan).
In 2013 Universal and IHI Marine United (the merger of Ishikawa Harima and Sumitomo)  merged to form Japan Marine United (JMU).  An excellent graphic shows this detailed history back to the founding companies in the history section of JMU'S website. 
Further interesting (and perhaps surprising reading) reading is the history of Hitachi Zosen Shipbuilding, here: 


Windmills for the mid-west

The British flag Johanna C stopped in Halifax with a load of windmill blades from the far east. The ship took bunkers and sailed on to Montreal. After Seaway inspection it will proceed on to Duluth, MN to unload the blades. Duluth is a major port for blades, because of its unimpeded rail and road access to the mid-west. These long components do not travel well through metropolitan areas or over and around natural obstacles. However Duluth, at the head of Lake Superior, is beyond such impediments and has become an import location for a variety of oversize goods headed for the US mid-west, but also to Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Completed bunkering, Johanna C weighs anchor.

Johanna C is part of the Carisbrooke Shipping fleet, privately owned and based at Cowes, Isle of Wight. It was built by Jiangsu Yanzijiang in Jiangyin, China in 2009. It is equipped with two 80 tonne cranes, combinable for 160 tonne lifts and measures 9,530 grt, 12,947 dwt.

The blades are carried on the ships unobstructed decks, and the holds may contain smaller components such as turbines or tower sections or even more blades.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

HMCS Annapolis now a reef

I missed this one, which occurred April 4:

HMCS Annapolis, a product of Halifax Shipyard was sunk as an artificial reef.

There is good coverage of the event on the B.C. Artificial Reef website.

Annapolis was the last of twenty "Cadillacs" built for the RCN starting with the St-Laurent class of Canadian designed and Canadian built destroyer escorts (DDEs) for anti-submarine warfare. They were the envy of the world up to and including Annapolis.

As A/S warfare techniques evolved during the cold war period, it was decided that the existing DDEs should be converted to carry helicopters (becoming DDHs), and it was the invention of the Beartrap device that allowed the heavy SeaKing helos to operate from these relatively small ships.
The success of the conversions from DDEs to DDHs resulted in the decision to build the last two ships of the Mackenzie class as DDHs from the keel up. Thus it was that Annapolis and Nipigon were built as DDHs, forming the Annapolis class.

The ship's keel was laid September 2, 1961, and the ship was launched April 27, 1963 at Halifax Shipyard. It was commissioned December 19, 1964 as DDH 265.

It served with distinction for the RCN out of Halifax (MARLANT) and was given an extensive refit under the DELEX program from August 1985 to January 1987 (at Saint John Shipbuilding +Dry Dock Co Ltd). It was fitted with the towed array sonar and several other quiet running fitments. It traveled as far north as Hudson Bay, escorted RY Britannia on the Great Lakes and did NATO stints.

Annapolis was transferred to Esquimalt (MARPAC) in 1989 and served largely as a training vessel, but still participated in numerous operations including Haiti until it was decommissioned November 15, 1996 and placed in reserve status. At that point it was the last steamer in the RCN's Pacific fleet, but was still considered to be among the most capable A/S destroyers in the world. The ship was finally paid off in 1998 and stripped out of its equipment.

In 2008 it was sold to the Artificial Reef Society, and there followed a lengthy process to permit it to be sunk. Environmental concerns were at the heart of the delays, but those were finally resolved and the way was clear for the April 4 sinking.

An account of the ship's history and a detailed description of the reefing project can be found at:

Divers have already been to the ship and there are photos and videos on line too.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A miscellaneous sort of day

There was a little bit of everything today, with ships coming and going at all hours.

A huge gantry on the port side carries an ROV. The control umbilical runs to a spool. The gantry aft is used to carry various seaplows.

On the arrivals side, the cable ship Resolute arrived this morning and tied up at pier 25. It is a sister ship to Resolve and Discovery that are working on the Hibernia fibre optic transatlantic cable project. Also built by Keppel Hitachi in Singapore in 2002 it was originally called Tyco Resolute until 2010 when Tyco was reorganized. At 12,184 grt, it bears little resemblance to the early cable ships that were once based in Halifax.
However it does take advantage of a technology created by a captain of one of those ships.

One of several informative display panels at the cable wharf describes the work of Capt. Henry Melville Bloomer, inventor of the cable plow that dug a trench, laid the cable and buried it again in one operation. He was a resident of Halifax for fifteen years and was master of the Lord Kelvin.

 At pier 25 the ship shows off its large size to a spectator.

TE Subcom has some excellent illustrations of the ship's inner workings on their site. Go to "Reliance class features" at:

An unusual looking product tanker arrived and anchored in the Basin:

Unlike the typical Korean built product tankers we usually see, Hector N. was built by Guangzhou International in Guangzhou, China. It was launched in 2008 as Meriom Gem, but was delivered as King Edgar for German owners. It moved to Panama flag for Navios Tankers of Greece in 2013. It is also smaller than most product tankers, at 24,112 grt, 38,402 dwt.

Its rather squat appearance distinguishes it from Korean built ships.

Things are slowly returning to normal at Autoport as cars are thawing out rapidly with warmer temperatures. The parade of auto carriers continues, with today's arrival of Artemis Leader, the second NYK ship in as this week. Even with the improvement in conditions, it will also take two days to complete cargo operations.

With the McAsphalt dock in the foreground, Artemis Leader unloads at Autoport.

The 62,571grt, 21,424 dwt ship was built in 2008 by Toyohashi Shipbuilding in Japan and is operated directly by NYK Line.

San Fernando Rey arrived for Nirint Lines on the regular service from Cuba with nickel sulfides and general cargo.

 This is the ship's second call. It was here first February 18. I gave the ship's interesting back story at that time, see:

Container ships Dallas Express at Fairview Cove and Dolphin II (for ZIM) and Zim Qingdao are all regular callers.

The Liberian flagged Zim Qingdao has been calling since it first visit June 29, 2007. It was built by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co, in Dalian, China and has a capacity of 4250 TEU. On charter to Zim by Rickmers Reederei of Hamburg, it measures 41,482 grt, 50,689 dwt. It sailed for New York this afternoon from pier 42.


Do Not Panic

Thank you for the comments praising this blog, some of which I published, others I dared not, and others decrying the demise of Shipfax.

Don't weep yet!

It will just change form in 2016. I am not sure what exact form it will take, but it will be different.

Shipfax in its current form will be around for a while yet, but it will evolve into something else. 

CCGS Ann Harvey under construction at Halifax Shipyard in 1985.  Tines have changed, methods have changed, technology has changed.and Shipfax must change too.

By the way CCGS Ann Harvey is still going too. After its grounding  April 1, it was stabilized with an underwater patching job by Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic, and arrived in St.John's April 9 in tow of Teleost.
It will sail on - as will Shipfax.