Monday, July 26, 2021

Bluenose II - arrival armada

 This year marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of the original schooner Bluenose. To commemorate the event the controversial, and much rebuilt (but still beloved) replica Bluenose II will be touring Atlantic Canada. It will not be spending much time in Halifax, with today's visit to an anchorage off Bedford as its only Halifax call. Due to COVID restrictions imposed earlier in the year all sail tours were cancelled, although there will be "open deck" at some port calls. See the 2021 schedule here

The Bluenose II's arrival in Halifax today was a foggy drizzly affair, but there were some spectators on the waterfront. The more interesting aspect, at least to me, was the flotilla of harbour craft on hand to greet the schooner.

Scotia Pilot, inbound from an assignment joined the party.

HMCS Oriole went out earlier in the morning to greet the arrival.

YDT 325 Defender is a Canadian navy "Cutter, Area Command" a 32 footer built by ABCO as a patrol and workboat, and works under the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic.

The harbour tug Atlantic Oak also went out to great Bluenose II and accompany it inbound.

Dominion Enforcer is one of the two new tugs built in the Netherlands for Dominion Diving Ltd.

Sister tug Dominion Rumbler  also joined the party.

Ocean Seeker owned by Kraken Robotics, and based at the C.O.V.E. in Dartmouth has been conducting seabed mapping in the area in recent weeks. It is the former RCMP Murray.

Alutasi is Canada's first hybrid diesel / battery - electric powered 12 plus passenger boat. The former Peggy's Cove Express has been retrofitted with lithium-ion batteries and now carries out some of its fishing tours using slow speed (and quiet) electric power.

Carrying the identifier 1C-2870 this RHIB is operates as a private patrol boat by Sma'knis Maritime Safety + Security Inc, based at the C.O.V.E. in Dartmouth.

Local  builders Rosborough Boats turns out a wide variety of craft (such as the RHIB in previous photo). This twin hull centre console is a new type to me. Outboard motors, as they increase in power for small size,  are becoming more popular as a means of propulsion where inboard used to be the norm.

The Coast Guard lifeboat Hare Bay was part of the flotilla. Delivered by Chantier Naval Forillon in Gaspe in May, the boat is temporarily assigned to Sambro while the local boat is in refit. Hare Bay will be assigned to Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

CCGS Ann Harvey returning from SAR East patrol brought an end to the escorts. On loan from the Newfoundland region while Halifax based boats are in refit or are reassigned, it has now been joined by the George R. Pearkes also from Newfoundland.


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Castillo de Navia - for CFIA inspection

 The big bulk carrier Castillo de Navia anchored in the harbour this afternoon July 25 for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The ship's most recent port was Ingleside (Corpus Christi), TX but it has apparently been in Asia recently enough to be at risk of carrying the larvae.

Owned by the Spanish company Naviera Trans Iron SL, it is a bulk ore carrier, registered in Malta. At 66,687 gt, 119,612 dwt  it would be classed as a NeoPanamax size vessel. It was built in 2015 by Shanhaiguan SY in Qinhuangdo, China. 

A close inspection of the photo revealed white structures forward of midships, which look like the pump house and derrick masts used by oil tankers to rig cargo hoses. The ship is not fitted to carry liquid cargoes, so these must be part of a hold ventilation system. Humidity control is critical to prevent liquefaction. This process causes some solid cargoes to behave like liquids, and results in the cargo shifting, imperiling the stability of the ship. Several bulk carrier losses have been blamed on liquefaction, and many ships are now built with hold ventilation.

The vent stacks are on the right of the photo (#2 arrow).

The red and white stacks (#1 arrow) are on shore behind the ship and are part of Canadian Forces Base Shearwater's gas fired central heating plant.

Between the two arrows, on deck, near the head of the accommodation ladder there are two people in white coveralls, one in blue and another with a high visibility vest. I did not see them until I had enlarged the photo on the computer. They are likely the CFIA inspectors with a crew member escorting them around the ship.

The ship is scheduled to depart Number 1 anchorage at 1730 hrs ADT bound for Sept-Iles, QC to take on a cargo of iron ore.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Torrens from Autoport

Yesterday's arrivals consisted of two autocarriers. The first was Don Quijote covered in yesterday's  post. While it was working cargo at Autoport another Wallenius Wilhelmsen ship was unloading machinery across the harbour at Pier 31. It was the Torrens, which moved over to Autoport this morning. After unloading a batch of cars from Southampton, Goteborg and Bremerhaven it sailed for New York this afternoon.

The tug Atlantic Oak accompanies Torrens out of Eastern Passage on its way to sea.

Torrens (a Wilhelmsen ship) is quite different looking from yesterday's Wallenius visitor. Built in 2004 by Mitsubishi HI, Nagasaki it is a 61,482 gt, 21,965 dwt ship with a capacity of 6,354 cars. Among the notable features is the immense funnel (which was enlarged to accommodate a retrofitted exhaust gas scrubber.) Also the position of the starboard side ramp is quite different, in part because the ship has never been lengthened.

Torrens is not so recently repainted, so its hull shows a bit more wear and tear, including a very strange series of vertical marks well aft. I never saw the ship in its original Wilhelmsen orange hull paint colour, and it has carried the "new" WW scheme since it started calling here in 2020.

The name "Torrens" comes from Australia where Robert Richard Torrens was a government official and premier in the 1800s. Some geographical features and a university bear his name, as does a system of recording land title now in use in many parts of the world. Wilhelmsen has used the name on several of its previous ships to follow their traditional use of the letter "T" to start all their ship's names.


HMCS Fredericton off to NATO

 HMCS Fredericton sailed this morning for a six month stint with NATO's Operation Reassurance.

A helo made a few low passes and hovered over the deck as the ship made its way outbound. The waterfront was lined with family and well wishers on a warm summer morning, and were rewarded with a single whistle salute.

Fredericton hoisted a huge naval ensign in addition to other flags and signals.

About an hour before Fredericton departed the navy's supply vessel Asterix also put out to sea.

 requires a civilian pilot since it is not a commissioned naval vessel. The duty pilot boat Scotia Pilot accompanied the ship to the pilot station to disembark the pilot.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Don Quijote in fresh paint

 The autocarrier Don Quijote * called in Halifax today, July 23, en route from Zeebrugge to New York. The ship appears in freshly applied paint, believed to have been applied earlier this month while the ship was undergoing inspections in Goteborg. There is some evidence to suggest that its last paint scheme was the EUKOR livery, based on internet photos.

When built in 1998 by Daewoo HI, Okpo, the ship was painted in traditional Wallenius green and white. In 2006 the Hyundai Vinashin Shipyard  in Vietnam lengthened the ship 28m increasing tonnages from 56,893 gt to 67,141 gt and 14,927 dwt to 28,142 dwt. Car capacity increased 20% to 7,194. The new paint appears quite spotless from a distance.

The extension was inserted between the starboard side ramp and the accommodation door, about where the letters "WALL" are located. 

My frequent vantage point in Eastern Passage has grown up to chest height, so I was not able to get a close up view of the paint.

* There have been various spellings of the name of the fictional character in Miguel de Cervantes book - which was written in an older form of the Spanish language. Most spellings try to mimic that old pronunciation,  such as the French Don Quichotte, however the usual English spelling is now Don Quixote - which is really no help at all. Since Wallenius names it ships after operatic characters, it had a choice of a French or a German opera (plus the musical Man of La Mancha), but seems to have chosen neither as its spelling guide. As a Swedish company perhaps Wallenius chose a spelling that would make sense to Swedish speakers.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Trilliums and More

The trillium is a wildflower that at one time was so prolific in Ontario that it became the province's floral emblem. The flower is unknown in Nova Scotia, but today there were two Trilliums in Halifax harbour. Canada Steamship Lines named its 21st century series of Chinese built ships the Trilliums and had two classes constructed. One is for deep sea work and one is primarily for the Great Lakes/St.Lawrence but with some modifications has allowed for coastal voyages.

The deep sea ship are operated by CSL Americas under Bahamas registry, whereas the lakers operate under Canadian flag for Canada Steamship Lines.

Today's Trilliums were of the deep sea variety (too large for the St.Lawrence Seaway) both here to load gypsum. Arriving yesterday afternoon was Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin. Built in 2012 by Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, it is a 43,691 gt, 71,406 dwt self-unloader.

The ship is named for Paul Edgar Philippe Martin QC, CC, QC, 21st Prime Minister of Canada (2003-2006). He was also owner of CSL, which he has apparently developed upon his sons.

The ship sailed this afternoon for Burlington, NJ, but due to its size the ship cannot load completely at the Gold Bond Gypsum dock where there is shallow water. (Burlington, NJ is on the Delaware River, well upstream form Philadelphia, and may have draft restrictions too.)

This evening the second Trillium was inbound from Tampa, FL. - the CSL Tacoma. Built in 2013 by the same shipyards its tonnages are similar at 43,691 gt, 71,552 dwt.

CSL ships have operated on the west coast in the aggregates trade where Tacoma, WA is a common port of call. 

On arrival CSL Tacoma got in ahead of the usual evening fog bank, but outgoing ships would have met the "wall" not far offshore.

IT Intrepid, heading for the Bay of Fundy (see previous post) sailed in bright sunshine (filtered somewhat by the smoke from western forest fires) but could expect a very foggy trip once it "cleared" port.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

New Facility Inaugurated

 A new facility in Halifax harbour became operational today. General Liquids Canada is part of the Municipal group of companies, the largest road building contractor in the province, and thus a major user of asphalt. They already have a large asphalt storage facility adjacent their Rocky Lake quarry, which is has rail accessed with a CN siding. However this new facility is accessible by water, allowing the direct import of asphalt by sea.

The new General Liquids terminal is not highly visible, as it is tucked in between Imperial Oil and Cherubini Metal Works on the north side of Eisner's Cove in Dartmouth, just at the entrance to Eastern Passage from the main harbour.

There are maps and other reference material available on line:


There is a heated storage tank and support facilities, and a heated pipeline running from the Cherubini dock, which permits asphalt tankers to pump asphalt ashore directly into storage. 

Today the tank barge John J. Carrick and tug Leo A. McArthur are delivering the first seaborn cargo of asphalt which was produced by Irving Oil in Saint John, NB.

Ironically the tug and barge are owned by McAsphalt Industries Ltd, which is part of the Miller McAsphalt Corp (in turn owned by the French giant Colas SA)  which is actually a Municipal competitor. McAsphalt has its own terminal in Eastern Passage, adjacent to Autoport, which has sea, road and rail access. Presumably the new General Liquids facility will permit Municipal to bring in asphalt from other sources, although there would be draft limitations at the Cherubini dock, which may restrict deliveries to barges.

I have covered the activities of the integrated tug / barge Leo A. McArthur (formerly Victorious) / John J. Carrick (named for the founders of McAsphalt) in this blog and in companion blog Tugfax. See: