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.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Algoma Dartmouth - return engagement

 The bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth arrived at Imperial Oil dock #3 in Dartmouth in the wee hours of the this morning November 18. It is the first time the tanker has been back in its namesake port for just over two years. 

The ship was built in Tuzla, Turkey  in 2007 as Clipper Bardolino, but was renamed Samistal Due in 2008. Algoma Tankers chartered the ship in 2009 and stationed it in Halifax as a bunkering tanker, with fuel supplied by Imperial Oil. When legislation regarding import duties was changed in 2010, Algoma purchased the ship outright. 

Imperial closed its Imperoyal refinery in 2013, reducing its facility on the Dartmouth side of the harbour to tank storage for the local market. In 2014. Algoma began to source ships bunker fuel from Sterling Fuels, part of the McAsphalt / Miller group. However that agreement expired late in 2018. At that point Algoma reached an agreement to move the tanker to Saint John, NB and to source fuel from Irving Oil. 

Algoma Dartmouth sailed from Halifax November 8, 2018 and had not returned until today. During that two year period the port of Halifax has been without a re-fueling afloat capability (except for the Royal Canadian Navy and even that is rarely used, as ships must move to the tanker Astrerix at its berth.). Ships now must come alongside commercial piers to refuel from trucks or dock at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal. It is also believed that Imperial Oil no longer not stocks marine grade fuels in Dartmouth, and its docks were not set up for refueling. Only Irving Oil fuel is available by truck.

Algoma Dartmouth found some work in Saint John, but with the cancellation of the cruise ship season this year business was much reduced.  On November 3, 2020 the ship sailed from Saint John for Sydney, NS, arriving there November 5, for what was thought to be a winter layup.

Now its arrival to load fuel cargo, apparently for Sydney, NS suggests that a new arrangement has been made to keep the ship operating as a shuttle.

The lack of refueling afloat by means of bunkering tanker has apparently not hurt the prospects of the ports of Halifax or Saint John. Most large container shipping lines, with regular routes, contract well in advance for fuel and use such mega ports as Singapore, Rotterdam, Gibraltar or New York, close to competing refineries, to refuel. Large tankers have immense fule capacigties and other ships seldom run low or run out of fuel these days, and shipowners can plan well in advance for their fuel requirements.

When Algoma Dartmouth left here in 2018,  I did several posts on the subject of bunkering in Halifax. See: November 7, 2018

November 9, 2018


Bunkering tankers are called "barges" even though they may be self-propelled. This is a carryover from the days when the fuel (oil, but before that coal) was delivered to ships by non-propelled barges. In fact Halifax used barges until the mid 1970s. One such barge was I.O.Ltd. No.6. See more: here

Seen here at Dartmouth Marine Slips it served Saint John for many years until transferred back to Halifax. It was moved around by tug. [Full marks if you identified CCGS John A. MacDonald in the background.]