Sunday, December 4, 2016

Caribbean Princess - her name is mud

The cruise ship Caribbean Princess, a familiar caller in Halifax, has just made history by receiving the largest environmental fine ever levied on a ship in the United States. The $40 million fine is certainly in proportion to the offence which including pumping oily waste overboard through a series of illegal "magic pipes", falsifying records and covering up the offence which took place over several years.

It was discovered in England in August 2013 by a new ship's engineer. He blew the whistle on the other engineers and when the ship arrived in the US the Coast Guard went aboard and discovered where the magic pipe had been. Some crew had been busy trying to remove the evidence, but traces were left.

Not only must the ship's owner (ultimately Carnival Corp) pay the fine, but its eight subsidiaries, AIDA, Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, P+O, Princess and Seabourn are now under a court supervised Environmental Compliance Program for five years. Good.

Known by some as "the Shopping Cart" due to her odd observation deck above the stern, Caribbean Princess is seen here leaving Halifax under a cloud September 19, 2015.

Caribbean Princess was in Halifax September 27, October 7, 17 and 27 this year, and several times a year in previous years, since its first call in 2008. How many of those times was it discharging waste overboard in Canadian waters - apparently undetected.

In the case of egregious offences such as this the US courts have been known to ban ships from US waters. I think Carnival got off lightly.

One has to wonder what the crew's motivation was in pumping the waste over. In some rust bucket ships with sleazy owners, it is easier to understand - they want to save the cost of disposing of waste and to cover up sloppy practises. But in a supposedly well managed operation like a cruise line, unless management was complicit - and there has been no such suggestion - it must have been entirely motivated by the crew. What were they do gain? Covering up their own poor management? Trying to live within a budget?  Even some sort of kickbacks from shore side organizations? There doesn't seem to be any explanation that of why the crew did what they did.


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Irving invasion

There were two tankers in port today, both operated by Irving Oil.
The Marshall Islands flagged Great Eastern arrived Friday and tied up at Imperial Oil #4 dock.

Great Eastern at Imperial Oil dock #4.
This is an interesting development. The ship runs regularly from Saint John, NB delivering Irving's product to the US east coast. On this trip, after discharging it went on to Port Arthur, TX and loaded up on refined product for competitor Esso.

Then this afternoon the Canadian flagged East Coast arrived for the second time in a week.  The ship arrived last Saturday too, but that time docked at Ultramar. I believe it unloaded Ultramar product, picked up in Lévis, QC on the return leg of a trip when it delivered Irving product to St.Lawrence River ports.

East Coast came in west of George's Island. 
On today's visit it tied up at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal. To do so it sailed up west of George's Island, made a big sweep north, and came in alongside with the aid of the tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Oak. Dominion Diving's Halmar did line boat duties.

This is the first time I have had a close up look at the exhaust gas scrubber system, installed abaft the original funnel. Certainly an unattractive addition, but a necessary one to comply with emission regulations in Canada and the US.
The white structure attached to the aft side of the funnel houses the exhaust gas scrubber.
The Irving tankers each carry the ship's initial on the superstructure.

Tugs turn the ship for its approach to the Woodside pier. 

East Coast ex Nor'Easter (i) will be sailing early tomorrow morning, after pumping off a part load. See last week's post on Nor'Easter (ii).


Friday, December 2, 2016

Are there storm clouds ahead for ZIM

With the most recent container line takeover, reducing the number of major players on the industry from 11 to 10, questions swirl around the future of ZIM.

ZIM Piraeus arrives on Wednesday, one of two ZIM callers each week in Halifax.

Yesterday A.P.Moller-Maersk announced the purchase of Hamburg Sud from the Oetker family, pushing Maersk's share of the world container business up to over 18%. At the beginning of the decade there were 20 global container lines, now there are only 10, leaving ZIM as the sole unaffiliated player in the tempestuous industry.

The recent epidemic of mergers, takeovers and alliances (several of which, including the Hamburg-Sud one, will not come into effect until well into 2017) is putting even more pressure on beleaguered smaller operators. There is even talk of a desperation merger of OOCL and Yang Ming - even though a Hong Kong - Taiwan union was unthinkable until recently, or even a sell off to the other majors. Analysts reckon both lines are about half the size needed to survive as global players.
HAPAG-Lloyd also received approval from the EU this week for its purchase of USAC.

ZIM is even smaller*, so must be under tremendous pressure.

A major Port of Halifax customer, ZIM has been a steady presence here for decades, but like all container lines it is suffering from the industry over capacity and the rate wars over shrinking cargo volume. ZIM has been able to survive thanks to deep pocketed investors, and is denying the inevitable rumours of a sell off.


*Generally accepted capacity numbers are as follows:
Maersk 3,800,000 TEU (>610 ships)
Hamburg Sud 650,000 TEU (130 ships)
HAPG-Lloyd + UASC 1,600,000 TEU
Yang Ming 575,000 TEU
OOCL 575,000 TEU
ZIM 326,615 TEU

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Dimitrios K. - ship with a history

The general cargo ship Dimitrios K. is due for bunkers December 1. The ship has been here before and made the news early in its career.
The Wuhu Shipyard in Wuhu, China built the ship in 2001 as the Cedar for Sabine Trading (Diana Shipping Agencies, managers) of Greece. The 16,360 grt ship had a deadweight tonnage of 24,765 and was classed as a general cargo ship, equipped with four cranes and grab buckets for bulk cargoes.
On November 16, 2001 it had a steering failure on the St.Lawrence River and strayed 200 feet out of the channel and grounded on a rocky bottom near Deschaillons. Although freed the next day it was sent back to Quebec City for inspection. It was found to have been holed in two places, but was allowed to proceed to Thorold, ON to unload its cargo of bauxite and alumina and return to Quebec City for repairs.

In 2003 it was sold and renamed Atlantic Castle under the Antigua and Barbuda flag and little was heard of it until it was sold again in 2007 and renamed Ladytramp. The new owners were associated with Korkyra Shipping Ltd of Korcula, Croatia, and the ship was flagged in the Marshall Islands. Its gross tonnage was revised to 16,807.

On June 4, 2013 it arrived in Halifax in ballast for bunkers and made a most unladylike departure a few hours later under a pall of heavy smoke.

On arrival in Baie-Comeau On June 8 it was detained by Transport Canada until June 10 for a defective emergency fire pump and piping.

Later that year it was sold again to current owners, Kallianis Brothers of Athens, Greece, but remains under the Marshall Islands flag. I last saw the ship in Point Tupper November 11, 2014,  where it was unloading cargo using its grabs.

On it latest visit to Halifax it is giving Baie-Comeau as its last port of call on November 29, but may have stopped off Sydney, NS on November 30. It is a little early in the season for an ice advisor, but it may have had a pilot to disembark.

The ship appears to be loaded, which would mean a cargo of grain from the Cargill elevator in Baie-Comeau.

At anchor in the harbor off Purdy's wharf, the research vessel Coriolus II can be seen tied up at the old Coast Guard base in Dartmouth, the site of a new ocean research facility.

Unlike the pleasant weather of the previous photos, today's very high winds will likely delay bunkering for some time.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Oberon - hawsepipe view

In despicable weather and hemmed in at pier 27-28 as it was, I consider myself lucky to have got a mostly unobstructed view of the Wallenius Line large car truck carrier Oberon.

Built in 2007 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, the 71,673 grt ship, with its sister Aniara, are the largest of their type, with an 8,000 car capacity. After unloading cars at Autoport yesterday (and taking bunkers - something fairly rare for autocarriers) it moved over to pier 27-28 today.
The Nirint ship Asian Moon was occupying pier 31 - the usual berth for RoRos on the Halifax side - and it was a fairly tight squeeze to get the Oberon's bow far enough in at pier 27 to allow its ramp to extend out onto pier 28. The pier is 380 meters long and the ship is 231.6m without the ramp. Allowing some room for head lines and the large ramp (which is angled at 27 degrees from the ship's centre line), and turning space at the end of the ramp, it took up almost all of the available pier.
Fortunately the ship does not have projecting bridge wings or it certainly would have interfered with the grain galleries at pier 27.

Not just a car carrier it can also handle trucks and buses and what is termed 'high and heavy' loads too. Today's cargo included the usual tree harvesters and a number of other pieces of wheeled machinery.

The ship was here before, December 30, 2012 but I was not able to get a picture at that time.

Wallenius Lines kindly publishes a spec sheet, which tells more about the ship:


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Woodside I turns 30

On November 29, 1986 the ferry Woodside I arrived in Dartmouth for the first time. Built to operate a new cross harbour service from Woodside on the Dartmouth shore to the Halifax terminal, it was intended to reduce car traffic in downtown Dartmouth, and to service the growing Dartmouth suburbs of Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage. A large parking lot and a bus terminal  on Mount Hope brought passengers to the new ferry terminal via a bridge over the railway tracks.

Under construction at Pictou, Woodside I shares the slips with the HMC Dockyard crane YD 253*, and the National Sea Products trawler Cape Farewell**. Off the end of the slipway is the tug Gulf Spray, now based in Halifax.

Woodside I was nearly identical to the Dartmouth III and Halifax III, built in 1979. It was also built in Pictou, NS by Pictou Industries Ltd, the successor to the Ferguson Industries Ltd shipyard. It is equipped with Voith Schneider "rudder propellers" fitted at each end, allowing for extreme manoeuvrability.
Launched ca. October 11, 1986 it  made its way to Halifax via the Canso Canal, escaping Pictou before ice set in and the Canal closed for the winter. [See fourth footnote]

As delivered, Woodside I sported the Metro Transit chevron pattern.
Because the Woodside terminal was not due for completion until spring, the new ferry was idle until January when it went into Halifax - Dartmouth service to give the other ferries time off for maintenance.
Therefore it was not until May 2, 1987 that it actually began on its intended Woodside-Halifax run.

Serving in all weathers, Woodside I has had a starboard list since earliest days. Here it carries a newer Metro Transit colour scheme with a thin icing of frozen spray. It has also been fitted with a new array of radars, including a mast head scanner.
The ferry's bow is the end with the anchor, but the boat travels equally well either bow or stern first and has duplicate nav. lights.

Since 1987 it has operated on both services, since the three ferries are interchangeable. With delivery in 2015 and 2016 of the new ferries Christopher Stannix and Viola Desmond, the Woodside I has replaced the Halifax III which has been laid up. Another pair of new ferries is on the way, and when they are delivered Woodside I and Dartmouth III will be retired.

Getting away smartly from Halifax, Woodside I carries another colour scheme - since revised. 

Here operating stern first, it will dock at the south side of the Halifax terminal. The passenger ramps on the starboard side (facing the camera) will be lowered when the ferry docks. Another colour scheme is in the works, but not yet applied.

The Woodside ferry terminal bridges the rail line below the Nova Scotia Hospital on Mount Hope. 
Pontoon I in the foreground started life as the Woodside ferry pontoon, built in 1986  and replaced in 2015 with a new floating landing stage.
The new ferry Viola Desmond has arrived at the terminal. It uses its propulsors at full athwartships thrust to remain alongside while passengers disembark and embark.

* YD 253 is still kicking around the Dockyard in Halifax, although its crane has not been rigged for years. I suspect that its fire tower is still considered an asset of the Dockyard fire department. Now that there is no dedicated fire tug, the crane tower could be used for high level firefighting.

** Cape Farewell was built in 1973 by Ferguson Industries Ltd in Pictou, and had just been lengthened from 49.3m to 52m when this photo was taken. In 1994 NatSea sold the trawler and it was renamed Atlantic King, and its Canadian registry was closed. In 1997 it became Orca 1 and was converted for research. In 2004 it was renamed VOS Eastwind and used as a standby safety vessel in the North Sea. It was broken up in Den Helder, Netherlands in 2007.

*** Pontoon 1 is now owned by Waterworks Construction Co Ltd, along with the concrete barge Commdive II and the mini tug Waterworks 1 (among other equipment) based next to the Woodside Terminal. The pontoon was registered as a barge May 7, 2015 and now measures 197 grt. It was previously unregistered when it was a landing stage.

Fourth Footnote:
Two sponsors christened by Woodside I at its launching in Pictou in October 1986. Mrs. Ulah Currie (née Mott) was born before the turn of the 20th century in a house which was demolished in 1909 to make room to expand the Mount Hope Asylum, now called the Nova Scotia Hospital. She was married in 1922 and her husband was one of the original workers at the Imperial Oil refinery in South Woodside, known as Imperoyal.
The other sponsor was Mrs. Hilda Robart whose husband Vernon was also an original employee at Imperoyal when it opened in 1919. Mrs. Robart had lived in Woodside for 67 years.
An article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald on October 10, 1986 concluded with this lovely sentence:
"Both women are close to the age of 90, although they won't give their exact ages."


Sunday, November 27, 2016

More Stuff from 1986 - Part 6 of a series

The autumn of 1986 and winter of 1986-87 was a big year for Japanese tuna fishing. Late in September, the fleet of white longliners began to arrive in Halifax for stores. These sleek boats migrated around the world, from South Africa and South America to take tuna where they congregated.

More than 30 boats arrived in the initial wave and totaled up to 50 by year's end and mostly finished up in January of 1987.

Although of a similar type, there were distinct variations among the various boats.

Three older types at pier 23:

Jinkyu Maru No.18 JNBT,  299 grt/75 Takahashi
Shoshin Maru No.82 JRWE 299 grt/77 Niigata
Shoshin Maru No.83 JGJD 344grt/79 Niigata
They all had the wheelhouse raised a half deck above the boat deck.

Shoshin Maru No.83 sails late in the season.

The newer boats had the wheelhouse raised a full level above the boat deck.

Shoshin Maru No.85 JGQG 344 grt/80 Niigata

Shinsei Maru No.5 JAAL 577 grt/86 Kanasashi

Daito Maru No.1 JAWJ 379/86 Kanasashi

Koei Maru No. 78 JRPA 701/84 Miho

As we now know the Japanese decimated the tuna population and as they did so the number of boats diminished, and we rarely see them anymore. They require different licenses now, and are restricted to ports that they can use, so they can still be seen in St.John's and St-Pierre but not in such great numbers.