Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Last Man Standing

 The Ocean Terminals piers recently had four ships alongside but the last one will be sailing today, January 25. The Algoma Tankers' Algotitan (ex Chantaco) moved from Pier 27 via anchorage yesterday to Imperial Oil this morning, and the former Algoma Hansa sailed from Pier 25 as Algo on January 21. The high-heat tanker Iver Ambition sailed in the very early hours of this morning from Pier 26, resuming its trip to Ghent, Belgium, although giving suburban Zelzate as its destination.

The newly renamed Algotitan posed for photos at anchor yesterday.

 That left the bulk carrier Midland Trader to finish loading wood pellets at Pier 28. By this afternoon the ship was buttoned up and ready to sail for Skagen, Denmark where the wood will be converted to "sulphur and fossil free" bio-fuel. The ship arrived here January 16 [see previous posts.]

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Sunday, January 22, 2023

Iver Ambition

 The Dutch company Iver Ships BV has fleet of about 100 ships, which includes around 40 offshore service vessels. Earlier this months a group of banks took over control of the company from the Vroon family and announced that the Vroon Offshore Services (VOS) vessels would be sold off over the next eighteen months to reduce a high debt level.

The 133 year old company will retain its 60 some tankers, livestock carriers and Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (ERRVs). Among the tankers are the six product tankers on long term charter to Irving Oil - two under Canadian flag: Acadian and East Coast ex Nor'Easter (i) and four foreign flag: Great Eastern, New England , Nor'Easter (ii) ex Iver Progress and Iver Prosperity.

Iver Ships BV also specializes in "high heat tankers" - ships especially built to carry bitumen and asphalt cargoes that must be kept heated at temperatures from 150 degrees C to 190 degrees C (302 degrees F to 374 degrees F). The cargo is carried in special tanks within the hull that are heavily insulated and physically isolated on rubber mounts so that stresses of expansion and contraction are not transmitted to the ship's hull.

Among the high heat tankers is the Iver Ambition, which arrived in Halifax January 20 and tied up at Pier 26 East.

The ship was built by Brodospas Kraljevica in Croatia in 2009. Named San Lorenzo, the 6296 gt, 8962 dwt ship was renamed in 2015 after a major refit in Singapore. It has two blocks of high heat tanks (each with six cells) - one forward of the midships pump room and one aft. It continues to fly the Italian flag and is owned by the Vroon subsidiary Petrolmar SRL.

The ship made the news in 2021 when it was quarantined in Conception Bay, Nfld from July 5 to 22 with fourteen cases of COVID-19. Last winter it arrived in Halifax February 14 from Sept-Iles, QC for some unspecified issues related to winter conditions. This year it arrived from Trois-Rivières, QC, again for unspecified reasons.

Last year, when the ship was at Pier 9C, its hull paint was in much better condition.

Among the cargoes the ship carries is coal tar pitch, an essential material used as a binder for the electrodes used in aluminum smelting. Canada's largest aluminum smelter is located in Sept-Iles, QC, and the port of Trois-Rivières serves Alcoa's Deschambault smelter. The ship often calls at those ports.

 Conditions last February 2022 look much the same as today, January 22, 2023 with lots of snow on the ground.

The ship maintains its transatlantic service running from Ghent or Antwerp, Belgium or Zelzate, Netherlands, and in addition to the ports in Quebec it also sails into the Great Lakes. It reached Hamilton, ON in April, May, July and October and finally on November 27, 2022 and sailed December 1 returning to Antwerp December 18-20, Zelzate December 20-23 and Trois-Rivières January 14-16.

A slightly smaller "high heat" fleet mate, the Netherlands flag Iver Bright usually spends the entire year on the Great Lakes operating between Sarnia, ON and US ports summer and winter. (It can remain registered foreign as long as it doesn't trade between ports of the same country).

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Saturday, January 21, 2023

Algo, Algoing, Algone

 The tanker Algo sailed from Halifax this morning (January 21) to take up its new career. After serving Algoma Tankers Ltd as Algoma Hansa since 2008 it is headed for refit in one of the shipyards in Las Plamas de Canaria.

It has been reported that new owners Hero Navigation SA (incorporated in the Marshall Islands) plan to use the ship for shuttle work (likely in Africa.). Now registered in Liberia, with all certificates renewed, that leaves only its classification to be renewed within the next thirteen months. 

Typical of a ship that has worked on the Great Lakes it got underway from Pier 26 without tugs and cleared the ship ahead of it at Pier 26 with ease. [See Iver Ambition in a subsequent post].
 

Underway and headed for sea,in ballast, it will not be long before it reaches the warmer temperatures of the Gulf Stream, and any traces of snow on deck will be gone.

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Friday, January 20, 2023

Snow Day

 The first significant snow fall of the winter today (January 20) - about 10cm and counting - resulted in some delays and re-scheduling due to conditions on shore.

The tanker Algo - the former Canadian tanker Algoma Hansa -was due to sail, but the departure was cancelled. The ship has been alongside at Pier 25 since January 7.

The ship was retired from the Algoma Tankers Ltd fleet earlier this month and has been sold, renamed and registered in Liberia. (The ship's new owners are incorporated in the Marshall Islands). Informed opinion is that it will be used in shuttle or bunkering service somewhere in the third world. According to on-line sources, all the ship's certificates were renewed this month and it has from February 2023 to March 2024 to renew its current classification. (That classification may not be renewed depending on the Owner's plans. Twenty-five year refits to maintain status are very costly and therefore rare.)

Another long-stay ship was due to sail today, and return tomorrow - possibly for sea trials - but that has been delayed. Thorco Legacy arrived on December 22, 2022  and took up an anchorage position in Bedford Basin. It then moved alongside Pier 9B on January 7 where it has been fitted up with steel racks for undersea fibreoptic cable.

 While alongside the ship may also have undergone some maintenance which requires testing before the ship can sail to its next port. Most ships fitted with cable racks go on to Portsmouth (Newington) NH where the cable is manufactured by Subcom Cable Systems LLC. Subcom also installs, manages and maintains cable networks world wide.

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Thursday, January 19, 2023

No Good News for the Needler

 There is more bad news for the research trawler CCGS Alfred Needler. A report on the Vesseltracker.com web site today (January 19) states that the ship received structural damage to its starboard side potable water tank while alongside at the Bedford Institute (BIO) in Dartmouth. No date was given.

Some recent bad weather, with high winds and waves may have been the cause of the damage even though the BIO dock is well sheltered. The Needler has been alongside at the BIO since December 18 of last year after an engine air failure and a trawl winch breakdown caused the ship to return to port. See Shipfax post of December 22, 2022.

 Repairs to the previous damage were to be completed in February, and the ship was to enter an unplanned life extension according to press reports.

Extent of the latest damage is not visible from the Halifax side of the harbour,  but is assumed to be above the waterline.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Banner Year for the Port

 The three container ports in eastern Canada have published their statistics for the year 2022 and all are showing increases in container throughput.

The Port of Halifax exceeded 600,000 TEU for the first time.

The Port of Halifax can accommodate the largest ships now calling on the east coast of North America. This CMA CGM T. Roosevelt, with a 14,414 TEU capacity, arriving January 18, is typical of the larger ships (the largest are closer to 16,000 TEU). Investment in new cranes and other equipment in 2023 should see the Port remaining competitive.

The Port of Saint John, NB experienced a surge in traffic and exceeded 150,000 TEU - well in excess of previous years - thanks largely to a new interest in the Port by CP Rail. Terminal improvements and two more cranes (due in the next few days) may result in more growth in 2023.

The Port of Montreal has by far the largest container volume in eastern Canada with a 1,596,750 TEU throughput in 2022. A minimal increase of less than 1% over 2021, it is nevertheless an impressive number. Imports accounted for 794,444 TEU and exports for 802,305 TEU.

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Ale for the Basin, Morning Celine for Pier 9C

 A resident of Pier 9C since January 3, [see January 4 post]  the bulk carrier Ale was obliged to move off the berth today January 18 to make way for another ship. The autocarrier Morning Celine will be moving this afternoon from Autoport to unload machinery at Pier 9C. 

Tugs Atlantic Fir (bow) and Atlantic Beaver (stern) tow the disabled Ale from Pier 9C to anchorage in Bedford Basin.

  The hardluck Ale damaged its hull, rudder and propellor in September when it ran aground in Long Pond, NL. It was towed to Méchins, QC for temporary repairs by the tugs Atlantic Larch and Atlantic Fir. In December it was to be taken in tow by the Italian tug Kamarina and headed for Setubal, Portugal for permanent repairs. [The nature of the damage was beyond the capability of the Verreault shipyard to repair due to other commitments for its drydock, and winter conditions.] 

However when leaving the drydock, the ship made contact with one or two of the shipyard tugs and a tanker that was lying alongside. [It did not run aground contrary to early reports]. Then while in the Gulf of St.Lawrence, one leg of the towing bridle parted and the tug and ship diverted to Halifax to re-establish the connection. 


 

The Ale does not have the use of its own engine or steering, so is required to have a tug alongside at all times when at anchor. The tug Kamarina moved to be alongside the ship for the day.

 The tug Kamarina moved to Bedford Basin anchorage Monday, January 16 (date of photo).

Once the Morning Celine completes its operations late this evening the Ale will be returned to Pier 9C nad Kamarina will move back to another anchorage position in Bedford Basin.

In order to unload at Pier 9C the Morning Celine has to dock "starboard side to" because its stern ramp is fixed for starboard side unloading only (like most autocarriers). Therefore it must go through the Narrows to Bedford Basin, turn, then come back under the MacKay bridge to tie up in the correct orientation at Pier 9C. This is now becoming a fairly common sight as RoRo cargo operations have moved from Pier 30-31 to Pier 9C. It is still impressive however to see autocarriers in the Narrows. (Assist tugs are not visible on the ship's port side.) 

Morning Celine has turned in Bedford Basin and is passing back under the bridge and coming alongside at Pier 9C.

Built in 2009 by Imabari Zosen, Marugame, Japan, it is a 60,931 gt, 22,415 dwt vessel with a capacity of 6458 cars. Although actual ownership is shrouded in Panamanian anonymity, it operates for Eukor / Wilhelmsen, currently on the transatlantic turn for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean. Previous ports include Southampton December 20-21, Goteborg December 26-27, Zeebrugge January 3-8.

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