Thursday, December 2, 2021

Kitikmeot W. and Pier 9c

The Canadian flag tanker Kitikmeot W. arrived in Halifax this morning (December 2) from Matane, QC and tied up at Pier 9C. 

Built in 2010 in Turkey by Icdas Celik Enerji Tersane ve Ulasim Sanagi to its own account as Icdas-09 it is a 13,097 gt, 19,983 dwt ice class chemical/product carrier. Coastal Shipping Ltd of Goose Bay, NL, part of the Woodward Group, acquired the ship and its sister Icdas-11 in 2018. (It became Qikiqtaaluk W. and was here November 21-22 [qv]).

After a summer working in the far north Kitikmeot W. is likely to be flagged out for the winter. It has been re-registered in the Marshall Islands from roughly December to the following May or June in 2019-20 and 2020-21 when it has returned to Canadian registration.


Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Beans Out - Grain In

It has been an unusually busy time at the grain piers in Halifax. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating for several days, causing delays for two ships.  

The  bulk carrier St.Sophia arrived November 23 from Quebec City to top up its cargo with soy beans. That cargo is handled by the Halifax Grain Elevator Ltd and uses the grain conveyor system running from the storage silos through six grain spouts at Pier 28.

St.Sophhia was built in 2018 by Mitsui Tomano and is a 34,094 gt, 60,424 dwt vessel with four cargo handling cranes of unknown tonnage rating. Due to the moisture sensitive nature of the cargo, the ship could not load in the rainy weather over the past few days.

However it did manage to complete loading this afternoon (December 1) and sailed just at sunset for the Port of El Dekheila, in a suburb of Alexandria, Egypt.

Meanwhile the  Canadian bulker Radcliffe R. Latimer arrived November 25 from Thunder Bay with a cargo of wheat consigned to P+H Milling. The Halifax grain elevator provides storage space for the flour mill, and delievers the wheat as needed via a grain pipeline. Again, due to the moisture sensitive cargo, the Latimer could not unload in heavy rain. It was finally able to begin unloading today and will sail over night. With only a few weeks left in the St.Lawrence Seaway season, the ship will be heading back to the Great Lakes (via Lower Cove, Newfoundland).

The Port of Halifax owns the grain elevator structures, and leases the facility to Halifax Grain Elevator Ltd. The silos were built as a grain export facility when the government of Canada subsidized rail freight rates to facilitate grain exports.


The following is an exerpt from a previous post:

"The elevator, consisting of 365 silos, with a total capacity of 5,152,000 bushels was built in four stages: 1925, 1929, 1958 and 1963. The first stage was but to replace the previous elevator destroyed in the Halifax explosion. Later stages were prompted by amendments to the Crow’s Nest Pass Agreement. That 1897 deal, between the Canadian government and the Canadian Pacific Railway gave the railroad access to valuable mineral properties in exchange for reduced rates to haul grain and flour eastbound - in perpetuity. Well perpetuity for governments is not for ever! The rate was suspended during World War I, and was revised in 1927 (after the government had formed the Canadian National Railroad) and then applied to grain only and to all rail lines. The CPR deal had favoured the Port of Saint John, but with the new CNR serving Halifax, a bigger grain elevator was warranted.

From the 1930s through the 1960s Halifax was a major grain exporting hub. In those days the entire St.Lawrence River closed for the winter and Halifax stockpiled grain and shipped it from January to April in huge quantities. Often the elevator was full. The port of Halifax owns the grain elevator and leases it to operators Halifax Grain Elevator Ltd.

As I said perpetuity does not mean forever with governments and the rate was adjusted in 1984 by the Western Grain Transportation Act, but it was capped. In 1993 it was eliminated completely and the grain trade for Halifax fell away dramatically. Traffic had been eroding anyway with the opening of the St.Lawrence Seaway, winter navigation on the St.Lawrence and better connections to the Mississippi and the west coast."

With the virtual elimination of grain exports through Halifax, the grain silos are used for storing quantities of grain for local consumption, such as P+H Milling. They are also used to store wood pellets for export to Europe as hog fuel, and more recently for soy beans, which are exported. The soy beans arrive in Halifax by truck or rail.

The Port of Halifax provides an excellent aerial photo on its web site showing the entire facility:

Halifax Grain Facility


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Morning and Afternoon

 There were two first time ships in Halifax today (November 30). One arrived yesterday afternoon, and one this afternoon. The combination of short daylight hours and driving rain meant that I was not able to photograph yesterday's arrival until this morning. Appropriately for a morning photo, it was the EUKOR autocarrier Morning Lucy.

The ship docked initially at Pier 31 in Halifax to unload RoRo cargo, then moved first thing this morning to Autoport to unload cars. It is on a regular Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean transatlantic Europe to North America route. 

Morning Lucy was built in 2009 by Hyundai Samho in Mokpo, South Korea. A 68,701 gt, 28,080 dwt ship it has a capacity of 8,011 cars and can also carry substantial RoRo cargo. It is owned by the cryptically named S332 International SA of Panama. (S332 is the ship's hull number assigned by the  builder). The ship's technical manager is Wilhelmsen Ship Management (Korea) Ltd and its commercial manager is Eukor Car Carriers Inc (which is owned by the four car carier companies, Wallenius, Wilhelmsen, American RoRo Carrier and United European Car Carriers).

The second "new to Halifax" ship is MSC Silvana arriving this afternoon at PSA Halifax on the Indus 2 service. It is the seventh ship to arrive on that service since it was started last month. Built in 2006 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co, Okpo, it is a 94,489 gt, 114,115 dwt ship with a capacity of 8400 TEU. 

As the ship came in, it passed Kotor Bay which is anchored offshore and is the next ship scheduled in the Indus 2 (weekly) service. MSC Silvana was initially due November 18, and has been hove to or drifting offshore since at least November 25. Presumably PSA must handle MSC Silvana's import and export cargo before working Kotor Bay which was due November 25 on the same Indus 2 service. 

Bad weather must account for at least some of the schedule slippage. I do note that one MSC ship, the MSC Leigh, was diverted from anchorage off Halifax yesterday to Saint John to lighten its draft before heading up the St.Lawrence. I assume this was done to prevent further delays and congestion in Halifax. 
With winter soon upon us, schedules will certainly be stretched and ships may be forced to bypass Halifax altogether. 



Oceanex Sanderling - extra trip

When extensive flooding in Newfoundland cut off road access to Port aux Basques last week Marine Atlantic was forced to shift its Newfoundland terminal operations to Argentia until roads and bridges could be re-opened. Long lineups of trucks both in Newfoundland and in North Sydney, Nova Scotia resulted in some cargo diverting to rival Oceanex. Both containers, RoRo and drop trailers can be handled by Oceanex Sanderling, out of Halifax, but none of Oceanex's three ships (two operating from Montreal, one from Halifax, all directly to St.John's) can accommodate the truck tractors and drivers.

 Oceanex Sanderling moving cross harbour from PSA to Autoport 

 [File photo]

Some of the delayed cargo is perishable, and some other other is needed urgently, so Oceanex is reponding to demand by compressing the Oceanex Sanderling's schedule. Normally the ship sails from Halifax Friday evening and returns from St.John's late the following week, allowing two days to work cargo at PSA Halifax and Autoport. This week the ship returned to Halifax this morning (Tuesday, November 30) and is due to sail this evening. It will not be loading any vehicles at Autoport, but instead will be working containers and drop trailers, and any other RoRo cargo, only at PSA Halifax. 


On its previous trip to Halifax Oceanex Sanderling loaded at Autoport, but will skip it this time.
[photo date November 25, 2021]

Oceanex Sanderling is now due back in St.John's December 2. Oceanex has not pubished a schedule beyond that date, so I suppose they will respond to demand by shortening turn around time at both ends and making extra trips as needed. This current trip is Voyage #49 for the year, so it is likely they will exceed 52 trips in 2021.

Oceanex Sanderling - regular as clock work - making one of its countless arrivals in Halifax.

[File photo - 2018]




Saturday, November 27, 2021

BBC for 9C

 Another ship arrived today to be fitted for steel frames to carry submarine cable. This time it is BBC Direction a 2007 product of the Viana do Castelo shipyard in Spain. Built as Vela J. it was renamed Industrial Dream on delivery. In 2015 it became BBC Vela and took its present name in 2019.

A multi-purpose vessel of 7252 gt, 7973 dwt, it also has heavy load and heavy lift capability with two 250 tonne capacity cranes. As with most Spanish built ships it has a stylish touch, this one with a "turtleback" over the foredeck and the sloped fairings aft on the superstructure.

Atlantic Beaver comes alongside the starboard quarter to assist the ship to a berth at Pier 9C north.

Due to the limited bending radius for fibreoptic cable, it must be stored in coil fashion. The steel racks are designed to nest the cable securely, and to allow for easy transfer to shore or cable ships without damage. Once the cable racks are fitted the ships usually head to Newington, NH (adjacent to Portsmouth) where the cable is manufactured. They can then load and deliver the cable to wherever it is needed. 


Algoma Days - Part 2

 Another day, another Algoma. After yesterday's two Algoma ships, there were again two today,  November 27, with Algoma Integrity arriving for another load of Gold Bond gypsum.

 Purpose built to serve CGC (Canadian Gypsum Corp) the Canadian branch of US Gypsum, in 2009 by EISA-Ilha, Rio de Janeiro, the ship was originally called Gypsum Integrity and was owned by the shipping subsidiary Fundy Transportation. When USG closed its operations in Hantsport and Grand Narrows, NS, the ship 's managers, Beltships Ltd, found work for the ship and its sister Gypsum Centennial in Africa, shuttling iron ore to larger bulk carriers in Sierra Leone.

Algoma Central Corp acquired and renamed the ship Gypsum Integrity in 2015 and operated it under Canadian flag for two years until new ships were completed. It was then registered in the Bahamas and placed in the CSL Americas pool of self-unloaders. It continues to carry gypsum, but also carries coal and aggregates. It has become a regular caller in Halifax for Gold Bond (formerly National Gypsum) the direct competitors of its first owners.

The tugs Spitfire III (aft) and  Atlantic Willow (forward) make up to the ship as it passes Pier 9 in the Narrows bound for the Gold Bond dock in Bedford Basin.

The 33.047 gt, 47,761 dwt ship can unload gypsum, coal and aggregates at an average rate of 2,500 tonnes per hour, and ore at 3,000 tonnes per hour. (CSL Americas quotes the ship's capacity at 46,293 dwt.)  Its 76.50 meters long telescoping unloading boom has an outreach of 60.40 meters.

When I checked up on the other Algoma ship, the Radcliffe R. Latimer at Pier 26 this morning, it was not unloading its grain cargo - possibly due to off and on rain showers. 

(See yesterday's post for a photo of the ship with its boom swung out for unloading.)


Friday, November 26, 2021

Algoma Days

 Algoma Central Corp has become a major shipping operator in recent years. After nearly a century serving the Great Lakes it expanded its bulk carrier activity to international waters through its participation in the CSL self-unloader pool. It also moved into the tanker business, acquiring, then upgrading, Imperial Oil (Esso)'s domestic fleet. It has also formed NACC, Nova Algoma Cement Carriers, in a joint venture with the European operator Nova.

Algoma has now been present in Halifax on consecutive days November 25 and November 26.

On Thursday November 25 the Bahamas flag self-unloading bulk carrier Algoma Verity sailed for Tampa, FL, with a load of gypsum for Gold Bond.

Built by Shanghai Shipyard in 2000 as Alice Oldendorff, the ship was acquired by Algoma in 2019 when Oldendorff exited from the CSL pool. Constructed as a conventional bulk carrier, the ship measures 28,747 gt and 50, 259 dwt. It was immediately retrofitted by Krupp Fordertechnik with a system of conveyors and hoppers. Ship's cranes fitted with grabs, move cargo from the holds to hoppers and conveyors transport the material to the unloading boom which swings out overside to deposit the cargo on shore.

The Krupp system was a way to maximize carrying capacity since most self-unloaders sacrifice hull space for sloping tank tops to direct cargo to belt tunnels. They make up for reduced capacity by rapid discharge and therefore more voyages. However for some trades slightly slower discharge rates can be offset by more cargo capacity per trip, and that is what Oldendorff and Thyssen Krupp had in mind for this system, which retains the conventionally shaped holds. 

On November 26 the Canadian flag self-unloader Radcliffe R. Latimer arrived with a load of grain from Thunder Bay. The rare grain delivery by ship will likely be the only one this year before the St.Lawrence Seaway closes for the winter.

In this 2018 photo, the ship is tied up at Pier 26 unloading into the conveyor system that leads to Halifax Grain Elevators. Most grain that arrives in Halifax is for domestic use as feed or for processing at P+H Milling for flour. Grain exports are rare, but ships do sometimes "top up" in Halifax if they loaded grain at Great Lakes or St.Lawrence River ports.

The Radcliffe R. Latimer was built as the Algobay to maximum St.Lawrence Seaway dimensions by Collingwood Shipbuilding in 1978. It was built to Nova Scotia class, allowing for short sea trips outside the normal limits of Great Lakes bulkers. In 1987-88 it was upgraded to Caribbean class, allowing for extended sea trips. It operated under foreign flag under charter to Beltships from 1990 to 1992 and to CSL as Atlantic Trader from 1994 to 1995, and under Canadian flag to 1997. Its career appeared to be at an end in 2002 when it was laid up in Toronto. However in 2007 Algoma moved the ship to Hamilton where it was prepped for an ocean tow.

In 2008 it was towed to China, via the Suez Canal where a new foreboady was grafted on by Chengxi Shipyard. The existing aft section was much modernised with a new bridge and equipment. It then returned to Canada in 2010 under its own power via the Pacific Ocean and Panama Canal. It was renamed Radcliffe R. Latimer in 2012 and has been an off and on caller in Halifax ever since, sometimes bringing in grain, and loading gypsum for Canadian ports.