Sunday, September 18, 2016

Quest DX official

After nearly two years under the axe, it finally fell on September 2 when a DND memo revealed that in fact CNAV Quest will be decommissioned. Its civilian crew were notified at the same time. The navy's only research ship, built for hydrographic and other research missions, (and able to work in the arctic) will be "gone" by the end of the year and perhaps the employees too. 

Quest at her November Golf jetty, HMC Dockyard.
As covered here in February 2014 the RCN docked the ship until the end of the 2013-2014 budget year to slash costs. However there was no money to run it in subsequent years and it has been idle ever since.
Although no date has been announced it is expected that the official decommissioning will take place before the end of 2016 - likely without ceremony- and the ship will be prepared for disposal. At the rate government ships are actually sold it may be years sitting around the harbour until such time as a sale actually takes place.

I have covered Quest many times. If you care to re-read those posts here are some dates:
June 17, 201
April 4, 2011
April 13, 2001
June 3, 2011 
January 19, 2012
April 18, 2013
March 13, 2013
November 28, 2013

Quest was modified several times over the years to increase research space and to perform certain tasks. None of these alterations improved the ship's appearance. And of course there was the unforgivable lack of buff paint on the funnel.

In any even here are some photos of the ship in better times.

In Pictou, NS awaiting drydocking, Quest shows off her good side, before the hull sponsons were added in 2012.
The ship's port alley was partially plated over in her 1997-1999 mid-life refit. The work could have been done a bit more gracefully and saved the ship's deck line. 

Before that the ship had a more appropriate, yacht-like appearance:

Sailing into Halifax in 1992, in its more or less original appearance, the ship looked quite interesting. Its enclosed crows nest in the funnel structure gave it a distinctive profile. 

Launched by Burrard Dry Dock in North Vancouver July 9, 1968, Quest was commissioned August 21, 1969. A diesel electric ship, it has two 10 cylinder Fairbanks Morse engines (1775 bhp) driving two GE electric motors (1450 shp) on twin screws. It had a mid-life refit in 1997-1999 and extensive modifications in 1999. It was tied up again in 2009 to correct stability and deck subdivision issues outstanding since 1986 and unaccountably never dealt with in previous refits. It also had some engine problems in 2009 leading up to the 2010 drydocking pictured above.
In 2011 it was fitted out for Radar Infrared Electro-Magnetic Pressure Acoustic Signature [RIMPASSE] experiments and crossed the Atlantic to work with the German and Dutch navies.  At that time it was painted navy grey on one side only and fitted with side curtains and hull cooling.
In 2012 it reverted to its old self and conducted research in the arctic. Its only since that time that it has had the white funnel.
It is also to be noted that it is the last white ship in Canadian government service. We will soon only have CSS Acadia to remind us of the days when hydrographic ships were white!

Footnote: CCGS Matthew, formerly white also, was laid up in 2012 and renamed 2015-03 prior to disposal. It was offered for sale for $2.25 mn, but there were no takers on August 7. It was re-posted for sale for $1.9mn and that sale closed September 7.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

No encore at this concert

Another ACL ship has gone to the breakers.Atlantic Concert arrived off Alang, India September 15 and  was beached two days later. Scrapping likely began immediately. Its fleet mate Atlantic Companion was the first to go in September 2015, followed by Atlantic Compass in June 2016.

Last call.

The last time I saw the Atlantic Concert, it was sailing from Halifax July 23, 2016 for the last time and it was certainly obvious that no investment was being made in the ship except to keep it running long enough to get through its last few weeks of service.

Atlantic Concert in 1984

The first time I saw the ship it was brand new, in June of 1984. Fresh out of the Kockums AB shipyard in Malmo, Sweden it measured 25,435 grt / 36,500 dwt with a capacity of 2157 TEU and a huge RoRo capacity served by a massive stern ramp, it dwarfed most other ships calling in Halifax.
I was a less prolific photographer then, so it was not until August that I finally got a picture.

Atlantic Concert in 1986

The ship was then owned by Wallenius Lines, an original partner in ACL, and remained under their ownership when ACL began a joint service with HAPAG-Lloyd to Montreal in 1987. The ship was renamed Concert Express and sent to Hyundai Mipo to be lengthened 42m thus increasing tonnages to 57,255 grt / 44,988 dwt (later reported as 51,648) and container capacity to 2908. Its overall length was then 292.01m ( 958 ft).

Concert Express in 1989.
(as seen from the bridge of the tug Point Halifax and through tinted glass)

In 1990 Atlantic Container Line AB was formed in Sweden to own the ACL ships with Grimaladi Group as the owner and managers. In 1994 the ship reverted to its original name again and has been a predictable presence in Halifax ever since. With five G3 class near-sisters, ACLs were the most readily identifiable ships in  Halifax and that is why I chose one for the mast head photo (Atlantic Compass taken November 23, 2014).

Atlantic Concert docks at Fairview Cove Febraury 1, 1986, as the tug Point Vibert stands by to flush broken ice away from the dock. 
(Bedford Basin rarely freezes over, but ice does form or is blown into Fairview Cove.)

The two remaining G3 ships, Atlantic Conveyor and Atlantic Cartier will also be heading to India as the next G4 class ships come into service.

With the new ships ACL is expanding its capacity considerably and has expressed concern about the recent talk of moving Fairview traffic to Halterm and resultant delays in rail loadings. If Halifax cannot compete with New York for delivery of mid-west traffic, we may see the last of ACL ships.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Zuiderdam makes it this time, and more

As mentioned yesterday Zuiderdam's first scheduled visit to Halifax was scrubbed September 5 due to the storm Hermine. However the ship made it today and gusty winds and some intermittent mist and light showers didn't deter its passengers form their shoreside activities. It is on to Sydney, NS for tomorrow and then to the St.Lawrence.

 While in port the ship's fast rescue craft got in some training time and was re-embarked after the ship was off the pier.

Built in 2002 by Fincantieri Breda in Marghera, Itlay, the 82,820 grt ship normally carries1916 passengers, but it has a maximum capacity of 2272.

The FRC is being hoisted aboard as the ship sets out to round George's Island.

The Vista class ship received upgrades in 2015 adding new staterooms and "dining venues" thus increasing its grt from the original 81,769.

Also in port today Norwegian Gem  Dawn and Serenade of the Seas added to the crowds on the waterfront.

Serenade was well outbound before I could see it as Zuiderdam blocked the view - not to mention several intent mackerel fishers.

Number one anchorage was mostly occupied by the bulker Frontier Lodesman while it under went an Asian Gypsy Moth inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Such procedures normally take only a few hours, but the ship was in port all day.

Built in 2011 by Koyo Dockyard in Mihara, Japan the 92,752 grt, 191,338 dwt ship is one of the largest bulkers to call in Halifax. It is bound to Sept-Iles, QC to load iron ore.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Picking up - more or less- where we left off

Shipfax resumes its posts now that staff vacations are completed. It will still cover activities in Halifax Harbour - and elsewhere - but perhaps not with quite the the breathless urgency of before. We will see.

It seems like a good time to resume as Queen Mary 2 made another of its visits to Halifax - its third of four scheduled this year.

Always a draw for  onlookers, the waterfront was lined with visitors and residents as the ship got away this afternoon. The ship looks quite splendid now that its hull has been repainted and is still an impressive sight even if it is not the biggest ship to call here.

The holder of that title was the monster Anthem of the Seas, September 1. It is due back twice this month and in October. I may dare to take a picture then.

The cruise season seems to be going well, with only one cancellation so far. HAL's Zuiderdam passed up its September 5 visit and arrived in New York a day early to avoid Tropical Storm Hermine that was lingering over Cape Cod and possibly heading north. It is due again tomorrow.

Also in port was a substantial naval presence with USS Robert E. Peary, Bulkely, Gonzalez, Toledo, HMS Monmouth, FS Languedoc and ESPS Patino (for the RCN) all in port for the weekend after NATO exercises.

The handsome Arleigh Burke class Bulkely (DDG 84) and Gonzalez (DDG 66) against the backdrop of the hulking Robert E. Peary tied up at Jetty Bravo.

The ships are due to sail on Monday, which unfortunately Shipfax will not be able to cover due to conflicting assignments.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Time Has Come

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

I've talked - mostly about ships - for 30 years in Shipfax - first as a newsletter and since 2009 as a blog-  but it is time for a break to talk about other things  - perhaps not only those listed above.

Shipfax and its companion Tugfax will now be taking a summer sabbatical.

I will continue to photograph ships in Halifax and anywhere else I happen to be, but I will not have the time to devote to the blog during the summer months.

Come September we will see what transpires, but as I have mentioned before a new format or a new means of communication will be coming.

Thank you for your support and encouragement.

photos: Queen Mary 2 arriving in Halifax July 3, 2016.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Carnival Sunshine -

Carnival Sunshine called today for the first time since her major refit in 2013. Before that she was Carnival Destiny a regular here in the early 2000s.

Dense fog creeps in as Carnival Sunshine gets away from pier 22 this evening.
Built in 1996 by Fincantieri Italiani, Monfalcone, it was the lead ship of the Destiny class of four. Originally with a passenger capacity of 2,642 that was increased in a 2013 refit to 3,006 although crew size remained at 1,150.

 The ship was much sleeker looking in its orginal form.

The refit at Trieste, the biggest in Carnival's history, cost a reputed $155 mn and involved redoing almost all of the public spaces. It also added a large water slide and some new high level spaces forward. The change was so dramatic that the ship was re-branded as Carnival Sunshine .

Passengers got a bit of thrill as the ship heeled over to make a very sharp turn north of George's Island. Another uncooperative pleasure sailor (just off the bow) was the cause.

The ship's sleek appearance in the first go round has been marred by the new cabins up top forward, but it is the water slide that really rankles! Oh well, it is a cruise ship.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Titania takes a turn

It was a breezy day in Halifax harbour, and so must have presented some challenges for turning an auto carrier. However Titania pulled it off, with the help of two tugs.

The ship arrived this morning at Autoport and late this afternoon moved across harbour to unload some non-automobile RoRo cargo.

With the assistance of the tugs Atlantic Fir (5,000 bhp) and Atlantic Willow (4,500 bhp) the ship turned in number one anchorage and backed into the camber at pier 30-31.

Titania dates from 2011 when it was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co in Okpo. Classed as a LCTC (Large Car and Truck Carrier)  It carries 7,800 (some say 7,934) cars in its 74,255 grt, 30,907 dwt on 13 decks. It can also carry significant sized RoRo cargo thanks to some strengthened decks, some movable decks and its 320 tonne capacity stern ramp.