Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
In the spring of 1987 ice from the Gulf of St.Lawrence swept into Halifax (which never freezes over.) The tug Point Vigour was called in to divert ice from the propeller of the Russian ship Elton, loading flour at pier 22. The ice moved in an out with the tides and after few days disappeared out to sea.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
The St.Lawrence Seaway system will be closing at the end of this week until spring. Grain also arrives in Halifax by train, and some grain is exported, such as a small quantity to Cuba last week on the ship Nirint Canada.
Footnote: Atlantic Erie loaded gypsum for Valleyfield, QC, After unloading there on December 29, the ship left the St.Lawrence Seaway for Montreal and was the last commercial ship of the season.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Prime Minister visited Cape Breton last week for the first time in his life to announce that indeed the feds will kick in the $19mn balance to fund the $38mn dredging of the harbour by an additional 17 feet. The issue of dredging had become the hottest political item on "the island" in many a moon - with all and sundry in favour of the project. Nova Scotia's premier admitted that it would be political suicide to be against the project. Good thing I'm not a politician.
Of course the dredging is really just the soup before the main course- a $200 mn (in today's dollars) container port that will be the next political must. It will be built to compete with Halifax and Point Melford (which has now received backing from a private investor.)
The Port of Halifax in particular is owned by the taxpayers of Canada, so it is really a question of why the feds would want to build another port to compete with it. But that is an issue for the next election.
Among the statements made in the past to justify the dredging was the import of foreign coal for our power plants. Now that we stand to get Newfoundland hydroelectricity to wean us off coal, this point seems to have faded. It has been replaced by the export of Cape Breton coal. Of course Cape Breton coal is too dirty for us to burn, but it is fine to sell it to somewhere else in the world - if we ever manage to mine anymore.
Gee whiz I am cynical.
As to the dredging itself, the winning bidder for the main part of the work was Van Oord. However their price has likely expired, since the work cannot now begin until next spring when Sydney will be ice free again. My thinking is that the authorities will have to re-tender the work, because the other bidders will squawk. Van Oord (or whoever gets the work) will bring in a foreign flagged trailing suction hopper dredge and do most of the work. There is some clamshell dredging to do, and that will be done by local firms. There is least one wreck to remove and some rock outcrops to blast out. The work will probably be completed by the end of next summer.
Meanwhile southern US ports are tripping over each other to compete for the expected arrival of New Panamax ships when the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2014. Savannah and Charleston are at war over dredging funds, with Savannah at risk of undermining its historic waterfront if it makes its channel wider. New Orleans, Tampa, you name the port, they are clamoring for the business. Meanwhile Norfolk (and area) are grinning because they can handle the ships now. New York/New Jersey is dredging but they still haven't decided if they will raise or replace the Bayonne Bridge.
Halifax is extending its Halterm pier to accommodate two (current) post-Panamax ships, but so far hasn't revealed what it will do about the new Panamax era. (In fact they will be able to accommodate the new Panamax ships, but there is another generation of Post New Panamax ships on order now.)
Interesting times - stay tuned.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Vinland was built in 2000 and sailed from the Ulsan shipyard September 10 of that year. On arrival in Canada she took up a ten year charter plus 15 year option to the seven owners of the Terra Nova oil field. The decision has apparently been made not to take up the 15 year option. Vinland's Canadian registry was closed November 10.
Reasoning behind this decision not to use a purpose built ship which is ably suited for the role, may be related to the current glut of tankers and low charter rates for foreign ships. Certainly oil production at Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose, have been below expectations recently, and that may also be a factor.
Another tanker which had Canadian crews, Catherine Knutsen, has also been reflagged.
Opinion seems to be that "second leg tankers" will be relied upon more and more. In other words Mattea and the remaining shuttle tankers will not be running to refineries in the US or Canada anymore. They will strictly shuttle to Whiffen Head or perhaps Point Tupper. Foreign flag (second-leg) tankers will then transfer the crude to refineries, at lower cost.
However my opinion is that current Canadian cabotage laws may also be behind the decision. Foreign tankers can be chartered in for shuttle work if no Canadian tankers are available. Get rid of the Canadian tankers and you have a loophole which allows for very low cost operation in Canadian waters, using non-Canadian crews. Don't be surprised to see applications for Vinland or similar ships to operate these shuttle services.
Sunday, December 12, 2010
The bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth went to Bedford Basin to an anchorage and the tanker Aegean Spirit at Imperial went out to sea.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
A short life line has been thrown to three Atlantic Canada ferry services with a three year, $51 mn announcement from Ottawa.
The Atlantic Canada premiers wanted a much longer 15 year deal, which would allow planning for new ships, but this stopgap at least allows some breathing room, and perhaps earnest planning for new ships will start.
The three services that have been funded are:
- Digby, NS to Saint John, NB (needs new ferry)
- Caribou, NS to Wood Island, PEI (needs one new ferry)
- Souris, PEI to Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands.
The Minister of Transport owns both Princess of Acadia and Holiday Island which must be replaced with new ships. These should be purpose built and need to be in place, or at least ordered by the time the current subsidy arrangement ends.
The subsidy for the Magdalen Islands operation also extends the service to year round (it used to stop in February and March due to ice) The ferry operator, CTMA owns the ship in question there, but that company should be looking for newer tonnage fairly soon too.
See the full press release here: