Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Travels

Due to summer travels, postings on this blog may be intermittent for some time to come.

Encana and SBM gearing up

1. Through the fence at pier 31, Talisman has a deck extension and some guards installed on her starboard side to restrain a deck load, which will be floated on.

Encana, operators of the Deep Panuke gas field off Nova Scotia have been very quiet of late, and so have their main contractors SBM (Single Buoy Moorings). However activity is gearing up with a plethorta of vessels arriving in the very short term to install the MODU (Mobile Offshore Production Unit)

Essentially a four legged platform, it will recover gas from up to eight wells, process it and send it ashore via pipeline. It will house workers, and be fitted with cranes and other gear.

Since most of the components for the MODU have been built overseas, they will be arriving on barges and semi-submersible ships and some will likely use the Strait of Canso as their base of operations. Other activities will occur completely at sea, so we may not such much in Halifax.

However today's arrival of the semi-submersible heavy lift ship Talisman is an indication of what may be coming. Built in 1993 as the tanker Comor, renamed in 1999 Front Comor, it was rebuilt in 2008 to its present configuration. (It also looks like it hasn't been painted since then either.) As a semi-submersible ship, it can carry large components, and can submerge (if needed) to float the componentns off and on. It has been especially prepared for this project, and will be off to the Mulgrave area soon.

Among the other equipment scheduled to arrive for the MODU installation is the barge Boabarge 36, which will transport the Field Production Centre (FPC) from Halifax to Deep Panuke. It will be accompanied by four large tugs, Maersk Challenger and Maersk Chignecto, and two yet to be named foreign tugs, which will tow and standby the barge throughout the operation. But that is only one component of the project, and other vessels are expected too.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Louis stores up

CCGS Louis S St-Laurent came off the drydock on the weekend and moved to the Bedford Institute dock. This is of course the dock which was too small to accommodate the ship. That combined with all the extra steaming time to get to Halifax from the arctic resulted in the transfer to Argentia. I didn't believe it then and I still don't!

Anyway the ship is storing up for its summer in the arctic. Whether it goes to Argentia first (and why would it?) remains to be seen.

Its normal route to the arctic from Halifax is through the Cabot Strait, up the west coast of Newfoundland and through the Strait of Belle Isle. If all the spin about extra steaming time was true then it better not go to Argentia!

The ship looks quite splendid in its fresh paint and is still an impressive sight no matter what the politicians do with it.
We should know in September which shipyard will build its replacement, CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. Must we be reminded of politicians every time it sails by? Surely there is a Canadian without partisan affiliations whose name could be applied to a ship without controversy. CCGS Terry Fox is a brilliant example of a name choice-there must be more.
Did you know there is a Coast Guard vessel naming policy?
See the gory details here:


NS Silver

The chemical and product tanker NS Silver anchored this afternoon to await the berth at Imperial Oil currently occupied by Sichem Mumbai.

NS Silver is operated by SCF Novoship, a Russian company, (NS stands for Novo Ship, not Nova Scotia.) It measures 27,357 gross tons, 47, 197 deadweight, was built in 2005 and is registered in Liberia.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Holding up extremely well

The bulk carrier Federal Fuji is holding up surprisingly well for a ship of its age. Built in 1986 the bulker is a product of the NKK shipyard in Shimizu, Japan. Measuring 17,814 gross tons and 29,531 deadweight, the ship carries four 25 tonne cranes to work cargo.

When many ships its age are heading for the breakers, this 25 year old is still soldiering on. Part of its secret to longevity is that it was well built and fitted with a reliable Sulzer engine (built in under license.) The ship is a suitable size to use the St.Lawrence Seaway, although it hasn't done so yet this year, nor in 2010. It made two trips to Hamilton, ON in 2009.

The ship was once owned by Fednav, but is now owned by Viken Lakers and is on long term charter to Fednav.


It arrived this afternoon, fully loaded, for bunkers. It has called here several times over the years, particularly when Michelin tire was importing tire cores in bulk.

Used Car Carrier?

A rather beat up looking car carrier arrived this morning. Although it certainly looks used, the cars it is carrying are presumably new (unless Rent A Wreck has started to import its cars.)

The normally pristine Maersk blue is much faded and worn, and there is a probable explanation.

Built originally in 1998 as Maersk Teal, the ship was sold by AP Moller (Maersk) to Hoegh Autoliners - normally a competitor, but it was one of those unfathomable deals involving ships. It was renamed Hoegh Masan, and although Hoegh Autoliners were the owners, Moller were still involved in the management. It retained the Maersk colours (except the funnel, which was repainted for Hoegh.)

Then in March of this year the ship appears to have been sold again, this time to CSAV of Santiago, Chile, and renamed CSAV Rio Salado- the name it carries now.

There was probably another charter back agreement, wherein the new owners, CSAV, have chartered the ship to the previous owners for a period of time. This is not unusual for old ships, but there may be a bit of a glut of auto carriers these days, and so this ship is considered to be old. It certainly does not appear to have been maintained particularly intensely!
So it is a used ship, but carrying new cars.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Heather Knutsen at Imperial Oil

Heather Knutsen, Canadian flag, 148,644 deadweight tonnes has nearly completed unloading a cargo of Newfoundland crude oil at Imperial Oil. The ships is tied with sister Jasmine Knustsen for the largest Canadian tanker.

Seen at the dock this morning, her gigantic bridge wings and bow loading gear stand out against a leaden sky.


AFL still looking for cargo?

1. AFL New England arriving June 14.

The feeder ship AFL New England arrived June 14 and has been sitting at anchor ever since. This morning the ship moved in to pier 25-26, but not to load cargo. That pier is usually used by ships to make repars, take on fresh water, or to lay up for engine repairs.

For the second week in a row, apparently no cargo has been on offer for the Boston/Portland area. The scheduled load day for Ceres, Wednesday/Thursday, has come and gone. The load day for Halterm is Friday/Saturday, so will there be cargo there?

One has to wonder how long a service can hold out until cargo arrives. Also there has apparently been no outbound cargo from Boston or Portland.

Interestingly, the owners have made no public announcements, and their web site is silent on any news.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

New Feature

Visit my occasional rant under the header at the left.

Visit 7 of 20 for Maasdam

1. Maasdam passes Meagher's Beach on her way in.

2. Past "the Beach" the ship creates some ripples on a windless day.

By my count this is the seventh visit this season for Maasdam. The 55,575 gross tons ship, built in 1993 has been the most frequent visitor each year for several years, with this moderately sized cruise ship. It is schedule to make a total of twenty calls before the end of the cruise season.

Good weather has beeen at a bit of a premium this year, so its arrival on glass calm seas today with brilliant sun, was worth noting.

Operators Holland America Line go way back with Halifax to the days of passenger liners and immigrant ships, but HAL is now part of the Carnival conglomerate.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fairchem Friesian in for a pit stop

1. Fairchem Friesian at anchor with the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth alongside. The large safety warnings seem to appear on all tankers nowadays, but sometimes in a different order.

2. With the ever expanding (vertically) Halifax skyline behind, the historic corvette Sackville and survey ship Acadia are visible on the waterfront. Sharp eyes will also pick out the pilot boats just above amidships.

The chemical tanker Fairchem Friesian arrived this afternoon to top up on bunker fuel. Built in 2009, the ship measures 11,640 gross tons ands 21,206 deadweight. It is registered in the Marshall Islands, now the favoured flag of convenience for tankers.

The ship is operated by Fairfield Chemical Carriers Inc of Wilton, CT. By operated, I mean that the ship's commercial operation is managed by Fairfield. A 23 tanker company that specializes in chemical, clean petroleum, vegetable oil, lubricating oil, acids and molasses using tankers with stainless steel tanks. They find cargoes for the ships and direct them as to where they go.

However the ship is managed by Ango-Eastern Ship Management of Singapore. They would likely provide crews and look after day to day operations. The ship is owned by Eurus Maritime SA, also of Singapore, a single ship company whose address is the same as Anglo-Eastern.

The ship is very tidy looking, with an elaborate funnel marking of five circles within a compass rose.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Coast Guard veteran on the move

The former CCGS Tupper will be on the move tomorrow. The veteran, long retired from active duty, has lying at the former Dartmouth Marine Slip LongWharf for more than five years. A new residential development at the former shipyard site has forced the ship out.

1. Dominon Victory, in the foreground, ready to tow the boarded up and gutted out former Tupper, tomorrow morning.

2. Not her finest moment. CFAV Firebird at work to put out the blaze. She was officially named Caruso, but still had 1998-05 on her bow.

3. CCGS Tupper in her heyday, doing an easy job breaking spring ice in the Northwest Arm of Halifax Harbour. Her Fairbanks Morses are just singing.

Built in 1959 by Marine Industries Ltd of Sorel, Tupper was one of a pair (the other was Simon Fraser, built by Burrard Dry Dock in North Vancouver.) It worked from Dartmouth and Charlottetown as a buoy tender and light icebreaker. A diesel electric vessel, she was powered by two 8 cyl Fairbanks Morse (built by Canadian Locomotive Works) totalling 3280 bhp, through two 1150kW generators connected to two electric motors totalling 2900 shp, giving 13 1/2 knots.

With accommodation for 38 crew, including helicopter pilots and mechanics, the ship was a classic Canadian Coast Guard vessel of the era.

The ship was laid up May 5, 1996 and in 1998 was renamed 1998-05 prior to her sale, which was accomplished in April 2000. Her new owners had the intention of converting Tupper and Simon Fraser to expedition tour/ yachts, but the project stalled during the rebuilding of Simon Fraser in Italy.

The only thing that happened to Tupper was to be renamed Caruso and registered in Panama. That name has never appeared in paint however, and she is still referred to as Tupper.

Caruso started moving around Halifax harbour, always in tow, and eventually on July 5, 2005 was towed by Atlantic Oak to Sheet Harbour when her space at the IEL dock was needed by Irving Shipbuilding. The same tug towed her back to Halifax in December 19, 2005 and she has sat at the Long Wharf ever since.

On October 11, 2008 a fire broke out on board, and it was eventually extinguished by land units and CFAV Firebird. I expect that the interior is now completely gutted.

The poor old ship must be on her last legs by now, and it will be sad to see her go. (I expect she is on her way back to Sheet Harbour, but that is to be confirmed.)

Update: Not Sheet Harbour, but an unnamed port on the Eastern Shore, to be broken up for scrap.


Monday, June 20, 2011

AFL standing by

1. OOCL Kaohsiung sails from Ceres on Sunday with AFL New England anchored in the background.

2. Paris Express ditto.

The new American Feeder Lines service to Boston and Portland was originally expected to get underway by late May, but the service has not moved a container yet.

A big inaugural party was held in Portland, with officials from Halifax and many US folks in attendance, and the start-up date given at that time was May 28. Information published by AFL states a Q2 (second quarter of the year) start.

The ship AFL New England arrived in Halifax last Tuesday, but is still anchored in Bedford Basin.

The published schedule for the line shows the ship picking up containers at Ceres on Wednesday/Thursday and Halterm on Friday/Saturday, but nothing happened this weekend.

Maybe this week?


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rare sight - sisterships together

Although the two ship are based in Halifax, it is certainly a rare sight to see CCGS Edward Cornwallis and CCGS Sir William Alexander side by side as they were for time this afternoon at the Bedford Institute dock in Dartmouth.
Ostensibly sisters, members of a larger class called the 1100 series, the two ships are not identical. Edward Cornwallis was built in 1986 by Marine Industries Ltd in Sorel, QC and launched July 12, 1986. She had engine trouble on her way to Halifax, but has had a largely trouble free life in service as a navaids tender and light icebreaker. She is powered by three 3,500 bhp Alco diesels (built by Bombardier) through three 2,100kW generators to two 3,550 shp electric motors. Total power is given as 10,500 hp.
Sir William Alexander was built at the same yard in 1987, and was launched October 19, 1986, leaving the yard May 14, 1987, and arriving Halifax May 20 with a stop in Charlottetown on the way. She had a grounding in 1994 but was repaired at Halifax Shipyard. In 1998 during a two month refit her derrick was removed and a crane installed instead. This change in her profile makes her easy to distinguish from her sister. She is also less powerful than her sister, being driven by three 2,991 bhp Alco diesels (built by Bombardier), through three 2,100 kW generators to two 2,991 shp electric motors, giving total power of 8,973 hp.
These are both the second ships of the name to to serve the Canadian Coast Guard. The first ships were not sisters however.

The first CCGS Edward Cornwallis was built by Canadian Vickers Ltd in Montreal in 1949. She was steam powered, by engines built by Canadian Vickers. At the time the CCG did not exist, and she served for the Department of Transport in their black hull/ tan funnel scheme until the CCG was formed. Originally classed as a lighthouse tender, she was a buoy tender and light icebreaker also. In May 1986 she was renamed Edward to free up the name for her replacement. In 1987 she was towed to Coburg, ON by the tug W.N.Twolan to be converted to a hotel, but the scheme did not last and in 1993 she was broken up in Port Maitland, ON.

The first CCGS Sir William Alexander also pre-dated the Canadian Coast Guard, and was launched by Halifax Shipyard December 13, 1958. She was delivered in 1959 and was reputed to be the best ship the Coast Guard had at the time. Power came from four 1333bhp Fairbanks Morse engines (built by Canadian Locomotive Works in Kingston, ON) through two 865kW generators to two 2,125 bhp electric motors. In 1987 the ship was renamed William to free up the name but served concurrently with her replacement until she was decommissioned in July 1989.

In February 1990 she was renamed H22 and put up for sale. She moved around to various berths in Halifax until August 27, 1992 when she moved to Shediac, NB. Then in 1993 she was reported sold to Belize flag interests and renamed Pilar Del Caribe. Lloyd's still lists her under that name, but now with no flag and no owner.

Both of the current ships are on the long list for replacement someday (at 24 and 25 years old they have a few years to reach to the 38 and 30 of their predecessors.) However new ships will likely not repeat the names. Edward Cornwallis, the founder of Halifax, has been discredited for his treatment of indigenous people. Sir William Alexander had the idea of colonizing Nova Scotia , but is now considered to have been merely a well connected speculator.

Update: Thanks to Jason - see comment below, I have been directed to a photo of Pilar Del Carib ex William, wrecked on a beach in Jamaica.
It turns out that the ship was operating in Jamaica when cocaine was found on board in 1995. It was seized by the Jamaican government and sold for scrap. However it went ashore and became a favourite for photographers. It has since been broken up in place. The last photos of her in more or less intact condition were taken in 2008.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Zim zaps Halifax

A reorganization of Zim's container routes may or may not have an effect on tonnage in the port of Halifax.
1. Zim Shanghai, on charter to Zim Container Service, arrives this morning.

Zim Container Service (ZCS) has announced that they will split their current "almost round the world" service in two. As it presently works, ship start in the Mediterranean, call in Halifax westbound, then continue down the east coast, up the west coast, across the Pacific to the far east then return on essentially the same rotation.One new route will be the ZCS Pacific, which will be far east to North American east and west coasts and back to the far east, using new 5,000 TEU ships, calling in Kingston, Jamaica to interchange transatlantic cargo for the Med.The other route, ZCS Atlantic, will have ships from the Mediterranean sailing to Kingston, Jamaica. Boxes will be interchanged there with Pacific service ships. The Atlantic service will use 4,000 TEU ships.

2. A 4,839 TEU ship, Zim Shanghai is slightly smaller than the 5,000 TEU ships to come on the new transpacific service.

Halterm expects that tonnages will remain about the same, but port calls will be halved, as only the Pacific service ships will call in Halifax.
Only time will tell of course, but is seems to me that other lines will likely pick up slack if the Zim service seems to be an inefficient way of getting boxes across the Atlantic. It also depends on the balance of import/export cargo.

3. Other lines, such as Hapag-Lloyd may pick up more cargo if their transatlantic services are faster or more efficient. Kobe Express arrives Friday evening, June 16 in advance of a huge fog bank.

Read more on Zim's announcement in the Halifax Chronicle Herald:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Carnival Glory Trip #1

1. Carnival Glory sailed at 7 pm this evening.

2. The ship arrived at the pilot station at 9 am and tied up at pier 22 at about 10 am.

One of the most persistent cruise ships to call in Halifax in recent years has been Carnival Glory. It arrived again today for the first of about 18 calls expected between now and October. The ship was built in 2003 and accommodates 2,974 passengers on 13 decks. It takes a crew of 1,150 to do this and to propel the 110,239 gross ton ship back and forth on its short cruises out of New York.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

American Feeder Lines, Voyage #1

1. AFL New England, freshly painted and newly renamed, strides into Halifax for the first time this afternoon.

2. The ship's distinctive looks are at least in part due to the open hold design.

American Feeder Lines is now in business, with its first arrival in Halifax today. The line has been established under a US government mandate to get trucks off the roads and to parallel the main US Interstate highways with sea lanes.

The company will eventually build ships in the US for services up and down the east coast, but in the meantime they have chartered the German owned AFL New England.

Built at the [sadly now defunct]* J.J.Sietas yard in Hamburg in 1996, the ship was originally called Hohebank, but has carried the following names: 1996: Pentland, 1997: Susan Borchard, 2001: Hohebank, 2003: Hohesand. It was renamed AFL New England in May especially for this service. * [Sorry, the yard was apparently rescued by new management in 2010 after being in the hands of the Sietas family since 1653.]

The ship is an interesting one, built with a hatchless main hold. The forward end of the ship has conventional hatches, and the deck is raised. There is then a large dam to protect the open hold, and to form a frame for container carrying cells. There is then a third hold with hatches. The superstructure is perched on the stern to maximize deck space, but the engine is located forward of the superstructure. She is a similar configuration to Ocean Avalon, built in the same yard in 2004, but it is a much larger ship. The principal of the open hold design is that it speeds loading and unloading. Most containers do not need weather protection, and can happily stack on top of each other without the need of hatch covers to support part of the load. Removal and stowage of hatches takes time and space, which can delay timely turnarounds. The open hold is designed so that it can be drained of rain or incoming seawater by pumping, and the ship has inherent stability in case of pump failure.

This ship measures 6362 gross tons and has a capacity of 700 TEU, of which 100 may be refrigerated.

AFL will operate a weekly service out of Halifax to Portland, Maine and Boston initially for Hapag-Lloyd, but also for other lines such as Zim. The ship is painted blue, the same colour as a previous feeder ship, Yankee Clipper, which maintained a similar service from 1980 to 1993. AFL New England will feed containers to and from New England, and reduce congestion and truck traffic into US ports such as New York.


Halifax Herring Season Winds Down

For a few weeks each spring the mobile herring seiner fleet makes Halifax its headquarters while boats follow the migrating herring population. The boats fish at night and land their catches in the morning in Halifax. The herring are pumped into waiting trucks, which then take the fish to processing plants in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
As the herring move farther from Halifax, the boats land the catch in other ports closer to the fishing grounds.
The herring boats are an interesting contrast at the docks, and a reminder that at one time the same waterfront was lined with fish plants processing plants, contributing to the economy (and aroma) of the Halifax waterfront.
1. Island Pride No.1 arrives on a foggy morning at pier 24.

2. Silver Harvester I - the only wooden hulled seiner to visit this year- contrasts with the cruise ship Silver Whisper on a gloomy day.

3. Tasha Marie has unloaded and is moving to another dock, accompanied by the usual squadron of gulls.

4. Margaret Elizabeth No.1 made only one call in Halifax this year, and took on quite a list as she unloaded.

5. Morning Star ties up amidst the harbour cruise fleet at Queen's Wharf.

6. Dual Venture arrives at pier 24 with the welcoming party in attendance.

7. Leroy and Barry II ties up at the end of the Maritime Museum pier.

8. Lady Melissa is the biggest boat in the fleet again this year.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Halterm to get new cranes

1. Pre-expansion photo of Halterm showing old crane on the right, newer Post Panamax crane on the left. The old crane does not have the height and reach to serve larger ships.

2. McNally Construction at work on the pier extension to be completed next year.

Press reports say that Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, operators of the Halterm container terminal, will buy two new Super Post Panamax (SPPX) cranes for delivery by April 2012. That is the estimated completion date of the pier extension currently underway.

While some reports imply that the new cranes will be in addition to the present cranes, it is my opinion that the two oldest cranes, dating from the 1970s may well be replaced as they are rarely used. They are too low, and don't have enough reach for many of the large ships currently using the pier.

The new cranes are expected to be faster and capable of carrying more containers and heavier loads than even the biggest Post Panamax cranes already in use at Halterm. They will also have sufficient reach to unload the largest ships expected at Halterm.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teekay tanker brings rain

The Suezmax sized Teekay tanker Shenlong Spirit arrived yesterday for Imperial Oil. It has remained at anchorage number one however, probably because wind speeds exceed prudent limits for berthing at the number 5 dock.

The ship's name derives from the Chinese spirit dragon that in mythology is the master of storms and the bringer of rain. Sure enough ever since this ship has been in port we have had showers and drizzle.
Note to Teekay: we had enough of this weather in May.

Built in 2009 at Bohai Shipyard in China, the ship measures a healthy 85,030 gross tons and 159,021 deadweight tonnes (full load.) What makes it a Suezmax ship is that it was the maximum size for transiting the Suez canal at full draft when the ship was built. The current sliding scale draft regulations on the Canal limit ships to 66 feet of draft depending on width. (Ships wider than 164 feet must reduce draft to maintain the same wetted surface cross sectional area to ensure buoyancy.) The Suez was deepened in 2009, from 60 ft, so that a Suezmax ship is now in the region of 240,000 tonnes deadweight - much larger than Shenlong Spirit. If the Suez Canal Authority goes ahead with plans to deepen again to permit 70 feet of draft, then the Canal will probably accommodate almost every ship known or contemplated. (There is also an air draft restriction of about 215 feet.)


Oceanex skips Corner Brook

1.Oceanex Sanderling arriving this morning for pier 41, with the tug Atlantic Larch to assist, and will move this afternoon to Autoport to load cars. It will sail this evening, and will be back in Halifax Friday for its second trip.

Oceanex has decided to skip the port of Corner Brook for the time being. Their Halifax service used to be Halifax/ St.John's/ Corner Brook/ Halifax. Due to a lack of cargo offering in Corner Brook, and increased traffic out of Halifax bound for St.John's Oceanex recently adjusted their schedule to allow two sailings each week between Halifax and St.John's for Oceanex Sanderling.

Reports indicate that this may be a temporary measure, and that calls will be made in Corner Brook if cargo warrants. For the near future at least, Corner Brook cargo will be trucked to and from St.John's.

Oceanex's St.Lawrence service, using Cabot and Oceanex Avalon will continue to run between Montreal and St.John's.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saunière to the knackers

Another Canadian ship is off to the scrappers in Turkey. Saunière left Montreal on Friday in tow of the Greek tug Panormitis, with the Canadian tug Molly M 1 (ex Point Vigour) on a stern line as far as the Escoumins pilot station.
Built way back in 1970 by Lithgows East Yard in Port Glasgow, Scotland, it was a conventional gearless bulk carrier, initially named Brooknes for "Langra" Schiffs. of Germany. It was 520 feet long, 13,098 gross tons, 21,450 deadweight.
Algoma Central Corp acquired the ship in 1975, renaming it Algosea. One of the chief attractions of the ship was that it was 74'-10" wide, allowing it access to the St. Lawrence Seaway, which then restricted ships to 75' wide. Algoma sent the ship to Swan Hunter Ship Repairers in North Shields where a complete new mid-body was built to lengthen the ship to 642'-10", increasing its tonnages to 16,709 gross tons and 23,750 deadweight tonnes. The new mid body was fitted with three rows of hoppers to accommodate self unloading gear. The ship also received a new wheelhouse, raised about one full deck higher that the original one, to provide visibility over the self-unloading gear. The ship sailed to Canada for installation of the self-unloader equipment and boom by Algoma's subsidiary Herb Fraser & Associates at Port Colborne, ON.
The ship then sailed directly to Halifax arriving in January 1977 when she tied up at pier 36. The refit work was probably completed here. The ship then traded deep sea and on the Lakes.

1. Algosea at pier 36 in January 1977. The emblem of her former owners has been mostly ground off her bow. Her orginal bulbous bow is visible in this shot.

In 1981 the ship received new MaK engines at Saint John. These 6 cylinder units of 8784 total bhp replaced her original 8 cylinder Helsingors of 8800 bhp.In 1982 the ship was sent to Port Arthur Shipbuilding for installation of a new bow (and bow thrister). This modified bulbous bow is similar to those on several of the Algoma and CSL ships, and features a sharp leading edge, providing some additional capability in ice. The same year Algoma signed the ship to a long term charter to carry salt from the Magdalen Islands for SOQUEM (Société québecoise d'exploration minière) and the ship was renamed Saunière. (literally: salt-bin)
In 1985 the Province of Quebec sold the salt operation to the Canadian Salt Co., part of the Morton salt conglomerate, but the charter continued.

2. Sauniére arriving in Sydney, NS in 1987. Her new bulbous bow is recently repainted.

3. Sauniére seen upbound passing Quebec City in 2003.

On January 21, 1999 the ship arrived at Halifax Shipyard where it received a major refit, lasting until April 6. Then in December 2001 it entered the Port Weller Dry Dock in St.Catharines, ON for replacement of 49 bottom plates and other work to its unloader system. In January 2007 it returned to Halifax Shipyard for additional hull plates on both sides and forward.

In March 2009 the ship laid up in Montreal for the last time.

In its career in the salt business it travelled up and down the Canadian and US east coasts delivering road salt, but also carried other cargoes such as gypsum. It even unloaded bulk salt in Halifax on at least one occasion, using the open space at pier 9D, where the salt was tarped over and used up during the winter. It also delivered a cargo of coal to the same location if I recall aright.

Certainly getting 35 to 40 years out of a ship would be a remarkable achievement in itself, but when it has been trading in the fairly brutal salt business, then this ship's longevity certainly is significant.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Lady Christina in for bunkers

Among the many Dutch ships that have called in recent months Lady Christina is a bit different. It is fitted with a 35 tonne capacity travelling crane, which runs on tracks, allowing it to work over any area of the ship's two holds.

Owned by Wijnne & Barends of Delfzijl, the ship was built in the same port by Niestern Sander BV in 2000 as Christina. Ships of the fleet have had the "Lady" prefix added recently, this one adopting the prefix in 2010.

A 30 ship fleet of smaller vessels under 5500 tonnes deadweight, W&B claims to be the oldest Dutch shipping company. See their "Just Add Water" web site at:

Lady Christina measures 4325 gross tons, 5375 deadweight, and is classed as a general cargo ship, able to carry heavy cargo, containers (348 TEU) and bulk. It is also rated as Ice Class 1A.


more Quest

Who can resist another look at CFAV Quest? The ship has been working in the harbour approaches, and spent yesterday and last night on the static sound range. She returned to port this morning, still exhibiting that absorbent paint, applied to (most of) her port side only.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Barkald takes a break

The self-discharging bulk carrier Barkald arrived May 31 for some maintenance work at pier 27. Built in 2010 by Oshima Shipbuilding in 2002, it measures 28, 924 gross, 49463 deadweight.

It is fitted with four cranes that feed a deck-mounted conveyor and boom unloading system.

While it has been a caller in Halifax for gypsum in the past, it has not been here recently. It is a frequent caller at the Strait of Canso however, loading stone at Cape Porcupine in Auld's Cove.

It is owned by Klaveness Shipping of Norway and is part of the CSL International pool of self-unloaders. It originally carried Norwegian International registry, but since 2005 has been registered in the Marshal Islands.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Kingston off for refit + addendum

HMCS Kingston left Halifax at noon time for refit. The lead vessel in the Kingston class of Maritime Coastal Defense Vessels left as a dead ship, in tow of CFAV Glenbrook. CFAV Merrickville assisted and took off the deck crew once the unwieldy tow was under way into a stiff breeze.

Laid down at Halifax Shipyard December 12, 1994, it was launched August 12, 1995. After a significant trials period, in which inherent stability* issues were addressed, the ship was commissioned September 21, 1996.
A mid-life extension refit program for these ships was cancelled last year. The ships were to have been refitted to last until 2040 -2045, but due to their under-performance** it was decided instead to replace them in 2020.


* this term has been disputed by a well informed source. All issues were resolved during inclining tests and before delivery with a minor ballast adjustment to compensate for assymetrical equipment layout.

** this term has also been disputed. The ships met specification completely and even met projected end of life requirments.

Since these ships are crewed entirely by reservists, and see only limited year round duty, it is more likely that the ships were considered to be "under-utilized" by the bean counters. This may be the reason for their projected short lifetime.

They have made transatlantic trips, and are without doubt well built.

Coming up the back stretch-Meridien Maritime on the move.

With the award of major government shipbuilding contracts still several months away, at least one smaller yard is positioning itself for more work.
When the federal government awards the two contracts for large ships, the two winning yards will not be eligible for other government work. The huge contracts will monopolize the shipyards for many years to come and will leave an open field for a myriad of smaller ships needed by the Coast Guard and private clients.
Méridien Maritime of Matane, QC has been building small craft for many years. In has built small ferries and has just completed two small tugs for Transport Desgagnés. It has also performed sub-contract work for, among others, Halifax shipyard. However its present facilities are too small to tackle larger ships. It has now applied for environmental studies with the Department of Fisheries & Oceans and Transport Canada to build a new shipyard at Gros Cacouna, QC. This man made harbour, just east of Rivière-du-Loup has been under-utilized for years, and has many advantages, including a largely ice-free location, and proximity to major rail and highway routes.
Méridien proposes to build a 170m x 30m x 17m drydock and associated plant starting this fall, for completion in 2012. The facility will allow them to repair or build larger ships or to do significant sub-contract work on others. I expect the drydock would be a graving dock, formed in the large basin created at the port. There is also lots of land for plant buildings and future expansion.