Sunday, October 30, 2011

Windy Day

1. Coriolis II heads up into northeasterly this afternoon.

High winds, rain and a storm surge disrupted normal activity in the port today.

Early this morning Atlantic Compass arrived on schedule, but due to the wind took the tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Hemlock to berth at Fairview Cove. In normal conditions the ACL ships don't need tugs.

The mid-morning arrival of OOCL Antwerp was scrubbed and the ship headed out to sea to ride out the storm.

Meanwhile in port the tanker Algonova headed to anchorage in Bedford Basin, where it joined Clipper Lancer. The tug/barge Penn No.6 and Penn No.120 remain at anchor in the lower harbour.

The only other movement was the research/survey vessel Coriolis II that returned to port yesterday after breaking off survey work for the Hibernia cable project. At first it tied up at pier 27, but it was too rough there and so it went out to the anchorages where it steamed up and down for several hours until coming in to pier 25 late this afternoon. With high winds forecast all night and another storm surge around midnight the ship may leave the dock again tonight.

The storm surge resulted in waves breaking over the piers and the pilot boat dock was almost awash when I went by about 1 pm.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Busy times at Imperial Oil

Busy tanker traffic:
1. Sichem Beijing waiting at anchor yesterday.

2.Overseas Shirley sailing late this sfternoon with escort tug Atlantic Oak.

3. Tanker barge Penn No.120 with tug Penn No.6 waiting for better weather to the south.

4. Clipper Lancer anchored deep in Bedford Basin, also waiting for weather.

The three oil docks at the Imperoyal refinery of Imperial Oil have been busy the last several days, with ships coming and going.

This afternoon the Canadian crude tanker Overseas Shirley sailed for Baytonne, NJ. Although she appeared to be in ballast she still had the tug Atlantic Oak on a stern line escort outbound. At 62,385 gross, 112,056 deadweight, built in 2001, she is a sizable tanker.

Shortly before her departure the chemical tanker Sichem Beijing sailed after an overnight stay at the dock. Registered in Singapore, she is 8537 gross, 13,068 deadweight, built in 2007.

She had to wait at anchor for a day before she could get in to the dock.

Her place had been occupied by the US flag barge Penn No.120, which along with the tug Penn No.6 has gone out to anchor pending an improvement in weather along the US east coast. As a wire tow tug (as opposed to an articulated tug/barge) she will only go sea when conditions are favourable. [see also Tugfax]

Awaiting the departure of Sichem Beijing and possibly an improvement in weather after tomorrows predicted high wins, the small Bahamas flag chemical tanker Clipper Lancer found an anchorage spot way up north in Bedford Basin. This tanker measures only 6522 gross, 9971 deadweight. Built in 2006 she has less than one tenth the carrying capacity of the Overseas Shirley.

The remaining space at the Esso docks has been taken up by domestic coastal tankers.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ex CCGS Alert to the breakers

1. Alert tied up at Purdy's Wharf for a refit in 1976.

2. Intransition from her original white over red colour scheme, Alert returns from a patrol in 1984.

3. In the full SAR livery, Alert passes George's Island outbound in 1990.

3. With a navy grey hull Alert sails on her last mission in 1995.

I have received word that the former CCGS Alert arrived at Aliaga, Turkey on October 23 to be broken up.

Completed in 1969 by Davie Shipbuilding & Repair in Lauzon, QC, the Alert was a specialized search and rescue (SAR) vessel. Davie was the low bidder at $6.2 mn, beating out Marine Industries Ltd, Canadian Vickers and Port Weller Dry Dock. The ship was powered with four Fairbanks Morse 12 cylinder engines driving two screws with controllable pitch props. She was also equipped with thrusters and a landing pad and hangar for a helicopter. Her gross tonnage was given as 1752.

Based in Dartmouth, the Alert figured in numerous rescues in her 25 year career with the CCG.She was laid up in 1994 but the in same year was then chartered to the RCN for reserves training and given a grey hull.

In February 1995 she was put back in service for one month to substitute for the CCGS Mary Hichens for SAR and Fisheries Patrol work. She was then laid up again on June 13, 1995.

In 1996 she was renamed 1996-01 prior to sale and was berthed in HMC Dockyard until March 1997.

She was sold and left Halifax in tow of the tug Arctic Sun for Newfoundland on March 7, 1997. She was to be converted for use as an offshore standby vessel, and renamed Ocean Alert. Her new owners were careless about advising Lloyd's, but she remained in Canadian registry until 2000 when she was transferred to "a Commonwealth port".

She migrated to the Panama flag and eventually Sierra Leone, with owners listed as OVH Inc, but she was working for Odyssey Marine Exploration of Tampa FL. These publicly listed treasure hunters have been in the news lately for finding significant shipwrecks.

Ocean Alert's sphere of activity appears to have been in the Mediterranean in the last three or four years. She was fitted with a stern gantry and deck house aft, increasing her gross tonnage to 1455, and she was used in survey and diving operations.

CCGS Alert was not the first vessel in Canadian government service to carry this name. A previous Alert was built in 1856 by HMDockyard, Pembroke for the Royal Navy. A wooden barque, it was rebuilt in 1874 for the Sir George Nares arctic expedition. In 1884 it was on loan to the United States Navy and was instrumental in the rescue of the Greely Expedition.

In 1885 it was loaned by RN to the Minister of Mines and Fisheries of Canada and sailed from Halifax May 27 to explore and chart parts of Hudson Bay, in part to look at the possibility of building a port to serve a rail line from Winnipeg. It broke its stemplate off Resolution Island, but was able to complete the mission returning to Halifax October 18.

From 1887 to 1894 it served as a lighthouse supply vessel in the Gulf and on the Labrador coast, but was then laid up unfit. In 1885 it was sold for scrap. It was hulked then burned out for its fastenings at Beauport Beach, adjacent to Quebec City.

Panelling from its cabins was used to finish a summer house at Cap-à-l'Aigle, QC, fittingly called "The Alert." Unfortunately that building burned to the ground. One of the only remnants of the ship is therefore its wheel, which resides at the Coast Guard base in Quebec City.


Edward Cornwallis - part ii

1. The first CCGS Edward Cornwallis at the Dartmouth base, loaded with buoys, 1985-10-09.

2. CCGS Edward Cornwallis (ii) fitting out at the Marine Industries Ltd shipyard in Sorel, QC. The impractical red funnel cap was soon repainted in black.

Since I normally don't get many comments on my blog, I guess I was taken aback somewhat by any response at all to this item.

My thoughts were on the Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation hearings going on in Halifax, at this time. What messages are we sending when we don't acknowledge that we are are the inheritors of our history? What is our responsibility for past mistakes?

It is not sufficient to say that we didn't make the mistakes. It is our responsibility to acknowledge them, and to make up for them if we can. One way to do that is to rebalance. My suggestion that the ship be renamed would in no way ignore 263 years of history. Instead it would be a way of acknowledging grievances and signalling an intent to do better in the future.

Edward Cornwallis was an historical figure-his contributions won't go away, nor will the attitude of the colonial authorities to the native populations. But what can happen is the we can acknowledge what we have learned from history.

Revisionist? I don't think so. I am not suggesting rewriting history, but redressing an imbalance that has gone on for too long.

A glance at the Canadian Coast Guard's ship naming policy, for example, will show that self-serving partisan politics is responsible for naming our most important ships. Ignoring other historical figures will not help to redress the balance.


Cruise Finale

The cruise ship season ends today with the arrival of Jewel of the Seas. The Bahamas flagged vessel operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd of Miami was built in 2004 and has a capacity of 2,000 passengers.

This year's season unfolded about as expected, with few no shows due to weather or other reasons. Until final figures are in it will not be known if passenger counts lived up to expectations. On the whole my guess is that numbers might have been down a bit.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Edward Cornwallis - time for a change

1. CCGS Edward Cornwallis (i) was built in 1949 for the Department of Transport, and joined the CCG when it was founded 49 years ago. It was a steamer and served with distinction until its replacement came along. It was eventually broken up in 1993.
[I took this photo on Coast Guard Day 1975, from the bridge of CCGS Alert. CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent and Labrador are on the left.]

2. CCGS Edward Cornwallis (ii) was built in 1986 and has also served well. The City its namesake founded has changed with the times, and it is now time for a change. She is seen here leaving port October 24.

The founder of Halifax was one Edward Cornwallis, governor of Nova Scotia from 1749 to 1752. He has a river, a military base, at least one street, a park and many other places named for him, not to mention two ships. A Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Army he was later appointed governor of Gibraltar where he died. His brief time in Nova Scotia was marked by his terrible treatment of the indigenous population, and as a result he has now been discredited by many, and there is a move afoot to have his name removed from these commemorations.

This should also include the current CCGS Edward Cornwallis a navaids tender and light icebreaker, based in Halifax. It was built in 1986 and replaced a steam driven vessel of the same name built in 1949.

Both ships have served with distinction, but it is now time to make a change. There are many distinguished indigenous Canadian individuals who would be quite deserving of such an honour.

Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Coast Guard - a good time to do the right thing.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Activity at Ultramar

The Ultramar dock in Eastern Passage is usually a quiet spot. Since the Ultramar refinery was shut down and the facility relegated to storage it rarely sees a tanker. The present visitor moved to Ultramar after a visit to Imperial Oil.

Sanmar Stanza flies the flag of India and carries its name on the bow in English and in Indian script.

Built in 1999 as Freja Spring by Onomichi ZKK in Japan, the ship measures 28,546 gross tons and 47,110 deadweight. It assumed its current name earlier this year. An oil products carrier, it also has facilities to handle molasses and caustic soda.

My records indicate that it arrived off Halifax March 25, 2004 to embark an ice adviser, but did not enter port. At that time it also has some technicians ferried out on the launch Halmar.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Atlantic Erie on a shuttle run

Word has reached my ear that both Atlantic Erie and Atlantic Huron are shuttling between Lower Cove and Bull Arm, Newfoundland.

Lower Cove is an aggregate/ limestone /dolomite quarry port. In 2010 it shipped 2 million tonnes of material! It is set to exceed 2.4 million tonnes this year. It is located on the Port au Port peninsula on the west coast of Newfoundland.

Bull Arm is on the eastern side of the province, and is where the Hibernia gravity base was built, among other things.

Atlantic Erie was in Halifax today for bunkers and sailed for Lower Cove.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Big Day

So today was the big day for the Federal Government's $35 billion shipbuilding announcement. The announcement came just after 5 pm Halifax time (ADT).

At first it was reported that the announcement would be made following the close of the stock markets - not sure why this should be - oh, yes, Seaspan is a publicly traded corporation. Irving Shipbuilding is privately owned, and Davie is, well, under creditor protection. Davie's new parents Daewoo and Upper Lakes Group are not publicly traded as far as I can determine, and the yard is under creditor protection until the end of October.
In a very dry pronouncement the bureaucrat tasked with reporting on the selection process finally got to the point:
Irving Shipbuilding (Halifax Shipyard) gets the plum contract, the construction of the combat vessels- namely 3 destroyers, 12 frigates and 3 arctic patrol vessels.
Seaspan (Vancouver Shipyard) gets the non-combat portion of the work, namely two support ships (with an option for third) a polar icebreaker, a hydrographic survey ship, etc.,
Davie Quebec is out of the running, but eligible for other contracts for the Coast Guard, fisheries, etc., from which the other two yards are excluded.
This is wonderful news for Halifax of course, and seems to be the most reasonable one too- and apparently free from political interference.

By coincidence the Icelandic patrol vessel that visited Halifax over night left early this afternoon.
The Canadian three ship arctic patrol vessels will look very similar, and they are expected to be the first ships to be built by Halifax.
Although they will be even larger, they will be of a similar configuration to Thor.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thor makes first port call

1. A lone Sea King helicopter flies in the distnace as Thor ties up at pier 27.

The brand new Icelandic Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel Thor made its first visit to Halifax today. In fact this is one of the ship's first port calls anywhere.

Just completed by the ASMAR yard in Chile, the ship has been a long time in coming. Laid down in 2007, it was launched in 2008. While fitting out in drydock at the shipyard in February 2010, it was struck by the tsunami following a major earthquake and was seriously damaged. At that time the ship was only three months from delivery, but damage was so severe that it has taken more than a year to effect repairs and complete the ship. The tsunami swept the ship off its support blocks, tossing it over on its side at a 30 degree angle and submerging its engine room.

The ship is a revolutionary one. Built to the Rolls Royce /Ulstein UT512L design, it is a larger version of a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel, but with more capabilities.

First it is a 10,730 bhp tug [Canadian Coast Guard take note.] It is strengthened for navigation in ice, it carries a helicopter landing platform and is armed. It is also equipped with a wide range of search and rescue and pollution control equipment. At 93.6m long and 4,000 tons displacement, it is a very big ship indeed, and should be able to operate in all but the most extreme conditions.

As an object lesson, a small nation like Iceland can justify a ship like this. Canada should too.

For more on Iceland's Coast Guard (called the LHG) see:

October 22
Note on Comment: My "note to CCG" comment above follows the recommendation of the Department of Transport that a minumum 10,000 bhp rescue / escort tug was needed in Placentia Bay, and it should be provided by the government. Also that the British Coast Guard, French, Dutch, German, Spanish government, etc., rescue tugs in Europe have proved thier worth countless times (despite Britain's intent to cost cut them into oblivion) and the total lack of any such vessels on Canada's east coast. If the current Coast Guard's ineptitude in towing cannot be corrected, then the work should be contracted out, as it is in Britain and France, to private operators who do know how.


Tight fit at pier 23

It is the peak of the cruise season with four ships in port today. The smallest ship is Regatta, and she must be wedged in to pier 23. With Crown Princess already tied up at pier 22 and its bow hanging out over the end of the pier, Regatta took a pair of tugs to help her in.

Explorer of the Seas is arriving for pier 20, and Jewel of the Seas is tied up at pier 31.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Mahanadi Spirit makes way for the navy

The oil products tanker Mahanadi Spirit moved off the dock at Imperial Oil for a few hours today to allow a Canadian navy ship to refuel. Naval vessels have priority at the oil dock, but only use the privilege when needed.

Mahanadi Spirit was built in 2000 and flies the Bahamas flag. It is owned and operated by Teekay Shipping from its Houston offices. Teekay is better known in Halifax for its crude oil tankers, but it also operates a fleet of smaller product tankers too.
The ship is named for a river in west central India, which empties into the Bay of Bengal.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Nirint Canada and Atlantic Hemlock

1. The tug Atlantic Hemlock rounds up under the stern of Nirint Canada to assist the ship into pier 31.

The container/cargo ship Nirint Canada arrived this afternoon from Cuba to unload at pier 31. The ship is a regular caller, and its owners have a very nice website, as advertised on the sides of the ship.

The tug Atlantic Hemlock is a "new" to Halifax - see Tugfax for more.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Vengeance sails and we are still here

HMS Vengeance departed this afternoon after a week's visit to Halifax. The Vanguard class strategic missile submarine was reported to be carrying warheads. Its capacity is 16 Trident D5 missiles, each one capable of carrying 12 warheads. All that nuclear firepower, coupled with the boat's own nuclear propulsion system, had some worried about the consequences of an accident. They stated that an accident could result in Hailfax being evacuated forever.

Fortunately no such accident occurred, and we are still here.

As with all nuclear subs, the boat tied up at Jetty November Alpha (Shearwater) but this may have been the first time that an RN sub has visited. Numerous US nuclear subs have called over the years, all without incident.

Laid down in 1993, launched in 1998 and commissioned in 1999 the sub is the last of four vessels in the class, and in addition to the missiles also carries torpedoes. It displaces 15,908 tons submerged, and can achieve 25 knots underwater.

Update: HMS Vigilant was in Halifax in 2008.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Private Robertson VC, First Hero rolls out at Halifax Shipyard

Update and Correction: The Mininster of Defense, Peter MacKay MP from Pictou County participated in a naming ceremony at Halifax Shipyard on November 10, in which the first ship of the Hero series was named CCGS Pvt. Robertson, VC after a war hero from Pictou County. The first ship, was to have been named Cpl. Kaeble, VC according to earlier government press releases, but things can change!

The first of the new Hero class mid-shore patrol boats was rolled out at Halifax Shipyard today. The 43m vessel, to be named CCGS Caporal Kaeble VC [see above] will be in service early next year. Built to a modified Damen design, it is the first of nine such vessels to be assigned to the Coast Guard and RCMP.

All the boats in the series will be named for Canadians who have died in service to their country. This one for a World War I hero who died near Arras in 1918, and received a posthumous Victoria Cross, the highest military honour.

More on Cpl. Kaeble can be found here: or in various government publications:

Friday, October 7, 2011

USNS Wright

The US Navy Ready Reserve Force vessel Wright arrived this afternoon and tied up at HMC Dockyard. The ship has been working off Halifax for the last several weeks, usually anchored off Hartlen's Point, east of the normal deep water anchorages.

The ship has an interesting history, and for that reason is a unique reminder of the pre-container era.

Originally launched in 1969 by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. LA, the ship was built to US Maritime Administration class C5-S-78. Although nominally a container ship, it was in fact among the last of the hydrids-built to general cargo ship lines, but fitted to carry containers too. It was powered by a huge 30,000 shp geared steam turbine plant capable of driving the ship at 25 knots. That would have been a sight worth seeing! Built for Moore-McCormack Lines, it was named Mormacsun, but saw little or no service for that line, which was in survival mode, selling off many of its ships. Mormacsun was turned back over too MarAd in 1970.

MarAd placed it in the hands of American Export Lines, then Farrell Lines to operate as Young American until 1986 when it was sent to Todd Galveston Shipyard for conversion into its present form.

It emerged as USNS Wright T-AVB3, an aviation logistics support vessel, but also as a RoRo container ship for military cargoes. It is fitted with helicopter landing and servicing facilities, but can also accommodate 300 troops and equipment if needed. According to Janes it is keep in ready reserve (5 days activation) in Baltimore. It also reportedly provides support for US Marines helicopters.

It may be in the latter role that it has been working off Halifax, because there has been a a lot of helicopter activity in recent weeks from the nearby Shearwater base.

As one of the last of its breed of high speed US merchant ships of the 1950s and 1960s it is a remarkable artifact. It must be one of the few remaining examples of ships built just before fully cellular container ships took over.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Miner a Goner

The premier of Nova Scotia needs advice. He is quoted on news reports that he is getting involved in the grounded laker Miner on Scatarie Island, and is consulting the Irvings.

Let's get some facts on the table:

1. The ship's owners and the towing company are responsible, and their salvage/wreck removal plan must be approved by the federal government. This wreck is and always will be subject to federal responsibility and oversight.
Granted the feds are doing a lousy job of communication on this one - more later, but it is "their baby."

2. I have no idea why the Premier would be talking to the Irvings! With all due respect they are not salvors. They are shipbuilding and tug operators, they have naval architects and marine engineers, but that does not make them experienced salvagers. That is a specialised activity, and membership in the International Salvage Union would be one of the first requirements to be considered a salvor.
Their own barge Irving Sealion sat on the bottom 30 years until the Feds hired Donjon to haul it up and give it back to them. Don't ask about the Scotiadock II.

3. Mammoet, the salvors engaged by the ship's interests, raised the Kursk (the most difficult wreck removal in history!) and have salvaged scores of ships-including cutting up in place - the Preem should look at their website.

4. Perhaps he is reacting out of frustration over the feds lack of proper communication on this. If so I sympathize. Despite urgings over many years the feds have refused to create the SOSREP (Secretary Of States's REPrepresentative) that the UK has. This person can mobilize all departments in the case of a marine emergency. One of the first things he usually does is establish a communications centre to ensure that the populous knows what is going on. It cuts out a lot of misinformation and speculation, and cuts the legs out from under a lot of misinformed politicians and reporters.
SOSPREP also creates a command centre where reps of all departments that might be involved - Coast Guard, Fisheries, environment, provincial, municipal, military - you name it, are brought together and communicate between themselves to get whatever job done.
SOSPREP can move mountains when necessary.
The Feds need to get their act together on this one.
If the Premier will take my advice he should pressure the feds to set up the command and communication structure that is needed in this and similar cases.

5. This is not a major shipwreck. Yes it's a big ship, but there are no huge hazards involved. Yes there is significant ballast sludge to get out, and they better do that PDQ, but from CBC photos today, there is little doubt that the ship will never leave the shore in one piece.
What needs to be done is to get the wreck removal plan publicized to reassure everyone that as little damage will be done to the environment as possible. And yes it may not be until next spring that the wreck can be removed. Look up New Carissa sometime and see how long that one took.

There will be worse shipwrecks in Nova Scotia waters (there have been several over the years) and what better opportunity is there for the feds to do this one right so that there will be some skills and policies in effect for the next one.

Regatta, inaugural call.

1. A few hardy souls take in the view from their balconies as Regatta sails on a windy and cool afternoon.

Of the five (count 'em five) cruise ships in port today, the smallest was Regatta. It was the only one making its first call in Halifax. It is the last ship of the season to make an inaugural call, so we will only be seeing the old familiar faces from now on.

Regatta was built in 1998 at Chantier de l'Atlantique in St-Nazaire, France as R-2 for the ill fated Renaissance cruise line. Laid up for a time when Renaissance failed in 2001, the ship was re-entered service as Regatta for Oceania Cruises. The ship is registered in the Marshal Islands and measures 30,277 gross tons. It was refurbished earlier this year and now has a capacity of 684 passengers with 400 crew to cater to their needs.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Coriolis II visits Halifax for the first time

The research ship Coriolis II arrived in Halifax this week for the first time. It originally tied up at pier 27, but was noted today in Bedford Basin, where it was trying to establish an anchorage position in high winds. It may have given up on that option and decided to keep station using its engines, because it had no anchor down when I saw it last about 16:30 hrs.

The ship was built by Versatile Pacific Shipyard in Victoria, BC in 1990 as one of two 500 class Coast Guard cutters. Originally named CCG 501 it was to be a dedicated Search & Rescue vessel. In 1992 it was renamed John Jacobsen and its sister CCG 500 became Gordon Reid.

There were serious stability issues with the vessels, as I understand it, because the superstructures were built of steel instead of aluminum as originally designed. Gordon Reid was rebuilt in 2001 and John Jacobsen was renamed 2000-03 in the year 2000 and put up for sale.

It was subsequently sold to the Université de Québec à Rimouski and rebuilt in British Columbia as an oceanographic research vessel before arriving in Rimouski in July 2002. Total cost of acquisition rebuild and conversion was reported at the time to be $10 mn.

Since its arrival on this side of Canada, the ship has carried out a variety of programs on the St.Lawrence River and Gulf, but to my knowledge has never ventured out to the coast before. Now operated by a consortium of five institutions, you can see more on the web page:

A nice looking vessel, originally of Robert Allen design, the ship has accommodation for 24 persons.

Halifax Parking Lot

Halifax Harbour looked like a parking lot this afternoon as the first nor'easter of the autumn season bore down on Atlantic Canada, sending ships scurrying for cover.
At least one ship cancelled its visit to Halifax - the cruise ship MSC Poesia, but the ships that did arrive opted not to tie up due to the strong winds.
1. AFL New England, Seaconger, Algosea and Canada Express anchored in the Basin. Unfazed by rough conditions the tug Roseway and a stores barge have cleared Seaconger and are headed back to Dartmouth Cove.

2. Seaconger arrives for bunkers. The German owned/built and registered tanker dates from 2005 and measures 21,329 gross tons, 32,200 deadweight.

3. Canada Express was the OOCL Dubai until last year when Hapag-Lloyd took over the charter and gave the post-panamax ship a Hapag name.

In the Basin, in no particular order, were Canada Express and AFL New England, both destined for the Fairview Cove container terminal. With seas washing over the pier face at high tide, it was thought wise to hold off.

The tanker Seaconger is in for bunkers, but will have to wait until things calm down. Algosea is also at anchor after loading at Imperial Oil for a coastal trip.

At the head of the line is the interesting survey ship Coriolis II on what is probably her first visit to Halifax- see following post.

Meanwhile in the lower harbour Algoscotia and Fusion occupy two of the anchorages, and the cruise ship Maasdam is in port for the night. Another cruise ship, Seabourn Sojourn, opted to stay in for a second night.

Tomorrow will see the delayed arrival of two autocarriers. Both Manon and Grand Pioneer were orginally due today.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Odd ship at National Gypsum

Heron ex Heron Arrow-01, Trinta-92, Strinda -85, is seen here loading at National Gyspum (in the rain) today.

Built way back in 1975, the ship is an "open hatch" type cargo ship with two 25 tonne travelling gantries. Built to handle forest products, her holds are built as large square boxes the same size as the hatches to ease cargo handling. The gantries can thus reach all corners of the holds, which are thus narrower than the ship itself. There is dead space between the sides of the ship and the "walls" of the holds making the ship effectively double walled.

The gantries are fitted with hinged outriggers, which swing out over the ship's side to allow the gantry trolleys to pick up or land cargo on the pier.

It is unusual to see such ships carry a bulk cargo like gypsum, but the owners, SMT Ship Management & Transport of Limasssol, Cyprus have, over the years, run a strange assortment of ships through Halifax for gypsum. Included were several former container/bulkers of Belgian origin retroffited as hybrid self-unloaders.

Presumably clamshell buckets are now fitted to the Heron's gantries to permit self-discharging directly to the dock.

The ship is due to sail sometime after midnight tonight.

For a better photo see Capt' Ken or AIS Live.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Storm Chaser?

The research ship Hudson sailed this afternoon in deteriorating weather. With Hurricane Ophelia churning up the Atlantic, it might be imagined that this will not be the most comfortable of trips. If she retraces her most recent survey string she will go right out in to the storm's path.

This wonderful ship, built in 1963, is still in active service for the Department of Fisheries & Oceans / Canadian Coast Guard. Her replacement will be built as part of the new government shipbuilding program, which will unfold over the next few weeks and months.


Basin biggie, Maersk disappointed, QM2 draws crowds

Three ships - nothing in common - except their flag state (the country in which they are registered) and the countries in which they operate have a bearing on their activities.

Basin Biggie
The tanker New Conquest spent 24 hours anchored in Bedford Basin to allow another crude tanker, Overseas Shirley, to unload. There's lots of container ship traffic in and out of the Basin, but it's interesting to see a tanker for a change, since these ships are hard to photograph when they arrive at Imperial Oil.
New Conquest is one of six identical tankers managed by Expedo Ship Management, with offices in Mississauga, ON. See for more. The 41,994 gross, 73,917 deadweight ship is a Marshall Island flagged crude oil tanker, but arrived empty and is still in ballast as far as I can tell. It was built in 2006. Expedo takes advantage of Canadian government policies that encourage ship operators to have their offices in Canada, even if their ships are flagged elsewhere. Teekay Shipping is the biggest and best known of these.
Overseas Shirley is a Canadian flagged ship operated by OSG Overseas Ship Management (Canada) Ltd. I measures 62,385 gross and 112,056 deadweight, built in 2001. OSG is a major US based operator, but they flagged the ship to Canada so that it can carry cargo between Canadian ports.

Maersk Disappointed
Maersk Penang arrived this morning, with fog obscuring its bridge from view. Maersk recently applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency to carry empty containers from Montreal to Halifax on its ships. Citing the high cost of railing or trucking empties to Halifax, they sought a coasting license to use their non-Canadian ships. Both Algoma Central Marine and McKeil Marine raised objections, and the Agency denied the application, stating that Canadian ships were available for the work.
Maersk Penang was built in 1998 as P&O Nedlloyd Jakarta, and is registered in the Netherlands. It can carry 2890 TEU including 400 reefers.

Queen Mary 2 - not the marryin' kind
Queen Mary 2 appears set to assume the mantle of her illustrious predecessor Queen Elizabeth 2. Crowds saw the ship off today despite inclement weather, just as they always did for QE2.
Cunard is reported to be considering the reflagging of some or all its ships to Bermuda so that captains can perform marriages. The masters of ships flagged in the UK are forbidden to conduct such rites, which are apparently quite lucrative, and for which there is a steady demand.