Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ojibwa soon to be on the Road

I delayed my departure by a day, but will now be hitting the road for the next three weeks or so. Postings will be spotty.
In my absence:
Expect the arrival of the tug Florence M. (ex Point Vibert, ex Foundation Vibert) with the barge HM Dock 1 to load the submarine Ojibwa for Ontario.
Ojibwa is the last of the RCN's "O" class submarines to leave Halifax and is now lying at jetty Lima in Dartmouth.

Dimitris P.- bunkers and sails

The suezmax tanker Dimitris P. arrived in Halifax this morning from Point Tupper, where it had unloaded a cargo of crude oil. It sailed this evening for Nigeria.
With the potential closing of the Imperial Oil refinery and reduction to a terminal, it should still be possible to store crude oil there, but it is more likely that it will only store refined product for local distribution.
If that is so, will it still provide bunker fuel to ships?

Garnet Leader -feeding the demand

North America's constant demand for automobiles is being fed by ships such as Garmet Leader, arriving this afternoon from Emden, Germany. Operated (under charter) for NYK Line of Japan, the ship, built in 2008 and 57,692 gross tons has a rated capacity of 6,600 autos. Flying the Bahamas flag, it is owned by a company domicilied in the Isle of Man, but associated with Stamco Ship Management of Piraeus, Greece.
NYL Line (Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha) does about $22bn of business each year from a variety of transportation related operations. About a year ago they were operating 827 major ocean vessels including 143 containerships, 344 bulk carriers, 57 woodchip carriers, 118 car carriers, 86 tankers, 29 LNG carriers, three cruise ships, and 47 other ships. They also have fleets of planes, trains and trucks and containers.

Imperoyal - time running out

Time is running out for the Imperoyal refinery in Dartmouth. Imperial Oil announced that they will sell the money losing facility or convert it to a terminal. They will offer for sale several other terminals in Atlantic Canada, including Sydney, Sept-Iles, Corner Brook and the Magdalen Islands.
This is first of all bad news for consumers, who will be faced with increased costs of gasoline and heating oil.
It also bad news for the some 200 plus employees and an equal number of contractors.
It signals the mess in Canada's petroleum industry where some companies are getting wealthy on oil sands and exploration, but have no commitment to actually serving consumers.
Eastern Canada depends almost exclusively on imported crude oil, whereas western Canada wants to export to the United States and Asia, instead of shipping it east.
Now, with the impending closure of this refinery in 2013, we will be in the postion of having to buy refined product, not just crude. That is unless Ultramar in Lévis, QC or Irving Oil in Saint John, NB can supply local needs.
Somehow this broken model must be fixed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A.P.A No.1 outbound - and me too.

The pilot boat A.P.A. No.1 is outbound off the Tall Ships Quay, where there is a notorious "hole" and usually a nice swell to liven up things for the unsuspecting.
Just as the boat is outbound, so am I.
Due to travelling over the next month, posts may be limited on this site. I will attempt to post words from time to time, but pictures may prove to be impossible.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Höegh ships

The arrival on Saturday of the autocarrier Höegh Singapore was reminder that Lines were once regular callers in Halifax with general cargo and containers.

Höegh Singapore (47,266 gross tons) was built in 2011 by Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co Ltd in China and is rated for 4300 autos.

The Leif Höegh & Co A.S. was founded in Norway in 1928 as tanker operators, getting into general cargo in the 1930s and later ore carriers, reefers, forest products ships and in recent years autoliners and LNG carriers. The company started calling in Halifax in the early 1950s as tramps and established itself later as a shipping line. Halifax became a stop on its far east/ Canada /US route.

1. Höegh Elite 10,998 gross tons, built 1964  at Bordeaux, France was a typical general cargo ship of the 1950s and 60s. Fitted with cargo derricks, it could carry a few containers on deck. Sold in 1979 it lasted to 1985 under five different names until broken up in China.
2. Höegh Opal  built in 1967 in Turku Finland had engines aft, but was a conventional  general cargo ships. It was lengthened in 1975 and carried 1x80, 1x50, 2x30 and 16x10 tonne derricks. It was broken up in China in 1992.
When faced with the container revolution they converted adapted cargo ships and operated some pure container carriers, but opted to try multi-purpose vessels carry containers and general cargoes, such as paper and baled rubber, long timber, bulk grain, cars or whatever was offering in addition to containers. Their C class ships carried containers but had a full suite of cargo handling cranes and derricks for general cargo.
3. Höegh Cairn was a C class vessel of 15,422 tons, bult in 1979. It could carry 504 TEUs (including 50 reefers), but also had 2x25 tonne cranes, 2x25 and 8x12 tonne derricks to handle bulk and general cargo. It was sold in 1996 to Rickmers Linie, which has continued to offer round the world liner service for special, general and container cargo. It was broken up in India in 2009.

 In the early 1980s Höegh built the D class ships, which were to be the largest multi-purpose ships in the world.
4. The impressive D class ships were the largest multi-purpose ships in the world and were regular callers in Halifax.

A company noted for its ability to reconfigure itself to suit market demands, eventually it realized that there was a limited future in the multi-purpose market and a huge investment would be needed in new ships. In September 1998 they signed a letter of intent with Oldendorff Carriers of Germany to buy the D class ships, charter them back to Höegh for two years and to operate the line as Höegh Oldendorff Indotrans. At the end 2000 Oldendorff bought out Höegh’s interest and the line became simply Oldendorff Indotrans effective December 31, 2000.

(At the same time Leif Höegh sold its Bona tankers subsidiary for shares in Teekay shipping, exited the reefer business entirely and transferred its forest products interests to Saga Forest Carriers.)

Oldendorff Carriers operated the four D class ships for only four years until selling Indotrans to Hong Kong based John Swire & Sons (one of the oldest British founded trading houses in Hong Kong) to be operated by their China Navigation Co Ltd. The ships by this time were becoming rather ripe and the old liner routes were cut back reconfigured and the Indotrans name disappeared, with the ships renamed to suit Swire’s normal system with Pacific prefixes.

Finally Swire Pacific (as it was known in the west) halted the Leif Höegh-founded route entirely and transferred the ships to the Pacific. There at least three of the ships were fitted with deckhouses on the after deck to carry cars. Only the former Duke seems to have escaped this indignity. The ships never called in Halifax with this configuration.

Earlier this year the ship were all renamed for the trip to the scrap yards in China.

Characteristics of the D class ships: 30,150 gross tons, 41,600 deadweight, capacity of 1656 TEU (but they rarely carried this many) and fitted with 3x36 tonne cranes, 1x25 tonne crane and one traveling gantry with 41 tonne capacity. Built with seven holds, four holds were strengthened for heavy cargoes (these were also open hatch holds, with the hatch ciovers thew same width as the holds) and three holds fitted to carry containers (924 TEU) and 732 on deck, with 50 reefer plugs.

Three ships were built by Oy Watsila AB, Turku/Abo, Finland and Höegh Duke by Swan Hunter Neptune yard, Wallsend, UK.

Höegh Dene

 1. The ship arrives in Halifax with a crew boat and yacht mixed in with containers on deck. 
 2. In Egon Oldendorff colours, the ship has no containers on its after deck. It had no gear of its own to handle boxes in that location, so relied on shore cranes.
3. In Swire colours, the ship leaves with no containers on the open hatch section.

Höegh Dene entered service in February 1984 Its last call in Halifax with the Höegh name was January 30-31, 2001 and it returned June 1 as Gitta Oldendorff. On May 9, 2004 it arrived as Indotrans Java.It was renamed Pacific Java in 2004 and Hunan in 2012.

Höegh Duke

1. Sailing from Halifax with a substantial deck load of containers.
2. Oldendorff opted to paint the derricks and gantry in a tan/buff colour.

Höegh Duke was launched at Wallsend September 6, 1983 and was completed in June 1984. It became Edward Oldendorff in 2001 and Indotrans Makkassar in 2004. It was renamed Pacific Makassar in 2006, arriving Halifax with that name October 25. It was renamed Hangchow late in 2011.

Höegh Drake

 1. In addition to containers the deck load included some odd metal fabrications.
 2. The Oldendorff hull colour was an attractive charcoal.
3. With the gantry arms swung out over side, the traveller has been fitted with a spreader to handle containers. It could also carry devices for loading paper rolls and  other special cargoes.

Höegh Drake was launched October 29, 1983 but entered service in May 1984. It became Ingrid Oldendorff in 2001 and Indotrans Flores in 2004, arriving in Halifax May 29. It was renamed Pacific Flores in 2006 and Hupeh in 2012.

Höegh Dyke

 1. The after deck was usually reserved for empty containers.
 2. When Hurricane Juan struck Halifax September 28-29, 2003 the ship parted its lines at pier 30-31 and impacted the Saudi Tabuk at pier 27-28, damaging both ships and their cargoes. Ironically Albert Oldendorff was carrying many Saudi containers.

Höegh Dyke was launched February 8, 1984 and entered service in September. It was renamed Albert Oldendorff in 2001, Indotrans Celebes in 2004 and Pacific Celebes in 2006, finally becoming Hoihow in 2012.
As Pacific Celebes it was the last ship of the line to call in Halifax on February 21, 2007. The sips continued to call in Saint John for a time until moving to the Pacific coast only.
The Höegh company has now evolved into one of the largest car carrier operators, with 45 owned ships and 15 on time charter. They are also important players in the LNG tanker field. Their excellent website lists all the ships owned between 1928 and 2008, totalling 291 vessels, with photos of most.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Fairchem Steed - in ballast

1. Fairchem Steed rest at anchor on a quiet Sunday morning, with the Halifax skyline in the background.
The chemical and products tanker Fairchem Steed anchored over night to await a berth at Imperial Oil. The ship is fitted with twenty stainless steel tanks of various sizes to carry all sorts of liquids including petroleum, edible oils, and on and on. Usually these ships (as with the previously posted Glory) are always carrying several chemicals and pick up and drop off at various ports. However this ship is in ballast. It discharged cargo in Hamilton ON on May 6-7 , returning down the Seaway via Montreal May 9.
Part of the Fairfield Chemical Carriers fleet the ship is registered in Panama and operated by Anglo-Eastern Ship Management. It was built in Usuki, Japan in 2005 and measures 11,642 gross tons and 20,0762 deadweight at summer draft.
The ship is managed by Anglo-Eastern Ship Management's Singapore office.
Fairfield operates more than 30 tankers from operating offices in Wilton CT, Antwerp and Singapore.

For more on Fairfield, see their web site:
For more on Anglo-Easstern be surte to look at:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

CCGS Private Robertson V.C. - slo-mo launch

It wasn't the text book launch, with a ship barreling down the launch ways and splashing into the water. No, it was more like a slo-mo version, with the vessel taking the better part of an hour to reach the water, with many stops and starts along the way. The launch ceremony forCCGS Private Robertson V.C. took place at about noon-time.

1. 12:17 the launch starts and the boat begins it slow descent down the launchway. (As seen from the Dartmouth shore.) Dominion Pursuit stands by.

2. 12:31 the boat makes it almost to the end of the launch way. A Connnors Diving inflatible sits off to one side. Its crew had previously checked the submerged launch rails to ensure they were clear.

3. 13:04 with just the tips of the rudder in the water, a shipyard crew has now boarded the boat from the landside.

4. 13:05 the boat begins to make it into the water.
5. 13:07  finally clear of the land, the deck crew can release the cradle so that the boat will float off. Atlantic Oak stands in to assist.

6. Safely in control of Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Oak with CCGC Sambro standing by the flotilla moves off toward pier 9B. (As seen from the Halifax shore)

7. Private Robertson V.C.
But it did happen, the ship made it to the water and was whisked away to pier 9B where final touches will be made.
The first of nine offshore patrol craft for the Canadian Coast Guard, Private Robertson V.C. is a handsome looking craft, which promises to be speedy, but I worry about its sea keeping abilities in really rough stuff.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Glory - diminished

The Stolt tanker Glory sailed this morning on a voyage from Rotterdam to Searsport. The ship is what is  known as a parcel tanker. It can carry 14 different types of cargo at the same time and has sophisticated pumping systems allowing it to discharge the cargoes independently.
This concept of parcelling was invented by Stolt Tankers founder Jacob Stolt-Neilsen of Norway, who was a ship broker in New York at the time. From a start in 1953 with one chartered tanker, he built the company up to the power house it is today with over 150 tankers and interests in terminals, tank containers, fish farms, etc., Read more at:
As such a large company it is odd that we have seen so little of Stolt tankers in recent years. The ships normally operate on liner routes, following a schedule of dates and ports as they work around the seas of the world, so perhaps they just have had no cargoes to or from Halifax.
One cargo they used to load in Halifax regularly was tallow. This cargo, the product of rendering meat scraps, used to be stored in tanks at pier 20. However the tanks have long since been removed and that reason for calling no longer exists.

Glory was formerly called Stolt Glory until 2010-and it is odd that the name was changed, even though it is still in the Stolt fleet. Built in 2005 at Shin Kurushima Dockyard in Onomichi, Japan it is a ship of 20,095 gross tons, 33,302 deadweight.

Among the early Stolt tankers to call in Halifax was Stolt Argobay built in 1960 in Norway. It was a traditional tanker with island bridge. It was broken up in 1984. It is shown here getting away from pier 20 on a foggy day.

Stolt's distinctive putty/yellow colour scheme and lower case lettering of the ships' names made them favourite photo subjects. Their names were also distinctive in themselves giving pause for thought to some, such as this line handler waiting for the ship to berth at pier 20.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Polish quartet take last bows at the scrap yards

A quartet of ships that called in Halifax over a decade have now all gone to the breakers.

Revolutionary ships for their time, they were built for the French Polish Shipping Company, but operated by Polish Ocean Lines (POL).

Built expressly for the transatlantic trade, they were combination container RoRo ships, with a capacity of 1417 TEU, including 150 reefers, and a speed of 20 knots. Their fine lines and 29,000 bhp allowed the four ships to maintain a weekly service.
For ships measuring 30,000 tons and 200m (656 ft) in length their capacity was relatively small, especially when it is understood that 317 of those TEUs related to the capacity of the car decks.
With engines and accommodation amidships, the forward part of the ship consisted of five cellular holds for containers with a capacity of 438 TEU. The after part of the ship was the RoRo area, served by a huge skewed ramp. The deck hatches forward carried containers and the deck aft had frames for containers with a capacity of 662 TEU on deck.
As part of the joint venture, the ships were built in France, but fitted with Polish (Cegielski) engines.
The ships began calling in Halifax in 1981 with the French Polish line lasting until 1993 by which time some of the ships had been sold and the line bought space on ACL. ACL/ Hapag-Lloyd at that time was directing much of its cargo to Montreal, but with the change, it came back to Halifax.
All four ships were initially sold to the Oldendorff company and chartered back for a short time, but two were resold to the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA) and began to call in Halifax again for a time.
The other two were had diverging careers and only one ever came back to Halifax.

Tadeusz Kosciuszko


First ship was named Tadeusz Kosciuszko after a man who was a colonel in the revolutionary forces of the American states and a friend of Thomas Jefferson. He later returned to Poland and commanded the Polish National army. The ship was built Chantier naval le Ciotat and launched September 30, 1980 and completed in May 1981. It made its first call in Halifax June 12, 1981 and on November 10 of the same year it was the first container ship to use the Fairview Cove container terminal operated by Ceres.

In 1992 it became Gebe Oldendorff and continued to call on Halifax until the service ceased.

 3. As rebuilt, the ship had a new wheelhouse added above the bridge. This allowed containers to be stacked four high on the forward deck.
5. The ramp was removed and the stern reconfigured and hatches were built over the former car decks.
In 1993 it was converted to a fully cellular container ship. The stern ramp was removed and the car decks removed and converted to cellular container space. This increased its container capacity to 2002 TEU including 324 reefer plugs. Gross tonnage increased from 30,080 to 31,207 Renamed Neptune Lazuli, it called in Halifax in 1993. It was then worked on charter for Hapag-Lloyd, Choyang, Maersk and P&O Nedlloyd. It had no less than eight subsequent names before it was broken up in Jiangyin China in April 2006.

Kazimierz Pulaski



Kazimierz Pulaski was the second ship, named for “the father of American cavalry”, also a revolutionary general who at one time saved the life of George Washington. It was launched April 10, 1981 and completed in July 1981 by Chantier Atlantique in St-Nazaire. In 1992 it was sold and renamed Hinrich Oldendorff. It became Pyrmont Bridge in 1993, Australia Star in 1996 and P&O Nedlloyd Taranaki in 1999. It sailed from Brisbane in December 2005 and arrived in Xingang China February 26, 2006 for breaking up.

Wladislaw Sikorski

Wladislaw Sikorski was launched April 14, 1981 and completed in October 1981 by La Ciotat. It was named for a Polish military officer from World War I who went on the become Prime Minister of Poland in exile during World War II. The ship was sold in 1993 to become Hugo Oldendorff, and in 1995 Saudi Makkah.

It continued to call in Halifax until 2001 when it became the Italian Jolly Argento. It later flew the flag of the Comoros Islands. It arrived in Alang India on February 26, 2012 and was beached March 10 for scrapping.

Stefan Starzynski


Stefan Starzynski was named for a World War I soldier, writer and politician who went on to become President of Warsaw. He maintained the position under German occupation in World War II. He was imprisoned and probably died in a concentration camp. The ship was launched by Atlantique August 30, 191 and completed in December 1981. The ship’s first call in Halifax was not until March 6, 1982. In 1993 it became Gerdt Oldendorff, and in 1995 Saudi Riyadh, and called in Halifax under both those names.


On February 27, 1999 it arrived in Halifax with chaos in its car decks. During a storm on the way from New Yoprk to Halifax, many rolls of newsprint broke loose crushing several cars, a school bus a combine harvester and several tons of canned corn.Much of the resulting gurry had to be removed by wheel loaders, but some of the paper was salavaged and restowed. The ship had previously been in a collision February 4 off Virgain Beach with USS Arthur W. Radford, resulting in several dents and scrapes.
3. Scrapes up forward and a dent well aft-souvenirs of a brush with the USN.
4. Several of the Mercury Grand Marquis cars wrecked in a storm crossing the Gulf of Maine.

It was sold in 2001 to become the Italian Jolly Oro. In early 2012 it was renamed Oro, under the Comoros flag, for the trip to the breakers. It arrived in Chittagong, Bangladesh February 26, and was beached March 10. Sharing the same scrapping date as its sister ship.

These were significant ships for the time, and survived well beyond expectations, lasting thirty years in two cases.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ambassador takes another load of gypsum

Things must be picking up a bit at National Gypsum with two ships in a week. Ambassador arrived late Sunday night and sailed this morning for Burlington, NJ. The ship was built in 1983 at Port Weller Dry Dock as Canadian Ambassador and the full name still appears on the ship's hull in welded letters.
It has not carried that name since 1986 however, because in that year it was flagged out to Vanuatu when it left the Upper Lakes Shipping domestic fleet for Marbulk.
Aside from a brief interlude from April to December 2000 when it was renamed Algosea and reflagged Canadian, it has been foreign flagged ever since.
 1. Ambassador has passed under the A. Murray MacKay bridge and is southbound in the Narrows off pier 9B, bound for sea.
2. The ship's previous name still appears on the hull, but there is little likelihood that it will ever be used again.

Upper Lakes Shipping sold its share of Marbulk in 2000 and has now exited shipping altogether, selling out to Algoma. Its ships which had the prefix "Canadian" have now been renamed. Algoma has been a co-owner of Marbulk since 1997 but are not likely to bring this older ship back to Canada, so the "Canadian" prefix is history. The ship operates within the CSL self-unloader pool.

Ambassador has appeared on this blog before - see previous posts for more info.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Knock Sheen -a comparison

The fully loaded crude oil tanker Knock Sheen arrived this afternoon. It provides an interesting contrast to the tanker Godavari Spirit that arrived in ballast last week for bunkers (see below)
1. Knock Sheen creeps in past Meagher's Beach with escort tug Atlantic Oak on a stern line. Its extreme breadth is 157 ft (48m)

2. At 898 ft (274m) long it dwarfs other boats. If fully loaded it would draw 52'-6" (16m).

Knock Sheen was built by Daewoo Heavy Industries in Koje, South Korea in 1998 as Astro Canopus. It was acquired by present owners and renamed in 2006. Knock Tankers Ltd, Oslo, Norway is one of the companies in the First Olsen Group, which includes Fred Olsen Lines, owners of the cruise ship Balmoral that visited in April. Despite its Norwegian ownrship it is registered in Singapore.
The ship is a double hulled tanker of 79,714 gross tons and 159,899 deadweight. Its dimensions are 274m x 48m x 23.2 depth, 16m draft.
This compares to Godavari Spirt, built by Hyundai Heavy Industries of Ulsan, South Korea, with dimensions of 274m x 48m x 23.1m depth, 16m draft. It is 81,074 gross, 159,106 deadweight.
Both are considered to be Suezmax types.

Atlantic Huron - back on the job

The crew clears dust from the ship's deck as it leaves Bedford Basin bound for Montreal.

The CSL self unloader Atlantic Huron made a quick turn around in Halifax this weekend. The ship arrived Friday morning with a load of grains from Thunder Bay and completed unloading last evening. It then shifted to National Gypsum where it took on a cargo for Montreal and sailed this afternoon.
This has been a regular routine for the ship for several years. The grain is for domestic use in milling and animal feed and the gypsum will be used in the production of building products.
Built in 1984 by Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Ltd in Collingwood, ON, as a gearless bulker called Prairie Harvest, it was converted to self-unloader at Port Weller Dry Dock in 1989 and became Atlantic Huron. From 1994 to 1997 it carried the name Melvin H. Baker II while on contract with National Gypsum, running out of their Dartmouth facility. It was also flagged out to the Bahamas from 1990 to 1992. It returned to its current name in 1997
Then in 2002 it went to the Port Weller Dry Dock again for rebuilding of its cargo section to take advantage of new Seaway regulations which allowed slightly wider ships. The widening (which can be seen on the hull where it steps out below the main deck) increased its carrying capacity by more than 2,000 tonnes.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Caribbean Princess - early start

Caribbean Princess heading in for pier 22. The container ship Marwan is anchored outside the harbour, well beyond the Meagher's Beach lighthouse.

Caribbean Princess arrived early this morning - too early for most of the passengers by the look of it - I could only spot two deck. The ship carries more than 3,000, and some of them did stir once the ship was berthed by 0700.
The ship took as slightly different course into pier 22. To allow room to pass the outbound Ocean Sanderling, she kept to the east of the channel, and so had to make more turn to come alongside pier 22.