I did not get to see Atlantic Navigator when it arrived today - too much fog! On one of Atlantic RoRo Lines rare Halifax calls, the ship berthed at Halterm. I was sorry I missed it because it has an interesting history, which ties in to Halifax.
Built in 1992 as an Astrakhan class general cargo ship with RoRo capability it was built as Kovrov for USSR owners, but was renamed Ever Vital in 1997 for a short time, before becoming Thorsriver in the same year. It was chartered to serve Christensen Canadian African Lines (CCAL) owned by A/S Thor Dahl, a legendary Norwegian company.
Founded in 1887 in Sandefjord, Norway, A/S Thor Dahl grew to have its own shipyard, A/S Framnaes M/V, and operated shipping lines to the Pacific and Orient, and operated a large whaling enterprise in South Georgia. In 1948 the company's owner Lars Christensen founded a new line to run from Canada to various African ports. Although based in Montreal, the company's beautiful white ships called in many Canadian ports to load export cargo, especially paper, and brought in fresh fruit, often calling in Halifax. The ships of CCAL were also distinguished by their huge bow crest which showed the god Thor (standing on a whale) and a funnel mark with a stylized whale.
In 2000 CP Ships purchased CCAL from A/S Thor Dahl but merged it into Lykes Line (which it had also acquired) and eventually sold the whole works to TUI, and it was folded in to Hapag-Lloyd. A/S Thor Dahl still exits in Norway, but seems to have given up shipping to become involved in real estate and construction.Thorsriver was renamed Lykes Energizer in 2000 and was then returned to owners and became Atlantic Navigator.
CCAL had an offshoot called Christensen Canadian Enterprises which had ships based in Halifax. Two ships, built along trawler lines, were used in the annual seal hunt, but also carried out research work and participated in summer northern supply work to the arctic. Karlsen Shipping in Halifax acted as agents for CCE until the ships were sold. Karlsen also acquired two whale catchers from A/S Thor Dahl, which they operated also for sealing and research.
So today's arrival of Atlantic Navigator brought back some memories of:.
Christensen Canadian African Lines and A/S Thor Dahl were once well known names in Halifax. It is therefore with some nostalgia that I would have greeted Atlantic Navigator - had I been able to see it. It sailed this evening (still in dense fog) for Houston, TX..