Monday, July 16, 2018

New Halifax Tour Boat

A new tour boat has broken into the Halifax harbour cruises business with a novel approach. WinStar Cruise offers the usual harbour tours and charters, but also has a lobster dinner cruise, with staff speaking English and Mandarin. The large numbers of tourists (and residents) who speak Chinese has presumably sparked the plan by WinWin Atlantic Holdings Ltd, of Markham, ON, the owners of the boat to set up business here..
The other slight novelty of the operation is that it runs from Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, just steps away from the harbour ferry terminal and transit stops.

WinStar acquired the boat over the winter from Jacques Normand of Baie-St-Paul, QC, who had tried to establish tours from his own home port and from Pointe-au-Pic, QC over the past two summers, but for a variety of reasons was not able to make a go of the operation. Despite an investment of $200,000, not including purchase price, Normand cited Transport Canada regulations, lack of water depth at piers and  poor response to promotion possibilities as factors in causing him to sell off the boat.

 Working from Baie St-Paul in 2016 and...

Pointe-au-Pic in 2017.

I suspect WinWin has better chances in Halifax.

The boat itself is an interesting one, built with aluminum in 1972 by Paasch Marine Services of Erie, PA as American Adonis II for International Boat Tours Inc of Clayton, NY. It then became Island Princess and was located in Florida when found by Jacques Normand. It was then named (a name Normand decided to keep) and it was a 75 day trip from Stuart, FL to bring the ship to Baie St-Paul where it was refurbished for Canadian service.

WinStar was able to put it into service with very little modification, and will operate with a passenger capacity of 120.


Saturday, July 14, 2018

I get misty

'Twas a misty day in Halifax with conditions deteriorating as the day went on to rain and fog.
Fortunately most of the action I wanted to capture occurred before it got too bad.

CCGS Cape Roger with its in water refit complete, sailed this afternoon for patrol. With the Coast Guard fleet spead thin these days due to emergency and scheduled repairs, ships are being repositioned, sometimes for from their home bases. An example is CCGS Samuel Risley, which has sailed for the Arctic from its base on the Great Lakes. This is the first arctic trip for the ships since it was built in 1985. In fact it has rarely left the Lakes. One notable exit was for refit in Shelburne, NS in 2004. It also did a replacement stint out of Halifax from July to September 2015. 
Its near sistership CCGS Early Grey, normally based in Halifax has been assigned to Newfoundland to cover for the CCGS Ann Harvey which ran aground in 2015. While under repair the decision was made to make an early start on a life extension program.This necessitated cutting out much of the accommodation to remove the electric propulsion motors for rebuild. That refit was to have been completed last year, but has now been extended to September of this year.
Also CCGS Terry Fox is in drydock for repairs in Port Weller (St.Catharines, ON) and Des Groseilliers in Lévis, QC for life extension.

The most significant arrival of the day had to take back seat to other ships as far as photos are concerned since it arrived and will sail in the dark, and was shrouded in mist during most of its stay. CMA CGM Chennai was delivered to Seaspan International in May and entered a three year charter to CMA CGM (with a three extension option). It is another ship that makes Halifax a member of the 10,000 TEU plus club for large container ships.

Built by Jiangsu Yangzi it measures 112,967 grt, 119,000 dwt with a nominal cpacity of 10,100 TEU, including 1420 reefer points.

CMA CGM Chennai forms a large gray lump in the left background of the chemical tanker  FMT Knidos.

First named Atlantik Glory when it was built by Selah Makina, Tuzla, Turkey in 2010, the 8,391 grt, 13,214 dwt ship is specially fitted for IMO Type II hazardous cargoes (Type I is most severe and Type III the least severe of the three grades of hazardous chemicals). It took its present name in 2017 and operates in the Team Tankers pool. It has twelve tanks, lined with epoxy, which on this trip contain caustic soda (NaOH), from Freeport, TX for Port Alfred, QC..

Full width bridges often indicate a ship built for winter conditions, but in this case I can find no ice notation, so it is more likely a means of protecting the crew from exposure to dangerous cargoes. 


Basin Views a Priority

As far as picture taking is concerned, Bedford Basin was the action centre Friday evening.

Priority, a new to Halifax container ship berthed at Fairview Cove for THE Alliance. Also in port was the Atlantic Sea and in a rare occurrence it appeared that all four cranes were at work. Two cranes for each ship. The smallest crane was apparently able to work on the forward container cells of the Atlantic Sea. Usually this crane is too small to work most ships.

Priority is the former MOL Priority built in 2002 by IHI, Kure. The 74,701 grt, 74,453 dwt ship has a capacity of 6402 TEU including 500 reefers. Danaos took over the ship and renamed it in 2014 and it now flies the Malta flag.

At BIO the DFO ship Teleost sailed after a brief stay in port, and Cape Roger took a few turns in the Basin following an alongside refit. Also at BIO for the past couple of weeks is Alfred Needler. All are normally based in Newfoundland.

And although no ships are scheduled for National Gypsum in the near future, there is certainly an adequate stockpile built up.


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Eimskip's substitute

The Icelandic shipping company Eimskip maintains a regular three ship service calling Halifax weekly (approximately) called its Green Line. The ships run from Reykjavik to Argentia, Halifax, Portland, ME, Argentia, St.Anthony (if traffic warrants) and back to Reykjavik. (Eimskip also has a Orange, Blue, Yellow, Gray and Red lines serving other ports).

This week's arrival would have been Pantonio, which was added to the fleet in January, but has been replaced - at least for this trip - by an almost identical ship, the EF Ava.

Gloomy skies, brought about by tropical storm Chris passing well offshore, greeted EF Ava on arrival this morning.

EF Ava is one of a series of about forty Chinese built ships of the Wawei 700 class. Measuring 7545 grt, 8169 dwt, it has a capacity of 698 TEU, including 120 reefers. Builders Wawei Shipyard in Fuzhou built the ship in 2008 as OPDR Rotterdam, but it was soon renamed OPDR Tanger (OPDR stands for Oldenburg-Portugiesische  Dampschiffarts Reederei). German owners MacAndrews, then Bernhard Schulte and now EF Ava Ltd have operated the ship under the flag of Madeira, the Portuguese international registry.

Sister ship Pantonia was built by the now failed Sainty Shipbuilding Corp of Jiangdu and it has worked for Dutch owners, Marlow Navigation, under Cyprus flag, so there appears to be no connection between the two ships except the standard design.

Pantonio arriving under similar leaden skies in March.

Pantonio is still shown on Eimskip's schedule for today's call and for August 2, but AIS indicates it is in Rotterdam, leaving little time for it to catch up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Peace Boat - updated

The current Peace Boat, Ocean Dream, made its inaugural call in Halifax today. Operated by a Japanese based NGO dedicated to peace, sustainability and numerous other humanitarian causes, Peace Boat operates cruises to provide educational experiences and other opportunities for its passengers. - mainly youth leaders.

--- no photo possible on arrival---will try for one on departure, scheduled for 2000 hrs---

Founded in 1983, it has operated cruises on five different ships, the current one since 2012. The first cruise was on The Topaz, the former Empress of Britain, in 2003. The current trip, which started in Stockholm, has called in Copenhagen, Bergen and Reykjavik, participating in special events in each port, with an emphasis on the health of the oceans.

During its visit to Halifax its voyagers will attend a forum on climate change and ocean degradation, hosted by the Mayor.

The ship was built in 1981 as Carnival Cruise Line's first new build, and was named Tropicale at the builders yard, Aalborg Werft in Aalborg, Denmark. It operated mostly in the Caribbean, from such ports as  Tampa and New Orleans.

Carnival introduced the winged funnel on Tropicale and have used it on all subsequent ships in one form or another.

In 2001 Carnival transferred the ship to Costa where it was renamed Costa Tropicale and it underwent a  major refit. That operation saw the removal of its distinctive winged Carnival funnel and replacement with the signature Costa "stovepipe", which it still carries.

In 2005 Carnival Corp reassigned the ship to its P+O brand, renaming it Pacific Star It worked out of Australia until sold out of the Carnival family in 2008 to Pullmantour Cruises. In 2015 it was sold again to Ocean Dream Shipping Inc and bareboat chartered to Peace Boat. The ship's original tonnage was 22,919 grt, but this has crept up to as much as 36,674 grt according to some sources.

On leaving Halifax the ship will sail for New York where it will host a major UN sponsored sustainable development conference. It has a capacity of 1422 passengers and operates with a crew of 550.

Getting underway on time this evening, and using the tug Atlantic Fir to get off the dock and turn (it used the same tug this morning) the ship obligingly sailed north and west of George's Island, and despite shadows from shoreside buildings, made a good sight.



Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday, Monday

A busy Monday brings up a number of interesting developments.

The merger of the three Japanese container lines, K-Line, MOL and NYK to form Ocean Network Express, called ONE, has included building some new ships, but there will be a lengthy transition for existing ships to adopt common livery and for the introduction of the brand on containers. The merger, which started in 2016 came into effect in October 2017.

Yesterday a white ONE box was spotted on the inbound Berlin Bridge, a K-Line charter from Seaspan International.. However the real news was today's spotting of a new ONE dry container.

There has been some discussion in the shipping industry about the new ONE colour. Called cherry blossom magenta, it is traditionally a symbol of spring in Japan. However there is the question of the practicality of maintaining the colour. The general consensus seems to fit into the "What were they thinking" category. ONE has some ships in service now with this colour applied to the ship's hull. Can't wait to see one here.

ONE is a member of the THE Alliance with Yang Ming and HAPAG-Lloyd, so we are sure to see one someday.

Rebranding is also afoot in the oil distribution business in Atlantic Canada, with Irving Oil purchasing the Ultramar gas stations and convenience stores in the region.

Workers swarm over a former Ultramar station and get the Irving sign into position.

This will likely result in more business at Irving's Woodside marine terminal in Halifax harbour.

Old tanks coming down at Valero, with cars in the background.

The stations were previously supplied by Valero, and I note demolitions at their Eastern Passage tank storage facility. Valero still supplies Petro-Canada, and perhaps other gas stations in the area from their refinery in Lévis, QC, but  the local facility is underutilized. The site of the former Gulf Oil refinery - long since shut down - is right next door to Autoport, and they allow Autoport to use some of their land already. Despite a huge expansion to Autoport's storage facility recently, they will likely do a deal for more.

With no refineries in Halifax it is rare to see a crude oil tanker, particularly a fully laden one. Today's arrival of the Malta flag Patroclus involved some very careful navigation. Despite the tide being relatively high, the ship took to the deep water western channel  and even deviated from that to avoid a high spot. Other ships and boats were cautioned out of the way and the pilot boat stood by off middle ground to help guide the ship. Harbour regulations require two pilots and two tugs for tankers of this size.

Patroclus returns from the deep water western channel to the main channel as the supplier Venture Sea and a pleasure craft move toward the western channel. The stern escort tug Atlantic Oak is out of sight moving the ship's stern.

It is not immediately apparent where the ship is coming from, but its course approaching Halifax was from the south. Its destination will be revealed when it departs later this evening - watch for an update

The ship was built by Hyundai Ulsan in 2009 as Astro Patroclus but was renamed in the same year. At 79,890 grt, 158,267 dwt it is not the largest ship to call in Halifax, but it may be one of the deepest. Due to the position of tugs and shadows I was not able to read the draft marks, but the web says it is 17m (55.7 ft). However based on the way the ship was handled I suspect it was in excess of 17.7m (58.07 ft) - the figure requiring special permission from the Port. Update: on departing the ship reported a draft of 16.95m, and gave Saint John, NB as its destination.

Patroclus brings up in number one anchorage in preparation to take bunkers.

Bishu Highway was unloading cars at Autoport this morning when BMW announced that it is raising car prices because of the current trade and tariff war. What this uncertainly will mean for Autoport, and Canadian car buyers remains to be seen, except it is likely not good news.

Bishu Highway dates from 2009 when it was cranked out by Shin Kurushima Toyohashi. With a gross tonnage of 56,978 grt, 17,649 dwt, it has a capacity of 6,135 cars on 11 decks. The ship has called in Halifax many times, averaging about one call a year, although it was last here as recently as March 13.


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Some weekend activity

There was lots of activity in the harbour over the weekend as usual. Among the more interesting:

The small asphalt / bitumen tanker Feng Huang AO sailed on Saturday from the McAsphalt dock in Eastern Passage after delivering a cargo. Since it is paving season, demand for the commodity is high, and Irving Oil, among the producers have chartered the a US tug and barge combo Coho and Penn No.92  for two trips under a coasting license. One trip was last week and another is to follow in August. However McAsphalt needed more so brought in another load - probably from the Caribbean on Feng Huang AO.

 Feng Huang AO makes the turn around Ives Knoll as it heads to sea and Tarragona, Spain, in ballast.
The ship is registered in Hong Kong and was built by Qingshan Wuhan in China in 2016, with tonnages of 10,377 grt, 12,799 dwt, and has the extra boilers and equipment needed to keep the cargo hot. Among the more interesting features of its design are the full width bridge and the main deck which slopes upward towards the accommodations and toward the forepeak.

In a reversal of the usual pattern the tanker Atlantic Breeze arrived from Saint John, NB. Usually these foreign flag product tankers come from the Netherlands directly to Halifax, then on to Saint John.

 Tugs assist the Atlantic Breeze alongside Irving Oil's Woodside terminal. Not seen is a third tug, Roseway, operating as line boat to take the ship's headlines to a shore bollard.

It is a typical mid-range tanker of 29,266 grt, 49,999 dwt, built by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan in 2007. It also flies the Hong Kong flag.

Imperial Oil had only just cleared the tanker Seabreeze from its number 3 dock - so there was lots of breeze on a hot day.

Sunday was likely the busiest pleasure craft day of the year in Halifax harbour - not just in sheer numbers, but also in tonnage.

The container ship Berlin Bridge managed to thread its way in, despite having to make at least one warning signal for an inattentive sail boat.

Once round George's Island headed for the ferry track, and still well clear of other vessels it passed the monster yacht Kamaxitha getting underway from its berth at Purdy's wharf and heading for sea.

Built in 2012 by Royal Huisman the all aluminum vessel has an overall length of 53.75m (bowsprit included) and 41.22m at the waterline. Its breadth is variously reported, but seems to be 9.07m. Displacing about 270 tonnes, it features all the excesses one might expect on a vessels of its size.
It put to sea using its 805 bhp MTU main engine, but may have decided to sail once outside the harbour. It gave Nuuk, Greenland as its next port - and why not. Its air draft is reported to be 57m. Incidentally the maximum air draft under the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge is 46.9m.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Back on Watch

After a week away from Halifax, Shipfax is back on watch. (More on my Quebec trip in later posts)

The autocarrier Hoegh Transporter arrived at noon time today. Although it was built as far back as 1999 I had never seen the ship before. Originally it was named HUAL Transporter for then owners Hoegh-Ugland Autoliners. The ship came from Stocznia Gdynia in Poland and measures 57,757 grt, 21,400 dwt with a capacity of 6500 CEU.

Hoegh bought out Ugland's 50% of the joint venture in 2000 but the ship was not renamed renamed Hoegh Transporter until 2007. Since 2008 A.P.Moller (Maersk) has held a minority share in Hoegh Autoliners.

HMCS Windsor sailed early this afternoon. It had only returned to port June 20th after a five month deployment to the Mediterranean with NATO.

According to press info at that time it had largely been used for training with other navies, but also did patrol and tracking work. It has a crew of 59.Canada's small fleet of four subs will be kept running until the 2030s with major refits planned as a cheaper alternative to replacement.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Eidsvaag Sirius hoists the Canadian flag

Skretting Canada Inc of Bayside, NB, representing owners Eidsvaag AS , registered Eidsvaag Sirius in Halifax June 20. The ship arrived in Halifax June 11, and was covered in my post of June 12.

The ship sailed this morning, June 26 for its new homeport of Bayside.

It replaces Eidsvaag Vinland which worked in the region for several years, transporting fish feed around Nova Scotia, New Brunswick. Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. It put in to Halifax only once, to shelter from a storm, and tied up at the same pier that Eidsvaag Sirius occupied.

Eidsvaag Vinland sheltering at pier 25 in 2011.

I don't expect to see much of Eidsvaag Sirius in Halifax once it enters service either.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Bright Sun Woes

Everyone is enjoying bright summer sun, except those of us trying to take photos from the Halifax side of the harbour.

EM Kea arrived a little later than the crack of dawn, and after it tied up around 0900 the reason became apparent.

All Halterm's cranes were busy working on the earlier arrival, APL Houston, which picked up its pilot at 0430 hrs. At some pojt during the day, some of thecranes moved away from the 9200 TEU APL shiup to the 3108 TEU EM Kea.

Later morning with the sun nearly overhead, it was even more challenging.

 From the Herring Cove look-off, I wasn't the only ship watcher.

Elandra Oak was first of two arrivals, and proceeded in for Irving Oil Woodside. This is the ship's second call in Halifax. The first was November 14, 2016 when it docked at Valéro, Eastern Passage.
The 29,737 grt, 49,999 dwt tanker was built in 2016 by SPP Shipbuilding Co in Sacheon. It is indirectly owned by the Latvian Shipping Company.

Next along was K-Line's Euphrates Highway. It is a 59,447 grt, 18,668 dwt auto carrier built in 2012 by Imabari Zosen in Marugame. Sources indicate a car capacity of 6,215 CEU.

There was another K-Line ship in port too, but this one a container ship.

 Brevik Bridge has been a regular caller since it initiated THE Alliance's Transatlantic Loop 6 in April 2017. It is a 4526 TEU ship of 46,444 grt, 58,200 dwt . Registered in Hong Kong with Xiangcheng Shanghai Ship as registered owners, it is owned by Seaspan International and is on a 12 year charter to K-Line with two 3-year options. Now that K-Line has merged its container operations with MOL and NYK it will be interesting to see if the ship's livery changes or if it switched to another other route.

Whether as a result of the merger or not the once familiar NYK Terra has been sold.

NYK Terra built in 2008, 76,928 grt, 80,282 dwt, 6661 TEU (including 460 reefers) fetched US$25mn in a recent sale to Singapore owners. If the Hyundai Ulsan built ship is on charter to K-Line, the change of ownership may not be significant - it may stay within the new Ocean Network Express (ONE).


Friday, June 22, 2018

Viking Destiny and Oborishte

The auto carrier Viking Destiny arrived this morning in calm and clear conditions. This is very different from its first scheduled arrival March 7 when it was held off the port for two days due to weather. It finally entered March 9 and sailed later the same day.

The ship was built for Gram Car Cariers in 2017 by Jiangsu Jinling and has a capacity of 6700 CEU, measuring 62,105 grt, 18,500 dwt. Gram is a Norwegian company, with offices in Singapore, and about 22 ships time chartered to other carriers. The ships are managed by OSM Ship Management, another Norwegian company. Many of Gram's executives once worked for Hoegh, a major Norwegian car carrier owner.

On sailing this afternoon, its blue hull was much more visible in direct sunlight.

A ship that arrived Monday sailed this afternoon after topping off a cargo of grain. Oborishte flying the flag of Malta, operates for Navigation Maritime Bulgare, but does not have the usual putty coloured superstructure of state owned Bulgarian ships.

It was built in 2010 by Wuhu Xinlian and is optimized for the St.Lawrence Seaway at 662' loa x 77'04" breadth (the maximum allowed width) and 20,491 grt, 29,720 dwt. It carries three 30 tonne cranes.
The original German owners named the ship Luebbert under Intersee management. That was changed in 2014 when Marconsult became managers,  becoming Marbioko. The ship came under NMB management in 2106 and took its present name (that of a Bulgarian village). All three owners were single ship companies using the ship's name, so may in fact have been one in the same.

The ship's departure today marks the end of a lengthy odyssey in Canadian waters. It arrived in the Sorel anchorages below Montreal on April 21. It was placed in detention there for two days until deficiencies identified by Port State Control were rectified.

It was not until April 28-29 that it passed upbound through the St.Lawrence Seaway. Its destination was Oshawa, ON, but the ship went to the Port Weller anchorages in western Lake Ontario and remained there until May 14, when it finally reached Oshawa to unload. It then returned to the Port Weller anchorages May 18 where it languished until June 11 when it moved to nearby Hamilton to load. Once that was completed it sailed June 14,  passed down the Seaway directly for Halifax arriving June 18.

Two months is a long time in shipping terms, and cannot have been a profitable experience.


Wednesday, June 20, 2018


It was a day of contrasts, both in colour but also in style.

The Portuguese naval training barque Sagres got underway after a three day visit at Pier 24. [see also Tugfax]. There was enough wind that the ship's sails were actually drawing after it made a turn in the harbour before setting out to sea.

 Sagres puts to sea passing George's Island.
Note the CCG helicopter next to the lighthouse.

When Sagres was here for Tall Ships 2009, it put on a real show under full sail.
Sagres passing the reviewing stand for the Parade of Sail.

A more utilitarian vessel arrived late this afternoon in bright red paint (hence the contrast in the title).  Polar Prince, the former CCGS Sir Humphrey Gilbert made the headlines last year when it circumnavigated North America as part of the Canada C3 expedition.It returned to Lunenburg from that voyage where it spent the winter.

The ship still looks very trim despite being built in 1959.

The ship's extreme icebreaker bow was built by Halifax Shipyard and installed during a refit in 1984-85.

Thrusters powered by engines in the forepeak, and exhausted through the legs of the goal post mast, push the ship sideways toward Pier 9A in a stiff breeze.

Enter "Polar Prince" in the Search box to the left for several previous posts on this ship.