Saturday, January 19, 2019

Weather Bump

Always a factor at this time of year, weather will have a bearing on shipping activity Sunday January 20, as storm passes up the Bay of Fundy, with snow and or rain and high winds.

One ship will be leaving port because of the storm. Thorco Liva, which has been anchored in a very light condition in Bedford Basin since January 8 will put to sea to ride out the weather. During the last day of high winds, January 9, the ship dragged anchor at least twice and had to take a pilot to re-anchor. The ship will sail at 0700 hrs Sunday morning.

Photo taken one week ago shows very placid conditions - unlike what is expected in the next 24 hours.

The Irving Oil tanker East Coast is scheduled to sail at 1015 hrs Sunday, but that is tentative. It is docked at Imperial Oil, and will have to leave that dock if conditions get rough, and would likely then anchor in the harbour.

Among the arrivals scheduled for Sunday is Salarium at 0500. After discharging a cargo of salt in Saint John during the week it is en route back to the Magdalen Islands. It also anchored in Halifax during the last storm on January 1.

Maersk Penanag arriving from Montreal is due at 1615.

Algoma Integrity is due at 1900. The plan is to anchor until the storm has blown itself out, then take on a load of gypsum.


More Algoma in Halifax

Algoma Central Corporation is on the move again with more acquisitions.

The Algoma Tankers division's Algonorth arrived again today on its shuttle run from the Valero refinery in Lévis, Quebec for Imperial Oil. In view of impending bad weather - including high winds tomorrow - the ship tied up at Pier 9C to wait it out. Since the ship arrived from Sweden at the end of November it has been dedicated to the Halifax run.

Algoma got into the tanker business when it acquired the remnants of the Imperial Oil fleet in 1998. When Imperial closed its Dartmouth refinery, Algoma tankers became rare sights in Halifax. Imperial began to source it refined products in the US or Europe, but has now apparently done a deal with Valero. Most of what Valero refines is now sourced from western Canada, via pipeline to Montreal. Shuttle tankers transfer the crude to Lévis where it is refined. At one time the product was sold under the Ultramar label, but labels don't mean much anymore as far as origin is concerned. (For example, under cover of darkness tonight, Irving's East Coast will shift from the Irving Oil dock to Imperial dock 4 to discharge some cargo.)

Inbound in the Narrows, the ship's colour scheme fits well with the surroundings. I will be sorry to see it repainted in Algoma's deep blue. I will also miss the distinctive white stripe..

The ship's last name, Ramira is still visible above the new name. Due to the stenciler's spacing it looks like two words, but is one.

The ship went into Bedford Basin far enough to turn around.  Although accompanied by the tug Atlantic Fir from the lower harbour it was not until the ship had turned that the tug came along side and made fast.
Back under the A.Murray MacKay bridge again it headed for Pier 9C.

Built in 2008 by Tuzla Gemi Endustrisi in Turkey, he 12,164 grt, 16,8979 dwt tanker was named Gan-Gesture until 2009 when it was acquired by Alvtank Rederi AB and renamed Ramira under the Swedish flag. A DNV Ice class 1A vessel it is well suited to a winter shuttle service between Lévis and Halifax. The ship was registered in Halifax November 9, 2018, but did not arrive in Canada until November 30. Its first arrival in Halifax was December 11, 2018.

Algoma's deep sea fleet will also be growing as they announced Friday that they had made an offer to acquire the Oldendorff Carriers GmbH + Co interest in the CSL International self-unloader pool. In 2016 CSL and Algoma divided up the Klaveness ships in the pool which will now have only CSL and Algoma ships. In this transaction they will acquire three Oldendorff ships.

The three ships in alphabetical order are:

Alice Oldendorff, built in 2000 by Shanghai Shipyard, measuring 27,825 grt, 48,000 dwt. It is called a hybrid self-unloader. A conventional bulk carrier with four cranes and clamshells it was then fitted with a complex hopper, conveyor and swing boom arrangement. All the gear is above deck, which allows for greater hold capacity, and could be retrofitted with minimal modifications to the ship. Unloading rates are dramatically slower than the "built in" systems. Alice Oldendorff unloads at 750 tonnes per hour versus 5,000 tph or more for the other ships.

Alice Oldendorff  in Bedford Basin with a less than full cargo of gypsum.

Harmen Oldendorff dates from 2005 when it was built by Damen Okean in Mykolayiv, Ukraine. It was then completed as a self-unloader in 2006.  Measurements changed from 41,790 gt to 42,033 and 66,500 dwt to 66,187 dwt with the conversion.

An (old) Panamax size ship, the self-unloading gear is mounted forward, where it takes up less cargo space in the hold.

 Sophie Oldendorff also an (old) Panamax, was built by Jiangnan, Shanghai in 2000 to the same design as two CSLers in the pool, Sheila Ann and CSL Spirit.  The largest of the three ships, its tonnages are 41,428 gt, 70,369 dwt (or 70,034 according to CSL).

Seen here at National Gypsum in Dartmouth on its first call, the ship has a midships mounted self-unloading system, with an articulated boom.

Algomna will thus have a 40% interest in the CSLI pool, which numbers 18 self-unloaders. When the transaction is finalized in 2Q 2019 Algoma will have eight of them. One, Algoma Integrity, is due in Halifax tomorrow (weather permitting) for another load of gypsum.

Purchase of these ships for a reported $100mn was made possible by the refund of deposits on four ships that were to be built by Uljanik's 3 Maj shipyard in Croatia. The yard has been closed due to financial issues, and could only deliver one of five planned ships. The refund amounts to $115mn.
Algoma has also extended options for three ships with the Yangzijiang shipyard in China. These ships may join the domestic or ocean fleets.

On the domestic front Algoma's Great Lakes fleet is shrinking (temporarily at least) as two veteran lakers have been laid up ready to go for scrap next year. However with one new delivery last year and another in February the number of ships will remain the same year over year.

The ships that have been retired are:

 Capt. Henry Jackman (ex Lake Wabush -87) built in 1981, and converted to a self-unloader in 1995-96.

Capt. Henry Jackman, before conversion to a self-unloader, in the US Seaway between the Eisenhower and Snell locks.

Algowood, also built in 1981 was a self-unloader from the beginning.
Algowood approaching the Iroquois lock dressed all over to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Algoma Central.

Both ships were confined in their travels to the Great Lakes / St.Lawrence system and did not venture into the ocean.

Algoma also has interests in cement carriers and smaller ships through other allliances.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Elegant Ace - background check

Another of Mitsui OSK Line's car carriers arrived today. The company has a fleet of 120 of these ships, so it is little wonder that I have not seen this one before. Operating as Auto Carrier Express, MOL  farms some of the ships out to various other lines, and charters some in.  Although managed by MOL, this one is owned by Polar Express SA and registered in the Cayman Islands, suggesting that It is actually owned by someone else.

The former cable ferry LaHave II is now a spudded work barge for Dexter Construction.

As Elegant Ace tied up in the background at Autoport, work continues on a major upgrade to the adjacent McAsphalt pier. Formerly Dook's dock, the pier is a series of dolphins joined by a catwalk that carries the insulated pipeline.

For all the world like Wile E. Coyote, sawing off the tree limb from the wrong side, a concrete breaker demolishes the old dolphin at the end of the McAsphalt jetty.  The new, much more substantial dolphin is on the right in the photo.
It will be interesting to see how the machine is removed when it has finished its work, since the dolphin is connected to land only by a light catwalk.

The work is being carried out by Waterworks Construction, since 2017 a division of the Municipal Group of companies that includes Dexter Construction, a major road builder, and a competitor of McAsphalt in the paving business.

Elegant Ace also appears in the background as Mister Joe tows the dredge Derrick No.3 from Halterm to pier 9. The dredge began work this week and is knocking off for the weekend, and relocating to  Pier 9 due to a forecast of bad weather on Sunday.

At pier 25 Bomar Rebecca catches the last rays of afternoon sunshine. It works for Tropical Shipping, where the shade canopies over the bridge wings are of some use some of the time, but seem somehow out of place in January in Halifax. In the background the moon rises over the port bridge wing.

The ship is apparently sitting out a couple of trips for Tropical, as it did not sail this week, and its newest fleet made Tropic Hope is due again for next week's trip.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Ferries - controversial and political - amended

For some reason ferries in this country almost always have some controversy associated with them, and they become political issues.

Quebec is no exception. As previously reported,[ ] the Matane to Baie-Comeau and Godbout ferry F.-A.-Gauthier was withdrawn from service before Christmas due to technical issues with its propulsion system. It was finally towed to the Davie yard in Lévis last week. Original estimates were that it would take two weeks in drydock to determine the problem. It seems now that correcting the problem may take even longer. A recent move by the Société des Traversiers du Québec [STQ] confirms that suggestion.

STQ came under heavy criticism for having no back up ship , and many other unfair comments about their service. Certainly the F.-A.Gauthier's problems (and this isn't the first) have caused huge inconveniences for travellers and truckers, but STQ has managed to cobble together an alternative, and has even agreed to compensation. Expecting them to have a back-up ferry available on short notice seems to me to be a bit much.

STQ was able to secure the interim services of CTMA Vacancier, but that will end February 1* [see addendum]. Now STQ has announced the purchase of Apollo from Labrador Marine Inc [Woodward Group] for the bargain basement price of $2.1mn. Expected to be a candidate for the scrappers, Apollo, dating from 1970, is likely the best and only option open on short notice.

Woodward's replacement ferry for the Apollo on the Strait of Belle Isle service from Blanc Sablon, QC to St.Barbe, NL  is now due in St.John's January 20. It is steadily making its way across the Atlantic at 10.6 knots, having stopped in Pta Delgada, Portugal on January 13.

The Qajaq W. is a two deck ferry, with one deck open to the weather. Built in 2010 as Muhumaa in Lithuania it measures 5233 gt. There have already been doubts expressed about its ability to service the demanding year round route, but it has been operating in the Baltic for all these years. It is an ice class 1A ship with a capacity for 300 passengers, 120 cars and 8 trucks. Apollo can carry 240 passengers, 80 cars and 6 tractor trailer.
To add insult to injury the Apollo had a fire in its starboard engine on January 15, one mile off Blanc Sablon and returned to port on one engine. Reports indicate that the damage was confined to the engine only, so it may be possible to repair it before February 1.

Canada's aging ferries on both coasts certainly are a cause for concern, and several new ships will be needed in the next very few years. It is unlikely however that many of them will be built in Canada.

The latest problems with the Nova Scotia - Maine service, where Portland had to be changed to Bar Harbor as the US port have been complicated by State of Maine and USA politics. If Nova Scotia agrees to pay for US border services in Bar Harbor, maybe they should pay them directly as they are getting no other pay right now.

A new ferry for Pelee Island in Lake Erie has still not entered service despite being delivered from Chile in June of 2018 (and that was a few months late). Red tape from Transport Canada is blamed, but I am sure there is more to it than that. Chile is a free trade partner with Canada, but apparently there are still problems since the ship was not classified or surveyed by Lloyd's Register before its arrival. It may enter service in the spring.

Several other ferries are due or overdue for replacement including the Northumberland Strait ferries. That is likely to resolved with a pre-federal election promise sometime this spring.

Also the previously mentioned Trans-St-Laurent is still soldiering on after 56 years in service. Davie is eager to build a new one, but there is demand for year round capability, so that may be an expensive proposition as Rivière-du-Loup is very shallow and not exactly ice free. It may have to dock in Cacouna in the winter - possibly with icebreaker assistance.

On it goes.

* Addendum
In a surprise move the Quebec provincial government cancelled the permssion given by the previous government to seek a replacement for CTMA Vacancier. Madelinots are aghast that after many consultations with the ancien regime, that the new government would reset the process to zero.
It's always political.

More Yantian

One reason I shifted from my paper version of Shipfax to a blog nearly ten years ago, was that I could reduce the amount of correspondence required to answer questions. All that letter writing took away from valuable ship watching time!

But the questions keep rolling in - now by e-mail. However I can also answer those via the blog.

1. The mysterious arrival of the crew.

Press reports announced the arrival of the Filipino crew of Yantian Express in Halifax on January 14. They were welcomed in Halifax by the Mission to Seafarers, and were flown home. Glad to be alive no doubt, but sadly out of work at least for a time.

However there was no mention of how they actually got to Halifax from mid-ocean. We know they were evacuated from the Yantian Express by the SMIT Nicobar but that tug was on scene until recently (it has since been relieved and is en route to Veracruz, Mexico).

The only explanation I can offer is that the sister ship Dalian Express, en route to Halifax, must have deviated slightly from its normal course and conducted a mid-ocean transfer. Dalian Express arrived in Halifax on Sunday January 13.

Why this operation was not explained by the press is certainly mysterious. However news is controlled this days, so we only learn what we are meant to learn.

The ships officers were not included in the evacuees that landed in Halifax. They have remained with the ship - mostly to control machinery I would say, to preserve refrigerated cargo and perhaps to steer  the ship.The officer alone would not able to rig a long distance tow line - that would be the work of the salvors.

2. Why is the ship's position always referenced to Halifax

Yes the ship may be closer to Bermuda but Halifax was the destination  of the ship and some proportion of its cargo. Salvors and shipowners, not to mention cargo owners, would like the ship to land at its destination port if only to simplify matters. Landing the ship and cargo in Bermuda would be a massive headache, if only due to the space and equipment needed to unload.

Ships in distress often want to get into the nearest port before they breakup or sink, but in this case there is not the same sense of urgency as far as we can tell. The first concern is to control and contain the fire. When that is done, the ship will be safe to tow anywhere.

Looking at prevailing winds and currents, and the effort required to tow a very big ship, a decision may be made to go to a port other than Halifax but that decision may not need to be made for a while. As long as the ship is generally headed northwest (that is toward eastern North America) they are making progress. It does not take much course deviation from that far out to shift to New York or Halifax.

3. What is with the tugs?

This what I know:

Atlantic Enterprise is en route back to Newark. I have no explanation of what its role might have been. If the plywood over the winch control house windows indicates damage to the winch controls themselves, that damage was not repaired in Halifax, and it returned to sea still with the plywood panels over the windows.

SMIT Nicobar was en route to Mexico when it was called in to assist. It has been released to continue on its way now that fleet mate Sovereign has arrived.

Maersk Mobiliser has exceptional capabilities and as the most powerful tug would be the most likely tug to tow the ship, but it is hired at a daily rate. Sovereign on the other hand is a SMIT company tug, and might be more economical. Then Maersk Mobilizer could use is greater  firefighting capability and be a base for firefighters, salvors, etc., There might also be less expensive resources available or if Mobiliser has other commitments, it could be relieved.

Horizon Star has additional resources aboard to assist. Its helicopter platform might be of use when it is closer to land, but as of now they are way beyond the flying range of any shore based helicopters.

Firefighting is the primary effort now. That would be followed by controlling drift if the wind is hampering fire fighting. Only then would towing to destination become a priority.

As I stated in the first post on this topic, fires on container ships are notoriously difficult to fight - particularly if they are deep seated within the ship.

End of Question Period.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Yantian Express - endless speculation - updated

People are eager to learn how how things are going with the fire fighting and salvage of the ship Yantian Express. This can result in speculation which spreads and is reported as fact. Regrettably this does little except to keep the situation on the front page. [I plead guilty].

Here is what we know for certain:

The Fire
HAPAG-Lloyd's press release of January 10 stated that the fire was under control.
That does not mean the fire is out.

The fire apparently started with containers on deck, but H-L warns that there is likely direct or consequential damage to containers below deck. [see previous posts]

The tugs SMIT Nicobar and Maersk Mobiliser have very good firefighting capability. However they would have limited quantities of foam on board, and if they were using foam, they may have exhausted supplies by now. If Maersk Mobiliser was towing the ship, it would be difficult for it to fight the fire at the same time. However it also has superior accommodation for evacuees. It is likely it brought fresh supplies of food, etc., from St.John's

As the more powerful tug on scene, it would make sense for it to tow the ship. It is also Canadian and presumably has been hired for the duration of the operation, and thus would be best to tow it to Halifax.
SMIT Nicobar was en route to Mexico when it was called in, so would likely be the first to be relieved of duties if it has contractual obligations elsewhere.

Sovereign (the former Union Sovereign), also a SMIT / Boskalis tug was due to arrive on scene today. It would be bringing fresh supplies as well as more firefighting capability. It is a slightly more powerful tug than SMIT Nicobar, with 178 tonne bollard pull versus 120 tonnes.

Atlantic Enterprise set out from Newark on January 7, but encountered bad weather. It did receive some damage too, so put back to Halifax, the nearest safe port where the damage could be repaired. It is sailing from Halifax at 1800 hrs this evening. Its exact role is certainly a question. It may have been carrying more fire foam, and it does have firefighting capability, though much less than the other tugs.

>>Update Atlantic Enterprise sailed from Halifax this evening giving its desintaiton as Newark, NJ.

Horizon Star another Canadian supply tug has also been dispatched to the scene. It sailed from Halifax early this morning. Also a very large vessel it is equipped with numerous resources, including a helicopter deck. Although well out of any helo rage now, that might change depending on weather and direction of the tow.
It also has survivor accommodation and would have stocked up in food, etc., Since Yantian Express's crew has been fed and watered for nearly two weeks on SMIT Nicobar, grub must be running low

The Tow
In most salvage contracts the destination port is designated. Halifax is the logical one, however weather and the safety of the ship is also a factor, so the actual destination of the tow will not be known for certain for a while.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Acivity north and south

There was activity at both ends of the harbour today.

In south end off Halterm, McNally Marine began to mobilize for its dredging contract. The tugs Mister Joe and J.F.Whalen moved the Derrick No.3 into position off the end of pier 42. One of the mud scows has also been moved from pier 9 to pier 23, which will be the operational base for the work.

The dredging is the first phase of the pier extension and is expected to take at least two months. A second phase is to build the concrete cribs that will be sunk in position to form the pier.

Rounding Ives Knoll in the southend the autocarier Siem Cicero headed inbound for Autoport.

The tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Larch shepherd the ship around Ives Point.
(Atlantic Larch is temporarily assigned to Halifax while Atlantic Bear is in Saint John assisting with the LNG tanker Pan Europe.)

The ship has been calling here since its maiden voyage. See Shipfax July 21, 2017
With a capacity of 7,000 cars,  it is one of the larger autocarriers.

Moving from the southend piers to anchor in Bedford Basin, Onego Rio passed in and out of the late afternoon shadows from waterfront buildings.

The ship arrived January 6 and unloaded a cargo of rails at pier 27. This what I said in my January 7 post:
 " Onego Rio  is a 7576 grt, 10,300 dwt ship built in 2003 by Damen Okean in Mykolayiv, Ukraine. It carries a pair of 80 tonne capacity cranes."
Since there is no severe weather in the immediate forecast, the ship is likely waiting for orders. 
It will join another ship that is waiting for orders, although the orders may be well known:

Thorco Liva rests at anchor in a very frigid Bedford Basin Sunday morning.

Thorco Liva will likely be heading for Newington, NH to load fibreoptic cable, and is just waiting for the a date to be there.

At pier 9C in the north end, beside the usual crop of suppliers, Trinity Sea at 9C and Horizon Enabler fueling at 9, the tug Atlantic Enterprise appears to be getting some repair work to a window in its winch house. A piece of plywood has been hastily applied.

Atlantic Enterprise picked up a coating of frozen spray on its trip up from New Jersey, and perhaps a broken window in its winch control house.

For more on the tug, see: Tugfax January 13

What its role will be in the Yantian Express is a bit of a mystery. SMIT has dispatched another tug from Rotterdam. Sovereign is due at the ship Tuesday, joining fleet mate SMIT Nicobar and Maersk Mobiliser. Sovereign is well equipped for fire fighting with dual water/foam monitors.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A touch of levity

In a bit of departure from the normal Shipfax post here is a touch of levity for a change.

"Buster" Keaton's 1921 move "The Boat" is a classic in nautical humour. The star is of course Keaton himself, but the boat called Damfino is certainly entitled to to at least second billing. It's name will become apparent during a Morse Code conversation at about minute 15 in the version I prefer.
(There are several versions on the net, but I like the one that includes the original titles.) 

See the movie here:
Built on a very fine lined hull, owing its ancestry to sailing craft, it was obviously cobbled together by the studio for comic effect.

However if you want a more realistic boat, another Keaton film may fill the bill.

"The Love Nest" (1923) features a schooner fitted out as a whaler with an unlikely crew:

There is of course the full length "Steamboat Bill Jr." (1928) featuring big stern wheel river steamers.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

CMA CGM Libra - biggest yet

The size of container ships calling in Halifax is creeping upward. Having passed the 10,000 TEU threshold last year, the new benchmark has been set by today's arrival, CMA CGM Libra.
Listed at 131,332 gt, and 131,292 dwt [CCS] the ship is a hefty 363.61m overall length x 45.6m width and draft 13m. Container capacity, depending on the source, is in the 11,200 to 11,388 TEU range, including 800 reefers.
Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan built the ship in 2009. They also built its main engine under license from MAN B+W. It can propel the ship at 25 knots. CMA CGM has 13 sister ships in its fleet, so we might expect to see more of this size, although none are currently scheduled.

Atlantic Oak squares up to push on the ship's bow to make its turn. The tethered escort tug Spitfire III is out of view off the stern.

It is rare to find details about a ship's cost and value, however CMA CGM Libra was aground off Xiamen, China for eight days in May 2011, and an adjustor's report revealed an assessed value of US $120 mn for the ship. At the time is was only partially loaded, with 5,983 containers, but the cargo they contained was valued at $367mn and the containers themselves at $14mn. There was also in excess of $1.5mn in bunker fuel aboard. Even though there was minimal damage to the ship, some containers and some fuel had to be lightered off, and it took nine tugs to refloat. The salvage award was $9.5mn under a Lloyd' Open Form (No Cure No Pay) + SCOPIC. The owners declared general average and there was an 8% charge on contributing value for the cargo carried.

The days of larger ships are upon us, as CMA CGM Thalassa is due on February 2, and it is rated at 10,980 TEU.


Friday, January 11, 2019

What's in a name

Ship's names are always an interesting topic for research and speculation. These days ship names are becoming longer, often accompanied by a series of initials, or worse still, numbers, and thereby depersonalizing the ships.

The arrival on January 10 at Irving Woodside of a tanker with the three letter name Pag was therefore intriguing. Turns out there is no great mystery.

Pag is owned, indirectly, by Tankerska Plovidba DD of Zagreb, Croatia, a small operator of five tankers, but part of a larger company that also operates bulkers and cargo ships. Pag is the name of an island, and a town on the island, just off the Croatian coast in the North Adriatic. Croatian owners are fond of naming ships after their towns, and therefore this is a logical choice.

The ship was built, apparently under Turkish auspices by SPP Shipbuilding Sacheon in 2015. It is typical 
of its type, at 29,735 gt, 39,900 dwt, and flies the Croatian flag. It arrived from Saint John, NB with a partial cargo of refined product for Irving Oil, loaded orginally in Amsterdam.


ZIM Friday

 ZIM Vancouver arrived this morning signalling another step in ZIM's many service and route changes.

Zim Vancouver comes up on the turning point to back into pier 42 Halterm, in a light snow flurry.

It is a 4250 TEU vessel with gross tonnage variously reported as 39,906 or 41,482 (such a discrepancy is hard to account for). Deadweight tonnage is generally agreed to be 52,232. The ship was one of a large series built by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry. Launched in 2007 as ZIM Vancouver it was soon renamed Pearl River I and reverted to ZIM Vancouver in 2012.

ZIM's ZCA service calls in Halifax on Fridays, and ZIM Vancouver has been added as the eighth ship on its 13 port rotation from the Mediterranean to the east coast of North America. ZIM's remaining Halifax service, a weekly feeder links with their Kingston Jamaica hub.

The ZCA service is run in association with THE Alliance as their AL7 service, as is evident from the number of HAPAG-Lloyd/USAC, ONE and Yang Ming boxes on the well-loaded ship.

Competing shipping lines have often joined forces to maximize efficiency of their ships. In fact they formed shipping conferences and other forms of joint ventures that controlled rates. These were eventually declared monopolistic and banned  by the EU ten years ago. However the lines have continued to find other ways of working together.
These have included alliances of various sorts and even lead to the consolidation of the three major Japanese container lines under one common ownership.

Another aspect to all this is fuel costs. Surcharges to cover price increases and slow steaming by ships to save money have become a fact of life. By consolidating competing line services, adding more ports to a line, by reducing speed, and by sharing ships, and thus reducing the total number of ships required, the lines can increase profits.

ZIM was one of the last independent hold outs as the giants Maersk, MSC and CMA/CGM found work arounds by basically renting space on their ships to other lines.  The lines would still compete on rates and other charges, but would find it easier to fill their ships for each trip. By making better use of ships, the total number of ships required can be reduced and each ship would carry more cargo on each trip.

Faced with mounting losses ZIM has now done deals with the major world players to share routes and "swap" cargo space (slots) on the ships. This is not a bad thing - either for ZIM, the other lines and presumably for their customers. For now at least it assures that there will continue to be rate competition, and that efficient routes will be established. As long as ship supply exceeds demand, this situation will persist. The various deals allow ZIM to shed a number of chartered ships. It had the highest proportion of charters among major lines, and stands to save a great deal of money as a result.

The traditional ZIM service ZCS that began calling in Halifax in 1972 has been merged into the 2M alliance of  Maersk and MSC, and no longer calls in Halifax. Halifax has also been dropped as a port on ZIM's ZCI service. Instead there is the weekly feeder service to the Kingston, Jamaica hub. The ZCI service is now run in association with THE Alliance (HAPAG-Lloyd,  ONE and Yang Ming). ZIM also has arranged for space on the Columbus loop service operated by CMA/CGM, COSCO and Evergreen that does call in Halifax.

ZCA /AL7 serves ports in the following rotation:  Mersin, Ashdod, Haifa, Izmir, Livorno (added), Barcelona, Valenica, Halifax, New York, Savannah, Norfolk, Valencia, Tarragona, Mersin.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Paul Johansen

A delightful looking vessel is tied up at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. Since yachting season is well over, it is unusual to see a pleasure craft there at this time of year. However this is not an ordinary pleasure vessel.

 Cross moored at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.
Paul Johansen is one of a class of thirteen boats built between 1963 and 1972 for the Norwegian Society of Sea Resuce and was intended to brave adverse conditions. In fact this one was based in the far north at the fishing port of Grylleford/Senjahopen (Troms).  

It came from the Smedvik shipyard in 1970 and is powered by two Detroit diesels of 264 bhp, and is fitted with a bow thruster and stabilizers. The steel hull is rated ice class "C" and the superstructure is aluminum. It sleeps six and is equipped with all the expected amenities.

Except for construction activity aboard CSS Acadia and the new Queen's Marque project, the Museum pier is otherwise idle for the winter.
After service with the Society it was owned from about 1990 by Simon Mokster Co of Stavanger, but since 1996 or thereabouts it has been in private ownership in Washington State. Used for pleasure and for chartering it has apparently travelled widely.

The current owner commissioned this emblem which also carries the boat's former rescue service number RS79. There is a more detailed description on the boat's web site.

I first spotted the boat in Lunenburg in 2017 while it was undergoing a refit, which seems to have been completed this fall. 

There is a website for the boat, but it is quite out of date. Perhaps there will be some revisions now that the boat  is back in service. From other sources the boat also appears to have been transported by heavy lift ship in 2016, but from where to where is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps west coast to east coast.



Yantian Express update

Reports indicate that the Maersk Mobiliser has the Yantian Express in tow. Although not stated, this implies that there is crew aboard the ship, whether ship's original crew or salvors, someone had to be aboard to rig the towline. They may have since left the vessel again once the line was secure. Making a tow up either by the bow, or by the stern, can be a very labour intensive job if the ship has no power for winches.

There is also an initial damage assessment of effected containers. This could have been done from reports by the evacuated crew, however there is one statement that says "all reefers in Bay 1 to 24 are without power and switched off. All other Bays with Reefers are continuously supplied with power and in operation." This would also indicate to me that there is someone aboard the ship tending to the power plant. However the ship is not using its main engine, so does not have a full operating and navigating crew on board.

The ship's cargo hold is allocated bay numbers - odd numbers for 20 foot containers and even numbers for 40 foot. Bay 1 is the farthest forward.

Looking at some photos of  Yantian Express's sister ship Ningbo Express, I can see the actual bay numbers marked on the hatch coamings, for twenty foot containers.

Odd numbers represent 20 foot bays Even number are not shown, but bay 16 is a forty foot bay consisting of bays 15 and 17.

Bay numbers in white added by photo editing
Bay 31 is set up for 20 foot containers only. 

Extent of damage from the press release is said to be Bay 12 on deck forward, and below deck  Bay 1 to 9. Cargo below deck in Bays 11 to 17 may be effected, and as per the above, reefers from Bay 24 forward are without power. 

Yantian Express arriving Halifax for the first time May 20, 2013.
(bays 1  to  24 are in the yellow box)

Towing an unpowered ship is a slow process, and at last report they were barely making headway. ETA for Halifax is now January 20, but that depends on a number of factors.



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Cinnamon and some weather

Normally thought of as a spice, cinnamon is also a colour, and that is why this particular ship carries the name it does. Like all ships in the Canfornav fleet, it is named for a species of duck, and the Cinnamon Teal has a cinnamon coloured body.

RST trucks provided bunker fuel to the Cinnamon at pier 9C south today. Note the rain water pouring out of the stern scuppers. Not so evident is the wind blasting down through the Narrows.

Built by the Wuhu Shipyard in China in 2003, Cinnamon is a geared bulker of 18,311 gt, 26,737 dwt and carries three 40 tonne cranes. Its last port of call was Bécancour, QC, where it unloaded a bulk cargo, and it is now in ballast. It anchored off Halifax yesterday but came into port in the evening to get ahead of high winds. Bunkering from trucks began today. RST, a J.D.Irving trucking company, delivered the fuel.

Cinnamon is part of the 40 ship fleet of the Montreal based Canadian Forest Navigation. Founded in 1976 the company has a long standing agreement with Navarone S.A. of Greece to  operate the ships, and most are registered in Cyprus.

Canfornav is privately owned, and is "dedicated to serving the St.Lawrence and Great Lakes" according to the company's website. Since 2000 it has been building progressively larger ships - some of which are too large for the Seaway, while also renewing its Seawaymax bulkers.  Traditionally it has chartered all its ships, but has begun to take up ownership of some ships, including buying some of the previously chartered vessels.

Cinnamon is one of five ships of the 26,000 dwt class, the smallest in the fleet. Most ships are in the 30,000 to 37,000 dwt size but is also has five 57,000 tonners and two 64,000 tonners.

The company's interest in ducks is not limited to naming their ships. They have also supported Ducks Unlimited and purchased a three island sanctuary area in the St.Lawrence River called Batture-aux-Loups-Marins (Sewolf Flats) off l'Islet. It is home to eiders, night herons and other species, and is a resting spot for large numbers of sandpipers and snow geese during spring and fall migration.

Weather Footnote:
Cinnamon docked at pier 9C south, at the berth previously occupied by Thorco Liva. That ship went out to anchor in Bedford Basin last evening, but was found to be dragging its anchor a couple of times today in the very high winds. Pilots were sent out to re-anchor ship early this morning and again early this afternoon.

Those winds have also caused delays in port activity. The economically named tanker Pag from Saint John for Irving Woodside has been holding off port as have Bomar Rebecca and YM Modesty. Pilotage operations were suspended for today and tonight and will be reviewed in the morning.

The only arrival has been Oceanex Sanderling which is self-piloted, so there was no need to board a pilot in dangerous sea conditions.

There are a couple of other arrivals scheduled for tomorrow that might have arrived today had conditions permitted.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Yantian Express - following up

Will we be seeing this sight soon?

Yantian Express sailing into Bedford Basin (in 2013)

There is very little new news about Yantian Express. After fire broke out on deck January 3, the crew exerted their best efforts to fight the blaze, but bad weather and concerns for their safety forced them to abandon the effort. The nearest tug, Smit Nicobar arrived on the scene and eventually evacuated the entire crew.

Yesterday about mid-day the brand new Canadian anchor handling supply tug Maersk Mobiliser reached the ship. This impressive vessel, measuring an astounding 10,181 grt and with a 260 tonne bollard pull delivered by 14,400 kW (20,000 + bhp) main engines, has all the equipment needed to respond to offshore emergencies, including fires. By good luck it had only arrived January 2 in St.John's from the shipbuilders in Norway, and had not yet taken up its charter work.

The Yantian Express is well outside Canadian territorial waters, but since it was headed for Halifax it is logical to assume that the ship will be coming to Halifax  eventually, but many questions remain as to how that will be done safely.

If the fire has not reached the ship's accommodations and engines, and it is extinguished quickly, then it may be safe to have a salvage crew board the ship and perhaps even  make it possible to take back control. However if the fire cannot be put out quickly, and it spreads, it may be a very long time before the ship is in any condition to tow. Some container ship fires have smouldered for weeks, and it was therefore unsafe for firefighters to board and deal with hot spots.

Assuming that the ship does make for Halifax, there is still the question of  where and how to deal with the cargo - both the burned out portions and the rest which may or may not be damaged and may or may not present hazards.

Halifax is lacking in isolated port installations where the cargo can be removed far away from other activity, and without interfering with other port business. Removal of all the cargo without the use of long reach container cranes is almost impossible. Therefore one has to assume that the only place to do the work would be at one of the container piers. I am sure Halterm is not volunteering, and that Cerescorp's Fairview Cove terminal would be the only other possible location. It was the destination of the ship in any event.

Towing a dead ship through the Narrows and taking many weeks to offload at Fairview does pose some problems, since it could tie up the pier's big cranes when they will be needed for other ships.

Certainly an area would need to be cleared and quarantined for storage of the ship's cargo, some at least would be salvageable, and might be forwarded on to consignees by other ships. The large filled area outside the Fairview Cove terminal could be fenced and a temporary road connection could be made to access it if all the containers must be removed form the ship.

I suspect that the law of general average has been  or will be invoked.  A very old principal of maritime law, it means that all cargo owners and the ship owner will share pro rata in the loss of some of the cargo. In this case all the cargo may be written off. However each container would have to be evaluated, so a large inspection area would be needed in order to deal with insurance claims.

Then there is the issue of handling and disposal of  damaged or ruined cargo, some of which will be hazardous. A mitigation and transport loading area would be needed for this work too.

It will be a major headache for Halifax to deal with, if in fact the ship comes here at all. There are other ports along the US eastern seaboard better equipped to handle the problem since they have more space and are away from populated areas. The ship may end up going to one of those ports instead.

Damage to the ship itself is unknown at this time, but it is unlikely that it will be able to continue its voyage. Other arrangements will have to be made for waiting cargo - at this point it will have to be loaded on the next ship in the rotation until a substitute ship can be brought in.

Clarifications and Corrections:
The Port of Yantian
I fear I grossly overstated the Yantian port's container throughput. It appears that the widely published port stats include a far larger area - possibly the entire Pearl River delta area. Shanghai alone accounts for some 40mn TEUs per annum, and is the world's largest port. Yantian seems to handle more like 10mn TEUs p.a., making it the fourth largest in the world.

Shipping Lines certainly have strange names - often abbreviations or their initials. Lines such as MSC= Mediterranean Shipping Company and CMA /CGM = Compagnie Maritime d'Affrètement / Compagnie Générale Maritime have shortened their names for obvious reasons by using the initials. Some, like  COSCO = China Ocean Shipping Company, have found that the initials are pronounceable as a word. 

However HAPAG-Lloyd is a a bit different. It is an amalgam of initials and the names of the founding companies, but each is a little different.

HAPAG stands for Hamburg-Amerikanische Paketfahrt-Aktien-Gesellschaft, meaning Hamburg America Steam Packet Joint Stock Company. Founded in 1847 it was commonly known in North America as the Hamburg American Line [HAL] and was once one of Germany's two major transatlantic passenger lines. It was also active in general cargo work

HAPAG's major competitor was NDL = Norddeutscher-Lloyd (North German Lloyd) based in Bremen. Founded in 1857 it borrowed the Lloyd name from Lloyd's of London - the insurance market place of old. At the time the word "Lloyd" was used as a convenient synonym for "shipping company", and several companies, particularly of Germanic origin used.  It was not an indication of any financial connection with Lloyd's of London or Lloyd's Register of Shipping.
[Another company the Dutch Koninklijke Nedlloyd Groep.  (Royal Nedlloyd Group) merged with P+O before A.P. Moller-Maersk bought them out in 1997. PONL containers can still be seen on Maersk ships.]

The two companies, HAL and NDL, merged in 1970, joining forces to finance their investment in container shipping. Despite many changes of ownership and numerous mergers and acquisitions, it has steadfastly held with the HAPAG-Lloyd name ever since.

As for pronunciation I prefer Hay-Pag. Although there are variations such as Heh-Pag or Hah-pag, it is never Hah-Paj as I heard on one media outlet the other day.

Shoebox Oldie
In September 1966 the Wuppertal arrived with fire in the number one hold. The cargo was cotton bales, en route from Corpus Christi, TX to France. The ship's crew, longshoremen and Halifax firefighters removed smouldering bales from the ship and drafted seawater from the harbour to extinguish the fire.
This was before the founding of HAPAG-Lloyd, and the ship was owned by Hamburg-Amerika Linie as it was then called. The acronym HAPAG had not come into use yet.

Here are a few pictures of the operation:

The ship docked at Pier 9C. Aside from the vintage cars in the foreground, note the uninhabited hills of North Dartmouth, with Shannon Park to the right. The Shannon Park pier is visible just above the ship's poop deck.
That is the family Rambler on the left.

There was still smoke emanating from number one hold. 
The A. Murray MacKay bridge was in the planning stages and there was no sign of construction. 
BIO appears to the far left.
The four pieces of fire apparatus on scene, include a Bickle-Seagrave, lower left.
Note also the multiple railway sidings.

Two open cab Seagrave pumpers, dating from about 1964 were on scene, one drafting water from the Narrows. Curious bystanders wandered through the scene, and took pictures freely in the days before pier security.

Cotton bales were moved well away from the ship and doused with harbour water.

The Wuppertal was built in 1956 by Lubeker Flender-Werke and was a conventional engines amidship, four hold cargo ship with reefer capacity. Measuring 3280 gt, 5040 dwt, it had accommodation for twelve passengers and handled its cargo with one 60 ton, four 10 ton and eight 5 ton derricks. It lasted through the HAPAG-Lloyd merger, but was sold in 1971 and was renamed Morning Cloud, and in 1973 Siehhui under Somali registry. In 1976 it was purchased by China Ocean Shipping (ancestor of COSCO) and renamed Huang Shan. Its fate after the mid-1980s is unclear and it was finally deleted from listings in 1992.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Break Bulk - and a throw back.

Non-containerized cargo at Port of Halifax facilities has been dropping steadily over the past several years, and is down to about 370,000 tonnes - below 2013 levels. [Cargo handled by National Gypsum, the oil terminals and Autoport are not included in that number.]

Therefore it was most unusual to see four non-container ships working at Port of Halifax piers today.

From  north to south:

CLI Pride carries a pair of 60 tonne cranes, and a large yellow spreader stowed forward athwartships.

CLI Pride was tucked in at Fairview Cove, and must have discharged its project cargo quickly. The 7138gt, 7821 dwt ship dates from 2011 when it was built by Dongfang Shipbuilding Group in Yueqing, China as Brielle. It became BBC Luanda in 2014 and took its present name in August last.
The ship arrived off Halifax Sunday from Rotterdam, and is returning to the same port. I am not envious of the return trip across the Atlantic in ballast in a relatively small ship.
The ship was in  Montreal as recently as the end of October. It was also on the Great Lakes in July under its previous name.

Crew members check the lashings on a pleasure craft stowed in its cradle on deck.

 It took an extra wide angle lens to squeeze Danzigergracht into one photo at Pier 9 c. As with many Spliethoff ships it has several pleasure craft on deck as part of their regular yacht delivery service from Europe to the Caribbean. However that was not the reason for the ship's call here. To the bottom right of the photo are the tips of three wind turbine blades that the ship offloaded this morning.
They would have been carried below deck and are as long as the space between the middle crane and the ship's bridge.
Built in 2009 by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, China, the 13,558 gt, 18,143 dwt ship has three 120 tonne capacity cranes and is specialized for heavy lift and project cargoes, but can also carry sensitive cargoes such as paper products.

Work continues on Thorco Liva at Pier 9c.

Although not carrying cargo, work continues in the holds of Thorco Liva. If its past visits to Halifax in 2016 -2017 are any indication, it is related to carrying fibreoptic cable. It is also multi-purpose ship, capable of heavy lifting. It was built in 2012 by Honda Heavy Industries in Saiki, Japan, rated at 13,110 gt, 16,901 dwt and fitted with a pair of 50 tonne cranes.
And at pier 27 there is another ship of the same type. Regrettably no photos are possible, but Onego Rio  is a 7576 grt, 10,300 dwt ship built in 2003 by Damen Okean in Mykolayiv, Ukraine. It carries a pair of 80 tonne capacity cranes, which it is using to discharge a cargo of rails for CN.

The recent news about the Yantian Express* fire noted that the ship Happy Ranger was standing by the to assist if needed. When the tug Smit Nicobar arrived,  Happy Ranger was relieved, and continued its journey from Abidjan, Ivory Coast to Trois-Rivières, QC. 

The ship visited Halifax only twice as far as I can recall, and on its first visit it loaded a very unusual cargo.

As part of the development of the Sable Offshore Energy Project (SOEP), the accommodation structures for the Thebaud field were fabricated in Dartmouth and Halifax. The ship used its 400 tonne cranes to load the blocks. They were then taken to Teeside, UK where they were mounted on the bases, then transported back to the Thebaud field for installation. 

Now twenty years after the first gas flowed, the project is being decommissioned, the structures will be removed and taken to Europe to be scrapped.

The ship was built by Schelde SNB, Flushing in 1998 and measures 10,990 gt, 12,950 dwt. Owner Mammoet is a division of Spliethoff's.

* Footnote
I am irritated by "the media's" continual mis-pronunciation of the name Yantian Express. Named for a city in China, the spelling should accurately indicate how it is to be pronounced. It is not "yan-TAIN" please! 

Just to give a sense of why HAPAG-Lloyd named a ship after Yantian - the Yantian International Container Terminals has an 8km long waterfront, equipped with 70 container cranes and had a throughput of 78.3mn TEU in 2013. (Halifax will likely squeak past 500,000 TEU again for 2018).


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Dark Arrivals

Short days are still with us, and it will be several weeks before they are long enough to catch most arrivals and departures.  There were two arrivals after dark today and there will be one before sunrise tomorrow - all first time callers.

There was just enough light to catch Spliethoff's Danzigergracht as it made it way in this afternoon to Pier 9c. Due to come in from anchorage tomorrow morning CLI Pride will be going to Fairview Cove. Both ships will only be in port for a short time, so there may be a chance of photos in daylight when they sail.

 Danzigergracht is coming up on the  Maugher's Beach reporting point, while CLI Hope's lights show over the breakwater from its anchorage position. (1700 hrs AST)

Also arriving late this afternoon, the cargo ship Onego Rio tied up at Pier 27 to off load rails for CN. No chance of a photo there - perhaps when it sails later in the week.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Federal Ruhr - ghostly visitor (plus addendum)

The geared bulker Federal Ruhr made an over night visit at pier 26, and sailed this morning at 0800 hrs AST, in dense fog. While the ship's bow was visible, the stern was not, but the name was readable!

The ship is one of three built in 2016 and 2017 by The New Times Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Jingjiang, China for Fednav's Great Lakes trade. Federal Alster (2016), Federal Mosel and Federal Ruhr are Seawaymax size (199.918m x 23.753m), and 22,947 gt, 36,754 dwt. They are multi-purpose dry cargo ships with box shaped holds, and are fitted with four 36 tonne cranes that can use grabs. Fednav charters the ships from Canada Osiris Shipping Ltd, and they are managed by Intership Navigation of Cypress.

Atlantic Willow nudges up in the bow of Federal Ruhr as it prepares to sail at 0800 hrs this morning.
The usual trade of these ships is to bring in steel products, and take away export grain. Federal Ruhr made one trip to the Great Lakes in December 2017 to Oshawa, Windsor and Hamilton, but sailed in ballast - likely loading grain at a St.Lawrence port.

In 2018 the ship made four trips to the Lakes. On the first it unloaded at Sault Ste.Marine and loaded grain in Thunder Bay. On its way downbound in the Seaway May 15 it struck a Seaway workboat and jetty at the St.Lambert lock, but was not damaged itself.

The St.Lawrencxe Seaway snag recovery boat VM/S 002 appeared to be more or less intact when I saw it through the fence at St-Lambert in August.

On its second trip it unloaded at Gary, IN, and loaded at Windsor, ON in June.

On the third trip it unloaded at Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee and loaded grain at Thunder Bay, clearing the Seaway October 17.

On its fourth and final trip it had unloaded some cargo at Trois-Rivières, then entered the Seaway December 3, unloaded at Oshawa, Cleveland and Detroit and loaded grain at Thunder Bay December 18 to 22, and was exiting the Seaway on December 26. That leaves several days unaccounted for before its arrival in Halifax, so it may have had a mechanical problem or perhaps topped up its cargo at a St.Lawrence port. Its destination is Trieste, Italy.

This visit to Halifax, of less than eight hours, would likely have been to perform some sort of repair.

I didn't get a decent picture of the Federal Ruhr today, but did catch one of its sister ships this summer. Federal Mosel unloaded at Sorel but did not venture into the Lakes on that trip.

Federal Mosel is a sister ship of Federal Ruhr.

A few other arrivals and departures today were largely invisible. Somewhere out there in the lower photo Atlantic Sail was making its way round George's Island.


In looking more closely at the photo of the Seaway workboat VM/S-002 I can see some damage to the bulwark on the starboard quarter, which is why it was taken out of service.

The boat was built of aluminum by Eastern Equipment Ltd in Vile LaSalle, QC in 1977. That company built numerous similar  vessels for the Coast Guard and others, but only appears to have been in business for about eight years.
VM/S -002 [the initials stand for Voie Maritime/Seaway] is owned by the St.Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. As mentioned its primary use was as a snag boat, and here is photo of it in operation. Note the forward gantry frame is removable, and is rigged with lifting gear to haul the snags and other debris on board.