Sunday, January 29, 2023

Meet and Greet

 The navigation channels leading into Halifax from sea and within the harbour itself can be narrow in places (viz. The Narrows) and therefore large ships heading in opposite directions need to coordinate their "meets". Failure to do so can have disastrous results, and the December 6, 1917 explosion is still a reminder of what can happen. 

There were two big ship meets in Halifax Harbour today, January 29, and both were well co-ordinated by the respective harbour pilots and went off without a hitch.

The first meet was between the inbound MOL Experience heading for PSA Fairview Cove from Antwerp on THE Alliance's AL5 service and NYK Rigel outbound for Southampton on the eastward leg of the same service. The ships arranged to meet "port to port" in the broad section of the lower harbour north of George's Island, with NYK Rigel taking the channel west of George's Island and MOL Experience taking to the east.

As MOL Experience rounds George's Island inbound...

...NYK Rigel passes close to the Halifax shore outbound... lots of room...

...for the ships to pass each other safely....

.. and for MOL Experience uninterrupted passage to the Narrows and into Bedford Basin.

MOL Experience built by Hyundai, Ulsan in 2007, is a 54,098 gt, 62,953 dwt ship with a capacity of 4803 TEU including 330 reefers. It carried the name APL Experience from 2008 to 2010.

NYK Rigel built by Hyundai, Samho in 2009 is a 55,487 gt, 66,051 dwt ship with a capacity of 4922 TEU including 330 reefers.

The other meet was in mid-afternoon and conditions were not quite as placid, as the wind had picked up a bit, however visibility was unlimited and conditions were good. At PSA Halifax Hub, Southend Terminal, the MSC Aniello was getting underway. The ship arrived early this morning from Italy and Portugal to lighter off some cargo to reduce draft before proceeding to Montreal on MSC's Canada Express 1 service.

Once clear of the berth the ship met the inbound autocarrier Don Carlos in the Middle Ground, the area between the Ocean Terminals and the Mauger's Beach lighthouse. MSC Aniello favoured the western side of the channel for a "port to port" meet with Don Carlos in the eastern or main channel.


MSC Aniello continued on to the western channel as tugs met the Don Carlos and headed for Autoport.

MSC Aniello dates from 2000 when it was delivered by Hanjin Heavy Industry + Construction in Busan, and is a 40,631 gt, 56,903 dwt ship with a capacity of 4056 TEU including 150 reefers.

Don Carlos was built in 1997 by Daewoo, Okpo and lengthened 8.6 meters in 2006 by Hyundai Vinashin in Vietnam and is now 62,141 gt, 28,147 dwt with a capacity of 7194 CEU. When the ship was lengthened the large billboard lettering on the sides of the ship was not re-centered, giving a slightly unbalanced look.

Not only were these meets an example of well planned pilotage, but the ships themselves represented the major shipbuilders of South Korea.



Saturday, January 28, 2023

Ale moves

 The bulk carrier Ale shifted berths today (January 28) from Pier 9C to Pier 9B. Because the ship is not self-propelled, due to rudder, propellor and hull damage, it took three tugs to perform the "cold move". Atlantic Oak made up astern, Atlantic Willow at the bow and Atlantic Bear took up a position along the starboard side.

The ship's problems began September 14 when it grounded at Long Pond, NL while backing to its berth. The tugs Atlantic Fir from Halifax and Atlantic Larch from Saint John were dispatched to Long Pond and towed the ship to Méchins, QC where it was drydocked for damage survey and temporary repairs. The Italian tug Kamarina was then sent from Rotterdam to tow the ship to Setubal, Portugal for permanent repairs. On leaving drydock December 17 there was more trouble as the ship bumped local tugs and a tanker, and so was towed over to the shelter of Baie-Comeau where the tow was set up. Somewhere in the Gulf of St.Lawrence, while in tow of the Kamarina one of the two legs of the towing bridle (made up of the ship's anchor chain) parted, causing some further damage, and so tug and ship made for Halifax, arriving January 3.

Since then there seems to have been some activity on deck up forward on the ship where the towing rig was set up, but the ship has remained alongside at Pier 9C except for a brief time at anchor January 18 when it was moved off to anchor in Bedford Basin to free the berth for another ship. 


In Bedford Basin January 18.

The tug Kamarina has also been idled in the port, much of the time at anchor in Bedford Basin. 

There were some interesting observations from today's move. 

The emergency tow line (or insurance line), leading from the bow is rigged along the port rail. It is secured with light rope, called "yarn" which would break away if the line needed to be retrieved. At sea the end of the line is trailed astern with a float, which can be retrieved by the towing tug in case the main towing line parts completely. Tugging on the line would snap the yarn, freeing the emergency tow line.

It appears that the ship's damaged rudder was removed while in drydock as it is not visible. Some light steel framing appears below the ice knife, which may have been fitted to secure the rudder or prop in place, although the prop is not visible either, so many have been removed too.

It's not uncommon to see bulkheads and frame locations marked out on a ship's hull, along with draft marks and other information, but I don't recall seeing a ship so thoroughly labelled. Reminds me of the tatooed man in the circus.

The small amount of water being discharged near the waterline is likely cooling water from the ship's generators as the main engine is not running. It is likely that the rudder, prop and hull damage may also include distortion of frames and propellor shaft misalignment.  All of which would require extensive repair work.

The 13,579 gt, 17,074 dwt ship was built in 2012 by Taizhou Shanfu Ship Engineering Co in Taizhou, China and is certainly worth repairing. Originally named Raba it sailed for Polish Ocean "Polsteam" until acquired by its current owners and renamed in 2021. Its three cranes have a Safe Working Load of 30 tonnes (24 tonnes with grabs.)

The port of Long Pond, in Conception Bay, NL exports Pyrophyllite or aluminium silicate hydroxide, a chalky talc like substance with many industrial uses. The main deposit in nearby Manuel's, NL, owned by Trinity Resources contains 21 million tons of the stuff, and there is more nearby. It is exported to North America and Europe.


Friday, January 27, 2023

Right Time, Right Place

 Sometimes you just get lucky. Hoping for a photo of the Algotitan underway, I ventured to Dartmouth this morning (January 27). The ship had returned to anchor yesterday morning to sit out the 100 km per hour gusts and steady high winds and was moving back to Imperial Oil #3 dock for its first load as an Algoma tanker.

The angle of the ship, and the sun position co-operated (they don't always!) for a nice shot from the tug dock.

I expect the ship (the former Chantaco) will be a common sight this winter and over the next several years, but it will be hard to beat this photo.


Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Last Man Standing

 The Ocean Terminals piers recently had four ships alongside but the last one will be sailing today, January 25. The Algoma Tankers' Algotitan (ex Chantaco) moved from Pier 27 via anchorage yesterday to Imperial Oil this morning, and the former Algoma Hansa sailed from Pier 25 as Algo on January 21. The high-heat tanker Iver Ambition sailed in the very early hours of this morning from Pier 26, resuming its trip to Ghent, Belgium, although giving suburban Zelzate as its destination.

The newly renamed Algotitan posed for photos at anchor yesterday.

 That left the bulk carrier Midland Trader to finish loading wood pellets at Pier 28. By this afternoon the ship was buttoned up and ready to sail for Skagen, Denmark where the wood will be converted to "sulphur and fossil free" bio-fuel. The ship arrived here January 16 [see previous posts.]


Sunday, January 22, 2023

Iver Ambition

 The Dutch company Iver Ships BV has fleet of about 100 ships, which includes around 40 offshore service vessels. Earlier this months a group of banks took over control of the company from the Vroon family and announced that the Vroon Offshore Services (VOS) vessels would be sold off over the next eighteen months to reduce a high debt level.

The 133 year old company will retain its 60 some tankers, livestock carriers and Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (ERRVs). Among the tankers are the six product tankers on long term charter to Irving Oil - two under Canadian flag: Acadian and East Coast ex Nor'Easter (i) and four foreign flag: Great Eastern, New England , Nor'Easter (ii) ex Iver Progress and Iver Prosperity.

Iver Ships BV also specializes in "high heat tankers" - ships especially built to carry bitumen and asphalt cargoes that must be kept heated at temperatures from 150 degrees C to 190 degrees C (302 degrees F to 374 degrees F). The cargo is carried in special tanks within the hull that are heavily insulated and physically isolated on rubber mounts so that stresses of expansion and contraction are not transmitted to the ship's hull.

Among the high heat tankers is the Iver Ambition, which arrived in Halifax January 20 and tied up at Pier 26 East.

The ship was built by Brodospas Kraljevica in Croatia in 2009. Named San Lorenzo, the 6296 gt, 8962 dwt ship was renamed in 2015 after a major refit in Singapore. It has two blocks of high heat tanks (each with six cells) - one forward of the midships pump room and one aft. It continues to fly the Italian flag and is owned by the Vroon subsidiary Petrolmar SRL.

The ship made the news in 2021 when it was quarantined in Conception Bay, Nfld from July 5 to 22 with fourteen cases of COVID-19. Last winter it arrived in Halifax February 14 from Sept-Iles, QC for some unspecified issues related to winter conditions. This year it arrived from Trois-Rivières, QC, again for unspecified reasons.

Last year, when the ship was at Pier 9C, its hull paint was in much better condition.

Among the cargoes the ship carries is coal tar pitch, an essential material used as a binder for the electrodes used in aluminum smelting. Canada's largest aluminum smelter is located in Sept-Iles, QC, and the port of Trois-Rivières serves Alcoa's Deschambault smelter. The ship often calls at those ports.

 Conditions last February 2022 look much the same as today, January 22, 2023 with lots of snow on the ground.

The ship maintains its transatlantic service running from Ghent or Antwerp, Belgium or Zelzate, Netherlands, and in addition to the ports in Quebec it also sails into the Great Lakes. It reached Hamilton, ON in April, May, July and October and finally on November 27, 2022 and sailed December 1 returning to Antwerp December 18-20, Zelzate December 20-23 and Trois-Rivières January 14-16.

A slightly smaller "high heat" fleet mate, the Netherlands flag Iver Bright usually spends the entire year on the Great Lakes operating between Sarnia, ON and US ports summer and winter. (It can remain registered foreign as long as it doesn't trade between ports of the same country).


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Algo, Algoing, Algone

 The tanker Algo sailed from Halifax this morning (January 21) to take up its new career. After serving Algoma Tankers Ltd as Algoma Hansa since 2008 it is headed for refit in one of the shipyards in Las Plamas de Canaria.

It has been reported that new owners Hero Navigation SA (incorporated in the Marshall Islands) plan to use the ship for shuttle work (likely in Africa.). Now registered in Liberia, with all certificates renewed, that leaves only its classification to be renewed within the next thirteen months. 

Typical of a ship that has worked on the Great Lakes it got underway from Pier 26 without tugs and cleared the ship ahead of it at Pier 26 with ease. [See Iver Ambition in a subsequent post].

Underway and headed for sea,in ballast, it will not be long before it reaches the warmer temperatures of the Gulf Stream, and any traces of snow on deck will be gone.



Friday, January 20, 2023

Snow Day

 The first significant snow fall of the winter today (January 20) - about 10cm and counting - resulted in some delays and re-scheduling due to conditions on shore.

The tanker Algo - the former Canadian tanker Algoma Hansa -was due to sail, but the departure was cancelled. The ship has been alongside at Pier 25 since January 7.

The ship was retired from the Algoma Tankers Ltd fleet earlier this month and has been sold, renamed and registered in Liberia. (The ship's new owners are incorporated in the Marshall Islands). Informed opinion is that it will be used in shuttle or bunkering service somewhere in the third world. According to on-line sources, all the ship's certificates were renewed this month and it has from February 2023 to March 2024 to renew its current classification. (That classification may not be renewed depending on the Owner's plans. Twenty-five year refits to maintain status are very costly and therefore rare.)

Another long-stay ship was due to sail today, and return tomorrow - possibly for sea trials - but that has been delayed. Thorco Legacy arrived on December 22, 2022  and took up an anchorage position in Bedford Basin. It then moved alongside Pier 9B on January 7 where it has been fitted up with steel racks for undersea fibreoptic cable.

 While alongside the ship may also have undergone some maintenance which requires testing before the ship can sail to its next port. Most ships fitted with cable racks go on to Portsmouth (Newington) NH where the cable is manufactured by Subcom Cable Systems LLC. Subcom also installs, manages and maintains cable networks world wide.