Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Energy Security

 In the midst of a double barreled energy security scare, Irving Oil accepted delivery today of refined products from their blending facility in Amsterdam, Netherlands. By coincidence the ship delivering the fuel shares the name with an Atlantic Towing Ltd tug/supply vessel.

This Atlantic Eagle is a 29,266 gt, 47,128 dwt MR tanker registered in Hong Kong and owned by the low profile Korean company Cido Group and was built by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan in 2007. It has the same name as the 1999 tug/supplier built by Halifax Shipyard, that is on long term charter to provide Emergency Towing services on the Pacific coast.

Irving Oil supplements the product the company refines in Saint John with European sourced product. With the current disruption to fuel supply in the eastern US due to a cyber attack that resulted in the shutdown of the Colonial pipeline, Irving Oil is likely in high demand on the US east coast. That demand is served by Irving's giant refinery in Saint John, NB.

In the background of the above photo is an Imperial Oil storage tank (they have neighboring facilities on the Dartmouth shore of Halifax harbour.) Imperial may also be facing pressure on Canadian supplies if Michigan's controversial governor succeeds in shutting down the Line 5 pipeline joining western and eastern Canada. The governor is concerned about a possible rupture to the pipeline where it crosses under the Mackinac Strait.

Imperial sources most of its fuel for this region from facilities in Antwerp, so we may be safe for the time being. However the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline serves many facilities in Ontario and Quebec, and a closure would cause a huge and widespread disruption.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

MSC and Maersk in Halifax for now

While the giant container shipping lines MSC and Maersk vie for the title as world's largest (Maersk is maintaining its lead, but MSC is gaining fast) both are making their mark in Halifax, with MSC clearly ahead - thanks in no small part to the Port of Montreal.

Maersk has been an on and off caller in Halifax on its major routes for years, but for the past several years has been represented only by its North Atlantic service. Ships call - usually weekly - outbound from Montreal for Bremerhaven. There has been some interruption in the schedule over the winter and spring because of weather and labour issues in Montreal, with the ships skipping Halifax and heading directly back to Europe. Maersk operates the service jointly with CMA CGM. Maersk provides three ships and CMA CGM provides one in order to sustain a 28 day rotation and weekly calls.

Maersk Palermo sailed from PSA Halifax this evening on Maersk's CAE service, also known as CMA CGM's St Laurent I service. The ship gave Saint John, NB as its next port. [see below]

MSC has been a much less frequent visitor in Halifax until this year when it began to send its ships here to decant or top up on cargo due to draft restrictions on the St.Lawrence River. Today there were two MSC ships, one eastbound to Montreal and one westbound from Montreal.

MSC Annick viewed from the stern shows the large structure added to the after side of the funnel to house the exhaust gas scrubber.

MSC Annick an oft renamed veteran ship, built in 1998, and with a capacity of 3987 TEU, topped up its container load for more efficient sailing. It is en route from Montreal for Barcelona.

The even older MSC Brianna built in 1996, with six previous names, has a capacity of 4168 TEU. On arrival from Sines, Portugal it appeared to be loaded to near capacity. It will off load containers to reduce its draft before sailing to Montreal later tonight.

This perhaps symbiotic relationships between the two old rival ports of Halifax and Montreal may be about to change as both lines have lately been calling in Saint John, NB to test out that port's facilities and recently renewed connection with CP Rail. The shorter CP rail route to Montreal through the US versus CN Rail's longer all Canadian route from Halifax to Montreal (with a branch from Moncton to Saint John) is the potential drawing card for Saint John. Despite the longer steaming time, new pier facilities in Saint John will eliminate backlogs and reduce tidal factors for the New Brunswick port.

Another factor in the Halifax / Saint John / Montreal choice will be the eventual owner of the Kansas City Southern railway. Both CN and CP have bid on the line. The winner will be able to extend its North American range, thus enticing more container traffic (it is hoped).


Monday, May 10, 2021

NYK Nebula - back again

 Thanks to a recent re-shuffle of shipping services by THE Alliance, several once familiar ships are returning to Halifax. The AL5 service (Europe to Halifax, East Coast US, Panama, West Coast US, Vancouver and return) is using ships of the NYK Daedalus class. The ships were regular callers here on the old G5 Alliance in 2014, 2016, etc., Today's arrival is NYK Nebula a typical member of that class.

Built in 2007 by Hyundai Heavy Industries, Ulsan, South Korea, it is a 55,534 gt, 65,600 dwt ship with a container capacity of 4922 TEU. Now sailing for Ocean Network Express (ONE) it still carries the name of the pre-merger NYK Line, however the large "NYK" letters on the hull have been painted over. It is unlikely that older ships and chartered ships will be renamed or repainted in ONE's distinctive Magenta hull colour, so will still reflect their "ancestry" for some time to come.

In pre-ONE days, the ship carried the NYK Line banner on its side. There was also quite a different mix of containers, reflecting the G5 Alliance member lines.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

No sooner said......... and other North End Action

 My observation Wednesday May 6 that the third Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel was "without bow" was only true for a day or two. I noted today (May 9) that the bow of the future HMCS Max Bernays is now in place and aligned.

Still with its Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs) in place, final adjustments may still be underway before welding begins. These large module moves often take place on weekends so as not to disturb the normal daily activities of the shipyard.

Seen from Barrington Street, AOPV3 is now looking like a ship. 

Also in the North End of the harbour CSL Tacoma is getting some maintenance work at Pier 9C.

The work likely involves replacement of the conveyor belts in the self-unloading system. The rubber belts take a lot of wear and tear handling cargoes such as aggregate.

With such a large ship at Pier 9C, the Narrows certainly appear narrower...

...particularly when there is a big ship like Atlantic Sun coming through as there was this afternoon.

The five ACL sister ships are the largest (in terms of tonnage and dimensions) to use the Narrows on a regular basis. There are usually two of the ships in port each week - one eastbound and one westbound on their transatlantic service.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Margaret Brooke starts sea trials

 The second Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel built by Halifax Shipyard began sea trials this afternoon. With the tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Oak alongside the ship headed to Bedford Basin first for 3.5 hours of adjustments before putting out to sea.

AOPV2, as it is currently called, will be named HMCS Margaret Brooke when it is commissioned by the RCN later this year. It is already wearing its pennant number 431.

The first vessel of the class, HMCS Harry DeWolf AOPV 430 has recently been in southern waters, in the vicinity of Bermuda, after previously carrying out cold weather operations during the winter.

The third AOPV, to be named Max Bernays is still on the hardstand at Halifax Shipyard, minus its bow. The first two megablocks were rolled out January 22 and 23. The bow was expected to be joined in "the spring" of 2021 and a float out planned for November 2021. 

There was a general shutdown and reduced activity for several months in 2020 due to COVID, but the shipyard seems to be working full out these days, with night and weekend work. 


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

A very full day

 There was lots of harbour activity today, May 4, most of which I was able to observe first hand.

At Autoport the car carrier Goodwood arrived at an early hour from Emden, Germany.

Zodiac Maritime displays their "Z" trademark on the bow.

Operated by Zodiac Maritime, it is one of 14 car carriers in the fleet along with numerous ships of all types. Several of the car carriers are named for famous racetracks. Goodwood Circuit, near the south coast of England  started in 1948 on the perimeter of a wartime airfield.

The ship Goodwood has called here numerous times since built in 2014 by Imabari Zosen, Marugame, Japan It is 59,526 gt, 18,770 dwt Pure Car and Truck Carrier with a capacity of 6203 autos.

Also displaying a letter "Z" but his time on the funnel is the tanker Kibaz arriving from Saint John, NB and docking at Irving Oil, Woodside. Sources indicate that the ship is owned by Zenith Shipping through a single ship entity called Kibaz Shipping LP.

The ship apparently discharged most of its cargo of refined petroleum products in Saint John. Built in 2004 by Onomichi Zosen, in Japan, it is a 28,517 gt, 47,094 dwt vessel. It carried the name Baizo from 2004 to 2016.

Imperial Oil also received a ship today, but unlike recent fuel deliveries, this time it was domestic product. Algoscotia arrived from Imperial's refinery in Nanticoke, ON.

Algoscotia was also built in 2004, but by the Jiangnan Shipyard Group, Qiuxin Shipbuilding in Shanghai, China. It is a 13,352 gt, 18,601 dwt ship owned at operated by Algoma Tankers, mostly for Imperial Oil. The ship was laid up in Montreal from January 2 to April 25 when it sailed to Nanticoke, loading there April 27.

Heading for the St.Lawrence Seaway en route to Toronto, the tug Lois M sailed from the Cherubini dock in Eisner's Cove towing the barge Glovertown Spirit. On board the barge is one of five bridge sections for a new waterfront development in Toronto's docklands. The first bridge section was shipped on the same tug and barge last October.

The remaining bridge sections in the $100 million contract will also be shipped from Cherubini's own dock over the coming months.

Yesterday's arrival August Sun completed unloading its cargo of nickel sulfide from Cuba at Pier 31 and is expected to sail late in the day. The Pier 30-31 berth is virtually "unphotographable" from the shore side in Halifax, but given the right conditions it can be seen from the Dartmouth side of the harbour, and can be captured with a long lens.

 Augusta Sun 12,993 gt, 17,531 dwt, with a capacity of 1118 TEU and two 60 tonne cranes, has been a regular for Nirint Lines since 2017 under two different names. (It has had six). See several previous references, including: June 8, 2020


Monday, May 3, 2021

Fairviewmax and bridge ready


With the proliferation of "max" ships, such as Panamax, post Panamax, Suezmax, Kamsarmax and others, I imagine today's visit of Dalian Express at Cerescorp's Fairview Cove container terminal  may represent the largest type of ship that can reach the facility in Bedford Basin. Air draft would seem to be the controlling factor as opposed to length, breadth or even draft, since ships must pass beneath two bridges, the A. Murray MacKay being the lower of the two. So would this be a Fairviewmax?

Yes, Dalian Express managed to squeeze beneath the MacKay bridge as it sailed from Fairview Cove on THE Alliance's EC5 service today.

Built in 2001 as Hamburg Express the 88,493 gt, 100,006 dwt ship has a container capacity of 7506 TEU, including 700 reefers. It has carried its current name since 2011 and has been a regular caller in Halifax for several years.

Bridge ready

The latest bridge for a large Toronto Island project is now loaded onto a barge and ready to leave Halifax. The second of four bridges in a $100 million project, it was built by Cherubini Metal Workers of Dartmouth at their waterfront plant. Yesterday it was rolled out onto the barge Glovertown Spirit.

Late today workers were doing final securements and the tug Lois M had refueled and repositioned the barge at Cherubini's dock, ready to sail. There is a tentative pilot order for 2200 hrs tonight, unlike the last bridge that sailed last October in daylight.