Friday, September 30, 2022

More and More Containers and other traffic

 PSA Halifax's Atlantic Gateway terminal is looking at a busy few days, with all berths occupied and ships waiting.

Today it was the ZIM feeder AS Felicia at Pier 42 (see yesterday's  post) and the Ultra size COSCO Shipping Himalayas at Pier 41. The latter ship is reported to be here on a trial basis for China Ocean Shipping Co (which also owns OOCL) to see if there is benefit in calling here en route to congested US east coast ports. (The arrival of Hurricane Ian in Charleston is coincidental, but is expected to create more havoc in schedules.)

COSCO Shipping Himalayas dates from 2017 when it was built by Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Heavy Industry. The 154,300 gt, 153,811 dwt ship is rated for 14,568 TEU. The massive ship stacks its containers so high that there was minimal clearance for PSA's "Super Post Panamax Cranes". 

Even with the Equinoctal new moon low tide late this afternoon, the largest cranes had maybe a two box clearance.

Waiting offshore the APL Sentosa and Vivienne Sheri D (Eimskip) formed a backdrop for the inbound CMA CGM Montreal. Also anchored outside was the ZIM Yokohama.

CMA CGM Montreal, arriving from Montreal, had to wait in number one anchorage for a time until AS Felicia sailed for Kingston, Jamaica.


The ship will top up its containers to ocean going draft before resuming its trip to Europe. CMA CGM and Maersk maintina the weekly St.Lawrence, with an outbound (eastbound) Halifax stop. 

Other arrivals of note today were for passengers and for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Norwegian Breakaway and its 3965 passengers (if loaded to capacity) had perfect weather for its call.

The 2013-built ship from Meyer Werft has been a regular weekly caller this year. It will continue that routine until November 4, when it is due to be the second last ship of this cruise season.

Returning from Operation Nanook the RCN's yearly arctic exercise, HMCS Margaret Brooke AOPV 431 arrived this afternoon. The ship had stopped off in St.John's along with HMCS Goose Bay for a few days until post tropical storm Fiona passed.

There were no reports of technical issues with the ship, unlike sister ship Harry DeWolf AOPV 430 which had to return to Halifax for main engine repairs. 

Halifax Shipyard will be "launching" the next ship in the Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel series this fall. The AOPV ships are not launched in the conventional way however. Irving Shipbuilding Inc (ISI) has the Boa Barge 37 on long term charter from Norway. When ships are ready to take to the water they are rolled aboard the barge, then moved from the shipyard to Bedford Basin where they are floated off. ISI has applied for a coasting license for the Boa Barge 37 for the period November 20 to December 19, in order to load, transport and float off the fourth AOPV, the future William Hall AOPV  433. (There are to be six AOPVs for the RCN and two for the Canadian Coast Guard. AOPV 432 Max Bernays was delivered to the RCN on September 2.)

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Thursday, September 29, 2022

Update - corrected

  With the return of sunny and mild weather today, there was little to remind anyone that there had been a post tropical storm less than a week ago. Nevertheless harbour traffic could not be considered exactly normal. 

ZIM's feeder service, the Canada Feeder Express saw the arrival of AS Felicia, a ship that has not been seen here on that route for several years.

The regular feeder ship Contship Leo on leaving here September 14 sailed to its usual destination of  Kingston, Jamaica, but then went on to Altamira, Mexico, and has been reported in Veracruz, Mexico since September 27. This seems to be a weather related diversion, since the ship would normally have returned from Kingston to New York. Also AS Felicia normally runs to San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was badly hit by Fiona when it was at hurricane strength, so has likely been redeployed to keep it running productively.

Another unusual caller is the Irving Oil (long term charter) tanker Nor'easter. Sailing under the Marshall Islands flag, its normal trade is between Saint John, NB and US ports. I assume it has been granted an emergency coasting license to replenish local fuel supplies, as some facilities ran short following Fiona. Sydney and Charlottetown may also be on its itinerary as those cities have also experienced shortages. Correction: Due to a maintenance shutdown of the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John, both Nor'Easter and Great Eastern were dispatched to Amsterdam for cargoes from Irving Oil's European depot. Nor'Easter sailed from Amsterdam September 17 and delivered some of the cargo to its Saint John terminal September 27-28, before arriving in Halifax. Great Eastern is due in Amsterdam October 6.


 Similar to the other Irving Oil charters (which were built in 2005), it was built in 2007 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan as Iver Progress. The 23,589 gt, 37,412 dwt ship was brought into the Irving fleet by Vroon after the previous Nor'easter was moved to Canadian flag and renamed East Coast in 2014, joining the other Canadian flag tanker Acadian

The (current) Nor'easter works with New England and Great Eastern under Marshall Island flag running to US ports. It did operate for Irving Oil under its orginal name until 2016.
 

Cruise ships have returned to normal schedules too, but today's arrival of Enchanted Princess was slightly unusual. The ship was due here originally on Thursday, September 22, the eve of Fiona's arrival on September 23-24. Arriving off Halifax from Saint John, NB, it did not actually enter port, but returned to sea and made for New York. I imagine it took a wide loop out ot sea to avoid Fiona's track, but must have found some rough weather en route.

On arrival in New York September 24, it sailed again for Boston (September 26) and called on Saint John yesterday.

 

Built by Fincantieri, Monfalcone in 2020, the 145,281 gt ship had to postpone its maiden voyage from June 2020 to November 2021 due to the world wide shut down of cruises during the height of COVID. It has a capacity of 3,660 passengers and a staff of 1,346. It sailed this evening again for New York and will likely have a more pleasant voyage than its last one.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Post post tropical storm Fiona

Post tropical storm Fiona was the most powerful storm ever to hit Atlantic Canada. On September 23 and 24 it tore through eastern mainland Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, southeastern New Brunswick and  southwest Newfoundland. The lowest barometric pressure ever recorded on land anywhere in Canada was measured at Hart Island, NS at 932 millibars (unofficial). Unofficial wind gusts of 171 kph at Arisaig, NS (on the Northumberland Strait) and 177 kph at Wreckhouse, NF were among a dozen or so gusts over 125 kph reorded throughout the region.

 The storm left unaccountable damage to houses, businesses and infrastructure and left a nearly half a million people without power (at one time) and some hundreds without safe homes. I do not wish to ignore the heartbreak and agony suffered by many, but as this blog concentrates on shipping in Halifax, I will stick closer to that topic.

Halifax was spared the brunt of the storm although thousands of trees were down and utility lines severed. Ship Central Eastern, the home of Shipfax was without power for 84 hours - from 2300 hrs Friday September 23 to 1100 hrs today (September 27). There was a longer outage in September 2019 when Hurricane Dorian passed through, about 86 hours - but I wasn't counting that time. Wind gusts of 125 kph were recorded at the Stanfield International Airport - well inland from the port. Sustained wind of 70 to 80 kph in the city (and port area) were recorded in the early hours of Saturday September 24 and near 50 kph for most of the day. There was also heavy rain. 

As per my previous post, most of the harbour was "battened down". Several pleausre craft that had been left at moorings were mauled and some driven aground, but others survived unscathed. Major commercial ships had put out to sea under instruction from the Harbour Master. Both the coastal vessels Oceanex Sanderling and Nolhan Ava remained in port at anchorages in Bedford Basin. 

When conditions improved, and some services restored on Sunday September 25, Oceanex Sanderling returned to Pier 41 (PSA Halifax Atlantic Gateway) and completed loading for St.John's. It sailed in the early hours of Monday the 26th.

Nolhan Ava sailed directly from anchorage for Argentia and St-Pierre on the 25th.

By Sunday the 25th it was mostly business as usual in the port even though it felt a bit surreal. Cruise ships Caribbean Princess and  Silver Whisper arrived as did several commercial vessels: ZIM Constanza (westbound from the Med), Augusta Luna (for Nirint with cargo from Cuba) and Atlantic Sail from New York, both of which must have jogged along slowly following the storm.

The warm sunny day was in complete contrast to the previous day, and cruise passengers had an ideal day ashore - where the roads were not blocked by fallen trees and the power had been restored. I think many were shocked by what they saw.

  Monday September 26 was also like a typical day in the port with Zaandam, Insignia and Seven Seas Navigator alongside. There was also a more typical drizzly mist.

The harbour tour boat Kawartha Spirit (and the inevitable Harbour Hopper 5) were also operating after holing up for a few days in safety.

Two commercial vessels returned to port to complete operations. CMA CGM Brazil, which put out to sea ahead of the storm in the early hours of Friday September 23 resumed its spot at PSA Halifax Atlantic Gateway, Pier 41. Morning Chorus had unloaded RoRo cargo at Pier 9C on September 22 (see previous post) and came back in to dock at Autoport to unload cars.

Tuesday, September 27 (today) was even mistier and rainier, but also busy with three more cruise ships: Norwegian Pearl, Star Pride and Voyager of the Seas.

Star Pride is no stranger to Halifax, as per my older post from September 5, 2018. From new in 1988 as Seabourn Pride, the ship was a regular here, and returned after it was sold and renamed in 2014 and refurbished in 2016. It has been refurbed again, this time just last year by Fincantieri, Palermo, with a new 25.6m mid-section containing 50 more cabins, as well as other upgrades. The now 12,995 gt ship (it was 9975 gt) carries 312 passengers (up from 208) and has a staff of 190. It tied up as usual at Pier 23, but stern in.

The big ships tied up at the seawall from Pier 20, 21 to 22.

It was a decidedly gloomy experience for passengers!

Among other interesting arrivals was the Vayenga Maersk which had weathered out the storm anchored off Queensland in St.Margaret's Bay. This unusual bit of navigation is not unheard of but is more commonly used by Coast Guard and Naval vessels.

Vayenga Maersk anchored in St.Margaret's Bay 

(photo contributed, with thanks, by anon).

Another unusual visitor was the RRS (Royal Research Ship) James Cook arriving from Vigo, Spain and docking at the Bedford Institute.

Completed in 2006 by Flekkefjord Slip + Maskinfabriek AS in Norway on a hull built by Crist in Gdansk, Poland, the 5401 gt ship is operated by the Natural Environment Research Council of the UK with nine officers and 13 crew and technicians, and can carry 32 scientists at full complement.

Another sign that things are returning to normal was Develop Nova Scotia's workboat returning the floating jetties to the Halifax waterfront. With a few weeks of good weather left, they are expecting small craft to tie up alongside.

A deck load of gulls got a free ride across the harbour on the jetties. 
 

Navy tugs moved the Sackville back to its summer berth from HMC Dockyard, where it had been sheltered during the storm. As one of the few remaining ships from World War II (and the only corvette) it is also one of the very few ships left afloat that once carried the designation His Majesty's Canadian Ship. With the ascent to the throne of King Charles III all Canadian naval vessels are again His Majesty's Canadian Ships.


There have been numerous other arrivals, departures and moves, not to mention cancellations of cruise ship calls and bypasses by cargo ships. There are too many to account for here. There have also been numerous missed photo opportunities due to limited access to the waterfront. Some areas are still cordoned off for clearing operations and damage repair.

As usual Shipfax will try to stay on top of it all.

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Friday, September 23, 2022

Battening down the hatches

 Now mostly just a figure of speech, "battening down the hatches" no longer describes the process of making hatch openings ready for sea. At one time it was necessary to seal a ship's hatches with boards, and canvas tarps held in place by laths (battens) and wedges. Modern day ships have all sorts of steel hatch covers and seals that generally keep the cargo safe and prevent the hull from filling with water. Some ships are even designed to be "hatchless", such as the Oceanex Avalon (see many previous Shipfax references.)

Battens removed, tarps rolled back and hatch boards lifted to gain access to the hold.

(The goélette Rivière-Verte at St-Laurent, Ile d'Orleans, in 1959.)

 Nowadays "battening down the hatches" means preparing for a tempest (either a real weather event or some other kind of crisis). So today September 23, in Halifax, there was evidence of such preparations in advance of the arrival tonight of Fiona. Currently a hurricane, it may be down graded to a post tropical storm (but still a dangerous northern hemisphere cyclone) when it makes landfall in our area, then tracks across the province and Gulf of St.Lawrence to the west coast of Newfoundland.

Workers from Develop Nova Scotia, the government agency responsible for waterfront amenities, were busy moving floating docks to safe storage at the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (C.O.V.E.) dock in Dartmouth (the former Coast Guard base). High winds and a predicted storm surge would certainly damage these structures and potentially cast them adrift. Develop Nova Scotia closed off most of  the waterfront boardwalk to pedestrian access too.

The visiting Irish Navy patrol vessel LÉ James Joyce P62  was tied up at the Tall Ships Quay, a timber pile wharf adjacent to Pier 20. It was decided to move the ship to HMC Dockyard where it will be safer during the storm, and would not risk damage to the dock.

 

The Samuel Beckett class vessel was built by Babcock Marine in Appledore, England and commissioned September 1, 2015. It carries a compliment of 55, which includes 10 trainees. 

The James Joyce arrived on September 21 and was open to public tours for a time. The tugs Atlantic Willow and Listerville stood by while the ship let go from the pier, which it did by "springing off" - a bit of seamanship rarely seen in these days of bow thrusters and twin screws.

As Listerville makes its way to the Tall Ships Quay, Develop Nova Scotia's work boat moves some floats and the supplier Atlantic Condor is visible in the background at the C.O.V..E dock.

 The number of commercial ships in port was at a minimum (see yesterday's post). The last container ship to sail, Conti Crystal got under way around noon time. That left the Oceanex Sanderling and Nolhan Ava anchored in Bedford Basin as the only sizeable commercial vessels remaining in port. The Canadian Coast Guard deployed CCGS Sir William Alexander to the Shelburne area of the south coast and CCGS Jean Goodwill to Sydney in Cape Breton, where they are on standby for Search and Rescue.

CCGS Sir William Alexander, September 13, 2022.

That left two ships tied up at piers, namely Atlantic Condor at C.O.V.E and the CCGS Kopit Hopson 1752 at the IEL dock. The latter is the former CCGS Edward Cornwallis currently rebuilding by Irving Shipbuilding Inc.  I assume that extra lines have been run to secure these craft during the storm. The barge Scotia Tide is alongside Pier 9  (despite the Harbour Master's requirement that all barges were to be removed moved from Halifax Port Authority berths by noon September 23.)

The yacht clubs and others with waterfront facilities such as the Atlantic Pilotage Authority and Dominion Diving have also "battened down the hatches" in various ways.

Halifax Harbour has experienced several hurricanes during my time, the most severe being Hurricane Juan September 29, 2003 which was a Category 2 when it tracked through the harbour with 150 kph winds (and a gust of 176 kph). Lessons learned by that event, and subsequent ones such as Dorian in 2019, have no doubt guided the preparations for this event.

There were two container ships that remained in port during Juan, and  one of the them, the Albert Oldendorff (ex Hoegh Dyke) parted its lines and ran down on the Saudi Tabuk causing damage to both ships and their cargoes. Numerous other vessels sank or were blown aground, at least partly due to inadequate preparations or the impossibility of emergency response during the storm.

 Albert Oldendorff ripped into containers on the adjacent Saudi Tabuk and dropped at least one of its own containers on the other ship's deck. Adding to the confusion - both ships were carrying National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA) containers.

Let's hope that this time around Fiona will not be as brutal as its predecessors. However, Shipfax may not be able to publish due to power outages for the next few days. A summary of events will be provided when posssible.

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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Here they come, There they go and a no show

Today (September 22) was a busy day for shipping as several ships made port and hustled to work their cargo in advance of the oncoming Fiona. Expected to be a post tropical storm when it reaches us late tomorrow, it is currently a dangerous hurricane, and is pushing high winds and seas and a storm surge. Ships do not like to be in port in such conditions, which stress mooring lines and anchor chains beyond their capacity, not to mention tossing ships against piers.

A partial tally of the activity: 

Arrivals included the Ultra class CMA CGM Brazil (not pictured) at PSA Atlantic Gateway, Pier 41. At Pier 42 it was MSC Manya (see yesterday's post) which sailed for Montreal on the Canex 1.

Its place was quickly taken by the MSC Angela, also westbound on the Canex 1 service.

A 41,225 gt, 50,568 dwt ship, built in 2008 by Zhejiang Shipbuilding Co in Ningbo, it has a capacity of 4254 TEU including 550 reefers.

Not to be left out PSA Fairview Cove welcomed the Conti Crystal westbound on THE Alliance's EC5 service.

Samsung Shipbuilding and Heavy Industry Co Ltd, built the ship in Koje in 2006. It was delivered as Hatsu Crystal and carried that name until 2018 when it was taken over by Hamburg based Conti. A sizeable ship of 90,449 gt, 106,930 dwt it has a capacity of 8084 TEU including 700 reefers.

The ship used three tugs as it made its way through the Narrows. Atlantic Willow (starboard side forward) was no longer needed when the ship reached Bedford Basin. Atlantic Oak, remained on the port side forward and assisted in turning the ship with Atlantic Bear on the stern giving lateral force.

The auto carrier Morning Chorus arrived early this morning and berthed at Pier 9C to off load RoRo cargo.


Built in 2007 by Hyundai, Ulsan, it is a 57,536 gt, 21,276 dwt vessel with a capacity of 6,645 cars.It can carry a variety of other RoRo cargo employing its 150 tonne capacity stern ramp.

Once the RoRo cargo is all landed the Morning Chorus will not go to Autoport as usual, as that facility is working another ship. Torrens also arrived today and is due to sail this evening. 

(Those cylindrical objects on rail cars are not part of this ship's cargo. They are jacking pipe sections that arrived on ACL ships and are headed for a gas pipeline project in western Canada.)

Built by Mitsubishi Nagasaki, the Torrens comes in at 61,482 gt, 21,965 dwt with a car capacity of 6,354 RT43 and a 237 tonne capacity stern ramp.

As Torrens was arriving Canada's naval Memorial, the Sackville was returning to its berth after a ceremony off Point Pleasant Shoal. The corvette was under control of the tugs Listerville on a bow line and the Glenbrook alongside.

One scheduled ship did not appear. Enchanted Princess out of Saint John on a cruise arrived off the pilot station at 1030 hrs. Instead of embarking a pilot and making its way into port, the ship put back out to sea, giving New York as its destination. I am assuming that the ship will head well out into the Atlantic to the east of Fiona's track and return its 3,660 passengers and 1,346 crew to New York intact. The 145,281 gt ship was built in 2020 by Fincantieri, Monflacone and entered service in November 2021 after a year's delay due to COVID.

There were several other movements of domestic shipping. The Irving Oil tanker East Coast went alongside the Woodside terminal after the Ipanema Street sailed [see previous post]. I expect the East Coast will unload and sail before the storm arrives.

Oceanex Sanderling went to sanchor in Bedford Basin indicating a long term stay. It will likely remain in port until after the storm passes and tracks for Newfoundland, which is expecting the brunt on Sunday / Monday.

Nolhan Ava which would also normally sail on Friday for Argentia and St-Pierre also went to anchor, presumably until after the storm passes.

The cruise regular Zaandam sailed this afternoon for Boston. Perhaps hoping to skirt to the west of Fiona and reaching port tomorrow. At time of writing this evening the ship was showing on AIS as bucketing along at 19.2 knots off southwest Nova Scotia. I think the passengers will get a thrill crossing the Gulf of Maine tonight. "Please fasten your seat belts".

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Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Back to Normal (for now)

 Over night Tuesday - Wednesday  September 20-21, pilotage operations in Halifax were suspended due to the sea state at the harbour entrance. Swells were such that it was too dangerous to embark and disemberak pilots. Conditions improved in the early morning and as of 0500 hrs today, September 21, arrivals and departures resumed. 

This is only a temporary weather window as Hurricane Fiona makes its way in our direction. It is predicted to be a post-tropical storm by the time it passes Halifax Friday September 23 to Saturday September 24, with winds in excess of 120 kph and heavy rain forecast.

There was a great rush of ships to arrive this morning and some delayed departures as ships scrambled to get in and or get out before the second event.

Most of the arrivals made their way in before daylight. One of these was MSC Manya at Pier 42 on the Canex 1 service from Italy, Spain and Portugal. It will decant some containers here before moving on to its terminal port of Montreal. 


 Built by the Koyo Dockyard Co in Mihara, Japan, the 34,610 gt, 43,093 dwt ship has a carrying capacity of 2762 TEU including 300 reefers. Initially named OOCL Melbourne in 2003 it was renamed Taroko on 2011 and became MSC Manya on 2017.

Vacating the adjacent berth at Pier 41 was the Ultra sized CMA CGM T. Jefferson on the Ocean Alliance joint service with CMA CGM, Evergreen, and COSCO.

 CMA CGM T. Jefferson moves off the pier and into a rain shower, with the tug Atlantic Oak assisting.

A 140,872 GT, 148,992 DWT ship with a capacity of 14,414 TEU, it was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, Ulsan in 2017.

Both the above ships had been anchored off Halifax for several days. I intially thought this might have been due to the optional holiday on Monday for the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, but that was not a holiday for longshore workers. Terminals were coping with cargo backlogs and were working full out to handle ships.

Ocean Alliance partner COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) will be making a single "unscheduled" visit to Halifax on September 28. Their 14,568 TEU size ship COSCO Shipping Himalayas will be calling at PSA Atlantic Gateway to more or lesss "test the waters" on one of their regular services to the US.With the current congestion and other isssues at US east coast ports, calling in Halifax allows lines to deliver boxes, particularly to mid-west US destinations, more quickly. The "shorter sea route / longer land route" has always been a selling point for Halifax, as trains can move those boxes faster than ships do.

Another arrival this morning was Oceanex Sanderling from St.John's. The newly refurbished ship looked neat and tidy despite the misty / rainy conditions.

Its normal Friday departure may be delayed by weather.

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Monday, September 19, 2022

Canals and Avenues

 Cities around the world abound in famous streets, but some cities use waterways as streets, among them Amsterdam where their picturesque canals are justifiably well known. Some streets however are more famous for the places they serve. Ships named for streets are relatively rare, so seeing two such ships (by a bit of a stretch) in one day is unusual.

The well known Dutch company Spliethoff, headquartered on a canal in Amsterdam, names its ships for those local waterways "grachten" (plural of the Dutch word "gracht" meaning canal). There are 160 canals in Amsterdam alone, so with 50 ships in its fleet, Spliethoff has lots of choice for new names. Other Dutch cities also have canals, so the options are nearly limitless. (The Spliethoff Group also includes BigLift Shipping and some European RoRo and short sea operators.)

Spliethoff ships call in Halifax irregularly with project cargoes or containerized and special commodities, such as yachts and wind power components. Many of the ships are specially fitted to carry paper products, and are well known in Quebec and Newfoundland. They also carry containers to the Great Lakes seasonally.

Today (September 19) saw arrival of the Deltagracht which tied up at PSA Fairview Cove. It was built in 2009 by the Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, China. A multi-purpose / heavy lift general cargo vessel of 13,558 gt, 18,143 dwt it carries three 120 tonne capacity cranes. Unlike many of its fleet mates it does not have side doors, nor pallet loading capability.

However the ship does have what can be described as a cutwater "fillet" above the bulbous bow. This is a feature unique to Spliethoff ships.
 


 The ship arrived from Laem Chebang, Thailand (August 1-3), Maojia, China (August 10-12), passing through the Panama Canal (September 3-4) and calling at Charleston, SC, September 14-15.

The ship that was actually named after a proper dryland street arrived (by coincidence from Amsterdam) this afternoon for Irving Oil. 

Ipanema Street is a 26,916 gt, 47,378 dwt MidRange tanker. Built by Onomichi Zosen in 2010 it was originally named Sanko Libra, it was renamed Pacific Citrine in 2011 and Ipanema Street in 2013. It now wears the funnel mark of its managers, Zodiac Maritime. The giant (180 ships of all types) London based company, has no unique naming theme.

Ipanema Street parallels the best known of Rio De Janiero's beaches. It is closed to vehicle traffic on Sunday's due to the masses of people attracted to the area. The beach was brought to world attention in the mid 1960s by Astrud Gilberto singing "The Girl from Ipanema".

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