Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Ro Ro Ro and more CFIA

There was welcome RoRo action in Halifax today June 29 and more work for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.


The autocarrier Elektra actually arrived early yesterday at Autoport and spent two days alongside. This is very unusual as most of these ships are in port for only one working day.

The ship was built in 1999 by Daewoo, Okpo and in 2005 it was lengthened from 199.2m to 228.0m length overall. This increased tonnages from 57,018gt, 22,588 dwt to 67,264 gt, 28,126 dwt. The new capacity is 7194 CEU.

Originally a Wallenius Line ship, it was painted in the traditional Wallenius green and white colours.

 Wallenius and Wilhelmsen worked together retaining their individual identities (green for Wallenius, red/orange for Wilhelmsen), but eventually merged the operation of their two lines, and have repainted the ships in a new common colour scheme.

As the ship sailed this afternoon its berth at Autoport was not vacant for long as the ConRo ship Oceanex Sanderling moved over from Pier 41 to load new cars for Newfoundland.

The Oceanex Sanderling arrived this morning after a six month absence from the Halifax - St.John's weekly service. The ship was subject of a major refit and classification renewal survey at the Damen shipyard in Amsterdam since December 2021. It only just returned to St.John's June 27. 

During that six months Oceanex alternated its other two ships, which normally run between Montreal and St.John's, with calls in Halifax. That meant that there was only one weekly call in Montreal and RoRo cargo could only be handled every two weeks at Halifax and Montreal. Some RoRo cargo was handled as LoLo, but there was still a backlog. 

By my count the fleetmates Oceanex Avalon (containers only) made 12 round trips between St.John's and Halifax and Oceanex Connaigra (containers and RoRo) made 13 round trips between St.John's and Halifax. Now with Oceanex Sanderling back in harness there will be weekly container and RoRo service again to/from Halifax, and twice weekly service to/from Montreal to St.John's.

It is certainly a tribute to the Oceanex Sanderling that it has stood up to such rigorous use on that service since 1987. Built in 1977 by Sasebo Heavy Industries in Sasebo, Japan, the ship's current measurements are 21,849 gt, 15,195 dwt, with a capacity of 1,125 TEU (I assume that includes containers, because other sources say 522 TEU). One unusual, but important feature is the 157 tonne capacity slewing stern ramp that can swivel to port or starboard.

It is certainly a senior citizen among cargo ships, but it is of such an unusual type and size, that it would be very costly to replace and is apparently worth the extensive refit to keep it in class for another five years. Oceanex must be planning a replacement, but no word has leaked out to my ears.


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency continues to examine ships that have been in Asian waters to ensure that they do not carry the larva of the invasive species LDA moth. Ships are checked out at anchor in Halifax before they sail for the St.Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, where the moth pose the greatest risk to coniferous forests. Today's candidate for inpsection is the Nomadic Milde a Marshall Islands flag vessel operated by New Nomadic Short Sea Shipping of Norway.("Milde" is a district in the company's hometown of Bergen.)

The ship was built by Jiangsu Yangzijiang, in Jiangyin, China in 2011. It is a multi-purpose, open hatch, tween deck type of 9530 gt, 12,959 dwt and carries two 80 tonne capacity cranes.

The ship is now due to sail at 2230 hrs tonight, which is a considerably longer stay in port than the usual CFIA inspection stop. It may therefore have been doing some work or taking stores. It certainly appears to be high in the water, so is likely destined for a loading port.



Leveling off

 Container ships can be loaded to capacity either by volume or by weight. In the former, they load the maxiumum number of containers that the hold and deck have space for, while preserving visibility lines. In the latter they have loaded the maximum tonnage, even if there is space for more containers. Obviously the profitability of a given voyage depends on balancing the two, since empty containers don't pay.

This morning, June 29 both the departure and the arrival appeared to be well down on their draft marks, but possibly more room for containers.

ZIN Qingdao sailed from PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub for New York on the ZCA service from the Mediterranean.

The 39,906 gt, 50,689 dwt ship, built in 2006 by Dalian Industry Co in Dalian, China, appeared to be loaded to near capacity of 4250 TEU, with most stacks five boxes high, leaving maybe a few gaps in the deckload for more.

The inbound ship, which was to take its place at Pier 42, was very neatly levelled off on deck, but with stacks only four boxes high.

MSC Cancun dates from 2009 when it was built by Hanjin Heavy Industry + Construction Co Ltd at Subic Bay, Philippines. The 41,322 gt, 52,316 dwt ship has a capacity of 4360 TEU including 326 reefers. It is on the Turkey, Greece to North America route, with a stop at MSC's feeder port of Sines, Portugal. The ship could have been topped off at the last port to maximize loading.

The ship caried the name Zim Ukrayina from 2009 to 2018, then briefy Bahia in 2018 when it became MP The Brown until 2021. 

I can explain the significance of the latter name. One time investor / owners Mangrove Partners (MP), based in New York, named their seven ships after New England Patriots football players, one of whom was Troy Brown. Aside from the unusual names, Mangrove Partners ships also acquired notoriety because of the profit they turned when sold. Bought for $62 mn during the depressed market of 2017-18, six of the ships were sold for $368 mn in the 2021 high-demand post COVID era. MP The Brown was not included in that deal, but likely sold at a handsome profit too, as they were all sold to MSC.



Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Navy News

I have been neglecting navy news for the last few days simply because there was so much other shipping activity in Halifax Harbour.

The week started off on Sunday, June 26 with the sailing of two RCN ships for a four month tour of duty with NATO's Operation Reassurance in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea. Both are coastal defence vessels that can do a wide range of work depending on which of several equipment modules they are carrying. Their principal duties however relate to mine countermeasures.

HMCS Kingston will be deploying an autonomous underwater vehicle and HMCS Summerside will be carrying a clearance dive team.

Kingston MM 700 is the lead ship of the class of twelve vessels, built by Halifax Shipyard. It was launched August 12, 1995 and commissioned in 1996.

HMCS Summerside MM 711 launched September 25, 1998 and was commissioned in 1999.

Altough difficult to see in the above photo, the ships are powered by diesel electric driven azimuthing stern drives (Z-drives) which give them manoeuvrability similar to harbour tugs.

Two frigates currently assigned to NATO, HMCS Montreal and HMCS Halifax are due to return to Halifax in July. Other ships are doing training or working up for future assignments. One ship has been exercising in near waters off Halifax for the last few weeks and is in and out of port frequently.

 HMCS Fredericton FFH 337 is a Halifax class general purpose / anti-submarine patrol frigate commissioned in 1994. It was built by Saint John Shipbuilding in Saint John, NB. The ship has served in a variety of missions including a six-month NATO deployment ending in late 2021.

And now for something completely different - yes the Royal Navy really does have an icebreaker. Used principally in the antarctic regions for hydrographic charting and various kinds of research, the ship is also a highly capable icebreaker and patrol vessel. HMS Protector A173 is taking a special route home this year. In early June it participated in the resumed Fleet Week in New York, followed by calls in Montreal and Quebec City. It then visited Sydney, NS where it was hosted by the Canadian Coast Guard College. Several Protector crew trained with the CCG in the Canadian arctic in 2020 and 2021.

The ship arrived in Halifax this morning, June 28, and tied up at Navy jetty Bravo 3.

The ship started life in 2000 as the Norwegian privately owned antarctic class icebreaker Polarbjørn, with a hull built by Western Shiprepair Yard in Klaipeda, Lithuania and outfitted by Havyard in Leirvik, Norway. Original owners were G.C. Rieber (once well known in Halifax from their fleet of sealer / researchers), who used the ship for expeditions and subsea work. In 2011 the Royal Navy chartered the ship and commissioned it as HMS Protector. In 2013 they purchased the ship outright.

HMS Protector is outfitted with huge array of equipment including a 50 tonne crane, a 25 tonne A-frame gantry and several small craft. In addition to survey and research work it has also carried out supply and rescue missions and humanitarian work.

The ship's Commanding Officer is Capt. Maryla (Milly) Ingham, the highest ranking female RN naval officer to command a ship. Capt. Ingham has commanded several ships in her RN career, but has reached the rank required for command of a large ship.


Monday, June 27, 2022

MSC Rossella - just passing through

 The container ship MSC Rossella arrived at the pilot station at 2359 hrs, June 26 and proceeded in to number one anchorage.

Halifax is not on the ship's normal route, so it did not tie up at any terminal. It has a pilot ordered for 1100 hrs June 27. I assume the ship called in Halifax only for Canadian Food Inspection Agency clearance. 

I believe the ship is new to MSC's Canada Shuttle route to Malaga, Spain and Sines, Portugal from Montreal. The ship was in Asia in the last few months, having undergone a class inspection in Shanghai in February, so would be a canadidate for LDA moth invasive species inspection. Its most recent ports were Sines June 11-12, Thames June 15-16 and Antwerp June 16-19.

MSC Rossella was launched as Hansa Europe in 1993 by Samsung, Koje, but delivered as Ville de Carina. It received its current name in 1997. The 27,398 gt, 43,605 dwt ship has a capacity of 3398 TEU. 

MSC has long been noted for operating elderly ships, and this would seem to qualify, but the "goal posts" keep moving as the demand for hulls is so high. A well found ship capable of 22.5 kts, but with modest capacity is well suited to St.Lawrence service, especially with a tight two week schedule even if it is nearly thirty years old. 


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Look What the Fog Dragged In - corrected

 Despite the legendary pea soup fog this morning (June 26) five ships arrived in Halifax and four took up positions in the harbour anchorages. As the fog slowly retreated back to sea, the ships were revealed.

First in was the MidRange product tanker Dee4 Dogwood from Amsterdam.

 A 26,900 gt, 47,399 dwt vessel, it was built by Onomichi Zosen in Onomichi, Japan in 2008. It started out as Nord Organiser and was renamed in 2020 when it joined the oddly named Dee4 Capital Partners fleet. That fleet currently stands at 12 MR tankers. All the ships have names with the "Dee 4" prefix plus the name of a tree. Several of the ships have called in Halifax in recent times, including this one, which was last here November 21, 2021, and at least once before that.

In a repeat of its last visit it is anchored until this evening when Irving Oil's Acadian sails from the berth at the Woodside terminal. 

The next arrival was the once familiar offshore supplier Atlantic Condor. Built by Halifax Shipyard in 2010 to support gas installations off Nova Scotia, it was based in Halifax for ten years. When the gas facilities were decommissioned and removed, the ship found work elsewhere and was also laid up in Stephenville, NL for a time. 


The 2334 gt ship will now be fitted with an array of lab equipment for its next assignment. It will be part of an extensive research program into (yes you guessed it) fog! Funded by the United States Office of Naval Research and working with numerous universities and other groups, the US$7.5 MN program will include documentation from instruments to be installed on Sable Island. The Atlantic Condor will sail to the Grand Banks - thought to be the foggiest place on earth - for other aspects of the work.
 (They could have done some research in Halifax this morning.)

The next ship to work its way through fog to anchor was Maritime Jingan another MidRange tanker of 29,211 gt, 44,411 dwt, built in 2003 by Dalian Shipyard Co in Dalian, China.

With a solid wall of low level fog in the background, the ship anchored off the Dartmouth shore near the old Shell Oil pylon. Later in the day the ship resumed its voyage from Carteret, NJ to Saint John, NB.

The launch Halmar stands by the ship as the fog lifts to reveal the Halifax shore line.

Another arrival this morning, although I do not know exactly when, was the CCGS Earl Grey which also took up a position in the lower harbour anchorages. It later moved to Bedford Basin.

As more of the Halifax shore became visible, HMCS Toronto showed through on the Syncrolift at HMC Dockyard. (Thanks to fog I misread the pennant number - it is HMCS Charlottetown.)

The final arrival of the morning, and the last to become visible as the fog moved out was the large bulker Chow in number one anchorage.

A 94,761 gt, 181,146 dwt ship, it was built in 2016 by the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding Co Ltd in the free trade zone of Shanghai.After launch as Chow it briefly carried the name SBI Estupendo (seems appropriate) before reverting back to Chow later in 2016.

 After clearing CFIA inspection the ship sailed later in the day for Sept-Iles, QC where it is due to load 175,000 tonnes of iron ore at the common user dock (in Pointe Noire).

Also due to sail later today for Contrecoeur, Bécancour, QC is the tug Atlantic Elm, towing the barge Atlantic Marlin. The barge will be loaded with cargo for Baker Lake and make the long trip to Hudson's Bay where it will spend the summer lightering cargo from ships to shore.

Fleet mate Atlantic Beech passed Halifax today en route from Saint John, NB for Contrecouer, Bécancour,  then Baker Lake, with the barge Atlantic Swordfish for the same work.

A late morning departure that I did not attempt to photograph was the X-press Irazu for Melfi Lines. I was at Woodside when the tug left for Pier 41, and the photo explains why I did not make the attempt.

Only the tops of the cranes at PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub (southend terminal) were visible as a band of dense fog clung to the Halifax shore.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

THE Alliance for the Atlantic Hub

 With Halifax's two container terminals under the common management of PSA, ships are docking at whichever terminal can handle them best. The Fairview Cove terminal is limited to ships that have air draft less than about 46 meters (plus 1.35m air gap clearance). Recently also the Fairview facility has been congested and reached its limit for landed containers. On June 14 the ACL ship Atlantic Sea was diverted to the Southend terminal for this reason. The latter terminal has no air draft or water draft restrictions and can handle the largest container ships currently calling on the east coast of North America.

That congestion has apparently been eased with additional trains running to points west. This morning, June 25, the Atlantic Sky sailed from an overnight call at Fairview Cove.

 As it was passing the southend terminal outbound for Hamburg, it passed the next inbound, which was a ship on THE Alliance's EC5 service.   Ships on this route have normally called at Fairview Cove, but this one docked at the Southend terminal - the PSA Atlantic Hub..

The Conti Crystal is a 90,449 gt, 106,930 dwt ship built by Samsung SB+HI, Koje in 2006. Delivered as Hatsu Crystal it was renamed in 2018. It has a capacity of 8084 TEU including 700 reefers.

Once it was secured at berth #41the MSC Hong Kong sailed from berth #42.


Although it has only recently begun to call here on MSC's CANEX1 service from the Mediterranean to Montreal, the ship used to call here under a previous name. Built in 2002 by Hyundai, Ulsan, the 53,453 gt, 66, 686 dwt ship, with a capacity of 4839 TEU, was originally named ZIM New York. It carried the name China Sea from 2004 to 2006 and then reverted to ZIM New York. During that period it called in Halifax on ZIM's ZCA service. In 2021 Costamare sold the ship, and it its now under the direct management and operation of MSC as MSC Hong Kong.

Its call in Halifax was to top up its containers to ocean going draft. It is now headed for Naples. 


Friday, June 24, 2022

Acadia Desgagnés

 As summer is now here (even if the weather has not been told yet) Canadian ships that flag out for the winter are returning to Canadian registry. In the past few weeks several Transport Desgagnés, Logistec and Coastal Shipping vessels hoisted the maple leaf again after working overseas for the winter. Some of these ships are now preparing to go north on the annual "sealift" to remote communities and industries. Others will be staying in more southern latitudes, and resuming trades that may be restricted in winter due to ice.

Some of the ships dock in Halifax for the reflagging process, and that is what I expected when Acadia Desgagnés was posted for an arrival today, June 24, however that is not the case.

Instead the ship docked at Pier 9C to offload some cargo from Airbus in Belfast, Northern Ireland for Bombardier. Normally aircraft components such as wing and tail sections and fuselages arrive on ACL ships (via Liverpool) and are rolled off at Fairview Cove. They are then trucked to Mirabel, QC or Downsview, ON. Recently however they have also arrived at Pier 9C on car carriers. It is unusual that they would arrive on a general cargo ship, requiring the ship's cranes to lift off the units. 

An array of aircraft parts were unloaded with trucks at the ready to move them on the dock or to truck them away directly.

Acadia Desgagnés was built in 2013 by Shandong Baibuting Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Rongcheng, China. It was launched as Montelena, but the name was changed during construction to BBT Ocean but was changed again on delivery as Sider Tis. It initially flew the flag of Panama but that was changed to Malta in 2014. Transport Desgagnés took delivery and renamed the ship in Ravenna, Italy in March 2017 and it arrived in Shelburne, NS April 30, 2017. It was then refitted for Canadian service and registered in St.John's, NL, May 12, 2017. At 7875 grt, 11,353 dwt it has box shaped holds and a pair of cranes rated at 40 tonnes. The holds are reinforced for heavy cargoes, and unloading by grabs, and it can carry 164 TEU on deck. It is rated as ice class 1D by Lloyd's which is the lowest ice class rating.

The ship is used in bulk trades around the Gulf of St.Lawrence, such as salt from Pugwash, NS, and does not mormally participate in northern supply work. 

It called in Halifax in May 2018, April 2019 and May 2020 to reflag but this year it will proceed to Montreal instead. Why it did not unload the cargo there is a mystery.