Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Whole lot of RoRo goin' on

 Halifax is in the midst of a couple of days of busy RoRo activity. It began this morning, June 7, with the arrival of the auto carrier Sunshine Ace from Emden. The ship has been a regular caller in Halifax for several years, most recently on May 14. On that visit it arrived from Veracruz, Mexico and sailed directly to Emden, arriving there May 25 and sailing again May 27 for Halifax.

File photo: April 21, 2018

 The Sunshine Ace dates from 2009 when it was built by Minami-Nippon in Marugame. The 58,917 grt, 18,858 dwt ship has a capacity of 5,200 cars.

June 7, 2023.

 A bit later in the morning it was the Asian Empire arriving from Goteborg (May 24-26) and Bremerhaven (May 28-30), It tied up at Pier 9C to off load non-automobile RoRo cargo.

As usual it had to transit the Narrows, turn in Bedford Basin and return to the Narrows in order to tie up starboard side to Pier 9C. Typical of most auto carriers, its fixed stern ramp is angled to starboard.

Built in 1998 by Hyundai, Ulsan, it is a 71,383 gt, 25,756 dwt ship with a capacity of 7,645 CEU (Car Equivalent Units).

After unloading maachinery and other RoRo cargo, the ship remains at Pier 9C over night and will  move to Autoport tomorrow morning.

With the Autoport pier occupied and Berth 41 at PSA Halifax also occupied with the container ship ONE Eagle there was nowhere for the Oceanex Sanderling to work its RoRo cargo. The ship's weekly run to and from St.John's includes trailers (loaded and unloaded at PSA) and new cars (loaded at Autoport) and some pickup trucks and cars at PSA. The ship's container cargo is handled at PSA Halifax.

The ship went to anchor for the night.

 Oceanex Sanderling carries a number of 53 foot long containers on deck.

Tomorrow another ConRo ship, Nohan Ava is due on its weekly call from Argentia, NL and St-Pierre et Miquelon. It has recently shifted is operation from PSA Fairview Cove to PSA's southend terminal (not sure why*) but there will be no space there tomorrow, so it will dock instead at Pier 9C. I am not sure how much cargo it can move there (it does have its own cargo cranes), but I doubt that it will be able to handle any RoRo since its stern ramp is not angled, and requires a shoreside ramp.

The Nolhan Ava pictured November 27, 2022, also carries 53 foot containers, and has a fixed stern ramp.

* Foot note: Nolhan Ava's owners TMSI Ltd shifted their operations from the Southend Container Terminal to Fairview Cove only in the last year or so. That made eminent sense as a lot of their traffic seemed to come on ACL ships from France. That cargo had to be unloaded at Fairview Cove, then interchanged over land (presumably in bond) through busy downtown Halifax streets. Now with many of those streets torn up, it seemed to me to make even more sense. 

Therefore the shift back to the South End is puzzling. I recently saw a small car and van on a flat container that had to be lifted from Fairview to the South End, which presumably would add cost compared to a move within the Fairvew Cove terminal. (Vehicles in St-Pierre et Miquelon are for the most part imported from France.)

Added to the container truck backlogs due the huge downtown Halifax road realignment project, the port is welcoming a steady stream of dump trucks for its own five year infill project.

With the Port of Halifax promoting the reduction of truck traffic downtown, it is apparent that not all of their "partners" are listening.


Tuesday, June 6, 2023

ONE Cygnus

 Another of the ONE bird class ships arrived today, June 7, on THE Alliance's EC5 service. ONE Cygnus was built by Japan Marine United in 2019 is the last of the ten ships of the bird class. All but ONE Cygnus and ONE Wren were built with NYK prefixes, but they have now been renamed with "ONE", as they are all working for the Ocean Network Express, the joint venture of the principal Japanese container lines (NYK, K-Line and MOL). [As an aside it is interesting to note that there was already a "Swan" in the group - NYK Swan built in 2017 and renamed ONE Swan in 2020; cygnus being the Latinized Greek name for the swan: cygnus atratus.]

The ship made an interesting sight as it made its way inbound. Because its deck load was only four boxes high instead of the usual six boxes, more of the bridge superstructure was visible, including the supports for the bridge wings. 

As with its sisters, the 146,694 gt, 138,611 dwt ship is rated at 14,026 TEU. Its last port was Colombo, Sri Lanka, and it transited the Suez Canal on May 24-25.


Monday, June 5, 2023

Algoberta calls home

 Algoma Tankers announced in December last year that they had acquired three tankers to replace older ships in their fleet. As reported here the first of the ships was the Chantaco which had been trading to the Great Lakes. It arrived in Halifax December 30, 2022 and was renamed Algotitan and registered in Canada January 11, 2023. Since then it has called here with product for Imperial Oil, loaded in Sarnia and Nanticoke.

Its sister ship the Chiberta remained overseas until the St.Lawrence Seaway opened for the 2023 season and was reported upbound in the Seaway March 29 for Sarnia. Renamed Algoberta it was registered Canadian April 5, 2023 and has since been trading between Nanticoke and Tracy, QC. On its most recent trip, after loading in Nanticoke it sailed May 30 and made its way directly to Halifax, arriving late night June 5. Instead of docking at Imperial Oil it tied up at Pier 25, allowing another tanker, the Mia Desgagnés to go to Imperial first. It had product from Sarnia.

 Due to blustery conditions today, June 6, of driving rain and high winds, I commemorated the ship's arrival in its port of registry from the confines of my car. It is due to move to Imperial late tonight.

Built in 2007 by RMK Marine of Tuzla, Turkey, it is a 11,799 gt, 18,734 dwt ship. The Algoberta was expected to replace the Algosea, which was built in 1998. The latter is likely to be retired before a major survey which is due in November.

The third Algoma acquisition, the Birgit Knutsen is still trading between France and the Netherlands. Built in 2010 by Jiangnan in Shanghai, it is a 11,889 gt, 16,536 dwt vessel and is a sister of Algoma's Algoterra. No date has been given for its arrival in Canada.


BBC ships to Canada

 Two ships from the large German heavy lift operator BBC Chartering will be working in the Canadian far north this summer with new names and flying the Canadian flag.

1.   Sivumut

A ship that was in Halifax in mid-May has become the latest addition to the Canadian northern supply company NEAS. BBC Arizona arrived in Halifax May 14 from Belfast, Northern Ireland with aircraft components and other oversize cargo, which it unloaded at Pier 9C using its own lifting gear. It has now been renamed Sivumut and was registered in Montreal on June 2. The word "sivumut" means "looking forward" in the Inuktitut language.

The Sivumut is a multi-purpose, heavy lift, heavy load ship of 9618 gt, 12,747 dwt, fitted with two 150 tonne SWL cranes that can lift up to 300 tonnes in tandem. It has a container capacity of 665 TEU (528 at 14 tonnes) and has 50 reefer plugs. It carries its own spreaders for overize loads.

Built in 2010 by Jiangdong Shipyard in Wuhu, China, it was originally named BBC Arizona. It was renamed Industrial Sailor in 2014, Arizona in 2015 and reverted to BBC Arizona in 2015.

After sailing from Halifax on May 16 it went to Argentia, Newfoundland May 17-20, then Portland, Maine May 22-25. It arrived in Montreal on May 30.

The NEAS Group owns Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc and Nunavik Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc and provides sea lift to a range of communities in the Canadian far north. The NEAS Group is owned by the Makivik Corporation, Nunavik’s Inuit Birthright Corporation, and Transport Nanuk Inc., whose shareholders are Logistec Corporation and The North West Company. 

The current fleet of six ships has been built up over the years, generally from older Spliethoff ships, which are chartered back to Spliethoff in the off season and trade internationally under foreign flag. Their summer work includes carrying supplies for northern communities, some containerized, and also vehicles and heavy equipment for the several mining operations in the region. Generally ships of the fleet carry their own lighterage barges and tugs for offloading in shallow draft or unserviced ports. The heavy lift deck cranes are needed to handle the variety of loads including the tugs and barges. Some ports have larger tugs and barges stationed nearby for the summer.

Sivumut is scheduled to load at Bécancour June 15 to 20 and sailing to Rankin Inlet and Whale Cove, then reloading at Churchill for Whale Cove, Chesterfield Inlet, Baker Lake and Coral Harbour, then returning to Bécancour to load again. It wiLl make a seond and possibly a third northern trip.

2.   Marcellin Desgagnés

The other major player in the northern supply operations is Transport Desgagnés. They have acquired a number of ships with heavy lift / oversize capability, some of which were built for Beluga Shipping. They have also been chartered out for the winter, also usually to BBC Chartering. The current fleet consists of six ships and will soon include a seventh - the former BBC Parana built in 2012 by Tianjin Xingang, in Tianjin, China. A 12,980 gt, 16,953 dwt ship, it has one 80 tonne SWL capacity crane and two 250 tonne SWL capacity cranes that can work in combination for a 500 tonne load. The ship has recently been in Canadian waters, calling in Grande Anse, QC Jun 1-2, then sailing for New London, CT. It has not been registered in Canada yet, nor renamed officially, but is shown on Desgagnés Transarctik's schedule as sailing from Bécancour July 11

Saturday, June 3, 2023

AOPV parts

 Irving Shipbuilding Inc has three main facilities in Halifax. There is a steel preparation operation in Lower Burnside, a component fabrication facility in Woodside and the main shipyard site. From my observations, steel plates are prepped in Burnside and trucked to either of the other plants for assembly. 

Complex components are built up in Woodside, but they are too large to transport by road, and so they are barged across the harbour to the shipyard. Such an operation took place today, June 3 using the barge Atlantic Marlin.

The deck load on the barge consisted of two bow components and a signal mast for the next Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV). The pieces were loaded on Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs) and were rolled on at Woodside and will be rolled off at Pier 6 in the Shipyard.

The 2318 gt barge, built in Nanjing China in 2000 by Jinling Shipyard, was used April 30, 2022 in essentially the same operation. This year the tugs Atlantic Fir had the barge oashed "on the hip" and the Atlantic Beaver provided push/pull when undocking and docking. 

The shipyard has the Boa Barge 37 on long term charter (red vessel in the background of the photo above) and uses it to float off new built ships. It has also been used to transport components too, but it remains registered in Norway and requires a coasting license for each use.

Atlantic Towing has the Atlantic Marlin available at this timeof the year, but it is used in summer to transport material in Hudson Bay, from ships at anchor to shallow draft ports of Chesterfield Inlet and Rankin Inlet. 


 That is not smoke haze in the photo today. It is light drizzle, which became heavier rain at times, and was welcomed by firefighters battling major forest fires in Nova Scotia. 


Friday, June 2, 2023

Scrapping Begins

 The last couple of years have been very good to the world's shipping companies. Rates went through the roof and vessel values rocketed. The companies, awash in cash, ordered scads of new ships and some companies hoovered up used ships to meet demand.

With conditions returning to pre-COVID status, rates are now dropping and demand is down. Shipyards are starting to deliver the new ships and ship owners, as expected, will soon be shedding older ships - many to the scrap yards.

One line, Hapag-Lloyd, has announced that they will be sending three ships to the breakers. All three were built to Lloyd's Ice Class 1A and designed for year round service between Europe and the St.Lawrence River. Now approaching 25 years of age, they would require costly refits to keep them in operation.

The ships were built with relatively shallow draft and greater width than most ships. The designs compensated for restrictive drafts on the St.Lawrence while maintaining capacity. (Unlike conventional ships on the service, which frequently call in Halifax to reduce draft or top up to ocean draft.)

To my knowledge none of the three ships has called in Halifax. They are:

>   Milan Express 33,622 gt, 33,659 dwt, built in 1996 by Samsung, Geoje, and capacity of 2330 to 2499 TEU (depending on source.)

Milan Express at full throttle on the St.Lawrence, August 18, 2015.

Originally named OOCL Canada it became Cast Premier in 2003, Cielo di Los Angelese in 2005, CP Los Angeles in 2005 and Milan Express in 2006.

>   Ottawa Express built in 1998 by Daewoo SB + ME Co Ltd, Okpo, 39,174 gt, 40,879 dwt, with a capacity of 2808 or 2992 TEU (depending on source).It was built as CP Honour and renamed in 2006.

Ottawa Express upbound off St-Joseph-de-la-Rive August 10, 2017. From this angle ship shows off its most distinctive feature, the fully enclosed navigation bridge.

>   And Mississauga Express the former CP Pride to 2006 built to the same spec by Daewoo SB+ME, also in 1998: 39,174 gt, 40,881 dwt and 2808 TEU. (no photo available).

There was another sister ship in the Daewoo series. OOCL Belgium, also built in 1998 and 39,174 gt, 40,972 dwt with a capacity of 2808 TEU including 200 reefers. It was also built to ice class 1A and for year round St.Lawrence service.

  OOCL Belgium off Cap-aux-Oies, QC, August 24, 2017.

OOCL Belgium was re-assigned by OOCL some time ago and has most recently been reported operating in China and Malaysia. There has been no word on its future, but it seems likely to continue operating for at least five more years as it just passed its latest survey early in May. In 2017 the giant Chinese company COSCO Shipping purchased the Hong Kong based OOCL (Orient Overseas Container Line).


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Bulk Cargoes

 It is not the intention of this blog to cover every ship arrival and departure in the Port of Halifax, but chiefly the noteworthy ones. The arrival and departure of bulk carriers is not particularly unusual, but there have been two recently that are worthy of mention.

The Algoma Mariner arrived on Tuesday May 30 from Thunder Bay, with a cargo of grain. This marks the first arrival of grain from the Great Lakes this season - an unusually late first arrival date. When the St.Lawrence Seaway re-opens in late March or early April, grain for Halifax is often one of the first downbound cargoes.

Unloading was well underway yesterday morning, May 31, as the ship was using its own self-unloading gear to discharge its cargo. The receiving hopper is connected by conveyors to the grain elevator. When the work finished up later in the day the ship sailed for Auld's Cove, NS to load aggregates.

Built in 2011 by Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China, the 24,535 gt, 37,690 dwt ship flies the Canadian flag.

 As noted in yesterday's post the bulk carrier Lake Pearl arrived to load at Gold Bond Gypsum. It sailed this evening, June 1, for Tampa, FL.

The ship can also discharge its own cargo, but by the more laborious method of cranes and grabs. Members of the ship's crew are qualified to operate the cranes.The grab buckets are lashed down on deck near the cranes. Most ships that load gypsum in Halifax are conveyor belt type self-unloaders from the CSL Pool, but recently there have been some crane and bucket equipped ships from SMT Shipping.