Monday, May 31, 2010

Yachting Season

The first transiting luxury yacht appeared in port this morning (it probably arrived last night) Lady Sandals is a regular caller each year. Named for a famous Jamaican resort, it may well be owned by the resort proprietor. Like most boats of its class it is available for charter, but is likely on its way to the Great Lakes for the summer.
It has traditional good looks compared to some of the trendier flybridge yachts we often see. It was built in 1985 by Feadship in the Netherlands.
If you would like an intimate tour-don"t call me-just click this link:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Line up for May 31, 2010

Halifax promises to be a busy place early Monday morning:
Arrivals: Undine (Autoport), Zim Shenzhen (Halterm), Ambassador (National Gypsum), Thailand Express (Fairview Cove), Alexandria Bridge (Halterm), Aegir (Halterm) all berthing from 0700 to 0800 or so.
Later in the day Atlantic Conveyor and Ludwigshafen Express (Fairview Cove)and Zim Isanbul (Halterm) will be arriving after 1600, with many of the arrivals leaving.

Commentary 0830+ hrs May 31: High winds delayed the docking of several of these ships. With only four working tugs in the harbour and most ships requiring two tugs, by 0830 only Alexandria Bridgeand Thailand Express were docked. Undine was at anchorage # 7 awaiting tugs, and Zim Shenzhen at anchorage #1 awaiting tugs. Aegir seems to have berthed without tugs.
Atlantic Towing's Atlantic Fir and Larch berthed Alexandria Bridge at pier 36 then hurried off to dock Ambassador at National Gypsum. Tugs of Svitzer Canada were busy dealing with Thailand Express at Fairview Cove, and the sailing of Oceanex Sanderling from Autoport. Atlantic Fir went to Undine (normally a Svitzer job) and was joined by Point Chebucto-these were the first available tugs-at about 0915-0930. Point Valiant and Atlantic Larch then noved the tanker North Point to anchor.

Issue#1: How many tugs are needed in Halifax? Obviously today 6 to 8 tugs would be needed to berth all these ships on arrival. But the tug companies can't justify having that many tugs sitting around for weeks without work until a busy (and windy) day such as today.

Issue#2: At least two of the ships (Aegir and Thailand Express) arrived off Halifax yesterday but anchored until this morning. Presumably this was to avoid overtime/weekend rates for longshoremen. Since they were "first in line" both these ships docked more or less on time this morning.

Hanseatic - wastes no time

The German owned passenger ship Hanseatic wasted no time leaving Halifax this afternoon. She arrived in dense fog early this morning, took bunkers and several truck loads of stores, and left promptly at 1645hrs in sunshine. She was up to speed by the time she reached Ives Knoll.

An earlier visit by the ship was the result of grounding in the Arctic. On August 29, 1996 she ran aground on King William Island in Simpson Strait at 68 degrees 33.45 minutes N X 97 degrees 32.12 min W. She was en route Nome, Alaska to Resolute with 153 passengers and 115 crew.

Of those on board most were taken to Resolute by Kapitan Dranitsyn, but others were landed in Cambridge Bay. USCG Nahidik and CCGS Louis S St-Laurent were soon on the scene, as was a tug from Johansen Bay, sand the ship refloated September 8. She reached Halifax September 24 and was drydocked until October 5 for hull repairs.

The ship was built in 1991 in Finland as Society Adventurer. She is ice strengthened. According to Lloyd's Register she has 94 cabins, and became Hanseatic in 1992.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Setting Paravanes

Many smaller fishing vessels rig paravanes to improve stability. This is especially true of some of the herring seiners, because they carry considerable top hamper. The seine gear itself, with a heavy boom with winch on the end adds to weight high up, but so too does all the pumping apparatus, consisting of chutes and conveyors.
The paravanes, similar to those rigged by ships during World War II to fool acoustic torpedoes, consist of fish shaped objects, suspended from long booms. When the booms are extended, the actual paravanes (fish) are dropped into the water and towed along. The drag they create compensates for the top hamper of the boat. They only work once boat is moving at some speed.
These photos show Dual Venture sailing this afternoon and getting ready to set her paravanes as she goes.

1. Getting away from the dock. Booms in upright (stowed) position.

2. Starting to swing out the port boom.

3. Port boom out, starboard boom swinging out.

4. Booms out, but "fish" not lowered yet.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Shipfax View of Halifax Harbour- soon to be compromised?

Shipfax-the eye on the harbour- may not be able to see this kind of picture for much longer. The large parking lot across the street will be closed on June 1 as construction starts on a major hotel/ shopping complex.

In this photo HMCS St. John's returns from a four day visit to its namesake city. She will be tying up at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

To the left is the famous Foundation Maritime Salvage Shed (now owned by Svitzer Canada), and in the background is the tanker North Point at anchor. She arrived yesterday in ballast from New York.

St.John's is escorted by naval auxiliary tug Glenevis. Behind her is the 3 masted tour boat Silva. On the Dartmouth shore is the Woodside ferry terminal, and a portion of a train, with autoracks from Autoport.
In the foreground are some Purolater courier trucks marshaling for the 5 o'clock rush.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Toronto Ferry Scenes

1. Trillium and company.

2. Sam McBride approaches the dock with Trillium in the foreground.

3. Marilyn Bell I in mid-route.

4. David Hornell on standby at the airport.

5. The entire route, including terminal slips is included in this photo.

Toronto has a very interesting ferry scene, particularly for those who like double ender ferries, and those who like older ferries. It also has some new ferries that ply a very unusual route.
I took these photos during my brief visit May 16, 2010.

1. The City of Toronto runs a wonderful fleet of ferries, the most outstanding one being Trillium, built in 191o in Toronto by Polson Iron Works. It is the last steam powered sidewheel ferry in operation in North America, and has been restored to operating condition, using its original machinery. It will be doing some special activities this year as part of its 100th birthday.

2. Outstanding in their own right are the William Inglis (1935) Sam McBride (1939) and Thomas Rennie (1951.) These classic double enders run on a regular service to Toronto Island.
3. Much newer to the scene is Marilyn Bell 1, built in 2009 as TCCA 2. She runs for the Toronto Port Authority joining the mainland to the Toronto Island airport, now called the Billy Bishop Airport, and used by Porter Airlines.
4. The previous ferry on the run, David Hornell (built in 2005 as TCCA 1 and renamed earlier this year) is the standby vessel, and now sports a blue pilothouse.
5. The route across the western entrance to Toronto harbour takes all of 15 seconds, and is shown in its entirety in this wide shot.

Herring running

1. Dual Venture making heavy weather of it, as she heads in to Halifax. She has her stability paravanes rigged.
2. Dual Venture passing George's Island. She has now shipped the paravanes.

3. Tasha Marie approaching the dock.

4. Lady Melissa tied up quietly.

The herring are running again and the usual fleet of southwest Nova Scotia herring seiners are landing their catches in Halifax. Although today's rough weather meant that the boats came back to port empty handed, they have been unloading large quantities at pier 27. The catch goes directly to tank trucks or fish boxes and then to plants in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.
In addition to the boats shown above, Sealife II and Leroy and Barry No. II are also in port this evening. All are tied up at the Tall Ships Quay, at the foot of Morris Street. Morning Star is berthed at nearby Bishops Landing.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Maersk is back- again.

Maersk Line is back again, after a half year or so absence. The line has been an off and on again caller in Halifax for sixty years, their visits depending on the winds of commerce.

Last year, and again this year, they are calling during the fishing season, loading fish from Newfoundland and the Maritimes. This year they are trying a new method of shipping live lobster in chilled containers.

Maersk Pembroke arrived this morning and sailed early this afternoon. She is a Dutch registered ship of 31,333 grt, carrying 2890 TEU, of which 400 may be reefers. A smaller ship than the usual container ship, she also did not appear to be over loaded.

Friday, May 14, 2010

First time caller

K-Line brought in a new ship today, and this time it was not one of their own. Rudolf Schepers is German owned and registered in Antigua and Barbuda. It is quite new, built in 2009 in China, and capable of carrying 4,253 TEU. On this trip she appeared fully loaded- a fairly rare sight in the last year or so.

Until recently the ship was on K-Line's transpacific service.

K-Line operates this service along with Yang Ming and Cosco.

To Russia in Ballast

Catherine Knutsen sailed from anchorage this afternoon bound for Russia. The ship arrived May 4 and berthed at pier 25-26 for repairs. She has been at anchor since May 9. Because she occupied most of number one anchorage, most ships sailed in and out of the harbour to the west of George's Island, giving those on the Halifax side a close up view.

Built in 1992, she measures 77,389 gross tons and 141,700 deadweight. The ship is fitted with bow loading gear so that she can load from offshore buoys and floating pipelines. The ship is registered in Norway, but is managed by Canship Ugland of St. John's, NL and has Canadian crew.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Costa Atlantica

Costa Atlantica glides in to Halifax on a grey morning. This is the ship's second call in a cruise season that has got off to an early start. The ship was due to tie up at pier 22 at 0800 this morning.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Salvage Mobilization

1. Atlantic Larch shortens up her tow and prepares to come alongside Atlantic Tuna in the main harbour.
2. Atlantic Shark berthed in Mulgrave, NS on April 22, Atlantic Elm in the background

Irving Shipbuilding brought two barges in today to assist with raising Scotiadock II. First to arrive was Atlantic Tuna in tow of Atlantic Larch. The barge, the former ATL 2501 is a 2094 ton craft built in 1975. It is a flat deck scow with side walls, and is painted an unusual red/orange colour, not typical of Atlantic Towing craft.

The second to arrive was Atlantic Shark, the former Kent Carrier, 8263 tons, built 1971, and came in tow of Atlantic Fir. It is built with a huge "hangar" on deck, originally used to carry newsprint. It has been used for a variety of services over the years, including as a floating machine shop.

Atlantic Tuna was in Port Hawksbury and Atlantic Shark was in Mulgrave, but will now be put to use as work platforms for the major salvage job ahead.

The tug Atlantic Fir is normally based in Point Tupper and has temporarily swapped places with Atlantic Oak.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Scotiadock II Update

1 Lady Shirleen rides over the boom after a day's work supporting divers.
2 Novadock's crane assists in some work on the sunken Scotiadock II. Diver's boats are within the dock walls.

3 As seen from Barrington Street early this morning, all that is visible of the dock is the cranes. In the background, HMCS Preserver sits in the Novadock, unaffected by the sinking next door.

As of today there is no apparent change in the situation at Halifax Shipyard. The (once) floating drydock Scotiadock II, continues to sit on the bottom of the harbour, surrounded by a precautionary oil boom. No pollution seems to have occurred when it sank yesterday morning during an attempt to drydock the tug Stevns Breaker (see Tugfax for more on the tug.)

Events are unfolding however:
  • during the day divers from two companies worked on the dock, presumably looking for holes to plug and surveying for damage and recovery of materials. Connors Diving, worked from their boat Northcom and RMI worked from Lady Shirleen for most of the day. (That is Lady Shirleen sailing over the boom to exit the dock area at about 6 pm.)

  • Atlantic Towing's tugs left port last evening to get barges to assist in the salvage operation. Atlantic Larch left for Point Tupper to fetch the barge Atlantic Tuna. Atlantic Oak also sailed sometime yesterday, destination unknown to me.

  • Naval architects are arriving in Halifax to assist with the raising. As I explained on the CBC news today, stability and buoyancy are the two big issues when refloating. Naval architects calculations are essential to proper salvage planning.

There will be more news in the ensuing days. Stay tuned.

Same Ship, Odd New Name

The former OOCL Italy arrived today, with a brand new name, Vietnam Express. The ship is running on the Grand Alliance service, a troika of OOCL, NYK Line and Hapag-Lloyd, which has just re-organized its service somewhat.
Previously their Asia-East Coast Express (AEX) service used all post-Panamax size OOCL ships. With the re-organization some OOCL ships on the AEX route will be switched to Hapag-Lloyd names. This particular ship continues to be owned by Nissen Kaiun, but presumably is now on charter to Hapag-Lloyd rather than OOCL.
Thus OOCL Italy becomes Vietnam Express with a few flicks of the paint brush.
The ship was built in 2007 has a gross tonnage of 66,462, is rated at 5888 TEU and is registered in Hong Kong.
The name change took place April 1, so it it will be interesting to see if the ship will be repainted in Hapag-Lloyd colours.

The Grand Alliance's second service to Halifax, the Pacific Atlantic Express (PAX), will continue to use Hapag-Lloyd ships of 4600TEU, which will still use the Panama canal.

As a sidebar, Svitzer Canada normally berths the Hapag-Lloyd ships and Atlantic Towing berths the OOCL ships. All of Atlantic Towing's tugs are away from Halifax today to retrieve barges for the salvage of Scotiadock II, so the only tugs available today are Svitzer's. Whether this was a Svitzer job or not remains to be seen.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Scotiadock II: glug, glug, glug.......

1. Today-on the bottom. (That is HMCS Iroquois visible in the background.)

2. April 30, 2010 - happier days.

3. June 9, 1998 arriving Halifax for the first time. Front left: Atlantic Cedar, front right: Atlantic Oak, stern: Atlantic Hemlock. Off to the left: Slipway II.

It's not unheard of, but it is most unusual, that a floating drydock ceases to float and sinks -to the bottom. This is what happened today to Irving Shipbuilding's Scotia Dock II floating drydock.
Moored in its usual position at Halifax Shipyard, the drydock went down to where its top rails are just below the surface. When the top picture was taken the north end of the top rail was just clear of the water, but it later was seen to be underwater.
Although the dock is boomed off, salvage operations have yet to begin in earnest. It will be interesting to see how this is accomplished.

Scotia Dock II (as it appears in the register, but commonly referred to as Scotiadock II) was built in 1958 by Canadian Vickers Ltd in Montreal and served that once important shipyard until it closed in 1986. It was named General Georges P. Vanier, for Major General Georges-Philéas Vanier (1888-1967) war hero (MC and DSO), diplomat and Governor General of Canada (1959-1967.)

The drydock was towed to Halifax in 1998 by Atlantic Cedar (i), Atlantic Oak (i) and Atlantic Hemlock, stopping over in Gaspé June 5 and arriving in Halifax June 9.
It was refitted and re-measured to its current 15,692 gross tons and renamed. (A previous drydock was called Scotiadock.)
Since then it has docked its share of ships, but has been idle for several months. It is understood from previous press accounts that its cranes were to be modernized as part of a major project at Halifax Shipyard. In fact its cranes had just been repainted. (April 30 photos shows one in the orginal blue and one in yellow)

Stay tuned for further developments.

St-Pierre rescue boat in Halifax

The St-Pierre rescue/salvage vessel Patron J.M.Camenen appeared on pier 36 this morning. It had apparently been offloaded by the St-Pierre feeder ship Dutch Runner yesterday. It is either here for refit or will be shipped back to France for refit.

There are few factual references I can point too about the vessel, except that is reported to be 14m long and capable of 13.9kn. Not visible from my angle is the number SNS 121 on the bow.

There good photos of her in the water on AIS at :

Thursday, May 6, 2010


CMA/CGM one of the larger container lines in the world, operates a feeder service from Halifax to Kingston, Jamaica. Kingston is a hub for CMA/CGM, and thus containers from Halifax can be connected to CMA/CGM's world services.

Shown is Aegir sailing off this evening in rainy conditions. She is on charter from Draxl Schiffahrts of Germany.

CMA/CGM is apparently doing enough business to warrant a second ship and weekly calls, so Stadt Berlin will start calling here too. She inaugurated the CMA/CGM service here and has worked for several other lines in and out of Halifax.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tirranna today.

After yesterday's visit of the Wallenius ship Fedora, it would have been nice to post a picture of today's arrival of Wilhlemsen's Tirranna. However I was busy elsewhere when she arrived and sailed.
Wallenius-Wilhelmsen , a 50/50 joint venture between the two lines operates a huge fleet of autocarriers, with ships of each line maintaining their own identities.
All Wilhelmsen ships begin with the letter T and are usually named for places.
More on Tirrana here:
including a photo.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A tip of the Fedora

Wallenius-Wilhelmsen's autocarrier Fedora moved over to pier 31 this evening after unloading cars at Autoport. After working some oversize cargo she sailed at 8:30.

There is no really attractive angle to view these ships, but this more or less stern-on shot shows the huge ramp in the stowed position.

The tug Svitzer Bedford was working near the stern of the ship and Point Chebucto near the bow. The crude oil tanker Sea Prince is berthed at Imperial Oil in the background.

Wallenius ships are named for operatic characters, and this is no exception. Fedora was a role originated by Sarah Bernhardt in the play Fedora, written for her in the 1890s by one Victorien Sadou. In the play she wore a hat which became known as a fedora, and was stylish for women well into the 20th century. The opera Fedora by Umberto Giordano was first performed in 1898 and included Enrico Caruso in one of the roles.

The fedora eventually became a man's hat until losing favour in the 1950s. The demise of the man's hat was blamed on the automobile, because it was difficult to fit into a car with a hat on. So perhaps it was with some irony that Wallenius named an autocarrier after a hat!

Monday, May 3, 2010

RCN birthday preparations

May 4 is the 200th annniversary of the founding of the Royal Canadian Navy. This event will be celebrated throughout the summer, but in preparation for tomorrow's Freedom of the City event, HMCS Toronto tied up at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at noon time today.

After leaving HMC Dockyard (CFB Halifax) the ship sailed south and east of George's Island, then northbound west of George's where she was met by the tugs Glenevis and Glenside.

The Fleet Diving diving support vessel Sechelt was also on scene (and right in the way of my photos for most of the operation) and numerous smaller craft, including two RCMP vessels.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

OOCL Dubai in and out in a day.

OOCL Dubai made an early arrival today to berth at Fairview Cove for 0800. The ship was built in 2006 and measures 66,642 gross tons and can carry 5888TEUS. She is among the biggest container ships presently calling in the port of Halifax. Although owned and built in Japan she is registered in Hong Kong.
She was met by the tugs Atlantic Larch (bow) and Atlantic Spruce (stern) in the lower harbour.
They escorted the ship through the Narrows, passing the Novadock floating drydock.

They slowed the ship after entering the Bedford Basin.

Atlantic Spruce changed to position to turn the ship for berthing.

After loading and unloading containers, the ship sailed at 1700. Atlantic Larch is tight under the ship's stern on leaving the Basin to line up for the Narrows.