Thursday, September 30, 2010

Eurodam again

I mentioned the distinctive funnels on Eurodam last week. When she sailed this afternoon, she passed a small sloop, and it did form an odd juxtaposition with the Holland America funnel marking of a cruise ship and a sailing vessel.
Eurodam is still a fine looking ship to my mind.

The World at our Doorstep

The article "the" does not often appear in a ship's name, but in this case it may seem appropriate. The World is a different concept in cruising, for the passengers in fact own the ship. Much like a condominium on shore, the "owners" on this ship own their apartment and pay a monthly upkeep charge to keep the ship running, pay the crew, etc.

The costs are not for the faint hearted - the cabins (called apartment, studio apartment or studio) are not cheap and the monthly charges are steep, but the advantages are there. You may use your own cabin whenever and wherever you wish - join the ship as you please- make the cabin available to friends-sail leisurely around the world, often spending two or more days in a port. It is a far cry from the typical high volume cruise ship.

There are only 165 cabins, and the passenger total is usually between 100 and 300 at most. The ship was built in 2002 by Fosen Mek.Verk. A/S of Norway and is a modest 43,524 gross tons.

Also in port today were Maasdam, Eurodam and Jewel of the Seas, which dwarfed The World, tucked in a pier 23. The World arrived today and will stay overnight, sailing tomorrow.


Change the Light Bulb

How many crew members does it take to change a light bulb on Caribbean Princess?

Well only one really. The maid is just there to clean up afterward.

Yesterday, pier 31.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Out and In at Halterm

1. Zim Beijing has cleared Halterm.

2. Meeting east of the Middle Ground. Atlantic Larch is approaching Tsing Ma Bridge to make up on the starboard side.

3. Tsing Ma Bridge preparing to make her turn to back in to Halterm.

4. Backing in to Halterm (the tug has gone round to the port side - see Tugfax for more on this.)

It was quick turn around at Halterm this afternoon. Zim Beijing sailed and Tsing Ma Bridge arrived in quick succession. The ships provided an interesting contrast, due to their relative sizes.

Zim Beijing is Panamax size. Her dimensions (both length and width) are the absolute maximum that can pass through the Panama Canal as it is presently configured. She measures 294.1m length x 32.6m breadth, and carries 5047 TEUs. Her gross tonnage is 54,626 and she was built in 2005. The ship's size allows her to follow Zim's Asia/ North America/Middle East service, without passing through the Suez Canal.

Tsing Ma Bridge is a post-Panamax ship. Her dimensions are too large for the Panama Canal. She is 284m long x 40m wide. Her capacity is 5610 TEU and she measures 68607 gross tons and was built in 2002. She is too broad to pass through the Panama Canal as of today, due to her width. Interestingly she is shorter than the Zim Beijing, but can still carry 563 more TEUs - a substantial number. The ship runs from Asia, via the Suez Canal to the east coast of North America for the K-Line operated CKYH service with Cosco, Yang Ming and Hanjin.

When the present reconstruction of the Panama Canal is completed Tsing Ma Bridge will be able to transit with ease, as the new Panamax dimensions will be 366m long x 49m wide, allowing ships of some 12,000 TEU to pass through the locks.

The two ships reflect the importance of China in today's shipping: Beijing, the capital of China and Tsing Ma Bridge which joins two islands in Hong Kong.

Poetry in Motion?

1. MSC Poesia has rounded George's Island and is lining up to berth at pier 20.

2. Halifax harbour greeter and mascot Theodore Too accompanied the ship inbound and is now turing back to her dock - mission accomplished.

MSC Poesia made her inaugural call in Halifax today. This is the ship's fist season on the New England/ Eastern Canada cruise circuit, and she is providing a number of cruises out of New York and Quebec City between now and the end of October.

She will make two more calls in Halifax before heading to the Caribbean for the winter. She will also visit Boston, Newport, Bar Harbor, Charlottetown, Corner Brook and Sydney this fall.

The ship was built in 2008 at the Aker yard in St-Nazaire, France, and measures 93,330 gross tons. She can accommodate up to 3,605 passengers, and is one of four ships of her class in the MSC Cruises fleet. MSC now has eleven ships and is one of the fastest growing cruise lines. The parent company Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) is also a large container ship operator.

MSC Poesia arrived from Quebec City, where she also made an inaugural call. In order to give her passengers a more comfortable ride, she did some slow steaming, arriving off Halifax around 1 pm for her pilot. She will sail at 11 pm tonight.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Atlantic RoRo Carriers

1. Viljandi approaches the Halterm container terminal with the tug Atlantic Willow coming alongside.

One of the shipping lines that calls in Halifax from time to time is Atlantic RoRo Carriers. They operate a service between St.Petersburg, Russia and Baltimore. The line also calls in Halifax, New Orleans and Houston if there is cargo.

There are several ships in the fleet, but the classic is Viljandi, one of the last bow loading RoRo ships still trading on the North Atlantic.

Built back in 1978 it carries a modest 242 TEU but can carry up to 125 x 40 foot trailers or 493 cars. There were several of these ships operating for the USSR, out of Estonia, which used to carry the infamous Lada automobiles.

Viljandi arrived early this morning and was due to sail again before noon.
See for specs of the ship and a profile drawing showing the bow visor open.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Reef Chief heads south

1. Flying the world's smallest Canadian flag, Reef Chief heads to sea.

2. Reef Chief lies at Murphy's wharf on Saturday. The former Western Union Cable Wharf is a convenient berth for cruisers in the heart of downtown.

The motor yacht Reef Chief sailed this afternoon - headed south. The boat was in Halifax in May on her way to the Great Lakes for the summer. With the season at an end she is returning to warmer climes. Registered in Hamilton, Bermuda, the boat was built in 1990 by Lloyd's Yachts in Brisbane, Australia, and measures 36.7m in length.

Also due to sail this evening is Kiss the Sky - see previous posting.

Cruising à la Fellini

Costa Crociere, the large Italian cruise company promotes Costa Atlantica as a cinema and arts themed cruise ship. With 1,057 cabins and a maximum passenger capacity of 2,680, the ship has its decks named for Federico Fellini films. Other arts themed restaurants, bars and entertainment areas are decorated to celebrate various Italian art forms.

The ship was built in 2000 by Kvaerner Masa New yard in Helsinki, Finland.

After a day in Halifax it sailed this evening for Sydney, NS.

More gypsum moving

1. CSL Atlas sailing up the Narrows this morning, to load gypsum.

2. Unloading fresh Canadian gypsum at Tampa, FL April 22, 1993. The articulated boom can drop cargo up to nearly 300 feet away from the ship.

There seems to be a bit more gypsum moving of late. This is a sign that there is activity in the US economy, even though it is still way below the capacity of the National Gypsum mine in Milford, and the capability of their dock in Wrights Cove to store and ship the ore.

CSL Atlas has been a regular caller over the years, but has had to content itself with coal, stone and other bulk cargoes in the absence of gypsum when the US building industry took a plunge.

Launched in 1989 by Verolme Estaleiros do Brasil SA at Angra dos Rios she entered service in 1990. At the time she was the only Panamax self-unloader in the world. CSL has been among the Canadian ship owners at the forefront of self-unloader technology, and have created a major niche for this type of work. They now have six Panamax self-unloaders of their own and nine others in their CSL International pool.

You will see on CSL International's web site that they are now very active in Australia and Asia. In August they announced a major building program to add to their ocean going self-unloader fleet and their domestic self-unloader (Seaway size) fleet. See more on CSL International at:

CSL Atlas has a 67,634 deadweight tonne capacity, and can unload at 3,000 tonnes per hour (coal) and 4,500 tonnes per hour (ore). She was also the first in the fleet to be equipped with a new tpye of articulating self-unloader boom. For more on the ship see:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kiel Express

Kiel Express (west bound) arrived this afternoon to join sister ship Stuttgart Express (east bound) at Fairview Cove. They are two of eight Hapag-Lloyd ships built between 1991 and 1994 of 53,783 gross tons and carrying 4639 TEU. She is seen above in Bedford Basin, with the tug Atlantic Larch alongside, ready to make the turn around Seaview Point for Fairview Cove.

Kiel Expresss was built as Hanover Express, in 1991, but her name was appropriated by a new Hapag ship in 2007, one of their 93,750 gt, 8749 TEU giants, built to run from Asia to Europe.

Lean On Me

1. Oceanex Sanderling this afternoon at pier 36 with a list.

2. Onno on her first visit to Halifax April 12, 1987.

Oceanex Sanderling appears to be having a problem. She was due to sail last evening after bunkering [see background in photo of MOL Paramount] but instead she moved to pier 36.
Today she is listing noticeably to port and it is apparent that some sort of work is going on which requires the ship to be heeled over.
During her 23 years running between Halifax and Newfoundland the ship has had her share of problems, but she is getting on in years, so these are to be expected.

The ship was built in 1977 by Sasebo Heavy Industries in Japan, one of four sisters (two built in Germany and two in Jaapan) for DDG Hansa a renowned German company that specialized in heavy lifting and special cargo ships.
Not long after she was built DDG Hansa fell upon hard times and the company was liquidated by 1980.
This ship, which was built as Ravenfels, was sold to ms Essen Schiffs, a Hapag-Lloyd operation and renamed Essen. She carried that name only a short time. In 1981 a Norwegian America Line subsidiary called S.E.A.L. RoRo bought her and she went to work in East Africa and the Indian Ocean as Kongsfjord.
That lasted in 1983 when she was again sold, this time to Amasis Rederei GmbH Co KG (Heyon Jannse, manager) and began running between Bremen and Honduras as Onno. That line went under also, and she became available for sale or spot charter.
She made her first appearance in Halifax on April 12, 1987 when she substituted for Atlantic Container Line while their ships were being lengthened. Later that year,in November, Atlantic Searoute bought her and she arrived in Halifax December 7.
ASL renamed her ASL Sanderling, and after fitting of car decks and other modifications in Halifax she began operating weekly between Halifax and St.John's and Corner Brook starting January 10, 1988. She has been doing that run pretty much steadily ever since, aside from refits and repairs.
In 2008 ASL and Oceanex began operating under one name and the ship was renamed Oceanex Sanderling.
She has been rumoured for replacement for many years, but she is a fairly unique type of ship and would be extremely costly to replace. She can carry 522 TEU of containers, has a large RoRo capacity with a slewing stern ramp (it can rotate to allow her to unload to port or starboard in addition to directly astern, thus does not require a special pier.) She also has a side loading door, but I have not seen it used. She was built to a very high standard and ships of comparable quality are not available on the used market.
As an important link betwen Newfoundland and the mainland, she provides a vital service. It is hoped that she will be able to sail this evening.

Pier 9 face work

The face of pier 9 has been under construction since spring. A sectional spud barge has been moving gradually northward along the pier face driving anchors through the concrete pier face into the fill behind. The Acton, ON based company Geo Foundations is carrying on the work and has just reached the knuckle between pier 9B and pier 9C.
The anchors are the prelude to new concrete work and sheet piles to deepen the pier
face and allow dredging alongside.
Eventually there will be a new pier face at pier 9D as well - the last "unimproved" piece of shoreline just south of the A. Murray MacKay bridge on the Halifax side.

Friday, September 24, 2010

MOL makes a big arrival and big departure.

1. MOL Paramount gets away from pier 42 at dusk. In the background Algoma Dartmouth bunkers Oceanex Sanderling at pier 41. The ship shows symbols for two bow thrusters, and only needed on tug on the stern to get off the berth.
2. MOL Paramount gets up to speed slowly.

The CKYH Alliance, run by K-Line and including Cosco, Yang Ming and Hanjin has been gradually increasing the size of ships on their AWE-4 service since May. Previously operated with eight ships of 4700 TEU capacity, the service has now been increased to nine ships of at least 5500 TEU.

At the same time the number of ports has also increased, so they are still calling in Halifax weekly. The port rotation is Ho Chi Min City/ Shekou/ Hong Kong, Yantian/ Singapore/ Halifax (via Suez Canal)/ New York/ Norfolk/ Jacksonville/ Savannah/ Singapore.

With the increase in number of ships, K-Line actually reduced its ships in the service to seven and partnered with Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) to provide two ships. This effectively joins MOL's SVE (South Vietnam-US East Coast) service with the AWE-4 service. MOL also operates the New World Alliance with APL Singapore and Hyundai Merchant Marine.

That is a long winded explanation for the arrival today of MOL Paramount, a 71,902 gt behemoth, built in 2005 and carrying 6350 TEU. While it doesn't appear much larger than the other post Panamax ships we see in Halifax, this one is a full 13m longer (at 293.19m) and the same 40 m width. This means one complete container bay at the maximum width of the ship. It carries containers 15 wide on its decks. OOCL's post-panamax ships are in the 5888 TEU range (280.54m x 40m.) MOL Paramount is powered with a MAN-B&W main engine of 85,000 bhp and can do 25 knots. However on this service, with nine ships, it will likely steam at slower, more economical speeds.

Built by Koyo Dockyard in Mihare, Japan, MOL Paramount flies the Panamanian flag-even though it cannot pass through the current Panama Canal.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Big Yacht Season

The big yachts are back! On their way across the Atlantic or from the Great Lakes, there is a steady stream of big yachts putting in for a day or two en route.
This week two biggies were in. Perhaps at the extremes of cost or taste, they are worth at least a glimpse.

1. and 2. Kiss the Sky is reputed to be the ninth most expensive yacht in the world (as of 2009). A 170.5 footer, the boat was built by Amels Holland BV (part of the Damen shipbuilding group) and was rebuilt in 2007. In its early days it was all white. I think it looks better with the blue hull. The triple Yamaha powered outboard "dingy" is a nice touch.
Should you wish to charter, she may be available for $225,00 per week. Purchase price is in the neighbourhood of $35 mn. [photos September 23]

3.4. and 5. Mystere CI ex Mystere is 150 footer built in Australia in 1987, but lengthened 3.65m in 1991. She is loaded with toys such as personal watercraft, and a rather over the top collection of cast aluminum deck furniture. Big bucks does not guarantee good taste! [photos September 21]

Both boats are registered in the Cayman Islands.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Holland America also goes for traditional look

1. Eurodam arrives this morning, looking reasonably good.

2. Eurodam tied up at pier 20, with Crown Princess astern of her. That is the harbour tour sailing vessel Mar in the far background. The tugs Carly J and Gulf Spray have a garbage scow alongside Eurodam.

Despite her strange "Push Me-Pull You" funnels, Eurodam is not a bad looking ship for her size. Again the owners, Holland America - really just brand these days, have opted for a traditional plain look - and it succeeds.

She arrived this morning and sailed this afternoon. Crown Princess was also in today and siled this evening.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Norwegian Navy Visitors

1. The small size of Utvaer is apparent as her deck party prepares for sea.

2. Fridtjof Nansen moves alongside number 3 oil dock for bunkers.

Two ships from the Royal Norwegian Navy are to leave today after a short visit.

First to arrive, on Saturday September 18 was HMNoS Utvaer, a submarine of the unique Ula class of six vessels. These small diesel subs were commissioned between 1989 and 1992, and have been steadily upgraded. Among these include modifications to allow them to work in the Mediterranean and other warm waters. They have been found to be extremely useful in training. Because they are so small, they are difficult to detect. Although built in Germany, the subs are the product of multi-national cooperation.

The second visitor arrived yesterday, and is HMNoS Fridtjof Nansen. It was due to sail at noon today, but instead moved to Imperoyal for bunkers and will sail sometime tonight. It is unusual for merchant ships to take bunkers directly from the refinery, but government vessels often do so. Room in the Dockyard is at a premium and it is not always possible for the bunkering tanker to get in alongside. Also the unusual shape of naval vessels, and the Nansen may be one, makes it more convenient to go to the source. She is name vessel of the class and was commissioned in 2006. All ships of the class are named for notable Norwegians: Roald Amundsen (which visited earliler this year), Otto Sverdrup, Helge Ingstad and Thor Heyerdal.

Acergy Falcon

The offshore construction vessel Acergy Falcon put in last night for bunkers. Her visit may have been influenced by Tropical Storm/Hurricane Igor that was passing off Nova Scotia yesterday before hammering Newfoundland. Windy conditions in the harbour delayed bunkering until this afternoon.

Acergy Falcon is a specialized pipelay vessel, with dynamic positioning and ROV support. She can lay flexilbe and rigid pipe, and can operate continuously offshore for long periods by being supplied from shore.

The Isle of Man registered ship was built in Holland in 1976 as a drill ship but was rebuilt in 1983, 1994 and 1996 and so is pretty much state of the art in pipelay operations.

She has a coasting license to operate off Nova Scotia from June 15 to November 30 laying five rigid pipelines for the Deep Panuke gas project.

The bow of bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth is just peaking out from the ship's stern. Also at the stern is the gear for pipe laying, the large curved shape presumably for flexible pipe.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Aaaah, an elegant cruise ship

1. A few rays of sunshine strike Aurora as she arrives this morning - the last the passengers will see today.

2. Aurora's clean uncluttered lines are imposing.

3. A little bit of neon sets off the traditional P&O funnel.

No splashy super graphics for P&O (it just isn't done old chap.) No, just clean, uncluttered lines, minimal decor and a traditional funnel colour.
Aurora, despite a sometimes spotty performance record, is still a striking ship.
Bring on more, I say.

Built in 2000 by Meyer Werft of Papenburg, Germany, the ship has experienced numerous mechanical breakdowns, viruses and other ills. This can be traced back to the champagne bottle which Princess Anne swung to christen the ship that failed to break. [Please note it was not the Princess Royal's fault - I am told she has a very good arm.]

Her original owners, P&O, merged into Carnival in 2003, and that company has had the good sense (as with their other British acquisition, one Cunard Line) to keep the brand identity separate from Carnival.

The ship can carry 1950 passengers, and measures 76,152 gross tons. Her normal cruising speed is 24 knots, but she can operate for extended periods at 26.5 knots for world cruises. She is supposed to have hit 29 knots on trials.

Her arrival at dawn this morning regrettably was soon followed by the arrival of fog and drizzle, nothing new perhaps for her largely British passenger list.

Saudi Hofuf

1. Tugs Atlantic Willow (bow) and Atlantic Larch (stern) take Saudi Hofuf in hand for berthing at pier 31. [see Tugfax for a closeup]

2. As Saudi Hofuf is lined up to back in to pier 31 she shows off her huge stern ramp in its stowed position. Her side hatch is just forward of the banner letters, and can be picked out by the drain ports below the flush fitted hatch cover.

3. In this file photo a transformer is driven off the stern ramp on a transporter trailer rated at 110 tonnes. A.W.Leil's M.A.N. prime mover tractor arrived in Halifax on board a Saudi ship.

The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA) has been a regular caller in Halifax for many years. It brings in some cargo, but usually takes away oversize loads such as machinery and containers.
Saturday's visit by Saudi Hofuf may have been an exception, because I did not see its huge stern ramp in operation, as it may not have loaded any RoRo cargo. This very useful ship can carry 2310 containers, 534 cars and a variety of heavy and oversize RoRo cargo. The immense stern ramp has a capacity of 400 tonnes. A smaller side ramp can carry 90 tonnes.
Built by Kockums of Malmo, Sweden, as far back as 1983, the ship will probably be kept running for many years, since this type of vessel is very expensive to build. Similar to (but smaller than) the Atlantic Container Line ships, there has been talk of replacements, but none are on the horizon so far.

Another Dutch Arrival

We've had a slew of Dutch cargo ships in the past week. Today's arrival is typical of the smaller Dutch multi-purpose vessels, capable of carrying a variety of cargo and often with heavy lift capability.

OSC Victoriadiep was built in 2007, and at 5057 grt, is not large by most standards. However she has two 60 tonnes cranes which can carry a combined lift of up to 110 tonnes. She is on charter to Onego and has a cargo of rail for CN.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Caribbean Princess

The Caribbean Princess sailed at 6:30 this evening. The adjacent waterfront buildings are casting longer shadows earlier in the evening these fall days, but then again when good light is available - take a picture!

The odd jet contrail and the usual gull all add to the Halifax experience.

Caribbean Princess will be making nine calls to Halifax this year. With a maximum capacity of 3100 passengers, that makes for busy days for tour operators.

Today Maasdam was also in port, so it was bumper to bumper for tour buses.

Florence D for bunkers

1. Florence D anchored, awaiting bunkers.

2. Jasmine Knutsen anchored, taking bunkers. The nature tour boat Haligonian III is outbound.

The bulk carrier Florence D arrived early this morning for bunkers. She has to wait her turn until the tanker Jasmine Knutsen takes her bunkers. Interestingly both ships are orange hulled - but are otherwise unrelated. Florence D ex Florence, built in 2006, flies the flag of the Marshall Islands and has a deadweight capacity of 53,000 tonnes.

It was in Sept Iles, QC earlier this month (probably unloading bauxite or alumina) then loaded in Lower Cove, NL (probably a cargo of quartzite) before arriving here.

Another Florence D took the headlines last year when it was discovered off Bathurst Island, Australia. The 1919 built US ship had been sunk by aircraft from the Japanese carrier Hyru. The ship was returning to Darwin, Australia in 1942 after a failed attempt to re-supply US troops in the Philippines. It's wreck was finally discovered and identified in March 2009. More info at:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Granville Bridge

K-Line's Granville Bridge sailed this afternoon. Although the ship appeared well laden by the number of containers visible on deck, she was certainly not down to her marks in terms of draft.

The ship is a post-Panamax type, of 68,570 gross tons. It was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan in 2006. It has a capacity of 5624 TEUs.

Deep Cygnus for Deep Panuke

The multi-purpose offshore vessel Deep Cygnus made a very brief visit to Halifax this morning. Built in 2009 and measuring 9632 gross tons, this large vessel is owned in Norway by Volstad Maritime AS, and available on spot charter.

She has been contracted by Canyon Offshore Ltd to do sea bottom trenching work for the Deep Panuke gas project, between the dates of August 8 and November 30. Because she is a foreign vessel she had to apply for a coasting license from the Canadian Transportation Agency.
The ship is fitted with a huge deck crane and a helicopter platform on the foredeck. Her main deck is laid out for various forms of cargo or "tools" loaded aboard in containers.

The shape of things to come?

1. Santa Carolina outbound, on course to pass east of George's Island.

A strange container ship in at Fairview Cove today: Santa Carolina, German flag, built in 2000 and with a capacity of 3430 TEU. The ship is fitted with four 45 tonne cranes, indicating that it is a feeder type ship, perhaps trading to smaller ports.

The unusual part is that she was carrying almost exclusively MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) containers. MSC is not a regular caller in Halifax. They did call here during the Montreal lockout in the summer, but that was a temporary arrangement. Their ships pass here on the way to and from Montreal going to/from their Caribbean hub in Freeport, Bahamas, so it would make sense to drop in from time to time.

Perhaps they have decided to come here more often.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Destination Fox Harb'r Too

The motor yacht Destination Fox Harb'r Too went for a little cruise this evening. The boat is operated by the Fox Harb'r golf resort in northern Nova Scotia and is used for short tours and entertainment related to the resort.

More Poles for Eire

Frisian Spring tied up at pier 31 for another load of timber utility poles bound for Ireland. The ship had to dawdle off the pier for a while until the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel cleared the berth.

The poles have been coming in by rail except for eight truck loads that arrived this week. The poles come from Eugene, Oregon and are bound for Drogheda, Ireland.
Frisian Spring was built by Port Weller Dry Dock in St.Catharines, ON (hull no.81) The yard lost money on the job and was forced into bankruptcy when it was unable to complete subsequent orders for sister ships.