Sunday, October 31, 2010

Atlantic Condor takes to the water

1. Touching the water for the first time.

2. Tugs race to take control.

3. Tugs alongside, but the Condor is still moving.

4. An allision with Ville de Quebec is narrowly averted.

Atlantic Condor launched successfully this afternoon at Halifax Shipyard. The Ulstein type UT755LN supply vessel is now afloat and ready for completion by the yard.
The launch seemed to go well, but the ship proved to be most unwieldy after she was afloat. Of course she was without power or ballast, and thus very light and at first she started to head off up the harbour, but then (and this is considered to be a good omen) her bow wanted to head out to sea. It was all the three tugs could do to get secured and straighten her out before she smacked HMCS Ville de Quebec at the Machine Ship Wharf.
It is a good thing yesterday's scheduled launch was postponed, because she would have been virtually unmanageable in all that wind.
Berthing space is at a premium in the yard, and it was an all afternoon job to get her securely tucked in alongside Novadock, behind HMCS Preserver. With Scotiadock II out of the way at pier 6, the space it formerly occupied will now be used for fit out.

Algoma Spirit flies Canadian flag

1. Algoma Spirit displays her new port of registry as she is secured at pier 25-26.

2. The ship uses her own power, and is assisted by tugs as she backs into the camber.

3. Algoma Spirit at pier 31 on Saturday.

The third and last of the Algoma bulkers has now raised the Canadian flag. Algoma Spirit arrived in Halifax October 27 and was registered in St.Catharines, ON on the 28th.

Built in 1986 at the 3 Maj yard in Rijeka (now Croatia) as the Yugoslavian Petka, the ship operated under the Yugoslavian and later Maltese and Croatian flags until 2000 when she was sold to Viken ships of Norway and renamed Sandviken (Bahamas flag). Unlike her two sisters, now Algoma Discovery and Algoma Guardian, she rarely visited Halifax. She did put in to Halifax in March of 2006 for repairs to ice damage on a trip from Port Alfred (LaBaie) QC to Trombetas, Brazil.

A 23,271 gross tons vessel, she was built for ocean trading, but her dimensions allow her to use the St.Lawrence Seaway. It is expected that, like her sisters, she will enter domestic Great Lakes and St.Lawrence trades in season, and possibly go to sea in winter. She was built with four cargo cranes, but these have now been removed, so that she will be engaged almost exclusively in carrying bulk cargoes.

On arrival in Halifax she tied up at pier 31 for work in her holds and on deck, but this afternoon she moved to pier 25-26 to allow the Saudi Tabuk to use pier 31.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

All She Wrote

This is it for the 2010 cruise season in Halifax. By all accounts a successful one. A fitting finale was this evening's sailing of Queen Mary 2 with a polite salute to Halifax on her departure. There seems to be a bit of a problem synchronizing all three chimes (whistles), but when they are all sounding at once it is just about as impressive as it gets.

The ship's master was recognized for his role in aiding a small craft in difficulty on the ship's last call in Halifax. QM2 diverted to the boat and stood by for several hours until the Coast Guard could get to the scene.

Launch scrubbed for today

1. Ready to go - but no go.

2. Earlier this morning, all was in readiness for when the tide came in.

Launch of the new supplier Atlantic Condor was scrubbed at the last minute today, due to high winds. The chocks were out, four tugs were in attendance, but it was just not safe to pull the trigger and potentially damage the ship if she slewed off course.

Launches are unpredictable at best, and potentially dangerous, so no chances were taken.

Tomorrow afternoon about 2 to 3 pm is the next scheduled time, but again it is dependant on wind and weather.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Big Digger for Halterm

McNally's big crane barge/dredge Canadian Argosy finally arrived over the week end. It had been delayed by bad weather in the Gulf and on the coast, on its journey from the Great Lakes to work at Halterm.

This morning it was underway in tow of the small tug Whitby, bound for the end of pier 42 where it will get to work on the digging/dredging required for the Halterm pier extension.

Big Doings at the Shipyard

There is a lot of activity at the Halifax shipyard today.

First off was the move of the floating drydock Scotiadock II from her accustomed position to pier 6. New moorings have been built at pier 6, and some small camel (floats) have been install led to keep the dock in its new position. The dock was also turned end for end by the tugs Atlantc Larch and Atlantic Oak before she was tied up.
Later today HMCS Preserver will leave the Novadock floating drydock. The supply ship is in the midst of a major refit, but will be moved to the former position of the Scotiadock according to my sources.

And finally, preparations are under way to launch Atlantic Condor tomorrow. The new supply ship will be moved into the Novadock following her launch.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Work Really Starts

Work has now really started on the extension of pier 42. McNally Construction has been gearing up for the last week or so, and this week they got rolling.

As predicted when I jumped the gun on January 7, 2010, the entire walkway from the park to the end of pier has been closed for the duration of the project. This is too bad, but we are promised that there will be a new viewing platform at the seaward end of the extended pier.

In January McNally drove sheet piles on the face of pier 42 to accommodate future work. Now the future work has started, with demolition of the viewing platform at the end of the pier. Included in the new work will be some dredging and digging, then driving piles, forming the new pier walls and filling. It will therefore be many months before we will have that wonderful vantage point for ship watching.

Some of the work will be conducted from the land side, but there will also be sea side work, although this may be largely invisible. I will post updates.

See the January 7 posting for an impression of the extension.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Adios AIDAluna

AIDAluna with her unusual paint scheme, sails this afternoon on her fifth and final call of the season. [see the September 11 posting for more info on the ship]

The cruise season is surely winding down with only a handful of ships yet to call. Thursday October 21 will be a four ship day. After that there will only be three calls remaining: Crystal Symphony October 27, Jewel of the Seas October 28 and Queen Mary 2 on October 30 to end it for the year.


Duty Details

1. Algoma Discovery, one of the ships to which the remission of the 25% import duty will apply. It was registered for the first time in Canada October 8. [Oct 10 photo]

The government has published details on the the 'elimination' of the 25% duty on foreign built ships. As predicted in a previous post, the press reports did not tell all!

1. The 25% duty on foreign built ships has not been eliminated.

2. Purchasers of certain foreign built ships may apply for remission of the 25% duty.

3. Only ships purchased after January 1, 2010 are eligible. No retroactive applications will be heard for imports prior to that date. The rebates to BC Ferries and Algoma Tankers are the only exceptions. The Algoma Discovery was purchased two years ago, but only now registered(i.e. imported into Canada.)
[This eliminates several large Canadian flag/non-duty paid tankers, that are not allowed to trade between Canadian ports, without special license. Special coasting licenses are granted, almost as a routine matter, but the ships have not paid duty. There seems to be very little benefit to Canadian registry for these vessels, however they do employ Canadians.]

4. Cargo ships, meaning container ships, car carriers, bulk carriers, self-unloaders, freighters and tankers, but not tank barges/tugs, will be eligible.

5. Ferries over 129 meters in length will be eligible.

So the flood gates have not been opened by this particular measure. However, read the fine print of the announcement in the Canada Gazette, which includes the rationale:


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tanker for Pier 9

1. Bernora lines up for pier 9. The tug is on her port side.

2. Atlantic Oak has come alongside Bernora in the Narrows, and prepares to turn the ship to go alongside.

3. Bernora steams inbound from sea.

Pier 9 is more noted as the base of Teleglobe and its occasional cable ships, and it once was the site of the Volvo car assembly plant, and now also hosts McNally Construction's marine equipment (formerly Beaver Marine.).

However it has for many years been the site of a short pipeline connecting to a small tank farm on Barrington Street. The tank farm has passed though many owners over the years, but is presently owned by Wilson Fuel Co. The pipeline extends across the north end of the pier 9 shed, and CN's intermodal yard to the storage tanks.

Today the chemical/product tanker Bernora arrived with a parcel of fuel for Wilson's. The ship was built in 2008, and measures 8545 gross tons. Although registered in the Bahamas, it is owned and operated by the Norwegian form of Bergshav.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

End of an Era?

With the announcement that Sable gas would not be expanding their operation, came another that Rowan was laying off its Nova Scotia workers. With no offshore drilling planned the jack-up rig Rowan Gorilla III moved into Halifax this morning.
The tug Ryan Leet and tug/suppliers Maersk Challenger and Venture Sea towed the rig into port where it was handed off to the harbour tugs Atlantic Oak, Atlantic Larch and Atlantic Fir. They moved the rig from anchorage #1 to the Woodside dock.
With no work for the rig in these waters, it will surely be re-deployed. Now that deep water drilling is on again in the Gulf of Mexico that seems a likely destination.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ottawa Press Release-printed verbatim

Results of Shipbuilding Qualification Process

For immediate release

OTTAWA, Ontario, October 8, 2010 – On behalf of Public Works and Government Services Canada, the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy Secretariat today announced the results of a Solicitation of Interest and Qualification process to build large vessels for Canada under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Five Canadian shipyards have been short-listed to build these large vessels. They are:

Davie Yards Inc., Lévis, QC
Irving Shipbuilding Inc., Saint John, NB
Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd., North Vancouver, BC
Kiewit Offshore Services - a division of Peter Kiewit Infrastructure Co., Milton, ON
Seaway Marine & Industrial Inc., St. Catharines, ON

These shipyards will be invited to participate in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and will meet with the National Shipbuilding Procurement Secretariat on Tuesday, October 12 in Ottawa. Canada will establish a strategic relationship with two Canadian shipyards: one yard will be selected to build combat vessels while the other yard will build non-combat vessels, creating jobs in various regions of the country.

The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is the result of extensive consultations with the Canadian marine and shipbuilding industry and will help to revitalize Canadian shipyards and build ships for the Navy and the Coast Guard here in Canada. It was launched on June 3, 2010.
To ensure the fairness, openness and transparency of this procurement process, two industry days have already been held and a first meeting with the short-listed shipyards is planned for October 12, 2010. In addition, a fairness monitor is participating in the selection process and an internationally recognized third-party expert will benchmark the capability and performance of the short-listed Canadian shipyards. Finally, a leading consulting firm has been engaged to provide expert advice on the procurement process. The selection of the two winning shipyards is expected in spring 2011.

More information about the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is available at:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thank you Sir Sam

1. Queen Mary 2 steams in from sea.

2. Swinging around north of George's Island.

3. The mandatory bow shot.

4. Lining up for pier 22.

Thanks to a very late arrival I was treated to Queen Mary 2 with the sun behind me instead of behind the ship as it would be for an early morning arrival.
The ship passed the pilot station at noon, instead of the usual 0600, after assisting in a vessel in distress.[see update below]

The magnificent ship draws crowds as no other. Some day she will be as popular as Queen Elizabeh 2, but she will have to share the limelight with the Queen Victoria and the new Queen Elizabeth.

It is wonderful to think that Halifax native Sir Samuel Cunard's name lives on through the heyday of steamships to the depth of the decline, when QE2 was the sole transatlantic liner left, to the now growing fleet of Cunarders (owned by Carnival.)

QM2 made a wonderful sight as she steamed in from sea, with some speed still on, then swung majestically around George's Island for the mandatory bow on shot! She also gave whistle signals each time she changed course- which she did without the aid of tugs- thanks to three bow thrusters. The thrusters are very quiet compared to cargo ships, and there was hardly a sound to be heard.

As compared to last year, her hull paint looks even and consistent - no patches - but her tremendous horns were a little asthmatic.

This is her third visit this year, and she scheduled to close out the cruise season for this port on October 30.
Update: details later emerged on the reason for the delay. At about 2200 hrs ADT last night QM2 diverted from her course at the request of the Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax. A small US pleasure craft caled Santa Lucia had lost power 90 km west of Yarmouth and QM2 was the nearest ship. Unbeknowst to the passengers, QM2 changed course and at about 0045hrs ADT today she reached the craft, which was also taking some water. I am assuming QM2 formed a lee for the boat (QM2 forms a multi-storey wall which would blank off much of the wind and calm the seas.) The pleasure craft was able to restore power and CCGS Edward Cornwallis [see yesterdays's post] reached the scene at about 0400 ADT and escorted the so far not named craft to Yarmouth.
QM2 resumed her voyage and passengers were informed over breakfast that the ship had assisted in the mission. A CBC radio report stated that the big ship was "rocking" - they meant rolling- and some passengers were thrown from their beds.
This would not be surprising since stabilizers really only work well when the ship is steaming. When stopped, particularly if it is trying to create a lee and maintain position, it will certainly pitch and definitely roll with the seas.

MOL Partner lives up to name

MOL Partner is the name for this post-Panamax container ship, and indeed is in partnership with other Japanese shipping companies.

What would normally be a rivalry between K-Line (Kawasaki Kaishen Kaisha) has become a joint operation with MOL (Mitsui OSK Lines) to increase the number and size of ships on ther CKYH service (with Cosco, Hanjin and Yang Ming.)

MOL Partner was built in 2005 by Koyo Dockyard in Mihara, Japan and is a typically functional vessel of 71,902 gross tons. With a capacity of 6350 TEU, the ship can do 26 knots if pushed, but is nowadays steaming at a more economical speed as part of the nine ship rotation from Asia to the east coast of North America. It is the second MOL ship to join the rotation, and apppears to be fairly fresh from the shipyard, with pristine hull paint.

When it sailed this morning at 0745, the ship gave 1130 tomorrow for arrival at Ambrose pilots for New York.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Troubles at Marine Atlantic

1. Joseph and Clara Smallwood enters drydock in Halifax October 29, 1994. The drydock is currently occupied, and not available.

The announcement of new names for the Marine Atlantic's ferries that will join the fleet next year has been overshadowed somewhat by events.

Both Atlantic Vision and Joseph and Clara Smallwood are out of service for repairs, leaving Caribou and Leif Ericson to try to cope with Thanksgiving weekend demand. Smallwood has rudder damage and has headed for Boston - the nearest available large drydock - to be repaired. Atlantic Vision is undergoing regular maintenance.

The new ships will come none to soon as Caribou and Smallwood are aging rapidly. Joseph and Clara Smallwood was built by Davie in Lauzon in 1989 and Caribou in 1985.

The two new acquisitions for Marine Atlantic, Stena Trader and Stena Traveller were built in 2006, and are undergoing modification in Europe in preparation for service in 2011. They are to be named Blue Puttees and Highlanders for two distinguished army regiments, the Royal Newfoundland Regiment (who wore blue cloth windings on their legs) and the Cape Breton Highlanders.


Edward Cornwallis

CCGS Edward Cornwallis sails this morning for navaids duties. The ship is one of two light icebreaking/ buoy tenders of the 1100 class operated from Halifax. They were both built by Marine Industiries Ltd (MIL) at their Tracy, Quebec yard. They were the last ships built in the yard, with Edward Cornwallis bearing hull number 450 and sister Sir William Alexander number 451. Cornwallis was delivered in August 1986 and Alexander in 1987.
Edward Cornwallis has recently come out of a refit at Newdock in St.John's and is looking quite sharp, despite her age. Plans to replace these ships are in talking stage, but no word yet on when or how.
As the Coast Guard prepares to vacate it traditional base in Dartmouth, these ships are now based at the Bedford Institute, which certainly allows for better picture taking opportunities from the Halifax side of the harbour.

Giant load of barley

A rare bulk grain cargo has just been loaded on the bulker Panamax Giant at pier 28. The huge ship took part of its load at the port of Sorel-Tracy on the St.Lawrence River. Due to draft restrictions on the upper river, it could not take a full load there, so it arrived in Halifax to top off.

The ship was built in 1993 as Transgiant by Hitachi Zosen in Maizuni, Japan, to maximum Panama Canal dimensions. She measures 38,105 gross tons, and 71,665 deadweight tonnes at full load draft. Her dimensions are 223.7m overall length, 32.24 breadtg and maximum 13.461m draft. However if she wishes to pass through the Panama Canal she must go at a lesser draft, which means less than maximum cargo.

The ship is expected to sail after dark this evening, hence the through the fence shot. It shows the grain gallery and the six spouts used to drop grain into the ship's seven holds.


Poised and Ready

Atlantic Condor sits on the shoreside of the launchway at Halifax Shipyard as preparations are made for her launch, scheduled for Monday. The ship was built in sections indoors, with hull and superstructure joined at the head of the launchway. A turntable built in to the ways allows the ship to be swung to line up with the launchway. Tracks extend well into the water to carry the launch trolleys, or cradles, which are dropped after the ship is afloat. Lines stretch up to the deck to keep the cradles tight to the underside of the ship's hull.

To minimize impact damage to her props, and avoid downflooding, she will be launched high end (bow) first.


Small Ship Day

1. Clelia II swings round George's Island to berth at pier 20.

2. Fram rests at pier 23.

Not all the cruise ships visiting Halifax are 3,000 passenger giants. There are several smaller ships and some really small ships that call in from time to time. Generally these are high end or expedition type ships. They can get into small ports and out of the way places, and offer passengers a different experience from the "trapped in a shopping mall" feel of some of the larger cruisers.

Two of the smaller ships are in today.
Fram arrived yesterday and will sail this evening. A banner on its side proclaims "Hurtigruten' that famous coastal service that goes in and out of fjords as it works its way up and down the scenic Norwegian coast line. This ships however was purpose built for Arctic and Antarctic cruising. She has just come in from a trip that took her to Iceland, Greenland, Labrador, Newfoundland and Cape Breton. Have a look at the ship's blog to see some incredible sights and read an account of the tip:
The ship was built in 2007 by Fincantieri in Italy, and measures 11,647 tons. She has 254 berths, but can carry 400 passengers in ferry mode. She ends here cruise here and will redeploy to Antarctica for the southern summer season.
The ship was named for explorer Fridtjof Nansen's expedition vessel.
Clelia II dates from 1990 when it was built in Italy as Renaissance Four. It's original owners went out of business and never operated the ship and it was soon sold to Lindos Maritime. Its small size (it only has 42 cabins and can berth 84 passengers) means that it is ideal for some of those unusual destinations. This summer, as it has for several years, it has operated cruises on the Great Lakes, putting into a score of ports, not visited by larger ships. The ship measures 4077 gross tons and flies the Maltese flag. It arrived this morning and will sail this evening.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Name Changes in the Fishing Fleet

1. Genny and Doug in Halifax September 25, 1997.

2. Mersey Viking on the Mersey River in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, April 11, 1994.

Two members of the dwindling Nova Scotia deep sea fishing fleet have changed hands, changed name and left Nova Scotia waters.

First was Genny and Doug, a 346 gt longliner built in 1987 by Pictou Industries Ltd. She actually left the Nova Scotia area for Newfoundland some time ago, and may have been refitted and re-rigged. She was registered in Iqaluit, Nunavut as Suvaq on September 29. Her new owners are listed as Masilit Corporation of Qikiqtarjuaq [once known as Broughton Island, Baffin Island]. Built originally for Johnathan & Amy Fisheries, she was among the last of the trawlers built at the former Ferguson Industries yard in Pictou. Only two more were built there, including a sister named Atlantic Prospect.

Also sold and renamed is Mersey Viking from Mersey Seafoods of Liverpool, NS. As of October 7 she become Arctic Viking of St. John's. Her owners are listed as 55104 Newfoundland & Labrador Inc. Built in 1980 by Kaarbos Mek. Verkstad AS of Harstad, Norway, she is a stern trawler with refrigeration and processing equipment on board. She is a 1007 gt vessel.

It's off to work we go

1. Pilot boat A.P.A. No.1 heads out.

2. The sail training vessel Roald Amundsen departs after a summer in Canada. She is bound for Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

3. Vietnam Express, outbound from Fairview Cove. The ship carries a Hapag-Lloyd name, but continues to wear OOCL colours. Her next port is Cagliari, Italy.

The pilot boat A.P.A. No.1 leaves the dock with the outbound Vietnam Express, and Roald Amundsen. Halifax's two pilot boats A.P.A. No.1 and A.P.A. No.18 are smart looking boats, always well kept, and ready for work. They take pilots out to meet incoming ships and remove pilots from outbound ships. It takes about 45 minutes to get from the pilot dock to the pilot boarding station off Chebucto Head, and another 45 minutes to get back to the dock.
Once pilots have disembarked from outbound ships they are often landed in Herring Cove so that they can get to the next assignment more quickly.

Dating from 1976 and 1974 respectively, the boats are due for replacement in the next few years with more modern craft. Atlantic Pilotage Authority (APA) operates pilotage services in numerous ports in all four Atlantic provinces, and has upgraded pilot boats in Saint John and Placentia Bay recently. See more on their web site at:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Western Channel

1. left to right Hoechst Express, Trinity Sea, Norwegian Spirit and Good Luck.

There are two channels in and out of Halifax- the eastern channel and the western (also known as the deep water channel.)

Most ships take the eastern channel since it is pretty much a straight run. Using the western channel involves making a dog leg course.

When a ship is inbound it invariably takes the eastern channel. If ships are leaving at the same time, and do not wish to crowd the inbound, they take the western channel.

It is not unusual to see a ship taking the western channel, but to see four of them do it at once must be a bit of a rarity.

Today's arrival of the Algoma Guardian was so timed that there were four outbounds during her passage. The bulker Good Luck, container ship Hoechst Express, cruise ship Norwegian Spirit and the supplier Trinty Sea [ in that order] ended up taking the western channel. This resulted in a higgelty piggelty sort of look as they made the dog leg.
In the photo, Good Luck is in the lead and has completed the last section of the dog leg and is heading striaght outbound. Hoechst Express and Norwegian Spirit are on the last part, and Trinity Sea is still on the first part of the dog leg.

Good Luck (maybe)

The large bulker Good Luck made a brief stopover at anchorage in Halifax today. If she intended to take bunkers, she was out of luck. The bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth was not operational today, and in fact had to be moved by the tug Atlantic Willow this morning to clear her berth for the cruise ship Norwegian Spirit.

Good Luck sailed this afternoon - better luck elsewhere!

A very large ship for Halifax, she was obviously in ballast. Loaded, she might not have been able to enter the port. At 90, 831 gross tons and 173,028 deadweight she would be among the biggest, if the not the biggest bulker to call here. [I don't keep that kind of statistic.]

She is an interesting ship, built in1984 at the famed Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she was originally called British Steel. Owned by Greek interests since 2001, she is still carrying ore primarily.

Newest Canadian - Algoma Discovery

1. Algoma Discovery enters Halifax on a blustery day.

2. In control of tugs, Algoma Discovery approaches pier 31.

3. As built, Malinska was fitted with four cranes. She is entering Iroquois Lock on the St.Lawrence Seaway, September 1, 1997.

It is expected that Algoma Discovery will be inducted into Canadian registry in the next few days. It arrived in Halifax this afternoon two years after it was acquired by Algoma Central Corporation with the intention of bringing it under the Canadian flag.

In 2008 Algoma acquired three ships from Viken, which were on Fednav charter. The three were Seaway maximum size ocean going vessels. In February of this year Algoma announced that the shps were to start five year time charters to Seaway Marine Transport (a joint operation of Algoma and Upper Lakes Shipping) as soon as they had completed the Fednav charters and could return to Canada. Due to their age it is assumed that they will spend much of their time on the Lakes in the domestic grain and bulk trades.

Algoma Discovery is the second of the ships to become Canadian. Algoma Guardian also did so in Halifax- see Shipfax post July 20 - Algoma Spirit will presumably follow in due course.

Algoma's plans to use these ships go back several years, but the elimination of the 25% duty on foreign ships will certainly make the move much more profitable for Algoma (see Shipfax post of October 4)

Algoma Discovery was built in 1987 by Brodogradiliste "3 Maj" in Rijelka (now Croatia), as the 23,306 gross ton geared bulker Malinska. It was equipped with three 25 ton and one 12 ton cranes, and began trading to the Great Lakes in season. It initially flew the Yugoslav flag, migrated through Malta and became Croatian.

In 1997 it and its sisters were acquired by Viken Lakers of Norway and continued to trade to the Lakes. It was renamed Daviken. It became Algoma Discovery in 2008 when acquired by Algoma and transferred to the Bahamas flag. You will also note that the cranes have been removed, since they will not be needed in Great Lakes bulk trades.

Algoma Discovery has made the news at least twice in her short career with Algoma. On September 25, 2009 she grounded in the River Weser, near Brake, Germany. She had to lighter off some of her cargo before eight tugs pulled her free. She was carrying 27,000 tonnes of steel coil from Bremen to Ravenna, Italy.

On February 5, 2010 she ran ashore off St-Laurent, Ile d'Orléans, Quebec, in heavy ice. She was pulled free on a rising tide by two tugs. On that trip she was bound from Quebec to Norway with a cargo of nickel and titanium. She caused considerable controversy at the time due to the sensitivity of residents to a planned LNG terminus on the opposite shore. (See Shipfax February 5, 2010.)

Both incidents were attributed to technical problems. When she comes under the TLC of Canadian crews and spends more of her time in fresh water, it is expected that these issues will be ironed out.
Update The ship was registered in St.Catharines on Friday, October 8.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Roald Amundsen returns

The sail training vessel Roald Amundsen is back in Halifax after a summer on the Great Lakes.

Due to security regulations for foreign vessels, part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic pier is fenced off, with a security guard in place. However, the vessel can be inspected from the opposite site of the camber.
For a better view, see the June 8 posting.

Monday, October 4, 2010

25 percent duty - gone on large ships

1. Halifax Shipyard is expected to launch Atlantic Condor next week.

The federal government has finally dropped the 25% duty on foreign built ships. In the works for several years, and promised earlier this year, the drop will be retroactive to January 1, 2010 plus two notable exceptions.

B.C. Ferries will get a multi-million dollar rebate on four ferries built in Germany in 2009. The windfall results in an immediate 2% drop in fares, and the start of a major upgrade program.

Algoma Central will also get a handsome rebate for its two tankers built in Turkey last year.

Shipowners are praising the announcement, stating that the duty had been a huge disincentive to fleet replacement. The Canadian merchant fleet (particularly the Great Lakes fleet) is an aging one, with many ships nearing the end of their productive lives. In fact three lakers have gone to scrap in the last three weeks, and at least three more are awaiting. Algoma says its Great Lakes ships average 36 years old.

The federal government states that it is dropping the duty to promote free trade and to encourage ship owners to modernize. Certainly Algoma, CSL and Marine Atlantic have acted as if the tariff were already gone, ordering new or rebuilding foreign ships for completion this year.

Algoma also says it is closer to announcing a major replacement program. The government says that the tariff drop only applies to ships that cannot be built in Canada. They mean cannot be built competitively with foreign yards. And therein lies a bit of a rub.

One shipbuilder was quoted as saying that a ship can be built in China for 40% of the cost of a Canadian built ship. This would be a hard number to prove, since no significant ships have been built recently in Canada. However his point is made. Foreign yards enjoy all sorts of advantages over Canadian yards. Not the least of which are lower wages and lower tax and regulatory (including worker safety) regimes. Foreign yards also benefit from volume production and economies of scale, massive government intervention and subsidies and funds for modernization and training.

As might be expected the shipbuilders are not quite as enthusiastic about the elimination of the duty. They want to build ships, but the government has long considered shipbuilding a sunset industry with no future. Now faced with a pent up demand for government vessels such as naval and Coast Guard vessels and domestic (i.e. is small) ferries, they are being forced to face up to the fact that Canada needs a shipbuilding industry badly. For years governments of both stripes have put off ordering needed ships until the deferred list is a long as your arm.

Some yards have been able to make investments in shipbuilding, thanks to profits on building ships. Halifax Shipyard and Easatisle in Georgetown PEI are examples of this. Others such as Port Weller and Davie have been struggling for want of work and both have been in creditor protection (Port Weller came out but has had only repair work since.) However all Canadian yards need modernization and upgrading. There are some very capable west coast yards, but they have also been starved for work.

Perhaps the government will be making promised announcements about new government shipbuilding orders in the near future that will revitalize the yards so that they will be able to build ships. Perhaps then they may even become more competitive with foreign yards.

The elimination of the 25% duty (and I believe it is only being forgiven, or ignored, not actually eliminated) will apply to cargo ships, tankers and ferries of over 129 meters in length.

Small ferries, such as those needed in Quebec, Newfoundland and BC will still have to be built in Canada or face duties. The new Grand Manan Adventurer, currently under construction in Panama City, Florida is 85.5 meters in length, so will, I assume, still be subject to the duty.

The launch next week of the supply vessel Atlantic Condor at Halifax Shipyard may still be a rare sight in Canada, but let's hope that the flip side of the duty business is more work for Canadian yards.
Free trade agreements with Norway (where this ship was designed) and other shipbuilding nations were not mentioned in the federal announcements. It is expected to result in smaller vessels entering Canada duty free no matter what the tariffs may say. So shipbuilding is not out of the woods by any means.

More cars and more RoRo cargo

1. Atlantic Oak (forward) and Atlantic Willow (aft) take Fidelio in hand for berthing at Autoport.

2. Fidelio's large stern ramp is reinforced to take heavy RoRo cargo - not just cars and trucks.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen operates a large fleet of PCTCs (pure car and truck carriers.) These are members of the Wallenius fleet, such as Fidelio arriving this afternoon. They also have container/RoRo ships from the Wilhelmsen fleet, which call here rarely.

However lately many of the so called PCTCs have also been carrying other RoRo cargo such as machinery and construction equipment, all fitted on wheeled platforms (called Mafeis) or trailers, or on their own wheels. These special cargoes are too big for normal container ships and do not require cranes to discharge in Halifax. The large stern ramps on the PCTCs are reinforced to carry heavy loads, and provision is made in the ships for movable decks or extra height decks to facilitate these cargoes.

Fidelio berthed first at Autoport, but later tonight she will shift to pier 31 in Halifax where she will unload some more of the specialized RoRo cargo.
Fidelio was built in 2007 and is 71,583 gross tons vessel.

Maasdam - straighten up and fly right

1. Maasdam - most frequent caller again, but his time with a tilt.

2. Maasdam approaches Halterm where Atlantic Larch is standing by (and standing straight)

3. Maasdam sails off to sea, still leaning to one side.

Halifax's most frequent caller for the 2010 season will be Maasdam again this year. The 55,575 gross tons ship, built in 1993 and flying the flag of the Netherlands is in port almost every week.

Today there was something a little different however- a list to starboard.

It was noticeable when she was alongside and must certainly be noticeable on board, although it is only a degree or so.

Lets hope they get her ballasted properly before too long or she will acquire a reputation.