Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Remarkable Dredge Arrives

1. Steam, glorious steam. DPW No.130 at work off Rimouski, QC July 20, 1978.

If a dredge can ever be termed remarkable, then the D-6 is it. It arrived this morning in tow of the veteran tug Swellmaster, along with the scow HD-9 (with the workboat Irving Chestnut cradled inside) and the tug Atlantic Tamarack. The small flotilla came all the way from Montreal where owners Harbour Development Ltd ( see http://www.harbourdev.com/ ) had been working off and on in the St.Lawrence Seaway. The whole works tied up at pier 7 along with other units of the Harbour Development fleet.

2. D-6 arriving in Halifax November 30, 2010.

3. After eight years in layup, D-6 looked a little scruffy when on loan to the navy September 9, 2006. CFAV Glenevis has her on the hip following work in Bedford Basin.

4. D-6 arrives in Halifax for the first time November 23, 1996, with Swellmaster alongside, lining up for Dartmouth Cove.
5. DPW No. 130 with diesel crane working on the port de refuge at Ile-aux-Coundres, QC June 9, 1987.

6. Still in steam MTP No. 130 (unofficially renamed) works on the new slip at Ile-aux-Coudres, August 18, 1978.

7. MTP No. 130 takes a break while the ferry berths at Ile-aux-Coudres, August 18, 1978.

D-6 began life in 1911 in Sorel, QC at Cie Pontbriand, where her hull was built. She was then towed to Montreal where her first owners, the Harbour Commissioners of Montreal, fitted out all her dredging plant, including a 2 cylinder, non-condensing steam engine with 180,000 lbs pull, and a 7 cubic yard boom spoon dredge. She was named HCM Dredge No.6 and went to work in 1912 in the port area, which was undergoing a huge expansion.

In 1938 the National Harbours Board took over responsibility for the Port of Montreal and the dredge was renamed NHBM Dredge No.6, and it continued work in the port, maintaining harbour depths and expanding the port areas.
In 1949 the (federal) Department of Public Works took over dredging and the dredge was again renamed, this time PWD No.130. She was assigned to work all along the St.Lawrence River. In 1966 there was another renaming, in line with all other Public Works plant. The initials were reversed, to be DPW No.130.

Interestingly, because the dredge worked exclusively in Quebec, where the working language was French, her name appeared for a time in translation on her sides, as MTP No. 130. (for Ministère des Travaux Publiques Numero 130.)

She continued to work up and d0wn the St.Lawrence, as far east as Matane in my observation, and possibly farther afield than that. Finally in 1985 her steam plant was considered to be past its prime (I am sure the original had been replaced with a condensing type, and she probably had been reboilered more than once.) She was then lengthened from 104 ft to 135 ft, to provide a platform for a new 2oo ton Manitowoc Vicon diesel crane with clamshell bucket arrangement. She was entirely rebuilt at that time, with new accommodations, shops and other facilities.

In the mid 1990s the Department of Public Works decided to get out of the dredging business, and put their entire fleet up for sale. In 1996 DPW No.130 was renamed D-6 (dredge 6) and was quickly snapped up by Harbour Development Ltd. She arrived in Halifax for the first time November 23, 1996 (in tow of Swellmaster of course) and left the next day for Saint John.

She soon returned to Halifax and was mothballed until 2004 when the Canadian navy borrowed her for some mooring anchor work in Bedford Basin at their research barge. She was idle again until August 2006 when she left port (again in tow of Swellmaster) for work in the Seaway, where she has been until now.

Despite being 99 years old, she is still in tip top condition. She was excellently cared for by the DPW and was thoroughly modernized. One interesting hold over is the radial arm davits she carries for a lifeboat. This are rare as hen's teeth these days.
It seems very likely that she will see her 100th birthday with ease.

Malmnes, off again

The small self-unloading bulk carrier Malmnes is a regular caller in Halifax for bunkers. The ship often loads stone at Auld's Cove on the Strait of Canso and calls in Halifax to top up her fuel tanks before loading. The ship usually heads south, often to the Caribbean, to discharge her cargo. She has a small slewing boom conveyor mounted amidships, which allows her to place the stone precisely where needed.

Stone is a rare commodity on some of the sandy islands and is used as a base underlay for the construction of foundations, roads, airports and port facilities.

Malmnes is registered under the Norwegian International Register, but is owned by Erik Thun AB of Sweden. It was built in 1993 and measures 5883 gross tons, 9891 tonnes deadweight.

Monday, November 29, 2010

On the drawing boards

1. CCGS Hudson inbound in the Narrows May 16, 2001.

2. CCGS Wilfred Templeman inbound Halifax February 2, 2004.

3. CCGS Alfred Needler, outbound in the Narrows January 27, 1999.

The federal government has awarded design contracts for replacement of four Canadian Coast Guard/ Department of Fisheries and Oceans vessels.

STX Canada Marine will be designing the replacement for CCGS Hudson. The research vessel based at the Bedford Institute in Halifax dates from 1962 (when it was launched by Saint John Shipbuilding & Dry Dock) / 1964 (when it was commissioned) and is justifiably renowned for its many scientific discoveries. Although built as a hydrographic research vessel it has also conducted significant oceanography work, and as a Coast Guard vessel, has been multi-tasked. It participated in recovery operations following the sinking of the Ocean Ranger in 1982 and the Swissair crash in 1998 among others.
The replacement vessel will be 90m long and will accommodate 59 crew and scientists. It will play essentially the same role as Hudson, but will include many newer features including dynamic positioning.
STX Canada Marine is the former Aker Yards Marine Inc and its Canadian operations are based in Vancouver.

Robert Allan Ltd, also of Vancouver, will prepare a single design for three new offshore research vessels to replace the Alfred Needler and Wilfred Templeman on the east coast and the W.E. Ricker on the west coast. These will carry 39 crew and scientists and will do fish surveys and oceanography. The current ships are essentially stern trawlers, but the new vessels will have upgraded capability. Alfred Needler, based at Bedford Institute and Wilfred Templeman, based in St.John's, are sister ships, built at Ferguson Industries in Pictou in 1982. W.E.Ricker was built as Calistratus in 1978 in Hokkaido, Japan.

These are design contracts only, and no construction contracts have been awarded yet. However it is expected that all the ships will be delivered in 2014, allowing Hudson to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Halifax Shipyard - under construction

1. Halifax Shipyard flies the flags of Canada, Nova Scotia, the Canadian navy and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Although there is nothing to see yet, Halifax Shipyard is at work building the nine new midshore patrol vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard.

On November 10 the Minister of National Defence, on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced the names of the first two vessels in the class.

The ships will be named after "heroic Canadians who put duty ahead of their safety in service to our country."

The first two will be called Caporal Joseph Kaeble, V.C. and Private James Peter Robertson, V.C.

Corporal (Caporal in French) Kaeble was a native of St-Moise, QC and Private Robertson of Pictou County, NS. Both lost their lives in the First World War, and were awarded the Victoria Cross (the highest military award) for their deeds.

A press release from the Government of Canada tells more about the men and their heroic actions. http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Government-of-Canada-Dedicates-New-Coast-Guard-Vessels-in-Remembrance-of-War-Heroes-1351019.htm

The new ships will be 43m in length, a speed of 25 knots, a range of 2000 nautical miles. They will be built to a Damen 4207 design, used by such countries as the Netherlands, UK, Jamaica, Barbados and Albania. They will be used by a joint CCG/RCMP marine security force to patrol the Great-Lakes/ St.Lawrence and east coast.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ann Harvey pays a return visit

1. Ann Harvey alongside Halifax Shipyard, May 16, 1987, just before delivery. That is the late lamented PEI ferry Abegweit in the graving dock.

2. Ann Harvey on sea trials, still in primer paint, April 17, 1987.

The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Ann Harvey returned to the port where she was built today for a brief stopover for bunkers. The ship is on her way to standby during the opening of the southwest lobster season, and was called in because CCGS Earl Grey is in maintenance and not available. The opening of the lobster season is a very active time on the water, when hundreds of boats set out to place their traps, and several usually get in trouble because they are overloaded. This year the weather is favourable, but fishermen need to get their traps in the water on the first day to claim their spots and also to benefit from the pre-Christmas demand for the crustaceans.
After fueling the ship made a brief stop at BIO, probably to embark fisheries officers, and departed immediately for sea.

Ann Harvey was built at the Halifax Shipyard when it was owned by Halifax-Dartmouth Industries Ltd, and was the only ship built at the yard under that ownership. The ship was launched December 12, 1985, and completed in the spring of 1987. She is a type 1100 light icebreaker/ buoy tender, of the same class as Sir William Alexander and Edward Cornwallis, but has an extra accommodation deck beneath the bridge.

Based in St.John's NL, she is a very rare caller in Halifax, although she has returned for drydocking on at least one occasion.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Atlantic RoRo

1. Atlantic Action sails today.

2. Viljandi on September 27, her second to last visit.

Atlantic RoRo Carriers has been making more regular calls here this fall, probably for reefer cargo - it is the height of the fish and produce season.

As posted on September 27, the line runs from St.Petersburg, Russia to Baltimore and New Orleans, and will call in Halifax "on inducement" - i.e. if there is cargo for or from here.

Today's caller is more typical of the multi-purpose ships on the ARRC service. Atlantic Action is an Astrakhan Mark III type Lo/Ro ship built in 1993 at the Kvaerner Warnow Werft yard at Warnemunde (then East) Germany. It is a vessel of 16,075 gross tons with a stern ramp and significant RoRo capability, and can carry 729 TEU (30 reefer) and has five cranes at 12 tonnes each, four of which can be combined for heavy lifts. The ship can also carry general cargo and bulk cargoes.

Built as Victor Konchayev it was renamed in 1996: Gemini Star, 97: Bremer Carrier, 98: Nordana Kisumi, 99: Seaboard Chile, 01: Atlantic Cavalier and took its present name in 2003. It is currently owned in the Ukraine and flies the flag of Cyprus.

Tuesday November 9 was too miserable a day to photograph fleet mate Viljandi, so a September 27 photo will have to do for now as the last photos taken in Halifax of this ship. Following its call in Baltimore a few days later, the ship was on its way to the scrap yards in India. The ship was sold in October and fetched $470/LDT, quite a high price, realizing some $2.8 mn for her owners. (See September 27 posting for more on this ship)



1. BBC Denmark, Halifax, November 27, 2010.
2. BBC Rhine upbound on the St.Lawrence River, off Cap-à-l'Aigle, QC, August 23, 2010.

October 10, 2020 was the day that the newly minted nation of Curaçao came into being. Formerly just one of five islands forming the nation of the Netherlands Antilles, its capital, Willemstad, was a port of registry for many European ships, particularly German and Dutch. They flew the flag of the Netherlands Antilles.

As of the auspicious date of the title the ships now fly the flag of Curaçao. On the same date the island of Sint Maarten also became an independent nation, but (at least so far) it has not become a flag state. The remaining three islands, Bonaire, St.Eustatius and Saba now have the status of Municipalities within the Netherlands itself.
BBC Denmark was in today for bunkers en route to Sweden and is registered in Willemstad. Hard as I tried I could not see if she was actually flying the flag of Curaçao but she is registered there.

Owned by Briese Schiffs of Germany, the she is a 4086 gross ton vessel, built in 1999 in Shanghai by Zhenghua Shipyard. She carries 390 TEU and has two deck cranes, each rated at 60 tonnes SWL. Her owners, known as BBC Charterting specialize in odd shaped and sized cargoes, and often carry windmill components.

The lower photo shows fleetmate BBC Rhine upbound on the St.Lawrence August 23, 2010, bound for Duluth with windmill blades. She reached there August 30 and after unloading, sailed September 9 and was outbound again from Montreal on September 13.

Friday, November 26, 2010

In for bunkers

The bulker Royal Pescadores arrived this misty morning for bunkers. She anchored in the upper harbour awaiting the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth, which had to bunker the tanker Algoscotia first.

Royal Pescadores is a regular caller to the Great Lakes for grain. In view of her ballasted condition it is a good bet that is where she is headed next.

Royal Pescadores was built in Japan in 1996 and measures 11,246 gross tons, 18,369 metric tonnes deadweight. It is registered in Panama and owned and managed from Taiwan. The SW on her funnel represents Shin Wei Navigation Co of Taipei.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuna Season

Japanese tuna longliners were once common in Halifax, with scores of boats coming in for fuel and stores, during the winter season. In recent years the tuna stocks have declined (no coincidence) and the boats have been using St.John's NF and St-Pierre more than Halifax.

Yesterday Toei Maru No.15 tied up at pier 24 and fueled from trucks. It will be sailing later today. By regulation these boats display their radio call signs(JCSI in this case) so that they can be seen by surveillance aircraft. They also have a port number (this one is KNI-696) displayed in smaller letters near the bridge.

These boats travel widely from the Mediterranean, the Azores, the western North Atlantic to South America and South Africa. They deep freeze their catch and land periodically to transfer the catch to containers, which are sent back to Japan for processing.

In the background Atlantic Erie is raising some dust while unloading a grain cargo from the Great Lakes.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Caribou retiring

1. Caribou leaving Halifax May 7, 2004.

This week will mark the end of an era on Marine Atlantic's Sydney/Port aux Basques ferry service. The ferry Caribou will be retired, making her last crossing on November 28.
Both Caribou and fleet mate Joseph and Clara Smallwood have reached the end of their working lives and will be replaced in the new year.

Caribou was built by Versatile Davie Inc at Lévis, QC (the yard is in the village of Lauzon which disappeared as a place name in municipal amalgamations) in 1985. The ships was christened on September 7, 1985 by Governor General Jeanne Sauvé. It is the second Cabot Strait ferry of the same name. The first Caribou was torpedoed and sunk on October 14, 1942 with the loss of 137 passengers and crew. There were 101 survivors. The present Caribou therefore commemorates that terrible event that took the lives of Newfoundlanders, Canadians and Americans.

An impressive ship of 27,213* gross tons, Caribou (ii) was built to Ice Class 1A Super, for year round Cabot Strait service, with minimal icebreaker assistance. Cruising at an economical speed of 15 kn , but capable of 22 knots, she is powered by four Krupp MaK engines with a total horsepower of 24,700*, driving two controllable pitch screws. Her speed would allow her make four one way crossings per day at 4.5 to 5 hours each.

The ship is also fitted with two controllable pitch thrusters forward and two aft. These units permit the ship to berth without tug assistance. She drydocked in Halifax from time to time and it was always an impressive sight to see her steam directly in to the Novadock floating drydock with no help.

The design capacity of the ship was for 1146 (Marine Atlantic now says 1200) passengers. There are berths for 196 in 96 four-berth dormitory type cabins. There is capacity for 350 cars or 91 tractor trailers*. These are loaded through bow and stern doors, with retractable ramps, to two vehicle decks. Crew numbers vary seasonally with 106 in summer and 68 in winter.
Caribou arrived at Point Edward, Nova Scotia on March 29, 1986 for final fit out of owner's equipment, and made its maiden voyage from North Sydney to Port aux Basques on May 12, before going on to St.John's for a reception.

The ship has had numerous incidents in its career - each examined under the microscope of public opinion and political rivalry, since the ship maintains an essential service, a condition of Newfoundland's confederation with Canada in 1949. Regrettably Marine Atlantic and CN Marine before it, have been political footballs, kicked from pillar to post by all and sundry, and interfered with at all levels by countless politicians of all levels and stripes, both public and private, elected and non. Marine Atlantic's problems are far from over, as colossal sums of money will be spent in replacements, overshadowing Caribou's original price tag of under $100 million.

New ships are on the way, but before they arrive it is time to say goodbye to Caribou. It is not known what her future may be, but if history gives us any clues, we may be hearing more about her before she goes.

* Marine Atlantic's published numbers may vary from these figures which were taken from Lloyd's Register.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Loneliness of the Long-distance Bulker

The bulk carrier Tai Prize arrived early this morning for bunkers and sailed just as the sun had gone off the shore of Macnab's Island. The Taiwanese owned, Panama flag vessel was built in 2001, with a gross tonnage of 38,382, and a deadweight tonnage of 73,000.

The ship is carrying iron ore from Sept-Iles, QC and as far as I can determine her next port is Singapore, which she expects to reach sometime in early January.

That is a long time between port calls, so it was just as well she topped up the fuel tanks before setting out.

As with most ships of her type she is strictly utilitarian.


Dutch Runner sails

As posted previously Dutch Runner arrived in Halifax November 14 en route to Europe. The purpose of her call included re-flagging to Barbados and a resultant crew change.

When she sailed this morning, she was still flying the Canadian flag, and the port of registry of Quebec was still painted on her quarter.

However her AIS tag had been updated to Barbados flag.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tanker Traffic

1. Cielo di Parigi awaits at anchor on Friday November 19.

2. Atlantic Leo moves into the Narrows this morning on her way back to Imperial Oil. She had been at anchor there since Thursday afternoon.

3 Algonova heads for anchor while Algoscotia waits for Atlantic Leo to clear her berth at Imperial Oil and head for anchor in Bedford Basin, on Thursday, November 18.

Halifax has seen a terrific tanker jam in the past few days. In addition to the usual coastal tankers, Algoscotia and Algonova, that have been jockeying for berths, there have been no fewer than four product/chemical tankers and a couple of crude oil tankers as well.

Most of the tankers have had to wait for berths to become free, have moved alongside then moved off to anchor again, then they have come back to the same or another berth to complete their work.

This has provided lots of work for tugs, and kept harbour pilots busy too.
Atlantic Leo (Hong Kong register, Singapore managed) was built in 2008 and is 29,266 gross ton chemical/product tanker.

Cielo di Parigi flies the Liberian flag, and is managed by the Italian operators d'Amico Sta.deNav. of Rome, but is owned by d'Amico Tankers Ltd of Dublin, Ireland. Built in 2001, she measures 23,680 gross tons. Her name translates as Paris Sky.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Canadian Military charter Wloclawek

The Polish owned and Maltese flagged Wloclawek sailed today after several days tied up at Jetty November Alpha (Shearwater). The ship has been on long term charter to the Canadian military since October 2007 and has carried out several useful "missions" during that time.

Built in 1989, in Poland, the 15,635 gross ton RoRo vessel can carry 505 TEU and has 1366 lane meters of RoRo capacity, over a 200 tonne stern ramp.

When the Canadian military found that it would be without its usual supply ship while Preserver was in refit they chartered this ship to transport military gear to and from Afghanistan (or at least to a nearby port.) Operated by CANOSCOM (Canadian Operational Support Command) it reportedly can, in a single voyage, carry the equivalent of 400 flights of Hercules aircraft. Transporting tanks, and wheeled vehicles and all sorts of other equipment, it also was pressed into service following the Haitian earthquake. It delivered relief supplies to the Dominican Republic, for transshipment to destinations without port infrastructure.

Although the ship has spent a lot of time sitting in Montreal and Halifax it has also participated in some NATO exercises.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big Run on Tankers

1. Kimolos at anchor in the harbour and Atlantic Leo on the horizon.

2. Kimolos arriving.

3. Chemtrans Havel sailing.

There has been a lot of tanker activity at Imperial Oil over the past few days, with more to come. Chemical/product tanker Nordic Copenhagen (see Nov 10) moved alongside today and Chemtrans Havel sailed. The this afternoon Kimolos came in to anchor.
Chemtrans Havel is German owned, Liberian registered and was built in 2009. She measures 8539 gross tons.
Kimolos is Greek owned and registered, was built in 2010 and measures 29,663 gross tons. Both are chemical and oil product tankers.

The crude oil tanker Nordbay sailed yesterday, but remained at anchor off Halifax until this afternoon, while Atlantic Leo awaits in the outer anchorages.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Adieu Dutch Runner

The container RoRo Dutch Runner put in to Halifax this afternoon, perhaps for the last time. The little ship was a familiar caller here from 2008 when she served as the weekly feeder to St-Pierre et Miquelon.

That contract was awarded to Fusion earlier this year and Dutch Runner has been "tramping" ever since. This summer she made northern supply trips on charter to Transport Desgagnés, and was laid up for a time in Montreal. This fall she went to Desoronto, ON and loaded, by barge, some large metal fabrications for Thunder Bay. In Thunder Bay she took a cargo to Owen Sound and loaded there for Quebec City. She stopped briefly in Cleveland, OH to promote a future container service from Montreal, and continued on her way to Quebec. She then went on to Pointe Noire, QC and loaded a cargo of aluminum ingots for Rotterdam.

She has arrived in Halifax to reflag to Barbados and change over to a foreign crew.

It is apparent that she will be trading, for the winter at least, in Europe, and may not return to Halifax.

Built in 1988 by the JJ Seitas shipyard in Hamburg, she can carry 219 TEU (or 221 TEU according to company specs) or 16 trailers and carries two cranes each rated at 35 tonnes.


Chemul at anchor

1. Chemul rests in number one anchorage on Sunday afternoon.

2. Atlantic Willow runs out an anchor (at left) while Atlantic Larch stands by as the Chemul conducts inclining tests on Saturday.

The construction and accommodation rig Chemul moved out to anchor on Saturday for inclining tests. These tests, used to confirm the rig's stability, are among the last steps to be taken before a project is completed. Therefore the project to repair and rebuild the rig must be nearing an end.

The work has been a major project for Halifax Shipyard, and has employed a large work force at the Woodside dock since the rig arrived in 2008. At the time the contract was estimated to exceed $110 mn.

Chemul was undergoing repairs and refit at Mobile AB when it was damaged during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The rig, which was secured on a barge when the storm hit, was swept up the Mobile River and wedged under a bridge. Considerable damage was done to rig, barge and bridge. Some of the hull work (that is below the main deck level) had been done by the yard in Mobile, but it was Halifax Shipyard that was hired to complete rebuilding of the accommodation block and install cranes and other construction equipment on the rig.

The unit is not a drilling rig, but is used to support construction activity offshore and to house a large work force. It is built along the lines of a conventional semi-submersible oil rig, but it does not do drilling.
Chemul is owned by Pemex, the Mexican state oil company and is expected to return to Mexico on completion of the work.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Barge aground near Pictou

1. Tug Florence M alongside the grounded barge Sault au Cochon off the Little Caribou Island-Monroe Island Provincial Park.

2. The beach below Pictou Lodge is strewn with thousands of tons of pulpwood. An excavator is working along the beach to pick up the wood.

3. The fishing boat Fishermens Friend I is picking up floating pulpwood and ferrying people back and forth to the scene of the grounding.

The barge Sault au Cochon ran ashore near Pictou Wednesday, November 10 in storm conditions. It was in tow of the tug Florence M at the time and was carrying a deck load of pulpwood for Pictou.

Shipfax made a road trip to the scene to bring you these exclusive photos (which I have also shared with Boatnerd) Salvage operations have begun on the barge while calm conditions prevail.

For more information on the tug and barge see sister blog Tugfax.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

HMS Daring arrives

The lead ship in the Royal Navy's new type 45 destroyers is HMS Daring. The ship arrived this afternoon and was met by three tugs to assist in berthing at HMC Dockyard.

1. Tugs Atlantic Larch and Oak play catch up as the ship slides in to Halifax Harbour.

2. With tugs alnside, the ships lines are somewhat obscured, but the clean, "stealth" appearance is apparent. A third tug, Atlantic Willow, will also assist in berthing due to a very stiff breeze.
The ship was launched in 2006 and commissioned July 23, 2009. After many trials and workups the ship actually entered service July 31, 2010.

In common with most new warships the vessel shows a very small radar profile, because of reduced clutter on deck and masts and an absence of vertical plates.

Blustery day

A stiff northeast wind had ships straining at their anchor cables this morning. Fortunately the wind has blown the rain and fog out to sea, and it is possible to see clearly (and take pictures.)

1.Nordic Copenhagen looks fairly serene from this vantage point. The Danish owned tanker was built in 2005 and is a chemical tanker with epoxy coated tanks. (Some chemical tankers have stainless steel tanks and others have proprietary coated tank surfaces, for carrying various types of liquids.) The ship was built as Sichem Copenhagen and was acquired by Nordic in 2007. Nordic currently owns or manages close to seventy tankers of various sizes, and organized into operating pools.

2. Algonova, was built in 2008 in Turkey and is a products tanker, carrying various petroleum fuels. It is one of two Canadian tankers (Algocanada is the other) for which the government has granted retroactive duty relief. The large tanks on deck are for carrying tank residues (slops) that are removed from tanks during cleaning. The slops are stored in these tanks and pumped ashore for recycling.
By the time this picture was taken the tide had turned and there was quite chop in the harbour. Wind was nor'easterly at 31 knots with gusts to 38.9 knots.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Algoma Spirit - back again

The bulker Algoma Spirit sailed yesterday morning, giving Port Cartier as its destination. But by mid-afternoon the ship was back alongside - just as if it never left. No doubt some glitch came to light and the ship came back for repairs. [file photo from October 31]

As I stated in a previous post (for which some generous, but anonymous soul, volunteered that I didn't know what I was talking about) this ship and its two sisters may not be in the Algoma fleet for the long haul.

My reasoning in this is as follows:

1. The ships were built in 1987. This puts them in the last days of their useful lives. Ships such as these rarely last 30 years, so a 23 year old ship is not a long term investment.

2. The price paid for the ships was close to scrap price. This might encourage the owners to spend money on them to keep them going, but it would likely involve a major investment in new forebodies to justify keeping them for the long haul. Putting a new forebody on an aged saltwater hull probably does not make sense.

3. The ships have spent the first 23 years of their lives in salt water, so a few years more in fresh water will not radically extend their lives.

4. Algoma has announced a building program - but it is a modest one and it will be necessary to replace some of its self-unloaders too. So give them 5 to 10 years to get this program underway, and a subsequent one, and the Algoma Discovery, Guardian and Spirit will be 28 to 32 years old - surely the outside limit for the ships unless they are seriously upgraded. If they go to seasonal operation, they wil come under relaxed rules, which may buy them another 5 years.

5. The ships recently sent to the scrappers were 40, 43 and 35 years old (since rebuild) , but all spent those years in fresh water trades. Therefore I am suggesting that these recent acquisitions will have at most a 10 to 15 year life with Algoma - surely not a long time, but in view of the bargain basement price, they will be fully amortized and can be written off.

6. Algoma could sell these ships for scrap to India today for more than they paid for them. However they need the ships right now. However these ships can sail to India on their own and do not have to be towed to Turkey for a discounted $100 /LDT that Turkish scrappers are now paying for ships below the India and China prices, which are up in the $350 to $450/LDT range.

If in a few years when new ships are coming on line, someone will do a cost benefit analysis and my prediction is that these ships will go, and it will be in the 7 to 12 year range. That is my prediction - see you then!


What's Down There?

Dredging continues off the south end of Halterm as shipping passes by. The K-Line container ship Glen Canyon Bridge arrives as Maersk Pembroke readies to leave at noon-time today. The tanker Algonova lies at anchor in the background before moving in to the Imperial Oil refinery.

The dredge Canadian Argosy shifted to a toothed bucket for dredging today, indicating that the top layer of mud has been cleared, and that they are now into rock. However, it was reported to me late in the afternoon, that they had identified possible unexploded ordnance in their digging and that the military had been called in to deal with it.

Perhaps nothing that comes up from the bottom of Halifax Harbour should come as a surprise in view of the port's military history, and numerous wrecks. In this area in particular, the rock breakwater which forms the south side of the Halterm container terminal once defined a basin, used by the navy and called the Seaward Defence complex. That basin is now covered by Halterm, but at one time it housed a variety of naval vessels, including minesweepers and the vessels that tended the harbour gates.

As to ordinance, some of these vessels were certainly armed and may have lost material overboard. There were also buoys, towed "fish" and other gear that looked like bombs, torpedoes or mines, but were in fact harmless. However the lay person cannot know this, and anything warlike dredged up must be treated as if it is explosive.

It is likely that a thorough scan of the bottom will be required before dredging resumes.


Flinter duo

Flinter Shipping BV of the Netherlands operates a large fleet of vessels, many of them in the forestry trades, carrying paper pulp, paper components such as china clay, and other commodities that are temperature and humidity sensitive. They are frequent callers in Canada, and into the Great Lakes for Canadian and US ports. The ships have large holds and open decks and so are also suitable for a variety of oversize cargoes such as windmill blades. See www.flinter.nl for more on the fleet.

It is not often however that you see two ships of the same fleet tied up together.

Today Flintermaas is loading wood pellets while sister Flinterduin waits patiently for its turn. Both ship are 4503 gross tons, and Flintermaas was built in 1999, whereas Flinterduin was built in 2000.

Bad weather delayed loading of Flintermaas and as a result Flinterduin will have to wait until conditions are suitable to complete loading the pellets. The pellets are stored in the Halifax Grain elevator, and are loaded in bulk, just as grain would be. They are also moisture sensitive, so are only loaded when the rain lets up.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Acadia cocooning for the winter

CSS Acadia the former survey ship and pride of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is preparing for winter. Every year the ship receives a partial cocoon, which protects the wooden decks and contains heat to allow for winter work.

The 1913 era former survey ship is the only existing vessel to have served the Canadian navy in both World War I and World War II. It has many more distinctions, which you can read about here:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Coast Guard Type 800

1. Partridge Island in the Narrows, Halifax May 10, 1996.

In 1985 and 1986 the Canadian Coast Guard took delivery of four Type F or 800 class Navigation Aids tenders. These miniature buoy vessels, besides being endearingly cute (they were designed by Robert Allan Ltd of Vancouver) were very useful vessels. They were miniature self-contained units and could go places that large ships could not. At 23 meters loa x 6m breadth, they drew only 1.35m (design draft) on a hull depth to main deck of 2.25m. The accommodation was raised a bit above the main deck to provide more headroom in the engine space that contained two Detroit V6-92 main engines delivering 636 bhp to two controllable pitch propellors. There was also a wide wheelhouse with chart table and a HIAB deck crane for handling small buoys and other equipment. There were two double cabins and one single and a full galley and mess in the deck house. What looked like a funnel was actually the base for a fire fighting platform. (Engine exhaust was through the transom, below the waterline.)

All four were built at the Breton Industrial & Marine yard in Point Tupper, NS and were named and assigned as follows:

Hull No./ name/ district (including minor waters)

21 Partridge Island Saint John River, Bay of Fundy

22 Ile des Barques Upper St.Lawrence River, Ottawa River

23 Ile Saint Ours Upper St.Lawrence River, Richelieu River

24 Caribou Isle Great Lakes, Georgian Bay

They covered large areas, particularly Partridge Island, which ranged all over the Maritimes and Ile des Barques, which served into the Gulf of St.Lawrence and Magdalen Islands. When the Coast Guard cut back on its services in small ports and navigable rivers, these craft were pushed out of their normal territories and of course were found to be unsuitable for deep sea work!

Partridge Island was decommissioned in July 2003 and laid up in Arichat, NS. Eventually she was hauled out there and renamed 2005-07. On December 1, 2009 she was sold to McNally Construction, but as yet there has been no word on what they plan to do with her. The published sale price was $56,017.00. [Ironically, McNally occupies the site of her orignal builder's yard, long since defunct, at Point Tupper.]

Ile des Barques was also hauled out at Arichat and renamed 2008-02. She was also sold, and her registry closed January 14, 2009, on her transfer to French registry. She was purchased by the government of St-Pierre et Miquelon, but I have found no trace of her since then.

The other two, which have spent their entire lives in fresh water, are still operating in more or less the regions they were built for and are still performing useful work for the CCG.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Scotia Dock II - in a sad state

I have heard nothing official, but the word on the waterfront is that Scotia Dock II is a write off. After sinking May 8 and spending a month on the bottom, the dock was raised but my sources say it is too far gone to be repaired. The cost would be prohibitive, they say, and so the craft will be scrapped.
When this might happen and what the yard will do for a replacement remains to be heard.

1. Atlantic Willow pushes up on Scotia Dock II this morning as lines are resecured after last night's blow. Some mighty big indentations of side walls indicate the incredible pressures that the dock experienced in the sinking.

2. Now laid up at pier 6, the rig has scores of lines ashore to hold her in place (November 1 photo.)

Parade to the Scrapyards

1. Algoisle in Quebec City September 4, 2005.

2. Canadian Leader downbound in the St.Clair River June 22, 2002, taken from Pineglen, and showing off her classic laker look.

3. Canadian Prospector upbound at Light 45 after exiting Eisenhower Lock, August 24, 1993. Her stern rake is a sure sign of her ocean going ancestry, but her forebody is pure Lakes.

Several older Canadian ships have been consigned to the scrappers this year. Some report that it is due to favourable scrap metal prices, and others attribute it to the tariff rebate. In any event there have been four large ships sold this year and perhaps more to come. There are at least three or four laid up and ready to go.

In alphabetical order the ships have been:
Agawa Canyon. This self-unloading bulk carrier, confined to the Great Lakes/ St.Lawrence Seaway never visited Halifax in its thirty-nine year career with Algoma Central. Built in 1970 in Collingwood, it was laid up in Montreal late in 2009. It departed Montreal again September 18, 2010, but this time in tow of the tug Sirocco and arriving in Aliaga Turkey October 17 to be broken up.
Algoisle. Built as Silver Isle in 1963 by Verolme United Shipyard in Cork, Eire, the bulk carrier was unique in its time as the first laker with wheelhouse aft. Also it was built overseas. In its career with Mohawk Navigation, Pioneer, Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, and since 1994 with Algoma Central, as Algoisle, it never called in Halifax. At the end of the 2009 season it laid up in Montreal until October 5, 2010. It then sailed in tow of the tug Ionian Pelagos, and is due in Aliaga Turkey any day now for scrapping.
Canadian Leader. Built in Collingwood in 1967 as the steam turbine powered Feux Follets
for Papachristidis Co Ltd, it was sold to Upper Lakes in 1972 and renamed Canadian Leader. One of the last steamers running on the lakes (and the Great Lakes steamer built in Canada), it was a classic, with wheelhouse forward. Laid up in 2009, it was towed out of Hamilton, ON today by the tugs Jarrett M., Seahound and Lac Manitoba bound for Port Maitland, ON where it will be cut up. [Later correction, the tow stopped in Port Colborne - as to where the ship will be broken up, that remains to be seen.]

Canadian Prospector was a slightly different ship, built in 1964 by Short Bros. of Sunderland, UK as Carlton for Chapman & Willan. A typical ocean going bulk carrier of 13,954 gross/ 20,500 deadweight tons it was built 74 feet wide so as to transit the Seaway. In 1969 it was lengthened 80 feet in Rotterdam, increasing tonnages to 16,303 gross, 26,400 deadweight (19,700 at Seaway draft.) In 1975 its was renamed Federal Wear for a charter to Fedcom (now Fednav.) However the name did not last long for Upper Lakes purchased the ship the same year and it was renamed St.Lawrence Prospector.
It did call in Halifax from time to time with grain, but early in 1977 it was towed in by Janie B with rudder damage, caused by ice.
In December 1978 it arrived in Halifax to unload grain en route to Saint John where an entirely new forebody had been built, to maximize its Seaway carrying capacity. This gave her 18,526 gross/ 28,450 deadweight (26,420 at Seaway draft.) However from that time the ship was restricted to the Lakes and Gulf, and no longer called in Halifax. Upper Lakes gave her the name Canadian Prospector at the time. This lengthening from 642 to 730 feet overall extended her life span effectively until the end of 2009. At that time the ship was laid up in Montreal. On October 1 the tug Simoon towed the ship out and arrived in Aliaga, Turkey November 3.

These ships were all very old by world standards, and even by Canadian standards, despite having spent so much time in fresh water. The ships being brought in to replace them, such as the Algoma trio previously noted, are stop gaps only until new ships are built overseas, and will probably not reach the advanced age that these ones did.