Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pinch Hitter Arrives

The RoRo container vessel Oceanex Sanderling will be heading to Europe for a refit this week. To take its place, Oceanex has chartered the British flag Thebeland, which arrived Sunday morning. Its first scheduled sailing is February 4 for St.John's/ Corner Brook/ Halifax.

When Oceanex Sanderling returns to service, Thebeland will move to the St.Lawrence route (Montreal/ St.John/s) to fill in for Cabot while it goes for refit. This will take until May 31.

1. Although it appears to be a larger ship, Thebeland has a similar capacity to Oceanex Sanderling.
2. Thebeland has a fixed stern ramp on the quarter, whereas Sanderling's ramp can rotate. This will mean a different loading process at pier 36.

Thebeland's particulars are very similar to Ocean Sanderling, so it should be a good match in terms of capacity.

Thebeland built 1978 Japan, 20,881 gross tons, 1027 TEU, 190.34m LOA, 16.5 knots (2 screw.)
Oceanex Sanderling built 1977 Japan, 21,849 gross tons, 1127 TEU, 193.5m LOA, 17 knots (single screw.)

Thebeland is also an ice class vessel, so it will be able to handle winter conditions in the Gulf and the St.Lawrence if necessary.
Addendum: Oceanex was granted a coasting license by the Canadian Transportation Agency. The basis for this is that no Canadian flagged vessel was available. The license allows Oceanex to use a foreign ship to trade between Canadian ports, which is not normally permitted under Canadian cabotage regulations. There is no requirement that the ship employ a Canadian crew under these circumstances.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gypsum still trickling out of Halifax

1. Georgia S. with a load of gypsum, leaving Bedford Basin on Tuesday January 25.

With Tuesday's departure of Georgia S it is apparent that some gypsum is still trickling out of Halifax. As the Port's annual report stated, tonnage is way down due to the slump in US construction. All output from National Gypsum's open pit mine in Milford, shipped through Halifax, goes to the US for processing - mostly into wallboard. Georgia S has been running the odd trip out of Halifax, then returning to standby for a year or so.

Not so fortunate is mainland Nova Scotia's other gypsum exporter, Fundy Gypsum (a division of US Gypsum, through its subsidiary USG Canada.) On Tuesday they announced that their operations near Windsor would be mothballed indefinitely, and all but a skeleton staff would be kept on for maintenance. This includes their state of the art storage and shipping facility in Hantsport. The Windsor and Hantsport Railway, which transports gypsum between the mine and the dock, and is an unrelated company, will almost certainly have to close as a consequence. Fundy also operates the tug Spanish Mist at Hantsport (see Tugfax which was for sale in the fall, but has apparently been withdrawn from the sale market. As an indication of the magnitude of the slump, export tonnage has dropped from 1.8 mn tonnes in 2006, to 440,000 tonnes in 2009 to 130,000 tones in 2010, according to an article in the Chronicle Herald.

There are also gypsum operations in Cape Breton. USG loads out at Little Narrows on the Bras d'Or Lakes, in a seasonal operation. (The lake freezes over in winter, and shipping operations halt.) There is also a gypsum mine near Port Hawksbury. It is still operational, but at a reduced output. Interestingly two gypsum board manufacturers operate at Port Hawksbury. USG purchased a Louisiana-Pacific board plant and makes abuse resistant panels there. Acadia Drywall of Dieppe, NB purchased the bankrupt Federal Gypsum operation in December and expects to start producing wall board in June 2011.

There is some domestic market for gypsum, but it is limited, and there are competing sources of gypsum (synthetic gypsum from the scrubbers in coal fired power plants is very high quality) and competition from India and China for finished wall board product. Gypsum is also used as a retarder in concrete, but again is highly dependant on the construction industry for business.

Where will it all end? No one seems certain, but until there is a recovery of construction activity in the US it seems certain that gypsum will be in doldrums for Nova Scotia.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Atlantic Condor in from trials

The newly built supplier Atlantic Condor is tied up at the IEL wharf following sea trials. That it did not return to the shipyard is usually a sign that trials went well, and that the boat will soon be handed over to its owners. (The IEL dock is home to Halifax Shipyard's Woodside plant and is the base for Atlantic Towing's harbour tugs.)

Atlantic Condor's owners are of course, Atlantic Towing Ltd, although the ship is technically owned by a one ship company. It was built by Irving Shipbuilding (Atlantic Towing is also part of the Irving group) at their Halifax Shipyards.

When the supplier is completed and handed over for operation, it will be used to supply the Deep Panuke gas field off Sable Island.

Atlantic Condor is classified as a cargo vessel since it will carry general cargo and supplies including water and fuel. It is not equipped for towing or anchor handling, so it not a tug.

For three amateur videos the ship's launch go to:


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Unusual Cargo at BIO

1. Beluga Favourisation shares the BIO pier with CCGS Edward Cornwallis, as it prepares to unload the three lifeboats perched on the bow.

2. Cape Edensaw*is airborne as the crane swings it toward the dock.

3. Atlantic Willow lets go as Beluga Favourisation departs for sea. If the ship's name were any longer, the ship would have to be lengthened to fit it on.

The Bedford Institute of Oceanography is the home of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans fleet and the Canadian Coast Guard ships based in Halifax. It is therefore rare to see a cargo ship tied up at the dock. There was a good reason for last night's arrival of the Beluga Favourisation however.

It was carrying as deck load, three new CCG lifeboats built at Victoria Shipyard in British Columbia. Cap Aupaluk, Cape Rescue and Cape Edensaw*were loaded in Victoria and after a trip down the west coast, transit of the Panama Canal, and a visit to Port Everglades, FL, the boats arrived in Halifax, without steaming a mile on their own.

Each boat, secured in its own cradle, was offloaded by one of the ship's 120 tonne cranes, and landed on the dock.

The ship left this afternoon for Baie Comeau, QC, well laden with a below decks cargo.

The lifeboats are part of a five boat order (the other two are for the west coast) for more of the Cape class boats, in addition to the 24 boat order completed in 2005 by the same yard. The new boats will be stationed one each in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario.

I will award a non-cash prize to the first person to correctly locate the points of land that form the capes in the boats' names.
* Incorrectly identified as Cape Dauphin in first version of this post: corrected 2011-02-09

Beluga Favourisation is one a large series of "E and F" class ships built in China for Beluga Shipping. It carries two cranes which can be combined to lift 240 tonnes and is specially designed for heavy and large sized loads. It was built by Jiangzhou Union Shipyard in Ruichang, China and delivered in October 2007. It measures 9611 gross tons, 12,782 deadweight.
See their website for detailed information:

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Japanese tuna longliner Toei Maru No.15 sailed on time this afternoon despite impending bad weather. High winds seemed not to be of concern as the boat let go its lines at pier 24. It had arrived on Wednesday for fuel, water and stores.

Built in 1988 it measures 534 gross tons. Its prominently displayed radio call sign is JCSI and its port number is KNI-696.

The same boat was in Halifax November 23 to fuel, and was the first tuna boat of the season.

Bulk down, rest up

In 2010, the Port of Halifax recorded a remarkable recovery in most areas over 2009.

Containers: up 26%

Breakbulk: up 23.7%

RoRo: up 15.9%

Cruise passengers: up 14.7%

The only area to show a decline was bulk (primarily oil and gypsum) down 14%

All the details now available on the Port's website. You really have to search hard for it, so here is a direct link:

Halifax is no longer a major grain exporter, so scenes like that above are unlikely to be repeated. The Adriatik, 18,328 gross tons, 30,832 dwt, built in 1973 by the 3 Maj shipyard in Rijeka (now Croatia, then Yugoslavia) flying Panamanian flag, leaves pier 28 with assistance of tug Point Vigour, with a cargo of grain. In 1983 the ship was renamed Kupa for Juogolinija. It arrived in Alang, India in July 28, 1998 for scrapping.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

USCG Visit

1. Assisted by Atlantic Oak, USCG Harriet Lane arrives this morning.

The United States Coast Guard cutter Harriet Lane arrived this morning on a courtesy visit. Assisted by the tug Atlantic Oak it tied up at HMC Dockyard. As a USCG vessel it is treated as a visiting naval vessel, and has a civilian pilot and commercial tug to bring it in.

As with other ships of its class, called the Famous class, it is named for two previous USCG vessels. Its immediate predecessor was also well known in Halifax, particularly during World War II.

The current Harriet Lane has its own web site:

which tells about the vessel's recent activities. It is based in Portsmouth, VA, but sails out of New London, CT, and ranges widely. Its current mission is nominally fisheries protection.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sea Smoke

1. Dagmar Theresa, outbound through sea smoke.

2. HMCS Fredericton is barely visible while anchored at the sound range earlier this morning.

The last remnants of sea smoke were burning off this morning when the chemical/product tanker Dagmar Theresa sailed from anchorage in the harbour.

Air temperatures down around minus 10 degrees C, with water temperatures still above zero combine to form this interesting winter phenomenon. Earlier in the morning, before the sun could warm the air, the sea smoke was so dense that the harbour ferries were sounding their fog signals as they crossed the harbour. HMCS Fredericton, which spent the night at the static sound range off Macnab's Island, was barely visible from shore.

Dagmar Theresa is owned by the Danish shipping company Herning Shipping A/S. It is an offshoot of a family owned oil business, Uno-X and currently operates about forty tankers, mostly smaller chemical / product tankers. This ship was built in 2001 and measures only 2654 gross tons, 4454 deadweight. Its agents while in Halifax to take on bunkers were Kent Line (also an offshoot of the family owned Irving Oil.) Herning has an excellent web site, that lists the fleet and their trades.

Dagmar Theresa now flies the Maltese flag, having recently switched from Denmark, along with many other Danish ships, in reaction to a change to Danish tax laws.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Bluenose Too

1. Bluenose II, a not particularly faithful replica of Bluenose.

2. Theodore Too, a faithful replica of a model, which was a caricature of a tugboat.

Well the Province of Nova Scotia has really put its foot in it this time. I was trying to stay out of the Bluenose II "restoration" debate, but I guess I will have to wade through the muck with all the rest.

The admirable webcam of the rebuilding has an excellent view of the new stem going in and it looks spectacular. However, the original Bluenose had a very distinctive hook in its stem, which was probably never documented accurately. Various sources suggest it was a modification made during construction. Bluenose II attempted to replicate this, but photo evidence suggests that they did not succeed. Now I see that the new stem makes no attempt at the hook.

So is what they are building a replica of the original Bluenose? No, because the original drawings are not being used, nor was there accurate documentation of builders changes to do so.

Is it a replica of Bluenose II ? More or less, but many changes have been made. It is certainly not a restoration of Bluenose II since none of the its hull is being reused. Bluenose II itself was a superficial attempt at a replica - and would not have been an ideal model for building a new Bluenose in any event. It may be a rebuilding (from scratch) of Bluenose II, so it is really a New Bluenose II.

Maybe it is Bluenose Too, a replica of a replica.

I am sure that what is being built is a superior vessel, even to the original - certainly built of better materials, with more modern means. I am also certain that the best currently available craftsmanship will go into it, and that its fittings and scantlings will be top notch. However the fundamental decision, made before construction, not to model it on the original Bluenose means that it will always be a sort of pastiche. Made up of ideas from two previous vessels, with elements distinct unto itself. It will undoubtedly be a unique and distinctive vessel, and it deserves a distinct identity. It will eventually, after the dust settles, and the recriminations fade, establish its own personality and identity in the pantheon. But what should its name be?
Will it be Bluenose (ii) or Bluenose II (ii) or even Bluenose II 2nd?

Regrettably it will not be Bluenose III (that name has been reserved by the descendants of William Roue, designer of Bluenose.)

It deserves its own distinctive name, certainly referencing its famous ancestor, but also recognizing its own new identity, distancing itself from the problems of the Bluenose II.

Suggestions welcome.

Pearl River I (updated)

One month and one day after its first visit to Halifax Zim's Pearl River I returned on Sunday January 16. As recounted on December 15 the ship was built as Zim Vancouver. It is the only ship on Zim's rotation without a traditional Zim name. An interesting feature of the ship is the radar scanner on its starboard bridge wing.[ Update: this is clearly an optical illusion - it is more likely a frame for an awning, to provide shelter on the bridge wing]
Originally founded as Israel's state shipping company Zim has been 100% privately owned since 2004. The Ofer Brothers Group are the primary owners and this ship is owned by them. The other fifteen Zim ships on their Global Service that call in Halifax are a mixture of chartered and owned vessels.
In the month since it was last here the ship has sailed across the Atlantic, called in several ports in the Mediterranean and reached the terminal port of Haifa. It has since retraced that route and will now call at ports on the east and west coasts, crossing the Pacific and ending in Busan Korea. It then will reverse that route and return to Halifax about March 30.
Zim's web site has more about the company's history and its extensive schedules at:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Port of Halifax Year End Report

1. Grey ship, grey day. Post-panamax OOCL Kaohsiung arrives after a storm delay. Container traffic in Halifax seems to be doing very well ( to this observer.)

2. Gypsum is still weak, but oil is strong. The bulker Alice Oldendorff is inbound to load gypsum on January 10, while the tanker Acor waits her turn for bunkers.

3. The tug Whitby moves the dredge Canadian Argosy out of the way while the K-Line post-Panamax container ship Glen Canyon Bridge berths at Halterm on January 11. A crane on shore is set up with a pile driving leader, ready to start driving tubular steel piles for the pier extension.

The Halifax Port Authority was characterised in today's paper as only cautiously optimistic about the current level of port activity. On a strictly statistical basis this may be the right mood, but in my opinion the Port of Halifax is doing extremely well.

The major tonnage drop in bulk commodities due to a low demand for gypsum in the US construction market, certainly keeps the overall numbers for Halifax low - but only on a tonnage basis. Gypsum is not the major money maker for the regional economy that some other sectors may be.

Weak break bulk cargo activity is nothing new either - occasional spikes in rail imports and low numbers for railway locomotive exports and project cargoes (inbound and outbound) are typical of this sort of "one off" market. Newsprint demand is also way down , but this has never been a huge item for Halifax.

The two other major business areas seem to me to be doing quite well. Petroleum - both incoming crude and outgoing refined product remain strong.

Containers, while they may show lower in tonnage statistics, are really the main focus of the port and this area is doing extremely well - particularly in comparison to such ports as Montreal, which has experienced very sluggish recovery. Containers contribute more to port employment, spin offs and the regional economy than gypsum (for example) so the improvement in this sector is significant beyond strict tonnage terms.

While the final stats for 2010 will not be out until next week, I remain upbeat about the current state and the future.

Major investments in port infrastructure (which are being scaled back in Montreal) seem to be forging ahead here and that is also good news. An example is the Halterm expansion, which is now becoming visible. Preparatory dredging has been going on for some time, and now work has started on driving tubular steel piles. These will be flushed out and filled with concrete. For the next several months, there will be almost daily evidence of the expansion. Similarly the pier 9B face renewal is nearly finished, and the pier 9D work should be starting soon.

All these improvements will make Halifax ready for more traffic (instead of having to catch up as was the case in the past.) While US ports compete with each other for dredging money and no decision is in the offing for the Bayonne Bridge in New York/New Jersey (not to mention the Montreal retrenchment) Halifax seems to be in a strong position and is moving forward, with very good evidence of increasing demand.


Storm Report

1. Samraa Alkhaleej at Imperial Oil January 11.

By late yesterday afternoon and into last evening the storm was blasting Halifax with high winds and a driving combination of rain and snow. The pilot boat was taken off station, and there were several delays and and postponements in ship movements.

The Libyan flag crude oil tanker Samraa Alkhaleej had not completed unloading, but put to sea yesterday morning and will return this afternoon. Large tankers typically do not remain alongside the refinery piers in any kind of bad weather due to possible damage to themselves or to the pier.

Container ships OOCL Kaohsiung and Atlantic Conveyor were due late afternoon, but put back to sea and rescheduled their arrivals for this morning. Zim Beijing remained alongside at Halterm and will sail this morning. The tanker Alpine Loyalty also remained in port, at the Ultramar dock in Eastern Passage and is due to leave this morning.

The dredge Canadian Argosy and its attendant fleet of tugs and scows retreated to the upper harbour overnight. It is on its way back to Haltem this morning.

Samraa Alkhaleej is the first Libyan owned/flagged tanker that I can recall seeing in Halifax. Built in 2006 it is owned by the General National Maritime Transport Co of Tripoli, but is managed by Executive Ship Management of Singapore. It measures 61,348 gross tons and 114,858 deadweight tons. It is about the largest size of tanker that brings oil to Halifax.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter Wall

1. The tanker Algoscotia is barely visible at the oil dock from the Halifax side of the harbour. A few minutes later it was a white out.

As a major winter storm approached Halifax, a wall of snow moved up the harbour.

When it's all over sometime tomorrow we will have up to 30cm on the ground, but due to high winds it will be blown around a good deal too.

Shipping so far seems unfazed with several arrivals and departures set for later this afternoon or evening. One ship is anchored off Halifax, but may have to move out to sea depending on conditions. High winds, limited visibility and high water are expected in the harbour.

More details as they become available.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No Mist for this Gorilla

3. Triumph and Rowan Gorilla III finally outbound for sea. The ship is trimmed by the stern.

2. Passing Halterm, the size of the rig is apparent. A small auxiliary wheelhouse is fitted on the ship's forecastle to allow visibility when carrying large loads.

1. Weighing anchor, the tug Atlantic Oak will assist in turning the ship in the anchorage area.

I was hoping for a misty day so that I could paraphrase the title of Dian Fossey's book Gorillas in the Mist when Rowan Gorilla III left port, but the sun broke out just as her heavy lift carrier Triumph got underway late this afternoon.

It is difficult to visualize the scale of this immense rig, and the size of ship needed to transport it, but as she passed Halterm, some of the dredging equipment in the foreground gives some idea.

The tug Atlantic Oak escorted the ship outbound with a line up on the stern, just to ensure that it was able to turn in the anchorage, and to stay in the channel outbound.


Monday, January 10, 2011

And a Blue One from the Same Builders

Hyundai Mipo were also the builders for Acor, a Maltese flagged tanker, that came in for bunkers this afternoon, and anchored i nthe same spot as her shabbier yard mate Alpine Loyalty -see below. A slightly smaller ship of 23, 298 gross, 37,900 deadweight it was built in 2007. Her paint job seems to have held up well for three years of service.

Owners are the 33 ship GEDEN Lines of Turkey. (GEDEN stands for Genel Denizcilik Nakliyati AS or General Marine Transportation Co.)

The ship is also ice class and is one of seven of that type in the GEDEN fleet, which also has large crude oil tankers, among others.

Acor awaits the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth, which is refueling the bulk carrier Alice Odendorff in the Basin. See Armchair Captain for a shot of Alice.
The ship was in Montreal December 12, Baltimore December 25 and most recent position on January 9 was southwestbound off Cape Race.

Having a bad paint day.

The chemical product tanker Alpine Loyalty arrived this morning and anchored in the upper harbour. The ship has several patches of gray paint on its otherwise red/brown hull. It appears that the fnal coat of paint has worn or washed off. For a virtually new ship, repainting must be a warranty issue with the builders.

Dominion Diving's workboat Halmar on the other hand looks very trim in its distinctive company colours as it works its way across the harbour. Dominion Diving provides boatmen services to the the Atlantic Pilotage Authority and others, when people need to board ships in the harbour.

Alpine Loyalty was delivered by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in May 2010 and joins three sister ships in the Transpetrol fleet, based in Norway. The ship is 29,130 gross tons, 46,151 deadweight and features phenolic epoxy coated tanks. It is owned and operated by ST Shipping of Singapore.
At noon time the ship moved from anchorage to the Ultramar dock in Eastern Passage (top photo).


Wild day in the harbour

Gales, snow, inconveniences for travellers, but a major headache for the heavy lift ship Triumph.

Yesterday's storm, which dropped a few centimeters of snow on Halifax, brought with it gale force winds, and the Triumph could not keep its position at number one anchorage. They called in tugs to keep the ship head up into the wind. Two tugs attended the ship all times yesterday and through the night - taking turns to allow for crew changes- until conditions calmed down. Even at 0800 this morning, when things looked fairly peaceful, the tug Atlantic Fir has a line up and is pulling to keep the ship in position.

With the huge jack-up drilling rig Rowan Gorilla III on deck acting as a giant sail, the ship's own anchors were not enough to hold it in place. A tracking map on AIS shows the ship moving over quite a large area in the lower harbour.

Other shipping was able to arrive and depart despite the weather, but they had to give Triumph a wide berth as it yawed back and forth.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Good Day for a Floatover

1. Late afternoon: rig in place, ship floating up, deck almost clear.

2. Mid-morning: ship deeply submerged and ready for rig.

3. Mid-morning: rig underway in control of four tugs (moving left to right in this photo) with wet snow in the air.

Visibility was partly obscured by wet snow, but there was little wind, and so it was a good day to float the jack-up rig Rowan Gorilla III over the Triumph.

The operation started at 0830 when the pilots and four tugs started to move the rig from its berth at the Woodside pier in Dartmouth. The rig's legs were raised from the bottom and it began to float on its own hull. The tugs Atlantic Fir, Atlantic Larch, Atlantic Oak, and Atlantic Willow then moved the rig across the harbour to number one anchorage and aligned it to float over the Triumph.

Triumph was semi-submerged so that its cargo deck was well below the surface. By about 1100 the "float over" started and the rig was in its final position shortly after noon. It took lots of push/pull on the tugs to get it in the exact position to fit between brackets set on the ship's deck.

As soon as the rig was finally positioned pumping up operations started on the ship. This is a slow process and it was not until late afternoon that the ship's deck began to appear above water.

The ship's crew must now make the attachments to secure the rig for sea before they can sail. This is expected to take a day or so. In the meantime gales are forecast, which will probably keep the ship in port until the first of the week.

Triumph was built as the tanker Marble in 1992 by the Brodospas shipyard in Split, Croatia. It was purchased by Dockwise and converted to a heavylift ship in 2008. Dockwise has a large fleet of similar ships, several of which have called in Halifax, that specialize in moving oil field equipment around the world. Their web site has many spectacular photos of their work, which also includes dedicated yacht transport. See

Rowan Gorilla III was built in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1984 by Marathon-Le Tourneau. Owned by the Rowan companies, it is capable of working in water up to 450 feet deep and can drill to depths of 30,000 feet. It has worked in our waters off and on many times over the years. After a 2000 program it was taken to Sabine Pass, Texas where its legs were extended from 343 feet to the present 504 feet.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

It's the Swiss again

Another ship registered in Switzerland has arrived in Halifax. Last month's Swiss caller (Andermatt, December 21)was rather a rare occurrence, but to have another so soon is certainly unusual. The ship appears to be in ballast, and tied up at pier 27, presumably for some minor repair work.

Mega Chemicals Transport of Switzerland operates a fleet of eight product/chemical carriers, all of approximately the same size.

Today's arrival MCT Matterhorn is typical of the type. Built in 2006 it measures 12,776 gross tons/ 20,677 deadweight. According to the owner's website, the ship is fitted with 16 cargo tanks, all stainless steel.

Notable features include the full width bridge, usually found only in ships that trade in northern waters, and the landing derricks forward. These are used exclusively on the St.Lawrence Seaway to land line handlers on the docks.

The next big thing

The semi-submersible heavy lift ship Triumph arrived yesterday afternoon. This morning the deck crew was hard at work setting up blocks and other gear on deck. They are getting ready to load the jack-up rig Rowan Gorilla III, which should happen in the next few days.
Because the number one anchorage area was occupied by Chemul, the ship will have to move to that area before the loading takes place.

Once more...

Update: The tow got underway about 1 pm, accompanied by Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Willow. This photo was taken about 1:40.
1. Underway early this afternoon.

2. At anchor this morning

Chemul will sail today - I have it on good authority. Yesterday's false start was "administrative" not technical, so all is good to go for this morning. Of course there is the matter of anchor retrieval. But the tugs Pegasus and Centaurus are connected with their towing gear, and as soon as the anchors are aweigh, they will be outbound.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Adios Chemul

Update: After all was said and done the rig did not leave this afternoon. Instead it went back to anchor, along with the two tugs. It may go in the morning. Pilots are called for 0900 hrs.

1. Chemul and tugs getting set to go, noontime January 5.

2. Chemul at the Woodside pier in September 2008. The accommodation block was rebuilt and three cranes and much other equipment added.

The offshore rig PSS Chemul is getting underway for the Gulf of Mexico. After a two year $110 million refit, the rig is ready to get to work. Under tow of the two German tugs Pegasus and Centaurus and with the assistance of harbour tugs Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak , and other craft, the rig is expected to leave the confines of Halifax harbour this afternoon.

In the top photo, on the far right is the workboat Captain Jim, and not visible behind the rig is the tug Belle D and barge Halifax Carrier, and tug Atlantic Larch, working on the removal of the last anchors.

For more on these tugs and workboats - see Tugfax.

Question Board

The old adage "Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies" does NOT apply at Shipfax. In fact, I am only too pleased to answer questions. And I will give the correct answer if I know it. If not I will say so.

A recent question (by Anon) about the red tug near the Dartmouth Yacht Club in Bedford Basin carries an interesting tale. (It is dimly visible under the letter V in the attached photo.)
One of several vessels built in Poland in the 1980s for Neftegaz, the Russian Oil company, it was originally Neftegaz 29. It is one of four sisters bought by Secunda Marine Services of Dartmouth (now J.Ray McDermott Canada.) They were built of excellent steel, however they were of an obsolete design and no longer employable. Secunda got them for a good price.

The first two sisters were rebuilt and became Trinity Sea and Burin Sea. A third sister was also rebuilt (although not as extensively) as Panuke Sea. It was intended to rebuild this vessel and it was renamed Sable Sea. However there was no work for a fourth vessel and it remained in layup. When Secunda wanted to use the name Sable Sea for another vessel, this one was renamed Intrepid Sea.

It has been used to supply parts to the other three sisters and is non-operational as it sits. It's future is unknown - although its hull is still in good shape, there is little demand for supply boats in this area now, and newer used ones can be acquired if needed.

For good photos see the following link
Intrepid Sea is tied up in Wright's Cove at the Secunda Marine Dock. This dock used to be the Ultramar dock, before that Gulf Oil and before that B-A (British-American). It was built for tankers to unload to a tank farm (long gone) below what is now the Burnside Industrial Park It is also commonly called the Burnside pier. Since Secunda acquired it, it has seen little use, except as a layup berth.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Turning over a new Leif

It doesn't seem that it was nine years ago that Marine Atlantic acquired the Stena Challenger and renamed it Leif Ericson (the second ship to carry that name in the fleet, but this time with a different spelling.)

The recent weather and mechanical interruptions added to the retirement of Caribou, have meant a tough early winter for Marine Atlantic. They are now down to two ships with Leif Ericson arriving at Halifax Shipyard this morning for scheduled refit. She entered the Novadock floating drydock, but as of noon time, the dock was not completely pumped up.

However relief is on the way. The first of Marine Atlantic's newest ships, Blue Puttees is on its way from Europe and should be arriving in Port aux Basques any day now. It will not enter service immediately, but it will eventually allow Atlantic Vision to concentrate on the Argentia service when Joseph and Clara Smallwood retires in the spring.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Back to Work

1. Whitby towing the dredge Canadian Argosy with the dump scow FDJV3 and tug Carl M alongside for the ride to Halterm.

2. Getting away from pier 9 with the new bucket installed on Canadian Argosy's Liebherr dredge crane.

3. Rigging the new bucket at pier 9 this morning.

4. The new bucket, on Christmas Day at pier 9.

After a Christmas break, McNally Construction got back to work today with dredging off Halterm. Before they did so, they attached a new bucket to the dredge Canadian Argosy. The bucket was built by Anvil Attachments of Slaughter, LA, and is especially built for dredging.
Perhaps, judging by its colour, the bucket was a Christmas gift.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


1. Ambassador creeps up west of George's Island, making barely any bow wave.

2. Once clear of the island she swings well to starboard to the anchorages. The asymmetrical name on her stern is a result of painting out the word "Canadian" when she was reflagged in 1986.

The self-unloading bulker Ambassador arrived this afternoon to take on bunkers. A frequent caller at National Gypsum over the years, she rarely puts in without taking cargo.

Built way back in 1983 at Port Weller Dry Dock in St. Catharines, ON, her original name was Canadian Ambassador and she was owned by Upper Lakes Shipping. Built to Seaway dimensions, she measured 24,320 gross tons, and was designed for 37,500 deadweight (less at Seaway draft.)
In 1986 she was placed under the flag of Vanuatu (registered at Port Vila) and began to operate internationally. Although usually confined to the eastern seaboard of North America, she has worked overseas too. The "Canadian" part of her name was painted over, but the welded letters are still there on the bow and stern.
When she was reflagged she was given blue funnels with a yellow seahorse, once the funnel marking for Island Shipping, an Upper Lakes subsidiary that operated some ships offshore. However ownership was vested in another UL subsidiary called Marbulk Shipping. In 1997 Algoma Central Corp acquired a 50% interest in Marbulk, then in 2000 CSL International acquired UL Group's 50%.

Since that time the ship has been in the coal/ aggregates/gypsum trades within the CSL International pool, and is operated from CSL International's offices in Beverly, MA. (CSL ships are in turn operated by V-Ships, a Monaco based company.)
The ship had a major refit in Halifax in 1998. Then in 2000 she came back under the Canadian flag for a few months, being renamed Algosea at Halifax Shipyard on April 13. (Because Upper Lakes no longer had an ownership interest in the ship, it was not appropriate to resume her original name.) The ship resumed trade on the Great Lakes until December 21, when she became Ambassador again, being renamed at Trois-Rivières, QC.

Since that time she has continued in the usual trades, and on this trip is en route from Newington, NH (a favourite gypsum offloading port) to Cape Porcupine, NS on the Strait of Canso to load aggregates.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

OOCL Britain, first call 2011

OOCL Britain glides through the Narrows this morning with the tug Atlantic Larch on the stern wire.

The ship is the first ship to arrive in Halifax this year, but there was no special welcome. In fact the ship went to anchor in Bedford Basin. Because of the New Year Holiday, the longshoremen are not working. The ship will move the short distance in to the Fairview Cove container pier tomorrow morning for an 0700 start.

Built in 1996 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at their Kobe, Japan yard, the ship has a container capacity of 5344 TEU. Gross tonnage is 66046, typical of the post-Panamax ships of the Orient Overseas Container Line, based in Hong Kong.