Monday, February 28, 2011

Bad day for Atlantic Companion

1. Atlantic Companion arriving Halifax September 7, 2010.

Atlantic Container Line's Atlantic Companion parted its lines while docked in Baltimore on February 25. Wind gusts in the range of 65 to 70 miles per hour resulted in the ship breaking free from the Dundalk Terminal and drifting across the channel and, according to some reports, running aground.
The ship was freed by tugs some time later and returned to its berth.

Another Swiss bulker

The Swiss flagged bulker Moléson arrived this morning for bunkers. There has been a noticeable Swiss contingent in Halifax this winter, with several ships putting in for various reasons,. The relatively small Swiss registry has been well represented!

Moléson (named for a 2000 meter high mountain in southwest Switzerland) was built in 2010 and measures 22,697 gross tons, 34,266 deadweight. It is owned by Suisse Atlantique, one of several shipping companies based in the landlocked country. It specializes in carrying grain.

The ship headed for Bedford Basin to refuel. In view of unpleasant weather predicted for later today, that is a better place to anchor.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Brtitish Esteem anchors, Halmar retrieves pilot

1. British Esteem has her anchor down and the launch Halmar has disembarked the pilot.

2. Halmar returns the pilot to shore.

The tanker British Esteem anchored this afternoon for bunkers after discharging at Saint John, NB. The chemical/ products carrier belongs to British Petroleum and is registered in the UK. It was built in 2003 and is 23,235 gross tons, 37,220 deadweight. It has called in Halifax several times before.

On its way to Saint on February 17, it participated in the search for a missing seaman from the bulk carrier Elbe Max. That ship was 435 miles southeast of Newfoundland en route US to Hamburg, Germany, when it reported a man washed overboard by high seas. Despite air searches by the US Coast Guard, the man was not found and is presumed lost.

The launch Halmar is operated by Dominion Diving Ltd, which has a contract to transport pilots in the harbour when the pilot boat is away from base. Built in 1960 by Halifax Shipyard for its own use, it was extensively rebuilt in 2009, re-engined, and fitted with a bow thruster.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sherman Zwicker still looking for a home

1. Sherman Zwicker in Halifax 2007-07-16 Parade of Sail. This photo also appears on the ship's website (with my permission.)

The banks schooner Sherman Zwicker is still looking for a new home. Built in 1942 by Smith & Rhuland Shipyard in Lunenburg, the vessel has operated out of Boothbay, Maine since 1968. Owners Grand Banks Schooner Trust are seeking a new owner, preferably in Canada, to take over the schooner, maintain it and make it available to the public. They have been looking for a new owner for at least ten years and interest in Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia has been notably muted.

She is one of the last schooners to fish the Grand Banks from dories, still in original condition. Built for F. Homer Zwicker of Lunenburg (Zwicker & Co) she fished out of Nova Scotia for all but a few years. In her last days in Nova Scotia she fished out of Louisbourg on Western Bank in season, but could not attract enough crew to use all eleven of her dories. In 1959, she was fishing eight dories, with a crew of eighteen, all from Newfoundland.

At that time there were about eight other salt bankers still fishing from Nova Scotia with dories, and salting their catch on board. Five were out of Riverport and three out of Lunenburg. Before refrigeration and icing was available to fishermen, salting fish was the only way to preserve the catch. In 1900 there were more than 100 salt bankers fishing from Nova Scotia alone. This was down to 15 in 1954. In the 1950s and 1960s trawlers were built by the scores, and frozen fish became a more lucrative market. In 1963 political unrest in Haiti cut off one of the major salt fish markets, and the trade went into a steep decline.

Sherman Zwicker was sold to owners in Glovertown, Newfoundland, where she was employed for a few years, but laid up until sold to George McEvoy of the US. He had the vision to retrieve the schooner, and restore her to original condition. She was built as a motor schooner with a 240 bhp Fairbanks Morse engine and is 144 feet long. Unlike the original Bluenose (built at the same yard) she is not fitted with topmasts or bowsprit, and was built strictly for work, and was never a racer. In fact she is more representational of the typical workaday banking schooner than the Bluenose.

Nonetheless she is a significant vessel and it would be a shame if no one stepped forward to save her. She is in need of significant expenditure, and that may be what is holding people back. Her hull is obviously hogged and despite years of TLC from McEvoy it is probably time for a rebuild. Perhaps not as drastic as Bluenose II is getting, but extensive nonetheless. As the Bluenose II project proves we certainly still have the skills in Nova Scotia to do such a rebuild, and the schooner would certainly seem to belong here is anywhere.

See: and many other web entries under her name.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Overseas Cathy

The crude tanker Overseas Cathy arrived this morning and will sail tonight from the Esso refinery. Unlike most crude tankers we see, this one did not arrive loaded. It may have had some cargo on board, but it is more likely that it came in for tank washing and slops removal.
These residues are reprocessed by the refinery.

Overseas Cathy was built in 2004 by Hyundai, Samho yard and measures 62,371 gross tons, 111,928 deadweight. Registered in the Marshall Islands, she is managed by OSG's British operation, Tanker Management Ltd of Newcastle-on-Tyne.

She is a fleet mate to the Canadian flag (non-duty paid) Overseas Shirley, 62,385 gross, 111, 205 deadweight, built in 2002 by Hyundai, Ulsan.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Atlantic Concert finally gets away

1. Atlantic Concert revs up to pass under the MacKay bridge at 0830 this morning in blowing rain.
Atlantic Concert arrived on Wednesday February 16 with two stowaways aboard. The two had apparently boarded the ship in Liverpool, UK, ten days before. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) is not releasing much information about the incident, but it is most likely that their presence was detected by the crew before the ship arrived in Halifax.

The ship was held in port while the two were removed (they have apparently applied for refugee status in Canada) and a full scale search conducted to see if there were any more on board.

Stowaways are unusual on the North Atlantic in winter, but the Atlantic Companion and its sister ships of the Atlantic Container Line (ACL) are not typical container ships.

As the largest RoRo/LoLo (Roll on Roll off/Lift on Lift off) ships in the world, they are in reality huge floating garages with many internal decks to stow trailers, cars, and other rolling goods, as well as conventional deck loaded containers. Built specifically for ACL's transatlantic service, the ship run on a tightly organized schedule with weekly eastbound and westbound calls in Halifax. They have been targeted by human smugglers before, since they are a fairly quick way to get across the Atlantic, have lots of places to hide, and stop in Canada first before going on to the US.

The ship was built in 1984 and lengthened in 1987. Between 1987 and 1994 the ship was renamed Concert Express when HAPAG-Lloyd and ACL ran a coordinated service. Otherwise the ship has lead an uneventful existence plying its route in strict rotation with the other ships in the fleet.

Because the ship was not able to get away until this morning, that schedule must be in a bit of a mess at this point, however it will probably be made up by skipping some US ports and its eastbound call in Halifax. The ship is giving Baltimore as its next port.

Atlantic Container line is part of the Grimaldi Group of Italy, but its ships still fly the Swedish flag reflecting some of the orginal founding owners of ACL. Crew services and other management has recently passed from Rederi AB Transatlantic to other operators.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New Spill Boats

The Canadian Coast Guard is taking delivery of fifteen new oil spill/pollution control boats. All the boats are built by C&W Industrial Fabrication of Bay Bulls, Newfoundland and will be based in Newfoundland, the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

The first two I have seen arrived in Halifax last week on Thebeland (filling in for Ocean Sanderling on the Halifax/ St.John's route)

The 30 ft x 15 ft aluminum boats are powered by two 150 hp outboard motors and will be used for boom deployment, spill cleanup and other similar work. As is apparent from the photos they are trailerable and can thus be deployed throughout the region from a central base.

The total contract value was $2.5 mn.
Another contract for 40 foot x 15 foot boats is also underway, with Marener in Halifax. - More on those later.

Containers come, containers go

The constant movement of containers in and out of Halifax seems relentless. Almost every day of the week there is one ship or more arriving with containers. Most are in port for eight hours or less (one shift for the longshoremen.)

The ships of Zim Integrated Shipping are among the most regular, with one ship eastbound and one westbound every week. Zim Virginia is typical - one of six sister sips, all built in 2002 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea. Of 53,453 gross tons, it has a capacity of 4839 TEUs. It is registered in Israel.

Not all ships arrive and depart seamlessly however. Yesterday morning the K Line ship Suez Canal Bridge arrived, but had to put back out to sea for repairs. Apparently there was a malfunction with the hydraulicas for its winches up forward, and so it was not possible to tie up and tension its mooring lines. This may have been due to freezing spray and cold weather. The ship will try again this morning.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Playing Chicken in Halifax Harbour

There have been a couple of incidents recently where smaller vessels have crossed the bows of larger ones in Halifax Harbour. One involved a tug, which could have lead to serious consequences.
This morning's incident, which I witnessed, really defies understanding.
A small covered lifeboat, with several persons draped around it - in what may have been survival suits (good idea boys!) would not give way to the containership Antwerpen Express (54,437 gross tons, built 23000, 4890 TEU.) The ship was inbound for Fairview Cove and was passing west of George's Island to avoid two navy tugs, one with a barge (which could easily have given way to the ship also, but that is another story.)
Even when the container ship sounded a warning signal, the lifeboat blithely carried on crossing the ship's path. There may have been radio contact between the two, I don't know, but the lifeboat certainly didn't take advantage of several hundred feet of safe territory between it and the shore. A port to port passing was certainly entirely feasible, and there was no need for the lifeboat to cross the ship's bow.
In my opinion they endangered themselves for no good reason.

1. small lifeboat 2011-02-14 time: 11.10.43

2. Antwerpen Express and pilot boat 2012-02-14, time: 11.11.40

3. ship's bow, time 11.12.59.

Tanker Traffic

With winter upon us the coastal tankers are on the go running short trips out of Halifax, but with the odd side trip as far as Montreal. Chemical tankers also seem to be in profusion these days too, some of them coming from the St.Lawrence. These three have all put in an appearance in the last few days.

1. The Singapore flagged Moor has been up the St.Lawrence and Saguenay recently. It still carries a fair amount of frozen spray forward, despite today's milder temperatures.

2. Turkish built/Canadian tanker Algonova also made a trip to Montreal recently, and ran into some mechanical problems along the way. Arriving Halifax 2011-02-12.

3. US built/ Canadian flagged Algosea rests at anchor awaiting a berth 2012-02-11.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Howdy Pardner

MOL Partner arrived at 1700 hrs on February 10, and the tug Atlantic Willow came alongside to move her into the berth at Halterm. The ship is typical of the post-Panamax ships on the Mitsui OSK Line roster. Built in 2005, 71,902 gross tons and with a capacity of 6350 TEU, the ship is also capable of 26 knots. In these days of slow steaming she probably seldom achieves that speed. Events in Egypt may have a bearing on that however.

If ships are forced to divert to the Cape of Good Hope route instead of the Suez Canal they will certainly have to speed up to maintain weekly schedules. Lines will have to add at least two ships to their Asia/Europe loops as well. It has been estimated that up to 100 more ships would be needed to maintain current levels of service!
According to Aplhaliner the sailing distance from Singapore to Rotterdam via Suez is 8,300 nautical miles, taking 18 days at 20 knots.
Via the Cape it is 11,800 nautical miles and 25 days at 20 knots.

[see also October 10, 2010 posting on this ship]

Thursday, February 10, 2011

At the spouts

1. Under the spouts at pier 28, Startramp is taking cargo from the grain elevators. Both grain and wood pellets are stored in the elevator.

The grain gallery has been busy the last few days with African Evergreen in to load food aid grain, then her space taken immediately by Startramp - which appears to be loading wood pellets.
A first time caller in Halifax, Startramp was built in 2007 in Indonesia, and operated by Korkyra Shipping of Korcula, Croatia. Until 2007 it was registered in Croatia, but now flies the flag of the Marshal Islands. See for info on those owners.
It is an open hatch bulker -meaning that it has large hatches and holds of the same of width and length, allowing it to load a variety of cargo types. It is also fitted with three cranes. A ship of 12,899 gross tons, its deadweight tonnage is 18,615.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Non duty paid Canadian Tanker

1. Overseas Shirley anchored in Halifax from February 1 to 5. Photo 2011-02-04

There is a strange category of Canadian flagged ships. These are ships which fly the Canadian flag, but are not considered to be Canadian under the Coasting Trade Act of 1992. The question is why does such a category exist?

The Coasting Trade Act restricts trade between Canadian ports to Canadian registered ships, which have paid all duties and taxes. This would seem to be straight forward enough. Many countries have so called cabotage laws with similar restrictions.

The best known is perhaps the United States, which has the Jones Act. That piece of legislation is full of all sorts of requirements governing ships, seafarers and shipping companies. The most relevant to this discussion is the requirement that ships trading between US ports must be: a) built in the United States, b) owned by US companies and c) crewed by US mariners. The Jones Act is a means of supporting a domestic shipbuilding, seafaring and ship owning industry. Ships may be registered in the US that do not comply with the Jones Act in category a) but they are restricted from trading between US ports. They are free to trade internationally, but they do not receive all the ancillary benefits of Jones Act ships. It is possible, through an Act of Congress, to have non-US built ships registered in the US for trade between US ports, but it is extremely rare.

There have also been exemptions granted for foreign built ships which were so totally rebuilt in the US as to be the equivalent of a new ship. However the recent "stink" over the suggestion that foreign ships might be allowed to participate in the BP oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico is a reminder that the Jones Act has substantial teeth and widespread support in some sectors of the US shipping community. There are also restrictions on where repairs or modifications can be made to ships. Several recent court actions cases have been brought against ship owners whose ships received extensive reconfigurations in foreign shipyards.
A notable exception in the cabotage rules is the European Union. With no real borders remaining between states for most purposes, the EU allows ships of any nationality to trade throughout the EU. This results in flag of convenience vessels registered in such strange places as Cambodia and the Comoros Islands, trading between and within member countries of the EU. This is a totally open regime and intends to promote trade at low cost. It certainly provides an advantage to flag of convenience vessels over domestic ones and has seen the decline of many national flags as a result. Several countries within the EU have attempted to subsidize domestic shipping with tonnage taxes and other measures, but it is still largely open and free wheeling.

Canada falls somewhere in the middle. Cabotage is restricted in Canada, but not to the same degree as the US. For instance there is no restriction that Canadian flagged ships must be built in Canada. At one time the construction of ships in Canada was directly subsidized by the government, but that has largely ended. Subsidies are now in the form of loan guarantees, structured financing and shipyard subsidies. Until 2010 all imported foreign built ships were subject to a 25% custom duty. That has now also been relaxed to a degree, and duties are remitted for certain classes of large cargo ships/ tankers and ferries built abroad. However the duty still applies to smaller craft. This is seen as a means to promote Canadian shipyards.
Cabotage in Canada also includes ships working on the continental shelf such as oil field work, and passenger/cruise ships starting and terminating their voyages at Canadian ports.
The main area of distinction with the US regime is in the area of exceptions. The Canadian Transportation Agency has the authority to make a determination if a suitable Canadian ship is or is not available to carry out a certain coastal trip or trips. Subject to a number of other conditions relating to Ship Safety, foreign worker permits other taxes paid, etc., the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness may grant a coasting license to a foreign flag ship. This makes sense when there is a small domestic shipping industry and a ship is needed short term. Under this arrangement there is no absolute requirement for the foreign ship to have a Canadian crew, however under certain circumstances it may be required.

There seems however to be one very strange by-product of this and that is in the area of crude oil transportation from the Newfoundland offshore. The major players in this field were committed to using Canadian ships with Canadian crews to transport oil to shore as part of their development agreement with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Specialized shuttle tankers were built in Korea and entered Canadian registry by paying all duties, taxes, etc., required, and became fully fledged Canadian ships. They were built to carry oil from the offshore wells to Canadian ports (cabotage in the true sense) but also to foreign ports and to that strange anomaly, Portland Maine. [If the oil is to be sent via the pipeline from Portland to Montreal the trip is considered to be a coastal trip.]
However some of that oil needs to be transshipped. The Canadian shuttle tankers take the oil to Whiffen Head, NL or Point Tupper, NS where it is offloaded, stored (sometimes blended) and transshipped to another port for refining. Those other ports can be in Canada, such as Halifax, Saint John, St-Romauld (Quebec City) or again, Portland for Montreal, and these would be coastal voyages, not requiring sophisticated shuttle tankers, but ordinary crude carriers. Since there were none of these in Canada there has been a steady stream of applications for coasting licenses, some for a single voyage but also for multiple voyages over the course of a year, to allow foreign flag ships to do this work.

Some foreign companies have set up subsidiaries in Canada, registered their tankers in Canada (and thus taking on Canadian crews), but not paying the import duties. Since many of the tankers’ trips are between a Canadian and US port (e.g. Whiffen Head to Philadelphia) there is no need for Canadian flag. So what is the advantage?
When a tanker is needed to run between two Canadian ports, and no Canadian duty paid tanker is available, the cargo interest applies for a coasting license. The Canadian Transportation Agency, if it agrees that no suitable Canadian duty-paid vessel is available, will then consider if a suitable Canadian non-duty paid ship is available. It may then make a determination and recommend that the Minister grant a coasting license for a stated period of time.
If the license is granted, the duty and taxes are paid on a pro-rated basis for that period of time. Because the ship has complied with many other Canadian regulations such as ship safety, pollution permits, as required by the Canada Shipping Act, and has no issues with foreign worker permits, it is a much simpler process than for a foreign vessel.

However other operators continue to apply for coasting licenses for their foreign flagged ships over and over again and for extended periods of up to a year. Some of these ships even have Canadian crews or partly Canadian crews. This leads to a situation of foreign ships regularly trading in Canada. That may be corrected in new guidelines to the Act which were put in place in July 2010. There has been a noticeable drop off in these applications, but this may be partly explained by a reduction in offshore oil production because of reduced US demand.

One ship that is Canadian, but non-duty paid is Overseas Shirley. It regularly trades between Canadian ports (and often to Portland, Maine) and is granted coasting licenses year after year.
Built in 2001 and measuring 62,385 gross tons, 112,056 tonnes deadweight, it is owned in Barbados, managed by OSG Shipmanagement (UK) Ltd but represented in Canada by OSG Shipmanagement (Canada) Inc of Kirkland, QC.
Its most recent application for a coasting license is for the period January 22 to March 21 and entitles it to transport crude oil from Whiffen Head or Point Tupper to eastern Canadian refineries or terminals.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

No more snow please, we have lots.

A fresh delivery of snow? Well actually no, the Alice Oldendorff is not unloading snow at pier 9B. The photo is posted as a follow up to the February 5 posting to show the ship's unloading boom swung out over the pier while repairs were underway on February 6.

Repairs completed today, the ship is due to sail this afternoon.

Monday, February 7, 2011

HAPAG-Lloyd's future, sunny or gloomy?

1. Tokyo Express sails 2011-02-05 on a sunny day.

2. New York Express arrives 2011-02-06 on a gloomy day.

HAPAG-Lloyd, the world's fifth largest container line, and Halifax's largest container customer is apparently set to be "floated" by IPO. The shipping company is now owned 49.8% by TUI a German travel company and 50.2% by the Albert Ballin Group (which consists of an number of backers.)

TUI has been trying to unload its share of H-L for several years, but the economy stalled efforts to float it on the stock market. A return to prosperity by Maersk (the world's largest) and a settling down of concerns about MSC and CMA/CGM (the #2 and #3 lines) have lead to reports that TUI will soon be making a move to sell about half of its current stake by IPO.

There is still concern among financiers as to who might be in the market for such a small chunk of H-L, since most major players would want a majority. There is also the issue of whether H-L is profitable enough to bring in a good price. Time will tell.
In the meantime HAPAG-Lloyd continues to stream in and out of Halifax on a regular schedule.

Leif Ericson's major refit

1. Leif Ericson resides in a snowy Novadock 2011-02-05

Work continues on Leif Ericson in the Novadock at Halifax Shipyard. Last year the Minister of Transport announced a $12mn refit on the ship which would be carried out over a period of a year. Some of that work is allocated to Halifax Shipyard.

A complete topside and hull repainting is underway, and there is work on the bow loading ramp. However most of the work is within and cannot be seen.

Marine Atlantic is able to get along without the services of the ship as the first of its new vessels Blue Puttees is about to enter service.

When Leif Ericson's refit is complete it will return to the North Sydney/ Port aux Basques route as a truck only carrier. It will not normally carry passengers other than truck drivers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Montreal and helo trials

HMCS Montreal continues with helicopter trials. She emerges from Bedford Basin on Saturday with the new Cyclone copter on the fight deck.

Never to be seen again?

1. Georgia S. arriving in Halifax in ballast, 2005-09-25, a sight never to be seen in Halifax again.

When Georgia S. sailed on January 25 [see January 27 post] I was not aware that it was likely the last time we will ever see the ship in Halifax. A familiar sight for thirty years and almost a fixture since 2009, the ship has been reassigned. It was the final ship in a series of self-unloading bulkers developed by Ole Skaarup, a New York based shipping entrepreneur and visionary.

2. Melvin H. Baker was the first ship built to Ole Skaarup's concept.
He is credited with developing the modern self-unloader [simultaneous developments were occurring on the Great Lakes and elsewhere however, so he was not the originator of the idea.] His pioneering ship was the Melvin H.Baker named for the founder of National Gypsum, and built specifically to carry gypsum from Halifax to east coast US ports. It sailed out of Halifax from August 10, 1956 through to March 9, 1994, making thousands of trips and then worked in the orient until it was delivered to the breakers in China December 23, 2009. Melvin H.Baker was built by AG Weser in Bremen, Germany and measured 10,884 gross tons. Its deadweight capacity was 16, 894 as built, later revised to 12,258 gross and 17,940 tonnes deadweight.
There were two near sisters in the Skaarup fleet, Inverness ex Lewis R. Sanderson 10,032/56 and Dartmouth ex William M. Currie 11,416/56 , both eventually carrying Nova Scotia names, and also specialized gypsum carriers, but they were not frequent callers in Halifax. Instead they loaded in the Bras D'or Lakes and Strait of Canso.

3. Colon Brown in drydock at Halifax Shipyard, 1975-04-26, after being salvaged.

In 1974 Skaarup took delivery of a larger version of the ocean going self-unloader. Colon Brown was built by Sasebo Heavy Industries in Japan, and was a vessel of 15,471 gross tons 26,556 deadweight. Early in its service it ran into trouble off Halifax in a storm. It returned to port and was intentionally beached in Macnab's Cove April 4, 1975 to prevent it from sinking. It was badly damaged, but was patched up enough to send back to Sasebo for rebuilding. A new cargo section was fabricated and the existing bow and stern attached, forming a new ship named Gold Bond Conveyor, 14,941 gross, 26,608 deadweight.

4. The rebuilt and renamed Gold Bond Conveyor 1992-05-21.
On March 13, 1993 Gold Bond Conveyor left Halifax fully loaded with gypsum and was caught in the "storm of the century." It sank with the loss of all 33 aboard, 180 miles south of Cape Sable, in the Gulf of Maine. An air rescue crew was helpless to save the crew due to the extreme weather.

5. Gold Bond Trailblazer arriving Halifax, 1987-05-10.

Meanwhile Skaarup had the cargo section of Colon Brown rebuilt and a new bow and stern built and attached by Sasebo in 1978. It was named the Gold Bond Trailblazer and measured 14,956 gross tons (later 18,241) and 26,608 deadweight. It was also an on/again off again caller in Halifax, but in 1998 it was acquired by CSL International and renamed CSL Trailblazer. It is still operating in the CSL International pool on the west coast of North America, last reported in Baha California

6. Georgia S. sailing from Halifax for the last time 2011-01-25.
In 1981 Skaarup went back to Sasebo for another evolution of the basic design. This became Georgia S. measuring 15,462 gross tons, 30,187 deadweight. It is a very similar ship to the previous ones, but with some differences. The superstructure aft is the same as that of the Trailblazer, one deck lower than the Colon Brown/ Conveyor. I believe this was done to enhance the ship's stability, but I have no confirmation. The most significant difference is the raised bow forward, in way of number one hatch. This may also have been in response to seakeeping experience with the other ships. Certainly a number of sudden bulk carrier losses were attributed to the collapse of the number one hatch in extreme sea conditions.

Georgia S. was built to deliver gypsum at four National Gypsum plants on the US east coast. However in the recent recession all but one of those plants was closed. Georgia S. arrived in Halifax May 8, 2009 and entered long periods of idleness anchored in Bedford Basin. It continued to service the Burlington, NJ National Gypsum plant when needed, but otherwise sat at anchor with a full crew aboard and ready to sail. It was obliged to serve only National Gypsum as part of its contract with CSL International. That contract has apparently now expired, and the the ship can be assigned to other work.

It sailed from Halifax January 25, and after unloading in Burlington headed for Panama. I understand that it will be drydocked, and then other work will be found, likely in China.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Alice Oldendorff in for repairs

1. Alice Oldendorff approaches pier 9. The five hoppers (one for each hold) are prominent on deck.
2. Atlantic Fir swings the ship to back in to pier 9B.

3. The self-unloading boom is stowed on the starboard side of the deck, with a gantry mounted forward to swing it out over the dock. Just ahead of the house along the rail are two front end loaders, used to gather up the cargo in the holds

The self-discharging bulker Alice Oldendorff tied up at pier 9A this afternoon for some minor repairs. The ship is an off and on caller in Halifax for gypsum, and is part of the CSL International Pool of self-unloaders that carry gypsum, coal, aggregates and other bulk commodities up and down the east coast.

[The pool consists of ships from CSLI, Oldendorff Carriers, Torvald Klaveness, Algoma and Marbulk. Each of these is a shipowner in its own right and except for Marbulk (50/50 CSL and Algoma) has its own web site - all worth a look: ; ; ]

Flying the Liberian flag, Alice Oldendorff was built in 2000 at Shanghai Shipyard. Her gross tonnage is 28,747 and deadweight is an even 48,000 tonnes.

The ship is a hybrid self-unloader. Her four 30 tonne deck cranes are used to unload by means of clamshell buckets into deck hoppers. These in turn feed a deck-mounted conveyor belt system connected to a slewing conveyor boom. The boom will swing out over the dock to land the cargo. Because the hoppers control the flow of material, there is a steady stream of discharge, allowing for more precision in the placement of the cargo in stockpiles. The on-deck hopper/conveyor system can be retrofitted to a conventional geared bulker at a lower cost than constructing a self-contained gravity fed unloading belt system [see following story on Georgia S] The downside is more labour intensive/equipment intensive use of the cranes and slower unloading speed. Payload may be greater however, since the holds are flat bottomed instead of hopper shaped. Note the wheel loaders on deck that are used to reach the far corners of the holds and feed the last "crumbs" of cargo to the clamshells.

Repairs will be carried out by Marener Industries, a ship repair and boat building operation based at pier 9B.

The ship's complete specs can be found on the CSL International Web site:


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Halifax Expedition Ship Aground (again)

1. Polar Star arriving Halifax 2001-05-18 following conversion work at Verreault shipyard in Méchins, QC. There was still fitting out work to do before the ship went into service.

Karlsen Shipping of Halifax operates Polar Star Expeditions and the icebreaking expedition ship Polar Star, in the arctic in summer and antarctic in (our) winter. Last summer the ship was aground in Norway, and now it has grounded on the Antarctic Peninsula.
On January 31 while en route from Antarctica to Argentina it fetched up on Detaille Island. Early reports indicate that the ship's outer hull was punctured. All 80 passengers and 35 crew were reported safe, and damage is minimal, but the Argentine navy may be evacuating all the passengers. The ship is the former Swedish icebreaker Njord, built in 1969 and was acquired and refitted for cruising in 2000.
This a breaking story, so more news will likely be coming in frequently-check for updates.

2. Polar Star leaving Halifax 2000-10-14 for Méchins, QC. The tug Point Carroll is making up to tow the ship, with Point Valiant assisting off the stern. Some conversion work was done in Halifax.

3. Polar Star arriving in Halifax for the first time 2000-05-13.
After 6 to 7 hours hung up on the rock, Polar Star was given permission to sail, still with passengers aboard. It is heading for the South Shetland Islands, where it will stop at a Polish research base. Divers will conduct a survey before the ship retunrs to Ushuaia, Argentina.
The rock was apparently uncharted as is often the case in remote regions.
Update Feb 4:
Passengers were removed from the ship on arrival at South Shetlands and will be transferred to Ushuaia by other means. Extent of damage to the ship has not been released by Karlsen. Sunday's departure from Ushuaia has been cancelled.

Navy Activity

1. HMCS St.John's came in for a PAX (passenger) transfer this morning and returned to sea.

2. FDU 22 Fortune is a multi-purpose work boat attached to the Fleet Diving Unit in Shearwater. It was built by Celtic Shipyard in Vancouver.

3. FDU 22 gets under way from Bishop's Landing as St.John's heads out, with the Woodside ferry scurrying over for another load of commuters.

There has been a fair amount of navy toing and froing in the harbour over the last few days.

HMCS St.John's has been one of the more visible vessels, coming in and out, and presumably using the sound range. Submarine HMCS Corner Brook has also been active, although it has escaped my camera.


Big Project Cargo

1. Beluga Festival at pier 30. (2011-01-31)

2. A pusher tug is on the ship's deck, but hidden from view behind an open hatch cover.

Material has been accumulating on pier 30 since December for a major project cargo lift to Africa. Consisting of what appear to be boiler plant components, the large steel fabrications have been arriving by train and truck.

On Sunday evening the Beluga Festival arrived and on Monday work got underway to take on the cargo. Beluga Festival is another of those ubiquitous Beluga ships, designed to carry heavy lifts and project cargoes. Built in 2010 it is a 9611 gross tons vessel, German owned and registered in Antigua. As an example of its versatility, it was in Belledune, NB in September unloading wind turbines. It then went to the Great Lakes and loaded grain in Duluth. It was reported in Gibraltar at the end of October taking bunkers and bound for Italy. Then last month it unloaded 10,000 tones of reinforcing steel at Panama for the new Panama Canal project.

At some point it was in the southern US and picked up a shallow draft pusher tug which it loaded on deck. It is not visible in the bow shot because the open hatch is in the way. That it could do with ease. It has two 180 tonne capacity cranes than can be combined to lift 360 tonnes.

Also on the dock are some of the pontoon type tween decks which are removable in sections to suit cargo configurations.