Tuesday, May 31, 2011

All change at Autoport

The autocarrier Otello spent the day at Autoport unloading, then moved to pier 31 to unload some cranes. Meanwhile Oceanex Sanderling waited patiently for the berth to be free to go in and load automobiles for Newfoundland.

Otello, 60,942 gross tons was built in 2006 and flies the Swedish flag.

Oceanex Sanderling, 21, 849 gross tons, was built in 1977, but looks quite splendid in its new paint, which was acquired in its recent refit in Gibraltar. I still think the guy who painted the name on the bow and stern should seek alternate employment.


It was USS Boise

Not a Virginia class as I incorrectly surmised, but a modified Los Angeles class submarine - thanks Peterz - USS Boise was our visitor over the past few days. The sub, SSN 764, and recent winner of the Brandenburg cup as best ship in the Atlantic fleet, was in port in part to commemorate the United States' Memorial Day.

Halifax was an important port during the war of 1812-1814 (which we won no matter what anyone says) and there are many graves here of US war dead from that conflict. They died during the North American version of the war, which was started when Britain was distracted by Napoleon. It was the US intention to take over the British North American colonies (which now form part of Canada.) They did not succeed.

USS Boise sailed this afternoon. It does look somewhat battered, but apparently unbowed.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Marener cranking out boats

Marener Industries in Halifax is cranking out aluminum emergency response boats for the Canadian Coast Guard. As part of the government's economic action plan, the Department of Fisheries & Oceans awarded a $7.9 mn contract to build 15 of the 50 foot boats. Marener is building ten of them,. Three others are under construction at Kanter Boats in St.Thomas, ON and two more at Alberni Engineering in Alberni, BC.
The boats are assembled at Marener's facilities at pier 9B in Halifax, although some of the work has been subcontracted. Laurentian Steel Fabricators of Sydney, NS built seven of the hull frames, to jump start the project.

1. A boat returns from trials in Bedford Basin.

2. An unfinished hull awaits completion.

3. A house, well advanced with most fittings installed. It will have seating for six, a galley and head.

4. With the house installed on the hull, the boats sits on a special cradle to be backed into the assembly building.

5. Boating & Receiving? A boat is assembling in the shed.

6. A fully painted craft emerges from the shed.

7. An extreme shallow draft forward and flat bottom, will allow the boat to ride up on beaches and use its 6 ton capacity bow door to unload ATVs, spill booms and other equipment.

8. At 50 ft long and 15 ft wide and low profile, the boats are easily truckable. The DPH outdrives are in the raised position, which will also be useful in beaching. Main engines are 250 bhp Volvos.

9. Underway on trials, these are distinctive looking craft.

Marener, a locally owned company has formed a joint venture with Weldmec Ab of Finland, called Serecraft NA. Weldmec has its own line of similar boats, but these new ones are distinctive types.
The boats were designed by Robert Alan Ltd. of Vancouver.


That's the Spirit!

Nirint Spirit sailed this afternoon in bright sunshine - a contrast to the weather when it arrived, consistent fog and drizzle for most of May.

The ship is one of the familiar general cargo ships built by Dalian Shipyard in China for Clipper Elite Carriers. It started life as CEC Atlantic in 2000, becoming Nirint Pride in 2003 when it took up a charter with Nirint Lines. It was renamed at Moerdijk, Netherlands July 4, 2003 and made its first call in Halifax on July 14, 2003. It was a familiar sight until 2010 when the ship was sold and took up another charter. For that work it was renamed OXL Fakir until April of this year.

Now controlled by Briese Schiffs. of Germany it has taken up another charter to Nirint and has adopted its current name. It is now registered in Douglas, Isle of Man.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Atlantic Condor on trials

The supplier Atlantic Condor set out for trials again today in Bedford Basin. The impressive looking vessel has been featured in Tugfax, but it is not a tug, strictly speaking, so it is worth another look on this site.

Built by Halifax Shipyard to an Ulstein standard design, the boat was launched October 31, 2010. It is on a long term charter to Encana for work on the Deep Panuke gas field off Nova Scotia, and so will be a familiar sight in Halifax for many years to come. Originally intended for supply and standby services, it has now been equipped to support Remotely Operated Vessels (ROVs).

As mentioned in Tugfax, the boat has been fitted with a gantry for work with to lower and raise the submersible. The gantry is clearly visible in the photo, with a large winch for the umbilical and carrier for the sub. Oceaneering Ltd has the contract with Encana for ROV services.

The Deep Panuke project consists of a well 250 km southeast of Halifax, a 173km pipeline to Golboro, NS, and associated shoreside plant.

Update: Atlantic Condor sailed for Deep Panuke this evening.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Pearl River takes a break

1. Pearl River looms out of the fog as she backs in toward pier 25.

2. Atlantic Fir straightens the ship out to come in alongside.

3. A spare prop blade, and railings carefully picked out in red. Note there is no hold space below the stack of containers forward of the bridge- that is engine room space below deck.

The CMA CGM container ship Pearl River worked at Halterm today then moved to pier 25. Built in 2008 by Qingshan Shipyard in Wuhan, China, the ship has a capacity of 1118 TEU (including 220 refrigerated) and has tow 45 tonne cranes. It measures 9940 gross tons.

The ship was built as Pearl River, but renamed CMA CGM Sierra shortly afterwards, It reverted to Pearl River in 2009, but still works for CMA CGM.

The ship got away from pier 42 without a tug, but was met off pier 25 by Atlantic Fir which brought it in.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Minister's Visit

Is it just me, or does the navy seem particularly busy when the Minister of Defence is in town? Today that worthy person "unveiled" a new Cyclone helicopter at Shearwater. Meanwhile on the sound range HMCS Ville de Quebec was trialing a dear old Sea King. Note the extensive mooring lines from the ship to buoys.


US Navy visitor

It has been a long time since a US Navy submarine has visited Halifax. Once common during the Cold War, the number of visits dropped off dramatically after the invasion of Iraq following 9/11. There has been enhanced navy activity in Halifax in the last few days and weeks, with several ships exercising and coming and going, so some sort of exercise may be going on.

What I believe to be a Virginia class SSN (attack submarine) arrived this afternoon and was met by a small flotilla of harbour craft, including several Dockyard tugs.

All US subs are now nuclear powered, and thus must tie up at Shearwater (Navy Jetty Alpha) in Eastern Passage.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gray but busy day

1. Last in for the day is New York Express with the pilot boat also inbound, heading for Fairview Cove.

2. Atlantic Cartier has cleared the Macdonald Bridge and is northbound in the Narrows this afternoon.

3. Berta, running for Eimskip, is subbing for the damaged Reykjafoss.

4. Lions Gate Bridge nears Halterm.

5. Oceanex Sanderling at Autoport (compare to similar shot of Tirranna yesterday.)


Monday, May 23, 2011


Another of the world's largest Pure Car and Truck Carriers arrived today. It is part of the Wallenius-Wilhelmsen fleet, but unlike the recent caller Faust (with a 7500 car capacity) this one is part of the Wilhelmsen half of the consortium.
All Wilhelmsen ships are named for places beginning with the letter "T" , and so the capital of Albania is recognized with Tirranna. Built in 2009 this one measures 71,673 gross tons and has a 7260 car capacity.
She first arrived at Autoport thois morning where she disgorged cars. Then late in the afternoon moved over to pier 30-31 where she unloaded some mobile cranes and various crates and other material. Her departure time is 2000 hrs.

1. Tirranna dwarfs the pier at Autoport this morning.

2. The ships crosses over to pier 30 -31 late in the afternoon.

3. Turning off the pier to back in with the help of Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Larch.

4. Sliding back in alongside the pier for 1800 hrs.

5. The ship's ramp has a 320 tonne capacity, which will not be severely tested on this particular visit.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Federal Yoshino

The Fednav ship Federal Yoshino made a brief appearance in Halifax for bunkers this afternoon. For the first day in some time conditions were clear and a few rays of sun actually fell on the ship!

Built in 2001 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in Toyohashi, Japan, it flies the flag of the Marshall Islands. A bulk carrier, fitted with three cranes of 30 tonne capacity it measures 19,125 gross tons and 32,845 deadweight tonnes.

Last port was Baie Comeau, QC.

Grand Manan V mystery [update 2]

Damage to the ferry Grand Manan V may be more serious than orginally thought. Not only that, but there seems to be difficulty in finding a shipyard to do the work.


Despite my earlier updated report, it appears that the ship may not be going to Pictou after all. New intelligence suggests that the ship is heading for Montreal. This long trip will take several days, and in fact Montreal may not be the ultimate destination. We will see.

Update: The ship's AIS is now giving Méchins, QC as the destinaiton. This is the next hearest yard with a a drydock that could handle the ship. Verreault's shipyard there would be well able to deal with any repirs the ship needs.
There may be an explanation - embarassing though it migh be, for the earlier report about Montreal as destination. In fact that report gave Lachine as the destination. Someone (whose knowledge of geography and the French language may have been limited) probably confused Lachine with Méchins (or Les Méchins, as it is correctly rendered.)
If you were to pronounce Lachine to sound like Machine and Méchins as Machines I guess that would explain it.

Macs Instant French pronunciaiton guide for anglophones:
Lachine= la shin
Méchins= you have to hear it said properly - give me a call.

Lachine, just at the west end of downtown Montreal, is the entrance to the old St.Lawrence Canals, which bypassed the Lachine rapids. They were so named as a joke on the great explorer LaSalle, who was not satisfied with finding the Mississippi, and wanted to find China, but was stopped by the rapids. La Chine is french for China.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Zim in and out

1. Zim Ontario ghosts in to Halterm this morning.

2. It is clearer when she sails this afternoon. The white reefer boxes are much in evidence.

The Zim ships keep to schedule despite their globe girdling schedule. Most Zim ships are named for specific ports, but for some reason they chose the entire province of Ontario for this one, which arrived and departed today.

Built in 2009 by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in Okpo, South Korera, Zim Ontario measures 50,963 gross tons and has a capacity of 4884 TEU. Of these up to 560 may be reefers.

Zim's reefer containers are painted white, so it easy to spot them, but it is harder to tell which ones may actually be loaded and using the reefer plugs.

The ship is owned by NSB Neiderelble and registered in Germany.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Political Fog in the Basin?

1. Shawinigan exercising.

2. Atlantic Erie clears to MacKay bridge, bound for National Gypsum.

It was "black tick o' fog" in most of the harbour today, but the fog did come and go from Bedford Basin, to reveal some shipping activity. There is a very interesting political coincidence going on with the two ships.

HMCS Shawinigan MMA 704 was doing some exercising with her summer crew (these ships are used intensively for reserves training.) Named for the hometown of a former prime minister, the ship was launched by Halifax Shipyard on November 15, 1996. The ship's sponsor was Mme Aline Chrétien, wife of that prime minister, Hon. Jean Chrétien.

In the early evening Atlantic Erie arrived to load gypsum. The ship was built at Collingwood Shipyard and launched as Hon. Paul Martin on November 1, 1984. Sponsor was Mrs. Eleanor Martin, wife of Senator Paul Martin, and mother of later prime minister Hon. Paul Martin Jr., owner of Canada Steamship Lines. The ship was renamed in December 1988 and it was flagged out to the Bahamas in January 1989. It returned to Canadian flag in 1996, but has kept the name Atlantic Erie ever since. Mr. Martin Jr. succeeded M. Chrétien and was the last Liberal Prime Minister of Canada.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bad News for Grand Manan [updated]

1. Grand Manan V in Halifax after a refit in 1998.

2. Grand Manan at Liverpool, NS in 1995. Her bow vistor is partly open.

The only operational ferry between Black's Harbour, NB and Grand Manan Island was taken out of service yesterday after a grounding incident.

With delivery of the new ferry Grand Manan Adventurer scheduled for sometime in June, and the back up ferry Grand Manan mothballed since last fall the timing was very unfortunate.

As the Grand Manan V approached the wharf in Black's Harbour, NB, and was preparing to berth, it is reported that there was a failure in the bridge controls and the ferry ran onto a ledge, in the falling tide. Worse still, the ship's bow became jammed under the pier and the ferry started to list. At one time the list was reported to be 10 degrees, with one of the props clear of the water.

The crew responded quickly with life rafts and a nearby fish farming scow was pressed into service and all passengers were evacuated safely. The crew then managed to free the ship by reversing at full power, but this damaged the pier and the ship's bow. However the ferry was able to berth and all vehicles were eventually unloaded.

According to press accounts the ship is damaged below the waterline and its bow visor is also damaged, which restricts it to stern loading only.

It may take several days to get the old ferry Grand Manan re-certified and operational. When it was laid up September 12, 2010 it was held in reserve as back-up, but was not expected to sail again since the new ferry was due in spring. The new ferry's May delivery has been delayed to June, so the old timer may well be in use for some time once it is brought back into service.

Grand Manan is much smaller than Grand Manan V, so fishing companies, trying to get their product off the island and long week-end tourists will be severely inconvenienced.

For a photo and general account of the incident see:

Grand Manan was built in 1965 at Saint John Shipbuilding and Drydock. From 1991 to 1993 it carried the name Grand Manan IV. It was owned by J.D.Irving Ltd to 1978, CN Marine from 1978 to 1989 and since 1989 by the Province of New Brunswick. It is operated by Coastal Shipping Ltd of Saint John. Its capacity is 100 passengers ands 25 autos.

Grand Manan V was assembled in 1990 by Bodewes Scheepswerft "Volharding" in Hoogezand, from components built by Niestern Sander BV of Delfzijl, Netherlands. It has a passenger capacity of 320 and carries 64 cars.

Update: Grand Manan entered service Thursday May 19. Many fuishing boats made the two and one half hour trip to Black's Harbour to pick up much needed baot, but also to transport groceries, newspapers, other staples and even passengers. Unfortunately large truckls are not able to use the ferry, and these emergency delivery trips will continue until normal service is resumed.

Grand Manan V will head to Pictou, NS for repairs which are expected to take at least a week.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Atlantic RoRo stopover

The ships of Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers are usually in port for short periods of time. In fact, some have only been in port for a few minutes. The line is Russian owned and runs between St.Petersburg, Russia and Houston, TX with stops along the way. When Halifax is a stop it is for only for a very limited amount of cargo, and the ship usually arrives and sails as soon as possible.

This afternoon 's arrival of Atlantic Hope is a break from the norm, since the ship went to anchor for the night and will berth at Halterm in the morning.

Built in 1987 by VEB Warnowerft, Warnemunde, in what was then East Germany, it is one of the noted Astrakhan Mark I general cargo RoRos built for the USSR. These ships were built with high grade steel, ice class, extreme endurance range and a versatility of cargo handling to permit civilian or military use. The ship is fitted with 4 cranes of 12.5 tonne capacity and traditional derricks: one 125 tonne jumbo and two 25 tonne. [The later Mark III type had all cranes.]

Carrying a relatively modest 533 TEU it can also carry 232 cars or 81 trucks or 90 TEU trailers., in addition to substantial general or bulk cargo. Thus gross tonnage comes out as 15,893 and deadweight 18,020 tonnes.

The ship has had nine previous names, but started live as Baltiysk for the Baltic Shipping Company of St.Petersburg. Current owners are also based in St.Petersburg, but the ship now flies the Maltese flag.


Hansa Catalina

Melfi Lines, which is a Cuban company, has been a regular caller in Halifax. They do not own ships, but have chartered in a wide variety of vessels over the years, gradually increasing in size. Local agents are Protos Shipping which has some information about the company: www.protos.ca/English/Lines/melfi/melfi.html

Hansa Catalina arrived at Halterm yesterday, but did not work cargo until today, then sailed late this afternoon. The ship flies the Liberian flag but is owned by Leonhardt & Blumberg, a long time German shipowner. Their excellent website is worth a look: http://www.leonhardt-blumberg.com/

The ship was built in 1997, measures 16, 915 gross tons and carries 1645 TEU, with 108 reefer plugs. It has two 40 tonne and one 10 tonne crane.

The ship has born several names over the years: Hansa Catalina 1997, P&O Nedlloyd Abidjan 1997-1999, CMA Xiamen 1999-2000, Hansa Catalina 2000-2003, Cap Lobos 2003 - 2006 and Hansa Catalina again since 2006.


Monday, May 16, 2011

First call for Berta

The Antigua and Barbuda flagged Berta called at pier 36 Monday May 16 for Eimskip. The 6264 gross/ 2004 ship was called in on short notice to take over for the regular caller Reykjafoss. That ship lost power, ran aground and damaged its prop in Argentia on April 29. Berta has a capacity of 645 TEU and has two 40 tonne cranes to handle cargo.

She departed early in the afternoon for Boston.


Double Header at the Cove

1. Atlantic Cartier at the west berth (nearest the camera) and Atlantic Compass at the east berth this afternoon.

The ships of Atlantic Container Line are regular callers at the Fairview Cove container terminal operated by Cerescorp. There are usually two visits per week, with one ship eastbound and one ship westbound. The visits usually occur on Sunday and Tuesday, but these can vary.

So it is relatively rare that there are two ACL ships in port at the same time.

Early this morning Atlantic Cartier arrived and tied up at the west end of the pier. Later in the morning Atlantic Compass arrived and tied up at the east end of the pier.

Although ostensibly sister ships, they were built by different yards for different owners, and a close study of the photo will show some differences in the superstructures and the deck fitting and ramp structures.

Atlantic Cartier was built at the Chantier du Nord, Dunkirk, Frnace, in 1985 and was initially owned by Cie Generale Maritime SA under the French flag. CGM was one of the original partners in the Atlantic Container Line. The ship's boat deck (immediately below the wheelhouse) is substantially longer than her fleet mate's, and shows a much larger accommodation space. As built it measured 25,362 gross tons.

Atlantic Compass was built in 1984 by Kockums AB of Malmo, Sweden for Rederiaktiebolaget Transocean, and measured 25,348 gross tons.

As built, the ships had a container capacity of 2157, of which 725 could be carried on the car deck. Alternatively, large numbers of cars or trailers could be carried.

In 1987 the ships were lengthened by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan, Korea, with the additional of new container cargo section. They emerged with a capacity of 2908 TEU. At that time their gross tonnages were recalculated. Atlantic Compass's present gross tonnage is 57, 255 and Atlantic Cartier's is 58,358 reflecting the greater enclosed space in the accommodations. As such they are still the largest RoRo container ships in the world.

During the lifetime of the ship's their ownerships have changed but as of 2002 all ships in the ACL are owned by the Atlantic Container Line, which is now part of the Grimaldi Group.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

One less Halifax

1. The steamship Halifax on the St.Lawrence River in 2005, with a full load of iron ore

The port city of Halifax has been the namesake for several ships over the years, but that number will be reduced by one in the next few weeks. On April 21, 2011 the Canadian registry of the ss Halifax was closed, and the ship will soon head for scrappers on a tow line. The tug Sirocco is due in Montreal May 23 to tow the ship to Aliaga, Turkey.

The steamship Halifax was built in 1962 at Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon, QC as hull number 638. Commissioned in May 1963 it was named Frankcliffe Hall by the owners Hall Corporation of Canada, Montreal. Hall was a major Great Lakes shipping operator of the time, and the ship was built to take advantage of the recently completed St. Lawrence Seaway. It measured 730'-2" long x 75' wide, the maximum dimensions for transiting the locks. Although modern in many respects, it was powered by a traditional Pametrada steam turbine, built by John Inglis Co Ltd of Toronto. It developed 9,000 shp, and geared through a single fixed pitch propellor giving a reported speed of 17 knots.

The "— cliffe Hall" naming scheme was unique to Halco, and in this caser the prefix "Frank" was chosen to recognize Frank A. Augsbury Sr, founder of the company in 1923. The ship was what is known as a straight decker in Great Lakes parlance, meaning a gearless bulk carrier. Engaged primarily in grain and ore hauling, it ran between the head of the lakes and as far east as Sept-Iles. It also had its wheelhouse forward in the Great Lakes tradition.

2. Halifax in Halifax in 1990.

In the 1980 the ship was taken in hand by Port Arthur Shipbuilding, in Thunder Bay, ON and converted to a self-unloader. The superstructure for the gear was mounted aft, and necessitated raising the funnel to ensure that exhaust gases were kept clear. The conversion also involved raising the ship’s main deck, thus increasing her tonnage. The added freeboard and hull stiffening allowed the ship to venture out of the Gulf of St.Lawrence and come to Halifax with grain, and load gypsum as a back haul. As a result Frankcliffe Hall was the only maximum size laker, with wheelhouse forward, ever to call in Halifax on regular trading.

By the late 1980s Halco had fallen on hard times, and in 1987 the ship was chartered out to Canada Steamship Lines for a year. At the end of the year CSL bought the ship as the Hall fleet was sold off and the company wound up. It was at that time that she was renamed Halifax.
The ship continued calling in Halifax, and even wintered over here in 1990-91. In 1991 she made 8 trips in with grain and loaded out gypsum 5 times, but as more modern ships were available, the ship’s visits decreased each year. Her last visit was in 1996 when she took out one load of gypsum.

3. Frankcliffe Hall in Halifax in 1986, unloading grain.

At the end of the 2008 season the ship was laid up in Montreal and has been idle ever since. In April she was re-registered in Liberia and she was prepared for the overseas tow. As the only member of what might have become a "Halifax" class of ships had others been similarly converted, she was a memorable vessel. She gave a little taste of the Great Lakes to Halifax, and served her owners well for over forty years.

OOCL Britain, port side to.

The OOCL post-Panamax ships that call at Fairview Cove almost invariably tie up "starboard side to". To do this, the ship must turn off the berth and back in. This also allows them to leave bow first, and requires slightly less maneuvering and a straighter departure.

The two post-Panamax cranes at the Ceres Terminal are also stationed at the west end of the pier, so the ship ties up at that end.

It was a bit of a surprise today to see OOCL Britain alongside "port side to". I could detect a diver's boat under her stern, but this was not possible to capture on film. No doubt there was a very good reason to tie the ship up in this way.

Also the ship seemed to be extremely lightly loaded.

Built in 1996, the 66046 gross ton ship can carry 5344 TEU. It is registered in Hong Kong.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

HMCS Halifax emerges from the graving dock

1. HMCS Halifax lies at the Machine Shop Wharf, her refit still underway.

2. Atlantic Fir pushes Atlantic Sealion past the Novadock, still occupied by CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent.

HMCS Halifax was hauled out of the graving dock at Halifax Shipyard early this morning. The dock is needed for other activity involving the barge Atlantic Sealion and tug Atlantic Fir (we think.)

However the tug and barge overshot the dock and went round to the inside of Novadock before returning to the IEL dock - we'll wait and see what happens.

The Halifax graving dock was built in 1889 and is essentially unchanged. It was heavily damaged by the Halifax explosion in 1917, and its original dock gate has been replaced, but otherwise it is remarkably intact. All around it has changed however!

See these (and several other) fascinating photos from the Nova Scotia Archives: