Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Provo Wallis homage

1. CCGS Provo Wallis alongside the Dartmouth Coast Guard base in 1976. Even at that early date the lower bridge windows were covered from inside.

2. Anchored in the Northwest Arm of Halifax harbour setting out summer buoys. The crew are using the landing craft/workboat to get to some really shallow spots. The boat is worked from a big gantry davit.

3. Post refit, the ship shows its form on the cradle at Dartmouth Marine Slips. The icebreaking bow is normally not visible. The draft is also relatively modest.

4. An early morning run up the Narrows in Halifax. Note the workboat has new davits, the hull is 20 ft longer and the derrick system is new. Also the lower bridge windoes are gone. They added rub rails for the work boat post-refit.

4. Healing over at the Coast Guard base, Provo Wallis loads a freshly painted summer buoy.

5. Part of the refit work included installing a fast rescue boat on the starboard side.

The government of Canada, through its Crown Assets Distribution agency has just listed for the sale the former CCGS Provo Wallis.

Built in 1969 by Marine Industries Ltd, in Tracy, QC, (Hull No.387) it was a navigation aids tender with light icebreaking capability. At 189-5" long and 1313 gross tons, and relatively shallow draft of 12'-6", it was able to service small ports, bays and rivers in Atlantic Canada, and was based in Halifax.

Provo Wallis was a fine vessel, and in 1990 it was dispatched to Marystown, NF where it was lengthened by about 20ft. At the same time it received a new derrick system, rated at 20 tonnes and other modernisations. One feature that it lost in the refit, was most of the low level bridge windows. This second tier of windows at deck level of the wheelhouse had been covered from within, almost from the time the ship was new, but now they were plated over. Only the windows at the extreme outer edges of the bridge remained.

The ship was now classed as a Medium Endurance Multi-Tasked Vessel. It would respond to Search & Rescue calls, conduct patrols, protect the environment and whatever other tasks could be fitted in.

The ship went into cold layup at the Dartmouth Coast Guard base in May 2003, but was taken out of mothballs in March 2006 and sent to St.John's for a refit. On its return in May it left for the west coast where it was to replace sister ship cover for CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier while it was in a major refit. At the time it was said that Provo Wallis would be coming back to the east coast when the Laurier returned to service.
Sister ship Bartlett (MIL Hull No. 388) had been based in St.John's and Parry Sound, ON but had been on the west coast for several years, and was retired in 2006 at about the time the Wallis got to Pat Bay, Altough its propulsion controls were upgraded by Halifax Shipyards in 1988, it had not been lengthened and still had its original derrick system.

It came as a surprise to me when Bartlett was chosen for a life extension refit at Allied Shipbuilders in Vancouver. Starting in July 2009 and ending in September 2010, the $21.9mn project was intended to extend the ship's life for 10 years. Both ships still have their original twin Mirrlees-Blackstone 6 cyl engines, producing 2,100 bhp total and driving twin screws, giving 11 knots.

When Bartlett returned to service Provo Wallis was decommissioned and renamed 2011-02 and is up for sale. The reserve price is $400,000.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

OOCL New York - a light load

1. The tug Atlantic Oak swings the stern of OOCL New York to line up for the Narrows. Anchored quietly in the Bedford Basin is the Torm Pacific, which arrived a week ago.

Things are pretty quiet in the Big Harbour these days. Aside from the regularly scheduled ships, there isn't a lot of interesting activity. Even the big container liners are coming and going in a few hours, and look lightly loaded.

OOCL New York is a perfect example. It arrived early this this morning and when it left at 1530 there was a lot of boot topping showing, so it wasn't very heavily loaded. Not a good sign.

The post-Panamax ship of 66,289 gross tons, built as E.R. Hong Kong, is owned by the Ernst Russ company of Hamburg and flies the German flag. Built in 1999 it has a capacity of 5762 TEU. From the look of it, most of those TEUs were empty today or carrying goose down.

It has been calling in Halifax for OOCL since January 28, 2006.


Friday, November 25, 2011


The landlocked tax haven and collectible postage stamp state of Lichtenstein seems an odd name for a Greek owned tanker, built and managed in South Korea, but such is the strange world of ship ownership.

Lichtenstein the ship was built in 2009 by the Tongyuong Shipyard in South Korea, and is managed by DL Shipping of Busan. It is owned by Lichtenstein Shipping Co, which gives its address as the same as DL. However it is reported that the owner is Top Ships of Athens, Greece. That it is registered in Panama does give some clue that not too many taxes are paid to Greece!

Of 30,006 gross tons and 44,999 deadweight tonnes at summer draft, it is on the large side for a chemical/oil products tanker. Judging by the number of manifolds however, it would certainly be able to carry a wide variety of cargoes at the same time.

It arrived yesterday, and is to move this evening to Imperial Oil dock #5. That dock is usually used for crude oil.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Eidsvaag Vinland makes first call in home port

Lots of ships are registered in ports that they may never visit, particularly flag of convenience ships. Canadian ships usually do see their ports of registry from time to time, but in the case of Eidsvaag Vinland there would normally be no reason for it to call in Halifax.

The ship is a bulk fish feed carrier, and shuttles from St.Andrews, NB to fish farms in Newfoundland.

Its visit to Halifax is likely due to weather. An intense storm passed over the area yesterday, just after the ship's arrival at pier 23.

Built in 1994 in Holland as Visserbank the ship was registered in Halifax June 28 of this year, but took its new name in May while in refit in Tallin, Estonia. It is operated for Skrettling Canada Inc, of Vancouver, BC, a company with Norwegian roots in the fish farm industry.

Since its Netherlands days, when it plied the coastal and inland waterways of Europe, it has been fitted with a travelling crane. The crane is used to load and dispense its cargo directly into fish pens. Its original equipment consisted only of a travelling gantry to lift hatches, and had no cargo handling gear. Its mast can be folded flat to decrease air draft, but its high hatch coamings give it good cubic capacity. Of a relatively modest 1,682 gross tons, its deadweight tonnage is a respectable 2,503 tonnes, all in one large hold.

If the ship continues to go about its regular business, we are unlikely to see it in Halifax very often.

For the record Eidsvaag AS is a Norwegian shipping company specializing in fish feed ships. (It has a fleet of a dozen or so.) It is the ship's owner, and has a contract with Skrettling to provide ships in various parts of the world. Here is the translated web site for Eidsvaag: http://translate.google.ca/translate?hl=en&sl=no&u=http://www.eidsvaag-rederi.no/&ei=DKLOTvrrKcnY0QHZ8skm&sa=X&oi=translate&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCAQ7gEwAA&prev=/search%3Fq%3Deidsvaag%26hl%3Den%26biw%3D1372%26bih%3D810%26prmd%3Dimvns

Skrettling is the planet's largest fish feed company, and here is Skrettling North America's site: http://www.skretting.ca/


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Torm Pacific: big bulker to the Basin

1. In the Narrows the Torm Pacific makes an impressive sight. As with most modern bulkers, her two forward hatches are raised and the deck is canted to provide more protection to vulnerable hatch covers in high seas.

2. Just clear of the MacKay bridge the ship heads into to a little chop caused by blustery winds. The north shore of the Basin in partially obscured by salt spray blown in from sea.

The bulk carrier Torm Pacific arrived this afternoon and headed up into the Basin to anchor. The trim looking ship is a Panamax bulker of the Torm Line fleet. Torm is a Danish firm with a long history see: http://www.torm.com/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/public

but the ship itself is all Japanese. Built in 2009 by Oshima Shipbuilding in Saiki, Japan it is owned by the Mitsuishi Ore Transport Co of Tokyo and is chartered to Torm.

Its tonnages are: 40,017 gross and 77,171 deadweight.

The ship was recently in Trois-Rivierès and Bécancour, QC discharging a load of ore.

It is due alongside on Monday, but no pier has not been assigned on the Halifax Port Authority's web site, nor is she listed on the Halifax Employer's Association web site as loading any cargo. That leaves me to conclude that she must be here for repairs.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

CSL Spirit: soon to be Canadian

1. CSL Spirit in Halifax in 2003.
Word on the street has it that the bulker CSL Spirit will soon*[see update below] be reflagged to Canada and fleet- mate Atlantic Superior will be going foreign.

CSL International operates CSL Spirit under the Bahamas flag and CSL Group's Canada Steamship Lines operates the domestic Canadian flag fleet.

CSL Spirit arrived in Halifax this evening for bunkers, but too late for a picture. However she has been in port many times and is no stranger to Halifax.

Launched in 2000 at Jiangnan Shipyard in China, she entered service in 2001 and was the first of three sister ships in the CSL International pool. The other two are Sheila Ann and Sophie Oldendorff. The are self-unloaders, with enclosed articulating booms and have a deadweight of just over 70,000 tonnes. They are Panamax vessels and have worked in various parts of the world over the years carrying stone, coal, ore and gypsum.

In her new role as a Canadian ship CSL Spirit will be put to work in Sept-Iles bay on shuttle service, running iron ore from the Pointe Noire pier to large ships anchored in the bay. The pier will be extended to take larger ships, but in the meantime they must anchor off and take their loads by shuttle. CSL Spirit has an unloading rate of 6,000 tonnes per hour for ore, thus speeding up the process slightly from the current pace that Atlantic Superior is able to work. Her unloading rate is about 5,500 tph. But as a much smaller ship at 36,800 deadweight, she has to make more trips.

The shuttle process requires constant tug attendance to move the shuttle vessel back and forth alongside the larger ship, and Groupe Océan has two tugs based in Sept-Iles for this work, André H. (ex Point Valiant (i), ex Foundation Valiant) and one of their new tugs, currently Ocean Yvan Desgagnés. They also do other docking work in the port, which is Canada's largest for tonnage.

Word also has it that Atlantic Superior will be coming to Halifax Shipyard for steel work this winter before reflagging.

CSL Group has a comprehensive web site and within it you can find spec sheets for CSL Spirit and Atlantic Superior(more on the latter ship when it arrives in Halifax.)

* Update the ship was reflagged Canadian on November 18, 2011, and registered in the port of Quebec.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bowater Mersey Paper Co

1. Corner Brook arrived in Halifax in tow of Jim Kilabuk after another main engine breakdown, 2003-01-24. The side ports and elevator housings are on this side of the ship.

2. Sister Humber Arm sails from Halifax after bunkering on a voyage from Richmond, VA to Corner Brook 2002-11-02. The ship also carried a crane for general cargo and stores.

3. Still in Bowater colours, but with Gorthon funnel mark, Humber Arm arrives in Halifax with rudder damage 1994-02-12. She spent 5 days in drydock for repairs.

One of the major employers on the south shore of Nova Scotia has been the Bowater Mersey Paper Co. Now threatening to close unless it receives concessions from workers (who have narrowly voted to accept a new agreement), the NS Power Corp, the Province of Nova Scotia, the Municipality of Queens County and perhaps others, the mills future is still in doubt.

The original mill was built by the Mersey Paper Co, which was founded by the Nova Scotia entrepreneur Izaak Walton Killam. It is located at Brooklyn, NS, which is on the shores of Liverpool harbour which is fed by the Mersey River.

In 1956 I.W.Killam's estate sold the mill to Bowaters. The company was then renamed Bowaters Mersey Paper Co Ltd in 1959.

In 1930 Mersey Paper founded Mersey Shipping Co Ltd, it was renamed Markland Shipping Co Ltd in 1937 and carried pulp wood and paper products for Mersey Paper and others. In 1959 this line became The Bowater Steamship Co of Canada Ltd. The three remaining Markland ships were transferred to UK registry giving Bowater a fleet of 11 ships, of which four were newsprint carriers.

As the primary supplier to the Washington Post newspaper, a 49% interest in the mill is held by the newspaper, and the mill is run as a joint venture.

When Abitibi bought the Bowater interests and formed AbitibiBowater, and since November 7 when they again changed their name to Resolute Forest Products/ Produits forestiers Résolu, the mill in Liverpool has retained its Bowater Mersey name. It still ships product by sea, but no longer on its own ships.

Markland had a number notable ships, including Vineland and Liverpool Packet (both lost in World War II) Markland, Liverpool Rover, Liverpool Loyalsit a second Liverpool Packet and a second Vineland and Markland.

Bowaters too had a significant fleet, and the last of those has just recently been sent to the scrap yard.

In 1976 Bowater had two ships built in Germany as specialised newsprint carriers. Corner Brook and Humber Arm were built by Schichau-Unterweser in Bremerhaven. Surprisingly they were both lengthened the next year, ending up with a gross tonnage of 7,587 and deadweight of 7,650. Using side doors and elevators, they were able to load paper and pallets using forklifts from dock side. The ships were built primarily to serve Bowaters' Corner Brook mill. A previous Corner Brook and three other Bowater ships from Newfoundland were lost in World War II.

Bowater eventually sold the ships to the old Gorthon Lines and the ships were seen all over eastern Canada as common carriers for any paper producers. They often called in Halifax for bunkers.

Although built to navigate in ice they were very prone to rudder damage, and engine/gearbox problems. Every year one or the other was in trouble and towed into Halifax or another port for repairs.

In 2004 Humber Arm arrived in Setubal, Spain with irreparable crankcase damage and was sold for scrap to Turkey. In deference to its Newfoundland connection it was renamed Umber Arm for delivery to the scrap yard.

Corner Brook had more incidents of damage and fires than Humber Arm, culminating in an engine room fire 700 mi west of the UK, March 23, 2005. The fire was extinguished by CO2, and the was towed to Falmouth by Fairplay XI. Gorthon decided to "divest" the ship and it was sold to Turkish owners and renamed Merve-A. It went through at least one other owner before arriving in Aliaga, Turkey September 5, 2011 for breaking up.


Old Ship: Island Joiner

1. Island Joiner tied up at Sackville Landing, shows a significant hull shear when viewed from aft.

2. The minimal wheelhouse and accommodation block allows for two traffic lanes on deck.

The retired ferry Island Joiner dropped in to Halifax today on its way from Lewisporte, Newfoundland to Florida.

Built in 1973 as Fivia for service in the Faroe Islands, the ship was acquired by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1983 and operated by the Department of Works, Services and Transportation. It served in Green Bay linking Long Island and Pilley's Island until June of this year when a new ferry was delivered to the area and the services rationalized.

The small ship, measuring only 147 gross tons, has a capacity of 8 cars and 40 passengers (or 93 according to Lloyd's Register.) Plagued by mechanical problems in recent years, it was finally eventually removed from service June 2 and decommissioned at Lewisporte. It was sold for the grand sum of $17,777 plus HST on August 9, to a buyer listed only as a private individual.

The ship is fitted with bow and stern doors and has a narrow house on the starboard side. The one person I spoke to (who had an American accent, and the mandatory Harley Davidson tee shirt) allowed as how the accommodations were "rough".

The entire condition of the boat is rough, and it has a large fuel tank strapped down on deck to supplement the minimal capacity required for it ferry run.

Still flying the Canadian and Newfoundland flags, its registry was nevertheless closed September 21. It has probably been enrolled somewhere as a yacht to avoid too much scrutiny by inspectors.

Once in Florida it will likely be going on to Haiti or some other Caribbean destination where it will soon vanish from sight. That event will be unlikely to sadden too many residents of Pilley Island who have been fed up with the ferry service for years, and would like a $26 mn causeway instead. However they have now been stuck with another venerable ferry Sound of Islay, which will be running to the island unless it is needed elsewhere to cover a breakdown. Then the new ferry Hazel MacIsaac will add the island to its other Green Bay runs.


New Ship: Abdala

Despite its Panamanian flag and Greek listed ownership and management, the bulk carrier Abdala is proudly owned by the people of Cuba, according to press reports that I have found.

Built in Shangai under an agreement between the Cuban and Chinese governments the ship was delivered August 19, 2011 and arrived in Havana October 28 with its first cargo: bagged rice.

The ship is fitted with four cranes of 35 tonne capacity, and it fitted to carry all manner of bulk cargo such as grain, concentrates and timber.

Websites indicate it is owned by Sunnyside Bulk Carriers Inc c/o Nordstrand Maritime & Trading of Piraeus. It measures 22,414 gross tons and 34,938 deadweight tonnes. It is the first in an undisclosed number of ships to built under the agreement.

Abdala arrived this afternoon for bunkers and will be sailing again early this evening. It appears to be in ballast.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

USG pulls the plug

USG Corp (United States Gypsum ) (and indirectly through USG Canada Mining and CGC (Canadian Gypsum Co)) has announced that its Fundy Gypsum Co operation is to be closed permanently. The quarries at Wentworth and Miller's Creek, just north of Windsor, NS and the storage and port facilities at Hantsport, just to the west of Windsor were once a mainstay to the local economy. The operation has been inactive for most of this year, due to the sluggish US construction industry, the destination for most of its product, and only a skeleton maintenance staff have been kept on. No gypsum has been shipped in months.
This is a sad end to a unique operation which used an abundant local mineral (there is lots of gypsum left in the ground, but synthetic gypsum and the economy have left the industry devastated.) The mine and port were joined by a railroad, the Windsor & Hantsport, a short line that was once part of Canadian Pacific's Dominion and Atlantic Railway (DAR.) Fundy Gypsum was the line's only customer recently and it has also been shut down.
The port of Hantsport, once a booming shipbuilding centre in the age of sail, is home to a huge warehouse and modern shiploader which have been idled since the last ship was loaded earlier this year. The tug Spanish Mist which was owned by CGC, was sold in the spring to the Magdelan Islands.
The other Hantsport Industry CKF (Canadian Keyes Fibre) now uses recycled paper as the main component of its paper products, and no longer brings in pulpwood or wood pulp by water to its mill as it once did.
Gypsum Transportation, the shipping arm of USG, and prior to that Fundy Gypsum itself were operators of many notable ships over the years, usually with the prefix "Gypsum" but sometimes commemorating important personages, and since World War II all self-unloaders.
Its most recent fleet upgrade saw two new self-unloaders, Gypsum Centennial built in 2001 and Gyspum Integrity built in 2008. Ostensibly sister ships, they could carry 42,000 tonnes, and unload gypsum at a rate of 3,000 tonnes per hour. These ships have now found work in other bulk trades.
Hantsport posed an interesting challenge due to its tidal range in excess of 50 feet - the largest of any commercial port in the world. Ships had to arrive in port on a rising tide (the wharf dried out at low tide) and sail on the high tide or risk being stranded. Loading time was 3 1/2 to 4 hours, and the ship had to sail no matter how much cargo had been taken on. The new ship loaders could load in excess of 10,000 tonnes per hour each. These were amongst the fastest loaders on earth when commissioned in 2004.
Gypsum Centennial loaded January 2, 2011 in 4 hours and six minutes, but loaded to less than capacity because of the lack of demand at the other end. At that time it was reported that there might be one or two more shiploads left in the warehouse.
At its peak the port saw up to a dozen ships a month and exported 2 mn tonnes of gypsum a year. The material went to such ports as Boston, Stoney Point, NY, Norfolk, Baltimore, Savannah and Tampa. Several of those plants have now been shuttered. USG still operate a mine in Cape Breton and ships through Little Narrows, NS, which is a seasonal port on the Bras d'Or Lakes. Some of its product goes to Quebec and Ontario for use in cement manufacturing, but even that trade is threatened.
Some member of the Gypsum fleet:
1. Gypsum Empress and sisters Gypsum Countess, Gypsum Duchess were of the second generation of self-unloaders built after Word War II. Built between 1956 and 1960 in France and Germany, they were 10,000 deadweight ton steam ships. They had small general cargo holds forward, and self unloading gear conveyors recessed in the house aft. The photo was taken in Halifax when winter ice closed both Hantsport and Little Narrows.

2. Gypsum King commemorated J.B.King the guiding force behind gypsum operations from the 1890s to 1924. The ship was built in Collingwood ON in 1975 and was a 12,272 deadweight tonne steam turbine ship. It could unload at 1800 tons per hour using a retractable shuttle conveyor. It is shown here in Halifax going into drydock.

4. Gypsum Baron was also built in Collingwood in 1976. It is shown leaving Halifax in winter after loading at competitor National Gypsum's dock. On the rare occasions when Hantsport was blocked by heavy ice, Fundy Gypsum arranged for these loads. Spray has frozen to the ship's side.

4. A.V.Kastner approaches to old loaders at Hantsport on a rising tide. The tug Spanish Mist
has just turned the ship to face outbound and is nudging it to the dock while it stems the tide. The ship was built in 1987 and was 19,075 deadweight tonnes. It was sold in 2010 to Dubai, where it is trading as Silica II (no doubt named for an abundant material in the United Arab Emirates.)

5. A.V.Kastner in the new Gypsum Transportation colour scheme leaves the new dock with less than a full load. Cargo quantities were based on available loading time and demands by the processing plants and limited stockpile capacity. There was no time to secure hatches before the ship had to leave the dock with the falling tide. Its unusual self-unloader works over the stern and can slew to port or starboard.
6. Gypsum Centennial at the new loader. The two spouts will keep loading until the last possible second. Each spout can swing on an arc and reach half the ship's hatches. The ship was built in Korea in 2001, and measured in at 47,950 deadweight. This was the ship's first visit to Hantsport. It was the first ship in the world to be fitted with the new Wartsila/Sulzer common rail fuel injection system. The engines were therefore supposed to be smokeless-you be the judge:7. Gypsum Centennial looks like a more conventional self-unloader. With sister Gypsum Integrity, built in Brazil in 2008 to the same specification, these ships are now trading overseas.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Deck crew gets a shower

The Greek tanker Serifopoulo arrived this morning and anchored in the harbour. When a berth became free about noon time the ship got set to move in to Imperial Oil. While heaving anchor the ship's crew ran a deck hydrant to wash the chain and provide a little free lubrication (and spark prevention) as it was brought aboard.

With the stiff breeze most of the water was blown down onto the deck crew of the tug making up alongside. One of the many joys of a tugboat man!

Serifopoulo was built in 1995 and measures 28,507 gross tons and 46,700 deadweight tonnes. It is operated by the family owned Eletson Corp noted for their well kept fleet of 23 tankers and four gas carriers, all sailing under the Greek flag, and named for Greek islands.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Algobay sailed in ballast after completion of repairs

After unloading its grain cargo Algobay remained in port for completion of repairs. There was a plate fracture up forward under some rubbing strakes - a particularly sensitive area for a ship that frequents the St.Lawrence Seaway locks. As ships approach the locks, they have as little as 1 foot clearance on each side, and cannot "drive straight in."Instead they come up along the approach wall, place the shoulder of the ship (where the hull straightens out from the bow) against the approach wall, and slide along into the lock.

The shoulder area receives considerable wear and tear over the course of a season, but is usually well reinforced.

With the work completed, despite terrible weather on November 11, the ship sailed November 12.


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Clipper Legend becomes Harbour Legend (UPDATE)

1. Clipper Legend at anchor November 5.

The Bahamas flag tanker Clipper Legend has been renamed Harbour Legend while tied up in Halifax at pier 9c.

The ship arrived November 4, sat around at anchor for time, worked cargo at Imperial Oil , then sailed on November 9, but only went as far as the outer anchorages. It returned to port November 10 and sat out yesterday's storm at pier 9.

Its new name indicates to me that it will go into the harbour bunkering trade, and my guess is at Panama, but it is only a guess.

UPDATE:The ship sailed Sunday evening, November 13, giving New York as its destination.

Overseas Mykonos

Another chemical/oil products tanker awaits its turn at anchorage early this morning. Overseas Mykonos is owned by the Overseas Shipping Group, managed out of its Piraeus offices and registered in the Marshall Islands.

It was built by the Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in South Korea and delivered in February of 2010. It measures 29,433 gross ton and 51,711 deadweight tonnes.


Friday, November 11, 2011

The Good Old Days?

The one month period between October 17, 1991 and November 17, 1991 was an incredibly busy and exciting one in Halifax harbour. It was certainly exceptional, if not unique. Since it is unlikely that another month will ever equal it - here it is in a nutshell:
1. The last day of the cruise season, October 17: Europa sailed along with Crystal Harmony, Golden Odyssey and Renaissance Three. No sooner had the ships left than a T-33 training aircraft crashed into the sea, close to shore on the eastern side of the harbour entrance. A total of 16 ships and boats responded to the tragedy, but both persons on board were presumed dead. 2. October 18 Avis Faith was finally able sail, It had arrived September 12 with a broken down generator and many other deficiencies. Part of its cargo (including containers of Cuban rum) were shipped on to Montreal by rail.3. Also able to sail on October 18 was Leros Sun. It had been towed into Halifax by the Irving Cedar on October 5 after main engine failure. Drawing only 12 feet of water (its loaded draft is 50 feet) it dwarfed the freight shed at pier 33-34.

4. The SD14 type cargo ship Advance, which arrived on October 15 was found to need many repairs, and was held up until November 18 when it was allowed to sail. Even then, all might not have been well with her main engine!

5. October 28 the small cargo ship Dimar B requested entry into Halifax with engine trouble. The ship was promptly seized by authorities and sent to a remote navy pier. Its crew was detained and implicated in yesterday's haul of 7 tonnes of hashish on a dump truck near Chester, NS. The ship was eventually determined to be the mother ship and its captain the head of a drug ring. He was extradited to Scotland for trial.

6. On October 30 Zara sent a Mayday message from 500 km south of Sable Island in hurricane conditions. The ship was taking on water and its main engine had failed. CCG and civilian ships headed to its aid. Eventually the ship was able to restart its engine and arrived in Halifax October 31 at reduced speed, escorted by CCGS Alert.

7. Eishin Maru No.78 arrived in Halifax October 31 after a harrowing experience. Normally among the most seaworthy of vessels, this tuna longliner was struck by a very high wave 160 km south of Sable Island, during the same hurricane conditions. The wave broke two wheelhouse windows, flooded the bridge and knocked out electronics, steering and engine controls.

8. The only English speaker, and only female among 22 persons on board, a Canadian fisheries observer acted as salvage master, interpreter and radio operator. Once the crew were able to restart the engine, but using emergency manual steering and without throttle control, the boat made it into Halifax under escort of CCGS Edward Cornwallis and the supply vessel Triumph Sea.

In case these conditions sound familiar this was The Perfect Storm in which the US fishing vessel Andrea Gail was lost October 29. Numerous other vessels were hit by the storm, and several others limped into Halifax over the following days. The following are only some:

9. USNS Wyman a weather and research ship arrived November 2 and spend five days putting itself back together. It took both Point Vim and Point Vigour to get her alongside.

10. The Dutch owned reefer Casablanca had storm damage already when it issued a Mayday November 7, 330 km SE of Halifax due to an engine room fire. The crew sealed off the engine room and pumped in CO2, eventually extinguishing the fire. She remained powerless however and the tug Irving Elm towed her into Halifax, arriving November 7. Repairs took until mid-December.

11. The tug Irving Hemlock had the dredge Shovelmaster and two dump scows in tow off Halifax en route from Sheet Harbour to Liverpool November 11 when the scows went adrift. The tug brought the dredge into Halifax and another tug, Irving Elm went out in very poor conditions to look for the scows, but did not find them. Later in the week two smaller tugs found the scows and beached them for later recovery.

12. The Cuban controlled Albonica sailed November 17 after a week in port for repairs.

13. Bahia Cienfuegos (another Cuban) tied up November 14 for repairs. Her list was only one of several issues that took until November 17 to sort out. She sailed for Montreal after spare parts arrived. A crew member also defected.

14. Another Cuban controlled ship, Gulf Wave, was the first to arrive, on November 9. It remained in port until November 15 undergoing repairs.

15. Canadian ships had their problems too. HMCS Algonquin was handed over the to the RCN with known deficiencies after TRUMP (TRibal Upgrade and Maintenance Program) which had lasted over four years, starting at Davie, Lauzon, but completed in Halifax. On November 15, during inclining trials at HMC Dockyard, the ship healed over to 25 degrees (5 degrees beyond the intended 20 degrees) and was only prevented from capsizing by the dock she was tied to and some hastily arranged pumps. Salt water damage was extensive. One cruise engine will have to be removed and rebuilt. (A new cruise engine will be installed from stock and the damaged one will be rebuilt and returned to stock.) There was also damage to wiring and systems totalling about $1mn.

16. The lovely old steam powered Gypsy Countess (ex Gypsum Countess) was making for Halifax under reduced speed in severe weather when she lost all power November 16. The tug Point Halifax towed the ship into Halifax November 17. The ship is fully loaded with gypsum and is bound from Little Narrows, NS to the US. It eventually sailed Janaury 31, 1992.

17. One of the strangest ships to call in Halifax in some time was Fermont built in 1944 in England as an emergency cargo ship for the Normandy invasions, and expected to be expendable. After many years of service on the St.Lawrence River, its current owner got into trouble in Quebec for trying to go to sea with cargo, and no certification or clearance. After some jail time he "registered" the ship in Tennessee as a pleasure craft, and left Halifax November 11 in ballast. After hopscotching down the coast via Lunenburg and Shelburne, he set out November 15 into the teeth of a gale to cross the Gulf of Maine. On November 17 she washed up on Seal Island off Nova Scotia's southwest tip lacking the power to keep clear of the coast. Her crew abandoned the ship and rapidly "faded into the woodwork" never to be seen again.

The CCG recovered the ship's fuel by pumping it into rubber bladders, then ferrying them to the mainland by helicopter. The ship was then left to break up (which it did.)

A typical month? By no means, but it it was not as unusual as you might think. Things are pretty quiet in Halifax nowadays by comparison.

The Good Old Days?



Monday, November 7, 2011

Algobay with grain

The bulker Algobay arrived this morning with a load of grain. from Thunder Bay. This is the ship that was rebuilt in China two years ago, using most of the 1978 afterbody. That rebuild included new engines, and new self-unloading gear.

The ship's first call in Halifax since the rebuilding was in September 2010 when it loaded gypsum. It will return to Halifax again this month with a load of corn which it will load in Hamilton, ON in about two weeks time.

For more on the ship see:


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nirint Hollandia glides in to port

The Dutch flagged general cargo ship Nirint Hollandia glides in to pier 31 this afternoon. Tomorrow morning it will start to discharge its cargo from Cuba. The ship was built in 2007 - the hull at Okean shipyard in the Ukraine, and was completed by the Damen Shipyard in the Netherlands. Damen specializes in this type of two stage construction with yards in Romania and Poland also building hulls for completion in Holland.

The ship carries two 80 tonne cargo handling cranes and can accommodate a wide variety of bulk, breakbulk and containerised cargo. Its container capacity is 686 TEU. It measures 8999 gross tons and 12,000 deadweight (approx.)

As advertised on the ship's sides, its operators have a website, which is worth a visit at : http://www.nirint.com/


More tanker activity

1. Algosea moves down the harbour toward Imperial Oil.

2. The handsome Histria Tiger awaits a berth at Imperial Oil.

3. Clipper Legend also waits at anchor for its turn.

The Imperial Oil refinery continues to be busy with a variety of chemical and product tankers shuttling in and out of berths to unload and load.

Today's activity included Algosea moving from anchor in Bedford Basin to the oil dock this afternoon. On the way is passed two tankers at anchor awaiting berths: Histria Tiger and Clipper Legend.

Algosea was built in 1998 at Alabama Shipyards in Mobile for Danish owners, Danneborg. It traded internationally for them until 2005 when Algoma Tankers acquired the ship and modified it for Canadian service. It is an ice class, double hulled vessel with phenolic epoxy coated tanks. It measures 11,290 gross tons and 16,775 deadweight.

Histria Tiger is owned in Romania, but registered in Liberia and is a chemical and oil products tanker measuring 25,864 gross tons and 40,416 deadweight. The ship was built in 2008. Romanian ships are very rare in Halifax, but the country has developed a shipbuilding industry, with major yards in Constanta and Galati. This ship was built at the former yard. [Istria refers to the first Greek colony in what is now Romania.]

Clipper Legend is sister to Clipper Lancer which was in earlier in the week. Measuring 6522 gross and 10,048 deadweight it is a chemical tanker, registered in the Bahamas, and owned by the Danish group Nordic Tankers. It was built in 2004 by the Yardimci Tersanesi A.S. in Tuzla, Turkey.