Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Atlantic Conveyor 1 and 2

1. Atlantic Conveyor (number two) sails from Halifax this afternoon.

2. Atlantic Conveyor (number one) taking on water from the navy lighter YSW 219 at pier 36 on her maiden voyage in May 1970.

3. ACL's Atlantic Cinderella also at pier 36. Halterm's first container crane is still under construction in the background, and there are still sheds on pier B.

4. Ten years later Atlantic Cinderella lies at pier 33 with some mechanical problems.

The posting about Atlantic Container Lines two weeks ago when Atlantic Cartier had engine trouble, mentioned that these are the third generation of ConRo ships operated by ACL.

The first generation ships were built in 1970 and started calling in Halifax before the Halterm container pier was completed. There were six ships in this class, named Atlantic Causeway, Atlantic Cinderella, Atlantic Cognac, Atlantic Crown, Atlantic Champage and Atlantic Conveyor. They were very large ships for the time (but puny by today's standards) of 14,946 gross tons, powered by 38,500 shp steam turbines. Each was owned by one of the original partners in ACL.

The first Atlantic Conveyor was built by Swan Hunter at the Walker yard in Newcastle, UK and owned by the Cunard Steamship Co Ltd.

It made its first call in Halifax fresh from the shipyard, and operated on ACL's regular transatlantic route until 1982. At that time it was requisitioned by the British Minister of Defense for service in the Falklands War. On May 25, 1982 it was struck by two Exocet missiles fired from an Argentinian aircraft. The explosion and following fire lead to the death of six crew and three servicemen, including its well liked Capt. North. The ship was a total loss and sank about May 31.

In honour of this ship the new G3 ship was named Atlantic Conveyor in 1986, a name it still carries, despite the subsequent sale of the ship to Sweden and later acquisition by the Grimaldi group.

It was built by the same Swan Hunter yard and made its maiden voyage to Halifax February 1, 1985. It was lengthened in 1987 at Greenock, and with its four fleet mates shares the distinction of being the largest ConRo ships in service.


Halifax Express - first visit with new name

1. Halifax Express passes west of George's Island inbound.

2. The ship's name appears in Greek on the stern.

Halifax Express arrived this morning for Hapag-Lloyd for the first time with that name. Until January 1 the ship had carried the name New York Express, but was renamed to free up the name for a new ship.

Owned by the Greek firm Costamare, the ship has been on charter to Hapag-Lloyd since it was built in 2000 at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea. It has a capacity of 4,890 TEU and a gross tonnage of 54,437.

It is not unheard of for shipping companies to recognize Halifax in their naming schemes, but there has not been a container ship since Melfi Lines recognized the port with Melfi Halifax in 2004.

There have been numerous Canadian ships with the name recently, including HMCS Halifax, the now strike bound ferry Halifax III , the tug Point Halifax (no longer based in Halifax) and CSL bulk carrier Halifax which went for scrap last year.

In the 1960s Bibby Lines' Halifax City was a regular caller until superseded by container ships in 1972.


Friday, February 24, 2012

USCG Tahoma

1. USCG Tahoma's profile is dominated by its helicopter deck. A telescoping hangar cna be extended out to cover about half the flight deck.

The Famous class medium endurance US Coast Guard cutter Tahoma arrived in Halifax for a weekend stopover. (It will sail February 27 all things being equal.)

It is one of thirteen cutters of its class, all named for previous USCG vessels.

The second Tahoma also visited Halifax when it was assigned to convoy escort duty during World War II.
This one carries the pennant number WMEC 908 (W signifies USCG, MEC= medium endurance cutter) and based in Kittery ME/Portsmouth NH. These vessels are noted (according to Jane's Fighting Ships) as being "lively" in rough weather due to their short beam to length ratio. As stormy conditions will prevail over the next day or so, Halifax is not a bad place to be, while still close to its normal patrol area.

The USCG has also provided ships for the International Ice Patrol, established by the USCG following the sinking of the Titanic. Most of the patrol work is now done by aircraft.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Hellespont and Papachristidis- Part 2

To follow up on my posting of February 8, [http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2012/02/hellespont-challenger.html] here is a little more on the Hellespont Shipping Co which got its start in Canada following World War II when founder Phrixos Basil Papachristidis acquired some surplus Canadian built cargo ships. To give him credit he remained in the Canadian shipping scene for a long time before moving offshore into the international tanker market and other ventures.
The Hellespont website is rare in that it gives a capsule history of every ship the company has owned. As I mentioned last, I detected one error, and Bruno detected another.
Certainly the tanker Fiona M. did not fly the Canadian flag. It was always Panamanian flagged as far as I can determine. Thanks Bruno.
The other error was in the photos. The company owned two ships named Cavala. The first is pictured accurately, but under the entry for the second Cavala, there is a repeat of the picture of the first ship. Some would say that the second Cavala was so ugly that no picture should be shown, but I will disappoint them and show several. Built originally as Ore Convey for Daniel K. Ludwig's Universal Tankships Inc at his own yard in Kure, Japan, it followed the typical Ludwig pattern: purely functional. Who can argue with success? Ludwig became one of the richest men in the world and Japan became a powerhouse of shipbuilding as a result of the efficiencies he introduced into shipbuilding.
1. Cavala sails from Halifax with another load of gypsum - she was no beauty.

2. The self-unloading elevator came up through the deck and was surmounted by the bridge.

3. Even the ship's funnel was stingy- Ludwig didn't miss a beat. Why the funnel bore the letter "N" is a bit of a mystery, but it probably stood for National Gypsum, the ship's charterers.

When Papachristidis bought the ship in 1969 it became a frequent caller in Halifax for gypsum right up until 1982 when it was badly damaged while docking at National Gypsum. It was sent to Taiwan and was scrapped on arrival in April of 1983.
There is still debate about who was first with sea-going self-unloaders. US Gypsum/ Fundy Gypsum, Daniel K. Ludwig with Cavala or Ole Skaarup with Melvin H. Baker. All built ships in 1956, all were self-unloaders, but only Skaarup claimed to have invented the system.

While on the topic of Papachristidis, his last major effort in Canadain shipping was the fleet of elegant Great Lakes bulk carriers. All but two have now gone to the boneyard, but the last two are about to take on new names and colours for 2012. Montréalais, built as Montrealer in 1962 and Québecois, built in 1963, are among that now rare breed of traditional lakers, with wheelhouse forward and steam turbine propulsion. When Papachristidis sold out in 1972, Upper Lakes Shipping acquired the ships and operated then continuously until 2011. Algoma Central bought the Upper Lakes fleet in 2011, and both ships will come out in 2012 with the new names Algoma Montréalias and Algoma Quebécois. It is a tribute to the ships and their long history that the names will be not be greatly altered.

4. Québecois, upbound past its namesake city, has the hydrants running on deck for washdown.

5. Montréalais has cleared the Eisenhower Lock upbound in the Seaway on a warm morning. She is pushing the usual wall of water, common in canals and restricted waterways.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Pier C Extension - April Completion?

I wonder if they will meet the April 2012 completion date for the Pier C (Halterm) extension. There has been no activity around the McNally Construction part of the site for several days - no workers, no office operation, no security guard at the gate.

Is it too quiet to be on track for a timely completion?

Just askin'


Monday, February 20, 2012

Pusan - charter in for Hapag-Loyd

The container ship Pusan arrived this morning for Hapag-Lloyd. The ship has been chartered in from one of the oldest and best known of German shipping companies, F. Laiesz of Hamburg.

The company was founded in 1824 and its famed clipper ships, known as the Flying P Line (all ships' names began with the letter P) were known around the world. In fact it was Laiesz's Pamir which was the last commercial clipper to round Cape Horn in sail in 1949. (It was lost in 1957 with 86 lives).

Laiesz specialised in refrigerated ships for many years, but now has a fleet of predominantly container ships, but also has bulkers, autocarriers, tankers and research ships. See their fine web site at: http://www.laeisz.de/en/home.html

The company now generally charters its ships out to other lines, and therefore does not have the high profile it once had. Pusan is typical of these. Built in 1997 by Hyundai Ulsan, it is rated for 4,688 TEU and is 53,324 gross tons. It was built as Pusan Senator (on charter to the now defunct Senator Line of Italy) then ran from 2007 to 2011 as MSC Kenya for the Mediterranean Shipping Company. It became Pusan in 2011.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Acadian - Irving Oil's only Canadian flag tanker

1. Acadian arrived this afternoon and tied up at Imperial Oil.
Irving Oil manages to get along with only one Canadian flagged tanker these days. Acadian roams the eastern ports of Canada including St.John's, NF, Charlottetown PE and points between, from Irving Oil's base in Saint John, NB.
Built by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, South Korea in 2005 the ship is actually owned by FB Tankships I Ltd of Barendrecht, Netherlands, part of the Vroon group of companies. It is chartered to carry Irving Oil products, and is registered in Canada. Its three identical sisterships Nor'Easter, New England and Great Eastern fly the flag of Marshal Islands flag and trade from Saint John, generally to US ports, never running between Canadian ports.
The ship is 23,356 gross tons, 37,515 deadweight - a sizeable ship for a coastal tanker.
At one time Irving Oil was a major tanker operator with more than half a dozen ships trading domestically, others in foreign trade and several tanker barges. Such are the changes in distribution systems (essentially better highways and arrangements for product swaps with other refiners) and the expansion of Irving's business south of the border, that a large tanker fleet is no longer needed. More than that there is no apparent need to actually own the tankers either, hence the charter deal with Vroon.
In 1977 among the several tankers Irving operated were two small ships that accessed many out of the way ports on the St.Lawrence River and in Atlantic Canada:
2. Despite is scruffy look in this picture, Irvingwood survived another ten years in Irving ownership.
Irvingwood was built in 1952 by Geo. T.Davie & Sons of Lauzon, QC as a bulk pulpwood/steel and grain carrier. It was built to fit the old St.Lawrence Canals and measured 2,491 gross tons on dimensions of 259'-11' x 43.8'. On February 16, 1957 it arrived in North Shields, England [Imagine for a moment crossing the North Atlantic in winter in that ship!] for conversion to a tanker by Smiths Dock Co Ltd. When it emerged is overall dimensions were unchanged but it measured 2,353 gross tons. The strange looking wheelhouse, built to provide clearance for a travelling crane, was not modified. The ship travelled near and far, even to the Arctic in the 1959 northern supply mission. It lasted to 1987 when it was broken up at Point Edward, NS.
It was powered by a war surplus GM Cleveland engine of 16 cylinders and 1600bhp. It was re-engined in 1974 with another identical engine, also built in 1944 and kept in storage for thirty years by its thrifty owners.

2. Aimé Gaudreau with a fresh coat of paint, a few months later. Hull straps are a giveway that the ship was lengthened.
By the time Aimé Gaudreau was built in 1964 Irvings owned the Saint John SB & DD Co and that is where it was built. A very capable ship, with an icebreaking bow, it was lengthened first in 1970 and again in 1973. Its original tonnage was 1,903 gross on 249' length and final tonnage was 2,534 gross/ 2,660 dwt on a 316' length. In 1993 with a general re-organization it was renamed Harcourt Kent (the second Irving ship to carry the name; Harcourt is a village in Kent County of New Brunswick, near where the Irvings first settled after arriving from Scotland). The ship was sold in 1994 and renamed Mor Blessing it sailed from Halifax January 5, 1995 for Nigeria. Although laid up there for time it was later renamed Zikko for new Nigerian owners. Late in 2010 it was dropped from most ship registers as likely no longer in service.
Aimé Gaudreau, the man, was a major woodlands and sawmill operator in northern New Brunswick. The ship was named in his honour.

Both ships, despite being tankers, showed allegiance to the Irving's extensive interests in forestry, which was equally as important as oil in the company's history.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

CMA-CGM and Maersk and get turned down

1. Maersk Penang will not be ferrying empty containers from Montreal to Halifax. Note the CMA-CGM, Maersk (including Maersk-Sea-Land, SAF Marine, P&O Neddloyd, APL) and no-name containers.

As mentioned in a previous post last week :

There are 100 containers in Montreal that are wanted in Halifax by CMA-CGM. They had applied to use Maersk Penang on its regular run to pick then up in Montreal and drop them off in Halifax. Since this would constitute a coastal trip by a non-Canadian flag ship, CMA-CGM Canada Ltd applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency for a coasting license (or waiver).

The coasting license would only be granted if there were no suitable Canadian ship to perform the activity. (CTA does not reckon costs as part of their assessment).

Predictably, CTA turned down the application, based on presentations by two Canadian shipping companies. Oceanex was one, and Nunavut Eastern Arctic (an arm of Logistec) was the other.

It is interesting to read the decision by CTA:

It is good to know that the Canadian coastal shipping trade is being protected, but it is equally interesting to realize that despite the "availability" of "suitable" ships, there is really no way to transport empty containers from Montreal to Halifax on anything like an economical basis.

There is just not enough trade to justify a shipping line, or even the occasional tramp voyage. Trucks and trains (and I do not object to them on principal) are apparently also not an economical option. (Imagine one hundred trucks or fifty double stack rail cars!)


Halifax Shipyard - signs of expansion

1. Belle. D and 5 section scow off pier 6 & 7 at Halifax Shipyard on Monday, February 9.

With the signing of the umbrella agreement with the Federal government this week the way ahead seems to be clear for Halifax Shipyard on the construction of the combatant ships.

Since well before the award of the contract the shipyard has been showing a sketch of the yard's facilities on its website. It is a little thin on details at the north end of the yard, but it does indicate a warehouse (which doesn't actually exist - yet) and the pier 6 and pier 7 areas used as a fitting out area.

A prior sketch, which seems to have disappeared from the web site did actually show a "side launch" area at pier 6 & 7.

This week the tug Belle. D has been handling a sectional scow with a core drilling rig just off pier 6 & 7. This is usually the first sign of new construction. Construction could still be a long way off, but at it is good to see something happening.

Belle. D is owned by Atlantic Towing Ltd, but operated by RMI Marine and is a general workboat used on a variety of projects around the harbour. Most recently it was working on the oil rig refit.

The drilling is under the supervision of Boart Longyear.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

GSF Grand Banks - and they're off

1. Tugs Atlantic Larch, Oak and Willow have positioned the rig in number one anchorage.

2. Atlantic Hawk backs in to make up its tow line.

3. Ready to head to sea.

Following a maintenance and damage repair session at Woodside the drilling rig GSF Grand Banks got underway this morning for Newfoundland. It took until early afternoon for the three harbour tugs to get the rig off the berth and out into the stream. Once in the #1 anchorage area, the tug/supplier Atlantic Hawk made up its tow line and they were underway about 2 pm.On November 24 the rig was struck by its supply vessel and holed above the waterline. Although the damage did not hamper the rig's stability, it was immediately taken out of service and its maintenance period - scheduled for January- was moved ahead. It arrived in Halifax December 11 in tow of Atlantic Hawk and Maersk Chancellor.

Operated by Transocean Canada Drilling Services Ltd, the rig was working for Husky Oil on the West White Rose pilot project, about 350 km off Newfoundland. It was doing water injection when the incident occurred.

The rig is registered in Vanuatu and has a coasting license to operate in Canadian waters until June 30. There is enough work that the rig will likely renew that license.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Ingrid Gorthon - update

1. Ingrid Gorthon loading paper at Pointe-au-Pic, QC in 1996.

Following up on my piece about Rederi AB Transatlantic cutting out its transatlantic service:

Ingrid Gorton was due in San Juan Puerto Rico January 27-28, to complete its obligations with RABT, so will no longer be sailing under their direction.

It appears that she has now been renamed Forest Costa Rica and on her way to Panama City. Owners Lemissoler Shipping have had her under the Cypriot flag ever since taking her over from RABT and chartering her back.

This may mean that Transfigher may be RABT's only ship operating in North America. As of today RABT have not posted a new shipping schedule since the end of January.

Here's the place to check if you are interested: http://www.rabt.se/Schedule/Atlanttrafiken/

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Atlantic Cartier - all is not well at ACL

1. Still tied up at the east berth of Fairview Cove, Atlantic Cartier is immediately identifiable by the red stripe on the dam. The huge pile of dredge spoil and contaminated fill on the left may be there for ever.

2. Among the many challenges the ship has faced over the years was the surprise arrival in Halifax of drift ice from the Gulf of St.Lawrence in April 1987. The ice flowed in and out with the tide, eventually drifting back out to sea to stay.

3. Atlantic Cartier outbound, passes CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent inbound. Atlantic Cartier was lengthened after these photos and Louis S. St-Laurent was repowered and received a new bow.

The container RoRo (Con-Ro) Atlantic Cartier is still tied up at Fairview Cove this afternoon. The ship arrived on Thursday and was due to sail that afternoon. Several tentative departure times were cancelled, and a trials trip to Bedford Basin for this afternoon has apparently been scrubbed now too. Some sort of mechanical problem has obviously delayed the ship from keeping to its appointed rounds. This will undoubtedly cause much grief within ACL as the five ships keep a tight schedule on their transatlantic route and delayed port calls are a ship operator's nightmare.

Atlantic Cartier was the French contribution to the original Atlantic Container Liner when it was a multi-national operation. Cie Générale Maritime SA (CGT) was the owner and the ship was built at the Chantier du Nord at Dunkirk. There were subtle differences between the British, Swedish and French ships, but in recent years the most noticeable is the large dam with red stripe at the bow of Atlantic Cartier to protect containers from head seas damage.

The ship was launched April 15, 1984 and delivered in 1985, measuring 25,362 gross tons. In 1987 Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan Korea lengthened the ship to its present size, giving it a container capacity of 2908 TE (1,000 on deck) and its vast RoRo garage space. These ships, commonly called the G3 (third generation) are the largest Con-Ros in the world, on one of the most taxing of routes.

Since 2007 ACL has been part of the Grimaldi Group, and the ships have all flown the Swedish flag for many years. http://www.aclcargo.com/

In 2011 however, technical management was switched from Rederi AB Transatlantic of Sweden to Bibby Ship Management. http://www.bibbyshipmanagement.com/

At 958 feet long Atlantic Cartier is an impressive ship. It is powered by a single 6 cylinder Burmeister & Wain 6L90GBE (built under license by Alsthom) delivering 27,450 bhp for a modest 17.5 knots.

ACL has been planning to replace the current G3 ships with new G4 ships, but recent economic issues have no doubt put those plans on hold.


HMCS Preserver on the move

Tugs moved HMCS Preserver for the first time Friday following her unplanned meeting with the Novadock floating drydock November 4, 2011. Since that time the ship has been undergoing repairs to her starboard bow. A close look at the photo shows four dark spots near the bow just below the deck line where a temporary closure was built during repairs.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Ambassador for gypsum - only ship 2 for 2012

1. Ambassador glides under the MacKay bridge on its way in this morning.

2. With the tug secure, they get ready to make the turn for National Gypsum.

3. In July 1974 Wheat King is unloading via the grain leg at pier pier 25.

Ambassador's arrival this morning marks only the second call for gypsum so far this year at National Gypsum. The sad state of the construction industry south of the border has resulted in the lowest demand for gypsum in years.

Ambassador is the most frequent ship to call for gypsum, when there is demand. Built in 1983 at Port Weller. ON as Canadian Ambassador it was flagged out to Vanuatu on 1986. It had a brief interlude in 2000 back under the Canadian flag as Algosea but has been running under foreign flag otherwise. The ship measures 37,500 deadweight tonnes.

Since 1986 it has carried the funnel marking once used by the Island Shipping Company (a foreign flag offshoot of Upper Lakes Shipping) consisting of a yellow seahorse on a blue background. (Island Shipping also had a white centre band on their funnel at one time.) The ship was however placed in the ownership of Marbulk Canada Inc (now owned by Algoma Shipping Corp) and is operated in the CSL International pool.

The seahorse motif for Island Shipping was first applied to the bulk carrier Wheat King once a regular caller in Halifax. Built as the tanker Llandaff by Lithgows of Port Glasgow in 1952, it was converted to a bulker and its wheelhouse moved aft in 1960-61. It traded transatlantic in various winters with grain. In 1965-66 it was the first Canadian ship to call in Liverpool in 15 years. (In 1961-62 it had been under Bermuda flag). It was also the first ship to arrive with the new Canadian flag. It was a familiar caller in Halifax with grain and carried gypsum back to the lakes from, but not from Dartmouth. In 1970 it took grain to Alexandria, Egypt.

During the winter of 1975-76 it had a new mid-body installed, and was lengthened to Seaway size, but was not reinforced for ocean going. At that time it lost the seahorse funnel and adopted the Upper Lakes Shipping mark. However it did make one more call in Halifax, and that was on the end of a tow wire.

It had been sold for scrap and departed Lauzon, QC in tow on November 24, 1986, but was damaged while clearing the dock. After an inspection in Sept-Iles, QC, it was brought to Halifax and spent December 2-10 here for repairs. It then sailed in tow of the Polish tug Jantar for Rotterdam where it was used for grain storage until 1989. It was then towed to Chittagong, Bangladesh where it was finally scrapped.
So the seahorse funnel mark has some tradition to it.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sealand Champion Mystery Visitor

The US flagged container ship Sealand Champion [or Sea-Land Champion according to some sources] came racing in towards Halifax at 21 knots this morning. It rendez-voused with the tug Atlantic Willow off Chebucto Head, turned and headed off toward the east, reaching 21 knots again in a matter of a few minutes.
Its last port was Norfolk, VA and according to AIS its next port is to be Halifax on February 13. This is likely an error, since its present course would have it headed for Europe.[AIS has since adjusted to give Rotterdam as next port.]
Sealand Champion is a Maersk ship, and part of its small US flagged fleet. Flagging in the US allows it to carry US cargo, but since the ship was not built in the US it is not a Jones Act ship, and therefore can't trade between US ports.
The ship seems to have very recently returned to the US flag from the Chinese flag.
Possible explanations for its surprise visit (all guesses):
- transfer of sick or injured crew man or take on/take off crew member for other reason
- pick up charts that will be required for subsequent port
- pick up repair part(s) or lube oil barrels that were too big to be carried by launch
- pick up ice advisor (the ship however is not scheduled for the St.Lawrence River)
- delivering Prime Minister Harpers pandas [probably not]
We may never know!
Sea-Land Champion was built by IHI in Japan in 1995, measures 49,995 gross tons, carries 4,065 TEUs and has a maximum speed of 24.5 knots. It carried the name Rumpeng for the past year or so under Chinese flag.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hellespont Challenger

1. Hellespont Challenger in bound to met by Atlantic Larch.

2. The ship's glowing white paint is set off by blue diagonal hull stripes, and traditional funnel mark.

3. On the bow is the monogram of the company's founder Phrixos Basil Papachristidis (in Greek characters, Phi Beta Pi) who got his start in shipping in Canada.

The chemical tanker Hellespont Challenger put in this afternoon en route Rio Haina to Les Escoumins (and the St.Lawrence River). It tied up at pier 27 indicating that it was here for repairs or other reasons than to work cargo.The ship is one of the distinctive white fleet of Hellespont Shipping (Papachristidis) now a Greek and German company, but with Canadian roots. I have written about them before, so will not repeat myself, other than to say they have the the best shipping company website.

See http://www.hellespont.com/ for a tremendous amount of information about the company, its current fleet and its all time historic fleet. Every ship they have owned is pictured (with one error that I noted. Can you spot it?*)

You will also learn why the ships are painted white!

Hellespont Challenger is one of eight identical sister ships built between 2009 and 2011, measuring 16,866 deadweight tons. It works as part of the Navig8 pool.


* I will answer this quiz question in a few days.

Romantic interlude

1. Cosmic , Algosea and Algoscotia at Imperial Oil 2012-02-04.

2. Romantic at anchor 2012-02-08

The tanker Romantic sits at anchor in Halifax after discharging some cargo at Imperial Oil. The crude oil tanker was not fully loaded when it arrived here from Portland, ME on February 6, and it did not take long to offload what it had on board.

When it arrived a fleet mate, Cosmic had just completed unloading a full cargo.

Both are 150,000 deadweight ships belonging to the C.M.Lemos shipping company of London and Greece.

Romantic is due to sail later this afternoon.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

HMCS Athabaskan to the Lakes, HMCS Halifax in Halifax

1. This 1994 photo shows Athabaskan on the synchrolift at HMC Dockyard.

2. Halifax is alongside Halifax Shipyard for FELEX. The sign on the Machine Shop in the background seems to advertise the ship's name.

HMCS Athabaskan will be going to the Great Lakes for its refit next summer. It was announced that Seaway Marine and Industrial, operators of the Port Weller Dry Dock has received the contract for the Tribal's refit. The refit will extend the ship's life five more years until a Halifax class frigate is upgraded to destroyer status.

Having the work done elsewhere is hardly surprising, given that Halifax Shipyard is full out with the FELEX refits of the Halifax class ships with the first one to be completed this year, and the remaining east coast units by 2017. Not to mention completion of the Hero ships and planning for the new frigate program.

HMCS Halifax is the first of the ships to undergo the Frigate Life Extension program (FELEX) which involves replacement of upgrades to most of the ships' systems.

At this point Halifax is alongside with its wheelhouse tarped in and fleet mate xxxxxxx [sorry Fredericton - thanks for the correction] is in the graving dock.


Queen Sapphire - neither here nor there?

The autocarrier Queen Sapphire arrived today for the Wallenius-Wilhelmsen line. The ship is neither a Wallenius nor a Wilhelmsen however, but a charter from Japanese owners, Meikai Shipping Services. That concern is part of the larger Meiji Shipping Group, which has a modest fleet of ships of all sizes, all chartered out to various other operators. The ship is registered in Singapore.

It is not unusual for ship owners to charter out their ships. It allows line operators to expand without buying ships, but also saves shipowners from the expense of finding work for the ships.

Queen Sapphire was built in 2009 and has a capacity of 6400 cars. It measures 60,213 gross tons. Meanwhile the autocarrier Camellia Ace which was due yesterday, was delayed and anchored offshore until this evening when it will take Queen Sapphire's place at Autoport.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cadillac - new boat in Sambro

Newly registered on January 31, the Cadillac will be fishing out of Sambro, NS at the mouth of Halifax Harbour. The Boat measures 48.75' x 19.75' and was built by Bruce M. Atkinson of Clark's Harbour, NS.

In 1905 Ephraim Atkinson is credited with building the first Cape Island type boat, and in the intervening years, the Cape Island type has become standard for inshore fishing, but many ventire farther out. This boat appears to be from the new 45' x 20' mold developed by Atkinson for working offshore, and the boat is rigged for longlining. It is hull number 99 for Bruce M. Atkinson, but there were many hundreds built before the numbering system started.

The Cadillac is operated by Morgan Fisheries Ltd of Sambro.


Maersk Pembroke - hard driven ship

1. Maersk Pembroke passes Herring Cove outbound for sea.

The Maersk Line is noted for its hard driving and today's visitor Maersk Pembroke certainly shows the signs. On of four ships maintaining a weekly transatlantic schedule for Maersk, the ship earns its keep.

Built in 1998 as P&O Nedlloyd Sydney (Maersk took over P&O Nedlloyd) the ship has a capacity of 2890 TEU in a hull of 31,333 gross tons. A relatively small ship by container ship standards today, it caters to refrigerated cargo, with its essentially identical sisters Maersk Patras, Maersk Palermo and Maersk Penang.

The ships maintain the following rotation: Halifax, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Le Havre, Montreal, Halifax. Spending only a few hours in any given port, there is a ship in Halifax each Saturday. As foreign flag vessels, the are not permitted to carry cargo between Canadian ports.

In an interesting turn of events, CMA/CGM, which has ceased calling in Halifax, but has a slot arrangement with Maersk, has 100 empty containers in Montreal, which it wishes to transport to Halifax. It has applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency for a coasting license to use Maersk Penang to transport the boxes to Halifax February 15-18. It remains to be seen if any Canadian shipping companies have ships available for this work. If not, we may see a number of CMA/CGM boxes arrive next weekend on the regular Maersk ship visit.

In September of last year Maersk Line Canada made similar application to carry 100 empty containers from Montreal to Halifax, but was not granted a coasting license because two Canadian shipping companies were deemed to have ships available. The two objectors, McKeil Marine and Algoma Central Corp do not own container ships. McKeil has barges that could carry containers. Algoma would have to use bulk carriers that have no container fittings on deck.

Now that it is winter, and McKeil's barges and Algoma's bulkers are in seasonal layup, it will be interesting to see what happens.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Seapike [revised]

The oil products tanker Seapike arrived this afternoon and went to anchor. The ship has a cargo for Woodward's Oil to be delivered to Lewisporte, NL, from Philadelphia. However the ship is in Halifax to take on additive for the cargo. This will be done at anchor, apparently from barrels, brought out to the ship on a barge.

The 28,449 gross ton/ 43,550 deadweight tonne ship is owned by German Tanker Shipping GmbH of Bremen and flies the German flag.

It is a frequent caller at east coast ports, and has made several trips to the St.Lawrence River since it was built in 2009.


Ojibwa update

1. Ojibwa at her berth at Jetty Lima. (photo added 2012-02-04)

2. Ojibwa (right) YD 253 and YC 601 at Jetty Lima January 3, 2012.
With the departure last summer of Olympus and Okanagan the last remaining floating O-boat, Ojibwa, rests at Jetty November Lima awaiting events to unfold.
Plans for the Oberon class sub to be transported to Port Burwell, ON last summer did not work out. The community still has to prove a business case to the federal government before the sub is released into their custody, but a glimpse at their website gives hope this will all fall into place soon.
See: http://www.projectojibwa.ca/
Onondaga is a tourist attraction and B&B near Rimouski, QC:
Olympus and Okanagan have now been broken up for scrap at Port Maitland, ON.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Transit Strike Ties Up Ferries

1. Halifax III sets out for Woodside on January 23. As of today it is tied up with transit workers on strike. Its first day of operation was September 10, 1979.

2. Dartmouth II and Halifax II were idled in September 1979 awaiting sale.

3. Halifax was a double ended steam ferry and ran from 1911 until 1956 when a bridge across the harbour brought an end to car ferry service.

A strike by transit workers in the Halifax Regional Municipality means no bus or ferry service for thousands of commuters. The ferry system has been a part of Halifax life since 1752. There have been four ferries named Halifax over the years, the first, a former Brooklyn, NY boat was acquired in 1890 and was lost to an arson fire in 1909. The next Halifax, built by Napier & Miller in Old Kilpatrick, Scotland, sailed on its own to Halifax, arriving in the autumn of 1911. It served until 1956 when car ferry service was ended.

The next to carry the name was called Halifax II and it was built of wood by Smith & Rhuland in Lunenburg. It served until 1979 when the current Halifax III entered service.

The present ferry fleet consists of Halifax III, Darmouth III and Woodside I. Design work is underway for a new ferry, but no details on construction dates have been released.

The former City of Dartmouth owned and operated the ferry fleet for many years, and it was not until 1994 that the service was folded in with Metro Transit, which operates the bus service.

The last such strike in 1998 lasted five weeks, but this one is promising to cause more gridlock than the last one, due to an increase in population and greater reliance on transit.


Statengracht arrives

The Dutch vessel Statengracht arrived this morning to pier 27. Owned by the Spliethoff company, it is one of 11 versatile vessels in the company's "S" class. For more details: http://www.spliethoff.com/Fleets/S-type.aspx?objectname=FleetShow&objectId=6&pgeId=232

It was built in 2004, and is deceptively large at 16,676 gross tons and 21,250 deadweight.

On deck forward are two power boats on delivery to North American owners. In te holds is some special project for Halifax.