Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scotia Dock II -

The floating drydock Scotia Dock II left Halifax today in fog and rain. Since its arrival in Halifax in 1998, the dock had been an important part of the infrastructure of Halifax Shipyard.  In fact it was in the midst of a major refit when it sank at its berth on May 8, 2010.
In fact its loss seems to have made a significant impact on the way the yard expects to build the new frigates. Schematic drawings of the yard made as part of the Ships Start Here campaign to win the work from the National Shipbuilding Strategy, showed the new frigates would be side launched in the area of pier 6-7.
More recent drawings show a new floating drydock at pier 6-7 which would be used to float off the new ships -surely a safer and easier way to "launch" a ship. Of course this would mean building or buying another floating dock. Irving Shipbuilding has indicated that they intend to do just that-possibly with government assistance.
Scotai Dock II was built in 1964 by Canadian Vickers Ltd for use in their own shipyard in Montreal. Named General Georges P. Vanier, the dock became redundant when VersatileVickers closed down.
Following the 2010 sinking the drydock was raised, but was found to be badly damaged and not worth repairing. It was sold for scrap to Southern Recycling and in recent weeks it was been patched up enough to make it seaworthy for the very long trip to the scrapyard in Brownsville, TX. The American tug Eileen  McAllister arrived yesterday to provide the towing power [see yesterday's posting on Tugfax]
1. The drydock arrived in Halifax on June 9, 1998. It had been idle for some time and was not in great condition, but was soon made serviceable again. Atlantic Cedar (i) [left] and Atlantic Oak (i) are towing with Atlantic Hemlock on the stern (barely visible). [Photo taken from the Angus L. Macdonald bridge]

Photos taken today from the Dartmouth shore:

2. Today it took three tugs to back the dock out of its space and into the stream. With Atlantic Oak (ii) pushing, the other tugs, Atlantic Larch and Atlantic Willow are on the other side  providing power and steering. The tug Roseway is nearby. It landed the deck crew on the dock.
3. With the cranes stowed down, there was lots of clearance under the Macdonald bridge. Many in Halifax, including this fisherman, seemed oblivious to the dock's departure.
4. Once into the #5 and #6 anchorage areas, the dock was clear of the ferry tracks. The tug Eileen C. McAllister then came in to make up the tow. The tug Big Steel has taken over standby duties.
5. Eileen McAllister starts to apply power and the side tugs let go.
6. The towing wire is lead out over a roller on the strongback and a gog wire is keeping it in place.
7. The chain bridle is supplemented with an insurance wire.
8. Atlantic Oak will accompany the tow out to Meagher's Beach to provide additional steering control.

From the Halifax shore:

9. Last view of the Scotia Dock II. The tug wil let out a lot more wire once it gains some sea room. Its speed is not expected to exceed 3 to 5 knots all the way to Texas.


  1. Bruno BoissonneaultAugust 2, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    From the complete closure of Versatile Vickers in 1987 to 1998, she was used at MIL Davie's yard in Lauzon to supplement the two drydocks then busy with Frigate building and the Athabascan TRIBAL refit on the four units. She was mainly used for commercial maintenance and ship inspections.

  2. I wish tug and crew a safe passage.

    Smit, Wijsmuller and others have done it with less horsepower.

    John Vanderdoe