Friday, November 30, 2012

Halifax Shipyard - No Good News

CCGS Labrador in Halifax Shipyard's graving dock.
The first RCN vessel to transit the Northwest Passage, it was the navy's last arctic class ship when decommissioned in 1957 and handed over the Department of Transport.

A noted defence analyst sounded warning bells in today’s local newspaper about the much touted naval shipbuilding program at Halifax Shipyard.

Irving Shipbuilding hasn’t had much good news to report recently. With their Georgetown (Eastisle) yard shut down and little work in Shelburne (Shelburne Ship Repair) and much of its workforce now laid off, and the sudden departure of Halifax Shipyard’s CEO, the signing of a new labour agreement in Halifax with the CAW union should have been a bright spot this week.

However it is overshadowed by the possibility that a big change may be coming in the much touted Defence Procurement program.

The big shipbuilding agreement saw Halifax “the winner” with the award of the arctic patrol vessels (up to eight ships) and the frigate replacement (12 ships) but it now seems that the arctic patrol component may be canned.

In recent rumblings in Ottawa, from the Minister of National Defence among others, it seems that the Canadian Coast Guard will become an Armed Force, and will given the defence of the arctic - something the navy has had no experience with since the 1950s. At that time their icebreaker HMCS Labrador, was yanked from them and handed to the Department of Transport (later becoming the Coast Guard.) Powerful factions in the RCN have always shunned the arctic as beneath their dignity, but creating a new Armed Force seems an extreme way of dealing with these snobs. It seems more likely that political pressure from the US for border security and all sorts of environmental/ sovereignty/ and arctic navigation issues are at the root of the “armoring up” of the CCG.

This would mean cancellation of the Navy’s arctic patrol vessels in Halifax Shipyard, and adding ships to the Polar icebreaker program with Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyard. The boats planned for Halifax were compromise ships, with reduced endurance/ice capability to offset the need for speed, weight of armour and weapons. The CCG wants long endurance heavy icebreakers that could work year round in any conditions, and with relatively light armament. This would be easy to achieve by building more Diefenbaker class icebreakers (only one had been planned originally.) With the USA in severe compromise for heavy arctic ships, and extended navigation in the arctic, this would make excellent sense.

But what a kick in the pants for Halifax!

So what will happen? According the analyst, Halifax will need a lot of work to make up the gap between the end of the Hero class and the ramp up to the start of the frigates, but there is no sign of anything yet. Much scrambling is in order, and much uncertainty is ahead for Halifax-in my prediction, lasting for two or three years at least. Worst case scenario - a major strategic alliance with a proven foreign hi-tech shipbuilder and the farming out of the really lucrative work.

Best case scenario? Nothing in sight.
Too bad.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Carol - bulkers in the Basin

1. Carol pases under the MacKay Bridge inbound.

The Malta flag bulker Carol arrived to anchor in Bedford Basin this morning. Built in 1999, Carol is 39,996 gross tons and 75,609 tonnes deadweight.  Operated by NYK Bulkers Atlantic NV of Antwerp, it is managed by NYK Ship Management of Singapore for the Japanese company NYK.
It has aboard a partial load of grain from the St.Lawrence River and will top off here before heading to sea. It may have to wait for a time since the grain is just arriving by rail.
On the way in  the ship passed the outbound Atlantic Huron headed in the opposite direction - to the Lakes.
2. Meanwhile Atlantic Huron is away from  from National Gypsum and preparing to turn outbound.
3. Atlantic Huron heads out with a load of gypsum.

Earl Grey - back from dumping day

1. CCGS Earl Grey returns to base at BIO this morning.
CCGS Earl Grey returned to port this morning after standing by for dumping day. The start of the annual local lobster from Halifax round to the Bay of Fundy sees hundreds of boats putting to sea loaded with  traps, and some inevitably get into trouble and need assistance. The start of this year's season was delayed by a day because of high winds, so conditions were virtually ideal for this morning's start.
The Canadian Coast Guard's ships are all on standby and spotted in various locations for dumping day. Since all ships are multi-tasked for search and rescue, the buoy tenders are included.
Earl Grey was built in Pictou, NS in 1986 to a design by Robert Allen Ltd, and has been based in this region ever since. Built along supply ship lines and fitted with a heavy crane it was a departure from the standard CCG light icebreaker / buoy tender design. It will be interesting to see if replacement ships, which may be announced soon, will follow this pattern or revert to the more traditional look.
Earl Grey was named after Canada's governor general, 1904-1911, who was also the donor of the Grey Cup, awarded annually to the Canadian football championship team. This year marked the 100th anniversary game, although the cup was donated in 1909.
CCGS Edward Cornwallis was built in 1986 and has the traditional layout of accommodation aft and working deck amidships. It is performing similar standby duty off southwestern Nova Scotia today. It has the added capability of of helicopter deck and hangar.
2. CCGS Edward Cornwallis sails from BIO November 18, headed for the southwest.

At least two rescues were carried out in the southwest this morning-one by helicopter.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Atlantic Huron

1. Atlantic Huron at pier 25-26. After working well into the night last night, the ship had not started to unload at 7 this morning. Thanks to artificial lighting on the adjacent dock it appears to be in bright sunshine, but the sun had not risen yet.

Despite dire predictions on the future of this ship on this site three years ago (which proved to be untrue-the ship was not sold for scrap) the bulker Atlantic Huron continues to work for Canada Steamships Lines and arrived in Halifax last evening with another load of grain.
Its first load this year was on May 5, a little later than its April 15, 2011 arrival.
Built in 1984 at Collingwood and converted to a self-unloader at Port Weller in 1989, the ship was also widened at Port Weller in 2002.
CSL has new ships on the way. The new Baie St-Paul is on its delivery trip from China and is off Florida bound for the Lakes before winter, and similar ships are to follow. There are older ships than Atlantic Huron in the CSL fleet that will likely be replaced before this one, so it has a few years left. However as it approaches the 30 year mark one has to wonder how much longer it will serve.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sadie and Eva

I heard a wonderful interview today with two little girls, aged 3 and 5, one of whom just gave the other an unauthorized hair cut. If you haven't heard it, it's all over the net, try here:

The reason for reporting it is that the names of the two little girls are Sadie and Eva.
By coincidence that happened to be the name of a trading schooner that used to call in Halifax from time to time in the 1960s. Sadie and Eva was built in Port aux Basques, NL in 1963 and measured only 128 gross tons. It was among the last of the schooner hull type traders and it only lasted until October 22, 1970 when it was lost to fire in the Cabot Strait.
It generally freighted salt fish to Halifax, unloading at Smith's wharf, then loading up with raw salt again to return to Newfoundland. It also carried general freight and did coastal work around Newfoundland, and was likely a familiar sight in North Sydney where a lot of that trade was based.
It had unusually high freeboard for a schooner, but typical of its type it had a boxy midships cabin with a minimum of windows to protect from it from the seas.
I only took one picture of it, September 6, 1969 at Smith's wharf:

By the way, I have sent a copy of the photo to the girls' father, an NPR reporter who conducted the interview.

Atlantik Confidence changes port of registry

1. The ship's port of registry appears in whiter paint than its name.

Atlantik Confidence arrived last night flying the flag of Malta, but today switched to the Cook Islands, the port of registry changing from Valletta to Avatiu (a town on Raratonga.).
Built in 1996 by Hanjin Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea, the ship started out life as Hanjin Antwerp for Hanjin Shipping. In 2009 it became Atlantic Confidence then in 2011 received the current spelling of its name. Its present operator is Atlantic Denizcilik Ticaret of Instanbul, Turkey.
A typical five hold/ four crane (of 25 tonnes) bulker it measures 16,252 gross tons/ 27,209 deadweight tonnes.
Many Turkish ships are registered in Malta, which has become a leading open register (flag of convenience) which has in recent years tightened up on its regulatory regime. The Cook Islands, located in the mid-Pacific between New Zealand and Hawaii, has also become an open register in recent years, promoting its ease of registration on-line 24-7-365. There are also no taxes paid by ships registered there, but that is typical of most open registers (that is they are open to non-resident owners). What the particular attraction of the Cook Islands may be to this particular ship owner is open to speculation. The Cook Islands is listed as a Grey List state by the Paris MOU*.
The ship's last port was Puerto Cabello, and after bunkering the ship was due to sail this afternoon. However Connors Diving's boat Northcom arrived alongside and diving started about 1 pm. The ship is now due to sail at 1 pm tomorrow.
2. Algoma Dartmouth is parked alongside bunkering.

*  The Paris MOU on port State Control, representing 27 nations, aims to eliminate sub-standard ships through a harmonized system of port State control. All the signatory states inspect for and enforce safety, security, environmental and working condition standards on ships calling in their ports. The MOU covers the North Atlantic Basin ands European coastal states. It ranks the various flags of registration by degree of risk based on the inspection performance of ships from those states.  The Black List of 18 states are also graded in severity of risk. Very few black list flags show up in Canadian ports as a result, since they are targeted immediately for inspection, usuallly have deficiencies and are often detained.
The Grey List states, which are considered average, include Egypt at the bottom, followed by Cook Islands, and consist of mostly open registers or developing nations, but does have USA at the top.
The White List contains most of the well known registries and Malta is in the middle. All told there are 84 flags on the lists.
For more on the Paris MOU, see their web site at:
Canada does not appear on any of the lists, even though it is a signatory to the MOU, simply because Canada does not have a statistically significant number of ships trading internationally and thus cannot be ranked.

Friday, November 23, 2012

HMCS Moncton - launch anniversary coming up

HMCS Moncton emerged from Bedford Basin today on a training run. The ninth ship in the Kingston class Maritime Coastal Defence program, it was launched on December 5, 1997, delivered on February 27, 1998 and  commissioned July 12, 1998. Based in Halifax, it has ranged as far afield as Norway when it participated in a NATO mine warfare exercise.
Fifteen years ago Moncton was preparing for launch at Halifax Shipyard, while the bows of three sisters (which arrived  from Georgetown, PE on a barge) await connection to their hulls.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

HMCS Halifax - post FELEX

1. After turning in Bedford Basin, HMCS Halifax glides into the Narrows, headed for sea.

The first of the Halifax class patrol frigates has emerged from the shipyard portion of its major life extension process. After several months in HMC Dockyard with additional work HMCS Halifax is now conducting sea trials.
It returned to port last evening for a few hours then late this morning returned to port again. After passing up the harbour it did a turn in Bedford Basin and headed out to sea again. The ship was proceeding very slowly to minimize wake in the area of pier 9C construction. It was also virtually silent.
Built between 1987 and 1988, it was commissioned June 29, 1992, and is expected to remain in service for up twenty more years when new ships are expected.
This major refit, called the FELEX (Frigate Equipment Life EXtension) or HCMP (Halifax Class Modernisation Program) involves upgrading command and control, radar/tracking, electronic warfare, communications, and weapons systems. There is further work to do as part of the program, which will include modifications for new helicopters. These will be stand alone projects.

2. Transiting the Narrows inbound, the ship approaches the MacKay bridge.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Caporal Kaeble V.C. - struts its stuff

The new patrol boat CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C. put on a speed demonstration in Bedford Basin this afternoon. Now fitted out and commissioned to the CCG, the boat is conducting familiarity trials before heading out for Quebec this week.
The boat has an impressive turn of speed, and makes very little noise- good for sneaking up on smugglers and the like. Her wake is another matter. In wake sensitive areas of the Great Lakes in particular, any speed runs will certainly bring notice.

Bulkers come, bulkers go

Bulk cargo is not that common in Halifax, but we seem to be having a run on it at the moment. The large grain elevators in the port are used for storage and distribution of grains and wood pellets. Cargo arrives by truck, rail or by sea. It is sent out by truck for local use or exported by sea.

1. Sea Bailo is finishing up loading at pier 28. The forward holds are full and the spouts are filling up the after hold. Note Chinese and English characters on the ship's bow.

The bulker Sea Bailo arrived on November 13 and has been loading at pier 27-28, and will be completing today. The ship is a typical four crane bulker, of 17,162 gross tons/ 26,611 deadweight. The ship was built in 1998 by Xiangang Shipyard in Tianjin, China., it is operated by Cosco Qingdao of Shandoing, CHina, and flies the Panamanian flag.

2. Alpha sits at anchor awaiting her turn at pier 28.

Arriving this noon another ship of the same type will take its place this evening. Alpha is 17,065 gross tons/ 28,005 deadweight, but was built in 1984 by Hitachi Zosen Corp of Maizuru, Japan. It had previously carried the names Island Gem and Island Triangle. It has been a Greek ship for its entire career, but now flies the Marshal Islands flag and works for Load Line Marine SA of Athens.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Busan Express - follow up

As reported November 4 Busan Express is a new to Halifax post-Panamax ship for Hapag-Lloyd. It arrived again yesterday afternoon and sailed this morning. It held off in Bedford Basin to allow Canada Express and Atlantic Compass to dock., so there was enough sunlight to take another picture.
1. Tug Atlantic Oak has the stern line as outbound escort through the Narrows.

To reduce air draft for bridge clearance, the ship is fitted with a folding signal mast and a very squat funnel.

2. The funnel is so short that the Hapag-Lloyd logo is mounted on the house.

3. The ship's owners' logo is displayed discretely on the side of the house. Owners are Norddeutsche Reederei H. Schuldt GmbH &Co KG.

Built in 2004 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co Ltd of Goeje, South Korea, the ship was launched as Northern Monument, but was immediately placed in long term charter to Hapag-Lloyd.The ship is precisely 300m long and has a container capacity of 6.732 TEU of which 550 may be refrigerated. At 75,990 gross tons and 85,000 deadweight it is one of the largest container ships calling on Halifax.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sichem Beijing - in and out

1. Sichem Beijing taking bunkers from Algoma Dartmouth this morning. Note HMCS Halifax and HMCS Iroquois in the background. Note also the unusual black steel tubular frame on the stern of the tanker.

The chemical tanker Sichem Beijing arrived, took bunkers, then went to anchor in the outer anchorages. It is unusual for a ship to do this - usually once they enter the port they stay here, since it costs money for pilotage to leave again. However since outside anchorage is free (there are port fees for inside anchorage) perhaps the owners are expecting a long stay, and will still save some money. (The name Sichem is an abbreviation of SIngapore CHEMical)
The ship is registered in Singapore and measures 8,851 gross tons, 13,068 deadweight.

Friday, November 16, 2012

CCGS M. Perley also unveiled

Also unveiled at BIO this week (possibly today) was CCGS M. Perley the last of three new nearshore research vessels completed this year. The photo was taken on November 13, when the ship was perched at the end of the BIO small craft pier. Today it was moved to the main pier face.
Built by Méridien Maritime Réparation Inc of Matane, QC, the three ships were announced in the 2009 budget. Designed by Robert Allan Ltd of Vancouver the hulls are based on the RAStar tug hull, a sponsoned shape which improves stability. See photo and spec sheet at:
The first in the series, CCGS Vladykov, named for a late ichthyologist, is 25 meters long and is based in St.John's. It was delivered in August.
Second is CCGS Leim of 18m long, based in Quebec, and delivered in late August. (It was upbound for Quebec City on August 29.)
Third and last is CCGS M. Perley which arrived at BIO on November 13. It is also 18m long and measures 211 gross tons. Date of build is listed as 2010, but it was not registered until October 2 of this year.
Although primarily research vessels, they are multi-tasked to carry out Search and Rescue and pollution/environmental response if needed.

HMCS St. John's - backdrop to conference

A Global Security conference, scheduled for Halifax this weekend will have HMCS St.John's as a backdrop. This morning, tugs moved the ship to pier 21, in a cold move (the ship's main engines were not fired up). The content of the conference will likely be overshadowed by the absence of General Petraeus, who resigned as head of the CIA in disgrace after a distinguished military career.
See accompanying post on Tugfax on the work of navy tugs.

Pioneer loads gypsum for Portsmouth

1. Pioneer passes the construction work at pier 9c.

The self-unloader Pioneer sailed this morning with a load of gypsum for Portsmouth, NH. A frequent caller since built way back in 1981, the ship has been absent from Halifax recently due to the slow down in gypsum shipments.
Owned by Marbulk Shipping Inc (MSI) the ship is registered in Vanuatu. MSI is a subsidiary of Marbulk Canada Inc (MCI) and is one of the few shipping companies based in Calagary, AB. MSI is 50% owned by Algoma Central Corp and 50% by CSL. The ship works in the 23 ship CSL International/ Oldendorff/ Klaevenes pool of self-unloaders, operated out of Beverly, MA. CSL acquired their 50% interest in MCI in 2000 from the Upper Lakes Group.
The ship was built by Port Weller Dry Docks in St.Catharines, ON as the Canadian Pioneer, with dimensions suitable for the St.Lawrence Seaway. In 1988 the ship was re-0named and flagged out and has rarely seen in the Seaway since.
Gypsum ships tend to last a long time due to the non-corrosive, non-abrasive nature of the cargo, however the ship also carries, rock, sand, and coal depending on market demand. It is also fitted with a Doxford 76JC4R engine, the last of its type built by Doxfords (subsequent engines of the same design were built under license.) Noted for their rugged reliability, the slow speed Doxford engines tend to last slightly less than forever.
See previous posts about the ship's distinctive funnel marking.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

HMCS Athabaskan: Tow, Tow, Tow Your Boat.......

HMCS Athabaskan in sub-zero conditions, January 14, 2000. The ship can work in winter, but not in ice.

The Department of Public Works has issued a tender call, through its national public tendering website, for tug services to tow HMCS Athabaskan from St.Catharines, ON to Halifax, during the nmonth of December.
Thanks to CBC News, we know that the ship's refit will not be completed by the end of the navigation season on the St.Lawrence Seaway (usually around December 25.) Therefore the government has decided that the ship must be returned to Halifax for completion and trials, which could not be conducted on the Great Lakes in winter time. The government will also pay the bill for the towing.
The refit was awarded to Seaway Marine and Industrial Inc (the former Port Weller Dry Dock) and the ship sailed from Halifax soon after the opening of navigation in spring 2012. See Shipfax from March 20:
It has always been a contentious issue that strategic resources (i.e. warships) could get hung up on the Lakes over the winter. Even the St.Lawrence River can become clogged with ice late in the year and warships particularly are not suited for navigation in such conditions. Several previous refits had to be completed in Halifax to avoid winter on the St.Lawrence. If memory serves me at least one of the Tribals completed its last major refit (the TRUMP program) in Dartmouth, with workers from Quebec coming to Halifax to do the work.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Defense Minister unveils more than a name

CCGS Caporal Kaeble at the BIO dock yesterday, with a tarp over the name, prior to an unveiling ceremony.

At the "unveiling" ceremony for CCGS Caporal Kaeble VC at BIO yesterday, the Defense Minister allowed as how the new Hero class of nine patrol boats will have to be armoured up.

First it is of interest to note that the boats' design criteria must have been established a long time ago. With the Coast Guard and the RCMP as the operators and users of this craft, it was always assumed that the (civilian) CCG would operate the boats and that the RCMP would provide whatever weaponry was needed, and that it would likely be portable. Up-arming (or armoring as he said) could cost a lot of money, and in fact may be very difficult with such small craft.To make such an announcement well into the construction period of the boats (the third is soon to be launched, and the ninth is to be complete in 2014) indicates a shift in policy somewhere.

Second, what is the Minister of Defence doing in this, since the boats would be the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (for the CCG) and the Solicitor General (for the RCMP). Has the Minister of Defence decided to take over the boats? He has been front and centre with them since Day 1, both as political minister for Atlantic Canada, but also in promoting shipbuilding. His role as Minister of Defence in this file has always been a mystery to me.
Third has there been pressure applied by the US to up the ante on our patrol capabilities to align more with the USCG, which is a military organization, and which arms all its patrol craft? This seems highly likely, since the boats will be used in border patrol, but it would be a huge change to the CCG to make it a military organization, and hardly the kind of policy shift to be quietly mentioned in a press interview. The RCMP's much reduced marine division (it was at one time comparable to the USCG, having its roots in the Revenue Service) would seem a more likely place for this policy to go than to the Coast Guard of the RCN.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Atlantic Vision - say aaaaaaaaah

Marine Atlantic's Atlantic Vision continues it annual check-up at Halifax Shipyard.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Caporal Kaeble V.C. handed over

The Minister of Fisheries & Oceans has officially taken over CCGS Caporal Kaeble V.C. from Halifax Shipyard. The new patrol vessel was registered in Ottawa on November 8 and moved to the Coast Guard dock at the Bedford Institute.
Launched on a foggy September 22, the boat fitted out at pier Pier 9B, and carried out trials in Bedford Basin. It is the second of the Hero class patrol boats and will leave shortly for station.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Princimar Joy- heads to sea during high winds (and returns)

November 9th update:
Princimar Joy returns to Halifax November 9 to complete discharging her cargo (which may consist of not much more than tank washings) with the tug Atlantic Oak.

Original November 6 posting:
The Suezmax tanker Princimar Joy headed out to sea this afternoon due to high winds predicted for tonight. Although the ship came in on November 1 and appeared to have completed unloading at Imperial Oil on Monday, she remained alongside until noon today. The big tankers are not permitted to stay at the refinery berth during high winds for fear of damage to the ship or the dock, and so must head out to sea or to outside anchorage.
As she passed outbound she had the tug Atlantic Oak on a stern line as tethered escort. This means that she still has some crude oil on board. If she had no cargo she would normally not have had an escort. It might also mean that she had some deficiency in her mechanical or navigational systems and was escorted as a precaution.
The ship was built in 2010 and is 83,850 gross tons, 156,493 deadweight. She is owned by a subsidiary of Apollo Global Management (an NYSE traded investment management company) called Principal Marine Management of Southport, CT, USA.
The ship's operations are entrusted to Northern Marine Management of Clydebank, Scotland, in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of Stena AB, but which also manages ships for outside owners.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Provo Wallis - fifth time maybe lucky

1. Provo Wallis steams out the Narrows in Halifax in June 1981.

The Canadian Coast Guard buoy tender Provo Wallis has been sold-again-provisionally, the fifth try this year.
As reported here on April 4, 2012 and November 29, 2011, the ship was declared surplus and offered for sale a year ago, with a minimum price of $400,000. A bid for $406,000 fell through in January, another for $425,000 fell through in February. Again offered in April for a minimum of $350,000 there was no sale. It was posted again in June for $300,000 and still no sale.
It was most recently offered for sale October 18, with a closing date of October 25, with - wait for it - a minimum asking price of $65,000. Currently a bid of $75,000 is being entertained, but the sale has not been finalized.
I have ranted about this fiasco in the past, where surplus but serviceable government ships are allowed to moulder until they are virtually worthless - or the conditions of sale and removal are so onerous that the bidders cannot hope to comply. If the ship was indeed fairly appraised at $400,000 originally (and I doubted this), then why could they only get $75,000? Surely there is a responsibility for this loss to taxpayers.
The poor old Provo Wallis is not the only example. A tugboat was recently sold by the feds for the paltry sum of $17,500 because it had been laid up and neglected since 1997! Except for exercising the motors once in a while, the tug (and a pair of dredges and several mud scows) had effectively been left to rot. If they had been sold promptly when the feds got out of dredging, the tug would have fetched a decent price.
A military passenger boat, used in Halifax Harbour was also sold recently for only $15,000 after being laid up for years. All its certificates had been allowed to lapse and no maintenance done on it. Both vessels went for little more than the value of their engines (if they could be made to work.)
Appalling government waste it not news, sadly it is all too common, but it is still a shame.

Busan Express - new to Halifax

1. Maersk Pembroke and Zim Panama at Halterm on Saturday- the pier was working flat out.

Both container piers in Halifax are scrambling with extra traffic brought on by the effects of storm Sandy in the ports of New York/ New Jersey. Both Fairview Cove (Cerescorp) and Halterm have been inundated by extra traffic from ships that could not berth in NY/NJ or diverted because of the effects of the storm.

2. Busan Express arrived this morning at Fairveiw Cove, followed by Atlantic Concert

In all this bustle there was also the arrival of Busan Express, a new to Halifax post-Panamax container ship. Until now Hapag-Lloyd has been using OOCL's post-Panamax ships (some renamed to Hapag names), but this may be the first in Hapag colours. Built in 2004 by Daewoo, in Koje, South Korea, it is a 75,590 gross tons/ 85,810 deadweight tonnes ship with a capacity of 6,750 TEUs. This puts it at slightly larger than the OOCL class of post-Panamaxes.

3. Atlantic Concert sails up the Narrows this morning bound for Fairview Cove.

4. Italy Express sails Friday as OOCL Antwerp gets underway from anchorage to go into Fairview Cove.
5. OOCL Antwerp sails on Saturday.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Melfi Lines - ships to change

Melfi Marine Corp S.A. a Panamanian company, which operates as Melfi Lines, has been calling in Halifax since the 1992. Founded as an inter-Caribbean shipping service by the government of Cuba in 1981, it has grown considerably over the years, particularly when it took over the failed Coral Lines  in 2003. (They had operated jointly for a time. That acquisition lead to the present transatlantic service which sails from ports in Italy and Spain to Halifax and hence to Cuba. (It has also called on the St.Lawrence River -a hold over from Coral.) Through connecting services it then serves Central and South America.
Currently operating with four ships, it usually calls in Halifax every two weeks. (A scheduled October 17 call by Hansa Catalina did not materialize.)

Melfi does not own its own ships, and has chartered a wide variety of craft over the years. Today's arrival,  Renate Schulte is the fourth ship on the rotation, and carries the name of her owner's Bernard Schulte of Germany. At one time Melfi renamed the ships during the charter period, but that practice seems to have stopped. There was even a Melfi Halifax for a short time.
Now there is about to be a change in ships as two of the older units have been sold for scrap by their owners. Teval and Marwan were built as sister ships by Kvaerner Warnow Werft in Warnemunde (formerly East) Germany in 1994. As they approach their 20th anniversaries, and face extensive refitting to maintain their classification ratings, the owners have opted to sell them for scrap. They are owned by single ship Cypress based companies, but  managed by XSM Cross Ship Management GmbH of Germany,
Both ships are 14,685 gross tons, and carry 1338 TEUs and are fitted with three 40 tonne cranes.

Marwan has carried the following names in its career: Marwan-95, Cabo Blanco-97, Marwan-99, Barrister-99, P+0 Nedlloyd Kildin-03, Marwan-04, Cala Palenque -09, then Marwan again.

Teval was renamed before it left the shipyard as red Sea Emerald-95, Emerald-97, Teval-02, P+O Nedlloyd Camoes-03, Teval-03, Armada Holland-04, Teval-04, Cala Porlamar-06, and again Teval. It made its first call in Halifax for Melfi on November 1, 2006.
Teval is due back in Halifax on November 16, and Melfi's schedule shows Marwan on December 3., however the latter remains to be confirmed.
Melfi Lines ships are often called up on the carry odd cargoes in addition to standard containers. Used vehicles, particularly trucks and buses, usually from Europe are commonly seen on flat 40 foot container frames. However Canadian vehicles are also common, notably old Quebec school buses, and trucks.

The ships have become a bit of a fixture, with Teval in particular as one of the longest serving ships in Melfi's history with Halifax, but time marches on, and there is a glut of more modern ships available at good rates.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's over... Halifax cruise season ends

Extending from April to November, the Halifax cruise season drew to a halt this afternoon with the sailing of Emerald Princess.
By all accounts a successful one, the season had a few diversions due to weather, but these seem to have been in our favour. The season was originally to end on October 31, but today's ship was delayed a day to avoid storm Sandy.
Several ships that called in Halifax during the season were diverted when the ports of New York were closed due to the storm, and passengers experienced very rough conditions at sea, but there were no serious incidents as far as I have heard.