Saturday, December 28, 2013

A. LeBlanc - getting ready

Halifax Shipyard is getting ready to launch the newest CCG Hero class patrol boat. Last week the shelter over the deck forward of the wheelhouse of A. LeBlanc was removed. A scheduled January 4, 2014 launch may still be in the cards. J.D. Irving moved their big prime mover Kenworth truck to Halifax just before Christmas, another sure sign of an imminent launch.

Meanwhile another shipyard landmark is soon to disappear.

Demolition of the Joiner Shop, Burning Shop and about half of the Plate shop and Module shop took place earlier the fall and now this Pipe Shop has lost its roof and most of its east wall from what I can see. It appears to be one of the older buildings in the yard.
According to Irving Shipbuilding Inc news releases, the remaining portions of the buildings will be demolished early in 2014 once inside work on the patrol vessels is completed, so all the buildings in this photo will be gone by spring. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Not always a quiet Christmas

There is usually very little harbour activity on Chrismtas Day and Boxing Day, since the longshoremen are on holiday. However ships not requiring those services do come and go, with pilots, pilot boat and tugs on standby if needed.

This morning the tanker Dara Desgagnés sailed from Ultramar in Eastern Passage after discharging a cargo of refined products.

The same pilot brought in the bulker Garganey to anchor early this afternoon. It is another ship from the Great Lakes, coming in to top up its cargo before heading out to sea. It is also a member of of the Canfornav charter fleet. Like fleet mate Tufty that topped off its cargo on November 28-30, [ ] this ship is owned and registered in Hong Kong. Built in 2007 by Xingang Shipbuilding Heavy Industry, Tianjin, China, the ship measures 22,790 gross tons, 37,251 deadweight tonnes, and is a disintinctly different ship to Tufty. See Canfornav fleet list and ship particulars:

1. Garganey's anchor is cleared and ready to let go when it reaches the anchorage. The crew will need to spend some time clearing frozen spray and snow from the hatches before it can load.

Garganey was upbound in the St.Lawrence Seaway on November 31, discharging a cargo in Hamilton, ON, than loading a grain cargo (likely soybeans) before sailing on December 17. Its downbound passage was delayed by repairs to the St.Lambert lock and it did not clear the Seaway until December 20. It then spent some time at anchor in Montreal. As with all ships in the Canfornav fleet it is named after a species of duck:

Other ships remain in port over Christmas until workers return to their jobs at the end of the day on December 26.
Among them Oceanex Sanderling at pier 41 and Seoul Express at Fairview Cove.
Awaiting the resumption of activity at Halterm, the Mefli Lines ship Amanda is also anchored in the harbour.

2. A brief snow squall passes between Amanada and the Dartmouth shore as the ship waits for longshoremen to return to work.

Other ships in port, but idle, are Energy Protector at Imperial Oil and Cornelia at pier 31 for repairs.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Shipfax will take a break for Christmas.
Christmas is often a time of reflection on days gone by. The following photo is certainly that.
September 11, 1969, the ship Hanseatic has brought in a cargo of fisheries salt to the A.M.Smith dock on the Halifax waterfront. The salt is unloaded by wheeled buckets that are then trundled along a runway on the roof of the building and dumped into the warehouse, or by clam shell buckets dumped into hoppers built on the roof then loaded by conveyor belt into the wheeled buckets.
Smith's wharf is now part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

Dalhousie University holds the archives of the A.M.Smith company, and summary of its history may be found here:


Monday, December 23, 2013

HS Beethoven - out for repairs

The container ship HS Beethoven put out to sea this evening bound for the repair yard. After three weeks  in port to clean up the mess in its hold from a punctured bunker tank, the ship was finally in condition to sail for a shipyard in Antwerp.

HS Beethoven at pier 36-37 during cleanup operations- on a sunny day (unlike today). 

The ship arrived December 2, and was damaged soon after by an errant container. Since them the ship was  completely unloaded of undamaged containers, which were sent on by other ships. The ship then moved to pier 36-37, Halterm, where damaged and contaminated containers were cleaned and removed, and the holds pumped out and cleaned.
The ship is giving a January 2 arrival date in Antwerp. An unladen container ship in the North Atlantic in winter, would be a sight to see from afar - not one I would want to experience first hand.


Cornelia - in for repairs

The geared bulker Cornelia arrived yesterday and tied up at pier 23 31. The ship came to Halifax for minor hull repairs, which are apparently underway, but on the ship's port side, and thus invisible from my usual vantage point. The ship loaded grain in Duluth, MN from November 23 to December 5, and while downbound in the Soo locks, struck a wall, causing a dent in the hull on about December 7. After a couple of days delay for inspection it was allowed to proceed, but needed to be repaired before the ship set out across the Atlantic in winter time.So here it is in Halifax. Originally intended to go to a "sheltered anchorage" the ship tied up at pier 31, in view of the weather and the lack of truly sheltered anchorages in Halifax.

The ship was built by Xinian Shipbuilding, Wuhu, China in 2001 as Pine, a name it carried until 2003 when it became Cornelia. The ship is fitted with four cranes for cargo handling, and carries clamshell buckets on deck to handle bulk cargoes. (The top of one of the bright red buckets is visible on deck between cranes 3 and 4.) The ship is owned by MST Mineralian Schifffahrt Spedition und Transport GmbH of Schaittenback, Germany and registered in Liberia. It comes in at 16,807 gross tons, 24,516 deadweight tonnes.
MST has a website, but regrettably it does not detail the ships it owns. However from other sources it appears to own about a dozen ship, and charters many more, including a sizable Dutch based coastal fleet.
As of this time of writing there is no scheduled departure time, but I am sure they would like to be out of here before Christmas.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

CSL Acadian- another ex tanker ---Updated again

As posted last week when CSL Metis called to load gypsum, CSL Americas (at the time CSL International) needed ocean going panamax self-unloaders, and instead of building from scratch, they found tankers in good condition and built new forebodies complete with self-unloading equipment and joined them to the tankers after sections.
This afternoon another of these ship arrived for a very rare visit to Halifax (I have never seen this one here either as far as I can remember).

Built by Tsuneishi ZKK in Numakuma, Japan in 1982, as Janus, the ship was renamed Skaulake in 1992 and in 1992 Cabo de Hornos. When CSL bough the ship in 2004 they renamed it Cabot until the conversion was completed in 2006 when it acquired its present name.
As a tanker the ship measured 40,482 gross tons and 67,208 deadweight.With the new forebody it now measures 45,740 gross tons, 74,517 deadweight tonnes. As with many of the tanker conversions, the ship has a reliable B+W (Mitsui) main engine.CSL provides a spec sheet on their web site:

The tugs Atlantic Larch (at the bow) and Atlantic Willow stopped and turned the ship and backed into pier 25-26, where repair crews were waiting to work under the ship's stern.

The reason for CSL Acadian's visit to Halifax became evident very soon after the ship tied up. It was ballasted down by the bow to expose a portion of its prop, and the above work crews set to repairing or perhaps replacing a blade.(With controllable pitch props, individual blades are replaceable.)
By Monday morning December 23 repairs were complete and the ship went out to anchor to perform tests, and is due to sail later in the day.

Second Update
I now hear that workers were unable to loosen the bolts on the blade, and the repairs were not completed as planned. That is why, despite my several trips past the ship on Sunday, I was unable to see any actual work taking place!

Tankers, tankers, more tankers

Despite the loss of big tankers coming into Halifax with the closure of Esso's refining operation, there are still lots of tankers calling in Halifax. Today there were three in port

1.   Freshly out of drydock (see yesterday's post) Travestern is tied up at pier 34 completing its refit. Crews were busy working on the ship's free fall lifeboat. It normally nests in the orange cradle just above the anchor.

2.   Energy Protector arrived this morning and went to anchor in Bedford Basin. It was last here December 12 with refined product for Esso's tank farm, and presumably has some more on this trip.

3.  Irving Oil's Nor'easter (flying the Marshal Islands flag) is a rare caller in Halifax. Since the end of refining in Dartmouth, Irving tankers have been much more frequent visitors. Irving now has to supply its Halifax area needs from Saint John, instead of buying it from Esso, so their only Canadian flag tanker Acadian is running hard to meet demand.  It was therefore necessary to apply for a coasting license for Nor'easter to fill in. The license application was for the period December 4 to 17, but may have been extended.

Rumours are now emerging that Irving Oil will be reactivating its own dock in Woodside. Long abandoned when Irving Oil joined its Woodside tank farm with Esso by pipeline, they may now be finding that there is no advantage to that connection. Today a core drilling barge was working off the old Woodside dock, a sure sing that some engineering may soon begin on the design for a new pier.

 4.  On a day almost as foggy as today, but in June 1977, Irvingstream was tied up at the Irving Woodside pier. It was a small "L" shaped structure, and took some imaginative line handling to several points on the shore to secure a large ship.

5.   Despite its small size, the pier could accommodate quite a crowd.In this 1984 view Irving Canada has just sailed from the outside of the pier (with the assistance of Point Vigour), the barge Irving Dolphin is on the inside and Irvingwood is on the north side. The spindly wood structure of the pier was eventually condemned, but remains in place.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Travestern - now in full Woodward paint scheme

This afternoon Travestern left the Novadock floating drydock at Halifax Shipyard, showing of its new Woodward paint job.

1. With Atlantic Larch pulling on the bow, Atlantic Oak guiding the stern and the ship using its own power, Travestern left the drydock this afternoon.

After one month to the day in the drydock, the ship was "on her tank tops" - with minimal ballast, and her prop was thrashing about high out of the water. The two tugs took the ship to pier 34 where it will complete its refit.

The most recent addition to the Coastal Shipping fleet arrived in Lewisporte, NL in March and was soon in service, running from Saint John, NB with oil products to Newfoundland and the north. There was no time to apply the Woodward paint colours to the hull, and the distinctive "Woodward Group" banner near the stern until now.

2. The banner name near the stern is a distinctive Woodward feature.

As previously reported, Travestern is one of three sister ships in the Coastal Shipping fleet, all acquired from Rigel Shipping in Germany.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Polyneos - grain to go

The bulker Polyneos arrived at pier 28 yesterday for a top off load of grain.

Due to St.Lawrence River draft limitations ships of this size usually can't take a full load in ports such as Quebec City, so they come on to Halifax or Gulf of St.Lawrence ports to top up their cargo. Polyneos, flying the flag of the Marshal Islands, but owned by Odysea Carriers SA of Athens, is a a large ship. Measuring 37,623 gross tons and a whopping 72,080 deadweight, it can load to a draft of over 13.4 meters (44.75 feet).
The ship was built in 1997 by Hitachi Shipbuilding at Maizuru, Japan and carried the name Juno Island until 2010.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tow parted in storm off Gaspé

More bad luck in late season towing for Groupe Océan

The tug André H the former Point Valiant (i)  ex Foundation Valiant was towing a dredge and two self propelled spoil carriers during Sunday's storm, when the tow line parted off the north Gaspé coast.  In 2 meter seas and 25-30 knot winds, the lighters drifted ashore on the edge of the highway at l'Anse Pleureuse, just east of Mont-Louis.
The tug towing the pair, and possibly a the dredge IV.No.8, had sailed from la Rivière Malbaie Sunday morning headed for Ile-aux-Coudres when they were overtaken by the storm.
The tug is well known for its many exploits with Foundation and Ectug, and was for many years stationed in Trois-Rivières. Recently however it has been doing miscellaneous towing and last year was the standby tug in the ill-fated HMCS Athabaskan tow when Ocean Delta had mechanical problems.[see also Tugfax of today's date for a previous tow gone wrong - you will recognize some of the characters.]
There has been considerable coverage here and in Tugfax on the unique dredge spoil carriers.  Built in the 1930s as paper carriers, they traded from the St.Lawrence through Lake Champlain and the Hudson River to New York. In the late 1960s the ingenious Capt. Borromée Verreault converted them into bottom dumping, self-propelled spoil carriers for his dredging company Verreault Navigation.  They did dual service. In addition to carrying dredge spoil to the dumping grounds, they could also tow and reposition the dredges themselves, without the need of tugs. Using bottom dumping doors, just like a mud scow, they had the advantage of working very quickly because they were self-propelled.
When Dragage Verreault went bankrupt two years ago Groupe Océan bought up the fleet.  They sent André H back to Nova Scotia to tow several of the units to Quebec for rebuild. Past blog postings covered these moves.
Océan refitted at least two if not more of the spoil carriers, giving them a new lease on life - even after 75 years of service in their hulls.
After the grounding, André H headed for safety, I believe in Baie-Comeau.  A tug from Sept-Iles has been sent to the scene to see if salvage is possible. I believe this to be the Ocean Arctique ex Stevns Ocean - also covered in Tugfax this summer when it was acquired in Europe.
Reports of a possible diesel oil spill as a result of the groundings is not surprising, but the St.Lawrence pollution experts SIMEC are also reported to be on scene.
There is no word yet on whether the two craft are salvageable.

See the Radio-Canada footage on the scene:

From the TV footage it is clear that one of the grounded spoil carriers are I.V.No.10 ex G.T.D. built in 1936.  and I.V.No.9 ex A.C.D. built in 1937. TheyIt was one of were the boats laid up in Meteghan, NS during the Dragage Verreault bankruptcy.

Although little changed in appearance since 1971, two of the I.V. spoil lighters were refitted and repainted by Océan, I.V. No.10 and I.V.No.9I.V.No.14 is reported laid up  in Sorel-Tracy unrestored..

New footage:

HS Beethoven (again) icky, srticky, mess

I hear that HS Beethoven is likely to be in Halifax for a long time. Currently there are containers still in the ships hold, coated in heavy fuel oil, and unreachable by the container crane spreader. Riggers have been making up special lashings to allow the crane to raise the containers above the deck where they are cleaned before unloading. There is still bunker oil sloshing around in the lower reaches of the hold.
Over the weekend, in some very cold weather, the hatch was closed and heaters put in place to keep the mess in a more or less liquid state.
There will continue to be a lot of pumping and cleaning before actual repairs can begin.


Boston Express - in tow

The Hapag-Lloyd container ship Boston Express is reported to be trouble in the North Pacific.
Built in 1998 and serving as Essen Express until earlier this year, the ship is part of the H-L's Pacific Atlantic Express service. It was en route from Tokyo to Tacoma on December 9 when it suffered some sort of breakdown south of the Aleutian Islands.

The Japanese tug Koyo Maru took the ship in tow December 15, but its destination can't be confirmed.

1.The ship called in Halifax June 1, 2013 for the first time under the name Boston Express.

The ship was due in Halifax in the last week of December.

The following is an edited text of a Hapag-Lloyd press release:

Hapag-Lloyd will not offer a PAX eastbound sailing from the USEC ports and Halifax in week 52. However, arrangements have been made to supply sufficient space on other Hapag-Lloyd services within the same week.
Existing bookings for “Boston Express” 94E46 will be transferred, new bookings will be directly placed onto below vessel/voyages.
 Port of Lading Halifax
 MV “Atlantic Cartier” voyage 3374, eta December 31, 2013


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wellservicer - refueled by Algoma Dartmouth

 Since mid-November the Wellservicer has been working on the Venture gas field pipeline, renewing some of the elements and making periodic brief calls in Halifax. It returned to Halifax Wednesday December 11 and is still in port. Today it was refueled by Algoma Dartmouth - its first job this month by my count.

1. Remants of seasmoke on the water are a hint at the frigid temperatures in Halifax.

For more details about this unique ship see my previous posting from November 16:

2. More sea smoke and frozen spray around the waterline and fenders, and on the shore line of Macnab's Island in the background, plus distortion over the water also attest to the -10C air temperature and +4C water temperature. Not visible is the brisk wind adding tot he joy of ship watching.

Algoma Dartmouth is still carrying about 400 metric tonnes of cargo, so there must be plans to refuel other ships should they need it.

Cap Victor - quick visit

The tanker Cap Victor, bound for Quebec City, made a short stopover in Halifax mostly during the hours of darkness.  The Greek flag ship is a regular caller at the Ultramar refinery in the St-Romuald neighbourhood of Lévis, and so its visit here was a rare one. Needless to say it did not take bunkers.

Not only did it arrive at night, but it sailed amid banks of sea smoke brought on by the -15C air temperatures in Halifax. Adding to this was the position of the sun when it did sail.
Hence my only picture - the ship is outbound off Sandwich Point and almost out of view. 
Built in 2007 by Samsung Shipbuilding + Heavy Industry in Geoje, South Korea, the ship measures 81,234 gross tons and 158,880 deadweight tonnes. It is owned and operated by Euronav.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Louisbourg for sale

The former CCGS Louisbourg recently renamed 2013-03, is now listed for sale. Laid up at Sorel-Tracy, QC since October 2012, the patrol craft is offered for a minimum bid of $385,000.

Built in 1977 by the long defunct Breton Marine at Point Tupper, NS, the aluminum hulled craft wasdesigned for coastal fisheries patrols and was based at Queen's Wharf in Halifax in its early years.
The boat had a range of over 3000 n.mi. and could remain at sea for more than two weeks at at a time. With the advent of the 200 mile limit it was found to be too slow (10 knots cruising speed, 13.5 knots maximum) and too light for year-round offshore work and was transferred to the Gulf of St.Lawrence, where it seems to have performed well as a mid-shore patrol boat on a seasonal basis.

When the Department of Fisheries fleet was merged with the Department of Transport's Coast Guard fleet to become the Department of Fisheries + Oceans, Louisbourg lost its "stealth" grey colour and was painted red. Its fast rescue craft.was fitted with an underway launching system, to improve search and rescue capabilities.It also lost its distinctive davits, mounted aft of the wheelhouse, and at least from the evidence of the photo above its rescue rafts were replaced with lube oil barrels....maybe they had better flotation.

 For full information on the bid, and many photos of the interior of the ship see:

With the recent dismal record of sales of surplus government craft (E.P.LeQuebecois failed to sell after four tries) the January 27 closing date for bids may not be the last we hear of this attractive boat.


Repair updates HS Beethoven and Oceanex Connaigra

There is really nothing new to report about HS Beethoven, except to say that repairs are still ongoing. On Tuesday December 10 the ship was moved from the Cerescorp container terminal at Fairview Cove to the Halterm container terminal. The move was necessary because Fairview had to work two ships and there was no room for HS Beethoven.
The ship is now at pier 36 where one of Halterm's cranes is being used to lift materials and equipment off and on the ship. I can see vacuum pumping trucks and waste oil trucks on the pier, so they may still  be carrying out cleaning operations. Certainly all traces of  oil would have to be removed before any hot work could begin.
It does not look like the ship will be returning to service any time soon, but since all work is invisible to the innocent bystander (myself) I will just have to wait. 

Meanwhile Oceanex Connaigra sailed from Halifax at 0100 hrs Sunday December 8 and arrived in Boston Monday morning December 9. The ship was docked immediately and presumably work started soon after.
On checking the Oceanex schedule as I write this, her first sailing is shown as January 17 from Montreal.
Cabot's last sailing is January 17 from St.John's.
Since most cargo on the route is eastbound, it is not surprising that Oceanex Connaigra will probably sail directly form Boston to Montreal on completion of repairs, then make her first trip of the year to St.John's.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Energy Protector - energy is golden

The product tanker Energy Protector is the latest tanker to arrive at Imperial Oil. After nearly a week anchored outside, the ship entered this morning and tied up at number 4 dock.

1. A combination of sub-zero air and warm water caused some distortion in the photograph of  Energy Protector.

There are some who would suggest that the name emblazoned on the ship's hull is appropriate in view of the price of gasoline these days, but it only represents the name of the ship's operator, Golden Energy Management of Athens Greece. The ship however is actually owned by Unique Navigation Corp, part of South African Marine Corp of Cape Town. Despite all that, the ship is registered in the Isle of Man, and is thus considered to be British.
As with any number of recent product tankers calling in Halifax, this one was built by STX Shipbuilding of Pusan, South Korea. Dating from 2004, it measures in at 30,008 gross tons and 51,319 deadweight. It obviously has only a partial cargo for Imperial, and so will not likely be in port for too long.


1973 time warp - Iroqouis, Athabaskan, Preserver - still with us.

Looking back through my records for December 1973, there are a lot of now dimly remembered or forgotten merchant ship names, none of which are still in service.

Such is not the case among naval vessels. Ships participating in Marcot, a three week naval exercise involving the RCN, RN and USN returned  to Halifax. HMCS Preserver, Annapolis (leader), Iroquios (leader) Assiniboine, Margaree, Nipigon, Qu'AppelleOkanagan, Onandaga, and Athabaskan arrived December 14, with Algonquin and Yukon to return December 17. HMS Ashanti did not come in to Halifax as far as I can tell. The USN participated with an Orion aircraft.
( I believe this was the first exercise for the new Tribals.)

I don't have photos from December 1973, but I have some that are relevant.

 1. July 1, 1980 saw Huron, Iroquois and Skeena dressed all over.

The Tribal class destroyers Iroquois and Athabaskan and the supply ship Preserver are still with us, and will be for some time to come as controversy still surrounds their replacements.

2. Protecteur and Preserver together at Imperial Oil while fueling in 1982.

Not surprisingly the Canadian Auditor General has now come out and stated that Canada will be paying a huge premium to build new supply ships in Canada. He faults the National Ship Replacement Strategy (NSPS) for the way it has picked two shipyards and other critics claim that Seaspan and Irving Shipbuilding have been given blank cheques to build ships without competitive pricing.

Our government knew that the political importance of building these ships in Canada would have a higher price tag. Not only that, they had to make up a huge deficit in Canadian shipbuilding capacity because previous governments failed to act on ship replacement, allowing the yards to die. Blaming the government for not knowing the size of that premium is a little self-serving in my opinion. Surely the AudG knows that there is no naval program anywhere in the world that is not plagued with overruns, delays and escalations. Name any country you like and naval shipbuilding is a controversial subject. The government needed to act, they chose a "no favouritism" method of selecting the builders and got the program moving, by first rebuilding the shipyards  The old method of calling for competitive pricing for a design package obviously did not work in the past -and would mean endless delays which would cost even more if allowed to continue.

The Auditor General would be well advised to comment and make recommendations on cost control measures to be put in place during the program, rather than carping about decisions that have already been made on a political basis. No sound business case could ever be made for building these ships in Canada - but the need to have a Canadian shipbuilding industry is a matter of sovereignty and patriotism. In an era of exporting technical and manufacturing jobs from Canada to the Third World, it makes political sense to create jobs in Canada. It also allows to keep a little corner on our needs without having to rely on other countries.

3. Pre-TRUMP Iroquois makes an early morning arrival in Halifax in 1980. The destroyers may be among the last ships to be replaced in the NSPS. They lost their distinctive canted funnels in that refit.


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Atlantic Superior

Thanks to a recent comment posted to this blog I can give an update on the bulker Atlantic Superior. The comment was too long for the available space in the comment box, so the last few lines did not make it through to me. {If that happens again, just cut off the first few sentences until it fits, because they did go through)
After wintering in Halifax last year there were rumours that  Atlantic Superior was to be laid up and sold for scrap. That did not prove to be true as the ship was transferred to CSL Americas (formerly CSL International) and made some trips on the Canada/US east coast.
It has since been transferred again, this time to west coast, where it is running between Canada and US in the aggregates trade.
As on the this coast, there is a shortage of aggregate in the US due to various causes, such as NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard) movements and environmental regulations. Canada has lots of aggregates, and there are still objections to opening new mines, but there are some big existing ones that show no signs of running out of rock. One such is Martin Marietta's operation at Auld's Cove NS with an estimated 150 years of stone in place.
On the west coast Polaris Minerals has a large operation that started up on Vancouver Island in 2007. It ships aggregates to CEMEX in Redwood City CA. CSL was using the ships CSL Acadian and Nelvana (both used to run on this coast), but they could not get to Redwoood City fully loaded at 45 foot draft (and deadweight of more than 74,000 tonnes), and had to lighter off part of the cargo to barges while at anchor in San Francisco Harbour. The barges then ran to Napa with their portion of the cargo. The ship would then dock in San Francisco or Richmond and unload more cargo until its draft was reduced to 30 feet allowing it to get into to Redwood City.
This arrangement was inconvenient, time consuming and costly with the economic downturn over the last few years.
Atlantic Superior to the rescue.It can load a healthy quantity of material (36,800 deadweight tonnes at maximum summer draft), has shallow draft (34 feet in fresh water) and can get into Redwood City at high tide with a full cargo. At time of writing the ship is due in Redwood City on another trip.
The ship was reflagged to the Bahamas September 17, 2013.
The other ships in the CSL fleet with similar names; Atlantic Erie and Atlantic Huron are still sailing under Canadian flag. Despite the similarity in names they are not sister ships.

3. Atlantic Erie with a maximum deadweight of 37,753 tonnes has the largest cargo capacity of the three ships. It is still running the St.Lawrence River.

4. Atlantic Huron seen in Halifax this past Sunday morning  December 8, for a load of gypsum, was widened to the new St.Lawrence Seaway maximum and no longer goes far from Canadian shores.

Porte St. Jean - mystery half solved

Following my post of December 7 wondering what became of the gate vessels Porte St.Jean and Porte St. Louis after they sailed from Halifax in September 2000 Thanks to several readers who have sent e-mails with additional information, which allowed me to follow up on the duo.

So far I have found the fate of Porte St.Jean. It ended up at the Derecktor Shipyard in the Fort Lauderdale FL area of Dania Beach, and may have been owned by the yard's founder, the late Robert Derecktor. After his death in 2001 work on converting the ship to a yacht was suspended.  One photo has been located showing the work in progress, with the deckhouse removed and the start of a new flying bridge type wheelhouse.

On April 29, 2004 the ship was taken to sea and sunk as an artificial fish reef and dive site. Tracing the ship was difficult because it had been renamed (perhaps unofficially) Miss Dania Beach. Its location is in Broward County at 26 degrees 08.605 minutes N x 80 degrees 05.502 minutes West in 71 feet of water. A plaque on shore points to the Bob Derecktor Memorial Reef.

For photos and other information see the facebook page:

 No recent sign of Porte St.Louis yet, aside from a sighting in Norfolk VA, we await more news.

Harbour Fashion -

1. Harbour Fashion is boomed off at pier 9 while unloading fuel to the tanks seen in the background.

The oddly named Harbour Fashion made one of those rare stops at Pier 9 to off load fuel to the Wilson's Fuels' tanks on Barrington Street. About once a year the independent fuel company imports fuel this way. With the closure of Imperial's local refining operation we might expect more ships at this location over the winter.

It appears to be an unusual place for a tanker, but there have been fuel tanks in the Barrington Street  location for many years. A pipeline runs from the north end of pier 9,  under the CN Intermodal yard to the tanks.

The ship was built in 2011 by Zhousan Shipyard, Zhousan, China and is operated by Nordic Tankers Marine of Copenhagen, but is registered in Madeira (Portugal's offshore registry.) The ship is a frequent caller on the Great Lakes and in fact it was in Mississauga, ON November 25-26 and Quebec City December 5. Its previous port to that was Vlissingen (Flushing) November 12. Since the ship has not been granted a coasting license, according to the latest listing from the Canadian Transportation Agency, one has to assume that its cargo came from Europe.   


CSL Metis - Interesting ship - visibility improved

 It is a distressing fact that at this time of year, interesting ships arrive in Halifax in the evening or in snow storms, when there is no visibility and no chance for a photo. Such was the case Monday afternoon when the CSL Metis arrived at National Gypsum. This is the first time I have seen this ship in Halifax, so I was pleased that the weather cleared off enough today to get a photo.

 1. CSL Metis lines up for the Narrows (viewed from the Halifax side of the harbour). It is not fully loaded due to the restricted draft at the National Gypsum pier.

There are also lots of photos on line, since the ship is a frequent caller in the Strait of Canso and has been well photographed there:

CSL Americas, the former CSL International, also publishes a spec sheet and photo of the ship on their web site:

Canada Steamship Lines,  founded through the amalagamation of a number of St.Lawrence River and Great Lakes companies, became a world leader in self-unloader technology, based on its experience building and operating such ships in its domestic fleet. Since than it has expanded to Europe and AustralAsia, as well as deep sea shippping in North America, outside of the Great Lakes.

Faced with a growing demand for self-discharging bulk carriers in 2007 the company opted to purchase a suitable ship and rebuild it to their needs. The crude oil tanker Ektora ex Ektoras -07, Sinamaica-00, Lagovan Sinamaica-93, Berge Helen -81 was selected. It was built in 1981 by Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Ichihara, Japan with a good quality engine (B+W built under license by Mitsui). As a single skin/double bottom tanker, it was rendered obsolete by new double hull regulations. Therefore it could be acquired at low cost, since it was otherwise headed to the scrap yard even though it was in good condition. As a tanker it measured 32,514 gross tons, 61,403 deadweight.

At the same time CSL ordered an entirely new forebody, complete with up to date self-unloading gear from Chengxi Shipyard in China.In a remarkably short time (after fabricating the hull modules it was assembled in only 53 days on the slipway) the forebody was launched on April 16, 2007 and soon after melded to the after section of the tanker to form CSL Metis. The completed ship sailed from the shipyard on October 29, 2007. (Chengxi has also been contracted to built several new ships for CSL, so this was a bit of a dry run for them.)

 2. The new forebody was joined to the existing stern on a line just aft of the bridge wing. The new portion is also deeper than the older tanker forebody was, and so there is a "step up" forward of the superstructure.
The "new" ship measures 43,022 gross tons and 69,350 deadweight tonnes.  It loaded coal in Indonesia, in November 2007, arrived in New York in mid-December and arrived at Auld's Cove, NS in January 2008 for its first load of stone.Since then the ship has been a regular in Nova Scotia waters with coal inbound and loading return cargoes of aggregate in the Strait of Canso. I have never seen it in Halifax up until now, but I understand it may have been here in the summer when I was away.

3. Once in the Narrows, the ship sails unescorted outbound (viewed from the Dartmouth side).


Monday, December 9, 2013

Rio Dauphin - back again

The Marshal Islands flag tanker Rio Dauphin is back in Halifax again working out to the end of her third coasting license for Algoma Takers. Her prolonged appearance in Canadian waters is due to a shortage of Canadian tankers brought about by the closing of Imperial Oil's refining operation  in Halifax.

Its first license was for the period of September 25 to October 15 and included up to five trips to ports on the Great Lakes. The second license was for one trip from Sarnia to Halifax October 25 to November 8. The present third license expires today. It was granted to carry 12,000 cubic meters of clean product between Sarnia and Halifax.and or Sydney, NS from November 24 to December 9.

When the St.Lawrence Seaway closes at Christmas Imperial will have to rely on other refiners in Canada or import product from the US to meet demand in this region.

This sporadic demand for domestic tankers is apparently not enough to justify buying and importing a ship in to Canada, particularly when our present laws allow foreign ships to be licensed when no suitable Canadian ship is available.

For more detail on the ship itself, see my previous posting:


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Famous Germans in port: Fritz Reuter - ready to work, HS Beethoven - not so much

The Melfi Lines charter Fritz Reuter arrived this afternoon and is ready to work cargo Monday morning.

1. Fritz Reuter at mid-berth Halterm has her cargo booms swung out clear to allow shore cranes to work containers.

Built by Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard Co Ltd in China in 2006 as Maruba Zonda, the ship was renamed Fritz Reuter on delivery to owners Norddeutsche Reederei Schuldt, Hamburg. Flying the Liberian flag, the ship can carry 1732 TEUs (379 reefers) and has two 45 tonne cranes. Her gross tonnage is 18,480 and deadweight is 23,732 tonnes.
Fritz Reuter, the man (1810-1874), was a prominent writer of his day. 

Meanwhile at the other end of the port HS Beethoven lies at Fairview Cove east berth, unloaded and de-ballasted for repairs to her tank top.

2. HS Beethoven is all lit up, but it is hard to tell if repair work is underway or not.

Although there is little outward sign of activity on repairs, it must be assumed that her owners are doing what they can to get her back in service as soon as possible. The penalties for going "off charter" are usually quite severe, especially on a scheduled container ship service.

Ludvig von Beethoven, the man, needs no introduction from me.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Port St.Jean, Porte St.Louis, where are they now

The Where Are They Now Department of Shipax can point to a sterling record of tracking down ships after they have vanished from the Halifax scene. However the staff have thrown up their collective hands in frustration after failing to find the whereabouts of two vessels that were once fixtures in Halifax harbour.

Porte St.Jean and Porte St.Louis were members of a five ship class of gate vessels, built in the 1950-1952 era. As gate vessels, their duties would be to tend the submarine nets at the entrances to major harbours. They were built with trawler-like hulls, and a small working deck for maintenance and other duties related to the floating gates. Originally they were also fitted with a single 40mm gun, mounted on the forecastle head.

However during their tenure with the RCN there were no active gates, so they were turned over mostly to reserve training, and as such wandered the coasts, with their weapons removed. Although the accommodations were cramped and uncomfortable, the boats were responsive in handling and good seakeepers. In later years the deck house was extended forward to increase accommodation and add bridge space for navigators.

Named for the gates in the fortifications at Quebec and Louisbourg, Porte de la Reine and Porte Québec were built on the west coast and stationed there. Porte Dauphine, the only one of the quintet to be built at Pictou NS was the odd man out, and from 1958-1974 was painted red and loaned to the Department of Transport for Great Lakes Research.
Porte St.Jean and Porte St.Louis were built by George T. Davie + Sons Ltd in Lauzon, QC in 1951 and 1952 respectively, and assigned pennant number 180 and 183. They were based in Halifax for their entire careers* and were common sites in the harbour and in many coastal ports while conducting reserve training for navigators, cooks, engineers and radio operators. (In typically perverse naval fashion "Jean" was always pronounced "Gene".)

Porte St.Jean and Porte St.Louis sailed past HMC Dockyard on March 29, 1996, flying their paying off pennants and were paid off March 31, 1996 according to my records (but December 19, 1996 according to most published sources.)

On May 8, 1997 the pair were sold and moved to layup in Bedford Basin., They languished there until 2000 when they were resold to US owners and moved on August 31 to the IEL pier in Dartmouth to be fitted out for sea. On September 4 Porte St.Louis did a trials trip in the harbour and on September 7 it sailed towing Porte St.Jean. They were fitted with liferafts, and their names painted on the bows, but otherwise they seemed to be pretty much as they were when the navy sold them.

The destination was stated to be New Jersey, where they were to be converted to yachts. This would seem to have required more than a little imagination, but since I have heard nothing of them, anything is possible.
On sailing, the boats were flying the Canadian flag and registered as yachts to avoid the regulations imposed on commercial vessels. This has added to the difficulty in tracing their movements since yachts generally "fly under the radar" when it comes to tracking.

Any news on their activities since sailing from Halifax would be welcome.

 I hear from one person that at during 1965/6 these vessels were based at HMCS Star, in Hamilton, ON, for use by Naval Reserve Divisions on Lake Ontario.