Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Canadian Coast Guard, more news as the NSPS continues to roll out

There was another announcement on Wednesday regarding shipbuilding as part of the massive replacement/ modernization of Canada's government fleet.

First it was the combatant (Halifax Shipyard) and non-combatant (Seaspan Shipyard) ships, announced last year as part of the NSPS (National Ship Procurement Strategy) both of which will inject major money into the economy for a long time to come. The government finally woke up to the fact that shipyard's are good for the economy, and became willing to build not just ships, but a whole shipbuilding industry. How that will work out in the long term remains to be seen, but it cannot be denied that we will get a whole bunch of new ships for the navy and Coast Guard, and a vastly upgraded shipbuilding industry. Whether it will pay back a return on the government's investment is a moot point, since it is so far beyond any one government's normal planning process. It is a kind of Keynesian attitude of leaving it to future generations to worry about.
Irving Shipbuilding's Halifax yard is a beehive of activity already, where it is expanding northward to build the bigger ships.
The research ship CCGS Alfred Needler is one of the ships to be replaced under the larger NSPS announcement. The new ship will be built in Vancouver.

Second was the announcement in February that $360 mn will be put into 18  Coast Guard ships to upgrade them and give then life extensions. This includes the four heavy icebreakers (Amundesn is already done now.  Because of engine failures last year it had a major rebuild at St.Catharines over the winter.)
CCGS Edward Cornwallis is one of the six multi-tasked vessels to get a life extension.

Six multi-tasked vessels, (3 based here), one medium endurance (based here) one science, two offshore patrol, two special navaids and two air cushions will also be upgraded over the next ten years - none too soon for some of them. There may be no NSPS restrictions on which yard can bid on this work.
CCGS Early Grey is the medium endurance ship that will get a life extension/upgrade.

Wednesday's announcement of $488 mn for Coast Guard small ships and craft, under 1,000 tonnes, which will not be built by Irving or Seaspan (that was also part of NSPS) will see 18 to 21 new boats added in the next seven years. These would not be good fits for the big yards anyway, and it was NSPS  strategy to give some boatbuilding yards and some smaller shipyards some needed business too.

Still to come are new tugs for the navy, both large and small. We are sure to get that announcement fairly soon as the summer spending continues.
 The navy will be replacing all its tugs (large and small) and its fireboats.

Meanwhile there are some puzzles. Such as CCGS Matthew which has not re-entered service this year after its winter layup. The survey ship has not been mentioned in any announcements, so presumably it is idled by lack of funds.Built in 1991 it is one of the newest ships in the CCG/DFO and and uniquely a hydrographic ship - it doesn't seem to perform any other function, and recent government cuts may be to blame.
A forlorn CCGS Matthew sits alongside BIO- not in service this summer. That is Halifax Traffic VTS station on the hill behind.

Imperial Oil - more fallout

1. The crude oil tanker Nicoloas unloads at Imperial Oil, 2013-01-17.

To say that Imperial Oil is being coy about the ramifications of their announced Dartmouth refinery closure would be an understatement. From CBC News reports, it seems that even the Halifax Port Authority is being kept in the dark about the future of the marine fuel business when the refinery turns off the tap. Vague statements about diesel fuel may fool some of the propel some of the time.

As a full service port, Halifax markets itself to the world as a provider of all the necessities of life for ships. Certainly marine fuel (which is not diesel oil) is a major component of that service, and without it the port will be left in the lurch. Some its current customers may also question the value of calling in Halifax if marine fuel oil is not readily available.
 2. The cargo ship Hagen takes on fuel from the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth on June 2, 2013. It is back today for a repeat.

By my unofficial count somewhere between 250 and 300 ships take advantage of that capability each year. These include cruise ships, container ships, cargo ships, the offshore suppliers, gypsum ships and any other ships doing business in the port. But there are also about 50 ships a year that come into Halifax for no other reason than to take fuel. While here, of course, they may also take on supplies and clear customs, but they also pay port dues and contribute to the Port's bottom line. Halifax's strategic location as the nearest mainland port to Europe, makes it a natural as a bunkering port. The tanker Algoma Dartmouth is a dedicated bunkering tanker, kept on standby in Halifax to deliver bunker fuel directly to ships.

3. Heat haze distorts the coastal tanker Algonova as it takes bunkers yesterday afternoon. The ship had just returned from Sept-Iles, QC where it had delivered cargo from the refinery.

But that's not all. Esso also distributes fuel to other terminals in Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec, and those coastal tankers also fuel up here. There are currently two such tankers, Algonova and Algoscotia that are in and out of port weekly, and they take fuel almost every trip. If marine fuels are not available at Dartmouth, then it will be a receiving terminal only and will not be a distribution terminal, except by trucks. It will not distribute product to the many of the Esso and Irving Oil depots in eastern Canada, as it does now, but will instead only service mainland Nova Scotia needs.

4. HMCS Preserver takes fuel yesterday afternoon. As a supply ship, one of its roles is to refuel other ships at sea. Navy ships have priority berthing at Imperial Oil for national security reasons, and are large users of marine fuel.

But that's still not all, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard also depend on the refinery for fuel.Without the refinery producing the various grades of marine fuels that they need, they may be forced to spend millions on building their own refueling terminal, bringing in fuel from who knows where.
So it's not just about jobs lost (that's bad enough), but it is also about how the Port of Halifax can serve its customers, and how the RCN and CCG can keep their fleet going economically and without delays.

5. Algoma Dartmouth heads to BIO to refuel CCGS Hudson, one of six large ships based there.

So why blame Esso? As one of the largest, if not the largest oil company in the world, parent Exxon should answer for why the refinery has not kept pace over the years. Such small players (by world standards) as Irving Oil took the bull by the horns, expanded and upgraded well beyond absolute necessity and found a market in the US. They are also importing oil, by train, from North Dakota, which Imperial is not doing. Exxon/Esso/Imperial needs to explain why they have not kept up. With Newfoundland oil available right in front of their eyes, one would think that they could have seen an opportunity and acted on it instead of taking only the odd cargo now and then..

6. The Canadian shuttle tanker Kometik delivers a rare cargo of Canadian crude oil at Dartmouth on Saturday. With Newfoundland oil nearby, the refinery still imports oil from overseas.

We (the taxpayers and our government) have also been guilty in not reminding Esso that the refinery was set up during World War I as a strategic asset, with heavy government contributions (and patronage- viz. the Navy and coast Guard.) and that the tax breaks and subsidies for exploration that Esso has received  should come with a price- i.e. re-invest.  I wonder if Esso is really in the oil business or in the oil exploration business. Certainly their shareholders are not complaining, so if the refining business isn't making money, they are making money somewhere.

7. AST Sunshine, unloads west African crude at Imperial Oil May 16.

As to trying to make a business case to Esso to keep the refinery open, that may be a lost argument now. I haven't heard much of an outcry from our politicians at any level - maybe they've been distracted. But it is time they stepped up to the plate and became involved in a solution to this important issue for the Port of Halifax.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Aivik I sails - where is Mitiq

Now registered in Panama as Aivik I , the former Canadian ship Aivik sailed this evening giving Fall River, MA as its destination. The names of new owners have yet to appear on any web sites I can access, but it appears that they have found some cargo to carry. [see previous posts for history]
The ship completed a compass calibration before it left, and in the above photo the adjuster is just about to descend the pilot ladder to the waiting launch Captain Jim.

The ship's replacement for Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, to be named Mitiq, has yet to appear, but the the recent Halifax caller Florijngracht turned off its AIS, somewhere between Baie-Comeau and Matane. (It's back on in Matane). Matane was its destination, and will likely load paper there.
It now seems that Emmagracht will be the new NEAS ship. It is in the Atlantic en route to Valleyfield, QC.

APL Cyprine first call for the G6 Alliance service

1. Escort tug Atlantic Oak straightens out APL Cyprine to pass under the A.Murray MacKay bridge.

APL Cyprine sailed today after making its first call in Halifax for the new G6 Alliance The new combination of major carriers will result in one less stop for Hapag-Lloyd's own service, but will see several new ships for H-L and APL that will be new to Halifax..
Since 1988, what was originally American President Lines, has been called APL. The ships still wear the eagle funnel of the previous company, but have adopted names from parent company NOL (Neptune Orient Line) of Singapore - most ships are named for jewels, no longer for American Presidents. Interestingly APL has a Canadian connection, going back a century with Robert Dollar, a native Scot, who lived in Canada for a time. He made his fortune in timber on the west coast and spread out into shipping. In 1925 he took over the ailing Pacific Mail Steamship Co (which named its ships after Presidents) and became a major force on the Pacific. After his death in 1932,  Dollar Lines also ran into financial difficulty, and the US government took over the company from his sons and formed American President Lines in 1938.
In 1997 APL merged with NOL, but still maintains a US flagged fleet under the APL banner.
APL Cyprine was built in 1997 by Samsung SB+HI of Geoje, South Korea, and operated as NOL Cyprine until 2000 when it was assigned to APL and now flies the US flag. It is a ship of 65,475 gross tons, but only 64,159 deadweight tonnes. Usually deadweight is a much larger number than gross, but this seems to be accounted for in the way it stows its 5200 TEUs of containers- 2544 in the holds and 2476 on deck. Usually the deck capacity is much less than the hold capacity.
Sister ships APL Pearl,  APL Agate, APL Coral and APL Belgium will also be coming to Halifax as part of the G6 service.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Princess will be replaced

Call it the curse of Shipfax, but my prediction that the feds would have no dollars to replace Princess of Acadia any time soon has proven to be 100% wrong. In the big announcement made today, $60 mn has been set aside for a replacement ship. Although the Minister of Transport is not promising a brand new ship, it will be "new to you", but it will certainly be newER.
Speculation will be rife for some time as to what ship it will be and from where, but I will leave that to the crystal ball gazers for now.

Coastal Shipping's Travestern - hat trick for Woodward

The third of Coastal Shipping's trio of former Rigel tankers arrived today and anchored in the lower harbour. Travestern  is the latest acquisition by Woodward Group's tanker fleet, and just arrived this spring from former German owners.It was registered in St.John's March 15, about the time of its arrival in Lewisporte.
Alsterstern (posted here June 13) and Havelstern have both been in port but loaded cargo in Saint John, NB.
This ship was built in 1995 by MTW Schiffswerft in Wismar, Germany. It measures 11,423 gross tons and 17,080 deadweight.
Thanks to an anonymous reader, we have a succinct explanation of their names:

"- Alster, Havel and Trave are rivers in Germany. Their names commonly are associated with larger German cities: Alster & Hamburg, Trave & Lübeck/Kiel, Havel & Berlin.
- Stern means Star, so the ships' names would be Star of Havel,..."


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Atlantic Cartier - I was wrong, then I was wrong again

1. File photo of Atlantic Cartier sailing from Halifax on the evening of March 25, 2005.

Despite my dire predictions (that was when I was wrong for the second time) Atlantic Cartier HAS returned to service, sailing from her berth in Hamburg June 22 and arriving in Antwerp today. Its departure coincides with taking up its regular slot in the ACL rotation, and returning to full service.
My report of June 6, which was later declared wrong was closer to being correct. My post of June 14 has now been proven wrong too, since none of the Grimaldi ConRos are now scheduled to call in Halifax - they won't be needed.
Atlantic Cartier is now due in Halifax July 1. It will receive a warmer welcome than it received in April 1987:
2. Atlantic Cartier sails from Halifax April 2, 1987. CCGS William loosened up a path for her, and is well ahead. Meanwhile CCGS Louis S. St.Laurent leads the gypsum carrier Melvin H.Baker . (The outbound William is just passing the inbound Baker)
For more on this singular even see my February 11, 202 post:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Holiday Island

1. The provincial flag of Prince Edward Island and the house flag of Northumberland Ferries Ltd.

An announcement from Ottawa that some $13mn will  be spent on the Caribou, NS - Wood Island, PE ferry operation will upgrade terminals at both ends and will - get ready for this - re-engine the ferry Holiday Island. Such a major expenditure can only mean that the Minister of Transport expects to get many more years of service out of the veteran ferry, thus of course no replacement in the offing.
Two things will immediately come to mind, one: what are they thinking in Ottawa pumping that kind of money intro a 42 year old ship and two: since they can get more years out of the old 'Island, there will be no money put aside to replace the equally old Princess of Acadia any time soon.
Both ships were built in 1971, but Princess of Acadia has had more severe service, running year round in less friendly seas. A refit in the US refit last winter saw some big bucks put into maintenance and cosmetic upgrades, so it seems unlikely that a replacement is in the offing there either. [Keep up to date with our friend Bayferryman - link to his blog under My Faves.]

2. Trans-St-Laurent is fifty this year.

Speaking of old ferries, one that I use several times a year is Trans St-Laurent which runs between Rivière-du-Loup and St-Siméon, QC. Although I don't know if there will be any particular celebration, that ship is 50 years old this year and shows no sign of imminent replacement either.

Holiday Island is one of a pair of sisters, built by Port Weller Dry Dock in St.Catharines, ON and launched as William Pope and Thomas Haviland. Although named for two Fathers of Confederation from Prince Edward Island, someone thought that the names were a tad sober for boats that were to transport gleeful tourists to Prince Edward Island, so they were very quickly re-dubbed Holiday Island and Vacationland respectively. [Nobody seemed to sympathize with the impoverished returnees, who would be paying the bills all winter.]
Their original run was between Cape Tormentine, NB and Borden PE, and they operated seasonally, for the Minister of Transport, with the Canadian National Railroad as managers. CNR formed CN Marine and eventually spun off Marine Atlantic as an independent crown corporation to do the actual operating.
3. Holiday Island looked particularly good in Marine Atlantic's colour scheme. In this photo she is in her last year of operation on the Borden-Tormentine run.

When the Confederation Bridge was completed in 1997, the ships were laid up and Holiday Island transferred to the remaining PEI ferry service, operated by Northumberland Ferries Ltd. Vacationland  remained laid up in Sydney harbour despite a plan to have it run to Grand Manan Island, wherein it was renamed Fundy Paradise in 2001. Ownership was actually transferred to the New Brunswick Minister of Transport, but the ship was manifestly unsuited for that service, so was eventually sold in 2009 to Entreprise Marissa Inc of Quebec City. Their plan to use it as a dredge (it would be a giant pumping station for suction dredging) fell through when the Minster of Public Works insisted on a self-dumping hopper dredge for the work. Stuck with no work, it has languished alongside, mostly in Wolfe's Cove in Quebec City ever since.
4. Under NFL management Holiday Island reverted to its original white paint, but with a red stripe. Here she approaches the Caribou terminal with great precision. She flies the Province of Nova Scotia flag on the "Nova Scotia end" of the ship. As a double ender, her bow and stern are essentially identical.

Holiday Island however has soldiered on, still seasonally, but in fact is the primary ferry running between Caribou and Wood Islands. Fleet mate Confederation is mainly used in the busiest parts of the summer.
Holiday Island is powered by two English Electric (Ruston + Hornsby Division) main engines of 3,625 bhp each, and each geared to a Voith-Schneider "propellor" one forward and one aft. These vertical blade units, by changing pitch on the blades, provide omnidirectional control without additional bow and stern thrusters. Both units run all the time, one in forward pitch and one in reverse pitch, giving a speed of 11.5 knots.It is worth seeing the ship come into its dock - the degree of control is incredibly precise.
The old Ruston engines must be nearly clapped out by now - they aren't noted for their longevity, and knowledgeable Ruston engineers are getting thin on the ground. The new engines will be vastly more efficient and more ecologically friendly too. I haven't heard any suggestion that they will be dual fuel LNG/ diesel or diesel/electric, but just as a suggestion: why not re-power with a system that can be removed and re-used in a new ferry in five years or so? 


Fairmile - history to the dumpster

1. In better days, Duc d'Orléans strides up the St.Clair River, eleven years ago to the day.

Sad news via the Boatnerd website. The former RCN Fairmile Q-105, the long serving tour boat Duc d'Orléans, will soon be no more. The organization that took on its restoration has been unable to secure funding and will be forced to scrap the remains of the boat, now on the shore at Sarnia, ON.
Built in 1944 in Sarnia by MacCraft, it was one of 80 Canadian-built Fairmile B class motor launches to serve the RCN during World War II.
I do not need to repeat the history of this craft when we have Marc-André Morin's excellent web site:
Suffice it to say that after naval service, mostly in Bermuda, Q105 was sold through the War Assets Corp to the Province of Quebec on October 18, 1945 and in 1948 converted to a tour boat working out of Quebec City. It was renamed Duc d'Orléans for the namesake of Ile d'Orléans downstream of Quebec City, where it was rebuilt, and where it toured. With its sister Roseline, it was a fixture on the Quebec City waterfront for as long as I can remember.
In 1980 it moved home to the Sarnia area where it continued as a tour boat until it was retired in 2006.
The owner then donated it to the Friends of Q105  who started an ambitious restoration, but recently gave up the project. The remains are destined for the dumpster.
As one of the dwindling stock of World War II veteran craft, and one of the few wooden ones,  it would have been a significant artifact had the project succeeded.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Florijngracht - perhpas the new Mitiq

1. Florijngracht outbound for Matane, QC after inspection.

One of the ubiquitous Spleithoff fleet showed up in Halifax today for a brief inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for Asian Gypsy Moth larvae. Finding none, the ship was soon on its way again.
Built in 2010 it is a 8,620 gross ton, 12,500 deadweight general cargo ship equipped with three 80 tonne cranes. It can carry a variety of temperature and humidity sensitive cargoes or up to 658 TEU.  It was built in China by Jiangsu Changbo Shipyard Co. Some ships of this class are fitted for the St.Lawrence Seaway, but this one does not appear to be. It has no crew landing booms, nor omni-directional (Port Colborne type) fairleads.
The ship is one of the "F" type, similar in size and capacity to the "E" type, which has proven popular with Canadian owner Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping,. Spliethoff's policy is to build first class ships, sail them for no more than ten years then replace them with new. NEAS acquired all three of its former Spliethoff ships in this way, with Qamutik, an E-type ex Edisongracht, built in 1994 and acquired in 2008.
There is still speculation on NEAS's newest ship to be named Mitiq, but not yet arrived. Its first sailing for NEAS' s summer arctic supply work is scheduled for July 7 from Valleyfield, QC (on the St.Lawrence Seaway) so it better get here soon.
Will it be Florijngracht ??? which seems a little too new for Spliethoff to sell, but is also the only Spliethoff ship that I can see that is close enough to get here by July 7. Also, it is bound for Matane, QC, a loading port for NEAS for some of its ships, and where some of its landing barges and tugs may be stored.
The nearest E-type ships are Egelantiersgracht due Bilbao, Spain today and Erasmusgracht in the Baltic and due in Kiel, Germany June 23. The F-types (of which there are six) include Fagelgracht in Setubal for La Guaira, Fevogracht in Le Trait for Rouen, Floragracht in Panama, Fortunagrachrt due Philadelphia June 28 and Floretgracht in China. All these ships are newer, built 2011 and 2012- and too new to sell by my reckoning.
Stay tuned.
2. Florijngracht outbound in ballast, meets the inbound fully laden crude tanker Kometik. The latter will become a rare sight in Halifax - see previous post.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The curtain is coming down

1. The bulker Four Turnadot lies at anchor in Halifax, March 29, with the Imperial Oil refinery, Irving Oil and Ultramar tank storage facilities in the background.

Imperial Oil finally gave up the game today acknowledging that they could find no buyers that wanted to continue operating the Imperoyal refinery in Dartmouth. While this came as no surprise, Imperial has been peddling the plant for more than a year, it will nevertheless mean a big change in the port of Halifax when they brew up their last batch of crude late this year. 
The refinery will become a tank storage facility and distribution terminal, and the refinery component will be dismantled over a long period of five to ten years. Dismantling (and perhaps cleaning up the site) will be a massive job, but it will not employ the 200 current employees and 200 contractors working there now. Imperial predicts that it will take eighty persons to run the terminal.
Many questions remain unanswered after today's PR exercise.
First in terms of the Port of Halifax is Imperial's bunkering capability to supply various grades of diesel and heavy ship fuels. Not only passing ships and regular callers need the fuel, but it is also used to support the offshore gas facilities near Sable Island.Furthermore the Port of Saint John does not have facilities for bunkering large tankers offshore, so they also come to Halifax - for now. Ships from other regional ports such as Sept-Iles, Port Cartier and Baie-Comeau also call in Halifax for bunkers. Whether Imperial values this line of business enough to maintain quantities of marine fuels in its inventory remains to be seen. If bunkering activity in Halifax is reduced it will be a sad day for ship watchers at the very least.
As a terminal it may only receive furnace oil, gasoline and diesel for local use and perhaps some re-distribution to the region. This also will reduce the number of chemical tankers and eliminate the large crude carriers that we are accustomed to seeing. Port dues and income will drop accordingly.
It will also mean that we will continue to pay world scale prices for our fuel, since there will be no Canadian crude coming in. Why would refiners elsewhere sell us their product when they can sell it on the world market?
Imperial may have made some hard decisions, but they haven't answered the hard questions.


Saturday, June 15, 2013

G.Peddle S.C., fifth launch for the CCG

 1. G.Peddle S.C. on the launch way this morning.

Halifax Shipyard launched the fifth Hero class coastal patrol boat today. With four more to go, they are now better than half way through the program for the Canadian Coast Guard. Of the boats built so far three are based on the Great Lakes and one in Quebec City.
CCGS G.Peddle S.C. and the sixth boat in the series Corporal McLaren M.M.V. will be based in Halifax.

The seventh boat will go to Quebec City and the last two will patrol the waters of British Columbia.
2. At noon, the boat started to move down the ways.
3. Once the boat got its feet wet, there was a pause while a diver attended to the cradle and the tug Atlantic Larch gets into position to take a line.
4. With boats from Connors Diving on each side,G. Peddle floated free.
5. Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Larch took the boat in hand for the short trip to pier 9B.
6. G.Peddle S.C. off pier 9B where it will be fitted out and conduct builder's trials.
6. Coming alongside, without the tugs touching the hull.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Atlantic Cartier - I was wrong

1. Atlantic Cartier passes the flare and steam stacks of the Esso refinery in 2009. But it did have a real fire in Hamburg and will not returning to service as fast as I had predicted.

My June 6 post citing the miraculous recovery of Atlantic Cartier was apparently wrong. Usually reliable sources were not reliable this time. The ship is still sitting in Hamburg and ACL has arranged for substitutes from the Grimaldi fleet.
So far these appear to be Grande Angola and Grande Togo, two nice bright yellow ConRos, both will be here during June.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Alsterstern for bunkers [corrected]

Corrected version (I had the ship's name wrong as Havelstern on first posting):

The Woodward Group, Coastal Shipping Ltd tanker Alsterstern arrived for bunkers and anchored in Bedford Basin this morning, June 13. The ship is one of three sisters acquired by Woodward to transport fuel in Newfoundland, Labrador and the far north. All three were acquired form Rigel Tankers in Germany, first to arrive was Alsterstern in July 2001, then Havelstern in September 2011 and Travestern in March of this year. At 11,423 gross tons and 17,080 deadweight, they are able to reach many of the smaller ports.
They generally work seasonally and layup for the winter, and are reactivated in spring for northern work. Last year Alsterstern arrived in Halifax on June 14, docking at Ultramar in Eastern Passage. It is likely to load there again this year before sailing.
Alsterstern anchored off Rockingham, 2013-06-14 waiting for a berth.


Port Expansion continues

1. Connors Diving with a core drilling scow off Fairview Cove, June1.

A tender ad published on June 12 announced another major construction project for the Port of Halifax. With completion of the extension to the Halterm container terminal in the south end of the port, it is now time for an extension to the Fairview Cove container terminal in Bedford Basin. The tender is for  dredging and concrete crib- the same kind of construction used in the ongoing Pier 9 C extension.
2. When Fairview Cove opened there were no fixed cranes, only one mobile- and lots of empty space.

The Fairview Cove terminal, the port of Halifax's second container pier, was first opened for business in 1981 and has been extended twice since. With the introduction of larger cranes in 2007 the pier is capable of handling the current crop of post-Panamax ships. However as the size and number of larger ships is expected to increase, the need to accommodate two post-Panamax ships at the same time has become necessary. The extension to the Fairview Cove terminal will allow this. It also likely that more large cranes will be needed too. The recent arrival of larger ships, which could just barely berth under the current smaller cranes points to that need, but no announcement has been made yet.
3. Parts for the first crane were brought in by J.A.Z. Desgagnés in December 1981.

For the past many months fill has been accumulating at Fairview, most of it from the excavation for the new World Trade Centre. Last week Connors Diving had a core drill working at Fairview a sure indication that something was going to happen.
4. Big cranes for big ships at the west end of the pier, but smaller cranes for smaller ships at the east end. (April 6 , 2013 photo)
5. Fill operations continue today.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Coast to Coast

1. Coast spent the night anchored in Bedford Basin, and this morning moved to Halterm. All those tank containers are probably for rum , an important Cuban export.
Melfi Lines are the current users of a well traveled and oft renamed ship that has called in Halifax under three different names.
Now running as Coast, the ship first started visiting Halifax in 2003, but since it was built in 1997 it has changed names no less than eight times.
Built in 1997 as Nordcoast for Klaus E. Oldendorff of Germany, it has been chartered out to various shipping lines, becoming CSAV Buenos Aires almost immediately. In 1999 it reverted to Nordcoast then in 2000 it became Alianca Parana returning to Nordcoast in 2000. It then became DAL East London in 2001, Safmarine Nahoon in 2002 and Nordcoast again later in 2002. 
It was under that name that is first appeared in Halifax in 2003 sailing for Costa Container Line. It continued with them being renamed Cala Puebla in 2005.
Costa eventually failed and the ship went back to its orginal name Nordcoast in 2009. In 2010 its name was shortened to Coast then in 2012 it was renamed again to Vento Di Grecale. Earlier this year it became Coast (again)
In April it started calling in Halifax again for Melfi Lines, which serves Cuba.
The same owners, Klaus E. Oldendorff have owned the ship throughout all these changes.It was built by Stocznia Szczecinska in Poland and measures 16,264 gross tons, and carries 1684 TEU, including 120 reefers.It has three 45 tonne cranes.


Friday, June 7, 2013

Carnival Glory - back again

1. A sleek looking Carnival Glory sails well north of George's Island under glowering skies in advance of the first named tropical storm of the season.

Carnival Glory made its first call for 2013 today The ship is a regular and has become familiar in Halifax. Noted for its clean lines and absence of "graffiti" style hull paint, it presents a quiet clean look. At 110, 239 gross tons it is a big ship for Halifax. It was built in 2003 and is registered in Panama (most cruise ships seem to be registered in the Bahamas these days).
All the cruise lines are suffering from bad publicity these days, but judging by the numbers of people enjoying the sights in Halifax today, cruises are still selling.
On departure the ship headed well north of George's Island, and went much further up into the harbour than most ships do before turning to head outbound east of George's Island.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Atlantic Cartier - miraculous recovery

 1. File photo of Atlantic Cartier from 2009.

The "fire ravaged" container ship Atlantic Cartier is due to sail from Hamburg on Saturday June 8 for Gothenburg, then resume its Atlantic Container Line spot, with a due date in Halifax of June 13 or thereabouts.
Damage from the May 2 fire was serious, but apparently not fatal, and a massive cleanup and repair effort has been carried out in a month. Therefore the previously announced replacement Grande Angola which had been due June 10 will not be coming after all.

Another laker for Aliaga

1. A classic - wheelhouse forward, Great Lakes bulker.

The annual parade of old lakes ships to the scrappers in Turkey is beginning again. Although it doesn't actually happen every year - it depends on scrap prices and whether shipowners actually retire any ships -it does happen with distressing regularity.
This year's lead-off ship is one with a distinguished history and its departure starts a very short countdown list.
The ship was built by Collingwood Shipbuilding in 1963 as Murray Bay for Canada Steamship Lines. Their "Bay" class of ships, built to the then maximum permissible St.Lawrence Seaway dimensions, were gearless bulk carriers, and this one was the last steam turbine powered ship built for CSL. Its John Inglis 9,000 shaft horsepower plant gave the ship a speed of 17.3 mph. (Great Lakes ships measure speed in miles per hour rather than knots).
In 1994 CSL opted to dispose of its gearless ships ("straight backs" in Lakes parlance) and sold it to Upper Lakes Shipping where it became their Canadian Provider. It sailed happily for them until 2011 when the surprise announcement came that UL Group was selling out.
Algoma Central Marine picked up the entire fleet and so the ship became Algoma Provider and has the distinction of having sailed for the three major Great Lakes operators. It worked up until the end of last season when it was laid up in Montreal.
With the delivery of new and newer ships Algoma has several other ships to turn to - ones that use less fuel and that require less maintenance.
In this day and age 50 year old ships are a rarity, even on the Great Lakes, and steamships even more so. There now remain only two steamers in  the Canadian lakes fleet, Algoma Montréalais and Algoma Québecois It is questionable if either will survive this season, so the countdown to the last steamer has begun. It may be over soon.
(There still are about a dozen steamers on the US side of the Lakes, including one last coal burner, the car ferry Badger, so the days of steam are not entirely over with.)
The ship's register was closed May 29 and its name modified to "OVI" (with Sierra Leone registry-ouch) for the trip to the scrappers. The tug VB Artico is in now Montreal and the tow out will June 8.
2. Goodbye


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

George's Island light - enjoy it while you can

The outbound herring seiner Lady Melissa passes the George's Island light.

The federal government long ago signaled its intention to divest itself of lighthouses in favour of less costly aids to navigation, which require little or no maintenance. The lighthouses are being offered to communities and community groups but they are finding few takers.
The Halifax Regional Municipality has eighteen (yes 18) lighthouses, some of particular significance. Sambro Island light, which is not well known because it is remote, is the oldest one in use on the east coast of Canada.The need for a light there was recognized soon after the founding of Halifax, and a temporary beacon was maintained until the lighthouse was built in 1758. The need to preserve this particular light station should be obvious.
Less significant but much more visible is the quaint little tower on George's Island. A light on the island was first established in 1876, and the present structure was built in 1919. It is also on the list and so far has had no takers. Parks Canada is responsible for George's Island and has no funds to maintain or preserve the lighthouse and so its days may well be numbered.
Two other lighthouses are visible from George's Island . At Maugher's Beach there has been a structure since 1828, and the present lighthouse dates from 1941. The Chebucto Head light, which was first established in 1872, dominates the headland at the entrance to Halifax harbour.
All are up for grabs, and the Halifax Regional Municipality is being asked for a plan of action to save some of the lights.
Recommended reading: The Sea Road to Halifax Published in 1980 by the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

Ladytramp makes ungraceful exit

The bulker Ladytramp arrived late last night and sailed at noon time. The ship is bound for Baie-Comeau, QC and likely stopped in for a mandatory Canadian Food Inspection Agency , Asian Gypsy Moth inspection.
It was a fairly routine departure - pilot boarding at the scheduled time of 11:30, weighing anchor smartly and taking advantage of a nice breeze to bring the ship around to head out west of George's Island. Then off pier 20 the ship emitted a great gout of black smoke marring the entire operation.
Is it any wonder that low emission regulations are becoming stiffer all the time. Too late for this guy.
The ship was built in 2001 by Wuhu Shipyard in Wuhu, China, as the bulk carrier Cedar and in 2003 became Atlantic Castle. It adopted its present name in 2007 and was reclassified as a general cargo ship in 2008. I assume that means the cranes were installed on that date to allow the ship more flexibility in cargoes.
It flies the flag of the Marshal Islands but is owned by Korkyra Shipping Ltd of Korcula, Croatia.
It measures 16,807 gross tons, 24,765 deadweight tonnes.