Monday, September 30, 2013

Veteran dredge rebuilt

The veteran dredge Rosaire was rebuilt and renamed (in 2012) by Dragage Océan DSM Inc of Quebec City. Part of the large Groupe Océan tug, dredging, marine construction and shipbuilding conglomerate, Dragage Océan (Ocean Dredging) acquired Rosaire early in 2012 along with almost all the assets of Dragage Verreault when that company was declared bankrupt. (The trailing suction hopper dredge Port Méchins was not included in the sale, but I understand it was sold for scrap in Mexico.)

Built in 1952 by then Saint John Drydock Co Ltd in East Saint John. NB, for the Minister of Public Works, Rosaire was originally named P.W.D. No. 21 and measured 609 grt. The J.P.Porter Co acquired the unit in the 1960s and renamed it  JPP No.530. Following the wind up of J.P.Porter in 1979, Verreault Navigation Inc bought the dredge. By this time its tonnage had increased to 714, possibly due to additional living quarters installed on the upper deck. In 2000 Verreault Navigation spun off the dredging fleet from its shipyard and ownership became Dragage Verreault.

1. Rosaire doing maintenance dredging at Rivière-du-Loup, WC in 1994, attended by IV. No.11 and I.V.No.13 the unique craft invented by Borromée Verreault.
2. Arriving in Halifax in 1994, shepherded by the same two hopper boats that also served as tugs.

The dredge worked on the St.Lawrence River, Saint John, NB and other ports in eastern Canada until laid up in Meteghan. It was not in great shape when Océan bought it, but it was apparently worth rebuilding. The work was done during the summer of 2012 at Quebec City and at Industrie Océan, the group's shipyard in Ile-aux-Coudres, QC, and went in to service in 2012 with a new Liebherr crane..

Interestingly the new name selected for the dredge is Océan Borromée-Verreault in commemmoration of the founder of Verreault Navigation. A dynamic personality by all accounts, Capt.Verreault was one of the early winter navigators on the St.Lawrence and revolutionized dredging with the use of self-propelled hopper boats, which Océan also acquired and rebuilt for further service.

3. As rebuilt, the deck house has been cut back to make room for a large crane.

4. The dredge now has a new control station, which looks like a ship's wheelhouse. 

5. The stern was modified and a new bed was installed for the large Liebherr crane.

6. The dredge was dried out on the mud at Ile-aux-Coudres in early August.

The rebuilt dredge was still in layup with the windows shuttered at least until August this year, but is again at work.

For previous blog postings on Dragage Verreault see:

For more on Borromée Verreault consult:
The Verreault company website appears to be under construction, but it is available in English and French at:!home/c1ct6


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Teatralny Bridge - the new era at Imperial Oil

Although there have been two chemical tankers at the Imperial Oil former refinery since it stopped refining on September 16, tonight's departure is probably the first ship to bring in refined product from overseas.
The Liberian flag Teatralny Bridge is a familiar ship in eastern North America, since it has called in Saint John, Point Tupper and various other tanker ports.
Built in 2006 by the Admiralty Shipyard in St.Petersburg, Russia (and named for an ornate bridge in that city) it is operated by SCF Unicom, the Cyprus based arm of Sovcomflot, one of the former USSR state shipping companies. Now with a fleet of 97 vessels, mostly tankers, its ships trade world wide.
A product tanker of 27,725 gross tons and 46,697 deadweight tonnes, Teatralny Bridge is bound for Saint John in ballast. There it will load refined product for export. 
Meanwhile the tanker Alpine Loyalty has been anchored off Halifax for a week awaiting its coasting license before loading 120,000 bbls of unrefined crude from Imperial which it will deliver to either Saint John, the Portland, ME pipeline to Montreal or other Canadian refineries. The crude was left over at Imperial when refining ceased.

Ile de Sein sailing

The French cable ship Ile de Sein sailed this morning after five days in Halifax for cable transfer. The 13,978 gross ton ship was built in 2001 by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard in Ulsan, South Korea, and is one of a pair of hi-tech ships for fibre optic cable work.

Although normally working in the north Atlantic and Mediterranean, the ship has recently completed a project in New Zealand. Its destination is now Algeciras, Spain.
The ship is named for an island off Finistère, one of the most westerly points of France. Sister Ile de Batz also gets its name from another Brittany island, off Roscoff. The latter ship has also visited Halifax and in 2004 laid a fibre optic cable from Gaspé to the Magdalen Islands.
As with most modern cable ships, it is designed to work over the stern, like an offshore supply boat. It is equipped with a gantry for working bottom plows and other submersibles and has double sheaves to allow it to bring both ends of a severed cable aboard. It also has an aft facing bridge, used when working stern-to.

To allow Ile de Sein to sail, the traditional looking cable ship IT Intrepid moved off the dock to Bedford Basin - it is designed to work off both bow and stern, and has single sheaves at each end. 


Friday, September 27, 2013

Dutch treats -- light and heavy loads

The unusual appearance of no less than four Dutch flagged ships in Halifax at the same time was impossible to capture in one photo - unless I had a helicopter.
Speaking of which, the lightest load lifted in Halifax harbour today was made by a Canadian military Search and Rescue Agusta/Westland CH-149 Cormorant off George's Island this afternoon. (The SAR version of the proven military EH-101 is the helicopter the Canadian navy should have in service by now if the previous government had not cancelled  the order. The substitute from Sikorsky has not been delivered yet, and may never be).

1. Where I would need to be to take a picture of four Dutch flagged ships - no thanks.

Among the visitors from the Netherlands was the big cruise ship Eurodam:
2. Eurodam sails, leading Seven Seas Adventurer.

Heavy lift ship Fairlift brought in some large cargo packages and sailed this afternoon for Hamilton, ON.
3. Outbound Fairlift stows its heavy cranes in a vertical position.

Fairlift was built in 1990 and carries one 400 tonne and one 250 tonne crane, which can work in combination. It is a shallow draft ship with a single large hold served by a single hatch. It called in Halifax in 2006 and 2007  loading GM EMD export locomotives both times.

The fourth Dutch ship in Halifax today is Hollandia, operating for Nirint and off-loading the usual cargo of nickel sulfides from Cuba. (For a photo see Halifax Shipping News.)


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Arctic history - made again but quietly

Shipping history has been made again in the Canadian arctic (although it has not made too many headlines).
The first commercial cargo voyage through the Northwest Passage was completed last week by the Nordic Orion. More than 100 ships (not including submarines) have crossed from Atlantic to Pacific or vice versa, through Canada's north, including many government ships, both Canadian and US ships, several cruise ships, and pleasure craft, but this is the first revenue making cargo carrying passage from Pacific to Atlantic.
Contrary to common parlance a Northwest Passage is not a body of water or even a route (there are at least five water routes across Canada's arctic). In fact a Northwest Passage is a complete trip which crosses both the entry to the Bering Strait and Davis Street (in either direction). Therefore many ships have worked in the western arctic and sailed and returned to the eastern arctic without making a complete Northwest Passage.

Nordic Orion (which has never visited Halifax to my knowledge) was built in 2011 for the now defunct Sanko Steamship Co Ltd, as Sanko Orion. It is a bulk carrier of 40,142 gross tons, 75,603 deadweight, and is built to a high ice class, and features the full width bridge common on harsh weather ship.Last year Nordic Bulk Carriers of Denmark bought and re-named the ship.
Not surprisingly the ship has sailed to the St.Lawrence River in winter, where it has been photo'd before. There are lots of images of the ship on the internet:

Nordic Orion loaded metallurgical coal in Vancouver on September 6 bound for Pori, Finland, and earlier this week sailed into Baffin Bay. The trip cut four to five days and 1,000 miles off a Northeast Passage, and allowed the ship to load 73,000 tonnes. A Panama Canal Passage would have limited the ship to a 60,000 tonne cargo due to draft restrictions.
Despite insurer's concerns, the ship made the trip safely. Much pre-planning was required, and special monitoring was also in place, but  compared to the famous Manhattan voyages of the 1960s (which were really expeditions), it was an effortless trip.


Halifax has figured, if only peripherally in many Northwest Passage, including the famous St.Roch trips and those of HMCS Labrador, CCS Hudson, and scores of others not to mention Manhattan. We have also been visited by many of the passenger ships that have made successful passages.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Silver Explorer - long history

The expedition cruise ship Silver Explorer dropped in for a day's visit to Halifax. The 6,130 gross ton ship accommodates 132 passengers in 66 cabins, so rates as one of the smaller cruisers to call in Halifax. With an almost equal number of crew members, it is considered "ultra high end".
While in Halifax, from its summer in Norway, Iceland and Greenland waters, it took on truck loads of stores and fueled from Algoma Dartmouth, before heading south to the Dominican Republic, and eventually the Antarctic.
Built in 1989 by Rauma Repola in Finland it has carried no less than eight previous names. It was given a major refit by Fincantieri in Italy in 2008 when it was renamed Prince Albert II after Monaco's monarch of  the same name. Since the ship is operated by V-Ships Leisure of Monaco, this was a fitting name. However in 2011, Silver Seas Cruises gave the ship its present name to bring it into line with the rest of the six ship fleet.

The ship has made the news twice this year. First On January 12 when it was struck by a large wave between Ushuaia and South Georgia, breaking bridge windows and injuring four crew members.   They were treated aboard, and the line cancelled the next cruise to give time to effect repairs. At the time the ship was carrying 113 passengers and 113 crew.
In August a woman was appointed captain of the ship, a first for this line, and still a rare occurrence in shipping generally. A Swiss national, Capt Margrith Ettlin had senior positions with F. Laiesz and Hapag-Lloyd before taking up her command.


Onego Trader - number two

The Onego Trader arrived this morning from Helsingborg, Sweden with a load of rails. This is the second ship to bear the name to call in Halifax for Onego Shipping + Chartering.

1. The present Onego Trader just tying up at pier 27 this morning.

Built in 2001 by Bodewes Volharding of Foxhol, Netherlands, it is a general cargo ship of 6301 gross tons and 8930 deadweight. Fitted with a pair of 40 tonne high mount cranes, pontoon type hatch covers and moveable decks, its two box shaped holds and double skin allow for excellent stowage of break bulk. A ventilation system of six air changes per hour protects moisture sensitive cargoes.
The ship was built as Devi Lakshmi presumably for a charter, and in 2008 became Harns, taking its present name in 2010 for owners Harns CV, with managers Kustvaart Harlingen, BV of the Netherlands, it flies the Dutch flag.
Onego Shipping + Chartering is a Dutch/Russian company that has a fleet of similar chartered ships. This one is operated from the Rotterdam office, which deals with North Atlantic cargoes. There is also an office in Houston and one in St.Petersburg ( the Russian one). See:

A previous Onego Trader was also a caller in Halifax between 2005 and 2008 also with rails for CN. Its last call in Halifax was February 1, 2008 when it berthed briefly at pier 27 to disembark a crew member with appendicitis. It sailed immediately to resume its trip to Ardalstangen, Norway with petcoke. Its hull was built in 2003 by Zaliv Shipyard in Kerch, Russia, and the ship was completed by Bodewes, Hoogezand, as Velserdiep- a name it resumed in 2010 when its charter with Onego ended. At 4057 gross tons, 7250 deadweight it was a somewhat smaller ship, with similar specifications. It now works for Feederlines BV. See:

2. The first Onego Trader arriving with a cargo of rails from Poland, May 24, 2005.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Harmony N - on the return leg for ACL

Harmony N arrived this afternoon on the return leg of its voyage for Atlantic Container Line.
It was also here September 17 on the westbound leg (shown above).

The ship is filling in for other ACL ships as they go through drydockling and painting. Atlantic Concert was in drydock in Dunkerque, France for a month until September 16, and its place was taken by Atlantic Compass .Also in port today, Atlantic Companion was sporting fresh paint, acquired in Dunkerque during an August drydocking.

Harmony N was built in 2006 by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, South Korea and is a 2824 TEU ship of 28,592 gross tons and 39,420 deadweight. Now sailing for Navios Shipping of Piraeus, Greece (and flying the Cyprus flag) was originally an Ahrenkiel owned ship and worked as Maersk Jakarta until 2011 and AS Caria until earlier this year when sold to Navios.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tonsberg - mighty big RoRo

1. Tonsberg leaving Eastern Passage, heading for pier 31 at dusk.

Wilhelmsen Lines Tonsberg arrived at Autoport this morning and moved over to pier 31 this evening. Claimed by its owners to be the largest and most modern RoRo ship in the word when it was built in 2011 to meet a demand not met by traditional car carriers (PCCs).
PCCs and their cousins PCTCs (pure car and truck carriers) can only carry cars and trucks - and some of the ships are huge, with up to 6,000 or 7,000 car capacity. (Measured in CEUs=Car Equivalent Units or RT43= a 1996 Toyota).
Large RoRo operators, like Wilhelmsen have added break bulk and other RoRo cargo to the mix, building ships with extra wide, heavy duty stern ramps and hoistable car decks to accommodate non-car cargo.
Tonsberg's specs are impressive, even though its CEU rating is 5990. Its 9 decks (3 hoistable) and 505 tonne capacity stern ramp12m wide, allows it to carry a variety of oversize cargo.
Tonsberg, a Mark V ship in Wilhelmsen terminology, commemorates the company's founding city in Norway, and was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki, Japan and is registered in Malta. Its gross tonnage is 75,251 tons.
2. The ship's immense size can only be appreciated from broadside on. Unlike PCCs and PCTCs it does not have side doors, only a huge stern ramp.

Oceanex alert

1. Oceanex Sanderling in March 2013.

News that Oceanex Sanderling will be going into a two week refit at Halifax Shipyard in October comes as no surprise, since the ship has been running extraordinarily hard this year. While it attempted to keep up a twice a week schedule between Halifax and St.John's, it apparently put a great deal of strain on the work horse ship, resulting in some mechanical issues. It has since returned to a weekly run,
Meanwhile in Flensurg Germany, Oceanex's new ship Oceanex Connaigra has started sea trials and was officially registered in Canada on September 20.
2. The new Con-Ro Oceanex Connaigra has started sea trials in Germany.

If my calculations are correct the new ship will arrive in Canada about the time of Sanderling's refit. So far Oceanex has been coy about whether Connaigra will operate from Halifax or Montreal, and whether they will dispose of the elderly Cabot.
The Montreal - St.John's run is currently served by Oceanex Avalon (a straight container ship with no RoRo capability) and Cabot which used to serve Halifax and has often filled in here when Sanderling was in refit.
3. Oceanex Avalon at speed on the St.Lawrence River, is a container only ship, and would not be a likely caller in Halifax, where RoRo is a large portion of the cargo.

Oceanex has two options when the new ship arrives. One being to bring Cabot back from the Montreal run and the other to deploy the new ship here. We will have to wait and see.

4. Present day Cabot served Halifax as Cavallo from 1982 to 1988 for Atlantic Searoute Ltd. It was lengthened in 1996 and runs from Montreal, but has been used to sub for Sanderling on the Halifax run.

I wonder how many times Oceanex has regretted that its predecessors sold Sanderling's sister ship? 

5. Back in the days of Atlantic Searoute Ltd, there were two ships running from Halifax for a time- ASL Sanderling and her sister ship ASL Cygnus- shown here together, May 12, 1989.

Briefly, the sister ship, built as Rabenfels for DDG Hansa by Sasebo HI in Japan in 1977 was sold in 1981 to Lykes Bros of the US. It ran as Cygnus until 1989 when Atlantic Searoute Ltd purchased it and it became ASL Cygnus. Regrettably the ship was deemed a strategic asset to the US and could be commandeered when needed. That event took place in August 1990 when the US military chartered the ship for service in the Arabian Gulf. When it was returned in September 1991 it was put up for sale and acquired by Wilhelmsen to operate between the US and West Africa, again as a US ship, named  Thekwini . Finally in 1993 the US government bought the ship, renamed it Cape Taylor and placed in their ready reserve fleet in Mobile, AB.  In 2001 it was moved to Houston, TX where it is still maintained and operational.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

HMCS Halifax - way up in the Basin

HMCS Halifax has been anchoring well up in the north end of Bedford Basin this weekend. With a stiff southerly breeze, her mooring lines to two of the trot buoys are quite taught, while the lee side lines are slack.
The anchorage is known as Jonquière Bank, named for Jacques-Pierre de Taffanel de la Jonquière, Marquis de Jonquière, a French naval war hero and governor of New France.
He had the misfortune to be a passenger on the ill-fated Duc d'Anville's fleet when it arrived in Halifax (then Beau Bassin) in 1746. The battered and disease-ridden flotilla - sent from France to re-capture Acadia, soon lost its commander to a stroke, and its second in command after a suicide attempt, not to mention many of its troops to disease. De la Jonquière, although a passenger, and at the time governor general designate of New France, took command of the decimated flotilla.
The fleet had anchored in Birch Cove on its arrival in Halifax, not far from the anchorage area now carrying Joinquière's name.
For a potted history of d'Anville's expeditions see:

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Maersk Patras - fresh paint

After taking a trip off Maersk Patras has re-appeared with fresh paint, applied during a drydocking in Gdansk, Poland August 4-30.
1. Fresh Maersk blue paint lights up in the late afternoon sun.

The UK registered ship was built as PO Nedlloyd Marseille by Kvaerner Warnow Werft in Warnemunde, Germany in 1998, and was taken over by AP Moller-Maersk when they acquired P+O Nedlloyd in 2006.
Measuring in at 31,333 gross tons, 37,842 deadweight tonnes, it has a capacity of 2890 TEUS (400 refrigerated) and with its three sisters maintains a weekly transatlantic schedule from European ports to Montreal and Halifax. Maersk Palermo, Maersk Pembroke and Maersk Penanag are the other ships, which appear in that order on the current roster. The replacement ship this summer was the venerable Sea-Land Racer, which called here ca. August 24.
Maersk Patras sailed this afternoon for Rotterdam, Bremerhaven and Antwerp carrying a variety of containers-but mostly Maersk (some P+O Nedlloyd, some Safmarine and some Maersk Sealand - all owned by Maersak) and several CMA CGM boxes. The latter line, although a competitor, has slot charter arrangements with Maersk on may routes, including this one.

Friday, September 20, 2013

AIDAbella - inaugural visit

AIDA cruises AIDAbella arrived this morning on her inaugural visit to Halifax. Built by Meyerfeft in Papenburg, Germany in 2008, the 69,203 grt ship has a capacity of about 2,050 passengers.
1. AIDAbella passes the Meagher's Beach lighthouse inbound this morning.

A sister to AIDAdiva and AIDAluna, the ship is registered in Italy. On this trip from Germany, the it has visited Norway, the Faroes Islands, Iceland, Greenland and St.John's  and will sail this afternoon for New York. It will then do a series of cruises from New York to Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Quebec City and Montreal before heading south in November.
2. After passing east of George's Island the ship swings south to tie up at pier 20.

Two other cruise ships, Brilliance of the Seas and Crystal Symphony will also be in port today.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kim Jacob - March caller - medevac

On September 15 the crude tanker Kim Jacob required assistance for a medical evacuation 140 nautical miles SE of Bermuda. The ship was en route from Algeciras, Spain to the Bahamas when a crew member took sick.
The ship was among the crude oil tankers that used to call  in Halifax when we still had a working refinery.

Hagen - June caller now has problem in mid-Atlantic

The bulker Hagen (Bulgarian flag) is reported drifting at 2 knots, 800 nautical miles WSW of Ponta Delgada Azores, on a trip from Peru to Germany. The ship called in Halifax for bunkers June 2.
See :

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Coast Guard layups

The Canadian Coast Guard has placed at least three ships in layup this year. In two cases, these appear to be permanent, with disposal the end result.
In St.John's CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell has "gone to the wall" and has been de-stored.
1. Sir Wilfred Grenfell in Halifax in 2004.

Built in 1985 in Marystown, NL, the ship started life as an offshore supplier built on spec and financed by the Province of Newfoundland (as it was then) to support the shipyard. In 1986 the Department of Transport (then responsible for the CCG)  purchased the ship for $21 mn. It was then converted for offshore search and rescue. The work included upgrading to Ice Class I, firefighting, rescue and additional accommodation including a ten bed hospital and a helo pad, plus the required CCG communications equipment. The work necessitated adding a deck by raising the wheelhouse and extending the funnels, and cost another small fortune=$5mn.  It was christened in November 1987, and registered February 8, 1988.
Despite this huge investment the ship has only had an actual service life of 25 years - certainly not long for a CCG ship. However with most ships multi-tasked now, dedicated search and rescue craft are expected to become further endangered.

Meanwhile on the St.Lawrence River the classic buoy tender Tracy has been laid up since April in Prescott, ON. Built as far back as 1968 by Port Weller Dry Docks it was extensively rebuilt as recently as 2010.
2. CCGS Tracy during a rare salt-water visit, following refit at Pictou in 1989. (In the background Richmond Odyssey under construction and Northern Ranger in reift.)

The ship was based in the St.Lawrence region, much of the time in fresh water, where thirty-five years is not a lengthy service record.

The third ship is of course CCGS Matthew, based at the Bedford Institute in Halifax. A dedicated hydrographic ship, it did not see service this summer. Built in 1990 it is nowhere near worn out, so its layup may be temporary. Surely charter work or other activities could have been found for this valuable asset.
 3. Matthew still in layup at the Bedford Institute. The large davits carry survey launches when the ship is in service.

Although the CCG has announced new ships they are still many years off in the future, so one has to wonder how the the service will be able to carry out its mandate if the number of ships continues to decline.


Algoscotia from Imperial Oil

With the end of refining on Monday at Imperial Oil, it is now a terminal only. The first departure from the facility since Monday is Algoscotia, a coastal tanker that delivers Imperial Oil product to ports in Atlantic Canada. Today's departure is for Sydney, but the ship does not appear to be fully loaded.
The ship was built in 2004 by Quixin Shipyard in Jiangnan, China and measures 13,352 gross tons and 18,750 deadweight tonnes. It arrived in Halifax for the first time August 13, 2004.
It is anticipated that the ship will continue to run in and out of Halifax, but may very well be bringing more cargo.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

APL Agate - military cargo -surprise

APL Agate was back today on the G-6 Alliance service. (The ship made its first call July 10 - see: ) This time it had some noticeably distinct cargo - military vehicles perched atop the containers on deck. Most containerized cargo remains a mystery to the onlooker, but this time the army trucks were at least partially visible. Some were tarped, a pair were uncovered, and the tarp on at least one had already blown clear before the ship left Bedford Basin.  
As a US flag vessel, it is presumably more than eligible to carry US military cargo, but it was not possible to identify the nationality of these trucks.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Aurora - gone viral

The Carnival (PandO) cruise ship Aurora arrived in Halifax this morning from Saint John, with about a dozen passengers reporting virus symptoms. They will be quarantined, but all other passengers will be allowed ashore. The ship was built in 2000 and measures 76,152 gross tons. As with all P and O ships it is free from extraneous decoration and is one of the more attractive ships to call in Halifax.
Reports indicate that efforts to sanitize the ship began in Saint John and will continue in Halifax, but it is anticipated that people in Halifax who may come in contact with Aurora passengers will still be at risk of receiving the virus. How nice.

There are four cruise ships in port today, with (left to right) Eurodam at pier 20, Norwegian Gem at pier 22, Maasdam at pier 31 and Aurora at pier 34.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Queen Mary 2

Queen Mary 2 made its stately progress into Halifax harbour this morning for one of its occasional visits. As usual, it attracted onlookers at Point Pleasant and other vantage points. Its departure at 1630hrs will likely attract even more. As QM2 made its approach, the pilot boat was outbound for the Norwegian Dawn, which will now not tie up until close to 1000 and will leave at 1745. 
Not the biggest and not the most luxurious cruise ship in the world, Queen Mary 2 remains the best known and the most magnetic. While it may never eclipse its predecessor, Queen Elizabeth 2, it appears that during its ten year career so far, it has already found an important niche among ship watchers.
The ship was floated out March 21, 2003 and started sea trials September 25, 2003. and made its first call in Halifax in September 25-26, 2004.


After a leisurely eight day Atlantic crossing, passengers were treated to an ideal day in Halifax. The ship had skirted tropical storm Gabrielle, and all that remained was a slight swell coming into from sea. The ship's departure was spectacular.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Corporal McLaren MMV - safely launched at HSY

 1. With the tug Atlantic Willow standing by, a pre-launch conference takes place between yard workers and harbour pilots. The stern of the next ship, A. LeBlanc is just visible behind them, on the left.

Today Halifax Shipyard added another safe launch to its growing list  when Corporal McLaren MMV floated into Halifax harbour for the first time.
The launch was conducted in slow stages - it was not the old fashioned run down the ways with a big splash! 
The first stage was to slide* the ship down to the water's edge where a riding crew, including two harbour pilots, boarded the ship and checked it for seaworthiness. It was then allowed to slide a bit further into the water to "wet its feet" so to speak. This was really to permit a water tight integrity test, making sure that all through hull fittings were tight. Divers from Connors Diving then went down to release the cables that connect the ship to its cradle. The final stage was to allow the cradle to run out to its full length, and for the ship to float off. The whole process took roughly two hours. The new ship was then moved to pier 9B for final fitting out and trials.
2. Just before getting its feet wet for the first time, the ship is stopped on the ways to allow the riding crew and pilots to get aboard. At this point in the process, fog arrived with the incoming tide and socked in the Narrows.

 Unlike previous occasions when two tugs towed the ship to pier 9, this time the work was done by one tug, Atlantic Willow, and Connor's dive boat Eastcom. The latter has shallow enough draft to work over the end of the launch way, which is not deep enough for the big tugs, even at high tide. A pair of outboard motor boats also assisted in the proceedings.
(As a new ship, its engines are not yet operational, nor its auxiliary generators, and it carries no fuel, so it is totally without power and cannot move on its own.)
3. Eastcom has a stern line from the new ship, assisting it alongside pier 9B.

4. Corporal McLaren MMV shows off its attractive lines as it nears pier 9B. (The barely visible bow line leads off to the tug Atlantic Willow.)
5. The boat will undergo builders trials over the next month or so.

* Footnote:
To control the movement of the ship on the launch way, the luanch cradle is connected by a cable system to a large truck, heavily counter-weighted with concrete blocks. The truck's great weight (and brakes) are enough to keep the launch cradle (with ship aboard) stationary. When it is time for the ship to move, the truck releases its brakes and inches forward, until ordered to stop again. If it is necessary to pull the ship back up the launch way for any reason, the truck has enough power to pull it back.   
6. This is the truck- a very large, all-wheel drive Kenworth. Once the launch was completed, the counterweight body was removed and the truck was loaded aboard a trailer for the return trip to J.D.Irving Equipment. The Kenworth drwarfs the Western Star truck which will tow the trailer.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Yorktown - rainy visit

Passing tropical storm Gabrielle doused Halifax with buckets of rain today, so it was not a pleasant Friday the 13th for cruise passengers aboard Explorer of the Seas and Yorktown.
The latter is a pocket sized cruise ship that has spent the summer on the Great Lakes and is now southbound for its fall and winter schedule. It arrived at the Tall Ship Quay at noon time and is sailing at midnight. tomorrow morning at 0900.

 1. An atmospheric evening at the Tall Ships Quay as Yorktown takes on water and other stores. 

The ship also called in Halifax last year following its summer season, see:

Placentia Bay pilot boat

The Placentia Bay Newfoundland pilot boat Atlantic Pilot sustained severe damage when it ran aground in the early hours of August 7, 2013 at Adam's Head, NL. The two persons aboard were not injured, but it required the services of the tug Placentia Hope to tow the boat off the shore. Once freed, sister boat Avalon Pilot towed the craft to Arnold's Cove for damage assessment.
A.F.Thériault & Son Ltd, of Meteghan, NS,  built both boats in 2007, and Atlantic Pilot was in Halifax in May of this year en route from a refit.
1. Atlantic Pilot in Halifax, May 17, 2013- Shipfax Archive.

This is the second such accident in the area. On May 28, 2006 Placentia Pilot also ran aground in Placentia Bay. In that case the boat's rudder and props were badly damaged. The hull was holed in several places causing the boat to sink to deck level. Damage was so severe that it was declared a constructive total loss and sold. In that case operator fatigue was cited as the cause of the accident. There were also serious injuries to one crew member.

Interestingly, that boat returned to service as a pilot boat, but in the Strait of Canso. Superport Marine in Port Hawksbury, purchased the wreck and rebuilt it and returned it to service. Now renamed Strait Eagle, it continues to provide pilotage services under contract to the Atlantic Pilotage Authority. It was built originally by Hike Metal Products in Wheatley, ON in 2000.

Pilot boats in Placentia Bay and the Strait of Canso are operated by contractors, whereas in Halifax the boats are operated directly by the Atlantic Pilotage Authority.

Sources include CFCB news, cached at:

2. The rebuilt Placentia Pilot now serves the Strait of Canso as Strait Eagle. Shown here with the smaller Strait Falcon.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Corporal McLaren MMV scheduled for launch on Saturday

The latest Hero class patrol boat for the Canadian Coast Guard is scheduled for launch at Halifax Shipyard at on Saturday, September 14. The pilot is ordered for 1330 hrs ADT, but the actual launch may be some time after  that. Based on previous launches, that may be up to an hour or more after the pilot order. So Far the launches have been carried out without ceremony. Instead there is usually a commissioning and naming at the boat's operational port once it has entered service.

1. Corporal McLaren MMV on September 7.

Corporal McLaren MMV is the sixth boat in the series. Meanwhile the fifth boat, G.Peddle S.C. is still alongside the fitting out berth at pier 9C. Both G.Peddle and Corporal McLaren will be based in Halifax when they are completed.