Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bishu Highway and Hoegh Kunsan - well timed

A well timed arrival and departure this afternoon, allowed the Bishu Highway to sail from Autoport, and the Hoegh Kunsan to dock very shortly afterwards. As Bishu Highway emerged from Eastern Passage, Hoegh Kunsan passed Ives Knoll. It then sailed west and north about George's Island and headed for Autoport.

Hoegh Kunsan, flying the flag of Singapore, was built in 1996 as Maersk Taiyo, and is of a much older design than we normally see in Halifax these days. The forepeak is open and it has a much finer flare to its bow and stern. It has very narrow side ramps on both port and starboard and interestingly also has a protective ice knife over it rudder. Renamed in 2008, it is still managed by Maersk Tankers, but owned by Hoegh. Its 44,219 grt encloses sufficient space to carry 4300 autos. It was built by Tadotsu Factory, Tadotsu, Japan.

The Japanese flag Bishu Highway is owned by K-Line and operated by their management company Taiyo NK [note Maersk Taiyo  above] and was built by Shin Kurushima, in Toyohashi, Japan in 2009. It is of a more modern design, with maximized hull form including car decks over the forepeak. Its eleven decks have a capacity of 6,135 cars, on a gross tonnage of 56,978. It has a side door on the starboard side only.  Even with a service speed of 23 knots it is said to be 10% to 15% more fuel efficient than previous generations of car carriers. Its last port was Emden and it sailed for Houston.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Asian Emperor - on the move again

The damaged autocarrier Asian Emperor was on the move again this evening, shifting from Pier 30-31 to Fairview Cove. Welding repairs to the ship's stern ramp were going on all weekend, and no doubt a lot of other work was taking place within the ship which was not visible.

Asian Emperor en route to Autoport February 18.
Today's move was brought about by the need to free up Pier 30 for tomorrow's arrival of Zeelandia. The Nirint ship is due to unload nickel sulfides from Cuba, and Pier 31 is set up for that work. The cargo, in bulk bags, is loaded directly on to rail cars or stored in the nearby transit shed. With no ships due at Fairview Cove, the berths there are open for several days. However we could expect Asian Emperor to move again when those berths are needed for container ships.

A. LeBlanc - sea trials today

Number seven in the Coast Guard Hero class patrol boats conducted trails to day. This morning it worked in Bedford Basin, returning briefly to pier 9B then out to sea for the afternoon. It crept back into port at slow speed - also part of its trials.

A. LeBlanc leaves pier 9B for sea trials at noon time today. In the background CCGS G. Peddle S.C. (fifth in the series) is berthed at the Bedford Institute, under the bows of CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. In the meantime CCGS Corporal McLaren M.M.V. (number six) is on patrol in southwest Nova Scotia waters.
After trails have been completed, and the boat handed over to the CCG , A. LeBlanc will be based in Quebec.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Diamantgracht - oh those 'gracht boats

Another impressive Spliethoff ship was in Halifax today, but only for a few hours to take bunkers. Diamantgracht  is a member of the eight ship "D" type ice class multi-purpose carriers.

While bunkering from Algoma Dartmouth the Diamantgracht exercised its cranes.
With three 120 tonne capacity cranes, and a long clear deck, this ship can carry a variety of heavy and oversize loads such as industrial fabrications and yachts.
Spliethoff's is the largest Dutch shipping company with more than 200 ships is its various divisions. They are invariably distinctive and attractive and represent leading edge ship technology. I know I have made reference to their excellent website many times, but here it is again: www.spliethoff.com
Note the high level wheelhouse for conning the ship when it has a high deck load.
Full specs for this ship are available in the "Fleet" section of the web site, but briefly, it was built in 2009 by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, China and measures 13,706 grt, 17,966 deadweight. Its last ports of call were Genoa (January 26) Gibraltar (January 29) and Stephenville, Newfoundland (February 22). On leaving port, it headed south. 

Halifax Shipyard launch and roll out (Part 2)

.....continued from previous post

M. Charles M.B. en route back to the shipyard for fitting out after overnighting at pier 9B.
Meanwhile at the shipyard, the last patrol boat in the series Captain Goddard M.S.M. was rolled out immediately after the launch to allow for the demolition of the buildings in which it was assembled.
Captain Goddard M.S.M. sits outside now where she will be readied for launch. By that time the buildings in the background will likely be gone to make room for the new shipyard buildings.
Both the Charles and Goddard will serve on the west coast, and  will be transported to the Pacific - they will not sail on their own hulls according to the latest plans.
I have also been reliably informed that the boats can exceed their design speed if lightly loaded, and speeds of over 26 knots have been achieved in normal trials, with 29 knots in tests.

Halifax Shipyard launch and roll out (Part 1)

After the successful launch of the CCG Hero class patrol boat M. Charles M.B. late last night/ early this morning, the boat was shepherded to pier 9B as a temporary berth. The regular fitting out berth, also at pier 9B is still occupied by the previous boat in the class A. LeBlanc which has not been handed over to the CCG yet.

A. LeBlanc (background) at the fitting out berth, and M. Charles M.B. foreground.
Early this afternoon, Dominion Diving's work boats Halmar and Roseway tugged the new ship back to Halifax Shipyard to tuck it in alongside the Novadock.
 Halmar with a bow line and Roseway on the quarter, ease the M.Charles M.B. away from the dock.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

M.Charles M.B. - another nighttime launch

To coincide with the highest available tide,  the CCG Hero class patrol boat M.Charles M.B. will be launched about midnight tonight.

This morning workers turned the vessel on the turntable to align it with the launchway.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Onego Rotterdam - rails from Poland

Onego Rotterdam arrived today with a load rails from Poland. CN Rail has been steadily importing rails through Halifax for some time now, and ships arrive on a regular basis.

Onego Shipping has the contract for delivering the rails and seems to come up with a different ship every time. This one is owned by HS Bereederung of Haren Ems, Germany, through its Dutch subsidiary Emtrans Scheepvaart of Ter Apel.
Built in 2013 by Damen in Begum, Netherlands (although the hull was likely built in Poland or Romania) it measures 5420 grt, 8096 dwt. It is a multi-purpose type with two box shaped holds and full width hatches. It has removable tween decks and hatch covers and is fitted with a pair of 60 tonne cranes that can work in tandem.
It sailed from Szczecin January 24 and bunkered at Skaw January 30 before setting out across the Atlantic. There is no outward sign that it suffered any damage from the storms in the area, but it was undoubtedly a rough crossing for a ship of its size.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

FGS Bonn - a possible preview

Widely expected to be the model for Canada's new supply ship, FGS Bonn arrived in Halifax today for a courtesy visit. The ship seems to have been exercising off Halifax with RCN ships in recent days. Perhaps refueling at sea trials?


Asian Emperor - cleanup continues

Aboard the autocarrier Asian Emperor the cleanup and repair from storm damage continues, now at pier 30. The ship originally berthed at pier 27 where both the stern ramp and side ramp were used to access the cargo deck and remove damaged machinery and other cargo that had broken loose in a storm while crossing from Southampton to Halifax. [see previous post]
Yesterday the ship moved to Autoport to unload the automobiles that were scheduled for delivery in Halifax.
Asian Emperor entering Eastern Passage en route to Autoport yesterday.
At midnight the ship shifted over to pier 30 where cleanup continued, with the removal of other damaged cargo, pumping spilled fuel out of bilges and repairs to damaged decks and fittings. It is also possible that they may restow some of the damage cargo for delivery to US insurers.
At pier 30 the cleanup continues.
This combine will not be harvesting any crops, but the digger behind it  may be repairable.
I have received numerous requests from persons with cars aboard the ship, about possible damage to their vehicles. Unfortunately I do have access to Autoport, where the cars destined for Canada would have been unloaded. Most of the owners had BMWs on the ship, but there are likely to have been other brands as well.
It does raise interesting questions however. Autoport would be able to repair minor damage to vehicles, but obviously they would not be able to repair severe damage. In previous cases where automobiles were seriously damaged, submerged or remained heeled over for lengthy periods, the auto makers elected to have the cars scrapped. Rather than face potential warranty issues with the cars, it was wisest to write them off.
In this case however, I am not aware of any such severe damage to cars. Most of the damage seems to have taken place on the oversize cargo area near the stern of the ship where something broke loose and rolled around crashing into the other cargo and causing those units to break loose too.

Atlantic Companion - roundabout trip

Atlantic Container Line's veteran ConRo Atlantic Companion made a roundabout arrival in Halifax and sailed (without tugs) this afternoon.

Atlantic Companion approaches the MacKay bridge this afternoon after clearing Fairview Cove without tugs.
The ship had sailed from Liverpool originally on January 27, but while rounding north of Ireland the crew discovered some hull cracking. Rather than risking extra hull stress by turning around, the ship sailed south down the west coast of Ireland and back to Liverpool via St. George's Channel, arriving on January 31.
After a couple of days at Gladstone Dock for welding repairs, the ship went back to her berth at Seaforth and topped up or re-stowed cargo. The ship then resumed her voyage on February 3, sailing out into the same stormy waters that the Asian Emperor may have encountered [ see previous and following posts]
Atlantic Companion made her first call in Halifax March 27, 1984. Since then she was lengthened in 1987, renamed Companion Express from 1987 to 1999 and sailed to Montreal for a few years when ACL and Hapag-Lloyd tried out different routings. New ships are on order for ACL,  for delivery in 2015 to replace Atlantic Companion and her four classmates.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cape Roger - rare visitor and Louis parked again

CCGS Cape Roger has been in and out of Halifax for the last week or so on an "exchange visit" from Newfoundland. Due to ice conditions in the Gulf of St.Lawrence, CCGS Sir William Alexander has been transferred to the Newfoundland region temporarily in exchange for Cape Roger

Cape Roger anchored off the old Coast Guard base this afternoon.
Built by Ferguson Industries in Pictou, NS in 1977 for $10 mn, Cape Roger is primarily a search and rescue and patrol vessel. At 966 gross tons and 205 ft long, she was large enough to land a helicopter, however this feature has now been dropped, and the flight deck is no longer usable.
The ship has been upgraded several times, including a major refit in Shelburne in 1966 and a $12 mn life extension refit at Seaway Marine and Industrial in St.Catharines ON in 2010-2011
The ship should be good for several more years of service since a replacement is in the far off future, and is not part of the National Ship Procurement Strategy, nor the subsequent small ship program.
This not the first time that Cape Roger has been assigned here. A similar exchange took place from February to April in 2003 when heavy ice saw the transfer of CCGS Edward Cornwallis to Newfoundland.
Meanwhile CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent is still parked at the BIO dock. The ship has been in port for a week or more.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Atlantic Pegasus - this one is red

The accumulation of tankers in Bedford Basin remains relatively steady as new ones arrive and old ones move on. Early this morning Havelstern (dark blue) sailed, Perseus N (black) moved to Nova Scotia Power and this evening Maersk Katalin *(light blue) moved back to Imperial Oil to complete discharging. And to add to the variety this morning Atlantic Pegasus (red) arrived at anchor.

Built in 2010 by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, South Korea, this ship is another of the endless array of more or less standard product tankers. At 29,107 grt, 46,838 dwt, she is just under the 50,000 dwt figure which is considered the rough maximum for "handy size". Flying the Hong Kong/ China flag, the ship is operated by Univan Ship Management of Hong Kong.

*As Maersk Katalin drew near Imperial Oil about 2230 hrs, the wind began to pick up again as a nother storm started up. The move was aborted and the ship returned to anchor in Bedford Basin. [See also today's Tugfax for another reference to bMaersk Katalin.]

Seapride, Maersk Katalin, Perseus N, in the Basin early this morning. 

Asian Emperor and Gracious Ace - two autocarriers

Autocarrier Asian Emperor has been due in Halifax for a couple of days now, but only arrived this morning. It was supposed to go to Autoport, but while inbound its destination was changed to pier 27-28. A second autocarrier, Gracious Ace, which was to have followed later in the day, instead came in and went directly to Autoport.

Word is that while crossing the Atlantic, Asian Emperor was struck by this week's major storm and sustained damage below deck when cargo broke loose. Extent of damage is still to be determined, so the ship will remain at pier 27-28 until it has been assessed and cleaned up.
Built in 1999 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea, the ship measures 55,729 grt, and can carry 6,246 cars. It is actually owned by Wilhelmsen South Korea of Pusan, and chartered to EUKOR [EURope KORea] a company set up to deliver Hyundai and Kia cars.
As with most Wallenius Wilhelmsen autocarriers, it operates in a world wide pool and carries autos from many manufacturers. A recent list of ports that it has visited included Piraeus (Jan 14), Livorno (Jan 18) Sagunto (Jan 19), Zeebrugge (Jan 29), Bremerhaven (Jan 31), Southampton (Feb 4).

Gracious Ace was built in 2012 by Imabari Shipbuilding in Marugame, Japan and measures 59,583 grt. It is operated by MOL Ship Management of Singapore, an operating arm of the Japanese company MOL. (Mitsui OSK Lines) It also has a capacity of 6200 cars.

Unlike the Wallenius ships, it is on a different sort of routing. A summary of its last ports include Australia (October), Japan (December), Boston (Dec 19), Lagos (Jan 14), and Eemshaven (Feb 2).
From this it would seem to have been a couple of days behind Asian Emperor, thus escaping the worst of the weather.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Havelstern joins the crowd

When the Coastal Shipping tanker Havelstern left the Novadock on Monday she went to pier 27 to complete her refit, and this morning she took on fuel from the Algoma Dartmouth. Once that was completed the ship was free to go about her business, but with stormy conditions still prevailing, the decision was made to got to anchor in Bedford Basin.

Havelstern shows off her new hull paint while northbound in the Narrows for Bedford Basin during the one sunny break when the low passed over Halifax this afternoon.
Once in the Basin Havelstern joined an armada of four other tankers, all either waiting for berths or better weather: Maersk Katalin (was at Imperial Oil, but came off the dock due to weather), Perseus N (waiting for better weather to dock at Nova Scotia Power), Cielo di Salerno and Seapride (waiting their turns).
Most Coastal Shipping tankers are used sparingly in the winter, and lay up in Lewisporte, Newfoundland. They are busiest in the summer months when they work in the far north.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Perseus N -in ahead of the storm

The tanker Perseus N arrived this morning. It was due to tie up at the Nova Scotia Power generating plant at Tuft's Cove in the Narrows, but instead went to anchor in Bedford Basin until the incoming storm has passed.

Perseus N inbound this morning. Some sort of inversion or heavy cloud was preventing the absorption of sea evaporation causing fog patches in the harbor.
The Nova Scotia Power plant was Halifax's first customer for offshore natural gas, and has not been burning oil in any quantity for some time. However an astronomical rise in gas prices due to increased winter demand in the US has likely caused them to switch to oil, or at least to have some in reserve.
With high winds forecast in the advancing storm, the Tuft's Cove dock would not be a safe mooring in bad weather, as it consists of series of dolphins and mooring buoys. McNally Construction has  been working on rebuilding the dock catwalks all winter, but it does not seem that the work has been completed yet. 
McNally's derrick barges working on the Nova Scotia Power dock in Tuft's Cove. One of the mooring buoys is shown on the bottom right.(December 2013 photo)
Perseus N was built in 2009 by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, South Korea. A product tanker of 23,332 grt, 36,264 dwt, it carried the name Elbtank France until December of last year, when ownership changed from OMI Marine to Navios Tankers. It flies the Liberian flag.
The Tuft's Cove plant has oil storage tanks (out of the picture at left) and an unloading dock to the right of the smoke stacks.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Athabaskan from sea

HMCS Athabaskan made an impressive sight as it dodged through sunny breaks entering Halifax this afternoon. The ultra sleek looking ship appears to be emerging from an extended refit with surprisingly little material on her masts.

It wasn't possible to get a clear shot of her from where I was due to background clutter of refineries, hospitals, etc., but she certainly looks clean and nimble.


more tankers- Havelstern, Algonova, Seapride, Cielo di Salerno and on it goes

The tankers keep parading into and within Halifax.

The Coastal Shipping Ltd Havelstern left the Novadock floating drydock this afternoon and moved down to pier 27.

Although she had two tugs to assist her, she was using her own engine, but she was so light that the prop did a lot of thrashing without much effect. The camber between pier 27-28 and pier 30-31 was also full of slushy snow which made the effect even more dramatic.

Soon after, the tanker Algonova arrived in tow from Sydney, NS where has been lying ever since and engine room fire in the Gulf of St.Lawrence. After the January 19 fire off the Gaspe coast, the ship was towed to Sydney by Ocean Arctique [to be confirmed see comment section below] At some point her cargo was discharged and she was prepared for the tow to Halifax. This time it was the turn of Atlantic Elm to take charge.

Atlantic Elm handed off the tow to Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Oak but had a hard time letting go the towing gear. It must have become jammed or iced up in the ship's fairleads.

Atlantic Elm went alongside the IEL dock for a few minutes, but returned immediately to sea, even before Algonova was tied up. By this time it had stopped snowing and the sun was out.

With the Novadock freed up at Halifax Shipyard, perhaps she will go in for repairs.

While this was going on another foreign flag chemical tanker arrived. Seapride despite its appearance, is only just a year old (I hope its paint job is under warranty).

 At 29,925 gross tons, 50,908 deadweight, she is operated by the large Greek shipowner Thenamaris, under the flag of Malta. It was delivered February 8, 2013 by STX Offshore & Shipbuilding of South Korea. It headed for Bedford Basin anchorage to join Cielo di Salerno, which arrived Saturday.

Also a product of the STX yard, it was built in 2002 and measures 23,680 gross tons, 36,031 deadweight. The ship was in Halifax ten years ago this month at the Ultramar refinery.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Altair Trader - big ship for bunkers

If confirmation was needed that Halifax is back in the bunkering business, it was received today with the arrival of the very large crude carrier Altair Trader from Saint John, NB.

Chebucto Pilot inbound ahead of Altair Trader.

The ship discharged a cargo of middle east crude oil in Saint John and came on to Halifax in ballast to refuel.
Due to its size, the ship required an escort tug, and Atlantic Oak met the ship at the pilot station and provided braking on the way in. Fortunately it was a calm day and the ship was able to proceed into number one anchorage without incident.

 The autocarrier Elektra, which was inbound at the same time, was able to overtake the tanker in the main channel, thanks to the calm conditions.

Now that Sterling Fuels is providing the marine fuel, and has chartered the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth to deliver the fuel to ships, Halifax can still be considered a full service port.

The escort tug Atlantic Oak is dwarfed by the tanker, which has lowered its anchor to the waterline in preparation for anchoring.
Altair Trader was built in 2005 by the Mitsui Ichihara Engineering + Shipbuilding yard in Japan. At 160,216 gross tons and 311,110 deadweight tonnes, it is among the largest ships ever to call in Halifax. Its immense capacity is carried on dimensions of 333m x 60m (1092 ft x 196 ft). With a hull depth of 28m (91 ft) and maximum draft of 20.833m (66.725 ft) it is too large to enter many of the world's ports in a loaded condition (including Halifax)  and therefore must load and unload at offshore locations such as Saint John, NB.
The ship is owned by Nova Tankers of Copenhagen, Denmark, and operates in the MOL (Mitsui OSK Line) pool. It flies the flag of the Isle of Man and is thus considered to be a British ship.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Finished with engines - Cabot on last leg

End of an Era

Cabot ties up at pier 9A this morning.

It was "finished with engines" shortly after 9 am this morning when the ConRo Cabot tied up at pier 9A. Gone are the OCEANEX banners on her sides, hastily painted over, as the ship enters layup until she can be sold.

The ship, and her sister Cicero, had a long history on the Newfoundland run both from Halifax and Montreal, and it is worth recounting here once again.

Cicero in Oceanex colours entering the Narrows of St.John's harbour.

The story starts with Ellerman's Wilson Line, a venerable UK concern, that was expanding its long standing UK/Sweden service (jointly with Fred Olsen) with RoRo ships. They ordered two ships form the equally venerable Smith's Dock in Middlesbrough, England. Smith's had become part of British Shipbuilders when the British industry was nationalized,  but had been a reputable builder of a variety of craft, including the whale catcher upon which the World War II corvette was based. 
All was not well in the yard, and when the Cicero, first of the new ships, was delivered it was found to have serious stability problems and was returned to the yard for corrective measures. The solution was the installation of a flume stabilization tank high above the upper deck aft of the superstructure (just above the "X" in the above photo). The tank, filled with baffles and seawater, was to counteract rolling by the slow sloshing of the water to the other side of the ship.

The solution worked after a fashion, but the ship was thought to be unsuitable for its intended trade and after three years of charters to various companies it was finally sold to Federal Commerce + Navigation of Montreal in 1982. After a charter to Brazil it went into operation from Montreal to Corner Brook and St.John's under the banner of Atlantic Container Express (A.C.E.) with Clarke Shipping as manager In 1991 that service was combined under common ownership with the Halifax/Corner Brook/St.John's service, and was renamed Oceanex. In 1994 Oceanex purchased the ship and continued operating it mostly from Montreal, but sometimes from Halifax as a substitute until November 2006 when it was replaced by Oceanex Avalon. Cicero was sold and sailed from Montreal December 25, 2006 as Aegean Fantasy for service in the Mediterranean, where it operated sporadically until laid up in 2012.

Meanwhile Smith's dock completed the second ship in the series, Cavallo in 1979.

Cavallo lost some of her new paint in a December 1980 transatlantic delivery trip. The orginal Ellerman's Wilson bottle green shows through Fednav red.
It was also fitted with the flume tank, but Ellerman's Wilson Line refused delivery and ship was laid up in a nearly complete state until 1980. Seaforth Fednav, part of Federal Commerce + Navigation bought the ship and it arrived in Halifax for the first time December 19, 1980. It was  placed on the Fednav service from Halifax to Corner Brook and St.John's.

 Cavallo in A.S.L. service had red bulwarks for a time

The Fednav service became Atlantic Sea Route Ltd  (A.S.L.) in 1982 when it combined with Newfoundland Container Line. In 1987 A.S.L. merged into A.C.E., which purchased Cavallo with Clarke Steamships as managers. A.C.E. renamed the ship Cabot,  and it was transferred to the Montreal/CornerBrook/St.John's run.

As Cabot in A.C.E. service, the ship ran on the Montreal service.

A.C.E. became Oceanex in 1991 and they retained the ship's name.Oceanex found that more capacity was needed on the Newfoundland operation and they sent Cabot to be lengthened 25 meters in 1996. The ship's original 5108 gross tons, had been increased to 11,923 when its car decks were reclassified as closed decks, and so the the lengthening increased the tonnage to 14,597.

The lengthened Cabot maintained a weekly schedule on the St.Lawrence, year round.

Since 1996 the ship has shown up in Halifax from time to time as substitute for fleetmate ASL Sanderling during refits, but has run steadily from Montreal to St. John's. (Oceanex cut out the CornerBrook service a few years ago.) In 2005-2006 the ship's Pielstick engines were rebuilt at the Verreault Navigation shipyard in Les Méchins, QC and in January-February 2008 it received a major refit at Las Palmas.

With delivery of Oceanex Connaigra in November 2013, Cabot was retired from service and laid up in Montreal. However when the new ship's propeller hub failed, Cabot was pressed back into service. It made its last commercial sailing from Montreal to St.John's last week, and as soon it unloaded, it sailed to Halifax, arriving this morning.

For a ship that was initially rejected by its owners, it has proven to be a remarkably dependable vessel, sailing year round on difficult routes. However in anticipation of a replacement, the ship has been allowed to run down, and it was in fairly rough looking condition on arrival today.

The question now is whether the ship will be sold on for further service.It seems more likely that it will be sold to a third party and quickly re-sold for scrap, but we will have to wait and see.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Spaarnegracht - if you blinked you missed it (and I did)

The Dutch multi-purpose ship Spaarnegracht made a quick stop in Halifax today, loading or off loading an object at pier 31. I was unable to see what the object was, so it may remain a mystery.

Built in 2000, the ship is one the 60 ship Spliethoff fleet (see http://www.spliethoff.com/) of specialist carriers, capable of heavy lifts, project cargoes and climate controlled commodities such as paper.
At 16,641 gross, 21,402 deadweight, it carries three 120 tonne cranes, two mounted on the port side and one on the starboard side. It also features side loading doors and has distinctive trunk work housing elevators for palletized cargo (usually paper) and ventilation.On departure it listed Chester, PA as its next port - a traditional paper port.

 It was still light enough to get a photo when the ship sailed at 1630.


Is it curtains for Quest

CNAV Quest, the Canadian Navy's research ship, has been confined to quarters until the end of the fiscal year (March 31) and maybe beyond, due to navy cost cuts. In one of it periodic slashings, the Harper government is tightening the screws on the RCN, and of course this shows up at the pointed end of the navy - in operations- not so much at headquarters in Ottawa.

Quest returns to port January 9, 2014.

Thought to be on its last legs in 2009, the ship was given a major rebuild to correct stability and compartmentalization issues in 2010-2011. In fact the ship was in sufficiently good shape to go to Europe in the summer of 2011 to participate in joint trials with the Germans and Dutch.

Built in 1968 by Burrard Dry Dock, in Vancouver, the ship is certainly well past a reasonable replacement date, but there doesn't seem to be anything in the offing. A new ship will be needed, but as usual things have to reach a critical pass before any action is taken, rather than having a systematic planned replacement program in place.


More grain outbound on the Irma

It is a bumper year for grain, and there was still an unshipped backlog when the St.Lawrence Seaway closed for the season. We have seen some top up loads for ships that loaded upriver, but yesterday's arrival is the first for a full load. The ship is loading wood pellets - the first such cargo from Halifax in a long time. They are also stored in the Halifax Grain Elevator and handled the same as grain.

Irma arrives light ship ready to load. The scuff marks on her hull indicate that she is a regular user of the St.Lawrence Seaway locks.

The 21,387 gross, 34,947 deadweight bulk carrier Irma is owned by the state-owned Polska Zegluga Morska (Polish Steamship Co), trading under the name of POLSTEAM. The company has been on a large expansion program in recent years, which has resulted in ships being built outside of Poland. Irma is one of these, coming from the Mitsui Ichihara Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. It also flies the flag of Cyprus.