Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Another ARC

Noah is not seeing double -  Independence II is the second ARC (American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier LLC) auto carrier to call in Halifax within a week. On Saturday Resolve called at Autoport on an eastbound voyage. Independence II is on a more typical westbound route. Its last port of call was Southampton, UK and it is sailing for US ports.

After unloading at Autoport, Independence II moved over to pier 30 to unload RoRo cargo. The tug Atlantic Oak assisted the ship away from Autoport, and Atlantic Willow is joining to assist into pier 30. Note the railroad auto racks in the background waiting to load at Autoport.

 Built in 1994 as Titus for Wallenius Lines of Sweden, by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of Geoje, South Korea, the ship was here as recently as last month, when it arrived March 24.ARC is a US based company but is owned  on a 50/50 basis by Wilh.Wilhlemsen and Wallenius. As a US based company, with US flag (but not Jones Act) ships, it is entitled to carry certain classes of US government cargo, including military.

Once both tugs were secured, they began to turn the ship to back in to pier 30.

At pier 30 the ship unloaded several Mafis with large crated cargo.


Honor bound

The crude tanker United Honor made a pit stop in Halifax today en route from Canaport, Saint John, NB for Whiffen Head, NL to load more crude.

Built in 2010 by New Times Shipbuilding, Jingjiang, China, the ship is operated by Marine Management Services MC of Piraeus and flies the Greek flag. At 62,775 grt, 112,795 deadweight she is a middle weight amongst crude tankers, but still dwarfs the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth.

Due to the exposed position of the Canaport offshore loading buoy, ship bunkering is not practical off Saint John, so ships requiring refueling head for Halifax,


Monday, April 28, 2014

Celine with rails

CN's seemingly inexhaustible appetite for new rail continues. Just as one shipment seems to have been cleared and sent on its way by train, it is time for another shipment.
Recently many of the rail carrying ships have been Dutch flag, but this morning it was a Dutch built ship, Celine, flying the flag of Switzerland, bringing in rails from Poland.

Atlantic Willow comes alongside Celine. Navy mooring buoys in Macnab's Cove show up in the background. The traveling hatch crane is stowed against the foreward bulkhead of the superstructure.

Built in 2001 by the prolific Dutch Damen group at their shipyard in Foxhol, Netherlands, Celine is a Damen Combi-Freighter Type 9000. It measures 6,382 gross tons, 8,600 deadweight tonnes and carries two 60 tonne capacity cranes. It has a traveling hatch crane (shown stowed against the deckhouse) that also can be used to move grain bulkheads to subdivide the two holds. The ship can carry bulk, steel coils, containers (262 TEU in the hold, 236 on deck), forest products and general cargo. 

The managing owner is Enzian Ship Management of Zurich, the operating arm of Swiss Cargo Line or SCL Reederei AG.

The deck cranes are positioned to serve the two holds, which are not equally sized. The aft hold is 52.19m long, the fore hold is 38.97m long and both are 13.15m wide.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Rare day in Halifax

It is a rare day in Halifax when there are no arrivals and departures. Aside from the 0330 hrs departure of Zim Qingdao there were no scheduled arrivals or departures.
That did not meann that there was no activity.
This morning the tug Atlantic Larch sailed and headed south- likely for Shelburne and refit. Its place will be taken by Atlantic Fir. Atlantic Teak is also in port, but is likely just passing through. [For a closeup of Atlantic Larch see yesterday's Tugfax.]

Yesterday there was a forest of tugs at the IEL dock. From left to right: Atlantic Fir, Oak, Willow, Larch and Teak.

While Larch was outbound, it passed the tug Sandra Mary towing the crane barge Canadian Argosy inbound from Digby via Yarmouth and Shelburne. The barge will eventually be heading for Cape Breton, but will be at pier 9 in Halifax for several days due to weather.

 Canadian Argosy was built in 1978 by Collingwood Shipyard for the former Pitts International Company. Through a series of mergers and takeovers, it is now owned by McNally Construction of Hamilton, ON.
The tug Sandra Mary was built by Russel Brothers in Owen Sound, ON in 1962 as Flo Cooper also for Pitts. It has carried its present name since 2000.
  The barge is using its spuds to secure it to the harbour bottom, and as a result is has taken on a bit of a list.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Triumph Ace and Resolve - more for Autoport

There was two way traffic at Autoport again today, with one ship arriving on a westbound routing and another eastbound.
First in was Triumph Ace for Mitsui OSK Lines. The 2000 built ship comes from the Imabari Zosen  in Maragume, Japan, and had the distinction in 2001 of delivering 127 Honda Civics, built in Britain, to Japan. (Sort of a coals from Newcastle trip). The ship's gross tonnage is 55,300 and it has a stated capacity of 4900 cars.
In an attempt at camouflage in Eastern Passage, Triumph Ace blends in with the local architecture. 

Arriving from Europe, the ship sailed at noon time for Bruswick GA, with more than 3900 units remaining on board. As it was leaving Eastern Passage, the second ship was inbound, and they arranged a convenient passing between Ives Knoll and Indian Point.

Triumph Ace has passed Indian Point. It will keep well north, while the inbound is about to turn tightly round the Ives Knoll buoy.

Triumph Ace straightens up and heads outbound.

The inbound ship, arriving from Baltimore, is the American Roll On Roll Off Carrier Resolve. Although now one of the nine ship ARC fleet of US flag autocarriers it was built by Sumitomo Heavy Industries in Yokosuka, Japan in 1994 as Nosac Tanabata, becoming Tanabata in 1996 and Resolve in 2003.

Resolve approaches Ives Knoll inbound. The after tug is about to swing round to give better pulling power to swing the ship's stern.

Working the turn around Ives Knoll, Resolve keeps tight to the south to allow the outbound lots of room.

Later this afternoon Resolve sailed for Antwerp on its usual route Brunswick GA, Charleston SC, Baltimore, MD, Antwerp, Southampton, Bremerhaven. The 49,433 grt ship exhibits the hard chine hull and sloped forepeak of the Nosac ships. [NOSAC = NOrwegian Specialized Auto Carriers was a 50-50 pool between Wilhelmsen and Norwegian American Line-since dissolved.]

Outbound it did bit of a turn about with the inbound Zim Qingdao, hugging the eastern part of the channel and passing green to green to allow the container ship room to turn.[See Tugfax for more on that operation.]


Oceanex Connaigra to Belfast

The ailing Oceanex Connaigra has sailed from St.John's for Belfast for repairs to her faulty propeller mechanism.

Shown here arriving in Halifax November 23, 2013, the ship only entered service for the first time in October. It had a malfunction in the prop in November and was out of service for more than two months including a drydocking in Boston for nearly two months, only to have the problem recur.


Penang prang

 Maersk Penang was today's arrival on the Maersk St.Lawrence River/Transatlantic service. If there was any doubt that this is a tough run her wrinkled bow should be confirmation. While busily loading at Halterm, a closeup shows several wrinkles on the stem, rail and as far aft as the starboard hawse pipe.

It appears that the ship may have slammed into a particularly powerful wave or series of waves. This would have the effect of distorting the shell plating and perhaps some internal frames. Not serious enough to warrant immediate repair, it still shows the immense power of the North Atlantic. (Unlike HMCS Iroquois which may have to be retired due to a similar experience, Maersk Penang is built of sterner stuff.).

Maersk Penanag dates from 1998 as P+O Nedlloyd Jakarta and took her present name in 2006 after  Maersk gobbled up P+O Nedlloyd. The ship still sails with Dutch officers, even though it is registered in England. It was built by the Kvaerner Warnow Werft in Warnemunde, Germany and at 31,333 grt, 37,842 dwt the ship carries 2890 TEUS with 400 reefer plugs.

Next week's Maersk caller will in fact not be a Maersk ship at all but a charter by CMA-CGM. Antje Wulff is a similar sized ship of 32,284 grt, 39,216 dwt built in 2002 by Stoc. Szczecinska. SA. of Stettin, Poland. Delivered as Antje-Helen Wulff it was immediately renamed P+O Nedlloyd Dammam until 2003, CMA CGM Seagull to 2005 and Ibn Abdoun to 2010.  Its container capacity is 2732 TEU, with 450 reefer plugs, which may be a benefit, since reefer traffic is a large part of the Maersk /CMA-CGM service out of Halifax.

After a brief layup in Tor Bay, England, Antje Wulff was chartered in February for one year at $US 6700 per day and will replace Maersk Patras on the weekly 4  ship TA4 St-Laurent service. It was to enter service April 13 in Rotterdam, sailing April 14 for Bremerhaven. On April 15, off Hoek van Holland, it suffered a main engine breakdown and required the assistance of five tugs to reach port. However it seems to have made up lost time and is due in Montreal tonight on its first call.

The ship it will replace, Maersk Patras, is a sister of Maersk Penang, built in 1998 as P+O Nedlloyd Marseille. It has already been reassigned, sailing this week from Felixstowe, England for Tangier.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Seismic start up

The 2014 seismic season it getting ready to start up, as ships arrive and begin to fit out. Mainport Pine arrived Wednesday (see previous post) and is wedged into pier 25 where it is hard to photo.

Meanwhile alongside the adjacent pier 24, the Scotian Sea is undergoing modifications, including installation  of a boat davit and other work.

And this afternoon the first actual seismic ship arrived.Western Patriot (Marshal Islands flag) was built in 1993 by Ulstein Werft in Norway, and measures 3,586 gross tons.

Operated by Western Geco, the ship shows the usual large hanger aft, covering seismic reels, and is topped by a helicopter landing deck. Since the seismic operations are located outside territorial waters, it will not require a coasting license to operate. Instead it will remain at sea for extended periods with such ships as Mainport Pine and Scotian Sea supporting them with supplies and crews.

If last year's operations are any indication there could be half a dozen more ships involved.


Mea Culpa and Perfection Continues to Elude Me

I have received very reliable information that there was NO incident with MOL Paramount the other day. I have further been informed that the ship itself is well found and professionally operated.

I take this information as 100% reliable and have therefore withdrawn previous comments about the ship and the G6 Alliance.

From time to t time I receive information from various sources that is impossible to verify, but which on the surface appears to be true. In those cases I have to use my judgment - which regrettably is not yet infallible. When I am wrong which certainly appears to be the case here, I am quite willing to admit it.

As ever I welcome frank comments about my blog. Address then to


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oceanex Sanderling takes escort tug inbound today

This morning's arrival of Oceanex Sanderling was a little unusual. The ship called for an escort tug from the pilot station inbound. It was a foggy, windy day, but that would not usually require an escort tug.
The only circumstances I could think of in which a ship of this size would require an escort tug would be some mechanical malfunction or deficiency. This could range from a missing anchor, defects in steering,  radar or bow thruster or some other component. Some of these might be serious for a ship in windy conditions and crowded waterway. So the call for an escort tug would be a sensible precautionary measure, but would also be required by regulations.

A second tug has joined, and the escort tug has moved to the port quarter to turn the ship off Halterm on arrival this morning.

Oceanex Sanderling (and its fleet mates) operate under a demanding schedule. Today's is the ship's second call in Halifax this week, running almost non-stop to and from Newfoundland. Wear and tear must be an issue eventually, and minor issues are bound to arise.



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mainport Pine

A new type of ship will be making its first appearance in Halifax today. Built along the lines of an offshore supply vessel, it is specially fitted out to support offshore seismic research.
Named Mainport Pine  it will provide fuel, stores, and crew changes for seismic ships. It can also  perform a variety of other chores that will allow the seismic ships to remain on station for extended periods, without costly returns to port.
Due to today's delightful fog, photos are unlikely to be too revealing, but the ship's owner has provided a great spec sheet, which can be found at:

Recently delivered from a shipyard in Malaysia, the ship is arriving via Capetown and Walvis Bay, South Africa.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bahri Jeddah

Delivered to the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia on January 9, 2014 by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan South Korea, Saudi Jeddah is number five of six new ConRos for the line.

It arrived in Halifax for the first time this morning, tying up at pier 31 and dwarfing the surrounding sheds at pier 33-34. I was not an early enough bird to catch it on the way in, but hope for better luck when Bahri Jazan arrives in May. It is the fourth of the series, and was delivered October 29, 2013, but has yet to make an appearance in Halifax.
The last ship in the series, expected to be called Bahri Diriyah is to be delivered by June. The other ships in the series, in order of delivery, Bahri Abha, Bahri Hofuf and Bahri Tabuk have all made visits here. Of the new ships, all except Bahri Jazan share the names of the previous generation of ConRos, which had the prefix Saudi to their names. 


Queen Express

Not a Hapag-Lloyd ship, today's arrival Queen Express was certainly not built for speed, as a container ship would be. It is a typical handy size product tanker, one of the scads of similar ships we are seeing in Halifax now. The only unusual thing about it is that it was built in Japan instead of Korea as the majority of ships of this type. it is also built to a similar appearance as much larger tankers. The flared bow, anchor nacelles, and bridge wing props are typically found on large crude oil tankers.

Queen Express came from the Shin Kurushima Onishi Shipyard in Imabari, Japan in 2009. Its tonnages of 28,054 gross and 45,565 deadweight place in the slightly smaller end of the category which usually has deadweights nearer 50,000 tonnes. It flies the Panama flag and is owned by Fuyo Kaiun of Osaka.
Anchoring in the lower harbor usually signifies a short term stay, so it will likely move alongside soon.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Quiet day in Halifax

There was an eerie calm about Halifax today, with no commercial shipping in the port, with all the piers devoid of working ships.

A quiet Halterm just before Easter Sunday sunrise.

In fact there were only two ships in port (aside from tugs that are based here, and the supplier Scotian Sea in lay up). The research ship Coriolus II lying at the Svitzer Canada  dock and the tanker Algonova peacefully anchored in Bedford Basin.

 Algonova in Bedford Basin, between shuttle runs from Valero to Imperial Oil.

The only arrival scheduled for this date is Oceanex Sanderling for Autoport at midnight to load cars for Newfoundland and due to sail early tomorrow morning..


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cabot to sail tonight

The ConRo Cabot is being pressed back into service after being laid up and sold for scrap. A persistent problem with the new Oceanex Connaigra's controllable pitch prop means that the new ship must be taken out of service again for repairs.
Cabot at pier 9A yesterday, with a provisions box on the dock ready to load supplies with her stores crane.

There has been a flurry of activity aboard Cabot in recent days, including fueling yesterday. This must have been done by truck, although I did not see the operation.
Cabot flying the fueling flag yesterday. A new Canadian flag also appeared, replacing the tattered one that had been on the ship since it last arrival February 3.

It is an amazingly complex process to bring a ship back into service after layup. All its inspections and certifications must be renewed,  the crew must do fire an life boat drills, and scores of other tasks, not to mention storing up supplies and grub. I did hear them test their whistles yesterday. There were also divers down on the ship today and a number of inspectors of various sorts scurrying around. Despite the sale for scrap and a reputed Indian crew on board at one time, the ship's Canadian registration was never closed. It now appears that the sale has been postponed indefinitely.

This evening Cabot is flying the "Blue Peter" signifying an intention to sail. She is due to sail at 2330 HRS.

Oceanex has posted a notice on its web site that after Oceanex Connaigra's April 18 sailing it will be removed from service again, and Cabot will sail from Montreal on April 22. She will certainly have to make good time to get to Montreal that quickly!


NYKCOS auto carrier

NYKCOS is a joint venture between the Chinese state owned COSCO Shipping (COSCOL) (51%) and NYK Line (49%), as the exclusive shipper of Chinese vehicles and machinery. Although rarely seen in North America, China manufactured cars and trucks are exported to many parts of the world.
NYK of Japan has a fleet of 120 vehicle carriers, and the NYKCOS has four ships Read more at:

Today's visitor at Autoport, Yu Heng Xian Feng was built in 1998 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Nagasaki Shipyard and Engine Works as Alioth Leader. It was assigned to NYKCOS and renamed in 2013. It measures 53,240 gross tons and has a capacity of 5,140 cars.. It appeared to be unloading Audis this afternoon.

Autoport is still full to overflowing with new cars, but somehow they find room for more, and are continually sending out trainloads.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Busy pier 30-31 Thor Bronco - loading, Zeelandia - unloading

For months now, large white cylinders have been arriving in Halifax by rail and have been collecting on pier 30. Stevedores have loaded them on transfer trailers and parking them in line waiting for shipment.
  Today Thor Bronco arrived to haul them off to Libya.
 The ship had to squeeze its way in to pier 30 around Zeelandia tied up at pier 31 to unload her usual cargo of bagged nickel sulfides from Cuba for Nirint Shipping.
In a very stiff breeze, and with the aid of two tugs, the ship was soon alongside.

Once it had offloaded its pontoon type hatch covers, loading got underway, using the ship's own 45 tonne crane.

Thor Bronco was built in 2008 by Donfeng Ship Industry of Chongqing, China as FCC Pioneer. It was renamed BBC Pioneer the same year, and in 2010 adopted its current name. It is operated by Internaut Shipping of Limassol, Cyprus, but with headquarters in Bremen. It flies the Antigua and Barbuda flag. Tonnages for the ship are 6,569 gross, 8,090 deadweight.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Algoma Dartmouth - long weekend in New York

With many people off for a long Easter weekend, most ships continue to ply their usual routes. Not Algoma Dartmouth. This afternoon the harbour bunkering tanker sailed for New York.

Algoma Dartmouth on her normal route, transiting the Narrows, passing the laid up Cabot, on her way to National Gypsum to bunker Pioneer  April 11, 2014.

The ship has only left Halifax once before during its nearly five years here. Built in 2007 by Yardimci Gemi Insa SA, Tuzla, Turkey, the 2,999 grt / 3569 dwt tanker has carried three previous names. It waa launched with yard name Yardimci 41. On delivery it was renamed Crescent Bardolino and in 2006 Clipper Bardolino. It became Samistal Due in 2008, under the Maltese flag. Arriving in Halifax July 14, 2009, it operated originally as a non-duty paid, Canadian flag ship under a coasting license, and was confined to Halifax harbour.
With the change in import tariffs, Algoma Marine brought the tanker into full ownership and flag. In January 2013 the ship sailed to Shelburne, NS for a brief drydocking and refit, but otherwise has been in Halifax continuosly.
This trip to New York is therefore a rare occurrence, but may become more common as  the availability of bunkering fuel in Canada becomes more difficult.Since Sterling Fuels took over a supplier of bunker fuel in Halifax,(and charterer of Algoma Dartmouth) earlier this year, it must source the stuff in the Great Lakes/St.Lawrence area or the US east coast, if it does not acquire the product from Irving Oil or Valero.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Dickens you say............

Yes it was a busy day in Halifax harbour - here is a roundup:

First off the arrival of Charles Dickens for the G6 Alliance PAX service - the latest in a series of one-off ships, on short term charters to fill in for ships on refit or those that have been replaced on the route.
Charles Dickens is the former Maersk Danbury, just off a long term charter late last year, the ship still carries Maersk's colours, but has had the banner name and funnel mark painted over. Registered in Liberia, and owned by Norddeutsche Reederei Schuldt of Germany, the ship was built in 2005 by Hanjin Heavy Industry and Construction of Busan, South Korea. With tonnages of 54,271 gross, 67,601 dwt, it has a capacity of 4944 TEU.

Frio Kyknos was back in Halifax again, this time for bunkers. The ship was here April 1 to 3 for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection. Since then I assume it unloaded a cargo of fish in Newfoundland.
This time the ship is in light condition, and despite sloppy seas outside, the pilot likely had an easier time disembarking. When it arrived April 1, the pilot boat had to lead the ship in. Due to its low freeboard, its decks were awash and the pilot could not board at the pilot station.
The ship gave its destination as Iceland. Since there is still a great deal of ice off the east coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, the ship will be taking a southerly route to meet up with the Gulf stream, but even so coming to Halifax for bunkers took the ship at least a day or two's sailing off its course.

The ferry Halifax III was back in service after a short disruption yesterday due to a minor breakdown.
Fleetmate Woodside I is already out of service for regular maintenance, and Sunday service was replaced by buses the last two weekends due to repairs in the Dartmouth ferry terminal.

Siem Pilot is gearing up for work offshore. As previously reported, the ship is serve as an accommodation vessels for diving off Sable Island. It has now been fitted with equipment from Dominion Diving, and  yesterday took fuel at Imperial Oil. Last night it did calibration work off the Mobil dock (where the water is too shallow for it to tie up).
This evening the ship moved out into Bedford Basin for further trials. Its original coasting license was from March 24 to April 25, on a charter to Secunda LLP..

The Maritime Coastal Defense vessels HMCS Glace Bay and Kingston returned to Halifax after exercises in southern waters. Kingston had a minor fire on Saturday off the Carolinas, but it was extinguished by the crew without injury. It does not seem to have effected the ship's ability  sail home unaided.

First in was Glace Bay looking quite smart with a stiff gale of wind chasing it along in bright sunshine.

An hour later when Kingston came up, the wind had brought in the fog and the start of light drizzle. The air temperature was about 14 degrees C, but the water temperature was still at 2 degrees C - a perfect recipe for fog. The ship showed no outward signs of any fire.

So with all this activity - what did I miss?

The US flag autocarrier Courage arrived from Baltimore and sailed for Antwerp - going in the opposite direction for most car boats.Built as Aida in 2005 by Hitachi Shipbuilding in Maizuru, Japan, the ship has flown the US flag since 2005. It operates for American Roll-On Roll-Off and is managed by Crowley Technical Management Inc.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Algonova - trials trip to the Basin

Algonova left the IEL dock for trials in Bedford Basin late this evening. The ship suffered a serious engine room fire in the Gulf of St.Lawrence January 19, and has been tied up at the IEL dock since February 10.
A complex of temporary buildings was set up on the pier for the repair work.

As pictured last evening, there were still some yellow "elephant trunk" ventilation ducts running to the engine room. 

 Some engine room components were trucked away by Canadian Maritime Engineering in February.

The ship was built in Turkey in 2008 and has had a history of problems. It was towed from Nanticoke to Port Colborne in April 2009 after a previous repair session. Then in the winter of 2010-2011 it had an engine breakdown that required repairs at Matane, QC and other locations.

   Fresh from drydocking at Halifax Shipyard in September.

It was drydocked at Halifax Shipyard last year for normal maintenance and came out with a fresh coat of paint. The prominent  cylindrical tanks on deck are for tank washing slops.