Saturday, February 28, 2015

Products and tankers

After unloading at Imperial Oil the tanker BW Leopard anchored in the harbour yesterday for bunkers and sailed in the late afternoon.

Built as Elandra Leopard by SPP Shipbuilding Co in Tongyeong, South Korea, in 2014 it was renamed BW Leopard after delivery to BW Maritime of Singapore. Tonnages are 29,737 grt, 49,999 dwt.

Today the bulker Andean anchored for bunkers.

It was built in 2009 by Jiangsa Eastern Shipbuilding in Jingjiang, China. Its tonnages are 19,814 grt, 30,770 dwt. It flies the Cyrus flag for Navarone SA of Athens and is on long term charter to Canfornav Inc  (Canadian Forest Navigation of Montreal). A Great Lakes caller in season, it is equipped with three 30 tonne cranes.

This morning the tanker Nounou tied up at Nova Scotia Power's Tufts Cove generating station to deliver fuel. The plant normally burns natural gas, but can use oil when there is a price advantage.

Nounou dates from 2010 and  Brodosplit in Split, Croatia. It flies the Greek flag for owners Eastern Mediterranean Maritime SA of Athens. It has typical handysize tonnages of 26,254 grt, 44,990 dwt.

This afternoon another product tanker arrived, Seamuse at Imperial Oil dock 4.

The Maltese flag tanker came from Iwagi Zosen in Iwagi, Japan in 2007 as Belaia for Schulte BSM of Singapore. It was acquired by Thenamaris of Athens in 2014 and renamed.  Another typical handysize it measures 28,779 grt and lifts 48,6783 dwt.


C.T.M.A. Vacançier makes for North Sydney

After three days trying to reach Souris, PE, C.T.M.A.Vacançier returned to Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands and has now set out for North Sydney.

In what may be an unprecedented move, the ship will berth at Marine Atlantic's facilities to unload and load. Conditions have not been ideal at North Sydney either with several delays due to bad weather and ice, but C.T.M.A. and Marine Atlantic will apparently work something out to permit the various ships to use the port.

The Coast Guard is stretched with icebreakers working over a large area, and will apparently come to a ship's aid if it is stuck, but that didn't seem to work in Vacançier's case, nor were icebreakers in the Sydney Bight area earlier in the week for Marine Atlantic ships. 

All the Marine Atlantic ships and C.T.M.A. Vacançier are ice class, so they are not in danger, but they are certainly slowed considerably in heavy ice.

At one time when CN Marine (Marine Atlantic's predecessor) was using lighter duty ships, it was not unheard of for them to divert to Mulgrave or come all the way to Halifax when ice conditions were severe.

Latest development is that the CCGS Amundsen will be working in the Sydney area to assist shipping.

CCGS Amundsen is based at the picturesque Coast Guard Agency in Quebec City.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Big bulker for bunkers (or maybe not)*

An unusually large and fully loaded bulk carrier put in for bunkers early this morning. Frontier Discovery is operated by the giant Japanese company NYK Lines under the Japanese flag. Built in 2010 by Namura Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Imari, it measures 91,467 grt, 174,843 dwt, and is one of 129 capesize bulkers in the NYK fleet.

As the name implies, these ships are too large to use the Panama and Suez canals, and thus usually operate in one sphere of the world where cape transits are not needed. However in the last year Frontier Discovery has been in Sierra Leone, China, Rotterdam, Baltimore, Singapore, Indonesia, China again and Germany.

It was reported in Hamburg, Germany at the end of January where it unloaded a cargo of coal or iron ore at Hansaport. That facility is the primary import facility for such bulk cargoes and moves the material onward by train or barge to inland locations in Germany.

 Another Japanese capesize, K-Lines Cape Normandy, unloads at Hansaport in June. It measures 92,900 grt, 180.646 dwt.

The panamax Dione also at Hansaport, with mountains of coal in the stockpile.

* As of Saturday morning there was no sign that the ship had taken bunkers yet. Perhaps it is here for repairs instead.

Barkald - one frozen gypsum to go please

Barkald has rounded George's Island to the east, and the ferry Woodside I has just left the Woodside Terminal for Halifax, and will make a wide loop to pass astern of the gypsum carrier. Several of these coordinated meetings occur every day between the ferries and commercial shipping. Thanks to Vessel Traffic Services and good communication VHF between the ferry crews and the harbor pilots incidents are rare.
Just out of the picture to the right, the tug Atlantic Willow stands by to take up station alongside the ship as it transits the Narrows on the way to National Gypsum. At this time of year the gypsum is frozen, but can still be loaded, and will thaw out en route to its destination in the United States.


Ships Named Halifax - Halifax City

One of the oldest shipping lines was the Bristol City Line (BCL). Originally started in 1704 it finally disappeared in 1974. The line was owned by Charles Hill + Co, which also had interests in shipbuilding and freight forwarding.

BCL started a steamship service to from the UK to the USA in 1879 and added Canada in 1933 and  began to serve the Great Lakes in 1958. It named all its ships after cities, often re-using the same names over and over, but only had one Halifax City.

It was built along modern lines in 1964 by the Burntisland Shipbuilding Company with engines 3/4 aft. A  general cargo vessel of 6533 grt, 8580 dwt it had three cranes and an array of derricks and was a regular user of the St.Lawrence Seaway calling at ports as far inland as Chicago.

As with most shipping companies in those days its main Canadian port was Montreal and this ship was built to ice class III allowing it to call there all year.It did however visit is namesake port on occasion, but before my time.
Halifax City in Montreal in August 1965.

In 1969 BCL joined with Cie Maritime Belge and Clarke Traffic Services of Montreal to form the Dart Container Line operating from Antwerp to Halifax, New York and Norfolk. It was therefore one of the earliest transatlantic container lines. Using chartered tonnage for a time, the line had three ships built to start: Dart America (owned by Clarke), Dart Atlantic (owned by Bristol City) and Dart Europe (owned by CMB). Just as those ships were being delivered in 1971, Charles Hill sold the Bristol City Line to the Bibby Line another venerable British company. Interestingly both BCL and CMB painted their ship orange, and so did Dart.

Bibby had its own ships, and so sold off Bristol City's conventional general cargo ships when events in Burma and Ceylon cut into their traditional lines. Halifax City went to owners in Thailand in 1972, to become Thonburi. It was renamed Nakornthon in 1973 by the same owners, and they delivered it to breakers in Bangkok July 18, 1986.

Bibby sold its interest in Dart to C.Y.Tung's Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL), which also bought out Clarke in 1973. In 1981 OOCL (which had acquired Manchester Liners), CMB, and CP Ships formed the St.Lawrence Coordinated Service, combining their separate container lines. HAPAG-Lloyd bought CPShips and continue to operate the service with OOCL.

OOCL also names their ships after cities, but so far has not seen fit to have an OOCL Halifax, despite serving the port as part of the G6 Alliance.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gypsum - Part 2 - no rebound for Hantsport

The expansion of the National Gypsum quarry in Milford, NS (see Part 1) solidifies the future of gypsum shipments from the company's facilities in Halifax. A recovery of the US economy, and a low Canadian dollar are largely responsible for this turn of events, but that does not seem to have had any effect on their competitor United States Gypsum, or USG Corp as it is now called.

That company shut down its mines near Windsor, NS and storage and shiploader in Hantsport, NS permanently in 2011 and although much of the infrastructure remains, there is little hope that it will reopen. The short line Windsor + Hantsport railroad that carried the gypsum from the mines to the pier has also been mothballed.

The fascinating little port of Hantsport, governed by extreme tides, was one of the most interesting operations in Nova Scotia. Ships were limited to only a three hour window for loading at high tide, and had to beat a hasty retreat from the Minas Basin to the Bay of Fundy while there was still water enough to float the ship.

Winter operations were also awkward due to caked ice on the bottom at the pier, and heavy broken flows in the approaches. Some winters the port was closed to shipping, and through some form of cooperation between the competitors, the ships came to Halifax to load at National Gypsum. Through subsidiary Canada Gypsum (CGC) the company also operates a gypsum and anhydrite quarry at Little Narrows in Cape Breton. It is a seasonal operation from roughly May to December, when the port facility is free of ice. Ships that called in Little Narrows in summer moved to Hantsport in winter - conditions permitting.

Also early adopters of the self-unloader systems, the ships of the Gypsum Packet Co (later Gypsum Transportation Co) were built uniquely to serve Hantsport and the plant facilities of US Gypsum in the United States. They were built with the wheelhouse well forward to keep a clear deck space over the cargo hold for the slewing loader arm at Hansport. They did have a general cargo hold forward, which was used to carry plant equipment or other supplies for the company.

There were four generations of ships owned by the company following World War II.
The first generation were built in Kearney, NJ by the Federal Shipbuilding + Dry Dock Co and measured 7969 grt.
Bulk Queen at Halifax Shipyard in 1980.

Gypsum Queen was built in 1947 and sold in 1975, renamed Bulk Queen in 1978 and was used on and off until it went into a long layup in Bath, ME and was eventually towed out for scrap in the Caribbean in April 1987.

The second generation, and by far the most stylish were the European built series. Their self-unloading gear was completely concealed, with twin conveyors running up each side of the hull through the engine room to a transverse conveyor near the stern. Doors on each side closed off that "shuttle" conveyor space when at sea.The ship's steam turbine machinery allowed for placement of boilers fairly high in the engine space, and the turbine low, allowing the conveyors room to work.

Gypsum Duchess makes a winter arrival in Halifax to load from its competitor's dock.

Gypsum Duchess and sister Gypsum Emporess were built in 1956 by Deutsche Werft, Hamburg, measuring 8240 grt, 10,677 dwt Gypsum Duchess was sold in 1986 and renamed Duchess I, but was broken up in Brazil in 1987.

Gypsum Empress departs loaded, having just passed the inbound Gypsum Duchess.

Gypsum Empress was sold directly to scrappers in Tuxpan, MX and arrived there in early 1984.

Gypsy Countess from the stern. The arrow points to the conveyor door.

Gypsum Countess, came from Atelier et Chantier de la Seine-Maritime, Le Trait in 1960, and also measured 8240 grt, 10,720 dwt. Equally elegant, it had the same raised forecastle and streamlined forward house. It was sold in 1989 becoming Gypsy Countess. It arrived in Halifax in tow of Point Halifax November 17, 1991 after losing power. It was repaired and in 1994 became Josiff I . It was broken up in 1998 - reportedly in Canada, but I have my doubts.

The third generation were Canadian  built by Collingwood Shipyard, and were among the last steamships built in this country. The layout of that machinery allowed for the self-unloading gear to pass through the engine room, which it would not be able to do with a bulky diesel engine.

 Gypsum King fresh from drydock in Halifax in 1998 sported the traditional Fundy Gypsum colour scheme of white over black with rusty red deck and boot topping. The conveyor door is just above the stern tug's bow.
Gypsum Baron shows the new blue hull colour in 2002. The conveyor door is visible just forward of the rudder, below the weather deck.

 Gypsum Baron (1976) and Gypsum King (1975) measured 12,272 grt and unloaded at a rate of 1800 tonnes per hour. This was quite slow by modern standards, but suited USG's needs. Gypsum King was sold in 2003, renamed G.King and arrived in Alang for scrap May 20, 2003. Gyspum Baron was renamed Baron in 2007 and arrived in Alang August 23, 2007 for scrap. Both ships called in Halifax for drydockings, bunkers and occasional winter loads of gypsum.

A.V. Kastner sails from Hantsport at high tide with hatches still open. The ship had to leave on tide time, whether fully loaded or not.

A single ship A.V. Kastner followed in 1987 from Hyundai. Ulsan. It measured 12,702 grt, 19,075 dwt and featured an unique stern mounted slewing unloader boom. Sold in 2010, it became Silica II for owners in Dubai. It arrived in Alang July 18, 2014 where it was broken up.

The final generation, built after the company increased its load out rate at Hantsport with twin arms and extended the dock to deeper water, had a short lived career at Hantsport.

They are still operating however, but now in Africa as previously reported:

As an update to that post, when the ship returned to Africa after its refit, it took much needed supplies for the fight against ebola.

There was also a post when USG closed the facilities permanently in November 2011:

USCG was not the only gypsum producer in Nova Scotia to close down. Georgia-Pacific in Cape Breton, with quarries at Sugar Camp (River Denys) and Melford, and ship loading facilities at Point Tupper announced its closing in December 2011. There has been no indication that they might resume operations any time soon either.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shedding at pier 9A

Q: Snakes shed their skin and lobster shed their shells, so what do sheds do?

A: The transit shed at Pier 9A is shedding its skin in preparation for a major rebuilding, as the port continues to make improvements at Richmond Terminals. The shed at Pier 9B was extensively rebuilt and a new section added as part of the Pier 9C extension, and so it is now the turn of the south half of the pier 9A shed. The north half of the shed is used by Halifax Shipyard, but the south half has not seen much use lately.
It was the site of the short lived sideloader operation by Canada Steamship Lines in the 1960s when they built covered alleys from the shed to the pier face for forklifts to load Fort class package freighters to Newfoundland. That service was soon displaced by containerization. It was later used by Scotia Terminals for unloading nickel sulfides from Cuba, but a dispute with CN over rail services ended that operation prematurely.

It appears that the existing steel frame will be kept, and the building will be reskinned with new walls, roof and doors.

Just visible in the background is the yellow funnel of the ferry Canada 2014 refitting for the Digby-Saint John service. Work is underway on rebuilding the engines, but there is no sign of exterior work yet. That will happen once weather conditions permit.


Harbour Workboats (of yore) - Part 3

Of the many small craft working the waters of Halifax harbour, one unique vessel was the Nan + Greg. Built in 1961 in Lower l'Ardoise, NS, at the mouth of Chedabucto Bay, it operated from the area of the Halifax ferry terminal. In fact its owner, William J. Smith had his office in the old ferry terminal building.*

Nan + Greg sets out from the ferry slip, Western Union cable wharf area with a deck load of supplies. The Russian salvage tug Strogij is tied up at the pier with e trawler Oleny, towed in from sea.

Nan + Greg was termed a bum-boat, and spent most of its time ferrying supplies out to ships at anchor or at distant piers. Built along Cape Island type fishing boat lines, it had a flush deck, with two hatches, to carry its cargo, with only low bulwarks to keep in from sliding off. It had a somewhat larger cabin that a fishing boat, and as I recall was painted green.

Nan + Greg at Queen's wharf with a local fishing boat.

On August 1, 1982, the boat was beached, on fire, at Lawlor's Island and was a total loss.

* The (then) new Court House and the old ferry terminal building is shown in this 1971 photo from the court house bridge.

From ground level (there are trees in the way from the bridge level), the courthouse parking deck has been concealed with a lean-to structure containing - what else?- a Tim Horton's. (I also included a car for style comparison purposes).

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Harbour Miscellany

HMCS Charlottetown - cold day for boat work

A thin skim of frozen spray coats the hull of Charlottetown as it arrives this afternoon to disembark some of its people. There is frozen spray on the waterlines of Algonova (left) and Atlantic Condor (right background)

HMCS Charlottetown arrived from sea mid-day today and disembarked some people to an open boat. At -20C it was the coldest day so far this winter, but with a good breeze blowing the wind chill was truly frigid.

Onego Trader - buttoned down for sea

After a lengthy port stay to unload rails Onego Trader was finally finished working its cargo today and had its cranes stowed for sea. According to AIS its next port of call will be Bull Arm, NL.

 The ship arrived February 4, and even allowing for several days delay due to weather conditions, it still took a very long time to unload. Perhaps there was some problem with the cargo - either it had shifted during the voyage or was frozen in place, or there was limited room on the pier for more cargo to be landed.

Tasman Strait - finally sailed this afternoon
Colds air but calm seas for Tasman Sea as it heads outbound.

The Melfi Lines ship finished loading and sailed today after several days off. Late arrival of cargo by train is the suspected cause of the delay. The rail line between Halifax and Moncton was blocked for several days due to a stalled train. So much outbound cargo had backlogged in Halifax that there was no room in the Rockingham rail yard for inbound cargo. The ship arrived February 18 and shifted to pier 26 for the weekend to make room for other ships. It was back at pier 42 yesterday, and it appears to have taken on an almost full load of containers.


BW Leopard at I.O.4

The tanker BW Leopard arrived at Imperial Oil's number 4 dock this morning. Heavy sea smoke and sun rising directly behind the ship prevented a better photo. Built in 2011 by SPP Shipbuilding in Tongyong, South Korea the 29,737 grt, 49,999 dwt ship was named Elandra Leopard until June 2014 when it adopted is present name. It flies the Singapore flag.

Imperial Oil has been busy the last several days with the Canadian tanker Algonova shuttling back and forth from the Valero dock in Eastern Passage.

Behind the George's Island lighthouse is a communications mast which carries the Vessel Traffic Services radar scanner for Halifax Traffic and the necessary microwave and radio transmitters. Power for the installation is fed by electrical cable from the Halifax shore.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Gypsum - Part 1 - on the rebound for Milford

The recent announcement that National Gypsum will be expanding its quarry in Milford to ensure economical excavation bodes well for the future of gypsum shipping from Halifax. The existing open pit mine is reputed to be the largest in the world already.

The vision of National Gypsum's founder Melvin H. Baker has been cited here before, and I have covered many of the ships used by the company to export its product.

The best known and longest lasting was of course the Melvin H. Baker, built in 1956 specifically to run from Halifax, which it did until 1994. Starting with its first arrival direct from the A.G.Weser shipyard in Bremen August 10, 1956 it made something like 1700 trips out of Halifax, a record that will never be touched. After leaving with its last load on March 9, 1994 it operated in the orient until arriving at the shipbreakers in Xinhui, China December 23, 2009.

Melvin H. Baker was handsome ship despite its lack of bridge wings and stern "bustle".

A self-unloader, Melvin H. Baker had its unloading gear hidden from sight, except for the ungainly transfer structure on its stern. Conveyors extended from that housing to unload to a single hopper on shore.

The "Gold Bond" ships were an evolution of the Melvin H. Baker.

Many take credit for inventing the self-unloader, and I am willing to dispute most of them, but there were certainly a number that were early adopters. Skaarup Shipping being one (invention claims not withstanding), they did develop the system used by Melvin H. Baker for the subsequent series of "Gold Bond" ships, namely Colon Brown, Gold Bond Trailblazer, Gold Bond Conveyor and Georgia S.

While these ships were contracted to National Gypsum there were others, some connected with Skaarup Shipping and other perhaps not. For more on theses hips see the post:

While the Melvin H. Baker had some grace and elegance, Cavala was purely utilitarian. It was also built in 1956, but by National Bulk Carriers in Kure, Japan. The brainchild of Daniel K. Ludwig, the shipyard was established soon after the end of World War II, and cranked out ships in quantity. Largely responsible for Japan becoming the world's shipbuilding powerhouse it also propelled Ludwig into one of the wealthiest people in the world. The Kure yard built mostly tankers, but did build self-unloading bulkers too. (I don't know if they too claimed to have invented them or not.

Cavala makes a stealth approach, though fog and a greasy swell.

Cavala was built as Ore Convoy for Ludwig's Universe Tankships Inc. It measured 16,015 grt, 30,458 dwt, and was built like a tanker with island bridge. Its conveyor system, also mounted amidships, projected up through the bridge structure, and fed a slewing boom that allowed it to unload where there were no shore facilities.
 Fully loaded Cavala leaves ports, still bearing the National Bulk Carriers funnel marking.

The Canadian ship owner P.B.Papachristidis bought the ship in 1969 as he was transitioning from lakes ship owner back into international shipping. He gave it the name Cavala and it was owed by several different companies under his control until 1982. It began calling in Halifax in 1970 and was a regular caller. It must have been in fairly fragile condition by then, for it was badly damaged while docking at National Gypsum's dock in Bedford Basin and was sold for scrap. It arrived in Kaohsiung April 27, 1983.

National Gypsum's traveling ship loader was more effective loading ships with clear decks. It had to be retracted and repositioned frequently to load ships with island bridge structures.

Another product of the National Bulk Carriers yard in Kure was J.Louis Measuring 20,252 grt, 32,00g dwt, it was built in 1961, and looked like a tanker with its island bridge structure plunked in the midships position of its deck.
J.Louis looked like a tanker or conventional bulker of the day, because its self-unloading gear was hidden from view.

It was also a self-unloader, but all the gear was below deck, and there was a transfer structure built on the poop deck just forward of the engine room.
Also a very basic ship, it did not have a single funnel, but a pair of exhaust stacks which were located to clear some of the internal self-unloader workings.

The island bride was midway between forecastle and quarter deck.

J.Louis was owned by Ludwig's Universal Tankships Inc until 1968, when it was sold to Caribbean Steamships Co of the USA, and was then managed by Skaarup Shipping, operators of the other National Gypsum ships. In 1970 it was sold again, this time to Reyships Canada Inc, part of the Reynolds Aluminum Corp.
The ship's stubby funnels flanked the transfer house where the retracting conveyors were stowed.

That company had several facilities in the Province of Quebec, and the ship was likely built to deliver bauxite or alumina to such places as Baie-Comeau, where it would unload directly into a hopper system on the shore. It back-hauled gypsum from Halifax during the 1970s until 1985.
It arrived in Kaohsiung, Taiwan February 28, 1986 where it was broken up for scrap, still under Skaarup management.

The funnels were painted an aluminum colour and carried the Reynolds Aluminum logo.

The ship was named for Jean-Louis Levesque (1911-1994), an influential Quebec financier, and director of many Canadian corporations. Now chiefly remembered for his contribution to purebred horseracing, he was in fact a major influence in the industrial development of Quebec. That his name was given to the ship from the beginning indicates that he has some involvement with its operation from the start, most likely through Reynolds Aluminum.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

A switch for Tasman Strait

Melfi Lines' Tasman Strait arrived on  Monday February 16 and tied up at pier 42 as usual. This is the fourth  voyage for the ship on Melfi's Europe/ Halifax/ Cuba run. By Friday the ship was still at the berth, and with other ships due, it was moved around to pier 26.

Pier 26, with the grain unloading facility, is little used these days since grain now arrives by train, and it rarely sees a container ship.

An unusual berth for a container ship, no cargo can be worked at that berth, so the ship must either be undergoing repairs or waiting for incoming cargo to arrive by train.

There have been delays in rail movements due to weather, and an impending lockout at CN will not improve that very much if at all. No estimated time of departure has been set for the ship.

The ship first called here as Ocean Emerald in March 2014, and was renamed by the time it made its second visit in October.


Eimskip adds sailings - revised

Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company that celebrated its 100th anniversary January 14, 2014, has combined its previous Red Line and Green Line into one service, called the Green Line. Ships will now sail between Europe and North America, via Iceland, but without transshipping cargo as was the case with the two line system.
The Green Line previously operated with two ships, Skogaoss and Reykjafoss (foss means waterfall) and now adds Selfoss to the rotation. This will result in five* more sailings per year for the line.
Halifax is an east bound port of call for Eimskip, and Selfoss arrived today for the inauguration of the new Green Line.

 The ship was built in 1991 by Orskov Christensens in Frederikhavn, Denmark as Hanne Sif, but began trading as Maersk Tertio. It returned to is original name in 1994 and was renamed Elizabeth Delmas in 1995, Venti Di Ponente in 1996 for a time and was again renamed Hanne Sif until 1999. It has carried the name Selfoss ever since. Of 7676 grt, it has a container capacity of 724 TEU and has two 40 tonne cranes.

The port rotation for the new Green Line is a lengthy one. After leaving Halifax the ship will call in Portland, ME, Argentia, NL, St. Anthony, NL (subject to ice and cargo), Reykjavik, Isafjordur, Akureyri, Rotterdam, (some ships will call in Immingham, UK and Sortland, Norway), Reykjavik, Argentia, Halifax.

Eimskip is also a large operator of freezer warehouses in various parts of the word, and most of the cargo it handles in Halifax is refrigerated goods.

With every container berth in the harbour occupied this morning, the ship will anchor until a spot is available.

Update: The number of sailings will increase, but it now appears that it mat be much more than by 5. Another source says it will increase from 13 per year to 31. This would imply that the ships will call in Halifax both eastbound and westbound. Effectively they would thus be creating a feeder service between Halifax and Portland. The lengthy list of failed stand alone feeder services from Halifax to New England would discourage many shipping lines, but since Eimskip's ships are on the run anyway, perhaps they could make a go of it.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Harbour Workboats (of yore) - Part 2

One of the longstanding harbour operators was Walter Partridge a justifiably famous salvor. From his headquarters at the Western Union Cable wharf, his company Atlantic Salvage Ltd was on standby to assist ships in distress, raise wrecks and refloat grounded vessels. Over the years he responded to scores of casualties. He also operated Partridge Motor Boat Service Ltd, a company started by his father in the late 1800s.

The company ran a number of small boats in the harbour providing line handling at Irving Oil, ferry service to ships at anchor for agents and crew, but also for pilots if the pilot boat was out of the harbour. They also took stores out to ships and did all sorts of boatmen jobs when needed.

I have covered some of their vessels before, such as S.S.Shatford here on Shipfax and the tug Tussle on Tugfax. Others that do not appear in this post, will likely be covered in more detail at a later date.

Partridge used mostly retired navy workboats.Built in the late years of the war, they were very basic wooden craft, with a crew cuddy forward with a stove, a wheelhouse and a cabin to cover the engine and provide some additional crew space. Some had a cargo hatch aft, others an extended cabin for passengers. They worked all over eastern Canada wherever the RCN had bases and there were probably a dozen or more of them built in all.
In naval service the boats were given numbers, such as 103 running the Narrows, back when the Nova Scotia Power plant had only one stack.

Most were built in 1944 in Weymouth, NS, likely by LeBlanc Shipbuilding. That company had been established during World War I and built minesweepers, tugs and other naval craft. They probably had enough scraps of material left over from those projects to built these homely craft. As naval craft they were never registered with the Department of Transport, and were not always registered under Patridge ownership. Therefore details are not always possible in these descriptions.

The first one I recall seeing was called Towadon  In about 1970 it was renamed Atsal IV when Partridge began to acquire other ships for the Atlantic Salvage fleet. It was the most basic of the boats, and certainly until the late 1970s it did not carry radar, but did have radar reflector. It was built in 1944 at Weymouth.

Towadon and Towapat at the Western Union Cable Wharf with the research/sealer Kvitfjell and Atlantic Salvage's tug Bijo. I have never found any registration information on the Towapat
Atsal IV at speed returns to base.

Hauled out on pier 30, Atsal IV gets some badly needed maintenance
Next along was Towapat II. it was also built in 1944, but in Summerside PE, and was registered to Partridge Motor Boat Service.

Towapat II had an extended cabin to accommodate passengers. These crewmen going on shore leave preferred the open air of the fantail.

Towapat II storms along. As a passenger carrying vessel it has two capsule life rafts. It was also  equipped with radar. 

Towapat II hauled out for re-sheathing.

Another was R.Partridge., likely named for Roy Partridge, father of Walter, and founder of the business. 

R. Partridge slides in past Thorold preparing to unload grain at pier 26.

R.Partridge had a shorter deck house and only one life raft.

One of its duties was shepherding the S.S.Shatford which had become a 1/2 TEU non-powered lighter.

When these boats finally wore out the company took the step of commissioning a custom built vessel from A.F.Theriault + Sons Ltd of Meteghan River in 1972. Named Tugger the boat measured 15 grt and had a 125 bhp engine. It performed many of the same duties as its fleet mates, but provided superior accommodation for passengers.

Tugger revs up to move a scow carrying garbage skips from a cruise ship. This unglamorous work was bread and butter for the company.

Partridge Motor Boats were a fixture on the harbour for more than a century. The business was finally closed down in 2003. Tugger was sold and is now a derelict in Sambro. (No photo posted, out of respect.)