Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cleaning up

Shipfax will be taking a break during August. However I will be back in September. Expect changes however, as I will begin to transition to an as yet unknown format. As the recent retirement of Princess of Acadia reminds me, time marches on and change is inevitable.

The first Princess of Acadia at the old wharf in Digby, NS, in its final year of operation. Its successor has now been replaced after 44 years.

In case you missed it back in April I covered the "founding" of Shipfax here  and here. It has changed format before and will be doing so again. Stay tuned.



In port R and R

It was an idyllic evening in Halifax and that was embodied by by HMCS Summerside resting at anchor in Bedford Basin, with its anchor cable straight up and down.

It looked like a pinic on the after deck, but apparently this was a well earned rest. Summerside and CCGC Cape Edensaw (note correct spelling - the JTFA doesn't know how to spell it) figured in a medical evacuation from a fishing vessel off Halifax at some point today. The CCG lifeboat is based in Sambro and landed the patient there where he was taken to hospital by ambulance.

JTFA identifies the fishing boat as "IVO" but I don't know of any boat with that name.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015


The Canadian Coast Guard is keeping CCGS Samuel Risley as it fills in for both Sir William Alexander and Edward Cornwallis. It has been buoy tending on short trips out of Halifax and participating in SAR ops. This afternoon it sailed for the south shore, with the eventual destinaiton of Shelburne. On its after deck was buoy TC 52 for Pollock Reef Shoal in the Lunenburg area (44 14 38.3 X 64 14 28.7)

On loan from the Great Lakes, the ship may well be working here until the late fall.

Atlantic RoRo made one of its infrequent calls with Baltic Mercur II. A "second generation" ship, replacing the Astrakhan class ship[s, now mostly  scrapped, the ship is a versatile one even if it does not have RoRo capability. See previous post on the subject:

Built in 2004 by Dalian Shipyard in China as Cape Delfaro it became San Pablo in 2012 and took its present name in 2014. It measures 23,132 grt, 30,343 dwt.


Barges for the Big Llift Project - Part 2

The two barges finally arrived this afternoon and after slowly making their way in from the pilot station, they were shepherded alongside the Cherubini dock by RMI Marine's Belle-D and Captain Jim.

Océan Arctique makes its way in with the two barges in close hauled tow. That is the cargo ship Onego Trader anchored off after unloading a cargo of rail at pier 27.

Belle-D and Captain Jim await the tow.

The new look Timberland bears little resemblance to its previous appearance (see previous post and below).

Océan Abyss has also changed a lot - it now has two spuds, with winches and is carrying a couple of small loaders and other gear on deck.

The tug Océan Arctique then headed for Pier 9C where it tied up for refueling. When it leaves Halifax it will be returning to its regular station in Sept-Iles, QC.

Heading up the Narrows, Océan Arctique was a handsome sight.(see also Tugfax.)

A mere 40 years ago, Timberland lifts some drill rig legs from the barge Haltren No.1 at pier 6. The barge transported the components from Dosco's steel plant in Trenton, NS to Halifax. In the days of fixed lens rangefinder cameras, I didn't get the end of the jib.


Barges for the Big Lift Project

This summer will see the start of the Big Lift project to replace the decking of the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge across Halifax Harbour. Fabrication of the new deck sections will take place at Cherubini Metal Works Eastern Passage plant in Eisner's Cove.
Where the bridge spans over water the old sections will be lowered down to barges and the new components will be hoisted up from barges during overnight operations. The bridge will be closed periodically while this work takes place.
See all the details here:

Contractors, American Bridge Canada Company have hired two barges from Groupe Océan of Quebec, which are due in Halifax this afternoon. They will be towed into port by the tug Océan Arctique which has an interesting connection with Halifax - see Tugfax
Both barges have been in Halifax before and it might be a surprise to learn the circumstances of one of them.

Timberland is in fact two barges connected together. No one knows for sure when the barges were built or exactly where, but they came from the New York area in the 1970s when Halifax Shipyards was building oil rigs. The two scows had their sterns squared off, then they were joined together to support a tall crane built by the Timberland Co of Woodstock, ON. Once the crane was on the joined barges, they became known unofficially as Timberland. Since the crane barge was trapped between the two bridges, it was deemed to be "not for transportation use" and was thus never entered into Canadian registry.
The crane was something of a landmark in the harbor for many years, usually tied up at Pier 6.

Over the years the crane fell into disuse, and as Irving Shipbuilding began to modernize the yard, they dismantled the crane tower and sold the barge to Groupe Océan in 2008. It was then registered as Timberland for the first time in 2008.
It measures 799 gross tons with dimensions of 44.31m x 25.04m x 2.95m.

Océan Abys was built by Marine Industries Ltd in Sorel, QC for the Beauharnois Light + Power Co. It may have been called Beauharnois temporarily, but it was soon renamed Growler. (The name recollected an American sloop of war that was captured by the British on Lake Champlain in the War of 1812.) The barge carried a large deckhouse that contained a work shop and supported construction at the site of the dam and powerhouse adjacent to the St.Lawrence Seaway locks at Beauharnois.
In the mid 1960s it was sold the Marine Industries Ltd renamed MIL 497. When MIL wound up its operations it became Omni No.1 for Omnimar ,a Sorel based tug and barge operator. At that time it was rebuilt, with grt changing from 633 to 583 tons, likely reflectng the removal of a small deck house. It then carried a large construction crane.
Groupe Océan acquired the Omnimar company and gave it the name Océan Abys in 1994.
Now classed as a pontoon, over the years it has served as a flat deck scow, a crane barge, and a landing stage, with the installation of a large ramp. It was last in Halifax from September 2000 to June 2001.

The tug Ecosse brought it in to Halifax on September 23, 2000 after working on the St.Marys River. It remained idle until it was towed out again June 5, 2001 by the tug Salvage Monarch.

Arrival of the tow is now scheduled for this afternoon, but weather and visibility have already delayed its arrival since yesterday afternoon. Today's plan is for the barges to go to Pier 9C and the tug to go to an unknown berth for fueling. A small tug, likely the Belle D will handle the barges once they near the Macdonald bridge.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Princess of Acadia Bows Out

Princess of Acadia made her final crossings Saint John to Digby and Digby to Saint John today. There was to be much fanfare on both sides of the run before the ship lays up in Saint John.
The ship made its first run in 1971 amid much fanfare, and this multi-fold glossy brochure. I have divided it up into 4, but it was published as one double sided page 9" x 16", folded in four:

The ship looked spectacular in its all white livery, but looked good in other schemes as well:

The most dignified was the Marine Atlantic blue with gold stripe.

The white scheme that Bay Ferries adopted for a time was impressive too, but the funnel needed something more.

Its final colour scheme was a successful combination of the two previous ones.

The final fate of the ship remains up in the air. As it is the property of the Minister of Transport, it will likely have to be disposed of by tender.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

One Two for Fairview Cove

Two ships arrived for Fairview Cove this morning, one after the other.

Inbound approaching Ives Knoll, NYK Rumina was an imposing sight with its lofty superstructure, but with most containers only stacked three high. The ship appeared to be rolling somewhat.

First along was NYK Rumina a 55,534 grt, 65,981 dwt ship built by Hyundai Samho in 2010. With a capacity of 4922 TEU (including 330 reefers) the ship flies the Singapore flag. Although owned by an offshoot of the NYK Line of Japan, it is managed by Columbia Ship Management of Limassol, Cyprus.

With the escort tug Atlantic Oak secured astern the ship makes its way up through the Narrows to Fairview Cove.

Only one half hour behind, Seoul Express made a slower approach to give the tug Atlantic Oak time to return through the Narrows for escort. Even so it was not until the ship had passed under the Macdonald Bridge that the tug was secured. Ships of this size are supposed to have tethered tug escort from bridge to bridge.
Seoul Express is carrying its containers four to five high as it transits the Narrows with Atlantic Oak finally secured astern.

Seoul Express was built in 2000 by Hyundai, Ulsan as Bremen Express, and has been a frequent caller here since new. Taking the name Seoul Express in 2007, it made its first call here with that name October 9, 2007. It is owned directly by Hapag-Lloyd and flies the German flag. 

It measures 55,465 grt, 66,971 dwt and has a capacity of 4890 TEU (including 370 reefer) making the ships not sisters, but surely cousins in size, builder and appearance. 


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Who will it be - CMA CGM a prime candidate

The recent mention of a new line coming into Halifax, and one that is familiar with the port, got the diggers working and one industrious reader has come up with CMA CGM.
Left out of the eventual Maersk / MSC Alliance, they have been particularly aggressive of late and therefore seem logical. 

In fact the line has already posted three port calls, starting with CMA CGM Vivaldi on August 2. The Halifax Employers Association list has it calling at Halterm.

This is a big ship, 90,745 grt, 100,400 dwt, 8238 TEU (including 700 reefer), built in 2005 by Hyundai, Ulsan. It is operated through MC-Seamax of Hartfourd, CT, one of those alternate financing operations that leases ships back to shipping lines.

CMA CGM is a partner with China Shipping and UASC (United Arab Shipping) in the Ocean Three Alliance and operates what they call the Columbus Loop. Starting in Vancouver/Seattle, the ships make several port calls in Asia (Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo, Yantian, Hong Kong, Vung Tau, Port Kelang), then head direct and non-stop via Suez to New York, Norfolk and Savannah. Adding Halifax would be a good move for them and for Halifax. As first North American port of call westbound, it would shave a day or two off a long haul. It would also give Halifax a much needed reputational boost with a negative local press corps.


Try it again with EM Kea

CMA CGM brought in EM Kea today on its shared service with Maersk. After a pair of unfortunate breakdowns and a number of substitutes, they seem to have settled on this ship as their regular ship for the four-ship transatlantic service.

If appearance is any indication it is certainly an impressive looking candidate. The ship is a product of the Stocznia Szczecinska Nowa in Poland. Powered by a MAN B+W main engine it is rated at 22 knots. The 35,824 grt, 42,166 dwt ship has a capacity of 3108 TEU. It was built in 2007 for Cap Norte Schiffs. as Cap Norte and managed by Columbus Ship Management, all part of Hamburg Sud.It was acquired by current owners Kea Trading Ltd (Eurobulk Ltd of Athens) in 2012 and renamed Cap Egmont. It took its present name earlier this year.

After making its first call in Montreal the first of the week it is now headed back across the pond.

Owner Eurobulk Ltd has a fascinating website showing the evolution of the company from modest beginnings:

Port Stats Down -again, but there is (hidden) good news

The Port of Halifax has issued its most recent cargo statistics and it shows a drop in container traffic again, but does confirm that the G6 Alliance is adding a port call and another line will start to call here (the line is not named).

The drop in container traffic should not come as a surprise in view of changing world trade patterns, a near-recession in Canada, the low state of Canada's dollar and the ferocious winter we had.

None of these issues are the fault of the Port of Halifax and it is a little unfair for the press (official and unofficial) to land all the blame on the Halifax Port Authority, and to criticize the bonuses paid to certain employees.

Any organization can improve itself, but the bonuses paid to key employees are incentives intended to encourage, despite discouraging outcomes, not just as a reward for results.

Persuading the G6 and the other line to add Halifax port calls may have been as the result of the Port Authority's marketing effort and the efficiencies and performance of the port itself and its 'partners' such as CN, labour unions, trucking, etc., or to totally unrelated factors.

The increase in break bulk traffic through the newly expanded Richmond Terminal (Pier 9C) is also good news and seems to confirm the good sense in making that investment.

It does seem to be a case of blame the messenger on the part of those who gleefully report bad news and willfully belittle good news, and very little concern about an equitable balance.

Now if they could just do something interesting with the grain elevator - how about some fresh paint, some colorful lighting and even some projected images?


Friday, July 24, 2015

Ins and Outs

The harbour ferry Christopher Stannix returned to the inner harbour after a week on Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd's marine railway at Sambro Head (at the western mainland side of the entrance to Halifax harbour). It was taken out of service on July 14 when its aft propulsor failed.  Powered by two Voith Schneider cycloidal units, one each bow and stern, the ferry was allowed to go to drydock with only one working unit. Repairs could only be made with the boat out of water.

On its return this afternoon, in a brisk wind, it seemed to be running more than adequately on both units, and the crew was enjoying the ride as deck passengers. Ferry service between Woodside and Halifax should soon return to normal after ten days on reduced schedule.

Another arrival, but on a significantly larger scale, was Bernhard Oldendorff. The 43,332 grt, 77458 dwt self-unloader was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Heavy Machinery in Okpo, South Korea in 1991. Originally named Yeoman Burn for a charter to the Foster Yeoman aggregates company of the UK, it was renamed by owners, an Egon Oldendorff company of Luebeck, Germany, when it began a charter to CSL International in December 1993.

Oldendorff Carriers Ltd is a partner in what is now called the CSL Americas pool and the ship carries a CSL sign on its boom. It is too large to load gypsum in Halifax, but is a frequent caller on the Strait of Canso to load rock, its next destination on this trip.

An unusual feature for bulker of this size, the ship has thrusters forward and aft. The aft thruster symbol is painted on the hull just below the funnel. The ship flew the Liberian flag until 2012 when it was reflagged to Madeira, an offshore flag for Portugal.

Meanwhile at Imperial Oil the tanker NS Stream is unloading. It arrived Thursday.
A Liberian flagged ship of 27,357 grt, 47,197 dwt, it was built in 2006 by Brodotrogir in Croatia for SCF Novoship JSC of Novorossiysk, Russia.

When it leaves, another tanker, Overseas Kimolos is waiting at outside anchorage to take its place.

Another visitor to Halifax today was the Icelandic container ship Reykjafoss. It tied up as usual at Halterm and had worked its cargo by early afternoon and was scheduled to sail at 14000 hrs.

Icelandic imports are largely related to fish, but exports could include any known commodity. Several open frame containers on the dock appear to be ready to load on top of standard containers as the final lifts.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Northern Delegation

Another in the odd assortment of ships on the G6 service arrived in Halifax this evening. This time it is Northern Delegation, a Liberian flagged ship owned by Norddeutsche Rederei Schulte of Hamburg.

As the ship rounded Seaview Point in Bedford Basin the sun broke through the haze and cloud. Escort tug Atlantic Oak stood by while the ship turned.

Built in 2008 by Shanghai Chengxi shipyard, the 3534 TEU (including 500 reefers) ship measures 36,007 grt and 42,002 dwt.

Viewed from the heights of Fairview, the ship got the full benefit of the few mintes of sun we were allotted today.

It was built with the name CSAV Ranquil, but was renamed Northern Delegation later in 2008. It became NYK Lyttelton in 2012, and reverted to Northern Delegation in 2013. Last year it became CCNI Valparaiso and earlier this month went back to Northern Delegation again. Such is the life of ships on short term or spot market charters.


Water taxis are back

After several years, water taxis are back in Halifax harbor.
Two services have started up this summer.

Harbour Water Taxi

Operated by the developer of the Kings Wharf project in Dartmouth (where the old Dartmouth Marine Slips once stood) the service runs two outboard powered 12 passenger boats, built in China. A service to residents of the condominium development it is also accessible to the general public for a fare of $5. It runs every twenty minutes and takes 5 minutes or less (in good weather) to streak across the harbour to Sackville Landing.

The boats can also accept charters, and run to Macnab's Island on the weekends.

Chebucto Water Taxi

N.B. - this is a Zodiac, but it is registered to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and is a Coast Guard's inshore rescue boat - NOT the water taxi.

Operates between the Northwest Arm and downtown Halifax with a high speed Zodiac RHIB. During the 0730-0930 and 1630-1830 rush hours, it is dedicated to Northwest Arm commuters. The rest of the time it operates on demand from a whole variety of points on the Arm, both mainland and peninsula, to downtown Halifax at the Cable Wharf. It also goes to Macnab's and Alderney Landing in Dartmouth.

Altough it is tied up at the Cable Wharf, this Zodiac, number C14901NS is a CCG inshore rescue craft- NOT the Chebucto water taxi.

Totally aside from their utility in carrying people around, water taxis increase the activity on the waterfront, give people something to watch other than inert ships and generally create buzz.


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Acadian - next for refit

The Irving Oil tanker Acadian arrived in Gibraltar July 18 for the fitting of an exhaust gas scrubber. This is the second ship in the fleet to get the device that allows the ship to continue to burn heavy oil but still comply with the new low emissions requirements in US and Canadian coastal waters.

photo 2013-03-13
East Coast (ex Nor'Easter) was the first to receive the unit see Shipfax June 28, 2015.

In the meantime Irving Oil has applied for a coasting license to use the Marshall Islands flagged sister ship New England to make trips from Saint John to Belledune, NB, and Dartmouth, NS carrying jet fuel, marine gas oil and  diesel fuel and from Saint John to Quebec or Montreal with diesel fuel between the dates of July 28 and August 26. Neither it nor sister Great Eastern have been converted yet, but will likely follow in turn..

All four tankers are on long term charter from Iver Ships (formerly known as Vroon) and were built by Hyunai Mipo, in Ulsan, South Korea.


Weekend Round Up

Halifax harbour is always bustling at the height  of summer, but mostly with tourist and recreational activity. Commercial activity goes on, but at a reduced level.

I wasn't the only one that had the idea of taking a picture of the same subject.

Asphalt Sailor arrived Thursday and remains tied up at Pier 9B. The small tanker is no stranger to Halifax. On its first two calls here in 2014 it loaded asphalt in transfer operations from other tankers. It made two calls here in February of this year, both times to deliver asphalt to the McAsphalt facility in Eastern Passage.
On this visit the ship is in ballast.

A passenger takes a panorama of the Halifax skyline from the upper deck of the cruise ship Insignia
as it prepares to leave on Saturday. Note the container strapped down on deck below the funnel - it was not there last year before a fatal fire in the engine room. 

The cruise ship Insignia called on Saturday. This the ship's second visit to Halifax - it's first was October 12, 2014.  Not long after that, on December 11, 2014 it suffered an engine room fire shortly after tying up in Castries, St. Lucia. Two contractors and one crew man died but all 656 passengers managed to flee the ship and were flown back to Miami. The ship was sent to San Juan, PR for repairs.
No official report has been issued yet, and there are still questions about the crew's emergency response.

Insignia outbound at dusk Saturday evening.

Meanwhile down the shore, Lunenburg welcomed the replica of Hermione, a French frigate of 1779 on the return leg of its voyage from France to the USA when it tied up near the finally rebuilt Bluenose II.

Did anyone miss the irony of this visit? This perfect replica, built with authentic materials and methods, and through public subscription, did not embarrass the French government one iota - nor presumably cost them much, if any, in money. (The government's investment was more than recouped with tourism dollars and was part of a larger project to restore Rochefort.)

Instead the high profile and ridiculously well organized project makes everyone look good.
Perhaps next time Nova Scotia?

Normal harbour traffic on Saturday included the tanker Jo Provel, on its way to Come-by-Chance, NL with a load of crude oil.

Amid more political talk about pipelines and western oil and the North American Free Trade Agreement, here  is crude oil being imported to the refinery closest to Newfoundland's own offshore oil.
Flying Norway's International registration flag, the ship was built by STX in Jinahae, South Korea and measures 42,203 grt, 75,013 dwt - very small as crude oil tankers go. After a Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspection for Asian gypsy moth, the ship sailed in the early afternoon.

Speaking of refining, the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth sailed for Point Tupper again to load more bunker fuel. The commodity is no longer available in Halifax because Imperial Oil is not refining it here, nor apparently, willing to import and store it on its vast tank farm site.

Algoma Dartmouth normally carries large pneumatic fenders on its starboard side when delivering  bunkers, but these are removed when it heads to sea.

Sunday morning was the time chosen to move HMCS Ville de Quebec out of the graving dock at Halifax Shipyard. It was then positioned at the Machine Shop Wharf for completion of the shipyard portion of its FELEX refit. It began the 18 month process last November.

Tugs Atlantic Larch (stern) and Atlantic Willow perform the cold move from the graving dock.

The graving dock will now be prepared for the next ship in the FELEX sequence, HMCS Toronto, the last of the seven six ships from the Atlantic fleet to undergo the modernization program. (There are also "stand alone" projects being done on the ships, not part of FELEX - these are generally done at HMC Dockyard after the ship leaves the shipyard.)
The entire program is due to be complete by 2018 (including the five six west coast ships which are being refitted at Seaspan in Vancouver.)



Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bluenose II back in port - or is it

The rebuilt Bluenose II arrived in Halifax for a two day visit. After many controversies and a very large bill, it was comforting to see the schooner again - or at least the parts of it that I had seen before.

 The bell, the wheel, and a few other components date from the original construction of 1963.

Most of what I see is new however, and I must say I was underwhelmed by the quality of the work I did see. On close inspection, there was a lot of work to do to put the boat into what I would call "pusser" condition.

Some very rough and knotted planks, some open seams above the waterline and other details leave me less than impressed by the end result. The heavily varnished main deck must be a terror when wet. I wonder how soon it will have to be sanded down to bare wood and redone. I give it a year.

My opinion is that a cosmetic overhaul is needed already.

It was unfortunate that the spectacular ketch Whitehawk was tied up a few yards away. Built to the highest standard of yacht construction, with apparently no expense spared, the magnificent vessel was perhaps an impossible model to emulate, but it shows what can be done with care and attention.

Check oiut this site for more on the Whitehawk.

To be celebrated however is the graceful shear of Bluenose II.

In its last years, the unrebuilt Bluenose II had lost that lovely curve due to hogging. I can't wait to get another comparable photo under sail.

This 2006 photo shows how the schooner's hull had hogged over the years.

Caution Crabby Postscript:
A tip to the crew, most of whom were indifferent to the visitors like me traipsing around on the deck. They, like many in the Nova Scotia hospitality business ought to get some sensitivity training in how to at least appear pleased to be there, rather than giving the appearance of  enduring another day when they would rather be sailing.