Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Shipfax has granted its weary staff some time off, so there will no posts for the next ten days or so.

In the meantime look for:

May 20 - return of the Pearl Mist. The Halifax built cruise ship will be resuming its summer Great Lakes/St.Lawrence cruise season. It will not be back until September.

May 27 - maiden arrival of Atlantic Sail for ACL. This is the second of the new G4 ships.

May 28 - CMA CGM Tage first time caller on the Columbus Loop. With a capacity of 9365 TEU I believe this may set the record for largest container ship to call in Halifax. Built in 2015, it measures 95,263 grt, 113,800 dwt.
It will certainly be the first ship to call here with the island superstructure bridge set out forward of amidships. Built in 2015, it measures 95,263 grt, 113,800 dwt. The largest classes of container ships are built this way to ensure that the navigation bridge has adequate visibility forward over the deck load of containers.


THE Alliance

Although not completely set in stone yet, the replacement for the G6 Alliance of container lines appears to be set to start up in about a year's time.

G6 deck load.

Of the eight "orphan" lines left over from the realignment of major lines, all but two are not confirmed as members of a new grouping entitled THE Alliance. Hapag-Lloyd, Hanjin, NYK, K-Line, MOL and YangMing are the confirmed members. The arrangement is inked for five years, but much can change by then.

Hapag-Lloyd charter Serena P sailed this evning on G6 Alliance service.

The United Arab Shipping Co (UASC) is in separate talks with Hapag-Lloyd. The result could see H-L acquiring UASC (unlikely), a merger of some sort or a form of sub-alliance, but UASC will be a member of THE Alliance when that is settled.

Also left out for the time being is Hyundai Merchant Marine which is teetering on the brink. Lenders are pressuring HMM to reduce its costs by renegotiating lower rates for its chartered-in ships. There may be more news on how that turns out as early as this week. If HMM survives it will also join THE Alliance.

THE Alliance is reported to control 650 ships, and if UASC is included, 4 mn TEU.

What this means for Halifax is speculation on my part, but it seems likely that we will see THE Alliance ships generally doing the same work that the G6 ships are doing now.

NYK Rumina sails this morning as The Port Authority workboat Maintainer I goes about its business.


Marina sets out

The cruise ship Marina sailed this evening with a destination of Horta, Azores.

Built in 2011 by Fincantieri Sesti Ponente in Genoa, the 66.084 grt ship can carry 1259 passengers using double berths. It was also here May 25, 2014 en route for Scandinavian and Northern Europe cruises. 

After taking what I thought was a decent shot of the ship, free from distracting background, foreground and shadows from shore, I realized that I could add some excitement - granted I had to use a wide angle view.

One of the RCN's new CH-148 Cyclone helicopters did a fly past, as the ship came into alignment with the rising moon.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Small Boats Help Big Ships

So that big ships may use Halifax Harbour a number of small boats are needed to do their bit.
One function of small boats is soundings, and it seems that this week there are a number of survey launches  present in the harbour. That activity is related to the 2016 Canadian Hydrographic Conference taking place here this week.

One boat that can be seen here regularly is Pipit a government survey launch. Freshly painted, it looks quite splendid alongside its faded sister Pelican. Both were tied up at Bishop's Landing this afternoon after some demonstration work in the harbour. They are operated by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and were built by Harbour Marine Services.

One that I have never seen here before, is owned by Public Works and Government Services Canada, but is registered in Edmonton.

Named Rampart Surveyor it was built by Kanter Yachts in St.Thomas, ON in 1990.

Big ships like Stella Laura need reliable charts - even if they are in ballast.

Built in 2015 by Qingdao Beihai, in Qingdao, China, the 94,788 grt, 179,549 dwt bulk carrier stopped off in Halifax this afternoon for bunkers en route to Sept-Iles, QC to load iron ore.

Another small boat was working  at Halterm today. The unnamed craft, built by Connor Industries of Parry Sound, ON is an outboard powered survey launch used by McNally Marine.

McNally's dredge Derrick No.4 and tug Whitby were carrying out some leveling work along the pier face. Propellers and bow thrusters have scoured the bottom and it needs to be leveled off periodically to maintain 45 feet depth of water.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Buried Treasure on the Dartmouth Shore - Part 2

The former J.P.Porter Company base was also the stopping off point for ships that were on their way to the scrappers. One such was HMCS St.Laurent, the lead ship of a revolutionary class of designed and built in Canada warships, that were the envy of the world when they were built.

Launched in 1951 and commissioned in 1955, St.Laurent lead a distinguished naval career, including conversion from destroyer escort to a helicopter carrying destroyer, and was finally paid off in 1974. After giving up spare parts to sister ships for a few years, it was sold for scrap in September 1979 and moved to the Porter wharf where it was gutted for salvageable materials.

During its brief stay at Porter's St.Laurent left no permanent record, but the state of the yard, and some of the occupants in late 1979 show up in these photos. There is still evidence of sunken barges around the perimeter, but these were gradually being filled over.

St-Laurent was then sold to ship breakers in Brownsville, TX. After leaving the Porter pier January 8, 1980  in tow of the tug Odin II, it sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras on January 12, 1980. It is likely that the ship had been made unstable by the removal of all the salvageable material, hastening its sinking.

In 1984 during another visit, the place was still a busy scrap yard, with the stern trawler J.E.Kenney hauled out on the shore.

The hulk of the Koralle in the foreground with a listing J.E.Kenney behind.

Built in 1966 by Halifax Shipyards, for Riverport Seafoods Ltd (part of the H.B.Nickerson group of companies), it was among the earliest stern trawlers built in Canada. It capsized inexplicably at its berth in Riverport in May 1975 and languished around the waterfront for many years until it was hulked at Porters. Again there is probably little left of it on site, because the hulk, after being cut down to the tank tops, was patched up for use as a scow.

In 1990 a portion of the stern ramp is till visible, a clue to its identity as a trawler.

A rather unconvincing Titanic formed a backdrop for filming.

Among the chores J.E.Kenney performed in its second life was as the base for a movie set at pier 21, where a portion of a ship's side (purporting to be the Titanic) was represented.
It was driven aground in Dartmouth Cove during Hurricane Juan in 2003 and was eventually scrapped there in 2006.

The old J.P.Porter yard has grown over with grass and shrubs. But all the while the shoreline has been gradually eroding away. As the piles around Daisy rotted and fell away, and her deck and hull plates rusted out, the fill washed out exposing more and more of her remains.

This is what she looks like today (May 16, 2016):

At low water, Daisy's upper bow is visible, but the bottom plates are rusted through.

 With the deck now gone, the forepeak is open, and a riveted patch is visible, evidence of a long forgotten accident.

A watertight door remains open to the forepeak and chain locker.

The deck has collapsed amidships and most of the side plates are gone.

A bulkhead remains about amidships, and has been used as a hang out, but most of the spray painted graffiti has also worn away.
The ship's identity was apparently well known, and some historian made sure by painting her name on a rock.

 The stern is covered with some scrap steel from another structure.

Amazingly the cast iron steering quadrant and some wood decking remain around the rudder flat. I am told that most of the rudder remains intact underwater.

From my research I believe that Daisy was retired from service in late 1946.  

And nearby:
The remains of an old Porter spud scow are clearly visible, including winches and mooring bits, with more just below the surface. In the middle ground the rudder post of the Koralle still stands; and in the background some more steel has washed ashore near the NAD Jetty Lima.

But that's not all....

The area south of the Macdonald bridge is also filled in over old scows and other craft.

This 1980 photo shows the well known Fader Agencies building teetering on the edge of a filled and piled wharf. Wonder what is under it?

Also in 1980 the stern of an old tug peaks out from the a pile of fill. The rudder quadrant is aching for a souvenir hunter to pick it up. 

A former US military landing craft was broken up at the south side of the Fader Agencies wharf in the 1970s.

Fader Agencies as it appeared in 2013, taken from the bridge, is located on a small peninsula of fill, and is now a staging area for the bridge re-decking project. The stern of the old tug is still visible in the bottom right corner of the photo.

The old CNR Windmill pier was also the resting place for numerous other derelicts and retired ships.

The rail car ferry Prince Edward Island, built in 1915, languished at the CNR pier for a time until it was converted by a consortium that included The J.P.Porter Company for use as a dredging pump platform on the St.Lawrence River. It survived for many years after that until broken up in Toronto in the late 1990s.

The sealer/researcher Arctic Endeavour is tied alongside. Owned by Shaw Steamships of Halifax, it was a veteran of the US  Navy, the Royal Navy (where it was used by the British Antarctic Expedition), the Royal New Zealand Navy as an Antarctic supply ship, and many years of seal hunting in eastern Canada. It lasted until 1984 when it sank in Newfoundland..

On the far side of the pier the masts of several sunken and abandoned vessels protrude above the water.

By 1984 the pier had been covered with fill and at least the visible portions of the wrecks had been removed. Fader's is just out of the picture at left.

There is even more..........

When you move along the Dartmouth waterfront to Dartmouth Cove you might be surprised again at what  lies under your feet. But that is for another time.........

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ghost Ships plus update

It is fog season in Halifax again. Frustrating for some photographers, it does provide interesting opportunities to eliminate distracting backgrounds.

The veteran herring seiner Margaret Elizabeth No.1, built in 1971 in Pictou, is here once again. As usual it is tied up at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic for the weekend, this time across the end of the Acadia's pier. It will likely sail this afternoon or tomorrow in search of the elusive migratory fish.

The tall ship Cuauhtemoc stands out against the fog at the Cable Wharf. Tomorrow it will move to HMC Dockyard.

Jetty Lima stands out from the old J.P.Porter facility under the Macdonald Bridge, seen from Pier 9. Stay tuned for more on that wasteland area.

Later in the day:

Largely free of fog for its short stay in port for bunkers, the tanker Minerva Vera  occupied most of number one anchorage.

The big ocean going catamaran Lucia makes its way inbound passing the tanker in ballast.

Built in 2009 by Hyundai Samho, it is a 81,467 grt, 158,022 dwt crude tanker, flying the Greek flag for Minerva Marine Inc of Athens..

The autocarrier Prime Ace arrived in fog, made its way to a clear patch in the lower harbour, turning around Ives Knoll to the north of Macnab's Island, and was back into the fog to berth at Autoport.

Tugs have the ship in hand as it heads for Eastern Passage and more fog.

Prime Ace was built by Miniami-Nippon in Usuki for MOL and measures 50,007 grt, 18,304 dwt, with a capacity of 6400 cars.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Buried Treasure on the Dartmouth Shore - Part 1

A section of the Dartmouth shoreline in the area of the Angus L. Macdonald bridge has been largely ignored for many years, cut off as it is by the rail line. Except for the long time presence of Fader Agencies, most of the shoreline is undeveloped and unattractive.

Now that part of it is in use as a staging area for the Macdonald bridge re-decking project (the Big Lift),  people are taking a closer look and uncovering some interesting relics.

CBC News became interested in one of the relics and have posted the following item on their news site:

Below the bridge is the former home of  base of The J.P.Porter Company Limited, general contractors, starting south of where the bridge now stands, running north almost to Jetty Lima (the Naval Armaments Depot Jetty). Porters filled in along the shore to create a marine base that housed a fantastic collection of scows, dredges, tugs and the miscellany of a large marine construction firm. The shore was gradually extended outward over time, covering up several scows and ships in the process.

During the early days of the bridge construction, the Porter yard was in full swing. They have already begun to fill in along the shore line, building piers over sunken hulks.

J.P.Porter, a Nova Scotia native, worked on railway construction in the west in the early days of the 20th century. He returned to Halifax in 1913 and worked for Foley Bros, Welsh, Stewart + Fauquier on the Ocean Terminals in Halifax. He also carried out marine salvage work during World War I and operated a shipyard in Hantsport.

Porter founded his own company in 1921 and went on to build the seawall and deepwater pier B in Halifax. 
He expanded his reach all over eastern Canada and as far west as the Welland Canal in 1921, and dug a 12 foot diameter tunnel through bedrock in Boston.

The J.P.Porter Company had every kind of floating equipment imaginable to carry out its work.

In fact filling in land along the shoreline was one of their specialties.

 J.P.'s four sons ( R.F., T.T., J.P.P., and L.T.) took over the business, with headquarters in Montreal, but had marine equipment scattered around ports all over eastern Canada. They tended not to invest much in maintenance, and abandoned old equipment where it was last used, although some was brought back to Halifax and left to rot.

The company was eventually sold to the Simard family in Quebec (owners of Marine Industries Ltd) and their own dredging company Richelieu Dredging, became a subsidiary of The J.P.Porter Company.

In the 1970s tHE J.P.Porter Company and several other dredging contractors and their officers were convicted of conspiracy to defraud for rigging  Federal Government dredging tenders, and some of the company officers were sent to jail.
In order to pay millions of dollars in fines, the companies were liquidated. Much of Porter's equipment was sold for scrap and some was broken up at the Dartmouth base. Once that was completed, other ship scrappers set up shop in the same area and scrapped more ships, but that ended in the late 1980s. Since then the area has been left as a wasteland.

I prowled that shore in the seventies and documented the end of the Porter company. With camera in hand, I unofficially inventoried what I could and had free run of the place thanks to a friendly watchman who determined I was harmless.

A page from my inventory shows twenty-one hulls. All but four of which were either sold or scrapped. The rest are still there.

Here is a sampling of what I saw:

The the Angus L.Macdonald bridge spans the harbour over the old Porter base.

Looking east across the harbour toward HMC Dockyard, the dredge Lockeport is at the end of the pier.

The workboat J.P.P.No2 with the dredge Ashbridge in the background.

The crane barge Hamilton 56 (which was only broken up last year) and the trawler Cape Beaver which was to be converted to a spoil carrier, but the work was abandoned.

The workboat J.P.P.No.6 which was still in use moving the barges around to be scrapped, the former naval lighter J.P.P.No.5, and the dredge Nova Scotia.

From left to right, an unnamed scow and the tugs Catalina (sold to become Beaver Lily) and D.Lauder (sold to become J.Manic) await their fate. Halifax Shipyard, in the background has the PEI ferry Lord Selkirk on the floating drydock.

Porter had several buildings on the site. This one was on higher ground above the railway tracks, and although it was demolished, the concrete floor slab is still there, in a fenced off parking area used by the bridge workers.

This pair of wharf rats had just liberated some rolls of drawings. I think the statue of limitations will ensure that they are free and clear by now.
Piles surround the bow of the sunken Daisy - see more below.

By 1980 most of the Porter floating equipment was gone, and other ships had arrived for scrapping, but there was still a great deal of material left partially filled in on the shore.

An old scow is sunk with fill over it and some spuds and other debris on top, right under the bridge.

Halifax Shipyard's barge Haltern No.1 was laid up on the outside, the hulk of the partially demolished ship Koralle, and the bow of Daisy, which had been sunk and filled as a pier face. Piles driven around it had rotted and it was more visible than it had been in years.

Built in 1911 in Aberdeen, Scotland, Daisy was taken over and completed by the Royal Navy in 1912. In 1920 it was sold to the government of Newfoundland as a revenue cutter to combat smuggling on the south coast. It was in Burin, NL at the time of the 1929 Tsunami and figured in the subsequent rescue operations.
Porters acquired the vessel in about 1945 and used it as a tug for few years. It must have been laid up before 1949 because its registration was never translated to Canada when Newfoundland joined Confederation. It was sunk as part of the jetty in the 1953 picture at the top of the page, and its remains are still visible today.

Several other notable vessels were scrapped at the former Porter yard, but little remains to be seen of them today, however it is possible to spot remains of the following:

Koralle seen here at the CNR pier, south of the bridge in 1977,  was built in Landskrona, Sweden in 1937 as Wiros. Its somewhat shady career during World War II remains to be researched. In 1959 it was renamed Koralle (which was the name of Admiral Doentiz' naval headquarters complex in Berlin).
In 1967 Shaw Steamships of Halifax bough the ship and traded to the Caribbean and on northern supply, since it was built to a Baltic ice class.
In 1968 it struck a submerged object and had to be beached near Fort Chimo. It made its way back to Halifax and never returned to service.
Scrapping began in the summer of 1977 .

 Koralle's 15 person clinker built wooden lifeboat was cast aside but largely intact in 1979.

By 1980 the icebreaking bow, complete with draft marks was still standing, with the hull of the Daisy barely visible in the foreground covered with debris and the remnants of piling.
(Sharp eyes will have detected Gulf Canada ex B.A.Peerless in the background.)

Eventually the bottom of the Koralle was moved closer to shore, but its keel and stern post are still visible at high tide on the north side of the old Porter pier. (see part 2)

As the name implies, Westwhale 8 was a whale catcher, built in 1953 in Arendal Norway as Suderoy XVII. It became the Norwegian Kos 52 in 1959 then Toshi Maru No.22 in 1961. It came to Canada's west coast in 1963, becoming Westwhale 8. It was brought to the east coast in 1968 for Arctic Fishing Products Ltd of St.John's. H.B.Nickerson acquired it from the federal government for a mere $6,000 in 1974, but it could not have seen much sea time for them. It went to various owners until arriving in Halifax in 1977.

Westwhale 8 spent some time at the A.M.Smith wharf (now part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic) before moving to the old Porter pier for scrap in 1977. That is the former health inspection launch Salucan III under her bow, and a well known waterfront character Bruce R.P.Parsons at the foot of the gangway.

Part 2 to follow..............