Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Oberon - hawsepipe view

In despicable weather and hemmed in at pier 27-28 as it was, I consider myself lucky to have got a mostly unobstructed view of the Wallenius Line large car truck carrier Oberon.

Built in 2007 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, the 71,673 grt ship, with its sister Aniara, are the largest of their type, with an 8,000 car capacity. After unloading cars at Autoport yesterday (and taking bunkers - something fairly rare for autocarriers) it moved over to pier 27-28 today.
The Nirint ship Asian Moon was occupying pier 31 - the usual berth for RoRos on the Halifax side - and it was a fairly tight squeeze to get the Oberon's bow far enough in at pier 27 to allow its ramp to extend out onto pier 28. The pier is 380 meters long and the ship is 231.6m without the ramp. Allowing some room for head lines and the large ramp (which is angled at 27 degrees from the ship's centre line), and turning space at the end of the ramp, it took up almost all of the available pier.
Fortunately the ship does not have projecting bridge wings or it certainly would have interfered with the grain galleries at pier 27.

Not just a car carrier it can also handle trucks and buses and what is termed 'high and heavy' loads too. Today's cargo included the usual tree harvesters and a number of other pieces of wheeled machinery.

The ship was here before, December 30, 2012 but I was not able to get a picture at that time.

Wallenius Lines kindly publishes a spec sheet, which tells more about the ship:


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Woodside I turns 30

On November 29, 1986 the ferry Woodside I arrived in Dartmouth for the first time. Built to operate a new cross harbour service from Woodside on the Dartmouth shore to the Halifax terminal, it was intended to reduce car traffic in downtown Dartmouth, and to service the growing Dartmouth suburbs of Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage. A large parking lot and a bus terminal  on Mount Hope brought passengers to the new ferry terminal via a bridge over the railway tracks.

Under construction at Pictou, Woodside I shares the slips with the HMC Dockyard crane YD 253*, and the National Sea Products trawler Cape Farewell**. Off the end of the slipway is the tug Gulf Spray, now based in Halifax.

Woodside I was nearly identical to the Dartmouth III and Halifax III, built in 1979. It was also built in Pictou, NS by Pictou Industries Ltd, the successor to the Ferguson Industries Ltd shipyard. It is equipped with Voith Schneider "rudder propellers" fitted at each end, allowing for extreme manoeuvrability.
Launched ca. October 11, 1986 it  made its way to Halifax via the Canso Canal, escaping Pictou before ice set in and the Canal closed for the winter. [See fourth footnote]

As delivered, Woodside I sported the Metro Transit chevron pattern.
Because the Woodside terminal was not due for completion until spring, the new ferry was idle until January when it went into Halifax - Dartmouth service to give the other ferries time off for maintenance.
Therefore it was not until May 2, 1987 that it actually began on its intended Woodside-Halifax run.

Serving in all weathers, Woodside I has had a starboard list since earliest days. Here it carries a newer Metro Transit colour scheme with a thin icing of frozen spray. It has also been fitted with a new array of radars, including a mast head scanner.
The ferry's bow is the end with the anchor, but the boat travels equally well either bow or stern first and has duplicate nav. lights.

Since 1987 it has operated on both services, since the three ferries are interchangeable. With delivery in 2015 and 2016 of the new ferries Christopher Stannix and Viola Desmond, the Woodside I has replaced the Halifax Dartmouth III which has been laid up. Another pair of new ferries is on the way, and when they are delivered Woodside I and Dartmouth Halifax III will be retired.

Getting away smartly from Halifax, Woodside I carries another colour scheme - since revised. 

Here operating stern first, it will dock at the south side of the Halifax terminal. The passenger ramps on the starboard side (facing the camera) will be lowered when the ferry docks. Another colour scheme is in the works, but not yet applied.

The Woodside ferry terminal bridges the rail line below the Nova Scotia Hospital on Mount Hope. 
Pontoon I in the foreground started life as the Woodside ferry pontoon, built in 1986  and replaced in 2015 with a new floating landing stage.
The new ferry Viola Desmond has arrived at the terminal. It uses its propulsors at full athwartships thrust to remain alongside while passengers disembark and embark.

* YD 253 is still kicking around the Dockyard in Halifax, although its crane has not been rigged for years. I suspect that its fire tower is still considered an asset of the Dockyard fire department. Now that there is no dedicated fire tug, the crane tower could be used for high level firefighting.

** Cape Farewell was built in 1973 by Ferguson Industries Ltd in Pictou, and had just been lengthened from 49.3m to 52m when this photo was taken. In 1994 NatSea sold the trawler and it was renamed Atlantic King, and its Canadian registry was closed. In 1997 it became Orca 1 and was converted for research. In 2004 it was renamed VOS Eastwind and used as a standby safety vessel in the North Sea. It was broken up in Den Helder, Netherlands in 2007.

*** Pontoon 1 is now owned by Waterworks Construction Co Ltd, along with the concrete barge Commdive II and the mini tug Waterworks 1 (among other equipment) based next to the Woodside Terminal. The pontoon was registered as a barge May 7, 2015 and now measures 197 grt. It was previously unregistered when it was a landing stage.

Fourth Footnote:
Two sponsors christened by Woodside I at its launching in Pictou in October 1986. Mrs. Ulah Currie (née Mott) was born before the turn of the 20th century in a house which was demolished in 1909 to make room to expand the Mount Hope Asylum, now called the Nova Scotia Hospital. She was married in 1922 and her husband was one of the original workers at the Imperial Oil refinery in South Woodside, known as Imperoyal.
The other sponsor was Mrs. Hilda Robart whose husband Vernon was also an original employee at Imperoyal when it opened in 1919. Mrs. Robart had lived in Woodside for 67 years.
An article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald on October 10, 1986 concluded with this lovely sentence:
"Both women are close to the age of 90, although they won't give their exact ages."


Sunday, November 27, 2016

More Stuff from 1986 - Part 6 of a series

The autumn of 1986 and winter of 1986-87 was a big year for Japanese tuna fishing. Late in September, the fleet of white longliners began to arrive in Halifax for stores. These sleek boats migrated around the world, from South Africa and South America to take tuna where they congregated.

More than 30 boats arrived in the initial wave and totaled up to 50 by year's end and mostly finished up in January of 1987.

Although of a similar type, there were distinct variations among the various boats.

Three older types at pier 23:

Jinkyu Maru No.18 JNBT,  299 grt/75 Takahashi
Shoshin Maru No.82 JRWE 299 grt/77 Niigata
Shoshin Maru No.83 JGJD 344grt/79 Niigata
They all had the wheelhouse raised a half deck above the boat deck.

Shoshin Maru No.83 sails late in the season.

The newer boats had the wheelhouse raised a full level above the boat deck.

Shoshin Maru No.85 JGQG 344 grt/80 Niigata

Shinsei Maru No.5 JAAL 577 grt/86 Kanasashi

Daito Maru No.1 JAWJ 379/86 Kanasashi

Koei Maru No. 78 JRPA 701/84 Miho

As we now know the Japanese decimated the tuna population and as they did so the number of boats diminished, and we rarely see them anymore. They require different licenses now, and are restricted to ports that they can use, so they can still be seen in St.John's and St-Pierre but not in such great numbers.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Louis S. St-Laurent sails

Canada's largest icebreaker, the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent sailed from the Bedford Institute pier late this afternoon for an undisclosed destination.

This year it went to work in the arctic leaving Halifax July 22 and sailing via Tromso, Norway. It was once again a visitor to the North Pole and returned to Halifax a week ago.

Still impressive after all these years, the ship will be among those that will need another upgrade or be replaced temporarily until is successor* finally arrives on the scene - maybe in 2012 or 2022. The Canadian Coast Guard has put out feelers for interim icebreaking capability as ships go into major refits or are retired in the next few years.

While the world does not abound in icebreakers, a number of nations and private companies do have them, some of which would be available due to the downturn in arctic oil exploration.

* It seems possible that the Louis's replacement will be delivered under a Liberal government. If so there will be a lot of pressure to change its name from the current designation John G. Diefenbaker to the Pierre Eliot Trudeau. I have always favoured the name Mike Pearson for the ship, since the former Liberal Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was known as that during his days as a flyer in the Royal Flying Corps in World War I and as a diplomatic courier in World War II.  He was also a multi-sport athlete, and Mike seems a more befitting name for a man of his talents and achievememts.


Nor' Easter

Not the storm, but the ship, Nor' Easter blew into Halifax last evening. It is the first time this particular tanker has docked at the refurbished Irving Oil terminal in Woodside. It is also the first ship to dock bow north. Fleet mate Acadian has always tied up bow south.

Sunrise this morning reveals the Nor'easter.

Despite the prominent Esso tank in the background , the ship is delivering Irving Oil cargo to Irving Oil tanks. Neighbouring Esso just happens to be in the line of sight from my aerie.

Nor' Easter (ii) is the recently renamed Iver Progress which has been working for Irving Oil for the past year or more under Marshall Islands flag. It replaced the East Coast (ex Nor' Easter (i)) when that ship transferred to the Canadian flag in 2014. It was renamed since there was already a Nor'easter registered in Canada.
This Nor' Easter was built in 2007 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan and has tonnages of 23,421 grt, 37,412 dwt. The previous ship was built in 2005.
Irving Oil has two Canadian and three Marshall Islands tankers on charter from Vroon. The latter trade internationally from Saint John to the US eastern seaboard.
Nor' Easter's last port was Ijmuiden, Netherlands, making this the second cargo Irving has brought to Halifax from overseas. The company has recently acquired a small refinery in Ireland, so we should probably expect to see more international cargoes.
I believe the reason for this arrival however, is that the ship is returning from the installation of an exhaust gas scrubber system in Gibraltar, where it was also renamed and repainted in Irving Oil colours.
Read more about that conversion process:

In the light of day (Saturday November 26), the ship's freshly applied Irving Oil colours still look very new. The unique hull colour has been applied to Irving tankers since the 1940s.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

A last look at Iroquois

As it turned out Iroquois "sailed" at 1600hrs not 1700hrs, allowing for one last try at some photos. The sun was just setting behind cloudy skies with a very light snow shower, but the extra hour was a bit of a bonus. It also made it more convenient and safer for the pilots and tugs to work a cold ship in daylight.

Navy tug Glenevis peels away from the stern as Atlantic Spruce takes up the tow.

Despite reports of the deplorable condition of the ship, it still has fine bones.

Oceanex Sanderling holds off as it moves from Autoport to pier 42, leaving Iroquois lots of room.

The snow shower intensifies as the tow passes the Ives Knoll light and bell buoy for the last time.

 Last shot. 16:48:09 hrs
The APA pilot and an apprentice pilot disembarked at Ives Knoll, and boarded the tug for the trip out to the pilot station. A navy pilot was also assigned for unberthing and disembarked  on Glenevis
The APA pilot and the apprentice pilot were the last people aboard, as the overnight tow to Liverpool is "unmanned".


Monday, November 21, 2016

Goodbye Iroquois

There will be many sad faces on the waterfront at 5 pm Thursday November 24 when the decommisioned HMCS Iroquois is towed away from HMC Dockyard to the scrappers in Liverpool.

The sun was setting in more ways than one in this Septmber 2011 photo.

It is unfortunate (and perhaps intentional) that the tow will take place in darkness, so photography will be difficult. I prefer to remember the ship in its better years, still with a pennant number.

In her pre-TRUMP days (not that Trump!) . The Tribal Update and Modernization Program converted the ships from ASW to AAW and in the process they also lost the twin canted stacks.


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Edward Cornwallis from 1986

The first post World War II ship to be designed and built for the Department of Transport was retired in 1986 at the venerable age of 37. It is hard to believe that its successor is now 30 years old with only the faintest glimpse of a replacement on the horizon.

Deckloaded with Buoys CCGS Edward Cornwallis (i) at the Dartmouth Coast Guard base.
(CCGS Louis S St-Laurent and CCGS Tupper also aappear in the background)

The first Edward Cornwallis was the prototype for a whole fleet of navigation aids tenders. It was not classed as an icebreaker, although many of its descendants were, it certainly did its fair share of work in ice fior a ship that was only ice strengthened.
Its name was selected to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the founding of Halifax in 1749 by Edward Cornwallis, Nova Scotia's first governor. The man has since been discredited over his treatment of indigenous peoples and his name has become highly charged politically. A minor noble, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the British army, despite a very spotty career, marked by two notable retreats both of which saw him court martialed, but exonerated.  His prior experience in suppressing the highland rebels in Scotland and at the battle of Culloden, made him no particular friend of Scots either. He went on to become governor of Gibraltar where he died.

Soundlessly sailing up Halifax harbour, the first CCGS Edward Cornwallis was a fine ship.

The ship named for him was built by Canadian Vickers Ltd in Montreal in 1949 and equipped with two Vickers-built uniflow-type steam engines driving twin screws.

When the replacement ship was nearing completion at Marine Industries Ltd in Sorel in May 1986, the first ship was renamed Edward so that the second could takes its name. Defendants of the choice of name claim that the second ship was named for the first, not for the governor. This is of course completely ridiculous, since there is no way of separating the two. Despite the infamy of the namesake, the second ship still carries the name.  Let's hope saner heads prevail when the next batch of navaids tenders comes along. Maybe in seven or eight years or so, just in time for the 275th anniversary of the founding of Halifax.

A decommissioned and forlorn Edward sits at pier 2 (now Navy Jetty Bravo) awaiting its fate.

Edward was paid off on October 5, 1987 and it left Halifax in tow of the tug W.N.Twolan for Coburg, ON. After it over stayted its welcome as a nightclub, it was eventually "evicted" and in December 1993 it went off in tow to Port Maitland, ON where it was broken up.

The second ship of the name, completed in 1986 has also proven to be a fine ship, and has just recently undergone a significant refit, ensuring a good many more years of service, probably to exceed the 37 its predecessor put in.

Down to her marks with a load of buoys, Edward Cornwallis vents off some excess steam.
(CCGS Labrador is partially visible behind.)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Plan Our Port

The Port of Halifax is inviting participation in its master planning exercise. To start they are offering a new website to give background and to complete a survey.

Go to here:

There will be more to come, and the Port will put your on their e-mail list for future contact if you wish.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sir Robert Bond - an unlikely future

The Newfoundland ferry Sir Robert Bond has been sold "as is" after a two year layup. The new owner, known as Beausejour Peat Moss Inc plans to use the ship to transport New Brunswick peat moss to the United States. The company was the highest of three bidders and paid $707,250 according to press reports.

Built in 1975 by Port Weller Dry Dock in St.Catharines, ON, the ship was originally a rail car ferry for CN Marine. It ran between North Sydney, NS and Port aux Basques, NL carrying up to 33 standard guage rail cars. Once landed in Newfoundland, the cars were fitted with narrow gauge trucks to run on the island rail system.

The ship was converted by Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon, QC in 1978 to a 100 car, 200 passenger ferry (later increased to 235 PAX) and was assigned to the seasonal Labrador service out of St.John's, replacing the William Carson that sank in ice the previous year.

It did return to the Cabot Strait run in winter as other ships were in refit and it filled in for Princess of Acadia on the Digby, NS -Saint John, NB run in January 1979 and perhaps in other years too when the regular ship was drydocked.

A handsome ship, designed by Robert Allen Ltd, Sir Robert Bond slides out of North Sydney for Marine Atlantic in May 1982. It had replaced the chartered Stena Nautica.

CN Marine became Marine Atlantic in 1987, and in 1997 the Province of Newfoundland took over all of Marine Atlantic's coastal services. In 1998 Sir Robert Bond was placed under Coastal Marine Services (Woodward) Management and ran from Lewisporte to Cartwright and Happy Valley-Goose Bay.  Once the Trans Labrador Highway was opened in 2010 the ship was made obsolete as its freight capacity was no longer needed. CAI Nunatsiavut Marine Inc took over management in 2011 but the ship's only operation was as winter ferry from Corner Brook, NL to Blanc Sablon, QC. (It was too big to use St.Barbe, NL the regular port on the island side of the Strait of Belle Isle.)

On arrival in Lewisporte in April 2014 the ship was laid up and has been idle over since.

In late 2004 an attempt to carry peat moss out of Shediac, NB saw the ship detained at Cape Tormentine for 618 days before being towed away for scrap.

The RoRo Santa Emma was built in 1969 by Robb Caledon in Dundee Scotland as the Maheno for The Union Steamship Co of New Zealand. It went through a handful of owners and was renamed eight times before arriving in Canada under the Panama flag. While detained at Cape Tormentine it parted lines and blew aground in April 2015. The Coast Guard stepped in and refloated it and emptied 30,000 to 40,000 liters of fuel. The owner was not forthcoming with payment, so the ship was sold in Federal Court for a mere $66,000. Renamed Santa it was towed away for scrap by the tug Rig Deliverer on September 18, 2005 in a tandem tow with the laker Willlowglen. It sank en route October 10 in position 36.53.3 N x 28.14.4W.
I believe this was the last tandem scrap tow from Canada.
Peat moss, despite being tightly compressed in bales, is expensive to transport by truck relative to its value. The new owner wants to load many trailers on the ship and deliver them to the US directly thus avoiding over the road costs and restrictive weight limitations. 

I have no record of seeing the Sir Robert Bond in Halifax, but perhaps that opportunity will come. It is reported that the new owners will be putting the ship back in service quickly.


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

When the saints come marching in

 Two ships, mirror imaging each other at Imperial Oil.

Two saints were tied up at Imperial Oil today. Saints names are not as popular with ships as they once were, so it was a bit of a rare sight. Not only that the two ships were built by the same shipyard. Despite the similarity of name, ownership of the two seems not to be connected in any way.

Saint Albans Bay arrived yesterday and began to discharge at number 4 oil dock. It was built by SPP Shipbuilding CoLtd in Incheon, South Korea in 2015. It is operated by Scorpio Marine Management of Mumbai, and its commercial management is entrusted to Scorpio Commercial Management of Monaco. Both are part of Scorpio Group which includes Scorpio Tankers Inc of the Marshall Islands (where this ship is registered) with offices in Monaco and New York, which  owns 77 and charters in a further 16 product tankers.
Saint Albans Bay's tonnages are 29,735 grt, 49,990 dwt.

St.Katherinen arrived at number 3 dock this morning. Built in 2013 by the same yard it measures 29,656 grt, 50,269 dwt. It is operated by Maruta Industries Co Ltd [Maruta Sangyo KK] of Imabari, Japan and is registered in Singapore and flies the Singapore flag.

Also by coincidence, a third tanker, in port at Valero (Ultramar), was also built by the same shipyard but in 2016. Elandra Oak is a 29,737 grt, 49,999 dwt product tanker operated by Mansel Ltd of London, UK, flying the Marshall Islands flag.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

More stuff from 1986 - part 5 of a series

Another random series of news from 1986.

A number of ships arrived in Halifax for damage repair during the year. A surprising nunber of them were standard type or series built ships:


Among the ships arriving in Halifax for repairs, was another of the many standard types of general cargo carriers built to replace World War II era standard ships. Intended as economical, low cost vessels, they were built to serve secondary trade routes for bulk and general cargo. The Greek Alkyonis was built by Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries of Nagoya Japan as one of the Fortune class. These ships were easily identified  by their unusual high mount 10 tonne derricks. They were designed in collaboration with the Canadian designers Algonquin International of Montreal. (now Algoship).

The ship arrived in tow of the Irving Cedar on April 8 with engine failure. It entered the Novadock floating drydock at Halifax Shipyard on April 28 and remained there until May 3. Technicians from Japan flew in to attend to the repairs to the Pielstick engine, built under license by IHI.

Alkyonis at pier 33 awaiting drydocking.

It was renamed Eva Maria in 1994 and arrived at Alang March 13, 1998 to be broken up.


This ship was also towed in, this time by Irving Maimi, arriving January 2.  On charter to Abitibi Paper, it was en route from the Mediterranean to Newfoundland when it had a main engine failure, somewhere out in the Atlantic. Not a good place and not a good time of the year! It left again in tow of Irving Miami January 8 for New York.

The ship was built in 1977 by Neptun VEB in Rostock, East Germany, one of large class of similar ships. Measuring 5508 grt, 7923 dwt, it carried four conventional cargo derricks of 22.5 tonnes capacity. Its Greek owners sold the ship in 1992 when it became the Ming Zhou 8, in 2008: Dong Fang 51 and in 2009: Lian Meng 16. It is reported to be in service still, owned by the Chinese government.


Another ship of the same class (an quite possibly the same owner) arrived under its own power March 31 and entered the Graving Dock. It was there until April 27 when it sailed.

Also dating from 1977 and Neptun VEB, Rostock, it measured 5511 grt and 7923 dwt, It was also sold to Chinese owners, becoming 1992: Tian Jing Quan, 2001: FCC Glory, 2003:  Blue Star and briefly  Blue S for delivery to the breakers, arriving Alang December 31, 2009.


Another of the Flensburger  types [see Familiy C earlier in this series], this ship arrived April 3 with ice damage and spent a few days in the Scotiadock while it was patched up. It was able to sail April 8.

Launched as Carl Fisser it immediately went on charter to Saguenay Shippng (with several sisters ships) as Sunvreeland. In 181 it was sold to Cyprus owners as Fleur and in 1987 became Flair for Liberian owners, . In 1992 it was renamed Azimuth under Maltese flag and ended up in China in 2004 as Eastda then Dong Da. It was deleted by Lloyds in 2012 with the notation "existence in doubt".

Aleksandr Gertsen

The USSR flag ship arrived in Halifax about November 25 with a full cargo of grain, likely loaded at a St.Lawrence River port. It had damage in the area of number one hatch, and some wet cargo. The damaged cargo was offloaded at pier 26 and repairs were made to the hatch, coaming and bulwark. With the cargo dried at the grain elevator, it was reloaded and the ship was able to sail December 14.

  One of about thirty ships of this design built by Brodogradiliste Uljanik in Pula, Yugoslavia (now Croatia) it had the usual very good lines of Soviet ships of the 1960s. This one was built in 1966 and measured 10,109 grt, 14,130 dwt. It was equipped with bi-pod masts and  twelve 5 tonne derricks. It also had a 60 tonne jumbo derrick serving number 3 hold. The ship served its entire career with Black Sea Shipping of Odessa and arrived in Alang January 11, 1994. 

to be continued...


Coasting license refusal

The Canadian Transportation Agency is tasked, among other things, with reviewing applications for coasting licenses. They then make recommendation to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, in whose name the licenses are issued.
As reported in a previous Shipfax :
a potential shortage of refined petroleum in the Toronto area was to be averted by Algoma Tankers bringing in the Isle of Man registered Edzard Schulte to supplement its own fleet.
Their application to the CTA was to be "fast tracked" to ensure no interruption of fuel delivery.
This was only one of nearly 70 applications of coasting licenses so far this year for eastern Canada. Many of the applications (about 30) were for specialized vessels such as oil rigs, offshore support and cable ships that just do not existing under the Canadian flag. The Minister may issue a coasting license if no suitable Canadian vessels is available, and so most of the applications go through without delay.
There were about seven applications for crude oil tankers, two for acid tankers and two for asphalt tankers. If there were suitable Canadian ships for this work, none were apparently available. There were also about 7 applications for product tankers, and similarly, suitable Canadian vessels were not available.   
When Algoma applied to use the Edzard Schulte it would have been safe to assume that the CTA would recommend for the license.
However there was an objection filed by CSL. This is not Canada Steamship Lines, but Coastal Shipping Ltd of Happy Valley - Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador, part of the Woodward Group.
The operate Canadian flagged tankers, which were offered as suitable for the work Algmoa had in mnind. After a lengthy explanation, CTA agreed and declined to recommend Algoma's application.
During the summer months Coastal Shipping's tankers are busy in the arctic, but that season has ended and they have both Travestern and Sten Fjord available during the period Algoma wanted to use Edzard Schulte.
Algoma contended that the oil majors they work for have internal regulations for which the Coastal Shipping tankers are not compliant. The CTA however was of the opinion that the internal regulations were not relevant to the application. This seems an odd ruling on the surface since scores of other CTA applications are granted on the basis of specific requirements of the ship's end users. However CTA states that these are regulations do not supersede Canadian law.
Certainly an interesting development.
Read the CTA's decision here:


November 14 - no arrivals, no departures, no moves

Aside from a pilotage order for 2330 hrs tonight for the auto carrier Grand Cosmo there has been no commercial shipping traffic in Halifax harbour after the departure of CMA CGM La Scala at 2200 hrs last evening. It is a rare occurrence when there is no shipping activity for 24 hours in this port to be sure, but it is not unheard of. There are only two ships ships in port: the cable ship IT Intrepid refitting at pier 9, and the cargo ship Thorco Liva fitting out with cable tanks at pier 9C.
One offshore supplier, Breaux Tide is refitting at pier 9c and the Trinity Sea is idle at the old Coast Guard base in Dartmouth.
This will give an opportunity to finish off some needed updates - see subsequent posts.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Three tugs - some waiting

When the port has three berthing tugs standing by but has an arrival and two departures scheduled for virtually the same time, someone will have to wait. That happens from time to time and it did today. It was not helped by the fact that the container ship CMA CGM La Scala needed all three tugs to squeeze into its berth at pier 41. The EM Kea was at pier 42 and there was room for the big ship, but it took some time to get it secure.

Atlantic Willow is on the port bow, with the other tugs on the starboard side, ready to turn the ship to back in to pier 41.
CMA CGM La Scala is a a 99,931 grt ship of 109,000 dwt with a capacity of 8465 TEU and seemed pretty much up capacity, though how many were revenue is questionable. The ship was built in 2010 by Samsung Shipbuilding and Heavy Industries Co Ltd, Koje.

As soon as Atlantic Willow was freed up it hustled over to Autoport to clear Rhea Leader. That ship had arrived early in the morning and was due to sail at 1115, but did not get clearance until after 1230 hrs.

Rhea Leader flies the Japanese flag for NYK Line and dates from 2008 when it came from the Toyohashi Shipbuilding Co. It has a gross tonnage of 63,004 but only 21,428 dwt and is bound for Newark, NJ.

The fraternal twins Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak make their way to the Dockyard.

The CMA CGM La Scala was finally secure enough to let the Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak go by 1250 and they made their way to HMC Dockyard to sail USS Detroit for 1300 - one hour later than scheduled. There is usually a US Navy presence in Halifax on Remembrance Day and this year it was the brand new littoral combat ship designated LCS 7.

Built by Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, it is the fourth of 13 Freedom class LCS and is on its delivery trip from the builders to its eventual base in San Diego, CA..

Laid down in October 2012, launched October 2014, it was commissioned in its namesake port on October 22, 2016. An interesting aspect of the commissioning was the presence of a 3 person RCMP colour guard - the first time another nation was present at a USN commissioning. Not only did the colour guard present the flag, but O Canada was played.
The three RCMP officers were there to recognize the Canada -US Shiprider  program in which law enforcement officers of both nations jointly crew vessels on border patrols. The officers are authorized to enforce the laws of each other's nation. One of the Shiprider bases is in Windsor, ON.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Fairview Cove Action - and more for Halterm

Cerescorp's Fairview Cove container terminal was a busy spot for a time today. An early morning arrival of Atlantic Sail had the west end of the pier busy all morning. The late morning arrival of NYK Demeter then had the place jumping into full action.

NYK Demeter, sailing for the G6 Alliance made its way to the pier with the tug Atlantic Oak as stern escort, and was joined for berthing by Atlantic Willow, which saved on fuel by remaining at Fairview Cove all morning after docking Atlantic Sail.

Once it was longside, but not yet made fast, the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth had finished operations with Atlantic Sail and got underway to return to its home at pier 34.

Through all this activity a lone pleasure sailor decided to take a close up view, while towing an open boat. 

At the other end of the port, Halterm had a short visit from the Icelandic Reykjafoss but was otherwise quiet today. That was not the case yesterday when it worked four ships.

Zim Tarragona spent most of yesterday at number one anchorage waiting for fleet mate Zim San Franciso to clear the berth at pier 42. Pier 41 was occupied by Oceanex Sanderling which would normally have been there on a Friday. Nolhanava occupied its usual berth at pier 36, loading for St-Pierre et Miquelon on a Thursday instead of  a Friday.

All this Thursday activity was as a result of Remembrance Day observances today. Most Nova Scotians who work on Remembrance Day are entitled to another day off with pay, so most businesses shut their doors on November 11.

Halterm also announced that it has landed a new line, Tropical Shipping, relocating from Saint John after many years. Tropical, which serves the Caribbean was not able to come to terms with new terminal operators in Saint John and had little choice but to find an alternative port.
Their two ship rotation will make Halterm busier, and will only add to downtown Halifax traffic woes.

I hope to see all the small ship lines transfer to Fairview Cove when the two Halifax piers merge under common management. Even then we will see days when there is not enough pier space.  An extension to Fairview Cove, with an additional RoRo berth seems inevitable as a short to medium term answer to the needs of the port.

Shipfax will be unveling its long term master plan shortly - stay tuned.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Maersk Patras

A one time regular caller in Halifax may be on the way to the scrapyard after an engine room fire. Starting in 2011 Maersk Patras was one of the ships on Maersk's transatlantic service to Montreal and Halifax until it was replaced by a ship from partner CMA CGM in May 2104. The service is still running with three sister ships Maersk Palermo, Pembroke, and Penang. and CMA CGM charter EM Kea.

Built in 1998 as P+O Nedlloyd Marseille by Kvaerner Warnow-Werft in Warnemunde, the 31,333 grt, 37,842 dwt ship has a capacity of 2890 TEU, including 400 reefers. It was renamed in 2006, after Maersk had merged the PONL fleet into its own.

On November 1 a fire broke out in the ship's engine room while it was on a trip from Algeciras to Conakry. Although the crew extinguished the fire by sealing the engine room and pumping in CO2 there was major damage to the ship's electrical systems and generators.

The ship was only 90 miles ESE of Las Palmas and the POSH Terasea tug Salvanguard was sent to the scene and towed the ship in on November 2. Despite having no electrical power for ballasting pumps, the ship was unloaded and its 1,044 boxes including 214 reefers were landed by November 4.

Because of the ship's age and the damage, it seems likely it will now be scrapped.


One way traffic in the Narrows

 As the name implies, the Narows is not wide enough for two large ships to pass.

The shadow of the A.Murray MacKay bridge falls across the Mary as it makes its way toward Bedford Basin. Tug Atlantic Willow has made fast forward and Atlantic Fir is tethered aft.

With the container ship Mary arriving for HAPAG-Lloyd this afternoon, the ConRo Atlantic Sea stood by in Bedford Basin waiting. It was only a matter of a few minutes, and Atlantic Sea was underway again. You could almost feel the Atlantic Sea panting to get underway.
Late afternoon sun lights up the Mary as it makes it turn around Seaview Point, and Atlantic Sea has already powered up to go.

Mary has been here before for H-L, beginning in September on their AZX service.It was built by Hyundai Samho in 2013 and is a post (old) Panamax ship of 71,021 grt, 80,274 dwt with a capacity of 6900 TEU including 800 reefers.  It is operated by Technomar of Athens and  flies the Marshall Islands flag.

Atlantic Sea heads for the Narrows as the sun sets. Escort tug Atlantic Oak is in position astern, but not visible.

Atlantic Sea, the third of ACL's new G4 class ships, made its first call here August 21 but was not officially christened until October 20 when Princess Anne was the sponsor in Liverpool, England.