Friday, December 29, 2017

Viking Queen - finally arrives

In the serene surroundings of Eastern Passage, Viking Queen (and its crew) are taking a well earned break from the high seas.

It must have been a relief to the crew when Viking Queen finally tied up at Autoport this morning. The ship had been holding off Halifax since about December 23 in some of the worst weather we have seen this year. Its wanderings took it as far south as Liverpool, NS - but well out to sea. It must have steamed hundreds of miles in the four or five days it was offshore..Once the port re-opened after the Christmas Day shut down, it had to wait its turn after Otello which unloaded at both Pier 31 and Autoport.

Viking Queen is making a small contribution to the thousands of new cars in Autoport

It is a wonder there wasn't some damage to its precious cargo, but from what I could see today, it safely delivered a number of BMWs loaded in its last port, Emden, December 13.

Viking Queen was built as Hoegh Delhi by Uljanik, Pula, Croatia in 2007. A big ship of 55,775 grt, 16,870 dwt, it has a capacity of 7,000 cars.It became Viking Queen earlier in 2017.

The ship's owners, Gram Car Carriers, lists the ship's next port as Houston, with an ETA of December 29.  That schedule has obviously been thrown into disarray - it will be a week late at least.

For more on the ship, see Shipfax June 18, 2017


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Augusta Sun - new name

The Augusta Sun arrived this afternoon for Nirint Lines and tied up at pier 31. This is the sixth name for the ship built in 2003 as Atlantic Progress. It was renamed BBC Russia the same year, then in 2008 became Federal Patriot. In 2010 it became HAL Patriot and in 2013 Atlantic Patriot.
During 2017 the ship took up a charter with Nirint Lines and called in Halifax July 7 and November 1, both times with nickel concentrates from Cuba.
Shortly after the last visit it assumed its current name.

 Some frozen spray forward acquired on the way to Halifax in -14C weather.
Tug Atlantic Fir has also acquired some frost while working ships in the cold weather.

Builders of the 12,993 grt, 17,471 dwt ship were New Century Shipbuilding Co of Jingjiang, China. They fitted her out with a pair of 45 tonne cranes. Although mostly a bulk and break bulk ship, it can carry 1118 TEU.

Current commercial managers MTL (Marine Transport + Logistik of Duisburg, Germany) also manage two sister ships. Augusta Unity was until last October Atlantic Pioneer. It visited Halifax ealry in 2017 in service with Atlantic RoRo Carrier.
Atlantic Power was recently photographed in Curaçao on Nirint Lines service, carrying containers. So far at least it has not been renamed.
Before the recent name change, managers were the Hartmann Group. Another Hartmann subisidiary, Intership is recorded as owner of these vessels. This explains the stylized lower case "h" on the funnels.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Asterix arrival

It was a blustery arrival for Asterix as it put into Halifax this morning for the first time. The Auxiliary Replenishment Ship is fresh from the Davie shipyard in Quebec where it was rebuilt from a commercial container ship. To be operated by Federal Fleet Services under contract to the Royal Canadian Navy, the ship is intended to provide supply services until new ships arrive sometime in the 2020s.

Stiff winds and freezing spray greet Asterix as it arrives in Halifax. Civilian tugs made up to the ship for berthing at pier 20.

Built by the Nordic shipyard in Wismar Germany in 2010 as Cynthia it was renamed Neermoor then Amorito later in 2010, finally taking the name Asterix in 2013. A ship of 18,199 grt, 26,000 dwt, it had a capacity of 1702 TEU (including 330 reefers) and operated for Briese Schiffahrts.

In 2015 Davie purchased the ship and was successful in convincing two consecutive federal governments to allow the conversion to a 26,000 ton displacement multi-purpose stores / cargo ship and tanker with refueling at sea capability. It also has a hangar for two helicopters and can be fitted with armament. Most of the work was carried out at Davie's Levis, QC yard, although the superstructure was built in Finland, and installed in Levis.

It will be operated by a joint complement of 36 civilians and up to 114 military with an additional 67 person replenishment team.

With continued delays in the navy's new replenishment ships (the former Queenston [Conservative] class, but now Protecteur [Liberal] class), Davie wants the green light to produce another conversion. Based on performance to date, this would be a very wise idea. Contracts for two ships would ensure replenishment capability on both coasts and bridge the gap which placed Canada in the awkward position of having to rely on other nations' ships for resupply. The cost of leasing the ships might also, if correctly allocated, convince the navy to get on with the job of finalizing the design of the new ships, and actually to begin construction. Supposing the ten year window is optimistic, this one ship would certainly need to go into refit at least once during that time to extend its tenure and another ship would be needed.

The second contract would mean the continued viability of the Davie yard and help to ensure that a shipbuilding industry continued to exist outside the confines of the two designated yards of Irving Shipbuilding and Seaspan. Both yards are devoted almost exclusively to the current troubled procurement program but cannot satisfy the demand for other types of ships. These include a new PEI ferry, a couple of new St.Lawrence River ferries, navy tugs, Coast Guard medium and light icebreakers and buoy tenders and even some commercial vessels.

Asterix will be unveiled to the public at pier 20, but will move at some point to HMC Dockyard when it enters service.


Boxing Day cleanup

December 26, Boxing Day, is a holiday for most people in Halifax, and a day to clean up after Christmas. Shipping began to move again after a fierce windstorm that left many without power. Gusts up to 100 kph were recorded in some parts of western Nova Scotia and ferry services to New Brunswick and Newfoundland were disrupted again as they have been for several days. Temperatures in Halifax rocketed up to +7C Christmas Day as heavy rain accompanied the winds, and dropped again to -7C for Boxing Day.
One can only imagine conditions at sea, as several ships waited out the storm offshore or were delayed in arriving. There was of course the usual pre-Christmas rush as several ships finished up their work and got off to sea before the holiday - and the weather.

December 21
Irving Oil Woodside played host to the tanker British Sailor December 19 to 21. As usual with Irving Oil imports the ship arrived from Amsterdam via the Ijmuiden sea lock and sailed for Saint John.

From this angle, the background is the now denuded Imperial Oil refinery site, but the ship is berthed at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal.

BP, unlike many other oil majors, still operates a fleet of tankers, but they are no longer the elegant and distinctive vessels of the 1950s and 60s. Although nominally British, (it is flagged in the Isle of Man) the ship was mass produced in 2016 by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, and is of the Mid-Range size of 30,948 grt, 45,999 dwt. The larger gross tonnage is apparently due to an extra accommodation deck in the superstructure. See the following

December 22
Also beating the rush was the tanker Beryl which arrived from Houston with refined product for Imperial Oil.

A more typical Mid-Range tanker, it measures 29,766 grt 49,990 dwt and was built in 2015 by SPP Shipbuilding Co of Incheon. It sailed early Christmas morning for Come-by-Chance, NL.

December 22
A heavy lift cargo arrived at pier 31 on December aboard the Spliethoff "F" class ship Floragracht.

By the time I caught up with her, the green object in the foreground had been unloaded and the ship was
loading what looked like reinforcing steel, using Logistec's mobile crane. The ship's last port was Baltimore, but the cargo could have originated almost anywhere, since these ships trade world wide.

On December 23, the ship was re-stowing tween decks, using its own gear, which consists of three 80 tonne cranes.It sailed later in the day giving Aberdeen. Scotland as its destination.
The 8620 grt, 12,178 dwt ship was built in 2011 by Jiangsu Changbo Shipyard in Jingjiang China, one of six multi-purpose ships of the class in the Spliethoff fleet.

December 23
The impressive autocarrier Grande Baltimora made its second appearance in Halifax in as many months. Owned by the Grimaldi Group it was delivering cars to Autoport (likely Fiat products). Unusually however, it then moved to Fairview Cove to unload more RoRo cargo.

Since the Grimaldi Group also owns Atlantic Container Line, it is possible that the ship was carrying some ACL cargo. After that the ship went to anchor to wait out a big blow, and sailed early December 24.
Built by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, the ship was delivered in July of this year, and measures 62,134 grt, 18,447 dwt and has a capacity of 6700 autos. It also has a 150 tonne stern ramp for other RoRo cargoes.

December 24
The tanker Alhena arrived from New Orleans for Imperial Oil, but did not spend long at the dock. It moved to anchor in Bedford Basin early on Christmas morning.

A slight variation in the usual run of handy size tankers, this one was built in 2012 by Guangzhou International in China. Tonnages of 30,240 grt, 52,420 are on the high side for Mid-Range. The Bahamas flag ship is managed by Super-Echo Tankers Management Inc for the obscurely named Nightingale Seacarriers Ltd.

Meanwhile three container ships left port, all delayed by high winds the night before. Since all three were scheduled for about the same time, I chose to go after Dalian Expres, one of the few HAPAG-Lloyd ships on the THE Alliance services, which is almost exclusively carried out in Halifax by Yang Ming and K-Line. ships.

Dalian Express makes the dogleg turn in the Narrows, as the cable ship IT Intrepid lies at its winter base at Pier 9A.

The former Hamburg Express to 2011, is a 7506 TEU vessel of 88,493 grt, 100,006 dwt, built in 2001 by Hyundai, Ulsan, and is about the largest size ship able to transit the two harbour bridges to reach the Ceres terminal in Fairview Cove. 

CMA CGM Ivanhoe and Maersk Patras sailed from Halterm at about the same time

December 25
After an almost springlike December 24, high winds picked up again Christmas morning, bringing rainy and squally conditions off and on. The tanker Alhena made for Bedford Basin anchorage, since its berth at Imperial Oil was exposed to the brunt of the winds.


Alhena in blustery conditions with the cargo ship Thorco Logos in the background, joined Fagelgracht, another of the Spleithoff "F" class ships, that arrived the night before from Liverpool. UK. There was an afternoon sunny break but it could not cut through the salt laden spume blowing in from sea.

Fagelgracht has some containers on deck forward, but otherwise appears light. The ship may be the first of the winter callers for Spliethoff. The company has a regular schedule to Great Lakes ports such as Cleveland and Chicago in season, but with the St.Lawrence Seaway closing December 31, this ship would not have time to make those calls and exit before shutdown. Last winter the ships called regularly in Halifax until the Seaway re-opened in spring.

December 26

With conditions returning to fairly calm, it was a very different picture in Bedford Basin.

Thorco Logos, with its holds fitted for cable transport, has been idle in the Basin since mid- November (aside from a brief stores replenishment visit to Pier 9C December 12 to 14) . Alhena does not appear to have dragged much, and is ready to take bunkers later in the day from Algoma Dartmouth.

Aboard Fagelgracht a crew member attends to some maintenance. He is just visible in orange trousers and yellow coat atop the open hatch.

Among the arrivals today is the impressive research ship Fugro Discovery. It has been hired by Fisheries and Oceans for the Newfoundland Oceanography Monitoring Program normally carried out by CCGS Hudson. That ship's interrupted refit, now due for completion sometime in the spring of 2018 (a year late) has resulted in millions of dollars spent on chartered ships to do its work.
FugroDiscovery's charter alone will be in excess of $880,000 (not including taxes).

Built by the Marynaki naval shipyard in Gdynia, Poland and completed by Mykleburst MV in Gurksen, Norway in 1997, as Tromso the ship served out a ten year charter to the Norwegian Coast Guard as an offshore patrol vessel. It was armed with a 40mm/L60 Bofors cannon and carried out EEZ patrols, fisheries inspections, search and rescue missions and pollution control.
In March 2007 it ended the charter and was sold to the Dutch survey company Fugro and converted to a research vessel, flying the Panama flag. It was fitted with a 16 tonne capacity A-frame and other gear to support a ROV. It has accommodation for 24 persons.

Last year the ship assisted in the unsuccessful search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
This year Fugro applied for a coasting license to survey the Flemish Pass, Orphan Basin and Carson Canyon off Newfoundland for Nalcor Energy. So far I have been unable to find a record that the license was granted. The application covered the period from mid-August to December 31.
 In the background the idle CCGS Hudson lies alongside the Bedford Institute, its refit not yet complete. Also alongside is the decommissioned survey vessel Matthew which has been for sale off an on for several years, without any takers.

Also at the Bedford Institute, two new long range SAR lifeboats, Baie de Plaisance and Pennant Bay are undergoing trials and training before entering service in the spring.

Baie de Plaisance will be stationed in Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands, replacing Cap-aux-Meules  and Pennant Bay in Sambro, NS, replacing Sambro. They are part of a large order for twenty craft replacing boats on both coasts.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Greeting

Unless something extraordinarily exciting happens in Halifax harbour, Shipfax will be taking a Christmas break for a few days.
In the meantime, best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Atlantic Cartier, built in 1985 and lengthened in 1987, traded for Atlantic Container Line (under various ownerships) for its entire service life. Its first call in Halifax was May 29, 1985 and its last was June 30 to July 1, 2017. Aside from refits (and a fire and a few other incidents) it maintained a monthly rotation through Halifax for all those years.It is unlikely that its record of service (and that of its four sister ships, particulary Atlantic Conveyor which served a few month longer) will ever be broken.
It arrived in Alang India in August and was beached for scrapping September 22.

A word of explanation:
Halifax is noted as an ice free harbour.  This means that it does not freeze over. Although ice can form in the Northwest Arm and in some coves and backwaters, the main harbour does not freeze. The reason is that air temperatures rarely remain cold enough for long enough (see my Tugfax Christmas Greeting for a very, very cold day). In 1962 after a prolonged cold spell slush ice made going  difficult for the pilot boat, but only inconvenienced shipping for a brief time.

Sometimes however broken ice drifts into Halifax harbour. The ice originates in the Gulf of St.Lawrence and is carried by winds and tides and is drawn along the coast and into the harbour. It can quite quickly be drawn out again by the same forces. It is a very rare event however that sufficient ice comes in to effect shipping.

In fact it has only happened twice in the last 100 years. March of 1948 was quite severe, when Gulf  ice was the heaviest in 22 years and a 100 mile wide band of ice extended well past Halifax.
The photo above shows the second time when the harbour was clogged with ice for several days, cleared, then returned for a few days.

Icebreakers were called in, not to break ice, but to move it aside to clear paths for ships. Atlantic Cartier was one of several ships that coped quite well with the novel experience.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Endeavor returns

The (United States) National Science Foundation research vessel Endeavor returned to Halifax this afternoon after completing the first 23 day scientific charter from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada at the Bedford Institute.

Built by Peterson Builders in Sturgeon Bay, WI in 1976, the 784 long ton displacement, 298 grt vessel is operated by the Graduate School of Oceanography of the University of Rhode Island and is based in Narragansett, RI. It had a major mid-life refit in 1993, during which the hull was lengthened from 177 ft to 185 ft loa and modified. Its single GM EMD delivers 3,050 shp to a controllable pitch prop in a steering nozzle. 

  According to figures published by the CBC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (aka DFO) hired the vessel at a cost of $1,041,044 for work that CCGS Hudson was slated to do. Because Hudson's $4mn refit was still incomplete in November, the ship was yanked from the Heddle Marine in Hamilton, ON and returned to Halifax. DFO has said that the work will be finished alongside BIO by April 2018.

However the University of Rhode Island's web site reports that Endeavor has been hired again for continuation of the work for 23 days in April / May 2018 for an additional $(US)649,632. The Atlantic Zone Monitoring Program on the Scotian Slope and Gulf of Maine is a continuing process and requires fall and spring surveys.Perhaps DFO scientists do not believe their own department's press releases.

Meanwhile at the old Coast Guard base in Dartmouth Coriolis II is in winter layup after also chartering to Fisheries and Oceans for work that Hudson could not do. That expedition to the Gulf of St.Lawrence cost $721,568.

 Leeway Oyssey at left and Coriolis II at right in winter layup at the old Coast Guard base.

Off Newfoundland the Fugro Discovery (Panama flag) was also hired for work that Hudson could not do at a cost of $822,000.


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Halterm crane updates

Another change in the Halterm crane arrangement noted today.

The crane that had remained in the down position at pier 36 and was rarely used, was raised to the up position a couple of weeks ago and has now moved over to pier 41 - dwarfed by the four Super Post -Panamax cranes. The crane has movable bogies that allow it to negotiate curved track.

At left in this view is the oldest crane in Halterm, now moved from pier 36 to pier 41. Barely visible is the container ship Zim Monaco at pier 41-42, and not visible at all, Asian Sun arriving at pier 42 for Tropical Shipping.. 
The red building at the right is the Halterm truck entrance scanning shed.

One frame of the last of three cranes was being removed last Friday when the Nolhanava was in at pier 36. A large construction crawler crane with a white boom is seen securing the frame in the background.
Oceanex Sanderling was using pier 41, but sometimes has to wait if the berth is occupied.
Today however, Oceanex Sanderling was at pier 36.

With the demolition of the three old cranes at pier 37 now largely complete, there are other changes in the works.

The map on the left shows a new area added to Halterm's laydown area.
The map on the right,  printed before the recent crane demolition, did not list all the cranes in Halterm (it was one short). The tally now is four Super Post Panamax and the one from pier 36 which is pre-Panamax by the look of it.

The rumour persists that the Port Authority will fill in the camber between Piers A-1 and B to gain more ground area. I don't see this as a viable long term proposition since it will not gain the facility any berth space, That could only be achieved by extending Pier C (again).
It would lose the use of berths (piers) 36 and 37.  Granted berths 33 and 34 are rarely used by the port, (the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth uses berth 34, but it could go elsewhere) but again that would be expensive laydown area without the ability to work more ships.

However if my proposal to move the Oceanex and St-Pierre traffic to Fairview were to be accepted, then perhaps there would be no need for berths 36 and 37.


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Sub to Sea

Submarines are notoriously hard to identify since they generally do not display pennant numbers. However it is easier for Halifax shipwatchers since the RCN only operates one sub on this coast - HMCS Windsor.

After spending some time in Bedford Basin doing warmups last week, Windsor put out to sea today, likely for a short trip as part of preparations for winter exercises.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Harry DeWolf takes shape

After nearly six months the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship Harry DeWolf finally has a bow. Two major mega blocks for the ship were rolled out and connected at Halifax Shipyard in July. Block #1, the icebreaking bow section, remained in the assembly hall until this past week when it was rolled out to the hardstand.

The sign says"Small Parts Laydown Area" - the ship's bow was one of three "mega blocks" which make up the ship - not exactly small parts.

This morning crews were carrying out final alignments. Using multi-wheeled motorized carriers from Fagioli Canada (partners with J.D.Irving)  the bow was sidled into place so that welding can begin.

The frst two mega blocks went together in far nicer weather in July.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Salarium - we will need it soon

The self-unloading bulk carrier Salarium made one of its infrequent visits to Halifax today. The Canada Steamships Lines ship is on long term charter to Mines Seleine to carry salt from the Magdelan Islands salt mine to various ports in the region. It has just delivered a load to Saint John, NB and will load gypsum in Halifax as a back haul to Montreal. It makes few empty trips, so is always looking for cargoes other than salt to keep it busy.

Salarium makes its way inbound passing the foot of Sackville St. My eye is only about 15 feet above sea level today, as opposed to yesterday's photo. I will make it to the waterfront eventually!

The ship was built by Collingwood Shipyard in 1980 as Nanticoke, a "Nova St.Lawrence" class ship, intended to trade the Great Lakes and east coast, carrying bulk cargoes such as ore, coal and grain. It was named for a Lake Ontario port, site of a large Ontario Hydro coal fired generating station and a steel plant.

In 2009 the ship was assigned to the salt trade and renamed, including a new funnel mark, which represents K+S Windsor Salt Ltd's Mines Seleine subsidiary.

We will soon be requiring road salt in Halifax in view of the weather forecast, and the occasional sight of flurries offshore.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Comings and Goings

After a rough day yesterday caused several delays in arrivals and departures, conditions were serene today and normal sailings resumed.

HMCS Ville de Québec arrived early this afternoon in bright sunshine.
The frigate has been exercising in the Halifax harbour approaches.

Earlier in the morning the shuttle tanker Beothuk Spirit got underway for offshore Newfoundland to take up its duties, starting at the Hibernia oil field. It had been scheduled to sail yesterday, but its very high freeboard made disembarking a pilot too dangerous. The ships flies the Canadian flag and has a Canadian crew.

The ships passes Sackville Street, and its bridge is almost at eye level from my vantage point which was at the corner of Market Street, about 100 feet above sea level.


Before sailing: its massive full width bridge and bow loading structure dominate this image. The ship loads its cargo from offshore installations over the bow by special connection.

Note the markings for three thrusters and bulbous bow above the loaded waterline forward.(See previous post for more detail).


Sunday, December 3, 2017

First timers

Two ships arrived in Halifax for the first time, both under slightly unusual circumstances.
Friday night's arrival is the bulk carrier Federal Kushiro. The Marshal Islands flag ship is a frequent caller to Great Lakes ports, but has come to Halifax to top off its grain cargo since it cannot load to full capacity in the shallow waters of the Lakes.

The ship was built in2004 by Shin Kurushima, Onishi, Japan for Fednav the large Canadian shipping company operated from Montreal. It was built to near Seawaymax size with a 19,223 grt and 32,762 dwt. It carries three 30 tonne deck cranes.

It sailed onto the Lakes November 14, unloading a cargo in Hamilton, ON then proceeding to Johnstown, ON to take grain. However due to the ship's high freeboard it was difficult to get the grain to flow from that port's loading pipes. Coupled with the draft restrictions of the Seaway locks, the ship could only take a partial cargo. Topping off in Halifax should be no problem since the grain spouts are mounted high enough to reach very large ships. Rain cut short the loading operations for today however, and the ship was idle at Pier 28 this afternoon.

An unusual caller at Halterm was the Maersk Seletar. This is a US flagged ship, operating on Maersk's North Europe to east coast US service TA2 (with MSC) and is en route from New York back to Europe. The reason for its call was unclear to a casual observer, however it was noted that they were unloading reefer boxes. The demand for these in Halifax is fairly high for fish products and produce and that would be one reason for dropping off these particular containers. However the ship was working other cargo as well.

Also noted were the large number of Hamburg Süd containers, particularly aft. Maersk's takeover of Hamburg Süd cleared the final regulatory hurdle November 30 when South Korea was the 23rd jurisdiction to approve the deal (with some conditions). The arrangement now puts A.P. Moller Maersk's world-wide fleet at 773 ships (owned and chartered) including the 105 from HS. The company's container capacity is now a staggering 4.15 million TEU.

Maersk has a US subsidiary, which evolved from their takeover of Sealand Shipping a number of years ago. Maersk Line Ltd USA operates US flag ships, with US crews, but since the ships were not built in the US they are not Jones Act compliant. However since they are US owned and flagged they qualify to carry certain government and strategic cargoes that foreign carrier cannot. Maersk Seletar was built in 2007 by Hyundia Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea for A.P.Moller Singapore Pte Ltd. It has a capacity of 6788 TEU, although Maersk lists a nominal capacity of 6648. (They are notoriously coy about actual ship capacity). It joined Maersk USA in June of this year.
Tonnages reported when built were 79,702 grt, 81,094 dwt, but now appear as 80,503 grt, 87,545 dwt.

Seletar is a district in Singapore, site of an early rubber plantation and a Royal Air Force Base. The latter is in development as an aerospace park.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

New to Halifax x 2

Halifax based Clearwater Seafoods will unveil its latest clam dragger December 21 at Pier 21. The boat arrived today and made a brief foray into Bedford Basin - no doubt to show off for the folks at Clearwater's HQ on the Bedford Highway.

The ship, named Anne Risley, is the second such ship in the fleet. Like the first, the Belle Carnell (both named for the founders' mothers) this is a conversion from a Norwegian platform supply vessel. Clearwater has had success with previous generations of clam dredgers converted from suppliers, but these two are much more sophisticated.

 The ship has been given an enclosed working area and additional superstructure over what was once the cargo deck.
  Built in 2010 by Severnaya Werf in St.Petersburg and completed by Hellesoyverft, in Lofallstrand, for OH Meling + Co AS as Siddis Supplier, the ship was converted by Astilleros Santander in Spain. It sailed from Santander November 15 and arrived at Mulgrave, NS (where it will be based) on November 25. Tonnage increased from 2656 as built to 4478 as converted.

The clam dredge is worked over a stern ramp.
 It is estimated that Clearwater spent in excess of $135mn on the two vessels, not including plant upgrades in Grand Bank, NL (where Belle Carnell is based) and in Glace Bay.
Last year Clearwater caught up to its quota of surf clams for the first time.

Also arriving today fresh from the builder's yard in Geoje, South Korea, the shuttle tanker Beothuk Spirit tied up at Pier 9C. It is the first of three new winterized shuttle tankers built for Teekay Shipping on a fifteen year contract to move oil from the four offshore installations off Newfoundland: Hibernia, Terra Nova, White Rose and Hebron. The latter began production last week.

Besides the large bow structure that contains the cargo transfer gear, the ship is fitted with three forward and two aft thrusters (two forward and one aft are azimuthing - the others are tunnel type) and is classed DP2 for extremely accurate station keeping. It used two tugs on arrival, escorting it to Bedford Basin, turning it and bringing it back alongside Pier 9C starboard side to.

The 85,762 grt, 148,150 dwt ship was delivered in mid-October and sailed directly October 24 via the Panama Canal. It will outfit in Halifax before entering service. The ship will be followed very soon by the Norse Spirt which was accepted November 8, also at the Samsung Heavy Industry Shipyard. The third tanker, Dorset Spirit will be completed early in 2018. All three were named at a ceremony August 25 to honour three early cultures of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada's eastern arctic.
Sadly the Beothuk of Newfoundland became extinct due to permanent European settlement. The Dorset were an early people of the arctic, whose extinction occurred at about the same time as the Norse arrived in 1000 to 1500 AD. They were succeeded by Thule and Innu, with whom there was apparently little if any contact.

Teekay Shipping, based in Vancouver, operates 40% of the world's shuttle tankers, most of which have been built by Samsung. These specialized tankers load at sea from monobuoys at the well sites and make relatively short trips to storage facilities or nearby refineries. They do not make the long world girdling trips of normal crude tankers. They are therefore fitted with a lot of extra gear, such as the bow loading, and station keeping equipment.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Update on cranes

As the last of three Halterm container cranes diminishes in size. (Scrappers are dismantling it in pieces. The truck trailerable pieces are then sent off to a scrap yard for further cutting) I have reports that fourth container cane on pier 36 will not be dismantled. It is apparently used every Friday to work SPMI's Nolhanava on its weekly run to St-Pierre et Miquelon.

I assumed it might be on the list, since its boom is apparently never raised. This may be because the ship is so small it does not need to be raised. Oceanex used to use pier 36 also, but now only occasionally and then it seems only for RoRo. As the last pre-Panamax crane, its usefulness is therefore limited, even though it was built to move back and forth to pier 41-42.

Meanwhile at Fairview Cove the crane dismantling appears to be nearly complete, with no visible portions remaining above dock level.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

T for two

Two ships arrived today and both their names begin with the letter T.

The tanker Transsib Bridge arrived from Beaumont, TX with a cargo of refined product for Imperial Oil. Operated by SCF, better known as Sovcomflot, a 100% state owned Russian corporation, the ship is also Russian built, by the Admiralty Shipyards in St.Petersburg in 2008. The company specializes in oil and gas transportation, and was founded in the Soviet era to bareboat charter ships as a means of financing fleet growth. Following its merger with Novoship in 2008, the company has become a very large operator with more than 150 ships under its control, totalling more than 13mn dwt.

 Four prominent tug markers share space on the ship's flank with locators for eight manifold connections. There is also a red flash at the foot of the gangway for pilot visibility.

Of course the ship's name celebrates the controversial Trans Siberian gas pipeline (Transsib), although the Trans Siberian Railroad is also referred to as Transsib in some quarters. It is a typical mid-range size tanker of 27,725 grt, 46,564 dwt. Managed by SCF Management Services (Dubai0 Ltd, it is flagged in Liberia.

The second T ship, is hardly a surprise visitor. Tongala is a regular caller for Wallenius Wilhelmsen since it was built in 2012 by Mitsubishi, Nagasaki. At 61,106 gert, 25,585 grt, it has a capacity of 6,459 cars, and although classed as a PCTC (pure car and truck carrier) its 300 tonne stern ramp allows it to carry a range of RoRo traffic. It has often unloaded at Pier 31 in Halifax with miscellaneous RoRo cargoes , but this time around it will only visit Autoport.

Atlantic Fir scurries to take up the bow position and Atlantic Oak makes up aft as Tongala proceeds inbound in the Middle Ground area.

Traditionally Wilhelmsen ships' names begin with the letter T. This particular ships recognizes a dairy farming town in northern Victoria, Australia.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

New England and Newfoundland service expansions

Two service expansions from the Port of Halifax were announced this week.

Eimskip has announced a third vessel has been added to their Iceland /Argentia, Newfoundland/ Halifax / New England service. Selfoss will be re-joining Skogafoss and Reykjafoss to accommodate a slot arrangement with CMA CGM to serve New England. ( The ship had been added previously in 2015when Eimskip operated a Europe/ North America direct service without transshipment in Iceland, but has reverted to the previous mode with Iceland as the hub.)
There has been mention of Newfoundland bound cargo from Halifax for Eimskip and that remains a possibility (see below).

Several stand alone New England feeder services have run out of Halifax over the years, with varying degrees of success. By adding on to an existing service, CMA CGM may have struck on the best arrangement.

SPMI, which runs a weekly RoRo and container service out of Halifax to St-Pierre et Miquelon will now add Argentia, NL to its port rotation. Their ship Nolhanava has been serving the St-Pierre route for which it was built as Shamrock. Adding Argentia seems a natural expansion. Under old cabotage regulations, it was questionable if the ship could carry Canadian cargo between Canadian ports, even if it called in the foreign port of St-Pierre en route. With the new European free trade agreement, it can remain registered offshore and carry cargo between Canadian ports. There has been no exclusive arrangement with any particular line, so presumably they will carry anyone's cargo - container or RoRo to Newfoundland.
Oddly the ship was registered in Canada for one day September 1, 2017 as Nol Hanava.

Meanwhile at Argentia, Eimskip is completing the commissioning of a new 450 tonne capacity crane which will be available to all port users on a commercial basis.

Oceanex, the other Newfoundland service out of Halifax serves only St.John's. It used to serve CornerBrook, but that port was dropped due to low traffic and the time it took using their ASL Sanderling. Particularly in winter, it was not always possible to keep a weekly schedule with that ship. Since then Oceanex has been able to maintain a twice weekly service from Halifax to St.John's in peak demand times.
Oceanex is already coping with the competitive advantage of Marine Atlantic as a subsidized service. As part of the terms of Confederation when Newfoundland joined Canada in 1949, the Canadian government is obliged to maintain the ferry service from North Sydney. Oceanex is disputing this in court, but no outcome has been reached. More competition will surely not be welcome news for Oceanex, particularly if it siphons off regular traffic from some of its prime customers.

All four lines use Halterm.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Orange and Red

The tanker Torm Carina arrived Friday from Ijmuiden, Netherlands (sea lock for Amsterdam) with another load of refined product for Irving Oil. A 30,024 grt, 46,291 dwt tanker, built by STX Shipbuilding Co, Jinhae, South Korea in 2003 it was originally named Guld Falk for the Italian d'Amico company. In 2005 it was sold to Torm A/S of Denmark, renamed and painted in their distinctive orange colour scheme.

Although tied up at Irving Oil's Woodside dock, neighbouring Imperial Oil's tanks are visible in the background, complete with Imperial's new corporate badge. The familiar Esso oval is gone or going.

In Bedford Basin the heavy load carrier Forte is anchored awaiting its next assignment. It delivered the jack-up rig Noble Regina Allen November 7 and remained in number 1 anchorage in the lower harbour until November 15 when it moved to long term anchorage. Specialized ships such as this one often are often idle for extended periods between gigs.

Also in Bedford Basin the supplier Atlantic Condor was just completing some exercises with its fast rescue craft.

 Halifax Shipyard built the vessel in 2010 for a ten year contract with Encana to support the Deep Panuke gas project. With that project under performing (and in fact not producing at all according to recent reports), Encana is looking for contractors to begin dismantling the topsides structures.

And at the Bedford Institute, CCGS Hudson is back at its old stand. It arrived November 13 from Hamilton, ON where it was in refit. That refit was supposed to be complete last spring, but as time went on the Coast Guard became concerned that the ship would be trapped on the Lakes when the Seaway closes for the winter at the end of the year. They then took the unusual step of  re-possessing the ship from the Heddle Marine Shipyard. After couple of weeks alongside the CCG base in Hamilton the ship was able to sail November 8 and made a bee-line for home.

The Coast Guard has not revealed what work remains to be done on the ship and when it will return to service. The extended refit meant that many planned research programs had to be postponed, cancelled or transferred to other ships.