Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday activity

My usual Saturday harbour tour took in most of the activity today.

The Dutch cargo ship Dynamogracht arrived as sun began to burn off the early fog. It headed for Pier 9C to load drill pipe that appeared on the pier during the last week or so.


 The pipe is not new, so has apparently been reconditioned for re-use. The fact that the ship is Dutch leads me to believe that the pipe is from the aborted Shell exploration project in the Shelburne Basin. The project was cancelled when no oil was found and Shell learned that it was too difficult to drill anyway.

The Canada Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board - in its wisdom, along with  Environment and Climate Change Canada [I always wondered who was in charge of that] and Fisheries and Oceans Canada - have unforgivably allowed Shell to abandon its dropped riser pipe from the first well.  All  2100 meters of the pipe will apparently be resting on the seabed for eternity simply because it doesn't pose a threat to navigation or the environment. It was dropped in March 5, 2016 when the drill ship Stena ICEMAX was attempting to recover the drill stem in bad weather.

The fact that a multi-national company would be allowed leave its garbage behind simply because it is costly to recover says a lot about our regulation, regulators and the power of big oil. I understand however that Shell has to apply for a permit! If I had my way the cost of the permit would equivalent to recovery costs plus a multiplier.

In any event some drill pipe that was not dropped on the ocean bed will be loaded aboard the Spliethoff ship Dynamogracht at pier 9c.

The ship is one of eight D class ships in the Spliethoff fleet and was built in 2010 by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, China. Measuring 13,7096 grt, 17,967 dwt it has box shaped holds and three 120 tonne capacity cranes mounted on the starboard side of the ship.

An unusual feature of the ships of the D class is the second navigation bridge, located atop the normal bridge. Called the "tutorbridge" it is used to train cadets (who may be housed in the strange section of the accommodation block that appears to have been added on aft at the last minute.)  The tutor briage has all the equipment of a normal ship's bridge, but does not control the ship.
With more than 100 ships in its fleet, Spliethoff's (and its subsidiary BigLift, which also has D class ships, but of a different type) conducts an active apprenticeship program for junior ship's officers. 

Atlantic Willow assists the ship as it near Pier 9 C.

CMA CGM Figaro nears Halterm as it arrives on Columbus Loop service.  A regular on the run, it made its first appearance November 7, 2015.

The ship dates from 2010 when it was built by Samsung Shipbuilding and Heavy Industry Co Ltd. It has a capacity of 8465 TEU on 99,931 grt, 109,000 dwt.

At HMC Dockyard, HMCS Charlottetown has been lifted out on the Synchrolift for maintenance.

Built at Saint Dry Dock and Shipbuilding and commissioned in its namesake port September 9, 1995, it was handed back to the RCN June 5, 2014 after a ten month refit at Halifax Shipyard. It sailed from Halifax in June 2016 for service in the Mediterranean and last fall participated in exercises off Scotland. It returned to Halifax January 13, 2017.

At Irving Oil the tanker Nordic Amy was finishing up its work and preparing to sail this evening. It arrived in Halifax late Thursday from Saint John.

Despite the Esso sign in the background, the ship is tied up at the Irving Oil Woodside terminal, next door to the former Esso refinery.
Built, predictably, by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, in 2008 the ship was delivered as simply Amy. It took its present name in 2014 for Nordic Tankers of Hellerup, Denmark. The ship is managed from Singapore and flies the Singapore flag. Its measurements are 23,224 grt, 37,759 dwt.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lake Ontario

The bulker Lake Ontario anchored in the lower harbor today to take on bunkers. En route from New Orleans to Montreal, the ship is well known in the Great Lakes area under two names.
Built in 2004 as Lake Ontario the ship was soon renamed Federal Manitou when it entered a charter agreement with Fednav. In 2011 it reverted to its original name, and still calls on Great Lakes and Seaway ports.

Bright sun partially makes up for brisk winds and unseasonably cold temperatures as Lake Ontario stains at her anchor chain. The ferry is bound for the Woodside terminal, which is visible behind number one crane.

The ship is built to a convenient size for the St.Lawrence Seaway and measures 18,825 gt and 27,783 dwt. It is fitted with three 30 tonne cranes. A sister ship named Lake St.Clair was built in 2005, but has carried the same name ever since.

Shortly before sailing this evening with some direct sunlight on the hull, a large rusty patch showed up near the bow. This is testimony to numerous passages through St.Lawrence Seaway locks, where ships drag along the "knuckle" to enter locks. (And not a lick of paint since the 2016 season!)

The ship is owned by Sunship Schiffahrtskontor AG of Emden, Germany, flies the flag of Antigua and Barbuda and was built by Guangzhou Wenchong shipyard in Guangzhou, China.

On December 12, 2005 the ship also bunkered in Halifax, but as Federal Manitou.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Two knights

Early morning activity in the Harbour saw two ships named for knights:

First was Isaac Newton the Luxembourg flagged cable laying leaving its berth at Pier 9c for trials in Bedford Basin. The ship was working on trenching and cable laying  for the New Brunswick-PEI power cable project. It was was granted a coasting license from October 13 to Decmber 23, 2016 to carry out the work. The project experienced delays and when winter set in the ship laid over in Charlottetown for Christmas (Isaac Newton's birthday) then on to Halifax, arriving January 14. On Tuesday, March 14 the ship put out to sea, and returned on March 17.
Today it went to the Bedford Basin and conducted Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) trials, expected to tak 12 hours. The ship's new coasting license to complete the cable work extends from March 15 to June 15.

Getting away from the pier the ship turns in the stream with a little help from its thrusters.

 Using one of its cranes, the ship lowers it ROV for trials, while maintaining position with thrusters.

ROV back on deck late in the afternoon.

Sir Isaac Newton was a mathematician (generally credited with laying the ground work for calculus) and astronomer (developed the first practical reflecting telescope) and physicist (described the laws of motion and gravitation) and was Britain's pre-eminent scientist (1642-1726/27)[the Gregorian calendar changed in his lifetime].

Once the Isaac Newton cleared the Narrow, CCGS Sir William Alexander got under way from the Bedford Institute and headed out to service some local buoys, including H22 (Ives Knoll) in Halifax harbour and approaches.

 Backing away from the BIO pier.

 Setting out through the Narrows.

 Crew members on the cargo deck prepare for work, amid a collection of buoys.

 Sir William Alexander, First Earl of Stirling (1567-1640) was a royal courtier and poet in the court of  King James VI of Scotland (who was also King James I of England). He was appointed mayor of a huge territory comprising much of present day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and part of the northern United States. He established a settlement at Port Royal, Nova Scotia (previously settled by Samuel de Champlain) but the region was ceded back to France in 1632.  A few year later he was granted title to much of Long Island, New York, although it was disputed by the Dutch for many years. 
Although he personally never trod on Nova Scotia soil, Sir William did establish the legitimacy of the British claim to the area, and provided Nova Scotia's coat of arms and provincial flag.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

More signs of spring (maybe)

One sure sign of spring is the opening of the St.Lawrence Seaway, due Monday, March 20. Once decried as the death knell of the port of Halifax (along with winter navigation on the St.Lawrence River) neither has proven to be the case over time.

Halifax was once favoured as an ice free winter port when ice in the St.Lawrence closed the waterway to most navigation. However when the federal government began to break ice for commercial shipping in the 1950s (under the guise of flood control on the upper river - which it always had done in spring) the Port of Halifax feared that it would become a backwater. In fact it became year round port - just the opposite of conventional thinking of the day.

So it was when the St.Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959 and larger ships could access the Great Lakes for the first time, the doomsayers predicted it would be the end of the Halifax as a port. That has also not proven to be the case. Many ships are too large for the Seaway anyway and the trip is too long for priority cargoes such as containers, and Halifax has certainly not suffered. For a time the port was a busy transfer port for grain coming from western Canada via the Seaway. That was a result of skewed rail rates, and now Halifax only gets periodic grain cargoes, mostly for domestic use. Nevertheless , on balance, Halifax has not been harmed by the Seaway, and has probably seen some benefits.

In fact we now have our own "export" cargoes to the Great Lakes too.
National Gypsum exports most of its cargo to the US, but Canadian ships also load from time to time. Such was the case today as the Atlantic Huron took on its first cargo of the season and headed for "Upper Canada" this afternoon
Atlantic Huron at National Gypsum has its self unloading boom swung out overside to allow the travelling ship-loader to move along the docck and reach all hatches in turn. It makes several passes the length of the ship during the loading process to ensure an even loading pattern. The loader is visible at left with its high control cab and covered conveyor house.

After a winter maintenance period in Halifax since January 2, the ship got under way yesterday and moved to the gypsum pier at Wright's Cove in Bedford Basin to load.

Another sign of spring the arrival of the Fisheries and Oceans research ship CCGS Teleost. It often goes into refit for the winter and then comes to work in Halifax until ice clears out of the Gulf of St.Lawrence - its usual area of operation. The ship is based in St.John;s, NL as is fleet mate CCGS Alfred Needler, which also works from Halifax in winter.

Fresh from drydocking, Teleost has spotless paint, but apparently needs some ballast adjustment. While turning to back into its berth at the Bedford Basin it listed noticeably several times.

The ship was built as the factory stern trawler Atlantic Champion in 1988. Construction started at Tangen Verft, Kragero, Norway, but was completed at Langsten Slip-Batbyggeri A/S in Tomrefjord. Acquired from Clearwater Seafoods in 1994 it was converted for research work and renamed. It now measures 2405 grt - up from 2336 as built.

Autoport is still processing hoards of cars for the spring sales rush. Some of the backlog has been cleared however and overflow areas emptied - but the cars keep coming.

Today's caller was the Blue Ridge Highway. Despite being built as recently as 2009, it has the appearance of a much older type of autocarrier. The 48,927 grt, 15.290 dwt ship was delivered by Nantong COSCO KHI in Nantong, China to Fukunaga Kaiun KK, and operates for K-Line.

An overflow car storage area is empty now, but was full for the past few months. 
The line tug Roseway awaits departure time to let the head lines go from the Autoport mooring buoy (at right - out of the picture).

Unlike modern autocarriers the ship does not have the streamlined rounded car decks above the bow, and has numerous deck openings in the sides of the ship.

Yesterday's caller Tosca is more typical:
 Built in 2013 by Mitsubishi in Nagasaki Tosca is a 61,106 grt, 22,585 dwt ship with a capacity of 6,459 cars.

Also in port yesterday the autocarrier MSC Immacolata required crane assistance to release a fouled wire, and was turned end for end at Pier 31 after unloading some RoRo machinery. It had unloaded cars at Autoport Thursday.
File photo ofMSC Immacolata built in 2012 by STX Dalian, Wafangdian, China. 59,835 grt, 22,196 dwt.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

To the Basin for shelter

With another major storm passing through from the south, Bedford Basin is once again hosting a number of ships. Of these only the Canadian cargo ship Evans Spirit is making a detour from its normal course to seek shelter.

The ship is en route back to Sept-Iles, QC in ballast, from the US after delivering another cargo of aluminum. This is the second time the ship has sought shelter here (the first was on February 9) this winter.  And once again I didn't manage to get any decent photo.

Despite conflicting traffic signals, the Evans McKeil is heading in the right direction - toward Bedford Basin.

The three other ships, all tankers, went to anchor instead of occupying berths at oil docks. The Irving Oil tanker East Coast was the first to arrive and went directly to the Basin rather than tying up at the Irving Woodside jetty. That berth, although it is recently rebuilt, is not suitable in rough weather.

The next arrival was the Singaporean tanker Alpine Venture. It was due to tie up at Imperial Oil number 3 dock, but went to the Basin. Built in 2010 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan, the 29,120 grt, 45,046 dwt ship is part of the Transpetrol fleet.

 With Atlantic Oak made up astern as tethered escort, Alpine Venture lines up for the Narrows and Bedford Basin.

The third tanker is Gotland Sofia (see yesterday's post). It moved from Imperial Oil number 3 dock, which is also an untenable berth in a storm. The ship may have completed unloading in any event, so will likely be heading to sea once the storm passes.

There was one sign of spring in the harbour however. The research vessel Coriolis II ventured away from her layup dock at the old Coast Guard base for some harbour trials.

The former CCGS John Jacobsen was built in 1980 by Versatile Pacific in Victoria, BC as a 500 class rescue cutter CCGS 501. It was renamed in 1992 and declared surplus in 2000, becoming 2000-03. In 2001 the Université de Québec à Rimouski bought and renamed the ship for research use by a consortium of Quebec universities and research institutes, under the umbrella name of Institut national des sciences de la mer (ISMER)  It is also available for commercial charter work.

The former Coast Guard base is to become the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE), but has already become the stopover site for research and offshore vessels in layup or conversion such as Trinity Sea (background of photo above.)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Daylight Saving Time

With the arrival of Daylight Saving Time there are new opportunities for evening ship watching and ship photography.

This morning's arrival, the tanker Gotland Sofia was nicely illuminated at Imperial Oil's number 3 dock.

In the background a long string of auto racks await room at Autoport, and another of Imperial Oil's oil tanks has a large hole in the side as demolition continues on the former refinery.

This is another member of the Gotland Rederi AB fleet of Norway, several of which have visited Halifax before. The "Super Ice" ship was built in 2007 by Guangzhou International and measures 29,283 grt, 53,187 dwt and  stands out due to its large superstructure and full width bridge. The penguin symbol on the house seems to have displaced the usual "No Smoking" signs.

Difficult as ever to take a picture of a ship berthed at Halterm, I did make an effort this time since it is a first time caller on the Columbus Loop. The Singapore flag Kota Lumayan is a very small ship for the service operated by CMA CGM and current partners UASC and COSCO.  Since that partnership is about to change April 1, it is possible that this ship is a fill-in and may not be back. It is operated by Pacific International Lines, [thus PIL on the funnel] (which is not a partner in the service) on charter to COSCO.

Built in 2010 by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co the 39,96 grt, 50,604 dwt ship has a capacity of only 4253 TEU. The CMA CGM ships in the 18 ship rotation are rated at 8400 TEU and up to more than 9,500.

The most recent schedule for the Columbus Loop still shows UASC ships. UASC has been acquired by HAPAG-Lloyd and will be leaving the group. OOCL and Evergreen will be joining, so we may ships from those lines in the coming months.


Sunday, March 12, 2017

More icing

Frigid air temperatures (-10C range), cold sea water (+1C range) and winds (25 knots) make for ideal freezing spray conditions. All that is needed then is some cold steel of a ship's hull and icing will occur.
Today's afternoon arrivals had only a thin film of ice, since both ships were coming from the south and did not have prolonged exposure to the arctic like conditions.

The Maltese flag Performance arrived from Norfolk on G6 Alliance service.

With Atlantic Oak on the stern and Atlantic Willow "riding shotgun" the Performace has cleared the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge inbound in the Narrows.

Built in 2002 by IHI Kure as MOL Performance, the 74,071 grt, 74,453 dwt ship has a capacity of 6402 TEU (including 500 reefers). At completion of the MOL charter in 2014, owners Danaos Shipping Co Ltd of Piraeus renamed the ship with a few swipes of the paint brush.


AHS Hamburg arrived on its bi-weekly visit for Tropical Shipping, with a bit more spray, acquired on the last leg of its trip from Palm Beach, FL.  It is one of two ships serving Tropical Shipping from Halifax and made its first call January 16. The other ship, Vega Omega, inaugurated the service with its arrival January 8.

Built by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, China in 2008, as Pacific Hawk it was a member of the Bockstiegel Reederei fleet until 2012 when it took its present name and joined the Carsten Rehder fleet of Hamburg. Measuring 9957 grt, 13,760 dwt the ship has a capacity of 1118 TEU and carries two 45 tonne cranes mounted on the ship's centre line. The ship is registered in Antigua and Barbuda, the flag of choice for many German ships.


Iced Rails

This morning the Dutch cargo ship Onego Merchant arrived at pier 27 with a cargo of rails from Szczecin, Poland. The ship also had a coating of frozen spray, which an orange suited crew began to chip away to be ready to start unloading tomorrow.

The 6301 grt, 8700 dwt ship was built in 2002 by Bodewes Volharding shipyard in the Netherlands and is standard ship of their 8700 class. Featuring box shaped holds and pontoon hatches, it carries a pair of cranes and a travelling gantry to lift the hatches.

It began life with the name Dewi Parati but was renamed Beluga Spirit briefly in 2003, but soon reverted to its original name. It became Texel in 2008 and in 2011 Onego Merchant. It then reverted to Texel from 2013 until February of this year. It has been owned since 2008 by Kustvaart Harlingen, BV and is on charter to Onego Shipping and Chartering.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

All Atlantic

A casual ship watcher in Halifax today might think that every ship must have the prefix Atlantic in its name.
That was certainly the case for many of the ships in port.


Atlantic Container Line's Atlantic Star sailed for New York in the early afternoon. Built in 2015 it was the first of five fourth generation ConRos (the largest in the world) built specifically for ACL's transatlantic service. Only three of the ships are in service - two remain at the shipyard in Shanghai for unexplained reasons.

It was assisted by Atlantic Towing Ltd's tugs Atlantic Fir and sister tug Atlantic Oak acted as tethered escort.

On their way through the Narrows, they passed the tug / supplier Atlantic Shrike which is in the last stages of fitting out at pier 9A.  Today it was loading lube oil.

Its sister Atlantic Griffon sailed for its new home port of St.John's last week, to join Atlantic Heron already delivered from Romania via the Netherlands. (The fourth tug in the series, Paul A. Sacuta is en route from the Netherlands.)  All four are owned by Atlantic Towing Ltd. Griffon and Shrike were completed in Halifax after their hulls and superstructures were delivered from Romania.

Meanwhile at pier 27 the bulk carrier Atlantic Huron is now fitting out for the Great Lakes shipping season after a two month winter layup. Today it was ballasted by the stern exposing its bow thruster. The ship is owned by Canada Steamship Lines and owes its name to the fact that it can operate on the Great Lakes and deep sea.

The interesting shell plating transition that was required to widen the mid-body of the ship was also revealed and shows how awkward it was to increase the ship's tonnage to maximum St.Lawrence Seaway dimensions. The additional cargo carrying capacity was apparently worth the effort.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Michelle C in for a top up

The general cargo ship Michelle C put in to Halifax this afternoon for a short stay - just long enough to top up on fuel. Bound from Philadelphia for Sorel, the ship was met at pier 27 by a fuel truck from RST Transport.

Michelle C was built by Jiangsu Yangzijiang in Jiangyin, China for Carisbrooke Shipping, the notable British company based on the Isle of Wight.  It is equipped with two 80 tonne cranes serving large box shaped holds with portable tween decks, allowing it to carry a variety of cargoes. Tonnages are 9,530 grt and 12,946 dwt.

Immediately upon completion in 2010 the ship was renamed Nirint Pioneer for a charter to the Dutch company Nirint Shipping. It reverted to its original name in 2011. By coincidence another Nirint charter was in port today too. Asian Moon was unloading its usual nickel concentrate cargo from Cuba, at pier 31.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Höegh Singapore in the wind

The autocarrier Höegh Singapore used three tugs to berth at Autoport today. High sided autocariers are particularly difficult to manage when it is windy, so the third tug was an added safety measure.

As the ship rounds Ives Knoll, the tug Atlantic Oak stands by as the other tugs are secured alongside using bollards set into the ship's hull.

For a time it appeared as if Atlantic Oak was going to assist, but it stood off. There was no room between the Atlantic Willow (forward) and Atlantic Fir (aft) for the Oak to tie up.

Once in the Eastern Passage turning basin, as the ship was well into its turn, Atlantic Oak finally began to come alongside.
The yellow buoy marks the limit of the turning basin.

Once the ship was mostly turned, the tugs were no longer visible. The third tug would assist in backing the the ship to its berth. 
The inset hull bollards are visible on close inspection, and tug pushing points are marked with vertical white arrows.

Höegh Singapore is a mid-size autocarrier of 47,266 grt, 12,250 dwt with a capacity of 4900 cars. It was built in 2011 by Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co in China. Flying the Norwegian flag, it is operated by Höegh Fleet Services of Oslo.
Höegh is no longer a regular caller in Halifax, but their ships do call while under charter to other lines, or on slight deviations from their usual routes. The ship is en route from US east coast ports to Antwerp, so will be loading export vehicles, although it may have some import cargo too.