Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Day Visitor

Monday May 29 was Memorial Day in the United States. As usual there was a United States military presence in Halifax, to  commemorate U.S. war dead. This year it was a color guard from a United States Navy submarine that did the honors.

All US subs are nuclear powered, and restricted to the Shearwater jetty in Eastern Passage (known to the RCN as November Alpha). The sub sailed this morning.

There are several sites in Halifax where US service persons are buried, including Deadman's Island in the Northwest Arm and Holy Cross Cemetery.


What's in a name

As a self- proclaimed connoisseur of ship's names, I do like to see a ship that shows some originality in its name. Today I managed a bit of a double header.

First was the bulk carrier Desert Serenity, arriving fully laden from Baie Comeau. The ship tied up at pier 31 and was met by at least one fuel truck. It also appears to have taken on a couple of containers on deck (most unusual for a bulk carrier).

Built in 2008 by Kouan Shipbuilding Co in Taizhou, China, it was launched as Serenade. However it was renamed on delivery with the pleasantly evocative name Desert Serenity. The 31,091 grt, 53,280 dwt bulker is fitted with four cranes and is operated by The Greek owned, Marshal Islands based Atlantic Bulk Carriers Management Ltd. Their fleet has several ships with the "Desert" prefix.

While arriving it passed a lobster boat, tending traps (the season closes in the Halifax area May 31.) Named Hurtin' Unit it was built in 2008 by Wedgeport Fibreglass Ltd. It is 12m long and 27.44 grt with a 200 bhp engine.

While difficult to see in a distant photo, Desert Serenity's hatches are tarped over. However the tarps did not appear to be in great condition, so perhaps that may have something to do with why it called in Halifax. It's destination is listed as Lagos, Nigeria.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Harbour Spot Check

With intermittent fog and drizzle, there were a few opportunities for spot checks on the harbour over the weekend.

At Irving Woodside the Vroon tanker Iver Exact arrived Friday and sailed later the same day.

The Dutch company Vroon, active in tankers and the offshore, distinguish their ships with a large letter "V" near the bow.

Built by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan in 2007 the 29,456 grt, 46,858 dwt product tanker is a slightly larger version of Irving Oil's chartered fleet, which are also owned by Vroon (known now as Iver Ships BV) and under long term charter.

On Saturday CMA CGM brought in another of its split superstructure ships, APL Danube. The ship was built as CMA CGM Danube in 2014 by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co and at 95,263 grt, 112,560 dwt, it has a capacity of 9,365 TEU (including 1458 reefers).

 Monopolizing number one anchorage for a few hours, APL Danube had to undergo Asian Gypsy Moth inspection before tying up at pier 41. The ship's last port of call before Halifax was Colombo, Sri Lanka.

In 2016 the ship was renamed NileDutch Orca for service with the family owned NileDutch, which as the name suggests operates between Europe and Africa, although its concentration is more on West Africa than it once was. It also serves North America and Asia. Earlier this year, the sip was reassigned to the Columbus JAX service and was renamed APL Danube. APL (American President Lines) is owned by CMA CGM through APL's parent company Neptune Orient Lines, acquired by CMA CGM in 2016. NOL and APL will retain their identity to a degree for a time.

Also new this weekend was NYK Terra, filling a slot on THE Alliance's service.  Built in 2008 by Hyundai Heavy Industry, Ulsan it is a 76,928 grt, 80,282 dwt ship.

The tug Spitfire III has a line up on the port bow and Atlantic Oak (not visible)  is on the stern as NYK Terra passes under the A. Murray MacKay bridge outbound.

With a capacity of 6661 TEU (including 460 reefers) it is about equal in size to the OOCL ships that used to call on the G6 service, which THE Alliance has supplanted.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Atlantic Sky

The long awaited fourth ship in the ACL fourth generation (G4) series made its first call in Halifax today. Under typically gloomy May skies, Atlantic Sky was in and out of port in less than 12 hours, working both containers and RoRo cargo.
Driving rain deterred this photographer from catching her arrival, but things had improved somewhat for the departure.

Atlantic Sky is clear of Fairview Cove and is lining up for the Narrows with assistance of the tug Spitfire III.

Built by Hudong-Zhonghua in Shangai the 100,430 grt, 55,828 dwt ship made an impressive sight as it glided out through the Narrows.

Despite the gloom and mist, the ship's white paint was almost glowing. 
Note the unusual rubbing strakes on the ship's side. These are protection when using the Gladstone lock in Liverpool to reach the Seaforth Dock. The ship is 37.6m wide and the lock is 40m, so some scraping is likely to occur!

This ship, and the fifth member of the series were due to be delivered before the end of 2016. However both ships were held in the shipyard - possibly to deal with issues experienced by the first three ships of the group. Atlantic Sky conducted sea trails in July 2016, but it was not until March 22 of this year that owners Atlantic Container AB (part of the Grimaldi Group) accepted delivery.

The fifth and last ship Atlantic Sun conducted sea trials in November, but has not been delivered yet, and as a result the two veteran third Generation (G3) ships Atlantic Cartier and Atlantic Conveyor are carrying on into this summer. The first G4 ships are apparently still experiencing issues, and early drydockings for them may extend the lives of the G3s into the fall.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Long Weekend - Assignment 2

What could have been a serious incident was averted today more by luck than good planning.

The cruise ship Maasdam arrived this morning and tied up at pier 22 on one its regular visits.

Maasdam gliding in to port this morning.
Soon after tying up it was joined by the tug Gulf Spray with its scow and motorboat, used to remove garbage and recyclables. The barge tied up on the waterside of the ship and the transfer got underway. Normally the barge (or sometimes more than one barge) remain beside the ship all day, along with the motorboat. The tug usually does not remain.

Gulf Spray sets out from the old Coast Guard base in Dartmouth to pier 22 to remove refuse from the Maasdam. The motorboat and barge remain alongside for most of the day.

Late in the afternoon the CCGS G.Peddle S.C. entered port and raced up the west side of George's Island, paying no heed to the barge alongside, leaving a significant wake, which tore into the barge tossing it about madly.

By the time CCGS G. Peddle S.C. reached the Narrows it was travelling at a sensible speed.

Fortunately the barge and motorboat crews were alert and took precautions, and there were no parted lines nor injuries.

This incident raises two questions:
1. Is the CCG immune to the harbour speed rules?  There was no emergency which would have caused the G.Peddle to exceed the safe speed in the harbour.
Who was on watch on the G.Peddle that could not have seen the barge alongside the cruise ship or would have been so unaware that there was likely to be a barge alongside?
The only objective as I could see was that  the G.Peddle was in "hurry home" mode.

2. Who was on watch at Halifax Traffic? Surely an attentive watchstander at Halifax Traffic would have noted the G.Peddle's speed and been aware that it was bearing down on the barge.
I do not know if the barge had asked for a "low wake" notice - if they did, then Halifax Traffic was really asleep on the job. But even if they didn't, Halifax Traffic should have alerted the G.Peddle to the effect that there was a barge alongside.

There is a great reluctance by Halifax Traffic (and most VTS services) to interfere with the ship's master's conduct - but if there had been an injury or damage, I think Halifax Traffic would have been found to have a duty beyond that of a spectator like me. I could see a potential disaster about to happen but had no power to stop it. Halifax Traffic did have that power.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Long Weekend Assignment - Part 1

The Victoria Day weekend - a Canadian holiday to commemorate the birthday of Queen Victoria (May 24) - involves little celebration of that notable empress, because it generally marks the first weekend of summer. This year's weekend was no exception, including some summer like weather on Friday with record high temperates for the date, but it was a much cooler Saturday with stiff a stiff breeze off the ocean.

Friday saw another new to us K-Line ship, Brotonne Bridge another member of the same class of ships serving THE Alliance AL6 service (also Zim's ZCI).

Samsung SB+HI Co Ltd delivered the 46,444 grt, 58,200 dwt ship in 2010. With a capacity  of 4526 TEU it is operated by Seaspan on a 12 year charter (with two three year options) to K-Line.

Another new to Halifax ship showed up on Saturday. YM Movement is also on THE Alliance service, but this time the EC5 run.

The ship dates from 2013 when it was built by Koyo Dockyard Co in Mihara, Japan. It rates 6258 TEU on 71,821 grt, 72,370 dwt.

Arriving Thursday, the Radcliffe R. Latimer discharged its grain cargo from Thunder Bay at pier 25. On Friday night it moved to National Gypsum to load and is due to sail overnight Saturday/Sunday.

Named for a now retired President of Algoma Corp, the ship is the former Algobay built in 1978 by Collingwood Shipbuilding for Great Lakes and ocean work, called the "Nova Scotia class".  After a three stint under the Liberian flag, from 1990 to 1993 it then had a three year charter from 1994 to 1997 to CSL as Atlantic Trader, after which reverted to its original name.
It was laid up in 2002 but in 2007 Algoma announced it would be rebuilt in China. With its engine and self-unloading boom and other gear removed it was towed from Hamilton, ON (May 13, 2008) to Shanghai, China (September 7, 2008) then to Jiangyin 100 miles upstream.
The forward part of the ship was removed and broken up and the superstructure attached to a new self-unloading cargo body.
It returned to North America via the Panama Canal, arriving in Portland, ME, December 30, 2009 where it wintered over, entering service in 2010. Its first load out of Halifax was September 11 of that year.
Since then it has been a infrequent caller, but with the closure of US Gypsum's facility in Little Narrows, NS, we can expect to see it more frequently.

Also in port is the general cargo ship Thorco Luna at pier 9c. It arrived off Halifax in early May and entered port May 15 (in less than ideal photographic conditions.) At pier 9c it is being fitted with cable racks.

The ship was built by Honda Heavy Industries Ltd [no relation to the car] in Saiki, Japan, in 2014, one of ten ships of the same class for the Danish Thorco Shipping. Sister ship Thorco Liva was here in October last year, also to be fitted to carry cable.
Measuring 13,110 grt, 16,953 dwt, it carries a pair of 50 tonne cranes that can work in tandem.

As the crew closes the forward hatch, several portable tween decks are stacked forward. Note also the yellow 100 tonne spreader on deck behind the forward crane (right in line with the base of the transmission tower). 

Another sign of spring - is the annual arrival of the herring fleet. Four seiners appeared on the waterfront over the past few days.

Left to right: Morning Star, Lady Janice II, and Lady Melissa. The fourth, Dual Venture was also in port and possibly another - not visible due to waterfront congestion.

And as a bonus to the May 7    post, Ningbo Express sailed today on the eastbound (return) leg of its trip - this time in clear weather. It sailed just in time to allow YM Movement to dock, and this time it was Atlantic Cartier at the east end of Fairview Cove yesterday and Itea today.

assignment to be continued..........

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

RHL for TA4

Maersk and CMA CGM operate the TA4 service jointly from Antwerp, Rotterdam and Bremerhaven to Montreal and Halifax and back. As noted, of late they are using replacement ships as Maersk Pembroke had a broken crankshaft (or camshaft). With no ship last week on the usual Saturday, or sometimes Sunday, it was apparent that they had called in another replacement from the spot market. (Last month the Louis S was a late arrival substitute on April 24.)

The ship that finally arrived in Halifax today was RHL Agilitas. Flying the Liberian flag it is a modest sized ship of 18,480 grt, 23,665 dwt with a capacity of 1732 TEU. It is also fitted with two 40 tonne cranes.

The ship was built as Wilhelm Busch in 2007 by Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard Co Ltd of Guangzhou, China but was renamed on delivery by Reederei Hamburger Lloyd (hence the "RHL"). 
In this age of 20,000 TEU mega ships, a ship of this size looks puny, but one needs to remember that the first fully cellular container ships to call in Halifax carried barely 1,500 TEU! and they were thought to be huge at the time.

Dart Europe built in 1970 was a 33,400 grt, 28,484 dwt ship with a capacity of 1556 TEU. It was 759'-8" x 110'-6" and had a 29,000 shp Sulzer engine to make 21 knots.
RHL Agilitias measures  about 567' x 90' and can do 20 knots, on a very much smaller engine.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

YM's fourth and updates

The AL1 transatlantic service of THE Alliance, consisting of four ships, all belonging to Yang Ming Line, has now completed an entire cycle, with all four ships making an appearance in Halifax. The first ship, YM Essence arrived April 23, and the fourth arrived today: YM Enlightenment.

Atlantic Oak (on the stern) and Spitfire III shepherd YM Enlightenment through the Narrows.

Built in 2015 by China Shipbuilding Corp in Kaohsiung, it is a sister ship to the other three, with a 4662 TEU capacity on 47,952 grt, 56,500 DWT.  The ships normally arrive in Halifax on Sunday. It is registered in Liberia, as is YM Express. The other two, YM Evolution and YM Essence are registered in Taiwan.

Update: The barge Atlantic Sealion made its trip from Woodside to the Halifax Shipyard this morning, where a number of cradles and components for the first Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel were unloaded at pier 8. [see also yesterday's post.]

A banner on the barge's gunwale says "Proudly Building Ships for Canada" and features the Canadian and Nova Scotia flags and the Irving Shipbuilding logo. The tug Atlantic Willow handled the move and the return later in the day to the IEL dock.

Update:  For the past week or two, we have had a "guest" pilot boat working in Halifax harbour. The Fundy Pilot. As the name suggests it is normally based in Saint John, NB, but came to Halifax initially for refit at the CME shipyard in Sambro. Once the refit was completed it took over duties from the Chebucto Pilot while it has its own refit.

Built in 1983 by the well known US pilot boat builders, Gladding-Hearn in Somerset, MA, the 17.5 kn boat is backed up by the APA No.1 dating from 1977.

Somewhat dwarfed by APA No.1 at the pilot dock, Fundy Pilot was en route to her refit when this photo was taken in March. APA No.1 takes its design origins from Gulf of Mexico crew boats, whereas Fundy Pilot is an evolutionary step in the Gladding-Hearn repertoire of scores of pilot boats.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

CMA ties the record and Woodside moves

The 9,365 TEU CMA CGM Loire arrived this morning, tying the record for largest container ship to call in Halifax. Sister ship CMA CGM Tage set the record May 28, 2016 when it arrived for the first time.  We have not surpassed the 10,000 TEU ship yet, but that will happen this summer according to the Port of Halifax.

Early risers caught sight of the CMA CGM Loire in number one anchorage, where it under went Asian Gypsy Moth inspection.

CMA CGM Loire was built in 2015 by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company and measures 95,263 grt, 112,279 dwt. It also features the split superstructure of the larger ships. With the accommodation block moved forward for visibility, there is no superstructure aft except the engine casing and funnel.

 The true bulk of the ship could best be appreciated from the Dartmouth side of the harbour. The ship carries some container stacks eight high.

The bridge structure is thin and very high.

There is no superstructure aft, and only a funnel and engine room casing.

Early this afternoon the ship moved alongside pier 41 at Halterm aloowing for a close up look.

Meanwhile in Dartmouth, it was a busy day at the Industrial Estates pier. The Woodside annex of the Halifax Shipyard has been busy fabricating hull cradles to be used to support the various hull components of ships under construction. 

A giant Manitowoc crane was busy this morning lifting the cradles aboard the venerable barge Atlantic Sealion (once known as the Irving Whale, it spent 26 years on the bottom of the Gulf of St.Lawrence before it was raised in 1996.)

The Shipyard is also using the Woodside facility to fabricate complex bow and other shapes for the current program of Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships. The first bow was wheeled out this morning on a transporter and loaded aboard the Sealion.

Other shapes followed, and soon after the moves, the rail line to Autoport was re-opened, as it had been closed all day to allow the transporter to cross the tracks.

Tomorrow the cargo will be transported to Halifax Shipyard and landed at pier 8.

 In due course the bow components will be connected to the well advanced hull of the first AOPV, to be named HMCS Harry De Wolf.

Also in Woodside, Irving Oil welcomed the tanker NS Pride

A puff of smoke on the starboard side is from an accompanying tug making fast.

Built in 2006 by the ShinA Shipbuilding Company of Tongyeong, South Korea, it is a ship of 25,467 grt, 40,000 dwt and is operated by  SCF Management Services Dubai.
ShinaA Shipbuilding was one of the victims of the global financial crisis and was declared bankrupt in 2015 and liquidated in 2016.


Friday, May 12, 2017

THE Alliance - new to us

As THE Alliance swings into action, its new shipping roster continues to bring ships to Halifax for the first time.
Today there were two "new to us" ships at Fairview Cove.
Bilbao Bridge arrived early in the morning and sailed just at sunset.

The tug Spitfire III waits to put a line up on Bilbao Bridge as the last of the sun strikes the ship about 2004 hrs this evening.

 The ship is one of several K-Line ships that will be maintaining the Transatlantic route for THE Alliance. It is rather lightly loaded, but that is the nature of a new scheduled transatlantic service, as it builds its customer base. One thing of note  was the large number of UASC (United Arab Shipping Company) boxes on deck. UASC has been acquired by HAPAG-Lloyd, on the THE Alliance members.

Built in  2011 by Samsung SB+HI , Koje, the 46,444 grt, 58,200 dwt ship has a capacity of 4526 TEU. It is owned by Seaspan, the international ship financing arm of the Washington Group, based in Vancouver.

Arriving mid-day was the Malleco a member of the Peter Doehle fleet of Hamburg. The 75,752 grt, 60,400 dwt ships was built in 2009 by China Shipbuilding in Kaohsiung. With a capacity of 6589 TEU (including 1162 reefers) the ship flies the flag of Madeira, a Portuguese offshore registry.

 Despite its size, the ship seemed to navigate the Narrows with ease, and tethered escort Atlantic Oak did not have to work to hard to keep the ship in line.
A sister ship Maule has been a frequent caller for the old G6 Alliance. 

Wit the addition of these new ships, one wonders how much longer old G6 Alliance ships will continue to call.

The May 8 arrival of OOCL Kuala Lumpur may be the last we see of OOCL ships until a new alliance comes along.

Also among today's arrivals was the Adriatic Highway, which is now monthly caller trying to keep up with the demand for new automobiles in North America.

 Adriatic Highway enters port after a period at anchor offshore. Also anchored outside is the general cargo ship Thorco Luna which has been there for a week or more. It is due to enter port Monday, probably to load undersea cable drums.

Low financing rates and digressive German export policies has put such cars as Mercedes, BMW and Audi within reach of more Canadians.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Short stay for distinguished visitor

The name ship of the large Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers made a brief visit in Halifax today. Tying up at HMC Dockyard about 1000 hrs, the ship sailed again at 1600, with the assistance of civilian tugs.

USS Arleigh Burke slips out of Halifax in misty conditions this afternoon after a six hour port call.
Launched in 1989 and commissioned in 1991 (and subject of at least one major refit) the ship was the first in a class that now numbers more than 60 ships.  The impressive looking vessels are cruiser size, but are classed as destroyers, and are the only destroyers in the current USN.

The namesake of the ship was one of the great USN figures in modern times. Despite relatively short stints of sea-time he was a destroyer hero in World War II ending his career as an Admiral and longest serving Chief of Naval Operations. He was also the first living naval officer to see a ship commissioned with his name.

The ship is based in Norfolk, VA.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Big Ship - Big Fog

With zero visibility most of the day, it was nice to get a glimpse of the Ningbo Express anchored in Bedford Basin off Birch Cove.

It was awaiting a berth at Fairview Cove, under the large cranes on the west end of the pier. That space was occupied by Atlantic Sea which was also using the RoRo ramp. It was originally thought that Atlantic Sea would move to the east end of the pier when its RoRo work was done and then use the smaller cranes to complete its container work.
As it turned out Atlantic Sea must have finished work early, because it went directly to sea without moving berths.
In fact the move did take place after all.
Both ships are 100,000 tonners (deadweight) but Atlantic Sea does not require the higher cranes.
Ningbo Express, built in 2002 as Hong Kong Express carries 7506 TEU (including 700 reefers) and measures 88,493 grt. It has been pictured here before in 2015 and 2016.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

More fog (revised)

 If you read this before, you might be further enlightened if you read it again - particularly towards the end, where several typos disguised the meaning. Some other corrections and additions have also been made.

Another week of frequent fog and rain might discourage some shipwatchers, but it brings about the little appreciated side benefit of ship's whistles. The sound of those deep throated bellows penetrating through the soup and echoing endlessly off downtown buildings is a wonderful feature of this port city.

Today's arrivals and departures, while largely unseen, were certainly not unheard. Of particular note was Oceanex Sanderling, which early this evening made the half hour or so move from Autoport to Halterm. It sounded its fog signal for the entire trip. Much of that time if was steering a nor'west to westerly course, which meant that its fog horn was pointed directly at the southern half of the Halifax peninsula. I hope everyone appreciated it as much as I did.

Normal comings and goings during the past week included another load of rail for CN. The huge demand for track upgrade sees pier 27 stockpiling thousands of tonnes, which is sent out on special rail cars  on an almost daily basis. Once the stockpile begins to become depleted, along comes another ship from Poland with another load.

The ship's sponsoned hull - sure sign of a Damen and Carisbrooke ship - maximizes hold and hatch size while maintaining a narrower bow and stern.
The same ship was also here in January with a similar load.
The most recent ship arrived April 28 and sailed Friday, May 5. Margaretha discharged about 10,000 tonnes, using its own cranes. The ship is a popular type for this work, because it is built with boxlike holds, that help to keep the cargo from shifting. Its large hatches make it easy to pick the cargo directly from the hold without having to shift it within the ship.

The ship was built to their own standard design by the Dutch company Damen. The hull was built at their shipyard in Galati, Romania, but the ship was completed at the home yard in Hoogezand, Netherlands in 2002. Measuring 7752 grt, it it has a deadweight capacity of 10,526 tonnes.

It was built originally for Carisbrooke Shipping, based on the Isle of Wight in England. It was to be named Anna-C, bu t was renamed Hanna-C before launching. It was soon after renamed Corral then in 2006 Opal Ace and in 2009 became Hanna C. In 2012 it took its present name, and management was shifted from Carisbrooke to Reederei Rudolf Schepers GmbH+Co. It is registered in St.John's, Antigua.

I did observe on odd activity on Wednesday May 3 as the container ship  ZIM Constanza sailed from pier 42. The ship seemed to slide well south along the pier face, before its bow could be lifted off by tugs. Ships usually stay well clear off the end of pier 42 due to relatively shallow water.

The ship's stem was almost even with the end of the pier - something rarely seen. The ship then reversed, and began to move off.

 Once clear the ship took the normal outbound course.

ZIM Constanza was builtr in 2010 Jiangsu by Yangzijiang Shipyard in Jiangyin, China. It has a capacity of 4256 TEU (including 698 reefers)  and measures 40,542 grt, 50,170 dwt.
The ship (known by some wags as the ZIM George Constanza) is on the ZIM Container Service Atlantic (ZCA), from Haifa to Piraeus, Genoa, Tarragona, Halifax, New York, Savannah, Kingston, Tarragona, Haifa. This ship inaugurated the service June 28, 2012 and has been a regular caller ever since.