Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Cruise Ship Countdown - CORRECTED

October 31 is the last day of the cruise ship season. We were expecting one last ship today, but as it turned out there were four ships in port, thanks to some very rough weather outside.

The remnants of tropical storm Philippe passing out to sea brought very high winds to Halifax and as a result
there were many delays in sailings and arrivals since late last week.  The Silver Whisper was one of two ships that arrived on Sunday October 29 and opted to remain in port.

Although not exactly red, the Sunday morning sky certainly gave sailors a warning of what was to come. 90 kph plus winds and lashing rain were the order of the day from Sunday evening to late Monday afternoon, when the rain let up but not the wind. High seas delayed pilots from getting to ships and there were numerous cancellations or postponements.
For more photos of the ship, scroll down to September 23 and October 7.

T minus 4

Silver Whisper sailed early this morning.

T minus 3

Crown Princess arrived on Monday October 30 and opted to remain in port over night. The 113,651 grt ship, built in 2006 by Fincantieri Italiani, Monfalcone, with a capacity of 3,080 passengers is one of the larger ships to call this year,.

It sailed late this afternoon, still in a brisk breeze, but at least the seas had subsided.

T minus 2

Scheduled to be the last cruise ship of the season, Sevens Seas Mariner arrived on schedule this morning, and sailed this afternoon.

At 48,075 grt, it is one of the mid-size ships, carrying only 700 passengers. Built in 2001 by Chantier de l'atlantique, St-Nazaire, it was the world's first "all-suite / all-balcony" cruise ship.

Seven Seas Mariner was the last scheduled cruise ship of the season, however....

T minus 1

The honour for last ship however will go to the inland seas vessel Victory 1. Returning from its cruise season on the Great Lakes, it arrived in Halifax Sunday, remained in port and is planning to sail late this evening.

Tucked in at pier 24 it was only possible to get a broadside shot of it.
For more, see  Shipfax 2016-10-12 and 2015-06-04 .

The End ...

of the cruise ship season for this year anyway.
By my count there were 180 cruise ship calls this season. There were also two brief med-evacs that did not tie up (not included in that number). The number does include two unscheduled diversions to Halifax due to weather. There was also only one cancellation that I am aware of. Artania AIDAmar was on the schedule for October 27 but may have by-passed Halifax due to weather The pilot boat was off station at her scheduled arrival time and I believe she kept on for her next port in rough weather.

P.S. Thanks to readers for the correction to a double error. Artania arrived on the 25th and sailed on the 26th. I may still be in error, but I am fairly certain that AIDAmar did by-pass Halifax - I await further information. 


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Large Day at Halterm

An old expression in the Maritime Provinces to describe fine weather "it's a large day" applied twofold today at Halterm. Bright sun and above normal temperatures coupled with two ships kept the terminal busy.
The morning arrival was Camellia the newest ship on the CMA CGM / Maersk transatlantic service on its second call after permanently replacing the burned out Maersk Pembroke.  It used the two slightly smaller cranes at pier 42.

Parents, kids and dogs enjoy Point Pleasant Park as Camellia works at Pier 42.
The mid-morning arrival was APL Houston for the Columbus JAX service. One of four APL ships and 13 CMA CGM ships currently on the service, it is a 109,712 grt, 108,000 dwt vessel built in 2014 by Daewoo, Okpo. As the line upgrades its ships from 8200 to 9200 TEU range, this is one of the latter. It still wears its APL (American President Line) markings more than a year after CMA CGM took over parent NOL (Neptune Orient Line) of Singapore. CMA CGM recently unveiled a new logo and is slowly re-branding its ships and new containers. There is no word on how long APL will retain its identity in CMA CGM.

CMA CGM was formed in 1996 with the merger of Compagnie maritime d'affrètement and Compagnie générale maritime, and has grown to have a fleet of 445 vessels.

Atlantic Fir on the stern and Atlantic Oak on the bow turn the ship off Halterm.

With both tugs now on the port side, the ship backs in toward Pier 41.
As soon as Camellia was loaded, the two cranes it was using  moved to pier 41 to assist the two large cranes working on APL Houston.

Workers in a basket from one mobile crane assist rigging the second crane to lift off a boom section of the decommisioned container crane. The third crane awaits is fate.

Meanwhile Halterm continues to dismantle obsolete container cranes. Work has started on removing the second crane of three old units. The crane at Pier 36 may be next - it has not been working for months.
Halterm has announced some new equipment recently, such as five high straddle loaders, but so far has not announced new container cranes. Speculation abounds that the operation is due for another expansion since moving container activity to Dartmouth is not feasible. A third 1000+ foot berth with at least two cranes would seem to be the absolute minimum they need to handle future traffic.However they would need to serve any ship with at least four cranes. Adding a contiguous 1100 foot berth to the existing Pier 41 and 42 (each 1,093 feet) would be, to say the least, quite challenging.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Don't forget the big picture

An on-line dictionary defines 'the big picture' with an example:

"He's so involved with the minutiae that he misses the big picture"

As the cruise ship Disney Magic arrived in Halifax this morning it was hard to miss the impressive sunrise as a big picture backdrop.

However for those of us interested in more detail, the ship is also impressive in its own right.

Although only one of the funnels is for the propulsion system, the two funnel arrangement is distinctive and balances the ship's massive profile. It was very windy this morning and the ship used a tug to reach its berth at pier 22.

Although I could do without some of the whimsical décor, the Disney people got it right with the ship's lines and classic colour scheme.

Built in 1998 (and refit in 2013) with a passenger capacity of 2700 (but only 875 cabins) the ship is not a big one by current standards at 83,338 grt. It has called here a few times each year as a break from its usual Caribbean operations.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Sunrise on Neah Bay

No I am not travelling - I am still in Halifax - not in Neah Bay. It is a small port in the northwest corner of Washington State, on the Olympic Peninsula, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is just about as far away from Halifax as you can get on the mainland of North America.

The United States Coast Guard named one of its Bay class icebreaking tugs Neah Bay WTGB-105, after the area where it maintains a base. Although the cutter is based in Cleveland, OH its leaves the Great Lakes periodically for refits, and returns in time for the winter and spring icebreaking season.

It arrived yesterday for a brief stopover on the return leg of its latest trip.

At sunrise this morning, the cruise ship AIDAviva had just tied up at Pier 20 and the George's Island light was cutting through the deep shadows.

This is the Neah Bay's second call here in two years - for info on its last call see: Shipfax May 14, 2016

Friday, October 20, 2017

Lots of Length

There was lots of length at pier 20-22 today - that is if you count part of the Tall Ships Quay. Two years ago the Port installed an extra bollard at the TSQ to use when there are two large cruise ships in at the same time. It has seen frequent use as the ships get bigger and bigger.

The Seawall, as it is called, is just over 610m (2000 feet) long and was built to take two of the largest passenger ships then afloat. At the time however even the largest ships barely exceeded 900 feet, Such ships as Cunard's Aquitania (902 feet) and White Star's Olympic (883 feet) were among the biggest ships, with only the German giants Bismarck (956 feet) and Vaterland (950 feet) closing on triple digits.  

Today is was Crown Princess 290m (951 feet) and Celebrity Summit 294m (965 feet) with the bow of the former extending well north of pier 20. With three headlines out to the TSQ bollard the ship was well secured.

Crystal Symphony sailed first, backing out into the stream from pier 20-22. It was then the turn of Celebrity Summit which called in the tug Atlantic Willow to lend a hand pulling it off the pier and lining it up for its north about run around George's Island.

With shorter days there may be very few evening photos for a while.

Unless it is with the smart phone.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Crystal Serenity

Crystal Serenity, a 1,000 person capacity cruise ship that called in Halifax October 9 returned again this evening but only briefly and put back out to sea in an hour. Normally such a short visit means a medical emergency evacuation.

The ship is well known for its two Northwest Passages, starting in 2016. This year's 32 day cruise from Alaska to Greenland,  when it was accompanied by the ice escort vessel Ernest Shackleton, the on to New York via Halifax, was apparently not sold out and will not be repeated.

A new ship, Crystal Endeavour , a 200 passenger polar-code megayacht is due for delivery next year, but may be working a different itinerary. The impact of huge numbers of passengers on tiny arctic communities will certainly be more manageable with a smaller ship.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Early Arrival

Taking ship photos in the early morning from Halifax is much easier when there is a bit of cloud cover as there was this morning.

That meant that Zuiderdam's port side, while in shadow was reasonably visible without the blaring sun directly behind it.

One of four Holland America ships regularly calling in Halifax during the cruise season, Zuiderdam was built originally in  2002 by Fincantieri Breda in Marghera, Italy. It is a Vista class ship, one of four, each named for the directions on a compass (Oosterdam = east, Westerdam = west, Noordam = north and Zuiderdam = south).

The ship received a major refurbishment in 2015 boosting its gross tonnage from 81,769 to 82,820. With this the ships has a maximum capacity of 2272 passengers, although the normal load is 1916 with 842 crew.

The ship has an unusual propulsion system, consisting of five diesel engines (three of 16 cylinders and two of 12 cylinders) and a gas turbine driving electric azipod thrusters.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Grain from the Lakes

Another load from the Lakes arrived yesterday on the Algoma Mariner. The amount of grain (could be feed grain, corn or wheat) coming from the Lakes is much reduced from days gone by, when there was an almost monthly arrival. Now it is only a few times a year. Grain continues to arrive by rail however.

The ship looks a bit like a shark lunging out of the water. 
Its hull paint has eroded at the bow wave line.

Ships now unload directly to a hopper that leads to the conveyor system running to the storage elevator. Before self-unloaders were common in the grain trades, ships used a system of buckets on an endless belt that was lowered into the ship. The ship had to move back and forth along the pier so that the "grain leg" could reach all the holds.

The Eastcliffe Hall under the grain leg in July 1970.

On its return to the Lakes Eastcliffe Hall loaded a cargo of pig iron in Sorel, QC and on July 14, 1970 struck a shoal and sank near Cornwall, ON. Nine persons were lost and twelve survived.
The ship was built in 1954 by Canadian Vickers in Montreal to the maximum size of the old St.Lawrence Canals, 253.4' x 43.8' x 17.0'. When the St.Lawrence Seaway opened it was lengthed 92' and deepened 3'-9". 

The grain leg is still there, housed in the tower, but has not been used in many years, since all grain ships that call here are now self-unloaders.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Change from the top down

Shipfax is introducing a new header. After several years of using the same header image it is time for a change. Why?

 The old header - now retired.

The image in the old header is the Atlantic Container Line G3 container ship Atlantic Compass, taken November 23, 2014, as it enters Halifax harbour with the pilot boat Chebucto Pilot in the lead. Things have changed since then. All of ACL's G3 ships have now gone to the scrappers, with the last, Atlantic Conveyor, beached in Alang, India  October 8.

The five ships in the G3 class served Halifax for thirty-three years and were almost as iconic to Halifax as the Meagher's Beach lighthouse- at left in the background. Now that they are gone there is no ship ready to pick up the symbolic role as yet, so I have chosen to show what will be the way of the future. It is the 10,062 TEU Zim Rotterdam. It was to have been the first ship to of more than 10,000 TEU to call in Halifax, but was edged out by sister ship Zim Antwerp earlier this year.

More larger ships are expected in the coming months and years and the Port of Halifax will be hard pressed to keep up with the demands that such large ships make on the port infrastructure.

Also in the photo, the pilot boat Chebucto Pilot, built in 2012 by Abco Industries in Lunenburg, has been reassigned to Saint John, NB and renamed  Captain E.T. Rogers. A pair of pilot boats, Nova Pilot and Scotia Pilot,  imported from the Netherlands, have now taken over pilotage duties in Halifax.

But speaking of Atlantic Container Line, now that all five G4 ships have been delivered, they continue to require attention due to numerous bugs. On October 5 Atlantic Sea, which was drydocked at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, became entangled in the rigging of a shore crane that was blown over by storm Xayier. The crane appears to have just missed the ship and damage to the ship seems minimal.

ACL's traffic through Halifax has increased dramatically, both in container and RoRo and the line continues to use chartered box boats to meet demand.

Typical of those is the aging Itea which sailed this afternoon. Built in 1998 the 3842 TEU ship has carried four previous names and seems to be a candidate for the scrappers when its charter ends.
There is no let up in sight to the the trend to scrap smaller (and thus less efficient) container ships to make room for giant new ones. 2017 and 2018 will see more record shattering deliveries and orders for even larger ships.

The new header may not be as long lived as the last one, which like its subject, exceeded normal life expectancy.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hudson and Franklin

News that Seaspan has unveiled the Sir John Franklin at an open house October 1 was followed closely by more news that its illustrious predecessor CCGS Hudson was yanked from the Heddle Marine shipyard in Hamilton, ON on October 6.

The Sir John Franklin is the first of three Offshore Fisheries and Science Vessels to be built under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, taking precedence over naval supply ships and an icebreaker at the North Vancouver shipyard. A major design glitch, which saw the ship's length increased by 8.4m to overcome a stability issue was one of several notable episodes in the creation of these ships. The $244 mn budget which was to see the ships delivered in 2014 has soared past $687 mn and all are still under construction.

Not the least contentious was the choice of names. The previous prime minster's obsession with discovering the wrecks of Franklin's ships Erebus and Terror was probably a factor in the name choice. Objectors cited Franklin's failure to discover the way out of the Northwest Passage (although in fact he probably did, but couldn't get through) before food and supplies ran out. Historians may be kinder to Franklin in future since contaminated supplies may have been a mitigating factor - time will tell.  Franklin's previous overland expeditions were remarkable and should not be forgotten.

The objection to Franklin on the grounds that he wasn't Canadian is plain silly. At the time of his death there was no Canada per se except as a British colony and all Canadians were only British subjects - just as Fransklin was.

That he was a failure, and that Americans would never name a ship after such a person is laughable. They have a ship named after the man who did not discover the North Pole, but is credited with it nevertheless.

But on to no more nor less a paragon - Henry Hudson. He began looking for a Northwest Passage by sailing up the river that bear his name, on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, incidentally leading to the founding what is now New York City. His work in Canada's north was no more successful in the end than Franklin's. When his crew mutinied and set Hudson, his son James and seven crew adrift in Hudson's Bay they were never seen again. The mutineers, of whom only eight of thirteen survived, reached England,  were not tried for mutiny or piracy, but for  murder and were acquitted. 

Both men added greatly to the knowledge of Canada's north - and no they were not perfect.

But back to the ship. The fifty-four year old CCGS Hudson, was in rough shape when it finally sailed out of Halifax in the fall of 2016 for a refit that was supposed to extend until "late spring" 2017. It came as no surprise that once the ship reached the shipyard there was more work to do than originally planned. However the Canadian Coast Guard became dissatisfied with progress and took back the ship, moving it across the bay from Hamilton to Burlington where they plan to get enough work done to sail the ship out of the Lakes before freeze up. Whether it will come back to Halifax for completion or will have to go to another shipyard is not clear.

The splendid looking CCGS Hudson showing her age.


A bit of everything

There was a bit of everything happening in Halifax harbour today - tankers, container ships and of course  cruise ships.

The Panamanian flag Challenge Procyon arrived during the night and anchored for bunkers, then moved to Imperial Oil;'s number 3 dock.

At sunup Challenge Procyon was bunkering in number 5 anchorage.
Built in 2011 by Shin Kurushima Dockyard Co Ltd in Onishi, Japan, the 28,735 grt, 45,996 dwt tanker arrived from Mongstad, Norway.

Meanwhile at Imperial Oil, the tanker Steel moved from number 3 dock to number 4. It had arrived from Porvoo, Finland on Wednesday October 3, but appears not to have unloaded any of its cargo.

As of yesterday afternoon, Steel appeared not to have unloaded any cargo.
Built in 2000 by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, as Rocket, it changed names in 2013.  It measures  23,248 grt, 37,889 dwt.

Imperial's usual source of supply for refined has been the US Gulf, mostly Texas. With recent hurricanes, I am assuming supply may have been limited and they chose to buy on the spot market.  Finland has no domestic source of fossil fuel, much of their oil-based supply coming from Russia, but they do have refining capability and export gasoline to other Baltic countries. Perhaps this cargo did not meet Imperial's standards.

Fairview Cove was keeping busy, with NYK Atlas and Atlantic Sail sailing and Glen Canyon Bridge arriving.

With the sun making a short visit, Glen Canyon Bridge strides up through the Narrows, with Atlantic Fire providing tethered escort. A crew on the forepeak are washing the anchor chain in readiness to anchor, but the ship was due to go alongside directly to the berth vacated by Atlantic Sail.

Built in 20016 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, the ship has a capacity of 5624 TEU on 68,570 grt and 71,291 dwt.

Early arrivers this morning were two cruise ships.

The veteran Saga Sapphire was in the lead, with a tug alongside to assist it backing in to its pier. Viking Sea was then able to overtake.

Built by Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack in 1981 it has carried the names Europe, 99: Superstar Europa, 99: Superstar Aries, 04: Holiday Dream, 08: Bleu de France, finally taking the name Saga Sapphire in 2012.
The ship has a capacity of 720.

Second in line was Viking Sea. Built in 2016 by Fincantieri Italiani in Ancona, it carries 930 passengers and measures 47,842 grt. It was launched as Viking Sky but switched names with a sister ship delivered this year. Both ship are callers in Halifax this year.

Later in the morning a third cruise ship,  Norwegian Dawn added 2300 more passengers to the count.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

The dawning of a new day

The dawn brings a new day (but shorter)

1. Every dawn brings a new crop of cruise ships at the height of the cruise season.

 Celebrity Summit, Queen Mary 2 and Zuiderdam arrive on Thursday morning.

Rotterdam overtakes Insignia on Friday. Insignia used a tug to slip into the narrow camber of pier 23.

Silver Whisper and Pearl Mist arrive this morning.

Once risen the morning sun is directly behind inbounds as the come into the port, making photos nearly impossible.

Pearl Mist recent recipient of a fine for speeding in the right whale protection area in the Gulf of St.Lawrence. So much for eco-tours!

Silver Whisper in the classic pose. Unlike most cruise ships at this time of year it sailed in daylight.

2. New era for cabotage

Maersk Penanag arrives with the first domestic / cabotage cargo under CETA. 

With the Canada Europe (Free) Trade Agreement in force, Maersk / CMA CGM can now ship empty containers from Montreal to Halifax on a foreign flag ship. They had not been allowed to do this under traditional cabotage rules, and in fact were denied coasting licenses in the past because Canadian ships could have carried the cargo. None did because the cost was prohibitive. 
The seventy empties are being repositioned to Halifax where there is more demand for seasonal eastbound reefer cargo. This saves the line the cost of shipping empties by rail. 
But the question is where will  it end?  Applications for coasting licenses are expected to dry up - there were only two in all of September and none so far this month. That compares to 11 in July and 14 in August.  
Canadian ship owners may have to flag out their fleets to survive the onslaught of foreign flag ships. 

3 New life for a ferry

Wave Sentinel was built in 1995 as the ferry Island Commander to run from Portsmouth, UK to Jersey in the Channel Islands. In 2000 it was converted to a cable ship.
It made a brief overnight stop in Halifax for stores and bunkers before sailing this afternoon for its home port of Portsmouth.
It was last here in September 2000, shortly after conversion. Aside from the orange paint on the visor and an additional satellite dome, it also appears to have acquired some new cable equipment.

4 New fuel for a Newyorker \

 The bulk carrier Newyork Harmony [the first name is all one word] arrived from Belledune, NB for bunkers. The crew were busy airing and cleaning the holds in preparation for its next cargo. However that cargo is as yet unknown, since on sailing this evening it gave is destination as " sea for orders".
Built in 2105 by Shin Kurushima, Toyohashi, the 24,328 grt, 38,511 dwt ship has four cranes and grabs for working cargo.

5 New light on an old bulker

Atlantic Huron - back again for a load of gypsum. Rumours of its retirement have been rife for years. Could it be a candidate for re-flagging?

6 New paint?

USCGC Harriet Lane WMEC 903 certainly did not look its age on sailing this afternoon after a courtesy call at HMC Dockyard. The cutter, commissioned June 14, 1984, is a veteran of many missions but looks like it just stepped out of the band box.
To save you looking it up (I had to) Harriet Lane was the niece of US President James Buchanan (a bachelor) and was a much acclaimed and idolized "first lady" when her uncle was a Senator, Ambassador to the Court of St.James and President (1857-1861). Uncle James however was blamed for not preventing the outbreak of the US Civil War. Harriet Lane's generosity to children's health in the Baltimore area is still recognized.


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Damia Desgagnes - first dual fuel visitor

The first dual fuel ship to visit Halifax arrived Tuesday with a load of asphalt for McAsphalt Industries (Miller Paving). Damia Desgagnes  was built to burn conventional heavy fuel, MDO (Marine Diesel Oil) and LNG (Liquid Natural Gas). The principal of the system is that pollution is reduced by using gas when it is available. So far only the port of Montreal has the capability to refuel LNG, but other ports are expected to sign on as more LNG ships are built.

Damia Desgagnes is the first dual fuel bitumen/asphalt tanker in the world and is the first of four to be built for the Desgagnes fleet. Asphalt tankers have higher energy use than conventional tankers, since they must keep the cargo hot, and therefore are generally bigger air pollution contributors than other types of ships.

Delivered earlier this year by Besiktas Tersane AS, in Yalova, Turkey, the ship has been operating on the St.Lawrence River and Great Lakes since May. It is also a Polar Class 7 vessel, so will be trading all winter as well. The ship measures 11,978 gross tons, 15,100 dwt.
In case I don't get out to take a picture in Halifax, the above were taken during the annual Shipfax summer break in Quebec.


Monday, October 2, 2017

Jebsens - long time no see

The long standing Norwegian shipping company Kristian Jebsens Rederi AS was founded in 1929. At some point in its history it adopted one of the most identifiable of funnel markings - a blue sawtooth pattern on a white band. Despite many upheavals in ownership following the death of its founder, the company still has a presence, but it is much reduced from its heyday.

Once frequent callers to the Great Lakes and eastern Canada, particularly carrying newsprint, they have now become solely a drybulk carrier as far as I can determine. They were early pioneers in small and short sea beltship type self-unloaders, but that division was sold in 2011 to CSL, forming CSL Europe.

Today's arrival of the Sharpnes was a bit of instant nostalgia for the days when their ships were common sights here. The distinctive funnel marking is still there, as well as the hull banner letters.

One other thing was apparent - the ship came form a Japanese drawing board. This seemed a bit odd until I looked it  up and found that it was built by Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Cebu in Balamban, Philippines. Jebsen has had a long standing relationship with the Philippines, and at one point even had several ships named for Philippine presidents, forsaking their traditional "nes" names.

The current ship is managed by Abojeb, a company originally established by Aboitz Group of the Philippines  and Jebsen., and based in Manila. It provides both crewing and vessel management services.

Obvious Japanese design influences include the stovepipe funnel and tree-like antenna array mounted starboard side well aft.

After bunkering Sharpnes sailed for Baie-Comeau to discharge its cargo of alumina loaded in Vila do Conde, Brazil.