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.


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Disappearing cranes

Both Halifax container terminals are disposing of old, obsolete or broken down container cranes. This is not a positive sign for increasing the port's capacity since neither of the terminals has revealed plans for more cranes.
Clearly something must happen soon or further ship delays and reduction in throughput time will only worsen.

Two of the three large cranes work the YM Express this afternoon at Fairview Cove. Demolition is  underway on one of the older (and much smaller cranes) at the west berth.

Ceres at Fairview Cove, there is now only one berth operational. The west berth has large post-Panamax size cranes, but the terminal needs two working berths (or more) to meet demand. Ships are forced to anchor awaiting availability. Tomorrow the arriving Bayonne Bridge will anchor in the Basin all day until Itea clears the berth.

With lots of room for berth space, the terminal will need more cranes to meet demand.

Fairview needs at a minimum two more cranes, but three would be better, and all need to be able to handle (old) post Panamax ships, since those ships can fit under the bridges and reach Bedford Basin.

Work is well advanced on the second of three cranes to be dismantled at Halterm.

At Halterm, three obsolete cranes that have not seen service for several years are being scrapped. The first is gone and the second is about half-way down. A fourth crane that has been out of service for months may also be on the list. It served pier 36 and the two ships that regularly call there (it is also a RoRo berth) have not had crane access.

 The 10,062 TEU ZIM Djibouti awaits its turn at Halterm, anchored outside the port limits.

Despite tremendous growth in container traffic this year, both terminals need to work ships without delay, and anchored or waiting ships is not a good sign in the container business.

Halterm needs one more large cranes on the pier 41-42 berth (and another 500 feet or more of berth length) just to meet current needs.

My short term plan for relieving pressure on Halifax street traffic would see at least four if not five lines move from Halterm to Fairveiw Cove, since all use small ships and rely on truck delivery for a high percentage of their cargo. These are:
St-Pierre et Miquelon (containers and RoRo)
Maersk / CMA CGM
Oceanex (containers and RoRo)

This move would certainly justify a berth extension and new cranes at Fairview, and relieve the pressure on Halterm while necessary enlargement of berths takes place. But quick action is needed, since container cranes cannot be delivered over night. Fairview Cove would also need more land area (which is available) and more rail capacity.

Halterm would still have the large ships traffic from ZIM and CMA CGM  and the ability to use all its cranes to move the containers to trains more quickly and to an inland distribution terminal for transfer to trucks.

I estimate it will take five years (if there is a start today) to expand Halterm to meet demand from these expected larger ships.

This week another 21,000 TEU ship came into service on the Asia Europe run. Once thought to be science fiction, these huge ships are all too common now, and will force the previous behemoths of 10,000 plus size to move to smaller routes. Even ships of 10,000 TEU (the largest yet to call in Halifax) need six to eight cranes to move cargo with any kind of decent speed. If two ships of that size arrive at the same time.....

Six cranes work the 13,092 TEU Hanjin Gold in Hamburg in 2016. 
Three more cranes work the 9,580 TEU CSCL Pusan directly astern.
Projections for 2018 are that there will be 78 container ships of over 10,000 TEU delivered new from shipyards. With a world container trade increase expected to be near 5% the new deliveries (allowing for a substantial number of ships to be scrapped) keep supply ahead of demand by less than 1%. Even so, bigger and bigger ships will continue to call in Halifax, and only Halterm will be able to handle them. The pressure they will put on roads will clearly be intolerable unless there is more ship to rail transfer.

A proper multi-modal logistics park is clearly needed, well out of the built up area of Halifax. Since the current rail line is well underutilized, such a facility would serve both container terminals, but in my mind it must start by getting Halterm truck traffic off the streets. Terminal to terminal transfers must also be reduced and that would be accomplished to a certain extent by the shipping line relocations mentioned above.

I hear that heavy negotiations are underway between the Port, the City and CN, and I hope that there will be some announcements soon.


Got 'em (all) - (oops) better late than never

 I intended to post this on October 14, but it somehow got stuck in my "drafts" file. Here it is late. 
It isn't often that I get the chance to capture every arrival and departure on a given day, but the combination of excellent weather, and a free Saturday made it possible.

First in was the Norwegian Jade. This is the first time I have seen this ship, built in 2006 as Pride of Hawai'i for Norwegian Cruise Lines' ill-fated American venture. After the line had huge losses, it was reassigned to Europe in 2008 and renamed, but apparently kept much of its Hawaiian themed décor. Until March of this year that is, when it was given an intensive three week refit and re-do.

By this time the sun was fully up (and directly in line with arrivals), so I skipped the next arrival, hoping to get it later on departure. Fritz Reuter (see below) tied up at pier 42.

The CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell left the Coast Guard base at BIO at 0800 for exercises offshore with Zodiacs.

Stationed in Newfoundland, the ship has been in these parts for a month or so replacing CCGS Earl Grey for the time being.

Built in 1985 in Marystown, NL as a supply ship on spec for the Newfoundland government, the MoT purchased and converted in 1987 for search and rescue work. It was removed from service and de-stored in a cost cutting purge in 2013, but was re-activated. It had a major refit this spring so should be in service for several years to come.

While in Dartmouth I noted the bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth tied up at the Irving Oil Woodside terminal. This may be a first.

When Algoma took over harbour bunkering, the fuel supplier was the Imperial Oil refinery. When the refinery shut down  Stirling Fuels (part of  Miller/ McAsphalt Industries) secured the fuel provision contract. At various times the ship has gone to Point Tupper to load at NuStar's tank storage, or has received fuel brought from Central Canada aboard McAsphalt's own tug/barge.
Since Stirling is not a refiner in its own right, I guess they can buy fuel wherever they want, so perhaps this time they have sourced in from Irving Oil.
Algoma Dartmouth can carry diesel or heavy fuel oil as needed.

 Next in was the small cargo / container ship Hollandia working for Nirint Shipping. It arrived with nickel cargo from Cuba and has been a regular caller since 2014.

It was built in 2007 by the Damen Okean Mykolayiv, Ukraine shipyard and finished by Damen Hoogezand, Foxhol, Netherlands. Launched as Trinitas it was renamed Nirint Hollandia on delivery. It measures 8,999 grt, 12,000 dwt and carries two 80 tonne cranes. It was renamed in 2012.

The largest arrival of the day was the impressive CMA CGM Thames. With is split superstructure it looks much bigger than its container capacity would suggest. At 95,263 grt, 113,900 dwt, that capacity is reported to be 9365 TEU, including 1458 reefers.

Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Company built the ship in 2015.

At one point late in the afternoon all four Halterm cranes were alongside the ship, but only three were actually working. The southernmost crane (near the bow) was moved out of the way of the departing Friz Reuter - see below.

There was one more arrival, this morning, the cruise ship Seabourn Quest following on the heels of CMA CGM Thames.

 The ship is on a return visit to Halifax.

Seen from a slightly better angle leaving pier 23 on October 10.

Noted for its luxury cruises to Antarctica for only 450 passengers, Seabourn has the smallest cruise ships in any major fleet.
It was completed in 2011 by the T.Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, on a hull built by Viktor Lenac in Rijeka and measures 32,346 grt. It has many amenities but also has a number of Zodiacs garaged in the hull for passenger excursions.

By late afternoon Fritz Reuter was ready to sail.

The ship had arrived in the morning and tied up at Pier 42 and used two of Halterm's cranes.
The 1732 TEU (including 379 reefers) ship is on its 32nd trip for Melfi Lines. Starting in 2013 the ship has been a regular caller every five weeks on Melfi's Europe via Halifax to Cuba service.
The 18,480 grt, 23,732 dwt ship dates from 2006 when it was launched as Maruba Zonda by Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard Co Ltd. It assumed its current name on delivery a few months later.

As soon as Fritz Reuter was off the berth the next ship berthed (its bow is just visible in the photo above). EM Kea is on its regular visit as part of the Maersk / CMA CGM transatlantic service. So as not to block the channel for the outbound Reuter, the ship made an unusual turn to port to come alongside. Usually ships are turned to starboard and back in. However with two tugs alongside, and a bit less wind than earlier, it was the best move to make.

It was not all commercial activity in the port today. Late season sail races for small craft took place in very stiff breezes this morning.

Although there have been above normal temperatures recently, this morning's air temperatures were in the single digits, and barely scraped above 10C when the races started. Water temperature on the other hand exceeded 15C!


Friday, November 10, 2017

November 11 - Rembrance Day

The anniversary date of end of the First World War on November 11, 1918, is set aside as a special day for many Canadians. Ceremonies are held at several monuments in the Halifax region, but there are other reminders of wars too.
One of particular relevance to Halifax Harbour is the "The Last Steps" memorial arch at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic pier where CSS Acadia (a veteran of the two World Wars) is berthed.

Featuring a gangway and a life ring inscribed with the name of His Majesty's Troop Ship Saxonia, the arch is intended to remind us of the 350,000 troops  that embarked at Halifax piers for both World Wars, 60,000 of whom did not return. Bootprints on the pier and gangway are a stark reminder of the latter.
An interpretive panel bears the phrase "Nova Scotia played a role in the conduct of the War which will redound to her glory for all time" (referring to the First World War, but applying equally to the second). That Nova Scotia, and Halifax in particular, played a key role as a naval base, embarkation port for troops, and rallying harbor for convoys is still well known. But a yearly reminder is a necessary way of commemorating those who sacrificed much for their country.

In a two weeks' time, Halifax will be remembering another anniversary directly tied to that First World War. December 6 is the 100th anniversary of the Halifax explosion. More on that closer to the date.

For more on the memorial arch see: Canadian Memorials


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Forte sheds its load

The heavy load carrier Forte shed its load today under ideal conditions. There was no wind and starting early this morning the ship was submerged and the rig Noble Regina Allen floated off and was spudded down at the IEL wharf.

Noble Regina Allen spudded down at the IEL wharf.

Forte in number one anchorage.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

Richmond Terminals, Pier 9

Activity at Richmond Terminals today included the cargo ship Thorco Logos. The Panama flag ship arrived yesterday and almost immediately began loading the components for cable storage. Crews in the holds began to assemble the pre-fabricated shapes into large circular racks (called tanks in the cable world).
This is the third ship from Thorco Shipping of Hellerup, Denmark to be fitted out similarly at Pier 9C in the last year. Thorco Liva was here from October 31 to November 15, 2016. It went to Portsmouth /  Newington, NH to load the cable and returned  to anchor in Bedford Basin January 9 to 22, 2017 then sailed to deliver its cargo. Thorco Luna was at Pier 9 from May 15 to 31, 2017.

 Thorco Logos (the "s" is barely visible) at Pier 9 C

The three ships are sisters, all built by Honda Heavy Industries in Saiki, Japan. Thorco Logos was built in 2015 and is a 13,100 grt, 16,970 dwt general cargo ships, with box shaped holds and removable tween decks. It is fitted with a pair of 50 tonne cranes.

Trinity Sea with Thorco Logos in the back ground.

Meanwhile at Pier 9B the supplier Trinity Sea was waiting standing by for work, which will start tomorrow. It, and sister vessel Burin Sea have been contracted by ExxonMobil to assist the jack-up rig Noble Regina Allen.The rig will be working for up to two years plugging and abandoning 22 gas wells off Sable Island.

The rig is due in Halifax Monday November 6 from Invergordon, Scotland, aboard the heavy load carrier Forte. The ship is semi-submersible, and will float off the rig in the harbour sometime in the next few days. Should I be fortunate enough to get photos of that ship and its cargo, they will be posted here.