Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Edward Cornwallis - an open letter

Halifax Regional Municipality Council has (finally) ordered the removal of a statue of Edward Cornwallis from a prominent city park. The statue (erected t in 1931) to honour the founder of Halifax and Governor of Nova Scotia (1749-1752) has become a lighting rod for protests over the treatment of indigenous peoples.
There is much to be reviled about Cornwallis. His treatment of Scottish highlanders in putting down the Jacobite Revolution would certainly be grounds for a charge of war crimes today. No less heinous was his proclamation of a bounty to "take prisoner or scalp" for Mi'gmaq fighters and take women and children as prisoners. Cornwallis' less than stellar military career, term as a British MP and Governor of Gibraltar (1761-1776) - (surely a subtle form of exile) came to an end with his death in 1776.
How society is to remember Edward Cornwallis is open to debate, since we should never forget the damage he inflicted. However removing his name and statue from places of prominence is an important first step in expressing our regret for his actions.

This brings us to the subject of CCGS Edward Cornwallis a High-Endurance Multi-Tasked member of the Canadian Coast Guard fleet since 1986, and its predecessor of the same name from 1949. Surely it is time for the name to be painted out from that ship and a new one selected.

The following is the text of an open letter I sent today to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Hon. Dominic LeBlanc, PC, MP.

"As Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, you are aware that there is a Canadian Coast Guard vessel named CCGS EDWARD CORNWALLIS.

Named for the founder of Halifax, and a Governor of Nova Scotia, and bearing the same name of a previous Coast Guard ship, the vessel has provided good service to the Coast Guard and the people of Canada since 1986.

However we are now aware that Edward Cornwallis, the man, was not a figure to be revered. His actions as governor did much to entrench a racism that is still pervasive in our society. His name stands in the way of meaningful dialog between friends and neighbours.

The City of Halifax has seen fit to order the removal of a statue commemorating Edward Cornwallis, and may be moving toward removal of his name from streets and other public venues.

It is my opinion that the the Canadian Coast Guard must now remove the name EDWARD CORNWALLIS from that ship. I am therefore requesting that you use your authority as minister to set that process in motion.

The Canadian Coast Guard has naming policies for vessels of all sorts, (Fleet Order 103.00). In that order it states that the Minister is responsible for approving name selections for vessels. May I suggest sir, that the importance of selecting an appropriate name to replace the current one, is an opportunity to make an important statement.

Appendix A of that policy now states that vessels of this class (High Endurance Multi-Tasked Vessel) are to be named after former Canadian Governors General. I can think of several holders of that office whose names might be appropriate, including your late father. However I wonder in this case if it might be possible to deviate from that policy and select the name of an eminent historical leader of the Mi'gmaq, whose position would be the equivalent to a governor general."
I have also copied the Member of Parliament for Halifax, Andy Filmore, in hopes that the matter will be addressed during the current session.

The Coast Guard missed a perfect opportunity to rename the ship while it was in refit in St.John's last summer, but it is never too late to right a wrong. 

CCGS Edward Cornwallis (i) built 1949, retired 1987.

CCGS Edward Cornwallis (ii) built 1986, renamed 2018?

Monday, January 29, 2018

An idea whose time has come (again)

With delivery of the new ferry Vincent Coleman (see yesterday's post) and the imminent delivery of the fourth and last new ferry for Halifax Harbour, talk has resumed on a commuter rail service from the Beaverbank, Lower Sackville area into downtown Halifax. This is a great idea and would have worked years ago when all the rail lines were in place. Now there will be some serious upgrades needed, but it seems likely that the City and CN will come to some agreement.

Another idea that has been quiet for a ling time is a waterborne commuter service from the Bedford area to downtown Halifax. A demo run using the high speed catamaran Whaling City Express in October 2005 attracted a lot of attention (and the usual naysayers). Traffic volumes have continued to increase in the Bedford to Halifax corridor, but nothing has been heard on the water commuter concept.

Recent developments had lead to me to the conclusion that time is right to discuss this again.
1. The upheavals that will be caused by the Cogswell interchange demolition will make bringing car downtown even more difficult.
2. The redevelopment of Shannon Park, including a proper dock could help to move north Dartmouth commuter into downtown Halifax. Alternatively it would be a convenient drop off point for Burnside with a proper bus connection.
3. Improvements to the current Halifax ferry terminal and requests to extend the Woodside service hours, indicates that ferry travel is popular.
So why not a ferry from Bedford, with maybe one stop at Shannon Park on the way, and a drop off in the vicinity of the Halifax ferry terminal?
Such a service would not necessarily be tied in Halifax Transit - it could be a totally private operation- but it is still worth looking at.

A potential site for a terminus is the fill area of Mill Cove, with piers already in place and a newly paved access road. The piers are used largely for pleasure craft and winter layup of harbour tour boats.
Theodore Too and Silva are among the winter residents of Mill Cove


Sunday, January 28, 2018

The new normal, etc.,

This afternoon's arrival of  ZIM Djibouti, a 10,000 plus TEU ship at Halterm has become the new normal, and passes without comment. It was only in June 2017 when the first ship to exceed the 10,000 TEU mark, sister ship ZIM Amsterdam  arrived in Halifax.

Tugs Atlantic Fir on the bow and Atlantic Oak on the stern are ready to turn the ship as it approaches Halterm.

It is one of four identical ships on ZIM's ZCSP service from China/Korea to the east coast of North America. The other 6 ships on the serive are smaller, but range from 8204 to 9954 TEU. Built in 2009 by Hyundai Samho, Maersk Djibouti comes in at 114,0444 grt, 116,440 dwt and has a declared capacity of 10,062 TEU, including 800 reefers. It made its first call here November 1, 2017.

Halterm was working two ships today, the weekly Maersk/CMA CGM ship Maersk Penanag was already in port. Normally Saturday callers, these ships have been arriving on Sunday recently, likely due to ice in the Gulf slowing their trip to and from Montreal.

Meanwhile at Fairvew Cove the HAPAG-Lloyd Palena was just sailing as the Yang Ming YM Enlightenment entered the Narrows. The latter is a 47,952 grt, 56,500 dwt ship with a capacity of 4662 TEU. Built by China Shipbuilding Corp in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 2015, it is one of four sister ships maintaining the AL1 service from the Mediterranean to the east coast of North America for THE Alliance.

YM Enlightenment has just passed what has become known as Ground Zero, the site in the Narrows of the Halifax Explosion December 6, 1917.

A newcomer to Halifax is the ferry Vincent Coleman which arrived fresh from the builders on Friday.  The second last of the new ferries built for the Halifax Regional Municipality, it is named for the telegrapher that sent out warnings to incoming trains warning of the Halifax explosion in 1917. Working at Richmond Station, he lost his life when the explosion occurred nearby. In a contest to suggest names for all the new ferries Vince Coleman was on the short list twice, and was finally selected for this vessel. Built by A.F.Thériault + Son Ltd in Meteghan River, NS, it measures 259.45 grt, and  is a sister to the previously delivered Craig BlakeViola Desmond and Christopher Stannix. The final boat in the order, to be named Rita Joe, is due in a few months time.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

more business,

With breakbulk exports way down last year, the Port of Halifax must be pleased to see another Spleithoff ship arriving. In recent months they have been regular callers, loading what appears to be reinforcing steel. Re-bar as it is called is an unusual Canadian export, but the high production standards used in this country make it a more desirable then unreliable re-rolled third world material often derived from ship scrapping.

 Logistec's mobile crane swings another bundle of re-bar aboard.

One of Spleithoff's S2L class, it was built in 2005 Szczecinska Nova in Poland. It is equipped with two 120 tonne cranes and five sidleloaders. It measures 18,321 grt and 23,660 dwt. Later in the day the ship shifted to Fairview Cove for container cargo.

And yes that is a pleasure craft on the deck of the ship. Spliethoff has a large business in the dry transport of yachts.

The luxurious trawler yacht Penny Lane gets a dry trip. The 65 foot Fleming, built in 2009 carries a rigid hull inflatible craft called - what else but Rubber Soul.

 A ship that has not called in Halifax since late 2013 put in another appearance today to take bunkers. CSL Acadian is a coal carrier and it is headed back from a delivery to Belledune, NB. A self-unloader now, it was built as a tanker in 1982 by Tsuneishi ZKK in Numakuma, Japan. Named Janus for the Anders Jahre fleet, it measured 40,482 grt, 67,208 dwt. It was renamed Skaulake in 1991 then Cabo de Hornos in 1992.

CSL Acadian picked up some frozen spray during  its passage from the Gulf of St.Lawrence and Baie de Chaleur.

When single hull tankers were banned in most countries following the US lead after the Exxon Valdez grounding, the ship was still in good condition, with a quality B+W main engine (built under license). CSL International acquired the ship and renamed in Cabot in 2004. It was then rebuilt with a new forebody as a self-unloader and renamed in 2006. Now measuring 45,740 grt, 74,517 dwt, it has many years service left.

Travellers between south western Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will have to go the long way until March 20. The ferry Fundy Rose made its last crossing between Digby, NS and Saint John, NB January 24 and headed for Halifax.

It is now berthed at pier 9 for a refit. When the Minister of Transport acquired the Blue Star Ithaki in 2014 it was renamed Canada 2014 and came to Halifax where it received an extensive refit before entering service July 18 2015.  It was named to commemorate Rose Fortune a notable Digby citizen, born a slave and credited with being the first female police officer in Canada.

The ship has been well received on the Fundy service, and has been working steadily until now. It certainly shows cosmetic evidence of that hard work.

The exodus of RCN ships for warmer climes happens every winter, but this year there is a bit of a twist as Kingston and Summerside headed for West Africa this week. Newspaper accounts report that the ships of this class were built as minesweepers and intended to be coastal vessels but now seem to be able to "go anywhere". Several have indeed made trans ocean voyages. These two will head to the Caribbean first before taking the shorter equatorial crossing of the Atlantic to join Operation Obangame Express 2018 in the Gulf of Guinea.

Orange clad matelots tidy up on deck and stow fenders as Windsor heads for sea.

Also sailing today was HMCS Windsor Since it did not declare its destination I can only assume it is headed south also.

At Autport Glovis Companion was unloading another batch of cars. The ship was built in 2010 by Mitsubishi, Nagasaki as Ocean Challenger. The 60,213 grt, 18,671 dwt ship has a capacity of 6,340 cars and was acquired by NOCC (Norwegian Car Carriers AS) in 2013 and renamed.

 The tide was way out in Eastern Passage, and a conveniently discarded tire will serve as the copyright mark for this photo.

Late in the afternoon the ship moved to pier 27 to work more cargo, and free up the berth for the next ship, Mediterranean Highway. There is a steady stream of ships into Autoport this winter as usual, stocking up the lots for the spring.

Always impressive, Atlantic Container Line's Atlantic Star arrived  on its regular slot this afternoon. The first of the G-4 ships to call in Halifax, it made it first visit January 6, 2016. 

All five of the new G5s have had breaking-in issues, but now that the bugs have been largely ironed out ACL has announced that it will accept up to 12 fare paying passengers on transatlantic voyages. A variety of fares, depending on ports and choice of accommodation sound quite reasonable for such a unique experience.

The autocarrier Mediterranean Highway almost missed the last call for photos as dusk descended rapidly this afternoon. It is passing the Maugher's Beach lighthouse in bound.

Built in 2002 by Imabari Zosen, Murugame, the 55,493 grt, 17,228 dwt ship has a capacity for 6015 cars.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

More TEUs

The Port of Halifax (Halifax Port Authority = HPA) has announced results for 2017 and as expected the TEU count is way up. A 16% increase over 2016 sets an all time record of 559,242 TEU. The previous record, set in 2005, was 550,642.

Halifax is a pip squeak on the word stage for containers. Consider the following port stats for 2016:
  • Shanghai  37.133 mn (broke the 40 million mark by early December 2017)
  • Singapore 30 mn
  • Shenzhen 23 mn
Among the top twenty world ports only two are not in Asia:
  • Rotterdam 12 mn
  • Antwerp 10 mn
Among our neighbour / competitors:
  • New York 6.5 mn
  • Montreal in 2017 about 1.35 mn  (up 7% from 2016)
 How Halifax was able to achive a 16% increase with fewer cranes and larger ships indicates that the port must be working well below capacity. The increase is at least partly due to the addition of Tropical Shipping to the lines serving Halifax.

 The arrival of the first 10,000 TEU ship was heralded, even tough 13,000 an larger are calling in nearby US Ports.

Nice as this increase my be, it is no invitaiton for complacency. The long promised master plan is needed now.

Overall Halifax port tonnage is up 12% signalling a major drop in non-containerized cargo. In fact export tonnage through HPA facilities was down a startling 25%. If non-HPA facilites are included there was an increase of 7.5% import and 7.7% export tonnage.

There was also good news on the passenger front, with 173 ships and 292,722 visitors, up 22.9% over 2016. (2014, 2015 and 2016 were off years. There were 252,121 passengers in 2013).


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Red sky in the morning

Sailors are supposed to take warning from a red sky in the morning, but certainly nothing ominous occurred in Halifax today. Ships were able to arrive and depart in relatively calm conditions and bright sunshine.
There was still a swell running outside the harbour, with stiff winds (see Tugfax).

The container ship NYK Artemis arrived with tug escort as it made its way to Fairview Cove. It is a 75,484 grt, 81,171 dwt ship with a capacity of 6492 TEU (including 450 reefers). On the EC5 service of THE Alliance, it works with ten other ships from partners HAPAG-Lloyd, K-Line, and Yang Ming.

As expected for a Japanese ship owner, the ship was built by IHI, Kure in 2003. Following the lead of shipping industry takeovers and consolidations, NYK, K-line and MOL have received final approval from the last of the trading nations, to merge their container carrying into Ocean Network Express (to be known as ONE), effective in April. Early publicity showed a ship painted in an eye searing "cherry blossom magenta" hull colour, with containerS of a similar hue on deck. the amalgamation should have been rejected on aesthetic grounds alone! If the entire fleet, that will have a capacity of 1.44mn TEU, gets the new hull colour, it will be a windfall for magenta suppliers. ONE will be a memeber of THE Alliance, so I guess we should be prepared.

At the south end of the harbour Bomar Rebecca arrived for Tropical Shipping. The 1118 TEU ship, built in 2008 by Jingling Shipyard in Nanjing first called in Halifax a year ago on January 16, 2017, but carried the name AHS Hamburg. It changed names here July 3 when it was sold by Carston Rehder Shiffs to Bernard Schulte. When built it was as Pacific Hawk, a name it carried for Bocksteigel Reederei until sold in 2012.

There was more naval activity today as HMCS Montréal arrived from sea.

Although distinctive, the Halifax class frigates could not be callled terribly attractive.

It was probably involved in the same exercises recently completed by the new naval suppl,y vessel Asterix. During the past week HMCS St.John's sailed for the middle east and HMCS Charlottetown returned from its six month deployment to the Baltic and Mediterranean.

Also last week the government announced that Marine Recycling Inc had been awarded a $5.7mn contract to break up the decommissioned former HMCS Athabaskan at Sydney, NS. The work also includes de-militarizing and removal of hazardous materials. According to the terms of the original tender, the ship was to be towed out of HMC Dockyard no later than March 31, 2018 (the end of the government's financial year).

 The last of Canada's destroyers - soon to be no more. 
The continuous deck line and balance of shapes made the Tribals among the best looking warships on the seas.

It will be interesting to see if the ship will actually go to Sydney on that date, since that port is likely still to be subject to severe ice conditions. The ship's last brush with ice in December 2012 resulted in six hull punctures and an estimated $2mn of repairs.This followed a $21.7mn refit in St.Catharines, ON, and over $1.2 mn of towing charges.
It is more likely that a place will be found in Halifax to park the ship for a few months while some of the initial work is carried out.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday activity

At Nova Scotia Power's Tuft's Cove generating plant on the Narrows, the Greek tanker Fourni was preparing to sail this morning. The 29,663 grt, 51,611 dwt ship, dating from 2010 and built by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan had completed unloading one of the rare tanker cargoes at the plant. The facility was built to burn oil and can still do so but normally burns natural gas. Once in a long while it does take a cargo of oil, and often that is from an Eletson Corp tanker, and it is rarely a full load.

Well boomed off, Fourni has just completed unloading.

 Boats from Connors Diving removed the floating oil boom and released the ship's lines from the buoys fore and aft (the mooring buoy is orange in the lower right of the photo above).

Connors' aluminum "Stanley" - built landing craft handled the oil boom.

 Divecom III, built in 1984 is one of Connors' diving tenders and general work boat It handles the lines. (That is McNally's tug Mister Joe in the background with a dump scow en route from Port Hawksbury to Saint John.)

Atlantic Willow (foreground) and Atlantic Larch swing the ship off the berth. in the narrowest part of the Narrows. The naval replenishment ship Asterix, cargo ship Thorco Logos and supplier Atlantic Condor occupy Piers 9B and C.

 Atlantic Willow shortens up and pushes while Atlantic Larch (out of the picture) pulls to turn the ship.

Turn completed, Fourni heads to sea. It will anchor off Halifax awaiting orders for its next cargo.

In the lower harbour the Navigation Maritime Bulgare Ltd ship Vitosha completed bunkering and sailed from anchorage number 5.

Anchor clear,, the ship begins to get undewrway.
Built in 2010 by Shanhaiguan Shipyard in Qinhuangdo it is one of a pair* of ships originally ordered by Fednav. The name Federal Pearl.(after the Pearl River) was selected but by the time the ship was launched it was named Eastwind Yates. However it entered service as Vitosha, The Bulgarian state shipping company has had a longstanding arrangement with Fednav, so this was probably some form of financing agreement. The bulker, with three 30 tonne cranes, measures 19,865 grt, 29,800 dwt and is suited to trading to the Great Lakes. However with the St.Lawrence Seaway closed for the season, the ship's cargo of alumina/bauxite, loaded in Imbituba, Brazil, is bound for the RioTinto-Alcan smelters in La Baie, QC, on the Saguenay River.

NavMar Bulgare ships are easily recognized by their sandy coloured superstructures and cranes. They also have black hulls, but this ship sailed with a red hull for its first few years, a legacy of its Fednav roots.

* [The sister ship was ordered as Federal Yangtze, launched as Eastwind York and delivered as Strandja.]

Strandja on the St.Lawrence August 6, 2017 bound for Oshawa to unload, then Thunder Bay to load, finally exiting the Seaway September 3.]

At the South End container terminal, Halterm, the repeat visitor APL Danube approached pier 42. The 95,263 grt, 112,580 dwt ship is running on the Columbus JAX service with ARL's parent CMA CGM, and OCEAN Alliance members COSCO, Evergreen and OOCL.

Loaded to near cpacity, APL Danube prepares to turn off pier 42 with the assistance of the tugs Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak.
The ship's capacity is 9365 TEU (including 1458 reefers), but its split superstructure makes it appear much larger. Built by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co in China in 2014 as CMA CGM Danube it was renamed  NileDutch Orca in  2016 then earlier in 2017, APL Danube as it was moved between various CMA CGM subsidiaries. APL (American President Lines, is owned by Neptune Orient Lines of Singapore, acquired by CMA CGM in 2016).
The ship probably could be lengthened to increase capacity if needed.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Tanker Loss

In the aftermath of the tragic tanker fire last week off China in which all thirty-two crew members of the Iranian tanker Sanchi lost their lives, it is well to realize that no matter how up to date and state of the art we are, shipping accidents will happen. Halifax is no stranger to such tragedies, but since 1917 we have been mercifully spared another similar terrible event.

There have been numerous groundings, sinkings and other total losses in Nova Scotia waters, so we are not immune, but few have had any close connections to Halifax. I can think of the Gold Bond Conveyor mentioned previously in these pages and a search shows several references: http://shipfax.blogspot.ca/search?q=gold+bond+conveyor

One that perhaps may not come immediately to mind occurred January 5, 1993 when the Liberian flag Braer ran aground and became a total loss in the Shetland Islands. It was loaded with 85,000 tonnes of crude oil, all of which spilled into the sea. It was a very light oil, called Gulfaks, which dispersed and did not create the widespread mess that the Exxon Valdez or the Arrow did, but nevertheless was responsible for the direct loss of thousands of seabirds and seals and unknown other longer term environmental effects.

Braer was at the time en route from Mongstad, Norway to St-Romauld, QC with its cargo for Ultramar, when a pipe rupture on deck allowed water to contaminate its fuel supply and it lost power. It drifted onto rocks which punctured its single hull. Recent recountings of the incident are at odds with the notes I made at the time, but it is clear that  towing the ship away from the rocks might have been successful but for an unfortunate lack of organization. Once aground it was struck by the most intense extratropical cyclonic storm on record, and was beaten to pieces. Fortunately the crew had been removed and there was no loss of (human) life.

All this is a reminder that I am still waiting for the federal government to deliver on its promise for Emergency Towing Vessels (ETVs) on the Canadian Coasts. The government tender is supposed to close January 16, but it may be some time before we hear the results. All this when recent intense storms remind us that the worst weather of the year on this coast is late fall and winter, so there will likely be no standby vessel this winter.

Clever offshore operators have recognized that there are some great deals to be had acquiring modern tonnage due to the world wide slump. (See today's Tugfax). Davie shipyard in Quebec has even offered to acquire some icebreaking tugs at a bargain, but Canada seems determined to take its time to take responsibility for Guarding our Coasts. 

The other  reason that I mention the Braer at all is that it did visit Halifax, and I was on board tugs that docked the ship in October 1987. It was named Brae Trader at the time, although it had been built as Hellespont Pride for the Canadian company Papachristidis. Oshima Shipbuilding of Nagasaki built the ship in  1975 and it measured (by today's standards) a modest 44,989 grt, 89,730 dwt. Papachristidis sold the ship in  1985 when it became Brae Trader. In 1989 it was sold again when it was renamed Braer.

Aboard the tug Point Halifax I took this photo of the Point Vibert making fast aft.

Brae Trader poses against a vastly different Dartmouth skyline (as is the Halifax skyline in the upper photo.).

We do not need more oil spills, fires, groundings or loss of life (in its many forms) and despite all reasonable precautions, they are likely to happen due to force of weather or human error. However the effects can be reduced by providing timely and organized responses to emergencies. This includes vessels standing by and able to tow ships, with an overall organization set in place to mobilize resources.


Tirranna makes port

After a rough North Atlantic Crossing and a delayed arrival due to various weather bombs and storms, Tirranna tied up at Pier 27-28 today. It was originally scheduled to arrive earlier in the week, but spent at least two days jogging offshore until conditions permitted it to enter port.

Jammed in to pier 27-28, the ship monopolizes the area, and is almost as high as the grain galleries.

At pier 27-28 it begin unloading  machinery and other cargo that will be forwarded by truck or flat car. This afternoon it moved to Autoport to complete discharging autos.

 Rounding Indian Point, Tirranna makes it way into Eastern Passage for Autoport.
In the background CMA CGM Rhone works at Haterm.

Built in 2009 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in Okpo, South Korea, the 71,673 grt, 29,936 dwt ship has a capacity of 7,620 automobiles.

This is the fourth ship in the Wilhelmsen fleet to carry the name of the Albanian capital, (Wilhelmsen ship names begin with the letter "T").

The first Tirranna was the best known, a 7,230 grt general cargo ship with refrigerated cargo space and accommodation for twelve passengers, built by F. Schichau in Danzig in 1938. In 1940 it was captured by the German raider Atlantis off Mauritius. It was then sent back to Germany with captured ships' crews as prisoners. On September 29, 1940, while trying to run the Bordeaux blockade, it was torpedoed by HM submarine Tuna and sank in the Gironde estuary with the loss of 87 of the 292 people aboard. 

The second Tirranna was built in 1952 as the 5,463 grt cargo /reefer Taiwan but was renamed Tirranna in 1959. It ran aground and became a total loss near Tromso in 1966. The third was a 10,060 grt reefer /cargo ship built in 1967. In 1971 it was rebuilt with a new hull section inserted to carry 90 containers.Then 12,115 grt, it was sold in 1978 and renamed three times before being broken up in 1984.

The ship is expected to sail tomorrow.


Saturday, January 6, 2018

Weather Bomb - Part 2

The so called weather bomb certainly brought high winds and the storm surge created havoc on coastal roads, with many washed out or washed over. Small ports saw wharf damage and more than half of all Nova Scotians were without electrical power for a least some of the time.

Halifax harbour however seems to have escaped relatively unscathed. By today some shipping had returned more or less to normal, even  though there were still gale warnings and freezing spray warnings in effect.

The multi-purpose general cargo ship Symphony Star arrived this morning after riding out the storm in St.Margaret's Bay since Wednesday night. One of six ships of the ECO Box design, it was built by Ferus Smit's Leer, Germany shipyard in 2015, and has a single box shaped hold suitable for bulk, general or heavy cargoes, and carries a pair of 85 tonne cranes that can work in tandem. It has a modest grt of 6749, and deadweight of 10,546.It can operate "open top" for oil field supply and similar work, and then has a deadweight of 7,120 tonnes.

The unusual house forward and reverse bow, make the ECO Box ships  stand out from the crowd. The ship was chartered out as Nordana Star from 2015 to 2016 when it returned to Symphony Shipping, a Dutch company. (Sister ship Nordana Sky was charted by Desgagnés in 2015 to carry salt out of Pugwash, NS.)

Once alongside at pier 28 the ship began refueling from tank trucks.

After weathering the storrm in the relative comfort of Bedford Basin the Canadian bulk carrier Radcliffe R. Latimer moved to pier 26 this morning and entered winter layup.

It is customary for Great Lakes ships to tie up for one to three months each winter for needed maintenance, and there have often been ships from Canada Steamship Lines laying up in Halifax. However it is rare that Algoma Central Marine ships lay up here.

The ship is no stranger to Halifax, sometimes bringing in grain and /or loading out gypsum. Built originally in 1978 by Collingwood Shipyard as Algobay, it was a "Nova Scotia" class ship, meaning that it could make limited sea voyages and was the maximum size allowed by the St.Lawrence Seaway locks.In 1987-88 it was upograded to "Caribbean class" allowing for deep sea work. After a time under foreign flag and a charter to CSL as Atlantic Trader from 1994 to 1997 it reverted to Algobay until it was laid up in 2002, in need of major repairs from years of wear and tear..

In 2007 it was announced that a new forebody would be built in China and connected to the existing superstructure. A towing operation that began in Hamilton, ON in May 2008, using a series of tugs, saw the ship arrive in China in December (via the Suez Canal) where the new forebody was connected, and the old hull sent for scrap.

After a re-engining and rebuilding its self-unloading machinery machinery, the ship returned to Canada (via the Panama Canal) under its own power and resumed trading in 2010. It was renamed Radcliffe R. Latimer in 2012 in recognition of the retired Chairman of the Board of Algoma Central.

After de-ballasting all morning, the crew then put out extra heavy weather lines and the ship was laid up. Some crew, mainly engine rooms crew, remain with the ship during the winter for maintenance work, and contractors come in to work on other repairs such as the inside of ballast tanks, and cargo holds.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Weather Bomb - Part 1

The huge storm that swept up the US east coast arrived in Nova Scotia this morning and in Halifax by late morning. Extreme high winds and driving rain last until early evening when it became eerily calm and the rain virtually stopped. Widespread power outages included Ship Central (home of Shipfax). A storm surge is expected at high tide 2300 hrs this evening.
Shipping activity ground to a halt as ships either held off the port or went to anchor or to safer berths. A brief roundup:

. NACC Quebec had been en route to Baltimore Providence from Port-Daniel, QC with cement, but after anchoring off Lockeport/Shelburne opted to come to Halifax for better holding, and anchored in Bedford Basin.

 NACC Quebec in more serene conditions. Operated by Nova Algoma Cement Carriers, operating out of the McInnis Cement plant in Port-Daniel, QC to US and Canadian ports. The unusual funnel houses a Pure SOx exhaust scrubber. Built as Tenace in 2011 by Tuzla Gemi Endustrizi in Turkey as a bulk carrier, the ship was converted in 2016-17 to carry cement.Tonnages: 9,286 grt, 13,800 dwt.

. Radcliffe L. Latimer arrived late Thursday and went directly to anchor instead of pier 25-26.
. Oceanex Sanderling anchored in Bedford Basin.
. CCGS Cape Roger arrived at BIO, CCGS Sir William Alexander remains alongside.
. Asterix was to move to an anchorage Wednesday, but found space at pier 9c. (Her huge superstructure would be subject to windage such that anchoring might not be feasible). During the day the tug Atlantic Spruce was tethered alongside, but was not needed by evening, and tied up nearby
. Offshore suppliers Burin Sea, Trinity Sea, Siem Hanne and Atlantic Condor are all tied on at pier 9c.
. Algoma Dartmouth moved to pier 9.
. IT Intrepid remains at pier 9A,
. Tug Atlantic Fir moved to pier 6 at Halifax Shipyard alongside the barge Atlantic Sealion
. The pilot boats Nova Pilot and Scotia Pilot moved to the inner face of Jetty November Lima in Dartmouth.[see below]
. Metro Transit cancelled all ferry and bus service.
. The Bridge Commission closed the A. Murray MacKay bridge for a time, then partially opened but kept it closed to high sided vehicles.
. Tugs Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Willow are tied on the inside of the IEL dock.
. Irving Oil tanker Acadian sailed at 0800 hrs - the last ship to arrive or sail for the time being.
. Nolhanava remains nestled inside pier 36.

The cargo ship Thorco Logos (a light ship, with only cable racks in its hold) opted to leave its anchorage position in Bedford Basin and head out to sea  late last night.

In St. Margaret's Bay, just to the south of Halifax the heavy lift ship Symphony Star anchored off Mill Cove. It arrived at the pilot station last night and went directly to the Bay. It has cargo for pier 27-28.
Also nearby is Bomar Rebecca. The Tropical Shipping container ship sailed from Halifax last night.

In the Bay of Fundy, the container ship Zim Constanza bound from Halifax for New York is hove to or slow steaming. It left Halifax late last night. (Numerous other ships are also in the mouth of the Bay, bound for Saint John).

. Two arrivals scheduled for today, Budapest Bridge and Atlantic Sky, have been held off, with no definite arrival time scheduled yet. Arrival times will depend on conditions being suitable for the safe boarding of pilots. This will be a test for Halifax's "new" pilot boats that are much lighter and have lower freeboard than the previous boats. There is some suggestion already that they may not be as capable as their predecessors.

Winds are predicted to build up again overnight tonight and remain high until mid-day tomorrow. Temperatures will also drop from the relatively balmy +5c of today to -9C.

Part 2 to follow tomorrow: