Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Container life

A typical container has a life of about 13 years, according the website of Textainers, one of the largest non-operating container owners. They own or manage some 3 million TEU (twenty-foot equivalents) that are leased to shipping lines and other container users. They count some 300 customers and their "TEX" label can be seen around the world. A publicly traded company in business since 1979, they now buy about 258,000 CEU (container equivalent units) and sell 182,000 CEU per year. About 21% of their inventory is managed for other owners, and that would include repair and servicing.

This unfortunate 40 footer will probably not qualify for repairs. It is one of several damaged earlier this winter, possibly on a ZIM ship, that have now been removed from the Halterm container terminal. Whether they were damaged at sea or on land is not known, but there did seem to be a mix of various units including at least one ZIM reefer.

 A pair of boxes on pier 37, includes one with goods still inside. One ZIM and one Triton.
Triton claims to be the largest container owner-lessor in the world with 5.5mn TEU in circulation.
Here is a closer look at the container from above left:

 Still more on the ground:

CMA CGM container on the right has been skewed, but the blue one in the background has been completely crushed.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Vincent Coleman in service [update + correction]

The newest Halifax-Dartmouth ferry entered service last week. Vincent Coleman arrived in Halifax January 24 from its builders A+F Thériault in Meteghan River and went into regular service Tuesday February 20.

 Vincent Coleman sets out from Alderney Landing, passing Halifax III

It is the final penultimate delivery in a fleet replacement program that has rejuvenated what was a three boat flotilla to a five ship armada. It is expected that the oldest member of the fleet, Halifax III will be retired, and Woodside I will become a back-up until delivery of the Rita Joe later this year . That will leave four boats to carry out the daily schedule.
That schedule was expanded while work on re-decking the Angus L. Macdonald bridge restricted car pedestrian and bicycle traffic. However with the bridge now open to all traffic, Metro Transit has opted to run an expanded the schedule anyway - ridership must still be up!
As of February 20 there will be weekday 15 minute service from 0700 to 2000 and 30 minute service from 2000 to 2330 hrs 

Heading for Halifax the boat sets up its customary "rooster tail".

The names for the boats, Craig Blake, Christopher Stannix, Viola Desmond and Vincent Coleman were selected from public suggestions and avoided the unimaginative addition of roman numerals to previous names.

Former fleet member Dartmouth III is now in Toronto, having made the long trip hopping, skipping and jumping between ports along the way. It is awaiting spring to enter service to Toronto Island, under a new name - yet to be announced.


Friday, February 23, 2018

Glorious Leader(ship)

An autocarrier with an unusual name is not necessarily an unusual sight in Halifax, but Glorious Leader must be one of the few that is (perhaps) tinged with irony. The term "Glorious Leader" has been attached to many figures over the years, usually sarcastically to demean the figure's actual leadership capabilities. Ranging from unpleasant bosses, bumbling political leaders to tinpot dictators, the subject earns the title by being incompetent and pompous. If the name is used as a serious term it may be found in poetry or sacred music of the Victorian era when hyperbole was in fashion. Nevertheless it is the name carried by this 57,692 grt, 20,999 dwt car carrier built in 207 by Stocznia Gdynia in Poland.

 The tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Bear take the Glorious Leader in hand to berth at pier 31.

 The ship arrived today at pier 31to unload machinery and will shift to Autoport in the morning. Although sailing for NYK Line it is on long term charter from Ray Car Carriers and has a capacity of 6700 CEU.

A ship that is becoming a regular is Algoscotia. It appears to be running a shuttle service from Valéro, Lévis, QC to Imperial Oil. After its first arrival this year on January 9 (when it delivered to McAsphalt) it is now on its fourth round trip from Lévis (January 18, February 4 and February 15). During that time Sarah Desgagnés has also done two trips, and the number of foreign tankers coming from the US Gulf to Imperial Oil has declined considerably. A low CanadIan dollar and rising oil prices may be the key factor.

Algoscotia swinging in from the western channel and waiting for tugs eases up to the Ives Knoll area this afternoon.
Algoscoatia dates from 2004 when it was built by Jiangnan Shipyard Group. It measures 13,352 grt and 18,750 dwt and is Lloyd's ice class 1A. Algoma Tankers took over the Imperial Oil fleet in 1998, and distributed refined products from Imperial's Dartmouth refinery until was closed in 2013. After that their tankers were rarely seen there as the facility became a depot for local distribution to the Halifax area by truck. For the past several years most of the refined product stored at the depot was imported from Texas on foreign flag tankers.
Valéro, an Imperial Oil competitor operates the Jean Gaulin refinery in St-Romuald (Lévis) opposite Quebec City. It is Canada's second largest refinery after Irving Oil's Saint John facility. A large proportion of Valéro's crude comes from western Canada/US via pipeline to Montreal East and is shuttled by tanker to the refinery. A plan to source all its crude from North America (including the US Gulf) was to be in place by 2015 or 2016.


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Another Happy Day

Ships of the Dutch heavy lift specialists Biglift and members of parent company Spliethoffs are becoming regular visitors to Halifax.

Today it was a return visit for the Happy Sky, this time berthing at Fairvew Cove. The ship was last here in August 2016 when it delivered the superstructures for the two supply ships Atlantic Griffon and Atlantic Shrike form the Damen shipyard in Galati, Romania.

This time the cargo was less visible, and may have been some small packages, possibly containers. Whatever it was it did not need the full capacity of the impressive 900 tonne deck cranes. These cranes can work in tandem for super heavy loads, and were used to load the 620 tonne supply ship superstructures and to place then accurately on the ship's hulls. 

Happy Sky was built in 2013 at the Larsen + Toubro shipyard in Surat, India. Despite its relatively modest tonnage of 15,989 grt, 18,680 dwt, its large deck space allows it to carry some impressive loads. The ship had some large steel fabrications on deck, but they are not for Halifax. They are more likely related to oil production, and may be destined for the ship's next port of Houston, TX.

In the background CSL Tacoma loadig gypsum for Baltimore.
While Happy Sky was alongside waiting to unload, ACL's Atlantic Star made its arrival.  I was surprised to see how much the ship heeled as it made the turn from the Narrows. These fourth generation ConRo ships  are always an impressive sight.

There was one unusual sight, although not exactly in the harbour. A fishing boat was in transit on a trailer truck bound for the Halterm container terminal. It had to make a turn in the Point Pleasant Park lower parking lot in order to negotiate its way.  

Although the name is painted on as LHM 1, it is registered as L.H.M. I in Caraquet, NB. It was built of wood in 1999 by Gerald Dugay in Cap Pelé, NB. The last reported owners in Lameque Island, NB. It is likely on its way to other waters however, possibly Newfoundland or St-Pierre et Miquelon.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


The second of three new Pure Car and Truck Carriers in the latest series for Grimaldi Group discharged its cargo at Autoport today. The shining white and yellow Grande New York brightened an otherwise gloomy day.

Built by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, China, the 62,134 grt, 18,360 dwt ship was delivered to Grimaldi Euromed SpA November 7, 2017.  The ship can carry 6700 CEU (car equivalent units) or a variety of RoRo cargo and cars, loading over a 150 tonne capacity quarter ramp or smaller side ramp.

The first ship in the series, Grande Baltimora has called in Halifax twice since its delivery July 19, 2017.
We anxiously await the first visit of the third and last ship in the series, Grande Halifax which was delivered January 10, 2018.

Grimaldi Group has owned Atlantic Container Line since 2001 and their stylised "G" is a familiar mongram in Halifax.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Holiday Monday - for some

Most Nova Scotians enjoyed a day off as Heritage Day, but there was some work in the harbour.

Asian Moon arrived for Nirint Lines, with another cargo of nickel from Cuba.

As Asian Moon passes the Middle Ground inbound, the tug Atlantic Willow takes up a stern first orientation near the ship's stern. This will allow it to pull the ship round then push it stern first into pier 31.
The ship tied up at pier 31, but work to unload will likely not start until tomorrow. Built in 2006 by Jiangdong Shipyard as Aliança Inca it took its current name the same year. It is a 9956 grt, 13,670 dwt vessel with a container capacity of 1118 TEU and has two 45 tonne cargo cranes.

Only one other container ship was in port today. YM Evolution arrived and sailed on THE Alliance's AL1 service (North Europe / East Coast North America). The 4662 TEU ship dates from 2014 when it was delivered by the China Shipbuilding Corp in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It measures 47,952 grt, 57,320 dwt and is one of four sisters of the "E" class on the AL1 rotation.

YM Evolution outbound in the Narrows on the eastbound leg of its trip. Bound for Bremerhaven, the ship is carrying lots of containers, but is high in the water, signifying a lot of empties.

Factoid: In the year 2000 there were 2,617 container ships in the world, carrying 67mn TEU. Since 2011 there have been about 5,000 ships. Although the number of ships has not increased very much since the 5,083 in 2012 (it is now at 5,192) the size of ships has increased dramatically, as has the trade volume: from 155 mn TEU in 2012 to 192mn TEU in 2017, and still growing.
Last week Yang Ming announced that it will order twenty new ships, ten of 11,000 TEU and ten of 2,800 TEU.

With today's fine sea conditions, it was a good day for CCGC Baie de Plaisance to do some more trials work. (It was out in Bedford Basin on Saturday too.)

The first of twelve new rescue cutters to be delivered to the CCG, it arrived in Halifax from builders Chantier Naval Forillon Inc in Gaspé in November. It will take up station at Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands as soon as ice conditions permit it to make the trip.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Reykjafoss reassigned

A ship that had been serving Halifax for the Icelandic company Eimskip since 2005 has been replaced. Reykjafoss has been renamed RS Mistral and is currently operating between Lisbon and Caniçal Madeira, Portugal.
The was the fourth ship to carry the name for Eimskip. Built in 1999 by Cassens, Emden, it measures 7541 grt, 8430 dwt and has a capacity of 712 TEU (including 100 reefers) and has two 40 tonne cargo handling cranes. It is owned by MS Westersingel of Haren Ems, and managed by Reider Shipping, Winschoten, Netherlands. It has carried several names over the years.

Earlier this year Eimskip announced that it was increasing the frequency of its "Green Line" sailings to provide a weekly service between Iceland, Argentia, NL, Halifax and Portland, ME. This would also serve as a New England feeder service for CMA CGM, They added the ship Selfoss joining Reykjafoss and Skogafoss.

Last month Pantonio replaced Skogafoss.
Pantonio is a similar sized vessel of 7545 grt, 8153 dwt, but is a newer gearless container ship built in 2007 by Sainty Shipbuilding (Yangzhou) Ltd. It has a container capacity of 698 TEU, but an increase in reefers to 120.
If Pantonio is a long term member of the fleet, it seems likely that at some point it will be renamed "Reykjafoss".

 This morning's arrival was less than conducive to photography, but does give an idea of the ship's general shape. It seems to have picked up quite a bit of frozen spray en route from Argentia.

There have been many references to the ships named Reykjafoss on Shipfax:


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Comings and goings

It was a sunny today today for a change, so some brighter photos than those posted recently. The comings and goings today were all familiar faces going about their regular business.

APL Santiago arrived on the Columbus JAX service operated by parent CMA CGM . One of 17 ships on the service, that call in 17 ports from Oakland and Los Angeles through Asia to the east coast of North America and back again. All the ships currently on the service are in the 8500 to 9500 TEU size, but rumours have it that next month APL Salalah, a 10,642 TEU ship will join the loop. If so it will inch up the size for largest container ship to call in Halifax. It is no surprise that larger ships are coming, since the Columbus JAX ships always look fully loaded. Halifax is their first stop after the 20 day transit from Colombo, Sri Lanka (30 days out of Hong Kong)..

APL Santiago used three tugs to berth at Halterm. Atlantic Oak was stern tethered escort, Atlantic Fir took the bow and Atlantic Willow was working the starboard side (out of sight in the photo) to assist in the turn.

APL Santiago, built in 2014 by Daewoo, Okpo, is a 109,712 grt, 108,000 dwt ship with a capacity of 9200 TEU. It called in Halifax for the first time on October 21, 2017.

Arriving early this morning and sailing from Halterm in the early afternoon, the veteran Maersk Patras was on schedule for its regular return across the Atlantic from Montreal.

The former P+O Nedlloyd Marseille, renamed in 2006, was acquired by Maersk when they took over PONL. Again with rumours it is said that the 1998 built sisters on the route will be replaced come spring.

Fairview Cove had Berlin Bridge today on the AL6 service operated for THE Alliance. Although wearing K-Line colours, it is in fact owned by Seaspan International, part of the Washington Group, on long term charter.

 Berlin Bridge made a rare passage west of George's Island outbound. There did not seem to be any particular reason for this, as the east channel was open. However there is deeper water west of the island.

 The stylized "W" below the bridge wing is the Washington Group logo.

The AL6 ships appear to be carrying more cargo these days than when the service started last year, and this will be good news at Fairview Cove, now that the service is assured for another year at least. [see previous post below]

At Pier 9C work continues on the annual refit of Fundy Rose. Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd seems to be working seven days a week on the inside and outside of the ship.

Rubbing stakes have been extended on the starboard side below the bridge. 
That is Atlantic Condor in the background at its usual berth between frequent trips to the Deep Panuke gas field for Encana.


Friday, February 16, 2018

More Big

ZIM is adding larger ships to its Zim Container Service Pacific rotation as former post Panamax ships become available for world wide trading. Previously confined to the Pacific and Suez routes, they are now able to transit the enlarged Panama Canal and can take up different routes.

The bow of Hyundai Mercury looms over the south end pier 42  on a dead calm morning.

Today's arrival, Hyundai Mercury although no longer a giant is still an impressive 94,511 grt, 95,811 dwt with a capacity of 8562 TEU. Owned by Zodiac Marine of the UK it carries the name and markings of Hyundai Merchant Marine, the troubled South Korean operator. The ship was built in 2009 by - no surprise, Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea.

Hyundai Merchant Marine reports a loss of about $1bn in 2017, but is on the verge of ordering 12 new mega ships. Since the collapse of Hanjin, Hyundai has taken up much of the failed line's business, but is still only a small player on the world market (It is tenth largest). It now also has arrangements with ZIM and the 2M alliance (Maersk and MSC) for its ships to serve the US east coast.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

More icebreaker woes

It's been a difficult winter for the Canadian Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet. Various mechanical issues have kept some of the ships out of service for days at a time. This has been particularly awkward as it has been a winter for heavy ice on the upper reaches of the St.Lawrence.
In mid-January CCGS Terry Fox was sidelined, just when one of the Quebec ferries was beset by ice. This week it is CCGS Amundsen with problems. On February 10 it had a crankcase explosion off Gros Cap-à-l.Aigle (near St-Siméon) a few miles from my summer roost. It was still able to operate with five of its six engines, but has now tied up at Gros Cacouna.

 CCGS Amundsen at the Quebec City Coast Guard agency, below the Citadel ramparts.

Of course this prompted calls for an immediate solution to a problem that has been brewing for years. As Canada's icebreaker fleet continues to age with no action on replacements (but many costly refits and life extensions).  The government has been fixated on replacing other ships for the navy and seemingly has no time to deal with icebreakers.

Offers of foreign ships, which would also require costly upgrades, are still being considered, but they would not be available this year in any event.  So far shipping has not been delayed for extended periods, but patience is wearing thin in some circles.

Amundsen has been in Halifax many times over the years for annual refits (when Halifax Shipyard was still in the ship repair business). It was built in 1978-79 by Burrard Dry Dock Co Ltd in North Vancouver as Franklin. Renamed Sir John Franklin in 1981 it was based in St. John's, NL until laid up in 1995. It was re-activated and then transferred to Quebec for the winter of 1997-98, then placed in reserve in 2000..
In 2002-2003 it was converted to an arctic research vessel, but to help out with icebreaking in the winter and renamed Amundsen.

In 2007-2008 it was intentionally "frozen in" in the Beaufort Sea to conduct research.
In 2011 it was removed from service while four of its six main engines were replaced and did not return to service until 2013. Several times over the past few years its research programs have been curtailed or  scrubbed completely due to various ice conditions in the Strait of Belle Isle and Hudson Bay, where its services as an icebreaker were needed.

According to the CCG"s maintenance calender Amundsen was to have a lengthy drydocking and refit just last summer. However with ships of this vintage more such problems can be expected. Sister ship Des Groseilliers, Pierre Radisson and Henry Larsen have also had their own mechanical issues and have undergone extensive refits in recent years or have ones planned in the next year or two.


Dutch General Cargo

Halifax general cargo stats were down last year, but they are getting off to a better start this year thanks to a pair of Dutch general cargo ships in port today, both carrying steel.

Ijsselborg arrived on February 12 with a cargo of rails for CN. The rails are manufactured in Poland and CN seems to have an inexhaustible demand. There is a more or less constant flow of rails into the port. They are stockpiled on pier 27-28 and shipped out on special railway cars. Once the stockpile begins to get low, another ship arrives.

Ijsselborg dates from 2010 when it was built by Damen's Yichang yard in China. It measures 8,999 grt, 12,016 dwt (also quoted as 11,000) and carries a pair of 80 tonne cranes that can work in tandem. The ship is currently operated by Royal Wagenborg, but has previously worked as Nordana Sarah (in 2015), Clipper Alba (2012-2015) Ijsselborg (2011-2012) and Onego Houston (2011) and was built as Ijsselborg.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of the port BBC Challenger was at pier 9C unloading drill pipe loaded in Louisiana. A similar vessel, it was built in 2008 by Damen Yichang and measures 7878 grt, 11,121 dwt, and also carries a pair of 80 tonne cranes.

It was built as Marina I and was renamed Clipper Marina (2008-2009), Marina I (2009-2010) and Thorco Challenger (2010-2017).
The drill pipe cargo is likely intended for the BP drilling program due to start later this spring.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

THE Alliance relents

After announcing that Halifax would be left out of THE Alliance's AL6 loop in favour of Baltimore starting in April, the line has apparently relented and re-instated the old port rotation.

This will mean that the four K-Line ships serving the loop will continue to call at Cerescorp's terminal at Fairview Cove. Starting in Italy, and calling in Spain and France, the ships make Halifax the first North American stop, then go on to New York, Norfolk and Savannah before returning to the Mediterranean.

Brotonne Bridge is the only one of the four ships built in 2010. 

The four  five ships on the loop, Brotonne Bridge, Bilbao Bridge, Brevik Bridge, Berlin Bridge and Budapest Bridge are 4526 TEU sister ships built by Samsung in 2010-2011.

Although THE Alliance members HAPAG-Lloyd, MOL, NYK, Yang Ming and K-Line operate the service, non-member ZIM also contributes containers.
HAPAG-Lloyd also owns UASC (United Arab Shipping Corp). The Japanese container lines NYK, MOL and K-Line are also merging their operations this year, but how that will play out is still in the wind. NYK owns Cerescorp.


Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Report

CSL Argosy arrived for bunkers today, making it the fourth CSL ship in Halifax in a week.
The first ship was CSL Tacoma, arriving February 3 to load gypsum. It did not sail until February 5, opting to stay in port as a storm passed. Next was CSL Acadian arriving February 5 at Pier 9C taking on parts and stores and sailing later in the day without taking any cargo.

Salarium, from CSL's domestic fleet, arrived February 9 and took a part cargo of gypsum to Bayside, NB for the CertainTeed Gypsum Canada Inc plant in MacAdam, NB. Salarium (the former Nanticoke) is on long term charter to carry salt from the Magdalen Islands but finds other work from time to time.

CSL Argosy is another of the former tankers that CSL acquired as single hulls were being phased out. Built by Sumitomo Heavy Industries in Oppama, Japan in 1981 it was a 41,471 grt, 65,755 dwt vessel named Ogden Nile. It was renamed Nile in 1984, and Niles in 2004.
In 2006, CSL sent the ship to Chengxi Shipyard in China where a new forebody was built, complete with extensive self-unloading equipment.  That was mated to the stern section, containing the accommodations and the original reliable Sulzer main engine. The new ship, renamed CSL Argosy now measures 46,409 grt, 74,423 dwt.

Drawing 12.7m, CSL Argosy anchored in number one anchorage south of George's Island for its short stay in port. 
It is a rare caller in Halifax since it is too large to load gypsum here, and on the occasions it has been here it took on stores or bunkers. It sailed this evening for Belledune, NB with a cargo of coal from Puerto Bolivar, Colombia..

Heroic Leader is another of large NYK fleet of autocariers. Built in 2011 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan, the 58,767 grt, 21,434 dwt ship has a capacity of 7,500 autos. It is owned by Ray Carriers and is on long term charter to NYK Lines.

Most car carriers look about the same size until they are nearly broadside. Then their length becomes apparent. This one is about 6 or 7 tugs long!

The merger of the major Japanese container lines (NYK, MOL and K-Line) will only effect their container fleets, so we can still expect to see NYK autocarriers. NYK claims to have the world's largest fleet of such ships, numbering in excess of 111 with a capacity of 600,000 units and carries 3.4 mn cars per year. At 7,500 cars Heroic Leader is a member of the largest class of ships in their fleet. It is also capable of carrying machinery, equipment and specialized cargo using a 200 tonne stern ramp and adjustable decks.

Also in port is the tanker Enegy Puma at Irving Oil.The 29,605 grt, 46,549 dwt tanker dates from 2008 when it was built by Sungdong Shipbilding + Marine Engineering in Tongyeong, South Korea.

Energy Puma arrived early Saturday morning.

Most foreign flag tankers calling at Irving's Woodside terminal arrive from the Netherlands and head for Saint John after unloading. This one arrived from Saint John, apparently with a partial cargo. Its last visit in Halifax was June 13, 2013.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Thorco Logos finally sails

A ship that has spent most of the time since November 4, 2017 in Halifax finally sailed today. The Thorco Logos first arrived at Pier 9C where it was fitted with cable racks (also known as tanks). It took until about November 12 to install the partially prefabricated structure in its hold and the ship then went to anchor in Bedford Basin. (see Shipfax 2017-11-05 )

On December 12 it returned to Pier 9C for stores but was back at anchor on the 14th. It remained there until January 3 when it went to sea before the "weather bomb" storm. As a light ship, it was unwise to remain at anchor in the Basin during very high winds.  It was due to return to port January 7, but this was put off until January 9 when it  came in to Pier 9C. Welders were back at work in the ship's hold, suggesting that there was some damage to the cable tanks from being tossed around in the storm. On completion of the repairs it returned to anchor in the Basin on January 13.

The ship got underway this afternoon, giving Portsmouth, NH as its destination. Newington, NH, just upriver from Portsmouth, is the home of Tyco Electronics Integrated Cable Systems LLC, manufacturers of fibreoptic cable. Ships often fit out in Halifax to carry the cable, and usually wait here until the cable is ready to load. Few linger here as long as Thorco Logos.
Once the ship loads the cable, it may return to Halifax to await the cable laying project to get underway. One cable project planned for this summer is 150 lm of fibreoptic to interconnect the French Islands of Grand Miquelon and St-Pierre and link to the Burin Peninsula of Newfoundland at Lamaline and Fortune. Alcatal Submarine Networks has applied for Canadian coasting licenses to use the French cable ship Ile De Sein for the work, starting in May. About 30% of the work will be in Canadian waters.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Power to the people (of St-Pierre)

Regular weekly service between Halifax and the French islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon was disrupted this week when the shuttle ship Nolhanava suffered a mechanical breakdown and could not make its usual trip, which leaves Halifax every Friday.

Fortunately the Atlantic Power was in Halifax and could fit in a "one off" trip to St-Pierre. Atlantic Power is on charter to Nirint Shipping of the Netherlands and runs from The Netherlands and Spain to Cuba. Its return trip calls in Halifax with nickel sulfides and other cargo. Once it completed working at pier 31 on Wednesday, it moved over to pier 41 and loaded some containers and sailed for Bilbao, Spain - via St-Pierre. However as a general cargo / container vessel it is not suited to RoRo cargo, so whatever RoRo cargo was on board Nolhanava will have to wait.

Nolhanava arrived Tuesday January 30 and tied up at pier 9C - not its usual berth- to carry out repairs and wait out a storm. It was scheduled to move to pier 36 /Halterm a couple of times, but remained at 9C until Monday February 5 before moving to pier 36. Even then it was not ready to sail, and so other arrangements were made. The report I received says that it has a pump failure and is awaiting parts from Germany.

Oddly this is Atlantic Power's first trip to Halifax, after joining Nirint Lines in 2017 and it is not scheduled to return according to published schedules.  It is a 12,993 grt general cargo ship with two 45 tonne cranes and a container capacity of 1118 TEU. A multi-purpose ship it often carries a variety of cargoes including bulk and breakbulk. It was built in 2000 by Jingjiang Shipyard in China and has previously carried the names Onego Power, Federal Power and Seaboard Power.


Friday, February 2, 2018


Another ship of the Spliethoff fleet made a short visit to Halifax today. The purpose was to unload a new Rubber Tired Gantry (RTG) for the South End container terminal operated by Halterm. The first of three new units, high enough service five high x six wide container stacks was unloaded using a shoreside mobile crane at pier 37. That is the area recently cleared by the demolition of three old container cranes.

The new RTG (numbered 76, and built by Konecranes) was soon being tested and may be in service virtually immediately. It has several features, including active load control and pre-programmed drive path, that will allow Halterm to increase its storage capacity by up to 40% according to publicity material from Konecranes.

Today's weather precluded any decent photos of the unloading operation, and only the following photo of the ship as it sailed.

Spliethoff ships are each named  "...gracht", after one of the many grachten or canals of Amsterdam. In the case of the Schippersgracht it is named for a canal where many ships's captains (schippers) once lived . It is a very short (only 100 meters long) but busy gracht - at least on the day that I visited in 2006.

To reach the schippersgract, vessels come from the River Ij into the Oosterdok, past the Amsterdam Maritime History Museum.


The replica Eastindiaman Amsterdam lies at the Marine History Museum as the tug En Avant 13 nudges the crane scow Cor toward the Schippersgracht. A number of heritage tugs and other craft line the bank in the left background.

A bridge (the Kortjewandtsbrug) carrying the busy four lane Hendrikkade opens to allow vessels to enter the Skippersgracht itself. In typical Dutch fashion, the bridge master arrived by bicycle and entered the black tower on the right to operate the bridge.


 The oddly named Flying Enterprise, a glass topped canal tour boat (not the famous Isbrantsen ship of the 1950s) passes into the Schippersgracht. I hope tourists do not expect a 90 degree list and a sea rescue as part of their trip. The many bridges do not normally open for these low slung craft.

  A classic canal tour boat (regrettably nameless) heads outbound...

  ...but eases over to allow a canaller to clear the bridge.

Schippersgracht is also the name of the street on the northwest side of the canal (on the left) , that contains many heritage buildings. The new building in the left background  is the city's Architecture and Urban Design exhibition centre called Arcam.

Once in the canal it is hardly any distance at all before the quaint  bridge of the Kadijksplein, called the  Scharrebiersluis (which normally would mean lock) opens to allow access to the Rapenburgerschut Lock (sluis 110) measuring 72m x 8.76m.

St.Johannesga (ex U-Tunnel) squeezes into the lock with a load of high grade sand.

Only the lock gate at the south end (out of sight) operates, giving access to the Nieuwe Herengracht. With the bridge closed pedestrian and vehicle traffic resumed.
Once through the Schippersgracht vessels reach the Nieuwe Herengracht linking to the scores of other canals that form arcs and radii around Amsterdam, much like a maze. Standardization of bridge clearances and lock sizes allows for many classes of vessels to use the canal system and it is still a primary source of commercial transport within the old city, where roads are often to narrow for trucks.

Not among those vessels is the Schippersgracht itself - it is too large to fit into its gracht namesake.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Desgagnés sheds oldies - updated

Thanks to additional info received from readers, some corrections have been made. They are picked out in bold itlaics.

Transport Desgagnés the major Quebec shipowner has been adding new tonnage to its fleet for some time now. New-built tankers have begun to arrive, and some slightly used general cargo ships and tankers have also been added.
This has allowed the company to shed some of its older ships - and not before their time by the sound of things.
Three recently sold cargo ships in the fleet were callers in Halifax on and off over the years, but have now gone to new owners or for scrap.

Amélia Desgagnés

Amélia Desgagnés entering Pugwash harbour in ballast, drops her anchor and prepares to swing round to tie up at the Canadian Salt Mining Co berth.

Ten years later - give or take a few days, the ship is loading salt in Pugwash for the umpteenth time

Amélia Desgagnés was built in 1976 by Coillingwood Shipyard as Soodoc for N.M.Paterson + Sons Ltd as a 4490 grt gearless bulk carrier.  Delivered in June 1976 it made its first visit to Halifax November 11, 1976 with a load of  grain. It became a regular caller, sometimes loading gypsum as a backhaul cargo.
In 1977 it was fitted with two pairs of 10 tonne cranes, and was thus able to load and unload its own cargoes. It did spend some time in the late 1980s under foreign flag, returning in the summer of 1989 to Canadian flag for northern supply work.
Carrying a fabrication for the Hibernia topsides project, the ship arrives in Halifax from the MIL Davie shuipyard in Lauzon where the component shell was fabricated.
In 1990 Desgagnés acquired and renamed the ship, but it continued in much the same line of work, often loading salt in Pugwash, NS and going north in the summers.

 Amélia arrives in Halifax with a cargo of grain in 2001. The local milling company (then called Dover Mills) required a small quantity, and the large self-unloaders could not accommodate such a request. It was the first non-self-unloader to bring grain to Halifax since 1989. It may also have been the last.

The ship was laid up in Quebec City in 2017 to be replaced by the newly acquired Argentia Desgagnés.
Its register was closed June 21, 2017 and it sailed as Amelia under the Micronesian flag. It was beached in  Aliaga, Turkey August 8, 2017 and subsequently scrapped.

Mélissa Desgagnés

Melissa Desgagnés was a sister ship of Amélia, built as Ontadoc in Collingwood in 1975. It had essentially the same career with N.M.Paterson + Sons Ltd. It was also built as gearless bulker, but had ring mounts for cranes built on deck. But it was not until 1989 that cranes were installed. There was only a single crane on each mount, with quite prominent towers, making it easy to distinguish between the two ships. The cranes were installed in Montreal for a northern supply trip.

Desgagnés acquired and renamed the ship in  1990 and it continued carrying grain, ore, salt and other bulk cargoes, with yearly northern trips.
On July 22, 2001 it arrived in Halifax from Port aux Basques in tow of the Magdelan Sea and the next day entered the Novadock at Halifax Shipyard. Extensive hull repairs followed. It also drydocked in the graving dock at Halifax Shipyard for nearly a month in April/May 2002 then sailed for Pugwash, NS to load salt.

The ship was laid up in Quebec City in 2015 and its registry was closed July 21, 2016. Renamed Ethan under the Tanzanian flag and registered in Zanzibar, the ship is still sitting in Quebec City awaiting final payment on the sale.

Zanzibar is not a port of registry that I cannot remember seeing in Canadian waters before.

Anna Desgagnés

 Regrettably this ship never passed before my camera.
However there are many still carried on Marine Traffic at: Marine Traffic.com  and Shipspotting.com
Anna Desgagnés was a very different ship, built as one of the well known Astrakhan class of RoRo / cargo ships. The Warnowerft shipyard in Warnemunde produced the ship in 1986 as Truskavets. Although it flew the Cyprus flag it was owned by the USSR's Baltic fleet and traded world wide. In addition to its four 12.5 tonne cranes, it also had a 150 tonne jumbo derrick. It could carry 553 TEU containers, including  30 reefers;  232 autos or 90 truck trailers; and was rated Ice class 1.
The ship arrived in Quebec City March 9, 1996 and was seized for debts. Desgagnés was the successful bidder at a sheriff's sale, reportedly paying $10 million for the versatile ship. It fit well in Desgagnés northern supply work, and for many winters it was chartered out under foreign flag working for Atlantic RoRo on their St.Petersburg, Russia / US service that used several other Astrakhan ships. In 1989 it was renamed PCC Panama for a charter, but reverted to Anna Desgagnés the next year.
The ship never called in Halifax to my knowledge, and spent its later years laid up in Montreal when not doing northern work. Its stern ramp made an excellent unloading dock in remote ports.
The ship's register was closed June 22, 2017 and like so many Astrakhans has now been scrapped. It was beached in Aliaga, Turkey, August 9, 2017.

Camilla Desgagnés

Camilla Desgagnés returns from another northern trip.

The latest ship to go has had the most checkered career of any of the Desgagnés current fleet. Built in 1982 by Kroegerwerft, Rendsburg,Germany,  it was a 4681 grt RoRo paper carrier and given the name Camilla. It sailed for Lundqvist Rederierna of Finland and worked both sides of the Atlantic carrying newsprint and paper pulp, using side doors and an elevator system or its stern ramp to load.

The first arrival in Halifax that I recorded was April 1, 1993 when it was towed in by Irving Cedar with a list to port and in need of hatch repairs. It was soon fixed up and on its way again.

A more serious incident  took place January 23, 2003 when it lost power off Newfoundland in severe weather. Unable to head up in to sea, it was rolled about and the cargo shifted, causing 20 degree severe list and a 30-40 degree roll. Due to impending sever weather and the inasability to make repairs at sea quickly enough, the master ordered an evacuation. A Cormorant helicopter airlifted all 17 persons and landed them in St.John's, NL.

Titan Salvage headed up an operation that saw Ryan Leet depart Halifax the same day, joining the icebreaker/tug Kigoria (ex Canmar Kigoriak)  and towing the the shiup to St.John's February 12, 2003.
The ship was declared a constructive total loss and the insurers took over, renaming the ship Camilla I. Desgagnés acquired control of the ship, through Royal Bank of Canada financing and a bareboat charter.. The ship was reapired and renamed Camilla Desgagnés.
After an extensive refit, (a deck crane was added later), the ship went into northern supply work, but was flagged out each winter to trade internationally. It called in Halifax in April 2005 for bunkers.
On June 8, 2006 the crew extinguished an engine room fire using CO2, 20 miles off Shinecock, NY en route Poughkeepsie to Quebec. However the ship had lost all power and was towed to Port Elizabeth, NJ for repairs, Titan LLC was again responsible for the salvage and dispatched the tugs Rowan McAllister for the tow. It was joined by Amy McAllister at Ambrose and Iona McAllister at the Verrazano Bridge.
The tug Océan Delta was sent from Quebed to tow it back home, wherre it was repaired and back in service for northern supply work for tis first trip in July. On its second trip north, departing from Cote-Ste-Catherine, QC August 16  it was due to call in Sept-Iles, Iqaluit, Quaswittaq (Resolute), Ikperjuk (Arctic Bay), Nanisivik and Mittimatellik (Pond Inlet).
On September 7 it suffered a main engine breakdown after leaving Pond Inlet. CCGS Henry Larsen towed the ship to Milne Inlet where its own lighterage tugs were able to assist it to anchor.. The tug Océan Foxtrot was dispatched from Baie-Comeau to tow it back south, arriving in Halifax October 15. The ship spent the winter in the Novadock at Halifax Shipyard and alongside pier 9B where its engine was rebuilt. It was then reflagged to Barbados and sailed February 15 for Saint John, NB to load paper.
Things seem to have relatively well for the ship after that and in September 2008 its northern supply trip extended to the Western Arctic, as far a Gjoa Haven, and without icebreaker assistance. None was needed because it was a virtually ice free, transit. It became the first commercial vessel ever to make westbound and eastbound Northwest Passages in the same year.. The ship returned to a brief drydocking in Halifax November 25-29, 2008.
The on October 27, 2009 it suffered an engine explosion near the Escoumins pilot station. CCGS Hudson, CCGS Marha L. Black and the pilot boat Charlevoix assisted the ship to safe anchorage.Océan Raymond Lemay soon arrived and towed the ship on to Quebec City, arriving the next day. A broken connecting rod was the culprit, but there was also extensive damage to the engine block. However the ship was back in service for 2010. Its orginal Stork-Werkspoor 8 cyl, 5498 bhp engine was replaced with a more reliable MaK, similar to the ones found on Desgagnés ex Beluga ships.

 A sunburst rainbow following the ship upstream last summer.

Camilla Desgagnés was laid up in 2017 in Montreal and sold in December to Russian owners. Renamed Camilla D and registered in St.Kitts and Nevis (a flag usually reserved for ships on the way to the breakers) it sailed December 30 with a Russian crew.
Soon after it reported cooling problems as its sea chests were filling with ice. The ship anchored off Batiscan and after repairs went back up river to Trois-Rivières for inspection. It is reported that Ship Safety inspectors with Transport Canada had to explain to the chief engineer how to use the recirculating system (essentially routing spent (that is hot) cooling water through the sea chest intakes to prevent freezing).
On December 31 the ship was underway again, still with cooling issues, then around St-Croix it suffered a gearbox failure and had to anchor to prevent grounding. The ship dragged anchor for a mile until the next day. Tugs had been sent from Quebec, but could not battle through descending ice until slack tide the next day. By this time ship was close to grounding off St-Antoine-de-Tilly. Fortunately Océan Taiga (8,000 bhp) and Océan Henry Bain (5,000 bhp), with the assistance of CCGS Pierre Radisson were able to secure the ship for towing. Because the icebreaker was needed in Quebec City (the CCGS Terry Fox was broken down), the tow headed upstream to Trois-Rivières, rendez-vousing with CCGS Des Groseillers en route.
Once in Trois-Rivières, Desgagnés replaced the offending gearbox. Some of the crew, by this time having head most of the above, left (or jumped ship). Some new crew joined (including a new chief engineer), and the ship was finally ready to sail January 25.
Its final downbound journey on the St.Lawrence was uneventful and the ship is now out in the ocean en route to Ust-Luga, another Russian Baltic port. The ship's finnicky Werkspoor engine, which is especially sensitive to lubricating oil quality, seems at least for the time being, to be co-operating.  See update above - the original engine was replaced in 2010.

Groupe Desgagnés added five ships to its fleet in 2017: the dry cargo ships Acadia DesgagnésArcadia Desgagnés, Nordika Desgagnés, and Taiga Desgagnés and the tanker Damia Desgagnés. It also disposed of one of its tankers, the legendary Thalassa Desgagnés.

Thalassa Desgagnés

 With a cargo of bunker fuel for Nova Scotia Power, Tuft's Cove, Thalassa Desgagnés was in the "dirty" oil trade, carrying bunker C, asphalt and heavy fuels.  

That ship has been featured here before. Salvaged from the shore of Anticosti Island by their own forces in 1991 after a winter aground, the then Rio Orinoco was rebuilt to start the company in the tanker business in 1993. That sort of daring-do is a thing of the past now, but the 17 year old ship gave an additional 24 years of service - a remarkable record.
The tanker was laid up in Montreal last winter and in January it was reported sold. Its Canadian register was closed February 20, 2017, but the ship had already been registered in the Republic of Palau* and renamed Asphalt Princess by Asphalt Princess Shipping (under the management of Prime Tankers LLC).
The ship is still trading. It's last position report was in the Arabian Sea en route from Iran to India.

[* Palau is a small republic in the western Caroline Islands of Micronesia, and a very recent addition to the Flag of Convenience business. Since starting to register in 2101 the flag now boasts of nearly 400 ships of all kinds totaling more than 3 mn gross tons.]