Friday, November 30, 2018

Delhi Highway - after the storm

Another series of powerful storms this week had the port virtually locked down off and on for two days. Many ships were delayed, especially auto carriers, that have been circling around at sea, waiting for their turns. Since Autoport can only handle one ship at a time, it will take some time catch up.

Today's arrival, Delhi Highway was due on Tuesday November 27, but pilotage services were suspended for periods that day and Wednesday. An attempt was made to board a pilot yesterday but was apparently scrubbed and the ship returned to sea.

Delhi Highway came up west of George's Island to give Oceanex Sanderling room to move from Autoport to Halterm.

All seems to have gone well this morning, and the ship had to make a slow entrance to allow Oceanex Sanderling to clear the Autoport berth. As soon as Delhi Highway sails the MSC Immacolata will be inbound. It has also been standing off Halifax for a day or more.

Delhi Highway dates from 2011 when it was built by Shin Kurushima, Toyohashi. The 58,997 grt, 18,891 dwt ship has a capacity of 6,120 cars.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Claes Maersk - MMX antique

With Maersk reportedly winding down its MMX service (Mediterranean to Montreal westbound and return eastbound via Halifax) the regular ships have been reassigned and odd ships are in place for the last few calls.
Today's arrival, Claes Maersk is a veritable antique amongst container ships.

An early morning arrival on a gloomy day for Claes Maersk.

Built in 1994 by Odense Steel Shipyard in Odense, Denmark (at the time owned by Maersk, but since shut down) the ship is equipped with a 45 tonne capacity traveling gantry - something not seen on new container ships in this century. With a gross tonnage of 20,842 and deadweight of 28,500 it has a relatively small capacity of 1750 TEU including 164 reefers.

The ship's registry was shifted earlier this year from Denmark to Hong Kong and the ship is now owned by  Maersk Shipping Hong Kong. It was previously operating a shuttle on the Red Sea between Saudi Arabian ports. 

It is interesting to note that there are no containers stowed on deck under the crane, and containers stowed immediately forward and aft of the crane are only three high, which would allow the crane to move. With Halterm 's pier 41 and 42 occupied (by CMA CGM Tage and Julius- M respectively) the ship docked at pier 36 where there is only one shore crane, so perhaps the gantry crane will be put to use. 

The camera flattens waves, but it was quite choppy and breezy in the harbour this morning and the tug Atlantic Bear made quite a splash when it went out to join the ship as second tug.


Sunday, November 25, 2018

Halterm cut off

A passenger train derailment this morning blocked off rail access to the Halterm container terminal. Some backlog of inbound rail cars is expected, but judging by the speed at which CN has responded to the incident it is unlikely that there will be any significant effect on the port.

 VIA rail operates a passenger rail service, using CN tracks that serve Halterm, the deepwater piers, a large rail yard, the grain elevator, P&H Milling and the passenger station.
Passenger trains arrive at the station "head first". Before departing again they back out of the station and use the balloon track through Halterm to turn the entire train around. Then they back into the station ready for departure. In preparation for today's departure the train had backed out of the station and was entering the lead to Halterm when three cars left the rails. The engines were apparently not effected as it appears the second car "picked" the switch, and tried to go straight instead of following the lead.

Today's passenger train departure was therefore cancelled, and when I arrived on site (at the normal departure time) the cars that remained on the rails had been hauled off to another CN rail yard, but the three locomotives and derailed cars were blocking all tracks, both for passenger and freight trains.

Later in the afternoon CN had brought in equipment from as far away as Truro and had hired a crane and other equipment to remove the cars. It appears that there will be considerable work in rebuilding the switches and rails in the area before the tracks can be opened up to traffic again. Crews seem prepared to work all night to restore the track and permit freight cars to move into the ocean terminals and Halterm.

Photos were taken from the Young Avenue bridge looking (CN) west toward the Tower Road bridge and the rail cut. Halterm is behind me.

This is the rail cut that some are proposing as a dual purpose route for trucks and trains to get truck traffic off downtown streets. Although built with tax payers' money it it is now owned by CN, who are understandably lukewarm on the idea.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Business as usual

There was little activity in Halifax today and what there was, was business as usual. Autoport  saw another visit from Wallenius Wilhelmsen. This time it was Wilhelmsen's Tongala , last reported here just a year ago on November 27, 2017.


The ship itself was built in 2012 by Mitsubishi, Nagasaki with a grt of 61,106 grt, 22,585 dwt, with a capacity of 6459 cars. It also has a 300 tonne capacity stern ramp for special loads.

At Fairview Cove Dimitra C [see yesterday's post] completed its work and sailed this morning.

Still lightly loaded.

Eastbound ships usually carry less cargo than westbound ones, but even so it's rare to see a ship that is so light.


Friday, November 23, 2018

Dimitra C high and light

The container ship Dimitra C arrived this afternoon on the eastbound leg of its EC5 run for THE Alliance. The ship appeared very lightly loaded with its rudder stock out of the water.

The ship was built in 2002 by IHI Kure as MOL Priority. In 2014 it was renamed Priority when owners Mitsui OSK Lines, sold the ship to Danaos Corporation. Earlier this year Danaos renamed thes hip Dimitra C. Sale and lease back has been a popular means of ship finance since the early 2000s, however some of the glow wore off during the recent financial crises when charter rates plummeted and ship owners were locked into long term deals with penalties for early termination.

Dimirtra C has a capacity of 6402 TEU including 500 reefers and measures 74,071 grt, 74,453 dwt.

I should have noted that the air temperature was about -12C when the photo was taken and a light coat of freezing spray shows on the side of the ship forward. It does look like hull damage, but that my be an optical effect.

Thursday, November 22, 2018


My clumsy wording in the post 'More Tankers Less Maersk' on November 20 has been corrected. Safmarine Cameroun is on the MMX service, which is a Maersk only, Mediterranean - Montreal Express. I have revised the post accordingly.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Halterm Upgrades

The Port of Halifax recently announced that work has started on the so-called temporary extension to Halterm. Tenders for "Phase 1 Dredging" closed November 2, so it hardly seems likely that there will be any sign of real work for some time to come.

Meanwhile within Halterm there continue to be upgrades. With the addition early this year of new Kone rubber tire gantries (RTGs) the ability stack containers more efficiently. It is somewhat surprising however that the RTGs are diesel powered when the rest of the world is going electric.

Haltern has also acquired some portable generator units (I've seen three so far) to increase their flexibility in handling reefer containers beyond the fixed plugs.

 Kalmar Ottawa yarders are two years old or less.

Brand new Terborg working Tropical's Asian Sun this morning.

They have also brought into service a number of new yarders. This means they have replaced the entire yarder fleet since 2016.

They've even gone to the extent of replacing their old fuel bowser. Mind it is on a Stering chassis - a brand of truck that has been out of production since 2010. 


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

More Tankers and Less Maersk - corrected

The shortage of Canadian tankers continues, with both Algoma and Pétro-Nav unable to meet demand with their current fleets.

Algoma has just recently purchased the Swedish tanker Ramira, and renamed it Algonorth It is due in Montreal on November 28 giving it a few weeks service before the Seaway closes. The ship was registered in Halifax November 9 so it is possible that we may see it this winter. Built in  2008 by Tuzla Gemi, in Turkey, the 12,146 grt, 16,979 dwt ship carried the name Gan-Gesture for one year before going to Sweden.

Pétro-Nav citing delays to its current fleet because of severe ice conditions in the north and bad weather recently, has applied for another coasting license for the tanker Tasing Swan. The Danish flag vessel of 7232 grt, 11,319 dwt is also Turkish built, dating from 2007 at Istanbul Dockyard. The former Hamza Efe Bay to 2008 and Erria Mae to 2012, has been granted at least two coasting licenses and an extension  on behalf of Pétro-Nav already this year. It is one of up to half a dozen tankers Pétro-Nav has chartered this year to service the needs of the Valero refniery in Lévis, QC.

With the expiry of its latest license November 20, the ship is lying at pier 9B in Halifax awaiting a new license.

Irving Oil on the other hand seems to be able to split loads for its foreign tankers dropping off part loads at various Canadian ports. Their Iver Prosperity arrived at the Woodside terminal today from Saint John. The Marshal Island flagged ship was built in 2007 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan and is the same class as their named fleet, at 23,421 grt, 37,456 dwt.

Word has reached me that Maersk is halting it Mediterranean / Montreal service MMX. The short lived operation began August 1. The last caller will apparently be Maersk Niteroi December 4 - that is about one week behind schedule. It is possible the route may start up again in the spring.

The Canada Atlantic Express will continue however.

Today's arrival ON THE MMX SERVICE was a bit unusual. Safmarine Cameroun is a 24,488 grt, 28,936 dwt geared container ship with a 2096 TEU capacity, including 340 reefers, Its three cranes are rated at 48 tonnes - fairly heavy for a container ship. Safmarine Container Lines NV was acquired by Maersk from its South African owners in 1999, but has retained its brand identity. Since 2011 its operations have been integrated within Maersk, giving the parent company the flexibility to move ships around as needed. As a result several Safmarine ships work for Maersk on various services.

Safmarine ships are traditionally painted white, but are usually kept somewhat better maintained.

Safmarine Cameroun dates from 2004 when it was delivered by Volkswerft Gmbh, Stalsund, Germany, as the first of three sister ships. The former East German shipyard was once the largest trawler builder in the world, with production dedicated to the USSR. With the fall of the Berlin wall, the yard was privatized in 1990, and Maersk purchased the operation in 1998. In 2016 they sold the yard to Hong Kong investors.


Saturday, November 17, 2018

Backlog clears

With the return of reasonable weather the large backlog of arrivals and departures began to move today. Pilotage operations had been suspended for about 24 hours and many ships had opted to stay in port before that. Arrivals began to trickle in too, as ships that had stood off were able to come in. Others had simply hove to or slowed at sea to avoid arriving too early.

The long list of departures included Oceanex Sanderling and Nolhan Ava heading east to Newfoundland and St-Pierre, would normally have sailed Friday evening. The tankers Jinan, and Nor'Easter, and the container ship Catherine Schulte, and cargo ships Augusta Unity amdf Baltic Leopard. The last named was delayed loading its grain cargo due to rain and snow, and after loading all day to today is due to sail this evening. USS Wichita also sailed, having sat out the storm in comfort at HMC Dockyard.

Jinan (centre) turns for the pilot station outbound, while inbounds CMA Medea (right) and Shanghai Highway (left) are spaced out for arrival.

Similarly arrivals included autocarriers Shanghai Highway, which went directly to Autoport and Porgy to pier 31. Container ships Brevik Bridge and Atlantic Sail for Fairview Cove. CMA CGM Medea arrived for Halterm, on its scheduled time.

CMA CGM Medea appeared well loaded on arrival, with all containers apparently intact despite having come through some of the worst weather of the year.

The 107,711 grt, 113,964 dwt ship, built in 2006 by Hyundai, Samho, has a container capacity of 9,415, including 700 reefers.  It used three tugs to berth at Halterm.

There was one surprise visitor yesterday - mostly unnoticed. Since it did not require a pilot its arrival was not posted on the usual sites. The tug Strait Raven, based in Port Hawksbury [ see Tugfax 2018-10-10 ]  arrived towing the newly built cable ferry Belle Isle Belle.

Belle Isle Belle (brown and white) and the Strait Raven (cream and charcoal) at The Cove (former Coast Guard) base in Dartmouth. Note the emergency towing line (blue) strung along the side of the ferry, to be retrieved in case the main line breaks.

The ferry is Hull Number 1 for the new Océan New Brunswick shipyard in Bas-Caraquet. The $6.5mn vessel has a capacity of 15 cars and will operate on Belle Bay between Route 124 and 850. It will replace the ferry F85 which will be transferred to the seasonal Kennebecasis Island service, in turn displacing a leased craft. The name, although sounding unimaginative at first makes sense because the ferry is a doulbe ender.

The Groupe Océan shipyard, is also constructing a floating drydock to be owned by the Province of New Brunswick. That $12.5mn project is to be completed in the spring of 2019 and the dock will then be leased to Océan for 20 years with an option to buy.


Friday, November 16, 2018

Container Change for Melfi, ZIM and Maersk

Perhaps by coincidence or perhaps with the coming of winter, both Melfi Marine and ZIM are changing out some ships on their Halifax routes.

Melfi, which trades between Europe and Cuba, with three ships on a 12 day rotation, has concluded charters for the ships Jona and Catharine Schulte


Jona, a 2007 TEU ship with 510 reefer spots, made its last call October 30. It was Voyage number 008 for the ship since December 2017. Built as Rio Stora in 2007 byZhejiang Yangfan Shipbuilding Co in Ningbo, and measuring 26,358 grt, 34,438 dwt. It was renamed CMA CGM Togo in 2007, Rio Stora in 2012 and Jona in 2013. Despite the similarity in names to the biblical character that was swallowed by a whale, the ship did not seem to have brought any bad luck to Melfi.


Its replacement is to be JPO Aries due on December 6, a larger ship at 2546 TEU. Both ships carry three 45 tonne capacity cranes.

Catharina Schulte, built in  2006 by STX Shipbuilding Co, Jinhae, with a capacity of 2602 TEU and four 45 tonne cranes, carried the name Cape Bon between 2006 and 2012. It arrived on Halifax on its Voyage 008 on November 14, but due to weather related congestion at Halterm, it moved from pier 41 to pier 36 to complete cargo work yesterday, then proceeded to anchor in Bedford Basin. A violent winter storm moving through the area was no doubt the cause.

Catharina Schulte

It will be replaced by the Artemis a 2546 TEU ship,  with no cranes. I understood that ship's cranes were needed to handle cargo in Cuba, but perhaps they have shore cranes available. It's first scheduled call in Halifax is December 20.

The third ship on the Melfi service is Julius S [ see October 16, 2018 ] which made its first call August 27. It appears to be remaining with Melfi, although published schedules do not run past year end.


The new service started by ZIM in April, called Canada Florida Express (CFX) apparently does not call in Florida at all, but operates between Kingston, Jamaica, New York and Halifax as a feeder to ZIM's other services.  It has been operating two ships, AS Felicia and Arsos since it began. Both of those ships have now been replaced.

AS Felicia made the first call for CFX April 3 and its last call November 1. Built in 2006 by Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Zhoushan, with tonnages of 15,375 grt, 18,291 dwt, it had a capacity of 1296 TE, including 390 reefers, and had two 45 tonne cranes. It was launched as Medocean but entered service as EWL Cribbean. In 2007 it became APL Managua and in 2014  Medocean and in 2015  AS Felicia.

AS Felicia

Its replacement, Jennifer Schepers arrived Thursday November 15 and sailed early November 16. A 21,108 grt, 25,775 dwt ship, it was built by Taizhou Kouan Shipbuilding Co (China Commerce Group). Taizhou in 2009 as Mistral Strait, but was renamed BF Copocabana on delivery, and carried that name until 2016. It has a capacity of 1795 TEU, including 319 reefers and has two 40 tonne cranes. [Weather did not co-operate with photo attempts.]

Its running mate Arsos dated from 2007 when it was also built by Zhejiang Ouhua, with similar measurements of 15,375 grt, 12,700 dwt and a capacity of 1296 TEU and a pair of 45 tonne cranes. Its first ZCX arrival was April 10 and last was November 8.
As mentioned in a May 22, 2018 post, Arsos also worked a short lived CMA CGM feeder serice here in 2010.


Its replacement will be RHL Agilitas due November 22, It has a capacity of 1732 TEU.

It appears that ZIM is increasing the capacity of ships on the service - a good sign, that perhaps as predicted, that there would not be a reduction in ZIM business in Halifax despite the loss of its traditional ZCS service, split between ZCX and slots on THE Alliance and 2M (MSC Maersk).


Not to be outdone in the replacement department Maersk Canada's Montreal Mediterranean Express (MMX) is also still bringing in short term charters. Jonni Ritscher was due yesterday but has opted to skip Halifax this time and is heading direct for Algeçiras from Montreal.

Speaking of skipping, Maersk / CMA CGM's Canada Atlantic Express (CAE) has also been skipping Halifax in recent weeks. Both the November 3 and November 10 ships were no shows, heading directly for north Europe, and no ship is currently scheduled for this weekend, as EM Kea was scheduled for November 18, and is en route directly to Europe. With Maersk Penang now due in Montreal on November 17 (it was anchored in the St.Lawrence until today) , it will now try to meet a November 24 target. Maersk Patras is in the eastern Atlantic, heading well south for the Azores to escape weather, and may still reach Montreal by November 26.

The extreme weather, now off Newfoundland will undoubtedly throw off a number of scheduled arrivals, and pilotage services are still suspended in Halifax tonight. A number of ships are also held in port awaiting clearance.

The bulker Centennial Harmony (92,752 grt, 181,338 dwt) heavily laden with iron ore from Sept-Iles for Port Talbot experienced flooding and main engine failure yesterday, 270 mi from St.John's. With seas of 18 to 20 meters and winds of 85 knots, there were fears that the ship would founder, and the crew even considered abandoning. However they were eventually able to make sufficient repairs to get underway again. A RCAF Hercules aircraft and CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell responded but there was little they could do to assist.

 Maersk Cutter

The tug / supplier  Maersk Cutter was 80 miles away standing by the FPSO Terra Nova and was prepared to assist if needed. However given the conditions it would have taken half a day or more to reach the ships, let alone make a towing connection or attempt to rescue crew.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018


It is often said that if Canadians did not have weather to talk about, conversations would grind to a halt. It is a more serious matter for mariners, who have to cope with all sorts of weather, some of it very dangerous. You will see from several recent posts here that weather can effect arrivals and departures and even vessels in the port. High winds for the last 24 hours, reaching the 90 kph range in Halifax have certainly delayed ships, but once the wind moved round from easterly to westerly, there was some lee created by the land and three ships were able board pilots and enter port, albeit later than planned.

Westerly winds blasting across Bedford Basin at times swept over the Bedford Institute pier.
 Cape Roger, moved to the lee side of the wharf.

Ships heading southwest were finding it hard going at sea and Qamutik anchored off Halifax at about 2200 hrs to get out of the weather.  The ship has had an adventurous summer. The last supply ship to call in Milne Inlet for the Baffinland iron mine project, its arrival was delayed by heavy ice. It then suffered a main engine failure October 19. Fortunately the icebreaker Botnica and the tugs Océan Tundra and Océan Raynald T were on hand ready to return south and they were able to get the ship out of the area, but it had another delivery to conduct before the two tugs could tow it home. The convoy also took shelter near Havre St-Pierre for a time and finally arrived Sept-Iles Bay November 5. It must have unloaded its return cargo of empty containers and the like while in Pointe Noire. It may also have loaded a cargo of aluminum.
The ship was apparently repaired in good order and it was able sail November 12 destined for Baltimore. The ship is bareboat chartered back to Spliethoff's until next summer. Built as their Edisongracht in 1994 it has a grt of 8448 and dwt of 12,760 and is fitted with three 60 tonne cranes. It has been chartered back to Spliethoff each winter since 2008 when the Logistec subsidiary acquired it.

When the ship was in Halifax in 2015 it was carrying containers, some breakbulk, including steel plate, and a shrink wrapped power boat - typical cargo for Spliethoff.

The question has been raised if there have been more weather related delays. This may be an unanswerable question, because there are several factors at work.

The first is larger ships. The big container ships, some up to 10,000 TEUs, and autocarriers, are much more subject to windage than smaller ships, and thus much more difficult to bring into harbour and berth. It the winds are too high there is greater risk of damage to the ship or the port facilities with bigger ships. 

The huge slab sides of big container ships make them much more susceptible to windage.

More critical however is the ability of pilots to embark and disembark in safety. The huge freeboard on these ships is a factor. Some are equipped with pilot doors set into the side of the ships, but most are not. Therefore the pilot must climb a ladder or step onto a platform from a wildly gyrating pilot boat.

Set low in the side of this autocarrier the pilot ladder and accommodation ladder are used in combination.

It is a long way up to the main deck on container ships.

That brings up the pilot boats themselves. Built for good speed to reach the pilot station quickly, they must also have good seakeeping ability (including maintaining a course). The current Halifax pilot boats may be a factor in recent delays, at least according to some, but I would not support this opinion as the sole factor.

The current pilot boats, Nova Pilot and Scotia Pilot (in yellow) certainly have low freeboard compared to the older boats such as A.P.A.No.18, in port for refit, and are somewhat smaller. They are also waterjet propelled.

Then there is the climate and the prevalence of bad weather recently. This may be related to the location of the jet stream that forces its way south causing high winds. A seasonal fluctuation in the location of  jet stream, caused by forces as far away as the Pacific Ocean can effect weather here. It may also vary from year to year. This may be one of those years.

Weather is a reality for shipping and port operations, and I am sure will excellent fodder for continuing  discussion.

Farley Mowat lives on

The former protest ship Farley Mowat that was in the news for years during its prolonged demolition process, is back in the news again. Bridgewater sculptor Brian MacNevin has preserved a portion of the ship on his front lawn. Despite complaints about the piece, Bridgewater town council has allowed the fragment to remain with some improvements for safety and accessibility.

The portion of Farley Mowat installed in Bridgewater.

The ship itself, built in 1958 in Norway  as a fisheries patrol boat, went on to a career in offshore standby before it was acquired by the Sea Shepherd Society in 1997. It carried the names Sea Shepherd, and Ocean Warrior before taking the name Farley Mowat in 2002.

In its early years as Farley Mowat the ship sported whale graphics.

The ship participated in numerous anti-sealing and anti-whaling protests, with the resultant brushes with authorities. It was finally detained in Sydney in 2008 and sold at auction in 2009. A plan to use it for ocean cleanup fell through and the ship languished in Lunenburg where it was sold at auction again, in 2013. The buyer began to scrap the ship but it was a stop and go process, with the ship ending up in Shelburne. The scrapper was fined and jailed and the ship sank at its berth. Eventually the government stepped in,  raised the ship and arranged for its tow to Liverpool where it was finally broken up in 2017.

Under tow for Lunenburg in 2010, the ship was wearing its black "stealth" paint job.

Farley Mowat himself, a noted Canadian author and early environmentalist, is well remembered by ship enthusiasts for a trio of engaging sea stories. Grey Seas UnderThe Serpent's Coil, and The Boat Who Wouldn't Float are classics on many book shelves. However his environmental and ethnological works were better known and influential. Mowat, never shy of controversy, was an appropriate namesake for a ship that sailed into issues at full steam.

On arrival in Lunenburg in tow of Atlantic Spruce, the ship's port bow name plate appears in situ.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Twin Cities Part 2

The second of two new US Navy Littoral Combat Ships arrived in Halifax this morning despite reports that it had cancelled its visit. USS Wichita LCS-13 arrived just after sunrise, in much better conditions than its sister ship USS Sioux City that arrived in driving rain and fog November 6. (It sailed after dark on November 7).

Both ships were built by Lockheed Martin / Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, and delivered to the USN on August 22. It is certainly unusual that two warships would be handed over simultaneously, particularly since their keels were laid a year apart.

Sioux City's keel was laid February 19, 2014 and it was not until January 30, 2016 that it was launched.
Wichita's keel was laid February 9, 2015 and it was launched September 17, 2016.
Commissioning for Sioux City is scheduled for November 17 in Norfolk, VA and Wichita in Mayport, FL January 12.

It is apparent from those dates that the latter ship still requires some work, but that it was important to get it out of the Great Lakes before freeze up. The experience with USS Little Rock last year when it was trapped in Montreal for the winter is apparently a "lesson learned".

Reports that Wichita would not be calling in Halifax may have had to do with its projected arrival date coinciding with Remembrance Day. However the ship made a leisurely tour down the St.Lawrence River, at a sedate cruising speed rarely exceeding 14 knots when I could track it. It then presumably performed some trials either in the Gulf or in the Atlantic, since it took five days to reach here from Montreal. (Sioux City took the more normal three days.)

The ships of this class have generally topped up on fuel in Detroit and again while in Halifax, despite having a cruising range of 3,500 miles at 18 knots ( = 21 days). Maximum speed is reported to be 45 knots, which would reduce the range substantially if they carried out speed trials while en route.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Look what the wind blew in

A first arrival for Irving Oil took place on Sunday November 1 with the arrival of the tanker Nor'easter from Ijmuiden, Netherlands. The ship is one of five on charter from Vroon BV of the Netherlands, but is the "odd man out" in that it was not one of the original four. Those four ships consisted of the Acadian to be Canadian flag, Nor'easter, Great Eastern and New England to be Marshall Islands flag.  All were built by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan in 2005 and were 23,356 grt, 37,515 dwt more or less.

After Esso closed its refinery and Irving Oil withdrew from the common storage facilities it shared with Esso, they had an increased demand for a Canadian flag tanker and transferred the first Nor'easter to Canadian registry. However the name was already taken by another ship and so it was renamed East Coast in 2014.

In the meantine Irving Oil had been using another Vroon ship, Iver Progress and in 2016 it was folded into the fleet as the second Nor'easter. Also a product of Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan, it was built in 2007 , and has tonnages of 23,421 grt, 37,412 dwt so is essentially the same size. It was also refitted with the same exhaust gas scrubber system as the other four ships, and in profile looks quite similar.
There are differences in its appearance however, most notable is the black trim around the wheelhouse windows. It also appears to have a slightly more raked bow.

Nor'easter anchored in the harbour yesterday, and will await the arrival and departure of Acadian (expected tonight) before unloading at Woodside. Interestingly the ship is carrying a cargo from the Netherlands. It usually trades along the US east coast.

A sixth ship, Iver Prosperity, a sister to Nor'easter is also dedicated to Irving Oil work, but has not been renamed. Also it has not been fitted with the SOx scrubber sytem.

A Friday arrival anchored in Bedford Basin due to high winds and remained there until yesterday when it moved to Imperial Oil #4 dock.

Jinan was last here in June ( see, ) and as noted then it is a rare Qatar flagged ship. On that visit is came from Port Neches, TX. Port Neches, Beaumont and Port Arthur are all ports on the Neches River, which at its mouth forms the border with Louisiana.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

CMA CGM Chennai -10,000 TEU

CMA CGM Chennai berthed this afternoon at pier 41-42 Halterm, a day and a half later than scheduled due to high winds. Serving the Columbus JAX service, it is the only ship larger than 10,000 TEU regularly scheduled to visit Halifax. The other ships on the route range from 9130 to 9953 TEU.

Delivered in May of this year by Jiangsu Yangzi Xinfu Shipbuilding of Jianjiang, China, it made its first call here July 14. The ship measures 112,967 grt, 119,000 dwt, and carries containers 19 wide at the widest part of the ship.

Even though conditions had improved today, with unlimited visibility, the winds were still gusty, and the ship used three tugs to berth.

The ship is owned by Seaspan and operated by them for CMA CGM on a long term charter.


Saturday, November 10, 2018

Survey boat retirement

Two Canadian Coast Guard survey vessels will be retired this year now that replacements have been delivered. One of the retirees, which was considered state of the art when built, worked from Halifax for a time.

It was named CSS (Canadian Survey Ship)  F.C.G. Smith for the late Dominion Hydrographer Frederick Clifford Goulding Smith. Born in 1890, and educated at Acadia University, he was responsible for much of the charting in Hudson's Bay. He died in Annapolis Royal, NS in 1983.

In traditional hydrographic vessel livery of white hull and buff funnel, CSS F.C.G. Smith works in Pictou Harbour.

The boat, measuriung 430 grt,  was completed  in 1985 by Georgetown Shipyard Inc in Georgetown, PE and was initially based at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) in Dartmouth. With twin catamaran hulls, and retractable booms, it was able to chart much wider swaths of seabed than a monohull, with the added benefit of greater stability. The vessel measures 33.22m long x 13.99m wide (plus sweeps)

In Coast Guard colours, CCGS F.C.G Smith works downstream from Trois-Rivières, QC.

In 1995 the boat was transferred from the responsibility of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to the Minister of Transport and assigned to the Coast Guard, and was moved from BIO to the St.Lawrence River. It was then assigned to the main shipping channel between Trois-Rivières and Ile-aux-Coudres.

When not in use for sweeping, the booms are swung inboard and secured. There are aslo sensors mounted between the hulls to ensure a continuous track.

Another survey boat based in Quebec will also be retired. Named G.C.03 It was built in 1970 by Fercraft Marine Inc, Ste-Catherine d'Alexandrie, QC. It is 17.8m long x 6.19m wide and 57 grt. Originally named S.L.03 by the Minister of Transport, it was later renamed G.C.03 and transferred, along with all Coast Guard functions to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Under the National Shipbuilding Strategy [NSBS] the government established a small vessel construction program, and - cynical though I may be - this program was not only to replace older vessels, but to replace bigger boats with smaller or fewer boats. Such has proven to be the case, as the replacement survey boats are11.9m long x 6m wide, i.e. smaller than the boats they replace.

The contract for the construction of the new boats was announced in December 2016 and Kanter Marine of St.Thomas, ON recently delivered Jean Bourdon and Helen Irene Battle. To be nominally based in Mont Joli, QC, they will work between Montreal and Ile-aux-Coudres.

Certainly they are too small to work in the Gulf of St.Lawrence, but there has been no indication so far how the Frederick G. Creed (built in 1988) which does that survey work now, will be replaced.

The small vessel replacement program is also delivering:
- 12 new CCG lifeboats, some already delivered, $89.2 mn, with an option for up to 4 more.
Builders: Hike and Forillon.
- channel survey and sounding (as above) - two boats $5.4 mn, by Kanter Marine.
- hydrographic survey vessels - 7 trailerable boats, all delivered, with option for 3 more, $5.5mn - Kanter Marine.
- coastal research vessel - (Great Lakes) 1 vessel 11.5m , $1.2 mn, Kanter Marine.
- RCMP coastal patrol boats - three monohull 25m long - not yet awarded

- naval large tug project (4 new tugs to replace 5 harbour tugs and 2 fireboats) - not yet awarded.

Large vessel replacements are all assigned under NSBS to Seaspan as part of the non-combatant portion of the program. These include the offshore fisheries and science and offshore oceanographic science vessels.

Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax has the combatant portion. 


Friday, November 9, 2018

Bunkering in Halifax -another chapter

With the sailing on November 8, 2018 of Algoma Dartmouth for Saint John, NB to start a new bunkering operation in that port for Irving Oil, Halifax is without the services of a such a vessel for the first time.

It is probably impossible to say exactly when bunkering services were first introduced in Halifax, but it was likely early in the age of steam when ships arrived to take on coal as fuel. Coaling took place alongside, but also at anchor and barges or self-propelled vessels took coal out to the ships. That service lasted until the 1960s when oil became the fuel of choice.

During World War I Imperial Oil established a refinery on the eastern side of the harbour in the South Woodside area which came to be known as Imperoyal. The refinery produced fuel for many uses, including ship's fuel and was critical to the war effort, particularly in World War II.

Imperial Oil operated its own fleet of tankers and tank barges and used some of them to refuel ships in the harbour. In the early days of this century Imperial sold off its tanker fleet, including eventually the bunkering tanker Imperial Dartmouth. It was sold to Northern Transportation Co Ltd and operated in Halifax as NT Dartmouth from 2006 to 2009.

When NTCL took over Imperial Dartmouth and renamed it, they repainted the ship green. However in its last few months in Halifax, from May 2009 it was painted red.

In 2009 Algoma Tankers acquired the Turkish built bunkering tanker Samistal Due and renamed it  Algoma Dartmouth. Built in 2007 by Yardimci Gemi Insa SA of Tuzla, it was to be called Crescent Bardolino, but was delivered as Clipper Bardolino and carried that name until 2008 when it was sold by Clipper Wonsild Tankers (UK) Ltd to Samistal Shipping Ltd of Turkey.

It was reported at the time that Algoma and Imperial Oil had a three year agreement. As of August 1, 2009 Algoma operated the tanker with a coasting license as a charter, but under the Canadian flag as a "non-duty paid" vessel until July 31, 2010. However by January 2010 Algoma had purchased the ship.

On the same day as the previous photo, Samistal Due was tied up at pier 25 being prepared to take up its duties. It was registered in Canada, the next day, July 21, 2009, under its new name.

Specially built as a bunkering and chemical tanker with heated tanks to carry heavy fuel, and twin screws for close quarters work, it measured 2999 grt, 3569 dwt. 

In September 2013 Imperial Oil shut down the refinery, eliminating a local source of bunker C, the heavy fuel oil used by many ships. In January 2014 Sterling Fuels of Windsor, ON, part of the McAsphalt / Miller group of companies took over the charter. Sterling provides bunkering facilities in Hamilton, Windsor and Sarnia, ON and McAsphalt has an asphalt depot in Eastern Passage, and supplemented these facilities to store heated heavy oil for marine fuel.

They apparently maintained a source of diesel fuel with Imperial Oil, which continued to store and distribute refined product from its Imperoyal location. However they have also found fuel in Point Tupper, the United States and even from Irving Oil in Dartmouth.

My post of November 29, 2013 was made before the contract with Sterling Fuel had been announced, and gives an overview of bunkering in Halifax up until then:

Interestingly the last refueling conducted by Algoma Dartmouth appears to have been on Oceanex Sanderling on October 31, 2018, just as it was in 2013 before the Sterling charter.

Now just weeks short of five years later we are in the dark as to the future of bunkering by barge or ship. Several companies do provide marine fuels in Halifax by truck, but that requires ships to tie up at a pier.

In this 2014 photo the Algoma Dartmouth had moved its fenders to the port side but they would usually be on the starboard side.

Since 2009 Algoma Dartmouth has been a fixture in Halifax harbour and perhaps it was taken for granted that it would be here indefinitely.

A typical scene, with Algoma Dartmouth alongside and refueling a tanker.

Times change, ships change.