Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Saying Goodbye

The cargo ship Ethan (ex Melissa Desgagnés ex Ontadoc) sailed this afternoon after fueling yesterday. [see previous posts]

Heading out into windy conditions and rough seas, in ballast. 

After a delay of nearly two hours when the aftermost crane apparently broke down while trying to retrieve the gangway, the ship finally got away from pier 31.

The last piloted shipping movement from Halifax for the year and the decade, the ship is heading for Freeport, Bahamas. The Caribbean seems to be a black hole into which old ships are sucked and sometimes vanish. Perhaps this one will be an exception.


Monday, December 30, 2019

Full Astern

It seems that all the photos I wanted to take today had to be from astern. Not my favorite angle for a ship photo, but that's just the way it turned out.

Ethan tied up at pier 31 and spent the day fueling from RST trucks.  RST is a company owned  by the J.D.Irving side of the Irving family, and not the Irving Oil side of the company. However the trucks generally do carry Irving Oil.

The Togo flag flies from the stern of the Ethan.

The ship may sail tomorrow, with Freeport, Bahamas as its destination. [see previous posts for more on this ship.]

The only vantage points I have to get photos of Fairview Cove result in stern shots, and so it was with Dalian Express and Atlantic Sun.

There was no cargo work on Dalian Express but there was a dive tender along side (believed to be Captain's Pride).

The tanker East Coast made a late afternoon arrival at Irving Oil, Woodside, with the tugs Atlantic Willow forward and Spitfire III.

And at pier 25 the tug/supplier Siem Commander remains idle after towing in the oil rig Noble Regina Allen.

Note in the background, under the spouts, the bulk carrier Federal Churchill due to sail this evening.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

Back to Normal and belated wishes

The port was back to normal work today, with the usual Saturday activity and some catch up work.
Federal Churchill was under the spouts at pier 28 loading wood pellets and displaying an attractive hatch cover, not usually visible except from aboard the ship.

As with many bulk carriers, there is a designated helicopter landing spot marked on the hatch cover between the cranes. However in this case it is more than just a large letter "H" but also an inscription with the ship's name.

At the southend container terminal, PSA Halifax, CMA CGM Ivanhoe occupied pier 41 and Maersk Palermo pier 42, until sailing late morning.

Lightly loaded for its eastbound transatlantic trip, the workhorse ship is beginning to show rust streaks again. By the time spring arrives it will be in serious need of paint.

Autoport was busy too with Victoria Highway unloading its consignment of cars.

Rounding Ives Knoll Victoria Highway heads for sea and its next port.

Just a year old - delivered by the Tadotsu Shipyard Co in Japan, December 14, 2018, Victoria Highway carries the new K-Line autocarriers "super graphic" paint scheme. The 75,528gt, 21,114 dwt ship has a capacity of 7,450 cars.

For some reason I neglected to wish readers a Merry Christmas on December 25 as I usually do. I hope to atone for this oversight by doing so now with the following photo. Probably not original and not unique to Nova Scotia, but appropriate - a lobster trap Christmas tree (with video surveillance).


Friday, December 27, 2019

Red, White and Blue

After a lengthy refit that included removing and rebuilding the ship's crane CCGS Sir William Alexander moved out into Bedford Basin for some trials today.

Not far away the MOL Marvel was making its first visit to Cerescorp's Fairview Cove terminal.

Built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Kobe in 2010 it is a 78,316 gt, 79,460 dwt ship with a capacity of 6724 TEU including 500 reefers.

At the other end of the harbour Titania discharged a load of cars at Autoport.

Still wearing the old Wilhelmsen orange and white colour scheme, Titania (and Atlantic Bear) pass Shearwater outbound from Eastern Passage.

Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in Okpo built Titania in 2010. Its 74,255 gt, 31,108 dwt gives it a capacity of  7934 cars.

Federal Churchill also got underway to make the short trip from anchorage to pier 28.

There was more blue to be seen, but it was so far offshore that it was not clearly legible.

Anchored outside the port limits, Ethan is waiting for something.


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Ships at anchor Federal Churchill, Ethan

December 26, the day after Christmas, Boxing Day, is almost as sacred as December 25 when it comes to longshore labour agreements, and there is usually no work done in the unionized parts of the port.  Ships do come and go at the non-union oil terminals (Elka Glory sailed from Irving Oil this afternoon) and they can arrive and depart from anchorages. But any activities that involve organized longshore labour incur huge premium charges, so are avoided.

Federal Churchill arrived from Montreal and anchored with the intention to go alongside tomorrow.

Built in 2016 by Oshima Shipbuilding in Saikai, Japan, it is a Seaway-max vessel of 20,789 gt, 34,564 dwt. It passed up the St.Lawrence Seaway in late November, arriving in Hamilton, ON November 30. It lay at anchor there until December 8 then spent until December 18 unloading (probably a cargo of steel). It then sailed for Montreal December 22.

Also arriving from the St.Lawrence is the veteran Ethan finally released from years of legal entanglements in Quebec City.
See also: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2019/04/court-ordered-sales-1-ethan.html
and: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2018/02/desgagnes-sheds-oldies.html

Now registered in Lomé, Togo, the ship is bound for Freeport, Bahamas. So far it has not entered port, but is anchored outside.


Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve

As usual work in the port slows down to a complete halt for Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Rather than having their ships stuck in port for two unproductive days, shipowners like to see their ships at sea. Surprisingly this year there will be a couple of ships in port. Oceanex Sanderling will be at Pier 41 and the tanker Elka Glory at Irving Oil Woodside.

Elka Glory is becoming a regular at Irving Oil after calls in April and November  - all from Amsterdam.

Several offshore suppliers remain in port too, but Atlantic Osprey was off to the Thebaud field this afternoon.

The harbour will be very quiet for a day or two with perhaps only the lobster fishers at work.


Monday, December 23, 2019

Big Moves

There were a couple of big moves in the harbour today, keeping the tug fleet very busy (see also Tugfax).

The biggest move was the arrival of the jack-up drill rig Noble Regina Allen.

Siem Commander and Atlantic Osprey brought the rig into harbour where harbour tugs came along to assist.

The rig is just coming off some work with Exxon Mobil in decommissioning gas wells off Sable Island. It will spend January and February in Halifax at the IEL dock in Woodside in refit then go to work for Encana until June when it will return to the IEL dock again before heading for Trinidad.

Built in 2013 the rig is a Friede Goldman type JU3000 capable of working in 400 ft of water and drilling to a depth of 3500 ft. The three jack-up legs are 554.7 feet in length.

Also moving at the same time as the arrival was the autocarrier Torino. The Pure Car and Truck Carrier had discharged some industrial vehicles at pier 31 and was moving over the Autoport to offload cars. Two of the harbour tugs carried out that move leaving two others for the rig.

Torino sporting the new Wallenius Wilhelmsen colour scheme.

The ship was built in 2009 by Mitsubishi,  Nagasaki and has a capacity of 6,354 cars (RT 43 type) and measures 61,828 gt, 22,160 dwt.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Busy Sunday

There was a fair amount of activity in the Port today, some of which I was able to catch.

ZIM Constanza was an early morning arrival and early afternoon departure. Built by Jiangsu New Yangzijiang in Jingjiang, China it is a 40,542 gt , 50,107 dwt ship with a container capacity of 4256 TEU including 698 reefers. Interestingly the ship's keel was laid December 25, 2009, and it was completed August 11, 2010.

Meeting the inbound Algoma Mariner in the Middle Ground area took some careful coordination by the pilots.

Algoma Mariner was also built in China about a year later. Its keel was laid October 21, 2010 and it was completed May 31, 2011 by Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin.

The ship went to anchor in Bedford Basin for a time then went in to National Gypsum to load. A Seaway sized self-unloader its gt is 24,535 with a dwt of 35,500. Its last port was Sydney where it delivered a load of coal from the Great Lakes.

ZIM Constanza's Pier 41 berth was taken almost immediately by APL Yangshan. Another of the "biggies" with a capacity of 10,960 TEU, it measures 128,929 gt, 131,229 dwt. Built in 2012 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co in Okpo, it is owned by NOL Liner Pte Ltd of Singapore. NOL (Neptune Orient Line) and APL (American President Line are all owned by CMA CGM.

There has been some unusual tanker activity at Imperial Oil in the last few days. I neglected to mention the very rare visit of a Canadian tanker. Algoscotia made a quick trip from Montreal, arriving December 17 and heading back December 18.

Since Imperial demolished the refinery the Dartmouth facility has been a depot for local deliveries, with the source of fuel usually the southern US or Europe, so getting product from Canada is rare.

The tanker Avon was on and off the dock several times due to weather and to allow Algoscotia to dock, then another Canadian tanker, Kitikmeot W.

Today Kitikmeot W. had moved to Pier 9 B where it was in the process off re-flagging to the Marshal Islands for the winter.

And Avon was back at Imperial Oil for the third time, unloading the last of its cargo.

And for something completely different the British research ship James Cook arrived at The Cove just as the threatened rain arrived.

Operated by the National Environment Research Council, the ship was built in 2006 in a combined effort between the Crist yard in Gdansk, Poland for the hull and Flekkefjord Slip in Norway for completion.
It has had many accomplishments in its career as a Royal Research Ship, many of which are listed in the Wikipedia entry:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RRS_James_Cook


Friday, December 20, 2019

Cabrera - bulk load

The Malta flag bulker Cabrera arrived Wednesday to load bulk cargo from the grain elevator. The ship had discharged a cargo of gypsum in Saint John, NB and came directly to Halifax. The new cargo is likely a wood pellet product.

Built in 2011 by Qidong Daoda Marine in Qidong, China, the ship ship measures 24,210 gt and 34,613 dwt and carries four cranes. It was one of the first of the Seahorse 35 design which has become a popular bulk carrier type. I could not read the capacity ratings on the cranes, but they appear to be a typical 35 tonne type rigged for 20 tonne grabs.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Dimitra C

The Greek owned, Malta flagged container ship Dimitra C arrived today on THE Alliance service. Owned by Danaos Corp, it is a 74,071 gt, 74,453 dwt ship built in 2002 by IHI, Kure. Its nominal container capacity of 6402 TEU includes 500 reefers. However its "homogeneous" rating at 14 tonnes per TEU is 4734 TEU.

Dimitra C passes George's Island inbound.
Note construction activity on the island where the wharf is being rebuilt for next summer when it will be open to the public for the first time.

Danaos Corp owns more than sixty ships chartered out to most of the major container lines.


Monday, December 16, 2019

Let it Blow

Continuing bursts of high winds have been playing havoc with schedules. Gusts were down from the early week's 100 kph to 70 kph last night and weakening today, so ships began to arrive and depart again.

There was lots of splashing this morning as ships arrived in Bedford Basin, facing into northerly winds.

Budapest Bridge arriving at Fairview Cove. 

CSL Tacoma arrived for National Gypsum.

Things were calmer this afternoon at the south end as winds continued to die down.

Mister Joe dumped the split hull scow Pitts No.12 without much fuss at the Pier 42 extension.

X-Press Makalu sailed and 

Tropic Hope arrived to take its place at pier 42 as the pilot boat heads outbound. 
(APL Houston occupied Pier 41 from before sunrise until after sunset.) 


Thursday, December 12, 2019

Wallenius Wilhelmsen - new colour

The autocarrier Toscana exhibited the new Wallenius Wilhelmsen hull colour scheme  at Autoport yesterday and Pier 31 today before sailing for New York.

Signalling the 2018 combination of ownership between the once separate companies the new scheme owes little to tradition! Wallenius, of Sweden, pioneers in seabourn auto transport, traditionally painted their ships with green hulls and white superstructure. Norwegian Wilhelmsen, ConRo experts,  used orange for the hull and white on the superstructure. The new scheme consists of sea foam green signifying water and grey for land on the hull. Superstructure appears to be largely white, but some deck fittings such as fan hoods are grey. I could not see the new funnel mark, which consists of stylized "W" and "O".

In April 2018 the two companies created Wallenius Wilhelmsen Group, to operate the combined fleet under the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean name.   The Group also includes EUKOR and ARC operating under their own brand names.

Toscana, built in 2009 by Mitsubishi HI in Nagasaki, is a 61,328 gt, 22,250 dwt Pure Truck and Car Carrier, with a capacity of 6354 CEU. Owners are still identified as Wilhelmsen in on-line registry listings.

It appears that the new branding consists of the colour scheme, but not the ship names. Therefore it should still be possible to identify Wilhelmsen ships from their names beginning with the letter 'T" and Wallenius ships using operatic characters for their ships' names. Toscana also carries the new Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean monogram on the bow.


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Cormorant - another chapter

Another chapter has been added to the saga of Cormorant the former Royal Canadian Navy diving support ship HMCS Cormorant ALS-20. The Canadian Coast Guard has apparently now undertaken to remove the ship which has been lying effectively abandoned, in Bridgewater, NS.

Thanks to Bernadette Jordan, MP for South Shore -  St.Margarets, legislation was finally passed in the last parliament to deal with abandoned vessels. Ms. Jordan is now Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Coast Guard in the new parliament.

Cormorant was seen as an unsightly addition to the shores of the La Have River.

Built in 1965 by Cantiare Navale Apuania, Marina-Carrera, Italy, as a factory freezer trawler, named  Aspa Quarto, it was acquired by the RCN in 1975. Davie Shipbuilding converted the ship to carry the SDL-1 submersible in a special hangar, and to support its operation using the stern ramp and gantry. There was considerable controversy at the time about the cost of the conversion which incidentally included facilities to accommodate the first women to serve at sea with the RCN.

The vessel was finally commissioned November 10, 1978, and served in a variety of roles for the RCN including the arctic (although it was once holed by ice in process.) Originally 1643 gt, it was listed at 2350 tons displacement following conversion. It was powered by three Mirelli-Deutz diesels, with electric drive to a single controllable pitch screw.

The ship was laid up in June 1997 and paid off July 2. In June 1998 the tug Churchill River (now Mister Joe) towed the ship to Shelburne, NS. Since then there have been several changes of ownership, some disputed, and perhaps some half-hearted attempts to convert the ship to other uses. Since 2000 it has been tied up in Bridgewater and in 2015 it took a 45 degree list. The Coast Guard stepped in at the time to right the ship. The cost of clean up and temporarily securing it was covered by the Ship-Source Oil Pollution Fund, but to be recovered from the owner.

In July 2019 the federal court refused permission to allow the ship to be sold, citing the lack of any evidence that there was a potential buyer, particularly one with the wherewithal to remove and dispose of the ship. The application to sell was seen as a ploy to avoid responsibility for clean up costs.

The ship stubbornly insists on listing due to uncontrolled ingress of water from faulty hull fittings and from rain water through other unsecured openings.

Now that the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act has been given royal ascent, the Coast Guard is stepping  up efforts to remove old wrecks. An ad appeared in today's papers for some more hulks in Prospect Bay. More on those in a later post.


New Arrival

The Handysize bulk carrier Ultra Lascar made it into port this morning after a weather delay. The ship tied up at pier 28, under the grain spouts, so it will be loading whatever cargo is currently stored in the grain elevators. Based on the recent truck traffic at the facility, I would say it is wood pellets. Now commonly called "biomass" the material is used as a fuel in power generation as a more sustainable alternative to coal or other hydrocarbons such as oil or gas.

The ship is operated by Ultrabulk, a division of Ultranav, the Chilean / German  shipping conglomerate. The bulk  carrier division's roots however are with Eitzen Bulk of Denmark, acquired by Ultranav in 2010, which in turn was founded as the (Danish) East Asiatic Company. That explains why Ultrabulk's head office is in Copenhagen.

Built in 2015 by Oshima Shipbuilding, Saikai, Japan, the 22,469 gt, 37,429 dwt ship carries four cranes and is fitted with a hold ventilation system.

The ship's name pays tribute to the thousands of sailors from east of the Cape of Good Hope (mostly from what was India, but would now included Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indian regions such as Goa, but also Malayans) who crewed British and other ships for centuries. Although largely displaced by seafarers from the Philippines, they still form a significant presence on the high seas. Their ranks include those working in the engine rooms, on deck, in catering, and nowadays include the officers in both departments.

The term "lascar" is not intended to be a pejorative or racist term, but if I have offended anyone by using it I apologize. Certainly many indignities were suffered by east Asian crews, including being banned from landing in Canada at one time, and being signed under different articles from European sailors.

A most shameful aspect of the history was that more than 600 seafarers from India served on Canadian Pacific ships during World War II. All were awarded service medals by the Admiralty, but none were actually presented.[Source of this report is Wikipedia]. I would be interested in learning more about this issue.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Big Blow

Mild temperatures mean high winds at this time of year and as the thermometer climbed to 13 degrees C winds clocked gusts of 100 kph along the coast. Naturally this meant that pilotage operations were suspended all day and will not resume until tomorrow morning at the earliest.

There were very high wind gusts in the harbour and the tanker Avon moved from Imperial Oil jetty 3 to an anchorage in Bedford Basin.

Avon at Imperial Oil yesterday.

The ship is less than a year old. Delivered by Hyundai Mipo in January 2019, it measures 29,528 gt, 49,999 dwt.

Tugging at its anchor this morning in Bedford Basin.

The wind driven salt spray restricted visibility somewhat but HMCS Shawinigan was able to carry out some exercises in the same area. It was joined by HMCS Glace Bay.

Ships requiring pilots have been standing by off Halifax until conditions improve. The small container ship Tropical Lissette which sailed yesterday afternoon sought shelter overnight in St. Margaret's Bay, anchoring well up the bay off Fox Point all day today and likely all night tonight. The Bay, just west of Halifax, is not a mandatory pilotage area.


Sunday, December 8, 2019

Strange Visitors

Most ships that call in Halifax these days are predictable to a degree. Many are "liners", assigned to a particular container line, and filling a scheduled slot on the rotation with regular calls in Halifax. Therefore today's arrival of MSC Eleni was an odd occurrence. MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) is not a regular caller in with its own ships, although it partners with others. The ship normally serves Montreal, and seems to be headed there next, so why it has called here is a question.

Partly hidden behind Tropical Shipping containers, MSC Eleni works cargo at pier 42, with a decidedly un-tropical foreground.

MSC Eleni was built by Hanjin Heavy Industries, Busan in 2004. It measures 54,881 gt, 68,254 dwt and has a capacity of 5060 TEU, including 400 reefers.

Ships calling for bunkers are also a rarity now that Halifax has no bunkering tanker. However Daisy tied up at pier 27 for that purpose en route from Baltimore for Grande Anse, QC.  

A cell phone, through the fence photo was the best I could do for the Daisy.

Daisy was launched as Beluga Constitution but completed as Beluga Constellation in 2006. The hull was built by Damen's Okean shipyard in Mykolayiv, Ukraine and towed to the Volharding Foxhol yard in the Netherlands for completion. The 10,899 gt, 12,767 dwt ship became HR Constellation in 2011 and Daisy in 2017. Current operators United Heavylift specialize in wind turbine transport, but there did not seem to be much if any cargo on board. Although they are not visible in the photo, the ship carries a pair of 240 tonne capacity cranes.


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Victorious Ace

Among the many Mitsui OSK Line aurocarriers with Ace names, Victorious Ace may be a first timer in Halifax. Built in 2011 by the Minami-Nippon yard in Shitanoe, it is 59,022 GT, 18,396 dwt ship with a capacity of up to 6,163 cars.

As Victorious Ace sails, the integrated tug/barge Leo A. McArthurJohn J. Carrick are visible at the McAsphalt dock in Easter Passage. 

Last night's snow fall was rapidly melting away, but there were a few patches in some places on the Dartmouth shore.

Captain E.T.Rogers working as pilot boat today, works its way outbound to disembark the pilot from Victorious Ace.

Victorious Ace is eastbound on this trip, giving Antwerp as its next port of call.


Friday, December 6, 2019

Boabarge to ground zero

On the 102nd anniversary of the great explosion that killed and maimed several thousand people and  laid waste to much of north end Halifax there were several quiet ceremonies commemorating the event, including in Fort Needham Memorial Park. The explosion shaped the future of Halifax in many ways, not least of Halifax Shipyard.

The memorial bell tower on Fort Needham, high above Pier 6.

In 1917 the Halifax Graving Dock Co was a small repair yard. The graving dock itself was an important facility, particularly during war time, where it was able to accommodate military and civilian vessels in need of drydocking. The fire and subsequent explosion that resulted from the collision of the ships Mont Blanc and Imo, took place only 300 meters from the Graving Dock in the area in the Narrows off pier 6 and has become known as Ground Zero.

Remarkably, Samuel L. Brookfield, owner of the yard, was able to get it back up and running within a month of the explosion despite most of the buildings being flattened and the equipment damaged or destroyed.

For his efforts the Canadian government, under Prime Minister Robert Borden (a Nova Scotian) expropriated the shipyard and essentially gave it to a group of Montreal speculators as part of a grandiose plan to built a Canadian merchant ship fleet. The repair yard soon became a fully fledged shipbuilding yard, one of the keystones of the British Empire Steel and Coal Co, and later the Dominion Steel and Coal Co (DOSCO) Canada's largest employer.

It took Brookfield nearly twenty years to have his compensation claim settled in court. The shipyard has off and on been a political pawn and its fortunes have also had many ups and downs ever since. Currently on a roll under the ownership of Irving Shipbuilding Inc, the pier 6 area is just a part of the yard's laydown area, with no special note being made of its importance.

The Narrows and Halifax Shipyard as seen from the Dartmouth shore. 
Pier 6 is in the centre of the photo, adjacent to the large building.

This morning, not long after the commemoration ceremonies on Fort Needham, tugs moved the Boabarge 37 from the IEL dock in Woodside to pier 6 9c.

The barge has been chartered by Irving Shipbuilding Inc (ISI) as a launch vessel for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships built under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. Its deck currently carries a number of cradles that have been prepped for the roll out of the third vessel in the current shipbuilding program. That operation is expected early in the new year.

In view of the proximity of the explosion, and the loss of life in the shipyard due to the explosion, I hope ISI was able to make some sort of remembrance as part of its workday today.