Thursday, March 7, 2019

Winter and Ice

They go together - winter and ice - but this year the ice has been much heavier in the Gulf of St.Lawrence and is now working its way down along Nova Scotia's eastern shore. It is too early to say if conditions will cause the ice the enter Halifax harbour in any quantity, or if there will be a repeat of late March early April 1987 when the arbour was clogged with ice for several days.
If so, stay tuned to Shipfax for a full re-counting of that event.

Ice, combined with bad weather spells, trouble for ships working through the Cabot Strait and Gulf. Earlier this week a couple of ships, one bound for Point Tupper and one bound for Quebec City swung in close to Halifax, possibly to board pilots or ice advisors before they encountered ice.

In recent years there have been very few serious incidents involving ships in ice, thanks to improved standards, more ice class ships, the availability of ice advisors, and better oversight by authorities. There was a time however when there was a serious or potentially serious incident every year.

On February 6, 1987 the tanker Dodsland was ordered into Halifax when it was discovered that it was leaking 1,000 tonnes of water per hour. The ship was loaded with 68,000 tonnes of crude oil bound for the Ultramar refinery in Quebec City and the Coast Guard reckoned that it would have broken up in ice in the Gulf, and would have been the worst oil spill in many years. It would also have been nearly impossible to clean up because of the ice.

Dodsland at anchor in Halifax.

The ship anchored safely in Halifax and the leaks were stopped. However the ship had to unload before it could be repaired in drydock. Although other Ultramar / Golden Eagle tankers were available to take the load, they were not permitted to do so as it was considered to be a coastal voyage, and only Canadian flag ships could do the work.

Irving Eskimo, Enerchem Avance and L'Orme No.1 each lightered off full loads and delivered them to the Lévis refinery.  A fourth tanker Coastal Canada [ see earlier post] took shuttle loads to the Imperial Oil and Texaco refineries in Dartmouth.

Coastal Canada lightered off the last of Dodsland's cargo and bunkers.

Once the Dodsland was empty of cargo and bunker fuel, the ship moved to the Novadock floating drydock at Halifax Shipyard on March 17, where it was the largest tanker ever to be lifted there. The repairs were completed April 9 and the ship moved to Imperial Oil dock 5 where it bunkered and sailed April 10.

Dodsland just fit in the Novadock. Another ice casualty, Calandra V occupied the Scotiadock and Coastal Canada went into layup at pier 6.

 The Dodsland was a relatively new ship, built only two years earlier, in 1985, by Astilleros Espanol in Cadiz, Spain, Measuring 45,278 gt, 756,284 dwt, it was not a huge tanker by any means.

This was not the last we heard of the Dodsland however. Two years later, on March 20, 1989, the ship arrived off Halifax under tow of the Irving Birch, with rudder damage, likely incurred in ice.

Repairs were made at pier 20-21 and the ship was able to sail April 6.

Soon after the last incident Dodsland was sold to Russian owners and renamed Kapitan Zhuravlyov. In 2005 it became Hebei Treasure and in 2010 Sky Treasure. It lasted until January 10, 2012 when it arrived in Xinhui for scrapping.

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