Tuesday, March 31, 2020

DART start

Two consortium companies were instrumental in the start of container services to Halifax*. Both companies were founded by established shipping lines that banded together to carry the immense cost of building new ships. Atlantic Container Line (ACL) is perhaps the better known because it is still in operation more than fifty years later, although with completely different owners. There will be more on that line in this blog in the months to come, although most of its story has been told here before.


As you will read, the first Atlantic Star delivered the first RoRo cargo to Halifax March 3, 1970. I somehow neglected to mark that anniversary here.

The first Atlantic Star unloaded the first RoRo cargo to Halifax.

It was ACL's Atlantic Cinderella that unloaded the first cargo at Halterm (now PSA Halifax) in November 1970. I am sure the port will be celebrating that event.

Also in at the beginning was a Canadian company, Clarke Transportation. Its history is far and away too long to recount here,  but you can read the entire story at: https://clarkesteamship.wordpress.com/about/

In the 1960s Clarke, a family owned company based in Montreal, had numerous transport related interests including ship agency for Bristol City Line of Steamships. Along with Compagnie Maritime Belge, the three formed Dart Container Line to operate a weekly service from Antwerp and Southampton to Halifax, New York and later Norfolk. They ordered new pure container ships (with no RoRo capability) that turned out to be the largest container ships in the world at the time. With a container capacity of 1500, they were built to withstand the rigors of the North Atlantic year round, and carried most of the containers below deck.

Before the new ships were delivered Dart set up two interim services with CMB running to New York using their own ships and dART (Clarke / BCL  / CMB ) operating Antwerp, Southampton to Halifax using three charters.

The first of those ships to arrive in Halifax was Jorg Kruger on July 17, 1969.

Halterm (of which Clarke was a part owner) was not completed yet and the ship tied up at pier 31. It unloaded 161 containers and loaded 92 - all 20 footers - using ship's own gear. Shore cranes moved the containers on the pier as there were no forklifts or RTGs yet.

A sister ship Britta Kruger joined soon after.

The ships were twins, newly built in 1969 by Elsflethwerft in West Germany. Measuring 5383 gt, 7047 dwt, the had a capacity of about 200 TEU, but they were fitted out as general cargo ships.
They carrried two 45 ton and three 22.5 ton derricks.

They were painted in Dart's choice of orange hull colour, the same colour that Bristol City Line and CMB used for their ships.

The third ship was similar. Juno came from the Nobiskrug yard in Rendsburg, measuring 5025 gt, 7500 dwt.

Juno carried one 60 ton derrick amidships, and two 10 ton derricks on masts at the wheelhouse. Although designed to carry 10 ten ton derricks the remaining derricks were not fitted, and shore side cranes were needed to work cargo in number one hold.

When the new Dart ships entered service, the three charters were returned to their German owners and all lasted into the 1990s with multiple changes of name.  Clarke Transportation sold its interest in Dart, which was eventually taken over by C.Y.Tung and folded into OOCL.

Clarke still exists, and is owned in Halifax. Its sole shipping interest is now the ferry Trans St-Laurent that operates seasonally between Rivière-du-Loup and St-Siméon, QC. This year's start date is still scheduled for April 9.

*ZIM was aslo an early line, but remains independent.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Maersk Patras to bypass

The Maersk / CMA CGM  joint transatlantic service skipped Halifax this past weekend. Ships of the line normally call in Halifax on Saturdays but there was no call this time. The line calls in Halifax eastbound only, after its Montreal call.

Maersk Patras sailing on March 3 passes the construction work extending pier 42. 
(Since the photo was taken fill has extended beyond the crib on the far right.)

The ship that would normally have called this weekend, Maersk Patras  has fallen behind on its regular call date (it was last here on March 3, a Tuesday see: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2020/03/near-normal.html).
This time round the ship has sailed from Montreal direct for Bremerhaven, skipping Halifax, perhaps allowing the ship to catch up on its regular schedule.

According to Maersk's published schedule the next regular calls on April 4 (ship EM Kea) and April 11 (Maersk Penang)and April 18 (Maersk Palermo) will take place on the regular dates, and Maersk Patras will be back April 24. As I have observed before, maintaining a weekly transatlantic service in winter with four ships is a grueling routine, and time lost can rarely be made up.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Life Goes On

Services such as shipping continue as much as possible to deliver essential goods, and they must do so safely.

MOL Marvel arrives in Halifax for the first time, with a whole variety of cargo. The ship, measuring 78,316 gt, 79,460 dwt, was built in 2010 by Mitsubishi Heavy in Kobe. In 2015 it was fitted with an experimental screen forward aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 2% by reducing wind resistance (while the ship was steaming at 17 knots). It has the added benefit of protecting containers stowed forward.

The ship's capacity of 6724 TEU (including 500 reefers) may have been reduced somewhat since the white containers just aft of the screen do not appear to be revenue boxes, but part of the screen. No other ships of the "M" class have been fitted with similar screens, so the results of the experiment may not have lived up to expectations.

For ships to navigate safely aids to navigation such as buoys must be maintained, and spring is usually the time to change then out as winter can be particular hard on them. Others are removed from service for the winter due to ice and are reinstated in spring.

CCGS Sir William Alexander sets this afternoon out for the eastern shore with a deck load of buoys. Having to dodge a solo sailor is a bit odd for this time of year, but the same boat has been running for all winter. (I took a photo of it on February 23: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2020/02/an-unusual-winter.html )

Only two of the buoys are identifiable. TA4 for Flying Point and PQ4 for Horne Shoal in the Port Felix /Dover areas.

Another arrival, just getting into the inner anchorage before dusk, was the tanker Tower Bridge. It is coming from Saint John, NB with a part cargo from Europe, but will have to wait until yesterday's arrival sails from Irving Oil's Woodside terminal.

Of typical MidRange size at 27,725 gt, 47,199 dwt the ship is a bit unusual however in that it was built at the Admiralty Shipyard in St.Petersburg. It is operated by the Russian company SCF. Despite the admonishment that Safety Comes First, the company initials represent Sovcomflot. Originally a soviet state owned shipping combine it has been a joint stock company since 1988.


Saturday, March 28, 2020


The mysteriously named Kibaz arrived at Irving Oil this afternoon. A fairly typical Mid Range tanker of 28,517 gt, 47,094 dwt, it was built in 2004 by Onomichi Zosen in Japan as Balzo. It acquired its current name in 2016. A nearly as I can tell its ownership may be in India, through International Andromeda Shipping. (Its official owner is listed as Kibaz Shipping LP). It is also listed as a member of the UPT Pool, but that site appears stale.

Kibaz carries a "Z" on its funnel, possibly for Zenith Shipping or possibly even from Zorca Shipping, its first owners. The ship arrived from Amsterdam where Irving Oil has terminal storage.

[Yes I did have to leave my house to take this photo, but I did not come into direct contact with other humans in doing so.]


Siem Cicero - what is up

The question is what is the autocarrier Siem Cicero doing off Halifax. Originally scheduled to arrive March 22, the ship has been drifting around offshore since that date. The ship sailed from Emden, Germany March 9.

Built by the Uljanik Shipyard in Pula, Croatia in 2017 it is a pure car and truck carrier of 56,677 gt, 17,416 dwt, with a capacity of 7,000 cars. Halifax was its first North American call on its maiden voyage in 2017 [see photo above] and the ship was last here in January.

If the ship is waiting out a two week self-isolation since leaving its last port that would have expired by now. So far no new ETA has been given. One has to wonder what is keeping it away from Halifax.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Bunkering Update - AMENDED

Much has changed in the ship re-fueling business, not only in the types of fuel now required by international law, but by how fuel is delivered to ships in Halifax.

Since late 2018 ships wishing to refuel in Halifax must tie up alongside at Irving Oil in Woodside, or Wilson's Fuel at Pier 9, where fuel can be delivered to the ship by pipeline. Ships can also tie up at commercial piers where fuel is delivered by trucks. There is no longer the option to receive fuel while at anchor. The last bunkering tanker to serve Halifax, the Algoma Dartmouth now works in Saint John, NB where it can access a supply of fuel directly from the Irving Oil refinery.

There are no oil refineries in Halifax anymore, and all ships' fuel that is available here must first come from another port. Irving Oil has contracted to supply fuel to the Royal Canadian Navy. The RCN's hired supply / tanker Asterix is alongside at Irving Oil this morning.

I covered the history of fuel bunkering in Halifax in two previous posts, which require a little updating.



The tanker barge Halfueler was shown again in a post yesterday Tuesday after I recently discovered another photo in my negative file. As recounted in the 2013 post, the ship was acquired by Marine Industries Ltd when it purchased the Foundation Company tugs.  MIL had a large dredging contract on the St.Lawrence and renamed the tanker MIL Fueler with the intention of using it to refuel dredges. The general consensus is that they never used it and it was broken up in Louiseville, QC in 1978.

Fifty years ago, with Halfueler out of service,  Imperial Oil decided to take over the bunkering business in Halifax again. They ordered a specially designed vessel from Collingwood Shipyard. In the meantime they assigned one of their ancient tankers to Halifax. Imperial Cornwall was a steam tanker, built in 1930 as Acadialite and renamed in 1947.  Although it had crossed the Atlantic from its builders, Furness Shipbuilding, Haverton Hill-on-Tees, it was really a canal boat normally confined to the Great Lakes.

Imperial Cornwall passing the Graving Dock gate at Halifax Shipyard, en route to Nova Scotia Power's Tuft's Cove generating station. Although built to burn coal or oil the new plant only burned oil until it was converted to gas. Imperial Oil ran a steady shuttle from its Dartmouth refinery to the plant and another plant at the foot of Morris Street in Halifax. 

Now boasting three chimneys, the Tuft's Cove pant was built with only one. The enclosed and ramped conveyor, was to load coal, but was never used and later removed.
In this photo the tug Foundation Vim berths Atlantic Fury at pier 9C in 1970. The ship had apparently met up with some hard object.

Imperial Dartmouth was delivered late in 1970 and served until 2006 when it was sold to Northern Transportation. Renamed NT Dartmouth it worked under contract to Imperial Oil Ltd until July 2009.

The vessel was laid up in Newfoundland until 2012 when it was renamed Dartmouth under the Honduran flag. New owners Atlantic Pacific International were to operate the ship under the Caribbean Petroleum Services SA banner. In 2012 they renamed the ship Emporio under Panama flag. Last reported en route to Aruba in 2013, its current whereabouts are not traceable on the internet.

Replacement vessel Algoma Dartmouth began work in Halifax in 2009 and was transferred to Saint John, NB in 2018 without change of name. It still operates there.


Tuesday, March 24, 2020

More throwbacks

With very little news I can report on in the harbour and being confined to quarters, its time to delve into the shoe box again and see what comes up.

The Yugoslavian state shipping company known familiarly as Jugolinija was formed in 1947 with a rag tag bunch of old ships, but in a few years began to build up a new fleet, eventually utilizing the country's own shipyard "3 Maj", in Rijeka (now Croatia).

In 1958 they built a trio of modestly sized general cargo ships to operate between the Adriatic, the UK and other European continent ports. Named Bratstvo, Pobjeda and Sloboda they measured 1817 gt, 2337 dwt and were smart looking ships with some refrigerated capacity. They were equipped with bipod masts and eight derricks of 3 to 5 ton capacity. Propulsion came from a 3,000 bhp Sulzer main engine which was located amidships, producing a brisk 14.75 knots.

 Pobjeda at pier 34 in 1969.

Sloboda at pier 23 in 1971, refueling from Halfueler.*

At some point the ships were shifted to Transatlantic service under the "T/A/ Express" banner. All three managed to achieve 20 years of age, but they were obsolete by that time.

  • Bratstvo foundered December 11, 1981 on a voyage between El Djazair (Algiers) and Augusta, Sicily. I don't recall this ship calling in Halifax.
  • Pobjeda caught fire December 16, 1982 in Huelva, Spain. It was broken up there in 1983.
  • Sloboda was broken up in Kladovo (now Serbia) in May 1983.

With the breakup of Yugoslavia, Croatia became the seafaring nation, and its ships still trade world wide, however they are more likely to be bulk carriers.

* More on the Halfueler in the next few days. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Covid-19 fallout

Cruise ship operators are certainly hurting as are most other ship owners as the pandemic cuts into trade patterns. Bad news will become all too common as the squeeze continues.
Container lines have announced "blanked" sailings in the Pacific, and all operators are dealing with reduced quantities of cargo. Particularly hard hit in this area is the automobile business as manufacturing has shut down and sales dried up.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines has announced that they will be sending four ships off for recycling and will place ten more ships in cold layup. All the ships bound for the scrappers are reported to be 24 years old. This would include regular Halifax callers Don Juan and Turandot and the Eukor charter Asian Vision.

Putting a ship in layup is a serious business. Warm layup means that the ship has a skeleton crew aboard for basic maintenance but the the ship can be re-activated on fairly short notice. Cold layup on the other hand means that only the most critical maintenance is carried out and the ship might need months to reactivate. Cold layup normally means the ship could be laid up for a year. This gives the owners time to decide if they should keep, sell or scrap the ship.

The decision on which ships to put in cold layup could be more difficult than just choosing ships by age. Newer, larger ships may be more costly to operate, particularity if running at well under capacity. Removing assets of little value may not help the bottom line very much either. By my reckoning W-W has about 10 ships that are 20 years old, so it is more likely in this case that the choice will be made by age.

Mignon, built in 1999 may be a cold layup candidate.

As a footnote, both Indian and Pakistan have closed their scrap operations to ships arriving from abroad due to fears of virus transmission. Bangladesh is reported to be still open for business so far.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

High, Wide and .....

I will leave the decision on "handsome" to others,as a matter of judgement, but there could be no disputing the choice of the words high and wide as CMA CGM T. Jefferson sailed this morning.

Boxes were stacked nine high and eighteen wide. Fortunately PSA Halifax has a pair of long reach cranes, with another one coming this year, to handle these very wide ships. (I believe the ship was 20 boxes wide amidships)

Speaking of wide however, someone mis-judged width when re-inscribing the Canadian port of registry for Ferbec. The ship sailed this morning for Havre-St-Pierre under Canadian flag, a little earlier than last year.

Last year's crew did find the centre line when doing the same job, painting out Bridgetown (Barbados), see: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2019/03/ferbec-not-ready-yet.html


Saturday, March 21, 2020


Container ships seemed to attract the most interest in the port today, with two interesting arrivals.

First was the MSC Leigh. It was in port only long enough for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to conduct an Asian Gypsy Moth inspection. Now that spring is here again (hooray) ships arriving in Canadian waters and that have been in the far east recently are subject to inspection in case they are carrying the AGM larva. The invasive species is devastating to North American coniferous forests.

Built by Daewoo Mangala in 2006 as Buxtine the ship was almost immediately renamed. The 50,963 gt, 63,411 dwt ship has a capacity of 4884 TEU including 560 reefers.

As soon as the ship had cleared inspection it was underway again for Montreal.  Note the after deck carrying reefers only.

A container ship of a different scale entirely arrived at PSA Halifax soon after. CMA CGM T. Jefferson is the largest container ship to call in Halifax (for now). The 140,872 gt, 147,966 dwt ship has a capacity of 14,414 TEU. It was built by Hyundai Heavy in Ulsan in 2017 and measures 366m length x 48m breadth.

It is the first ship of more than 14,000 TEU capacity to call in Halifax and one of a couple of larger ships set to arrive on the Ocean Alliance AWE3 service between South Asia and East Coast North America in the next months.

It was with ships of this size and larger in mind that the Port initiated the expansion of the South End container terminal. In order to accommodate two ships of this "Ultra" size [greater than 10,000 TEU] at the same time, pier 42 is being extended seaward. Work is progressing as per the posted schedule. The most recent tender for armour stone received only one bid, and that for $1,672,000.

The tender was received from Dexter Construction, part of the Municipal Group. They are the contractors for the work that is currently underway.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Port of Halifax and COVID-19

So far the Port does not seem to be directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ships are arriving and departing and the Port and its terminals are operating. Government regulations are summarized here:

I doubt that any public pronouncements would be made if the disease is detected in ships, ships' crews or port workers, but some unusual shipping activity might appear.

As for Shipfax I will continue to watch the harbour as much as I can, without coming into contact with other humans, and report on interesting movements. These might be fewer than normal, and there may be a few more posts dredged up from the archives.

Since I am in the high risk category for acquiring the disease due to age and health history, I am self-isolating, and will certainly not be taking any chances. Therefore Shipfax posts may have more words than pictures for the foreseeable future.


Thursday, March 19, 2020

Throwback Thursday - Furness Withy

The name Furness Withy has long been associated with the port of Halifax. From the 1870s Furness family ships called in Halifax. Furness Withy Co Ltd was incorporated in 1891, and branched out with many subsidiaries.

A London to Halifax passenger service began in 1900 with Evangeline, joined in 1901 by Loyalist. Other lines were taken over or started. These included the Furness Bermuda Line (built on Quebec  Steamship Co) and the Prince Line (acquired from Sir James Knott in 1919). Various other lines such as William Johnson and Warren Line were acquired and combined in 1935. Most had Liverpool and Manchester connections, so  Halifax was the closest North American port. Among other services, Furness Withy operated the Red Cross Line (acquired from Bowrings in 1929) joining New York, Halifax, St.John's and St-Pierre. Furness Withy was also a major investor in Richelieu + Ontario Navigation when it formed Northern Navigation  Co (later Canada Steamship Lines.)

The company also set up a wholly owned agency and stevedoring operation in Halifax, and other ports under the Furness Withy Stevedoring banner. During World War II the stevedoring / agency service was placed in a war footing and represented the British government. In Halifax alone it handled 7,050 ships carrying 3,638,446 tons and, despite wartime conditions, 123,341 passengers.

All this is a lead in to some ships that called in Halifax before I arrived here. They were the predecessors to the Newfoundland and Nova Scotia pictured here on January 23: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2020/01/throwback-thursday-new-feature.html

As mentioned in that post there was a previous pair of sister ships called Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. They were the second set of Furness With ships to carry the names. Built by Vickers Armstrong, High Walker, they were cargo passenger ships with a capacity of 160 passengers.

Nova Scotia dated from 1947. The 7438 grt ship was renamed Francis Drake in 1962 and broken up in Kaohsiung in 1971.

Newfoundland 7437 grt was built in 1948, was renamed George Anson in 1962 and was also  broken up in Kaohsiung in 1971.

By the early 1960s passenger numbers declined and the ships reduced capacity to 12 thus reducing catering staff from 60 to 12. The ships still continued as valuable cargo carriers however, carrying grain and generals.

Two examples: The Nova Scotia sailed from Halifax April 29, 1961  bound for St.John's. Fire was discovered in the cargo in number 1 hold, and the ship had to return to Halifax May 1 since St.John's was closed due to ice. The fire was soon extinguished. There were 110 passengers on board.
  On January 23, 1962 the ship reported fire in number 1 hold, but that it was under control. Carrying 59 passengers, the ship put into Cobh, Ireland where the fire was extinguished. Cargo included matches, firecrackers, cotton and tractors.

They maintained the bi- weekly service between Liverpool, St.John's, Halifax and Boston for Furness Warren Line, until their replacements came into service.

Furness Withy's other services included the Prince Line, of which Cingalese Prince was a typical ship.

Built in 1950 by the same Vickers-Armstrong yard, it was 8827 grt, 10,515 dwt ship. It was fitted with deep tanks and carried coconut oil, which was sent to Ontario  to make margarine.

 It was renamed Gallic in 1960, Cingalese Prince in 1962, Gloucestershire in 1964 and Cresco in 1971 en route to Whampoa where it was broken up in 1972. It also appear to have had limited passenger capacity.

Stuart Prince  of Prince Line was chartered to Furness Warren's Furness Red Cross Line as Fort Hamilton from 1951 to 1958. Its name recalled an earlier Furness-Bermuda passenger ship. However it traded on the Boston, Halifax, St.John's, St-Pierre range and also called in smaller out of the way ports, such as Sheet Harbour (to load paper pulp) on demand.

Built by Smith's Dock Co, South Bank, in 1940 it was a steamship of only 1911 grt. It reverted to Stuart Prince on completion of the charter but was laid up until sold in 1959. It became Halcyon Med for Lebanese owners but did not last long. On August 24, 1960 it was run down and cut in two in fog by the tanker Esso Switzerland, 120 miles east of Gibraltar.  The after portion sank immediately, but the forward portion sank while in tow the next day.

The ship was carrying esparto grass from Arzew, Algeria to Granton. That long forgotten trade provided material for the production of rugs, baskets, belts, shoes, paper and similar craft and clothing items.


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Afternoon Activity

There was a good deal of activity all at the same time later in the afternoon with departures and an arrival.

Algoterra sailed from Imperial Oil. It is giving Quebec City as its destination, so may be going for another shuttle run. [see previous post.]

The autocaarier Tortugas was sailing from Autoport, with its place to be taken by Graceful Leader. The two ships met in the number one anchorage area where there was room to pass.

Such are the vagaries of international shipping that the nationalities of builders and operators bear no connection to each other.
Graceful Leader was built in 2007 by Stoc. Gdynia in Poland. The 57,692 grt, 20,986 dwt ship operates on a charter the Japanese company NYK Line.
Tortugas a 61,321 grt, 19,628 dwt ship dates from 2006 and Mitsubishi HI in Nagasaki. It is chartered to Wilhelmsen, a Norwegian company.

Also sailing this afternoon was CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent (which I missed) headed back to the Gulf of St.Lawrence, and CCGS Sir William Alexander, which does not appear to have taken fuel from Edward Cornwallis. (see yesterday's post). It headed southeast.


Ferbec returns

The bulker Ferbec returned to Canada today as per schedule. The ship, operated by Canada Steamship Lines, has been operating under the Barbados flag since January 1. It is expected to be re-registered in Canada on April 1.

During the ice free shipping season, the ship operates a dedicated service carrying ore from Havre-St-Pierre to Sorel, QC for Rio Tinto's Quebec Iron and Titanium operation. It is then bareboat chartered under Barbados flag for the winter months. It usually returns to Halifax in mid-March to reflag and undergo maintenance.

The mine that supplies the ore has seen sporadic operation in recent years, but does stockpile enough material each year to keep the ship running. [enter "Ferbec" in the search box at left for several references to the ship.]

With the economy in turmoil and many industries shutting down it is apparent that CSL at least expects the normal shuttle service to return to operation.

Ferbec built in 2002 by Nantong COSCO in China is a 27,198 grt, 49,502 dwt bulk carrier equipped with four cranes and clam buckets. CSL operated the ship as CSL Melbourne from 2002 to 2017.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

South End Too

There was activity in the south end of the port today too.

At pier 27 the Bulgarian owned, Malta flag bulker Rila that arrived yesterday [see yesterday's post] was loading what appeared to be grain.

Most unusually the ship was berthed stern in. In all the years I have been watching ships in Halifax, this is the first time I can recall a ship loading at the grain spouts in the stern in position.

At the south end container terminal operating as PSA Halifax, Melfi Line's Julius-S. completed loading and sailed for Mariel, Cuba.

Amongst the boxes there is another of those bright green La Estancia trailers. I thought they had all gone out on the last Melfi ship, X-Press Makulu on March 3. See: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2020/03/near-normal.html

There was activity at the oil terminals too, and it is a bit unusual.

At Imperial Oil it is Algoterra fresh from winter maintenance in Quebec City. The ship has not yet been repainted in Algoma colours since acquired last year.

Once it completed its alongside refit in Quebec, it loaded at Valero and headed for Halifax. It is not unusual for the oil companies to acquire product from each other. Interestingly Algoma fleet mate Algoscotia sailed from Halifax March 8 for Houston, TX - another source of product.

Also arriving, but for Irving Oil is Sarah Desgagnés (again) from Saint John.

(Ah - finally a bow shot). This is Sarah's second visit recently. It is  taking up the slack in Irving's own fleet as their Canadian flag tanker East Coast is in drydock in Setubal, Portugal. It sailed from here February 24, see: http://shipfax.blogspot.com/2020/02/tankers-something-for-everybody.html
and arrived in Setubal March 5.


Back to the Basin

The action was in Bedford Basin this morning, with ACL's Atlantic Sail arriving for the Cerescorp terminal at Fairview Cove.

Second ship in the G4 series of ConRos, Atlantic Sail was out of service for eight months in 2019 for unspecified mechanical issues. It has been back in regular rotation since January 2020.

At anchorage in the Basin CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent was tied up with CCGS Edward Cornwallis transferring fuel. The Cornwallis will be going into a major vessel life extension (VLE) rebuild at Shelburne, so will not be needing much fuel in the near term.

The navy pup tug Merrickville was likely tasked with positioning fenders between the two ships.

CCGS Sir William Alexander moved from BIO to an anchorage in the Basin. It may be getting some fuel too. As part of the Edward Cornwallis VLE it will be getting new lifting gear - maybe a crane like the Alexander.


Monday, March 16, 2020

Business As Usual - so far

Commercial activity in the harbour seems to be going on as usual for the time being. With growing restrictions on optional travel, so far at least, business activity is still unrestricted.

Irving Oil completed the unloading of the tanker Elka Glory and the ship sailed for Amsterdam  this afternoon.

Operated by European Product Carriers Ltd, the 27,612 grt, 44,598 dwt ship has called here previously. It was built by Brodosplit in Split, Croatia in 2003.

While it was outbound the bulker Rila was inbound from Belledune, NB in ballast.

Owned by Navigation Maritime Bulgare (NAVIBULGAR) until 2008 the State shipping company of Bulgaria, it sails under the Maltese flag. Built by Jiangsu Hongqiang HI in Qidong in 2017, it is a 27,781 grt, 41,536 dwt vessel carrying four 30 tonne cranes.

The ship tied up at pier 28, likely for bunkers.

Later in the afternoon the autocarrier Green Bay moved from Autoport to pier 31 to unload some wheeled machinery.

The ship was built in 20007 by Toyohashi SB as Grand Winner, but renamed on delivery. With a capacity of 6400 CEU, its tonnages are registered as 59,250 grt, 18,312 dwt. It is one of four US flag car carriers operated by Waterman (part of Seacor). Because it was not built in the US it does not qualify for domestic trade under the Jones Act, however it does receive preference for US government cargoes including military.


Sunday, March 15, 2020

More MOL and CSL

Today's arrival for THE Alliance is another MOL ship, MOL Marvel. It has been here before but I did not get an arrival or departure photo.

Built in 2010 by Mitsubishi Heavy in Kobe, it is a member of the M class. At 78,316 grt, 79,460 dwt it has a capacity of 6724 TEU, including 500 reefers, slightly larger than yesterday's arrival from the P class.

On its way inbound in the Narrows it passed CSL's Baie St.Paul. While waiting to take my picture I realized I missed an opportunity yesterday to take a "joke" photo. These photos were a  hallmark of the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and Mail Star newspaper  photographers of the 1960s, Wambolt and Waterfield. They were forever taking pictures with captions starting with lines like "It may appear that this seagull is carrying off the City Hall".
So here goes my tribute joke photo:

It may appear that Canada Steamship Lines is living up to its name with two of three funnels pumping out steam. Of course the chimneys belong to the Nova Scotia Power Corporation's Tufts Cove natural gas powered generating station, which is opposite to Pier 9, Richmond Terminals on the Narrows.

Saturday, March 14, 2020


Shipping companies are much given to initials as a convenient form shorthand.

That is certainly the case with Mitsui OSK Lines, tracing its origins to 1884 when OSK conglomerated a large number of smaller companies. It is still one of the large Japanese shipping lines, even though it has divested its container ships to the Ocean Network Express. Those ships have maintained their MOL identity by name and colour scheme, although that is expected to disappear over time as new ships are delivered or as existing ships are drydocked.

MOL Paradise arrived this morning for THE Alliance. The 71,902 grt, 72,968 dwt ship has a capacity of 6350 TEU including 500 reefers. It was built in 2005 by the Koyo Dockyard Co in  Mihara.

Canada Steamship Lines has a similar background. Formed from the combination of several other lines in 1913, its roots go back to 1843. It has been known as "CSL" since early days, but ships did not start carrying the CSL prefix until the late 1900s.

CSL Tacoma arried this morning to load gypsum. The Bahamas flag self-unloader was built in 2013 by Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China. The 43,691 grt, 71,552 dwt ship works for CSL Americas as part of the CSL self-unloader pool with Algoma. The foreign flag ships carry "CSL" initials on the hull whereas Canadian ships have the name spelled out in full.

CSL Tacoma passed Baie St. Paul at Pier 9C, a member of CSL's domestic fleet. It is a 24,430 grt, 37,6890 dwt self-unloader, also built by Chengxi, but in 2012. Most domestic CSLers have traditional names, but some do have the "CSL" prefix.

Both ships are members of the so called Trillium class but are very different in most respects.

Another set of initials, but with much more recent roots, were seen at the other end of the port. RHL Agilitas operates a feeder service between Halifax and Kingston, Jamaica for ZIM. The 18,480 grt, 23,664 dwt ship has a capacity of 1732 TEU and carries a pair of 40 tonne capacity cranes. Built in 2007 by Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard, it was launched as Wilhelm Busch but was soon renamed with the "RHL" prefix, denoting the newly formed Reederei Hamburg Lloyd.

Not to be confused with HAPAG Lloyd (itself an acronym) RHL owns about a dozen tankers and sixteen container ships.

Initials seem sure to continue in ships names in the Age of Acronyms, but there will still be lots of variety after abbreviations.