Wednesday, April 29, 2020

HMCS Fredericton helicopter

This evening CBC News is reporting that a Cyclone helicopter from HMCS Fredericton FFH 337 is missing in the Aegean Sea. Few details were immediately available, except that a large SAR mission is underway. It is night time in the area, so results may not be anticipated until morning.

Fredericton sailed from its Halifax home port January 20, 2020 to participate in Operation Reassurance in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. See:

Commissioned in 1994 the ship was extensively refitted between 2011 and 2013, and upgraded after that, in part to accommodate the Cyclone which replaced the Sea King in 2018.

 A Sea King overflies HMCS Fredericton in Halifax in 2014.


Salt Shakeup

There may be changes coming in the salt business following the announcement by the German K+S Group that it will be selling its Operating Group Americas operations during 2020. Branded as  Morton Salt in the US and Windsor Salt in Canada, the company has 32 mine and production facilities in North America and 13 in South America.

Most relevant to eastern Canada are the mines in Pugwash, NS and the Magdalen Islands, Quebec. Both facilities move product by water and form part of the chain of bulk cargo sources that keep ships profitably employed in this region. Unlike coal, aggregates and gypsum, that are dependent on a strong economy, road salt seems to be in constant demand. It can be shipped and stockpiled in advance of need.

The port of Pugwash, NS is seasonal and caters only to small ships nowadays. Desgagnés ships seem to be the most common callers.

Long time regular at Pugwash was Amélia Desgagnés ex Soodoc (broken up in Turkey in 2017).

The Magdalen Islands salt facility can accommodate Seaway size ships and has had a long term contract with CSL to use their Salarium (ex Nanticoke) since 2009. However that ship was laid up at the end of 2019 Seaway season, and appears to be destined for the scrappers. It moved from its Toronto layup to another layup berth in Montreal this week. Built in 1979 at Collingwood, the ship has entered another decade, meaning an extensive refit if it was to contine in service.

With a rare grain cargo for Halifax Salarium took a break from hauling salt. It likely picked up gypsum as a backhaul.

Salt's corrosive properties are notoriously hard on ships and ten years in the salt trade will certainly have taken their toll. A forty year old ship is also a rarity, although frequent freshwater assignments to the Lakes would have done the ship no harm. 

A post last year summed up the ship's career:


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

ZIM Shekou medevac

A ship that was in Halifax last week called for a medical evacuation on Monday.  ZIM Shekou was 48 miles northeast of Virginia Beach when the master requested assistance for a crew member with symptoms of a heart attack. A US Coast Guard helicopter safely evacuated the person to hospital in Norfolk, VA.

ZIM Shekou is a 39,906 gt, 50,629 dwt ship built in 2007 by Dalian New Shipbuilding in China, with a capacity of 4250 TEU. The ship is a regular caller to Halifax on ZIM's ZCA Mediterranean / East Coast North America service, and was en route from New York to Savannah at the time of the incident. The ZCA service is maintained by seven ships, calling weekly. ZIM Shekou arrived in Halifax April 24 from Valencia and sailed the same day for New York.


Sunday, April 26, 2020

New for Nirint, New for ONE [REVISED]

More first time callers in Halifax today.

Nirint Shipping BV, the Dutch company that runs a Europe / Caribbean container line, has the contract to carry nickel sulfides from Moa, Cuba to Halifax on the return leg. (The mineral is sent from Halifax by rail to Fort Saskatchewan, AB for primary processing, then goes to Belgium by way of Montreal for final refining.) Nirint uses a variety of chartered tonnage, usually on charters of a year or more, but seldom renames the ships. Today's arrival, Hooge does not appear again on Nirint Schedules after this trip, so seems to be covering off  other ships, perhaps for drydocking.

Hooge was built in 2006 by Shandong Weihai Shipyard in Weihai, China. The 15,633 gt, 16,986 dwt ship has a container capacity of 1306 TEU, including 238 reefers and has a a pair of 45 tonne cranes. It is a multi-purpose ship and although classed as a single deck, fully cellular container ship, it also has general cargo capability. Number two hatch has been kept clear to allow for unloading the bagged nickel in Halifax without having to unload any containers.

The name "Hooge" is taken from an island in the Nordfriesland district of Germany. The ship is managed by Briese Schiffahrts, a German company, and other ships of the same class are also named after nearby islands. Canadians might be forgiven for assuming it was named after Hooge, Belgium, near Ypres, where there is a Canadian World War I military cemetery called Hooge Crater, but that is not the case.

REVISION: Thanks to a reader for pointing out that HOOGE was here November 9-13, 2019 on a dry run / trial trip. In fact its visit was covered with two posts on this blog (!!)  and 

The new to Halifax ship for Ocean Network Express is ONE Matrix, another of the former MOL ships repainted and renamed by ONE.

ONE Matrix works its way inbound to Halifax with the crane rig Thialf in the background.

Built as MOL Matrix in 2010 by Mitsubishi, Kobe, the ship was renamed in March of this year when it received ONE's magenta paint job. A 78,316 gt, 79,312 dwt vessel it has a capacity of 6724 TEU, including 500 reefers. It is another of ONE's contribution to THE Alliance's service along with several fleet mates of the same class.

Atlantic Oak (forward) and Atlantic Fir (stern) are active escorts as the ship passes west of George's Island in Halifax harbour.

The ship's last port of call was Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 6 - a very long way between stops.

Its magenta paint is still fresh and has not yet been scuffed up by tugs (at least on the port side) but that will not be the case for long.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

CMA CGM Calcutta

Another new to Halifax ship showed up on the CMA CGM loop today. No record setter, it is still a relatively big ship with a capacity in excess of the magic 10,000 TEU mark.

CMA CGM Calcutta dates from 2018 when it was delivered by Jiangsu New Yangzi Shipbuilding Co in Jingjiang, China. Measuring 112,967 gt, 119,262 dwt it has a rated capacity of 10,100 TEU. Interestingly for a ship of its size it has a single superstructure, unlike the isolated bridge of the larger ships.

It also seemed to have a lot of empty slots on deck - possibly a sign of things to come in the near term with a reduction in world trade.


Friday, April 24, 2020

Shuttle Service - CORRECTED

The giant floating crane Thialf anchored just off Halifax for the past couple of weeks has a constant shuttle service provided by the very large offshore tug/supplier Maersk Maker. I was able to catch the supplier returning from this morning's run with the crane in the background.

The supplier makes three or more shuttle trips daily, and requires a pilot for each run. Even though its destination is within sight, it is still outside the pilotage zone, but its huge size makes it look closer than the ten miles or so it is from my vantage point.

Up to 300 workers will be required on the crane when it begins work removing Exxon Mobil's Sable gas installations. They will certainly require transportation, and all sorts of supplies to be able to do the work and thus will be supported by at least one supplier. It will also be necessary to shift anchors and positions from time to time, and so a second tug/supplier may be needed.

As described in a previous Tugfax post, Maersk Maker is sixth and last in a series of giant suppliers called the Starfish class built for Maersk's offshore division.

Another giant is arriving possibly this weekend. Bigroll Beaufort is a heavy load carrying ship, which will likely be used for transporting the components that Thialf will be lifting.
 CORRECTION: Its visit is unrelated. Bigroll  Beaufort is carrying a pair of large wind turbines, including the monopiles, that will be installed 27 miles off the US coast. Thge cargo will be transferred to another vessel off or in Halifax.


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Coastal Cargo Ships Part 3 - Newfoundland Coastal Freight Service - continued

I didn't have time or room in my last post to cover all the Newfoundland coastal cargo ships in my photo collection so I am adding some more with this post. Many are former British coastal cargo ships that could be acquired relatively cheaply. There were several reasons for this, including preferential tariff treatment for Commonwealth ships, but also the relative demise of coastal shipping in the UK thanks to improved roads, and the reduction in the use of coal for power generation.

The old established St.John's merchants Job Brothers had their own shipping company called Blue Peter Steamships. All had reefer capacity and were used to ship frozen fish, for parent company Fisheries Products International, but also carried general freight as needed. Blue Peter had a widely mixed bag of ships including Blue Trader, seen above being hauled out at Dartmouth Marine Slips for refit. Built in 1956 by Mitchison, Gateshead as Eskwater, it was acquired by Blue Peter in 1958. The 627 gt vessel was sold in 1971 and renamed Sandy Point No.1 for Stephenville Shipping Co Ltd. They sold it foreign in 1976 as Sol Eclipse. It became Hancock Trader in 1978 under Cayman flag, but remained laid up until 1981 when it was sold again. As Chata Two it sailed south but was reportedly wrecked soon after, but was not deleted from Lloyds until 2001.

Blue Peter got into some newer shipping however. They had two ships built by Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon in 1964, Blue Peter II and Blue Cloud. They were good looking ships of 1126 gt, 1038 dwt. Blue Peter II was flagged out 1972 and sold to Carib Reefers. Renamed Southern Star it continued in the fish trade from Newfoundland to the Caribbean.

Southern Star gets a major refit, with hull plate replacement on both sides! It is not often you can see right through a ship.

In 1979 it was renamed Caribou Reefer II, under Panama flag. It continued to sail under that name until 1994 when it became Infinity, then in 1997 Randy R. Lloyds reported the ship as "hulked 18.3.09", and I have seen photos of it as late as 2010 partially sunken in Port of Spain, Trinidad harbour.

Blue Cloud became Southern Isle in 1972 and through various owners as 1979: Omega One, 1981: Biscayne Freeze, 1985: Coastal Nomad under US flag, working in Alaska and continued in service until 2005 when it appeared as Wave Runner working out of Seattle, however it too was reported as hulked in 2007.

A third and similar ship was built in 1966 as Consul Horn by J.J.Sietas, Hamburg. slightly smaller at 873 gt, 714 dwt, it was acquired "on the stocks" by Blue Peter and delivered as Blue Spruce. Sold to the same owners in 1972 it became Southern Trader, the in 1975; Hybur Trader, 80: Carib Reefer, 84: Teapa Reefer and in 1987: Belize Reefer.

The ship foundered March 13, 1995, but I have no details.

An older former British coaster was Mount Blair, built in 1949 by George Brown + Co, Greenock.
It carried the same name throughout its career, through a variety of owners including Joshua Winsor / Winsor Trading Co, and Claymorr Shipping Co Ltd.

The ship was a constructive total loss after a grounding December 31, 1973. It was on CN charter en route to Port Saunders to load herring when it stranded at Plum Point, Old Ferolle Harbour. Despite massive bottom damage it was repaired and was again on charter to CN  in 1975 sailing to Goose Bay.
In 1981 it had a fire in St.John's and another in Port Hawskbury where it was laid up and sold for scrap. However another buyer was found and it came to Halifax in 1982 and sailed about July 12 (classed as a pleasure craft). It was later reported by Lloyds as "hulked at New York".

Another classic ex British coaster was the aptly named Newfoundland Coast. Built as far back as 1934 by Henry Robb, Leith, it was originally named British Coast 889 grt, 1400 dwt. Coast Lines Ltd operated the ship on a variety of its services including Liverpool / London, Liverpool / Leith and the wonderfully obscure Kirkcaldy / London linoleum run.) Acquired by the legendary Quebec skipper Roger Sirois in 1964 it became Newfoundland Coast for his Newfoundland Marine Services Ltd.

Capt. Sirois added the jumbo derrick aft and repowered the twin screw ship. It carried out numerous CN charters, including to Goose Bay. It also traded to the Caribbean and even made transatlantic voyages to Germany (1977) and Italy (1978).However it was sold in 1979 by judicial sale. New owners were named Labrador Shipping Co Ltd. I hope they did not paint over distinctive funnel marking of a map of Newfoundland painted in silver.

On July 14,1981 the ship was aground 16 miles west of Providinciales, in the Turks and Caicos and was declared a total loss.

to be continued...............

Monday, April 20, 2020

Big but not biggest

Another big container ship arrived today. APL Sentosa is a 151,015 gt, 150,936 dwt (or 150,166 from other sources) vessel, but falls a bit shy of the current Halifax record for container capacity. That record, set by fleet mates APL T. Jefferson and APL A. Lincoln  is 14,414 TEU.
Inexplicably, they are smaller ships at 140,872 gt, 147,966 dwt, however APL Sentosa's declared capacity is 13,892 TEU.

The ship was built in 2014 by Hyundai Samho, and was registered in Singapore, APL's home base. Now however, the ship is registered in Malta, and that was the ship's last port of call.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Dartmouth Marine Slips - back then

Once a busy adjunct to the Halifax Shipyards, the Dartmouth Marine Slips catered to repairs for smaller ships. At one time it operated six marine cradles, all designed and built by Crandall Engineering. In fact Horace Crandall, a member of the American family that patented this particular system, moved to Dartmouth in 1862 to oversee construction of the first 200 ton capacity, horsedrawn unit for what was then the Chebucto Marine Railway Co, founded in 1859.

The Halifax Graving Dock Co, founded in 1885, took over the older Dartmouth operation in 1900 and merged it into the newer company. When Halifax Shipyards was formed, the Dartmouth Marine Slips remained a part through all the various owners until 2003 when it was closed and the property sold. By that time the repair of small ships - fishing vessels mostly and cargo ships, had really dried up and there was little real work going on in Dartmouth. The useful equipment was sent to Shelburne, NS, where Irving Shipbuilding Inc had rejuvenated another small shipyard. Interestingly Crandall Engineering worked on the expansion of the Shelburne Shipyard cradles.

A recent Facebook post seeking the location of a photo, (which I was able to confirm was Dartmouth Marine Slips), reminded me that the yard used to have its own whirly crane and that there was much interesting activity there, especially in 1970. And especially on March 21.

View of the "Long Wharf" from the Dartmouth Cove side of the yard, looking southward.

On the far left in the photo the supplier Lady Delia receives some attention:
[see today's Tugfax]
Note the many tanks on the barge's deck similar to the ones on the deck of Lady Delia in that post.]

Also alongside is the hydrographic ship CSS Dawson - still in white as it should be - in the days before the CCG imposed its red hulls on these vessels. In the background a Halco tanker Sea Transport, and on the right the aforementioned crane.

However monopolizing the scene is the drilling barge Western Offshore No. II. [Also referred to as WODECO II in some publications]. In the summer of 1969 it was towed from Halifax by the tug Mississippi to Hudson Strait where it was met by the Foundation Vigilant and two suppliers. It then proceeded to a position 250 miles east of Churchill where it began to drill a well. A severe storm caused the rig to "lose the hole" and resulted in severe damage. It was towed back to Halifax where things were put right again in time to drill off Prince Edward Island in 1970.

The barge was built on the bottom of the old mid-section of the T2 tanker Coxcomb Hill, built in 1945 by Kaizer, Swan Island. Renamed David E. Day in 1951, it was rebuilt in 1958 with a new cargo section. The rig worked off California and even in Cook Inlet, Alaska, but was obviously not suited for harsh conditions. It was supposed to go back to Hudson Bay in 1971, but following its first experience, never did, and it was not until 1974 that the abandoned well was finally capped.]

Western Offshore Drilling + Exploration Co, part of Fluor Corp, sent the rig to Peru in 1971. A gigantic blowout there resulted in irreparable damage to the rig, which was then scrapped. Flour's Annual Report for the year ending October 31, 1971 reassures shareholders that the rig was fully insured, but neglects to mention any deaths. I have seen several references to seven deaths, but can find no confirmed reports.

Of course the above photo was not the only one I took on that March 21:

From the Harbour side, several of the cradles are in use. Nearest, the coaster Cupids [see recent posts on coastal cargo ships] is in for its spring tuneup. One the other cradles, one of the harbour ferries, Dartmouth II or Halifax II and the USSR trawler Sloboda. Alongside is Imperial Oil's retired bunkering barge  I.O.Ltd. No.6. There were houses to the left that blocked the view somewhat. They were not among the most desirable addresses in Dartmouth, even though they had a spectacular view,  and were demolished not long after these photos.

Another photo from the same day appeared in one of my 2013 posts, which shows more of the barge and CCGS Sir John A. Macdonald at the old Coast Guard base. [The previous summer, of 1969, it had escorted ss Manhattan through the arctic.][ Some of the CCG fleet was still occupied in Chedabucto Bay where the tanker Arrow had run aground February 4 with disastrous results.]

Not showing in the second shot is the Western Offshore No.II derrick and the shipyard crane. From searching through my photos I think the shipyard crane was demolished about 1975.


Saturday, April 18, 2020

ONE Magnificence

The container ship ONE Magnificence made its second call in Halifax today. It is on the return / eastbound leg of its voyage for THE Alliance. When it arrived on the westbound leg on April 5, it was the first Ocean Network Express ship to be seen here with the magenta hull colour. 

Built in 2010 as MOL Magnificence it received its new name and new paint job during a refit earlier this year. The 78,316 gt, 79,417 dwt ship has a capacity of 6724 TE including 500 reefers, and was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Kobe, Japan.


Friday, April 17, 2020

Coastal Cargo Ships Part 2 - Newfoundland Coastal Freight Service

Canadian National Railway took over coastal freight and passenger services in Newfoundland and Labrador as part of the Confederation with Canada in 1949. They operated their own ships to serve numerous outports, in addition to the regular Cabot Strait freight service out of North Sydney, NS to Port aux Basques.

 CN replaced the old "inherited" fleet with ships like the passenger/cargo ship Bonavista, 11174 gt, built in 1956 by Hall Russell in Aberdeen, Scotland. It was sold in 1988 and broken up in 1989.

Marine Packer was built in 1965 and acquired in 1974. Built by Soviknes Verft it 1965, it was lengthened in 1971, increasing tonnage from 894 gt to 1101 gt, 1311 dwt. Marine Atlantic sold the ship in 1992 and it was eventually removed from Lloyd's Register in 2012.

CN never seemed to have enough ships of their own, so they were always chartering in ships from other operators. Some of those operators had very little other business than with CN but others were owned and operated by fishing and or trading companies that had built in work of their own, often salt fish, but also potatoes, and other Canadian exports. As previously mentioned some of that work was with Canadian ports, US ports and into the Caribbean. However at certain times of the year they turned to working for CN carrying whatever cargo was needed.

For the latter trade there was return cargo in the form of salt and rum, but from Canadian and US ports it was quite varied and included manufactured goods, non-perishable food stuffs and some bulk cargoes such as coal.

As there is today, there was also a Montreal / Newfoundland service. In the mid 1960s it was operated by Newfoundland Steamships (1965) Ltd (NSS). The majority owner of the company was Clarke Steamships, with others such as Crosbie + Co and A. Harvey with minority shares. Thanks to operational and shipyard subsidies, they ordered new ice class ships that were to run  year round carrying seventy-six 20 ft standard containers on deck and a form of container palletized cargo that was loaded through side doors in the ship. Forklifts and elevators were used to distribute the cargo in the ships holds. Speedier loading and discharge rates allowed the ship to maintain a weekly schedule.

The first ship was Cabot and it began operating in 1965. Built to a high ice class, it was able to run a regular schedule from Montreal all winter. However for the winter of 1965-66 Cabot shifted operation to Halifax, running weekly from Pier 9B, receiving cargo by truck and rail to the freight sheds and using special weather protected ramps to load the ship. These ramps also compensated for tide, which was not a problem in Montreal.

Unfortunately on December 16, 1966 Cabot capsized while loading in Montreal with the loss of two lives and nine injured. The ship was salvaged and rebuilt, but it was June 1966 before it could be returned to service.  Clarke borrowed CSL's Fort St.Louis for a time, but when sister Chimo was delivered in 1967 they ran strictly from Montreal.

The line never returned to Halifax, and the telescoping freight ramps were moved to Corner Brook. Please excuse fuzziness of the above, but it is my only photo showing more than just the edge of those side loader ramps.

Stepping back a few paces for a broader view the former British coaster  Ghislain built in 1949 and owned by Bouchard Navigation was loading for CN in the spring of 1967 when ice conditions had blocked Sydney harbour. For more on this ship see:

Bouchard was just one of several owners with vintage former British coastal vessels hired by CN

Conrad Marie, built in 1953 featured some elaborate riveted curvatures.
For more on tho\is ships see:

C.Omer was built in 1946 and its hull was also of completely riveted construction.
For more on this ship see:

Unfortunately Bouchard became over extended and went out of business, but several of its ships were sold to Newfoundland owners.

Marine Trader ex Cecilienne and Marine Coaster ex Eva, both former Bouchard ships, laid up in St.John's after service for Puddister Trading Co.
See also:

For more on the Bouchard ships, see several entries in my Navigation Quebec blog under "Euclide Bouchard"

Many other Nova Scotia and Newfoundland owners used ex British ships for CN work or for their own account.

Pickford and Black were agents for a service operated by H.B.Dawe Ltd of Cupids, NL, which ran a weekly, two ship service from Halifax from 1960 - 1972, using the aged Cupids and aging Domino Run.

Cupids was built in 1940 by Grangemouth DY as Durward, it measured 681 gt. It was sold foreign in 1974 and may have operated in the Caribbean. On January 5, 1977 it sank in St-Pierre harbour and was abandoned as a wreck.

Running mate Domino Run was built in 1946 at Burntisland as Knebworth and operated under the Irish flag as Dromineer before Dawe acquired it in 1964. The 857 gt ship was laid up in 1972, ran under Cayman flag from 1975, then had a main engine breakdown in the Aegean Sea off Crete, August 21, 1978. New Greek owners renamed it Mino but it was seized in Tripoli January 25, 1979. It was dropped from Lloyds in 1999.

Newfoundland Canada Steamships, operating out of Halifax was in fact owned by General Steam Navigation, a subsidiary of P+O and supplemented the (previous post mentioned) service by Bedford II with various ships, some of which were former GSN vessels.

One of my favourites was Glencoe operated by Capt. D. Frampton of St.John's. Built of riveted construction  in 1947 by Goole Shipbuilding as GSN's Teal (its ships were named for birds) it came to Canada in 1963.

It was still loaded in the old laborious manner. One pallet at a time was slung aboard, and the bags hand stowed, and the pallet sent back to shore. The presence of fork lift trucks (invariably called Towmotors, no matter the brand) were the sole touch of "modernity".

Glencoe lasted into the late 1970s, but was sold in 1979 from layup in Halifax. It went to Quebec where it loaded scrap and sailed for Miami as Jehovah Star for Haitian owners. It had a checkered career thereafter. After a grounding in November 1978 it was confined to port in Miami then renamed Etoile de Bethlehem in 1988 and both Ayatollah and Iron Maiden in 1989. It was finally deleted from Lloyds in 2012.

Another former GSN ship was built in 1950 by Henry Robb, Leith sas Hirondelle. The 757 gt ship joined the Lake Shipping Co Ltd in 1966 and was renamed Clyde for Harold Bertram Clyde Lake, founder of the major Newfoundland fishing enterprise, that became the Lake Group.

It was left abandoned in Sydney, NS for many years and eventually sold by tender in 1984 as a derelict. I believe it was expended during military target practice off Halifax in 1986.

Another British company, Dundee, Perth + London operated in Canada in the 1950s and 60s, running between the Great Lakes and Newfoundland seasonally. One of their ships was the London built in 1951 by Burntisland. It was allowed to operate with British crew in the early days. In 1961 Capt. Josiah Winsor acquired the ship (possibly with Crosbie assistance) and it was renamed Winsor Trader. It participated in DoT northern supply that year.

It was also known to fill in for CN and NSS when needed. In 1967 it was sold to Topsail Shipping and renamed Topsail Star. I believe it was a 'tween decker, because its tonnage was revised from 706 gt to 1205 gt without any modifications to the appearance of the ship. Regulations changed whereby shelter decks were reclassified from open to closed.

In 1986 it was reported to have grounded, but I have no details. In 1987 it was sold and reflagged to Honduras, and sailed to Miami. Renamed Princess Farrah in 1988 it became Florida I in 1994 and Ocean Alley in 1995 under Belize flag. On September 22-23, 1998 it was damaged by Hurricane George while in Port-au-Prince and towed back to Miami. Renamed Adolphus Busch* it was scuttled 5 mi SW of Big Keys FL as a dive site.
[* It was named for the founder of the Busch brewery, and the reefing financed by the brewery. The ship may have been renamed "Adolphus Busch I"or "Adolphus Busch Sr" before the sinking.  The ship has its own Wikipedia entry.]

to be continued...............

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pier 9 activity

One of the few accessible spots on the Halifax side of the harbour that is not a public park (and thus closed to the public) and not Port property and thus open only to authorized persons, overlooks pier 9C. Today, without coming into contact with another human being,  I was able to see where the action was. Only half the action is recorded here - the rest is on my Tugfax  blog.

The general cargo / container ship AS Laguna arrived from Miami on Monday. There does not seem to be much activity on board, so it is hard to know why it is here. It is clearly marked "Seaboard" so perhaps its has become suddenly unemployed.

At Pier 9C - in the foreground some of the 350 cars offloaded by Grand Diamond on April 6 and in the background at the Bedford Institute, CCGS Capt. Jacques Cartier.

The ship was built in 2008 by the Yangfan Group shipyard in Zhoushan, China and is typical of the new breed of multi-purpose ships. It has box shaped holds and removable tween decks (when not in use they are stowed on deck in the frames just forward of the accommodation).  The 9996 gt, 11,775 dwt ship also has two deck cranes of 45 tonnes.

The ship was built as Hohefels, but from 2008 to 2016 was renamed CMA CGM Meknes, then reverted to Hohefels until 2017. If carrying containers it can handle 966 TEU, including 252 reefers.

The other ship at pier 9C is Maersk Maker, but you will need to go to Tugfax to see it and some other non-tug shipping activity.


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

CMA CGM A. Lincoln - new largest

The record for largest container ship in Halifax was last set March 21 of this year with the arrival of CMA CGM T. Jefferson.

That 14,414 TEU ship was the first of its class to call here, and today another arrived. CMA CGM A. Lincoln was also built in 2017 by Hyundai, Ulsan and (remarkably) comes in with the same grt of 140,872. It has a slightly large dwt of 148,992 dwt (compared to the Jefferson's 147,966), so I guess that makes today's ship the new record holder, all other things being equal.

CMA CGM are the owners, since 2016, of Neptune Orient Line, the Singapore based parent of APL. APL, aka American President Lines, was the name given to a new company started by the US government in 1938 when it took over the Dollar Steamship Co. A major player in the trans Pacific mail, passenger and freight business, Dollar was in serious financial trouble after the death of its founder.

Robert Dollar, born  in Scotland, came to Canada as a child, built up a sawmill business then a shipping business to sell the product in China. He purchased ships built under the US government's World War I shipbuilding program, naming them after US presidents, and eventually won the lucrative mail contracts.

American President Lines was privatized again in the early 1950s and became one of the pioneering container companies at sea and on land by its early adoption of double stack rail cars. In 1997 Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) bought the company and in 2009 moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Singapore. CMA CGM increased its share of the company to more than 90% in 2016.

I regret that circumstances beyond my control mean that there is no photo accompanying this post.


Monday, April 13, 2020

McQueen - Unusual Visitor

Ships arriving in Halifax for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection are often bulkers which are rare enough in Halifax, but a wood chip bulk carrier is even more unusual. McQueen is one such ship arriving today from Dafeng, China.

Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co, Fukuyama, Japan built the ship in 2009 as Ocean Destiny and it measures 39,907 gt, 49,546 dwt. It is equipped with three cranes and four hoppers with chutes to direct cargo to the four holds. Wood chips are a high volume for weight commodity, which explains the extremely high freeboard of the ship.

The ship was renamed in 2016 and is now managed by Royal Marine Holdings Pte Ltd, based in Singapore, but is owned by Hope Well Shipping Ltd of China and registered in Liberia.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency usually takes three hours to complete its inspection for the invasive species. After that the ship is expected to sail for Belledune, NB.

Newfoundland shortages and Oceanex

Oceanex Sanderling, with a very light deck load, operates weekly from Halifax.

From today's news we learn that Newfoundland is running short of vital supplies from the mainland, and Oceanex is running at an unsustainable level. The reports state that Oceanex has operating costs of about $5 million a week to run its three ships (two from Montreal to St.John's and one from Halifax to St.John's) and is currently losing $1 million a week.

The base traffic of new cars has essentially dried up and combined with the drop in other freight, traffic is down 35%. Newfoundland's oil industry has retrenched as well due to the collapse of the world oil price and many cuts are being made across the economy.

Oceanex will likely have to lay up one of its ships in order to reduce cut costs, but that may not be enough to permit the company to continue to operate without government assistance. Oceanex has a high debt level already and has long claimed that Marine Atlantic's rates are unfair competition, preventing it from being able to renew its fleet.

If you have been reading my series on Newfoundland freight traffic from Halifax, you will be aware that today's Oceanex is the outgrowth of CN's need to deliver new cars to Newfoundland. Both domestic built and foreign built cars are shipped from Autoport and have formed a key segment of the traffic since 1970. Import and export containers and RoRo / trailer traffic form the rest of the cargo.

The Montreal service has deep roots and goes back to pre-Confederation (1949) and subsidized post-Confederation operations. Oceanex was formed in 1991 to operate both Montreal and Halifax services.


Friday, April 10, 2020

Coastal Cargo Ships - Part 1 Small Traders to Halifax

Another in the series of posts relating to developments in Halifax Harbour over the past 50 years.

There are several sections on the topic of Coastal Cargo Ships.

Part 1 Small Traders to Halifax

Part 2 CNR coastal freight service

Part 3 St-Pierre et Miquelon, Iles de la Madeleine and Caribbean

maybe more later

Part 1

In the pre-container era there was a wonderful variety of ships carrying freight between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, the French Islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon, the Magdalen Islands in Quebec, the US east coast and the Caribbean and even parts of Nova Scotia where roads were not well developed.

The primary port for the Newfoundland trade was North Sydney where rail freight from Canada was loaded onto ships of the Newfoundland Railway (later CN) coastal fleet, and a plethora of small independent traders. Some of those smaller ships were contracted to CN, others had their own customers.

Every imaginable general cargo commodity was loaded out of North Sydney. Food stuffs, manufactured goods and even livestock made up the manifests. Bulk cargoes such as (predictably) coal and salt were sometimes bagged, as were potatoes.

Freight coming from Newfoundland consisted in large part of salt fish, but there were canned lobsters, salmon and some other odd cargoes such as berries, in season.

Halifax was very much a secondary port for Newfoundland traffic for CN. When ice in the Cabot Strait proved too severe, CN sometimes moved its operation to Halifax for a few days or weeks.

There were a few year round regular callers with general freight from Halifax for Newfoundland, and there were several small salt fish carriers that took away salt, potatoes or even filled shopping lists for their customers in Newfoundland. During the winter months some of these ships worked in the Caribbean and some even had a regular trade to the south.

By the 1970s the demand for salt fish in Europe and the UK had declined and much of the salt fish cargo was destined for the Caribbean. Before the Canadian Salt Fish Corporation was founded as a marketing board in 1970 independent companies handled their own sales, and the A.M.Smith Co in Halifax was a major dealer, and in return a supplier of fisheries salt.

By the 1970s refrigeration technology had advanced such that fish could be processed and shipped anywhere (often by container) and the need for salt fish, and the taste for it, was vanishing. So were the small cargo ships that brought the commodity to Halifax.

I have shown pictures and given an account of the Delroy here before:

It is shown at the Irving wharf, next to A.M.Smith's (now the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic) . It was typical of the early type of motor schooner, with a small cabin and wheelhouse aft and forecastle forward.

Sadie and Eva, pictured at the same berth, is typical of the later evolution of cargo vessels built on schooner type hulls. It has also been pictured here before:

As part of keeping wooden shipbuilding alive in Newfoundland, CN Marine's predecessor the Newfoundland Railway commissioned ten wooden cargo ships, often referred to as the "Splinter Fleet". They were all built at the Clarenville Shipyard in 1945.Their general form, with high bow and engines amidships, was copied by several later owners.

Ambrose Foote tied up at A.M.Smith's was the last Clarenville built wooden coaster, completed in 1964. Owned by J.B.Foote + Sons / Foote Shipping Co Ltd of Grand Bank, it was also the most graceful. It measured marginally less than 150 gt, allowing it sail without a licensed master.

In 1988 it was sold and renamed Lady Philpott II and in 1991 Meech Lake. In 1995 it was sold to American owners, and sailed as El Caminante under Honduras flag. It was reported on the Miami River in 1996 but its movement since are unknown to me.

Sybil Eloise was also built in 1964, but at Little Bay Islands. Somewhat larger, at 273 gt, it was owned by Buffett Fisheries Ltd of Grand Bank, NL, it was named for Sybil Eloise Buffett (nee Hollett)(1913-1978) wife of Wilfred Buffett.

Sale ad from 1971.

Most of the wooden vessels had similar fates with fires and sinkings all too common. Some were sent out on the annual seal hunt where several more were lost. However it was the advent of frozen fish and the demise of salt fish that put the final nail in coffin as far as these small traders were concerned.

Small reefers like the Dutch Tempo were loading frozen fish all over Atlantic Canada and delivering it who knows where. At the same time, men on the left were grading salt fish as it was landed from Delroy. The tables with the sloped roofs over , where the salt fish was sorted, can also be seen in the Sadie and Eva photo above.

There were also Canadian flag reefers. One was the Caribou Reefer running between Ramea, Newfoundland and Gloucester, MA, returning with produce and general cargo. It often called in Halifax en route. It made some trips further afield as well, participating in Northern Supply in 1966, reaching Frobisher Bay.
A 1963 product of Collingwood Shipyard, the 490 tonner was reflagged to the Bahamas in 1976 and was sold in 1979, then carried the names 79: Polar Queen, 80: Toma, 87: El Cancun, 90: Transcargo, 91: Caonabo I. It was removed from Lloyd's in 2012.

The other Canadian reefers were somewhat larger and therefore will be covered in another section.

One very unusual vessel made a visit to Halifax in 1967. Named Illex (the Latin name for squid) it had been a frozen bait vessel operated  by the Canadian Department of Fisheries for the Newfoundland frozen bait service. Previously named Arctica until a new vessel of the same name was delivered in 1963, it was sold in 1966 to the Earle Freighting Service. Its history however went back to 1918.

One of  a dozen trawlers built for the French navy by Canada Car + Foundry Ltd of Fort William, ON (now Thunder Bay) it was intended for minesweeping duties in the English Channel, with conversion to commercial fishing when that work was completed.

It was one of the more fortunate members of that fleet. Two sisters, Inkerman and Cerisoles were lost with all 78 hands November 24, 1918. They were crossing Lake Superior on their delivery trip and as a result none of the boats were delivered to France. They were all laid up in Boston and sold off. This one, named Malakoff , was acquired by the Newfoundland government. It may have been used as a patrol vessel since trawling was not permitted in Newfoundland except under special license.
It was re-registered in 1936, possibly when it was converted to a reefer motor ship.
Earle's made use of the ship for many years until it was finally scuttled in Conception Bay in November 1978.