Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Maersk Penang diversion

The container ship Maersk Penang arrived in Halifax today. The ship would normally be expected on a Saturday, arriving from Montreal and heading for Bremerhaven on Maersk's Canada Express service.

However on this trip the ship did not go to Montreal, due to a four day work stoppage called by longshoremen. The strike began Monday July 27 and presumably would have disrupted Maersk Penang's normal schedule. Instead the ship, sailing from Antwerp, went to anchor off Sheet Harbour until this morning. It will now unload completely in Halifax and await whatever cargo can be brought in from Montreal by road or rail in time to maintain the usual schedule. That would normally see the ship sailing from here on August 2.

Maersk Penang was built in 1998 as P+O Nedlloyd Jakarta by Kvaerner Warnow Werft, and measures 31,333 gt, 37,842 dwt, with a capacity of 2890 TEU including 400 reefers. It was renamed by Maersk in 2006 as part of its acquisition of P+O Nedlloyd.

Sisterships Maersk Palermo and Maersk Patras and the EM Kea maintain the weekly CAE service jointly with CMA CGM from Halifax to Bremerhavem, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Montreal. .

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Warm Welcome for HMCS Fredericton

Returning warships usually receive some form of greeting. particularly after a six month absence for NATO duties. However today's welcome for HMCS Fredericton has to be one of the largest in recent memory.

Fredericton arrives under a blazing sun and high humidity.

The waterfront was lined with spectators, many carrying flags in tribute to the six crew members who died on April 29 when their helicopter crashed into the Aegean while returning to the ship. Numerous private small craft accompanied the ship as it proceeded up the harbour.

The Royal Canadian Navy's sail training vessel Oriole and Nova Scotia's Bluenose II joined the procession to salute Fredericton's return.

Also on hand was CCGS Constable Carriere, which arrived yesterday at the Tall Ship's Quay, wearing its RCMP banners.


Monday, July 27, 2020

Middle Ground Action

Although it appears to be wide, the entrance to Halifax harbour is in fact relatively narrow in places due to a dangerously craggy and rocky sea bottom. Therefore there are places where ships do not like to meet because they would be too close together. Fortunately however there are sections where there are two channels and that is where ships arrange to meet if possible. There is the eastern channel and the western or deep water channel.

The eastern channel is the main channel, preferred because it requires fewer sharp course changes. Inbound ships normally use  the eastern channel and outbound ships take the west channel to give the other ship lots of room. This results in a "port to port" meeting, the normal practice for ships, just as it is for cars on the road.

The two channels merge in an area just south of the most popular ship watching venue, Point Pleasant, in an area known as the Middle Ground. Careful timing is required by the ship's pilots so that they avoid meeting in the Middle Ground area wher the channel become narrow.

Early this afternoon HMCS Ville de Quebec was sailing and as it passed Pier C (PSA Halifax, formerly Halterm) it turned on a bit of speed so that it could reach the western channel before the inbound container ship exited the eastern channel.

VdeQ kicks up a mini rooster tail as it passes the end of the Pier 42 extension.

The inbound ship was another of CMA CGM's "Ultra" class ships, the CMA CGM Callisto, a 131,332 gt, 128,550 dt vessel with a rated capacity of 11,200 TEU. It was built in 2010 by Hyundai, Ulsan.

Tugs move into position to turn the ship to berth at Pier 41, PSA Halifax.


Sunday, July 26, 2020

Cape Gavi returns

As I observed on June 20, it is unusual for a tanker to appear in Halifax under three different names.

But also with the hundreds of MR size tankers in the world available for spot charter it is also relatively rare for the same tanker to appear more than once in any event. So perhaps Irving Oil has made a more fixed arrangement with Columbia Ship Management to provide ships to run between Amsterdam and Halifax, as Cape Gavi returned to Halifax today for the second time in as many months.

Cape Gavi inbound on a misty afternoon,  with another cargo of refined product.


Saturday, July 25, 2020


HMCS Toronto sailed today for a six month NATO assignment with Operation Reassurance. The departure was delayed and so I missed the actual sailing, but I did catch the ship yesterday as it was fueling up at Irving Oil, Woodside, completed with helicopter on the flight deck.


Friday, July 24, 2020

It's a long story

Atlantic Container Line is now on its fourth generation of Container RoRo ships, all of which called in Halifax since 1969.

The first generation "S" class, 700 TEU ships built in 1967 included Atlantic Saga operated by Swedish America Line.

Stern in at pier 36, Atlantic Saga flies the Swedish flag.

The next generation, Among the early generation were the G2 900 TEU "C" series ships of 1969 and 1970.

Also at pier 36, a few months later in 1970, with the first Halterm crane under construction at Pier C in the background.

Atlantic Cinderella was also Swedish, operated by Wallenius, another one of the founding partners of ACL.

Nowadays ACL is part of the Grimaldi Group and its ships are registered in the UK such as Atlantic Star. They now use the Fairview Cove Container Terminal and at 100,430 grt they are the largest ships to sail through the Narrows regularly.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

One or the Other [Amended]

At this time of the year it is either heat distortion or fog that makes for a fuzzy photo. It was the former rather than the latter on July 21 when the BOA Barge 34 arrived back in Halifax carrying the Production Field Centre (PFC) from the now defunct Deep Panuke gas field.

Maersk Cutter in the lead towing Boa Barge 34.

After tying up at the IEL pier the PFC was jacked up again on its own legs and the barge slipped out*. The PFC is not a floating hull as jack-up drill rigs would be, so must remain above water.

By this morning the tip of the PFC's flare boom was shrouded in fog, as work continues alongside. The Dominion Warrior can just be made out alongside below the helo pad.

The unit was to have remained on the barge for up to year, anchored off Mulgrave, but there was no safe holding ground for the anchors there,  so it may remain in Halifax until a buyer can be found. 

We note that the heavy lift ship Bigroll Beaufort is still anchored off Halifax, and presumably could be mobilized on short notice.

*Amendment- the Boa Barge 34 is not visible in the photo, because it is submerged in place under the PFC. It has not been moved out yet.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Big and Bigger, not biggest

As container ships get bigger and bigger, it becomes more and more difficult to say which ship is the biggest to call in Halifax. That is because ships' container capacity does not necessarily compare to the ships' tonnages in the same ratio.

The current record holders for most container capacity, at 14,414 TEU, CMA CGM T. Jefferson and CMA CGM A. Lincoln have tonnages of 140,872 gt, 143,966 dwt. However today's arrival, rated at 13,880 TEU CMA CGM Christoph Colomb is a very much larger ship, at 154,199 gt, 165,375 dwt, but is the same length and but 3 meters wider.

PSA Halifax is getting ready for even larger ships with its newest crane (second from the left) which does not appear to be in service yet. 

CMA CGM Christoph Colomb dates from 2009 and Daewoo Shipbuilding + Marine Engineering Co Ltd in Okpo, South Korea and is named for the "Who Was Lost?" explorer of 1492.


CCGS Amundsen - hope they are isolating

The research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen arrived at the Bedford Institute last evening from its Quebec City base. Normally the ship would be well on its way to the high arctic for scientific work. Instead this year, as a way of protecting the north from the COVID-19 pandemic, the ship, and its scientists, will stay south of 60 and carry out research in the Labrador Sea.

CCGS Amundsen (left) with CCGS Sir William Alexander and CCGC G.Peddle, S.C. at the Bedford Institute.

The new mission will see the ship return to Quebec City October 24. It was to have conducted a 114 day trip to the Beaufort Sea. Instead it seems it may work out of Halifax or possibly some other Atlantic port.

I hope that the ship is self-isolating for fourteen days, as all visitors from Quebec are required to do on arrival in Nova Scotia, particularly from Quebec where COVID seems to be much more active.


Saturday, July 18, 2020

Eidsvaag Sirius

The small bulker Eidsvaag Sirius arrived this evening on one of its rare visits to Halifax. The first time it was here, in June 2018, it came in to transfer registration from Norway to Canada. It has since called in many of the smaller ports in Atlantic  Canada going about is business of carrying aquaculture feed for its operators Skettering Canada Inc.

As I speculated back in 2018 its visits to Halifax would be rare, and as far as I can tell this is the first time it has been back. Its last port is reported as Little Bay, NL.

It is the successor to Eidsvaag Vinland which returned to Norway in 2018 and is now sailing as Superior.

Supplementary information is provided in previous posts, with the following addendum:

The ship's hull was built in Decin, Czech Republic, but construction was completed by the Peters Shipyard in Kampen, Germany.


Friday, July 17, 2020

Silver Amanda for Imperial Oil

Imperial Oil took delivery of another cargo of refined product from Antwerp. It arrived today aboard a slightly unusual looking tanker named Silver Amanda.

Built in 2014 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan it is a 29,533 gt, 49,746 dwt vessel. What sets it apart from other ships of its class is the very tall funnel. The only explanation I can offer is that it was made larger to accommodate an exhaust gas scrubber system.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Busy Day

There were several busy spots in the harbour today, starting in Eastern Passage

The Integrated Tug/Barge Leo A. McArthur / John J. Carrick arrived in the early hours to offload a cargo of asphalt from the Great Lakes for McAsphalt Industries. 

Immediately astern Oceanex Sanderling was working its cargo to/from Newfoundland, but was getting ready to move back to PSA Halifax.

While the Sanderling was crossing the harbour, the auto carrier Torrens was making its way from Pier 31 to Autoport. The tug Spitfire III appears in both photos as it crosses to meet up with the Torrens. The ship will need two tugs to turn and berth at Autoport. Atlantic Oak, was already tied on after helping to get the ship away from Pier 31.

Torrens is sporting the new Wallenius Wilhelmsen colour scheme. Built in 2004, it was until recently still in the traditional red. It has a capacity of 6,354 CEU.

In the lower harbour the tanker Elka Glory was anchored awaiting its turn at Irving Oil Woodside (on departure of Gaïa Desgagnés - see yesterday's post) after arriving from Amsterdam with refined products.

A fairly typical ship of its type, built in 2003 by Brodosplit, Croatia, it measures 27,612 gt, 44,598 dwt. It operates for European Product Carriers and wears their letter "E" on the bow and funnel. This is its second call this year, after three calls in 2019.

Also arriving at anchor, but in number one anchorage, is another bulk carrier bound for Sept-Iles, QC for iron ore. Estela Claire dates from 2017 when it was built by Tsuneishi Zhoushan, a Japanese owned shipyard in Daishan, China, near Shanghai.

The 43,062 gt,m 81,886 dwt ship will undergo inspection for Asian Gypsy Moth. The ship's last port was Aughinish, Eire, where it unloaded bauxite for that port's Rusal Alumina works. However it has presumably been in an Asian port within the last few months.
Two ships in Baltimore, MD were recently discovered to have Asian Gypsy moth larvae, which so far is unknown in the USA, so I am sure the inspection will be a thorough one. One ship was carrying aluminum from India.

There was container traffic today too, with Cerescorp handling the big and the small.

Nolhan Ava arrived on its weekly call. Primarily serving St-Pierre et Miquelon, the ship also calls in Argentia, NL with container and RoRo service, providing some level of competition with Marine Atlantic and Oceanex. There have been shipping links between Halifax and the French islands for centuries, but this is the first ship in many years to fly the Canadian flag and thus be able to carry cargo between Canadian ports also.

At the larger end of the ConRo scale (in fact sharing the title of the world's largest ConRo with its four sister ships) Atlantic Sail made its regular arrival.

With the tethered escort tug Atlantic Oak making up astern the big ship glides in west of George's Island, to avoid the major course corrections needed to steer around the anchored Estela Claire at number one anchorage.

Despite the similarity of names there is no corporate connection between Atlantic Towing Ltd and Atlantic Container Line.


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Desgagnés for Irving

While Irving Oil sometimes imports refined product to Halifax from overseas on foreign flag tankers, it also supplies its Woodside depot from its Saint John, NB refinery (Canada's largest) with its own small Canadian flag fleet of two ships. From time to time it will also hire other Canadian flag tankers from Algoma or Pétro-Nav (Desgagnés).

Today it was Gaïa Desgagnés arriving from Saint John.

It went to anchor for a time then tied up at the Irving's Woodside terminal to unload.

Desgagnés has been expanding and modernizing its fleet lately, with several new built tankers, but this one is a bit of an exception as it was bought "used". However it was less than a year old when acquired, so must be considered barely broken in. The ship came from Swedish owners Furetank Rederi where it sailed as Fure Vinga. Built in 2018 by AVIC Dingheng in Yangzhou, it is an ice class vessel of 12,770 gt, 17,999 dwt. Desgagnés took delivery and renamed the ship in April 2019.

This is the fifth dual fuel tanker in the fleet, and it is capable of burning LNG as well as conventional fuel. So far however Desgagnés have no tankers that can carry LNG as cargo.

Groupe Desgagnés  operates a fleet of 23 ships. This number includes 12 tankers under the Pétro-Nav subsidiary.


Monday, July 13, 2020

More Pier 9C and beyond

Aside from regular port activity - that is scheduled shipping lines, with repetitive ships - Pier 9C is the location of unusual and "one of"  ships. Lately that has meant ships related to the decommissioning of the offshore gas fields.

Certainly that would explain the two Maersk tug/suppliers rafted together at the centre berth.

Maersk Detector on the outside of Maersk Cutter. Of very different designs, they are both equipped to support offshore activity and set anchors for rigs. Although both work for Maersk Supply Service Canada, under Canadian flag, they were both built in Chile, but by different ship yards. (Canada has a free trade agreement with Chile.)

Just to the north the general cargo ship BBC Kwiatkowski arrived July 11 from Willemstad, Curacao.

Built in 2008 by the Polish Shipyards Polnoca, completed by Remontowa, it was launched as Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski but completed with its present name. It is a 6115 gt, 7732 dwt ship with a pair of 120 tonne cranes. The ship has called in Halifax before for offshore related cargoes or to fit out to carry submarine cable. Its most recent visit was in February of this year, so it may be here to offload the cable racks.

At the south end of Pier 9C the big barge BOA Barge 37 finally made its move to the IEL dock in Woodside. The move had been planned for some time, but was postponed, I believe due to lack of visibility in fog.

The barge is on long term charter to Halifax Shipyard, and has two uses. One is to transfer ship's hull components from the Woodside fabrication hall to the shipyard. It is also used to launch the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships. The blue cradles on the deck are used to support the ship's hull or components. These will now be removed at the IEL dock.

As might be imagined the barge is idle a lot of the time. It was therefore available when COVID-19 delayed plans to install two new 300 tonne capacity cranes on the Hibernia offshore structure. The new crane was supposed to be installed by the giant crane ship Thialf but with time running out on its work off Nova Scotia plans had to change. Instead the cranes will be loaded onto the BOA Barge 34, and transferred to a storage site in Argentia, NL for installation next year.

There was also activity beyond Pier 9C today. At Cerscorp's Fairview Cove it was another visit of ONE Magnificence - so far the only ship of the Ocean Network Express to call here in the new magenta hull colour. (It was MOL Magnificence until early this year) But so far I have not been able to catch it with ideal lighting conditions or in the best location. (If it hadn't sailed during my dinner hour tonight I might have caught it this time.)

With the pilot boat running interference to clear pleasure craft from the route path, the ship approaches Ives Knoll. Meanwhile, in a well timed departure Bishu Highway clears Eastern Passage for Baltimore.

Built in 2009 by Toyohashi Shipbuilding Co Ltd the auto carrier is still in traditional K-Line colours. These are gradually being repainted with a new scheme. K-Line has kept ownership of all its ships except the container ships, which went into the One Network Express, ONE.


Friday, July 10, 2020

Capesize inspection

The bulk carrier Global Enterprise spent a few hours at anchor today while it underwent a Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) check for Asian Gypsy Moth larvae (AGM). The ship is en route from Luoyuan, China for Sept-Iles, QC for a load of iron ore.

Global Enterprise at number one anchorage shows off its immense length of 289m (it is 45 meters in breadth) and carries the Hyundai Merchant Marine funnel marking.

Hyundai Merchant Marine is a large Korean based operator of various ships in all trades including tankers, container ships and bulk carriers. Among the latter it operates seven "Capesize" ships of which Global Enterprise is the smallest. (The largest exceeds 207,000 dwt)

Built in 2010 by Namura Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Imari, Japan, the ship measures 89,981 gt, 176,768 dwt. It is classed as Capesize because it was too large to transit the Suez and Panama Canals, and thus had to sail around the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn. However with recent dredging I believe it can now transit the Suez Canal at least while in ballast, however it apparently did not do so on this trip.

Ships of this size, arriving from Asia, are regular callers in Sept-Iles, but due that port's proximity to valuable forests, they must be inspected before entering too deeply into Canadian waters to prevent the spread of the invasive species of Asian Gypsy Moth.


Sunday, July 5, 2020

Iver Prosperity

Today Irving Oil took delivery of another cargo of petroleum product from Amsterdam with arrival of the Iver Prosperity.

Built in 2007 by Hyundai, Mipo, it is a 23,421 gt, 37,456 dwt Midrange/ Handysize product tanker owned by the Dutch company Vroon. The company operates more than 150 ships of all types, but only six product tankers - all of which, including this one, are on charter to Irving Oil. The others wear Irving colours, have Irving themed names, and are fitted with exhaust gas scrubbers. Two fly Canadian flag and the others Marshall Islands. This one was was brought into Irving service in 2014 after  Nor'Easter was transferred to Canadian flag as East Coast.


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Maersk MECL1 tryout

Maersk Line, the world's largest container ship operator, is known for its agility in cutting or adding services depending on conditions. Today's arrival of the Maersk Chicago may be the first arrival of a regular stop on the MECL1 service or merely a trial run.

A rare US flag ship arriving July 4.

Maersk Chicago was built as Maersk Kuantan in 2007 by Hanjin Heavy Industry + Construction Co Ltd in Busan. The 74,642 gt, 84,500 dwt ship has a capacity of 6188 TEU. It assumed its present name in 2013 when it was taken over by Maersk Line USA Ltd and re-flagged to the United States.

Although not qualifying as a Jones Act ship (it was not built in the US), its US registration allows it to carry US government cargo and to benefit from other considerations. The MECL1 service runs from Pakistan, India, UAE, Egypt, Algeciras, and on to Newark, Charleston, Savannah and Houston (westbound) and retraces the same steps eastbound on a 45 day rotation.

I have lost count of the number of times Maersk has introduced, then cut services in and out of Halifax, so I would not count on this becoming a regular call. However rumours continue to abound about service changes by various lines in the region and Maersk may well be getting its foot in the door early.


Wilson Mistral at Pier 9C

The small general cargo ship Wilson Mistral arrived from Montrose, Scotland late Friday July 3 and tied at Pier 9C on the Narrows. [My great-grandfather was born in Montrose in 1840.]

This morning a shore crane could be seen unloading large chain, which appears to be for offshore anchoring. Some plow type anchors have been sitting on the dock for some time.

The ship was built in 1995 as Bermuda Islander and has since carried the names 99: Heereborg, 04: Alette, 05: Seawheel Venture, 08:  Anne, until 2018. It is a gearless, open hatch type vessel (it has square shaped holds, the same dimensions as the hatches), and can carry bulk or general cargoes. It is rated to carry 72 containers below deck and 213 on deck for a total of 205, including 30 reefers.
Owners and operators are Wilson, a large Norwegian operator of coastal ships. They record the builder as Helmers, Hoogezand, but my usual sources cite Tille, Koostertille, Netherlands.

The ship is expected to shift to pier 27 later this afternoon, likely for fuel.


Friday, July 3, 2020

Narrow(s) minded

The Narrows - connecting Halifax lower harbour and Bedford Basin is a great spot for close up ship watching. Geologically an extension of the Sackville River, it was carved out by glacial melting, which happened slightly before I started watching ships.

Today's Narrows action included the arrival of CSL Tacoma a regular caller at National Gypsum.

The 71,405.30 dwt ship was built in 2013 and is a versatile self-unloader that CSL Americas operates in a pool with Algoma and Oldendorff.  The company's published spec sheet for the ship rates its unloading capabilities as 6,000 tonnes per hour (tph) for iron ore, 4,200 tph for coal, 4,500 tph for gypsum and 5,000 tph for stone. Its 80m boom can swing 95 degrees out from centre line, allowing it to deposit cargo precisely on shore.

Ships transiting the Narrows pass Pier 9C, the scene of considerable activity lately, related to the decommissioning of the Encana  gas installation off Sable Island. Currently tied up at the pier is the Boa Barge 34 which arrived here in tow of the Boa Odin on June 19:

The barge is being prepared to load the Deep Panuke Production Field Centre (PFC), consisting of a 25,000 tonne structure standing on four jack-up legs. The main platform is non-floating but can move up and down on the legs. The barge will be slid in under the platform, which will be lowered onto the deck and the legs raised from the sea bottom. Once the platform is secured, the barge will be towed, likely to Chedabucto Bay. 

Unlike much of the rest of the gas field topsides, the PFC may be re-usable, if a buyer is found. Therefore the barge will be used to store the unit for up to a year.


Thursday, July 2, 2020

Madeleine II announced

The federal Minister of Transport has announced an interim solution to replace the ferry Madeleine that operates between Souris, PE and Cap-aux-Meules, Iles de la Madeleine (aka Grindstone, Magdalen Islands), QC.

Built in 1981 by Verolme Cork in Cobh [Cork] Ireland the current ship carried the names Leinster until 1993, Isle of Inishmore until 1996 and Isle of Inishturk until acquired by the Canadain government in 1997. It has been operated by C.T.M.A (founded as Co-opérative de Transport Maritime et Aérien) ever since, (and has been repainted from the above colours.)

It was previously announced that Davie, Lévis would be building a replacement ship, but since that will not be available until 2026 (at the earliest) the government has announced plans to acquire an interim ship to be named Madeleine II, which will be operated from 2021 until 2026 when it will be sold.

The ship they have selected is sailing in Morocco as Villa de Teror for Nav.Trasmediterranea under Cyprus flag. The ship has a slightly spotted history, which is well documented by Wikipedia and does not need to be repeated here. It does seem odd that it should be for sale so soon after entering service,  but perhaps it is a distress sale due to Covid-19.

For an entertaining read see:

A "new" ship for the most part, it may be something of a white elephant when it comes time to sell it.  Let us hope that the Province of Quebec is no longer in the market for a ship in five years time. Based on the orginal Finnish desigm it should have a good ice rating, because it will be expected to run year round.

Davie will be building the new ferry - to be named Jean Lapierre and a replacement for Holiday Island which runs between Caribou, NS and Wood Islands, PE.


USN LCS by passes Halifax