Sunday, September 27, 2020

Elka Nikolas sails

 The tanker Elka Nikolas completed discharging its cargo of refined petroleum products at Imperial Oil and sailed early this afternoon.

A 27,542 gt, 44,787 dwt ship, it was built by Brodospas, Split, Croatia in 2001. Soon after completion it was renamed Fusus for a charter to Shell International Trading and Shipping Co (STASCO). In 2009 it returned to its original and current name and now operates for European Product Carriers. 

The ship arrived in Halifax September 25 from Antwerp, the favoured port for Imperial Oil imports, and gave Amsterdam as its destination on departure.

Once again today there were scores of pleasure craft in the harbour squeezing the last few days out of the boating season.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Budapest Bridge and scows depart

In what can only be described as heavenly late summer weather, the harbour was chock a block with pleasure craft of all descriptions this afternoon. Ranging from personal watercraft on up, there was plenty of activity in Bedford Basin, the Narrows and the lower harbour. To complicate matters further, there was some sort of regatta or sailing race going on from the Northwest Arm into toward Eastern Passage.

Nevertheless Budapest Bridge was able sail from Fairview Cove to sea without incident. However the ship did have to signal a warning several time with five successive blasts, to clear small craft from its path.

Once the Narrows was clear of commercial traffic Dominion Diving's multi-purpose vessel Dominion Warrior got under way towing a pair of dump scows, assisted as far as Chebucto Head by Halmar.

Fortunately no boaters tried to sail between the tows.

The two dump scows, not positively identified, had only just arrived over night in tow of Mister Joe from Port Hawksbury. Mister Joe returned immediately to sea, headed back to McNally Construction's base in Port Hawksbury. The scows are headed for Pinkney's Point, near Yarmouth.


Friday, September 25, 2020

YM Mandate

 The Alliance continues increasing the size of ships on its service, with today's arrival YM Mandate. It is another of Yang Ming's "M" class of 7572 TEU (including 500 reefer) capacity ships.

As the evening light began to fail, YM Mandate was preparing to get underway from Fairview Cove.

Built by Hanjin Heavy Industry and Construction Co Ltd, Busan in 2010, it is a 73,675 gt, 83,200 dwt vessel. 

Its berth would not be vacant long as the 4526 TEU Budapest Bridge was waiting in the Basin to take its place.


Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Hurricane Teddy

 Hurricane Teddy passed over Halifax - its centre a few miles offshore - during the night of September 22-23, and made landfall around Sheet Harbour in the morning of September 23. The strength of the storm was significantly less than last year's Hurricane Dorian, but there were high seas and high winds offshore and a storm surge in places.

There was no commercial shipping in Halifax, harbour ferry service was cancelled and two of the RCN  ships that had sailed for Europe returned to port. HMCS Ville de Quebec and Halifax sailed again early today (Sept 23). Asterix took shelter in Newfoundland.

Two offshore vessels remained at sea but took shelter along the coast, Skandi Neptune in Mahone Bay and Atlantic Kestrel well into St.Margaret's Bay, very close to Hubbards. The latter arrived in Halifax this evening. It will be sailing again later this evening after loading Heerema cargo for Deep Panuke.

I have hear no reports on how the crane vessel Thialf made out offshore - on the windy side of the storm - as work continues on dismantling the Deep Panuke gas field.

All other commercial traffic has been backed off until tomorrow or by-passed. Oceanex and TSMI will no doubt be delayed as they would have to cross the storm track returning from Newfoundland and St-Pierre.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Big Sendoff

 The Royal Canadian Navy organized a ceremonial departure this morning as three ships sailed for the Joint Warrior exercises in Europe. The ships went to Bedford Basin first where they formed up in line then made for sea. There was no doubt a formal salute as they passed HMC Dockyard. With helos buzzing about overhead and even an Aurora aircraft from CFB Greenwood flying past, it was a major send off.

HMCS Ville de Quebec was lead ship, followed by HMCS Halifax and the chartered supply ship Asterix.

The ships also passed west of George's Island allowing a close up view for well wishers and families on the Halifax side of the harbour.

It was just a month over thirty years ago when there was another major send off in Halifax. On August 24, 1990 three RCN ships sailed for the Arabian Gulf.  Canada joined a 35 nation coalition in the Gulf War., in retaliation for Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait. Canada's contribution was called Operation Friction and was part of the US lead Desert Shield/ Desert Storm. In addition to aircraft, Canada sent three ships from Halifax, andHMCS Huron from Esquimalt, all on very short notice.

 HMCS Athabaskan

HMCS Terra Nova
(with salute from CFAV Firebird)
HMCS Protecteur

It was the first time Canada's military has participated in offensive combat since the Korean conflict, so the sendoff was spectacular, with Sea King helicopters in formation, many spectator craft in the harbour including Bluenose II, and crowds lining the shores.

We should hope that it will not be necessary to go to war again, but is important that the Canadian forces remain prepared. Military exercises are part of that effort, so we wish the participants well and a safe return.


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Katie Belle underway

 After many months at anchor in Mill Cove, Bedford Basin, the schooner Katie Belle got under way today and made an impressive sight crossing the Basin.

Built over several years in Stewiacke, NS by members of the Cameron extended family it is an impressive vessel, particularly under sail. Completed in 2015 it arrived in Halifax in 2016, but has not been particularly busy since then.

Even more impressively the boat transited the Narrows under full sail - certainly the first time a boat of this size and rig has done so in a long time. Of course a good stiff breeze from the north was a big help. I could see seven people on deck, but they did not have to work too hard to keep the sails in trim.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin - belts, AOPs-rudders

 The self-unloading bulk carrier Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin made an unusual arrival in Halifax today docking at Pier 9C (in a light rain - hence the fuzzy photo.)

The ship is en route from Sydney, NS where it unloaded a cargo of coal, to National Gypsum's dock in Bedford Basin to load gypsum for the United States.

It is stopping at Pier 9C to load some replacement belting for its self-unloading system. A truck was waiting at dockside and a crane was soon mobilised to load the belts aboard.

The self-unloading system uses the belts to move cargo from the bottom of the hopper shaped holds up to the slewing boom. The rubber belts eventually wear due to abrasion from cargo and from running on the rollers, and require replacement before they break. There is no truck access to the National Gypsum dock and it is necessary to have pier space for the truck and crane.

Rt. Hon Paul E. Martin was built in China in 2012 and measures 43,691 gt, 71,406 dwt and is one of the large Trillium class, some of which are Seaway sized and others, like this one, which is Panamax. Owners CSL Group Inc have the ship in the CSL Americas pool. The ship is named for a former Prime Minister of Canada, who, with his sons, owns CSL.

I suppose it would be too much of a coincidence to be the same one, but a very similar trailer that also had Benson markings was spotted earlier in the day at the nearby Halifax Shipyard.

That trailer was carrying a pair of rudders for an Arctic Offshore Patrol vessel under construction at the shipyard. The truck was owned by Classic Freight Lines, which is owned by Cherubini Metal Workers. It is possible that they  built the rudders at one of their plants in Dartmouth.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

BBC Edge

 The BBC Edge arrived in Halifax Monday, docked at Pier 9C and sailed this evening. It did not appear to load or unload any cargo. However while in Halifax, the crew repositioned the pontoon type 'tween deck components back in the hold. They were stowed on the number one hatch (a few are still visible below the forward crane boom) and immediately forward of the house in the photo. The pontoons were removed to create a huge open hold to carry wind turbine blades.

The ship was first noted entering the St.Lawrence Seaway September 1 with a cargo of wind turbines, including blades stowed on deck in special cradles. It off-loaded those September 5-6 at Bay City, MI and returned out of the Seaway at Montreal September 10.

The ship was built in 2009 by the Viana do Castelo shipyard in Spain and is a 8750 gt, 10,382 dwt vessel with a pair of 250 tonne capacity cranes that can perform combi lifts of 500 tonnes.  It was built as Castor J. but was renamed Industrial Edge on delivery. It reverted to Castor J. again the same year. In 2013 it became BBC Pilbara but was renamed Castor J. again in 2014 until 2016 when it became Industrial Edge again. Then in 2019 it became BBC Edge.

The ship sailed this evening for Willemstad (and the hurricane region). This may explain why they decided to come into Halifax instead of doing the pontoon repositioning at the next port. With the ship in ballast, rolling and pitching around in high seas, the pontoons could come adrift and cause severe damage. It is safer to have them back in the ship's hold.

A fleet mate, BBC Peru is in Montreal tonight awaiting clearance to enter the Seaway and it also has wind turbines for Bay City, and photos indicate it is configured the same way with 'tween deck pontoons stowed on deck.


YM Upsurgence - eastbound

 The YM Upsurgence made its eastbound arrival this afternoon. Unlike the weather for its westbound visit, it was clear and sunny today!

On its last call September 3, it was quite murky:

If any evidence is needed to confirm trade imbalance, a comparison of drafts east and westbound will show the ship is very lightly loaded now - with lots of empty containers going back to Asia.

It was also noted that the ship had three escort tugs, one on each side and one astern.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Two MOLs

 It happens often enough, but it is still interesting to see two ships from the same line in Halifax at the same time. Today it was two MOL (Mitsui OSK Line) ships, with one arriving as the other departed.

The larger ship MOL Maestro was the first ship in, arriving early this morning. This afternoon, when it was ready to go, MOL Emissary was inbound. To avoid an awkward meet in the harbour, the Emissary sailed straight through to Bedford Basin allowing lots of room for Maestro to sail after it had passed.

(    If this all sounds slightly familiar MOL Emissary did the same thing June 1 with Atlantic Sail as the outbound ship, and thus a photo from exactly the same position.)

MOL Emissary, 54,940 gt, 67,170 dwt has a capacity of 5087 TEU including 330 reefers and was built in 2009 by Hyundai, Ulsan. It is owned by Seaspan Corp on long term charter to MOL under Hong Kong flag.

MOL Maestro a first time caller if my records are correct, is a 78,316 gt, 79,423 dwt ship with a capacity of 6724 TEU including 500 reefers. It was built by Mitsubishi, Kobe in 2010 and is owned by a Panama corporation.

MOL (31%), K-Line (31%) and NYK (38%), the three principal Japanese container lines, merged their container shipping operations to form ONE (Ocean Network Express) in 2017. Existing ships have maintained their old corporate identities but new ships are branded for ONE.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Capt Jacques Cartier - Basin Trials and another name

 The CCGS Capt Jacques Cartier [*]  has spent the weekend anchored out in Bedford Basin. Whether this is part of its commissioning or some other activity I have no idea.

The ship is not in official service yet as far as I can tell, however it was delivered in the spring and should be just about ready by now despite COVID related delays.

* see my carping about ships named after people on April 1, 2020

Meanwhile on the topic of names, the life extension refit continues at Shelburne on CCGS Edward Cornwallis which will be renamed on completion.

One of four trailers at Fairview August 27.

The labels called the contents "gensets" which would likely be correct for main engines for a diesel electric ship.

If these are just being delivered now it seems that it may be some time before the refit is completed - perhaps beyond the January 2021 date previously published.


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Non-Headline News


With the arrival of the first 15,000 TEU ship in a Canadian port monopolizing the news today some other harbour activity faded to the background.

This evening the jack-up drilling rig Noble Regina Allen is due to leave port secured to the deck of the semi-submersible heavy load ship GPO Amethyst

(Above) I could see what looked like welding flashes on deck this evening. 

A bit clearer on Tuesday evening.

According to industry reports the rig is going to work offshore Trinidad but will be deployed from Guyana. It is not going to Africa as per some reports. Noble Drilling is emerging from Chapter 11 with a debt for equity deal with lenders. 


Earlier in the day the research vessel Ocean Seeker was making its way out of Bedford Basin. The former RCMP Murray is an aluminum catamaran built in 2003.

The graphics on the superstructure represent the Kraken, a mythical sea serpent that is the namesake of Kraken Robotics, a Canadian company that has developed high speed towed sonar such as the Kraken Katfish.  Ocean Seeker uses the A-frame for the torpedo like Katfish, and has a "Universal Sonar" mount and pole on the starboard side.

CMA CGM Brazil raises the bar

The record book has been revised again when it comes to the largest container ship to call in Halifax. But this time it is not just the largest in Halifax, but the largest in any Canadian port. CMA CGM Brazil has a capacity of 15,072 TEU and it appeared to be pretty close to that number as it sailed early this afternoon.


The ship is quite new, having just been delivered in May of this year by Hyundai Samho. The ship at 366m long, 51m breadth and 12.1m draft, measures 149,314 gt, 157,076 dwt.  

CMA CGM Brazil operates on the Columbus JAX route for the OCEAN Alliance partners CMA CGM (and its wholly owned APL), Evergreen and COSCO. (That service runs from West Coast North American transpacific through south Asia, the Middle East and Mediterranean to the east coast of North America, and return via Suez. Ships call in Halifax west bound only and arrive direct from Colombo, Sri Lanka.)

Container terminal PSA Halifax is the only facility in eastern Canada able to handle ships of this size. It now has five PostPanamax cranes. A pier extension soon to be completed will allow the terminal to handle two ship of this size at the same time. If that should happen it will need at least one more crane (which is on order) if not more.


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Last seen leaving Bedford Basin

The Yantian Express got away from Cerescorp, Fairvew Cove this morning and was soon enveloped in fog.

The ship was then virtually invisible as it made its way out to sea. The sun was working hard at eating away the fog as the day progressed.

The ship was launched as Berlin Express, delivered in 2002 as Shangai Express by Hyundai, Ulsan and renamed in 2012. It measures 88,493 gt, 100,003 dwt with a capacity of 7506 TEU including 700 reefers. Ships of more than 100,000 dwt are becoming commonplace at Fairview Cove these days and appear to be close to full laden. 


Monday, September 7, 2020

Float Over - all day operation

 The process of loading the jack-up rig Noble Regina Allen has been a day long exercise in patience and precision. Staring early this morning, in limited visibility, the ship GPO Amethyst was ballasted down in its position, adjacent to number one anchorage. 

The four harbour tugs Atlantic Fir, Atlantic Oak, Atlantic Willow and Spitfire III then attended the rig as its jack-up legs were raised and the rig's hull was floated. The exacting process of moving the rig into position over the ship's hull took the rest of the morning.

Three of the tugs were sent back to base at about 1300hrs, after the mooring lines were rigged and the ship had control of the rig. Atlantic Oak remained as standby while the rig was positioned with the ship's winches.

By late afternoon the rig was in final position and the ship could be de-ballasted. It is expected to move back to anchorage number 1 about 2000 hrs. After that the process of final securement to the deck can be completed.

nb Initially posted at 1730hrs - may be updated later.


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Quebec Express - strike catch up

 Quebec Express sailed today after a lengthy stay. The ship initially arrived at anchor off Halifax about August 19, then entered port August 25 after being diverted from Montreal due to the longshore strike there. See:

Since then it has been tied up at Cerescorp, Fairview Cove and has been shifted back and forth along the pier to accommodate other ships. It was unloaded and eventually loaded, and finally sailed for London Gateway as HAPAG-Lloyd and partners try to get their schedule back on track.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Friday Activity

 Another arrival for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection came to anchor mid-day.

LMZ Ariel is a fairly typical bulker of 33,032 gt, 56,418 dwt, fitted with four cranes and clamshell buckets. It was built in 2012 by Yangzhou Guoyu in Yizheng, China. Operators LMZ Shipping SA have  ten bulkers in their fleet.

The ship is bound for Montreal, likely to load grain.

The ship's arrival was timed to take the place of the tanker Acadian which had just left the anchorage for Irving Oil's Woodside terminal.

At pier 31 Nirint Shipping's Augusta Luna completed unloading and put out to sea, bound for Bilbao, Spain.

Not all the action was in the harbour. The road approach to PSA Halifax southend container terminal was absolutely jammed with trucks.

The jam was likely caused in part by traffic for Oceanex Sanderling's regular Friday departure for St.John's. The line has reduced capacity out of Montreal at the moment since their largest ship Oceanex Connaigra is in Belfast, Northern Ireland for refit. The other ship on the Montreal run, Oceanex Avalon has no RoRo capability, so trucks have likely been sent here.

Other traffic at PSA must also be from Tropical Shipping which did not send a ship to Halifax on August 31 as per schedule, no doubt due to hurricanes in the Caribbean. Tropic Hope is due in Halifax  September 6.

Both PSA and Cerescorp are still dealing with the aftermath of the Montreal longshore strike with empties piled up all over the place. It will take weeks to return to normal at the rate they are going.


I stand corrected

 In yesterday's post on the YM Upsurgence I mistakenly stated that the ship used no stern escort tug when leaving Fairview Cove. In fact the ship did take three tugs -two flanking, and one astern.

I did not take the time to check if there was a tug on the stern. No excuse, but it was raining and I didn't want to get too wet!

Thanks to a reader, I am reminded that it is a Halifax harbour regulation that ships more than 330m long require three escort tugs.

I do welcome corrections.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Emerging from the fog

 One of the realities about Halifax harbour is fog. Even with relatively warm air temperatures, the ocean remains cold. At time of writing the Herring Cove smart buoy just off Halifax is reporting air temperature of 19.7C and sea surface temperature of 12.4C. With very little wind (7.8kts) and high relative humidity (approx. 100%), conditions are ideal for fog.

Visibility was reported to be one mile or less in the harbour approaches, and so it was possible to hear the arrival of Atlantic Sun before seeing it emerge from the fog.

Once the ship was in past Ives Knoll it became fully visible even though Macnab's Island in the background was still well fogged in.

The tug Atlantic Fir tucks in astern to provide braking and steering escort through the Narrows. The irony of the ship's name is not lost as the term "Halifax Sun" means "fog" to some.

Once into the main harbour, the water warms up, and the air clears and there is normal visibility.

The pneumatic cement carrier UBC Cyprus waits at anchor until it is cleared by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency after Asian Gypsy Moth inspection. Built in 2010 by Huanghai Shipbuilding Co in Rongcheng, China it is a 8559 gt, 15,053 dwt ship operated by United Bulk Carriers.

The ship arrived from Mylaki, Greece and is bound for Montreal. It appears to be loaded despite closer sources of cement, even within Quebec. The ship sailed soon after I took this picture, and soon "vanished" in the fog.


New YM for THE Alliance - CORRECTED

 THE Alliance is bringing in different and larger ships these days, with both HAPAG-Lloyd and Yang Ming using ships of over 100,000dwt.  YM Upsurgence arrived last evening and sailed this morning.

Instead of  In addition to a tethered escort astern, the ship relied on tugs on each side as it transited the Narrows outbound.

China Shipbuilding Corp of Kaohsiung, Taiwan built the 90,532 gt, 103,235 dwt ship in 2012. It has a capacity of 8626 TEU. It is therefore among the largest container ships to use the Cerescorp terminal at Fairview Cove. (The ACL ConRos are still the largest ships.)

Recent press reports have rekindled rumours that PSA, operators of the Southend container terminal, are interested in acquiring Cerescorp's lease on Fairview Cove from NYK. Such a move would perhaps rationalize operations somewhat by concentrating the larger ships at the southend and moving the smaller ships, and those with a lot of truck traffic to Fairview Cove. Certainly ships of the size of YM Upsurgence must be pushing the limits of navigation in the Narrows.


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Two from Argentia

 There is a surprising amount of shipping traffic between Halifax and Argentia, in the province of  Newfoundland and Labrador. A weekly container and RoRo service operates also to the French islands of St-Pierre et Miquelon.

Another service operating between Iceland and the United States calls in Halifax and Argentia. One of the ships, Skogafoss arrived this morning.

Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company, usually has a great many reefer containers to carry since fish and fresh produce are the most common cargoes.

A second arrival from Argentia today was a bit more unusual. The Boabarge 37 was returned to Halifax in tow of the Avalon Sea after transferring some heavy crane components to Argentia for storage until next year. The cranes will be installed on the Hibernia offshore oil structure.

Harbour tugs return the barge to Halifax Shipyard, where it is on long term charter. It is used to float out out new built ships.


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Putting on a Brave Face

With the 2020 tourist season a virtual washout, many businesses are suffering. Halifax's harbour cruise business is certainly one, with only two boats operating and two more laid up for sale. Murphy Sailing Tours, operated by Ambassatours, still offers harbour tours, but with distancing requirements limiting the number of passengers, revenues must be way down.

The three masted schooner Silva of Halifax is popular and does sailing trips around the harbor. Built in 1939 in Sweden it was rebuilt in 2001 to return it to close to its original form. 

Famed party boat Harbour Queen I, built in 1985 is ferrying people to and from George's Island now that the historic site is open to the public. Fleet mate Theodore Too built in 2001 is putting a brave, but badly faded, face on things, while listed for sale.

Another member of the fleet, Kawartha Spirit, despite being built in 1964, having spent most of its life in fresh water  is likely in excellent condition. It is idle and listed for sale in Lunenburg

Ambassatours also operates the Harbour Hoppers, some of which are still running, but in much reduced numbers.

They also offer "deep sea" fishing trips on a boat called Autasi. It is the former Peggy's Cove Express, renamed after a redecorating with handsome indigenous art work.

And then there is the J.Farwell a 45 foot Beneteau that also offers sailing tours - whether there is wind or not.