Monday, November 30, 2020

Grande Houston - new for Grimaldi

 The Grande Houston was delivered to the Grimaldi Euromed SpA by Yangfan, Zhoushan, China in January and entered service in March of 2020. Although slotted into Grimaldi's Mediterranean / North America service, today marked its first visit to Halifax according to my records. That it has not been here before indicates the current state of the auto industry with plant shutdowns and fluctuating demand.

Grande Houston  is the third of seven new ships ordered from Yangfan. The first, Grande Torino has called here, but not Grande Miafiori so far.

Measuring 65,148 gt, 15,863 dwt, it has a capacity of 7600 CEU and can carry a variety of RoRo cargo using a 150 tonne capacity stern ramp. It is also fitted with the usual side ramp, but these are rarely if ever used in Halifax.

The Grimaldi Group, which also owns Atlantic Container Line (ACL), continues to have bad luck with its autocarriers. Yesterday Grande Europe experienced an engine room fire while en route between Antwerp and Southampton and lost all power. A tug was dispatched to tow the ship. In May 2019 the captain and two other of the ship's officers were arrested on arson charges after two separate fires on the same ship while in Spanish waters. Some crew had to be evacuated by helicopter during the ensuing firefighting. The company however identified faulty car batteries as the cause. [I have been unable to find any further information on the arrests, except that the three were granted bail.]

Grimaldi also had the Hoegh Xiamen on charter when it caught fire in June 2020 off Jacksonville, FL. In that case it was thought that faults in the used cars on board were the reason for the outbreak. In addition the container ship Grande America was lost in the Bay of Biscay after a container caught fire. All these incidents occurred while the Grimaldi Group is in the midst of a $2 billion newbuilding and upgrade program to reduce emissions and increase the efficiency of its ships.

The company has been very proactive in measures to ensure the proper declaration of cargo in containers.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Onego Deusto brings More Rails

 The Canadian National Railway, known as CNR or simply CN is celebrating 25 years as an independent company. Formed in 1919 by the Canadian government when it folded its own government railway into a mix of failing companies, it was truly a national railroad, running from coast to coast and operating in all ten provinces. (Rails in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland have since been removed.)

CN celebrated its 100th anniversary last year.

In 1995 the government of Canada privatized the company and shares became available on the market. It has since become one of the most profitable North American railways, and has also expanded its reach well into the United States. That growth has fed an inexhaustible appetite for steel rail - either for new track or for upgrade / replacement. All of CN's new rail seems to come from Poland, and enters Canada through Halifax where it is stockpiled. It is then sent on special rail cars to Winnipeg where it is welded into huge lengths before being sent out for installation as "continuous welded rail".

Another rail shipment arrived in Halifax today aboard the Onego Deusto a Netherlands flagged vessel of 6312 gt, 9832 dwt. It is an open hatch type multi-purpose ship with box shaped holds and pontoon tween decks. It carries two 40 tonne capacity cranes.

The ship's hull was built by Vahali Shipyard in Belgrade, Serbia, in 2008 and completed by Volharding in Foxhol, Netherlands. Initially named Beluga Skysails it attracted considerable interest due to the large paraglider type kite which was rigged for wind assist. There are several online images and videos of the ship with the "skysail"  deployed. See: Skysail

The Beluga company failed and the ship was taken over by Briese in 2011 and renamed BBC Skysails. In 2019 management was taken over by Onego Shipping and Chartering B.V. and the ship was given its current name, which seems to commemorate a district of Bilbao, Spain, and makes no reference to sail. 

The ship tied up at Pier 27, the worst place in Halifax to take photos, but that is the pier where rail cargo is stockpiled until needed.

A black painted crane device mounted near the ship's bow was used to secure the paraglider, and remains in place, but is not likely in current use.

The black crane forward and amidships appears to be the telescopic jib used for the skysail.
Also at Pier 27 is the Port Authority's workboat Maintainer 1 hauled out for its own maintenance. 
[See previous post,  Wednesday November 25.]

The ship's current voyage from Szczecin was not without incident. On November 7, while ten miles off Beachy Head in the Dover Strait, the ship experienced a cooling problem and had to make an emergency shut down of its main engine. The ship drifted for about half an hour while the crew effected a repair. The Dover Strait is one of the word's busiest stretches of water and such incidents have widespread possibilities for disruptions and perhaps the crew were wishing for some sail assistance at the time.


Friday, November 27, 2020

CCGS Jean Goodwill arrives

 The CCGS Jean Goodwill, the second of three "interim" icebreakers acquired by the Department of Fisheries + Oceans for the Canadian Coast Guard, reached its home port of Halifax today. The ship sailed from Lévis, QC earlier in the week after a two year conversion process to transform it for Canadian duty.

Built by Havyard Lervik, Norway in 2000 it was originally named Balder Viking as an icebreaking anchor handling tug supplier. The 18,020 bhp vessel was built for severe arctic conditions and apparently proved itself over the years. In 2018 the Canadian government purchased the ship and two sister vessels [see below] to meet an urgent need for icebreaking capacity while older ships undergo life extension and eventual replacement. Chantier Davie Canada Inc, with its shipyard in Lévis (opposite Quebec City) did the deal for the acquisition and conversion. 

Conversion work included additional accommodation, and what appears to be an extension to the stern (and removal of the stern roller).

The first vessel in the series, the Vidar Viking was pressed into service last winter as CCGS Capt. Molly Kool without undergoing a complete conversion process. It has now returned to Davie for completion of that work. Work is underway on the third vessel, Tor Viking II to be named CCGS Vincent Massey

Today was my first chance to get a good look at one of these vessels, although I did witness their arrival in Canada in August 2018. Their passage up the St.Lawrence River was shrouded in dense fog, so what I saw was somewhat restricted!






 Before De Caprio there was Da Vinci, one of the great minds of all time. It was therefore no wonder that the Italian Line chose the name Leonardo Da Vinci for the replacement of the ill-fated Andrea Doria. When it was completed in 1960 by Ansaldo, Sestri Ponente, the writing was already on the wall for transatlantic passenger travel, and in fact this 33,340 gt ship was the last Italian liner on transatlantic passenger service. It served with the Cristoforo Colombo which was retired in 1973

Powered by four steam turbines, the ship could attain 23 knots. It was said that the ship was built to be converted to nuclear power, however that never took place. In 1977 the ship did some cruising but its third class accommodation was too spartan to appeal to tourists. With capacity reduced from 1326 to 984, it did not make enough to cover costs. The ship was laid up in La Spezia in 1978.

On July 3-4, 1980 an uncontrollable fire resulted in the ship capsizing. It was righted but was not repaired, and was scrapped in 1982.

I took this photo in August 1970 as the ship was inbound to Pier 21 in Halifax, still on liner service. To my mind more beautiful than most of today's cruise ships.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Port Patrol- amended

 The Halifax Port Corporation is responsible for most of the geographical area we know as the Port of Halifax. However they have contracted with the Halifax Regional Municipality for police services on their land and in the waters of the port. Until recently the boat unofficially named Garret Cotter, owned by the Port Corporation was operated by the police to perform some of the patrol duties. (Because the boat is under 15 tons gross, it is registered by the number only: C07536NS.)

Named for the first chief of police for Halifax, appointed in 1864, the Garret Cotter was capable of a nice turn of speed if needed. Built in 2004 by ABCO Industries Ltd in Lunenburg, it is all aluminum with a 710 bhp inboard / outdrive.

This morning while doing my own patrol of the harbour I noted the Garret Cotter passing by, but now without its Police insignia.

It appeared to be taking the place of the Port Corporation's workboat Maintainer I which could be out of service for regular maintenance. It later tied up at that boats normal berth.

The regular workboat Maintainer I is used to carry out repairs to floating fenders and other infrastructure, and removed floating debris and deadheads as required.

I covered it and its predecessors in a previous post back in 2015: 

Harbour Workboats


The Port also owns another vessel named (again unofficially) J.R.Mitchell , Official Number C14813NS. It is a passenger vessel that is used seasonally by the harbour master or others for facility inspections and dignitary tours. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Busy, busy - catch up

 There was a lot of activity in the harbour as the port caught up with weather delays. Very high winds starting yesterday resulted in suspension of pilotage operations until this morning when ships began to sail and arrive again. Most of the arriving ships had spent the night circling offshore waiting for the pilot boat to resume operation.

Among those sailing was the MOL Emissary a familiar caller for THE Alliance.

Built in 2009 by Hyundai, Ulsan the 54,940 gt, 67,170 dwt ship has a capacity of 5087 TEU including 330 reefers. As the ship is on long term charter from Seaspan Corp, it may well serve out its charter in MOL colours rather than take on the ONE magenta hull paint that owned ships would get.

Among the arrivals this morning was the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Titus which went first to Pier 31 to unload special RoRo cargo. It will shift to Autoport this evening to discharge cars.

The 73,358 gt, 23,889 dwt ship, with a capacity of 7656 cars, built in 2018  by Tianjin Xingang, is among the last to be delivered in the old paint scheme of its Wallenius parent.  Since mid 2019 ships are being painted in a new scheme of the merged Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean. Wilhlemsen ships were red/orange and Wallenius were green. The ships still retain the traditional naming themes, with Wilhelmsen ships beginning with the letter "T" and Wallenius named for operatic characters (some of whom have "T" names.)

There was lots of traffic for National Gypsum today too. Algoma Verity docked on arrival from Tampa. A familiar caller since it was built in 2000 as Alice Odendorff it was renamed in 2019 when Algoma acquired the three Oldendorff ships in the CSL self-unloader pool.

The 28,747 gt, 47,404 dwt ship is readily identifiable thanks to its unusual crane/ conveyor/ hopper self-unloading system. It was built by Shanghai Shipyard as a conventional four crane bulker, with the conveyor/hoppers added as a conversion.

A stiff northerly breeze across the Basin meant a wet ride for the tugs' deckhands.

Next in was Algoma Integrity from Baltimore. It was last here November 15, so I will not repeat its details.

With Algoma Verity along side at National Gypsum, Algoma Integrity will cool its heels at anchor until the berth is free.


Sunday, November 22, 2020

ONE Maxim shows up

 I am not sure when the novelty of Ocean Network Express ships painted in vivid magenta will wear off - not for a while I guess. As each ship is repainted or new ones delivered, it is still a shock to see a ship with such an "un-ship-like" paint colour.

Today's arrival at Cerescorp, Fairview Cove did not attract as much attention before August of this year when it sailed as MOL Maxim for Mitsui OSK Lines. Built in 2010 by Mitsubishi, Kobe, the 78316 gt, 79,373 dwt ship, with a capacity of 6724 TEU, including 500 reefers, was painted in MOL's standard blue hull paint. 

As the ship appeared in Halifax in February its hull paint looked a tad seedy, but as it was coming up on its ten year survey, it was expected to get a thorough overhaul, including a new paint job.

The ship apparently went in for refit in the summer and emerged in the colours of ONE, the entity that was formed by the major Japanese container operators, NYK, K-line and MOL to combine their operations.

There are ten sister ships of the MOL "M" class, and several are sailing for The Alliance shipping combine. As they all go through their refits and emerge in magenta, they will continue to attract attention. MOL Maxim arrived in the dark and sailed at dusk so photo opportunities were limited, but it will be back.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Algoma Dartmouth - return engagement

 The bunkering tanker Algoma Dartmouth arrived at Imperial Oil dock #3 in Dartmouth in the wee hours of the this morning November 18. It is the first time the tanker has been back in its namesake port for just over two years. 

The ship was built in Tuzla, Turkey  in 2007 as Clipper Bardolino, but was renamed Samistal Due in 2008. Algoma Tankers chartered the ship in 2009 and stationed it in Halifax as a bunkering tanker, with fuel supplied by Imperial Oil. When legislation regarding import duties was changed in 2010, Algoma purchased the ship outright. 

Imperial closed its Imperoyal refinery in 2013, reducing its facility on the Dartmouth side of the harbour to tank storage for the local market. In 2014. Algoma began to source ships bunker fuel from Sterling Fuels, part of the McAsphalt / Miller group. However that agreement expired late in 2018. At that point Algoma reached an agreement to move the tanker to Saint John, NB and to source fuel from Irving Oil. 

Algoma Dartmouth sailed from Halifax November 8, 2018 and had not returned until today. During that two year period the port of Halifax has been without a re-fueling afloat capability (except for the Royal Canadian Navy and even that is rarely used, as ships must move to the tanker Astrerix at its berth.). Ships now must come alongside commercial piers to refuel from trucks or dock at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal. It is also believed that Imperial Oil no longer not stocks marine grade fuels in Dartmouth, and its docks were not set up for refueling. Only Irving Oil fuel is available by truck.

Algoma Dartmouth found some work in Saint John, but with the cancellation of the cruise ship season this year business was much reduced.  On November 3, 2020 the ship sailed from Saint John for Sydney, NS, arriving there November 5, for what was thought to be a winter layup.

Now its arrival to load fuel cargo, apparently for Sydney, NS suggests that a new arrangement has been made to keep the ship operating as a shuttle.

The lack of refueling afloat by means of bunkering tanker has apparently not hurt the prospects of the ports of Halifax or Saint John. Most large container shipping lines, with regular routes, contract well in advance for fuel and use such mega ports as Singapore, Rotterdam, Gibraltar or New York, close to competing refineries, to refuel. Large tankers have immense fule capacigties and other ships seldom run low or run out of fuel these days, and shipowners can plan well in advance for their fuel requirements.

When Algoma Dartmouth left here in 2018,  I did several posts on the subject of bunkering in Halifax. See: November 7, 2018

November 9, 2018


Bunkering tankers are called "barges" even though they may be self-propelled. This is a carryover from the days when the fuel (oil, but before that coal) was delivered to ships by non-propelled barges. In fact Halifax used barges until the mid 1970s. One such barge was I.O.Ltd. No.6. See more: here

Seen here at Dartmouth Marine Slips it served Saint John for many years until transferred back to Halifax. It was moved around by tug. [Full marks if you identified CCGS John A. MacDonald in the background.]


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Eimskip - special delivery

 Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company was the subject of good news and bad news this week.

First the good news: The line was selected to deliver a Christmas tree from Nova Scotia. Since 1971, the people of Nova Scotia have sent a giant tree to Boston as thanks for the vital aid Boston sent to Halifax immediately after the Halifax explosion of December 6, 1917. A special train, loaded with supplies and carrying doctors and nurses was dispatched from Boston the day of the explosion. The tree is erected on the Boston Common and the illumination is a much anticipated annual celebration.

This year, instead of sending the tree by truck, it left Halifax today, November 18, aboard Eimskip's EF Ava on its regular feeder run from Halifax to Portland, ME, Eimskip's US terminus. It will then be trucked the short distance to Boston.

EF Ava clears PSA Halifax at midday.

Eimskip is taking delivery of new owned ships, which may mean replacement of some of the chartered ships we see in Halifax. EF Ava, a charter, was launched by Fujian Mawei, Fuzhou in 2008 as OPDR Rotterdam and was delivered as OPDR Tanger and carried that name until 2018. The 7545 gt, 8169 dwt ship has a capacity of 698 TEU, including 120 reefers.

More Good News: The company took delivery of its newest ship in China October 9. The 2150 TEU vessel revives a name that has been used before on more than one ship, but the best remembered Bruarfoss was built in 1960 by Aalborg Verft as a general cargo / reefer, but adapted to carry containers.

The 1960 version Bruarfoss was also a regular in Halifax.

After the stylish vessel's twenty year career with Eimskip it was sold in 1980 and renamed 84: Horizon, 86: Willem Reefer, 86: Triton Trader. In December 1987 it was (safely) abandoned 300 miles SE of Halifax when its cargo of particle board shifted on a voyage from New London, CT to Ashdod, Israel. After a dramatic recovery operation, the tug Irving Miami towed the ship into Shelburne, NS December 24, 1987. In 1988 the ship was renamed Global Trader, then in 1989  reverted to Triton Trader and moved to Sydney, NS.  On April 26, 1990 it was towed out of Sydney by Pacific Rescuer. It took until August 18 to reach Alang, India where it was scrapped.

The Bad News: Eimskip currently maintains a weekly Iceland to Canada, US service with three ships, but that has now been disrupted by the grounding of Skogafoss in St.Anthony, NF on November 12. The ship had called in Halifax westbound November 6 and was on the eastbound leg of its trip after calling in Portland, ME. In high winds the ship alided with a buoy and made bottom contact, damaging several controllable pitch propeller blades and releasing oil. At first the ship went to anchor, then yesterday it docked at St.Anthony. Its next westbound voyage from Reykjavik was due to start today, but that has been canceled.  

The Eimskip Green Line port rotation is Rekjavik, Argentia, Halifax, Portland, Argentia (optional), St.Anthony (optional), Rekjavik. 
The next arrival in Halifax will this be Pictor, December 3, which was last here on Friday November 13. It will be followed by Lagarfoss on December 12.
 The company operates other lines between Europe, Iceland and Greenland.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Basin boats, and cars and boxes

There is no particular theme to today's post - it is more a random collection of my observations.

There was lots of room in Bedford Basin for various activities. HMCS Fredericton moved, with tug assistance, from HMC Dockyard to the Bedford Magazine (Jetty NN) and HMCS Moncton took up an anchorage position not far away.

Moncton is still wearing its commemorative paint scheme marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the Battle of the Atlantic in 2020. Bedford Basin played a critical role in that battle as it was a marshaling point for ship convoys. Naval escorts and some other ships were painted in a variety of schemes to confuse or mislead the enemy about the ship's position, direction of travel or speed. 

Also in the Basin for some form of trials was the newest vessel in the Fisheries and Oceans fleet based at the Bedford Institute. CCGS Capt. Jacques Cartier was delivered earlier this year by Seaspan and has already conducted several scientific missions.

I earned a stern rebuke some time ago for stating in a previous post that new Canadian ships are too small, but they certainly appear stubby compared to the ones they replace. I am sure they are technically advanced, seaworthy and packed with all necessary equipment, but they are not as aesthetically pleasing as ships of yore. [I am a charter member, and currently the only surviving member (as far as I know), of the Canadian Committee on Aesthetic Responsibility and am therefore qualified to comment.]

On the west side of the Basin at Mill Cove the tour boat fleet has settled in for the winter. 

From left to right these are:
Kawartha Spirit - returned from Lunenburg and laid up. It did not operate in Halifax during 2020.
Theodore Too - laid up and apparently still for sale.
Harbour Queen I - did operate tours in 2020 and provided ferry service to George's Island.
Silva of Halifax - also operated in 2020 giving harbour tours.

Anchored in Mill Cove is the schooner Katie Belle . It appears that they crew went ashore without stowing sails. It made one trip to sea during 2020 - September 19 to October 19. See: September 19

It certainly did those sails no good if they were left that way for a month.

At the other end of the harbour the autocarrier Viking Queen made one of its periodic visits. The 55,775 gt, 16,890 dwt ship was built in 2007 by Ujanik, Pula, Croatia, with a capacity of 7,000 cars.

Outbound rounding Ives Knoll, the Viking Queen leaves lots of room for Dominion Bearcat doing some sort of work off Pier 20-23.

And as an update on the demolition work at the former Foundation Maritime dock (latterly Svitzer Canada) - the salvage pier has been completely removed, and the "cook house" has been removed from the main pier. Work has now started on dismantling the main pier starting with the guard rails.

The crane barge Canadian Argosy removes material and places it on the deck barge VM/S 87
(The name painted on the barge is "VMS 087" but that is incorrect.)


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sunny Sunday

 There was very little interesting commercial activity in Halifax harbour today, November 15, but it was so beautifully sunny that it seemed a shame to waste an opportunity to take some pictures even if the ships were familiar ones.

Cerescorp's Fairview Cove container terminal played host to Atlantic Container Lines' (ACL) Atlantic Sun. With its four sisters, the ship maintains a weekly transatlantic service, with east and west bound calls. After some build quality issues the ships seem to have settled in to regular and dependable service on what can be a grueling route.

Atlantic Sun dwarfs its escort tug Atlantic Fir as it lines up to exit Bedford Basin.

Until we see these ships up close it is easy to forget how truly large they are. At 100,430 gt, 55,547 dwt they are the largest CONRO (container/Roll On Roll Off) ships in the world. The relatively modest 3810 TEU container capacity sits atop a massive amount of "garage" that can carry just about anything on wheels.

The ship arrived off Halifax yesterday but did not enter port until this morning. Since August the ship has changed flag from Great Britain to Malta. It was sailing eastbound this afternoon for Liverpool, UK.

Also arriving today was the self-unloading bulk carrier Algoma Integrity tying up at National Gypsum.

There is always some heat distortion when taking a photo across Bedford Basin.

The ship was built in 2009 by EISA-Ilha, Rio de Janeiro as Gypsum Integrity to carry Nova Scotia gypsum for the United States Gypsum Co out Hantsport and Little Narrows, NS. In 2015 it was sold after USCG's Canadian subsidiary Canadian Gypsum Co shut down its operations. It now works in the CSL Americas pool carrying all sorts of bulk cargoes including coal, aggregates and of course gypsum. The ship measures 33,047 gt, 47,761* dwt and can unload at 2,500 to 3,000 tonnes per hour depending on the cargo. (*CSL gives 46,293 as the deadweight tonnage).


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Saturday after the blow

 Some windy weather blew through Halifax over night last night (November 13-14) resulting in suspension of pilotage assignments until this morning when things calmed down. It was therefore quite busy in the harbour for a time. In no particular order:

Nolhan Ava remained in port over night, but got away this morning on its weekly run to St-Pierre et Miquelon and Argentia, Newfoundland.

Nolhan Ava moves smartly through the Narrows outbound for sea. 
A headline from the cable ship IT Intrepid frames the top of the photo.

Also sailing from Cerescorp's Fairview Cove terminal was MOL Mission. A 78,316 gt, 79,491 dwt ship it has a capacity of 6724 TEU, including 500 reefers,

The ship was built in 2011 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Kobe. It is still wearing Mitsui OSK Lines colours and it will be interesting to see what happens at its next drydocking if it is renamed and repainted for ONE. (If it is a chartered ship it may not adopt the new livery.)

Inbound, the container ship Dalian Express 88,493 gt, 1000,006 dwt had made its way deep into Bedford Basin making room for the outbound MOL. With a 7506 TEU capacity, including 700 reefers, it was built in 2001 by Hyundai, Ulsan.

Dalian Express with Spitfire III as tethered stern escort passes Pier 9C . 

The big Heerema tug Bylgia gets underway.

The 16,000 bhp tug, which arrived November 11 from the Netherlands is en route to Chedabucto Bay where the crane rug Thialf is anchored after completing most of the removal work for the Sable Offshore gas installation. The tug was here previously in April accompanying the rig on its arrival. See:

While looking over the Narrows, HMCS Charlotteotwn moved from the Graving Dock at Halifax Shipyard yesterday after a lengthy refit.

During its drydocking it was completely cocooned and recoated under cover, so looks quite pusser now. It will remain alongside the Machine Ship Wharf until completion of other work.

There was activity in other parts of the harbour as well. The Acadian departed Irving Oil Woodside making room for the arriving Ardmore Sealancer from Rotterdam.

The Scotia Pilot speeds inbound returning pilots from departed ships as the Ardmore Sealancer makes its way inbound.

The ship carries the distinctive larger funnel of Japanese-built product tankers. (Korean-built tankers generally have squatter funnels). This one came from Onomichi Zosen as Challenge Pearl in 2008.     The 26,897 gt, 47,451 dwt ship received its present name in 2018.

At PSA Halifax Oceanex Sanderling was back for its second trip this week (see previous post) before moving over to Autoport again. The crane that used to work the ship at pier 36-37 is gradually disappearing as demolition crews pick away at it:

Atlantic Fir waits at pier 37 between assignments this morning while there was no demolition work going on.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Tancook Ferry - South Shore Report #2 - REVISED

 There has been a mixed response to the news that the Tancook ferry is to be replaced and the terminal changed from Chester to Blandford. See previous post:

The new ferry, in order to accommodate 18 cars (!), will need new docks on both the mainland and the two islands (Big and Little Tancook). Since there is precious little room in Chester, Blandford was selected as a much closer depot.  [It is hard to imagine a demand for 18 cars on one trip to the islands. However the ability to carry an ambulance was cited as an important need. Also road construction equipment and larger vehicles.]

The Nova Scotia Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (known familiarly as DTIR) [and don't rearrange the letters!] operators of the ferry service, it seems would also like to have as many interchangeable vessels on its routes as possible, so that standardization of facilities makes sense.

With the current ferry William G. Ernst (still) in refit at Theriault's in Meteghan,  DTIR's Scotian is doing the work. (It is DTIR's spare ferry, able to serve several routes when their boats are in refit.)

Strapped down on deck is an elderly highway coach, providing shelter for passengers.  Pedestrians embark and disembark by means of a complex gangway, but vehicles are not carried.

The double-ender was built by Ferguson Industries in Pictou in 1983 and is powered by two outdrives, mounted on one side. It measures 172 gt., 

Instead a one vehicle ferry system is operated by the tug Kenneth A. and a (so far) unnamed barge. The barge has a bow ramp, and retractable hydraulic outdrives that presumably permit it to dock in all three locales. There was no one around to ask if this is a private operation or part of the provincial system.

Perhaps a new sign will be provided in Blandford, and perhaps North will be UP!


Cormorant - South Shore Report #1 -Corrected

 The former Royal Canadian Navy dive support ship HMCS Cormorant has often been in the news - perhaps more in its post navy days than before, but even then it made the headlines from time to time.
It has also appeared on this blog:

Built in 1963 as an Italian fishing trawler named Aspa Quarto it was brought to Canada, and converted  to house and support a remotely operated diving vessel, and to accommodate a mixed-gender crew for a time. Some questioned the high conversion cost, and the RCN's decision to buy second hand. The ship's diesel electric propulsion system was certainly one of its major attributes however. Three Marelli-Duetz engines provided power to the motor driving a single shaft with controllable pitch prop, giving an almost infinite power range up to 1800 hp.

The ship made numerous notable diving forays, including those to the Arctic and Great Lakes where it located the wrecks of Breadalbane and Edmund Fitzgerald (respectively).  

Once decommissioned in 1997 the ship languished until sold to US interests. It eventually wound up Bridgewater, NS in 2000. A project to convert the vessel for expeditions stalled and it was essentially abandoned. In perilous condition it has leaked, listed, sunk and been a general eyesore for years. Finally in 2019 new federal legislation allowed the government to step in, take control of the ship and arrange to have it removed and scrapped.

Early this morning the Atlantic Towing Ltd tugs Atlantic Elm and Atlantic Beech arrived in Bridgewater to tow the derelict away to Liverpool*, NS where it will be broken up. Work is ongoing to make the ship seaworthy enough for that short trip, which was due to take place today, but had not happened by night fall.

The federal government must assume the $1.87 mn demolition cost (plus some previous clean up and repair costs) unless an owner can be identified and held responsible.


*  R.J.MacIsaac Construction Ltd had a ship demolition facility at Brooklyn, NS (adjacent to Liverpool, NS) at the site of the former Bowater Mersey Paper Co. The company broke up former RCN ships at the site.

The company has now established a new facility in Sheet Harbour, NS.


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Grain, more grain, and oil - with a diversionary preface


There was not a great deal of port activity today, November 11, since most people took time off for Remembrance Day. It is a particularly poignant day for Halifax since lives were lost virtually within sight of the port during two World Wars. Every year there are fewer left who can remember the dark days of 1939-1945, so it is left to us children of the immediate post-war era to recall the sacrifices of our parents at home and overseas. Observing a couple of minutes of silence and contemplation on November 11 seems to me to be a small price for us to pay as beneficiaries. Regrettably many do not share this opinion placing commerce and pleasure first. 

 (File photo of Sackville, April 17, 2018.)

My direct recollections are of ships I saw that had survived the war and returned to normal activity afterwards. Fortunately we have two in Halifax, CSS Acadia which served in both World Wars and the former HMCS Sackville (now in refit), Canada's naval memorial. There are very few other surviving ships now.

The first such ship I can recall seeing was RMS Scythia, a Cunard liner, built in 1921 that was pressed into troop service in 1939, was heavily damaged in North Africa in 1942, returned to work then became a war brides and refugee ship. After returning to normal passenger service in 1950 it was a regular caller in Canadian ports such as Quebec City, where I saw her as a small child, and Halifax. Late in life it became a refugee ship again, docking at Pier 21 in Halifax in January 1957 with Hungarians fleeing the communist takeover of their country. The ship was scrapped in 1958, having set the record as the longest serving passenger liner of the 20th century.


The fall is grain season as farms ship out their crops to all corners of the world. There is a particular rush on the Great Lakes as shippers push to get the cargoes out of the Seaway system before winter freeze up.  Thunder Bay is the major grain port and at this time of year there is a constant stream of ships loading and sailing with grain. Some of the grain is for Canadian use in flour and feed mills, and the familiar ship Algoma Mariner arrived November 10 at pier 26, with a cargo loaded at Thunder Bay on October 31- November 2.

Showing many signs of an arduous season, the Algoma Mariner off loads at the Pier 26 grain terminal. The self-unloader was built in 2010 at Chengxi, Jiangyin, Jiangsu, China to maximum Seaway dimensions of 740' x 77'-11". It will complete unloading this afternoon and then move to National Gypsum to load again for the Lakes.

Also arriving from the Great Lakes is the bulker Whistler, operated for Canadian Forest Navigation (CANFORNAV). A 22,790 gt, 37,272 dwt ship, equipped with four 30 tonne cranes, it was built by Tianjin Xingang in China in 2007 and is 655'-10" long x 77'-9" wide. 

The ship entered the Seaway system October 25 with a cargo for Toronto. After unloading there it proceeded to Johnstown, ON where it loaded grain, sailing November 6. However it was not a full load, due to Seaway draft restrictions, so will top off to sea-going draft here.

This is the second trip the ship has made to Canada this year - it was in the Seaway/Lakes to Thunder Bay June 17 to July 6.

The demand for oil may be down due to COVID, but there is still a need, and Imperial Oil satisfies local demand with imported refined product from Antwerp, Belgium. The latest caller is BSL Elsa, which arrived November 10 at Imperial's number 3 dock.
It is a 29,626 gt, 51,747 dwt vessel, built in 2009 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan. Originally named CPO Korea it was renamed in 2011 and now operates for Zeaborn Tankers.