Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Kopit Hopson 1752

 Thanks to the blog Halifax Shipping News we have learned that the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans has quietly renamed CCGS Edward Cornwallis. As per yesterday's post the ship is still in refit at Shelburne, but the new name shows up on line on Transport Canada's Vessel Registration Query System.

No official announcement has been made - perhaps that will await redelivery of the ship following its Vessel Life Extension refit - but the new name is listed as Kopit Hopson 1752.

As explained on Halifax Shipping News the name commemorates two signatories to the November 1752 Peace and Friendship Treaty signed by Chief Kopit of the Mi'kmaq nation and Peregrine Thomas Hopson, Governor of Nova Scotia.

As noted here yesterday the Minister stated that the new name would be chosen in consultation with First Nations.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

CCGS Jean Goodwill - back from the Gulf and another CCG update

 CCGS Jean Goodwill returned today from its first ice assignment with the Canadian Coast Guard.

Although I was not tracking the ship carefully on AIS I did notice it working around the Gulf of St.Lawrence, including the Northumberland Strait. It must not have encountered very much ice since its hull paint still appears to be pristine.

The Jean Goodwill arrived in Halifax November 27, 2020 fresh from its rebuild at Chantier Davie  Canada Inc, Lévis, QC. The former icebreaking offshore tug/supplier Balder Viking is one of three ships bought by the CCG as "interim" for use until new ship are built. 

See more detail at: ccgs-jean-goodwill-arrives

CCGS Hudson

According to a March 29 news item Seaspan Shipbuilding in North Vancouver has recently begun cutting the first steel for the Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV) to replace CCGS Hudson. Projected to cost $966.5 million, the government is also projecting a 2024 completion date. Based on previous estimates, I would suggest that both may be optimistic. (Its construction has been rescheduled to occur between the first and second Joint Support Ships for the RCN,)

CCGS Hudson in a work cocoon at BIO this morning will hatch sometime this spring. It will be expected to remain operational until its replacement is delivered in 2024.

Perhaps the irony of the current ship's name has not escaped the powers that be and they will refrain from naming the replacement the Hudson. Although supposedly named for the Bay (a fleet mate was named Baffin - also for the Bay) and not the man Henry Hudson, the ship nevertheless once again commemorates, if indirectly, another discredited explorer. Aside from his many notable "discoveries" Hudson's 1609 voyage stopped in LaHave, Nova Scotia where his crew attacked a First Nations village with firearms and stole furs and boats. His record was no better in the United States, but locals were able to strike back and one of his crew died of an arrow to the neck.

No trace was ever found of Hudson, his son and seven crew who were cast away in a small boat by starving mutineers in Hudson Bay in 1611. If they made shore they had no means of finding sustenance and likely met a gruesome fate.

It is unlikely that the river, strait and bay named for him will ever be renamed, but surely we do not need another ship carrying his name too. The current ship has achieved great fame and (again) legendary status and will long be remembered without having to perpetuate its name.

No New Name

Speaking of names the CCGS Edward Cornwallis was expected to complete its Vessel Life Extension (VLE) at Irving Shipbuildings Inc's Shelburne Marine Shipyard at the end of March, but the date seems to have been extended to the end of April. That gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans one more month to find a suitable new name for the ship, in consultation with First Nations. 

With First Nations fisheries at the top of the agenda for the Minister, perhaps my suggested name Donald Marshall will be selected. (There were two Donald Marhalls - father and son - both worthy candidates for the honour, and that is why I prefer to omit the Sr and Jr from the name, so as to include both.)

The first CCGS Edward Cornwallis of 1949 after which the second ship was named in 1986. The first ship was christened during the 200th anniversary year of Halifax, which was founded by Cornwallis.



Morning Activity

 With the harbour activity shut down most of the day yesterday due to high winds, there were several ship movements after dark, and some catching up this morning. The early morning arrival was Pictor for Eimskip. The former Pictor J until last year is inbound from Iceland and heading for Portland, ME. For details see previous post:

Pictor at the extended section of Pier 42, PSA Halifax.

Finally arriving at Autoport this morning, Siem Confucius had been loitering offshore since at least March 27, when I first noticed the ship's AIS signal. The ship never anchored but ranged up and down along the cost, sometimes drifting, sometimes hove to, and when weather was bad, steaming upwind.

As the tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Oak prepare to make up at bow and stern (respectively) of Siem Confucius, the container ship MSC Annick is visible on the horizon returning to anchorage.

Siem Confucius was not alone outside the port limits. The container ship MSC Annick, which had been at anchor put out to sea during the high winds and also hove to or steamed back and forth. It returned to anchorage this morning. As with several MSC ships recently it has spend prolonged periods off Halifax.[see previous posts] .

Siem Confucius has called in Halifax before:


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Business as usual - for now

The container business is in disarray at the moment with the Suez Canal blocked by a grounded ship, and longshore labour uncertainty in Montreal. So far at least the Port of Halifax is keeping up, but that may be starting to change.

A PSA Halifax today Maersk Patras was working at Per 42. It would normally have called on Saturday, but both berths were occupied yesterday, so a one day delay is not too serious. 

The ship is on its usual eastbound run from Montreal, although there have been several missed calls over the winter. However its fleet mate Maersk Penang on its westbound run is not going to Montreal, but is instead arriving in Saint John today. It is still giving Halifax next weekend eastbound. It may be a blow to terminal operators PSA Halifax not to get all the westbound cargo, but I speculate that it might overwhelm the capacity of the terminal, what with other diversions also possible.

Also at PSA Halifax today is MSC Angela, another ship that is due to sail to Montreal, after reducing draft in Halifax by unloading some cargo. The ship has been sitting at anchor off Halifax since March 18. Perhaps waiting for developments in the Montreal situation. Fleet mate MSC Annick is standing by off Halifax.

Meanwhile at Fairview Cove ONE Magnificence is back on THE Alliance EC5 service. It is scheduled to arrive at the Suez Canal April 8, with its next port Jebel Ali on April 16. Whether the Canal will be re-opened and the traffic backlog cleared remains to be seen. There are reports that more than 300 ships are now waiting to transit, even with many diversions already sent via the Cape of Good Hope.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Saturday Round UP, PSA, Irving Oil and Autoport

 Several things were happening in the port today, so I am rounding them up into one post.

At PSA Halifax, ZIM had a different feeder ship in today. Contship Leo is a 9957 gt, 13,803 dwt ship with a capacity of 1118 TEU and carries a pair of 45 tonne cranes.

On the left, at Pier 42 EF Ava for Eimskip and on the right at Pier 41, Contship Leo for ZIM.

Contship Leo was built in 2008 by Kouan Shipbuilding Co in Taizhou, China as Vega Saturn. In 2016 it became CFS Paceno and took its present name in 2020. It appears to be owned by Syracuse Marine Ltd and operated by Contships Management Inc.

Since starting the Canada Feeder Express (CFX) service to Florida and Kingston, Jamaica in 2018, ZIM has used a variety of charters, most recently Tampa Trader and Taipei Trader.  Today's arrival, similar to Fouma on February 25 is replacing Tampa Trader, but it shows on ZIM's schedule for at least three more trips, into May. Tampa Trader is operating between Port Everglades and the Dominican Republic.

East Coast (left) at number one anchorage, and Acadian (right) at number 7?.

It was very windy in the harbour today and thus tankers were not docking at Imperial Oil and Irving Oil where the jetties are not considered secure. It was unusual however to see two Irving Oil tankers in port at the same time. One was due for Irving's Woodside facility and one was due for Imperial Oil.

An indication of the high wind is the bar taught anchor line. The ship offloaded part of its cargo at Irving Oil and has more for Imperial Oil.

Acadian arrived Thursday night at Irving's Woodside terminal and moved out to anchor last night (Friday) as an electrical storm passed through. It is due to move to Imperial Oil when today's winds die down.

East Coast arrived this morning and was due to tie up at Woodside, but anchored instead. It will also move when conditions improve.

Although not visible from the shore the auto carrier Manon kept two tugs alongside pushing while it unloaded at Autoport. That facility also relies on a jetty and mooring lines to a buoy and is not safe during periods of high winds. 

Tugs pinned the ship to the jetty while unloading. 

Manon in its new Wallenius Wilhelmsen paint scheme was built as far back as 1999, but was lengthened in 2005 increasing its size to 67,264 gt, 28,360 dwt and a capacity of 7,194 RT43 cars. It was a regular caller here in its original Wallenius green and white scheme, and this is the first time I have had a chance to photograph it in the new colours.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Nova Scotia Icons

 There are several Nova Scotia marine icons (see also today's Tugfax) but the best known is probably the schooner Bluenose. The original schooner was built to win the international schooner races against the pride of the United States fishing fleet. It also had to be a working fishing vessel in order to earn its keep, and Bluenose was a success at both. The schooner represented on the back of the Canadian dime is widely believed to be the Bluenose (there have been some doubters) because it so captured the imagination of the public in its racing years.

Is this the Bluenose, maybe in 1921, with number 1 on its sail?

Or is this the Bluenose wearing number 2 on it sail?

One hundred years ago today Smith and Rhuland shipyard in Lunenburg launched the schooner to great fanfare. Despite objections from temperance advocates (it was during prohibition) the hull was christened with champagne. That must have been an omen, for good luck stayed with the  schooner during its various careers up until almost its end as a motorized trading schooner in the Caribbean, wrecked in Haiti in 1946.

Bluenose II in 1978 when it was illegal to take pictures of it.

A replica, Bluenose II, was built in 1963. It has become nearly as iconic and was dismantled and rebuilt in 2013 to continue the work as Nova Scotia's floating ambassador.

The rebuilt Bluenose II in 2019 - still number 1.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Suez Dilema

 On March 23 the ultra large container ship Ever Given drove its bow into one bank of the Suez Canal. Its stern then swung outward, effectively blocking one of the world's busiest waterways. Initial efforts by tugs could not dislodge the ship, and traffic began to build up in both directions.

So much for the facts. Media coverage of this event has ranged (sadly) from the bizarre to perceptive, with even my beloved CBC national radio news dropping the ball in initial reports. I won't dwell too much on the CBC's clangers, but the error filled report included having the ship "tip over". The account must have been written by a summer intern from the prairies left alone on the graveyard shift.

I have been guilty of many errors in this blog (see previous post about the mv Arctic), but I am not a professional journalist, nor am I a shipping industry insider. I am merely an informed enthusiast expressing my opinions and relaying such information as I have been able to gather, and (usually) to confirm. News organizations should be able to do better than rip it off the wire service, even in the middle of the night. Bottom line: don't rely on one source (like me) for news.

The Ever Given has a capacity of more than 20,000 TEU. The largest container ships to call in Halifax are in the 15,000 TEU range, so the ship is an immense one. In fact it is 400 meters in length. Surely the average adult human can relate to that many meters in some way. Nevertheless some journalists insist on converting meters to new units of measurement such as the Football Pitch (presumably European, but maybe American or even Canadian?).  I haven't heard of the Hockey Rink unit yet, but I am waiting. My favourite unit of all is the "Eiffel" as if the innumerate listener can cope with the concept of the Eiffel Tower (324 meters) fallen on its side and blocking the Seine. (It would if it did.)

Yes it's a big ship, but the point is its a big ship in a narrow waterway. The implication of a big ship stuck in a narrow waterway was not lost on the early reporters of the incident. But those that passed the news on, like a game of multi-lingual telephone, missed the point about this particular waterway. It carries a high proportion of the world's goods and fuel, and blockage of even a few days will disrupt world trade, right down to the price of gasoline at the pump and availability of certain goods.

Refloating the ship is a monumental headache since there is no realistic way of lightening it by offloading in any kind of a hurry. Dredging around and under may be the only practical way, but even that is fraught with danger as an over stressed hull could fracture.

Alternative trade routes present onerous barriers, and are generally out of the question unless there is a prolonged closure. Britain and much of the western world was put on a war footing when President Nasser of Egypt nationalized the Canal in 1956. Called the Suez Crisis, it came close to involving the major super powers in open conflict. As it was Britain and France invaded Egypt to secure the canal for international trade. Egypt won however and the United Nations created a peacekeeping force (including Canada) to safeguard the Canal while clean up efforts to remove wrecks took months. 

Then again the Arab-Israeli Six Day war in 1967 closed the Suez Canal for eight years and spawned a whole new concept in shipbuilding. Super tankers were built to make the much longer trip around the Cape of Good Hope to feed the western word's need for crude oil. But in those days Asian countries were not the major producers of the world's trade goods as they are today. In fact most such goods were produced in Europe and North America, and container ships were barely heard of. Even then the world economy took a major hit and a long time to recover. The trade implications for a prolonged Suez closure these days are therefore pretty severe with the quantity of goods sourced in Asia for Europe and North America.

The distance between Mumbai and London via Suez is 6,200 nautical miles. Via the Cape the distance is 10,800 miles. That approximates two weeks of steaming time for an average ship. At say $20,000 per day to operate a ship that's an extra $280,000 per trip, and perhaps much more for a larger ship.

There is no easy work around to a closure. With west coast US ports clogged due to Covid related issues, a transpacific alternative is highly unlikely, but shippers must be weighing all the options at this point, including transpacific /Panama. Normally however it takes many months to position ships for radical schedule changes.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has been continually upgrading and expanding but has not been able to keep up with the growth in the size of ships. The current situation will not halt ship owners from building larger ships nor will the SCA catch up with the boom in shipbuilding. Incidents such as the current one with the Ever Given can be expected to recur, even with increased tug escorts and other safety measures that mat ensue.

How will Halifax be effected you may ask?

As it happens today's lone container ship arrival * was at PSA Halifax where the  APL Dublin tied up centre berth, straddling Pier 41-42. Its last port of call was Colombo, Sri Lanka, sailing directly to Halifax non-stop via the Suez Canal.


APL Dublin, built in 2012 by Daewoo, Okpo, 128,929 gt, 131,097 dwt has a capacity of 10,960 TEU just slightly more than half the capacity of Ever Given.

The next ship on the CMA CGM Columbus JAX service, CMA CGM Mexico is due to sail from Colombo today, and is expected at Suez April 4. Even if Ever Given is freed in a very few days, the CMA CGM ship will be caught up in the backlog of waiting ships that in itself will take additional weeks to clear.

Many other ships that call in Halifax have cargo that originates in Asia but that has been transferred in the Mediterranean or elsewhere in Europe, so we may expect those ships to come with very much lighter loads.  As it is there is a huge demand for container ships that cannot be met with the current world supply. The Suez closure will make maters worse, and there will be all sorts of service disruptions, delays and cancelled sailings.


* There was another container ship arrival today, but it did not actually enter port. MSC Annick anchored off Chebucto Head, outside the port limits, joining MSC Angela. Both ships are destined for Montreal, but labour uncertainty in that port may keep the ships here for some time.  MSC's Montreal schedules are in disarray as it is, and certainly the CANEX 1 (Western Mediterranean-Canada) service will not be helped by the Suez situation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Legendary mv Arctic sold for scrap - REVISED

 Some of the information in the orginal post was out of sequence. Thanks to readers for pointing this out. The second paragraph has been re-writtten, with errors lined over and revisions in bold. There has also been additional information added in bold.


Shipfax doesn't deplay the word legendary very often, but the recent news that Fednav has sold their Arctic for scrap after 43 years of service surely warrants at least a few superlatives.

 The Arctic shows off its icebreaking bow on the St.Lawrence River.

Arctic was built in 1978 by Port Weller Dry Dock to transport lead-zinc ore from the Polaris (75 degrees North) and Nanisivik (73 degrees North) mines. In 1984 the ship was converted by Portship in Thunder Bay, allowing it to carry oil in additon to bulk cargo. Damage from a grounding resulted in side and bottom strengthening in 1984 at Portship, Thunder Bay  at Port Weller in 1985. During the winter of 1985-86 the ship returned to Port Weller where it  then received a new icebreaking bow and was converted to carry oil in addition to bulk ore. The new work resulted in the ship's ice class being upgraded to Finnish-Swedish 1A Super.

 It was the first ship to export crude oil from the arctic when it loaded from Panarctic Oil's Bent Horn terminal.

When the Polaris and Nanisivik mines closed in 2002 due to low lead-zinc prices, the ship shifted to serving the Raglan and Voisey's Bay nickel mines, operating year round from Ungava Bay and Labrador to Newfoundland and Quebec City. It transports ore from the mines, but also carries general cargo, containers, equipment and fuel to the mines. Two 16 tonne and two 30 tonne cranes handle the dry cargo.

The ship has made calls to Halifax from time to time to load specialised cargo, and to off load crude oil, but it was certainly a rare caller.

Anchored in the lower harbour in 1994.

The ship underwent a life extension in China in 1997, and has outlived the twenty-year expectancy of that work. It had another major refit in China in 2007. A 30,000 deadweight tonnes replacement ship is currently undergoing trials in Yokohama, Japan and so the Arctic has been laid up in Quebec City until it sets out for the scrap yard in Aliaga, Turkey.

While the current ship is named for Capt. Joseph-Elzéar Bernier's arctic exploration ship the auxiliary CGS Arctic*, the new ship will be named Arvik I, using the Inuktitut word for bow head whale.


*   For more on that earlier Arctic see Wikipedia's CGS Arctic


Imedghassen sails

 The Algerain ship Imedghassen finally sailed this evening after being under repair since it arrived  January 9, 2021:

Initially Imedghassen tied up at Pier 34, but on February 24 it was moved by tugs to Pier 9C where it has remained until today. 

Imedghassen at the far north end of Pier 9C yesterday.
(Those red and white smoke stacks are not! part of the ship)

 The ship came to Halifax to take up a charter with Melfi Marine, which runs a container and general cargo service from Italy, Spain and Portugal to Cuba, calling in Halifax westbound. However due to a defect in its air compressor system, which prevented stopping and reversing the main engine, the ship was unable to take up the charter. X-press Irazu took its place, joining Macao Strait. The Melfi ships usually call in Halifax twice a month. However the next call will not be until April 30 as Macao Strait will bypass on its next voyage

With assistance from Atlantic Willow, the Imedghassen underway from Pier 9C bound for Ceuta, Spain shortly after 1800 hrs ADT this evening.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

MSC Veronique at last, and MOL double header

 The container ship MSC Veronique tied up at PSA Halifax this morning after better than two weeks anchored outside the port. The ship arrived from Sines, Portugal on March 7 and has been at anchor or hove to at sea ever since. [The ship went out to sea as a storm passed, since the anchorage area is not considered suitable in periods of high winds.]

 The ship appears to be fully loaded, so customers awaiting their cargo must be getting impatient by now. I am no expert on the intricacies of MSC scheduling, but the ship appears to be part of the CANEX 1 service, which is West Mediterranean-Canada run from Malta, Naples, Leghorn, Genoa and Sines to Montreal, with top off and decanting for draft in Halifax eastbound and westbound.
The extended stay at anchor is almost certainly related to labour issues in Montreal. Longshore workers there have once again failed to agree to terms with employers and have withdrawn their services. It seems to be a re-run of last August's shutdown in Montreal which jammed the port of Halifax with diverted containers and took CN Rail some time to clear.
Another MSC ship, MSC Angela is also anchored off Halifax. It arrived March 18, and seems to be on the CANEX 2 service which runs Valencia, Halifax, Montreal, Halifax, Barcelona.

It was a double header day at Cerescorp's Fairview Cover terminal with two MOL ships in quick succession. MOL Maneuver 6724 TEU arrived early this morning and was off the berth again by 1530 hrs. It moved well out into Bedford Basin to leave for the inbound. Once clear it proceeded outbound for New York.

The inbound ship was fleet mate MOL Glide 5100 TEU, from New York.

MOL Glide only began calling here in January, and this was my first chance to see it underway. Both ships are part of Ocean Network Express (ONE) which is a partner in THE Alliance with HAPAG-Lloyd, Hyundai Merchant Marine and Yang Ming.


Monday, March 22, 2021

Updates - Ridgebury and PSV

 Update 1

The crude oil tanker Ridgebury Lindy B, the subject of yesterday's post sailed this evening, just about 24 hours after anchoring.

Interesting that the ship is giving Come by Chance, Newfoundland as its destination. The refinery there, operated by North Atlantic Refining Ltd (NARL), has been in warm idle since March 2020, and  is not importing crude oil for refining. However it is operating as an import terminal. Since Ridgebury Lindy B is in ballast one can only assume that it will be loading crude oil from NARL's import storage.

Update: In fact the ship loaded at Whiffen Head, the storage and transfer facility for crude oil from offshore Newfoundland.

The current owner of NARL  a New York based investment company, has been trying to sell the 135,000 barrel per day refinery. In recent months several companies have expressed interest in acquiring the facility and NARL's  retail gasoline, diesel and furnace oil business in Newfoundland. So far there is no indication if or when NARL will re-start operations. Most observers believe that it is closed for good.

Update 2
With spring like temperatures in the mid-teens today, the crew of the former Siem Hanne were able to paint the ship's new name PSV Hakan on the bow. They have painted over the old name on the stern, but have left the new name for tomorrow.

Siem Offshore, the Norwegian parent of Secunda Canada LP, has sold the ship to as yet unidentified buyers, who will be sending the ship to Turkey. Speculation that the vessel might be scrapped seems unjustified, as the ship did DP trials in Bedford Basin March 5 before moving to Pier 9C. Also renaming the ship with the prefix PSV (industry abbreviation for Platform Supply Vessel) would seem to indicate that it will continue in use.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Big Tanker

 The Port of Halifax has no oil refineries, so crude oil tankers are rare visitors. Today's arrival of Ridgebury Lindy B is one of those occurrences. 

Fresh from discharging a cargo of crude oil at Irving Oil's Canaport offshore monobuoy near Saint John, NB the ship anchored in number one anchorage in the lower harbour. It was met by the tenders RMI Seafox and Captain's Pride indicating the possible deployment of divers. 

Measuring 77,636 gt, 146,356 dwt, Ridgebury Lindy B was built in 2007 by Universal Shipbuilding Corp in Tsu, Japan and is classed as a Suezmax size.  The US based owners Ridgebury Tankers have nine Suezmax crude tankers, all in the Navig8 tanker pool and five MR product tankers in the Norient pool.

The ship is due to sail tomorrow morning.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Another sign of spring - maybe

 Despite 10 cm or so of fresh snow on the ground, there was another sign of spring in Halifax today: the arrival of the first ship for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection. Every year the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requires ships arriving from certain far eastern ports to submit to inspection for the presence of an invasive species that would harm the coniferous forests of our country.  Moth larva can be found in the vicinity of deck lights and other areas of incoming ships, and must be destroyed before the ship is allowed to enter ports. If no traces are found the ship is granted clearance to dock.

Most of the ships that arrive in Halifax for inspection are bulk carriers heading for Quebec ports, and today's arrival is typical of the type.

Frontier Rose is only unusual in that it is a Japanese owned and flagged ship, built in South Korea. The 93,270 gt, 179,266 dwt ship was produced by the Hyundai Gunsan  shipyard in 2012 for an affiliate of NYK Lines. That yard specialized in crude oil tankers and bulkers, but closed in 20217 when orders dried up. Shipyard wage rates in China are about one third of those in South Korea, and most yards in the country are experiencing difficult times competing.

Frontier Rose is bound for Port Cartier, QC to load iron ore for ArcelorMittal.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

BBC Edge - back again

 The general cargo ship BBC Edge arrived at Pier 9B this afternoon. This is a return engagement for the ship, which was here before in September 2020.

The ship is in port this time to load racks to carry subsea fibreoptic cable. The components of the racks have been pre-fabricated locally and will be assembled in the ship's hold. Many ships have had these racks installed here and then sailed  to Portsmouth / Newington, NH to load the cable directly from the manufacturer.

Due to limitations on the safe bending radius of the cable, it must be carefully fed into cylindrical "baskets" (sometimes called tanks) in the ships' holds, hence the curved shape of the components shown in the photo.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Algonorth to sail

 After two months of winter layup at Pier 25-26 the tanker Algonorth is scheduled to sail this evening. With the opening of the St.Lawrence Seaway scheduled for Friday, it is likely that the ship is headed for the Great Lakes. However it will be making an unusual stop at the Valero refinery in St-Romuald, QC, en route.

 Algoma Tankers acquired the ship late in 2018 on the strength of a "long-term contract with a strong counterparty" according to a company press release of the time. Since then it has operated from the Imperial Oil (Esso) refineries in Sarnia and Nanticoke, delivering clean product on the Great Lakes, St.Lawrence and east coast.

The ship is an oddity in the Algoma fleet because it is still carrying the red and white hull colour of its previous Swedish owners. Built in 2008 by Tuzla Gemi Endustri in Turkey as Gan-Gesture, it was renamed Ramira in 2009 by Rederi AB Alvtank of Gothenburg. They applied the red paint which has stood up relatively well, but it is time to do some touch ups and it will be interesting to see if the ship will be adopting Algoma's normal deep blue hull colour.

The ship arrived at Imperial Oil, number 3 dock January 3, 2021, from Nanticoke, ON - the lat ship to exit the St. Lawrence Seaway System in 2020 and laid up January 4. Despite having a high ice class, the ship was not needed the winter, and remained laid up until today.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Bonus Round

 Today's earlier post concentrated on activity at the south end of the port. There was also activity at the north end, some of which was late in the day.

Following the spring time theme, HMCS Windsor moved out of HMC Dockyard to the newly refurbished trot buoys on Jonquière Bank in Bedford Basin.

HMCS Windsor at anchor with CSL's Baie St.Paul loading gypsum in the background (see earlier post).

The sub has been alongside in HMC Dockyard all winter, but remains in active service.

At the Fairview Cove container terminal it was all change as MOL Maestro got underway and Yang Ming Modesty arrived to take its place. Both ships are sailing for THE Alliance. 

Although not visible on the vessel itself, the AIS signal for the supplier Siem Hanne has changed name to  PSV  Hakan. It had been rumoured for some time that the Secunda 'Canada's Norwegian parent company Siem Offshore was going to repatriate the supplier. The name change seems to indicate that in fact they have sold the boat. It has been alongside at Pier 9C for a few weeks, perhaps undergoing some re-commissioning work. [see also Tugfax on this topic.]


Not spring yet

 The Southend Container Terminal operated by PSA Halifax was a busy spot today, with ships waiting. Unseasonably cold weather may have been a factor. Coupled with a stiff northwest wind there was frozen spray on at least one of the arriving ships. The Icelandic Selfoss was coated with a thin, transparent film of spray on arrival early this morning.

Two other morning arrivals were obliged to wait for a berth. Melfi Llins' X-press Irazu anchored in the lower harbour and will likely be waiting until tomorrow to berth.

MSC Rochelle stood by in number one anchorage for an hour or so until its designated berth was clear. The ship was arriving from Montreal to top up its cargo before sailing to Spain. 


The hold up was caused by CMA CGM J.Adams which was scheduled to sail during the night. That ETD was pushed back to 0900 hrs this morning,  then delayed again as the ship did not get underway until 1100 hrs. 

Built in 2017 by Hyundai, Ulsan, the 140,872 gt, 148,992 dwt ship has a container capacity of 14,414 TEU. It is one of the largest ships to call in Halifax, and despite additional berth space and large cranes, its size must pose challenges for PSA Halifax to work the ship quickly.

Meanwhile at Pier 34 there was a clear sign of spring as the Canada Steamship Lines bulker Baie St.Paul got underway after a short "winter layup'. Great Lakes ships usually layup for a period of time during the winter when ice forms on the lakes and canals and the St.Lawrence Seaway is closed. Even ships such as Baie St.Paul, which spends much of its life in the Gulf and along the coast, takes a brief respite. It arrived here on February 25 and has been undergoing maintenance. 

Baie St.Paul
moved to Gold Bond Gypsum's* pier in Bedford Basin this morning to load, likely for Hamilton, ON. According to reliable sources the ship will be the first ship of the year to enter the St.Lawrence Seaway at St-Lambert, QC, when the system opens for the season next Monday, March 22.


* National Gypsum recently renamed itself using the trade name of its well known gypsum products. Founded in Buffalo, New York, the company operates the world's largest open pit gypsum mine in Milford, NS. The ore is transported by rail to Halifax where it is stockpiled at Wright's Cove, then shipped to Gold Bond factories in several locations on the US coast as far south as Tampa, FL. It is also shipped in smaller quantities to Montreal and ports on the Great Lakes.

A competitor, United States Gypsum (USG), and its Canadian arm Canadian Gypsum Co (CGC) are no longer active in Nova Scotia. Their mines in Wentwortth (near Windsor, NS), load out facility in Hantsport, and mine and port in Little Narrows, remain shuttered after several years of inactivity. As the time goes on there is less and less chance that they will be reactivated.


Monday, March 15, 2021

Mediterranean Highway

 Today's caller at Autoport was K-Line's Mediterranean Highway. Built in 2002 by Imabari Zosen in Marugame, it is beginning to show signs of age - at least as far as its paint job is concerned.

As the ship rounds Ives Knoll outbound, it displays quite a few rusty streaks.

K-Line, like competitor Wallenius Wilhelmsen (see last post), has been repainting its ships in a more flamboyant colour scheme during regular drydockings. This ship would not be due for another docking until 2022, but at that age it might not be worth repainting, so it could be that it will retain the traditional scheme for the rest of its service life.

It is a 55,493 gt, 17,228 dwt ship with a capacity of 6,015 (small) automobiles or 5,513 regular automobiles.


Saturday, March 13, 2021

Saturday Arrivals

MSC Eleni emerging from a snow shower.

Despite a short snow shower than came close to "white-out" conditions, my foray to Ferguson's Cove this morning paid off with photos of two of today's three arrivals. The reason for the "off peninsula" trip was to get around a potentially awkward sun angle. Around the 1000 hrs - 1030 hrs AST* pilot times the sun would have been directly behind the ships, making for undesirable silhouette photos. 

The first of three arrivals this morning was Maersk Palermo, a repeat customer, but the first Maersk in many weeks as the St.Lawrence service was avoiding Halifax. Due to ice conditions on the St.Lawrence River and Gulf, the ships were often late arriving and sailing from Montreal, and in order to maintain a semblance of their schedule they have been skipping their customary eastbound Halifax top up. Maersk Palermo arrived at 0600 - too dark (and too early) for photos.

The next arrivals, MSC Eleni and Elektra arrived in quick succession. MSC Eleni has become a regular now that MSC ships call in Halifax to decant and top off cargo to meet St.Lawrence River draft limitations. The ship did make a "one of" visit December 8, 2019, then made its first regular call January 21 of this year.

A well laden MSC Eleni picking up its tug in the Middle Ground area.

Among auto carriers the Wallenius owned Elektra certainly qualifies as a regular, having been here countless times since it was built in 1999. Today's arrival was my first chance to catch the ship in the Wallenius Wilhelmsen paint scheme. The Wallenius ships (named for operatic characters) carried an attractive deep green and white hull, as seen in this 2018 photo:

Now that the two companies have merged their operations formally after years of cooperation they have adopted a new scheme. It is being applied as ships undergo regular dry dockings and maintenance.

As seen from Purcell's Cove, Elektra shows off the new colour scheme.

Elektra was built in 1999, making it a senior citizen among auto carriers. Original builders Daewoo Heavy Industries, Okpo, delivered the 57,108 gt ship, but in 2005 Hyundai Vinaship shipyard in Vietnam added a 30 meter hull section increasing tonnage to 67,264 and 7,194 CEU (car equivalent units).

Both Wallenius and Wilhelmsen are bringing ships out of cold layup as auto manufacturing and sales are rebounding from COV-19.

Just for the record I am not impressed with the new scheme, which I think is insipid. I call for a return to the "heritage" colours.

* Tonight's shift from Atlantic Standard Time [GMT/CUT -4 hrs] to Atlantic Daylight Saving Time [GMT/CUT -3 hrs] will mean more photo opportunities in the late afternoon and evening when ships are leaving port.


Friday, March 12, 2021

Fundy Rose - refit completed

 The Fundy Rose completed its refit alongside Pier 9C and sailed for Digby this afternoon. It arrived in Halifax January 25 and is scheduled to resume service to Saint John on March 14. There were the usual annual complaints from truckers and the fishing industry in Nova Scotia, that the longer trip to the US was a major inconvenience, and financial drain. This year's refit was extended due to infrastructure work at the Saint John terminal, so even if the ship had been ready, there was work to do in Saint John. There was also a report that more work was found on Fundy Rose than originally planned.

Neither Bay Ferries, nor the federal government (owner of the ship) had any available spare ferries. Perhaps it is too much to expect commonalities between berthing piers and ships in the Atlantic region that would allow for substitutions even when the federal government also owns the ferries to the Magdalen Islands, for example. 

Passengers wishing to use the Digby - Saint John service must be aware of the severe travel restrictions imposed by New Brunswick and Nova Scotia because of COVID-19. Reservations are required and in the case of New Brunswick a government travel permit is needed, and for Nova Scotia, visitors must self isolate for 14 days on arrival.

Fundy Rose has been a regular visitor to Halifax for its annual refits ever since its first visit in 2014. it was then called Canada 2014, a temporary name replacing its original name until a new permanent name could selected. I have posted about the ship and its history several times, but the following seems to summarize it: July 13, 2015

The photo accompanying that post shows a different paint scheme - a red boot topping, which has now become a light blue, and a lighter blue hull colour. There is a white on blue graphic versus the present blue letters on white with three colours of "swoops".  This is the 2015 version from a different angle:

I prefer the colours to follow the deck lines on ships, but have to agree that the white on blue graphic was not terribly exciting.  

The new colour scheme was apparently applied in 2020 or perhaps during and unscheduled October 15 - December 5 2019 refit,  but I don't know where or when.


Thursday, March 11, 2021

Yasa Swan at Imperial

 A ship with an unusual name is offloading at Imperial Oil's number 3 dock. Yasa Swan is otherwise a typical MidRange tanker of 29,681 gt, 50,215 dwt, built in 2019 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan.

The ship is operated by Ya Sa Tankers (sometimes rendered as Ya-Sa), a six ship fleet based in Instanbul. It is part of the Ya-Sa Group which also owns twenty some bulk carriers and has interests in construction, tourism, aviation and textiles.  It is named for its founder Yalcin Sabanci, a member of the Sabanci family, one of the wealthiest in Turkey. Some members of the large (and sometimes squabbling) clan are found on the Forbes billionaires list and wield considerable influence in world affairs. 

Yasa Swan arrived from Antwerp March 9 and has a pilot order for 2330 hrs tonight, March 11. In 2020 the ship called in Canadian ports on the St.Lawrence River and at Point Tupper, sailing out of Dutch and German ports. This is its first call in Halifax.