Sunday, May 30, 2021

Fidelio in, Sea Horizon out

An arrival and a departure in quick succession late this afternoon, May 30, was in fact a well coordinated operation typical of Halifax harbour where ships move in opposite directions frequently and require planning to avoid conflicts and delays. Arrivals and departures are scheduled to ensure ships pass where there is lots of room, but are also timed to allow the pilot boats and tugs to work efficiently.

The pilot boat Scotia Pilot passing Maugher's Beach inbound after boarding the pilot on Fidelio.

Fidelio inbound still in the traditional Wallenius green and white colours. Built in 2007 by Daewoo Shipbuilding + Marine Engineering Co, Okpo, the 71,583 gt, 30,137 dwt ship has a capacity of 7500 cars. Since officially merging their car carrier fleets Wallenius and Wilhelmsen have adopted a new hull colour of teal green over slate grey. The ships are gradually being repainted as they go in for mandatory surveys and refits.

As tugs Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Beaver prepare to turn the ship to back into Pier 31, the pilot boat APA No.1 stands by for the next departure. The pilot boat crew's shift change was made by the fresh (in coming) crew taking the back-up boat APA No.1, allowing the off duty crew time to disembark from Scotia Pilot at their leisure.


The third and fourth tugs, Altantic Oak (aft) and Atlantic Willow (forward) unberthed the tanker  Sea Horizon from Irving Oil's Woodside terminal. The 28,529 gt, 47,149 dwt tanker, built in 2003 by Onomichi Zosen in Onomichi, Japan delivered part cargo to Irving Oil in Saint John last week, and arrived here May 29 to discharge the remainder. The ship will be proceeding to an outer anchorage awaiting orders which are expected tomorrow.

Since there are only four (civilian) tugs based in Halifax, arrivals and departure times also have to take their availability into consideration.

The Sea Horizon streaming outbound for Anchorage B, which is outside the harbour limits and the pilotage zone, but still within the traffic separation zone. When the ship does receive orders it will be able to sail without the need of a pilot. However its movements will still be monitored by Vessel Traffic Services until it reaches the VTS Zone limit.


Federal Kibune for AGM inspection

 The Canadian shipping company Fednav, operates 120 dry owned or chartered bulk carriers world wide. Although all but two of those ships are foreign flagged, Fednav is the leading international user of the St.Lawrence Seaway. Their ships seldom call in Halifax however, so today's brief visit of the Federal Kibune is rare for Fednav.

Federal Kibune was built in 2012 by Onomichi Dockyard in Japan for Osaka Asahi Kaiun and long tern charter to Fednav. It is a 22,866 gt, 36,824 dwt ice class Handysize bulker equipped with four 30 tonne capacity cranes. It is named for a Japanese tourist village located on a mountainside, even though the name means "precious boat".

The ship's last port of call was Taicang, China, which means a mandatory inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for Asian gypsy moth. Particular since the ship is destined for Grande Anse, QC, in the heart of deciduous forest country, where the invasive specie would be most destructive.

The ship appears to be in ballast. Grande Anse, well upstream on the Saguenay River is an export facility for aluminium and forest products.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Peggy's Cove wreck - fifty years ago

 If Nova Scotia could claim a single iconic image it would likely be the Peggy's Cove lighthouse -destination by bus excursion for thousands of cruise ship passengers (when we had cruise ships) and tourists from around the world. Variously wreathed in fog, battered by spectacular and unpredictable waves or surrounded by serene seas, the structure, which used to contain its own post office in tourist season, was declared surplus by the Canadian Coast Guard in 2010. Built of concrete in 1915, to replace an earlier wooden structure it is officially called Peggy's Point light. The 15 meter high octagonal structure, anchored to solid rock, is surmounted by a flashing red light visible (in good conditions) from 10 nautical miles at sea (one flash of 1.5 seconds, eclipse 3.5 seconds) and marking the eastern side of the entrance to St.Margaret's Bay.

In calm conditions and a clear day, a lobster boat works off Peggy's Point, with the western shore of St.Margaret's Bay in the background.

Those conditions were not ideal during the night of May 26, 1971 when a spring storm swept through the area. The small cargo ship Hulda was making for Oakland, NS, a small port on Mahone Bay, likely to take on a cargo of dynamite for the Caribbean. It was overwhelmed by the storm and lost power. Even if the light had been visible, there was nothing the crew could do but ride out the storm and hope for a safe outcome.

Caught by huge rolling waves, the ship was swept in, stern first, over the rocks and dumped in a shallow pool, not far from the lighthouse. Fortunately, millennia of smashing seas had eroded the rocks smooth, and there were no jagged edges to rip open the hull. If that had happened the story could have turned out quite differently. 

By morning the storm had passed, the ship was sitting in a placid little inlet of its own and all aboard were safe. When they could see where they were I imagine they were amazed. They were well away from open water, in a shallow lake, surrounded by smooth granite shores, lacking several feet of clearance over rocks to get back to open water.

They were able to row ashore quite easily using their lifeboat, but it was obvious that the ship was going nowhere. It soon became its own tourist attraction, rivaling the nearby lighthouse for a time. However the decision was made that the wreck had to be removed. Any future storm moving through would likely wreck the ship, creating a huge mess in a pristine preservation zone. Workers soon cut up the ship in place, burning off the fuel, and leaving no visible trace of the strange event.

Hulda was built by DeGroot + Van Vliet in Slikkerveer, Netherlands in 1955 as Heemskerk. In 1970 it was sold for trade in the Caribbean, renamed and registered in Georgetown, Cayman Islands.


Monday, May 24, 2021

Ionic Ariadne - bug free

 Crude oil tankers are rare in Halifax, so today's arrival of the Ionic Ariadne was a bit of a treat. The 60,435 gt, 112,077 dwt ship anchored in number one anchorage in the lower harbour while the Canadian Food Inspection Agency gave the ship a once over for Asian Gypsy Moth. 

The ship apparently passed the test and was cleared to go in a few hours. It is in ballast, arriving from Fawley, UK and its next port is to be Whiffen Head, NL, where it will load crude oil from offshore Newfoundland.

Built in 2020 by Sumitomo, Yokosuka, Ionic Ariadne operates for Ionic Shipping of Athens, Greece. They have seven Aframax tankers and sixteen bulk carriers under management.


Sunday, May 23, 2021

To and From Newfoundland

 There were two Canadian ships in Halifax today, May 23, one arriving from Newfoundland and one departing for Newfoundland. These were not the regular container RoRo ships Oceanex Sanderling and  Nolhan Ava that run weekly services to St.John's and Argentia respectively, but were more specialized carriers.

First the arrival. More specifically it was the Articulated Tug / Barge combination Leo A. McArthur (the tug) and John J. Carrick (the barge) operated by McAsphalt Industries as an asphalt and heavy fuel carrier. The pair was in Halifax earlier in the month with a cargo of asphalt, then went on to Saint John, NB where it took on more asphalt for Holyrood NL. It then headed to Botwood, NL where it appears to have loaded cargo for McAsphalt's terminal in Eastern Passage.

Leo A. McArthur pushing in the stern notch of the John J. Carrick. Although technically a tug, it remains connected to the barge even at sea and rarely if ever tows.

Both tug and barge were built in China in 2009 and delivered in 2010, with the tug carrying the name Victorious. It was renamed in 2017 in honor of one of the founders of McAsphalt Industries. The high heat cargo barge, named for the other founder of McAsphalt, has a capacity of 11,100 cu meters (70,000 bbls) and had boilers to keep asphalt and similar cargoes in the liquid state.

McAsphalt recently announced they are returning to China for construction of an asphalt tank ship with a 11,700 cubic meter (73,600 bbls) capacity. To be powered by LNG/LBG it will also have battery storage capacity.

The departure for Newfoundland is the familiar self-unloading bulk carrier  Algoma Mariner . Also built in China, also in 2009 and delivered in 2011, it predated the company's Equinox class. It is built to Seaway maximum size, and to coastal classification.

The ship arrived in Halifax May 21 with a cargo of wheat loaded in Thunder Bay. It departed the Lakehead May 12, made a service stop at Port Colborne May 16, and exited the Seaway May 17.

Its next port is given as Stephenville, NL, but is likely St.George's, on the south shore of Bay St.George, opposite Stephenville,  where it will load gypsum from the Ace quarry, located at Flat Bay. There are huge gypsum / anhydrate and salt deposits in the area which are the subject of recent redevelopment interest. The open pit gypsum mine, opened in 1952, was closed in 1990 but re-opened in 2018. There is also a large tailings stockpile from previous mining operations from which gypsum could be reclaimed.


Saturday, May 22, 2021

Sirius Highway - NAS service

Acknowledged as the fourteenth largest shipping company in the world, K-Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha) is a major player in bulk shipping, LNG tankers, containers (through ONE - Ocean Network Express) and auto carriers. They have been reported as the fourth largest in the latter category with about 100 ships.

Today's arrival at Autoport, is one of the large newer ships in their Pure Car and Truck Carrier (PCTC) fleet. Sirius Highway, built in 2017 by Shin Kurushima in Onishi registers an enormous 75,044 gt, 20,419 dwt on a hull that is 199.96m long x 38 m width. This gives a capacity of 7,539 cars, which are loaded and off loaded over a 150 tonne capacity stern ramp and a smaller side ramp.

Outbound at noon time today, the Sirius Highway leaves Eastern Passage, where the summer moorings have now been set out for the Shearwater Yacht Club.

The ship is on K-Line's North Atlantic Shuttle (NAS) service, linking Zeebrugge, Bremerhaven and Southampton with Halifax, Baltimore, Charleston, Brunswick and Jacksonville. Halifax and Jacksonville are optional ports if traffic warrants. Although the NAS schedule is four sailings per month, there are no more calls for Halifax on the schedule which now runs to the end of July.


Friday, May 21, 2021

NYK Delphinus - fire off California

Another container ship scheduled to call in Halifax has experienced a fire - but this one is a bit more remote. Unlike the January 3, 2019 fire on the Yantian Express northeast of Bermuda, this fire was not in the ship's cargo, but in its engine room. Also it occurred in the Pacific Ocean, six weeks or more before the ship was due in Halifax.

The ship in question is the NYK Delphinus recently assigned to THE Alliance's AL5 service. [See yesterday's post on sister ship NYK Remus and :


                                         NYK Delphinus (left) at Fairview Cove April 17, 2016.

The fire broke out on May 14, 2021, when the ship was 50 miles west of Monterey, California. It had sailed from Vancouver May 6 and was waiting for a berth in Oakland, California. (There is monumental port congestion in US west coast ports, and some ships are waiting a month or more to dock.) The crew isolated the engine room and shore based assistance was dispatched by the US Coast Guard and Resolve Marine, the designated salvors. Firefighting tugs from Foss and Baydelta also responded and cooled the ship's hull from the outside.

The fire was declared extinguished May 16 and the ship arrived under tow in Oakland on May 18.

According to THE Alliance's published AL5 schedule the ship was due in Halifax  July 6 after returning to Europe via the Panama Canal. Based on my interpretation of press reports it is likely that the ship will be out of service for some time and will likely not he calling here July 6. This may mean a blanked sailing if no substitute ship can be found to take up the slot.


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Atlantic Sail and NYK Remus - taking turns

 The Narrows between Halifax harbour and Bedford Basin is a well named body of water - too narrow for two large ships to pass. When two ships are likely to meet, pilots work out passing arrangements in advance so that there is no repetition of the tragic collision of 1917.

Today's perfectly orchestrated meeting had the Atlantic Sail inbound for Fairview Cove,  clearing the Narrows and well into Bedford Basin before the outbound NYK Remus lined up for the Narrows.

NYK Remus is a recent addition to THE Alliance's AL5 service, but was a frequent caller here five years ago or so, in the days of the G6 Alliance.

NYK Remus
 is one of twelve NYK ships of the same design. The 55,534 gt, 65,981 dwt vessel has a container capacity of 4922 TEU, including 330 reefers. It was built in 2009 by Hyundai, Samho.

After Halifax, the ship will skip US east coast ports and head for the Panama Canal, then call at Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle and Vancouver before returning along the same route. It is scheduled for Halifax again July 12 en route to Southampton and Le Havre.



Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Return Engagements

ONE update

 As predicted back in November the container ship ONE Maxim returned to Halifax on THE Alliance's EC5 service. Previous arrivals and departures under cover of darkness precluded the desired "underway" photos of the ship under this name. (There is something unsatisfying about a photo of a ship tied up.)

The ship did arrive this morning. Although not in full sunshine, its magenta hull paint does not require much light to appear bright.

As recounted November 22, 2020 the ship is the former MOL Maxim renamed and repainted earlier in 2020 during a refit. Other ships of MOL's M class are getting similar treatment, but there are still some members of the ten ship class with their original names, such as MOL Maestro due next week. THE Alliance is upping the size of ships on the EC5 and it may be the last one we see. [It is still scheduled into August]

In fact some of the new EC5  ships will be too big to reach Cerescorp's Fairview Cove terminal and will instead be handled by PSA Halifax, starting in July. That the two "rival" terminals would be  assisting each other is not unprecedented, but does add more fuel to rumours that PSA may be in line to purchase the Fairview Cove facility from NYK and rationalize operations.

CCG Update

CCGS Molly Kool returned to Halifax again this morning. It has been carrying out SAR duties in the region "on loan" from Newfoundland, to cover off refits. CCGS Kopit Hopson 1752 (ex Edward Cornwallis) will now be in refit until July and Cape Roger is starting a six month Vessel Life Extension. Sister ship Jean Goodwill is expected to be in refit until the end of June. It still remains to be seen if Captain Molly Kool will be returning to Davie for more upgrades. So far it does not seem that the ship has helicopter capability, which was to be one of the features of the conversion.


Departing (and returning) today for more sea trials, was CCGS Capt Jacques Cartier. According to press reports several deficiencies turned up in the first sea trials, delaying its entry into service - not to mention COVID related issues for suppliers and crews. Delays in refitting CCGS Alfred Needler have also meant that the new ship could not complete comparative testing. No date has been suggested for when Capt Jacques Cartier will be in full service. It was delivered from Seaspan to Halifax in November 2019.


Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Updates - all sorts

 Update 1

The "ultra" class container ship CMA CGM Marco Polo not only set a record last night (May 17) for the largest containerized cargo ship to berth in eastern North America [see previous post] but it also set a record for crowds and traffic jams. Not since the glory days of the Queen Elizabeth 2 and to a lesser extent the Queen Mary 2 have so many people crowded the shoreline to see a ship. Perhaps it was  the advance media coverage, or perhaps it was just so many people desperate for a break from COVID lock down. In any event, police had to close off the Point Pleasant Park lower parking lot because traffic had become unmanageable. There were also traffic jams at the Herring Cove look off, York Redout and Ferguson's Cove.

Even though it was well after dusk when the ship hove into view, images posted on line showed an impressive sight on a perfect May evening. [Cell phone cameras have a tremendous low light capability.]

Even during the day today, the curious vied for vantage points to see the ship. The yachtsman off the ship's bow probably had the best view.

Early reports indicate that PSA Halifax's cranes will make 1550 moves (of containers) while the ship is in Halifax. That compares to about 550 for an average ship. Long trains and extra trains have been scheduled for the next several days to clear the expected backlog.

Update 2

 As predicted the cargo ship Acadia Desgagnés returned to Canadian registration today (May 18) officially. The crew was apparently eager for this transition, as they completed repainting "St.John's" as port of registry yesterday afternoon.

However they were not inspired to brighten up the ship's name or IMO number while they were at it. Perhaps that will have to wait for a major paint job on the whole ship.

Update 3
The former Halifax / Dartmouth ferry Halifax III has left layup in Sambro and sailed under its own power to Lunenburg. After retiring from service in Halifax harbour the boat was purchased by Toronto Island Transit Services. Sister Dartmouth III, which was acquired by the same owners sailed for Toronto on its own, and the third ferry, Woodside I remains laid up in Lunenburg.

See also previous post:


Monday, May 17, 2021

CMA CGM Marco Polo - record setter

 The latest record setting Ultra size container ship for PSA Halifax will be arriving after dark May 17 direct from Colombo, Sri Lanka. CMA CGM Marco Polo with a capacity of 16,020 TEU will in fact be setting a new record as largest container ship to call at any port in Canada, but also at any port on the North American east coast. The ship will thus continue setting records as it works its way to New York, Norfolk, Savannah and Charleston before heading back across the Atlantic.

CMA CGM Marco Polo was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding + Marine Engineering Co, Okpo in 2012, and has up until now been confined to the Asia / Europe circuit. Its tonnages of 176,546 gross and 187,625 deadweight are the product of a 396m long x 53.6m breadth x 29.9m depth hull. As usual with ships of this size it has an "island" bridge superstructure forward of midships, with engines well aft.

When I saw the ship in Hamburg in 2016 it had no less than nine long reach container cranes working on it at the same time. I have no idea how the landside operations were able to keep up with that much activity, nor how long the ship was planning to be in port.

PSA Halifax has five cranes, and numerous rubber tired gantries and trucks and should be able to handle the expected load. However with about 30,000 linear feet of rail traffic resulting from this ship alone, it may be some time before an expected backlog is cleared . (The single CN track out of Halifax limits individual trains to about 12,000 feet to accommodate passing between Halifax and Moncton.)

Several other ships are due at PSA Halifax over the next few days, including Maersk Patras holding offshore and the usual callers from Tropical Shipping, ZIM and two more CMA CGM Ultra size (greater than 10,000 TEU). Combined with Cerescorp's traffic at Fairview Cove, CN Rail will be very busy for some time to come.


Sunday, May 16, 2021

Acadia Desgagnés - annual visit

The general cargo / bulk carrier Acadia Desgagnés arrived in Halifax May 16 for what has become an annual event. The ship is owned by the Quebec City cargo and tanker company Transport Desgagnés, and trades internationally in winter under foreign flag, and domestically in summer under Canadian flag. Its visits to Halifax each spring have been to change registration back from Barbados to Canada. The change usually occurs in April or May when the ship has completed its overseas assignments.

Crew members have lashed a ladder to the ship's stern in preparation for repainting the port of registry, which has been St.John's, NL annually since 2017.

After working in Canadian waters during the shipping season, it changes to Barbados registration about January 1, and trades world wide until late spring. Once back in Canadian waters it carries bulk cargoes on the Great Lakes, St.Lawrence River and Gulf and Newfoundland. 

The ship's visits have been logged each spring:


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Hudson to sea

 After a winter under wraps at the Bedford Institute CCGS Hudson put out to sea today for a short trial trip of a few hours duration.

I never tire of seeing this ship's graceful lines and will  be sorry when it goes into retirement - whenever that may happen. As posted previously, Seaspan Shipbuilding has started to cut steel for the replacement ship, optimistically due for delivery in 2024, with atrocious estimated costs.

In the meantime Hudson undergoes refit after refit to keep it in service until that replacement arrives. Built by the long defunct Saint John  Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co, the ship was delivered in December 1963 and (remarkably) commissioned in March 1964. 


Friday, May 14, 2021

Don Pasquale - first photo

 Another first photo today, this time the auto carrier Don Pasquale. It is surprising that I had not photographed a ship that has been around since 1997, but it most likely was assigned to other routes. Some sources indicate that it has been on charter to EUKOR [EUrope KOrea]. Certainly sister ship Don Carlos  and Don Quijote have called here.

Don Pasquale rounding Indian Point, entering Eastern Passage. Of f the ship's stern is the small tug Roseway that handles ships' lines at Autoport, where the bow lines are secured to a buoy.

Don Pasquale was built by Daewoo Heavy Industries in Okpo in 1997 and in 2007 it was lengthened from 219.3 to 227.9 m by Hyundai Vinaship in Vietnam. The reworked ship now registers 67,141 gt, 28,142 dwt with a capacity of 7,194 cars.

Rounding Ives Knoll outbound, the ship shows off its side ramp.

According to copmany literature, the ship has 13 decks. The 125 tonne capacity stern ramp serves deck 6, and the side ramp is served by deck 7. Decks 5, 7 and 9 have liftable sections to accommodate large cargo.

CCG Captain Molly Kool

 The first of the Canadian Coast Guard's three "second hand" icebreakers arrived in Halifax May 14 for the first time. CCGS Captain Molly Kool is based in St.John's so is outside its normal territory. It is filling in on SAR duties in this area while other ships are unavailable.

 When the CCG acquired the three former icebreaking tug/suppliers from Sweden, this one was hastily put into service in 2018 and worked the winter of 2018-2019 in the St.Lawrence and Gulf. It then returned to the Davie shipyard for more conversion work. 

According to press reports, the ship used its stern notch to secure the tanker Jana Desgagnes while it was towed to open water. This is the first reported use of a stern notch by a Canadian icebreaker since the days of CCGS Labrador - the last CCG ship to be fitted with a notch.

The second ship of the three, CCGS Jean Goodwill is based in Halifax, but has not entered full time service yet, with refit work continuing into June. And the third, CCGS Vincent Massey is still at Davie, Lauzon with conversion due to be completed in 2022.

Captain Molly Kool was commissioned into the CCG May 30, 2019.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Melfi Marine - service cut back

 Melfi Marine Corp SA has been operating a service to Cuba for many years, usually using up to three ships with calls every 12 days. Recently however that has been cut back to only one ship. Today's arrival of X-press Irazu represents the second last scheduled call. The published schedule shows the next call on July 7, with no calls after that. 

Normally the ships call in Halifax en route to Cuba from Europe, but this time the ship is coming from Cuba heading back to Europe. As might be expected there is not a great deal of export cargo from Cuba, although its primary container port, Mariel, handled a million TEU last year.

A lightly loaded X-press Irazu passes Maugher's Beach inbound from Mariel, Cuba to PSA Halifax this morning.

The ship dates from 2007 when it was built by Guangzhou Wenchang Shipyard Co Ltd. At 18,480 gt, 23,716 dwt, it has a capacity of 1732 TEU including 379 reefers. It also carries a pair of 45 tonne capacity cranes.

The Melfi route, called MEDCAN, is westbound from Livorno, Genoa, Barcelona, Valencia, Setubal (for Lisbon), Halifax, Mariel. However it skipped the April 30 Halifax call, going directly to Mariel. According to the current schedule it will now return from Halifax to Mariel, then sail for Livorno.

In March Shipfax reported on delays with the ship Imedghassen which was supposed to take up a slot for Melfi in January but never did, due to mechanical issues.  That left X-press Irazu to fill in, with the Macao Strait. (That ship made has apparently been reassigned to a Maersk feeder service in North Europe.) See also my post from March 6

Macao Strait on its last call in Halifax for Melfi, March 6, 2021.

X-press Irazu is shown taking up a charter in August with the MCX-1 service of X-press Feeders, operating between Mexico and Central American ports.

Nirint Shipping BV also provides a roughly parallel North Europe / Cuba service with calls in Halifax, and recently has been carrying more cargo other than nickel concentrates, which had been the primary cargo. 

The US Congress passed the Helms-Burton Act in 1996 which continued the US embargo against Cuba. Among its provisions are sanctions against the officers, stockholders and families of non-US companies that trade with Cuba, barring them from entering the US. This has included Canadians. 

Cuba depends on Europe and Canada, and other countries as long as direct trade with the US is banned or restricted. Melfi Marine and Nirint make shipping connections in the Caribbean other than with Cuba, but the embargo must be a factor in their dealings.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Energy Security

 In the midst of a double barreled energy security scare, Irving Oil accepted delivery today of refined products from their blending facility in Amsterdam, Netherlands. By coincidence the ship delivering the fuel shares the name with an Atlantic Towing Ltd tug/supply vessel.

This Atlantic Eagle is a 29,266 gt, 47,128 dwt MR tanker registered in Hong Kong and owned by the low profile Korean company Cido Group and was built by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan in 2007. It has the same name as the 1999 tug/supplier built by Halifax Shipyard, that is on long term charter to provide Emergency Towing services on the Pacific coast.

Irving Oil supplements the product the company refines in Saint John with European sourced product. With the current disruption to fuel supply in the eastern US due to a cyber attack that resulted in the shutdown of the Colonial pipeline, Irving Oil is likely in high demand on the US east coast. That demand is served by Irving's giant refinery in Saint John, NB.

In the background of the above photo is an Imperial Oil storage tank (they have neighboring facilities on the Dartmouth shore of Halifax harbour.) Imperial may also be facing pressure on Canadian supplies if Michigan's controversial governor succeeds in shutting down the Line 5 pipeline joining western and eastern Canada. The governor is concerned about a possible rupture to the pipeline where it crosses under the Mackinac Strait.

Imperial sources most of its fuel for this region from facilities in Antwerp, so we may be safe for the time being. However the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline serves many facilities in Ontario and Quebec, and a closure would cause a huge and widespread disruption.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

MSC and Maersk in Halifax for now

While the giant container shipping lines MSC and Maersk vie for the title as world's largest (Maersk is maintaining its lead, but MSC is gaining fast) both are making their mark in Halifax, with MSC clearly ahead - thanks in no small part to the Port of Montreal.

Maersk has been an on and off caller in Halifax on its major routes for years, but for the past several years has been represented only by its North Atlantic service. Ships call - usually weekly - outbound from Montreal for Bremerhaven. There has been some interruption in the schedule over the winter and spring because of weather and labour issues in Montreal, with the ships skipping Halifax and heading directly back to Europe. Maersk operates the service jointly with CMA CGM. Maersk provides three ships and CMA CGM provides one in order to sustain a 28 day rotation and weekly calls.

Maersk Palermo sailed from PSA Halifax this evening on Maersk's CAE service, also known as CMA CGM's St Laurent I service. The ship gave Saint John, NB as its next port. [see below]

MSC has been a much less frequent visitor in Halifax until this year when it began to send its ships here to decant or top up on cargo due to draft restrictions on the St.Lawrence River. Today there were two MSC ships, one eastbound to Montreal and one westbound from Montreal.

MSC Annick viewed from the stern shows the large structure added to the after side of the funnel to house the exhaust gas scrubber.

MSC Annick an oft renamed veteran ship, built in 1998, and with a capacity of 3987 TEU, topped up its container load for more efficient sailing. It is en route from Montreal for Barcelona.

The even older MSC Brianna built in 1996, with six previous names, has a capacity of 4168 TEU. On arrival from Sines, Portugal it appeared to be loaded to near capacity. It will off load containers to reduce its draft before sailing to Montreal later tonight.

This perhaps symbiotic relationships between the two old rival ports of Halifax and Montreal may be about to change as both lines have lately been calling in Saint John, NB to test out that port's facilities and recently renewed connection with CP Rail. The shorter CP rail route to Montreal through the US versus CN Rail's longer all Canadian route from Halifax to Montreal (with a branch from Moncton to Saint John) is the potential drawing card for Saint John. Despite the longer steaming time, new pier facilities in Saint John will eliminate backlogs and reduce tidal factors for the New Brunswick port.

Another factor in the Halifax / Saint John / Montreal choice will be the eventual owner of the Kansas City Southern railway. Both CN and CP have bid on the line. The winner will be able to extend its North American range, thus enticing more container traffic (it is hoped).


Monday, May 10, 2021

NYK Nebula - back again

 Thanks to a recent re-shuffle of shipping services by THE Alliance, several once familiar ships are returning to Halifax. The AL5 service (Europe to Halifax, East Coast US, Panama, West Coast US, Vancouver and return) is using ships of the NYK Daedalus class. The ships were regular callers here on the old G5 Alliance in 2014, 2016, etc., Today's arrival is NYK Nebula a typical member of that class.

Built in 2007 by Hyundai Heavy Industries, Ulsan, South Korea, it is a 55,534 gt, 65,600 dwt ship with a container capacity of 4922 TEU. Now sailing for Ocean Network Express (ONE) it still carries the name of the pre-merger NYK Line, however the large "NYK" letters on the hull have been painted over. It is unlikely that older ships and chartered ships will be renamed or repainted in ONE's distinctive Magenta hull colour, so will still reflect their "ancestry" for some time to come.

In pre-ONE days, the ship carried the NYK Line banner on its side. There was also quite a different mix of containers, reflecting the G5 Alliance member lines.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

No sooner said......... and other North End Action

 My observation Wednesday May 6 that the third Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel was "without bow" was only true for a day or two. I noted today (May 9) that the bow of the future HMCS Max Bernays is now in place and aligned.

Still with its Self-Propelled Modular Transporters (SPMTs) in place, final adjustments may still be underway before welding begins. These large module moves often take place on weekends so as not to disturb the normal daily activities of the shipyard.

Seen from Barrington Street, AOPV3 is now looking like a ship. 

Also in the North End of the harbour CSL Tacoma is getting some maintenance work at Pier 9C.

The work likely involves replacement of the conveyor belts in the self-unloading system. The rubber belts take a lot of wear and tear handling cargoes such as aggregate.

With such a large ship at Pier 9C, the Narrows certainly appear narrower...

...particularly when there is a big ship like Atlantic Sun coming through as there was this afternoon.

The five ACL sister ships are the largest (in terms of tonnage and dimensions) to use the Narrows on a regular basis. There are usually two of the ships in port each week - one eastbound and one westbound on their transatlantic service.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Margaret Brooke starts sea trials

 The second Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel built by Halifax Shipyard began sea trials this afternoon. With the tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Oak alongside the ship headed to Bedford Basin first for 3.5 hours of adjustments before putting out to sea.

AOPV2, as it is currently called, will be named HMCS Margaret Brooke when it is commissioned by the RCN later this year. It is already wearing its pennant number 431.

The first vessel of the class, HMCS Harry DeWolf AOPV 430 has recently been in southern waters, in the vicinity of Bermuda, after previously carrying out cold weather operations during the winter.

The third AOPV, to be named Max Bernays is still on the hardstand at Halifax Shipyard, minus its bow. The first two megablocks were rolled out January 22 and 23. The bow was expected to be joined in "the spring" of 2021 and a float out planned for November 2021. 

There was a general shutdown and reduced activity for several months in 2020 due to COVID, but the shipyard seems to be working full out these days, with night and weekend work.