Arrivals and departures today June 29, included first time and occasional callers. The "new to Halifax" ship was the oddly named Dee4 Dogwood. It is a tanker from Antwerp for Imperial Oil, but anchored first for Asian gypsy moth inspection.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Monday, June 28, 2021
Ocean Network Express (ONE) continues to rebrand ships in the group. As they come up for scheduled drydockings, they are repainted in the unique ONE magenta and renamed. Today's arrival is the ONE Hangzhou Bay the former Hangzhou Bay Bridge. It is operated by K-Line, one of the three partners in ONE (MOL and NYK Line are the others.)
The ship was renamed effective January 1, 2021. It has now been assigned to THE Alliance's EC5 service. Its last port was Colombo, Sri Lanka (June 9) and arrived Halifax via the Suez Canal (June 16-17). Its next scheduled port calls are New York (Bayonne), Savannah, Jacksonville, Norfolk and back to Halifax for July 12.
Sunday, June 27, 2021
The Royal Canadian Navy's first Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) can now carry the designation HMCS Harry DeWolf (AOP 430) after it was officially commissioned Saturday June 26. Technically it was AOPV1 during the last 11 months since handover by Irving Shipbuilding and during post acceptance trials.
As I have observed before, construction cranes on the Halifax skyline are due in large part to the economic impact of high paying shipbuilding jobs. The region is thriving and experiencing a population boom, which is expected to continue (despite COVD-19) for some time to come.
Halifax shipyard has three more AOPVs under construction for the RCN with another two to follow plus two more for the Canadian Coast Guard for a total of eight ships. AOPV2, to be named for Margaret Brooke, is under builders trials and AOPV3 to be named for Max Bernays will be floated this fall. AOPV4 the future William Hall is assembling under cover.
Pre-construction activity on the RCN "Surface Combatant" program is also ramping up to the design stage. The Canadianized version of the BAE Type 26 frigate, to be built by Irving Shipbuilding, is expected to see steel cutting in 2024. Up to 15 ships, in a "build them slow" program will extend out over a twenty year period.
Saturday, June 26, 2021
Two more bulkers called in Halifax today, June 26, but neither one came for cargo. (The only bulk cargo usually handled in Halifax is gypsum -see footnote.)
The first arrival was the Panama flag, but Chinese owned Hong Sheng.
A 40,896 gt, 76,546 dwt gearless vessel, it is bound for Port Cartier, QC to load iron ore, but anchored in Halifax for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection. Despite vigilance by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, central Canada is experiencing a major infestation, which is expected to weaken huge swaths of urban and rural trees of all types.
The Chinese COSCO Bulk Shipping Co Ltd operates Hong Sheng, which dates from 2010 when it was built by the Guangzhou Huanpu shipyard. [COSCO=China Ocean Shipping COmpany].
The second bulker is an unusual customer. It is flying the flag of the United States and is registered in Annapolis, Maryland, home port of the Schuyler Line Navigation Co LLC.
SLNC Severn was built in 2017 by Samjin Shipbuilding Industries, in Weihai, China as Frederike Oldendorff. It was renamed early this year when it was bareboat chartered by SLNC. A 33,737 gt, 57,888 dwt ship it is fitted with four 35 tonne capacity cranes and 12 cubic meter grabs.
SLNC has both Jones Act and non-Jones Act US flag ships including tankers, general cargo/heavy lift and cargo barges. After inspection and maintenance the ship will be heading for Auld's Cove to load aggregates. The ship is still carrying the Egon Oldendorff initials on its funnel.
Although Gold Bond's mine in Milford is closed short term for maintenance, it still has a gigantic stockpile at its facility in Wright's Cove, Bedford Basin. Yesterday it loaded the Canadian flag self-unloader Thunder Bay, which sailed for the Great Lakes.
Friday, June 25, 2021
Today, Friday June 25, was the first of two big days for the Royal Canadian Navy. HMCS Sackville, Canada's World War II Naval Memorial, returned to its summer station at Sackville Landing on the Halifax waterfront (coincidentally at the foot of Sackville Street). The ship is fresh from a major refit at HMC Dockyard where a new skin of plating was added to the hull. The ship's original plating had deteriorated and was dangerously thin. The new plate will ensure that the ship remains afloat and safe for many years to come.
With the tugs Glenevis (partly visible) and Merrickville (not visible), Sackville completes a sail past.
Powered by tugs, Sackville did a grand tour of the harbour from the Dockyard to the Narrows, back to the lower harbour, circumnavigating George's Island.
The submarine HMCS Windsor , with the Admiral aboard, made a trip to Bedford Basin and returned to the lower harbor to take the salute.
Also in the harbour for the ceremony, were numerous naval small craft, and the RCN's oldest vessel Oriole, under sail (but also using its engine due to light winds.)
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Another bulk carrier cleared Asian Gypsy Moth inspection today and sailed for its destination of Sorel, Quebec.
The Maltese flagged PS Valletta occupied number one anchorage in the lower harbour for a few hours to allow inspectors from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to examine the ship for moth larva. Once it was determined that the ship was free of the invasive species it was permitted to sail. Halifax is the designated inspection port since it is well away from valuable coniferous tree forests that could be devastated by a moth infestation.
The ship is owned by Finav Ltd, based in Valletta, Malta, and is managed by the Italian company Premuda SpA, in turn part of the US private equity platform Pillarstone. It is a typical four crane bulker in many ways except that it was built in 2010 by the Pha Rung shipyard in Haiphong, Vietnam. Originally named San Felice it was renamed in 2020 with its new name reflecting Pillarstone ownership and Finav's headquarters city.
Sorel is in the heart of the Quebec manufacturing zone an imports steel, iron ores and various other raw products such as salt.
Halifax has taken delivery of its new fireboat.
One of the on again off again discussions at the City Council of Halifax since the early days of the 20th century has been the topic of fireboats. The responsibility for fighting fires on ships in the harbour or on shoreline structures such as piers and buildings has been debated periodically, and various entities have taken on duties in one way or another from time to time.
If that sounds rather wishy washy and vague, it's because there has never been a definition of responsibility, but there has been a lot of cooperation and some controversy over the years.
The Royal Canadian Navy has its own fire department in HMC Dockyard, with trucks and land based apparatus. They respond to alarms in all military properties in the area. CFB Shearwater on the Dartmouth side of the harbour also has specialized firefighting apparatus for its airbase.
There is also a Canadian military fire training school in suburban Halifax that specializes in training for shipboard fires.
The HMC Dockyard has three large and three small tugs fitted for fire fighting ,with new more capable tugs under construction in Quebec. (A dedicated fireboat was decommissioned in 2014.) Crews have specialist fire fighting training for shipboard fires, aimed more at military type vessels than civilian.
The military has always been willing and able to assist in "civilian" fires, and with shipboard fire expertise available, has perhaps "taken the heat" off civilian authorities.
Atlantic Towing Ltd, the operators of harbour tugs in Halifax, has up to four tugs in service at all times, with firefighting capability. They are classed as FiFi1, the most basic level of capability, but have very powerful water pumping capability, and foam generation. Their crews, while very capable are not trained firefighters.
When there was an offshore oil and gas industry off Nova Scotia, many of the supply vessels had fire fighting capability too, and some special training for rig and offshore installation fires. However with the demise of that industry, those vessels are now gone from the harbour and surrounding waters. A fire out at sea could not expect any significant fire fighting assistance from Halifax.(There is ample search and rescue capability however.)
The Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency Service (HRMFES) was formed in 1996 when the fire departments of Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County were joined into one administrative unit. However the force traces its roots in Halifax to 1754 and is the oldest fire service in Canada.
Since the time of the Halifax Region merger the force has had some rescue boats, but had no marine division and no "on the water" fire fighting capability. The Halifax Regional Police has boats that provide policing and some rescue capability.
The Halifax Port Authority, a federal crown corporation, which has responsibility for all the waters within the Port has no firefighting force, but relies on the HRMFES for fire fighting on its lands.
Similarly the Canadian Coast Guard, provides Search and Rescue services in the area, but its ships are only equipped for limited external fire fighting. They have no emergency towing capability (unlike Canada's west coast), nor salvage capability. They operate seasonal Search and Rescue in the harbour, and a year round seagoing lifeboat based outside the harbour in Sambro.
Following the disastrous Halifax Explosion of 1917, there was still debate over who was responsible for fire protection and firefighting in the harbour. During World War II the City of Halifax chartered its own fireboat, the famous Rouille from 1941 to August 1945.
The National Harbours Board (predecessor by several generations of the Halifax Port Authority) also chartered its own fire tug in 1943, the legendary ex Chicago fire boat James Battle.
Both were well used in ship and pier fires during the war and were on hand to fight the Bedford Magazine fire in 1945, that could have resulted in an explosion to rival that of 1917. See: Bedford Magazine Fire
Near the end of World War II, the RCN could justify construction of some dedicated fire tugs, after emergency temporary conversions had been used in naval facilities during hostilities. After 1945 at least one fireboat was then on duty in Halifax. In 1978 a new boat, the Firebird, was delivered, and it was operational 24/7 until budget cutbacks in 2014.
For more on this topic see Shipfax February 21, 2019
There were some notable fires on the old creosoted timber piers in Halifax in the 1950s, but since the mid 1960s there has not been a significant fire along the shore. There have also been very few shipboard fires. Both waterfront oil refineries (which had some in house firefighting) have been closed and dismantled but there are still six shoreside petroleum and fuel storage facilities.
In an early precursor to the current rash of fires on container ships, the container ship Kitano en route from New York to Halifax March 22, 2001, reported fire in a deck container as the ship was approaching Halifax. Due to unknown risks, it was not allowed to enter port, there were no resources capable of assisting the ship offshore due to severe weather, so it was left to the ship's crew to fight the fire. The salvage tug Ryan Leet, hired by the owners, had modest fire fighting capability, was able to do very little while the ship was at sea.
Eventually a harbour pilot boarded the ship, and it was declared safe enough to enter port where trained military firefighters got the situation under control. Even so, after the ship was moved to Fairview Cove to unload, with the fire seemingly extinguished, the HRMFES discovered deep seated fire in one container.
Activated charcoal pellets were implicated in the fire as they have been in so many subsequent container ship fires.
A Canadian Transportation Safety Board report on the incident makes for scary reading M01M0017
there has been no significant improvement in response
capability. Aside from the civilian tugs built since then, there has
been the loss of the dedicated navy fireboat and seagoing salvage tugs.
The world's shipping industry has been largely wringing its hands over more and more severe container ship fires. (If you haven't yet heard of the X-press Pearl, its potentially criminally liable captain, agent and owner - make a quick Google news search). Little has been done to make shipping practices and ship design safe, let alone find a way to fight fires on container ships.
We had our own near brush with a container ship fire when Yantian Express caught fire en route to Halifax in January 2019. It would likely have been a carbon copy of the 2001 incident had the ship been a little closer to port, and not in dead of winter. Instead it was diverted to Freeport, Bahamas..
As mentioned in the 2019 article the Halifax Fire and Emergency Service identified the need for a dedicated boat. How they did so and what risks they identified are unknown, but they were certainly not based on Halifax waterfront firefighting history since the 1960s. The number of creosoted piers and unprotected buildings have diminished dramatically since then, nor have there been small boat or ship fires of any significant number. The main risk as I have identified it is container fires aboard ship, involving hazardous materials with environmental implications. However the new boat will provide year round search and rescue capabilities in the harbour, which have been lacking.
Now the HRMFES has acquired its own fireboat carrying the service designation /call sign "Fireboat 1". However it has been named Kjipuktuk (Halifax) a very strange (and to my mind unnecessary) amalgamation of words. The Halifax Regional Municipality occupies unceded territory of the Mi'kmaw, and their word for a large body of water is K'jipuktuk. The word was corrupted by English speakers as "Chebucto" (a similar corruption "Chebacco" is in use in New England) and has been widely used to identify this harbour. It is certainly time that the original word was recovered, and as it is not difficult to pronounce should enter common use. Why "Halifax" has to be added - even parenthetically - is a mystery, although it does specify which large body of water is cited. The name Halifax was borrowed from George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax (England) and President of the Board of Trade at the time Halifax was founded in 1749. He was not responsible for the atrocities committed by the founding military lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, but appending the name Halifax seems an unnecessary reminder of colonialism and potentially tone deaf at a time when reconciliation with original populations is at the forefront.
Built at Metalcraft Marine of Kingston, the boat appears to be a standard Firestorm 36 model, with a pumping capability of 3,000 gpm. Fitted with two monitors and two discharge ports, it is waterjet propelled and capable of 39 knots. It has towing bits and push knees, and is fitted for rescue work, and will be confined to the harbour. It apparently will not have a full time crew, but will be staffed from Station#13 King Street, Dartmouth, and Station#5, Woodside, so fast response should not be expected. The boat may enter service in late August after crew training. How suited it is for large shipboard fires is unknown, but external hull cooling is often required, so high pumping capacity is useful.
Unfortunately this is not the HRMFES's first try at operating a fireboat. A misguided first attempt ended in disaster and near tragedy. Another Transportation Safety Board report makes scary reading. See M08M0062
Despite is name and mission, I wish the new boat well and hope it finds a useful occupation in Halifax harbour and does not just become another budget drain.
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Tankers from the Russian Sovcomflot (SCF) are fairly common sights these days. This is not particularly surprising as the 143 strong fleet, totaling more than 12,5 million dwt trades internationally on the world's seas, like any other public company. Today, June 23, SCF's Tavrichesky Bridge sailed for Saint John, NB after discharging a partial load of refined product from Amsterdam and Irving Oil, Wooodside.
Named for one of the most famous architectural wonders of St.Petersburg (Tavrichesky Palace and Tavrichesky Garden) , the ship was fittingly built at the Admiralty shipyard in the same city in 2006. It is a 27,725 gt, 96,697 dwt ship of the MR2 type.
The ship arrived in Halifax June 21 and is due in Saint John on June 24.
NYK Line has a total of twelve sister ships of the same class, all named for constellations except this one, NYK Constellation which summarizes all the names. Most of the ships are Halifax callers on The Alliance's AL5 service including NYK Delphinus which has been in Oakland, California since May 17 after a fire on board May 14 after sailing from Vancouver.
NYK Constellation was built by Hyundai, Ulsan in 2007, with a capacity of 4922 TEU including 330 reefers. Its tonnages are registered at 55,534 gt, 65919 dwt.
June is notoriously Fog Month in Halifax and this year there have been several "invisible" arrivals and departures. Fortunately in my quest to collect photos of the whole set of Constellation sister ships, the fog held off around the shoreline of Bedford Basin for the June 22 departure. And there was the incidental benefit of reduced background clutter.
Monday, June 21, 2021
Most foreign flag tankers that call in Halifax are in the 50,000 tonne deadweight size and fall into the Mid Range MR2 category. They bring in refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. Therefore the arrival today, June 21, of Beatrice was unusual in a number of ways.
In the first place the ship has no cargo for Halifax, but it may have instead have arrived for Canadian Food Inspection Agency clearance from Asian Gypsy Moth larva. That survey apparently went well, as the ship was in and out in a few hours. It is rare that tankers require CFIA inspection since they are usually coming from the US or Europe, well out of the native range for the invasive species.
This tanker is instead coming from Damietta, Egypt, a port known for its huge LNG complex and a methanol (methyl alcohol) production plant owned by the Canadian company Methanex. Methanol is an important component of many chemicals including solvents, industrial anti-freeze and fuels. (It is flammable and highly toxic.) Methanex operates a tanker fleet, called Waterfront Shipping Ltd, numbering some 20 or more chartered ships, but is little publicized and not well known.
Beatrice is a specialized chemical tanker, built in 2013 by Asakawa Shipbuilding in Imabari, Japan. Although showing a similar profile to larger tankers it measures only 14,750 gt, 25,932 dwt - about half the capacity of most MR2 ships.
The ship's destination is Montreal, Quebec, which is within the deciduous forest region of Canada, most at risk of infestation by the Asian Gypsy Moth. Oddly the ship was in Becancour, QC as recently as May 9 to 11, so apparently Egypt is a potential source of the moth.
Sunday, June 20, 2021
Weekends are frequently busy times in Halifax Harbour. At one time that was due to excessive weekend overtime rates for longshoremen in New York. Ships would clear out of New York on Friday and come to Halifax, or would time their arrivals and departures in Halifax so as to arrive in New York for Monday morning.
That may or may not be the case anymore, but things were certainly busy in Halifax this weekend. Among the visitors was the auto carrier Morning Peace.
Saturday, June 12, 2021
The harbour was busy today June 12, with several ships at the container and breakbulk piers. All are repeat visitors, although one is under a different name.
At Irving Oil the European Product Carriers Ltd tanker Elka Bene arrived after unloading a part cargo in Saint John, NB, likely from Amsterdam.
The ship was last here April 6, 2021
At Fairview Cove it was the MOL Empire . Its last call (which was its first in Halifax) was November 20, 2019
The ship is on THE Alliance's AL5 service , and will be skipping all the usual US east coast ports and sailing direct for Port Everglades, FL, then for the Dominican Republic and so on to the Panama Canal and the Pacific coast. If it does not get snagged in west coast congestion, it may be back in Halifax August 3 on its return leg to Europe.
Also a familiar sight in Halifax is an ACL ship, ploughing its usual furrow back and forth transatlantic. However it is always good to see one pass west of George's Island for a change, to give a slightly different angle of view.Atlantic Sun doesn't appear too heavily loaded.
At National Gypsum it was the familiar Algoma Integrity ex Gypsum Integrity, which loaded for Baltimore.
The one arrival which may not sound familiar is the bulker Helena G which arrived from Jebel Ali, UAE, with a cargo of reinforcing steel (rebar). It tied up at Pier 9C, where it began to unload using its own cranes and shore based forklifts.
The ship first called here December 25, 2103 and again November 2014, both times under its original name Garganey . The ship was named by its operators CANFORNAV (Canada Forest Navigation) for a species of duck, and on those trips loaded grain.
CANFORNAV ships are regular users of the St.Lawrence Seaway and primarily import steel products and export grain. Garganey was built in 2007 for charter to CANFORNAV and on completion of a ten year term was sold to Olof Brodin Shipowning AB of Sweden. Renamed Helena G it has continued trading to the Great Lakes.
The bonus ship today was HMCS Windsor which has been conducting surfaced operations in Bedford Basin for the past several days.
Friday, June 11, 2021
A new to us ship on THE Alliance's EC5 service arrived in Halifax June 11. Hyundai Faith is a 95,681 gt, 98,967 dwt vessel built in 2008 by Hyundai Samho, with a capacity of 8562 TEU. It is among the largest container ships to pass beneath the harbour bridges. (Passing the A.Murray MacKay bridge in the photo below.)
HMM Co Ltd is now a fully fledged member of THE Alliance with HAPAG-Lloyd, ONE and Yang Ming. When THE Alliance was formed in 2017 Hyundai Merchant Marine was on very shaky financial ground and was only allowed to participate by means of slot charters. However by 2020, after posting to a large contingency fund that would guarantee operation of the company's ships in case of bankruptcy, the US Federal Maritime Commission granted membership. At about the same time the company rebranded itself as HMM Co Ltd.
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Larger and larger new container ships get the headlines, but a lot of the container carrying work is done by smaller sized vessels, some getting on in years. Adding to the longevity and value of these older ships is the current torrid demand for container capacity brought on by the economic recovery post COVID in many parts of the world. Ship owners are getting astronomical rates to charter their ships, and many lines are unable to meet the demand for cargo space.
It was not so long ago that container ships with a capacity of 5,000 TEU were deemed inefficient and undesirable, and would soon be heading for the scrappers in droves. Things have certainly changed and it is rare to hear of any container ship, of any size, which is not fully occupied.
There were two container veterans in Halifax today - both very much gainfully employed on busy routes.
MOL Glide, built in 2011 by Hyundai, Samho is a 59,307 gt, 71,339 dwt ship with a 5,000 TEU capacity.
The ship is on THE Alliance's AL1 service, a transatlantic run from Europe to the North American east coast. The ship arrived last night and sailed this afternoon for Rotterdam. It is expected back in Halifax June 26.
The Mediterranean Shipping Co, MSC has always been known for squeezing the last useful years out of ships, and it's arrival for today is no exception.
MSC Aniello was built in 2000 by Hyundai, Busan and is rated at 40,631 gt, 56,903 dwt, with a capacity of 4,056 TEU, including 150 reefers. Chosen for MSC's St.Lawrence routes, because of its size, it must still load light to meet draft restrictions. However it can achieve better efficiency by loading deeper in Europe and by stopping in Halifax inbound (in this case) to decant some of its cargo and transferring it to rail or truck. Outbound from Montreal it tops off in Halifax with some added cargo loaded to salt / deep water draft. Depending on timing I think they could offer this as an "express" service also.
In the current economic environment both ships are likely to be valued very highly, and it will be some years before we gain hear that they may "inefficient".
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The multi-purpose general cargo ship Thorco Liva is back in Halifax. By my count this is the ship's fourth visit since 2016, and for the same reason. On first arriving early this morning the ship anchored for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection. When cleared after a few hours it proceeded to its berth.
The Thorco Liva makes a near ghostly advance in the Narrows to Pier 9C as a little morning fog lingers.
Built in 2012 by the family-owned Honda Shipyard in Saiki, Japan, Thorco Liva is a 13,110 gt, 16,901 dwt ship. It is fitted with portable pontoon tween decks and a pair of 50 tonne capacity cranes. Danish owner Thorco Projects operates more than seventy ships for heavy lifts, oversize and irregular shaped cargoes. The fleet includes seven of these "L" class ships, and sisters Thorco Luna , Thorco Logic and Thorco Logos have also called here for the same purpose.
At Pier 9C the ship will be installing prefabricated steel racks to carry fibreoptic cable. It will likely then proceed to Newington, NH to load the cable as it has done on the three previous visits. Each of those visits was noted in this blog:
Monday, June 7, 2021
THE Alliance's AL5 service had another returnee today. NYK Meteor, one of twelve sister ships that used to be regular callers here for the previous G6 Alliance.
Interestingly, the ship appears to have recently been repainted in traditional NYK colours (it was drydocked in January). It was not repainted in ONE magenta or given a ONE name even though NYK is one of the partners in Ocean Network Express.
The ship was built by Hyundai, Ulsan in 2007 and is registered at 55,534 gt, 65,935 dwt with a capacity of 4922 TEU.
Thursday, June 3, 2021
The Wilhelmsen Lines Large Car and Truck Carrier Tugela paid a visit to Autoport today. Unlike many of its fleet mates it has yet to be repainted on the new colour scheme adopted by the combined Wallenius Wilhelmsen fleet. It is still carrying the original Wilhelmsen orange - or at least what is left of that colour. I have noted before that the last go round of paint on the Wilhelmsen ships was a disaster as the paint began to rust through and fade very quickly. I put it down to a combination of poor surface preparation and possibly low quality paint.
Even back in 2018 when I last took a photo of the ship its paint was looking pretty sad. However like most ships these days they are only repainted in drydock and then only on a regular docking schedule of at least five years or more. Gone are the days when the crew is overside painting ship when in port. That only occurs now when ships change name or port of registry, far away from any shipyard.
Tugela was built in 2011 by Hyundai Ulsan, so should be heading back to drydock this year or early next year. The 72,295 gt, 28,837 dwt ship has a capacity of 7,934 cars.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
As previously reported THE Alliance (HAPAG-Lloyd, Yang Ming, ONE, Hyundai) has been adding larger ships to its EC5 service. Some of those ships will be too large to reach Cerescorp's Fairview Cove terminal and will have to be serviced at PSA Halifax. Today's arrival of Conti Annapurna represents just about the largest ship that can clear the two harbour bridges, which is the controlling factor.
Built in 2004 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan as Pacific Link it is a 90,745 gt, 101,906 dwt ship with a capacity of 8238 TEU, including 700 reefers. The German ship management company NSB Niederelbe renamed the ship in 2016, and it is currently operating for HAPAG-Lloyd. The ship is owned by a number "KG" investment syndicate in Germany.
Conti Annapurna is eastbound for Suez, having skipped its westbound call from Suez in mid-May.