Saturday, July 31, 2021

New Faces in New Places

 Two first time callers put in to Halifax July 31.

At PSA Halifax it was CMA CGM Jules Verne another of the Ultra size ships on the Columbus JAX service. Built in 2013 by Daewoo, Okpo. it is a 176,435 gt, 186,470 dwt ship with a capacity of 16,020 TEU. Built to the same design (Daewoo 16000) as the current "largest container ship in Halifax" title holder CMA CGM Marco Polo, the Verne may be a few gross tons smaller than the Polo. However as a calculated (rather than measured) description of the ship's cubic capacity, gross tonnage is not a fair comparison. In terms of lifting capacity, deadweight tonnage may be a better gauge. Verne's 186,470 dwt is just shy of Polo's 187,625 tonnes. Nevertheless both ships have the same hull dimensions ( 396m x 53.6m) and declared container cafrrying capacity.

I will leave it up to someone more fastidious about these things than I am to declare a winner.

At the other end of the harbour, IT International Telecom welcomed the Offshore Construction Vessel Siem Dorado arriving from Aberdeen, Scotland.

Built in 2009 by Kleven Ulsteinvik in Norway, it is a 4869 gt, 4257 dwt vessel, equipped with the usual variety of thrusters. Coupled with a diesel electric propulsion system, it has a high grade dynamic positioning capability. It is also equipped with a 100 tonne capacity, heave compensating crane, equipment to support an ROV including a moon pool, not to mention the obvious helicopter landing platform.
Owner Siem Offshore AS is the parent company of Secunda Canada LP, but this ship appears to be directed by the parent company. It was built as Siem Dorado but carried the names Adams Vision 2010-2013, Siem Stork 2013-2015 and Siem N-Sea 2015-2019. The ship was laid up in 2020 and has been reactivated for whatever work IT has for it. I am not aware of any application for a coasting license, so the work is likely well offshore, outside territorial waters.


Friday, July 30, 2021

ONE Helsinki - big ship for Fairview Cove

 Fairview Cove operators Cerescorp and shipping consortium THE Alliance continue to push the envelope for larger and larger ships. Today's (July 30) arrival of ONE Helsinki is another example.

Built in 2012 by IHI, Kure as Helsinki Bridge the 96,801gt, 96,980 dwt ship has a capacity of 8930 TEU according to most sources. K-Line renamed the ship in 2020 as part of the Ocean Network Express amalgamation of the primary Japanese container lines. It is now one of about a dozen ships on THE Alliance's EC5 service. Ships are constantly being changed, and some are too large for Fairview Cove and have been assigned to PSA Halifax. There will also be a number of cancelled or "blanked" east bound sailings as the lines try to maintain schedules as they contend with port congestion and delays.

With the expansion of the Panama Canal, completed in 2016, the ONE Helsinki is well within the Neo Panamax limits.  It measures 334.5m long x 45.6m wide, versus the new 366m x 55m maximum.

At some point the ship's capacity was increased by increasing the allowable stack height on deck. This was done in part by adding a secondary navigation bridge atop the original bridge.The required forward visibility requirement was maintained while adding at least one more container on most stacks.

To maintain the lowest possible air draft the height of all fixed equipment was minimized, and various masts and antennas were built to be lowered or folded down.

Thanks to this feature the ship was able to squeeze under the MacKay bridge with lots of clearance (at low tide). 

For the record, tug assistance was provided by Atlantic Bear as stern tethered escort. Port side: Atlantic Oak. Starboard side: Atlantic Fir, shifting to port side, once into Bedford Basin.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

NH Siri at Imperial

 Siri is in fact a Norwegian female surname. And it was a Norwegian woman friend of one of the original developers whose name was given to the voice activated Apple personal assistant. It is therefore perhaps not surprising that a Norwegian owned tanker should bear that name too. NH Siri is owned by Nyhill Shipping + Trading AS of Bergen. Founded in 2006 by Ketil Nystad and Stig Hilland, it was a spin off of Jo Tankers.

The ship was built in 2010 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan as Gan-Triumph it is a 29,680 gt, 49,999 dwt MidRange tanker, and acquired and renamed by Nyhill in 2019. As with all the eight NH tankers it operates within a "tanker pool", in this case likely the fast growing Maersk MR Pool.

The ship arrived at Imperial Oil's number 3 dock from Beaumont, TX.


Monday, July 26, 2021

Bluenose II - arrival armada

 This year marks the 100th anniversary of the launch of the original schooner Bluenose. To commemorate the event the controversial, and much rebuilt (but still beloved) replica Bluenose II will be touring Atlantic Canada. It will not be spending much time in Halifax, with today's visit to an anchorage off Bedford as its only Halifax call. Due to COVID restrictions imposed earlier in the year all sail tours were cancelled, although there will be "open deck" at some port calls. See the 2021 schedule here

The Bluenose II's arrival in Halifax today was a foggy drizzly affair, but there were some spectators on the waterfront. The more interesting aspect, at least to me, was the flotilla of harbour craft on hand to greet the schooner.

Scotia Pilot, inbound from an assignment joined the party.

HMCS Oriole went out earlier in the morning to greet the arrival.

YDT 325 Defender is a Canadian navy "Cutter, Area Command" a 32 footer built by ABCO as a patrol and workboat, and works under the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic.

The harbour tug Atlantic Oak also went out to great Bluenose II and accompany it inbound.

Dominion Enforcer is one of the two new tugs built in the Netherlands for Dominion Diving Ltd.

Sister tug Dominion Rumbler  also joined the party.

Ocean Seeker owned by Kraken Robotics, and based at the C.O.V.E. in Dartmouth has been conducting seabed mapping in the area in recent weeks. It is the former RCMP Murray.

Alutasi is Canada's first hybrid diesel / battery - electric powered 12 plus passenger boat. The former Peggy's Cove Express has been retrofitted with lithium-ion batteries and now carries out some of its fishing tours using slow speed (and quiet) electric power.

Carrying the identifier 1C-2870 this RHIB is operates as a private patrol boat by Sma'knis Maritime Safety + Security Inc, based at the C.O.V.E. in Dartmouth.

Local  builders Rosborough Boats turns out a wide variety of craft (such as the RHIB in previous photo). This twin hull centre console is a new type to me. Outboard motors, as they increase in power for small size,  are becoming more popular as a means of propulsion where inboard used to be the norm.

The Coast Guard lifeboat Hare Bay was part of the flotilla. Delivered by Chantier Naval Forillon in Gaspe in May, the boat is temporarily assigned to Sambro while the local boat is in refit. Hare Bay will be assigned to Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador.

CCGS Ann Harvey returning from SAR East patrol brought an end to the escorts. On loan from the Newfoundland region while Halifax based boats are in refit or are reassigned, it has now been joined by the George R. Pearkes also from Newfoundland.


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Castillo de Navia - for CFIA inspection

 The big bulk carrier Castillo de Navia anchored in the harbour this afternoon July 25 for Asian Gypsy Moth inspection by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The ship's most recent port was Ingleside (Corpus Christi), TX but it has apparently been in Asia recently enough to be at risk of carrying the larvae.

Owned by the Spanish company Naviera Trans Iron SL, it is a bulk ore carrier, registered in Malta. At 66,687 gt, 119,612 dwt  it would be classed as a NeoPanamax size vessel. It was built in 2015 by Shanhaiguan SY in Qinhuangdo, China. 

A close inspection of the photo revealed white structures forward of midships, which look like the pump house and derrick masts used by oil tankers to rig cargo hoses. The ship is not fitted to carry liquid cargoes, so these must be part of a hold ventilation system. Humidity control is critical to prevent liquefaction. This process causes some solid cargoes to behave like liquids, and results in the cargo shifting, imperiling the stability of the ship. Several bulk carrier losses have been blamed on liquefaction, and many ships are now built with hold ventilation.

The vent stacks are on the right of the photo (#2 arrow).

The red and white stacks (#1 arrow) are on shore behind the ship and are part of Canadian Forces Base Shearwater's gas fired central heating plant.

Between the two arrows, on deck, near the head of the accommodation ladder there are two people in white coveralls, one in blue and another with a high visibility vest. I did not see them until I had enlarged the photo on the computer. They are likely the CFIA inspectors with a crew member escorting them around the ship.

The ship is scheduled to depart Number 1 anchorage at 1730 hrs ADT bound for Sept-Iles, QC to take on a cargo of iron ore.


Saturday, July 24, 2021

Torrens from Autoport

Yesterday's arrivals consisted of two autocarriers. The first was Don Quijote covered in yesterday's  post. While it was working cargo at Autoport another Wallenius Wilhelmsen ship was unloading machinery across the harbour at Pier 31. It was the Torrens, which moved over to Autoport this morning. After unloading a batch of cars from Southampton, Goteborg and Bremerhaven it sailed for New York this afternoon.

The tug Atlantic Oak accompanies Torrens out of Eastern Passage on its way to sea.

Torrens (a Wilhelmsen ship) is quite different looking from yesterday's Wallenius visitor. Built in 2004 by Mitsubishi HI, Nagasaki it is a 61,482 gt, 21,965 dwt ship with a capacity of 6,354 cars. Among the notable features is the immense funnel (which was enlarged to accommodate a retrofitted exhaust gas scrubber.) Also the position of the starboard side ramp is quite different, in part because the ship has never been lengthened.

Torrens is not so recently repainted, so its hull shows a bit more wear and tear, including a very strange series of vertical marks well aft. I never saw the ship in its original Wilhelmsen orange hull paint colour, and it has carried the "new" WW scheme since it started calling here in 2020.

The name "Torrens" comes from Australia where Robert Richard Torrens was a government official and premier in the 1800s. Some geographical features and a university bear his name, as does a system of recording land title now in use in many parts of the world. Wilhelmsen has used the name on several of its previous ships to follow their traditional use of the letter "T" to start all their ship's names.


HMCS Fredericton off to NATO

 HMCS Fredericton sailed this morning for a six month stint with NATO's Operation Reassurance.

A helo made a few low passes and hovered over the deck as the ship made its way outbound. The waterfront was lined with family and well wishers on a warm summer morning, and were rewarded with a single whistle salute.

Fredericton hoisted a huge naval ensign in addition to other flags and signals.

About an hour before Fredericton departed the navy's supply vessel Asterix also put out to sea.

 requires a civilian pilot since it is not a commissioned naval vessel. The duty pilot boat Scotia Pilot accompanied the ship to the pilot station to disembark the pilot.


Friday, July 23, 2021

Don Quijote in fresh paint

 The autocarrier Don Quijote * called in Halifax today, July 23, en route from Zeebrugge to New York. The ship appears in freshly applied paint, believed to have been applied earlier this month while the ship was undergoing inspections in Goteborg. There is some evidence to suggest that its last paint scheme was the EUKOR livery, based on internet photos.

When built in 1998 by Daewoo HI, Okpo, the ship was painted in traditional Wallenius green and white. In 2006 the Hyundai Vinashin Shipyard  in Vietnam lengthened the ship 28m increasing tonnages from 56,893 gt to 67,141 gt and 14,927 dwt to 28,142 dwt. Car capacity increased 20% to 7,194. The new paint appears quite spotless from a distance.

The extension was inserted between the starboard side ramp and the accommodation door, about where the letters "WALL" are located. 

My frequent vantage point in Eastern Passage has grown up to chest height, so I was not able to get a close up view of the paint.

* There have been various spellings of the name of the fictional character in Miguel de Cervantes book - which was written in an older form of the Spanish language. Most spellings try to mimic that old pronunciation,  such as the French Don Quichotte, however the usual English spelling is now Don Quixote - which is really no help at all. Since Wallenius names it ships after operatic characters, it had a choice of a French or a German opera (plus the musical Man of La Mancha), but seems to have chosen neither as its spelling guide. As a Swedish company perhaps Wallenius chose a spelling that would make sense to Swedish speakers.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Trilliums and More

The trillium is a wildflower that at one time was so prolific in Ontario that it became the province's floral emblem. The flower is unknown in Nova Scotia, but today there were two Trilliums in Halifax harbour. Canada Steamship Lines named its 21st century series of Chinese built ships the Trilliums and had two classes constructed. One is for deep sea work and one is primarily for the Great Lakes/St.Lawrence but with some modifications has allowed for coastal voyages.

The deep sea ship are operated by CSL Americas under Bahamas registry, whereas the lakers operate under Canadian flag for Canada Steamship Lines.

Today's Trilliums were of the deep sea variety (too large for the St.Lawrence Seaway) both here to load gypsum. Arriving yesterday afternoon was Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin. Built in 2012 by Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, it is a 43,691 gt, 71,406 dwt self-unloader.

The ship is named for Paul Edgar Philippe Martin QC, CC, QC, 21st Prime Minister of Canada (2003-2006). He was also owner of CSL, which he has apparently developed upon his sons.

The ship sailed this afternoon for Burlington, NJ, but due to its size the ship cannot load completely at the Gold Bond Gypsum dock where there is shallow water. (Burlington, NJ is on the Delaware River, well upstream form Philadelphia, and may have draft restrictions too.)

This evening the second Trillium was inbound from Tampa, FL. - the CSL Tacoma. Built in 2013 by the same shipyards its tonnages are similar at 43,691 gt, 71,552 dwt.

CSL ships have operated on the west coast in the aggregates trade where Tacoma, WA is a common port of call. 

On arrival CSL Tacoma got in ahead of the usual evening fog bank, but outgoing ships would have met the "wall" not far offshore.

IT Intrepid, heading for the Bay of Fundy (see previous post) sailed in bright sunshine (filtered somewhat by the smoke from western forest fires) but could expect a very foggy trip once it "cleared" port.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

New Facility Inaugurated

 A new facility in Halifax harbour became operational today. General Liquids Canada is part of the Municipal group of companies, the largest road building contractor in the province, and thus a major user of asphalt. They already have a large asphalt storage facility adjacent their Rocky Lake quarry, which is has rail accessed with a CN siding. However this new facility is accessible by water, allowing the direct import of asphalt by sea.

The new General Liquids terminal is not highly visible, as it is tucked in between Imperial Oil and Cherubini Metal Works on the north side of Eisner's Cove in Dartmouth, just at the entrance to Eastern Passage from the main harbour.

There are maps and other reference material available on line:


There is a heated storage tank and support facilities, and a heated pipeline running from the Cherubini dock, which permits asphalt tankers to pump asphalt ashore directly into storage. 

Today the tank barge John J. Carrick and tug Leo A. McArthur are delivering the first seaborn cargo of asphalt which was produced by Irving Oil in Saint John, NB.

Ironically the tug and barge are owned by McAsphalt Industries Ltd, which is part of the Miller McAsphalt Corp (in turn owned by the French giant Colas SA)  which is actually a Municipal competitor. McAsphalt has its own terminal in Eastern Passage, adjacent to Autoport, which has sea, road and rail access. Presumably the new General Liquids facility will permit Municipal to bring in asphalt from other sources, although there would be draft limitations at the Cherubini dock, which may restrict deliveries to barges.

I have covered the activities of the integrated tug / barge Leo A. McArthur (formerly Victorious) / John J. Carrick (named for the founders of McAsphalt) in this blog and in companion blog Tugfax. See:


Monday, July 19, 2021

ORP Wodnik

 ORP Wodnik may be the first Polish naval vessel to call in Halifax. Although Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999, its 48 ships have generally remained in Europe. Well known for its impressive sail training ships, Poland also has the naval cadet training vessel Wodnik which arrived in Halifax today, July 19.

Built in 1976 by Stocznia Polnocnej. in Gdansk, the ship was modernized and upgraded in 2020 by Net Marine Power Service. The 1745 tonnes full displacement vessel has a crew of 65 and can carry up to 100 cadets for training. Based in Gdynia, the ship's last port call was in New York. 

What with today's arrival of HMCS Halifax with a confirmed case of COVID-19 aboard, things may be a little tight at HMC Dockyard, but there are undoubtedly some measures in place to ensure the safety of all aboard and ashore.

At one time ships of the Polish fishing fleet were frequent callers in Halifax, and the ConRo ships of the Polish Ocean line POL, but previously their general cargo ships and the famous passenger ship Batory, were also regular callers. They were always beautifully designed and well kept.

Even the trawlers, which experienced very severe conditions winter fishing off Halifax exuded a certain charm (along with some less pleasant emanations.)

Baie St.Paul

 An unusual (and possibly unprecedented) bulk cargo arrived in Halifax today aboard the CSL ship Baie St. Paul. It is unusual to see the ship arriving in Halifax in a loaded condition, as it usually calls here in ballast and loads gypsum. Today's arrival is direct from Grande-Entrée, Magdalen Islands, another of the ship's regular ports, where it loaded a cargo of salt.

Before tying up at Pier 9C the ship transited the Narrows into Bedford Basin where it turned round then proceeded back to Pier 9C, docking starboard side to the dock. In very short order the ship's boom was swung out over the dock and unloading began.

According to CSL's specification sheet for the vessel it can unload at a rate of 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes per hour, and has a capacity of about 35,000 tonnes, or 41,917.96 cubic meters. By late afternoon the ship had completed unloading, with the cargo neatly deposited on shore.

The pile of salt will be surrounded by straw bales to contain erosion, and water cannons have been positioned to suppress dust. I expect it will be trucked away to some other destination(s) over the coming weeks. The tiny shed to the left of the salt pile is one of the Port's de-icing salt storage cribs, so it is unlikely that all this new load is for the Port.

With unloading completed, the Baie St.Paul sailed for the Magdalen Islands, again presenting an unusual sight of this ship sailing in ballast.


HMCS Halifax returns

 It was a subdued return to port for HMCS Halifax this morning, an unfortunate disappointment to families and well wishers after the ship's successful six month plus deployment to NATO. At almost the last minute families were informed that a crew member had tested positive for COVID-19 and the usual arrival festivities were cancelled. After these lengthy absences families are usually allowed admittance to HMC Dockyard to greet loved ones.

It was a suitably gloomy and muggy day for the ship's return, and only a portion of the ship's compliment appeared on deck compared to its New Year's Day departure when the rails were lined with crew.

No details were made available regarding how the COVID-19 virus (or which variety) entered the ship, nor how a quarantine regime will be implemented. The ship did stop in Iceland for a courtesy visit on its way back from Europe. It also passed very close to land as it passed Newfoundland earlier this week.


Sunday, July 18, 2021

IT Intrepid to repair a cable

 The specialist cable ship IT Intrepid arrived this evening July 17 to prepare for a cable repair project. The ship, owned by the Halifax based IT International Telecom, is equipped for cable laying and repair and is positioned to respond to cable projects in the eastern Atlantic, coast of North America and the Caribbean. It is registered in Barbados and must apply for coasting license to operate in Canadian waters. The Minister of Public Safety, following a recommendation by the Canadian Transportation Authority, usually grants such a license as no Canadian flagged ship is capable of the highly sophisticated work.

IT Intrepid approached its berth at Pier 9A just as a light drizzle began.

A regular caller in Halifax since built by Swan Hunter in 1989 as Sir Eric Sharp for Cable + Wireless, the ship has been more frequently in Halifax since acquired by IT in 2005.

The ship has been tasked with repairing a damaged section of subsea fibre cable in the Bay of Fundy, which runs from St.Martin's, NB to Mosher's Corner, NS. The section, up to the shore end, will be replaced and spliced into the existing cable. A ROV and cable plow will be used, tied into the ship's Dynamic Positioning system.

While in Halifax the ship will load the new cable and board the cable repair crew, including splicing gear. There will be up to seventy people aboard for the work which is to take place between July 21 and 28. On completion the ship will return to Halifax to unload the scrap cable, equipment and personnel.


Saturday, July 17, 2021


     The best I could manage today July 17 was outbound photos of two port callers. Most ship photographers prefer views from forward, but a "going away" shot is better than nothing.

First departure was the Liberian flag, but Russian owned Olympiysky Prospect, built in 2010 by Hyundai, Samho, it is a 62,504 gt, 113,905 dwt Aframax LR2 tanker. Owned by Sovcomflot (SCF) of Russia, it is named for a street in Moscow.

The ship is sailing from Libya with crude oil for Point Tupper, NS and anchored in Halifax for Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspection for Asian gypsy moth. The cargo will be stored by Nu-Star terminals and forwarded to US refineries as needed. Due to its size, and nature of its cargo the ship took two pilots and had an escort tug inbound and outbound.

The ship made the news May 2, 2021 when off Libya it responded to a vessel in distress with 95 people aboard trying to escape from Libya. Instead of calling European rescue ships, it waited for a Libyan vessel to retrieve the migrants and return them to Libya. This action received widespread condemnation in the press. 

The other outbound is the much photographed (at least by me) EM Kea sailing from Montreal and bound for Bremerhaven on the joint Maersk (Canada Express) CMA CGM (St-Laurent 1) service.

Built by Stocznia Szczecinska Nowa in Poland in 2007 it is a 35,824 gt, 42,166 dwt ship with a capacity of 3108 TEU. It was originally called Cap Norte and renamed Cap Edmont in 2012 for charters to Hamug-Sud. In 2015 it was acquired by a subsidiary of Euroseas Ltd, a 14 ship Greek shipowning and management company. They also manage the ship though their affiliated Eurobulk Ltd. 

One of four ships on the service, it is the CMA CGM contribution - the other ships, Maersk Penang, Maersk Palermo, and Maersk Patras (all 2890 TEU) are contributed by A.P.Moller-Maersk.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Strange Comings and Goings

 A pair of unusual callers passed each other coming and going this morning, July 13. The first ship to arrive was MSC Melissa, en route from New York to Montreal. The ship anchored in the lower harbour, did not work any cargo, and sailed within four hours. Although there was no notice that it was undergoing Asian Gypsy moth inspection that may have been the reason for its visit.

The lightly loaded MSC Melissa spent a few hours at anchor.

Built for MSC in 2002  by Hyundai, Ulsan, the 73,819 gt, 85,786 dwt vessel has a capacity of 6730 TEU including 400 reefers. Previous ports were Le Havre, June 30 - July 2 and Antwerp June 23-27, New York July 10-11.

The arrival of the next ship was timed so that they could meet conveniently, with the inbound ship taking the western channel.

The inbound Navios Constellation with three tugs, passes York Redoubt in the western, deep water, channel.

Navios Constellation dates from 2011 when it was built by Samsung, Koje as Hanjin Spain. In 2017 it became Asklipios, becoming Navios Constellation in 2019. It is a 113,412 gt, 118,814 dwt ship with a capacity of 9954 TEU including 1400 reefers. The ship has called here before. As Asklipios it was here   September 1, 2017  for ZIM.

Its visit today is for THE Alliance's EC5 service, which normally would be handled at Cerescorp's Fairview Cover terminal. However the ship is too large to pass beneath the harbour bridges and will instead berth at PSA Halifax. Although it is uncommon, the two competing terminals do cooperate from time to time. They are expected to do so again later this month when soister sip Aristomenis ex Hanjin Netherlands will also call at PSA Halifax. Rumours persist that PSA will acquire the lease on Fairview Cove, but nothing has been conformed. 

Once Navios Constellation had reached the area off PSA Halifax, MSC Melissa was outbound in the main channel.

Shooting directly into the sun posed problems for photos - hence the odd coloration of the above images.


Monday, July 12, 2021

All out at Irving Oil

 Irving Oil's Woodside terminal has been the busiest place in Halifax harbour with three ships in three days.

First in was the Dee4 Elm (see July 10 ) It had unloaded part cargo at Saint John, NB before arriving here.

It did not take long to pump off the rest of the cargo, and by early this morning (July 12) the ship was on its way back for Amsterdam.

Meanwhile Irving Oil's domestic fleet tanker Acadian had arrived and anchored until the berth was available.

It only took twelve hours to unload its cargo and then it headed for Saint John. Meanwhile the next ship arrived. This time it is from Amsterdam directly, and it is Kibaz.

It is not often that these product tankers make repeat trips to Halifax, but this is the third time I have recorded this tanker. The first time was March 28, 2020 and the second was May 4, 2021. I still have no explanation for the name.