Thursday, September 30, 2021

Business, more or less as usual

 September 30 was observed as a Canada's first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. However it was not declared as a statutory holiday, so some businesses remained open. Others closed out of respect for Canada's indigenous population and in particular the victims of the residential schools program.

Even the port of Halifax did not have a consistent approach. PSA Halifax reduced its truck gate hours to a half day - 0800 to 1200 but Cerescorp kept its truck gate closed for the day. Both terminals had ships alongside however, and they were worked as usual.

At PSA Halifax it was a first time caller, CMA CGM J. Madison. It was built in 2018 by Hyundai, Ulsan and is a 140,872 gt,, 147,966 dwt ship with a capacity of 14,414 TEU. It certainly appeared well loaded with containers stacked seven to eight high on deck.

There are reports that PSA Halifax has confirmed its order for another super post-panamax crane, which it certainly could use if it is to handle two ships of this size at the same time.

Cerescorp was also handling a very large ship for its facility. ONE Hangzhou Bridge is a 96,760 gt, 96,980 dwt ship with a capacity of 9120 TEU. It was built for K-Line by IHI Kure in 2012 as Hangzhou Bay Bridge and renamed in January 2021 and given its new hull colour. The ship made its first call here on THE Alliance's EC5 service June 28, 2021 and is scheduled again for October 20.

Fairview Cove could also use a new crane to replace the old crane at the far end of the pier. It seems to be out of service. ONE Hangzhou Bridge shares the pier with the Nolhan Ava which makes its usual weekly sailing to Argentia and St-Pierre on Fridays.

Imperial Oil also had an arrival today. Quartz brought in a cargo of refined product from Beaumont, TX.

The ship is operated by Sinokor Petrochemical Co and was built by SPP Shipbuilding Co, Incheon, South Korea in 2015. The ship is a 29,767 gt, 49,990 MidRange type.

At Pier 9C it was a return call for the United States flag bulk carrier SLNC Severn. It was here for the first time June 26, 2021 for a compliance inspection by Transport Canada.

This time the ship appeared to be taking bunker fuel (under the watchful eye of the Canada Border Services Agency). The ship's operators Schuyler Lines Navigation Company (SLNC) have been carrying aggregates from Auld's Cove, Strait of Canso, where there are no bunkering facilities. The ship has also been reported in the South Atlantic (Saint Helena), and Cape Verde and the Canary Islands recently. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Morning, Night and Noon

 The PCTC (Pure Car and Truck Carrier) Morning Claire arrived yesterday morning at Autoport and after discharging automobiles it moved over to Pier 31 to offload non-automobile RoRo cargo. Unusually for a car carrier it spent the night in port and sailed at noon time today.

The ship was built by Shin Kurushima in Toyohashi, Japan in 2012. At 60,928 gt and 16,491 dwt it has a capacity of 6502 CEU.  The ship delivers cars built in "The land of morning calm" (Korea) and is part of an 80+ ship EUKOR fleet. Not only does South Korea compete with Japan in car construction, EUKOR competes with the big Japanese car carrier companies such as K-Line and NYK and MOL. It is therefore more than ironic that the ship was built in Japan.

Hyundai and Kia own only 20% of EUKOR, and ship all their products exclusively by Eukor. Wallenius and Wilhelmsen each own 40% of EUKOR, through various subsidiaries. 

As a side note, the ship used the western channel outbound, and it was all I could do to keep it within the confines of my lens when it passed Ferguson's Cove.

Monday, September 27, 2021

Cape Corfu - new in town

Today (September 27) saw the first of several unscheduled container ships to call over the next weeks. These ships have been brought in to deal with delays in  other ports (meaning ships cannot meet schedules), accumulations of empty containers, and a high demand for westbound transatlantic freight from northern Europe.

Cape Corfu is an almost brand new ship, that just entered service at the end of June when it was delivered by Guangzhou Wenchong. Cape Shipping SA (based in Greece) had a moderate sized fleet of bulkers, but for some reason decided, as far back as 2015, decided to order some container ships. That seems to have paid off incredibly well as current demand for ships is extraordinary, and westbound transatlantic freight rates have nearly doubled in the past year.

The 31,22 gt, 37,025 dwt ship has a capacity of 2756 TEU, which would have been considered uneconomical, except as a feeder ships, until this year.

The ship displays lots of strange hieroglyphics on the hull - most of which may be worn off by contact with tugs. For the time being however they mark hull station lines, bulkhead locations and stacking instruction symbols for container loading. Others marks - including the staggered "o" and "oo"s are a mystery. (They may apply to various positions of the pilot ladder.)

Another notable feature is the cell guide / lashing frames on deck. This is a relatively new feature on the main deck of container ships, and may be a welcome response to many incidents involving boxes lost at sea, particularly in the Pacific. It also apparently allows for an increase in the height of boxes stacked on deck. Few ships of this size would carry six high boxes - even amidships. Due to the fine lines of the ship fore and aft I would therefore be concerned about parametric rolling, and extra lashings would be good idea! [see footnote]

From the look of the containers, the ship is working for THE Alliance, and more than likely for partner HAPAG-Lloyd, but is not necessarily following one of the regular routes. It is sailing from Rotterdam, but its next port has not been posted yet.

The ship does not have stowage or holds aft of the superstructure. The poop deck is given over to the free fall lifeboat and a huge Masada brand provisions / stores crane (Jiangsu Masada Ship Machinery Co Ltd, licensed to use Mitsubishi crane technology).  

It appears that the ship is equipped with an exhaust gas scrubber system and only a very small shroud around the exhaust stacks - too small to be called a funnel. Instead the ship displays a blue over white over blue painted panel on the side of the house for the company colours.


I have been accused of being too technical, but for those who are interested, here is a good explanation of parametric rolling:


Sunday, September 26, 2021

The way it was at Richmond Terminals Pier 9 to Pier 9C

 The Richmond Terminals area, Piers 9 to 9C, at the extreme north end of the harbour, are not highly active parts of the waterfront these days. Of the three large transit sheds, only one remains in use as such. The Pier 9 shed (once a Volvo assembly plant) is now used as a warehouse by Halifax Shipyard. The Pier 9A shed is now the home to IT International Telecom and does see some ships transferring specialized cargo including cable or undergoing refit.

Only the Pier 9B shed is used for freight. Lately it has been used to transfer cargo from rail car to container (mostly paper products as far as I can tell) and stainless steel wire for tire manufacturing.

The extra height boxcar is dedicated to paper transport, and is a rare Golden West reporting mark for Southern Pacific. Note the three Nova Scotia Power smoke stacks peeking above the roof. They are from the company's Tufts Cove generating station, which now burns natural gas, but was built for coal and oil

The open Pier 9C was recently rebuilt and provides a hard surfaced open area, which has has seen a variety of uses for project or bulk cargoes such as coal, and is now storing salt (see recent posts), but was also used as an offshore oil and gas service base.  

Before the most recent rebuild, Pier 9C was a large gravel surfaced open shoreline. It had been used to store bulk coal, seen here in 2004, but was mostly used for trailer storage.

Although the entire Pier 9B, 9C area may  look underutlized, it is a useful resource for odd cargoes, and a good place to tie up ships for repairs or short term layups. Oceanex Sanderling was there a week ago for repairs.

There is also the rarely used "Marine Terminal" at Pier 9 where a pipeline runs up to Wilson's Fuels storage tanks on Barrington Street. Originally Petrofina tanks, they have been used infrequently recently to receive fuel from Newfoundland, and to refuel some ships. Wilson's have sold the terminal and storage facility to Couche-Tard along with its Wilson's gas stations in the region, so it remains to be seen what the future will bring for the terminal.

In 1970 the tanker Texaco Chief delivered cargo to Petrofina via the pipeline from Pier 9 to the Barrington Street Marine Terminal. At the time, the shed to the right was a Volvo car assembly plant.

Volvo received crated and palletized car components from Sweden via early container ships (converted cargo ships). They were unloaded by shore cranes. This arrangement was discontinued when Atlantic Container Line began its container and RoRo service.  
(In the background Halifax Shipyard is busy building an oil rig.)

Hother Isle was built in 1956 by Howaldswerke, Hamburg as the general cargo ship Christiane, and in 1969 was lengthened 12m and converted to carry containers. It lasted until 1986 under numerous owners and names.

The sheds were built in the early 1960s to take pressure off the Deepwater Piers sheds in the southend, where the container pier was to be built. There was also a planned service to Newfoundland using side door ships with forklift loading (which in the end was short lived.) Among the users of the sheds in the late 1960s and into the 1970s was Saguenay Shipping and various other South American shipping lines such as Compania Sud American de Vapores (Chile) , Cia Peruana de Vapores, Columbiana Internacional de Vapores, and perhaps others, using their own ships and various tramps. These were generally state of the art express general cargo ships of fine lines and are still regarded as the epitome of ship aesthetics. 

Garcilaso at Pier 9C. Note only one stack at NS Power, Tuft's Cove in 1970.

Garcilaso was built by Wartsila, Turku, Finland in 1969 for Cia Peruana de Vapores SA. It lasted until 1994 when broken up in Peru.

 Anamilena from Colombiana Internacional de Vapores at Pier 9C in 1971 (by then there were two stacks at Tuft's Cove.)

Anamelina was built by Sociedad Espanola ce Construccion Naval  in Matagorda, Spain in 1968 but seems to have been repo'd in 1973. It served under six subsequent names and six flags until 2012 when its listing was dropped as "existence in doubt". 

Bordagain loading - it was a messy job with slings and forklifts speeding around.
The A.Murray MacKay bridge in the background did not open officially until July 10, 1970.

Bordagain built in 1958 by Redhead, South Shields, was Baron Garioch for H.Hogarth until 1968. It lasted until 1982 when it was broken up in Bombay. 

In the pre-container days when all cargo was "hand bombed" in slings, or on pallets, the Richmond Terminals were constantly busy with ships in port at all times. Cargo was transferred to / from rail or truck via the sheds from / to the ships and was very labour intensive.  It was the "last gasp" for conventional cargo ships that within a few years were relegated to third world service as container ships took over lucrative cargo work.

Hadjitsakos was another of the handsome general cargo ships.

AG Weser in Hamburg built the Hadjitsakos in 1956 for a Stavros G. Livanos company, and placed the corporate emblem on the bow. (See my September 15 post for a recent Livanos arrival in Halifax.) The ship was sold in 1972 but lasted until 1986 when it was scrapped in Aliaga.

The German ships tended to be the best looking:

Back to 1970 again, with only one chimney at Tuft's Cove, Poseidon is tied up at Pier 9C, but appears to be idle.

Built in 1952 by Flender, Lubeck, Poseidon was sold in 1971 then resold in 1981. As Viki K its owners secretly unloaded the ship's cargo in Egypt  then scuttled the ship and claimed on the insurance for ship and cargo.

British built ships were also good looking, although slightly more conservative in design.

Atlantic Fury with an inexplicable hole in its bow, joins fleet mate Hadjitsakos at Pier 9B.

Atlantic Fury was a 1960 product of Furness Shipbuilding, Haverton Hill, when it was built as Duke of Mistra. Livanos acquired and renamed the ship in 1965 and sold it on in 1975. It went through several names and owners until scrapped in 1983 on Gadani Beach.

Just to conclude the story of the smoke stacks, Nova Scotia Power Corp built the first part of the generating station boilers in 1965, known as Tufts Cove #1. Tufts Cove #2 was completed in 1972 and Tufts Cove #3 in 1976. Each boiler has its own 500 foot high (152 meters) chimney.

Oceanex Sanderling in port for repairs tied up at Pier 9B with the Tufts Cove generating station in the background. I usually attempt not to get the chimneys in the picture, but the red and white colours on ship and stacks were too good a target to miss. Even from a distance the chimneys tend to stand out.

NYK Constellation arriving September 25 has passed Richmond Terminals and Tuft's Cove and is about to pass under the A.Murray MacKay bridge. The extra wide angle lens was needed to include the entire 1398 ft (426 meters) of the main span. 

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Idiot Factor

The Idiot Factor I refer to is a non-scientific measurement which operates in direct proportion to the number of Personal Water Craft. The more PWC's - the more idiots. However there is an "escalator clause" which increases the ratio close to 1:1 as relates to rental operations. Apparently anyone with a credit card can rent a PWC on Halifax harbour and are thus entitled to risk their own and other's lives with impunity.

Hardly a day goes by tat I don't see someone taking an unnecessary chance with one of these craft. Today took the cake however as HMCS Montreal had to warn off several of these pests with whistle signals - not once, not twice, but three times.

The frigate was exercising in Bedford Basin when it was "swarmed" by three PWCs, cutting close in under the ship's bows. Certainly a mindless maneuver, even if the ship was operating at slow speed. And of course there was no means of identifying the operators  - except by someone like me who took pictures.
 (They should be equipped with GPS trackers like those silly road scooters that are also heavy on Idiot Factor.)


Containers Tell Tales

 Shipping containers don't have to talk to tell stories. This morning's arrival (September 25) of the ship NYK Constellation is a moving history of several developments in the shipping world.

NYK Constellation is still owned by NYK Lines, but NYK is one of the founding companies, along with MOL and K Line of ONE, Ocean Network Express.  Containers from each of the component companies will still be seen for years to come. As new containers are delivered, they will be marked for ONE in the vibrant magenta colour chosen by the line. ONE was formed to ensure that Japan had a larger presence in the shipping world as other lines were consolidating and growing larger and more competitive. Their containers (and ships) certainly stand out.

NYK Constellation is sailing for THE Alliance on its AL5 service. THE Alliance members are HAPAG-Lloyd, Yang Ming and HMM and therefore it is not surprising to see HAPAG-Lloyd boxes. However it may not be as obvious that the UASC (United Arab Shipping Company) boxes share a common ownership. UASC merged with H-L in 2016 and has since been absorbed by H-L. Ironically UASC is the largest shareholder in H-L. UASC was majority owned by the governments of Qatar (51%), Saudi Arabia (35%), Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates at the time of the merger.

A more recent acquisition by H-L is NileDutch, just purchased in March of this year. A line with a strong presence in West Africa, it operated ten liner services, which will now presumably be merged into H-L. It was a rare sight to see a NileDutch (light blue) container today.

The large number of other containers on view include those of the many container leasing and logistic companies, too numerous to expand upon, such as UES, Magellan, Chronos, Florens (which has included Dong Fang since 2016), TEX, CAI and Beacon. Also of note is Seaco Global,  indirectly owned through Global Sea Containers by Bohai Leasing in turn controlled by the now bankrupt HNA Group. The latter was a huge Chinese based publicly traded financing and investment company. 

Some containers are virtually anonymous, with perhaps only a small logo as identity (in addition to the unique reporting marks that all containers are required to carry.) Many however carry the name in very large scale, particularly if the box belongs to a shipping company. Even then, very little other information is usually provided.

CMA CGM may have been among the first to take advantage of a little more free advertising space when it proclaimed that its "eco containers" had bamboo flooring. (A fast growing and supposedly environmentally friendly material.)

I have noted previously that ZIM has taken the next steps by promoting is "ZIMonitor" box tracking system for its temperature controlled boxes, and the "Z Factor" on its dry cans. 

Now however ZIM appears to have upped the ante in a game I do not approve of. They have apparently now taken to using their boxes to advertise others.

Alibaba, another of those gigantic and scary conglomerates, under Chinese government influence, may be the first to advertise on shipping containers, but I hope it is also the last. I do not need to see ships looking like floating hockey rinks with the boards plastered with advertising. (I'm still boycotting the NHL for that one).

Yes I have become a curmudgeon (in this matter anyway) and an unrepentant one.

And lastly - all containers are not freight containers - witness this one spotted in August on the ship Aristomenis.

The Port of Halifax has shore power available for cruise ships, but so far at least, not for container ships, but that should be possible. Ships still use a lot of power while docked, particularly if they are carrying reefer containers. Exhaust gas from the ships' diesel generators is a notable polluter.

(Another incidental story: HMM is the "new" name of Hyundai Merchant Marine, which it was adopted when the company was reorganized to stave off financial collapse.)

Some ACL ships also carry lab containers that are fitted out with water sampling and other measurement devices for ocean science, in association with Dalhousie University. ACL should have lots of room for labtainers, at least on its eastbound trips, if the very vacant looking Atlantic Sun is any indicator.

On its arrival from Norfolk this evening on its eastbound leg, hardly a container was visible on deck forward. Export cargo from the US must be at an all time low.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Captain Jim Report Released

 The Transportation Safety Board of Canada report into the sinking of the workboat Captain Jim has now been released. It is very detailed as expected, and describes the circumstances of the vessel's loss and the drowning death of one of its crew members on January 29, 2019 in a position 2.8 nautical miles from Eastern Passage, NS. It also draws specific conclusions about the causes and presents recommendations for prevention of future occurences.

Note the stoppers in the freeing ports in this photo.

 I will not attempt to summarize all the information in the report, which can be found at:

TSB M19A0025

Built in 1989 the boat was put to work in Halifax harbour in 2004 and performed a number of functions as a tug/workboat, dive tender, and for personnel transfers. 

The TSB report focuses on the very low freeboard, with clearing ports so close to the water line, and the deck openings which were weather tight, but not water tight.

Note the freeing ports would be largely submerged when the boat was underway, thus relying on the freeing port stoppers to prevent water from accumulating on deck.

The stoppers are more visible in this photo taken while the boat was in refit in Eastern Passage in 2009.




Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Where are the ships - Part 3

 The container ships that had been anchored off Halifax, came in to port today, September 22, one each for PSA Halifax and Cerescorp, Fairview Cove.[ See previous post.]

First in at an early hour this morning was Conti Contessa tying up at Fairview Cove on THE Alliance's EC5 service.

Late in the afternoon it was time for MSC Shristi for PSA Halifax. Atlantic Fir came alongside first to push the ship's turn, with Atlantic Oak standing by to come alongside near the ship's starboard bow. Interestingly the ship used the Western / Deep Water channel, which the pilot referred to as the "Main Channel" when communicating with a sail boat.

The ship anchored off Halifax September 19 en route from New York to Montreal. It still does not show on Montreal schedules and PSA Halifax gives it a voyage number XA135A, which may mean that it is an "extra loader" - not scheduled and just here to pick up or redistribute empties. On the other hand it may be here just to lighten its load to meet St.Lawrence River draft restrictions.

Rock On

Gypsum Integrity arrived at sunset this evening, making an interesting sight as it approached the MacKay bridge, with the tug Atlantic Beaver Bear en route to Gold Bond to load gypsum (rock).


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Where are the ships - Part 2

In partial answer to my September 18 post, wondering about the dearth of container ships in Halifax recently, there was some activity today, September 21.

MSC Weser, which arrived in Halifax September 5 put out to sea today for trials. It did not take long to confirm that whatever the problem had been, the ship was now fit for service and it soon returned to port. It tied up at Pier 41 and began to load (or re-load) cargo.

The ship will be re-joining MSC's Canada Gulf Bridge service. It was en route from Philadelphia to Montreal when it arrived here, and will now continue that voyage. It normally sails from Montreal to Corner Brook and Saint John then on to Freeport, Bahamas and Mexico. That service does not call in Halifax.

Since the ship was completely unloaded on its arrival in Halifax, it was in ballast for today's trials. Just what it may be loading now is a bit of a mystery. Presumably whatever cargo it had for Canada could have been forwarded by tuck and rail by now, and outbound cargo could also have been sent here. However the ship is due in Montreal September 25, sailing September 26.

Another Montreal-bound MSC ship anchored off Halifax September 19. MSC Shristi was en route from New York when it made a "hard left" and anchored offshore.

As seen at a distance from Halifax the ship appears to be reasonably well laden, but perhaps not fully loaded. It was due in Montreal September 21, but has since been removed from MSC schedules. It is now due in Halifax tomorrow, September 22.

Built as Venice Bridge in 2005 by Hyundai, Ulsan, it is a 54,519 gt, 64,989 dwt ship with a capacity of 4738 TEU including 374 reefers. In 2019 it was renamed Baltic East under MSC management and in 2020 became MSC Shristi.

Also coming to anchor off Halifax today is the Conti Contessa, a sizable ship on THE Alliance's EC5 route (Far Est / Med/ East Coast North America). Built as Ital Contessa by Samsung, Koje in 2006 it measures a hefty 90,449gt, 101,007 dwt with a considerable container capacity of 8084, including 700 reefers. It became Conti Contessa in 2019 under Conti11 Schiffahrts ownership and Niederelbe management.

The ship appears to be heavily loaded, but is scheduled to transit the Narrows to Fairview Cove tomorrow, September 22. Based on its German ownership, it is likely filling some of HAPAG-Loyd's tonnage commitment to THE Alliance. (With ONE, Yang Ming and HMM.)

It is a large ship for the Narrows, so its airdraft must be minimized. 

Also at the Fairview Cove terminal today was NYK Rumina, a 55,487 gt, 66,171 dwt ship built by Hyundai, Samho in 2010.

The ship has a capacity of 4922 TEU, including 330 reefers, and it is on THE Alliance's AL5 service, which connects western Europe with the west coast of North America. Its last European port is Antwerp and first and last North American port is Halifax, so it is in competition with several other lines on the North Atlantic. 

One prominent and highly reliable Halifax subscription news source stated earlier this week that PSA's takeover of the Cerescorp / NYK operation at Fairview Cove is a "done deal" awaiting regulatory approval from Competition Bureau Canada. No date was given for when the green light will be illuminated, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out if it is approved (which seems likely).
Major investment in equipment is needed at Fairview Cove, and is underway at PSA Halifax's Southend Container Terminal (formerly Halterm.)

Some shuffling of shipping lines is also expected, in part to ease road traffic issues in downtown Halifax. The city will be entering a period of extreme congestion when major re-developments of several roadways are set to begin soon. Keeping heavy truck traffic off the peninsula's streets (and onto trains) should be a top priority.

Halifax has so far avoided the congestion that is backlogging ports in many regions, but careful management of landside activity will be required. As one pundit stated recently "ports are a mess, but shipping company profits are at record highs." 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Baie St.Paul with the last of the salt

 The CSL self-unloader Baie St.Paul discharged what I believe is the last load of winter road salt at Pier 9C today. The ship was due at the Halifax pilot station at 0030 hrs this morning September 20. It would have tied up at the dock around 0200hrs, having sailed into Bedford Basin, turned and secured starboard side to the dock.  It likely started to unload within minutes. By 0800 hrs unloading was complete, and a pilot was ordered for 0900 hrs. I took the photo below at 0851 hrs. In the event the ship did not sail until after 1000 hrs.

This was the fourth load of salt that the ship has delivered from the mine in the Magdalen Islands. And unlike the City of Summerside, PE where the mayor has banned the unsightly stockpiling of salt on the public waterfront, the Port of Halifax has found a suitable and unobtrusive location for this stash of about 100,000 tonnes. The stockpile has also been discreetly tarped. Some of the tarp was peeled back to accommodate this load, but it will soon be covered up again after the stockpile is "groomed" to prevent erosion or slippage.

Today's contribution to the stockpile was in two parts. Some was added to the existing mountain in the background, and a smaller mountain was created in the foreground.

The salt will be trucked away bit by bit to salt depots or directly as needed during the winter. 

I have posted photos of the Trillium class ship Baie St.Paul many times, but never explained the significance of the ship's name. CSL's roots are in the Richelieu  + Ontario Navigation Co, formed in 1875. They operated a fleet of passenger ships with some freight carrying capacity. As the name implies they were active in the upper reaches of the St. Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes, but they also developed passenger services on the lower St. Lawrence River. When CSL was formed in 1913 by combining a number of smaller lines, including R+O, it soon became a powerhouse of cargo shipping too. 

Among the ports the R+O and then the CSL served on the Lower St.Lawrence were several on the north shore below Quebec City, that had no rail or road service. Among these was Baie St. Paul, about forty miles downstream from Quebec City. An important agricultural outpost it had a very shallow harbour, that dried out at low tide, and large ships could not dock there. Instead they landed at a "cage" or man-made structure out in the bay and people and freight were ferried to shore in small craft. Baie St.Paul became an important regional centre once the railroad and roads arrived, and was abandoned as a port. However it is noted as the ancestral home of the Simard family, founders of the many industrial enterprises in Sorel, QC. One has to wonder if they would ever have left the village if it had not been for the R+O / CSL.

The Baie St.Paul wharf is not accessible to large ships.

The scenery around Baie St.Paul is quite spectacular, and the area has become a home for artists and has numerous art galleries.

This photo could be stitched to the previous one to form a panorama, but would lose its detail.

CSL has named several of its ships for St.Lawrence north shore towns that it has served, and some more than once. Included in the list are Murray Bay and Tadoussac where CSL also operated resort hotels in connection with its "white ship" Saguenay River cruises, and Baie-Comeau, served only by its cargo ships. 


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Sarah Desgagnés - close approach and a Book Note

 The Canadian tanker Sarah Desgagnés made a close approach to Halifax today September 18. Coming to a stop off Chebucto Head for only a few minutes, it was soon on its way again, eastbound. It has been a while since the tanker has been in Halifax, and it was too far offshore (and in fog) for a photo today, so this March 2020 file photo will have to do.

The ship is returning from a trip to Philadelphia and I assume it came in close to shore to get into cell phone range for crew members to phone home.

Its current AIS signal is not giving a destination, but its heading is well offshore, possibly for Newfoundland or the St.Lawrence River.

Book Note

The Musée maritime de Charlevoix, in St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, QC has recently published a fascinating book (in French only) which is in fact two books under one cover. The village of St-Joseph-de-la-Rive is the ancestral home of the Desgagnés family, antecedents of the current Transport Desgagnés companies, and founders of the museum. It is therefore appropriate that the subjects of these two stories are the Desgagnés family over two centuries and Maurice "Jimmy" Desgagnés, pioneering schooner captain and the inspiration behind the founding family of the current company.

It will interest Nova Scotia readers to see references to trips by Maurice Desgagnés on his schooner Marie Vigilante to "Cow Bay",  Nova Scotia in 1890. This is not the present day Cow Bay, very close to Halifax, just past Eastern Passage, adjacent to Cole Harbour. That Cow Bay was named for an early settler whose name was Cowie. It has no coal (with an "a").

The Cow Bay that Desgagnés called on is today known as Port Morien and is the site of one of the oldest coal mines in Nova Scotia. (It supposedly received its name after a cow jumped off a ship into the harbour and made for land.) Desgagnés had a contract with the Caledonia Coal Company of Glace Bay and made several trip to load coal at Glace Bay and at nearby "Cow Bay". In October 1890 he opted to return to Quebec by way of the Strait of Canso rather than the Cabot Strait but encountered a severe October storm (possibly a hurricane) and ran aground. After jettisoning all of the cargo, he was able to reach Port Hawksbury for repairs.

Les Desgagnés, deux siècles en goélette du quai des Eboulements à la Terre de Baffin - Catherine Melançon // Maurice Jimmy Desgagnés et ses goélettes: une vie pour les moins aventureuse 1849-1912 - Michel Desgagnés.

Available from: La Musée maritime de Charlevoix, St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, QC.

ISBN 978-2-9801964-1-6, soft cover, 136 pages including a lexique (glossary), family tree, more than a dozen illustrations, including a map, general arrangement drawing (fold out page), priced at $19.95 (postage will be extra)


Where are the Ships?

 I am not a shipping analyst - merely a ship watcher, but I cannot help but notice that there have been very few container ships in port lately. In fact during the past week (September 12 to 19) Cerescorp has handled only two ships for THE Alliance and three ACL ships. PSA Halifax handled no ZIM ships (a feeder is due September 20), no Tropical Shipping ship (one is due September 20), two Maersk/CMA CGM  transatlantic ships, but no CGM long haul ships, one Eimskip ship (two calls - one westbound and one eastbound) and three MSC ships.

So aside from strictly transatlantic ships and North American routes, there was very little activity. Shipping lines have "blanked" sailings because the ships are not available. Some 65 ships are anchored or drifting off Los Angeles / Long Beach, California and other west coast ports are experiencing delays.

Shipping lines are therefore diverting ships from their regular routes and sending them to the Pacific in hopes of keeping up with demand (and making more money). However LALB, for instance, is working to capacity and cannot increase throughput even if there is demand.

Therefore we are seeing fewer ships in Halifax since they are either delayed in the transpacific legs of their trips or they are being taken off Asia /Europe or transatlantic routes and sent to the Pacific.

MSC Anya anchored off Halifax August 2.

MSC for instance has recently transferred MSC Anya to the Pacific. It has been a regular on one of MSC's Canadian services. MSC has also acquired more ships so will likely make up the difference. Of more concern are ZIM, THE Alliance and CMA CGM whose absence will surely reduce Halifax's annual cargo figures substantially.

In the next few days we will begin to see some "extra loaders". These are unscheduled ships spot chartered or diverted slightly from other routes, to deal with delayed cargo or to pick up desperately needed empties to send back to Asia.

And an almost footnote is the reduction in automobile imports due to a shortage of computer chips. Again it is difficult to measure the reduction in cars carried per trip, since the auto carriers continue to come to Halifax from Europe, but all automakers worldwide are experiencing production issues due to the dearth of chips. 

WW's Torino moving from Pier 31 to Autoport today (September 18) has some cars on board despite the chip shortage.

So far traffic from Asia has not been diverted in significant number to Suez/Med/Atlantic or Panama/ East Coast but it may happen as cargo shippers grow frustrated with delays. In the meantime we will be seeing fewer container ships in Halifax, but some unusual ones too.