Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Morning and Afternoon

 There were two first time ships in Halifax today (November 30). One arrived yesterday afternoon, and one this afternoon. The combination of short daylight hours and driving rain meant that I was not able to photograph yesterday's arrival until this morning. Appropriately for a morning photo, it was the EUKOR autocarrier Morning Lucy.

The ship docked initially at Pier 31 in Halifax to unload RoRo cargo, then moved first thing this morning to Autoport to unload cars. It is on a regular Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean transatlantic Europe to North America route. 

Morning Lucy was built in 2009 by Hyundai Samho in Mokpo, South Korea. A 68,701 gt, 28,080 dwt ship it has a capacity of 8,011 cars and can also carry substantial RoRo cargo. It is owned by the cryptically named S332 International SA of Panama. (S332 is the ship's hull number assigned by the  builder). The ship's technical manager is Wilhelmsen Ship Management (Korea) Ltd and its commercial manager is Eukor Car Carriers Inc (which is owned by the four car carier companies, Wallenius, Wilhelmsen, American RoRo Carrier and United European Car Carriers).

The second "new to Halifax" ship is MSC Silvana arriving this afternoon at PSA Halifax on the Indus 2 service. It is the seventh ship to arrive on that service since it was started last month. Built in 2006 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co, Okpo, it is a 94,489 gt, 114,115 dwt ship with a capacity of 8400 TEU. 

As the ship came in, it passed Kotor Bay which is anchored offshore and is the next ship scheduled in the Indus 2 (weekly) service. MSC Silvana was initially due November 18, and has been hove to or drifting offshore since at least November 25. Presumably PSA must handle MSC Silvana's import and export cargo before working Kotor Bay which was due November 25 on the same Indus 2 service. 

Bad weather must account for at least some of the schedule slippage. I do note that one MSC ship, the MSC Leigh, was diverted from anchorage off Halifax yesterday to Saint John to lighten its draft before heading up the St.Lawrence. I assume this was done to prevent further delays and congestion in Halifax. 
With winter soon upon us, schedules will certainly be stretched and ships may be forced to bypass Halifax altogether. 



Oceanex Sanderling - extra trip

When extensive flooding in Newfoundland cut off road access to Port aux Basques last week Marine Atlantic was forced to shift its Newfoundland terminal operations to Argentia until roads and bridges could be re-opened. Long lineups of trucks both in Newfoundland and in North Sydney, Nova Scotia resulted in some cargo diverting to rival Oceanex. Both containers, RoRo and drop trailers can be handled by Oceanex Sanderling, out of Halifax, but none of Oceanex's three ships (two operating from Montreal, one from Halifax, all directly to St.John's) can accommodate the truck tractors and drivers.

 Oceanex Sanderling moving cross harbour from PSA to Autoport 

 [File photo]

Some of the delayed cargo is perishable, and some other other is needed urgently, so Oceanex is reponding to demand by compressing the Oceanex Sanderling's schedule. Normally the ship sails from Halifax Friday evening and returns from St.John's late the following week, allowing two days to work cargo at PSA Halifax and Autoport. This week the ship returned to Halifax this morning (Tuesday, November 30) and is due to sail this evening. It will not be loading any vehicles at Autoport, but instead will be working containers and drop trailers, and any other RoRo cargo, only at PSA Halifax. 


On its previous trip to Halifax Oceanex Sanderling loaded at Autoport, but will skip it this time.
[photo date November 25, 2021]

Oceanex Sanderling is now due back in St.John's December 2. Oceanex has not pubished a schedule beyond that date, so I suppose they will respond to demand by shortening turn around time at both ends and making extra trips as needed. This current trip is Voyage #49 for the year, so it is likely they will exceed 52 trips in 2021.

Oceanex Sanderling - regular as clock work - making one of its countless arrivals in Halifax.

[File photo - 2018]




Saturday, November 27, 2021

BBC for 9C

 Another ship arrived today to be fitted for steel frames to carry submarine cable. This time it is BBC Direction a 2007 product of the Viana do Castelo shipyard in Spain. Built as Vela J. it was renamed Industrial Dream on delivery. In 2015 it became BBC Vela and took its present name in 2019.

A multi-purpose vessel of 7252 gt, 7973 dwt, it also has heavy load and heavy lift capability with two 250 tonne capacity cranes. As with most Spanish built ships it has a stylish touch, this one with a "turtleback" over the foredeck and the sloped fairings aft on the superstructure.

Atlantic Beaver comes alongside the starboard quarter to assist the ship to a berth at Pier 9C north.

Due to the limited bending radius for fibreoptic cable, it must be stored in coil fashion. The steel racks are designed to nest the cable securely, and to allow for easy transfer to shore or cable ships without damage. Once the cable racks are fitted the ships usually head to Newington, NH (adjacent to Portsmouth) where the cable is manufactured. They can then load and deliver the cable to wherever it is needed. 


Algoma Days - Part 2

 Another day, another Algoma. After yesterday's two Algoma ships, there were again two today,  November 27, with Algoma Integrity arriving for another load of Gold Bond gypsum.

 Purpose built to serve CGC (Canadian Gypsum Corp) the Canadian branch of US Gypsum, in 2009 by EISA-Ilha, Rio de Janeiro, the ship was originally called Gypsum Integrity and was owned by the shipping subsidiary Fundy Transportation. When USG closed its operations in Hantsport and Grand Narrows, NS, the ship 's managers, Beltships Ltd, found work for the ship and its sister Gypsum Centennial in Africa, shuttling iron ore to larger bulk carriers in Sierra Leone.

Algoma Central Corp acquired and renamed the ship Gypsum Integrity in 2015 and operated it under Canadian flag for two years until new ships were completed. It was then registered in the Bahamas and placed in the CSL Americas pool of self-unloaders. It continues to carry gypsum, but also carries coal and aggregates. It has become a regular caller in Halifax for Gold Bond (formerly National Gypsum) the direct competitors of its first owners.

The tugs Spitfire III (aft) and  Atlantic Willow (forward) make up to the ship as it passes Pier 9 in the Narrows bound for the Gold Bond dock in Bedford Basin.

The 33.047 gt, 47,761 dwt ship can unload gypsum, coal and aggregates at an average rate of 2,500 tonnes per hour, and ore at 3,000 tonnes per hour. (CSL Americas quotes the ship's capacity at 46,293 dwt.)  Its 76.50 meters long telescoping unloading boom has an outreach of 60.40 meters.

When I checked up on the other Algoma ship, the Radcliffe R. Latimer at Pier 26 this morning, it was not unloading its grain cargo - possibly due to off and on rain showers. 

(See yesterday's post for a photo of the ship with its boom swung out for unloading.)


Friday, November 26, 2021

Algoma Days

 Algoma Central Corp has become a major shipping operator in recent years. After nearly a century serving the Great Lakes it expanded its bulk carrier activity to international waters through its participation in the CSL self-unloader pool. It also moved into the tanker business, acquiring, then upgrading, Imperial Oil (Esso)'s domestic fleet. It has also formed NACC, Nova Algoma Cement Carriers, in a joint venture with the European operator Nova.

Algoma has now been present in Halifax on consecutive days November 25 and November 26.

On Thursday November 25 the Bahamas flag self-unloading bulk carrier Algoma Verity sailed for Tampa, FL, with a load of gypsum for Gold Bond.

Built by Shanghai Shipyard in 2000 as Alice Oldendorff, the ship was acquired by Algoma in 2019 when Oldendorff exited from the CSL pool. Constructed as a conventional bulk carrier, the ship measures 28,747 gt and 50, 259 dwt. It was immediately retrofitted by Krupp Fordertechnik with a system of conveyors and hoppers. Ship's cranes fitted with grabs, move cargo from the holds to hoppers and conveyors transport the material to the unloading boom which swings out overside to deposit the cargo on shore.

The Krupp system was a way to maximize carrying capacity since most self-unloaders sacrifice hull space for sloping tank tops to direct cargo to belt tunnels. They make up for reduced capacity by rapid discharge and therefore more voyages. However for some trades slightly slower discharge rates can be offset by more cargo capacity per trip, and that is what Oldendorff and Thyssen Krupp had in mind for this system, which retains the conventionally shaped holds. 

On November 26 the Canadian flag self-unloader Radcliffe R. Latimer arrived with a load of grain from Thunder Bay. The rare grain delivery by ship will likely be the only one this year before the St.Lawrence Seaway closes for the winter.

In this 2018 photo, the ship is tied up at Pier 26 unloading into the conveyor system that leads to Halifax Grain Elevators. Most grain that arrives in Halifax is for domestic use as feed or for processing at P+H Milling for flour. Grain exports are rare, but ships do sometimes "top up" in Halifax if they loaded grain at Great Lakes or St.Lawrence River ports.

The Radcliffe R. Latimer was built as the Algobay to maximum St.Lawrence Seaway dimensions by Collingwood Shipbuilding in 1978. It was built to Nova Scotia class, allowing for short sea trips outside the normal limits of Great Lakes bulkers. In 1987-88 it was upgraded to Caribbean class, allowing for extended sea trips. It operated under foreign flag under charter to Beltships from 1990 to 1992 and to CSL as Atlantic Trader from 1994 to 1995, and under Canadian flag to 1997. Its career appeared to be at an end in 2002 when it was laid up in Toronto. However in 2007 Algoma moved the ship to Hamilton where it was prepped for an ocean tow.

In 2008 it was towed to China, via the Suez Canal where a new foreboady was grafted on by Chengxi Shipyard. The existing aft section was much modernised with a new bridge and equipment. It then returned to Canada in 2010 under its own power via the Pacific Ocean and Panama Canal. It was renamed Radcliffe R. Latimer in 2012 and has been an off and on caller in Halifax ever since, sometimes bringing in grain, and loading gypsum for Canadian ports.


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Polar Prince - a new owner and career

 The Polar Prince, a former Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker will be embarking on a third career following its recent sale to new owners.

CCGS Sir Humphrey Gilbert emerging from Halifax Shipyard with a new bow in 1985.

 Built in 1959 by Davie in Lauzon as CCGS Sir Humphrey Gilbert, it received a major rebuild at Halifax Shipyards in 1983 when it was given a new, stronger, bow. It was declared surplus in 2001 and renamed 2001-06 until  sold in 2002 and renamed Gilbert I and soon after, Polar Prince. Since then it has engaged in a variety of work in the north including seismic research, and the notable 2017 C3 Expedition.

It was announced earlier this month that the ship has now been acquired by Miawpukek Horizon Maritime Service Ltd, a joint venture between Horizon Maritime and Miawpukek First Nation.  The company has engaged in training Indigenous cadets as seafarers on its offshore supply vessels.

It has now been announced that the ship will be assigned to a three year charter to the SOI Foundation to provide a base for education, research and ocean conservation. The ship will host programs for youth and educators particularly in the polar regions. See this link:  SOI Foundation

Polar Prince in Lunenburg, NS.

Under previous owners, the ship was based in Lunenburg, NS, but is now in Mulgrave, NS, and is expected to receive a major refit before embarking on its latest career.

I have posted about this ship at least ten times. Enter "Polar Prince" in the search box to see those posts.

Not included in those posts is this photo:

The ship's old original bow was removed, and barged to Dartmouth where it was broken up for scrap.


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

A Touch of Winter Weather

 A major storm passing through the region over the last two days (November 22-23) caused many delays to arrivals, departures and work in the harbour. Extreme high winds, with gusts up to 90 kph and wave measurements in excess of 5 meters in the harbour approaches caused the Atlantic Pilotage Authority to suspend pilotage services November 23 until this morning November 24. Driving rain reduced visibility and dropping temperatures resulted in thin crust of snow and ice to form on cold surfaces.

  The Canadian tanker Qikiqtaaluk W, which arrived at Imperial Oil from Montreal on November 21, opted to go to anchor in Bedford Basin instead of putting out to sea on November 22.

After a summer spent supplying fuel to arctic outposts, the ship, operated by Coastal Shipping (Woodward Group) of Goose Bay, had company as the new Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel Margaret Brooke carried out trials in the relative shelter of the Basin. Mist, in advance of the driving rain reduced visibility.

 The tanker finally sailed this morning, November 24, for Sarnia, ON for another cargo.

Ships heading for Halifax had to remain at sea and were tracked steaming up and down the coast as far southwest as the Yarmouth area.

MSC Meline arrived off Halifax November 18 and anchored November 20, but as conditions worsened it put out to sea again. It steamed south and hove to possibly avoiding the worst of the weather, finally boarding a pilot this afternoon (November 24). Last night it was south of Cape Sable Island, almost in the Gulf of Maine.

The ship is an unscheduled "Extra Vessel" and is arriving from Le Havre and Rotterdam, appearing to be fully loaded, but not on one of MSC's regularly scheduled routes.

Built in 2015 by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co it is a 95,497 gt, 110,029 dwt ship with a capacity of 8800 TEU.

Once conditions improved this morning Algoma Verity was the first to arrive, tying up at Gold Bond Gypsum. Other scheduled ships will be arriving over the next few days including MSC Silvana on the Indus 2 service. Ships that have been in port, and delayed departing due to weather will be sailing over night. The Hapag-Lloyd ship Molly Schulte will be sailing from Fairview Cove this evening. And later tonight the cargo ship Ijsselborg is due to sail after unloading a cargo of rail from Poland.

The Netherlands flag ship was built in 2010 by Damen Yichang in China. It is a multi-purpose vessel with moveable tween decks and measures 8999 gt, 12,016 dwt. It used its own gear to unload the rail at Pier 27. Built as Ijseelborg it was renamed 2011: Onego Houston, 2011: Isselborg, 2012: Clipper Alba, 2015: Nordana Sarah and 2015: Ijsselborg. It carries the distinctive Royal Wagenborg paint scheme of grey with a broad red stripe. it is unfortunate that a better view was not possible from the land side.

An even worse view (if possible) does show the ship unloading the rail, and some dock workers arranging it in stacks. The rail is stored on the pier and sent out on special rail cars as CN Rail requires it. I understand the rail goes to Winnipeg where it is prepared for installation.

Main line rail is continuous welded, so the forty foot sections which arrive by ship are joined in the Winnipeg shop.



Sunday, November 21, 2021

Dee4 Dogwood

The unusually named Dee4 Dogwood arrived in Halifax this morning, November 21 from Amsterdam. The ship anchored for a few hours until the Acadian sailed from Irving Oil's Woodside terminal, then it moved in to unload.

A MidRange tanker of 26,900 gt, 47,399 dwt, the ship was built in 2008 by Onomichi Zosen in Japan. Its tanks are coated in epoxy and it has stainless steel heating coils, allowing it to carry a variety of chemicals in addition to refined petroleum products. It started life as the Nord Organizer, and took its present name in 2020 when it was acquired by the Danish Dee4 Vessel Co 4 K/S. 

Dee4 Capital Partners is a Copenhagen-based investment fund manager with thirteen ships in its portfolio, each owned by a single ship company and each named for a species of tree. Management of the ships has been entrusted to the mammoth company Hafnia Tankers (part of the BW Group) , also Danish, which operates more than 200 tankers. Parent BWGroup in turn claims more than 400 ships (including Hafnia) under its management.

 A stylized Danish flag forms part of the funnel mark of the ship, which is registered in Denmark under the Danish International Register.

Once the ship was brought up at anchor the launch Dominion Pursuit went out with an agent or inspector. The usual Dominion Diving launch, Dominion Bearcat was working with a barge in Dartmouth Cove.

Dominion Pursuit outbound from Dartmouth Cove passes fleetmate Dominion Bearcat which has the barge Dominion Mercury doing some crane work off the C.O.V.E dock where a new jetty is under construction.

Alongside  the C.O.V.E. dock (Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship, the former Coast Guard base) are the Ocean Seeker (black hull) and Belle Isle Sea (blue hull).

More on the Dominion Pursuit:

Measuring less than 15 gros tons (13.64 gross tons, in fact) the boat is not required to be registered by name, only by registry number, which is C15244NS. The boat was built by Atelier Maritime Tilly (AMT) in St-Antoine-de-Tilly, QC for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It was given an unofficial name, which I believe it was Denis Riverin (it may also have been Louis Bérubé). Dominion Diving acquired the boat in about 2007. It is used as a launch and diving tender in Halifax harbour.


South End terminal reaches fifty-one

 On November 21, 1970 the container / RoRo vessel Atlantic Cinderalla (738 TEU) became the first ship to tie up at the new Southend container terminal in Halifax. Container ships had been calling at other piers in Halifax for more than a year while the terminal was under construction, but this was the first to use the new facility including its specially built Canron container cranes, and a RoRo ramp. Atlantic Container Line was one of two "pioneer" container lines to call in Halifax.

Atlantic Cinderella was the first customer at the new pier.

The other "pioneer" line, Dart Container Line, had been using chartered ships but its new ships were soon completed and began to use the new facility too.

 A view from the adjacent Point Pleasant Park in 1971. On the extreme left is the former Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron building. The club and yacht basin were relocated to the Northwest Arm to make room for the container pier.

The new terminal's pier, built roughly perpendicular to the existing finger Pier B was designated Pier C with berths numbered 41 and 42. It has since  been extended twice and can accommodate the largest container ships calling at any Canadian port. Its cranes and other equipment have also been upgraded. 

The new pier begins to the right of centre. The large sheds on Pier B (just to the right of centre) have long since been demolished, as have the freezer buildings to the far left.
(1973 view)

The pier's most important customer for many years has been ZIM  (Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd). The publicly owned company is headquartered in Israel. (1975 view)

The terminal was operated by a company called  Halterm, which name was also applied to the entire facility. Macquarie became the owners of Halterm in 2007 and they sold the operation to PSA in 2019. PSA has since renamed the terminal PSA Halifax.


The trees have grown as has the container terminal, so the above view from 1971 is almost unbelievable today.


 The ships have grown in size too:

 Dart Europe, built in 1970, was a large ship in its day, measuring 31,611 gt, 28,034 dwt, and had a capacity of 1,000TEU. 

All the orginal cranes have been replaced with higher units with longer reach:

The ACL and Dart ships pale in comparison with the 15,000 TEU ships of today.

Sadly, the expansion of the terminal over the years has meant the loss of the delightful little lighthouse that was perched at the end of the breakwater.

 The pier has been extended south (to the right in the photo) past the end of the breakwater:

Although the walkway extends around the end of the pier, it is seldom open, and when it is, visitors are greeted by unfriendly signs:


A present day view shows the most recent extension (to the right). The walkway is closed when any cranes are overhanging it - which is almost always - and for the winter. The extension was termed "temporary" when it was initialy proposed, but no one believed that, and the term is no longer applied.

Now plans are afoot to re-organize some of the shoreside areas again, expanding the container storage areas, the rail lines and the staff parking. A new truck gate and likely re-alignment of the marginal road are also in the works. At least one more crane is on order and other equipment as well. As the premier Canadian container terminal on the east coast, PSA Halifax will continue to be a major component of the Port of Halifax.

Much of the open area outside the fence may be included in the expanded shore side facilities.

The PSA terminal now includes the Pier B and Pier C areas, totaling 76.5 acres (31 Hectares) with five super post panamax cranes. There are 714 on ground reefer plugs and the current annual throughput is 500,000 TEU. Pier C itself is now more than a km long, and additional finger pier berths are now within the terminal and include berths 30-31, 33-34 and 36-37 and 39.

I suggested the above idea when the last extension of the pier (in red) was announced, but it is more likely that the space between the finger piers A-1 and B will be filled in instead. I hope that the grain terminal will be retained as a national asset, and the space between Pier A and A-1 will not be filled in.
In this older plan, the latest pier extension is not shown. Also the balloon or loop track, around the perimeter of the terminal has since been removed. It was used to turn passenger trains around, as Halifax is the end of the line. However it was apparently a major nuisance for the terminal operations. Trains are no longer turned - the engines are now paired end to end and just move from one end of the train to the other when they reach Halifax. Crane tracks extending out along the north face of Pier B are also no longer in use - the present cranes are a wider gauge. 
With the current boom in container shipping (shipping line profits have never been higher) but a huge imbalance between supply / demand and location of containers, not to mention shoreside congestion in many ports, Halifax remains - at least so far - free from backups and delays, but the PSA facility is crowded and more space is certainly needed.

New RTGs (Rubber Tired Gantries) that can stack containers five high, have replaced older units that could only reach four high. This has increased the storage capacity of the terminal, but space is still at a premium.

One of the early customers of Halterm was HAPAG-Lloyd. They also operated a feeder service from Halifax to US ports using the Yankee Clipper.

Yankee Clipper at Pier 36 with one of the Canron "Portainer" cranes in the background.


Before the first extension, the breakwater extended beyond the pier face and this view of activities was possible. However the breakwater was cut off when the pier was extended southward.

Now the pier extends so far south (right) of the breakwater that it can accommodate an entire ship.This allows PSA Halifax to work two "Ultra" size container ships (more than 10,000 TEU capacity) at the same time.