Sunday, January 30, 2022


 A major nor'easter winter storm working its way across Atlantic Canada from New England brought the usual accumulations of heavy wet snow, sleet and freezing rain. More concerning to shipping however were the very high winds with extreme gusts. By mid-morning Sunday January 30 wind speeds in the harbour were beginning to taper off from 60 kph (37 mph). Gusts in excess of 80 kph (50 mph) were recorded around 0600 hrs.

It was around 0600 that the MSC Sandra, which was docked at Pier 41 PSA Halifax, apparently began to come off the pier. From the ship's recorded AIS track it apppears that some lines must have parted.When that happens there is more stress on the remaining lines and it is not long before they part also. The ship called for tugs and a pilot was dispatched to assist in bringing the ship back alongside and running new lines. Presumably there was also a call for line handlers, as the ship's own crew would not be able to make the ship fast by themselves.

 MSC Sandra arriving in Halifax on an earlier visit in calm conditions.

(December 17, 2021 photo)

As of mid-morning the tugs Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Willow were being kept alongside the ship, as there were still occassional bursts of high wind.

Also wandering about was the tanker STI Modest which was waiting out the storm at anchor in Bedford Basin. From its AIS track it appears to have been dragging its anchor quite a bit, but as there was no other shipping nearby there was no cause for panic, however I am sure a close watch was being maintained. Nobody wants to see a loaded tanker adrift. I am not aware that a pilot was called, but I assume the ship was steaming up on its anchor line to control drift.

STI Modest in its original anchorage position as pictured Friday January 28. It will dock at Irving Oil when calmer conditions prevail.


Another tanker, the Larvik which was discharging heavy fuel at Nova Scotia Power, Tufts Cove, left off unloading and put out to sea. At first it was in the outer anchorages but that is not a good holding ground, so the ship is just steaming about until conditions are right to return to port.

Also pictured January 28, the Larvik has only a light jetty to secure to at Tuft's Cove, and it would not be safe in high winds.

Several ships which are expected in Halifax are holding off until condiitons improve.

The bulker Efficiency OL which has some technical problems on the St.Lawrence River and was detained for thirteen days in Quebec City by Ship Safety is sheltering in Chedabucto Bay.

The tanker Minerva Xanthe from Port Neches, TX and bound for Imperial Oil was due yesterday but is still at sea somewhere off the east coast.

Some container ships that were due have held off for a day or two. These include Tropic Hope and MSC Tianjin. Maersk / CMA CGM's weekly caller from Montreal, Maersk Patras which would normally arrive on Saturday, is now due Monday January 31.


Friday, January 28, 2022

Scorpio in the Basin

 The Scorpio Tankers fleet of about 130 tankers is active world wide, and so it is not unusual to see one of its ships in Halifax.

 STI Modest, one of many MidRange tankers in the fleet, arrived early Friday morning January 28 from Amsterdam and anchored in Bedford Basin. I am assuming it will wait out some nasty weather over the next few days before delivering cargo to Irving Oil.

The scrubber fitted ship was built by Hyundai Vinashin Shipyard Co in Ninh Hoa, Vietnam in 2019. It is a 29,991 gt, 47,499 dwt product tanker.

In an unintended pun, owners Scorpio Tankers recently announced the sale of 16 of its tankers to Singapore based Hafnia Tankers to "increase liquidity". Certainly the half billion US dollar price tag will return a lot of cash to Scorpio, but Scorpio's capacity to carry liquid cargo is reduced by 10% - a reduction in liquidity ?

For more detail on the complicated deal see Hafnia's press release

Scorpio is publicly traded in the NYSE. Chairman and CEO is Emanuele A. Lauro. Hafnia is the world's largest product tanker owner and is listed on the Oslo stock exchange.


Thursday, January 27, 2022

Oil Heat

 The Nova Scotia Power Corp is taking a cargo of oil at its Tuft's Cove generating plant in Halifax today January 27. Delivering the load of heavy oil is the Bahamas flag crude oil tanker Larvik coming from Freeport, Bahamas (January 20-21) and Saint Rose, Louisiana (January 14-16).

 The current very cold weather places extra demand on power generation, and Tuft's Cove appeared to be going full tilt today with billows of steam emitted from its burners.

The Tuft's Cove facility, located on the Narrows, usually burns natural gas, but has the capability to store and burn heavy oil. Built originally to burn oil or coal, it was modified to use gas when Nova Scotia's offshore gas fields came on line. Once those fields were exhausted, Nova Scotia Power continued to access gas from their partly owned Maritimes and Northeast pipeline, which is connected to the North American network in Massachusetts. 

Since a major oil spill at Tuft's Cove in 2018, the NSPC has upgraded some of the oil storage and pipeline at the site, but has not notably used much if any heavy oil.

By coincidence NSP has acknowledged the delayed retirement of its coal fired generating stations in Trenton, NS and Point Aconi, Cape Breton because the new hydroelectric power transmission line from Newfoundland has not proven reliable. The Muskrat Falls hydro electric project in Labrador sends some of its power by undersea cable across the Strait of Belle Isle and the Cabot Strait to Nova Scotia, but this has not yet lived up to expectations.

The tanker Larvik, despite its Norwegian sounding name, is owned by Polys Haji-Ioannu family of Greece. Technical management is entrusted to their Singapore based World Tankers Management, and commercial management is done by Polyar Tankers of Oslo. The ship is apparently time chartered to the Heidemar pool.

Built by Sumitomo, Yokosuka, Japan in 2006, the Larvik measures 35,711 gt and 61,213 dwt which is very small for a crude tanker, but more common for the DPP "dirty petroleum products" or black oil trade. It is an (old) Panamax size.

Emissions from Tuft's Cove are fairly clean when it is burning gas, but is not quite so white when burning oil. It appeared to be running only two of three generators today.


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

CCGS at 60 - my slant on it - and update


  I am prepared to take some flack on the following, which is my own take on the events of sixty years ago. I certainly have nothing against the Coast Guard. I am only trying to put the events in perspective.


On January 26, 1962 the Canadian Coast Guard came into existance. At first it was a change of name and paint scheme for the Department of Transport's then fleet of 241 vessels. The serviceable black hull, white superstructure and tan funnel with black cap was replaced with a bright red hull, complete with stylish white slash, and a white superstructure and funnel with bright red maple leaf (well in advance of Canada's maple leaf flag, which was adopted officially in 1965). The selection of red as a hull colour signified that the ships were to be present in winter where red was highly visible againt the white of ice. Merchant ships working in northern waters were often painted red too, so it was a functional as well as a policy choice.

Canada's then largest icebreaker, delivered in 1959, was the John A. Macdonald. Naming it after Canada's first prime minister, and a Tory, left little doubt that part of its mission would be political.

 Differing from its US counterpart, the Canadian Coast Guard was not a quasi military organization although its members did have uniforms and badges. Like the Canadian Marine Service, its immediate predecessor, it remained civilian. It also remained responsible for aids to navigation such as buoys and lighthouses, (from numerous bases in ports from coast to coast), arctic supply, lifesaving and icebreaking.

The Coast Guard had a large marine base in Halifax harbour, in Dartmouth, where they based the ships and serviced the navigation aids for the area.

The Canadian government of the day, lead by the Progressive Conservative John G. Diefenbaker, had been elected by a landslide majority in 1957. In no small part the victory was thanks to widespread support in Quebec. Diefenbaker's Quebec lieutenant, and deputy leader of the PC party was Léon Balçer, a lawyer from Trois-Rivières. Balçer was appointed as Minister of Transport in 1960.

The icebreaker Labrador was originally assigned to the Royal Canadian Navy, but transferred to the Department of Transport in 1957 for politcal reasons. It became a CCG ship in 1962.

 With the opening of the St.Lawrence Seaway in 1959 ports on the St.Lawrence River and Great Lakes were on the ascendency to the detriment of coastal ports like Halifax and Saint John. The latter two had become primarily "winter ports" and saw their busiest times from December to April when the St.Lawrence was closed due to ice. However there was pressure to provide for longer shipping seasons on the St.Lawrence in ports such as Quebec City, Trois-Rivières, Sorel and Montreal.

The icebreaker N.B.McLean built at Halifax Shipyard in 1930, was used in Hudson's Bay in summer, but was based in Quebec City and worked the St.Lawrence in winter. It never looked comfortable in red.

 The Department of Transport icebreakers were kept busy in the winter but in spring some were dispatched to break ice to prevent flooding on the upper reaches of the St.Lawrence. However ports in that area wanted more icebreaking to assist navigation earlier in the year. At the same time there was political pressure from Halifax and Saint John to preserve the status quo. It was feared that with winter navigation on the St.Lawrence, Halifax and Saint John would be "dead". (Container shipping was still in the future. In 1963 CNR spokes people said the railroad was preparing for containers but they would not be coming 'over night'.)


 The first CCGS Sir William Alexander was delivered by Halifax Shipyard Ltd in 1959 and was a capable buoy tender with good icebereaking capability. (In the photo it is still working after being renamed William to free up the name for its successor, which had post-delivery issues and could not enter service right away.)

Each year after 1960 ships began to arrive in Montreal earlier and earlier in the year, and the Atlantic ports continued to cry foul as icebreakers began to assist the ships ostensibly for safety. Of course the way to assist the ships for safety was by maintaining navigation lanes in ice. Flood control was still claimed to be the primary mission of the ships but that also assisted navigation.

By the time the PCs left office in 1963 winter navigation on the St.Lawrence although still in its infancy, had become a fact and the succeeding Liberal governments expanded the Coast Guard's capability by building more icebreakers, including the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent. Primarlily for the arctic, but also working in the Gulf of St.Lawrence and Saguenay River, the ship is also named for a Quebec politico.

A 1975 view of "the Louie"with its original bow, and still a steamer along with several of its fleet mates.
Named for the Liberal Prime Minister immediately before Diefenbaker, the Louie's name also sent a policitical message, as does the oft promised but not yet delivered CCGS John G. Diefenbaker. If it is delivered during the tenure of a Liberal government, odds are that it will be renamed. I don't know the current betting line but I believe Pierre Eliot Trudeau is a nose ahead of Lester B. Pearson. The former will not be a big hit in Alberta, but that province doesn't need much icebreaker assistance.

Present day Coast Guard, with 119 vessels, is multi-tasked, for navaids,  pollution control, icebreaking, search and rescue and research work.
In 1995 the Canadian Coast Guard was transferred from the the Minister of Transport to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, making it also responsible for all the research and enforcement vessels in the department. In 2006 the CCG became a "special operating agency" under the Minister, with its own commissioner. It also co-operates with other departments for the operation of border security vessels.
New ships are planned for the CCG, but many of its older vessels will be expected to serve longer until replacements arrive. Some will not make it, and interim vessels may be needed.
CCGS Jean Goodwill, based in Halifax, is one of three former Swedish icebreaking supply vessels acquired by the CCG as interim ships until purpose built icebreakers can be constructed.

The Coast Guard's history since 1962 has been a distinguished one, working as it often has with tired equipment and under brutal conditions both in the south and the north. Its people are to be admired and its ships are to be well remembered.


It may be a coincidence, but the next ship to join the CCG fleet was registered in Ottawa on January 26, 2022. The Mangystau-2, a shallow draft tug/supplier, built in Romania in 2010 has been acquired by Atlantic Towing Ltd and will be sold to the Minster for $45 million. The vessel arrived in Sorel-Tracy, QC earlier this month and plans are underway to refit it for CCG service.

 When the refit is complete, the ship will be assigned to the Great Lakes where it will cover for CCGS Griffon and CCGS Samuel Risley during their life extension refits.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Bow Wow - Crystal Crunch

 As a sort of footnote to the ongoing series related to the appearance of ships, centered on the look of their bows, I refer to the latest news  in the beleagured cruise industry.

 Referred to as "one of the key luxury brands" of the cruise industry, Crystal Cruise Lines has been placed in receivership. The company recently diverted its Crystal Symphony to the Bahamas to avoid arrest. The ship was to be seized on arrival in Miami for unpaid fuel bills, so terminated its cruise in Bimini January 22 and transferred passengers by ferry to the US.

 Crystal's ships have always been attractive, and mercifully free of extraneous hull graphics.

Crystal's situtation is tied to the financial woes of its parent company Genting Hong Kong, including its insolvent German shipyards MV Werften Group and Lloyd-Werft. The huge Wismar and Rostock yards were building large cruise ships, but work has been suspended.

Genting Hong Kong, could not satisfy creditors with its latest restructuring plan, and announced January 22 that it would be winding up its operations, which also include Star Cruises and Dream Cruises and will be appointing liquidators.

Genting's founding family have casino and resort businesses based in Malaysia and Singapore, and operating world wide. They are not included in the Genting Hong Kong collapse. They also have interests in many other businesses which are also not included in the shut downs.


Monday, January 24, 2022

CCGS Hudson returns

 Crowds gathered all along the Halifax waterfront this afternoon (January 24) as the CCGS Hudson arrived home for the last time. In a welcome usually reserved for naval vessels returning from war, the crowds were largely silent, but some cheers went up when the ship was close enough that crew members could be recognized from shore. 

The ship was "dressed all over" with signal flags and was escorted into port by CCGS Sir William Alexander which put on a bit of a show with its rarely used water cannons.

 Family members of the crew, former crew members and scientists who worked aboard the ship were among the well wishers who came out to see its arrival.

It was announced last week that the Hudson will be decommissioned due to the high cost of repairing a burned out propulsion motor suffered in November off St.John's. The ship was able to return to Halifax on one motor (and one propellor) to tie up at its base at the Bedford Institute. [Known as the BIO for its former name the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. It is now called simply the Bedford Institute as it is also home to the Canadian Coast Guard and to fisheries research, all under the direction of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.]

The Hudson made a ceremonial sail past of its home since 1963 on its way to Bedford Basin where the Sir William Alexander was standing by.


The ship turned in the Basin, under the watchful eye of a CCG helicopter then returned to tie up for the last time alongside the BIO.

 The decommissioning processs will take some time, so it may well be next year before the ship is sent to the scrappers. Its replacement is now due in 2025 although that date is not carved in stone. 


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Back Again -Times Two

 Two returnees are in port today, and one may be somewhat less welcome than the other.

Number One

Returning last evening (January 21) to Pier 9C was the tanker Aurviken. It was last here January 12 and January 13 en route from Libya to Point Tupper. At the time I was informed by the ship's agents that the ship was here to take on fuel for its cargo heating boilers. That fuel turned out to be heavy Bunker C, and was transferred via open pipe and/or with atmospheric venting, from trucks to the ship. The escaping vapours "stunk up" the neighbourhood, alarming nearby residents, including Halifax Shipyards, and causing unecessary panic that a major crude oil spill was underway.


It came as a surprise today to see the ship taking on heavy fuel again with the same sickening aroma permeating the neighbourhood. It is surprising that after the last incident such a transfer was permitted. Open pipe transfers and atmospheric venting are usually conducted farther away from residential areas, such as at Pier 27-28.

The Norwegain owned Aurviken is a 62,372 gt, 112,802 dwt ship, and appears to be still carrying a significant quantity of crude oil cargo. Perhaps it used up all its boiler fuel before completing its unloading at Point Tupper. Due to the current frigid conditions, that cargo must be near solid by now, so maybe we can expect the ship to come back for a third time? 

In the past when incidents of solidified cargo have occurred another tanker was brought alongside to provide steam, but that is a costly process.

Number Two

This morning's arrival (January 22) was the container ship MSC Valencia on MSC's Indus 2 service from India via the Mediterranean. This is the ship's second call on that service. It was first here October 31, 2021 and was the fourth ship to call after the Indus 2 service started calling in Halifax.


The ship was built by Hyundai, Ulsan in 2006 and was initially named Hammonia Jork after a small village near Hamburg, Germany. Later in 2006 Hammonia chartered the ship as MSC Valencia. They renamed it CSAV Valencia * for a short time in 2012 but it reverted to MSC Valencia the same year. Hammonia Schiffarts is a Hamburg based shipowning and ship management company with somewhat more than thirty ships on charter to various operators.

The 89,941 gt, 102,756 dwt ship has a capacity of 8204 TEU including 700 reefers.

* CSAV, Compagnia Sud Americana de Vapores, is a large Chilean ship owner. In 2014 it merged its container shipping operations with Hapag-Lloyd, giving it a major stake in H-L ownership. Since then UASC, the United Arab Shipping Company merged into H-L in 2017 as its largest shareholder.


Friday, January 21, 2022

Tamesis - chilly arrival

 The RoRo ship Tamesis made it way into Halifax today, January 21, through light sea smoke. As air temperatures plunged well into double digits below zero C and with water temperatures relatively high  at +3 C, conditions were ideal for the formation of the fog commonly called sea smoke. 


  The sea smoke did not cause any serious visibility issues today. The tugs Atlantic Cedar and Atlantic Oak were able to take up their positions (forward and aft respectively) to assist the ship to berth at Pier 31 where it will unload RoRo cargo. It will move to Autoport later to unload cars.

The Tamesis dates from 2000 when it was built by Daewoo, Okpo. It is registered at 67,140 gt, 39,516 dwt and is called a Mark IV type ship as opposed to a PCTC (Pure Car and Truck Carrier). With special facilities for oversize and heavy RoRo and breakbulk cargo it can also carry up to 5,496 cars. It has a large 350 tonne stern ramp for the high and wide cargoes.

 The sea smoke diminished as the Tamesis ship neared the inner harbour.

Yesterday's Wallenius Wilhelmsen caller the Boheme was part of the Wallenius fleet and had the Wallenius funnel mark. The Tamesis is a Wilhelmesen ship, but it does not have the Wilhelmsen funnel mark. Instead it  has the greyish colour of the combined fleet. Note also that it carries the green stripe much higher on the hull, with the company banner on the grey portion of the hull.

For comparison the Boheme outbound yesterday, January 20.




Thursday, January 20, 2022

"Can Overboard"

 Maybe not as recognizeable a cry as the legendary "Man Overboard", but it certainly is a common occurrence these days for containers (Sea Cans in popular parlance) to be lost overboard. Usually we hear of these losses from ships in the Pacific, such as the Zim Kingston off  Victoria, BC, in December. However the most recent case of loss overboard is a lot closer to home.

On January 7 the 13,900 TEU ship Madrid Bridge, owned by K-Line and operating for Ocean Network Express (ONE) reported a stack collapse "mid-Atlantic", with several containers washed overboard. Whether it was a case of underestimating by those aboard ship or a bit of news manipulation by the owners, the number of lost boxes seems to increase every few days. At first it was 30, then it was revised to 60 and as of the latest news 130 - certainly an exponential increase. It strains credibility to think that the ship's people could mistake 130 for 30! There are also reported to be a further 80 damaged containers still on board. Assurances that hazardous materiala are not involved should also be questioned. Once again the Zim Kingston comes to mind where fires continued to break out after the ship reached port. Its intial loss overboard of 109 boxes and damage to other boxes, caused hazardous cargo to ignite.

The Madrid Bridge was on ONE's EC4 service from Europe to the US East coast (Halifax is not on the route) and heading for New York at the time. After a few days standing by offshore the ship changed heading for Charleston, but has had to divert from a direct route to avoid weather. Presumably at least some of the damaged containers are still at risk of going overside or incurring further damage. Safe arrival in a port is a high priority for the crew, the ship and the cargo.

 Containers are rarely stacked five high - even empty - on land, but seven or eight high stacks are not uncommon on ships at sea. Most ships have very little support or protection, and lashing is impossible at these heights.

Ships of the Atlantic Container Line are the exception. They are quite rightly proud to say that they have never lost a container overboard since the line was started in 1965. Their ships have solid structural support and protection for deck cargoes.

Fires and container losses on container ships have apparently not reached the point where ship owners, insurers, cargo owners, classification societies, flag states or the IMO have decided to do something. These episodes are seemingly still part of the "cost of doing business".


Timing is everything

 A well coordinated departure and arrival this afternoon saw the two ships meeting in the Middle Ground area, where there was lots of room for two ships to pass. The light drizzle / rain did not impede their progress.

The departing ship was the autocarrier Boheme, a member of the large Wallenius Wilhelmsen fleet, and still wearing the traditional Olof Wallenius funnel marking (which looks a little incongruous with the new hull colour). The ship arrived in Halifax yesterday (January 19) at Autoport, later moving over to Pier 31 on the Halifax side of the harbour.

 Boheme was built in 1999 by Daewoo, Okpo. In 2005 the ship was lengthened from 219.3m to 227.9m thus increasing gross tonnage from 57,018 to 67,264 gt and deadweight from 22,619 to 28,360 dwt. It now has a capacity of 7194 cars. It can also carry other RoRo cargo.

The inbound ship was Tropic Lissette one of a pair of sister ships that maintain a weekly schedule for Tropical Shipping.

The Tropical Lissette took the western channel inbound, leaving room for Boheme to take the straighter main channel. The ship was built by Guangzhou Wenchong in 2019, and is 15,215 gt, 20,313 dwt. It has been serving Halifax since new, joining Tropic Hope built in 2018 with the same gt, but with 20,325 dwt. Both ships have a capacity of 1100 TEU, including 200 reefers and have two 45 tonne capacity cranes.

Tropical Shipping normally calls in Halifax on Mondays, so this late arrival is likely weather related.The line has been calling in Halifax since moving from Saint John, NB in 2017. It serves a variety of Caribbean ports directly or indirectly, from its home base in West Palm Beach, FL. Since 2014, Tropical Shipping has been part of the Saltchuck Family of companies which includes interests in logistics, air cargo, tugs (Foss, Cook Inlet, Young Bros), oil and the domestic US shipping company TOTE Services.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

CCGS Hudson - axed

 The propulsion motor failure on CCGS Hudson reported here December 17, 2021 has proven fatal to the future of the ship. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced today that the ship will be retired and not repaired. This leaves the department without its principal occeanographic and hydrographic research vessel. Adding to the problem is the embarassing fact that another year has now been tacked on to the delivery date for the replacement ship, which may now be delivered in 2025 even with ballooning construction costs. The department will be forced to hire in ships, at great expense, if it hopes to complete research programs that are vital to ongoing science. 

Built by Saint John Shipbuilding and Dry Dock in 1963 and commissioned in 1964, the 3444 gt, ice classs 2 ship has had many achievements over the years. Circumnavigating North America in 1969 and the western hemisphere in 1970 are only the most noteworthy events in an unprecedented history.

Initially serving the Canadian Oceanographic Service, as CSS Hudson (Canadian Survey Ship) it carried the same traditional white hull and buff funnel of its predecessors such as CSS Acadia. With government re-organizations it came under the control of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Canadian Coast Guard in 1996. It then acquired the red hull paint and became CCGS Hudson. Its base remained the Bedford Institute Dartmouth (Halifax) and it was often seen sailing in and out of Halifax harbour.

As the years went on refits became more extensive and more lengthy and as more problems were "uncovered" and had to be repaired, more costly too.

The ship has a typical icebreaker diesel electric propulsion system consisting of four V-16 turbocharged Alco 251D diesel engines, built by Dominion Engineering Works under license, driving four generators feeding two electric motors. It has two fixed pitch props. This DC / DC arrangement gives an infinite variety of speed increments, which is ideal for slow speed survey work or working in ice. 

It is apparently one of the electric propulsion motors that failed, since the diesel engines themselves are virtually indestructable (despite being of 1951 design). Those engines are still available from current license holders Fairbanks Morse. The generators and electric motors may not be "off the shelf" however, which would explain the current situation. Replacement would likely take a year, for only a two to three year additional service life. Press reports indicate that the ship would also need other upgrades to meet current standards.

A particularly attractive ship, its graceful hull lines will be missed. Ships with hull sheer are rare these days!

It will take some time to decommission and de-store the ship, not to mention arranging for it to be scrapped in an environmentally acceptable manner, so it will be with us in some form for quite awhile yet, although non-operational.

The Hudson replacement, orginally due in 2017, but now with a price tag of $1 billion and rising, (up from $108 million), is to be built by Seaspan in Vancouver. Even the recently revised delivery date from 2024 to 2025 is not guaranteed.


Saturday, January 15, 2022

Waiting it out - or not

 A big wind and snow storm moved across the Atlantic provinces yesterday, January 14, through today and extending into tomorrow for northern areas. Interprovincial ferry services were cancelled and the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island was closed to all traffic. These legendary "nor'easters" are to be avoided if possible, and some ships sought sheltered anchorages and others skipped scheduled port calls altogether.

Waiting it out 1

Oceanex sent its ship Oceanex Avalon to anchor in Halifax last night rather than heading out to sea for St.John's. 

 The Oceanex Avalon in anchorage number one, just off the PSA Halifax terminal.

The ship has been temporarily assigned to the Halifax / St.John's route for alternate weeks while Oceanex Sanderling is in refit in Amsterdam. Fleet mate Oceanex Connaigra is sharing the duties, leaving Montreal with only one ship per week to St.John's during the month long refit period.

The Oceanex Avalon is now scheduled to sail this evening.

The ship may also be staying in port during foul weather because it is hatchless over most of its cargo space. It only has number one hatch covered. The rest of the hold is open to the elements and perhaps there are restrictions on when it can sail.

Waiting it out 2

Anchored in Bedford Basin, the bulk carrier Tanja also appears to be waiting out the bad weather as it heads south. Its last port was Grande Anse on the Saguenay River and it appears to be in ballast.

Tanja was built in 2016 by AVIC Dingheng in Yangzhou, China. It is a 19,104 gt, 27,674 dwt ship with box shaped holds and double skin, equipped with three 30 tonne cranes. It is also fitted to carry kaolin clay in slurry form and has a large slop tank near mid-ships.

Kaolin is used in paper making which explains its vists to Point Tupper, Quebec City, Grande Anse and other ports with nearby paper mills.


The ship had to call for a pilot this morning to re-anchor as it was dragging in high winds. Note the "bar taught" anchor line. Maximum winds speeds in excess of 65 kph(40 mph) and a maximum gust of 89 kph (55 mph) were recorded in the harbour today. Temperatures were in the - 12C (+10 F) range.

Waiting it out 3

The ConRo Nolhan Ava remained at Fairview Cove rather than sailing on its usual Friday departure for Argentia, NL and St-Pierre et Miquelon. It is a small ship and sailing in very bad weather risks damage to ship or cargo.

File photo from June 24, 2016.  The ship carries a range of containers, trailers and RoRO.



Skips and misses

 I noticed the ConRo ship Atlantic Sky by passing Halifax today en route from Liverpool, UK to New York. The ship did not appear on the Port's schedule for today, so this appears to have have been a planned "skip"  - it is due back on the eastbound leg January 22.

Another odd movement is MSC Lucy which arrived in Halifax January 13 and sailed early in the morning of January 14. Since then it was seen idling in the Gulf of Maine in a position roughly on a line between Bar Harbor, ME and Yarmouth, NS. It is now heading back toward Halifax and is due tomorrow January16. The ship is on MSC's Indus 2 service from North India via the Mediterranean.


Thursday, January 13, 2022

Aurviken follow up

The crude oil tanker Aurviken, subject of yesterday's post (January 12) is due to sail this evening (January 13) for Point Tupper, NS to offload at the NuStar terminal.

Aurviken arriving in Halifax January 12 with light snow in the air, and some frozen spray on deck.

I have learned that the ship called in Halifax to take on some fuel for its cargo heating boilers. Temperature maintenance for crude oil cargoes is a very complex topic, which is well beyond my mandate here, but is critical both to maintain the integrity of the product and to ease the pumping off at terminals.


Bow Wow- part one of several

 My post a few days ago showing the impressive bows of the Royal Viking cruise ships is another reminder that ship design has changed over the years. Modern computer programs allow for ship's hulls to be maximized for such factors as cargo capacity (including passengers) or speed through the water. Graceful appearance is not always the end result. Even cruise ships, supposedly the most stylish of vessels, are quite rightly criticized as resembling "blocks of flats".

I recall as a youth reading in Sea Breezes the letters from crusty old salts barking about the degradation of standards in ship design. Such horrors as engines aft were cited as the first steps to perdition. I have long since entered the age range of those old gaffers and can see their point. Ship's appearances have changed, and not necessarily for the better aesthetically.

Elder Dempster's Lithgows- Port Glasgow built Fulani of 1964 was considered by many to be typical of the epitome of ship design (although the bi-pod masts were criticized as a modern affectation by the oldsters), but at 7689 gt and 8115 dwt its cargo capacity was limited by today's standards. Its hull dimensions were a sleek 141.7m x 19.0m. and it had a decent turn of speed of 16 knots. In its defence, it was designed for west African trade, which was slow, and often had to handle cargo to or from lighters or surf boats at anchorages, with ittle support from shore. It was equipped with an astonishing 16 derricks: 1x80, 2x30, 4x15, 2x12 1/2, 4x71/2, and 6x5 tons.

(The epitome may not yet have been reached in car design as an inspection of the longshoremen's vehicles may reveal.) 

The incoming at 11 o'clock high appears to be an RCN "Tracker" aircraft heading for Shearwater. TheASW planes flew off the aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure which was still in commission in 1969.

 Ships like the Fulani were overtaken by the container revolution and were soon broken up or consigned to remote trades. It was sold twice, renamed 1976: Cam Azobe, 1981: Cotton Trader. After an explosion and fire in the Gulf of Oman July 13, 1983 it was broken up on Gadani Beach in May 1985.

By comparison, a ship of similar size (but vastly different appearance) arrived in Halifax on January 11.

Augusta Unity's hull dimensions of 143.2m x 22.8m give 12,993 gt and 17,451 dwt - the latter nearly twice that of the Fulani. The more box shaped hull is compensated for in part by a bulbous bow. It also requires only two cranes as most of its mixed cargo consists of containers which can also be handled from shore.

The Augusta Unity carried the name Federal Pioneer from 2007 to 2011, inviting the inevitable comparison to the wartime standard ship of the same name.

United Shipyards of Montreal delivered the Outremont Park to the Canadian government's wartime shipping company Park Steamships in 1944. One of hundreds of similar ships built in Canada and the US during World War II, it was considered large for its time at 7158 gt, 10,000 (approximate) dwt with hull dimensions of 134.6m x 17.4m. It became Furness' Prince Line's Brazilian Prince in 1946 and Federal Commerce and Navigation's Federal Pioneer in 1958. Used for northern supply for many years (with the hope that its bottom would fall out in the arctic somewhere) it managed to survive until 1971 when it was broken up in Hsinkiang, China after having sailed on its own hull from Halifax.

But back to Bows...

One overriding aspect of ship's designs applies to those built to break ice. On January 12 I could see two icebreaker bows from the same place. The heavy reinforcing was quite visible on the CCGS Jean Goodwill. It was tied up at Pier 9 due to a space shortage at BIO.

Nearby at Halifax Shipyard, AOPV3, the future HMCS Mac Burnays, was bows on.

Thicker plating at the bow is clearly visible even at a distance.

What happens when you don't have a reinforced bow has been seen in Halifax from time to time.

In June 1974 the bulker Ivory Star struck a growler in the Strait of Belle Isle and suffered a giant hole in the bow. The CCGS Montcalm removed 33 of the 43 persons aboard and the ship made for Halifax. Workers from Halifax Shipyards reinforced the collision bulkhead and the ship sailed cautiously to Europe for permanent repairs - still with the gaping hole. (Note the enclosed crow's nest from where someone might have spotted the growler in time to avoid it.)

Quite remarkably the ship was back in Halifax in October of the same year - good as new. Note the lack of bulbous bow - they were still uncommon in the 1960s.

For the record the ship was built in 1963 as the Norwegian Jarosa by Frederikstad MV. In 1972 Greek owners purchased and renamed the ship Ivory Star. Its gross tonnage was adjusted from 16,321 to 14,336 with deadweight of 24,790 tonnes. It was sold and re named Turicum in 1975 and Iapetos in 1979. 

On December 8, 1983 it was abandoned by the crew after it came under rocket and machine gun air attack off Bandar Khomeni while en route from Immingham. It was apparently at least partially repaired, but on March 29, 1984 it was again attacked by air, this time with bombs and missiles, in the Khor Mussa channel while en route to Piraeus. 

The ship was towed to Dubai and later sold for scrap. It was then towed to Chittagong where it was broken up in January 1985.

 The Ivory Star could have used some ice reinforcing such as that of the Danish Lauritzen ships which pioneered winter navigation on the St.Lawrence in the early 1960s. Helga Dan, built in 1957, reached Quebec City February 13, 1959 and Montreal January 4, 1964, setting new records and establishing Montreal as a year round port (for some kinds of ships).

Despite the jolity of the linehandlers, many thought that winter navigation on the St.Lawrence would be the death knell for the Port of Halifax.

The 4040 gt, 5050 dwt ship, built by H.C.Stulcken Sohn in Hamburg also carried an array of cargo handling gear, consisting of  1x35, 4x10, and 6x5 ton derricks. 

Renmaed Mitsa K. in 1974, it was wrecked April 4, 1982 and broken up in nearby Laurium, Greece. The high crowsnest must have been a challenge to reach in bad weather. (The ladder is just visible on the opposite side of the foremast.)

Containers saved the day for Halifax as the harbour was able to accommodate larger ships than Montreal could, and most container ships were not reinforced for ice, but that is for a later post.

More bow wows another time.........