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.