Thursday, February 24, 2022

Another Initial Day

 Initials, abbreviations and acronyms are much favoured by shipping lines as a way of reducing lengthty company names. Today (February 24) saw the arrival of two ships using intials in their names.

Item 1

First in was the bulk carrier SLNC Severn en route from Auld's Cove, NS to a US port with a cargo of aggregates. A fairly unusual sight, it is a US flag ship. It was built in 2017 by Samjin Shipbuilding Industries Co in Wehai, China as the Frederike Oldendorff for Oldendorff Carriers of Germany.

 SLNC Severn picked up a bit of frozen spray on its trip down the coast from the Strait of Canso over night.

The 33,737 gt, 57,888 dwt bulker carries four 35 tonne cranes and four 12 cubic meter grabs. The cranes can be paired for 70 tonne lifts and the ship can carry containers. (The tops of the grabs are just visible near the bases of the cranes.)

The ship was chartered in 2020 by Schuyler Line Navigation Co LLC of Annapolis, MD, hence the "SLNC" initials. The choice of company name comes from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Fort Schuyler, the Bronx, NY, where the company principals studied. The ship is still owned by Oldendorff America Ltd (hence the Egon Oldendorff funnel marking).

Schuyler Lines operates a varied fleet of about six ships, some of which were built in the US and qualify for domestic (cabotage) trade under the Jones Act. Others, like SLNC Severn, which was not built in the US, cannot trade between US ports, but still receives some of the benefits of US status.

The ship was here previously, in June and September of last year. Since then the two forward cranes have been repainted in a rust colour. 

Item 2

The next "initial" ship saves a great deal of paint and ink and a mouthful of words by reducing the Mediterranean Shipping Co Ltd to MSC.

 The crew are washing down the anchors as the ship enters port. [See footnote]

MSC Qingdao is making its first port call to Halifax on MSC's Indus 2 service from northern India. A 89,097 gt, 105,162 dwt ship, it dates from 2004 when built by Samsung Koje. It has a capacity of 8063 TEU including 1400 reefers. Originally named OOCL Qingdao it took its present name in 2019 when chartered in by MSC. 

[Ships owned by MSC typically carry women's names, whereas chartered ships use place names.]

Qingdao is a port city located in Shandong province in eastern China. The port handles more than 20 million TEUs per year (!) and is thus perhaps the third busiest port in the world for containers. (Halifax by comparison handled 595,751 TEU in 2021).

The name Qingdao has been used by other containerships, and ZIM Qingdao is a regular caller here. In fact it is due February 26, but it doesn't seem that the two ships will meet in port.


 A ship must confirm that its anchors are free and ready for use before receiving clearance to enter the port of Halifax, particularly in winter, in case they are locked in place by frozen spray. On a day like today (minus 5C) it is unlikely that the rushing seawater will freeze, but I question the use of wash water when there is no evidence of frozen spray. Ships often wash down the anchor chain before anchoring to reduce clouds of flying rust as the chain deploys, but that is not the case today, since the ship will not be anchoring. However in an emergency, such as engine failure, the ship must be prepared to drop anchor at once. Perhaps the deck crew were just being cautious.

That brings up the case of the ZIM Vancouver - see yesterday's post - which lost both its anchors during the recent storm. Too much strain on the anchor chain may have resulted in the chain parting. However it is more likely that the two chains became entangled, and the crew had no choice but to let them go since they could not be retrieved. (There are shackles in anchor chain every 15 fathoms, or 90 feet, where the chain can be disonnected.)

In any event it was not safe for the ship to be at sea without anchors (in fact it is considrred to be unseaworthy without anchors.) The ship was given special clearance to enter port as long as it was under the control of tugs and pilot.

It will be interesting to see if any effort is made to recover the anchors. There may be others out there too, and with present day sonar it may be possible to find them if they are worth something.


Wednesday, February 23, 2022

ZIM Vancouver - new news

ITEM 1 :  Did you notice?

 A close inspection of my photo of the Zim Vancouver (posted yesterday) at Pier 36 reveals that the ship has no anchors. A report has reached me that the ship lost both anchors during the gales last Thursday / Friday February 17-18, 2022. The ship was in the outer anchorages off Halifax as the gales, with some very heavy gusts, blew through the area. Gusts of 90.8 km per hour and 103.7 km per hour were recorded at Shearwater and McNabs Island respectively.

The source also reported that new anchors have been dispatched from Houston, by truck.


A sustained period of ship's whistle blowing last night (February 22) at about 2300 hrs AST has not been explained, but acknowleged by authorities as an "ISOLATED INCIDENT". That wonderful phrase loved by obfuscators world wide, neither explains the reason for, nor the source of the sound. 

Normally a series of blasts (usually five) is a warning from a ship underway. However there was no ship underway in the harbour at the time. Fifteen or more (I wasn't counting) blasts in quick succession would seem to indicate an emergency of some sort such as a person overboard or a medical issue. Neither of those seems to have been the case.

Due to the direction of the sound relative to my location I believe it came from the ZIM Vancouver

Could it have been a case of "crew exuberance", a "political statement", or a "malfunction"? We may never know.


Port Cleans House

 The Halifax Port Authority recently advertised for the sale of two boats that it has owned and operated for many years. Although not named in the newspaper ad, they are the J.R.Mitchell built in 1990 and Garret Cotter built in 2004. Both boats were removed from service in the past year or so and are presently stored on dry land on Port property in the south end of Halifax.

The registrations for both boats have been suspended, suggesting that neither is operational.

The Garret Cotter (visible in the above photo) is a former police patrol boat and J.R.Mitchell (shrink wrapped in the background) was used for port inspection tours. I covered their histories in a post on :  November 25, 2020

The J.R.Mitcheell was named for the long time Port Manager in the 1950s and 1960s.

The port is allowing an inspection for one hour on March 7 and tenders are due March 10, 2022. The boats are offered in "as is" condition.


Tuesday, February 22, 2022

ZIM Vancouver - now in port

 The container ship ZIM Vancouver finally entered port yesterday February 21. Although it tied up at PSA Halifax it did so at Pier 36, a part of the Southend container terminal that is not served by container cranes

The ship arrived off Halifax February 5 on ZIM's ZCA service from the Mediterranean. Port schedules at that time showed the ship was due February 11, but its actual ETA was February 23. I suspected that the two week delay was due to the ship being quarantined, but there has been no official statement to that effect.

The ship appears to be close to fully loaded with a good variety of ZIM's own containers but also with HAPAG-Lloyd boxes. The ZCA service also operates as HAPAG-Lloyd's AL7 service. Effective December 2019 H-L signed a 1300 TEU per week slot charter agreement with ZIM's ZCA service in return for slots on several H-L services. (Subsequent amendments may have bee made).

At the time of this post (2020hrs AST 22-02-2022) the PSA schedule shows the ship moving to Pier 42 (where there are cranes) on March 3.

For more on the ship see previous post: February 14


Monday, February 21, 2022

Autos - safely delivered

 With ships carrying cars and trucks much in the news lately (more on that below) the Pure Car and Truck Carrier Grande Florida arrived at Autoport this morning February 21 with vehicles loaded in Gioia Tauro, Italy.

Built by the Yangfan Group in Zhousan, China in 2020, the 65,148 gt, 15,583 dwt ship has a capacity of 7600 CEU (car equivalant units). It is also equipped with a 150 tonne capacity stern ramp to handle oversize loads such as machinery.

The ship made its first call in Halifax in October 2021. I managed to catch the ship outbound  and its yellow hull certainly stood out on tnhat clear day. (There was light haze in Halifax this morning.)

Car manufacturers are building inventory for the usual spring sales rush and Autoport is chock-a-block with vehicles of various brands. Autoport also preps and stores cars and dispatches them by train, truck (or ship to Newfoundland) on demand.

Grimaldi Group, owners of the Grande Florida are also the owners of Grimaldi Euromed, the operators of the unfortunate car and truck ferry Euroferry Olympia which caught fire February 18 off Corfu while en route from Igoumenitsa, Greece to Brindisi, Italy. A huge rescue and fire fighting operation managed to save 281 people, including two stowaways, but ten truck drivers are still missing. There were reported to be 153 trucks and 32 cars on the ship which will be towed to a nearby port. Salvors have already boarded the vessel and begun the task of recovering remains and extinguishing hot spots. It is believed that the missing or dead truck drivers were sleeping in their trucks on the car deck. There may also have been more unrecorded migrants.

Meanwhile off the Azores salvage vessels are en route from Gibraltar and Rotterdam to the burning autocarrier Felicity Ace. All 22 crew were rescued, but the ship is in danger of sinking as the fire has not been extinguished. Salvage experts have said that the burning batteries of the many electric cars on board add to the difficulties of fire fighting. Temperatures of 1500 degrees C (where steel melts) and 2000 degrees C (when water atomizes, and foams do not work) may mean that allowing the fire to burn itself out will be the only option.

The most recent reports I have seen say that there were 3,965 cars on board, including 1100 Porsches and 189 Bentleys with a value of $255 million (USD). Most of the cars were  German built and loaded in Emden. The ship was bound for Davisville, RI when the fire broke out February 16. 

By coincidence, its last visit to Halifax was also in October 2021.


Sunday, February 20, 2022

Oceanex update - Delay

 On Wednesday, February 16 Oceanex informed its valued customers by e-mail / letter that there will be a delay in the return to service of the Oceanex Sanderling. The workhorse of their weekly Halifax to St.John's service was sent to Amsterdam for mandatory drydocking at the end of 2021. The drydocking / refit, required in order to maintain the its classification, was to be a particularly thorough one in view of the ship's age. Regular five year "surveys" become more and more onerous with time and a ship that is 45 years old must be "put through the wringer" to maintain its status.

According to the Oceanex letter the planned four to five week drydocking has been extended due to unexpected additional repairs that must be completed during this work period. That sounds serious, so apparently involves some major component or system that must be rebuilt or requires the fabrication of something new before the ship can sail again. The ship's classification society DNV GL (Det Norske Veritas / Germanischer Lloyd) like Lloyds Register, Class NK or other similar organizations has very strict standards to ensure the safety and integrity of ships (and thus the safety of the cargo they carry). Maintenance of Class rating is critical to the insurability of ship and cargo, but also to the continuation of the ship's registration by its flag state.

The "bottom line" of the Oceanex letter is that Oceanex Sanderling is not due to return to service, until its sailing from Halifax June 17, 2022!

In the meantime the company's other two ships, Ocean Avalon and Oceanex Connaigra will continue with alternate weeky sailings from Montreal and Halifax. That will mean RoRo service will only be available every two weeks from each port. It also means more business for Marine Atlantic and TSMI (Transport Maritime St-Pierre International, which runs from Halifax to Argentia) but with a high level of inconvenience for shippers and Newfoundlanders in general. In fact Marine Atlantic may be obliged to add sailings.

As I have stated before the Oceanex Sanderling is a ConRo (container and RoRo ship) and is a comparatively rare type ofvessel and a major investment compared to straight container ships. It might have been replaced years ago if a suitable replacement could be found at a reasonable price. Even a short term temporary substitute would be nearly impossible to find, since all ships of the type are in dedicated service elsewhere.

One of the important features of the Oceanex Sanderling is the slewing stern ramp, which can be turned to suit the docking arrangement.

 The Oceanex letter contained no detail as to the nature of the unexpected work, but in view of the definite return to service date, they must be confident that the repair can be made.

For a time the ship was a 'heavy smoker" but that was fixed during a previous refit.

While the Oceanex Connaigra (pictured in yesterday's post) is also a ConRo, the third member of the fleet, Oceanex Avalon has no RoRo capability.

Seen here doing 19.9 knots on the St.Lawrence, Ocean Avalon must contend with ice this time of year, and "slow go" whale zones in season in order to make its weekly trips to Newfoundland.


Saturday, February 19, 2022

PSA Double Header - updated

 The Southend container terminal operating as PSA Halifax was quiet all week until late this afternoon (February 19) when two ships arrived in quick succession.

The first arrival was MSC Leigh from Montreal, here to top up cargo before sailing on for Barcelona and Valencia on MSC's CANEX2 Mediterranean service.

Built by Daewoo, Mangala in 2004, the MSC Leigh is a 50,963 gt, 63,410 dwt ship of 4884 TEU including 560 reefers. It certainly appears to be lightly loaded, leaving lots of extra capacity for the trip.

Following soon after, the Canadian flag Oceanex Connaigra arrived from St.John's on the weekly Oceanex service. 

The Oceanex Connaigra and Oceanex Avalon are alternating their weekly Montreal / St.John's trips with Halifax trips while fleet mate Oceanex Sanderling is in refit in Amsterdam. 

The Sanderling refit was initially reported to be a five week operation starting in January, but now appears to have stretched to eight weeks or more. The Oceanex schedule shows the current arrangement continuing until the end of February - that is as far as the schedule shows.   


See New Post, February 20, 2022.


Star Pyxis - leaves with a souvenir

 The bulker Star Pyxis, at anchor in Bedford Basin since February 2 for unspecified repairs finally sailed today for Norfolk, VA. See previous posts February 7  and February 9.

The ship carried with it - at least for a time - a souvenir of its visit. Draped from its port anchor was a large gob of prime quality Halifax mud and some old wire, dredged up from the anchorages. (The ship had to re-anchor at least once when it began to drag anchor in high winds.)

The harbour bottom is littered with the detritus of centuries, including wire, chain and other jetsom. It is not unsual for ship's anchors to foul something and it may require assistance from divers or others to free the material. 

In the case of the Star Pyxis, the ship's own crew were working with a chain and grapple attempting to remove the wire. 





Thursday, February 17, 2022

Felicity Ace - fire on sometime Halifax caller

 On February 16, 2021 the Panama flag auto carrier Felicity Ace reported a fire on one of its cargo decks. The ship was 90 nautical miles SSW of the Azores bound from Emden, Germany to Davisville, RI carrying approximately 4,000 Porsche and Volswagen cars.


The ship is a sometime Halifax caller and was in port in March and October last year:

The most recent reports indicate that the crew of 22 have been evacuated from the ship and that salvors have been appointed under  Lloyd's Open Form "No Cure - No Pay" agreement, with a tug underway to take the ship in tow. 

I am sure more details will emerge, but at this time (1800 hrs AST February 17) there was nothing else to report.

Built in 2005 by Shin Kurushima, it is a 60,118 gt, 17,738 dwt ship with a capacity of 5232 Car Equivalent Units. It is operated by Mitsui OSK Lines and uses the "Ace" suffix, which stands for Auto Carrier Express.


Tuesday, February 15, 2022


Winter conditions can mean problems for shipping. These can range from severe such as ice damage, to frozen spray on deck or ice clogging sea chests and a whole host of other issues. Halifax is a convenient place to deal with problems that may arise since the port is ice free, there are lots of berths and achorages available and there are technicians nearby for most ship components.

Nevertheless it is rare to see three ships in port at the same time, due to winter conditions.

It is even rarer to be able to squeeze all three ships into the same photo.

At anchor in Bedford Basin, the Star Pyxis is still in port (see previous posts) but some progress has apparently been made on whatever issues it had. The ship is due to make trials in the Basin this afternoon (February 15) with a pilot aboard, then move to Pier 9C tomorrow. (The ship is visible in the far right background of the photo above).

The heavy oil / bitumen tanker Iver Ambition arrived at Pier 9C yesterday after discharging cargo in Sept-Iles, QC. The ship loaded the cargo in Antwerp  and completed unloading in Sept-Iles January 31. Why it took two weeks to reach Halifax is not known, but it is likely winter related.

Built as San Lorenzo in 2009 by Kraljevica Shipyard in Croatia the ship retained its Italian flag when it was renamed Iver Ambition in 2015 by Vroon / Iver Ships. The 6296 gt, 8962 dwt tanker carries the Vroon "V" in white on its hull.

Also at Pier 9C is the container ship MSC Jersey. The ship was en route from Le Havre to Montreal when it put in to Halifax yesterday January 14.


Aside from frozen spray forward on the spray shield (see top photo) and on deck, there was no outward sign of any issues with the ship. Pier 9C was busy with trucks moving salt from a large stockpile, but there did not seem to be much activity at the ship itself.

The ship was built by Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Zhoushan as Seaviolet. It was renamed Sapphire in 2014, Hammonia Sapphire in 2015, X-Press Jersey in 2019 and MSC Jerseay in 2021. The 47,873 gt, 60,550 dwt ship has a capacity of 4896 TEU including 750 reefers.

Some ships avoid winter conditions by laying up until spring.That is usually true of Great Lakes ships, as the fresh water freezes up and the locks are closed. However some of the newer classes of CSL and Algoma ships run well after the traditional December layup dates. One such ship, CSL's Baie St.Paul has been busy delivering salt from the Magdalen Islands to St.Lawrence River ports. (It also delivered salt to Halifax late last year.) It has now arrived in Halifax (February 14) for an abbreviated "winter layup".

The ship is docked stern in at Pier 25-26, to allow easier access to the ship's machinery spaces. Generally these layup periods allow for major maintenance to engines and other equipment. The ships usually return to service toward the end of March when the St.Lawrence Seaway reopens for the season.


Monday, February 14, 2022

ZIM Vancouver - still out there


The container ship ZIM Vancouver arrived off Halifax February 5 and as of today (February 15) it is still there. The Port of Halifax website shows an original ETA of February 11 and a new arrival date of February 23. That 14 day interval looks very much like a quarantine period, but there has been no official mention of that, nor would I expect one. The launch Halmar visited the ship on February 10.

ZIM Vancouver was built by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co in Dalian, China in 2007. The 39,906 gt, 50,532 dwt ship has a capacity of 4250 TEU. It carried the name Pearl River I from 2007 to 2012, and has been a regular on ZIM's ZCA service since 2019, but also called here, for ZIM, as Pearl River I in 2010 and 2011.

I have posted about the ship on this blog many times before: 


Sunday, February 13, 2022

NACC Capri - again

 The Canadian flag cement carrier NACC Capri paid a return visit to Halifax, arriving last evening February 12 and sailing this afternoon February 13. The ship was last here in January when it was returning from refit in Setubal, Portugal, arriving January 3.

On leaving Halifax January 7 the ship proceeded to Port Daniel, QC and loaded cement for Quebec City. It was back in Port Daniel January 27-28 and loaded for Quebec City again. Returning to Port Daniel it loaded for Providence, RI. It was due in Halifax February 8, but only made it to Sydney, NS, (delayed by weather and possibly by ice) sailing from there late February 11. 

On this visit to Halifax the ship took bunkers at Pier 9B. The fuel was delivered by truck.

I would think a ship with as much "top hamper" of self-unloading gear above deck, would need to be very cautious about sailing in conditions of freezing spray. The weight of ice, high above the waterline, could effect the ship's stability.

Photographed on its previous arrival, January 7, 2022, NACC Capri in ballast.


Thursday, February 10, 2022

SD Victoria

 The British naval support ship SD Victoria arrived this morning February 10 at HMC Dockyard. The 3522 gt ship dates from 2010 when it was built by Damen Galati in Romania.

The ship is owned by Serco Marine Services a division of the Serco Group, a publicly traded company that provides services to the British government. Serco Marine Services operates "fleet support" at the Royal Navy's primary bases, replacing the Royal Marine Auxiliary, which was thus disbanded in 2008. Ships bear the initials "SD" for Serco Denholm, the previous name of the company. Denholm was a ship management company and partner in Serco Marine Services that Serco bought out in 2009.

Serco Group is a huge organization,. For more information I suggest the Wikipedia entry under: Serco Group

SD Victoria provides "world wide support" to ships of the Royal Navy and apparently ranges far afield. The ship was reported in Portsmouth, UK in mid-January, and in recent days it was hove to off Yarmouth, NS during a period of high winds.


Port Infill - revised

 In a January 27 press release, the Port of Halifax formally confirmed plans to fill in the space between two of the deep water piers and to demolish two large cargo sheds. The project will create an additional 3.2HA ( 8 acres) of onsite container storage for the southend container terminal operated by PSA Halifax. The space created will more than offset the loss of storage space in the terminal when new rail sidings are built. There are also plans for more reconfiguration of rail outside the terminal

 The project will fill in four ship berths (known as pier 33, 34, 36, and 37) which are rarely used now. Ships using the RoRo ramp at Pier 36 will likely be relocated to Pier 30 or will use the existing ramp at Pier 41.  

 Pier C has been extended southward since this map was drawn. The loop track within the terminal has also been removed also.

The sheds at Pier 33 and 34 will also be demolished since they occupy space needed for container storage. The claim that facilities at Richmond Terminals can be used instead fails to recognize the difficult rail access there, so I reckon demolishing these buildings is a net loss for the port.

The area of the blue oval in the (outdated) map above will be filled with 500,000 cubic meters of fill - all of which will be trucked through downtown Halifax over a three to five year period. The fill, which will be largely pyritic slate from building excavations, is acidic  and must be neutralized by immersion in water. Excavation contractors pay the Port of Halifax to dump the material.

When the Ocean Terminals area was constructed just over one hundred years ago, fill came from the railway cut which brought the rail line to the waterfront area. Despite the fact that at least three of the largest quarries in Nova Scotia are now on rail lines, and could send all the required volume of material for this project to the site without using a singe truck,  the Port has opted to transfer its current pyritic slate infill site from Fairview Cove to this location. One has to question the wisdom of sending all these trucks through downtown at this time. Concurrently the City will be demolishing the Cogswell Interchange already creating traffic chaos downtown.

The most obvious solution of bringing in aggregate fill from Auld's Cove by self-unloading bulk  carrier has apparently not been deemed cost effective, since the Port would have pay for it. Instead we will get to see 4,000 to 5,000 trucks converging from all points of the compass on the downtown for three years, on streets already congested with port container traffic. 

This all presumes of course that the current building boom on peninsular Halifax continues at the rate it has done for the last five to ten years. Without that boom there will be no source for the slate fill. I personally doubt that the boom will continue for a varietyof factors. Eventually, I predict, to get the project finished in any kind of reasonable timeline, they will have to buy fill. It should be delivered by self-unloading ship or by rail as a far more environmentally responsible means of transport.

It is also interesting to note that a substantial amount of the fill needed to build the South End Terminal in the 1969-70 era, was dredged from the harbour bottom. That would likely not be permitted now due to heavy metals and other contaminents in the harbour, but it might be possible to encapsulate it effectively, as they do with the slate.

The infilling of the deep water pier space will increase the backup land for the Southend terminal, and coupled with planned rail upgrades and bigger cranes, will keep the facility up to date and competitive. The downside will be the added truck traffic in downtown, which will be a major inconvenience to residents for a prolonged period.

The Port's press release also claims "The completed project will improve overall efficiency and safety, which will lead to more environmentally sustainable operations overall."

None of these three claims is substantiated, and the environmental costs incurred during construction can never be remediated. On balance the project will upgrade the Southend terminal, but all other claimed benefits are questionable at best.

A wall of containers blocks the view of the infill area - 2022 view..

The way it was in 1973.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Big Ships, and various updates

Container lines keep adding bigger ships to their fleets, and placing them on routes that once were served by much smaller ships. This certainly places pressure on the ports and terminals they visit to be able to berth and serve the larger ships efficiently. PSA Halifax is able to handle two "Ultra" class ships (larger than 10,000 TEU, 350m long) at the same time. Thanks to the most recent extension to Pier 42 they can berth the ships, but they do not yet have sufficient cranes to work the ships efficiently. 

One new crane is reported to be on order and there is an option for another. But with build times of up to 18 months, crane manufacturers have backlogs and it will years before the second crane arrives. By that time even larger ships will be calling and there will likely be demand for even more cranes. Certainly if there are two Ultra class ships, or even two moderately large ships in port at the same time, they need to be served quickly or the port loses advantage over other ports.The Port of Saint John will apparently be getting some cranes second hand from Prince Rupert, BC. Terminal operator DP World took delivery of the largest crane in Canada in Prince Rupert in June 2021, and will transfer a pair of older cranes to their newly enlarged Saint John operation.

Today's arrival at PSA Halifax seems to have had a domino effect on other ships.

CMA CGM Hermes arrives this morning February 9, while ZIM Vancouver continues to wait at an outer anchorage (it has been there since at least February 5). The ship used all four harbour tugs to berth, including Atlantic Oak the stern tethered escort tug that met the ship off the pilot station, (in the photo the fourth tug is not visible on ship's starboard side) .

CMA CGM Hermes is still very new, just delivered by Chinese builders in October. The 154,995 gt, 156,500 dwt ship, with a capacity of 15,536 TEU, including 1800 reefers, is about 1,000 TEU shy of being the largest container ship to call in Halifax, but at 366m x 51m it still monopolizes the resources (including cranes) of PSA Halifax. 

CMA CGM Hermes was built to Tier III emission standards and has numerous eco-friendly features. Builders are reported by some sources to be Shanghai Jiangnan Chiangxing Shipbuilding Co Ltd, and by others as Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co (the latter may be the parent company - both are state owned).

PSA Halifax is also expecting the MSC Leigh later in the day, so will be full with its arrival.

The Fairview Cove container facility at the north end was also busy with ONE Majesty at the west berth on THE Alliance's AL5 route. It was joined by the MSC Tianjin (see February 7 post) on the Indus2 run, which had moved from PSA Halifax to Bedford Basin anchorage and moved again today, to Fairview Cove's east berth.

ONE Majesty is the former MOL Majesty, which was renamed and repainted in 2021. Built in 2010 by Mitsubishi, Kobe, it is a 78,316 gt, 79,443 dwt ship with a capacity of 6724 TEU,  including 500 reefers.

It seems that Fairview Cove may have been doing PSA and MSC a favour by allowing the MSC Tianjin to use the east berth, likely for repairs, since it did not appear to be working cargo. There is still no word on whether PSA's takeover of the Fairview lease will be permitted under the competition laws. Cooperation between the two is not unheard of however as the Southend terminal under Halterm operation and now PSA has accommodated ships in the past that were too large to reach Fairview Cove.

 MSC Tianjin, as previously reported, arrived off Halifax February 4 and anchored for a time until entering port on February 5. Built in 2005 by Samsung Koje it is a 89,097 gt, 105,528 dwt ship with a capacity of 8063 TEU, including a very large capacity of 1400 reefers. It was built as OOCL Tianjin, renamed GSL Tianjin in 2007 and became CMA CGM Tianjin in 2019.

Note both ships have substantial container lashing bridges at the stern, a feature common on ships built for Pacific Ocean service where large following seas can wash containers overboard.


Stormy weather again February 8, caused Star Pyxis to drag anchor in Bedford Basin, and a pilot was called to re-anchor the ship. It was re-established somewhat to the south of where it had been. (See previous post).

I like to get pictures of ships from both sides!

Also in Beford Basin Algoma Integrity was taking on cargo at Gold Bond Gypsum.

HMCS Kingston has been exercising in the Basin for the past few days with HMCS Summerside. While the latter was nowhere to be seen today, Kingston was in an unusual anchorage position off Rockingham in an area where large ships don't go.

The lead ship of its class, it was launched by Halifax Shipyard August 12, 1995 and commissioned September 21, 1966.


Monday, February 7, 2022

More than Weather

 That old quote "Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it*" has certainly applied to Shipfax during the past week. A series of fine days at the end of January followed by three days of rain, fog, more rain, freezing rain, some snow, and then cold have played havoc with shipping to a certain extent, but more particularly to ship observation. Barely passable roads and low visibility have kept my direct observation to a minimum. 

Numerous ships were delayed, with some steaming back and forth off Halifax, or anchoring depending on conditions, and some bypassing entirely. Icing up of facilities on shore is believed to be at least part of the problem, but high winds were also a factor.

The longest delay was MSC Tianjin, which arrived off Halifax January 31 and finally tied up at PSA Halifax today, February 7. There have been several other delays too including NYK Deneb which arrived off Halifax February 5, and docked at Fairview Cove February 6. It is due to sail early in the morning of February 8.

The ship is a regular on THE Alliance's AL5 service. Built in 2007 by Hyundai, Ulsan, it is  55,487gt, 65,953 dwt vessel with a capacity of 4922 TEU. 

Winter conditions on the St.Lawrence River are believed to be the reason for the arrival of the bulk carrier Star Pyxis on February 2. Since anchoring in Bedford Basin the ship has received extended visits from the launch/tenders Captain's Pride and Dominion Bearcat, both of which are used for diving work and transporting agents, technicians and others to ships at anchor. 

Built as Pyxis in 2013 by Jiangsu Hantong Ship Heavy Industry Co and taking its present name in 2019 it is a 33,114 gt, 56,615 dwt bulker equipped with four cranes and clamshell bucket grabs. (The grabs are stowed on the crane pedestals, close to deck level).

Operated by the Piraeus based Technomar, the ship has also been equipped with an exhaust gas scrubber system, which appears like a second funnel just aft of the orginal.

The ship is in ballast, having discharged cargo (likely urea) at Contrecoeur, QC at fertilizer giant Yara Canada Inc's import terminal. It sailed from Contrecoeur January 30 and put in to Quebec City briefly the same day. Ships navigating in icy conditions can suffer from a variety of maladies, and there are several ships in various states of "ill health" in various St.Lawrence ports as of today.

One that was bound for Halifax was the bulker Efficiency OL It had engine trouble in Lac St-Pierre January 8 while outbound from Montreal. Tugs ecorted the ship to Trois-Rivières. It then moved on to Quebec City January 12 where it was detained by Port State Control for a variety of deficiencies until January 27. Most sources gave its destination as Halifax with an optomistic due date of January 29. High winds offshore caused the ship to seek shelter in Chedabucto Bay January 30. On February 1 it sailed giving its destination as "open sea" . It certainly skipped Halifax and is now off Florida en route to Puerto Cabello, Venezula. (At one point it also gave its destination as Kahlifa, UAE. In some languages "H" and "KH" are the same sound, so this was likely a mistranslation as it appeared on Halifax "due" lists for several days.)

*According to Wikipedia, the "weather" quote has long been mis-attributed to Mark Twain, but was apparently coined by his friend Charles Dudley Warner. No matter who said it first, it is still true.