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.
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).
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.