Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Pax and Box

 The two main "commodities" in the port of Halifax in the autumn of the year are passengers (Pax) and containers (Boxes).  The cruise lines try to avoid the hurricane season in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean by sailing north to New England and eastern Canada. September and October are usually the busiest months, but the lines seem to be getting off to an early start this year, after two years of shut down.

Container lines usually see an increase in traffic in the early autumn too as retailers stock up for the Christmas buying spree.

Today, August 30, was another "two cruise ship day" with the now familiar Nieuw Statendam arriving from Boston, Portland, ME and Saint John, NB.

The 99,902 gt ship, built in 2017 by Fincantieri, Marghera, can carry 2,666 PAX and 1,053 crew. The Pinnnacle class ship has 1,339 passenger cabins and 589 crew cabins, so sharing is required for a "maximum persons onboard" total of 4,173 souls.

The Nieuw Statendam picked up its pilot at about 0900 hrs, giving the first passenger ship arrival, at 0630 hrs, the Norwegian Pearl, time to tie up, get clearance for passengers to disembark, and to clear the parking areas of a lot of the first armada of buses and taxis. 

Departure times were similarly synchronised with Norwegian Pearl sailing at 1630 for Portland, Maine and Nieuw Statendam sailing at 1930 for Corner Brook, NL.

 The Norwegian Pearl 's cruise also originated in Boston. It then proceeded via Charlottetown, PE and Sydney, NS to Halifax. The 93,530 gt ship was built by Meyer Werft, Papenburg in 2006 and carries 2,394 passengers and 1,099 crew.

As far as the box commodity is concerened much of the activity was concentrated at the southend terminal, PSA Halifax's Atlantic Gateway.

ZIM Monaco embarked its pilot at 0600 hrs and tied up at Pier 42 shortly after 0700. The ship is on ZIM's ZCA (Atlantic) run from the Mediterranean.

It is a 40,030 gt, 50,775 dwt ship built in 2009 by Samsung, Koje, with a capacity of 4,253 TEU.

Pier 41 (the northern portion of Pier C, and with the largest cranes) was left vacant for this afternoon's arrival MOL Charisma a 86,692 gt, 90,390 dwt ship with a capacity of 9060 TEU including 630 reefer plugs. 

Working for THE Alliance's EC5 service, and eastbound, the ship would normally have docked at Fairview Cove. However with the two terminals now under common PSA management, the operators have the option of  berthing ships at the most convenient location. It is possible that the ship's air draft exceeded the harbour bridge clearance requirements, since it did appear lightly loaded (by draft).

It was widely speculated that when PSA took over the operation of Fairview Cove that it would shuffle  the lines with the larger ships to the Southend and those with smaller ships to Fairview Cove. Aside from the occassional "one-of" shifts such as this one, no permanent moves have been detected yet.

MOL Charisma was launched by Mitsubishi, Nagasaki in 2007. It was delivered as APL France and operated with that name until 2010 when it reverted to its orginal name.


The Eimskip charter Vantage did indeed sail late this morning after working containers at Pier 42. The ship arrived from Reykjavik on Friday, August 26, ostensibly on the Green Line route to Portland, ME. However the ship moved to Pier 36 where it was idle until this morning. Meanwhile Eimskip's regularly scheduled Green Line ship Skogafoss arrived yesterday, and seems to have picked up some of  Vantage's cargo before sailing to Portland. [See previous posts]

(File photo from Jume 11, 2022)

Eimskip's schedule shows the ship on Green Line service, arriving in Thorshavn, Faroes Islands on September 7, then shifting to the Purple Line service running between the Faroes and Scrabster, in the north of Scotland.


Monday, August 29, 2022

All Sorts

 There was all sorts of shipping activity in Halifax today, August 29, - here is a sampling:

There were two cruise ships alongside at Pier 20 and Pier 22, both regulars, the Zaandam and the Celebrity Summit, respectively.

The larger of the two is the Celebrity Summit built as the Summit in 2001 and renamed by Celebrity Cruises in 2008. Chantiers de l'Atlantique in St-Nazaire built the ship, which has since been upgraded and now measures 90,940 gt with a passenger capacity of 2,218 (all berths), 2,158 (lowers only) and a crew of 999. 

It sailed this evening for Boston, giving shipwatchers a close up view as it went west and north of George's Island. Waterfront buildings presented a shadow show on the ship's hull.

There were other arrivals and departures today too. Eimskips's Skogafoss put in en route from Reykjavik to Portland, ME. 

It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow when fleet mate Vantage, which was also en route to Portland, moves from Pier 36 to Pier 42. (See yesterday's post).

An early evening sailing was the Augusta Sun en route from Cuba to Spain. It arrived Saturday, August 27, and unloaded bagged nickel sulfides. At least some of the cargo seems to have been loaded directly to rail cars, instead of being stored in a transit shed. Many more open gondola rail cars are awaiting cargo on nearby sidings.

 The Augusta Sun backed out of Pier 27 as the Celebrity Summit was getting underway.

There was another vessel of note that wandered in front of my camera and there is a story behind its odd name: Viva Knievel.

The boat was ordered by the owner of Broward Marine in about 1975 or 76, but acquired "in the stocks" by none other than the American daredevil Evel Knievel. Renamed Evel 1 it was then lost in a poker game to Jay Sarno, the owner of the Caesar's Palace gambling den in Las Vegas. Renamed Bottom Line it was sold in about 1980 to a Florida owner who lavished great care on the boat, employing a full time year round crew.

In 2020 the Halifax based automobile dealership tycoon* Rob Steele bought the boat in Fort Lauderdale,  and renamed it after a 1977 movie starring his childhood hero. Steele uses the boat for pleasure cruises, but it is also home to his Evel Knievel memorabilia collection and is a sort of shrine to the stunt jumper.

[* Full disclosure - the official Shipfax harbour watching vehicle was acquired from Steele Ford of Halifax, one of scores of dealerships of all brands (57 at last count),  collision centres, and power centres, owned by the Steele Group in Canada and in the US. Shipfax is not otherwise affiliated with the Steele Group.]


Sunday, August 28, 2022

A Summer Sunday Summary

 There was a fair amount of activity in the harbour today (Aunday, August 28), including an abundance of pleasure craft. The last weekend before Labour Day weekend (which marks the traditional end of summer) is always a busy one for boaters - weather permitting. And this weekend weather was nearly perfect, with warm temperatures, light winds and lots of sun. That also meant ideal conditions for ship watching.

The Lake Wanaka arrived early this morning at Autoport from Emden, and sailed this afternoon for Davisville, RI weaving its way through small craft without incident.

 The Lake Wanaka was here March 30 of this year, and Shipfax reported its unusual movements and technical details. The 46,800 gt, 12,272 dwt PCTC was built in 2008 by Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co and has a capacity of 4902 CEU. The ship sailed under the name Triumph until 2019 when it was renamed after a lake in New Zealand. Since new it has been managed by Eastern Pacific Shipping UK, a 200 ship strong operator for many owners - some with uninformative corporate names.

Following it in was the Vayenga Maersk from Antwerp en route to Montreal, and docking at Pier 42, PSA Halifax Atlantic Gateway (a.k.a. the southend terminal).

Shortly afterwards its route mate CMA CGM Montreal arrived at mid-berth Pier 41-42 from Montreal en route to Europe. The two ships (along with EM Kea and Vistula Maersk) operate the weekly joint Maersk/CMA CGM St.Lawrence service, and usually call in Halifax to top up (eastbound) or lighten (westbound) because of St.Lawrence River draft restrictions. Because of the many containers on the pier the CMA CGM Montreal was hidden from view.

Another arrival this morning was the Canadian tanker Algoterra from Sarnia, ON, docking at Imperial Oil, number 3 dock.(It is the only operational dock at Imperial Oil - docks 4 and 5 are still there but not in use. Docks 1 and 2 were demolished many years ago.)

Ships usually dock starboard side to at the oil dock (bows north) but for some reason Algoterra tied up bows south- thus an unusual photo angle. The harbour tour boat Silva of Halifax is just rounding George's Island on one of its regular outings with a full deckload (of people).

Algoma ships are usually painted a very dark blue, but Algoterra is the exception to the rule. It had very nice paint from original owners Knutsen Produkt Tanker of Norway when it was acquired in 2019, so presumably Algoma Tankers saw no reason to replace a perfectly good coating. The ship was built in 2010 by Jiangnan, Shanghai as Louise Knutsen. The 11,889 gt, 16,512 dwt ship was renamed Louise K. briefly in 2019 for the delivery trip to Canada. The paint is looking a bit faded now, but its next class renewal survey and drydocking is not due until March 2025 so it may not see new paint until then.

Amongst today's departures was the Contship Leo sailing for Kingston, Jamaica, the sole ship on ZIM's Canada Feeder Express service, CFX. The route also includes New York northbound.

 Contship Leo was built in 2008 by China Commerce Group Kouan Shipbuilding as Vega Saturn. It became CFS Paceno in 2016 and took on its current name in 2020. The 9957 gt, 13,803 dwt ship has a container capacity of 1118 TEU and carries two 45 tonne cranes.

The giant container ship CMA CGM Alexander von Humboldt sailed early this morning from the southend terminal. Shipfax was not on  scene this time, but covered the ship on a previous visit on December 27, 2021.

There was one more container ship to deal with, but at the other end of the size scale at 354 TEU (including 100 reefer plugs). The 3871 gt, 3650 dwt Vantage which has been sailing for Eimskip, arrived from Reykjavik on Friday August 26. It was to have sailed that evening, but remained in port overnight and moved Saturday morning to Pier 36. Although that pier is within the PSA Halifax Atlantic Gateway facility, it is not served by a container crane, so the ship cannot be working cargo. 

The ship started calling here June 11, 2022 on Eimskip's Green Line from Iceland to Argentia, NL, Halifax and Portland, ME. It is currently not showing on any future Green Line schedules, but appears to be carrying a deck load. (Those are just reflections on the bow - not damage.)

Despite the stacks of Tropical Shipping boxes on the dock, the Vantage is sailing for the Icelandic company Eimskip (and from the opposite direction).



Friday, August 26, 2022


It was back into the weeds and wildflowers again to get a photo of the US flag autocarrier Liberty which arrived at Autoport this morning (August 26) from Southampton. [See the August 23 post for Morning Lena.]

The ship was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Nagasaki for Wilhelm Wilhelmsen in 2006. It operated as their Topeka until 2017 when it was acquired by Americian Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier (ARC), renamed, and placed under the United States flag, and managed by TOTE Maritime. [TOTE is part of Saltchuck, which also owns Tropical Shipping, Foss Maritime and scores of other businesses in Alaska, the Caribbean and Hawaii.] ARC however is part of the Wilhelm Wilhelmsen Group, along with EUKOR.

It is a 61,321 gt, 19,628 dwt vessel with a capacity of 6,354 RT43 autos. It also has a 237 tonne capacity stern ramp for heavy cargo.

As a US flag ship it is given priority status for US government cargoes, but as a foreign built ship it does not qualify under the "Jones Act" for coastal trade within the United States. ARC has nine other US flag RoRos and has several regular trade lanes including a Europe/US transatlantic route from Southampton and Bremerhaven that does not usually serve Halifax.  

This is what the Topeka looked like in 2014, in its original colour scheme. (Higher belt lines from those days have been replaced with a semi- "hip hugger" style.)



Thursday, August 25, 2022

Ships in Pairs

 There were two Holland America Line cruise ships in port today, August 25, and both sailed in the late afternoon.

First to go was Zaandam one of  the most frequent callers in the cruise season.

It was built by Fincantieri Marghera in 2000 and measures 61,396 gt with a capacity of 1,432 passengers with 615 crew.

The second HAL ship was the newer and larger Nieuw Statendam which which was built by the same shipyard, but in 2018.

It is a 99,902 gt ship with a capacity of 2,666 passengers and 1,053 crew.

There was also activity at PSA Fairview Cove, with a departure and an arrival. The ONE Houston arrived in misty conditions yesterday afternnon and should have sailed this afternoon for New York on THE Alliance's EC5 service (Asia to North America via Suez Canal). Its berth was to be taken by NYK Nebula on THE Alliance's AL5 North Europe to North America). However as it turned out ONE Houston did not depart for New York until late evening and NYK Nebula had to wait in Bedford Basin. I hope this pattern (see also yesterday's post) is not going to be typical. Halifax has had a reputation for efficient and quick cargo operations.

NYK Nebula arrived on time from Caucedo, Dominican Republic on the east bound leg toAsia via the Suez Canal. The 55,534 gt, 65,600 dwt ship dates from 2007 when it was built by Hyundai, Ulsan.It has a capacity of 4922 TEU.

ONE Houston (the former Houston Bay to 2019) was still alongside several hours past its orginal sailing time. Built in 2012 by IHI, Kure, the 96,801 gt, 96980 dwt ship has a capacity of 8930 TEU.It is westbound from Asia via Suez, for New York.

NYK Nebula went to anchor and its tugs moved over to stand by for the ONE Houston when needed.

Also at Fairview Cove was the Nolhan Ava on its weekly container and RoRo run between Halifax, Argentia, NL and St-Pierre et Miquelon for TMSI. It occupied the west berth which has a RoRo ramp.

The Canadian flagged Nolhan Ava is scheduled to depart on Friday evening (August 26).


Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Anchors Aweigh - updated

There was much activity in the port today (August 24) with ships at both container terminals, Autoport, and Gold Bond Gypsum. Most noticeable however were the two ships at anchor in the lower harbour, and one of those certainly stood out.

Aside from its bright yellow paint and the "BigLift" name emblazoned on its flanks, the ship's two 700 tonne capacity cranes, standing at attention were hard to miss. The 16,341 gt, 13,740 dwt ship was built way back in 1984 by Hitachi, Innoshima and is the "grande dame" of 25 ship BigLift fleet. A versatile vessel capable of carrying a variety of large and heavy cargoes, its cranes can work in combination to lift 1400 tonnes. It also has a 2500 tonne capacity stern ramp for RoRo cargoes. Hatches, tween decks and tank tops are rated for heavy loads of up to 15 tonnes per square meter.

Most unusual on this trip however is a deck load cargo of miscellaneous containers, most of which are leased boxes (There is no telling what is in the ship's holds). The ship has a capacity of 1,050 TEU.  By my count it had about 191 forty foot containers on deck - the equivalent of 382 TEU.

Many of those containers are from OVL (O.V.Lahtinen), the Helsinki-based container leasing company, owner of more than 2,000 containers, mostly dedicated to Europe / Asia trades. The ship's last port was Kotka, Finland, so perhaps it loaded the sea-cans there. [OVL operates a "one way, one fee" service, where users do not have to pay to transport empties.]

BigLift is part of the Spliethoff Group (of 50 ships) which operates a twice monthly container service (seasonally) to the Great Lakes, carrying shipper's containers, so this voyage may be tied into that service. In any event, once the ship received Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) clearance, it sailed for Montreal.

The other ship at anchor is, in some ways, a more typical type: the bulk carrier Golden Diamond.

A vessel of 41,718 gt, 74,138 dwt, it was built in 2013 at the Pipavav Shipyard by Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering (since renamed Reliance Naval and Engineering Co Ltd - currently in administration) at Rajulah, India and is operated by Thome Shipping Private Ltd of Singapore.

The ship is in Halifax for hull cleaning. In the photos it appears that a Canadian Border Services or RCMP boat is alongside. The ship seems to be in ballast, so is likely headed for one of the iron ore loading ports in Quebec. In recent months it has been reported in Sept-Iles (April 14), Port Cartier (April 22-24) and was in Quebec June 6, but since then in the Caribbean and Brazil, so will likely not need a CFIA exam. However it would be a candidate for contraband inspection.

Update The Golden Diamond sailed for Port Alfred (La Baie), QC, which is not a bulk export port, so must have been carrying some cargo for the aluminum smelters. Its last port was Trombitas, Brazil, a noted bauxite port, so perhaps the ship had a "ballast cargo".

At Autoport, it was the fmailiar Morning Lena back again with a load of German autos. (It was here May 11 ).

 Built in 2010 by Hyundai Ulsan, it is registered at 70,853 gt, 27,927 dwt, and has a capacity of 8100 CEU. On its last visit it also called at Pier 9C with non-automobile RoRo cargo. This time however it went directly to Autoport. 


Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Big Box Arrival - Carpathia, USCG, and ZIM

 The were three items of note from Halifax today August 23. In order of occurrence they were:

USCG Tybee

The United States Coast Guard's cutters (all their craft are called cutters*) visit Halifax regularly, but it is more usual that we see their larger vessels, such as the Famous class. Most recently it was USCGC Bear WMEC-901 on July 28 en route to Operation Nanook in the far north. Today however it was one of their smaller craft, USCGC Tybee WPB-1330 an Island class patrol boat. 

The 49 cutters of the class were built between 1985 and 1992 by Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, LA, based on a British design by Vosper Thornycroft. The 34 m (110 feet) boats achieve 29.5 knots and were lightly armed with two machine guns and a chain gun. The compliment of 16 includes only two officers. 

How their sea keeping abilities compare with Canada's Damen design Hero class Coast Guard patrol vessels (140 ft, 26 knots) would be interesting to know. 

USCGC Tybee was commissioned in 1986 and is based in Woods Hole, MA.

* USCG vessels have been called cutters in recognition of the founding of the organisation as the Revenue Service of the United States. Revenue vessels were traditionally fast sailing craft (originally cutter rigged) designed to patrol, deter and chase smugglers, and were (and still are) called cutters.

ZIM Tarragona

A familiar caller on the ZIM Container Service Atlantic (ZCA) route,  ZIM Tarragona made its way into port for the start on the "evening" shift at PSA Halifax. 

 Built by Jiangsu Yangzijiang Shipyard in Jiangyin, China in 2010, the 40,542 gt, 50,088 dwt ship has a capacity of 4256 TEU including 608 reefers. 

I suspect its operators were not pleased to have to wait off the berth at PSA Halifax Atlantic Gateway for nearly an hour. The ship at Pier 42 [see the following] did not get away in time for the usual 1700 shift change, so the ZIM Tarragona had to cool its heels, so to speak, in the number one anchorage area until the other ship cleared.


Carpathia for the Big Box 

The so called "Big Box" super stores like Walmart and COSTCO are huge customers for container lines serving Asia to North America trade routes. Frustrated with long delays at major ports (at both ends of the chain), COSTCO in particular has opted to take matters into its own hands and has chartered three ships to carry its own cargo. The first of those, the Carpathia made its first North American call today. The ship sailed from Ningbo July 27, Taicang July 27, and transited the Panama Canal August 14-16. By avoiding the major congested ports in China and the west coast of North America, it has delivered cargo to Halifax in near record time (by today's standards). That cargo can now be delivered to cities in Canada and the US mid-west. The ship sailed this evening (after an hour's delay - see also above) for Baltimore, presumably with cargo for the eastern and southern United States.

With only cargo to unload, and none to load, it is difficult to explain why the ship was late leaving. Not an impressive start for a new service. My reaction may seem excessive, but COSTCO is reportedly paying $US 42,000 per day to charter the ship, so any delays that could result in overtime costs, more days at sea, or missing port schedules translates to money fairly quickly.

The Carpathia was built in 2003 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan, and carried the named CMA CGM Greece from 2004 to 2006. It is a 28,596 gt, 39,443 dwt ship with a capacity of 2826 TEU including 554 reefer plugs [not used by COSTCO]

COSTCO has also apparently leased a great many new containers too, as almost all the visible boxes appeared to be brand new and are labelled for Triton International, a container leasing company.



Also of note, the ship's after deck was completely clear. That space is normally reserved for empties but had no boxes since no empties have been generated yet. It will be interesting to see how the "import only" COSTCO deals with empties as it will have to send boxes back to China to be re-filled. Those "non-revenue" return trips may tempt COSTCO into making space available to other shippers.

The name Carpathia will be familiar to many as that of Cunard's Royal Mail Ship Carpathia that rescued 705 survivors of the Titanic in April 1912. That Carpathia was launched by Swan + Hunter at Wallsend August 6, 1902 and was lost to U-Boat attack July 17, 2018. This Carpathia was launched, coincidentally, on August 23, 2003.


Monday, August 22, 2022

No anomoly

 Those who consult the AIS maps for activity in Halifax harbour may have noted that a Smart Atlantic meteorogical / oceanographic buoy has been showing up on Pier 9B in recent days. This what it looks like: (It is 4meters in diameter according to some sources - 3 meters according to others.)

I believe this is the buoy that is normally positioned off Herring Cove at the mouth of the harbour, anchored in 35m of water. According to the Smart Atlantic website the buoy was built by AXYS Environmental Technologies of Sidney, BC and has been in service since 2017. It is capable of "measuring a variety of atmospheric and surface conditions including: wind speed and direction, air temperature, humidity, dew point, barometric pressure, water temperature, current speed and direction (0.5 m. depth), wave height, direction and period as well as wave spectral information. The buoy is also equipped with an Aids to Navigation Information System (ATONiS) allowing direct transmittal of the buoy data to a ship's bridge". 

The unit  has apparently been out of service since June 30, but is currently in "burn-in testing" for redeployment. Presumably that is why it is transmitting an AIS signal from its position on the pier.

See Smart Altantic's listing at: https://www.smartatlantic.ca/station_alt.html?id=halifax


Sea Cougar

 The Athens based Pantheon Tankers Management has thirty-two tankers in its stable, and most have the prefix "Sea" in their names. The rest of the names are made up of animals, precious stones and miscellaneous other words, resulting in numerous improbable creatures, such as the Sea Cougar.  

Pantheon took delivery of the ship Sea Cougar April 15, 2019 from STX Offshore + Shipbuilding in Jinhae, South Korea. The 29,529 gt, 49,910 dwt Mid Range ship arrived at Imperial Oil's number 3 dock on August 18 from Baytown (Houston area), TX, with a cargo of refined petroleum product.

 At number 3 oil dock, the ship had many lines out to the recently upgraded "all weather" moorings.

It sailed late this afternoon August 22 for Houston, in ballast. The photo shows the "PTM" funnel mark of Pantheon Tankers Management. Based on the size of that funnel, it appears the ship was built with an exhaust gas scrubber.

The pilot boat Capt E.T.Rogers sets out with the ship to disembark the pilot at the pilot station.


Sunday, August 21, 2022

Something Different

 With the same container ships arriving again and again - sometimes for years on end - it is difficult to find something new to say or to show in the way of photos. 

The typical ship photo enthusiast tries to minimize background or foreground interference, to get perfect exposure, and to have the sun from the proper angle to minimize shadows, and most importantly the "forward 3/4" ( or 10 o'clock / two o'clock) view of the ship approaching (much preferrable to the ship viewed from the stern, departing.) Eventually it is possible to capture these repeat callers in the more or less perfect conditions - but then what? 

Today's bright sunshine provided good lighting conditions, but the two ship photo candidates have made countless calls on Halifax, so what was the point of trying for another photo, with so many already on file? The old adage that you can always get a better picture was a bit of a stretch, but the true enthusiast never quits.

By my reckoning Atlantic Container Lines' five G4 ships, after five to six years service, have made close to fifty round trips each (that is nearly one hundred transatlantic crossings), usually calling in Halifax east and west bound. Therefore I have seen the Atlantic Sun numerous times and and I have probably taken more than enough photos. So there was nothing unique about today (August 21) except that it was a warm day, and there were many pleasure craft in the harbour, and conditions were ideal.

Another familiar caller arrived yesterday and sailed today on THE Alliance's AL5 service. NYK Rumina is a modest sized vessel by today's measure. At 55,487 gt, 66,171 dwt, it has a capacity of 4922 TEU including 330 reefers. It was built in 2010 by Hyundai Samho.

There was also lots of pleasure craft traffic in the area when it sailed, but everyone remained clear (after a warning hoot).

The pilot boat Capt. E.T.Rogers was picking up speed off Pier 20 to get ahead of the ship as a small sail boat needed  to cross the boat's wake at right angles to avoid a severe roll. (There was ideal wind for sailboats today too.)

The boater executed the move perfectly and met the wake bow on, with a predictable splash. Not that this spoiled my "going away" photo - it just made it more interesting than it might have been.


Saturday, August 20, 2022

MSC Carouge, ex Panamax

The Mediterranean Shipping Company's Greece/Turkey service to the North American east coast brought in an unusual ship today: MSC Carouge.


Dating from 2005, the ship was built by Daewoo, Mangalia Heavy Industries SA, to what were then the maximum allowable ships dimensions for the Panama Canal. When it was announced that the Canal would be rebuilt to accommmodate larger ships, hundreds of "Panamax" ships were threatened with obsolescence, including scores of quite new container ships. Not to mention a prospective boom in construction of NeoPanamax ships that would clog shipyards and force shipowners to finance new ships.

Among the threatened ships was this one, which had been launched as Buxpost, but was renamed MSC Carouge on delivery. Owners NSB Niederelbe, with several Panamax ships on its hands, developed a unique method of increasing the ships' capacity. They essentially rebuilt the cargo section by inserting a new centre section lengthwise, thus widening the ship to the new canal dimension. A new transverse cargo section made the transition with the existing bow, also lengthening the ship. A hull fairing arrangement made the transition aft. The bridge wings were extended, and I believe a second wheelhouse was added above the original bridge to provide the mandated forward visibility. MSC Carouge was the third ship to receive the treatment at the Huarun Daedong Dockyard in China.

 NSB applied for a patent for the process, which increased the ships' capacity dramatically, as well as its stability. Although its speed was reduced somewhat, it still operated efficiently. Instead of going to the scrap yards early, the ships are expected to remain in service for normal lifespans. There is little evidence of this process except toward the stern where the unusual fairing appears below the superstructure.

The ship's statistics as built were 50,963 gt, 62,702 dwt with a length of 275m and a breadth of 32.2m. As rebuilt they are 63,300 gt, 79,403 dwt, 283m loa x 39.8m breadth. Original container capacity would have been in the 4,000 TEU range, but as rebuilt is now 4884 TEU with 560 reefer plugs.(Capacity is also quoted as 4860 by other sources).

The ship apparently was renamed Buxwind between 2014 and 2016, presumably during the period when it was rebuilding, and reverted to MSC Caarouge in 2016.

See also today's Tugfax for some local news.


Friday, August 19, 2022

Blue Box Boats

 A pair of container ships arrived today and coincidentally, they both had blue coloured hulls. Not the famous Maersk blue however, but darker shades.

 First in was the MOL Maestro wearing the attractive blue that Mitsui OSK Lines have carrried for years. Built in 2010 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industies Ltd in Kobe, the 78,316 gt, 79,423 dwt ship has a capacity of 6724 TEU including 500 reefers. It arrived from the far east (last port Colombo July 19-20) via Suez on THE Alliance's EC5 service. It docked at Fairview Cove and will sail over night for New York.

So far the MOL ships that operate for THE Alliance have not been repainted or renamed in the ONE theme. This may be because the ships, such as this one, are owned by offshore investors, registered in Panama and chartered to MOL. The ship has been a regular in Halifax sonce 2020 and was last here in June on its regular route from Singapore to the east coast of North America.

The second blue arrival is a first time caller in Halifax, and is also a charter, so is wearing the colours of its owners - not the shipping line it is working for.

Paris II is part of the CONTI fleet from Hamburg, since 2017 part of the Claus-Peter Offen group. It was built in 2001 by Hanjin Heavy Industry + Construction Co in Busan as CONTI Paris but was quickly renamed CMA CGM Balzac. In 2015 it was named CONTI Paris again and carried that name until 2021 when it became the Paris II, under NSB Niederelbe management, and chartered out to MSC.

A 73,172 gt, 77,941 dwt ship, it has a capacity of 6477 TEU including 500 reefers. The ship arrived on MSC's Indus 2 service from North India via Suez, the Mediterranean ports of Barcelona and Valencia, and Sines, Portugal. 

It is amazing that despite its huge buying spree over the last two years, MSC still needs charters to fill its schedules. It has been reported that MSC has bought more than 100 ships since August 2020, costing more than $6 bn (USD).


Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Cruise by another name, another CFIA inspection and box data

 The Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines ship Borealis arrived this morning (August 16) on an unusual cruise itinerary: a fifteen day round trip from Liverpool, England (August 9) to St.John's, NL, Sydney, NS, Halifax, Sydney (again), Corner Brook, NL to Belfast (via the Strait of Belle Isle) and Liverpool August 24.

In my opinion, one of the best looking of the present day cruise ships, it was  built in 1997 as Holland America's Rotterdam, under which name it called in Halifax several times over the years. The 61,849 gt ship out of the Fincantieri Breda yard in Marghera has a capacity of 1,404 passengers with a crew of 600. It was renamed and entered Fred. Olsen service just over a year ago in July 2021.

Miraculously for a ship of its age, it has survived the recent carnage in the cruise industry, which saw many ships going to scrap, often before their time. Olsen seems to have the right formula for the ship and their red funnels and red hull line improve the ship's looks even more (perhaps making up for the oversized windows in the observation lounge above the bridge.)

Another morning arrival today was the tanker Dalmacija from Antwerp. It anchored in number one anchorage in the lower harbour to allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to inspect the ship for the larvae of the invasive species LDA moth.

The Dalmacija is operated by Tankerska Plovidba DD, based in Zagreb, Croatia. The company owns eight tankers and manages a further seven (of which this is one). Although Croatian shipyards are noted for their tankers, this one was built by SPP Shipbuilding Company, in Incheon, South Korea in 2015. It is a 29,678 gt, 49,991 dwt MidRange type chemical/product tanker. 

Interestingly the ship appears to have made the transatlantic voyage in ballast. Recent shifts in trading patterns mean that European ports such as Antwerp are no longer exporting refined product to Canada as they did until recently. (Much of Imperial Oil's local supply was coming from Antwerp). Instead Europe is now importing crude oil and refined product from abroad due to the loss of supply of crude oil from Russia.

Following clearance from the CFIA the ship will be sailing for a Montreal and is due there August 20.

Container traffic in Halifax in the second quarter of the year is on par with the same period last year at 156,438 TEU this year versus 156,378 TEU last year. Total to date for the year is 282,170 TEU versus 294,618 TEU in 2021, which represents a 4% drop, however container tonnage for the year is up 7.4% at 2,370,895 tonnes. It seems likely that container volume for the year may be just shy of 600,000 TEU again this year (last year it was 595,751 TEU). However containerized tonnage is the fairer figure and 2022 will likely exceed 2021's figure of 4,349,085 tonnes.

Typical of lots of import tonnage, but lighter export tonnage is today's departure of ONE Hangzhou Bridge for Port Said, Egypt on THE Alliance's EC5 service.

The 96,790 gt, 96,980 dwt ship still had some meters of available draft, but it appeared that its 9120 TEU capacity was well filled by volume of containers. Built in 2012 by IHI Corp in Kure as Hangzhou Bay Bridge for K-Line, it was renamed in 2021 when its operation was folded into ONE, Ocean Network Express, with the container ships of MOL and NYK Line. It was also in 2021 that the ship received its magenta hull paint colour which seems to be standing up generally, but touchups stand out (see the area below the bridge where tugs and pilot boats likely make contact.)