Monday, October 31, 2022

More Ford

 The USS Gerald R. Ford remained at anchor today, October 31, its last full day in port. Various attendant craft shuttled back and forth with passengers, goods and (ahem) "refuse". There were still curious onlookers on shore, but not nearly as many as there were on the weekend. 

Passenger transfers were taking place from the stern of the ship, where there is apparently some form of boarding ramp. I noted also that the Kawartha Spirit was back in service yesterday and today, so the grounding damage incurred October 26 (see previous post) must have been repaired pretty quickly by CME in Sambro.

There were any number of other small vessels licensed for passengers in service as ferries. I was  not able to identify most of them from a distance, but it appeared that Captains Pride was one and possibly Olivia Margaret from Peggy's Cove.

The veteran tug/workboat Roseway was shuttling one of Dominion Diving's former RCN lighters - either Water Dog or Honey Wagon from the Ford to Dartmouth Cove. Fleetmate Dominion Rumbler had the other alongside.

When the ship sails tomorrow morning, its absence will certainly be noted as it monopolizes the view from many vantage points.


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Centre of Attraction

 Thanks to widespread media coverage of the visit of USS Gerald R. Ford to the port of Halifax, thousands of residents and visitors flocked to the waterfront yesterday and today (October 30) to see the ship. All vantage points were crowded with hundreds of cameras and cell phones capturing the sight. (Selfies seemed to be a popular form of view.)

To add to those gazillion images I did manage to take one or two to add to my own collection [none were selfies]. The late afternoon sun and the ship's position in anchorage Number One gave an ideal angle from the Tall Ships Quay.

The barge Irving Cedar alongside with refuse containers marred the ship's waterline somewhat, but the huge sponsons to the flight deck were clearly visible.

Numerous small craft either on security patrol or working as "liberty boats" buzzed about the ship.

When the inbound container ship NYK Rigel came along it passed west of George's Island, giving a close up look (it would normally have passed through number one anchorage and on the eastern side of George's Island.)

The "visiting" tug Atlantic Cedar is forward and the Atlantic Fir is aft. (Atlantic Cedar brought the barge Irving Beaver from Saint John and the tugs Atlantic Bear and Atlantic Beaver are in Saint John to work an LNG tanker.)  The other regular Halifax tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Oak are also on harbour duty. The "outside" tug Atlantic Elm is also in Halifax en route from its summer duties at Baker Lake, NU.

The Islander VIII has been brought in from Lunenburg for "ferry" service to the carrier.

Among the official craft in view were the Canada Border Services Agency's patrol boat (a 2019 Rosborough Roughwater) which carries the unofficial name Bob Anand. (The 14.99 gt boat is registered by number only: C29624NS). It seems to have accompnaied the NYK Rigel through to Bedford Basin, although it was traveling much faster than necessary.


Saturday, October 29, 2022

Kawartha Spirit

 As mentioned in my post yesterday, October 29, the harbour tour boat Kawartha Spirit is not available to assist in passenger service for the visiting USS Gerald R. Ford due to a grounding on October 26. According to reports I have read, the boat found bottom in an area called Jones Rock off Point Pleasant Park, at the entrance to the Northwest Arm of Halifax harbour. It was on a regular tour with 55 passengers from the cruise ship Caribbean Princess and four crew, when the incident took place in fog and rain.

I have no details of how the boat got off the rock, or how the passengers were then landed. In any event the boat went to the CME boatyard in Sambro for survey. The Transportation Safety Board is investigating.



 The Kawartha Spirit 2022-08-12, has had a blue hull since 2021. It was originally white.

Built in 1964 by Hike Metal Products in Wheatley, ON, the 85 gt boat served initially as the Miss  Muskoka then Kawartha Spirit and entirely in fresh water until 2016. It was then acquired by Murphy Sailing Tours Ltd of Halifax (Ambassatours) to replace the Haligonian III. That vessel, of very similar design, was built in 1972 and served entirely in salt water, and was thus in poor condition when removed from service in 2015. (It was scrapped in 2018).

Fortunately it seems there were no injuries in the grounding, but the boat's hull was punctured. As it is late in the cruise ship season Ambassatours will not be able to use the boat for the last few cruise ships or for the "ferry" service to the USS Gerald R. Ford. However they have apparently made arragements to bring the 45 footer Eastern Points up from Lunenburg to assist.

Ambassatours also operates the "tall ship" Silva, the Harbour Queen I and several "Harbour Hopper" amphibians in addition the the Gray Line shore excursion bus tours for cruise ship passengers in Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and Saint John and sightseeing tours in the Niagara region.

The Harbour Queen 1 has conventional screw propulsion and a non-functional, but rotating, stern wheel.
Unless damage is more severe than it sounds, the Kawartha Spirit will likely be repaired and back in service for next summer. This also may be time for the once expected name change to one with more local connection. (Jone's Rock is probably not on the list.)

Friday, October 28, 2022

USS Gerald R. Ford

 The newest aircraft carrier in the United States Navy arrived in Halifax this morning on its first deployment. USS Gerald R. Ford CVN-78 is the lead ship of its class and as usual with such huge and sophisticated vessels it has been a long time coming into service. Actual construction (following several years of pre-build componenent construction) started in 2000, with launch in 2013 and delivery in 2017 by Newport News Shipbuilding. Commissioning also took place in 2017, but the ship was not declared "fully delivered" until last month.

It sailed from its home port of Norfolk on October 4 and has been exercising with its own destroyer squadron and many units the NATO navies -  most of which also arrived in Halifax today. Due to its size the ship took two Halifax harbour pilots, who boarded the ship by helicopter at the outer pilot boarding ground.

The 100,000 tonne (approximate) displacement ship can accommodated 4,539 persons and approximately 75 aircraft fully deployed. This is all contained in an overall length of 337m (1,106 ft) and hull breadth of 41m (134 ft) at the waterline. The breadth at the flight deck is 78m (256 ft). There is considerable published data on the ship's weapons, systems and aircraft which are presumably state of the art. Its nuclear power plant can speed the ship along far in excess of the published 30 knots.

Circumstances beyond our control prevented Shipfax from actually photographing the ship today. If photos becomer available in subsequent days they may be added to this post or will be published in a new post.

As stated above the Gerald R. Ford arrived with a nice bevy of US and NATO vessels, mostly frigates, and many new to Halifax.(Once again - sorry - no photos available.):

USS Normandy CG-60, USS Ramage DDG-61, HMNLS De Seven Provincien F 802, HMNLS Van Amstel F 831, FGS Hessen F 221, HDMC Peter Willemoes F 362 and ESP Alvaro de Bazan F101. Civilian tugs and civilian pilots were busy berthing these ships well into the afternoon, while Canadian navy tugs were presumably handling RCN ships (sorry no names available.)

Once the Gerald R. Ford was brought up at anchor the usual array of harbourcraft flocked round to carry out several chores.

To transport prople to and from shore the harbour ferry Rita Joe and harbour tour boat Harbour Queen I were joined by the Eastern Points from Lunenburg. (The usual harbour craft Kawartha Spirit was not available due to a grounding the other day, which caused it to be sent to Sambro for survey and repairs.)

There was also considerable waste removal of various sorts including compostable and recyclable, which was discharged to the barge Irving Cedar which had been fitted out with special containers. I assume some of the waste would have to be incinerated as does all international garbage from cruise ships. Dominion Diving's tug/workboats Dominion Rumbler, Halmar and Dominion Warrior were noted alongside, likely with smaller barges or "camels".

Numerous other patrol craft - unidentifiable by name or number - were controlling an exclusion zone around the ship as well. On line photos have shown them to be heavily armed.


Sunday, October 23, 2022

Trenton Lift Bridge

A notice appeared in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald newspaper on Saturday, October 22,  stating that the Nova Scotia Department of Public Works had deposited with the federal Minister of Transport documents outlining its intention to decommission mechanical components of the East River Crossing PIC178 commonly referred to as the Trenton Lift Bridge. The plan is to "render the bascule functionality totally inoperable while maintaining the roadway." [See Common Project Search Registry, ( registry number 6343.]

The Province requires approval from the federal government under the Canadian Navigable Waters Act to obstruct navigable waters. (I will refrain from detailed comment on the said Act despite it being gutted by a previous government and renamed from the Navigation Protection Act).

The interest to me for this story is that the bridge had a direct connection to the activities of the Halifax Shipyards. (with an "s" - in the plural.) [It is now the singular Halifax Shipyard as the Dartmouth adjunct, the Dartmouth Marine Slips was closed in 2003.]

The East River of Pictou County runs through the early industrial hub of Nova Scotia, from the coal mines of Stellarton, Westville and area through the steel industries in New Glasgow and Trenton. It was also the site of the first steel shipbuilding in Nova Scotia, but due to its shallow water and seasonal nature, it had limitations. (The East River freezes in winter. It flows into Pictou Harbour which also freezes over in winter and was long inaccessible due to ice in the Gulf of St.Lawrence.)

In the late 1960s as Halifax Shipyards embarked on a spree of oil rig construction, the Halifax yards were pressed to be able to fabricate some of the needed components on site. Ownership of Halifax Shipyards had passed from DOSCO to A.V.Roe Canada Ltd in 1957 and to Hawker Siddeley Canada in 1962, along with many other DOSCO assets including steel forging and fabricating plants in Trenton, NS. The "Car Works" in Trenton, builder of rail cars, had the capability of making components, but they would have to be transported to Halifax, and they were too large to be sent by rail.

Hawker Siddeley apparently persuaded the Province of Nova Scotia that a lift bridge across the East River would permit navigation to the Trenton Works and would allow components to fabricated in Trenton and barged to Halifax. (The river was far too shallow for ships.)

The bridge, completed in 1974, allowed for a channel 16m wide. When closed there was a mere 7.6 m clearance beneath the bridge, but when open the only restriction was nearby high voltage transmission power lines at 16 m above water level. The channel depth was 4 m. 

In order to facilitate use of the new capability, Halifax Shipyards went shopping and found the right sized barge in the United States. Built in 1949 by John J. Mathis + Co Inc in Camden, NJ it was a 228' x 38' (69.49 m x 11.5 m) craft with a depth of 16'-8" (5.12 m). Originally named the Barrett No.1 the 1262 gt (US measure) vessel was a tank barge, with a ship-like bow, built to carry coal tar (creosote) for its owners. Barrett Co was part of the Allied Chemical Corp and in about 1958 they renamed the barge Allied Chemical No. 11 The barge was used on the US east coast and survived a grounding in Norfolk on December 6, 1954. (The tug Christine Moran was found liable for leaving the barge at anchor - with a barge crew - during a storm).[Allied barges also made trips to the Great Lakes and this one may have seen service there too.]

Dartmouth Marine Slips rebuilt the barge in 1974 by converting it to a deck cargo barge, strengthening the deck, and removing the superstructure. It emerged as Haltren No.1, 1178 gt (Canadian measure). 

 Legs for the oil rigs were large tubular shapes, and with special deck securement fittings, the barge could carry one quarter the total height of each leg in one trip from Trenton to Halifax.

In operation, the components were loaded aboard the barge in Trenton, and Ferguson Industries' small tugs,the Gulf Spray and Gulf Surgefrom Pictou, would shepherd the barge to the deeper waters of Pictou Harbour. The barge would then be ballasted down to safe seagoing draft and handed over to the tug Point Victor for the tow to Halifax via the Canso Strait.

The sections were transported in a vertical position, but once in Halifax were lifted off by the crane barge Timberland and landed horizontally on other barges, equipped with special cradles and moved into position at the building berth.

The Timberland lifts one of the tubular oil rig legs from the Haltren No. 1.
The shipyard acquired several other deck barges in the United States, most of which have never been identified with certainty.
Note in the background of this photo, the Volvo car assembly plant at Pier 9, with the tug W.N.Twolan  from Churchill, MB, wintering over, and in the middle ground behind Haltern No.1 what is likely the old canaller Birchton used by the yard as a pontoon, and several other of those unidentified scows.

When the oil rig program ended Hawker Siddeley hung on to the barge for a few years, but in the early 1980s sold it to Techno-Maritime Ltée of Quebec City. Techno kept the Halifax Trenton name but put it to work carrying pulpwood from Port Menier, Anticosti, Island. On October 25, 1995 the barge, in ballast, broke free from the tug Techno-St-Laurent (ex CNAV Birchton) and stranded west of Southwest Point, Anticosti. The barge was declared a constructive total loss and an extensive clean up ensued due to large quantities of oily waste in the bilges, which was more or less completed in 1996 [see reference cited below]. A plan to retrieve the barge in 1996 was abandoned, as there was still oily waste in the hull. As far as I know the barge is still there, but by now no doubt badly deteriorated. Its papers were apparently never surrendered and as a result it remained on the Registry books until its registration was suspended on March 10, 2018.

As for the Trenton bridge, it has seldom been raised since those days, and pleasure craft are the only vessels to be seen on the East River. The NS DPW states in their submission that the bridge has no dedicated operator and has been inoperable for "the past number of years."

The rolling bascule type bridge was invented by Sherzer Rolling Lift Bridges of Chicago, later succeeded by Hazelet and Erdal Engineers, and scores were built in locations in the US and Canada and overseas. Their components are complex and do require active maintenance. Many have been made inoperable in recent years - most in the down position, such as the Third Street (1931) and Fifth Street (1961) bridges in Chatham-Kent, ON [I attended the street dance on the latter when  it opened on Labour Day 1961. It was one of the first integrated public dances in Chatham - hard to believe!]. 

Another bascule bridge, although operable, is left in the up position except in case of emergency. It is on rue Dalhousie in the Old Port of Quebec and crosses the lock between the outer Bassin Louise and the inner tidal Bassin Louise. (It is visible on the Quebec Port live cam.)

References: See the Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund Annual Report  1997-1998 for excellent photos of the grounded barge: SOPF Report

I have seen one other photo on line, taken in 2007 (and unfortunately misidentified) still with the large letters "Techno" on the sides. It can be found by Googling "Anticosti Shipwreck".


Thursday, October 20, 2022

Big Bulker in Ballast and a Charter

 Big Bulker

We don't see many big bulk carriers in Halifax, since there is seldom any cargo for such ships. Aside from the odd grain top off, or load of wood pellets (see last week's post) the only other bulk cargo available here is gypsum, which carried exclusively by self-unloaders of the CSL pool.

It looked like a summer day as the tug Atlantic Willow met the ship off Maugher's Beach, with several sailing craft off Point Pleasant.

Today's arrival (October 20), the Glory Amsterdam, arrived and berthed at Pier 27, possibly for stores or maintenance work. No fuel trucks were in evidence.

The ship was built in 2006 by Oshima Shipbuilding as the Torm Skagen for the Danish operators Torm AS. A 40,017 gt, 77,171 dwt ship it is gearless. Despite being sold and renamed Santa Isabel in 2012 and then Glory Amsterdam the same year, the ship still carries Torm's distinctive burnt orange over black colour scheme. Its funnel mark has been changed but was not visible from my angle.


Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd (publicly traded on the NYSE as ZIM since 2021), operates the ZCA (Zim Container Service Atlantic) from the Mediterranean to the east coast of North America, and has a slot charter arrangement with HAPAG-Lloyd to carry some of its cargo also. Normally the ships on the service are ZIM owned or chartered and carry ZIM names. Today's arrival from Valencia, Spain is an exception, in that it does not carry a ZIM name.


Seaspan Loncomilla is operated by Seaspan Ship Management, part of the large international ship financing company that has a fleet of 134 container ships with 1.1 mn TEU capacity (as of December 2021). The ship was built by Jiangsu New Yangzijiang in Jingjiang in 2009 as CSAV Loncomilla. Seaspan apparently financed the build and chartered the ship to the Chilean company CSAV (Compania Sudamericana de Vapores). It was named for a river in Chile, and when the charter had elapsed or was bought out, Seaspan made the simple rename in 2016. (HAPAG-Lloyd took over CSAV's container shipping business in 2014, and CSAV took an ownership positIon in H-L))

The 40,541 gt, 50,435 dwt ship has a capacity of 4256 TEU including a very high count of 698 reefers. The ship did  not appear to be especially heavily loaded on arrival today, with HAPAG-Lloyd and UASC (major H-L shareholders, merged into H-L in 2017) boxes out numbering ZIM boxes - at least on deck.


Tuesday, October 18, 2022

MSC Double Header

 I suppose it had to happen that there would be two Mediterranean Shipping Co ships at PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub at the same time. That occurred today October 18 as MSC Nerissa arrived this morning, joining MSC Pilar which arrived late last night.

 MSC Pilar is the 52,181 gt, 60,350 dwt former Magleby Maersk to 2011, built in 1990 by Odense Steel Shipyard. It carried the name Magleby for a time in 2010, and was a one time caller in Halifax on Maersk service. Its (now) relatively small size and capacity of 4437 TEU, including 500 reefers, makes it uneconomic on some routes. But that suits it to St.Lawrence River service on MSC's Canada Express 2 from Italy, Spain, and the Sines, Portugal hub. It is  now on the eastbound leg returning from Montreal and is in port to top up to ocean going draft.

MSC Nerissa is a similar size ship of 54,881 gt, 68,178 dwt, 5060 TEU (including 400 reefers) and sails on MSC's Turkey and Greece service to the US east coast via Mediterranean ports, and it appears to be well loaded.


MSC Nerissa was built in 2004 by Hanjin Heavy Industry + Construction Co Ltd in Busan, and has always carried the same name.


Monday, October 17, 2022

Where are they now, WinStar and others

 Part 1

  The "Where Are They Now" department was awakened from its slumbers by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation this morning (October 17) when a report came in from Baddeck, NS, the well known resort village on the Bras d'Or Lakes.

The venerable schooner Amoeba, which had been providing scenic tours from Baddeck for many years, has been dismantled and was not in service this year. However the owners, Bryson Holdings Ltd,  have acquired another vessel (which the reporter likened to a London double decker bus) which will be fitted out for service next summer, using some fittings from the Amoeba

I don't recall ever seeing the Amoeba, but there are numerous photos online, that show a nicely proportioned vessel, built along classic lines. It was built by Roy Bryson (father of the current owner) in 1978 using ferro cement technology and was about 50 feet (hull length) and 31.9 gross tons.

There are also many photos of London double decker buses online, and frankly - well, you be the judge. (There is a large feet of classic Routemaster buses in Halifax, still in service, providing tours during tourist and cruise ship season, so comparisons are easy.)

 An iconic Routemaster British bus in Halifax.

 The vessel that Bryson Holdings has acquired is a very interesting one with a long and varied career to date (none of it in London). It did operate in Halifax as a dinner cruise boat in 2018 and 2019.

Carrying the official name Winstar Cruise it came to Halifax in 2018 and catered to Asian tourists with authentic seafood cuisine and Chinese language service. Although it did see some service in 2019 it was not very active as I recall. I do not know here it was after 2019.

The 132.6 gt vessel was built of aluminum in 1972 by Paasch Marine Services of Erie, PA as American Adonis II for International Boat Tours Inc of Clayton, NY. It then became Island Princess and continued Thousand Islands tours. It was located in Florida in 2015 when bought by Jacques Normand of Quebec. At the time it carried the name (a name Normand decided to keep) and it was a 75 day trip from Stuart, FL to bring the ship to Baie St-Paul, QC where it was refurbished for Canadian service.

It operated from Baie-St-Paul, QC (photo above) in 2016 and Pointe-au-Pic, QC in 2017, still carrying the awkward name but was not well patronized.  It was sold and moved to Halifax in 2018 as the WinStar Cruise operated by an Ontario company.

Thanks to its aluminum construction, the boat appears to be in good condition. We wish the new owners success in Baddeck. 

Part 2

It may be a bit of a stretch, but the "where are they now" question might have been asked at various times in Halifax today as the legendary pea soup fog drifted in and out of the harbour with the tides.

The cruise ship Norwegian Joy was sounding its fog horn all the way in to Pier 22 early in the morning. By late afternoon, there was a solid wall of fog outside the harbour as the Atlantic Sun arrived from offshore anchorage.

Atlantic Sun arrrives, bringing a few wisps of fog with it, as Norwegian Joy prepares to sail.

Earlier in the day the ZIM feeder ship AS Felicia completed working cargo in bright sunshine at Pier 42, as fog lurked offshore in the background.

Only a few minutes later as the ship cleared for Kingston Jamaica, it was entering the leading edge of the fog, just off the end of the pier. Macnab's Island, normally visible, had "vanished."

 Also sailing off into the gloom was the tanker Elka Delos (see previous post). It completed delivering some refined petroleum products to Irving Oil and departed for Saint John, NB with the rest of its cargo from Amsterdam.

The very rugged tanks in the background belong to Imperial Oil. Irving Oil's tanks - not visible in the photo - are much better looking.


Sunday, October 16, 2022

Sunday Round up

 After postponing its arrival yesterday, the Ultra size container ship CMA CGM Lapérouse arrived today (October 16) at PSA Halifax's Atlantic Hub. 

Built in 2010 by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co Ltd in Okpo, South Korea, it is a 151,446 gt, 165,422 dwt vessel with a capacity of 13,880 TEU, including 800 reefers.

The ship is named for the famed French naval officer and explorer of the South Pacific Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse. He vanished and was presumed killed in the Solomon Islands in 1788. It is perhaps less well known that Lapérouse had a Canada and even a Nova Scotia connection. In 1757 and 1758 he was on supply ships from France to Louisbourg and in 1759 was wounded in the Battle of Quiberon Bay (in Brittany) taken prisoner by the British and exchanged for the release of emprisoned British. It was this battle, two months after the fall of Quebec, that gave Britain naval supremacy and prevented France from invading England.

In 1782 he captured Prince of Wales and York forts in Hudson Bay. His disappearance in 1788 while retracing Captain's Cook's South Pacific trips was one of the great enduring mysteries in French exploration history- rivalling that of Franklin in British history. Expeditions in 1826, 1964, 2005 and 2008 finally determined that he was shipwrecked on Vanikoro Island but the actual location of his death (likely at the hands of the local population, but possibly from starvation) will likely never be known.[Pardon this lengthy diversion, but I have been fascinated by the Lapérouse since childhood.]

Frustrated by awkward photo angles of the ship Iberian Bulker at Pier 28, (see previous posts) I was finally able to get an underway view as it sailed just at dusk this evening. It gave the River Tyne as destination for its cargo of wood pellets.

The ship's lights were on, including illumination over the pilot ladder, just below number four crane. Earlier in the afternoon I was able to get a good view of the Lauritzen funnel mark - a very distinctive design of long standing.

The Danish firm of J.Lauritzen traces its origins to 1884 when Ditlev Lauritzen started a shipping company to carry timber for his father's lumber and building supply business. Ditlev was still a minor at the time, so the company was incorporated under the name of his father Jøhan. Since then the company has been involved in arctic shipping, fishing, refrigerated cargo, bulk cargo, tankers (including LNG), passenger ferries (DFDS) and many others. It is still privately held by a family foundation.

Also sailing today was the tanker Algoterra. After unloading product at Imperial oil, it moved this morning to Pier 9C where it refueled from trucks.

Once topped up, the ship headed out into Bedford Basin, turned round, then made for sea, giving Sept-Iles, QC as it next port of call. 

The ship shows lots of "lock rash" from frequent St.Lawrence Seaway trips. Its orange hull paint is gradually becoming shabby. As mentioned in some previous posts the ship was built in 2010 by Jiangnan, Shanghai as the 11,889 gt, 16,512 dwt Louise Knutsen. It carried the name Louise K for a time in 2019 when  it was sold to Algoma Tankers, and before it was renamed Algoterra. ("Terra" for Terra Nova aka Newfoundland)

The orange hull paint is the Knudsen Product Tanker company colour and is likely to last to the next scheduled drydocking.



Saturday, October 15, 2022

Firing on all cylinders - revised

 See revision in bold italics regarding the tug/barge Leo A. McArthur / John J. Carrick

It was an exceptionally busy day in the Port of Halifax today, Saturday, October 15. There seemed to be ships at almost every berth with more arrivals in the offing for tomorrow. It was a gloomy, breezy and misty day, but the forecast rain held off.

At the South End terminal, PSA's Atlantic Hub, it was Vistula Maersk arriving on the weekly Maersk / CMA CGM service from Montreal, bound for Europe.

The scheduled arrival of CMA CGM Lapérouse was scrubbed and the 13,800 TEU ship is now due tomorrow.

PSA's Fairview Cove terminal had the AS Carlotta arriving in the early afternoon. This is the second ship to call on a dedicated charter for the Costco "big box store" brand. (The first was the Carpathia on August 23.)

Frustrated with port delays and unreliable delivery dates Costco announced in July that they had chartered three ships (the third is to be the Queen Esther) and leased several hundred containers from Triton. The ships would be running from China to the North American east coast. [They may be regretting that decision now, since they chartered the ships for three years at the top of the market - which is now in the process of collapsing, as are freight rates, due to a slump in demand for imports.]

The AS Carlotta appeared to have room for  more containers (perhaps returning empties) after working its way up the coast from the Panama Canal with stops in Savannah and Baltimore.

Built in 2006 by Aker, Wismar, as Cape Martin, the 28,372 gt, 37,882 dwt ship was renamed Fesco Bayal in 2006 and Cap Blanche later in 2006. taking its present name in 2018. It has a capacity of 2742 TEU including 400 reefers, and carries three 45 tonne SWL cranes.

In the ocean terminals, the Onego Duero, as predicted, returned to Pier 27 on October 13, to continue off loading rails, and at Pier 28 the Iberian Bulker held off loading wood pellets, due to predicted rainy weather. (But not before covering the southend of the city with a fine coat of sawdust last night.)

There were three cruise ships occupying berths 20-21, 21-22 and 23. At Pier 23 it was the Silver Whisper, which backed in with the assistance of the tug Atlantic Willow.

It was met by a flottilla of trucks carrying stores, including perishables, and fuel. I have seldom seen such a large support contingent for such a small ship (380 passengers and 302 crew). Built in 2001 by Mariotti, Genoa, the 28,258 gt ship is reputed to have the largest space per passenger ratio of any cruise ship.

At Pier 22 it was the familiar Caribbean Princess and at Pier 20-21 the Nieuw Statendam. On departure, the latter ship gave a prolonged whistle salute to the Port and city. This traditional farewell to mark a ship's last visit of the cruise season is a form of thank you for the hospitality shown to the ship (and crew) and such lines as Holland America are very careful to observe the custom.

Built in 2018 and sponsored by no less than Oprah Winfrey, the 99,902 gt ship can carry 2,666 passengers and 1,053 crew. Its first call in Halifax was on August 1 of this year and today marked its seventh and last call of this season. (The cruise season will run later than usual this year, with the last ship, the Insignia, due November 5.)

Because of the stiff breeze the ship had the tug Atlantic Oak in attendance to assist it off the berth (not sure if it was actually used) and to stand by as it made its turn north and east of George's Island outbound for sea.

Despite the blustery conditions (it was not cold) there were many passengers on the open upper decks for the outbound passage, heading for Saint John, NB.

The Dartmouth side of the harbour was also busy with tug / barge Leo A. McArthur / John J.Carrick discharging asphalt at the McAsphalt Cherubini dock for General Liquids Canada and the Morning Lena delivering cars to Autoport. Both will be in port over night and are planning to sail tomorrow.

Imperial Oil has the Algoterra alongside at number 3 dock, with another load from Nanticoke. (Algonova sailed mid-day yesterday after also delivering petroleum cargo from Nanticoke.)

Irving Oil completed working the Acadian late in the morning and it cast off for St.John's, NL.

While outbound the Acadian met the incoming Elka Delos with more product for Irving Oil, this time from Amsterdam.

Dating from 2005 the ship was built by Brodosplit in Croatia and is a 27,612 gt, 44,598 dwt MidRange type, operated by European Product Carriers  Ltd.


Friday, October 14, 2022

Anne S. Pierce

 Once a scallop dragger based in Nova Scotia, then a research and training vessel in Newfoundland, the Anne S. Pierce has been extensively rebuilt as a luxury expedition yacht for a United States owner. It arrived from Newfoundland today, October 14, and tied up at the Foundation pier on the Halifax waterfront.


Built in 1982 by Deep Sea Trawlers in Lunenburg (and the only ship ever built by that company), it carried the name L.J.Penney until 1985. I have been unable to identify the namesake. 

It was a pioneering stern trawler design for the scallop fishery, which usually used a traditional style side trawler. Scallop dragging involves towing a large rake with chain mesh bag along the sea bottom. The shells are brought aboard and shucked (opened and the meat removed) while the vessel is at sea. The shells are dropped back to the seabead. Owners, Pierce Fisheries of Lockeport, NS pioneered freezing scallops at sea and flash freezing.

 In 2002 the trawler was in Halifax.

In 1985 the vessel was renamed Anne S. Pierce shortly before the company was acquired by Clearwater Seafoods, to operate as a freestanding scallop division. By the early 2000s it appears that the ship was converted for research by an arm of Clearwater, and then was sold to Memorial University of Newfoundland where its Marine Institute used the ship for research and training. In the late 2000 teens (perhaps 2017) the ship was laid up with mechanical issues.

The Anne S. Pierce in Lunenburg in 2005.

 At this point an anonymous "wealthy retired American", who had spent many summers cruising the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts, sought out a capable vessel to suit his needs. He made a connection with Glovertown Shipyard, Ltd and acquired the Anne S. Pierce. A major transformation then took place between 2019 and 2021 (COVID extended the schedule). The hull was gutted, a new superstructure was fabricated and the whole vessel was completely fitted out for expedition type cruising. Although there is now accommodation for several guests, the vessel normally operates with a crew of five and just the owner on board.


Disney Magic and the Future Dream

 One of the best looking cruise ships is the Disney Magic which arrived today October 14 and berthed at Pier 20. Its profile is well balanced, thanks to the second funnel, which also establishes a faintly retro look. The black hull and gold stripe adds to the classic feel.

The ship was built by Fincantieri, Marghera (with the fore part built at Ancona) in 1998 and received a major refit in 2013 when it received the (Donald?) ducktail to improve stability. Its gross tonnage thus increased from 83,338 to 83,969. Passenger capacity remained the same, with 875 cabins giving 1,750 berths with double occupancy and 2,713 with maximum occupancy. The crew totals 950.

The ship has been a regular caller since its first visit here on June 12, 2012. On past visits the ship did use tugs if it was windy, but despite the breezes today, the ship sidled into its berth at Pier 20 unassisted. With the Norwegian Breakway already tied up at Pier 21-22, the Disney Magic quite literally side stepped to its berth, using its three forward and two aft thrusters.

Half a dozen line handlers, in high visibility vests, can be seen on the brow of Pier 20, at the yellow "Queen Mary" 150 tonne bollard ready to take lines and Dominion Diving's tug Roseway is standing by at the Tall Ships Quay to take headlines to the pair of orange 100 tonne bollards at that pier. [ See Shipfax posts of May 19, 20 and 22, 2022 for more on bollards.]

The Future Dream

Disney Cruises is negotiating to buy the incomplete "Global Dream" cruise ship. The 208,000 gt ship was under construction at MV Werften in Germany when ship owners Genting Hong Kong became bankrupt and the shipyard ceased operations in January 2022. The shipyard is to be sold to Thyssenkrupp Marine Sstems (TKMS) to be rebuilt for naval work. The 75% complete "Global Dream" will likely be completed by Meyer Werft in Wismar.

The "Global Dream" was designed for the Asian market with four person / interconnecting cabins which may well suit Disney's family friendly formula. However with a passenger capacity of 9,500 and 2,000 crew it may be too big even for Disney. Lets hope it doesn't become the "Disney Dumbo" white elephant.


Thursday, October 13, 2022

Esso Stocks Up - Part 2 - REVISED

 See IMPORTANT Revision in bold itlalics

 As per yesterday's post, the tanker Algonova arrived at Imperial Oil today (October 13) from the Esso refinery in Nanticoke, ON.

 The ship was built by Med Marine in Eregli,Turkey in 2008 and originally operated mainly from Imperial's Dartmouth (Halifax harbour) refinery. When the refinery was closed in 2013 the ship moved to serve the Great Lakes / St.Lawrence area with only occasional visits to Halifax..

When built it was listed at 7773 gt,  but that has since been revised to 8009 gt. Gross tonnage is now a calculation made on a formula that accounts for hull shape and other factors. It was once a measurement made by counting every 100 cubic feet of enclosed space as 1 ton. Deadweight tonnage remains at 11,240 tonnes, and is a measurement of weight rather than volume. 

This is the second Algonova in the Algoma Tankers Ltd fleet. (Nova is for Nova Scotia.) When Algoma took over the Imperial Oil fleet in 1998 it inherited a mixed bag of ships, one of which was built in 1969 in Collingwood, ON as Texaco Brave and although owned by Imperial Oil, never carried an Imperial name. Not only that, it did not start out to be a tanker at all.
Originally designed to be a small general cargo ship to carry steel products around the Great Lakes, and with winter navigation in mind, the order was never actually placed with the shipyard. However Collingwood Shipbuilding had reserved a spot for it and had materials on hand, and so by the time the keel was laid July 23, 1968 they had reached a deal with Texaco Canada Ltd to build it as a tanker. Named Texaco Chief it traded on the Great Lakes, St.Lawrence and Atlantic coast. It measured 5038 grt, 6885 dwt and had a capacity of 54,241 bbl. In 1986 it was renamed A.G.Farquharson after Andrew Gray Farquharson, the retired boss of Texaco.

Revision: The portion of the above paragraph which has been lined over was taken from a previously published account. I have now received word that the story is untrue, and I regret that I have inadvertantly perpetuated the myth. There was apparently no connection between construction of the Texaco Chief and the cargo ship (which turned out to be the Yankcanuck). As always I am pleased to receive corrections to any of my posts.  

In 1986 Imperial Oil took over Texaco Canada, including the Texaco Chief, which it chartered out for a time to Socanav and then to Desgagnés. When Algoma acquired the Imperial fleet in 1998 they renamed the ship Algonova. The renaming, appropriately enough, took place at Pier 23 in Halifax.

The paint was still fresh when I took this picture of the newly renamed Algonova (i).

Algoma Tankers hung onto the ship, more or less as a spare, and its last single hull tanker, as it gradually rebuilt the fleet with newer tonnage, but finally sold it in 2007 when it sailed (again from Halifax) as Pacifico Trader. It served as a bunkering tanker in the Panama Canal anchorages and was renamed Great Portobello in 2012. It was scrapped in August 2019 after several years of cold layup at anchor off Cristobal, Panama.

For more on Imperial Oil tankers see Shipfax May 23, 2015.

The new Algonova had mechanical problems early in its career, then suffered an engine room fire off the Gaspé coast on January 14, 2014. The ship has been operating without incident since it was repaired in Halifax.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Esso stocks up

 Imperial Oil (Esso in Canada) acquires refined product for the eastern Canada region from various sources, including their own refineries in Ontario, sometimes from other Canadian producers and in recent years from Belgium. Their depot in Dartmouth sits on a huge tract of land (estimated at 900 acres) that was once a refinery. The refinery was closed in 2013 and all that remains are storage tanks and three jetties (only one of which remains in service). 

Today's (October 12) arrival at the Number 3 dock was the tanker Gaia Desgagnés with cargo from Imperial's refinery in Sarnia, ON.

Transport Desgagnés, headquartered in Quebec City, acquired the "nearly new" tanker in early 2019 from Swedish owners Furetank Rederi AS. It is a 12,770 gt, 17,999 dwt product tanker that operates as a dual fuel ship (marine diesel oil or LNG).

The ship was built in 2018 by the AVIC Dingheng Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Jiangdu, China as the Fure Vinga but was renamed after "Gaia", the "Mother of Life" and personification of earth in Greek mythology. 

AVIC (the Chinese government owned Aviation Industry Corp of China) is one of the world's largest companies (in the top 200 of the Fortune 500) and is present in most aspects of industry, including shipbuilding, with a specialty in tankers. That interest also includes ownership, since 2013, of Deltamarin, one of the leading naval architecture and engineeing firms.

Imperial Oil is expecting a second ship tomorrow, Algonova, also from the Great Lakes, but in this case from their Nanticoke, ON refinery on Lake Erie.


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Five cruise ships and other traffic - amended

 Welcoming three or even four cruise ships together in the Port of Halifax is not unusual, but having five ships in port at once is rare. Today, October 11, is the only day this season when that number of ships is scheduled to call on the same day.

Staggering their arrival times is required to ensure there are enough pilots and linehandlers available, while still maintaining "normal" commercial shipping activity in the rest of the port.

Norwegian Pearl (2390 passengers, for Pier 20), Sky Princess (3660, Pier 22), Viking Octantis ( 380, Pier 31) and Ocean Voyager (200, Pier 24) were the first to arrive, embarking their pilots between 0630 and 0645 hrs. Seabourn Quest (Pier 23) followed at 0715 hrs ADT.

By the time they were all secured at their respective berths it was wall to wall white on the waterfront.

Viking Octantis arrived as the sun was rising behind heavy cloud. Delivered in December 2021 by Vard Tulcea (a Fincantieri yard) the 30,114 gt ship is rated Polar Class 6 and can carry 378 passengers in 189 staterooms. (Other sources say 380 passengers.) it operates for Viking Expedition Cruises.

The ship sailed to Antarctica for the first part of 2022. Returning via New York it spent the summer cruising on the Great Lakes. Exiting the Seaway October 4 it called in Trois-Rivières, Quebec City and Sept-Iles en route to Halifax.

Ocean Voyager has also been to the Great Lakes this season, exiting the Seaway October 5 and calling in Montreal October 5-6, Quebec City October 6 and Charlottetown October 9. 

The ship is a familar one in all its guises since built in 2001 as Cape May Light by Atlantic Marine in Jacksonville, FL. It has sailed as Sea Voyager in 2010;  in 2015 it became Saint Laurent, and in 2016 the Victory I. The ship was re-labelled Ocean Voyager in December 2021 and returned to service earlier this year for American Queen Voyages. [Yes those are the same ducks in both photos]

The ship was in Halifax April 29 this year (and its sister Ocean Navigator , the former Cape Cod Light, on April 26).

New to Halifax is the Sky Princess a 145,781 gt behemoth built in 2019 by Fincantieri Monfalcone. In addition to its 3,660 passengers it carries 1,346 crew. I did  not get a clear photo of the ship on arrival, but may get one when it sails. (It is the largest ship in the panorama photo above).

Commercial traffic in the harbour continues too, with one unusual move. The general cargo ship Onego Duero (see October 9's post) had been unloading steel rail at Pier 27, but  moved out to anchor in the lower harbour early this morning to free the berth for the Trinitas from Cuba with nickel concentrates.

The ship apppears to be light, but it may still have cargo aboard -if so it will move back to Pier 27 to complete unloading once the Trinitas sails. Both the cargoes of steel rail and the nickel concentrates are transloaded to rail cars at Pier 27, and with Iberian Bulker (the red ship in the panorama photo) at Pier 28, there was no room to work two ships at the same time.

PSA's South End terminal saw the arrival of Eimskip's Skogafoss and theTropic Hope for Tropical Shipping.

Along with sister ship Tropic Lissette, the two ships maintain a weekly service to and from Florida and the Caribbean. Much of the (northbound and southbound) traffic is refrigerated. The 15,215 gt, 20,325 dwt ship dating from 2018 has a capacity of 1145 TEU including 260 reefers and carries two 45 tonne SWL cranes.

 PSA's other terminal at Fairview Cove accommodated THE Alliance's NYK Rumina, a regular caller of long standing.

A 55,487 gt, 66,171 dwt vessel, it is rated for 4922 TEU including 330 reefers.Hyundai Samho delivered the ship in 2010.


With its escort tugs, the ship only gently disturbed the placid waters of the Narrows and the Basin as it made its way inbound.


The Sky Princess sailed just as the sun was vanishing from the Halifax waterfront, so only the ship's funnel caught a few rays.

 For the record some of the other ships mentioned above, Skogafoss and Norwegian Pearl, as they sailed this afternoon: