Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Are You Still Here

 Since my arrival in Halifax in 1966 I have kept a record of ship arrivals and departures in various formats, usually small note books. I also take a closer look at what is in the harbour each New Year's Day, and make a list of everything I can see. I thus have a quite unique record that would be difficult to replicate from any other source. (Of course it is [mostly] cross referenced on file cards too.) 

On October 31, 1982, as  I neared the end of one record book, I decided to do a tally of everything in port on October 31, 1982- November 1, 1982  (it was a Sunday / Monday). Not surprisingly there are very few ships in that list that can be found in a comparable list compiled yesterday, October 31, 2022 (a Monday) and today November 1, 2022.

 There was still an operable refinery in Eastern Passage in those days, operated by Texaco Canada and the Canadian coastal tanker Gulf Gatineau and the Greek crude oil tanker Kristina were both tied up there.

Imperial Oil's refinery was in full operation and their coastal tanker Imperial St.Clair was in port as was their bunkering tanker Imperial Dartnouth.

 Irving Oil's Woodside terminal was taking on product from the Aimé Gaudreau.

On the container front - it was the Nurnberg Express arriving at Halterm. Atlantic Container Line had recently returned to Halifax after a short stint running to Montreal in combination with HAPAG-Lloyd, and was due to shift to the new Fairview Cove terminal starting in January 1983. ZIM was about to drop the New England feeder service using ZIM Northland but HAPAG was still operating the similar Yankee Clipper as their New England feeder.


Pilot boat operations were carried out from Queen's Wharf by A.P.A.No.1 and A.P.A.No.18. Both boats are still operating for the Atlantic Pilotage Authority, but not presently in Halifax.


Dartmouth Marine Slips was in full swing doing small ship repairs, with CCGS Alert and Thomas Carleton alongside.


There were also fishing vessels in for repairs including the wooden hulled draggers Ross R and Harry N, the steel hulled Cape Wrath and Lumaaq and the offshore suppliers Maersk Rider and Heather Sea.

The Marine Slip's own work boats were also on duty - the World War II built Slipway II 

 and the 1960 Halmar.

The Halmar is one of the two boats in my 1982 list that is still operational in Halifax today. After a major rebuilding by Dominion Diving it still sees nearly daily service shuttling pilots in the harbour and other workboat duties.

The Halmar in its present incarnation does not look a bit of its 62 years.

 Taken a few days after my 1982 tally, a view of the Marine Slips and the Coast Guard base shows many of the noted vessels, plus the St-Pierre RoRo Langlade (which had arrived in tow of the Point Valiant) on the slip

The Canadian Coast Guard Base in Dartmouth was also nearly full up with CCGS Alexander Mackenzie, Labrador, Edward Cornwallis [i], Provo Wallis, John A. Macdonald and Louis S. St-Laurent [the latter of course still operational and presently in the high arctic].

Ferry service between Halifax and Dartmouth was being provided by the relatively new (1979) Dartmouth III and Halifax III both since replaced, but still in existance. A plan to use them in Toronto has apparently stalled out.


HMC Dockyard also had guests on October 31, 1982. I have no reports of any Coasties overdoing Hallowe'en after an arctic deployment on USCGC Westwind.

 There were also USN ships in port: the minesweepers USS Affray MSO-511 and USS Exultant AM-441 sailed November 1.

HMCS Iroquois was in the Graving Dock at Halifax Shipyard on October 31, and the Floating Drydock had the ferry Vacationland. [The latter still exists as a hulk in Quebec City. Sister Holiday Island is now due to be broken up after a serious engine room fire July 22.]

The Shipyard was still operating the veteran Halcrane, although its steam crane was no longer certified for lifting, its coal fired boiler provided steam to ships under repair such as steam powered crude oil tankers still in service well into the 1980s.

The Halcrane's "Woodbine" chimney is matched by the chimney of the former sugar refinery in Dartmouth.

Eastern Canada Towing Ltd were the exclusive harbour tug providers in those days and had nine tugs of various sizes alongside their dock. [not necessarily those shown in the older photo below]

The duty tugs Point Vibert (of 1961), Point Vim, Point Viking and Point Vigour (all of 1962) are all still existing (under different owners) but the outside tugs such as Point Valiant and Point Carroll have been scrapped. Point Spencer and Point Tupper returned to the UK.

At the Bedford Institute of Oceanography there were some familiar names. Sigma T was a small workboat (a newer vessel of the same name is now in service there), and the fisheries research trawler Alfred Needler.  It was still quite new (it was built by Ferguson Industries, Pictou in 1981.)

Still operating, but now out of Newfoundland, the Alfred Needler was in Halifax as recently as this past summer., but has long been painted in Canadian Coast Guard red.

The new fsheries patrol vessel Cygnus was operational (as it still is today, but in Newfoundland). The Department of Fisheries operated from Queen's Wharf. The previous vessel of the same name had been decommissioned and was laid up under the name 81-3

The previous Cygnus was the second of the name, and worked out of Queen's Wharf.
Stern trawlers had displaced traditional side trawlers and there were four of the older vessels laid up at Pier 30. No buyers were found and I believe Cape Fortune, Cape Hood, Cape Sable and Cape Blomidon were all "expended" as naval targets.

The Forty Fathom fish plant at Pier 29 and the mammoth National Harbours Board cold store across the street were soon demolished too.
The Halifax Port Authority operated the Port Authority to maintain fenders at the piers. 

A fixture on the waterfront was Atlantic Salvage, which had a ragtag fleet of craft used for "bum boat" service in the harbour, but also available for actual salvage work. One of these was the S.S.Shatford - one of the last wooden hulled cargo vessels to be used in Halifax harbour.

Built for Imperial Oil during World War II to deliver lube oil in barrels and other stores to ships at anchor, it was named for Sydney Smith Shatford, who was responsible for the construction of Imperial's refinery in Dartmouth. [See more in my October 18, 2014 post.] 

Atlantic Salvage had only recently vacated thier long time base at the Western Union pier, adjacent to the Halifax ferry terminal.
Preservation of older craft was still far from certain for some vessels such as HMCS Sackville which had  become the Canadian Naval Auxiliary Vessel Sackville and was still in active use for various types of research.

However CSS Acadia had been handed over to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. It is still preserved there, and is one of only two craft in my 1982 log that is still afloat in Halifax harbour today.

Numerous other ships and craft, totalling 85 names were included in my 1982 list. (Not including the fishing boats of Eastern Passage, and pleasure craft.)

Today's 2022 list (of comparable length) has to include the eight NATO ships sailing this morning with the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, but due to drizzle and rain I was only able to catch USS Ramage DDG-61. (Arleigh Burke class).


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