Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Bedford Basin and ConRos - last NATOs

 Halifax Harbour is noted for Bedford Basin, a sheltered bay at the head of the harbour, measuring some 8 km x 5 km, that has at many times in its history, been a strategic asset. During World War I and World War II it was the forming up point for convoys and scores of ships could be seen at anchor preparing to carry important cargo overseas.

 The famous World War II photo shows the Narrrows at top left and Fairview Cove top right.

(Cargo and stores were taken out to anchored ships by the lighterage barges seen at top right).

Nowadays the Basin is more likely to be the site of sailboat races, and with one or two container ships at PSA Fairview Cove or a bulk carrier loading at Gold Bond Gypsum. Smaller ships come and go from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography and the Canadian Coast Guard dock.

But to see four ships in the Basin at one time is quite a rare sight. Unfortunately I am not in possession of a drone, so I could not capture all four ships in one view when it happened today (November 2.)

Also unusually, three of the ships were at anchor, with only one ship arriving from sea. 

Longest resident of the current group of ships in the Basin is the icebreaking supply / tug Polar Circle.

The Norwegiain vessel (right in the above photo) arrived from Russia (via Panama and New York) on October 7 [see that day's Shipfax post]. There was speculation about a Canadian government charter, but nothing has been heard lately. [With CCG Terry Fox going off the Heddle Marine in Ontario for a major refit, the CCG will be short a major icebreaker this winter and next summer. However CCGS Vincent Massey has just entered service.]

Another unusual anchored vessel is the tanker BSL Elsa. Most product tankers are in such demand that they do not linger in port very long, but this ship moved out to the Basin yesterday after discharging cargo from Antwerp at Imperial Oil.

Built in 2009 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan as CPO Korea, the 29,636 gt, 51,747 dwt tanker has been operated by Zeaborn Tankers under its present name since 2017. It arrived October 31, off loaded and anchored yesterday.

Anchored on the east side of the Basin was the self-unloading bulk carrier Hon Paul E. Martin.

 On this trip the ship arrived October 29, apparently freshly painted from the shipyard, possibly in Turkey, as its last port was given as Instanbul anchorage. After a brief stay at Pier 9C the ship moved out to anchor October 30. It was due to move in to Gold Bond Gypsum this afternoon to load. Again I have no definite news as to why it has been idle.

Built in 2012 by Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, the Trillium class ship is rated at 43,691 gt and 71,406 dwt. The ship is named for a prominent Canadian politician and late father of a former Canadian Prime Minister. The ship operates in the CSL Americas pool of self-unloaders. CSL (Canada Steramship Lines) is owned by the Martin family.

The arrival from sea was the regular ACL ship Atlantic Sail en route from Norfolk eastbound back to north Europe. (It was here on the westbound leg October 21.)

It is one of five sister ships that keep the weekly ACL schedule. They are the largest Container / RoRo (ConRo) ships in the world.  With the current labour strife in Liverpool, some of its normal aircraft component RoRo cargo has been shifted to other cargo ships and brought directly to Halifax from Belfast. BBC Weser was in last weeek with such a cargo.

At the other end of the port at the PSA Hub another ConRo, the Oceanex Sanderling was working containers at Pier 42. The ship usually uses Pier 36 or Pier 41 where there are RoRo ramps built into the pier faces, so it is a bit unsual to see it at Pier 42. As usual however it was unloading Oceanex's nearly unique sea-going 53 foot containers.

The visiting NATO warships accompanying the USS Gerald R. Ford sailed yesterday, November 1, however one other (unheralded) ship sailed today - the United States flag offshore supplier Virginia Ann departed from Pier 9B.

Operated by Oceaneering International Inc of Houston, the gantry equipped ship supports all sorts of subsea work for private industry and government agencies. Its presence in Halifax while there were USN ships in port may just have been a coincidence. Built in 2005 by Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, FL, as Bravante IX the 3518 gt, 4466 dwt arrived October298 and tied up out of the way at Pier 9B.


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