Wednesday, December 7, 2022

ATBs and FOG

 Fog, that bane of ship photographers, decided to visit Halifax today, December 7, of all days. Normally a spring and summer phenomenon, today's version was just as thick and just as unwelcome. The fog was accompanied by drizzle and rain - all of which is most unseasonal for the first week of December. This autumn has consisted of very much higher than normal temperatures, so I guess anything is to be expected.

The fog precluded photos of one of two Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) combinations that were in port at the same time. A very common sight in US ports, they are relatively rare in Halifax, with the exception of the tug Leo A. McArthur and its barge John J Carrick. That pair arrived on Monday December 5 at the appropriately named McAsphalt dock in Eastern Passage to deliver a cargo of asphalt from Montreal. The barge is specially built with boilers and heating coils to ensure that the cargo is "pumpable" when it reaches port, and delivers asphalt to Halifax regularly. The 6916 gt, 11,800 dwt barge and 5,354 bhp tug were built in 2009 by Penglai Bohai Shipyard in Penglai, China.

The tug was originally named Victorious when it was under the management of ULS Group (Upper Lakes Shipping). When ULS was liquidated McAsphalt Marine Transportation Ltd was formed to operate McAsphalt's two ATBs. (The other combination Everlast / Norman McLeod no longer leaves the sheltered waters of the Great Lakes and St.Lawrence.)

I have seen the Leo A. McArthur / John J Carrick many times, so was not disappointed that it was largely invisible on departure for Sarnia this afternoon.


The other ATB pair, arriving this morniNg, was much more interesting and unusual, and I was able to capture at least a partial photo:


The tug is the United States flagged Genesis Eagle a 6,140 bhp vessel built in 1996 by Bollinger Shipyards Inc in Lockport, LA. Built as Grant Candies it became Eagle Service in 2005 and in 2016 took its present name when Hornbeck Offshore Transportation sold its fleet to Genesis Marine Co of Houston. Genesis is a major tug / barge operator with 130 tugs and barges in its stable, both inland and offshore.

The tug is paired with the barge GM 11103 built in 2005 by Manitowoc Marine Group's Amship Toledo shipyard. The 8290 (US) gt, 16,174 dwt barge is also equipped with boilers and heating coils in order to carry hot oil cargoes. It has a capacity of 11,100  bbls.

In 2017 the tug and barge were rebuilt with an Articouple connection system that allows for some limited movement between tug and barge, but has proven to be so reliable that the tugs do not have to resort to towing, even in bad weather.  (The McArthur / Carrick pair also use the Articouple system). As usual for these ATB configurations, the tug is equipped with an second, elevated, wheelhouse for visibility when the barge is in ballast.

The Genesis Eagle and the GM 11103 arrived at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal from Albany, NY. Irving Oil's "turn around" project at its Saint John refinery that was to see the facility shut down for eight weeks this fall may have caused the company to source product elsewhere. In any event I do not recall product arriving from Albany before today.



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