Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Greetings [Revised]

 My post from yesterday with a sort of "conditional" Christmas greeting turned out to be unecessary. Despite the high winds Ship Central (the home of Shipfax) did not lose power and and has maintained continuous operation. However the weather, and the usual Christmas halt to port operations, has meant that there has been no shipping activity to report, and there are no scheduled arrivals, departures or moves in the port until Monday December 26. 

As usual at Christmas many ship enthusiasts like to exchange photos from the long ago past, along with their Christmas greetings. This year the first choice from my files was taken ca. September 20, 1971 * and shows a sight that is unlikely to be repeated in Halifax - namely a ship with a deck load of pulpwood.

Passing beneath the one year *old A. Murray MacKay Bridge, the Finland flag ship Margareta heads for Bedford Basin. (The research ships Dawson and Acadia are berthed at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in the background.)

Built in 1953 by Scheepwerf Gebroeders Pot, Bolnes, Netherlands, it was a 2605 gt, 3740 dwt ship, and was owned by Angfartygs Aktiebolaget Alfa from Mariehamm, Finland. It became the Sofia in 1977 and later the same year the Nikolaos G. and in 1981 it was renamed Ouranio Toxo. It was arrested in 1983 and foundered in June 1986 at its moorings off Tin Can Island, in Lagos, Nigeria.

 Scanadinavian ships often carried deck loads of Nova Scotia pulpwood - most of which usually arrived at the European destination. However there were many instances of ships experiencing huge lists after losing part of the deck load. The pulpwood, which was usually cut in winter, would be loaded in the late summer and early autumn when it had dried out and was lighter in weight. However that often meant sailing in less than ideal weather conditions.

Pulpwood cargo was not always a liability however. Its buoyancy was also credited with saving ships that might otherwise have sunk after collisions.

The John M. was one of those fortunate ships. It was impaled by the Bruarfoss off Lockeport, NS, and made it into Halifax September 18, 1980 even though a quantity of the cargo had washed out of the gaping hole. The remaining cargo was offloaded at Pier 24 and repair work was completed at Halifax Shipyards on November 10. It then reloaded the pulpwood and sailed on November 16. 

The John M. was built in 1970 by Lindenau in Kiel as the John M. Rehder and was a 3999 gt, 6333 dwt ship with three holds and five hatches. It was equipped with five 25 ton derricks and four 5 ton derricks. It took the shortened version of its name in 1979 and in 1983 became the Milas, in 1985 the Neapolis, and was broken up in Perama, Greece in December 1985,

Nowadays Nova Scotia trees are converted to chips or pellets and shipped to Europe and Asia below deck in humidity controlled conditions and are used as "hog fuel' (or bio mass if you prefer).

Now is the time to bring formal Seasons Greetings and to wish all readers a very Merry Christmas.

* Revision Due to a filing error, the date of the photo of the Margareta was incorrect. The photo was taken on September 20, 1975, making the bridge five years old (it opened on July 10, 1970.)


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