Friday, June 30, 2023

End of the Thalassa

  A once well known Canadian tanker has reached the end of the line after a storied career. A report dated June 23 says that the ship has been sold to breakers.

As reported here February 21, 2017 [with amendments], the veteran tanker was sold and left Canadian registry for the Panama flag of convenience as of February 20, 2017.

Thalassa Desgagnés had been a fixture on the Great Lakes, St.Lawrence and east coast as a dedicated asphalt / black oil tanker since 1993, and thanks to its owners, outlived many tankers of the same vintage.

Built in 1976 by Ankerlokken Verft Glommen A/S in Frederikstad, Norway, as Joasla, the ship was ice strengthened and double hulled with cargo heating coils. It became Orinoco in 1979 for Swedish owners, then in 1981 it was renamed Rio Orinoco and flagged in the Cayman Islands.

On October 1990 while inbound in the Gulf of St.Lawrence with an asphalt cargo, it experienced engine trouble and anchored off Port Menier, Anticosti Island. It was unable to maintain the anchorage and drifted ashore October 16. The crew were evacuated by helicopter in a dramatic rescue operation in crashing seas, and the ship was feared lost.

 But the ever resourceful Transport Desgagnés operators recognized an opportunity, and on a "no cure / no pay" basis salvaged the ship the following spring and summer. The asphalt cargo had solidified, holding the ship in place and preventing major pollution. Re-liquefying some of the cargo to lighten the ship enough for refloating was  accomplished using the ships own boilers, and improvised heating pipes. (The ship'sown heating coils were on the bottom and assumed to be badly damaged.) The lightened ship, with solidified asphalt plugs in the perforated hull, was then towed to Quebec City arriving August 23, 1991 where the remainder of the cargo was removed. The ship was laid up  until the salvage claim could be settled in arbitration.

Still showing signs of recent distress, Rio Orinoco awaits its fate in Quebec City. Note the large tank on the upper deck adjacent to the funnel - part of the salvor's equipment.

 Numerous bangs, dents and scrapes appear largely superficial.

In early 1993 Desgagnés acquired ownership, renamed the ship Thalassa Desgagnés, and began the  process of rebuilding. It went into service in early 1994 and formed the basis for the Desgagnés subsidiary Pétro-Nav Inc. It was so thoroughly reconditioned that its life was extended dramatically.

It called in Halifax numerous times with asphalt, but also with Bunker C fuel for the Nova Scotia Power plant at Tuft's Cove. It also carried heavy fuel from Halifax when Imperial Oil's refinery was in operation.

Safely at anchor in Bedford Basin, Thalassa Desgagnés had arrived the day before in a storm. 
Due to its ultra low freeboard, the pilot could not board the ship safely until it was inside the shelter of Maugher's Beach. 

Thalassa Desgagnés was laid up in Montreal in 2016 in anticipation of its replacement by a new ship and was sold late in the year. Early in 2017 its new owners gave it the name Asphalt Princess and at an age when most tankers would have been scrapped, it resumed service. It was 17 years old when it was declared a total loss, but put in an added 22 years of service after rebuild - a remarkable story.

But that was not the end of the story:

The ship was working in the Gulf of Oman on August 3, 2021 when five or six armed gunmen boarded the ship, apparently with the intent of hijacking it to the port of Jask in Iran. The crew managed to send out a radio plea for help, then disabled the engines so the ship could not move. The hijackers were soon scared off when British and Omani warships responded.

Follow up stories are hard to find, but the ship was apparently taken to the port of Khor al Fakkam in the United Arab Emirates and laid up. Presumably by this time it was not worth repairing, and may even have been abandoned by Owners. In any event it is now reported sold for scrap, but has not yet moved to a scrapyard.


Thursday, June 29, 2023

Queen Mary 2 - preview visit

 The famous liner Queen Mary 2 was due in Halifax on July 2, so it came as a surprise when it made an unscheduled call today June 29. The brief time in port - less than a half hour - was unfortunately due to a medical emergency. An ambulance and Emergency Health Service workers met the ship when it tied up at Pier 22. As usual with such incidents the privacy of the passenger or crew member was respected and details were not released.

It was quite foggy when the ship arrived, but a little tweeking of the digital image brought out the superb look of the ship. Word of its arrival brought out a small group of ship watchers -  as it always does - regardless of weather.

When it sailed, the ship went north about George's Island, and made for sea in good order.


The Queen Mary 2 is the last of the great liners and makes regular transatlantic passenger crossings, in season. In addition to the novelty and tradition of such voyages it is a convenience to those who cannot fly and unique among cruise ships (and unlike many airlines), it allows pets to travel with the owners. The cancellation of any crossing causes great inconvenience as there are no alternatives aside from some cruise ship re-positioning trips.

The ship's trip out of Southampton scheduled for April 23, and its return trip out of New York scheduled for April 30, 2023 were cancelled for unspecified "technical issues". Those have been quite rare for the now nearly twenty year old ship. Delivered by Chantier de l'Atlantique, St-Nazaire in December 2003 the 149,215 gt ship has a capacity of 2,695 passengers and as Cunard would have it 1253 "officers and crew". 

Cunard of course is part of the Carnival Corporation and from recent press reports, its boss reports to P+O Cruises in the corporate chain of command. 

 Cunard's Halifax roots are not forgottten and a statue of Sir Samuel Cunard stands outside the Halifax Port Autohority offices at Pier 20.


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

ONE Owl and others

 The main ship of interest in Halifax today (June 28) was the first time caller ONE Owl the latest in the series of "bird" class ships to arrive on THE Alliance's EC5 (Asia - North America) route. The ship arrived from Colombo, Sri Lanka via Suez and unlike some previous ships on the route, did not make any stops in the Mediterranean such as Tanger Med.

 The ONE Owl had penetrated the morning fog and was in the clear when it made its turn to back into Pier 41.

As with its sister ships, it was built by Japan Marine United in Kure and delivered in 2017 as NYK Owl. The 146,412 gt, 139,335 dwt ship has a rated capacity of 14,026 TEU. In 2021 it was renamed ONE Owl  and repainted in the ONE colour scheme. There are a dozen or more "bird" class ships, and by my count we will have seen most of them by the end of July.

The ship is carrying more boxes (and running at deeper draft) than the last two "bird" ships on the EC5, so perhaps that was just a temporary lull.


Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Ferry Woes (a continuing saga) - updated

Will they ever learn?

Canadian ferry services have been contentious since Confederation (1867 for the record). Just as other governments use hospital and school building as political footballs, so do the federal politicans use ferries. Getting elected by promising, getting re-elected by delivering. The federal government can be accused of the same tactics in all government shipbuilding, but a few years ago they did develop a plan for Navy and Coast Guard ships, which is actually working to deliver overdue replacements. The same planners then apparently went on vacation leaving only a few vague statements about ferries and no firm plans. Due to their high political sensitivity, ferries cannot be left in the hands of civil servants, but must be ham handed by politicians.

As of today there are up to half a dozen sizeable ferries that need replacements in the next year to five years in eastern Canada alone. (Some are provincial, some federal). Old ships must thus carry on with the risk of breakdowns and disruption to essential or near essential services virtually guaranteed.

 It is not just an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality that results in the all too common crises. It is more a "don't plan ahead", and "only act in an emergency" scenario. Even though the emergencies are self-inflicted, the pols somehow manage to skew their delayed responses into heroism.

The Prince Edward Island ferry service has been a typical political football, which has again reached a crisis with the only ship out of service for an indefinite period due to a mechanical issue. The Confederation Bridge, which was built as a reliable year round "fixed link" to the mainland replaced the primary ferry service between Cape Tormentine, NB and Borden, PE. The bridge has certainly proven to be a success and is only closed to traffic during especially severe weather. (Being a public /private partnership likely helps too.).  However it does not serve the eastern end of the island and northern Nova Scotia as readily, nor does it provide the seagoing experience enjoyed by tourists.

The John Hamilton Grey works it way toward Cape Tormentine in spring ice with the Confederation Bridge nearing completion in the background. The ferry was retired a month later.

 The ferry operation at the eastern end of the island, between Caribou, NS and Wood Islands, PE was initially promoted in the 1930s by local businesses and since the opening of the Confederation Bridge, has continued to be a useful, if secondary connection. It is a seasonal operation from May to December, and until last year had two ferries - one of which only operated during the peak tourist season. One of its major sources of revenue, aside from passengers, is trucking produce from Prince Edward Island to the Port of Halifax. (The ships are owned by the federal Minister of Transport and managed  by the private company Northumberland Ferries Ltd).

The late lamented Holiday Island. Built orginally for summer service on the Cape Tormentine / Borden route.

However there were signs of trouble as long ago as 2020 when the reliability of the ships came into question - largely due to their age - and the larger of the two ships was taken out of service for a time. Things came to a head last year when the older and smaller ship Holiday Island caught fire July 22 and became a total loss. That left the Confederation to soldier on alone for a time. Luckily the ferry Saaremaa 1 was available in Quebec and managers Northumberland Ferries Ltd (NFL) scrambled to orient crews, and adapt the ship and the terminals, thus salvaging some of the sailing season. (Quebec's ferry horror stories are outside the realm of this blog, but the provincial government owned Société des traversiers du Québec (STQ) has had its own crises in recent years. The Saaremaa 1 was acquired by the STQ as a back-up for the temperamental F.-A.-Gauthier on the Matane / Baie Comeau / Godbout route.) 

The use of the Saarema 1 came with some strings attached. If the STQ needed the Saarema 1 they could call it back at any time. Fortunately the F.-A.-Gauthier behaved for the rest of the 2022 season and the Saaremaa I was not needed in Quebec.

For 2023 the Saaremaa 1 is again available, on the same conditional terms, but for some strange reason went into drydock at Méchins, QC on about June 8 - just when it should have been mobilized for the PEI tourist season. Instead it was initially reported that it would not be available until July 10, but even that date is now in doubt.

Supposedly a permanent replacement for the Holiday Island was in the works last year, and had been for some time, but no contract has been awarded for construction, so it could be up to five years before a new ship is available*. When on June 17 of this year the Confederation suffered a mechanical issue and was thus inoperable, there was no alternative but to cancel all service until further notice. Not only does this impact the PEI tourism sector (a major part of the island's revenue) but trucking produce away from the island and bringing in material, such as aggregates, is severely hsampered. The added time and cost of using the Confederation bridge will eat into many other aspects of the province's economy.

The problem with the Confederation has been described as the failure of a mechanical flexible coupling in the ship's drive train. Since the part is not "off the shelf" anymore a replacement must be custom made, with an estimate of at least a month, not including installation.

If memory serves, the flexible coupling was part of a propulsion system designed to be installed by shipyards of limited technical expertise. Shaft alignment requires a high level of precision which not all shipyards can offer. The flexible coupling allows for looser tolerances, but is subject to a high degree of wear - such was the trade off for construction of the ship orginally - and thereby hangs a tale.

The legend has it that the revered member of federal parliament for the Pictou area stood before a gathering and announced a new ferry and that it would be built at the local Pictou Industries Ltd shipyard. Since the federal Department of Transport would own (and therefore pay for) the ship it was assumed that the project had the approval of federal Cabinet and the Prime Minister. It transpires however that they all learned about the project at the same time as the assembled voters at the meeting. The member announcing the new ship and naming its builder, did so on his own initiative (or so the story goes) as part of a promise to his mother.

The problem was that the project was well beyond the shipyard's recent experience. The shipyard in Pictou had a storied history and had built many ships including ferries, under previous owner ship, but much of the experise had retired or moved on. Although Pictou Industries Ltd had built some trawlers too, but not for several years, it had become essentially a repair yard.

In order to build the ship in Pictou, I understand that an arrangement was made with a European shipbuilder to design the ship for ease of construction and perhaps even pre-fab some critical components. That meant the Pictou yard's role was more to assemble and finish out the ship, and to install some of the more demanding pre-fab components. Hence the flexible coupling that allowed for looser tolerances in shaft alignment.


Now of course the Confederation, as it has been called, is thirty (!) years old and some of that high degree of wear has taken its toll. It is a "double ender" with central engines and propulsors at both ends allowing it to enter and leave terminals without turning.

Despite the current "crisis" there has still been no announcement** about a permanent Holiday Island replacement or even better, a Confederation replacement (thirty years is old even for a seasonal ferry). Plus ça change!

Perhaps some inspired politician will address a public meeting somewhere during his summer break ...


* A November 29, 2022 annoucement from the government stated that Davie shipyard in Lévis, QC would be designing and building the Holiday Island replacement for delivery in 2028. (One year later than when its funding was announced in the 2019 federal budget.) Davie has experience with inland waters ferry construction including the two dual fuel Baie-Ste-Catherine / Tadoussac ferries delivered in 2018 (which took at least five years to design and build.)

 ** I should have written "recent" announcement - because while I was writing it there was a new communication from Transport Canada. News reports on June 28 state that Transport Canada reaffirmed the 2028 delivery date, and that the ship will be a diesel and electric hybrid. It is currently in the design stage at the Davie shipyard. 

 2.   There was no mention of a Confederation replacement. My guess is that the Holiday Island replacement may be a bare bones type, useful for peak summer / good weather service only. The Confederation replacement will have to be a more substantial vessel capable of working from May to December. If so, it will serve as a useful political football with a series of announcements, promised delivery dates and shipyard selections stretching out into the 2030s. By then the Confederation will be forty years old, will have broken down countless more times and service will have been irregular. It may force the government to acquire a second hand vessel from Europe or some other desperate measure.

3. A sitting government MP from PEI, Lawrence MacAulay, was also quoted as saying that the Saaremaa 1 has been engaged again for 2024, but that he "hopes" it will be ready before July. Obviously he was not willing to make unilateral committments for his government. Good boy.


Sunday, June 25, 2023

CMA CGM Butterfly - first timer

 Another first time visitor arrived in te early evening of June 25, also berthing at PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub, Pier 41. The CMA CGM Butterfly is the second ship to call on CMA CGM's India America Express, eastbound leg. On June 21 it was sister ship CMA CGM Ivanhoe. Recent weather related congestion in Indian ports may explain the short interval between calls, which would normaly be at least a week.

Hyundai Heavy Indusry, Ulsan delivered the CMA CGM Butterfly in 2008. The 111,249 gt, 120,934 dwt ship has a capacity of 9658 TEU including 700 reefers. It has three sister ships, CMA CGM Ivanhoe, CMA CGM Orfeo and CMA CGM Pelleas. The ship carried the name Burtterfly from 2012 to 2014, but reverted to its orginal name.

The tug Atlantic Bear met the ship at the pilot station and took up the stern tethered escort position. Atlantic Oak made up forward and Atlantic Fir made up aft to assist in turning the vessel and coming alongside berth 41. Berth 42 was occupied by the 1496 TEU ZIM feeder Warnow Master, so there was plenty of space.

All tugs made fast in position, the ship is about to turn 180 degrees and back in to berth 41.


Anisha R. - first timer

 With the inaugural calls earlier this month of MSC's Europe /West Coast South America service, a whole new (to Halifax) group of MSC ships will be calling here. Today (June 25) it was MSC Anisha R. arriving this morning from Bremerhaven and sailing this afternoon for Boston.

Not surprisingly the ship was carrying a huge quantity of reefer boxes on deck. South America is a large exporter of fruit and vegetables, and because it is in the southern hemisphere, its growing season corresponds to northern winter when there is large demand for produce.

Also not surprising, Anisha R. is an older ship, built in 2002 by Samsung Heavy Industry in Geoje. It was launched as Santa Rafaela, delivered as P+O Nedlloyd Remura then renamed in 2006: Maersk Denia, 2007: Southampton Express , 2009: Santa Rafaela and acquired its current name in 2015.

It is a 45,803 gt, 53,328 dwt ship with a capacity of 4112 TEU including a very large number of  1200 reefers. The latter number explains its selection for this route, and also suggests that MSC will want to keep the ship going for a while longer. It has also been fitted with an exhaust gas scrubber system. One bay of deck space has been given up for the scrubber tower. (The TEU capacity is therefore somewhat less than the 4112 figure quoted above.)


Viking Neptune - back again and sanitized

 The nearly new cruise ship Viking Neptune made its first call here June 18 en route from Iceland and Greenland, to the New York area cruise port of Cape Liberty, NJ. Thanks to fog and rain there was no photo op on June 18. Today was somewhat better as the ship emerged from the fog inside Mauger's Beach, inbound from Boston.

 The fog may persist today, but there is only the chance of showers, so visitors will have a decent time ashore. As the ship circled George's Island to dock at Pier 22, starboard side to, its lines became clearer.

Delivered in November 2022 by Fincantieri, Ancona, the 47,878 gt ship has 464 cabins - all balcony - and can carry a maximum 930 passengers and 465 crew. 

On that last trip it arrived in Cape Liberty reporting that 110 of its 838 passengers and nine of its crew were suffering from gastro-intestinal illness. As the port was the end of the trip, the ship was vacated and sanitized before the current group embarked and sailed on June 21 for Boston. It sailed from Boston June 22. What it did in the intervening three days was apparently to steam slowly in the general direction of Halifax.

The ship's itinerary from here is Gaspé  June 27, Saguenay June 29, Quebec City June 30 and Montreal July 1. It will embark on a new cruise July 2, retracing its route and expects be back in Halifax July 9.


Saturday, June 24, 2023

Two Hours of Activity

 There was quite a bit of activity compressed into a short period of time this afternoon June 23. Between 1715 hrs and 1915 hrs (ADT) there were five ships underway in the harbour.

The first ship was an arrival, the tanker Quartz from Montreal. It is a peculiar arrival as most handysize tankers come to Halifax to deliver refined product to either Irving Oil or Imperial Oil (Exxon mobil). This ship however is in ballast.

Built in 2015 by SPP Shipbuilding Co in Sacheon, it is a 9,767 gt, 49,990 dwt ship, running for Sinokor Petrochemical Co Ltd. It had arrived in Montreal on June 18 from Milford Haven, Wales, site of a large storage and distribution terminal. (The refinery there closed in 2014), and sailed for Halifax June 20. Presumably it unloaded refined product in Montreal.

Inbound soon after was HMCS Glace Bay returning from the Titanic wreck site where it was involved in the search for the submersible "Titan". Glace Bay was carrying a decompression chamber and medical personnel.

The Quartz went to anchor in the lower harbour in the same position as the Eimskip vessel Bakkafoss which got underway as the Glace Bay was passing.

 The Bakkafoss is new to Eimskip, and is on its first trip in a new charter arragement with Ernst Russ. As reported here in March, Eimskip is reducing the number of ships on its transatlantic service from four to three, but by increasing the size of ships will keep its container capacity the same. See: March News

Built in 2009 by Fujian Mawei Shipbuilding Co in Fuzhou, the 11,550 gt, 14,669 dwt ship has a capacity of 1025 TEU, including 231 reefers. Built as JMS Brisbane it was renamed JRSPollux on delivery, becoming Pollux in 2013 and Elbsummer in 2020. It received the name Bakkafoss in May.

It joins Lagarfoss and Vivienne Sheri D on the Green line service, joining Reykjavik, Halifax, Portland, ME, Halifax, Argentia, NL, Reykjavik. (Halifax and Argentia are optional).


Bakkafoss headed for PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub to dock at Pier 42 as soon as the EM Kea cleared. One of the St-Laurent 1 service regulars (operated by CMA CGM and Maersk) EM Kea arrived early in the morning and sailed for Bremerhaven.

The final ship was CMA CGM Hermes sailing from Pier 41 for New York on the Columbus JAX service from Singapore and Malaysia via Suez and Tanger Med.

 The CMA CGM Hermes was built in 2021 by Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Shipuilding. It is registered at 154,995 gt, 156,055 dwt with a capacity of 15,000 TEU.

There will be some departures over night, with arrival activity resuming early at daybreak tomorrow morning.


Friday, June 23, 2023

Bulk Out, Bulk In

 Bulk cargoes do not make the headlines in the Port of Halifax - containers (and large container ships) grab the spotlight, with cruise ships perhaps in second place. Last year's 601,700 TEU container throughput and 239,000 cruise ship visitors on 148 ship calls were certainly notable and worthy of attention. This year (2023) stands to equal or surpass those numbers.

The chief bulk commodity handled in the port is gypsum, with a steady volume, but which can vary with the demand of the  economy.  The relatively small quantities of other bulk commodities handled by the port rarely receive much attention. (Of the 5.39 million tonnes of cargo handled in 2022 only 521,510 tonnes was "non-containerized".)

Today's two ship arrivals (June 23) would therefore escape notice, as they are not particularly noteworthy, except as examples of "other bulk commodities" that make up the Port's annual tonnage number.

First in was the bulk carrier Jasmina D a handy size  24,245 gt, 35,974 dwt vessel built in 2012 as Nina-Marie by Zchi Shipbuilding Co Ltd in Zhoushan, China and equipped with four 30 tonne SWL cranes. It does not appear to carry its own grabs, since the cross deck aras between the hatches are clear. It was renamed Jasmina D in 2021 when ownership changed to what I believe to be Dutch interests, under Alliance Maritime management,

The ship is equipped with a sophisticated hold washing system with wash water holding tanks in the double bottom. On arrival today its hatch covers were partially open, no doubt for drying the epoxy lined holds before taking on its next cargo.

Its previous cargo seems to have been bauxite loaded in Alumar, Itaqui, Brazil and unloaded in Bécancour, QC. (Opposite Trois-Rivières, there is a jointly owned Alcoa and Rio Tinto smelter there.)

The second arrival, about one half hour later, did not have the appearance of a bulk carrier since its deck was stacked with containers.

 Notable however - the deck above number 3 hatch is left clear to access cargo to be off loaded in Halifax. 

 The ship Eagle II is on charter to Nirint Shipping and is en route from Cuba to Europe. At its last port, of Moa, Cuba, it took on some nickel sulfides cargo, which is shipped in large cargo bags. The cargo is considered hazardous, and the bags contain any potential spillage. The material is also dangerous to load in bulk since it can liquify and shift in transit. The bags thus stablize the cargo.

The Eagle II was built in 2006 by Shandong Weihai Shipyard in Weihai, China. It measures 15,633 gt, 16,986 dwt and can carry 1306 TEU including 258 reefers, but can also carry general cargo and break bulk. It is fitted with a pair of 45 tonne SWL cranes. It sailed orginally as Hooge for Briese Schiffsharts, but was renamed Eagle II in 2022 by obscure Liberian owners.


Thursday, June 22, 2023

New Old Ship

 The Mediterranean Shipping Company MSC has long been known for coaxing life out of older ships that other lines may have given up on. The formula continues to be successful for them. Even though they are ordering new ships, they are still operating many older vessels.

With the coming glut of ships as the economy cools down, any ship twenty years of age or more will be considered old. As new and more efficient ships are set for delivery this year and next it will be interesting to see how much longer MSC will want to operate ships such as today's arrival on its Turkey-Greece / East Coast North America service.

MSC Katya R. was built in 2002 by Samsung, Koje (now spelled Geoje). Launched as Santa Rebecca for the C-P Offen charter fleet, it was named P+O Nedlloyd Encounter on delivery. In 2005 it became Maersk Decatur and reverted to Santa Rebecca in 2010. In 2016 it became MSC Katya R., but has been under MSC management since 2014.

It is a 45,803 gt, 53,410 dwt vessel with a container capacity of 4112 TEU including 1300 reefers.

According to available records the ship completed its most recent survey in May of this year, and will require renewal as of January 1, 2027 and before April 30, 2027. Major upgrades may be necessary to maintain its classification after that date. Its very high reefer capacity may be one factor in its future as reefer trades are strong at the moment.[Class surveys are usually renewable in five year increments. A four year renewal may be required for older ships, depending on their condition.]

The ship's class certificate was issued in Istanbul (Tuzla) on May 26, it then sailed via Piraeus (June 4) to Napoli (June 7), Barcelona (June 9-10), Valencia (June 10-11), Sines, Portugal (June 13-14). It remained at anchor off Sines until June 15 and arrived off Halifax sometime over night June 21-22, and entered port mid-afternoon today, June 22. This indicates perhaps some slow speed sailing (12 knots or less) as a cost saving measure.



 The Liberty of the Seas will be a familiar sight by the end of the 2023 cruise season if it makes all eight of its planned calls. Today, June 22 is only the second call, (its first was May 25) so it is still a bit of a novelty as an impressively large visitor.

As it made its way in early this morning it entered a glaasy calm harbour.

And as it approached Pier 22, it swung round and backed in alongside.

Built in 2007 by Aker Yards in Turku, Finland, the 155,889 gt ship has a maximum capacity of 4960 passengers (3,798 double occupancy) and 1300 (average) crew.

With Zaandam also arriving today, the waterfront will be a busy place.


Wednesday, June 21, 2023

CMA CGM Ivanhoe

 A first time caller in Halifax arrived today June 21 on CMA CGM's India America Express. CMA CGM Ivanhoe dates from 2008 when it was built by Hyundai HI, Ulsan. It is a 111, 249 gt, 120,994 dwt ship with a capacity of 9658 TEU including 700 reefers.

The ship employed three tugs as it made its way inbound in the main (eastern) channel. Two of the tugs were tethered escorts on the stern for braking and steering. This may well have been a practice exercise for the tugs as two stern escorts are usually only needed in case of emergency. The ship appeared to be in normal operating condition.

The Asia India Express operates from Port Qasim, Pakistan, Nhava Sheva and Mundra, India, via Suez to Genoa, New York and Norfolk. The sbip is now returning eastbound and its nextport is scheduled to be Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.







Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Don Pasquale and Where's Waldo (Roseway)

 The auto carrier Don Pasquale completed offloading its large consignment of machinery at Pier 9C yesterday (see previous post) and remained alongside the pier until this afternoon (June 20) when it moved to Autoport to offload cars. (I suspect that the Autoport workers needed to clear space from yesterday's arrival of Siem Cicero before they could accommodate more cars. Recent arrivals are parked near the dock so as to offload ships quickly. They are later moved to long term storage or prep areas farther way. )

Ships calling at Autoport use a line boat to run headlines out to a mooring buoy. The long time line boat is the tug Roseway owned by Dominion Diving. It sets out from its base in Dartmouth Cove and proceeds to Autoport to await the arrival of every ship. It also attends departing ships by letting the headlines go from the buoy. 

Although it is a small vessel, the Roseway has a distinctive "sound signature" and can be heard all around the harbour when it is underway. Due to its small size however, it is difficult to see from the Halifax side. Thus there ensues the "Where's Waldo" type of game: "Spot the Roseway".

Today was no exception as the Don Pasquale made its way, it did take me a few minutes to pick out the Roseway even though I could hear it very well.

Can you see it? The Roseway is southbound just passing the GPO Sapphire at the IEL dock, and shows up just between "GPO" and "Sapphire" lettering towards the ship's stern.

This is what it looks like closer up:

Built in 1960 by Steel and Engine Products Ltd in Liverpool, NS, the tug was owned by the federal Department of Public Works and attended a small dredge and dump scows working in small ports around the Atlantic coast. Dominion Diving has owned it since 1989.

It has been pictured many times in Shipfax and companion blog Tugfax over the years. Just enter the name "Roseway" in the search boxes of each blog for much, much more...


Monday, June 19, 2023

Bull's eye for the Bear


 Algoma Central Corp's tanker subisidiary Algoma Tankers has announced a major development. The company has ordered two 37,000 dwt ice class product tankers from Hyundai Mipo for delivery in 2025. The ships will be methanol and shore power ready.

Most surprising however is that the ships will take up long term charters with Irving Oil. That company currently charters two ships (also built by Hyundai Mipo) from the Dutch company Vroon, which will be turning twenty years old in 2025. Acadian and East Coast, trading under Canadian flag, deliver Irving Oil products in eastern Canada ranging from St.Lawrence River and Gulf ports to Newfoundland, from Irving Oil's refinery in Saint John, NB. (Three other tankers of the same vintage, also on charter from Vroon to Irving Oil, fly the Marshall Islands flag, and operate between Canada and the United Staes. No announcement has yet been made about their replacements.)

 Algoma Tankers was established to take over the fleet of Imperial Oil tankers, and has been largely dedicated to serving its refineries and depots on the Great Lakes and eastern Canada. The new ships will be dedicated to Irving Oil work, although some exhange of product does take place with other oil companies.

The current Irving charters are painted in traditional Irving tanker colours (Irving once owned a large fleet of tankers)  and wear the Irving Oil symbol on their funnels. [Their scrubbers were retrofitted and are housed in plain white structures]. The Vroon "V crest appears on the bows. It will be interesting to see what the new ships will look like.


 And what they will be called:

For what it is worth, my guesses are that they will be painted in the Irving colours, with Irving Oil funnel marks, and names similar to the current ships - that is to say no direct reference to Irving or Algoma.

 Two interesting side notes to this news may or may not be relevant:

1. Irving Oil has recently made it known that it is reviewing options for the future that could include members of the Irving family selling the company. The family's various interests are now relatively separate. The J.D. Irving companies, such as Irving Shipbuilding Inc, Atlantic Towing Ltd and Harbour Development Ltd and their wood, paper, steel, construction and trucking operations  have no connection with Irving Oil, and the announcement has little if any bearing on them.

2. Vroon has recently been re-organized with lenders taking equity for debt, and has opted to sell off their offshore supply and support vessel business. Whether this had any bearing on Irving Oil's decision is of course unknown to me, but Algoma has certainly established itself as a stable and growing company.

They have rccently disposed of older ships and acquired newer ones on the strength of existing business.


Algoma Central has also expanded well beyond their orginal Great Lakes bulk carrier business, and are now partners in Nova Algoma Cement Carriers (NACC) and coastal cargo ships and tankers in Europe as well as self-unloading bulk carriers in the CSL Americas pool.



 Monday June 19 was a busy day in Halifax Harbour. Two auto carriers, four ships carrying containers and one tanker made for an interesting variety. 

The first autocarrier was Wallenius Wilhelmsen's Don Pasquale which went directly to Pier 9C to offload the usual variety of forestry, farming snd construction machinery. There f=were also a few shrink wrapped boats and other unidentified material.

Its last port was Southampton, and predictably JCB backhoes were among the vehicles. Built in 1997 by Daewoo, Okpo, the Don Pasquale was lengthened 8.6 meters in 2007 and now measures 67,141 gt, 28,142 dwt, with a capacity of 7,194 cars.

The second auto carrier was the SIEM Cicero which went to Autoport to offload. Its last port was Emden, so no doubt the initials VW were prominent.

SIEM Cicero dates from 2017 and the Uljanik Shipyard in Pula, Croatia. A 56,677 gt, 17,416 dwt ship, it has a capacity of 7000 cars. It is equipped with a 100 tonne SWL capacity stern ramp and a 15 tonne SWL capacity starboard side ramp.


The container ship Tropic Lissette arrived yesterday afternoon and was due to sail at 1700 today, and was still unloading at Pier 42 mid-afternoon. As usual it is contributing lots of temperature controlled containers to the mix of boxes on the pier.


This morning's arrival was MSC Apollo a first time caller on its way from the US East Coast ports of Savannah (June 11-12), Baltimore (June 8-9), Norfolk (June 6-7), New York (June 3-5) and prior to that Caucedo, Dominican Republic (May 27). It is serving MSC's Indusa route and will be sailing for India via the Suez Canal.

The MSC Apollo was built by IHI, Kure in 2002 as NYK Apollo. The 75,484 gt, 81,171 dwt ship has a capacity of 6492 TEU including 450 reefers. It was renamed in 2019. 

In the afternoon it was the Atlantic Sun inbound for PSA Fairview Cove and ONE Blue Jay for PSA Atlantic Hub.

 The Atlantic Sun is westbound from Liverpool and has container and RoRo cargo.


ONE Blue Jay is on the eastbound leg of its voyage. It called in Halifax west bound on THE Alliance's EC5 service on May 29. It was the third ONE "bird" class ship to call here. Over night last night the fourth ship of the class, ONE Crane made a call - arriving and sailing in the dark.

 There was an interesting tanker at Irving Oil. The Alkea arrived yesterday from Amsterdam with a cargo of refined products. The ship's distinctive colour scheme of black hull and burnt orange superstructure is a carry over from its original owners Torm A/S. The ship was built as Torm Gyda in 2009 by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan. 

A 23,332 gt, 36,207 dwt ship, it was acquired by current owners Chandris Hellas and renamed in 2022. They have repainted the funnel with the well known Chandris "X" (the Greek letter "Chi"), but the orange house would be  much more difficult to cover with one coat of paint, so may have to wait a while.

It is not often that three container ships can be captured in one photo, but that was possible in the mid-afternoon as the MSC Apollo was outbound and Atlantic Sun and ONE Blue Jay were inbound.

The carefully orchestrated timing also involved several tugs. One was escorting the outbound then joined the others to assist the inbounds.