Thursday, August 31, 2023

Tankers all round

 There was activity at both Imperial Oil and Irving Oil's marine terminals yesterday and today (August 30 and 31).

When Irving Oil's East Coast sailed after a brief stay in port (see August 29 post) its place was taken up later in the day by the Glenda Melissa arriving from Amsterdam.

 Hyundai Mipo of Ulsan built the ship in 2011, one of the seemingly endless stream of product tankers - this one at 29,130 gt, 47,203 dwt. Glenda International Shipping DAC was 50% owned by d'Amico Tankers DAC. [DAC or Designated Activity Corporation, is limited liability company created under Irish law.] In August 2022 d'Amico acquired the other 50% ownership in Glenda from Topley Corp (part of Glencore). The intention then was to add the four Glenda tankers to d'Amico's fleet of 35 product tankers. [Glenda is a portmanteau for GLENcore and DAmico.]

The ship is now owned and managed by d'Amico Tankers DAC but is still wearing the Glenda "G" in the funnel and still has the Glenda name. It is likely that Glenda will be wound up at some point.

Today, August 31, the tanker Rita M is due to sail from Imperial Oil. When it does its place at Number 3 dock will be taken by the Midnight Glory which arrived from Houston on August 29 [see previous post.]


While at anchor the Midnight Glory has had a backdrop of cruise ships - today it is the Liberty of the Seas. With a capacity of 3,798 passengers (double occupancy) and 4,960 maximum, it is one of the larger cruise ships to call in Halifax, It was built in 2007 by Aker Turku, and is recorded at 155,889 gt.





Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Another veteran for MSC

 Today (August 30) another Mediterranean Shipping Company veteran arrived in Halifax. This time it was MSC Sariska V on the CANEX 2 service (to Spain and Italy from Montreal). It will take on additional cargo here to "top up" to ocean going draft.

Any ship that has reached the twenty-five year mark is considered a veteran these days, but to pass the thirty year mark is worthy of special note. Therefore a ship built in 1990 is all the more remarkable.

MSV Sariska V began life as the Majestic Maersk when it was built by Odesne Steel Shipyard, in Lindø, Denmark and was launched February 15, 1990. The shipbuilder (since closed) was also owned by the AP Moller-Maersk company and turned out scores of ships for the parent company. This one was the seventh of twelve "M" class sisters of 52,181 gt, 60,639 dwt with a capacity of 4437 TEU including 500 reefers. It was delivered for service on April 11, 1990.

Maersk renamed the ship Majestic in 2010, then sold it to new owners where it was renamed MSC Sariska in 2011. The Roman numeral "V" was added in 2022.

It did call in Halifax as Majestic Maersk on its maiden voyage May 1, 1990 when it inaugurated a new "high speed" independent transatlantic service, using six of the "M" class ships. The ships were rated for 24 knots.

On its way inbound today the ship would periodically emit considerable heavy black smoke. If, as it appears, to be burning marine gas oil or low-sulphur fuels, [no scrubbber is visible] it may be meeting the letter of the law, but is still producing excessive particulate at times.

This is another ship that may have two or three years of service left before another major class survey, but may be displaced during that time by a flood of newer and more efficient ships currently under construction or on order. At last report MSC had 125 ships on order. Its current fleet of 775 ships could not possibly absorb that many new ships, so a good many will be heading for the torches soon, and this may be one.


Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Mixed Bag

 There was a little bit of everything in the Port of Halifax today (August 29) - with tankers, passenger ships, container ships and both Canadian and United States naval vessels.

The Marshall Islands flagged Midnight Glory arrived this morning from Houston, TX and anchored in the lower harbour. Built in 2020 by the Hyundai Mipo yard in Ulsan, it is a 29,649 gt, 50,324 dwt midrange chemical / product tanker.

As the pilot disembarks to the pilot boat Capt E.T.Rogers, the cruise ships Norwegian Escape (left) and Norwegian Pearl (right) form a backdrop. If the tanker is headed for Imperial Oil, it must wait its turn because the berth is still occupied by the Rita M (see August 27 post) and appears to be nearly unloaded.


In the early evening the East Coast arrived from Saint John at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal with more product for local consumption.

 I missed the arrival this early morning of the USS Oscar Austin an Areliegh Burke class destroyer, pennant number DDG 79. I will try for later.

Meanwhile this morning Max Bernays AOPV 432 was conducting more post acceptance trials. It was delivered by Irving Shipbuilding Inc's Halifax Shipyard to the RCN in September 2022, and is expected to sail for Esquimault, BC before year end.

 Max Bernays is the third Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Harry DeWolf class, and will be the first to be based on the West Coast.

Mediterranean Shipping Company's INDUSA line from the west coast of India via the Mediterranean to the US East Coast was represented today by rhe MSC Beijing. The ship was built in 2005 by Hanjin Heavy Industry + Construction Co in Busan. With tonnages of 91,023 gt, and 105,035 dwt it has a capacity of 8069 TEU including 620 reefers.

On sailing it made a long plume of water vapour in the high humidity evening air.  The ship was retrofitted with an exhaust gas scrubber, which appears to have been installed to port of the orginal funnel structure so as not to sacrifice cargo carrying space. [See the tanker East Coast, photo above, with scrubber fitted aft of the funnel.]

While the MSC Beijing was finishing up at Pier 42 the ONE Blue Jay arrrived and squeezed in at Pier 41.

 The 14,026 TEU ship used three tugs to slow and turn the ship and assist it to back in to the berth.


To round out the grab bag, there was one other ship to note, the Oceanex Sanderling which arrived from St.John's this morning and docked first at Autoport. 


It then moved to Bedford Basin anchorage for the night and will move to the PSA Fairview Cove Container Terminal tomorrow. Oceanex has relocated its activities to Fairview Cove from the South End Terminal (SECT) as part of a rationalization that also saw ZIM move to Fairview Cove, Transport St-Pierre et Miquelon to move from Fairview Cove to the SECT and some shuffling of other services depending on size of ships.



Monday, August 28, 2023

Looking forward from the Past

 A recent post on Facebook reminded me that traditional Great Lakes freighters, built with the wheelhouse forward, are becoming rarer as time goes on. As older ships are removed from service and scrapped their replacements have the wheelhouse and all accommodation aft like modern bulkers around the world. This loss of distinctive appearance is regrettable, but understandable, as new technology has meant that the visibility provided from a forward wheelhouse is no longer essential to safe navigation.

Also ships that work the Great Lakes are now often built to work off the Lakes and beyond the Gulf of St.Lawrence for short sea voyages to Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and even to the Bay of Fundy coast of New Brunswick. Some even go farther afield and make ocean voyages.The forward mounted wheelhouse is much more exposed, subject to more pitching and isolated from the accommodation, galley and is thus a liability. Steering and engine control connections are also awkward and complex.

Halifax saw many ships with wheelhouse forward  over the years, although they were generally of the small canal sized vessels (some of which had been built in the UK and made transatlantic crossings in peace and war.)  The many locks on the old St.Lawrence River canals limited ships to 260 feet long and 45 feet wide with a maximum draft of 14 feet.


The Charles R. Huntley, built in 1926 in Scotland, was obsolete by the time the St.Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, although it was still sound enough to be converted to a suction dredge. It worked on the construction of the South End Container Terminal in Halifax (then called Halterm) in 1969 and kicked around for several years thereafter, dredging in Saint John and St.Lawrence River channels. It also had some close calls at sea in bad weather. It was finally scrapped in 2003 as BV Reyna.

The Lachinedoc, built in 1956 in Newport, Wales, was one of the last ships built to the old canal dimensions. It carried a pair of cranes to handle newsprint cargoes, but also carried bulk grain to Halifax as in this 1970 photo. It remained in Canadian service until sold overseas in 1975 and was lost in Bahrain in 1981.

Once the St.Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959, and much larger ships could travel to and from the Great Lakes some of the canallers were lengthened and even deepened to increase their capacity.

Eastcliffe Hall was built in 1954 to suit the old canals but in 1959 was lengthened 90 ft ( 27.5m) from 258 ft (78.9m) to 349 ft (106.4m) and deepened. [It sank with  loss of life a few days after I took this photo in Halifax in July 1970.]

When the Nortcliffe Hall was sold south in 1975 it wisely fitted storm shields over the wheelhouse windows. (Built in 1952 as the first Frankcliffe Hall it was deepened in 1959, renamed in 1962 and returned to Canada as Roland Desgagnés in 1976. It sank off Pointe-au-Pic in 1982 with a cargo of salt from Pugwash, NS for Montreal.)

New ships, built to the maximum allowable size for the new Seaway locks (originally 730 feet by 75 feet), were basically enlarged versions of the traditional ships, with wheelhouse and some accommodation foward. Also they were not normally built strongly enough to go to sea. Their relatively long and slender shapes would need considerable reinforcement beyond what was needed for Great Lakes conditions, especially if they were to work off Lakes in winter, and as noted, the forward wheelhouse was a liability. Lakers also had limited sailing range, as fueling locations were plentiful on the Lakes. Even into the 1960s and beyond, many lakers still burned coal.

A new breed of "salty laker" was designed for both high seas (salt water) and Lakes work (fresh water). One of the first was an odd ship, a self-unloader, the Hallfax built in the UK, with wheelhouse forward. It was built to carry coal from Sydney, NS to Montreal and Toronto and often back-hauled grain to  Halifax. Well shy of the maximum dimensions for the Seaway, it was enlarged, but never really fit in and must be considered an experiment.

In 1970, when this photo was taken, Halifax did not have the ability to receive grain from self-unloaders, and instead used the old-fashioned "grain leg" which was a bucket conveyor that reached into the ship's hold. However the ship did use its self-unloading equipment to move cargo to one central hold so that the ship did not have to shift as each hold was emptied.

After this, new "salty-lakers" were built with wheelhouse and accommodation aft. The Cape Breton Miner (680 ft x 75 ft) and near sister Ontario Power (712 ft x 75 ft) carried coal from Sydney, NS under contract to Ontario Hydro, but would also carry grain to Halifax on the return trip. They operated deep sea in winter, and had bulbous bow and "seagoing" hull shape.

Another unique ship was an exception to the rule. The Frankcliffe Hall (second of the name) was built in 1963 for the Lakes trade. It was later converted to a self-unloader and reinforced so that it could make "short sea" voyages to Halifax with grain and to back-haul gypsum, salt or other bulk cargoes. The ship's original fine appearance was marred by the self-unloader frame and an awkward funnel extension. The ship remained a steamer too until broken up in 2011.

Renamed Halifax when acquired by CSL, it was the last Great Lakes caller in Halifax with wheelhouse forward.

 There was also one unplanned visit of traditional Lakers to Halifax and that was when the Helen Evans and the Thornhill arrived in late 1980.

The Helen Evans was built back in 1906 by the Great Lakes Engineering Works in the Detroit suburb of Ecorse, it was originally called the James Laughlin and worked for Jones + Laughlin Steel's Interstate Steamship Co until 1952 then Wilson Transit before its sale to Canadian owners in 1964. Those owners were Hindman Transportation of Owen Sound, ON - noted for their ability to squeeze more years of service out of old hulls. They renamed the ship Helen Evans (after fleet owner Captain George Hindman's daughter) and in 1967 re-powered the ship with second hand steam machinery from a Liberty ship. Then in 1974 they converted its boilers from coal-fired to oil. However at only 550 feet long it was not large enough for profitable operation, as ships of maximum Seaway size could be operated by a same or smaller sized crew.

In 1978 Hindman sold the ship to Quebec + Ontario Navigation, but that ownership was short lived and Q+O sold it for scrap in 1979. The buyers were in Colombia, and the ship was to be towed to their scrapyard in Mamonal along with another veteran ship. 

The Thornhill, the other ship in the tow, was also built by Great Lakes Engineering Works in 1906, but for the Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co, and named Ishpeming. It was re-powered with steam turbines in 1951, and served Cliffs until 1966 when Canadian owners Upper Lakes Shipping bought the ship. They operated it as Thornhill until 1979 when they sold it to intermediaries who sold it on to the Colombian breakers.

 The tug assigned to the job was the Captain Ioannis S, ex Sistella, ex Sandy Cape, built in Norway in 1994 and rated at 5400 bhp. It had recently been acquired by Quebec Tugs. With the tandem tow assembled, they departed Quebec City September 17 and while out in the Gulf of St.Lawrence a malfunction in the tug's controllable pitch propellor system caused it to back over and sever the tow line.

The Helen Evans and Thornhill (with names painted over, and port lights plated over) were eventually rounded up and towed into Halifax on September 23, 1980. It was a memorable event, as these were the first (and so far only) classic lakers to arrive in Halifax in original configuration. (I make a distinciton between "lakers" and "canallers".)

Of note, both ships had new larger wheelhouses built in the 1950s. Radar and other navigation aids had become mandatory and would not fit in the confines of the old steering stations, so more room was needed.



Tugs finally got the dead ships alongside Pier 21 (it took four tugs each). There was no one aboard the ships save a harbour pilot and no operable winches, so gangs of linesman had to be arranged from shore and from the tugs. Note the emergency steering wheel on the boat deck aft. Another of the problems with a forward wheelhouse was the long connection from helm to rudder, running the length of the ship. In case of emergency the ship could be steered from aft, but how it was navigated must have presented challenges!

After a few weeks in Halifax, the tow arrangement was restored, the flotilla set sail October 16 and arrived in Colombia October 30, 1980 without further incident.

Among the remaining forward wheelhouse ships on the Great Lakes today, several are Canadian, but none are likely to ever visit Halifax, as they are not strengthened for "outside" work. Most get as far east as Sept Iles, QC. One example is the John D. Leitch (730 ft x 77'-11 3/8") which operates regularly on the lower St.Lawrence.

 Built in 1967 the John D. Leitch has none of the grace of its predecessors, but has proven to be a valuable member of the ULS, then Algoma fleets. (Its cargo section was widened when the Seaway increased the maximum width from 75 ft to 78 ft.)

Two others, CSL's CSL Tadoussac and Frontenac have foiled my attempts for clear photographs -   Frontenac by skillfully camouflaging itself in fog. 


Sunday, August 27, 2023

More tankers and MSC containers

 Imperial Oil brought in some more product from its source in Antwerp, this time on the Rita M a 28,054 gt, 45,997 dwt ship, built in 2009 by Shin Kurushima, Onishi.

 Originally named Torm Helsingor it was renamed Nord Star in 2013 and became Rita M in 2015. The ship arrived off Halifax August 24 but did not dock until August 26 because the berth was occupied by the coastal tanker Algoscotia, which arrived August 24 and sailed for Sydney, NS on the 26th.

Today (August 27) the tanker Ardmore Seavanguard arrived and anchored for a few hours in the lower harbour. It is carrying product from Rotterdam destined for Montreal, so I am assuming the ship was here for Canadian Food Inspection Agency clearance. Usually the inspection for inasive species, specifically LDA moth, can be done in about five hours.

The Ardmore Seavanguard was built by SPP Shipbuilding Co in Sacheon, South Korea in 2014. It is a 30,030 gt, 49,997 dwt vessel with epoxy lined tanks. It operates in the Ardmore MR Pool. Ships from that pool appear in Halifax about once every two years. Ardmore Shipping (NYSE listed) has 16 ships assigned to the pool.

With the sun breaking through early mist and drizzle, photo conditions were ideal late in the afternoon and early evening. 

MSC Sao Paulo V (that is a Roman numeral V) arrived in late afternoon, and was met by two tugs. Atlantic Bear made up astern as tethered escort and Atlantic Willow went on ahead.

 Once the ship was almost clear of the Narrows, and entering Bedford Basin, the crew sent down a heaving line for Atlantic Willow to attach to its winch line. The Willow then assisted in slowing and turning the ship for the Fairview Cove terminal.

 Atlantic Bear leans in for the turn, and the ship's exhaust gas scrubber housing (adjacent to the funnel) comes into view.

Another of MSC's older ships, MSC Sao Paulo was built in 1998 by Hyundai Ulsan as Pohang Senator. In 2008 it became CSAV Pyrenees and in 2013 became Pohang.  In 2013 it was renamed MSC Sao Paulo and earlier this year became MSC Sao Paulo V. Its tonnages come in at 53,324 gt, 63,537 dwt giving a capacity of 4688 TEU. The ship is sailing on MSC's Turkey/Greece and Mediterranean service, westbound, with its last port at Sines, Portugal.

Despite its age the ship is certified until at least 2027. By that time, as a thirty year old, I expect a host of newer ships will have displaced it in the roster and it will be on its way to the breakers. Meanwhile it can still earn its keep, along with a number of other "seniors" in the MSC fleet.


Saturday, August 26, 2023

Fairview Cove traffic

 The PSA Fairview Cove container terminal was a busy spot this morning (August 26) with a departure followed immediatley by an arrival.

NYK Constellation arrived late yesterday afternoon for an evening start to work. It still had one crane working at pilot order time of 1030 hrs today, but was ready to go soon after. It was off the berth and underway off Africville park for a photo at 1115.

A member of the NYK Daedalus class, the ship was built by Hyundai Heavy Industry Co Ltd in Ulsan in 2007. At 55,534 gt, 65,919 dwt, it has a capacity of 4922 TEU including 330 reefers. Most of the eight ships of the class have called at Fairview for THE Alliance's AL5 service. Since PSA acquired management contracts for both terminals, some of the ships have been handled by the South End Container Terminal (SECT), PSA Atlantic Gateway. 

That was not the case this time since the SECT had the Ultra size ONE Apus and the Vistula Maersk to handle.

While the NYK Constellation was clearing Fairview Cove the ZIM China was making its way inbound with the tethered escrort tug Atlantic Oak and was in the Narrows approaching the A. Murray MacKay bridge at 1112 hrs. The two ships passed just inside Bedford Basin in a neat bit of passage planning. [No photo due to impending rain and very wet grass.]

ZIM China made it first call in Halifax December 27, 2022 on ZIM's ZCA service. Built in 2008 by Samsung Shipbuilding + Heavy Industry in Geoje, South Korea, it is a 40,487 gt, 51,733 dwt ship with a capacity of 4275 TEU. It carried the name Hanjin Kenya from 2008 to 2017 then after a brief spell as Seaspan Kenya it became ALS Fauna later in 2017. It became ZIM China as of April 1, 2022.

ZIM has just recently shifted its operations to Fairview Cove with its feeder Contship Leo's first call on August 4 and the first Atlantic service ZCA ship, ZIM Vancouver on August 5. The benefit of the rationalization of services was evident today as the terminals were operating continuously and the ships were minimally delayed if at all.


Friday, August 25, 2023

Catch Up

 There have been several noteworthy ship movements in Halifax over the past several days.


  Irving Oil's Acadian arrived in Halifax on August 24 after a refit in Setubal, Portugal. It returned to Saint John August 21, several days earlier than anticipated. Fleet mate, but foreign flagged,  Nor'Easter was granted a coasting license to cover the Acadian's expected refit period July 12 to August 26.

Acadian at Irving Woodside, August 24.( Imperial Oil's tank is on the adjacent property.)

After loading at Saint John it sailed August 22 for Halifax, and once it had discharged its consignment here it sailed in the early hours of this morning (August 25), apparently for Bucksport, ME.

Maersk Kaya

When Acadian arrived in Halifax it could not berth immediately at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal, but went to anchor until the tanker Maersk Kaya sailed.

The Maersk Kaya was built in 2011 by Guangzhou International to 24,481 gt, 39,738 dwt tonnages. It arrived August 22 from Amsterdam with product and sailed later on August 24 for Saint John. We do not often see Maersk tankers in Halifax, but they do operate a sizeable fleet, with 150 tankers under management (but none are owned). A subsidiary, Maersk Product Tankers, operates 52 ships in a consortium with Mitsui Co Ltd. Both tanker companies are owned by A.P.Moller Holdings, a family investment group which is completely separate from A.P.Moller-Maersk - owners of the Maersk Lines container line. Both however have the right to use the "Maersk blue" hull colour and seven pointed star funnel mark.

Sandra Mary

Another August 24 arrival was the tug Sandra Mary with the Derrick No.4 and a mud scow, to set up for removal an old timber pier and construction of a new concrete caisson pier at the Bedford Institute. For detailed info see Tugfax August 24


On August 25 it was the arrival of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean auto carrier Oberon.It first went to Autoport to unload cars then moved to Pier 9C to offload RoRo cargo. 

The 71,673 gt, 30,134 dwt ship was built by Daewoo Shipbuilding + Marine Engineering Co Ltd in Okpo in 2008. It is rated for 7620 cars of RT43 size and has a 320 tonne capacity stern ramp. The ship called here just over year ago and made the same two point visit on August 8, 2022.

The Oberon was built for Wallenius Lines before the formal joining with Wilhelmsen, and was originally painted with a green hull, and called here from time to time. In those days it offloaded RoRo cargo at Pier 31 or sometimes Pier 27-28 as in this photo:


The last arrival on August 25 was the bulk carrier Valeria en route from Providence, RI. The ship appears to be fully loaded, so its call at Pier 27 is likely related to a repair of some sort.


The ship was built in 2011 by the Taizhou Maple Leaf Shipbuilding Co in Linhai, to the account of its parent company Taizhou Maple Leaf Shipping Company. [As far as I can tell the Maple Leaf  company name has no connection with Canada.]

A handysize bulk carrier of 20,954 gt and 32,391 dwt it is equipped with four cargo cranes. Until July 1 of this year it carried the name Taizhou Pioneer but was renamed and is now managed by Theomar Shipmanagement Corp of Greece for Solymar Shipping SA.

X-Press Sagarmala

A new ship on Melfi Marine's MEDCAN service arrived August 25 [no photo] The X-Press Sagarmala dates from 2021 when it was built by COSCO Guangdong, Dongguan, as Feeder 1. It was renamed in 2022 . A 19,235 gt, 23,250 dwt ship, it has a capacity of 1762 TEU and is gearless [meaning: no cranes].

It replaces X-Press Irazu which took up the service in May 2021. That ship dates from 2007 when it was built by Guangzhou Wenchang Shipyard Co Ltd. At 18,480 gt, 23,716 dwt, it has a capacity of 1732 TEU including 379 reefers and carries a pair of 45 tonne capacity cranes. It is now operating a feeder service between Portugal and Spain, not associated with Melfi.

Melfi is subject to restrictions by the United States government because it is Cuban owned. It does not call in US ports en route from the from Livorno, Genoa, Barcelona, Valencia, Setubal (for Lisbon), Halifax, and Mariel, Cuba. It does sometimes call in Halifax in the return (eastbound) leg.


Tuesday, August 22, 2023

GPO Emerald

 Another heavy load ship arrived today, August 22, with six more wind turbine towers. The GPO Emerald tied up at the Woodside dock where its sister ship GPO Grace had been tied up. The latter ship moved out to anchorage yesterday after off loading some smaller components.

GPO Emerald approaches the dock, and looms over the ferry Viola Desmond as it leaves the adjacent dock. 

The GPO Emerald is the newest of the four GPO heavy load sister ships. It was delivered in October 2021, but its hull paint looks freshly applied. Those draft marks are displayed to boat deck level, because the ship has semi-submersible capability and can submerge its cargo deck to 15 meters below the surface.

Sister ship GPO Grace has been in port since July 5 awaiting the return of the offshore installation vessel Orion to transfer its six wind tower components. With two ships in at the same time again  - it can only mean that installation off Massachusetts must be very slow.

GPO Grace waiting patiently at anchor, was built in 2017, and is the "oldest" of the four GPO ships.

All four ships were built by the China Shipbuilding Corp in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and have a deadweight capacity of 63,581 tonnes. The GPO Sapphire, also built in 2017 was here in June. The fourth sister, GPO Amethyst (built in 2018), has not been in Halifax, however it was in Providence, RI from July 25 to August 4, possibly in connection to the same Vineyard Wind project.