Friday, October 6, 2023

All the News

 There was so much action in Halifax harbour today (October 6) that no one title could summarize it adequately. This what I saw, in order of ship type.

I was particularly interested to see the first time caller SH Vega which is billed as a "five star, elegant, scandi-design boutique ship". With a promo like that it was bound to be underwhelming, but it was nevertheless an interesting "little" cruise ship.

Its small size was accentuated when it tied up at Pier 24 (able to accommodate only the smallest of ships) with the behemoth 4,266 passenger Norwegian Escape in the background.

The SH Vega was built in 2022 by Helsinki Shipyard, for Swan Hellenic Cruises and is a 10,617 gt, PC5 ice-strengthened ship that caters to 152 guests with 120 crew. It arrived from Nuuk and Sisimut, Greenland having previously called in Pond Inlet, NU September 10-11 after departing from Reykjavik, Iceland August 26.

The SH Vega is headed for Bridgetown, Barbados, but will be sailing into some inclement weather as the post tropical cyclone Philippe is bearing down on Bermuda. By the time it reaches Nova Scotia on Sunday it will be further downgraded to port tropical,  but will still bring high winds and heavy rain.

From new ship to veteran, the Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines Balmoral made an afternoon arrival. Built in 1988 by Meyerwerft, Papenburg as Crown Odyssey it was renamed Norwegian Crown in 1996, then reverted to Crown Odyssey in 2000 andNorwegian Crown again from 2003 to 2008. 

When Olsens acquired the ship in 2007 they sent it to Blohm and Voss in Hamburg where a new 30 meter section was inserted. The new portion, built by Schichau Seebeckwerft in Bremerhaven, was floated up the river Elbe to Hamburg. Consisting of 186 passenger cabins and 53 crew cabins, it increased the ship's gross tonnage from 34,242 to 43,357 and passenger capacity from 1230 to 1325. It was then renamed Balmoral after the Scottish residence of the British royal family.

 The "new" section, which matched the existing ship in terms of appearance, is still identifiable due to the awkward gap between lifeboat/tenders at midships. 

PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub was busy all day with three ships alongside for much of the time. In addition to the weekly St-Pierre et Miquelon and Argentia coastal container/RoRo  Nolhanava, there was Eimskip's Bakkafoss en route from Portland, ME to Argentia, NL.

The 1025 TEU (including 231 reefers) ship joined the Eimskip rota in June and is one of four ships that maintain the weekly Green Line service from/to Iceland. 

See details for Bakkafoss in the June 24, 2023 post. (N.B. it has also been lengthened - but by only 10.2 meters).

The Ultra sized ONE Owl took up the rest of the space at berths 41 and into 42 when it arrived yesterday afternoon and sailed late this afternoon. With two other ships at the pier using one crane each, it pointed out the need for more cranes - see yesterday's post.

Japan Marine United Shipyard in Kure built the ship in 2017 as NYK Owl. The 146,412 gt, 139,335 dwt vessel has a capacity of 14,026 TEU and is one of several sister ships on THE Alliance's EC5 service. The ship represents Ocean Network Express Holdings Ltd, the amalgam of the primary Japanese container lines: NYK, K-Line and MOL, formed in 2016. The ship was renamed ONE Owl in 2021 and adopted ONE's unique magenta colour scheme.

 As the ONE Owl makes its way outbound the tour boat Silva heads for the Northwest Arm on a regular tour. A tug is standing by off McNab's Cove for the next arrival.

Allowing the ONE Owl lots of room to get underway, and to use the main channel, the next Ultra size container ship CMA CGM Andromeda held off outside the pilot station for a time, before making its way inbound to the same berth.

With three tugs in attendance, the CMA CGM Andromeda slows before turing to back in alongside. Silva* has emerged from the Northwest Arm with sails set and is making its way back to its base.

Dating from 2009 when it was built by Hyundai Ulsan, the 131,332 gt, 131,263 dwt ship has a carrrying capacity of 11,200 TEU, and is a first time caller for the Ocean Alliance from Asia. Its last port was Colombo, Sri Lanka.

 * Caution Rant to follow:

 The three-masted schooner's official name is Silva of Halifax, in the Swedish manner, recognizing the country where it was built in 1939 as an auxiliary cargo vessel (motorized but still being rigged to use sail, and thus not totally reliant on an engine.) 

 It is now marketed in Halifax as the "Tall Ship Silva" which creates an unfortunate misaprehension. In my opinion it is far from being a tall ship. It is not fitted with topmasts, which might have given it a bit of a claim to the word. In my mind, a tall ship must have topmasts and some square sails. Why not call the Silva a schooner? - bald headed though it might be in sailor parlance, without topmasts - it really is a schooner. Aside from the fact that "tall ship" is a poetic term, not a nautical one, I think it should be reserved for somewhat more impressive vessels.


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