Saturday, October 7, 2023

Unusual preparations

 Hurricane Philippe, downgraded to a post tropical cyclone, inexoribly making its way toward Nova Scotia, and weakening as it does so, has shipping making various preparations for diversions, reroutings, and in the case of ferries, outright cancellations of some crossings.

For the cruise ship industry ships generally prefer to sail as far away from disturbances as possible, and do not like to be in port during major storms. Late this afternoon (October 7) however there was an exception for the small (by cruising standards) Star Pride (ex Seabourn Pride) arriving in Halifax from Eastport, ME.

The ship was in Halifax September 30 and was covered in this blog. The difference this time is that the ship did not tie up at a pier, but instead headed directly for Bedford Basin and went to anchor. 

The unusual sight of a cruise ship in the Narrows and passing beneath the harbour bridges is only possible because the ship is small, and thus has a relatively low air draft.

Some passengers took in the unique experience by crowding onto the open observation bridge above the navigation bridge.

 While the ship was entering the Bedford Basin, the container ship ZIM Virginia was getting underway from PSA Fairview Cove, and held up long enough for the Star Pride to clear.

Hyundai Heavy Industries built the ZIM Virginia in the Ulsan shipyard in 2002. The 53,453 gt, 66,686 dwt ship has a capacity of 4839 TEU, and it flies the Israeli flag.The ship is bound for New York, so may be able to skirt the storm's path by sailing south and keeping to the east.

Bedford Basin is not exceptionallly good holding ground for ships with high windage to anchor, but is is a sufficiently large body of water (8 km x 5 km) that a little dragging in high winds can be tolerated. It does mean that a ship may have to steam ahead on its anchor during sustained winds. Constant monitoring is necessary while at anchor. Both the ship's bridge watch and Halifax VTS have auto alrms as well as human radar monitoring to detect dragging.

Likely due to the downgrade for Philippe another cruise ship, the Seabourn Quest elected to stay in port, tied up at Pier 23. The camber is relatively sheltered, but I would not be surprised to see some waves sloshing in if there is any storm surge. Again the ship will heve to remain vigilant during the night when the highest winds are expected.

The cargo ship Augusta Luna (centre in photo below) in port from Cuba for Nirint Shipping also opted to remain in port, tied up at Pier 27.

The Articulated Tug / Barge (ATB) Leo A. McArthur / John J.Carrick arriving from the Great Lakes with a cargo asphalt (leftmost in photo above) will remain at the McAsphalt jetty in Eastern Passage over night. It will likely have to suspend unloading operations when the wind picks up, because the mooring is partially secured to buoys.

Eastern Passage is relativeley well sheltered, so sea conditions will likely not be too severe, but there will still be high winds and strong gusts.

The heavy load ship GPO Emerald is due to move back out to anchor this evening. It has been berthed alongside the crane ship Orion (with the barge Atlantic Swordfish between them). 

It is due to move back alongside tomorrow to continue the transfer of six monopiles (in sections) and other gear for the Vineyard wind project offshore Massachusetts. Once loaded the Orion will return to the Vineyard project site and use its 5,000 tonne capacity crane to install the monopiles.

Two other ships that remained in port over night last night sailed today, having given the storm time to move away from their tracks. (Both ships were covered here yesterday)

Balmoral may be able to skirt the storm to the east and south on its way to Portland, ME but there may still be rough seas to contend with.

  CMA CGM Andromeda will likely be following a similar route, but heading farther south for New York.

The Volga Maersk, which arrived from Montreal this morning sailed early this evening for Bremerhaven, so will probably be ahead or well to the east of the storm.

Permanent residents of the port are accustomed to rough weahter by now, so are likely well buttoned down for the night, and will wait to see what the morning llight reveals.





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