Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Morning Carol

 The proliferation of female names among shipping companies continues unabated with today's arrival of the auto carrier Morning Carol. The ship belongs to Eukor, the Wallenius-Wilhelmsen owned company, which has about eighty ships in its fleet, many with women's names.

The Mediterranean Shipping Company, MSC, also favours such names for most of the ships in its huge fleet. The company's website claims 800 ships - many chartered - but about one third are given other types of names. 

Yesterday's arrival, the tanker Silver Ginny is another exmaple. It is operated bythe Sinokor Petrochemical Co Ltd. 

Today's (November 29) ship poses a bit of a mystery, since some sources indicate that it is laid up, or has been, since January 16, 2020. At that time some autocarrier operators were parking their older ships due to diminished demand brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic. Things have changed however and now demand exceeds supply - particularly on Asian trade routes. Operators are assigning their largest ships to those routes, and the smaller and older ships, are now appearing in North America.

Many of Eukor's ships, and those of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen sister companies, were placed in cold layup in Norwegian fjords, close to their usual load ports for convenience when they returned to service. Morning Carol may have been laid up until earlier this year, as it underwent its most recent five year survey in April.

Eukor is rather coy about some information such as the capacity of individual ships. I can't find published details on this ship's actual capacity. From its tonnage, it would be in the 6200 unit range of size RT43 cars.


 Morning Carol was built by Hyundai Samho in Mokpo in 2008. It is a 57,542 gt, 21,044 dwt ship.  As with many of the older auto carriers, it is equipped with stern and side ramps. Following the usual Wallenius Wilhelmsen North Atlantic route it sailed from Bremerhaven November 14, Goteborg November 16-17,  and Zeebrugge November 19-20.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

East Meets West and All Around the Circle

 The variety of traffic in Halifax Harbour today (November 28) was not unusual, and so is a reminder of how vital the port is to a number of aspects of the Canadian economy. The amount of traffic was due in part to yesterday's stormy weather which caused the suspension of pilotage operations until early this morning when traffic began to arrive in a ,bunch.

HMCS Fredericton was outbound this morning and met the inbound CSL Tacoma in the Middle Ground area off Point Pleasant. The Canadian frigate is named for the capital city of New Brunswick and was built in Saint John, New Brunswick by Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd. It was commissioned in 1994 and is based in Halifax.

CSL Tacoma operates for CSL Americas and was named for the sister city to Seattle, WA, which occupies the southernmost reaches of Puget Sound. CSL operates ships on the Pacific coast also, often carrying aggregates from Canadian quarries to US cities such as Tacoma. Oddly there is a Tacoma Drive in Dartmouth, NS. How it acquired that name is not known to me, but it is in the Westphal area, which in itself is named for a pair of brother Royal Navy admirals, originally from Nova Scotia. One of the brothers, Sir George Augustus Alexander Westphal, served with Nelson (and was also wounded) on HMS Victory, and was the last surviving RN officer from the batle of Trafalgar when he died at age 90 in 1875.)

CSL Tacoma is a Trillium class self-unloading ocean bulker of 43,691 gt, 71,552 dwt, built in 2013 by Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China. It will load a cargo of gypsum at the Gold Bond Gypsum facility in Bedford Basin.

Also arriving to load gypsum was Algoma Integrity, also a self-unloader, built in 2009 by EISA-Ilha in Rio de Janeiro. It was built for the United States Gypsum Company's Gypsum Transportation Ltd, and named Gypsum Integrity, Designed to serve their Hantsport and Little Narrows, Nova Scotia export facilities, it measured 33,047 gt, 47,761 dwt. When USG's Canadian subsidury Canadian Gypsum Corp (CGC) closed the Hantsport facility in 2011 the ship was chartered out and in 2015 was sold to Algoma and renamed Algoma Integrity. CGC closed the Little Narrows mine in 2016, but earlier this year announced the re-opening, although it will be some time before they ship any product.

Algoma Integrity will remain at anchor in Bedford Basin until the CSL Tacoma sails.

Lingering waves from yesterday's storm brought out some hardy surfers off Point Pleasant as ship traffic made its way inbound.

Another of those early arrivals was the container ship BF Fortaleza for the first time for Melfi Shipping of Cuba. The ship stood by off Halifax most of yesterday and boarded its pilot for 0700 hrs AST this morning.

It tied up at Pier 42 and so had a view of a lobster boat working just off the pier. The lobster season in this region opened a day early, on Sunday November 26, in view of the predicted weather for the usual opening day - the last Monday in November. I was surprised to see the boat however as there is a newly imposed ban this year on lobstering in many areas of Halifax harbour close to industrial and port facilities.

BF Fortaleza was built by the famed, but now defunct, J.J.Sietas shipyard in Nuenfeld, Germany in 1996. It was launched as Partnership but renamed Yvette on delivery. It became Partnership again from 2003 to 2004 then City of Lisbon until 2005, Carla until 2009 and WEC Rubens until 2011.  The 6362 gt, 7202 dwt ship has a capacity of 700 TEU, and unusual for Melfi, it is gearless.

Another ship that spent yesterday standing by off Halifax arrived this morning for Imperial Oil. The oddly named Silver Ginny is an otherwise typical Mid-Range tanker of 29,460 gt, 49,746 dwt, built in 2014 by Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan.

The ship is arriving from Good Hope -Norco, Louisiana, an area upstream of New Orelans on the Mississippi River, and home to two large refineries. Shell Oil's Norco refinery produces 250,000 bbl per day and Valero's St. Charles refinery produces 340,000 bbl per day. Both also produce a variety of chemicals. Since Shell and Valero are competitors of Imperial (Exxon Mobil) today's cargo is likely part of an elaborate trade off mechanism to meet a specific need.

The ship is owned by Sinokor Petrochemical Co Ltd which has several ships named "silver + woman's name".

Rounding off the arrivals was the westbound Atlantic Sky from Liverpool, UK.

Once again the weakness of Transatlantic trade is evident with the very light deck load. Most Atlantic ports are showing a decline in traffic after a few years of dependably steady traffic or slight growth. Halifax and Montreal are no excepetions to this trend. The Port of Halifax saw a 12.9% decline in container traffic in the third quarter of 2023 over last year. That gives a year to date total of 409,000 TEU versus the 2022 YTD of 448,000 TEU. The year 2022 saw a record 601,700 TEU throughput (import + export). This year's projection may be be in the range of an 8% to 10% decline.

There were some small craft at work in the harbour too. The Halifax Port Corporation's own workboat Maintainer I was spotted at Pier 23 working on the removal of inflatable fenders for the winter. The fenders, commonly called Yokohama fenders (which is a trade name of the Yokohma Rubber Co) are deployed at cruise ship berths to protect visiting ships from impact with the piers. The resilient surfaces sometimes attract marine growth which is removed before they are set out again in the spring.

Built by A.F.Theriualt + Sons Ltd in Meteghan River, NS in 1995 it is a 12 gt vessel with a 210 bhp engine driving a single screw. It is equipped with a substantial Palfinger knuckle boom crane with a lifting capacity of up to 3.3 tonnes.

Nearby was the Canadian Coast Guard boat Point Caveau a 31.9 gt aluminum hulled work boat built in 2003 by ABCO in Lunenburg, NS. The 14.6m (47.9 ft) vessel has reputed top speed of 30 knots.

I think the Pointe Caveau was displaced from its usual inside berth at the Bedford Institute by construction of the new section of dock. Also displaced from BIO was CCGS Jean Goodwill which has been tied up at Pier 9C for the last couple of days. (November 27 photo)

The ship took on stores today and sailed on SAR patrol as CCGS Sir William Alexander arrived.

With lobster season now underway from in Areas 33 and 34, from Halifax down the southwest shore and around the western end of the province to Digby, Coast Guard SAR patrols are stepped up due to the hundreds of small craft in coastal waters.


Monday, November 27, 2023

How Narrow

 The Narrows, the stretch of water joining the main body of Halifax Harbour and the Bedford Basin, is aptly named. It is usually too narrow for ships to meet safely, and was the scene of the collision between the inbound Mont Blanc and outbound IMO that resulted in the horrific Halifax Explosion of  December 6, 1917.

I was therefore surprised to see what was effectively a meet, off Pier 9B this morning (November 27). Granted that area, with Tuft's Cove on the Dartmouth side, is the "widest" part of the Narrows.

The coastal tanker Algoscotia was moving from Imperial Oil's Number 3 dock to Pier 9B - likely due to high winds today. (The oil dock is not suitable in high winds.) The tanker entered the Narrows and with  the tug Atlantic Bear turned off the dock to come alongside starboard side to.

As this was going on the auto carrier Thermopylae was entering the Narrows, northbound. It was heading to Bedford Basin, with two tugs, to turn and re-enter the Narrows and tie up at Pier 9C.

Due to the high ground on both sides of the Narrows, the wind tends to funnel through and accelerate, particulary when it is northerly. White caps are the indicator of those conditions.

With the cable ship IT Infinity at Pier 9B there was little room to spare, when the "meet" took place.

 Once safely clear, the Thermoylae carried on, passing beneath the A. Murray MacKay bridge and into Bedford Basin.

After turnng it returned for Pier 9C.

The Algoscotia was built in 2004 by Jiangnan Shipyard in Shanghai. The 13,352 gt, 18,610 dwt ship has been working out of Halifax delivering product to such ports as Sydney, Corner Brook and Sept-Iles.

The Thermopylae, 75,283 gt, 23,786 dwt dates from 2015 when it waas delivered to Wilhelmsen Lines by Hyundai Samho. It has a capacity of 8,000 RT43 cars and comes with a 320 tonne capacity stern ramp. It has no side ramp. (I note on the ship's hull that the final "AE" in the name is rendered as a dipthong ligature Æ - it is considered a letter of the alphabet in Norway. In the English pronunciation of the ship's name, which is from the Latin, it sounds somewhere between the "a" as in "day" or the "e" on "free".)

When the Thermopylae first began calling in Halifax it wore the traditional Wilhelmsen red hull paint, but as noted in previous posts, either the formulation or the application of the paint was faulty and it faded very badly.

 Although Wilhelmsen and Wallenius joined forces in 1999, each line retained its individual identity with Wallenius ships in green and Wilhelmsen in red hull colours. When they re-organized and  rebranded in 2017 as Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean, they abopted the current colour scheme.

Thermopylae will unload RoRo cargo at Pier 9C, and will later move to Autoport when the SFL Conductor sails. (That ship was last here March 29, 2023 [qv] on Vaolswagen charter.)

Another tanker is due at Imperial Oil - conditions permitting - the 50,000 dwt size Silver Ginny, with product from Louisiana -it may discharge before Algoscotia returns to Imperial Oil.


Saturday, November 25, 2023


 The colour "Maersk Blue", trademarked in Denmark and codified by various standards agencies (e.g. Pantone PMS 7702C) and widely identifiable around the world was originally a sky blue band on the funnels of A.P.Moller's ships. Coupled with the white seven pointed star, also showing on the company's houseflag, since 1904, it was adopted as the hull colour for ships in 1954.

I can say with (quiet authority and undue modesty) that I have been an admirer of Maersk blue since August 1957. That was when I saw my first Maersk ship, the brand new Luna Maersk in early evening, low angle sunshine, on the St.Lawrence River. I have been looking for opportunities to see that blue colour in direct sunshine ever since. 

Today's (November 25) departure of the Vistula Maersk from Pier 42, PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub was not quite so spectacular or memorable, but it did show off the colour quite nicely.

When the ship was still alongside, and reflected in the dead calm waters beside the breakwater, it was really the colour of the sky that I was seeing - but close enough.

The first of seven ships of its class, the Vistula Maersk was built in 2018 by COSCO Zhoushan Shipyard Co, as an ice class ship for Baltic service to Russia. At 34,882 gt, 40,000 dwt, it has a capacity of 3600 TEU including 600 reeefers. In 2022, following the Russian boycott, along with two sister ships, it was transferred to the joint Maersk / CMA CGM St-Laurent 1 / Canada Atlantic Express service. It made its first call in Halifax June 23, 2022 and usually calls in Halifax outbound from Montreal for Bremerhaven on Saturdays in rotation with the Volga Maersk and EM Kea and CMA CGM Paranagua. (Vayenga Maersk has been reassigned.)

Once underway the colour really did shine.

It is quite remarkable how good the paint looks - although on close inspection there are the usual tug and pilot boat scuff marks and rust streaks. The effect of the bright sun seems to distract from those blemishes.

When the ship started calling here in 2022 it carried the words "Maersk Line" in black on the hull.

Vistula Maersk 2022-10-15

The ship was looking a bit rugged in October 2022, but was due for regulatory drydocking in December 2022. When it emerged, it had been completely repainted and the hull banner had been changed to "Maersk" only. The word "line" had been painted out, and the word "Maersk" repainted. On the port side it had been repainted, but not repositioned and appeared just forward of amidships. On the starboard side it may have been repositioned however, as the "S" is directly over the Plimsoll marks.

 Vistula Maersk 2023-05-05

Shortly after that repainting, Maersk changed their graphics and have gone with "Maersk" in white, and have added the seven point star, also in white, adjacent to the name. The sister ship Volga Maersk now has this pattern, but Vistula Maersk may have to wait until its next five year survey in late 2027 or early 2028 for a repaint.

Volga Maersk 2023-10-06 with the new hull banner.

 So how ubiquitous is the Maersk blue you might ask? I figure if LEGO blocks are available in Maersk blue (and they are) then there is nowhere else to go. (Of course LEGO is also Danish.)


Friday, November 24, 2023

Firing on all cylinders

 It was a busy day in the Port of Halifax, with ships working at almost every available berth. This is not unheard of - particularly around a holiday. There is no holiday in Canada, but as yesterday was Thanksgiving in the United States, ships may well have adjusted their schedules to avoid overtime rates and traffic jams farther south.

Of course with containers and RoRo, the labour needed to load and off load ships is not what it once was, and ships can now arrive and leave in a matter of hours. The sight of ships tied up end to end at every berth for several days is not likely to happen as it did up until the 1960s.


By my count there are fifteen ships in this 1960s photo, occupying berths from Pier 20 to 39. All the transit sheds, except one at Pier 26 are now gone. The gross tonnage of all the ships would still be less than one of the Ultra Size ships that now calls in Halifax.

All those berths have become under-utlized, and that is why the Port of Halifax can expand the South End Container Terminal (SECT) by demolishing the transit sheds and filling in between the finger piers. The new land space will be used to increase the number of containers that can be handled as larger and larger ships arrive.

Even without those giant ships, the SECT was working three ships today, none exceptionally large. The MSC Alina, arrived at Pier 41 on its return, eastbound, leg of the Indusa service from Baltimore, Savannah, Norfolk and Philadelphia to northwest India.

 The ship was built in 2014 by Hyundai, Samho, registering 94,930 gt, 112,171 dwt, with a capacity of about 9,000 TEU. Operating briefly as UASC Tabuk it was renamed Skyros in the same year and became MSC Alina in 2021.

It was joined at Pier 41 by the Nolhan Ava on its weeekly run to Argentia and St-Pierre et Miquelon for TMSI. 


Oddly the Nolhan Ava appeared to be unloading an Eimskip container while the next arrival, the Skogafoss was arriving from Portland, ME en route to Argentia and Reykjavik also for Eimskip.


Also arriving this morning was the autocarrier Grande Halifax for Grimaldi Group. Built in 2018 by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, the ship was officially dedicated in Halifax May 16, 2018 with the CEO of the Halifax Port Corporation as sponsor. On this trip it is arriving from Salerno and Livorno, Italy and Valencia, Spain.

The Grande Halifax is a mid-size ship of 62,134 gt,18,353 dwt with a 150 tonne SWL stern ramp and a capacity of 6700 CEU.

At PSA Fairveiw Cove the Oceanex Sanderling was loading for Newfoundland on its weektly trip to St.John's. It was joined late in the afternoon by Atlantic Sail arriving from Norfolk on its eastbound transatlantic run.

As Shipfax has reported before, eastbound transatlantic cargo levels are extremely thin and the relatively few containers on deck is a testament to this fact. The trade imbalance of imports far outweighing exports is seldom more obvious than in the Port of Halifax where finished goods cargoes are predominantly imports - both containers and autos.

As a follow up to yesterday's post, the heavy load carrier GPO Emerald was preparing to get underway as Atlantic Sail arrived. Having unloaded its cargo of wind farm towers, the ship is headed for Rostock, Germany for more. The ship's deck is clear except for the cradles that hold the tower components, and a crib structure (black colour).  


Thursday, November 23, 2023

Load and Go

 Another load of wind turbine towers was due to leave Halifax this evening (November 23) on the crane ship Orion. The latest batch only arrived yesterday November 22 on the GPO Emerald, so that is very fast work.


The Orion returned to Halifax November 16 from the Vineyard Wind project in Massachussets after installing the previous batch of towers. It tied up at the Woodside Industries pier (also known as the IEL or Industrial Estates Ltd pier, or if you are real old-timer, the Sugar Dock) in Dartmouth and raised its 5,000 tonne capacity crane for some preparatory work.

GPO Emerald departed Rostock, Germany on November 7 with its latest cargo of six towers (in sections), and it arrived yesterday in breezy conditions, with heavy rain in the forecast.

Despite the wind and rain and some legendary fog this morning, conditions cleared gradually during the day, as the transhipment continued.

Temperatures also dropped during the day from above 10C (50F) in the morning to nearer 5C (41F) in the afternoon, but that is still far from winter conditions, and did not hinder the operations.

GPO fleetmate GPO Sapphire sailed from Rostock November 19 with another consignment and GPO Grace arived in Rostock November 20 to take on more towers. GPO Emerald is due to sail tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Tankers to Anchor

 The coastal tankers that come to Halifax are usually in and out of port quickly, so it was unusual that the Algocanada arrived yesterday, November 21, and anchored in number 2 anchorage - not far from its usual berth at Imperial Oil dock 3.

The Algocanada was built for Algoma Tankers by Med Marine Group in Eregli, Turkey in 2008. It is a 8,009 gt, 11,267 dwt ship, ice class 1A with polymer lined tanks. It is carrying refined product loaded at Imperial Oil's refinery in Nanticoke, ON and sailed from there on November 16.

There was construction activity at the oil dock during the day today, November 22, with Eagle Beach Contractors Ltd's tug and crane barge alongside. The ship was due to move in this afternoon, but that did not happen, likely due to high winds.

Also at anchor is the Harbour Feature which also arrived yesterday, November 21, from New York.

The 11,896 gt, 16,909 dwt ship dates from 2011 when it was built by Yangfan Group in Zhoushan, China. It initially tied up at the Irving Oil terminal in Woodside, but moved out to anchor this morning.

There has also been construction activity at the Irving Oil dock too, and that may be the reason for the move. The ship does not appear to have much cargo left on board. 

The ship is well known in Canadian waters including the Great Lakes and previous calls in Halifax. It also works up and down the east coast. Since October 25 it has been Houston, TX, Point Comfort, TX October 27-28, Quebec City November 11-12 and New York November 19.

The Harbour Feature downbound in the St-Lambert Lock of the St.Lawrence Seaway.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Small Craft Old and New

 Halifax harbour is not only host to a wide array of commercial ships, but it is also home to countless smaller craft. These boats include pleasure craft, based at one of the five yacht clubs scattered around Bedford Basin, Eastern Passage and the Northwest Arm, or the at countless private moorings. There are several dozen fishing boats in Eastern Passage and other inlets and coves all the way out past the harbour limits as far as Sambro.

At Sambro the CME shipyard specializes in repairing smaller vessels up to and including Halifax Harobur ferries and small Navy and Coast Guard boats.

At any time one may see government small craft from the Atlantic Pilotage Authority, the Canadian Coast Guard, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Royal Canadian Navy, training, exercising, researching or going about who knows what business in the harbour.

Then there are the commercial small craft, classed generally as work boats, but sometimes with specific duties such as line handling at Autoport or Irving Oil's Woodside Terminal. They may also be tending diving operations or carrying out small towing jobs. 

I generally cover workboats in the companion blog Tugfax but a couple of recent arrivals and some seldom seen boats have attracted my attention recently and deserve wider notice.


On July 11 of this year the heavy lift ship BBC Virginia arrived in Halifax with a pair of British built pilot boats named St. Brides and St. Govans. Built in 2016 by Mainstay Marine in Pembroke, Wales to a CAMARC design, the 19m boats operated for a time at Milford Haven, Wales. It has been reported that they were unsuitable for the severe sea conditions there and were laid up for sale - at a good price with low usage hours.

After unloading at Pier 9C the boats whistled off to the Canadian Maritime Engineering (CME) shipyard in Sambro where they are nearing completion of a "Canadianization" process. (That generally means suitable fittings for operation in winter, such as heated hand rails, decks and windows.) Yesterday (November 20) I noted an AIS signal from one of the boats, so I went to investigate.

Both boats are still on the cradles at CME, but have now been painted in the usual yellow colour for Atlantic Pilotage Authority boats and have been renamed and registered in Canada effective October 20, 2023.

Signal Pilot has been assigned Official Number 847091, registered in St.John's, and is now showing on AIS. The former St.Brides ? will be based in St. John's and is obviously named for Signal Hill, the promontory marking the entrance to St.John's harbour and site of the Cabot Tower. It is now a National Historic Site recognizing the first transatlantic wireless transmission received there (in Morse code) from Guglielmo Marconi in Poldhu, Cornwall in 1901.

Workers board the Signal Pilot at the CME shipyard in Sambro. The rectangular yellow object on the wheelhouse is a weather tight housing in the open position, see also next photo for the closed position.

The second boat, now named Muir Pilot, is to be based in North Sydney and was registered in Halifax, Official Number 847092. also on October 20. The significance of the name is less obvious, but may recognize the late union leader and politician Robert Muir, who represented the North Sydney area of Cape Breton in Parliament and the Senate.I am not aware that he had any connection with marine matters or pilotage, so I await further clarification.


Dominion Diving

Dominion Diving Ltd operates a fleet of workboats and barges for miscellaneous duties in the harbour and along the coast. They operate as diving tenders, work boats, lines boats, tugs and perform pilot transfers when the regular pilot boats are not available. 

Their colourful fleet has its base in Dartmouth Cove, but can be seen at work in many areas around the harbour.

The company's newest fleet member is an aluminium hulled vessel propelled by a pair of powerful diesel outboards, giving a top speed of 18 knots. Acquired from St-Pierre et Miquelon, the boat carried the name K-Bio and the Official Number SP934638L.  

 Even though the boat operated under the French flag, it was built in Glovertown, NL by FabTech Industries to their Silver Dolphin 31 design (10m long x 3m wide). Dominion Diving has its own boatyard for refits and repairs and will be "re-doing" the boat for miscellaneous duties in the harbour, particularly pilot transfers, where its speed will be welcome, and lines work.

 The new boat will likely reappear in the spring with a new colour, and may replace the venerable Halmar which sees almost daily service somewhere in the harbour. Built in 1960 by Halifax Shipyard apprentices, and based at the old Dartmouth Marine Slips, it was rebuilt by Dominion Diving in 2009.


The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) was formed in 1996 with the amalgamation of all the municipalities surrounding Halifax harbour ( Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Halifax County). With a population nearing 500,000, it operates a large transit system, including harbour ferries, a police force and a fire department. Both public safety organizations operate rigid inflatible craft in the harbour and on the many lakes in the municipality. Recently both have upgraded to larger vessels.

Halifax Fire and Emergency Services operates Fire Boat 1, the Kjipuktuk (a version of the Mi'kmaq First Nations name for Halifax harbour, often anglicized as Chebucto). It was built by Metalcraft Marine Inc in Kingston, ON in 2021.

 It patrols the harbour regularly, where combustible timber pile structures are close to residential properties.
Policing in the HRM may be carried out by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the HRM force, depending on the area, and both have boats in Halifax harbour as needed. The HRM force appears to have taken delivery of a new boat in recent weeks, having sold their previous boat last year. The so far unnamed new craft was built by the local builder Rosborough Boats. It showed up at Pier 25 last week, perhaps to be hauled out for the winter, although boats of this class can be spec'd for year round service.

Rosborough Boats are popular with several government departments and private concerns. I spotted another unnamed boat doing soundings off the Mill Cove jetty in Bedford Basin. It is also a rigid hull vessel with a buoyancy collar, this one a type RF-246.

As a 4.99 gt small craft it is registerd by number and has no official name, but is known as Sea Quest and is owned by CSR Geo Surveys Ltd of Porter's Lake, NS (a semi-rural community within the HRM).

To conclude this post, I spotted RMI Marine's Tidal Runner on November 15. It was moving a barge from Mill Cove, Bedford Basin to RMI's base in Eastern Passage.

 Built by Eastern Equipment Canada Ltd in LaSalle, QC, it is an aluminium hulled boat with a bow door. Eastern Equipment built boats for the Canadian government in the 1970s. This one also has no official name, but its numerical registration is from New Brunswick, where I assume it once worked for the Canadian Coast Guard. It is listed as inboard/outboard powered, but is now driven by outboards.

There are several other boat operators in Halifax, including Eagle Beach Contractors Ltd, which will be covered in a later post, but for now see my Tugfax post of August 23, 2023.


Sunday, November 19, 2023

Morning Catherine

 The EUKOR car carrier Morning Catherine arrived this morning, November 19, for Autoport. I believe this is the first time it has called in Halifax. Until this trip it was operating in the far east and Africa. After leaving Mombassa September 29 it called in Dar Es Salam, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Abidjan, then after Dakar, Senegal on October 26 it made calls in Zeebrugge November 4-6, Emden November 7 and Bremerhaven November 8-10. The ship's next scheduled port is New York.

The Morning Catherine was built in 2008 by Imabari Zosen in Marugame, Japan. It is a 61,001 gt, 22,678 dwt ship with a capacity of 6458 cars (some sources say 6502). As stated in a previous post there is high demand for auto carriers in the far east, and it seems likely that the largest ships of the type will be serving those routes whereas ships of this size - which are not the largest - may be seen more often on transatlantic routes. 

From the plume of water vapour emanating from the funnel area, it appears that the ship is equipped with an exhaust gas scrubber system. Some auto makers, particularly Volkswagen, are demanding more energy efficiency and pollution reduction on ships that they use. 

From recent reports it appears that the ship was operating on a lease from the Japanese company Excel Marine to Wilhelmsen Lines, but during the first quarter of 2023 it was purchased outright by Wilhlemsen. Since Wilhelmsen is a part owner of Eukor, the ship may remain in Eukor service and if so will not likely change its name or colour scheme. 



Saturday, November 18, 2023

For the Record

 The old adage "Don't believe everything you read" might also include the post script "and be careful how you read it".

Halifax's daily newspaper The Chronicle-Herald includes a weekly history page which contains accounts of interesting events in Nova Scotia's and more particularly Halifax's past. Today (Saturday, November 18) there were two statements that need clarification, because they could be misread. The writer, a respected author, relied on published material - some of which was out of date - and perhaps misunderstood some of it. I have personal recollections (and notes) that may clarify what was writtten in today's piece.

1. Quote " November 21, 1970 - Atlantic Cinderella - the Atlantic Container Line's (ACL) first ship - arrived in Halifax to unload at container Pier C adjacent to Point Pleasant Park. ACL has been continuously calling on the Port of Halifax ever since."

This of course deserves two observations:

1. Atlantic Cinderella was the first ship to unload at what was then called the Halterm container pier (now PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub), but the ships of the Atlantic Container Line had been calling in Halifax well before the Halterm facility was completed. I have previously published my July 1970 photo of the Atantic Cinderella at Pier 36 with a Halterm crane under construction in the background.

The ACL ships also carried the first Roll On - Roll Off (RoRo) cargo for Halifax starting in March 1970 when the Atlantic Star, delivered kits for 200 Volvo cars to be assembled in Halifax and 200 finished Volvo cars for the United States market. The line also transported other vehicles such as Volkswagen Westfalia "camper vans" (early version RVs) for European tourists visiting North America. The MAFI trailer in the foreground was used to to carry the Volvo crates and other "un-wheeled" cargo on and off the ship.

The kit components were loaded by a "SIMA Lift" trailer and transported to the Volvo assembly plant at Pier 9. (Photo dated April 1970). (Volvo did not sell or make trucks in North America at that time, so used a Chevrolet.)

(The National Harbour's Board (NHB) cold storage facility in the background has long since been demolished.)

So the start of the "continuously" was well before November 1970.

2. In 1987 ACL merged its services with Hapag-Lloyd, renamed its ships with Hapag style names (e.g. the Atlantic Concert was renamed Concert Express) before reverting back to their orginal names in 1994. They shifted some of their Canadian operations from Halifax to Montreal. Although the ships may have continued to call in Halifax I believe it (technically) may have interrupted the "continuous" chain that is claimed since they were not operating independently.


Incidentally the statement that the Fairview Cove container terminal "was operated by Cerescorp Inc (now a subsidiary of the Japanese Shipping Company Nippon Yusen)" is factual, but may leave the impression that they still operate the facility. In fact since 2022 PSA has been operating both Halifax container terminals, PSA Fairview Cove and the Southend Container Terminal - PSA Halifax Atlantic Hub (not as stated).