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.


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