Sunday, January 21, 2024

Bunker calls

     Halifax has been a bunkering port since the days of coal fired steamships. The number of ships calling for bunkers has decreased in recent years since there is no longer a bunkering tanker based here. Ships must now come alongside where they are refueled from tanker trucks. Many ports in the region do not have truck access to the docks, so ships come to Halifax.

Today January 21 saw two ships arriving for bunkers. The first was the bulk carrier Puna arriving from La Baie (Port Alfred), QC. There is little doubt that it is winter on the North Atlantic as the ship was well coated with frozen spray when it tied up at Pier 9C. By the time the ship spends a few days in the Gulf Stream en route to its destination of Philadelphia, the ice will likely be gone.

The ship was built in 2010 by Yangzhou Guoyu, in Yizheng, China as the Three Rivers for trading through the St.Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes. (Note the derrick at the break of the forecastle for landing crew members to handle lines if the ship needs to tie up at the locks.) 

The 20,535 gt, 29,975 dwt ship carries three 30 tonne cranes, restricted to 24 tonne when using grabs. (I could not see any grabs, but they might have been iced over.) It became the Puna in 2020.

The Puna was reported in Quebec City November 6-11, upbound in the Seaway November 12 unloading in Toronto November 16-19, and loading in Hamilton, November 21-24. It then made its way to Greenore, Ireland December 7, Castellon, Spain December 17-22 and Algeciras December 25-26. It then sailed to the Rasade anchorages off Trois-Pistoles, QC, arriving January 10 and sailing January 11 to Port Alfred. It unloaded and sailed January 14. I can't tell where it disembarked its ice advisor, (it would usually be off Sydney) but might have carried on to Halifax instead*.

The second caller, which met the outbound Puna in the harbour approaches, was the tanker Hai Shang. The ship had unloaded a cargo of crude oil from Bayport, TX at Irving Oil's Canaport mooring buoy off Saint John, then ironically came to Halifax to take on fuel that was probably refined in Saint John. 

It is an unusual sight to see a crude oil tanker, in ballast, transiting the Narrows.

Darkness fell before I could catch the ship turning in Bedford Basin and coming back alongside Pier 9C. 

The well known Greek tanker operators Eletson ordered the ship from Shanghai Waigaoqiao and it was delivered in 2018 as the Argironissos. The ship was sold and renamed Campo Square in 2021 and became Hai Shang in March 2023. Its tonnages of 62,508 gt, 109,900 dwt make it an Aframax. [The term Aframax has nothing to do with Africa, but represents the Average Freight Rate Assessment system of standardized rating of tankers established in the 1950s. Ships of this size can be accommodated in most ports of the world and have a capacity around 600,000 bbls.]


* In the winter, ships transiting the ice infested waters of the Gulf of St.Lawrence, Saguenay River and St.Lawrence River embark specially qualified advisors with experience navigating in ice. They are highly qualified master mariners, and often also provide their services in polar regions in season.

The advisors are not pilots as such, and work independantly through ship agencies or through private operators. Their work is not associated with the Atlantic Pilotage Authority or the Laurentian Pilotage Autohority, as they provide their services outside the limits of ports.

Most ice advisors embark and disembark off Sydney, NS but I note that the usual launch boat Charlevoix has not been on station there. Earlier today, January 21, the tanker Hafnia Daisy en route to Montreal made a rendez-vous off Halifax with the launch Halmar which may have been to embark an ice advisor. 


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