Saturday, January 6, 2024

The last of the summer fuel and make way for nickel

 1. Last of the Summer Fuel

 The Imperial Oil Dock #3 is the busiest spot in the harbour as the last shipments of fuel arrive from the Great Lakes. With the St.Lawrence Seaway now closed for the winter, Imperial will no longer have tanker access to its refineries in Sarnia and Nanticoke, ON, so has been stockpiling product. Three last tankers arriving in quick succesion are:

The Qikiqtaaluk W. which sailed from Nanticoke December 30 and made its way downbound in the St.Lawrence Seaway January 1, arriving in Halifax yesterday afternoon (January 5). Built in 2011 by Icdas, Bigas, Turkey it operated as Icdas 11 and carried that name until acquired by Coastal Shipping Ltd of Happy Valley - Goose Bay, NL in 2018. It is a 13,097 gt, 19,198 dwt. chemical and product tanker. (The ship was named for the huge eastern portion of Nunavut, formerly known as the Baffin region of Canada's Arctic.)

It was in port for less than 24 hours and sailed late this afternoon (January 6) in ballast for St.John's.

Every year since 2018 and from roughly January 1 the ship has been flagged out to operate internationally. Depending on contracts for delivering fuel to the arctic, the ship has returned to Canadian flag from as early as April 1 to as late as July 1 the following year. At the end of the northern shipping season it has participated in the stockpiling of fuel here in Halifax, and I expect it to flag out again this year.

While outbound this afternoon the Qikiqtaaluk W. met its fleetmate Kivalliq W. inbound also with product from Nanticoke. It sailed from that port January 1 and was downbound in the Seaway the next day. It was followed closely later the same day by the Algoberta, also bound for Halifax, and which will anchor when it arrives tonight.

The Kivalliq W. usually flags out for the winter too, so was likely given prioity at the dock. Algoberta will join fleetmate Algoscotia distributing product around the region this winter.

2. Make Way for Nickel 

The big bulker Athina III (see January 4 post) has been loading soybeans at Pier 27 since January 5 but halted operations at midnight last night and moved out to anchorage number 1 in the lower harbour. This was to make way for the Augusta Luna with the latest load of nickel sulfides from Cuba. Sailing for Nirint Shipping BV, it is on a regular run between European ports and Cuba. [See December 25, 2022 ]. On the return leg it unloads bagged nickel sulfides directly to rail cars or to storage at Pier 28. There is not room enough for both ships at Pier 27-28 at the same time, and no other pier is available for the nickel cargo or for bulk grains. Expansion of the South End Container Terminal (operated by PSA) displaced the nickel operation from Pier 31 where there was open pier space, a rail siding and a transit shed. The shed has been demolished and the open pier space is now devoted to container storage and construction activity. There is now only one trasit shed in the deepwater piers area of the port. The Richmond Terminal in the north end has transit sheds but they are all occupied with other business, and in any event rail access is not as convenient.

 The Athina III is due to move back to Pier 28 tonight when the Augusta Luna sails. It appears to be about half loaded, so will be in port for a few more days.


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