Friday, March 22, 2024

Ship Shape

 Ships rust. That is a fact of life for steel ships in a salt environment. Good coatings on well prepared surfaces can go a long time without major interventions, but eventually re-coating is necessary. Sailors overside touching up paint is a rare sight these days (with the possible exception of some cruise ships) and so painting is generally left until the ship is in drydock. Then the old paint is "blasted" off with an abrasive or high pressure water (silica sand is no longer allowed in most juridictions). The substrate can then be prepared properly and primed before re-coating.

Rust streaked paint is not necessarily a sign of poor maintenenace, but is more likely a sign of hard work and normal deterioration.

A newly painted ship is an impressive sight simply because wear and tear sets in almost immediately and the inevitable scuff marks from tugs and shore fenders are soon acquired.

That is perhaps why I noted some particular contrasts in the harbour today, March 22.

The self-unloading bulk carrier Algoma Vision was something of a vision as it appeared in almost pristine condition as it made its way inbound to Gold Bond Gyspum.

The ship was delivered in 2013 by Chengxi Jiangyin, China as the Balchen. With sister ship Balto it was built to CSL International's Trillium class design of ocean self-unloaders. It measured 43,691 gt, 71,348 dwt. Owned by the Torvald Klaveness company of Norway, it worked in the CSL self-unloader pool with three Trillium sister ships owned by CSL. In 2016 Klaveness left the CSL Pool and its several ships were acquired by the CSL Pool partners. CSL acquired the Balto, renaming it CSL Tarantau and Algoma, already a partner in the pool, acquired the Balchen and renaming it Algoma Vision.

The Balchen was originally painted in Klaveness orange, and continued to carry that hull colour for a time after it was acquired by Algoma, but the paint was in very poor condition and Algoma had it repainted in their deep blue colour.

From September 16 to December 21, 2023 the ship was in Tuzla, Turkey where it had its ten year survey and a thorough reconditioning that included new hull paint. It seems to have been a top quality job with only a few stains showing from deck washdown.

By coincidence the Algoma Vision arrived in time to take the place of its sister ship CSL Tacoma which sailed with another load for Portsmouth, NH. 

CSL Tacoma looks quite tidy too having also been repainted recently. Some stains from washdown are all that show on its hull. Due to its size, the ship cannot take a full load at Gold Bond's Dartmouth dock. Instead it usually loads to maximum allowable draft. Even so it looked a tad light as it sailed late this afternoon.

A ship that showed a bit more weathering was on the move this afternoon.

The CB Pacific is relatively new, dating from 2020 when it was built by Jiangsu New Hantong, Yangzhong, China. it is a 27,250 gt, 37,787 dwt tanker from the smaller end of the MR Range.

The ship arrived from New York yesterday, March 21 and after discharging at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal it moved to long term anchorage in Bedford Basin. (Imperial Oil Esso's terminal is right next door to Irving Oil and tanks from both companies appear in most photos from the Halifax side.)

As a four year old ship, it is not due for a drydocking until 2025 and its paint will likely receive considerable attention at that time. Some Chinese shipyards are not noted for the quality of their paint applications, but they can usually count on five years without serious deterioration to the hull steel. 

A ship that showed more rust streaking sailed this afrernoon, FD Contre-Maître L'Her is painted in miltary grey, so will show rust streaks from hawse pipes and scuppers more than some other colours. It has also been at sea on patrol for some time and has little time for attention. Naval ships might be among the few that do send the crew over over side to paint - given time and suitable conditions. (Some present day paint formulations allow for winter application. Cold paint on cold steel used to be forbidden.) See also rather long footnote.

 It did seem to take a rather long time to get away. They may have been trying to "spring" off the dock, but then the standby tug Atlantic Oak came in to keep the ship alongside in the stiff north wind that was trying to blow the ship off the dock. One tug amidships was not the answer, as it provided an unwanted fulcrum, drawing the ships lines dangerously bar taught forward or aft (from what I could see.)

As all the other civilian tugs in the harbour were working elsewhere, one of the navy's own tugs, Glenside, was called in, although in the end it was not used. 

Visting ships from foreign navies use civilian harbour pilots in Halifax. They also use civilian tugs too as both pilots and tugs "speak the same language", using commonly understood commands with pilots knowing the characteristics of the civilian tugs and their capabilities. Canadian navy ships do not use civilian pilots, and their masters and naval berthing pilots have their own common language and their tugs (which are Voith-Schneider, unlike the civilian ASD tugs) have very different handling characters. Although navy tugs are available in emergencies it is rare to see them in use with non RCN ships - even in standby - like today.

The RCN is in process of replacing these Glen class tugs. Two new tugs for Esquimalt are in Quebec City awaiting "dry delivery" and the two for Halifax are under construction at Industrie Océan in Ile-aux-Coudres, QC. The new tugs are ASD (Azimuthing Stern Drive) types.

FOOTNOTE As mentioned in my previous post March 16 the vessel is called an aviso, a term that was new to me. Thanks to Royal United Services Institue (Nova Scotia) I can provide some clarification on that word, quote (italics mine):

"A number of European navies keep 'guardships', usually frigates, deployed throughout the globe for the security of related areas (can be read as territories, protectorates and former colonies).  Often the French ships are avisos.  At about the time of Gulf War I, a US/NATO fleet decided to invite guardships in the Caribbean into a major carrier battle group exercise.  The French Navy guardship was an aviso.  Seeking a translation and appreciation of an aviso's capabilities and roles, fleet staff learned that aviso seemed to hark back to dispatch vessels of sailing times (aviso = advice = dispatch?).  It wouldn't be the first modern type of ship with the name of an earlier type; there are, for example, sloop and corvette.  These are useful types of vessels, to deploy on missions when a more capable frigate or destroyer would be too much capability and expense.  Part of a 'balanced navy.'  Canada's Kingston-class serve as that, and they should be replaced by a similar, second tier or second rate to use terms of other nations, ships."

 It is certainly admirable (no pun) that terminology from another era is used for present day purposes. A clean up is required however to purge our vocabulary of such undesirable terms as "tall ships" [which you will rarely see used in this blog as it is not a nautical term]. Nevertheless I do use "ship" to mean many kinds of vessel, not just re square rig type, and "sail" to mean depart even when no sails are involved. What are the chances that the RCN would chose "aviso" as a more or less bilingual term, for the Kingston replacements?


No comments:

Post a Comment