Friday, October 20, 2017

Lots of Length

There was lots of length at pier 20-22 today - that is if you count part of the Tall Ships Quay. Two years ago the Port installed an extra bollard at the TSQ to use when there are two large cruise ships in at the same time. It has seen frequent use as the ships get bigger and bigger.

The Seawall, as it is called, is just over 610m (2000 feet) long and was built to take two of the largest passenger ships then afloat. At the time however even the largest ships barely exceeded 900 feet, Such ships as Cunard's Aquitania (902 feet) and White Star's Olympic (883 feet) were among the biggest ships, with only the German giants Bismarck (956 feet) and Vaterland (950 feet) closing on triple digits.  

Today is was Crown Princess 290m (951 feet) and Celebrity Summit 294m (965 feet) with the bow of the former extending well north of pier 20. With three headlines out to the TSQ bollard the ship was well secured.

Crystal Symphony sailed first, backing out into the stream from pier 20-22. It was then the turn of Celebrity Summit which called in the tug Atlantic Willow to lend a hand pulling it off the pier and lining it up for its north about run around George's Island.

With shorter days there may be very few evening photos for a while.

Unless it is with the smart phone.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Crystal Serenity

Crystal Serenity, a 1,000 person capacity cruise ship that called in Halifax October 9 returned again this evening but only briefly and put back out to sea in an hour. Normally such a short visit means a medical emergency evacuation.

The ship is well known for its two Northwest Passages, starting in 2016. This year's 32 day cruise from Alaska to Greenland,  when it was accompanied by the ice escort vessel Ernest Shackleton, the on to New York via Halifax, was apparently not sold out and will not be repeated.

A new ship, Crystal Endeavour , a 200 passenger polar-code megayacht is due for delivery next year, but may be working a different itinerary. The impact of huge numbers of passengers on tiny arctic communities will certainly be more manageable with a smaller ship.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Early Arrival

Taking ship photos in the early morning from Halifax is much easier when there is a bit of cloud cover as there was this morning.

That meant that Zuiderdam's port side, while in shadow was reasonably visible without the blaring sun directly behind it.

One of four Holland America ships regularly calling in Halifax during the cruise season, Zuiderdam was built originally in  2002 by Fincantieri Breda in Marghera, Italy. It is a Vista class ship, one of four, each named for the directions on a compass (Oosterdam = east, Westerdam = west, Noordam = north and Zuiderdam = south).

The ship received a major refurbishment in 2015 boosting its gross tonnage from 81,769 to 82,820. With this the ships has a maximum capacity of 2272 passengers, although the normal load is 1916 with 842 crew.

The ship has an unusual propulsion system, consisting of five diesel engines (three of 16 cylinders and two of 12 cylinders) and a gas turbine driving electric azipod thrusters.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Grain from the Lakes

Another load from the Lakes arrived yesterday on the Algoma Mariner. The amount of grain (could be feed grain, corn or wheat) coming from the Lakes is much reduced from days gone by, when there was an almost monthly arrival. Now it is only a few times a year. Grain continues to arrive by rail however.

The ship looks a bit like a shark lunging out of the water. 
Its hull paint has eroded at the bow wave line.

Ships now unload directly to a hopper that leads to the conveyor system running to the storage elevator. Before self-unloaders were common in the grain trades, ships used a system of buckets on an endless belt that was lowered into the ship. The ship had to move back and forth along the pier so that the "grain leg" could reach all the holds.

The Eastcliffe Hall under the grain leg in July 1970.

On its return to the Lakes Eastcliffe Hall loaded a cargo of pig iron in Sorel, QC and on July 14, 1970 struck a shoal and sank near Cornwall, ON. Nine persons were lost and twelve survived.
The ship was built in 1954 by Canadian Vickers in Montreal to the maximum size of the old St.Lawrence Canals, 253.4' x 43.8' x 17.0'. When the St.Lawrence Seaway opened it was lengthed 92' and deepened 3'-9". 

The grain leg is still there, housed in the tower, but has not been used in many years, since all grain ships that call here are now self-unloaders.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Change from the top down

Shipfax is introducing a new header. After several years of using the same header image it is time for a change. Why?

 The old header - now retired.

The image in the old header is the Atlantic Container Line G3 container ship Atlantic Compass, taken November 23, 2014, as it enters Halifax harbour with the pilot boat Chebucto Pilot in the lead. Things have changed since then. All of ACL's G3 ships have now gone to the scrappers, with the last, Atlantic Conveyor, beached in Alang, India  October 8.

The five ships in the G3 class served Halifax for thirty-three years and were almost as iconic to Halifax as the Meagher's Beach lighthouse- at left in the background. Now that they are gone there is no ship ready to pick up the symbolic role as yet, so I have chosen to show what will be the way of the future. It is the 10,062 TEU Zim Rotterdam. It was to have been the first ship to of more than 10,000 TEU to call in Halifax, but was edged out by sister ship Zim Antwerp earlier this year.

More larger ships are expected in the coming months and years and the Port of Halifax will be hard pressed to keep up with the demands that such large ships make on the port infrastructure.

Also in the photo, the pilot boat Chebucto Pilot, built in 2012 by Abco Industries in Lunenburg, has been reassigned to Saint John, NB and renamed  Captain E.T. Rogers. A pair of pilot boats, Nova Pilot and Scotia Pilot,  imported from the Netherlands, have now taken over pilotage duties in Halifax.

But speaking of Atlantic Container Line, now that all five G4 ships have been delivered, they continue to require attention due to numerous bugs. On October 5 Atlantic Sea, which was drydocked at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg, became entangled in the rigging of a shore crane that was blown over by storm Xayier. The crane appears to have just missed the ship and damage to the ship seems minimal.

ACL's traffic through Halifax has increased dramatically, both in container and RoRo and the line continues to use chartered box boats to meet demand.

Typical of those is the aging Itea which sailed this afternoon. Built in 1998 the 3842 TEU ship has carried four previous names and seems to be a candidate for the scrappers when its charter ends.
There is no let up in sight to the the trend to scrap smaller (and thus less efficient) container ships to make room for giant new ones. 2017 and 2018 will see more record shattering deliveries and orders for even larger ships.

The new header may not be as long lived as the last one, which like its subject, exceeded normal life expectancy.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hudson and Franklin

News that Seaspan has unveiled the Sir John Franklin at an open house October 1 was followed closely by more news that its illustrious predecessor CCGS Hudson was yanked from the Heddle Marine shipyard in Hamilton, ON on October 6.

The Sir John Franklin is the first of three Offshore Fisheries and Science Vessels to be built under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, taking precedence over naval supply ships and an icebreaker at the North Vancouver shipyard. A major design glitch, which saw the ship's length increased by 8.4m to overcome a stability issue was one of several notable episodes in the creation of these ships. The $244 mn budget which was to see the ships delivered in 2014 has soared past $687 mn and all are still under construction.

Not the least contentious was the choice of names. The previous prime minster's obsession with discovering the wrecks of Franklin's ships Erebus and Terror was probably a factor in the name choice. Objectors cited Franklin's failure to discover the way out of the Northwest Passage (although in fact he probably did, but couldn't get through) before food and supplies ran out. Historians may be kinder to Franklin in future since contaminated supplies may have been a mitigating factor - time will tell.  Franklin's previous overland expeditions were remarkable and should not be forgotten.

The objection to Franklin on the grounds that he wasn't Canadian is plain silly. At the time of his death there was no Canada per se except as a British colony and all Canadians were only British subjects - just as Fransklin was.

That he was a failure, and that Americans would never name a ship after such a person is laughable. They have a ship named after the man who did not discover the North Pole, but is credited with it nevertheless.

But on to no more nor less a paragon - Henry Hudson. He began looking for a Northwest Passage by sailing up the river that bear his name, on behalf of the Dutch East India Company, incidentally leading to the founding what is now New York City. His work in Canada's north was no more successful in the end than Franklin's. When his crew mutinied and set Hudson, his son James and seven crew adrift in Hudson's Bay they were never seen again. The mutineers, of whom only eight of thirteen survived, reached England,  were not tried for mutiny or piracy, but for  murder and were acquitted. 

Both men added greatly to the knowledge of Canada's north - and no they were not perfect.

But back to the ship. The fifty-four year old CCGS Hudson, was in rough shape when it finally sailed out of Halifax in the fall of 2016 for a refit that was supposed to extend until "late spring" 2017. It came as no surprise that once the ship reached the shipyard there was more work to do than originally planned. However the Canadian Coast Guard became dissatisfied with progress and took back the ship, moving it across the bay from Hamilton to Burlington where they plan to get enough work done to sail the ship out of the Lakes before freeze up. Whether it will come back to Halifax for completion or will have to go to another shipyard is not clear.

The splendid looking CCGS Hudson showing her age.


A bit of everything

There was a bit of everything happening in Halifax harbour today - tankers, container ships and of course  cruise ships.

The Panamanian flag Challenge Procyon arrived during the night and anchored for bunkers, then moved to Imperial Oil;'s number 3 dock.

At sunup Challenge Procyon was bunkering in number 5 anchorage.
Built in 2011 by Shin Kurushima Dockyard Co Ltd in Onishi, Japan, the 28,735 grt, 45,996 dwt tanker arrived from Mongstad, Norway.

Meanwhile at Imperial Oil, the tanker Steel moved from number 3 dock to number 4. It had arrived from Porvoo, Finland on Wednesday October 3, but appears not to have unloaded any of its cargo.

As of yesterday afternoon, Steel appeared not to have unloaded any cargo.
Built in 2000 by Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, as Rocket, it changed names in 2013.  It measures  23,248 grt, 37,889 dwt.

Imperial's usual source of supply for refined has been the US Gulf, mostly Texas. With recent hurricanes, I am assuming supply may have been limited and they chose to buy on the spot market.  Finland has no domestic source of fossil fuel, much of their oil-based supply coming from Russia, but they do have refining capability and export gasoline to other Baltic countries. Perhaps this cargo did not meet Imperial's standards.

Fairview Cove was keeping busy, with NYK Atlas and Atlantic Sail sailing and Glen Canyon Bridge arriving.

With the sun making a short visit, Glen Canyon Bridge strides up through the Narrows, with Atlantic Fire providing tethered escort. A crew on the forepeak are washing the anchor chain in readiness to anchor, but the ship was due to go alongside directly to the berth vacated by Atlantic Sail.

Built in 20016 by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, the ship has a capacity of 5624 TEU on 68,570 grt and 71,291 dwt.

Early arrivers this morning were two cruise ships.

The veteran Saga Sapphire was in the lead, with a tug alongside to assist it backing in to its pier. Viking Sea was then able to overtake.

Built by Bremer Vulkan, Vegesack in 1981 it has carried the names Europe, 99: Superstar Europa, 99: Superstar Aries, 04: Holiday Dream, 08: Bleu de France, finally taking the name Saga Sapphire in 2012.
The ship has a capacity of 720.

Second in line was Viking Sea. Built in 2016 by Fincantieri Italiani in Ancona, it carries 930 passengers and measures 47,842 grt. It was launched as Viking Sky but switched names with a sister ship delivered this year. Both ship are callers in Halifax this year.

Later in the morning a third cruise ship,  Norwegian Dawn added 2300 more passengers to the count.