Thursday, November 20, 2014

1984 and Portugal calling

Back into the 1984 shoebox. 1984 was the year of the biggest Tall Ship event in Halifax for years. My vantage point off Point Pleasant Park for the Parade of Sail was not the best, and most of the ships were well known anyway. 
One vessel in particular caught my eye, and I was pleased to catch up with it later in Quebec.
Gazela was built in 1901 as a traditional wooden sailing vessel of the Portuguese Grand Banks White Fleet. Carrying 35 dories, and without an engine until 1938, it fished steadily until 1969. It was purchased by the Philadelphia Maritime Museum and arrived in its new home port in 1971 where it was refurbished and renamed Gazela Primiero. It sails an ambassador the city, the port, and the State of Pennsylvania   In 1985 ownership was transferred to the Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild, and it was renamed Gazela.

Her long overhanging stern was the result of a new stern post and extension fitted when she was motorized.
The 3 masted barquentine, along with scores of other white painted Portuguese schooners, made St.John's, Newfoundland and North Sydney, their North American base of operation since time immemorial. In fact the Basques and Portuguese were exploiting the Grand Banks fisheries long before John Cabot showed up in 1497. 

With ancestral rights of access to the Banks, they continued to fish there after Canada declared its 200 mile economic zone. However continued quota abuse eventually lead to a ban on port calls,. They did shift to St-Pierre for a time, but they have largely vanished from our area due to the depletion of the cod stock, their primary interest in fishing.

They were still calling in St.John's in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I saw them. but there were no schooners left. However many were still fishing with long lines from open boats, and salting their catch aboard in the traditional way.

CCGS Barlett sails through the Narrows of St.John's harbour as Portuguese boats Conceiçao Vilarinho and Avè Maria are tied up alongside.

Conceiçao Vilarinho was built in 1947 by Hammarbyverken of Stockholm. Sweden as the cargo ship Elsa Thorden, and in 1948 was renamed Bure. In 1951 it was acquired by Joao Maria Vilarinho Successors Ltda of Aveiro, Portugal and converted for dory fishing and renamed. In this 1978 photo she had been equipped with six motor boats for the line fishermen to set out and retrieve their trawls and land their fish. The ship was deleted by Lloyd's in 2003.

Ave Maria (shown in the two photos above) carried open boats that looked more like lifeboats than dories, and had much greater capacity than the traditional boats. Also based in Aveiro, it is a wooden hulled ship, and thus not listed by Lloyd's. Its history is unknown to me. On September 7, 1982, on a voyage from Finland to Portugal, and 28 miles off the North Foreland, she caught fire. Helicopters evacuated the 45 crew and the hulk was towed in to Chatham on September 10, where it appears to have acquired by the Royal Navy. On February 23, 1983 it was towed to Plymouth. Then on April 12, 1983 she was towed out of Plymouth for Gibraltar where she was to be sunk as a target.
Note the laundry drying on the forestay. These small ships had huge crews, crammed like sardines and even hot bunked in cramped forecastles.

Santa Maria Manuela, also from Aveiro, was built in 1937 by Cia Uniao Fabril of Lisbon, on traditional schooner lines. By 1978 she was carrying large steel open boats for line fishing. Her fate is unknown.

Built in 1948 by Est.Nav. de Viano do Castelo, Sao Gonçalinho later fished out of Aveiro. It was broken up in Sacavem March 4, 1992. Cabot Tower on Signal Hill stands guard over the Narrows in St.John's.
Dating from 1950 as Soto Maior, built by NV Scheepswerft Gebr. Pot in Bolnes, Netherlands, it became Jose Caçào in 1974. It was based in Figueira da Foz and was classed as a cargo ship.  It may therefore have delivered bait and picked up salted fish from other ships.

Senhora das Candeias was built in 1948 by Est.Nav. de Viano do Castelo, and fished out of that port. An ice strengthened side trawler, she is seen here in Halifax at pier 23. She was probably in port to load frozen bait - likely mackerel. It was broken up in its home port in March 1992.

Antonio Pascoal was another Aveiro based boat, also an ice strengthened side trawler. Built by Haarlemsche Scheepwert Maats. of Haarlem, Netherlands in 1948, she is shown arriving in Halifax, with a large forepeak party ready to handle lines. On June 24, 1990 she suffered an engine room fire and sank northwest of the Azores.

Aguas Santas of Aveiro was built in 1949 by T. van Duijvendijks Scheepswerft in Lekkerkerk, Netherlands. Also an ice strengthened side trawler. She was deleted from Lloyds in 2003.

Senhora do Mar dates from 1952 and the shipyard Cia Uniao Fabril of Lisbon. In 1963 she was converted from dory fishing to side trawling. She is seen here in North Sydney loading bait. Renamed Leone V in 1989, she was broken up in 1999.

Santa Maria Madalena was built in 1962 by Est.Nav. de Viano do Castelo and fished form that port. In the photo she was at pier 23 in Halifax in 1984 having been arrested for some fisheries infraction. She was renamed Leone in 1991 and on May 31, 1996 she caught fire in the Barents Sea. Brought back to her home port, she was broken up there June 22, 1996.

Lunenburg was not a traditional port for Portuguese boats, but they did come in for repairs or to load bait, which was mostly mackerel.

S.Gabriel was built in 1956 by Est Nav de Viano do Castelo. Owned in Lisbon, it fished out of Leixoes.
Reflagged to Panama in in 1987 and named Alpes III it sank July 17,1995 following an engine room explosion off the Cape Verde Islands. A side trawler it had a 965 bhp Mirrlees, Bickerton+ Day main engine.


Seabed Prince to work off Nova Scotia

The Norwegian Seabed Prince tied up at pier 27 today to load gear for work offshore. The ship will be working for Secunda Canada to accommodate a dive team and and ROV to work on the export gas pipeline at the Thebaud field off Sable Island.
Work will include placement of grout bags, reinforcing bars, and weighted mattresses on the seabed. to hold down and prpotect the pipleine.
As a Norwegian ship, it has been granted a coasting license since no suitable Canadian vessel was available to do the work. The license is to expire December 31.

 A shore based crane loads gear aboard Seabed Prince at pier 27.

The ship's hull was built by the Yildirim shipyard in Tuzla, Turkey, but construction was completed by Baatbygg, Raudeberg, Norway. Laid down as Acergy Merlin it was completed in 2009 as GSP Prince for owners Volstad Shipping AS of Aalesund and managers Troms Offshore Management. In 2012 management was taken over by Swire Seabed Shipping of Ovre Irvik, Norway. and the ship was renamed Seabed Prince. (Swire is a Hong Kong based shipping conglomerate).

Aalseund is an ancient Norwegian fishing and sealing port with longtime ties to Halifax, but is now also heavily involved in the Norwegian North Sea oil and gas business.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Canadian Coast Guard small craft - Part 2

Back in 1984 the Dartmouth base was home to numerous small craft. Some worked navigation aids in small ports and others were tasked with pollution cleanup and other duties. (I have chosen photos taken over a period of years, but all the craft were in service in 1984).

Rustico Light, Nomad V, a landing craft, and "Seatruck" (the yellow craft on the pier) at the Dartmouth base.

Rustico Light was built in 1965 in Pictou by Stright-McKay Ltd, and was similar to a Northumberland Strait fishing boat, except its cabin was much longer.It was registered in Charlottetown.

Rustico Light with a rudimentary oil recovery vessel built on an old landing craft hull.

Nomad V was built in Shag Harbour in 1966 (the year before the UFO landed)

Nomad V and Rustico Light in the background and a vessel known as the "Seatruck" in the foreground. It was painted bright yellow and outboard powered. It was used for deploying containment booms and for oil spill cleanup.

Nomad V was a general workboat, even acting as relief pilot boat in Halifax for a time in 1973. It was sent to remote locations such as Main-à-Dieu, Cape Breton, which was inaccessible to larger vessels.

In 1986 it was sold to Good People Sea + Services Ltd, operators of the marine railway in North Sydney. They renamed it Shelly Loran but is register was closed in 1988.

CGE 301 was equipped with a "slick licker" for oil spill cleanups. An unenviable task.

Larger Coast Guard craft carried their own small craft for tending to buoys or for beach landings.

The laid up Walter E. Foster forms the backdrop for a very beat up landing craft from the Louis S. St-Laurent, and CGE 301 hauled out on the dock. The Foster's landing craft has been removed, and its gantry davit stands empty.

When the Louis was in refit the landing craft was usually removed, so it was possible to see the huge davit gantry that could carry the weight of a fully loaded landing craft.

When ready for sea, the landing craft was nestled in place.

With Sir William Alexander and Provo Wallis alongside, the south yard of the base was full of buoys. It also had a few small craft under repair and if you look closely on the far right, a helicopter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Acadian and other movements

The Irving Oil tanker Acadian  sailed from anchorage.

An early report indicated that it would shift to anchor in the Basin, but it left for sea.

The bulker Nordic Visby sailed in very windy and rough conditions this morning, following repairs, its destination was Porto Cabello.

Garganey resumed loading after rain forced a halt yesterday.

Danish HDMS Niels Juel delayed its departure from noon until after dark, although wind conditions did not seem to improve over that time.

Oceanex Sanderling arrived and went to Autoport first, instead of going to Halterm. There two autoships due at Autoport this week, so it may be that they wanted to get in before the berth was taken up.

  November 13 photo


Canadian Coast Guard small craft - Part 1

The review of the Canadian Coast Guard in 1984 continues.

Not just a big boat operator, the Canadian Coast Guard had numerous small craft too. So many in fact that it would be a monumental task to winkle out the names and fates of all of them. The new book Canadian Coast Guard 1962-2012 does a pretty fair job:  

Here is a sampling:



The 44 ft self-righting lifeboats were built to the U.S.Coast Guard design. In fact the first one, CG 101 was built by the USCG at its Curtis Bay, MD facility in 1969, and stationed at Clark's Harbour, NS. Another SAR station was established at Sambro, at the mouth of Halifax harbour and the boat stationed there also covered SAR calls in Halifax harbour as well as offshore.

An unknown boat in the foreground, and CG 117 and CG 118 in the background at the Dartmouth base for maintenance.


CG 118 in Pictou, NS. It was built by Eastern Equipment in 1975.
CG 117 at Dartmouth Marine Slips. It was also built by Eastern Equipment in 1975.

CG 141 hauled out at the Dartmouth base. It was built in 1981 at Georgetown, PE.

The boats were all numbered, but took on the names of their stations. Boats based in Sambro, Port Bickerton, Louisbourg, and Port Mouton were seen in Halifax from time to time. They swapped the boats around during maintenance periods, and even between regions.
Known as Type 300 they were retired over time up until about 2004. Some served as training vessels at the Coast Guard College in Point Edward, NS in their later years.

Type 400 boats were built for the Western and Central and Laurentian Regions by Breton Industrial +Marine of Point Tupper (Port Hawksbury), NS in two batches. The first was built in 1980.
CG123 was sent to the west coast and renamed Point Henry It was put up for sale as 2011-05, and new owners renamed it Point Henry.

 CG 124 became Ile Rouge, sold as 2013-01 and renamed Never on Time

The first of the second batch was built in 1982.

CG 125 at the Dartmouth base before heading to to the west coast. It was renamed Point Race and registered at Prince Rupert. Sold as 2011-04 it was renamed Point Race by new owners. Note some other small craft in the foreground. Nomad V is bow to the camera, it will be picked up in a subsequent post.

CG 126 was renamed Cape Hurd and was put up for sale this year as 2014-01. It was recently acquired by the City of Toronto and was reported in the Welland Canal just last week, headed for its new home.


Well suited for work in shallow water and mud flats, ACVs were also found to be useful for breaking sheet ice. They were ideally suited for areas of the St.Lawrence and CH-CGA  could be seen far downstream. There was a permanent landing ramp at Gros Cacouna, and there may have been others. They were particularly useful in areas where tides (up to 20 feet) left vast stretches of mud flats, making shore navigation markers impossible to reach at times.

Built in 1972 at Grand Bend. ON, the Bell Voyageur was also known simply as Voyageur since it was the only one of its type to serve with the CCG.

CH-CGA thunders across the flats at Baie St.Paul where the tidal range exceeds 15 feet.

 Once on the beach, the apron "deflates" because the air cushion weeps out when the fans are stopped. A Boler travel trailer provides rudimentary accommodation for the crew. a slightly larger trailer appeared in later years.

The CCG expanded its ACV fleet after Voyageur was retired in 1987. Later units got rid of the costly gas turbine engines and went with diesels, and permanent bases were established at Sea Island, BC and Trois-Rivières, QC.

More small craft to follow


Monday, November 17, 2014

More ACL

ACL P class

Back to Atlantic Container Line to fill in a blank from the last post.

In 1972 the French Cie Générale Transatlantique, and the two Swedish companies Wallenius and Swedish-Amerika Lines built four ConRos for year round Trans-Atlantic service: Goteborg, Bremerhaven, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Montreal. The ships could carry 432 TEUs, 76 RoRo units or 110 autos, and ran at an economical 17 knots. Power was provided by two 8,000 bhp Pielsticks driving twin screws. The 4210 gt ice class ships were built by Wartsila, Turku, Finland.

Cie Générale Transatlantique  (75%) and Wallenius (25%) formed Cie Atlantique Maritime and contributed Mont Laurier, and Mont Louis, Swedish-Amerika Line the Mont Royal and Wallenius Line the Montmorency [Wallenius fans see footnote 1] The ships operated under the Canada RoRo Express Line (CARE Line) banner.

It was a gruelling service, and as might be expected it was tough on ships. The ships only lasted a few years on the route, and most went on to other lives, which turned out to be pretty dramatic:
Mont Laurier was 300 miles NW of the Azores on January 13, 1973 when cargo broke loose in a storm when the ship rolled 30 degrees. Fire broke out gutting the ship. The 22 crew took to rafts, and one capsized, with the loss of six lives. The ship was eventually taken in tow. Declared a constructive total loss, the underwriters sold it to Lauritzen Group. They had Wartsila, Turku rebuild and lengthen the ship. It re-entered service in December 1973 as Leena Dan. Lauritzen chartered the ship to Union Steamships of New Zealand as Union Sydney from 1974 to 1977. In 1979 Leena Dan became Nopal Dana when sold to an offshoot of DFDS A/S of Copenhagen. It served several owners until 1986 when it became Seaboard Trader for Bayside Marine Trading Inc of Panama (Seaboard Marine of Miami). Photos indicate that its weather deck was widened to carry more containers, and its bridge wings extended correspondingly.
It was sold for the last time in 2013, renamed Vegas and delivered to Alang, India for scrap May 14, 2013.
The first of the quartet to leave the CARE fleet, it was also the last to operate commercially. To my knowledge it never called in Halifax.

Mont Louis showing the ravages of winter work in 1978. This was its last year of operation for CARE Line.
Mont Louis operated on the  CARE run until it was chartered out as Bore Moon in 1979, returning to the CGT fold in 1981 as Mont Louis, but was assigned to other routes. On August 25, 1984 on a voyage from Havre to Riga, it sank 12 miles off Ostend, Belgium after colliding with Olau Britannia, a 14,981 gt passenger ferry. Olau Britannia's bulbous bow penetrated Mont Louis's engine room and the ship broke in two on September 11. Its cargo, which included containers of uranium hexafloride, was recovered by October 4. The hull sections were raised September 29 and towed to Zeebrugge where they were eventually broken up.


Mont Royal before lengthening, began to call in Halifax in 1978.
Mont Royal served until 1978 when it was taken in hand and lengthened 83 ft, increasing its gt to 10,999 (its shelter deck becoming a closed deck). Its container capacity then became 430 (202 below deck) and it could carry 110 Opel equivalent cars or 77 TEUs in RoRo. It arrived in Halifax September 26, 1978 in its new configuration as Atlantic Premier. The St.Lawrence service had been integrated into ACL and so it was given an ACL name.

After lengthening, it came back in ACL colours and with a new name.

In 1982, after a reorganization of ACL routes, the ship was reassigned, renamed Incotrans Premier in 1984 and Atlantic Premier again in 1985. It was then transferred to Brostrom's Bore Line (Singapore) and renamed Atlantic Star (but not within ACL).
In 1986 it was converted to carry china clay (which is considered to be a slurry) and paper products. A side door was added for fork lift loading of paper rolls, and the ship was renamed Canada Maritime under CP Ships management calling on Canadian east coast ports.
Repap Enterprise ghosts in to Halifax to load because of ice in the Miramichi River.

As rebuilt it had a starboard side door which was used to load paper. 
In 1986 Repap, a Newcastle, New Brunswick paper manufacturer acquired the ship, renamed it Repap Enterprise with CP Bulkship Services Ltd as operators. I understand it also had acid tanks fitted. It began year round service to the Miramichi, and was frequently damaged in or by ice, calling in Halifax for repairs. First in February 1987, again in 1988. November 1-5, 1989 it had an engine room fire and came in to Halifax for repairs. In January 1991 it diverted to Halifax due to severe ice in the Miramichi, and its paper cargo was trucked to Halifax for loading at pier 21-22.
It arrived in Halifax January 18, 1992 and went into layup until August, when it was sold and renamed New Enterprise for Panama flag (later Honduras) owners. In 1992 it became Neptune Princess (Malta) and in 1995 Marmara Princess for Turkish owners. In 2002 it was laid up with surveys overdue and finally arrived at Alang, India for scrap October 19, 2004.

On joining ACL, the ship carried the new ACL logo and funnel mark.
The sole Wallenius ship in the group seems to have lead a charmed life by comparison. Montmorency was also lengthened 83 ft, arriving in Halifax August 14, 1978 with the new name Atlantic Prelude. When the ACL service was rationalized it became Incotrans Prelude from 1984 to 1985, then Atlantic Prelude again until 1986.
Wallenius sold the ship to Greek owners in 1986 and it was renamed Valiant, becoming Levant Fortune in 1991 and Arion in 1993.
Luck ran out February 11, 2005 when it ran aground NW of Chios. All 20 persons aboard were evacuated and the wreck was abandoned. On September 22 Tsavliris Salvage refloated the wreck and towed it to Aliaga, Turkey for scrap.

As trade on the St.Lawrence improved, the “Mont” ships proved to be small and with the loss of Mont Louis, inadequate to maintain a regularly scheduled service. In 1978  since CGT, Wallenius and Swedish-Amerika were all partners in Atlantic Container Line the owners integrated CARELine into ACL, lengthened the existing ships (see above) and brought in two more ships on charter from Stena Container Line. The routing then became:
Southampton, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Liverpool, Bremerhaven, Halifax, Montreal, Gothenburg

Stena Line built many ships of similar pattern. The container deck was served by a ramp and could also carry RoRo cargo. This photo was taken before the hull sponsons were added.
Apparently breakbulk loads of baled lumber were also carried on the RoRo deck. The hull sponson is barely discernable on the starboard side.

Atlantic Prosper was laid down as Stena Prosper, but delivered February 6, 1978 with ACL name and colours. A product of Hyundai, Ulsan, the ship measured 5466 gt, 8811 dt. Intended for Baltic service it was built to a high ice class. But, after only a year on the rigorous Trans-Atlantic service, sponsons were added to improve stability. These added only about a meter to the ship's overall width, and as with big sister “S” series G1 ships, the sponsons were not popular with pilots!

ACL discontinued the St.Lawrence service in 1982, and Stena reassigned the ship. It served as 82: Stena Ionia , 81: Merzario Ionia, 82: Stena Ionia, 85: Stena Gothica, 88: Bore Gothia and finally 1996: Finnbirch on charter to Finnlines. It was in this service while on a voyage from Helsinki, Finland to Aarhus, Denmark that it was caught in a severe storm and capsized in 5 meter waves in the area of the Swedish Gotland/Oland islands. Two persons perished and helicopters rescued the 12 survivors.

Atlantic Project, laid down as Stena Project, was delivered by Hyundai, Ulsan March 23, 1978 and was also fitted with sponsons in 1979.
On the deadly night of February 15, 1982 it was caught in the same storm that sank the oil rig Ocean Ranger (with 83 dead) and Mekhanik Tarasov (30 dead). A fire broke out on Atlantic Project when the ship was between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, en route from Bremerhaven to Halifax. Fortunately the crew was able to extinguish the fire themselves and the ship arrived in Halifax safely the next day. Had the fire gained control it is unlikely that any outside help would have been available due to the severe weather. 
It was returned to Stena in 1982 and served as: Merzario Hispania, 83: Stena Hispania, 84: Kotka Violet, 85: Stena Hispania, 86: Stena Britannica and 88: Bore Britannica. On March 14, 1991 it collided with Droning Margrethe II in fog, punching a hole in that ship's side. One of its crew was lost before it could be beached off Rodbyhavn, Denmark.
In 1996 it was also chartered to Finnlines as Finnbirch. It served without incident until it arrived at the breakers in Alang September 3, 2011.
Since this ship was never obliging enough to sail in front of my camera, I will refer to photos by others on These show the hull sponsons and the enclosed weather deck added after it left ACL service:

1. Wallenius fans will be pleased to learn that the company did not deviate from its company naming scheme. There is indeed an operatic character named Montmorency in Léo Delibes opera Jean de Nivelle. Wallenius was thus also able to fit into the theme of important Quebec towns with geographical features. Montmorency Falls, east of Quebec City is higher than Niagara.
For the record Mont Royal is the mountain in the middle of the island of Montreal that gives the city its name, Mont Laurier is a Laurentian ski area, and Mont Louis is a prominent headland on the Gaspé coast.

2. There is also an excellent French language web site on the original four M class ships, with lots of photos and some English pages:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

HDMS Niels Juel preview

Arriving at dusk this evening the Danish frigate Niels Juel did not co-operate for the camera, so this is only a preview.

The 6,645 ton (full load displacement) vessel was built in a remarkably short time. Laid down in December 2009, it was launched in December 2010 and commissioned in November 2011. Built economically on the pattern of the previous Absalon class, the three ships of the Iver Huitfeldt class, of which this is the third, a fitted for air defence.
The ship is visiting HMC Dockyard for a few days, and will, we hope, sail in daylight..