Saturday, April 30, 2011

And another one.......

The parade of Dutch ships continued today, as Pioneer left with her cargo of wood pellets for Hull, England, and Onego Houston arrived with more rails.

Onego Houston is one of about 30 ships operated by Onego Shipping & Chartering of Rotterdam from offices in St.Petersburg, Russia, Houston, Texas and New York. However, as can be seen by her paint scheme she is in fact a ship managed by Wagenborg, but in fact owned by Rederij Smith BV. (All that is missing is the Wagenborg name on the side of the hull.)
Built in 2010 as Ijsselborg, the ship was renamed earlier this year to take up duties with Onego. She measures 8999 gross tons and 12,016 dwt, and is built to the same sort of specs as the other recent Dutch vessels: open hatch cargo/bulkers, with ventilated holds. She is slightly different in that she carries two 80 tonne cranes, which apparently do double duty handling cargo and the ship' pontoon type hatch covers.
I have always liked Onego because they use Nova Scotia's Peggy's Cove lighthouse on their web site.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Parade of Dutch ships

1. The now familiar Frisian Spring arriving 2011-04-25 for another load of utlity poles.

2. Eemsborg arriving 2011-04-27 with a cargo of rails.

3. Daniella sailing today after taking on one heavy lift for Albany, NY.

4. Pioneer arriving this morning. She does not have the usual Flinter colour scheme, so is likely a managed vessel, rather than one owned by Flinter.

There has been a virtual parade of Dutch ships this week. The Dutch have an enviable reputation in the world for specialising in heavy lifts, dredging and ocean towing, but they are also now well known for their small ships. They have developed large fleets of gearless small general cargo/bulk carriers with ventilated holds, capable of carrying grain and other humidity sensitive cargoes including paper products, such as pulp and wood pellets.

First to arrive on Monday was Frisian Spring. This ship has a strange history. Its hull was built in Canada, but cost overruns resulted in the bankruptcy of its builders, Port Weller Drydock in St.Catharines, ON. It was finally completed in 2007 in the Netherlands. It has made several trips to Halifax to load utility poles. The poles are from trees grown in Oregon, which arrive in Halifax by rail and by truck. Frisian Spring then takes them to Ireland. She measures 4087 gross/ 6550 deadweight.
As soon as it was loaded and sailed, its berth was taken by Nirint Hollandia, a cargo/containership on its regular call to Halifax with nickel sulfides from Cuba.

Next to arrive was Eemsborg on Wednesday. It had a cargo of rail for CN. Built in 2009, it measures 7196 gross tons and is operated by the Wagenborg company of Delfzijl and sports the company's trademark red and gray hull colours.

Yesterday's arrival was Daniella, a heavy lift ship. It had unloaded refinery components in Toledo, OH and other material in Hamilton, ON before coming to Halifax light ship. It picked up one heavy lift unit for Albany, New York and sailed today. It has two cranes - open rated at 400 tonnes and one at 200 tonnes. It made short work of its one lift. Built in 1989, it measures 5818 gross/ 7580 dwt.

The next arrival was this morning. The Pioneer was built in 2010 and measures 6621 gross/ 11047 deadweight and is operated by Flinter Management. That company owns several ships, but also manages many others which are often owned by individuals or smaller companies. This tradition of pooling ships goes way back in Dutch history and is one of their trademarks.

Aside from the heavylifter, the ships are all built to a similar design. They have box like holds, with large, full width hatches. A gantry runs on rails to lift and move the hatch covers. The two prominent boxes on deck are ventilatiors, which permit controlling the humidity in the holds. They are thius very versatile and can carry a variety of bulk and breakbulk cargoes.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Quest shows her new colour scheme

1. CFAV Quest lies alongide navy jetty Lima this morning with her odd gray paint job, and new sponsons aft.

Prior reports about CFAV Quest's new paint were not backed up by pictures, due to the ship's location within HMC Dockyard. In the last day or so Quest has moved to the Dockyard Annex in Dartmouth, also known as the Gun Wharf and Jetty November Lima.

It seems that what was black paint is a very dark grey (or the black has been covered with dark gray.)

Her pennant number 172 has been painted on with black, so it would seem that this scheme may be here to stay for a while. At this point it is only on her port side, and even then not consistently applied. There also seem to be different shades of the gray - near the bow and waterline forward, suggesting that the painters may have been using up some paint from stock. In any event it is much darker than standard RCN gray, but similar to the gray used for yardcraft, such as the tugs.

As explained previously this is part of the Defence Research & Development's research into radiation.

See previous reference here: (be sure to click on "Comments")


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CSL Atlas

1. CSL Atlas weaves her way past ferries and the inbound Italy Express. For a bird's eye view see Armchair Captain!

2. CSL Atlas ghosts past the Tall Ships Quay with a part load of gypsum.

3. Her articulated unloading booms rest on deck. Her signal mast has also been struck to reduce airdraft passing under harbour bridges.

4. Her booms swing well out over the dock, as she unloads Nova Scotia gypsum in Tampa, Florida in 1993.

CSL Atlas is the largest gypsum carrier to make regular calls in Halifax. It is so large that it cannot take a full load at National Gypsum due to draft restrictions at the dock. If fullyloaded its deadweight tonnage is 67,308 tonnes, and draft is 13.418m.

On leaving this afternoon her draft was about 10.5m, giving a deadweight of about 43,000 tonnes, which is still a substantial cargo of gypsum.

When built by Verolme Estaleiros Reunidas do Brasil in Agra dos Reis, Brazil in 1990, she was the only Panamax size self-unloading bulk carrier in the world. Since then she has been joined by many others, of which 14 are in the CSL International pool alone.

She also had a new type of unloading boom, that was articulated in the middle. The inner boom can swing 100 degrees and is connected to an outboard boom which can swing 300 degrees from the pivot point. This gives the ship considerably more flexibility to position cargo than ships fitted with the conventional single boom. Unloading speed ranges from 3,000 tonnes per hour for coal up to 4,500 tonnes per hour for ore.

The ship is also a regular caller in other Canadian ports with ore and coal, and loading stone and gypsum outbound.

For detailed particulars on the ship CSL has provided the following fact sheet:


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Louis bares all

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent entered the Novadock floating drydock on schedule on Thursday April 21. She was soon high and dry and work commenced on her $2.9 mn refit, which is to be completed June 15.

1. The Louis shows some paint wear on her bow due to ice abrasion. 2011-04-25.

2. The only time the Louis was actually in ice and in Halifax. This is pre-midlife refit, April 1987. Her bow was completely replaced at that time.

3. The Louis in the graving dock in April 1970.

The ship has a long history with Halifax, including her mid-life refit here, and numerous other refits and drydockings.

She has only once been called in to actually be an icebreaker here, and that was in 1987 when Gulf ice swept down the Nova Scotia coast and packed in to Halifax harbour, inconveniencing shipping for several days. The very rare occurrence was has only happened two or three times and is unlikely to happen again. She did not actually have to break ice, since the ice was broken already, but it was packing in due to tide and wind, and she was able to clear paths for traffic.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Even uglier PCTC

1. Bess leaves Eastern Passage, and will turn around Indian Point and Ives Knoll to head for sea.

2. Her plumb bow is a feature rarely seen on modern ships.

3. A broadside view shows the shoebox-like proportions of the ship.

Pure Car and Truck carriers (PCTCs) are floating garages, and much effort has been expended on making them both hydroponically and aerodynamically efficient. Their great slab sides and blunt bows, have usually been softened by some rounded shapes and often a fairly graceful stem.

As the pressure increases to cram more and more cars aboard, the boundaries are again being pushed.

Today's arrival, Bess, built in 2010 and on long term charter to Wallenius-Wilhelmsen by Japanese owners, Excel Marine Co., has pushed another boundary for sure. Her perfectly vertical stem, is no doubt the result of intense study and computer modelling, but it is no thing of beauty! Even compared to the last posting of Capricornus Leader, she is a definitely a runner up in the pageant.

[As with all Wallenius vessels, it is named for an operatic character, in this case Bess of Porgy and Bess, a 20th century American opera, as opposed to a more classical European one.]

Friday, April 22, 2011

Capricornus Leader

1. Tugs scurry to catch up with Capricornus Leader. They will assist in turning the tug to head for Eastern Passage, then turn it again to come alongiside.

2. Autoport is of the few berths still using line handling boats. Here Westport Ferry has already set the head lines on a buoy and now takes springs for the pier.

3. Men wait on the end of the pier to take the springs.

4. The ship is alongside the Autoport pier.

Nippon Yushen Kaisa, better known for its initials NYK Line, is a major container line (140+ ships) a major bulk shipper (145+ bulk carriers) has cruise ships (3), tankers, and is the world's largest player in the auto carrier business (110+ ships). Among its fleet are a number of ships named for constellations, Capricornus Leader being today's arrival in Halifax.

Built in 2004, and measuring 61,854 gross tons, it is registered in Panama and managed by Wallem Ship Management of Hong Kong. Although Toyota is its largest customer, the line carries autos for other manufacturers too as its ships work their way around the world, back and forth to Japan.

Acting as line boat for mooring at Autoport is Dominion Diving's dive tender/workboat Westport Ferry. The wooden hulled vessel, built in 1965, retains its original name. It was built to push a ferry scow across Grande Passage between Freeport (on Long Island) and Westport (on Brier Island) at the tip of Digby Neck. That service is now provided by self-propelled ferry.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

More New Ferries for Newfoundland (and News)

Marine Atlantic’s new ferries Blue Puttees and Highlanders and now both in service, and despite some early controversy, including one death, things may finally be settling down for the long haul on the Strait.(Marine Atlantic seems to be a target-wonder why?)

It is now time to turn the spotlight on the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador’s own intraprovincial ferry service, operated by the Department of Transportation and Works. The department runs 15 ferry routes within the province, and has been suffering for years with an inadequate fleet. There is good news on the horizon however.

First off are two new 80 passenger short sea ferries, just completed by Pieter Kiewit’s Marystown/ Cow Head shipyard. [Perhaps the yard’s experience with these small ships has put them off big shipbuilding - they have withdrawn from the Federal shipbuilding strategy program.] The ships are reported to have cost $27.5mn each.

The two new ships, christened March 11 measure 42m in length and can carry a combination of vehicles, up to 16 cars. The first of these, Grace Sparkes, was registered in St. John’s on April 19. It will run on the St. Brendans route. It is named for the first woman to run for election to the provincial legislature.

Sister ship Hazel McIsaac, which will enter service within the next month, is named for the first woman to be elected to the legislature. It will serve ports in Green Bay.

These are proper little ships with bow doors and stern ramps. Excellent spec sheets, and photos are on line:

In further news, Fleetway Inc was contracted in January to design six more new ferries for a variety of routes around the province. Designs should be completed by early next year, and an expression of interest will be issued soon for construction. These boats will also be built in the province.

See the Newfoundland intraprovincial routes here:

There is also news about the St. Barbe/Blanc Sablon service across the Strait of Belle Isle. This service is operated by Labrador Marine (part of the Woodward Group) under contract to the Province. During the past winter when the ferry Apollo was in refit in St.John's, the service was operated by the Province's much larger ferry Sir Robert Bond, but its Newfoundland terminus had to be switched to Corner Brook, due to the large size of the ship. That service ended mid-March when Apollo returned to service.
However on or about April 15, Apollo damaged a prop and shaft and had to go to St.John's for emergency drydocking. The ship will return to service next week, using only one prop, until the prop/shaft can be repaired or replaced. It will then go back to drydock for permanent repairs. In the meantime the ancient RoRo vessel Astron (also owned by Woodward) will service the route, supplemented by aircraft, since Astron can only carry 12 passengers.
Apollo will have to operate on one prop for several weeks.

For photos of some of these ships see:


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Noon Whistles?

Ships horns or whistles are heard from time to time in Halifax. In foggy conditions, as the warning for a pleasure craft to get out of the way, for cruise ships when they depart, and to ring in the New Year.

Another event may be added to these if the chair of BIMCO has his way.

What is BIMCO you may ask? To give it its full name, the Baltic & International Maritime Council is a non-governmental agency, with observer status at the UN. It speaks for many ship owners, managers, brokers and agents, and includes in its mandate the promotion of uniform standards and harmony of regulations.

These days one of its main concerns is the flourishing piracy "industry" of the northeast coast of Africa, but with tentacles in other parts of the world too.

As means of drawing attention to the plight of seafarers and ships owners BIMCO's chair has called for ships to sound a 30 second blast on their horns at noon, every day. This may seem about as useful as dogs barking at the moon, but as means of drawing attention to this problem, it may be of some use.

Canada and other nations have sent warships to the area, some pirates have been arrested, tried and convicted, and some attacks have been prevented. However there has been no dent in the piracy. Ships are hijacked, and crews kidnapped for ransom. Even when huge ransoms are paid, there is no guarantee that that the ships or the crews will be returned safely. In fact many have been killed during attacks or in captivity.

Keep your ears pealed.


Eitzen's tanker

1. Sichem Beijing arrives in drizzly Halifax weather.

Eitzen Chemical is one of the largest chemical tanker operators, with 83 ships currently listed in it fleet:

A firm with deep roots, Eitzen has expanded through acquisitions to world wide operations with offices in Norway, Denmark, Spain, Connecticut and Singapore.

Today's arrival, Sichem Beijing, is fairly typical of the fleet - modest sized, 8,537 gross tons, 13,086 deadweight, relatively new, built in 2007, and highly specialized for carrying chemicals in epoxy coated tanks.

The ship is registered in Singapore, but operated by Seelandia Ship Management, based in Mumbai.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Genco Pioneer lost a boom

1. Boomless #2 crane remains in position, while the other three turn out to clear the hatches.
2. Cranes #1 and #2 face each other in the stowed positon, and it is hard to notie that #2 has no boom.

It was not noticeable when the ship arrived or sat at anchor in Bedford Basin for hold cleaning.

It was also not immediately noticeable when she moved to pier 28 on Sunday to position herself under the grain spouts.

However as soon as Genco Pioneer swung her cranes outboard to open her hatch covers it became obvious that the #2 crane does not have a boom.

This is not an issue when she is loading, but perhaps some day when she needs to unload, it will certainly slow things down. A replacement boom may well be waiting at a subsequent port of call.

I also noted that the grain spouts were in use today as she started to load. The last ship in however, African Dahlia, did not use the spouts, but instead relied on shore cranes and buckets to transload from trucks. Surely the slowest imaginable way to load a grain ship!


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Princess Danae kicks off the cruise season (brrr!)

One normally associates cruise ships with warm weather. It was far from warm Saturday as the cruise season kicked off in Halifax, with snow flurries in the air and a bitter wind coming in from the sea.

Nevertheless Princess Danae arrived with the sun shining. By the time she was tied up and the passengers cleared to look around it had clouded over and was a typical Halifax April day.

Not one of the newer floating apartment blocks, this one was a real ship. It even has shear to its decks!

When I say, was a real ship, I mean that it was built way back in 1955, by the venerable Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Belfast, Northern Ireland (builder of the Titanic, and many other significant ships.) It was not built as a cruise ship however. It started life as the refrigerated and general cargo ship Port Melbourne for Port Line (a Cunard subsidiary) and plowed the waves between the UK and Australia/ New Zealand, returning with fruit and mutton, among other things. It also carried twelve passengers, and was considered to be high speed ship, since it cruised at 17 knots.

Built along traditional cargo ship lines, it had a delightful shear to the hull, but was fitted with two 6 cylinder H&W engines and twin screws. Her overlapping plates hark back to the days of rivets and cast iron, but it was those everlasting engines and twin screws that ensured her longevity.

She lasted in cargo trades until 1972 when Greek owners bought her to convert to a ferry, but by 1976 she has become a cruise ship. Since then she has been rebuilt once after a disastrous shipyard fire in 1991, and upgraded in 2006 to her present hydrid appearance. I am not so sure how successful the wheelhouse and funnel are, but she still shows some nice features in the hull.

She arrived in Halifax from Boston, with previous ports of call listed as New York, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Key West, Tampa and Galveston (March 23.)

Remarkably, she still has a sister ship, Princess Daphne (built as Port Sydney) also still sailing. It was also built in 1955, but by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson at Wallsend on Tyne.

The ship remained in port overnight and passengers enjoyed a rainy and windy Sunday in Halifax. In fact the wind kicked up such swells in Halifax that linesmen stood by the ship, and she may even have parted a line during the worst of it. She is schedule to sail late Sunday, conditions permitting.

There are several potted histories on line, and some fine photos of the ship as built:

Federal Progress - long time no see

1. A skiff of snow pellets in the air, gives a hazy look to Federal Progess, taking bunkers from Algoma Dartmouth at noon today.
2. It was a little clearer earlier this morning.

3. December 22, 2001, the same ship in different colours.

4. Obviously not the same ship, October 20, 1969 at pier 36. Read down and see the connection.

The gearless bulker Federal Progress put in for bunkers today - not an unusual event in the last few weeks, when we have seen a steady stream of bulkers for the same reason. The ship however has not been in Halifax for a few years, but was once a very regular visitor.

As Northern Progress, she was one of three ships owned by Alcan, and built in 1989 by Nippon Kokan KK in Japan, to carry alumina to the smelters in Quebec. They were built to Lloyd's Ice class 1A so that they could reach La Baie (formerly Port Alfred) on the Saguenay River year round. The port had previously seen only very limited winter traffic, and thus required huge stockpiles of ore to keep running for the winter.

The ships called in Halifax on most trips and usually sailed from here to Brazil or Jamaica.

In 2001 Alcan made the decision to sell their ships, and to charter them back to carry on with the same work, as they were so specialized. On January 25, 2002 this ship arrived in Halifax as Northern Progress and on January 29 sailed as Federal Progress. In the interim she spent an overnighter in the Novadock for a pre-purchase survey, followed immediately by sister ship Northern Venture, which became Federal Venture as a part of the same deal. (The third Alcan ship, Northern Enterprise, became Lowlands Saguenay.) The newly renamed ship sailed for Camsar, Guinea for the next load.

The distinctive Alcan funnel marking is now gone from the high seas, and of course as Rio Tinto took over, even the tugs in La Baie got the very business like Rio Tinto-Alcan wordmark.

Alcan had been in the shipping business for many years, and following World War II operated Saguenay Terminals, a major shipping operation that carried general freight and passengers between Canada and the Caribbean and South America. Halifax was a major port of call (especially in winter, when they did not attempt to navigate in the ice) and there were often two in at a time. The ships were a distinctive green colour, and their names were prefixed with "Sun". They were among the first ships with large banner lettering on their sides, proclaiming ownership and had aluminum painted funnel bands.

At first most of the ships were Canadian built and Canadian flagged. Over time Saguenay chartered in foreign ships. Some of the ships were also fitted to bring back bauxite in bulk , but others brought back general cargo including perishables. With the advent of containers, those activities wound down, and Saguenay Terminals ceased operations in the 1990s. Therefore the three bulk carriers were the last Alcan owned ships.

So today's arrival was significant, due to its links with a long gone era. Typical of that era was Sunpolynesia, a 8,970 gross tons general cargo vessel, built in 1957 at Eriksberg MV A/B in Gothenburg, Sweden for Einar Rassmussen of Norway, for a long term charter to Saguenay Terminals. It sailed for Saguenay until 1971 and carried the names Stella, and Alkmini A until broken up at Gadani Beach in 1984. She is shown tied up at pier 36 (Saguenay later used pier 9 extensively.) The pier is now within the Halterm container terminal area, and the sheds are long gone. Something rarely seen anymore, is a man working overside. October is a little late for painting, so he may be doing some sort of repair.


Friday, April 15, 2011

First grain from the Lakes

Atlantic Huron once again arrived with the first load of grain from the Great Lakes.

The ship was in winter layup at Quebec City, but went down river first to Sept-Iles for a load of iron ore. On March 31 it was upbound on the Seaway for Toledo, OH to discharge the iron ore. It then headed up light ship to Thunder Bay to load grain, passing through the Soo Locks upbound April 4 and downbound April 7. It was again downbound through the Seaway on April 11.

Built in 1984 at Collingwood as a gearless bulk carrier, it was first named Prairie Harvest. In

1989 it was converted to a self-unloader at Port Weller DD and renamed Atlantic Huron. From 1990 to 1992 it was registered in the Bahamas and worked internationally, but still calling in Halifax for gypsum. In 1994 it was renamed Melvin H.Baker II and worked on a contract for National Gypsum, mostly from Halifax. By 1997 it returned to the Canadian flag and reassumed the Atlantic Huron name. During 1997 it was temporarily fitted with equipment to carry magnetite slurry for ballasting the Hibernia gravity base. On completion of this work the equipment was removed, and the ship returned to its usual trades.

In December of 2000 it arrived at Halifax Shipyard to start a multi-year rebuild program. The work included extensive bottom replacement and bow repairs. Over the winter of 2002-2003 the work was completed at Port Weller DD, which involved new mid-body steel, which widened the ship from its original 75 foot width to the new Seaway maximum width of 78'-1".

Despite rumours of a sale in 2009, the ship remains in service, and like most Lakes ships lays up for three months or so during the winter. During that time the ship is not entirely idle, but is usually the scene of considerable maintenance activity.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Unusual Ship for Halifax

1. Genco Pioneer at anchor in Bedford Basin [added 2011-04-15]
2. Arriving Halifax 2011-04-11.

Grab fitted log bulk carriers are rare sights in Halifax! Therefore yesterday morning's arrival of Genco Pioneer was a bit unusual. The Handysize vessel of 29,952 deadweight tonnes was built in 1999 and measures 18,036 gross tons. It is owned by the New York based Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd (an NYSE listed company of some 59 ships.) Nevertheless it is flagged in Hong Kong, managed by Wallem Ship Management of Hong Kong, and operates under the umbrella of the Danish JL Lauritzen company.

I suspect that the ship has a mechanical problem, since its arrival was very slow, and the tug Atlantic Willow took up a stern escort position for transiting the Narrows. It will anchor in Bedford Basin. There also appeared to be a boat load of technicians or inspectors waiting to board.

The ship is clearly in ballast, and was last reported heading for Teneriffe. The ship is fitted with large stanchions on deck to restrain deck loads of logs, a type of cargo more usually loaded on the west coast of North America.

For pictures of her at anchor in the Basin - see Cap'n Ken's blog - link on the left of this page under "My Faves".


Return of the Louis

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent returned to her old home port today for refit. The ship was transferred from Halifax to Argentia, but can only be drydocked in Halifax, so she has returned following her winter season in the St.Lawrence River and Gulf.

Canada's largest icebreaker still makes an impression anywhere she goes.

She will go to the Department of Fisheries & Oceans pier at the Bedford Institute to de-store, before heading to the shipyard for regular maintenance.

Originally commissioned in 1969, the ship was given a reprieve in 2000 when the Polar 8 icebreaker project was cancelled. She was then refitted to extend her service life to 2017 or thereabouts. Her replacement, to be named CCGS John G. Diefenbaker, is still in the design stage. Construction is supposed to begin in 2013 with completion by 2017.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Quiet Weekend

1. OOCL Oakland sails Sunday, showing some signs of winter wear and tear. Atlantic Fir is stern escort.
2. OOCL Kaohsiung dwarfs Rotterdam Express at the dock. The extreme with of the OOCL ship prevents her from passing through the present Panama Canal, but helps to account for her much greater carrying capacity. She also stacks boxes much higher on deck.

It was a quiet weekend containershipwise, with activity concentrated at Cerescorp's Fairview Cove terminal.

On Saturday OOCL Kaohsiung and Rotterdam Express shared the terminal and on Sunday OOCL Oakland had it all to itself.

OOCL Kaohsiung and OOCL Oakland are sisters, of a class of 11 ships built betwween 2003 and 2008 by Koyo Dockyard in Mihara, Japan. They are post-Panamax ships of 5888 TEU. Both are Japanese owned, but by different owners. OOCL Kaohsiung has the distinction of being named after a Taiwanese port, but registered in Hong Kong. OOCL Oakland is registered in Panama.

Rotterdam Express has a much smaller capacity at 4890 TEU, and due to its width can pass through the current Panama Canal.

This distinction will be lost next year when the enlarged Panama Canal begins operation.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Holiday Island - back for more

1. Holiday Island waits patiently at the Machine Ship wharf for her turn in the Novadock. (April 3 photo)

Among the surprises in the last few weeks has been the return of the ferry Holiday Island. She was in a for a big refit last fall, and had to return to port for a few days, but finally made it back to Caribou for winter layup date in December.

It transpires that there was additional work to do on her propulsion units, and so she is back.

I need to update some of the info in my post of last month. Apparently due to her more economical operation, Holiday Island is really the work horse of the Northumberland Ferries Ltd (NFL) fleet. She usually opens the season, and works through until late in the season. Her fleet mate Confederation then only operates during peak season, and late in the year when her enclosed car decks are more comfortable.

It is hoped that Holiday Island will be ready for service for the May 1 start-up. If not Confederation will have to be used.

Holiday Island returned to Halifax April 1, but the need to re-drydock Leif Ericson meant that she did not get onto the drydock until Friday (April 8.)

More bauxite

Another bauxite bulker in for bunkers today. Arnica, Liberian flag, is owned an operated from Odessa, Ukraine. It is a 31,759gross/56,106 dwt ship, built in 2010.

This one however is bound for Sept-Iles, Quebec where Aluminerie Alouette has a massive smelter operation. She is typical of the bulker in this trade, with four cranes and grab buckets.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hapag-Lloyd in play

TUI, the parent company of Hapag-Lloyd has been trying to unload its 49.8% interest, while the Albert Ballin Group (Kuehne & Nagel) has been trying to sell its 50.2% in the container line.

Meanwhile it was announced this week that Onyx, an arm of the Oman Investment Fund has acquired 15% of Hapag-Lloyd, and a Chinese firm is interested in another 10% or so.

Just whose shares they are actually buying is not clear, but it seems that they are buying TUI's shares. TUI will then use the proceeds to buy Ballin's shares. Sounds complicated?

Hapag is the biggest container customer of the port of Halifax, on its own and through its tie ins to ACL, OOCL, etc., on shared services. Therefore its well being (and its ability to invest in newer ships) should be of major interest.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Leif blowing

Leif Ericson finally got under way today. After a brief return to drydock following her refit, she was assisted out of the Novadock this morning by Atlantic Oak and put out to sea - destination North Sydney. But not before a compass adjust in number one anchorage.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Outbound bulkers

Two bulkers sailed today, reflecting the different types of vessel in this trade. First to sail was the Danish Nordkap 40,066 gross, 77,229 deadweight, built 2002. A sister to Nordpol (see: a Kamsarmax bauxite carrier under charter to Rio Tinto-Alcan. It is fitted with cranes and clamshell buckets. The time it takes to unload this ship is considerable, but in view of the distance from the point of orgin of the cargo (Africa or South America) it is more economical to use a conventional bulk carrier. The ship was in port for bunkers, and anchored in Bedford Basin, and sailed at noon time. The second was the familiar Ambassador 24,094 gross tons, 37, 263 deadweight tonnes, built in 1983. It is a Seaway size self-unloader. Owned by Marbulk Canada Inc (50% Algoma, 50% CSL) it flies the flag of Vanuatu and works in the CSL International pool of self-unloaders. It is a regular here for gypsum. In view of the relatively short hops that it makes between ports, it makes sense to be able to unload rapidly and make more trips in a given period of time. Ambassador seems to have taken up the role of Georgia S., but it is a more versatile ship. It can carry a variety of cargoes including coal and stone and due to is slewing boom that can stretch out over a wide arc it can deposit cargo in most ports. .

Moscow University, end of spring break

After hanging around off Halifax for three weeks the tanker Moscow University finally tied up at Imperial Oil today. Initial delays were probably due to refinery issues regarding processing of this ship's particular cargo. During that time it had to put back to sea at least once due to severe weather. The rest of the time it remained at anchor off Chebucto Head. It appeared to be on the horizon from Halifax.

Then there were weather delays. The ship was supposed to come in yesterday, but visibility was below the 1/2 mile that Imperial Oil requires for such ships.

So finally it is alongside.

As the name suggests, the ship is owned by Russian interests, and managed by Unicom, their large Cyprus based operating entity. Nevertheless the ship is registered in Liberia. It was built in 1999 and is listed as 56,076 gross tons and 106,474 deadweight tonnes, placing it in the average size range for crude carriers calling in Halifax.

In the photo its escort tug has been released from its position astern and two tugs are pushing it against the dock as the final lines are secured.


Fairlane to the next job

Ater unloading the tug Fjord Éternité in Bedford Basin at noon time April 5 (see Tugfax), Fairlane moved on to pier 27 to load locomotives.

The temporary crib for the tug can be seen on deck.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Fairlane heavy lift

1. Fairlane sails up the harbour, with her unusual deckload.
2. Heading into the Basin, the yellow ballast pontoons, and the lifting spreaders are visible on deck.

3. At dusk, one spreader has already been rigged, while the stern crane has lowered the pontoons into the water.

The Dutch heavy lifter Fairlane arrived today carrying the tug Fjord Éternité on deck. Sailing out of Svenborg, Denmark, March 23, where the tug had been stationed, the ship made a good crossing, It was originally due April 2, but likely slowed down to avoid a passing storm late last week.

Fairlane and sister Jumbo Vision are the two members of the H 800 class of versatile heavy lifters operated by Jumbo Shipping BV. See more on their web site:

With two 400 tonne capacity cranes, the ship has a combined lifting capacity of 800 tonnes, and can make short work of a tug! Built in 2001 in Turkey, the ship measures 7971 gross tons and 7051 deadweight tonnes. It is specially strengthened for heavy cargoes, and can be grounded.

The ship sailed up in to Bedford Basin and anchored, and by dusk the forward spreader had already been rigged and some of the securing lines had been slacked off. The large yellow ballast pontoons on its after deck had been lowered into the water using slots in the ship's hull. When partially filled with water, the pontoons act as external ballast counterweights when lifting.

Once the tug is off loaded (see more on Tugfax) the ship will shift to pier 31 to load locomotives for export to Europe.