Saturday, March 31, 2012

Stellanova sails

1. Stellanova puts out to sea this afternoon with a load of export locomotives.

2. Crew members prepare to reload a pontoon type hatch cover, used to stabilize the ship when performing heavy lifts.

Stellanova sailed this afternoon after completing its load of export locomotives for Brazil. As stated in the previous post, these may be the last locomotives to be shipped through Halifax for some time.


African Azalea - change of mind

The small bulker African Azalea arrived on Sunday March 25 to load food-aid grain. While berthing at pier 28 there was a change of orders and the ship backed out of the camber (with tug assistance) and instead backed in.

This change was likely brought about by the subsequent arrival of Stellanova at pier 27, which needed more room.

Loading was completed by Thursday and the ship sailed the evening of March 28.

Built way back in 1978 it is a very old ships by today's standards. It is one of a fleet of sister ships built between 1978 and 1980, with similar names, such as African Dahlia, African Evergreen and African Gardenia (which have all called in Halifax and are noted on this blog) and African Camellia, African Fern and African Begonia. They are all employed in food aid grain delivery and are Greek owned, flying the Liberian flag.

Built at Shimoda Dockyard in Japan, African Azalea measures a modest 6502 gross tons and 8986 deadweight.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dallas Express - another new name for Hapag-Lloyd

1. Dallas Express in the Narrows. The ship now has red antifouling paint at the bulbous bow and amidships, but still has the grey coloured paint for a portion of the hull forward and aft.

2. Atlantic Willow swings the ship by the stern to back down into the Fairvew Cove pier.

Dallas Express is the new name for the former Antwerpen Express, a regular caller since it was built in 2000. The ship was renamed last month as part of a re-jigging to free up names for new ships.

The ship was built by Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea, and was actually laid down as Tokyo Express, but never sailed under that name. It measures 54,437 gross tons and has a capacity of 4,890 TEU.

The regular renaming of ships is normal behaviour at H-L, and several ships names have been use two three or more times since H-L adopted the Express theme for container ships. In the pre-container age, the ships were named for German cities.

The ship arrived late this morning and berthed at Fairview Cove, with the tug Atlantic Willow as tethered escort, and berthing tug.


Monday, March 26, 2012

GSI Admiral - sold (old news)

1. GSI Admiral alongside at pier 23, showing the awkward hull sponsons added during her conversion for seismic work.

2. Returning from a wintry mission off Nova Scotia, her low profile would probably make a good sea boat.

3. The business end of a seismic ship is not its most attractive feature. The ramps allow for deployment and recovery of the streamers, and the housing contains streaming gear, reels for cable storage and other associated equipment.

Marcon International's February offshore survey reports the sale in October 2011 of the Canadian seismic researcher GSI Admiral to Singapore owners.

This interesting ship was originally built in 1976 as a trawler in Gdynia, Poland. Named Salmo, it sailed under the Swedish flag for Rederi AB Transatlantic. In 1979 it was sold to Geophysical Co of Norway (GECO) and converted for seismic work, upping its gross tonnage from 2300 to 2508. It became Geco Alpha. After another sale in 1995 it became Blue Sky I. In 1998 it was sold again and extensively rebuilt as Austral Horizon, measuring 3435 gross tons for Gulf Offshore NS Ltd [NS stood for North Sea, not Nova Scotia].

In 2001 Geophysical Service Canada Ltd bought the ship and it became GSI Admiral. It did find work in Canadian waters for a time, but in recent years it has been largely idle in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite owners objections, foreign ships were brought in to do seismic in Canadian waters. Some of this was apparently due to the sophisticated capabilities of the foreign ships.

GSI Admiral was capable of performing 3D seismic, towing four streamers.

Now renamed Focus Admiralty it flies the flag of Panama. Its Canadian registry was closed in September of 2011.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stellanova - end of an era?

1. Export locomotives for Brazil are lined up on pier 28 as Stellanova makes her approach, under the guidance of Atlantic Larch.

2. The ship is fitted with a 250 tonne derrick forward, and a 250 tonne crane on the port side midships.

The heavy lift ship Stellanova arrived at pier 28 today to load railway locomotives. The ship is fitted with one 250 tonne derrick and one 250 tonne crane, and will be able to load the locos with ease. The ship has made many trips to Canada since it was built in 1996, and locomotives are one of her regular cargoes. However, that may be at an end since Canada's remaining locomotive manufacturer, EMD (Electromotive Diesel) of London, ON, owned by Caterpillar, has announced that it will shut the factory and transfer the work to the US. Once part of General Motors, the factory has produced hundreds of locomotives for export and domestic use. The export units were often shipped through Halifax, although they have also been loaded out of Toronto and Montreal.

The current Stellanova is actually the third ship to carry the name for Jumboships.

3. The second Stellanova arrives in Halifax with a large pressure vessel on deck.

The second Stellanova was built in France in 1978 as Internavis II, of 4,962 gross tons. It was renamed Jumbo Stellatwo in 1982 when purchased by Jumbo, but renamed Stellanova when the previous ship was sold. It had a pair of 220 tonne derricks. Sold in 1995 it carried the names 95: Gajah Borneo, 01: Persey, 03: Kom, 03: Phenix, 04: Aspenos, 05: Lundeborg, 06: Nord Scan Mumbai. It was broken up in Alang, India in Bebruary 2011.

4. The first Stellanova loaded locomotives at pier 9, then moved to Purdy's wharf (a non-union dock, outside the jurisdiction of the ILA) so that the ship's crew could weld down brackets and complete lashings.

The first was a modest 1467 ton vessel with two 70 ton derricks. Built in 1968, it was sold in 1983 and renamed Ocean Hope. It is still trading in the Philippines.

Jumbo Shipping's parent, Kahn Shipping Ltd of the Netherlands, despite intense competition for heavy lift work, continues to be favoured for sensitive project cargoes, but we may see fewer of its ships if this is the end of the locomotive business.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

René Descartes

The cablle ship René Descartes put to sea this afternoon after a two and a half day stay in port to take on some cable and tranching gear.

The massive ship of 13,864 gross tons was built in 2002 by Hanjin Heavy Industries of South Korea. It departs from the traditional model of cable ship and works only over the stern. Like offshore suppliers its navigaiton bridge faces forward, but it also has a working bridge facing aft. It carries a large gantry to handle the trenching plows, ROVs and other equipment and the cable sheaves are kept well clear of the hull by means of a large stern overhang.

It is owned by France Telecom Orange, and operated by France Telecom Marine. Although registered in Marseilles, the ship has no dedicated base, but works world wide as needed.


Simon Bolivar gets underway

1. The navy tug Merrickville assists in swinging the stern of the Simon Bolivar as it clears the Cable Wharf. Tug Granville also assisted.

The Venezuelan navy training barque Simon Bolivar got underway for sea this morning in winds of more than 25 knots, gusting to 40 knots. These would be ideal conditions for open water sailing (despite cold temperatures) but there was no sail used in the confines of the harbour.

During the one week visit, the Bolivar was tied up at the Cable Wharf, and not within HMC Dockyard, but as a guest of the navy it was provided with naval tugs for departure.
Built in Bilbao, Spain in 1979, it is one of four similar vessels used by Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador. At 270 feet (length of hull) it carries 1650m2 of sail and displaces 1260 tonnes.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Wilfred Templeman, sold and renamed

The research trawler CCGS Wilfred Templeman has been sold and renamed. Built by Ferguson Industries Ltd in Pictou in 1981, it was one of two such vessels constructed for the Department of Fisheries & Oceans. Sister ship Alfred Needler is stationed at Bedford Institute in Halifax and Wilfred Templeman in St.John's.
When the Coast Guard was merged into DFO, the ships lost their grey hulls and went to CCG red, and added some other duties to their repertoires, such as search and rescue, when needed.
The Templeman was built to replace the A.T.Cameron (which often visited Halifax).

The Templeton lead a fairly uneventful career with DFO compared to its sister, and in fact was called in to BIO in 2003 following a serious fire on the Needler, and was brought back in 2007 when the Needler was in transitional refit. The Templeman never received a similar refit, and so its career has proven shorter.

Oddly however, its twin Alco/MLW engines were given a rebuild in 2009, and the ship was withdrawn from service with only 30 hours on the rebuild, in September 2009. [Those engines were originally troublesome and kept the ship out of service well in to 1982, and extended the service of the A.T.Cameron, which had been renamed 81-4 pending disposal].

By July of 2011, the Templeman had been renamed 2011-01 and was advertised for sale, with an asking price of $400,000. There were no takers for that price, and the sale was extended to September. The successful bidder was McKeil Work Boats Ltd of Hamilton, ON for $371,956.55.

The ship was registered on March 20, 2012 as Blain M, named for a member of the McKeil family.

Better known for their tug and barge work, McKeil have owned research ships in the past, and perhaps they see an opportunity for this one in Newfoundand or Nova Scotia waters. Or perhpas farther afield. Predeccesor A.T.Cameron when it was sold in 1984 became Arctic Ranger for Newfoundland owners and in 1992 became Arctic Discoverer for Caribbean treasure hunters.

Footnote: Dr. Wilfred Templeman was a distinguished marine biologist and when the ship was named, it was the first time that a DFO ship had been named for a living scientist.


HMCS Preserver returns from sea

1. The tug Glenevis stands by the Preserver as it returns to port this morning.

2. A rigid hull inflatable powers away from the ship as part of a personnel transfer.

3. Preserver veers to starboard, heading back out to sea.

HMCS Preserver returned from sea this morning (she sailed Tuesday). It was reported in the press that her commanding officer had been relieved of command a few weeks ago in relation to the incident last November when the ship struck the Novadock floating drydock while maneuvering in the harbour.

The ship was laid down at Saint John Dry Dock on October 17, 1967, launched May 29, 1969 and commissioned July 30, 1970. Long overdue for replacement, the ship has provided sterling service to the RCN including participation in the October 2001-April 2002 Arabian Gulf/Afghanistan war.

There is still no final decision on the design of Canada's new naval supply vessels, though it seems a modified German design is currently under consideration. Without some movement quite soon, the three to five year window for Preserver's future may be extended again - maybe she will reach fifty years in commission.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

HMCS Athabaskan - off to refit

A decidedly shabby HMCS Athabaskan sailed this afternoon for refit at the Seaway Marine & Industrial Inc [corrected -see comment] shipyard at St. Catharines (Port Weller) ON.

Although in need of a shave and a haircut, the ship will obviously be getting more than two bits worth of work. The $21.7mn contract is to be completed by autumn, so that the ship will be able to leave the Great Lakes before freeze-up closes the St.Lawrence Seaway.

Before sailing, local Dockyard forces removed obsolete radars and other weapon systems-giving the ship a very stripped down and bare look.

The St. Lawrence Seaway opens for business again this year on March 22, so Athabaskan will be arriving at Port Weller when the yard releases the ships it has worked on over the winter.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

America Express - another oddball for Hapag-Lloyd

Hapag-Lloyd is bringing in more and more chartered tonnage to Halifax [see Pusan ] and today's arrival is very different from the others.

Built in 2008 by the China Shipbuilding Corp in Kaoshiung, as Wan Hai 510, this ship was renamed last summer as America Express. It has not however been repainted or otherwise identified to Hapag-Lloyd, and still bears the owner's banner on its sides. There large white "W" on a blue funnel is still prominent.
The ship was formerly deployed on the owners' Far East Europe service.

With a capacity of 4,252 TEU it is line for size with other ships on its new Pacific Atlantic Express route.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

BBC Plata - two stop shopping

BBC Plata tied up at pier 9A this afternoon, displacing the bulker Atlantic Superior. BBC Plata will load a packed boiler unit at pier 9A and then move to pier 31 to load four more. The boilers arrived on rail cars, and apparently there was no space at pier 31 to accommodate the fifth rail car.

The pier 9C extension project, ongoing nearby will alleviate this situation by providing more room to handle such cargoes.

BBC Plata was built in 2005 (or 2004 according to her owners) as Asian Voyager by Jiangdong Shipyard in Wuhu, China. It flies the flag of Antigua and Barbuda, and is owned by the large Bockstiegel Reederei GmbH of Emden, Germany. It is classed as a multi-purpose ship, capable of carrying 665 TEU, bulk cargoes or heavy lifts and is fitted with two 120 tonne cranes. It is a ship of 9,618 gross tons and 12,780 deadweight. [It is hard to believe that it has greater capacity than a WWII Empire, Fort of Park ship]

The Bockstiegel company has an excellent website, with a fleet list and fleet position map (you will need to download Java for this.) [press the Union Flag for English]


Atlantic Superior - on the move, but not far

1. Atlantic Superior being turned in the Narrows by tugs as she gets away form pier 9A.

2. One of three locations on the port side where hull plating was cut out and welded back in. The white line was painted on before the cut as a guideline.

3. Taking up all available room in the Narrows.

Atlantic Superior moved from pier 9A to pier 25-26 this afternoon after several false starts yesterday (she was scheduled to move, but didn't) and earlier this morning.

The move was carried out entirely by tugs, as she was not using her main engine.

Her refit is apparently not complete, as there is some paint work needed where openings have been made in her hull. Men were also working on her self-unloading gear.

The move was hastened by the arrival of BBC Plata which tied up at pier 9A a few minutes later. [see following post]


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hoechst Express rolls in to Halifax

1. Hoechst Express rolling to port.

The German flagged container ship Hoechst Express was rolling noticeably as it arrived in Halifax this afternoon. If it was rolling this much within the harbour, it must have been pretty uncomfortable outside.

Built in 1991 by Samsung Shipbuilding & Heavy Industries Ltd in Koje, the 4,639 TEU ship has been a regular caller in Halifax for many years. It appeared to have a pretty full deck load, with a fine coating of frozen spray on top of the boxes. This would not be a significant factor in the ship's stability, so the rolling must be a normal habit.

At the extreme of the roll to the port side, the bottoms of the letters "p", "g" and "y" were just at the water line, when it rolled back to starboard, there was a couple of feet of black showing below them.

Hapag-Lloyd's parent TUI AG announced last month that it would be selling another 17.4% of the company to the group headed by Albert Ballin, bringing Ballin's total to 78%. The Ballin group is comprised of the State of Hamburg and other smaller investors and banks. An IPO was scrubbed last year due to uncertainty in the economy. TUI AG wants to concentrate on its travel company and to get out of shipping altogether.