Sunday, March 31, 2013

HMCS Toronto and Atlantik Confidence

On March 31, the Halifax based frigate HMCS Toronto seized a boat load of heroin in the Indian Ocean. Since January the ship has been part of Task Force 150, an international anti-terrorism patrol on The Indian Ocean, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The heroin, weighing 500 kg, and valued at over $100mn on the street, would have been used to fund terrorism activities according to official sources.

1. Inbound, HMCS Toronto has run the dynamic sound range off York Redoubt, and is coming in to the harbour to turn for another pass in December 2012.
2. HMCS Toronto makes a sharp turn south of George's Island for another sound range run.

Meanwhile, off Oman, the bulk carrier Atlantik Confidence suffered an engine room fire on March 30. USS Nicholas (FFG-47) was tasked to respond and flew off a helo. Once on scene it found the crew (all from Turkey) had safely abandoned ship and were picked up later by the Turkish tanker YM Pluto. Nicholas sailed out of Norfolk VA, also in January, and has been on anti-piracy patrol off the Horn of Africa in the NATO Standing Group 1.
Atlantik Confidence was in Halifax November 24, 2012 to change flag and take bunkers.
The ship is now reported to be in a sinking condition. There are suggestions of irregularity in the incident. Photos show the ship down by the stern, but with no smoke or flames.  Reports also state that the ship is now registered in Liberia. There has been no news about possible salvage.

Busy anchorages

Anchorage space is rarely at a premium in Halifax, but with two large tankers at anchor in the lower harbour, it was  necessary for an autocarrier to anchor in Bedford Basin.
1. Familiar Halifax caller Jasmine Knutsen anchored north of George's Island.

First in was the Canadian shuttle tanker Jasmine Knustsen, arriving yesterday for a couple of days maintenance. The 80,918 gross/ 148,644 deadweight tonnes ship is anchored north of George's Island, leaving space for only a small ship in the northernmost anchorage.

2. Fully laden Princimar Integrity anchored south of George's Island.

Meanwhile at number one anchorage, reserved for short term and deep draught visitors, the full laden crude oil tanker Princimar Integrity is awaiting Canadian Food Inspection Agency clearance for Asian gypsy moth before she moves into Imperial Oil to discharge. The Suezmax tanker is a 2012 product of Samsung's Koje shipyard in South Korea. At 81,326 gross/ 158, 529 deadweight, she is comparable in size to Jasmine Knutsen but lacks all the bow loading gear of a shuttle tanker. The ship operates in the Stena Sonangol Suezmax pool of tankers, managed out of Houston TX. Ownership resides with Principal Maritime an operating arm of Apollo group, based in Southport, CT. Interestingly the ship is managed by Bernard Schulte Ship Management, based in that iconic British seaport of South Shields. Once the home of numerous British builders and shipping companies, it was also the home of many seafarers, until the collapse of the British shipping industry in the 1970s.Despite all this the ship flies the flag of the Marshal Islands, a favourite offshore register for American controlled tankers.

3. Autocarrier Höegh Masan anchored off the Rockingham railway yards in Bedford Basin.

Forced to go north to Bedford Basin the autocarrier Höegh Masan, is also awaiting CFIA  clearance before heading to Autoport to unload. Although bearing the name of the Norwegian shipowner Leif Höegh, the ship is managed by the Danish AP Moller-Maersk group of companies and flies the flag of Singapore. Built in 1998 it has a capacity of 4300 ceu (European cars) with a gross tonnage of 44,219. After leaving Halifax the ship will travel to New York, Baltimore, Jacksonville Galveston, then the West Africa ports of Lagos, Cotonou, Tema and Sagunto. These secondary routes are served the smaller and older members of the autocarrier fleets.

4. Fairview Cove using its three large cranes to work OOCL Oakland

Despite the fact of Easter Sunday both container piers were also working ships. Halterm had Zim Colombo (see Halifax Shipping News for more on her visit) and Fairview Cove has OOCL Oakland, a post Panamax ship.
With the big ships in the lower anchorages, OOCL Oakland passed west of George's Island outbound, giving a rare chance for a closeup photo.
5. Skimming the shore outbound west of George's Island.

6. Crew members stow mooring lines forward. Symbols for two bow thrusters and a bulbous bow decorate the hull.

7. The pilot door stands open ready to disembark the pilot.

8. Chebucto Pilot paces the ship, but will soon move out ahead.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Naval Gazing

A walk out on the Angus L. Macdonald bridge on Thursday allowed for a good look down on part of HMC Dockyard.
First in view was CNAV Firebird, apparently fresh from its refit in Shelburne and looking quite sharp.

 It has not returned to service yet, and harbour safety patrols are being conducted by Glen and Ville class tugs. The safety patrols include several trips per day to the Defence Research and Development Corp barge in Bedford Basin.

Next up was HMCS Halifax still in the midst of its FELEX upgrades, and due to re-enter service in 2014.

Speaking of the harbour tugs, we here that Granville found the bottom in Eastern Passage the other day. There was no sign of any activity on it from the bridge.

Also absent was the Glen tug Glenevis - perhaps gone off for a refit.

This morning harbour tugs moved HMCS Montreal from the Graving Dock to the Machine Ship wharf at Halifax Shipyard. Since Halifax left the yard, Irving Shipbuilding has erected a number of buildings in the area, including a three story complex at the south end of the Machine Shop Wharf.

With no shipboard power on Montreal all lines had to be hauled by hand. A cheerful group of workers on the bow struggled long and hard with the head lines to secure the ship.

Chebucto Pilot back to work

1. Chebucto Pilot makes a slow speed start on its run out to the pilot station this afternoon.. 

2. Once abeam of George's Island it digs in to stay well ahead of the autocarrier Paradise Ace.

Since the arrival in Halifax of the new pilot boat Captain A.G.Soppitt in January, the Halifax sister Chebucto Pilot has not been doing much work, until today.
The Captain A.G.Soppitt is intended for eventual deployment to Saint John, NB, but has obviously been undergoing its break in period here, closer to the Abco shipyard in Lunenburg, where it was built. I imagine this has given the Atlantic Pilotage Autority the chance to make some adjustments to Chebucto Pilot too - perhaps in coordination with the shipyard.
The third boat, A.P.A.No.1 has been operating as back up.
3. Sister boat Captain A.G.Soppitt moves along smartly to catch up to a departing ship on Thursday. It will eventually be stationed in Saint John, NB.

Dara Desgagnés makes it into drydock.

1. Dara enters the Novadock this morning.

As reported Dara Desgagnés arrived Thursday with steering problems. The ship entered the Novadock, but was soon back out in the harbour at anchor. It spent yesterday at the Woodside dock with pumping trucks alongside. My conclusion is that she had bilge or other tank sludge that needed to be removed in order to be gas free or for hot work.
This morning, early, she moved back into the Novadock and was soon high and dry. 
2. The ship spent yesterday at the Woodside pier. Judging by the quality of her paint work, she must have been in drydock quite recently.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Paradise Ace for Autoport

 1. Tugs have guided the ship round Ives Knoll and are passing Indian Point headed into Eastern Passage.
Business is once again picking up at Autoport after a lull early in the year. Today's arrival of Paradise Ace during daylight hours allowed for a rare chance to get photos of the ship actually arriving.
Built in 2004 by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Kobe, Japan, the ship is one of a dozen or so sister ships of the same class, measuring 60,175 gross tons with a capacity of 6400 cars.
It is part of the 100 strong Mitsui OSK Line car carrier fleet.(Mitsui operates more than 800 ships altogether.) As pioneers in the pure car carrier business they account for something more than 20% of all car shipments world wide.
It appears that Autoport is expanding on the land side, since a huge swath of land has been cleared behind the current car storage areas.
2. As the ship turns off the McAsphalt (formerly Dook's) dock, the tug Roseway stands by to take headlines to two mooring buoys. This is one of only two berths in Halifax to use line boats (the other is Nova Scotia Power in Tuft's Cove.)

With today a statutory holiday (Good Friday) the ship did not start working cargo immediately. It will unload tomorrow and sail in the evening.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Miscellaneous news:

Abco delivers for CCG again

Abco of Lunenburg has produced another small vessel for the Minisiter of Fisheries and Oceans. This time it is the S.Dudka, a 31 gross ton workboat, powered by two jet drives, and capable of 26 knots. The new boat was registered On May 25.

Desgagnés' long awaited ship en route

Bella Desgagnés left the Palumbo Shipyard in Naples on March 22 headed for Canada. The new cargo passenger ship was under construction in Croatia when the shipyard went out of business. The ship was moved to Italy where Palumbo completed all the outstanding work in record time to meeet this year's shipping season. Bella Desgagnés is two years late as it is due to delays in the Croatian yard.
The ship is designed to service the Quebec lower North Shore workin g out of Rimouski. More detail to follow when the ship is delivered. As of today it is between Gibraltar and the Azores.

Hapag-Lloyd / Hamburg Süd merger is off

Merger talks between tow German container firms have been called off at the request of Hamburg-Süd. This came after Hapag-Lloyd's latest financials reveal continued losses. The Oetker family, who control Hamburg-Süd state that they could not agree to terms for the merger.

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent - two updates

1.   The Louis' annual refit will take place May 8 to June 19 according to the Merx Canada public tenders website. There will be an viewing of the ship scheduled for April 11 - where else but in Argentia, NL, the ship' remote and political homeport.. Of course the ship will likely come back to Halifax for the refit  (oh and by the way the ship is in Halifax now.) I wish someone from the Harper Government would admit that transferring the Louis to Argentia has not saved a dime.

2.  Mystery solved? The infamous starboard side crease may well have been incurred during the Louis' most famous moment -the one that should give the ship a place in history. Wonder what that moment was? Stay tuned.

Dara Desgagnés limps into port

1. Tug Atlantic Willow took up a stern tethered escort position off George's Island, and assisted all the way into the Novadock.

The coastal tanker Dara Desgagnés arrived in Halifax this morning at reduced speed and went directly into the Novadock floating drydock at Halifax Shipyard. Earlier in the week the ship had attempted to leave its berth at Sandy Beach (Gaspé harbour) in ballast and in heavy ice. As a result it damaged its steering system and went back alongside. It was later released by CCGS Terry Fox and proceeded directly to Halifax for repairs.
The ship was built in 1992 for Rigel Chem Elbe Ltd by MTW Schiffswerft GmbH in Wismar, Germany as Elbestern and came to Halifax November 13, 1993 (after a visit to the Great Lakes) and was reflagged to Canada and renamed Diamond Star and registered in Halifax.
It continued to sail for Rigel's Canadian operation, eventually under long term charter to Petro-Nav to carry Ultramar products from their refinery in St-Romauld, opposite Quebec City.
2. As the ship passes HMC Dockyard, its ice breaking bow stands out, the ship is carrying minimum ballast so that it can enter drydock.

In 2010 it was bought outright (along with its two sisters) by Groupe Desgagnés, the parent company of Petro-Nav, and was renamed Dara Desgagnés. It is heavily built for work in ice, and it is surprising that it would acquire this type of damage. 
3. The ship is fitted with an ice knife over its rudder, which deflects ice, but only when the rudder is submerged and in the centre line position. 
4. A photo taken through some security netting on the underside of the Macdonald bridge, shows that the rudder is off centre several degrees- jammed by the ice. 

Post Script:
After a very short time in the dock, Dara Desgagnés moved (or was moved) to anchor. It will go on the dock again tomorrow morning. 

Four Turandot - colourful bulker bound for Sept-Iles

Another ship for Sept-Iles arrived today - for a CFIA asian gypsy moth inspection. It did not take bunkers, and sailed within a few hours.
Built in 2012 by SPP Shipbuilding Co Ltd's Tongjoung Shipyard in South Korea, it is a typical handysize bulker of 23,456 gross tons and 33,428 deadweight. It is fitted with four 35 tonne cranes with grabs to permit self loading and unloading.The ship is operated by Four Handy Ltd of England, which is an offshoot of the Italian Premuda Group of Genoa.

It is interesting to trace some of the ship's recent movements: In May 2012 it was in Kwinana, Western Australia, and in August in Fiji and Zhangjianang, China, in October in Ghent Belgium and Silvertown (sugar port for London) and in February of this year in Long Beach, California.  Its last "port" was the Atlantic anchorages of the Panama Canal.
Since the ship is loaded and bound for Sept-Iles, it is likely carrying alumina or bauxite for the Alouette aluminum smelter.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent - bloody but (not) unbowed returns

CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent returned to Halifax today, looking battered but not beaten. At first heading for the BIO dock, it was not until they were in visual range that they discovered that there was no berth for the ship. They went out into Bedford Basin, possibly to anchor but then headed to the old Coast Guard Base.
The hasty repairs conducted earlier this month after colliding with Maple Lea in Gulf ice are still very much evident, and look temporary. After her repair stint in Halifax February 27 to March 14 the ship returned to the Gulf and assisted the tanker Acadian into Charlottetown March 16-17.
1. The Louis heads inbound, showing her "good" side.
2. After turning in the Basin she heads for the old CG base, showing her bruises. That is CCGS Hudson in the background, at the berth that Louis wanted.
3. There were temporary repairs to part of the ship's rail, anchor pocket, and and prime painted plate area. Other areas of the rail and hull were not repaired after her recent accident.

Although the CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent was launched in December 1966 and commissioned in 1967, her bow is much newer. The bow was completely replaced during the ship's major 1987-1993 refit at Halifax Shipyards.
4. The new bow was in place and newly painted early in 1993.
5. In a view of the new bow from the bridge later in 1993, CCGS Terry Fox, Sir William Alexander, Provo Wallis and Tupper look like toys.

I still have not received any reports on how the infamous crease occurred on the Louis's port  starboard side from aft of midships.
6. The "crease" has been there since before the 1987-93 refit.

Monday, March 25, 2013

New ferry on the horizon

On Tuesday night's meeting, Halifax Regional Municipality Council will be asked to award a tender for a fourth harbour ferry. To supplement the Woodside route, proving more peak hour crossings, and for additional back-up during refits, the new boat will be an update of the current design. That design is owned by the HRM jointly with the original designers, E.Y.E. Marine Consultants Ltd.
The design of the ferries (along with the pontoon docks at the terminals) was developed for the construction of the original pair, Halifax III and Dartmouth III  built in 1978 by Ferguson Industries Ltd of Pictou, NS. The third ferry, Woodside I, to essentially the same design, was built by the successor company Pictou Industries Ltd in 1986.

Although there was interest shown by other builders, there was only one bid for the new ferry, and it was submitted by A.F.Thériault & Son Ltd of Metéghan, NS for $4,158,299.96 (net HST included) [the HRM gets some rebate on the full HST].

At last week's Council meeting there was a contract award of $59, 255.29 (net HST included) to Voith Turbo GmbH for propulsion parts for the autumn 2013 refit of Halifax III. Despite high initial cost the Voith propulsion systems allow the ferries to crab in alongside their docks and have proven to be ideal for the type of work the ferries do.

Now all we have to worry about is the choice of names. That should take up a big chunk of some future Council meeting. So in the interest of effective Council time management,  here are the choices in order of preference:
  1. Chebucto III  (there have been two previous ferries named Chebucto - built in 1878 and 1897)
  2. Scotian II (the previous Scotian was built in 1946) 
Names NOT to call it:
  1. Woodside II 
  2. Eileen Stubbs, or any other living or dead politician 

Environmental Dredging starts at pier 6

Environmental dredging got underway this morning at pier 6. The work is related to the Halifax Shipyard's major expansion which will allow it to build ships under the new National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
The site was ground zero of the Halifax Explosion in 1917 and until 2008 the location of a major sewage outfall, not to mention more than a century of industrial activity. As might be expected the bottom is strewn with debris, and sludge containing heavy metals and other contaminants.
The dredge Cranemaster will dump the spoil into sealed scows HD6 and HD7 that will be unloaded at the landing on the right in the photo above.The spoil will then be cleansed using a sophisticated process operated by Clean Earth Technologies. See
Once the area is dredged to the required depth a series of concrete cribs will extend the face of pier 6 well out into the stream. The area will be filled and surfaced as a roll out area for the new ships.
Tugs Swellmaster and Atlantic Tamarack will attend the dredge and wrangle the scows.
Low tide - time for clams. These veteran dredge clam buckets are being stored at the shore line until they are needed or scrapped. (2012-03-23 photo)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Constable Carrière, like a duck to water

The fourth in a series of nine Canadian Coast Guard Hero class patrol vessels, Constable Carrière, took to the water today in a controlled launch at Halifax Shipyard. There was no ceremony, so shipyard workers released the launching cradle, and with a heavily ballasted truck as counterweight, allowed the ship to move down the launch ways. When it reached the edge of the harbour a riding crew boarded the new ship and it was then launched into its element.

 1. As it neared the water's edge, the launch cradle stopped for a few minutes to allow a riding crew to board.
2. As workers look on from shore, the ship touches water for the first time.

Once the launch cradle was let go, the tugs Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Larch shepherded the new craft to pier 9B.The new ship, was rolled out of the assembly hall on January 4.

3. With tugs fore and aft, Constable Carrière approaches pier 9 B where it will undergo final fit out and trials.

C-E Alliance - big bulker for CFIA inspection

If there was any doubt that ships travel the world in the course of their work, the recent spate of arrivals for Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspections should put that to rest.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for inspections to combat the spread of the Asian Gypsy Moth from its home habitat of Japan, Korea and eastern Russia. Both Canada and the US have set rigid rules for ships that have visited those areas in the last two years. They must report to authorities 96 hours before arrival in our waters, and if they do not have inspection certificates in order they must then be inspected before going on to their port of call.
See CFIA's site for more detail:
C-E Alliance is the latest ship to arrive in Halifax for an inspection.The ship, en route from Rotterdam to Port Cartier, QC to load iron ore must have been in one of those gypsy moth countries within the last two years. The 87,363 gross tons, 172,499 deadweight tonnes bulker is operated by Maritime Trust Ltd of Athens, Greece and registered in Malta. It was built in 2001 by Nippon Kokan's Tsu yard as Unique Alliance and acquired its current name in 2006.
As an iron ore carrier it has very likely been to China or South Korea to deliver its cargoes. 

The ship is termed a Capesize vessel because it is too deep and too wide to transit the Suez Canal (and the Panama Canal) and therefore must round either the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn to reach its destinations.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Constable Carrière - prep for launch tomorrow

Halifax Shipyards moved the Constable Carrière onto the turntable this morning and lined it up for tomorrow's 1600 scheduled launch.
Once safely launched it will be moved to pier 9B for final fit out.

IT Intrepid back from cable repair

 1. IT Intrepid turns in the Narrows in a stiff breeze.

 IT Telecom's IT Intrepid returned this afternoon from a cable repair job off Rose Blanche, NL. See previous post:

2. Once the ship had lined up for its berth it crabbed sidewise using its thrusters to get alongside.