Monday, November 30, 2015

CMA CGM moves

Halifax's "newest" container line is making some big moves.

The French company CMA CGM has opened up its Columbus Loop service to China Ocean Shipping Co (COSCO). The Asia-North America service called the Columbus Loop is already operated in cooperation with China Container Shipping Line (CSCL) and United Arab Shipping Co (UASC).

Due to over supply of ships and lack of volume all shipping lines are hurting these days, so this move is expected to help all parties by increasing the amount of cargo carried without adding ships, but maybe using bigger and more efficient ones.

In the background there is a move underway by the Chinese government to merge the two state owned shipping lines COSCO and CSCL. Minority (non-government) shareholders will try to block the merger, but it is likely inevitable. It would be the world's fourth largest container line, and would be a major shakeup, particularly in the Asia-US trade lane. (Last year China blocked the proposed P3 Alliance between Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM, which would have shared ships, but with all three lines remaining independent.) 

CMA CGM Don Pascuale in Halifax on Saturday with a CSCL and UASC containers. 

[CMA CGM Don Pascuale is owned by E.R. Schiffahrts of Hamburg and was built as E.R. Trieste in 2007. It measures 91,649 grt, 101,477 dwt, with a capacity of 8204 TEU (including 700 reefers).  It carried the names MSC Xian from 2007 to 2009, CMA CGM Don Pascuale 2009 to 2012, Don Pascuale 2012 to 2014 and then back to CMS CGM Don Pascuale.]

Meanwhile CMA CGM is in exclusive talks to take over NOL (a.k.a. Neptune Orient Line) the Singapore owners of APL (known previously as American President Line). This potential $1.9 bn deal is the biggest merger in shipping in some time. It could boost CMA CGM from third largest to second largest shipping line, edging ahead of MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Co).
APL is currently a member of the G6 Alliance with Hapag-Lloyd, which already calls here.What effect a CMA CGM takeover would mean is unknown, but on non-competing services it might be beneficial by adding CSCL traffic to the G6).

APL Oregon sails today on G-6 Alliance service.

[APL Oregon was built in 2010 by Koyo Dockyard in Mihara, Japan. It is a 71,78 grt, 72,912 dwt ship with a capacity of 6350 TEU (including 500 reefers)]
All this is happening with Maersk, the largest container line, retrenching by laying off employees, cancelling ship orders and delaying delivery of others.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hanze Goteborg - colour coordination in the harbour

There was good colour coordination today as the garishly painted Hanze Goteborg took fuel from the more sedately painted Algoma Dartmouth.

Built in 2013 by Qidong Daoda Marine in Qidong, China, the Seahorse 35 class handysize bulker Hanze Goteborg is owned by the Dutch investment house Hanzevast Capital NV of Hilversum, and is registered in the Netherlands. It measures 24,120 grt, 35,000 dwt and carries four 30.5 mt cranes with motorized grabs for cargo work.
The hull features a vertical stem and no bulbous bow and many other features for efficient and "green" operation:  SEAHORSE-35-Brochure

This ship specializes in carrying bulk food stuffs such as grains, and has been a magnet for ship photographers wherever it goes due to its distinctive appearance. There are lots of photos on line:
Google images and on a photo on Shipshots

Hanze Goteborg was in St.John's November 25- 26 arriving there from Bull Arm, but it was reported to have sailed from Savannah, GA November 11. There would seem to be no purpose for it to call in Newfoundland unless it had some damage and needed repair. On leaving Halifax this morning it did not give a destination on AIS, but was heading generally southward. That could mean it was taking a more southerly route toward Gibraltar or Europe.

The last time the ship made the news it was loaded with soybeans when it ran aground in Portsmouth, VA due to steering failure, February 25, 2014. It was freed by tugs with no damage.


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Desgagnés add two (finally)

Transport Maritime St-Laurent Inc (TMSL), a joint venture between Valéro, operators of the refinery in St-Romuald (Lévis) opposite Québec City, and Transport Desgagnés is finally able to put it latest two tankers into their inteneded operation, but a year later than planned.

On the strength of a scheme to reverse the direction of Enbridge pipeline number 9, allowing it to bring western Canadian crude oil to Montréal, TMSL acquired two large tankers in 2014. The sister ships would carry 350,000 bbls of Alberta crude per trip from Montréal to Lévis on a continuous shuttle basis, year round. Although the ships have a capacity of 500,000 bbls, they would be restricted to the smaller amount because of the depth of water on their intended route. 

The pipleine reversal was scheduled to operational in October 2014 but was delayed and is now expected to be running (at redcued capacity initially) in December.

In the meantime Desgagnés bareboat chartered the ships with the original managers running them internationally under the Barbados flag, bringing crude oil to Canada with the occasional Canadian coasting license, to keep the ships in operational condition (and presumably earning some money too.)
As foreign flag tankers they were also able to bring Alberta crude from the pipeline outlet in Nederaland, Texas back to Lévis or Montréal.

Now that the pipeline operation is in sight the first of the ships has been re-registered in Canada. Espada Desgagnés was first registered in Quebec April 28, 2014, but was immediately bareboat chartered to Terra Ltd with Northern Marine Management operating the ship with an international crew. Effective November 24, the ship is now Canadian again, and following crew orientation, will be ready when the oil begins to flow.

Espada Desgagnés on a coasting license heads for Diana Bay in the arctic, where it served as storage depot from July to September 2014. Smaller tankers transferred cargo from the bigger ship to service outports, saving them trips back south to reload.

In the meantime sister ship Laurentia Desgagnés has been granted a coasting license to operate in Canadian waters from December 2015 to January 2016 when its crew will be fully trained and ready. It is expected back under the Canadian flag in January.

Laurentia Desgagnés downbound on the St.Lawrence after delivering foreign crude oil to Montréal. The ship had a coasting license in December 2014 - January 2015 to carry crude oil from Lévis to Montréal - in reverse of its intended operation.

Both ships were built by Brodosplit in Croatia in 2007 and measure 42,810 grt. Espada Desgagnés was built as Stena Poseidon, and measures 74,927 dwt.
Laurentia Desgagnés was built as Neste Polaris and measures 74,927 dwt. On delivery it was renamed Palva under the Greek flag.  It was  first registered in Canada April 1, 2014 and similarly was immediately bareboat chartered with the same managers.

Desgagnés operates coastal tankers under the Pétro-Nav banner and serve the Valéro refinery delivering refined product around eastern Canada. Most of Valéro's retail operations still use the Ultramar trademark, but the company also sells its product to independents.

The Enbridge number 9 pipeline opened in 1976 from Sarnia, ON to Montréal and originally flowed eastbound. However in 1998 it was reversed to carry cheaper foreign crude westward. From 2013 to the present it has been reversed again in stages and its capacity increased from 240,000 bbl per day to 300,000 bbl per day (by injecting a Drag Reducing Agent) to bring western Canadian oil to supply the two refineries in Québec. Suncor will be fed directly from the pipeline. Until a pipeline is built (if ever) east from Montréal passing Québec City en route to Saint John, Valéro will have to rely on its shuttle tanker service.

Oil from Alberta runs in a network of pipelines across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, crossing into North Dakota south of Winnipeg. It then crosses Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin, then the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, passing over the Strait of Mackinac and roughly southbound until it reaches Port Huron where it crosses to Sarnia - a run of about 2,000 miles. It is then another 639 km (397 miles) to Montréal.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Roll on RoRos

Two autocarriers for Autoport today, and another tomorrow - that makes seven this week, not including Oceanex Sanderling. Who is buying all these cars?

Today's crop were a little out of the ordinary. First in was Paganella ex -CSAV Rio Illapel-14, built in 2009 by the Yangfan Group in Zhoushan, China. China has not been a big builder of autocarrier, so it is rare in that sense. It is also a member of the F. Laeisz fleet of Hamburg, the famous "Flying P" line of square rigger days, still going strong. All ships in the fleet have always had names beginning with the letter "P". In this case the ship is named after a ski mountain in Italy.

As tugs unberth Paganella at Autoport, Serenity Ace moves into the number one anchorage area to slide in when the way is clear.

Its place was taken by Serenity Ace dating from 2008, built by Stocznia Gydnia in Poland - also not a large builder of such ships. It is owned by Serenity Maritime Ltd.

Serenity Ace has a slightly different look with the sweeping hard chine from the bow. 


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Bahri Tabuk and its deck load

The multi-purpose Con-Ro Bahri Tabuk made another call in Halifax today. Since its first call just over two years ago, October 19, 2013, the ship and its five sisters have become familiar sights. Even so they are still impressive sights, particularly with their open deck loads of vehicles and other odd cargo.

RoRo cargo is also accommodated in protected decks within the ship, and that would include a dozen or so military LAV vehicles that it loaded here this morning.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bumper to Bumper at piers 27 and 28 and OOCL again - with an update

Squeezing two ships into piers 27 and 28 today meant one ship has it bow projecting out in to the harbour. That ship is Onego Pioneer with a load of rails from Poland for CN. It berthed stern inward permitting it to work its cargo and to leave room for Genco Ardennes to load grain at pier 28.[see Update below]

Onego Pioneer stern inward at pier 27.
Onego Pioneer has had an interesting career since it was built by Jingjiang Shipyard in China in 1999 as Atlantic Pionner for the beneficial ownership of Intership Navigation Co-op Ltd of Limassol, Cyprus. It is a multi-purpose ship of 12,993 grt and 17,451 dwt. It has removable tweendecks in its three holds and can carry 984 TEU, but it is more likely to carry general cargo handled by it pair of 40 tonne cranes.
In 2001 it was chartered to Seaboard Shipping and renamed Seaboard Pioneer, and in 2007 to Fednav and renamed Federal Pioneer, recalling the name of a previous Fednav ship. In 2001  it took up another charter as CCNI Tumbes until 2013 when it reverted to its original name Atlantic Pioneer. Earlier this year it began a charter to Onego Shipping and Chartering took the name Onego Pioneer.

The ship called here for bunkers in  2011 as Federal Pioneer.

Federal Pioneer's usual layup berth at Purdy's Wharf.

The original Federal Pioneer was a wartime built "Park Boat", Outremont Park, a product of Montreal Shipyard in 1944. A typical North Sands type Victory ship, it measured 7,158 grt and 10,697 dwt. It was powered by a triple expansion steam engine built by Dominion Engineering Works. Following service with the Canadian government owned Park Steamship Co in 1946 it was sold to Funress Canada and renamed Brazilian Prince. It went into service for Prince Line until 1958 when it was sold to Federal Commerce + Navigation Co Ltd [now known as Fednav] becoming Federal Pioneer.and transferred from British to Canadian registry in 1959. It worked on Northern Supply work every year until 1969 with occasional off season deep sea work, but also including the winter of 1960-61 spent in Toronto with a storage cargo of corn.
The ship was based in Halifax and as it aged it worked less and less and became a fixture on the waterfront during long layups from fall to summer.

Just out of drydock, the ship is tied up at the old dolphins which have now been removed and the area  filled in to become the new pier 8. The Tuft's Cove generating station of the Nova Scotia Light + Power Co has recently opened and only has one chimney. At the ship's bow is the former Volvo assembly plant.

After the 1970 northern supply trip it was sold to Taiwan breakers and arrived in Hsinkiang January 21, 1971 after a fueling stop in Honolulu. [I have been unable to locate Hsinkiang, but that is how the port is spelled in various reliable sources.]

Meanwhile at pier 28 Genco Ardennes was squeezed in later this morning to the point where no reasonable photos were possible. Maybe I will get to see it on departure.

Genco Ardennes began to take fuel the moment it was secured at pier 28.

The ship was built in 2009 by Yangzhou Dayang Shipyard in Yangzhou, China as Tabor and measures 32,837 grt, 57,790 dwt. In 20910 it was acquired by Genco Ship Management of New York, but is managed by Wallem Ship Management of Hong Kong.
Its grain cargo has been arriving by rail for some time and the elevator has been running overtime. 

Oops: the ship is loading 33,000 tonnes of wood pellets. The pellets are also handled through the grain elevator, and that is why the facility has been running overtime.

Whne the ship arrives at its destination it will use its own cranes and grabs to unload.

This afternoon's arrival was OOCL Southampton on the G6 service with Hapag-Lloyd and other partners. I missed the ship's first arrival September 8,. Built to the typical post-Panamax pattern by Samsung, Koje in 2007 it is an 8063 TEU ship (including 1400 reefers) of 89,097 grt, 99,518 dwt. The ship went right through to Fairview Cove.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Zim Iberia arrives off Chittagong

The end is near for a one time Halifax caller. Zim Iberia arrived at the Chittagong anchorages today, and will soon be headed to the scrappers. It was reported in October 2014 that the ship had been sold to Indian breakers for scrap, and so it is a little surprising that it would take this long to get there. Of course Chittagong is in Bangladesh, so it is possible that the ship has been bought and sold several times over the past year.

Zim Iberia approaches Halterm ion a foggy day in 2003.

Built in 1997 by Howaldswerke Deutsche-Werft in Kiel, Germany, the ship was a good size for its day, at 41,507 grt, 45,850 dwt with a capacity of 3429 TEU. We are told that 3500 TEU ships are no longer efficient since ships of twice or more the size can be operated with about the same crew and the price to carry per box is dramatically lower, even with the larger engines required for bigger ships.

Zim Iberia called in Halifax from the time it was new (replacing another ship of the same name) until August 12, 2006 when it was reassigned. It operated for its entire career for Zim, initially under the Israeli flag but since 2008 under the Liberian flag.

It is certainly a sign of the times that an 18 year old ship would be sent to the breakers.


Morning Margareta

It was not exactly morning in Margaritaville at Autoport today. Blustery would be more like it, with gusty high wind and rain at times heavy, but this did not dampen the process of unloading another batch of European autos.


The seemingly inexhaustible demand for German cars continues and Autoport is going full out to keep up with the  wave of incoming BMWs, Audis and Volkswagens.

The distinctively named Morning Margareta is making its first ever call today, and carries the EUKOR billboard (for EURope KORea), but carries whatever cars are on offer as it works it way around the world circuit. Owned by United Ocean Enterprise in Singapore, the ship also flies the Singaporean flag. It was built in 2008 by Tsuneishi Dockyard in Tadotsu, Japan and measures 51,917 grt, 17,386 dwt and has a capacity 5,340 cars.
The EUKOR fleet numbers nearly seventy owned and time chartered pure car carriers (PCCs) and pure car and truck carriers (PCTCs), many with the "Morning" names and others with "Asian".


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Two tankers and not much else but the Louis

It was a wet and windy day in Halifax with very little harbour avctivity. During a brief lull in the weather I was able squeeze of a couple of shots of tankers at Imperial Oil.

Gotland Carolina was at number 4 dock.

With four beefy headlines out due to high wind, Gotland Carolina is well secured at number 4 dock Imperial Oil.

Built at Guangzhou International Shipyard in China in 2006, the 29,203 grt, 53,160 dwt ship is built for winter navigation, and was last here January 7, 2015 with a a light coating of frozen spray. Hafnia Ship Management of Hellerup Denmark operates the ship. On this trip it arrived November 20 and is due to sail early tomorrow morning.

The Panama flag tanker High Strength arrived at number 3 dock yesterday.

High Strength also has its lines out too, but they are not as visible in the misty air.

A more typical looking handysize tanker of 28,231 grt, 46,592 dwt, it appears to be more suited to tropical conditions and even has awning frames on its bridge wings. Unlike most of the handysizes we see, this one was built in Japan, by Naiki Shipyard in Setoda and even more unusual it is owned by DM Shipping Ltd of Dublin, Ireland, but is managed by Ishima Pte Ltd of Singapore.

Also in port CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent arrived at the Bedford Institute from the North Pole. Both CCGS Terry Fox and the Louis visited that spot this summer, and is making a fairly late return south.

The original, unrebuilt CGS Louis S. St-Laurent in the graving dock at Halifax Shipyard in 1970.

Argentia, NL  is supposedly the base for the Louis but she fits in better here. Lets hope the new government, which has vowed to fix the Coast Guard, with its own minister in cabinet, erases this fiction of St.John's bring a better base for CG icebreakers.(Maybe they'll get the red funnel band back too.)
Too bad the shipyard has no capability of drydocking the ship anymore, since the graving dock is tied up full time with FELEX refits and the floating docks are gone.

Sailing from Halifax in January 2014. The ship is here almost as much as if it was based here anyway.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

CMA CGM Dalila and heavy weather for shipping

As CMA CGM works its way through the Columbus loop lineup of 17 ships, we continue to get a first time caller every week. This week it is CMA CGM Dalila, flying the French flag and owned directly by CMA CGM.

CMA CGM Dalila looms out of the mist and rain on its approach to Halterm at noon time.

Samsung Shipbuilding + Heavy Industries in Koje, South Korea delivered the ship n 2011 and it measures 96,817 grt, 109,021 dwt with a container capacity of 8465.

Despite a positive outlook for increased tonnage through the port off Halifax - thanks largely to the added CMA CGM - shipping is still ailing world wide. The Asia-Europe trade particularly is over-tonnaged.

Maersk - the largest container line- is perhaps the first to blink. They have recently announced 4,000 job cuts (from a staff of 23,000) by the end of 2017. They are also cutting 35 vessel sailings this winter and closing four services entirely by the end of 2016. One of the new giant triple E ships, Morten Maersk will be laid up for six weeks.
On top of all that Maersk will not exercise options for six more triple E ships (19,630 TEU),
will not exercise options on two 3,600 TEU feeders, and will delay option dates for eight 14,000 TEU ships.

On the Atlantic, which has been healthier, CMA CGM appears to be here to stay in Halifax, but its arriving ships still seem to be sailing at less than capacity, judging by their draft.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

BBC Northsea - bunker stop

The general cargo ship BBC Northsea put in for bunker this evening.

The ship was built in 2000 by Stocnia Gdynia in Poland and belongs to the large Briese fleet of Leer, Germany. The ships of the fleet are fitted to carry unusual and specialized cargos, and this has a pair of 80 tonne cranes that can work in tandem for a 160 tonne lift. A large spreader is stowed athwartships up forward at the break of the forecastle. The ship measures 6,204 grt, 7,661 dwt.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Nolhanava - report from the Where Are They Now Department

Since its brief tenure (for the second time) on the Halifax St-Pierre run, the RoRo Nolhanava has been doing some traveling.

It sailed form Halifax October 3 and was next reported in Colon, Panama. Next heard from it was in Papeete, Tahiti November 14. It has sailed from there is giving Nantong, China as its next port, due there December 5.

Meanwhile the conventional cargo ship Dinkeldiep carries on the St-Pierre service, using flat rack containers to lift-on, lift-off wheeled cargo.

Nolhanava's predecessor Fusion is reported in Guayaquil Ecuador.



The pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) Toledo arrived for Autoport this morning. Because there were other ships arriving it had to wait in number one anchorage for a second tug.

Toledo with Atlantic Willow alongside awaiting a second tug, just before a snow shower created a brief "white out".

Although it has been here before several times, this is the first chance I have had to get a photo. Its first visit was December 15, 2005 when it was quite new, having been delivered in February 2005 by MHI Nagasaki. A 61,321 grt vessel it has capacity for 6,354 cars and works over a 235 tonne capacity stern ramp.

The WilhelmWilhelmsen fleet uses names begining with the letter T and has used some names five or six times. This is only the third Toledo as far I can tell. The first, a general cargo ship was built in 1926 and lasted with the fleet until 1958. It was sold for re-use and finally scrapped in 1964.
The second was a cargo reefer built in 1960, sold in 1979 and broken up in 1984.
The current Toledo may well last 24 years, but it is hard to image it lasting until 2043.

For a complete spec on the current ship see:

Monday, November 16, 2015

LeeWay Odyssey

LeeWay Marine of Halifax is a marine service company offering research support and other services, and it has acquired its first ship, LeeWay Odyssey. The ship has now arrived in Halifax and it may be a familiar one to some old time harbor watchers, though somewhat changed from its original appearance.

LeeWay Odyssey at Sackville Landing today.

It is an aluminum hulled former fisheries patrol boat - one of two built in 1977 by the long defunct Breton Industrial Marine in Point Tupper, NS. As CGS Cape Harrison, with sister Louisbourg, it was built to work on the east coast  patrolling the mid-shore fishery, as far out to sea as 120 miles.There were issues of "weatherability" with the craft however, and Cape Harrison was laid up in Halifax in 1982 to be re-purposed.

 Sister CGS Louisbourg * at Queen's Wharf shortly after delivery in 1977.

Cape Harrison was renamed CGS Louis M. Lauzier in 1983 and fitted with labs on its top deck and extra accommodation for 2 scientists and sent to work doing research work in the Gulf of St.Lawrence.

In 1986 its high speed V-12 MTU engines generating 4500 bhp and good for 20 knots were replaced by two V-12 Cummins engines of 2145 bhp giving a more economical speed of 13.5 knots (cruising speed 12.5 knots).

When the Department of Fisheries was melded into the Coast Guard and Hydrographic fleets, it became a sort of odd man out, and was charted to Memorial University in 1998, but wass inactive for long periods of time.

To provide increased border security, the vessel was again re-purposed in 2005 to accommodate three RCMP officers and fitted with boat launch equipment on the stern. It was then based in Quebec City to provide security patrol on the St.Lawrence River. It was displaced by the Hero class patrol boats was laid up in 2014 in Sorel, QC.

 At Bishop's Landing in 2011.

It was renamed 2014-03 and advertised for sale by Crown Assets. Leeway was the successful bidder in its sale earlier this fall and registered the ship as Leeway Odyssey in Halifax October 30.

At Sackville Landing this morning, devoid of all its CCG and RCMP insignia, and with a new name stenciled on the bow.

LeeWay has ambitious plans for the ship, which will presumably first go into refit, but the company owners certainly have the credentials to deal with that.


* Louisbourg remained in its original form until it was laid up in 2013. Renamed 2013-03 it was sold in July 2015 and its Canadian Register closed 2015-07-20.   
It turned up on the Miami River some time later with the name  La..Cristy classed as a yacht, with a Panama radio call sign and possibly destined for Venezuela.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

CSL Pool Update

CSL Metis got underway from pier 26 to National Gypsum this morning on completion of its maintenance work.

 As it did so, more details emerged about the CSL / Algoma deal to purchase the five Klaveness self-unloaders.

CSL Americas will take over  Balto (which is built to CSL Trillium standard) and  Barkald.

Balto - arriving Halifax for gypsum

Barkald - waiting to load gypsum Halifax

Algoma Shipping will take over Balchen and Baldock.

Baldock - unloading coal at Point Tupper, NS

Marbulk (a 50/50 CSL/ Algoma operation ) will take over Balder.

Balder - sailing from Halifax with gypsum

Name changes can be expected as well as funnel markings. Perhaps the latter will get the golden seahorse, which we have been kissing in Halifax lately. See Shipfax nelvana-end-of-road.html:


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Klaveness passing on bulkers

The Norwegian shipping company Klaveness Ship Holding AS has decided to get out of the bulk carrier business and will sell its five self-unloaders, several of which are known in Halifax.
The $190 mn deal will see the ships sold to affiliates of the CSL Group and Algoma Central, which will keep the ships in the CSL self-unloader pool.

The Klaveness funnel carries a representation of their house flag, which dates back to 1946 when Torvald Klaveness founded the company, pioneering bulk carriers, and under the Bulkhandling name, the first ever shipping pool.

Two ships will go to CSL Americas, two to Algoma Shipping and one to Marbulk, a company jointly owned by CSL and Algoma.
The five ships are Barkald, Balder, Baldock, Balto and Balchen.

Barkald was the first ship arrival in Halifax in 2015, when it arrived January 1.

Barkald is a regular in Halifax for gypsum, but all the ships are frequent visitors to the Strait of Canso to load aggregates.

The current Klaveness Group operates more than 100 ships, so its funnel will not be disappearing from the seas. The company is expanding into containers and other areas.


Aeneas - not a particularly glorious moment

It was a dull and windy Remembrance Day in Halifax. Despite being a day off work for many Nova Scotians, Halterm was working two ships Zim Constanza and Aeneas. The latter is also working for ZIM and has recently changed names.

A wide angle view of Aeneas at pier 42, with the Canadian Border Services Agency vehicles scanning containers at the end of the pier.

It was also dark late and early discouraging any real photography, so this one will have to do for Aeneas.
Shanghai Jiangnan Changxing Heavy Industries Co Ltd completed the ship in 2010 for Reederei Hamburger Lloyd as RHL Felicitas. Earlier this year the ship was acquired by the quaintly named Glorious Moment Ltd and placed under the Hong Kong flag. Anglo-Eastern Ship Management operates the ship while ZIM employs the ship. It measures 54,182 grt, 63,059 dwt with a capacity of 5089 TEU.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Big Tanker, Big Bulker

The bulk carrier CSL Metis arrived on November 8 for some maintenance at pier 26. The former tanker, built in 1981 was converted to a self-unloader in 2007 and has been in Halifax before, but never for cargo. At 43,022 grt, 69,305 dwt it is too big to take a full load of load gypsum here. Its usual port of call is on the Strait of Canso to load aggregates.

The ship's forebody dates from 2007, but the after section containing engines and accommodation is original. On November 9 divers were working under the stern, and the ship was ballasted down by the bow a bit to reveal much of the rudder and prop nozzle.

Today I was surprised to a see a conference going on inside the nozzle. A raft was tethered around the prop shaft so some work could be done in the open air. No need for a drydock (see previous post) when the work can be done this way.

Also in port today the crude tanker Advantage Anthem took bunkers in number one anchorage. It took no escort tug in or out, so despite being fairly low in the water, it must be in ballast. [ I have since learned that the ship had a cargo of heavy fuel oil, loaded at the Valéro refinery in Lévis, QC].  It then sailed for New York.

The ship was built in 2011 by Samsung, Koje, South Korea as Power and measures 61,336 grt, 116,087 dwt. Earlier this year it was renamed by new Swiss based owners Advantage Tankers LLC. It is still operated by a Turkish company with Shell Western Supply and Trading of Barbados as commercial operators.


Monday, November 9, 2015

Halifax Shipyard's Drydocks

Halifax Shipyard was founded as the Halifax Graving Dock Co. Its prime asset was a graving dock, carved into the Halifax shoreline. It was built to cater to iron and steel ships of the Royal Navy and merchant ships that were fast displacing wooden ships. There were no adequate repair or docking facilities in eastern North America and the Royal Navy was pressing for such a facility. Even the US Navy could not drydock its largest ships in the USA.
Samuel L. Brookfield, a local industrialist, raised capital in the UK and arranged yearly subsidies from the Royal Navy, the Canadian government and the City of Halifax. Each contributed $10,000 per year for twenty years.

Graving Dock

 Believed to be HMS Canada, the first ship to use the graving dock officially. The wrecked vessel on the lower right has never been explained, but was obviously in the dock first.
Correction: the ship is the barque Noel.

Construction started in 1885 and the rock cut was lined  with stone and concrete and equipped with an iron  gate. When it opened for business in 1889 it was the largest graving dock on the eastern seaboard of North America.  The first ship to use the dock was HMS Canada, a rather small ship for the size of the dock, but when USS Indiana was able to drydock, it was a major coup for the Shipyard.
The USN’s first battleship, Indiana had been built without bilge keels, as it would have been too wide for any US east coast drydock. However on trials in 1896 the ship rolled alarmingly, causing its gun turrets to swing out of control, and bilge keels were ordered to be installed on it and other members of its class. This work was done in Halifax.
An iron caisson was used as a gate to the dock, fitted into a slot in the seaboard end of the dock. When a ship entered the dock the caisson was floated into position, then flooded to sink it into its slot, forming a tight seal. The dock itself could then be dewatered.

The original graving dock gate. Note the tapered and raked ends that allow it to drop into slots in the dock walls. It is built of riveted iron construction and lasted for more than one hundred years.

As a the ship gradually settled on blocks while the water was pumped out of the dock, it was left totally in the dry, allowing unlimited access to the hull. When work on the ship was complete the dock was filled with water thus refloating the ship. The gate was then pumped out, allowing it to float up out of its slot, and it was moved aside, to permit the ship to exit the dock.
The old gate was drydocked on the Dartmouth Marine Slip in September 1994 and was found to be in very poor condition. Work on a new steel caisson gate began soon after and it was completed in July 1995.

CCGS Labrador was an easy fit in the graving dock. Note the keel blocks and the special block under the bow. Rail tracks along the dock served cranes and an internal shipyard railway.

The graving dock remains in almost constant use. Currently it is used for the refits of the Halifax class RCN frigates,

    Graving Dock
    Dimensions: 172.81m x 31.09m

Lionel A. Forsyth

Built originally for the Department of National Defence, but operated by Halifax Shipyard, the floating drydock Lionel A. Forsyth was an essential part of the yard’s plant during World War II when it was called upon to repair severely damaged ships. The graving dock was in constant use and additional facilities were needed quickly. The floating dock, a submersible platform, that can raise ships out of the water, was built by the yard in 1941. It was the only floating drydock in Canada for many years. It was built in three sections, that were connected together, but could be detached when the dock was itself drydocked. Following hard use during the war, the dock was disconnected in 1950 and the three pieces moved to the graving dock for a much needed refit.

The dock was named for the Chairman of Dominion Steel and Coal Co (DOSCO), Lionel Avard Forsyth, QC, 1890-1957, a Nova Scotian by birth. Ownership was transferred to DOSCO (then parent of Halifax Shipyard) at the end of the War, but wound up in the hands of the Province of Nova Scotia when the yard was taken over in 1978. However the dock was in poor condition and a replacement was soon found.
Aside from two barges, the last ship to be lifted by the dock was the ferry Princess of Acadia in January 1979. Meanwhile the Minister of Public Works put the dock up for sale by sealed bid with the closing date of January 31, 1979.
The successful bidder was the Robert E. Derecktor Shipyard of Rhode Island Inc, which had just landed a contract to build US Coast Guard cutters. The Lionel A. Forsyth was towed out of Halifax by the tug Irving Miami on May 3, 1979 for the former Newport, Rhode Island Naval Base in Middletown, RI.
In 1992, when the Derecktor shipyard was declared bankrupt, most of its assets were sold for scrap, including, presumably, this drydock.

           Lionel A. Forsyth    O.N. 195182
            Built:    1941 by Dominion Bridge (Dosco)
            18,058 gross tons
            Lifting capacity: 25,000 tons
            Dimensions: 600 ft x 96' (clear of fenders)
            Equipment: 2 x 5 ton, 1 x 17 ton cranes


The Minister of Development of the Province of Nova Scotia acquired a similar dock from the Netherlands for $6mn. The Prins Hendrik Dok No.4 was actually older than the dock it replaced. It was built in 1933 by and for De Rotterdamsche Drooogdik Maats NV. It had been extensively rebuilt following World War II and had a lifting capacity of 14,000 tons and was slightly smaller than its predecessor.
Legend has it that the drydock had been taken over by German forces during World War II, but was sabotaged by the resistance and British commandos, and thus survived the war on the bottom of Rotterdam harbour, which did it no real harm. Other working drydocks were bombed by the Allies, and so this one survived. 

It arrived in Halifax in tow the Dutch tug Zwarte Zee on June 6, 1979, was extensively refitted by HIL, and made its first lift January 13-18, 1980  with the ferry Princess of Acadia.
The dock’s name was changed officially to Scotiadock in 1983 [1984] but the new name had been used informally since it arrived.

A sad looking Scotiadock is moved from position in preparation to be towed away.

In June 1998 the dock was removed from service, to be replaced by a newer structure. Deterioration over time had resulted in the dock's original safe lifting capacity to be reduced to about half. Its last lift was the small bunkering tanker Imperial Lachine from April 23 to May 4, 1998.
The Province of Nova Scotia put the drydock up for sale and on November 5 it was towed out by the tug Kochab for Tampa, FL for new owners Gulf Marine Repair. It seems that the Florida yard outbid a local rival, International Ship Repair, in order to eliminate competition. They had no real need for the dock, but did not want their competitors to have it and it lay idle for a time, but was rebuilt and is still in service with Gulf Marine Repair and is known as "Scotia".  See

Bright Florida sunshine did not improve the looks of the dock which remained idle in Tampa for a time before it was reconditioned.
            Scotiadock   O.N. 392652

            Dimensions 607' x 81'
            Built: 1933, rebuilt 1945, refitted: 1979
            9,897 gross tons
            Lifting capacity: 14,000 tons (27,5000 deadweight)
            Dimensions: 607 ft x 81' (clear of fenders) x 7m clear over blocks
              Equipment: 3 and 8 ton electric cranes


To meet the demand to repair ever larger ships, the yard needed a larger floating drydock. Tankers, container ships and bulk carriers using the port of Halifax, and in transit through nearby waters, were generally to Panamax dimensions. These were the largest ships that could pass through the locks of the Panama canal as it existed. [A new Panamax definition will be required when larger locks are opened in 2016]
In the early 1980s such a large dock was beyond the capability of the yard to build, and the Minister of Development contracted with Marine Industries of Sorel, QC to build the larger portion of the dock. A smaller portion was built by Ferguson Industries Ltd of Pictou, NS. The dock was to be owned by the Province of Nova Scotia and leased to the yard.

On November 15, 1982 the larger section arrived from Sorel in tow of the tugs Irving Miami and  Irving Cedar with Irving Beech on the stern to provide steering. The shorter section arrived November 21 in tow of Irving Miami. The two sections were permanently connected at pier 6 and then moved to mooring dolphins outside the Scotiadock.

The first section of the Novadock arriving in Halifax.

Named Novadock, the new facility lifted its first ship, Irving Eskimo from November 11-28, 1983. (The yard's crane Timberland was the first vessel to be lifted for trials.)
Ownership of the dock was transferred to Halifax Shipyards at some point, well after Irving Shipbuilding acquired the yard in 1993.

Novadock was moored to dolphins off pier 6. It was connected to a jetty at the south end.

In July 2014 Irving Shipbuilding Inc announced that the dock had been removed from service in April because it was beyond repair and needed replacement. The last lift on dock was the tanker Havelstern in February 2014.
The dock was subsequently sold to International Ship Repair in Tampa, FL (Remember them? - the unsuccessful bidders for Scotiadock) and in August 2015 it was moved to the IEL dock in Dartmouth where it was cut in two athwartships.
In October 2015 the first section was floated aboard Boa Barge 33 and towed by the tug Boa Odin to Tampa, FL. The tug and barge returned in November and towed away the second section.  

            Novadock        ON 800549
            Panamax floating drydock
            Built:   1982: portion by Marine Industries, Sorel QC (hull no. 448)
                       1982: portion by Ferguson Industries Ltd, Pictou, NS (no hull no.)
            34,186 gross tons, as completed 1983   
            Dimensions: 257.25m x 52m x 19,81m
            Lifting capacity: 36,000 tons
            Deck dimensions: 257m x 38m (clear of walls) x 9m over blocks
            Equipment: 2 x 40 tonne cranes

Scotia Dock II    ex General Georges P. Vanier

With the aging Scotiadock in need of replacement the yard had the opportunity to purchase another floating dock. General Georges P. Vanier was built by and for the Canadian Vickers shipyard in Montreal. The last owners of the yard, Versatile Vickers Ltd had closed the yard and the dock was surplus. It was moved to Sorel and then to Lévis before it was sold.
(After a distinguished career in the military in two World Wars and as a diplomat, Montreal native Major-General Georges-Philéas Vanier PC DSO MC CD served as Governor General of Canada from 1959 to 1967.)
On June 9, 1998 the dock arrived in Halifax in tow of the tugs Atlantic Cedar, Atlantic Oak, and Atlantic Hemlock . The tow had sheltered in Gaspé en route due to inclement weather.

Renamed Scotia Dock II it was about the same size as Scotiadock, and so fit into the same spot, inboard of the Novadock. After a refit and upgrade, the dock went into service. Its first lift was the coastal tanker Wellington Kent September 28, 1998. 
With enhanced capabilities the dock was suitable for the many smaller ships that came to the yard for repair.and refit.

Scotia Dock II was moored to dolphins off pier, inboard of the larger Novadock.

On May 5, 2010, while starting to berth the tug Stevns Breaker, a malfunction caused the dock to sink to the bottom. Several ruptures between compartments, and damage to equipment meant that the dock could not be raised on its own. The tug was unharmed, but the dock received extensive damage. Unfortunately the dock was just completing a major refurbishment, and much new work was lost.
A salvage operation started immediately, but it took a month to raise the dock from its position in 50 feet of water where only the crane rails were above the surface. Once raised it was moved to pier 6 until a decision could be made on its future. Damage was found to be so severe that it was declared a constructive total loss.

On August 12, 2012 the tug Eileen McAllister towed the Scotia Dock II out of Halifax destined for Brownsville, TX where it was scrapped.

               Scotia Dock II    ex General Georges P. Vanier   O.N. 322223
                Built: 1964 Canadian Vickers Ltd, Montreal (Hull No. 283)
                17,309 gross tons (later revised to 15,692)
                Hull dimensions: 161.19m x 32.6m x 5.09m (depth of hull)
                Capacity: 24,000 tonnes
                Deck dimensions: 183m x 31.5m(clear of walls)  x 8 m (over blocks)
                Equipment 2 x 15 tonnes cranes

Launching Platform

As part of the reconstruction of Halifax Shipyard in 2014-2015 to build new ships for the Royal Canadian Navy, the yard has established a new system of launching ships. No longer will ships slide down the launch ways and splash into the harbour. Instead they will be moved overland from the building hall to a launch platform which will then be submerged, and the ship will be floated off. A much less dramatic, but certainly safer method of putting ships in the water, with less risk of damage to ship or workers.
The new launching platform will be a floating dock in fact. Since it will only be used rarely for launching purposes, it may be used as a drydock for servicing other ships. So far Halifax Shipyard has not made any announcements about the launch platform, except to show it in artists renderings.
For now however the yard has no floating drydock - for the first time since 1941.