Saturday, December 31, 2016

Last arrival of 2016

The last arrival of 2016 was a Canadian ship (of sorts). My plans for a photo of its mid-afternoon arrival  "gang aglay" as Burns put it, but I did manage a late afternoon photo after it tied up at Fairview Cove.

Since the holiday had already started there did not seem to be any work going on, however there were some large crates sitting pierside just forward of the ship.

The ship is called Mitiq and it operates seasonally - June until the end of October - for Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, doing northern supply work out of Valleyfield, QC, making two or three trips each year.
Logistec of Montreal through Transport Mitiq Inc under Canadian flag.
The rest of the year it trades world wide under the Netherlands flag for Northern Bear Shipping BV a subsidiary of Spleithoff's.
The ship was built for Spleithoff's by Frisian Shipyard in Harlingen, Netherlands in 1995 as a general cargo ship of 8448 grt, 12,760 dwtr. It carries three 60 tonne cranes and has 17 removable pontooon type tween decks. 
Its original name was Emmagracht, which it carried until July 2013 when it arrived in Valleyfield for the first time to load for the north. It was renamed Mitiq at that time. [Mitiq means the common eider duck in the Inupiaq language]

 Emmagracht sailing up the St.Lawrence June 29, 2013 en route to Valleyfield.

Returning from its first northern trip in 2014, the ships deck is loaded with containers, machinery, and three tugs and small barges used to lighter off cargo at remote ports.  

It has followed a similar pattern each year since but has continued to carry the name Mitiq. After reverting to Netherlands flag November 1, 2016 it returned to Europe and has now arrived from Liverpool, UK. Since Liverpool is an ACL port, it is possible that it is carrying some project cargo for them.


Friday, December 30, 2016

Frosty Winds Make Moan

One of the lines in the Christmas song In the Bleak Midwinter says that "frosty winds make moan". There was no frost but a fair amount of moaning today as high winds wreaked havoc on transportation generally with the usual Fundy and Newfoundland ferry cancellations, bridge and causeway restrictions against high sided vehicles and numerous shipping delays and incidents.

In Halifax the tanker Ridgebury Cindy A began to drag anchor in Bedford Basin and a pilot was called to re-secure the ship. And at pier 42 Halterm, the container ship ZIM Virginia also called for tugs and pilot, likely due to parting lines. It kept the tugs Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Willow alongside all day.

Surf crashes the onshore at Herring Cove, with Chebucto Head in the background.

Several arrivals were also been delayed due to unfavourable conditions at the pilot station and farther afield. NYK Deneb, CSL Tacoma and Bruarfoss all postponed arrivals in Halifax until later in the day. They had been scheduled for early this morning but those ETAs were adjusted yesterday in view of the forecast. They finally made it in starting at 1530.

NYK Deneb was doing some pretty good rolling off Herring Cove.

CSL Tacoma was in ballast but didn't seem to be rolling too much.

Bruarfoss was pitching more than rolling

All ships are trying to get in and out before the New Year's Day holiday, so they are squeezing up against deadlines with these delays (hence the moaning).

The only departure was the supplier Venture Sea.

There were some fair swells off Macnab's Island - but probably much larger at sea.

Farther afield the bulk carrier Atlantic Huron took shelter well into St.George's Bay, at the western entrance to the Strait of Canso, far off its intended course for Halifax. Had the Canso Canal been open, the ship would likely have transited yesterday afternoon. However the Canal has been closed since November 1 and will not re-open until mid-May to allow for bridge repairs. That meant that Atlantic Huron will have to go around Cape North to reach Halifax. With winds in that area predicted to exceed 170 kph, the ship sailed down the west coast of Cape Breton instead and sought shelter in the lee of the land. It will mean at least two days extra sailing time once the winds abate. Former fleetmate Atlantic Erie (renamed Spirit of Shpongle) also took shelter near the same area last month while in tow of the tug Pacific Hickory for the trip to the breakers in Turkey.

Fortunately the frost in Christina Rossetti's words is not present. In fact some of the warmest temperatures in Canada accompanied the winds, with +7 to +9 degrees C common in many areas.

Both CSL ships Atlantic Huron and CSL Tacoma will be loading gypsum in Halifax, but another one of their fleet mates, once a frequent caller, will not be back in Halifax.

CSL Atlas was sold recently and is heading for the breakers in Bangladesh under the name of Anita.
Under the current economic conditions, with widespread scrappings in the container and bulk carrier market, ship owners are favouring India for container ships, but Pakistan and Bangladesh are getting the bulk carriers. India's move toward responsible practices is attracting many ships, particularly from German and EU owners. Pakistan's appalling safety record, particularly after recent tanker fires and huge loss of life, has seen only a short-lived drop in business, due in part to the desperate need to scrap ships.

CSL Atlas , built in 1990 with a deadweight capacity of 67,634 dwt and 41,173 grt, was too large to take complete loads at National Gypsum in Halifax, but it was a frequent caller at Auld's Cove where it loaded stone for the US market. Nevertheless it made many trips from Halifax as backhauls after unloading coal in Cape Breton. Its last call in Halifax was June 11, 2016.

CSL Atlas in January 2016 was looking quite seedy when it anchored in Bedford Basin. The writing must have been on the wall even then.

When built in 1990 in Brazil it was the only panamax self-unloader in the world. Its holds were lined with Teflon and it had a revolutionary boom, with the outward 100 ft slewing on a pivot from the inner boom which swung from its own pivot. This arrangement allowed it much greater flexibility in unloading.

I wrote about the ship here:

Interestingly the ship's last port of call was Iskenderun, Turkey. Apparently scrap prices at Chittagong were higher than Turkish prices, warranting the trip all the way to Bangladesh. The ship is now mid-way down the west coast of India, in the Arabian Sea.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wait your turn

Ships in Halifax are bit like bananas - they come (and go) in bunches.

The tanker  Ridgebury Cindy A arrived off Halifax yesterday and waited at anchor until the berth at Imperial Oil dock 4 was clear. When Piltene sailed late this morning, the ship headed in. Docking was not to be - at least not right away - as two tugs were also needed for the followIng ship, Hapag-Lloyd's Berlin Express - and there are only three tugs to serve the port.

Dominion Diving's launch Halmar returns to Dartmouth Cove after disembarking the pilot from the Ridgebury Cindy A at the inner anchorage.

Atlantic Oak (bow) and Atlantic Fir (stern) take up positions as Berlin Express passes the Middle Ground area in a diminishing drizzle.

Berlin Express is a big ship, at 88,493 grt, 100,019 dwt and requires the most powerful tugs. As a container ship it also has priority and so the Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Fir took charge of the ship while Ridgebury Cindy A went to an inner anchorage. The container ship then went west of George's Island - one of the largest ships to to do so - to avoid the anchored tanker and the Woodside ferry.

The sun began to peak out as the ship entered the Narrows. 
Built in 2009 by Hyundai Ulsan, the ship has a capacity of 7506 TEU including 700 reefers.

After the tugs had shepherded Berlin Express to the Bedford Basin and tied it up at Fairview Cove, one of the tugs could be released to assist the third tug Atlantic Willow to dock the Ridgebury Cindy A.

Built by SPP Plant + Shipbuilding Co in Sacheon, South Korea, as Yasa Ceyhan for Turkish owners in 2009, Ridgebury Cindy A has worked in the Norient Tanker Pool ApS of Hellerup, Denmark under its present name since 2013. It has typical tonnages of 29,905 grt and 50,162 dwt for a Mid Range product tanker

Surely these arrivals could be arranged with a little more finesse. Ridgebury Cindy A was put to extra expense by requiring one pilot inbound to anchor then an hour or more later another pilot from anchor to dock. It could have been done in one move if the arrival had been postponed by an hour.

While three tugs are normally enough to cover requirements in the harbour, it does result in delays from time to time. The business case for four tugs would be hard to make, but three tugs could handle all the work with better coordination.


Monday, December 26, 2016

Fairview Cove - back at work

It was a short holiday for the Fairview Cove container terminal . After clearing its last ship at noon time Saturday, the pier was at full swing again first thing this morning.

The big (old) post-Panamax Performance tied up at the west berth and the NYK Rumina at the east berth.

It is easy to see why ships the size of the NYK Rumina are considered obsolete, when ships the size of Performance (and larger) can now pass through the Panama Canal with ease.

Performance is a 74,0712 grt, 74,453 dwt ship with a capacity of 6402 TEU, including 500 reefers. It was built in 2002 by the Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industry (IHI) Kure yard in 2002 as MOL Performance for Mitsui OSK Line. They sold the ship in 2014 to Danaos Shipping Co Ltd of Piraeus and it was renamed.

Danaos is one of the hurting  non-operating container ship owners (meaning they do not operate their own shipping line but charter ships to the line operators). They had eight ships with Hanjin when it failed, and have 24 charters to expire in 2017 and three more in 2018. Not only that they reduced their charter hire rates 20% on 13 ships to help save Hyundai Merchant Marine from collapse. Banks have extended waivers to Danaos until April, so the future of the 55 ship fleet is in limbo.

Performance is now with the G6 Alliance on its AZX service, but with the re-organization of that alliance in 2017, we may not see much more of this ship. [AZX=Asia, Suez, East Coast North America]

Out in Bedford Basin Fritz Reuter awaits its move tomorrow morning to Halterm.

There was very litttle down time at the Oil docks in Dartmouth.

Piltene arrived in the late afternoon of December 25. It has been an off an on caller at Valero and Imperial Oil since 2014. Built in 2007 by the 3 Maj Shipbuilding Industri in Rijeka, Croatia, the 30,641 gret, 52,648 dwt ship is a nice break form the cookie cutter Korean  Mid Range [MR] product tankers we usually see. The Latvian Shipping Co of Riga also operates the tanker Latgale that was here last week.

The tanker East Coat arrived this morning at Irving Woodside.

One small correction to my Christmas Eve post regarding the supplier Skandi Flora. It did not in fact get a break of more than a few hours, for it sailed Christmas Day for the Stena IceMAX, however it returned to port again this morning.
The drill ship has moved much closer to Halifax for its maintenance work, meaning a shorter trip for the suppliers, which include Maersk Nexus (which also arrived today).


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Canadian Naval Auxiliary Vessel Sackville on the synchrolift, HMC Dockyard, Halifax, NS.
Restored to its wartime appearance as HMCS Sackville K181 it is Canada's Naval Memorial.
It still needs your support:

A special thank you to all the readers of Shipfax.
Your support during 2016 is much appreciated. Your comments and corrections to my horrible typing and glaring errors will be welcome again in 2017.  


Christmas Eve action

There has been a big rush over the past few days to clear cargo before the Christmas holiday. Both container terminals have been very busy, but Halterm cleared its last customer this morning when CMA CGM Altaviva sailed at daybreak. Oceanex Sanderling sailed from Autoport this morning too.  The bulk carrier Eider arrived and sailed over night from pier 28 where it took a quick top off load of grain en route from the Great Lakes.

The action then shifted farther north.

Federal Swift comes to anchor against a backdrop of idle cranes at Halterm.

The bulk carrier Federal Swift arrived from Baie-Comeau for bunkers and anchored in the lower harbour. The ship was built in 2012 by Zhejiang Ouhua Shipbuilding Co in Zhonshan, China. A ship of 24,196 grt, 37,140 dwt, it is in ballast likely having delivered bauxite or alumina to Baie-Comeau. The ship carries four 30 tonne cranes and grab buckets to handle such cargoes.

Fairview Cove was also busy over the last few days. Agios Minas cleared over night and Tokyo Express arrived, but I must have put the curse on Atlantic Sea, because it was forced out to anchor early last evening with mechanical issues. It was joined later by NYK Rumina which will be anchored until December 26 before it moves in to Fairview Cove.

A regular caller for the G6 Alliance NYK Rumina will be anchored for a couple of days.

The 55,534 grt, 65,981 dwt ship has a capacity of 4922 TEU (including 330 reefers) and was built in 2010 by Hyundai Samho.

A late morning arrival, Fritz Reuter went directly to anchor in Bedford Basin where it will remain until December 27 before moving to Halterm.

This is the ship's 25th voyage for Melfi Marine, trading between Europe and Cuba. The 18,840 grt, 23,732 dwt ship has a capacity of 1732 TEU (including 379 reefers) and carries a pair of 45 tonne cranes  for ports without container cranes. Its first visit to Halifax was December 8, 2013.
Guangzhou Wenchong Shipyard Co Ltd produced the ship as Maruba Zonda in 2006, but it was renamed on delivery to Norddeutsche Reederei Schulte of Hamburg.

It was followed by the supplier Skandi Flora for pier 9C. It will not be needed over Christmas while the drill ship Stena IceMAX suspends drilling for maintenance.

Skandi Flora was built in 2009 by STX Norway Offshore AS in Trondheim for DOF Rederi AS of Storebo, Norway. It is operated for DOF Subsea Canada Corp by Mathers Logistics of Halifax under a coasting license as a non-duty paid Canadian flag vessel and was registered in Halifax September 3, 2015.
The 4469 grt, 5005 dwt ship will be finishing up its work soon as Shell has announced they will stop drilling in the Shelburne Basin on completion of the current well.

Once the two inbounds were safely out of the way, Tokyo Express was able to move through the Narrows for sea.

Tokyo Express eases by pier 9A where IT Intrepid is lingering for the finishing touches to a refit. It should be sailing for a cable repair job on the St.Lawrence River after re-fueling next week. 

HAPAG-Lloyd's Tokyo Express came out of the Hyundai Heavy shipyard in Ulsan in 2000. At 54,465 grt, 67,145 dwt, with a capacity of 4890 TEU (including 370 reefers) it is among that endangered species of (formerly) Panamax ships that are no longer considered efficient carriers. Ships of its size are going to scrap
at a record rate as the industry tries to shed itself of unprofitable tonnage.

Atlantic Sea followed on its heals.

ACL's third (of five) new G4 class ships, Atlantic Sea was delivered in the summer of 2016. The Shanghai built ships have all been experiencing teething problems as new-builds are wont to do, but this one had been more or less trouble free. However it was restricted to port by Transport Canada from yesterday until late this morning due to some mechanical problem. It was allowed to sail, even though it is missing its starboard anchor. It may not be that easy to find an anchor for a 100,430 grt, 56,700 dwt ship on short notice, and ships usually don't carry spares.

The loss of an anchor is usually the result of defective chain. It can be a serious matter when a chain fails, and that is why chain manufacturing is such a highly specialised process. See this video:

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Big ZIM Day

It was another big ZIM day at Halterm with two ships working. Zim Alabama was the first arrival, tying up at pier 42. Then there was the noon time arrival at pier 41 of a ship that is new to Halifax.

Juliette Rickmers is a 5,060 TEU (454 reefer) ship built in 2005 by Hanjin Heavy in Busan. Although delivered to Rickmers Group as Juliette Rickmers it was soon renamed Maersk Davao and was painted in Maersk colours until 2012. It then reverted to it original name.

Hemmed in as it was by cranes and containers, there was no clear view of the ship, but it is evident that the traditional Rickmers green hull paint that was applied over the Maersk blue, is in need of a touch up. (The ship's superstructure is still carrying the Maersk tan colour.)

Although on ZIM service the ship is carrying a number of boxes for another Hamburg-based line, Hamburg-Süd.

The Rickmers Linie was founded in Hamburg, where the four masted barque Rickmer Rickmers, named for the founder, has been preserved. Built in 1896 it too carries the traditional green hull.

At left the Hamburg-Süd ship Rio Madeira is in refit at the Blohm + Voss shipyard, while Rickmer Rickmers draws crowds at its berth.

The beautifully restored vessel no longer sails, but is a major tourist attraction.

The Rickmers Group is now a multi-faceted organization, but a large segment of its business is to own and operate container ships under fixed rate charters. Its fleet now numbers 121, including eight 13,500 TEU giants. It has been particularly hard hit as its ships come off charters and with only low rates paying on new charters due to the slump in container trade.  Bond holders of Rickmers Maritime Singapore just rejected a $69 mn debt re-structuring plan, so the future is quite uncertain for the famous name.

The ship's after deck was piled high with ZIM boxes.

Meanwhile ZIM has just announced a slew of service enhancements, although all the details have not yet been revealed. However there is something afoot based on the huge number of  ZIM boxes in storage in Halifax. ZIM has added a fourth Atlantic string, although it will not be calling in Halifax as far as I can tell. They are also saying that starting in April they will be upgrading their ZCP services, from Asia via Panama to the US east coast (and Halifax), so the Juliette Rickmers may be an interim ship on that route until larger ones come along. 

Stored ZIM dry boxes are piled up all over Halterm.

These are in addition to the reefers and other boxes arriving from sea and departing the same day by train.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

ACLs G3s - where are the G4s

Although there has been no public statement all must not be going well for ACL's new G4 class ConRo ships. Two of the first three ships in the series have had problems with delays due to mechanical issues, but so also have the aging G3s, two of which are still in  service many months after they should have been replaced.

The first new G4 ship, Atlantic Star was hung up in Halifax on its maiden voyage with a stuck stern ramp.It also had a blackout and more ramp issues on the return leg and in September went into the Blohm and Voss Shipyard in Hamburg for work.
Number two, Atlantic Sail, had mechanical problems and was restricted in Halifax in September.
Number three, Atlantic Sea has not had any problems in Halifax.
The fourth ship in the series, Atlantic Sky was on sea trials from Shanghai in late July, returning to port July 20, but it has not entered service yet. 
The fifth and last, Atlantic Sun only completed sea trails November 20. Delivery therefore may still be months away, when all the ships were to be in service in 2016.

However we may get a treat on December 22 when both Atlantic Sea and Atlantic Sail are due in Halifax on the same day.

Meanwhile Atlantic Cartier and Atlantic Conveyor soldier on with many more months of sailings in the brutal North Atlantic winter. Atlantic Conveyor is due in Halifax December 26.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

LPG carrier Gaschem Baltic

Perhaps a first for Halifax, the Liquified Petroleum Gas carrier Gaschem Baltic anchored for bunkers today. En route from Point Tupper, NS, the ship is used to carry both ethylene and LPG (propane, butane) in semi-refrigerated compressed state.

The ship was built in 2004 by Severnav in Drobeta, Romania and measures 7208 grt, 9157 dwt, and has a capacity for 8,424 cubic meters. It is operated under the Liberian flag by the specialized gas carrier company Hartmann Gas Carriers of Leer, Germany. It was launched as Balticgas but renamed before delivery.

More on the Hartmann company here:


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Polar Vortex touches down

High winds, snow and frigid temperatures descended on Halifax and played minor havoc with some shipping plans in Halifax and throughout Atlantic Canada.

The chemical tanker Oceanic Crimson made its way from Saint John, NB to Halifax on Friday despite conditions, although it took on a coating of frozen spray on the exposed pipework.

Iced like a cake, Oceanic Crimson lies at pier 9c this morning.

The ship tied up at pier 9C for some minor repairs which are due to be completed today.
The ship was built by one of South Korea's small scale shipyards, Jinse, in Pusan in 2008. The ship measures 8505 grt, 13,275 dwt and is owned by Panoceanic Bulk Carriers Ltd, headquartered in Guernsey, Channel Islands. Its day to day activities are handled by ASP Ship Management of Singapore and the ship is registered in Panama.

A much larger tanker, also from Saint John, was due yesterday but held off for a full day and put in this morning. Silia T is here for bunkers, but may be planning a linger stay since it was sent to anchor in Bedford Basin. Big ship like this usually come only as far as Number 1 anchorage, but that area is reserved for short stays.

Silia T clears the Angus L. Macdonald bridge with Atlasntic Oak on the flank.
In the left background the tanker Latgale at Imperial Oil, and the right background ships of the RCN. In the right foreground Atlantic Griffon completing for Atlantic Towing Ltd at Halifax Shipyard.
Sun is finally dissolving the last of the sea smoke, but there is still a thin layer on the water in -13C air.

The ship unloaded its cargo of crude oil in Saint John, so is very light. It also sports a frozen spray moustache over its bulbous bow.

It took a 28mm wide angle setting to get all of the ship in as it makes its way toward the A. Murray MacKay bridge.

Once into Bedford Basin, it heads north for the anchorage.
(Photo taken at 1030 hrs AST - see below)

Flying the Liberian flag, the ship is operated by Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement of Athens Greece. It was built in 2002 by Samho Heavy Industries of Samho, South Korea. Its measurements are 84,586 grt, 164,286 dwt.
The tugs Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Bear escorted the ship from the lower harbour through the Narrows to the Basin. [ see also Tugfax]

Another ship scheduled to arrive last evening delayed its arrival until this morning. Atlantic Project II  anchored in Bedford Basin partly blanketed by arctic sea smoke, as the crew worked to free up frozen containers on deck. It moved to Fairview Cove later, but the battle was not over. Normally it is only in port for a couple of hours, but it is not scheduled to sail until this evening.

The sun is beginning to burn off the sea smoke around Atlantic Project II in Bedford Basin.
In an hour or so the sea smoke will be gone.
(Photo taken at 0900 AST) 

 Atlantic Project II sails for Atlantic RoRo Carriers running between Russia and Texas with intermediate stops on demand. It was last here in May, and is likely here to discharge the same cargo, a radioactive commodity, for reprocessing.

The ship is an Ocean VI  type, built in 2002 by Xiamen Ship Building Industry in Xiamen, China. It is a multi-purpose ship of 23,132 grt, 30,586 dwt.

ARRC is replacing the Astrakhan type ConRo ships that the line was famous for. One of those, Atlantic Navigator, has just been sold for scrap to Bangladesh. The former Lykes Energizer-04, Thorsriver-00, Evervital-97, Kovrov-97, was built in 1992 by Kvaerner Warnowerft Gmbh and was last here in March.
See the posts on Astrakhan ships here:

Friday, December 16, 2016

Shell going for litterbug of the year award

Nova Scotia has become the latest target for the "let someone else do it" policy of one of the world's largest (and richest) corporations.

Royal Dutch Shell has recently come under fire in the UK for its oil well abandonment plans for the North Sea. According to reports, they will leave the remnants of oil platforms after decommissioning the actual oil production. These include three subsea structures each the size of the Empire State building according to one article. Another report says that the  Brent C topside structure weighs 36,000 tonnes, not including the under water concrete jacket, and that some of it will be left in place because no one knows how to remove it with current technology. Plugging and abandoning a well may cost GBP 10 mn but removing the structure from seabed to topside could be GBP 1 bn or more.

Low oil prices have meant that it is uneconomical to continue to pump oil from many parts of the North Sea. Companies are decommissioning wells even though there may be lots of oil left to recover. Removal of well structures in the harsh North Sea has never been done, and costs are impossible to estimate. The lack of any return to the oil companies' bottom lines means that they want to avoid costly removals, but this has created a toxic political environment. The UK government will also be on the hook for half the removal cost through tax rebates.
Offsetting this is the billions the companies have made pumping oil out of the North Sea, without planning for what happens afterward or setting aside funds to do the removals.

Now Shell wants to abandon  the dropped riser from their first well attempt in the Shelburne Basin off Nova Scotia. The drill ship StenaICEMAX dropped the thousands of feet of pipe last spring while trying to disconnect from the well in bad weather and it is still lying in a jumbled mess on the bottom. Citing a host of reasons for why the pipe should be left there, Shell cannot conceal the fact that they want to be spared the expense of picking it up.

Replacement pipe was handled one pipe at a time onto pier 9C.
They are certainly right that it will be expensive, but that is no excuse. They should leave nothing behind period. The Canada - Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board must not let them off the hook so easily.

A small portion of the pipe sections, fully jacketed with flotation collars, that were required to replace the dropped pipe.
A comparable number now sit on the ocean bottom, and may be left there, complete with their plastic collars, to rot and decay.

As we know steel may eventually rust away even in low oxygen conditions. However the thousands of flotation collars are plastic. These will gradually break up and float away in small beads. These are known to be consumed by fish and birds or to remain as pollution for decades if not longer.  

It seems to me that under a drilling permit the license holder should be totally responsible for any and all clean up costs associated with their work  no matter how complicated, dangerous, difficult, costly (or whatever adjective they can find) the work may be. 


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Grand Manan - sad end to a fine little ship

CBC News New Brunswick is reporting on what appears to be the end of the line for a ferry that once served Grand Manan Island. See the report and short video clip:

Now named Sanblas the former Grand Manan has been aground in Panama since July 17 and appears to be there to stay. The uninsured ship ran onto rocks during an unwise salvage attempt on another vessel. When one engine stalled it could not be restarted fast enough to save the ferry from the rocks, and there it sits, its engine room filled with water and its owner unable to save it.

 Grand Manan fresh off the slip in Pictou, NS after its spring refit in 1991.

Built in 1965 by Saint John Dry Dock and Shipbuilding, the 1443 grt car and passenger feerry served J.D.Irving Ltd, CN Marine, and the New Brunswick Minister of Transportation during its 46 year career, always running between Black's Harbour and Grand Manan.

It carried 25 cars, 100 passengers and was originally powered by a pair of 8 cylinder Blackstone engines. Those were replaced vy 12 cylinder Caterpillars in about the year 2000.

In 1991 the ship was renamed Grand Manan IV to free the name for another ship, but reverted to its original name in 1993. It was due to retire after it last trip September 12, 2010, but was kept in reserve for a time. That was fortunate since the new ferry Grand Manan Adventure had some serious teething problems and the Grand Manan re-entered temporary service in May 2011.

Later in the year it was sold to one Fritz Breckner for use between Panama and Columbia. He paid $200,000 and says he spent another $800,000 on it for a new ferry route around the Darien Gap, but could not get the needed permits from the government of Panama.   The owner was using it as a liveaboard when he unwisely attempted to salvage one of his catamarans, which was also lost in the storm.

In another refit, this one in Liverpool in 1995, the ship has its bow door ajar. It has added some chevrons and the New Brunswick logo on its funnels.


Sunday, December 11, 2016

It was a quiet week...

As Garrison Keillor used to say every week on the Prairie Home Companion (NPR Radio in the USA)- It was a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.
Halifax harbour somewhat resembled Lake Wobegon this past week. There was the usual traffic of regular callers, but nothing too much to catch the eye. Some different tugs (see Tugfax) but that was about it.
In cases such as this it is time to dip into the shoebox for some older things. I have pretty much played out 1986, so skipping ahead a decade, here are some choice images from 1996.

Northern Progress sails in ballast. 

Among the regular winter and spring callers were the ships of Alcan Aluminum (now Rio-TintoAlcan). These were ice class ships, that ran year round to Port Alfred (now La Baie). They made frequent stops in Halifax for ice advisers and bunkers to and from their loading ports in Jamaica or Brazil.
Northern Progress was purpose and built in 1989 by Nippon Kokan KK in Tsu, along with sister Northern Venture and  measured 21,69 grt, 36,445 dwt. They sailed under the Bermuda flag until January 2002 when both were drydocked and renamed in Halifax upon sale to Fednav. They became Federal Progress and Federal Venture under the Hong Kong flag and continued in the alumina trade, but no longer exclusive to Alcan. They extended their range to Camsar, Guinea.
In March 2013 the pair were sold to Greek owners and renamed Progress and Adventure in Montreal.
They did not last long under those names. In July 2014 Progress arrived in Gadani Beach and was broken up starting July 26. Adventure followed and was broken up starting September 3.

When cruise ships were more often converted passenger liners, they really looked like ships.

IslandBreeze started out life in 1961at the John Brown + Co shipyard in Clydebank as RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Transvaal Castle for the Union-Castle Line. One of the last of world's truly great liners, it operated at 22.5 knots powered by steam turbines delivering 44,000 shp to twin screws. It was also one class, operating more like a hotel, the only (passenger) ship in the fleet that did not have first class accommodation.

It became S.A.Vaal in 1966 under Safmarine ownership, but continued running from Southampton to Durban via Capetown until September 1977 when it was the last of the line to follow that route, sailing from Southampton, returning October 10.  Passenger ships like her were hit by increasing air travel for passengers and mail, but also the loss of cargo to containers. Her 11 1/2 day run to South Africa was no match for a 12 hour plane ride.

Carnival Cruises bought the ship, renamd it Festivale and carried out a reconfiguration at Kawaski HI that nearly doubled passenger capacity from 728 to 1432, by fitting decks in the cargo holds and adding superstructure. Fortunately these did not utterly spoil the ship's handsome profile.

As new ships were brought in Carnival sold it off to Dolphin Cruise Line in 1996. Renamed IslandBreeze [one word, but with a capital B in the middle] it was chartered to Thomson Cruises and called in Halifax twenty times (one more was cancelled due to weather) in 1996 only, including the infamous Titanic cruise. On that occasion scores of Titanic buffs and three actual survivors (one at age 102) observed the recovery of a 10 tonne hunk of hull plate by flotation bagfrom the recently located wreck.

The ship was sold again in 1998, this time to Premier Cruise Line and renamed The Big Red Boat III . After suffering that indignity for two years, Premier went broke and the ship was laid up until 2003. It was finally renamed The Big Boat for the trip to the scrappers, arriving Alang, India July 9, 2003. 

 Nanticoke self-unloads a grain cargo at pier 25. Ships from the lakes usually work all night to discharge.

Built in 1980 by Collingwood Shipyard, the ship was one of  the new breed of Lakers that could also go to sea. It was originally to be called Gleneagles, after a previous CSLer, but became Nanticoke to recognize the port on Lake Erie that was, at the time, a major destination for coal and iron ore. 
The ship often called in Halifax with grain and loaded gypsum for the return trip to the Great Lakes.  As a self-unloader, it discharged directly into a hopper and its cargo was transferred by conveyor to the grain elevator. 

In May 1997  it was one of the three CSLers converted in Dartmouth to carry magnetite for ballasting the Hibernia gravity base off Newfoundland.

In March 209 it was renamed Salarium when it took up a long term charter to carry salt from the les Mines Salines in the Magdalen Islands. It is still doing that work, but is probably soon due for replacement.

 CCGS Parizeau looks quite smart as it sails out on another research trip.

The ship's red paint was barely dry, having been applied in September 1996, covering its previously white hull. The s 1328 grt survey ship was built in 1967 by Burrard Dry Dock in North Vancouver and transferred to the east coast in 1992. It was laid up in 2000 at BIO, renamed 2001-04 and eventually posted for sale.

In late 2003 it was sold, but it was not until 2005 that the new name Destiny Empress was scrawled on its hull. It remained under Canadian registry and sailed for Shelburne and then headed south, only to return after engine trouble near Bermuda. It eventually made its way south again and was resold perhaps more than once. 

On December 22, 2009 it was seized off the Spanish coast carrying a tonne of cocaine and its crew of seven (including one Canadian) were arrested, along with 16 people on shore. The ship was sold for scrap and arrived in Aliaga, Turkey July 19, 2011.

So many ex Canadian government ships have been implicated in drug smuggling, one wonders how the government can justify the paltry returns it gets from surplus sales. Many of the ships were fit only for scrap anyway, so there was really no need to go to all the trouble of selling them.

Halifax Shipyard was busy cranking out coastal defence vessels in 1996. Shawinigan was preparing to launch in November.

The major shipbuilding program by Irving Shipbuilding Inc delivered 12 ships over the span of three years. All were stern launched in the traditional manner, with only one launching ship itself ahead of time!  The MCMDVs continue to serve the RCN, in a variety of roles. HMCS Kingston has just returned from the Caribbean from drug patrol work.
In the background of the photo is HMCS Endeavour AGOR 171. The survey ship was transferred to Halifax in 1995, and was finally decommissioned in 1999 (after being decommissioned for a time in 1998 and 1999). It left Halifax in October 2001, classed as a yacht. It was last seen in Green Cove Springs, Florida in 2002 where a planned luxury yacht conversion had stalled. 

Veendam sails under a glowering sky. The black clouds overhead compliment the ship's black hull. In the background the tanker Irving Eskimo unloads at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal, which after many years of inactivity, has been re-opened in 2016.

Veendam was brand new in 1996, delivered by the Fincanitieri yard in Venice, and is still sailing, although much modified. Two passenger decks were added in the stern during a 2009 refit. It had another refit in 2012, but had serious engine problems in 2014 and was forced to cancel cruises for a three week drydocking.
For several years it was paired with twin sister ship Maasdam as regular Halifax callers. This year Maasdam was replaced by Rotterdam, but Veendam made twenty during the 2016 cruise season, including the inaugural cruise ship call April 30 .

The cable ship Sir Eric Sharp sails on a repair job.

The ship was named for the Chairman and Chief Executive of Cable + Wireless plc from 1980 to 1990, Sir Eric Sharp, later Eric Sharp, Baron of Grimsdyke (b.1916-d.1994). He oversaw the re-privatization of the company which had been nationalized in 1947 and placed under the control of the (British) Post Office. The ship was built in 1989 by Swan Hunter, Wallsend, a company with several Halifax connections, most notably as builder CSS Acadia, the flag ship of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

Cable and Wireless reconfigured itself many times over after 1990, but the ship was acquired in 2005 by IT International Telecom, the Canadian communications operator. Renamed IT Intrepid and placed under Barbados flag, it continues to carry out cable work, primarily in eastern North America, often working from Halifax.

I pictured it in this blog on October 6 when it arrived for a refit at pier 9. With that work nearly done, the ship is due to sail this week to repair a cable break on the St.Lawrence River between Pointe-à-Santerre and Forestville.

Aside from the twin stacks, it is very much in the traditional style of cable ships