Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Oranjeborg - back again, Quebec Report #7

The wharf at Pointe-au-Pic, QC sees on average two ships a month to load paper. The paper is produced by the Resolute mill at Clermont a few miles away and trucked to the wharf warehouse by a shuttle truck and drop trailers running weekdays.

The most frequent caller for the past few years has been Royal Wagenborg's Oranjeborg a multi-purpose RoRo, side loader, dedicated to the forest product trade. It arrived at noon today and began loading immediately.

The ship cuts close in to the K64 buoy as it lines for the wharf at nearly full tide.

A flotilla of forklifts bring the paper rolls out of the warehouse and load them through the side door onto ship's conveyors, whence they are moved by elevator to the appropriate deck where ship's forklifts stow the cargo. The ship's holds are climate controlled, since humidity levels are critical to protecting the paper.

The ship's controllable pitch prop and bow thruster allow it to come alongside without a tug.
Oranjeborg was built by Stocznia Gdynia in Poland in 2004 and measures 18,289 grt, 15,126 dwt.


Monday, August 14, 2017

CCGS Pierre Radisson - Quebec Report #6

CCGS Pierre Radisson has been conducting engine trials off my place since Friday. Ranging between Gros Cap-à-l'Aigle and Cap-aux-Oies, the ship has spent most of its time anchored off the Kamouraska Islands, in the south channel, directly across the river from my front door.

About 3 miles off Gros Cap-à-l'Aigle on Friday, the ship began its trials.

The ship is conducting propulsion trials, which seem to be related to a major Vessel Life Extension project (VLE) announced August 10, 2016. Verreault Navigation of Les Méchins was awarded an $8.6 mn contract for the majority of the work, which included hull re-coating, steel work, reconditioning the flight deck and hangar, and replacement of the windows. At about the same time Canadian Maritime Engineering was awarded a contract to replace the steering system.

ABB received a separate $3 mn contract to provide new hardware and software including eight new drives in the power distribution system. All this follows a 2011 project that replaced its six main engines and 3 generators.

 Last year I caught the Pierre Radisson heading for refit at flank speed.

The ship was decommissioned for the Verreault project, with the crew due to return to the ship in January 2017, with the shipyard work to be completed by January 31. The ABB contract was to be complete and commissioned by June 2017, but that my be what they are working on now.

The ship is propelled by six MLW- Alco (Fairbanks-Morse) diesel engines of 2,950 hp powering six General Electric Canada AC alternators which in turn drive two GEC DC shaft motors producing 6800 hp at 100% = 13,600 shp at the two propellers.

Built by Versatile Pacific Shipyards Ltd in Vancouver, CCGS Pierre Radisson was delivered to the CCG in June 1978 and conducted its trials and delivery voyage by the Northwest Passage. It is based in Quebec City. It is the lead ship of the Type 1200, Arctic Ice Class 3 Medium/River Icebreaker.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Speed limit - Quebec Report #5

A large swath of the Gulf of St.Lawrence is effected by the temporary speed restriction imposed by Fisheries + Oceans Canada in a perhaps futile attempt to reduce North Atlantic Right Whale mortality.

With up to ten whales of the endangered species found dead in the Gulf of St.Lawrence this year alone, there are fears that the surviving 500 or so whales may be beyond saving.

Ship strikes and fishing gear entanglements are thought to be the cause of the deaths, and some fisheries have also been curtailed, and an order has also been issued to remove phantom fishing gear.

The whales formerly inhabited the mouth of the Bay of Fundy where shipping lane re-routing appeared to have been successful in reducing strikes. However in recent years, for reasons yet unknown, the whales have left the Fundy area and moved to the Gulf. The animals feed on krill near the surface, and perhaps it is that the Gulf provides better feeding. As the western Atlantic warms up, the Labrador current still pumps cold water down through the Strait of Belle Isle into the Gulf and it is likely that the whales have moved to take advantage of better feeding.

That certainly appears to be the case for other whale species. I have seen more minke whales this year than any year I can remember. They feed on small fish such as herring and smelt, but the same water temperature issues may be a factor with them as well.

The effect on scheduled shipping is yet to be determined, but will obviously mean increased speed in other zones in order to maintain schedules. The reduced speed zone will result in cost savings for fuel, but the increased speed necessary to make up the time will more than offset any savings.

Right whales do not have "sonar" capability of some other species do, and thus cannot sense the presence of ships. They are so intent on feeding and so used to ships that they not distracted by their presence. Let's hope that the speed limits will work in saving this important species.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Louis S. St-Laurent and others - Quebec Report #4

The veteran Canadian icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent completed sea trials today and headed for St.John's.

 In mid-river, well out of the normal shipping channels, CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent conducts trials. The town of La Pocatière is to the left on the south shore.

Leaving Davie shipyard early this morning, it made its way down river past Cap-aux-Oies where the river widens out to about 12 miles, and spent a few hours doing evolutions as far downstream as Kamouraska, and upriver off La Pocatière.

It then returned up river as far as St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, where it disembarked a party of shipyard workers via the tug/workboat Ours Polaire.

With trials completed, the ship is met by the tug Ours Polaire and an outboard powered aluminum skiff, which seems to be on standby for lifesaving.

 Forced along by the tide, the ship is directly off the St-Joseph-de-la-Rive ferry dock.

Ours Polaire with a deck load of shipyard techs, heads in where a bus is waiting to take them back to Lévis. Since they were not wearing PFDs I assume the skiff was a precaution.

"The Louie" turns up the revs. The stern squat is real.

It made a very tight turn to port, and then took off, soon reaching 17 knots.

The ship had been on a $14 mn refit since February and really took the chance to kick up its heels. Perhaps it is moving with such alacrity because there is still time to participate in northern operations.

While awaiting the return of "The Louie"  there was more shipping to see from the vantage point of St-Joseph-de-la-Rive.

Upbound the HAPAG-Lloyd container ship Ottawa Express was getting a little boost from a powerful full moon tide.

Ottawa Express also making haste.

Built in 1998 by Daewoo SB+ME Ltd, Okpo, the 39,174 grt, 40,879 dwt ship has a modest container capacity of 2808 TEU. It was designed for year round St. Lawrence service to the restricted drafts of the time. It has carried the names Canmar Honour to 2005 then CP Honour to 2006.

A ship that is actually older (in part) than "The Louie" was creeping down river against the last of the tide. CSL's Cedarglen is an amalgam of the 1959 German-built Ems Ore. That ship was acquired  by Hall Corp  (with two sisters) and in 1977-78 Davie built a new forebody, and moved the island bridge aft. (That necessitated extending the funnel.) Renamed Montcliffe Hall it served Halco until 1988, when that company went out of business. It then went to N.M. Paterson + Sons Ltd where it served as their Cartierdoc. Paterson wound up their business after sister ship Windoc was badly damaged by a untimely bridge lowering in the Welland Canal. CSL acquired the Paterson fleet in 2002.

With a full load of grain, and against the last of the rising tide, Cedarglen makes no haste.

As Cedarglen the CSLer is one of the oldest cargo ships still operating on the St.Lawrence. It is headed from Montreal for Baie-Comeau, and at 6.4 knots was soon overtaken by the racing "Louie".


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Quebec Report #3

Sundays are often busy days on the river as ships aim to reach port on Monday. Today, despite some heavy showers, tide and time co-operated for a few photos of the dozen or so ships that passed my vantage point.

The speedy Maersk Penang overtook the slower Strandja as they made their way upriver early this afternoon.

Maersk Penang is a familiar sight in Halifax, one of five ships that maintain a Maersk CMA CGM transatlantic service.  Calling on Montreal Monday, westbound, the ships then stop in Halifax eastbound, usually on Saturday.

Strandja sails for Navigation Maritime Bulgare of Varna, Bulgaria, whose ships have been regular callers on the St.Lawrence for many years. Their tan superstructures make them easily identifiable from a distance. Launched in 2010 by Shanhaignan Shipyard in Qinhuandao, China as Eastward York, it was renamed on delivery Federal Yangtse, but almost immediately renamed Strandja.
The ship measures 19,865 grt, 29,9800 dwt and is a Seawaymax vessel.

As the showers cleared in the early evening a faint rainbow formed the background as Camilla Desgagnés passed close by upbound. The ship is returning from its first northern supply trip of the season.

A veteran of the Desgagnés fleet, the ship is the former Finnish newsprint carrier Camilla, that was salvaged off Newfoundland in 2003. Declared a total loss, Desgagnés bought the ship and installed a crane and carried out other modifications to suit it for work in the north.

The northern supply run is in full swing, with most ships back from their first trips and loading or sailed for the second. It is an especially busy year since the port of Churchill has been cut off by railway washouts and is no longer a staging point. In fact some lines are delivering cargo to Churchill for local use.

Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, has added a fifth ship to its fleet. It was downbound this morning at the crack of dawn, too dark for a photo. Named Nunalik (meaning "community"), the ship arrived in Sorel July 30 and was registered Canadian August 4. As with the other ships in the fleet, it was acquired from Spliethof's, the Dutch carrier, which company operates the ships in the off season.
Nunalik has a somewhat different history however, as it was not for Spliethof's.
It started life in 2009 at Jiandong Shipyard in China, and was originally named Beluga Fairy, 9611 grt, 12,662 dwt and as a member of the Beluga F class, was fitted with  a pair of 180 tone cranes that can combine for extra heavy lifts. When Beluga failed the ship became HHL Amazon for Hansa Heavy Lift. In 2016 it was renamed Hemgracht by Spliethof's and used by them until needed by NEAS.

The other major northern supplier, Desgagnés has four former Beluga F class ships in its fleet, and has found them especially useful for their heavy lift capability.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Presever to the scrappers


File photo: Preserver in use as a fuel shuttle, relied on tugs to move it between the HMC Dockyard and Imperial Oil after it was withdrawn from seagoing in 2014.

Although I was not in Halifax to see it go, I followed yesterday's departure of the decommissioned HMCS Preserver on the internet.

The tug Lois M of McKeil Marine got underway on schedule at 1030 hrs, and with assistance of the Dockyard tugs Glenevis and Glenbrook they were soon off the berth. The latter tug was tethered aft as stern escort.

Once out to the Middle Ground area, inside Meagher's Beach, the ship pilot disembarked to Scotia Pilot while the pilot assigned to the tug remained on board until reaching the pilot station.
By this morning the tow was making good progress and was off Guysboro.

The ship was sold to Marine Recycling Corporation of Port Colborne, ON, and there was idle speculation that the ship would be towed to the Great Lakes to be broken up. This was never in the cards. Although the ship could fit into the Seaway locks, it would have been an expensive proposition to tow it all the way to the Welland Canal. There would also be the question of the many delays caused to commercial shipping with such an ungainly tow.

Despite protestations in the press that they are not in the ship scrapping business, Heddle Marine of Hamilton, ON, a company associated with McKeil Marine, was instrumental in having the ship broken up in Nova Scotia. McKeil and Heddle have leased the Sydport area in Point Edward, NS as a ship repair and staging base, with an option to purchase the entire facility. They have apparently sub-leased some of the space to MRC and that is where Preserver will be broken up.

MRC has also acquired the retired ferry Princess of Acadia, the research vessel Quest (and possibly the destroyer Athabaskan) all of which will also be cut up at the facility. Heddle was contracted by the federal government to provide shipkeeping services when the ferry was retired and laid up  at Sydport.

MRC will undoubtedly use the facilities of Heddle Marine to assist in the initial dismantling and removal of recyclables and re-usables from Preserver and the other ships. There is still a plan to remove the marine re-fueling gear from Preserver for re-use by the RCN.

File photo: Preserver in its role as a floating gas station allowed RCN ships to refuel within the Dockyard until permanent fueling facilities could be arranged after Imperial Oil shut down its refinery and became a deport only.

The last of the Canadian Navy's supply ships, Preserver was laid down built in Saint John, NB in 1967, launched in 1969 and commissioned in 1970. It is ironic that its arrival date in Sydney harbour will be very close to the anniversary date of August 7, 1970.

It was removed from seagoing service in 2014 with corrosion, electrical issues and other problems, and finally decommissioned  October 21, 2016. Its disposal for scrap has very rapid by Canadian standards, which is partly explained by the fact that instead of the RCN's own forces removing re-usables, the MRC/Heddle operation will do that work.

Preserver's twin fleet mate Protecteur has been scrapped by R.J.MacIsaac in Liverpool, NS which has left the RCN in an awkward position of being unable to refuel its own ships at sea.

The fueler to be named Asterix Resolute is expected  to come into service this fall. It was recently unveiled at Davie in Lauzon, QC. A converted container ship hull, that ship has been contracted to serve the RCN until 2021 (at the earliest) when the RCN takes delivery of the second of two Queenston class fleet replenishment ships. It is not clear at this point how the fueling gear will be transferred to the Asterix  Resolute, but if it is done, McKeil / Heddle have lots of tugs and barges to do the work.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Quebec Report #2

More ideal weather and tides = more photos.

First up this morning was the tanker Las Cuevas from Norfolk for Quebec City in ballast.

Built in 2000 by Minami Nippon, in Usuki, Japan, the ship measures 27,955 grt, 45,299 dwt. It flies the British flag - now a flag of convenience (how times have changed).

It was followed not long after by Montreal Express doing a strong 20 knots as it stretched to follow the tide. Although bearing a HAPAG-Lloyd name, it is a lease from Sea Spirit Leasing Ltd and also flies the flag of Great Britain.

The ship is in itself a bit a of a history lesson, as it was built in 2003 as Canmar Spirit following the naming style of the successful Canada Maritime (a joint venture of CP Ships and Cie Maritime Belge, although CP had bought pout CMB in 1993). In 2005 the Canmar brand was dropped and CP Ships renamed it CP Spirit. Through several acquisitions, CP had become the 7th largest container line. But that position seems to be a curse, and it was swallowed up  by TUI AG and merged into HAPAG-Lloyd in 2005, and in 2006 the ship acquired its current name.
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering built the ship in Okpo, to carry 4402 TEU (including 311 reefers) on 55,994 grt, 47,840 dwt and it was intended for year-round St.Lawrence River service.

Following up at a more sedate speed, Reestborg is bound for Trois-Rivières from Vlaardingen, Netherlands. The ship features a reverse camber bow, and a very small superstructure for a ship with a surprisingly large tonnage of 14,141 grt, 23,249 dwt.

Downbound, mid-river is Dara Desgagnés.

Reestborg was built for Royal Wagenborg by Ferus Smit at the Leer Shipyard in 2013.

Once the tide had crested it was time fir the downbounds. To avoid upbound traffic, most downbounds stick to mid-channel or even use the south channel from time to time, however with no other ships in the area Alkyonis opted for the north shore to gain a little from the tidal backwash.

Just above the number two crane is the Morin Shoal buoy, marking a seamount in mid-river. 
The telephoto lens shortens the distance considerably.

A comparatively new bulker of 23,2676 grt, 37,418 dwt, Alkyonis was built in 2016 by Imabari Zosen, in Imabari, Japan and is mostly used to carry coal. Its next port is listed as Norfolk, VA.

Rounding up the day with the incoming tide was another container ship, MSC Rochelle. It flies the Liberian flag, and as is common with many MSC ships on the transatlantic route, it has a long history.

Built in 1997 by Hyundai, Ulsan, it was originally Pugwash Senator named in honor of the Nova Scotia village where Cyrus Eaton founded the Pugwash Thinkers Conferences.  Senator Line was a German company, in which Hanjin acquired a majority ownership in 1997, with Laiesz in the minority. Laeisz was once the owner of the famous Flying P line of clipper ships, and all its ships were named with the the letter P. Although becoming a major container line Hanjin-Senator was also a victim of the curse of 7. Even though it was the 7th largest container line, it ceased trading in 2002.

In 2007 the ship found other charters and became CSAV Appennini, 2012: Pugwash, 2013: MSC Curitiba, 2014: Pugwash and in the same year MSC Rochelle.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Quebec Report #1

Having established a reliable internet connection in Quebec I am now able to post at will. I won't be posting every day, but today's superb weather made for some good photo opportunities.

There were many ships in the river today, and with an incoming tide late in the afternoon, lighting was ideal. At my location about 90 miles northeast of Quebec City, most ships time their upbound trips to take advantage of a knot or two of rising tide. This may not seem like a lot, but the alternative is to fight a falling tide, which can be considerably stronger, especially at pinch points like Ile-aux-Coudres and Quebec City.

First upbound that I caught was NCC Noor, a 29,163 grt, 45,565 dwt mid-range tanker of the National Chemical Carriers fleet of Saudi Arabia, now part of the "Bahri" brand. Nevertheless it flies the Panama flag.

It was built in 2011 by SLS Shipbuilding Co in Tongyeong, South Korea.

Next along was the Wagenborg ship Aragonborg. Its destination was the nearby wharf at Pointe-au-Pic, where it will be paper for export to Europe. Royal Wagenborg is one of the prime forest product carriers.

It was built in 2010 by Hudong-Zhonghua in Shanghai and measures 11,885 grt, 17,294 dwt. It has moveable tween decks and three 60 tonne cranes. After a few days loading paper from the Resolute mill in Clermont, it will sail to Baie-Comeau to take on more.

A few minutes later it was another mid-range tanker BW Osprey, 290,768 grt, 49,999 dwt, built in 2015 by SPP Shipbuilding Co in Goseong, South Korea.

The distinctive hull colours of BW Tankers from Singapore certainly sets them out from the rest. BW apparently stands for Bergesen Worldwide, a name adopted by World Wide Shipping (of Hong Kong) when it acquired Bergesen of Norway. It is presently has the world's largest fleet of VLCCs.

The last upbound in daylight was Algoma Integrity. After a lengthy winter layup in Montreal it has only recently resumed service carrying iron ore from Port-Cartier to Contrecouer in a constant  shuttle service.

The former Gypsum Integrity to 2015t it was built in 2009 to sail from Hantsport, NS, but that was a short-lived job. After US Gypsum shut down its mine nearby the ship was chartered out and eventually sold.
 Built in Rio de Janeiro by EISA-Ilha it measures 33,047 grt, 47,701 dwt.

Friday, July 28, 2017

To watch for

Watch for the Atlantic Pilotage Authority's new pilot boats. As mentioned in a previous post, crews are putting the boats through their paces before they go into service.

This morning the Nova Pilot was on trials at pier 23. Expect to see them accompanying ships out to the pilot station, but not actually boarding pilots. Nova Pilot and Scotia Pilot will replace the venerable A.P.A.No.1 in Halifax and be available to replace other boats as they go in for refits.

A.P.A.No.1 (left) will be replaced. The new boats have heated decks and rails which will make it safer for pilots in freezing spray conditions. Chebucto Pilot (right) was built with heated decks and rails, but they have not functioned properly. (February 14, 2017 photo)


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Off Watch and thank you

 Veendam outbound in the main channel, Reykjafoss (Eimskip) inbound in the western channel, Fritz Reuter (Melfi) oubound in the western channel and Vega Omega (Tropical) outbound in the main channel.

Shipfax will be going off watch, as far as Halifax Harbour is concerned, for the next few weeks. Periodic reports may follow, but they will be few and far between and may be filed from far away places.

Thanks to everyone who came to my exhibition, which is now closed. Thanks also for the many kind comments. If you missed it, I hope to have an online version sometime this fall.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Themis ramps it down

The large autocarrier Themis made its first call in Halifax today, on a very gloomy morning. It stopped first at pier 31 to unload some wheeled machinery and in the afternoon moved to Autoport to unload cars.

As soon as the ship was made fast it began to lower its giant stern ramp.

Built in 2016 by Hyundai Samho, the ship has a capacity of 8,000 cars, but can carry a variety of RoRo cargo too. Its 320 tonne capacity stern ramp allows for some very heavy loads. The ship is owned by Toda Shipping and managed by MMS Co Ltd. It sails for Wilhelmsen Lines under the Wallenius Wilhelmsen banner. Its gross tonnage is 75,283 with a deadweight tonnage of 23,786.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Atlantic Conveyor - finale

This may be my final posting on the Atlantic Conveyor except perhaps for a report that she has headed for the scrap yard. Her arrival today is likely her last westbound trip, and since I will be away when she makes the return eastbound call next week, today was also my last chance to see the ship.
As the last Atlantic Container Liners (ACL) G3 in operation it is worth repeating some of the history that I have recounted before.

 Atlantic Conveyor passes Meagher's Beach this moring, to be joined by its escort tug Spitfire III.

The ship was launched July 12, 1984 at Swan Hunter on the Waalsend-Neptune yard on the Tyne and made her maiden call  in Halifax February 1, 1985. Named Atlantic Conveyor by her owners, Cunard Steam Ship Co Ltd, she was was the second ship to carry that name.  The first Atlantic Conveyor was also a product of Swan Hunter Shipbuilders Ltd from their Walker yard in Newcastle in 1970. It was one of the second generation (G2) series built for service with ACL and was a regular Halifax caller. 

The first Atlantic Conveyor taking water at the pier 36 RoRo ramp. This was its regular berth until the Halterm container terminal was completed.

A steam turbine ship, it needed to replenish its fresh water supply from time to time..

It served ACL until 1982 when it was requistioned by the UK Minister of Defence for service in the Falklands War. Fitted out to carry military supplies, it was not armed. On May 26, 1982 it was struck by two exocet missiles from Argentinian aircraft. Unspent propellant ignited a fire that gutted the ship, killing twelve including the ship's long time master, Capt. Ian North, well known in Halifax. The seven helicopters that were on board were also destroyed and many other supplies. Prince Andrew witnessed the strike and was first on scene in his helicopter to lift off survivors. It sank a few days later in tow.
 A few months before lenghtening, Atlantic Conveyor arrives in Halifax.

 The second Atlantic Conveyor arrived at Scott Lithgow Ltd in Greenock, Scotland July 14, 1987 and was lengthened 42m (to 291.92m) , increasing its capacity substantially. RoRo capacity was increased by 3570m2, containers by 336 TEU (to 2908) , cars by 500 units, and its engine increased by 3,670 bhp (to 27,398 bhp) . That engine, a massive 6 cylinder B+W was built under license by John G. Kincaid, also in Greenock. The ship was already distinguished by the turtleback cowl over its forepeak - unique amongst all the ACL G3s. All the other G3s were lengthened by Hyundai Mipo.

The lengthened Atlantic Conveyor passes the Novadock floating drydock at Halifax Shipyard, monopolizing the Narrows.

Through the various re-arrangements of ownership of ACL, Atlantic Conveyor has at various times flown the British and Bahamas flags, but since 2003 it has flown the Swedish flag, as ownership is vested in Atlantic Container Lines AB, which in turn is owned by the Grimaldi Group.

Outbound this evening after 32 years.


Sunday, July 23, 2017


With the annual Shipfax vacation about to start soon, it seems like a good time to do a small round up of pending events.

The Atlantic Pilotage Authority has acquired a pair of high speed pilot boats to supplement their  fleet. The boats were built in the Netherlands and had seen service for Sima Charters in the UK before they were acquired this spring. Their trip to Halifax was an interesting one. From the port of Waalhaven, they were lifted aboard the Icelandic cargo ship Bakkafoss on June 17. On arrival in Reykjavik they were unloaded and then transferred to the Reykjafoss for the trip to Halifax. On arrival here July 1 they were unloaded and moved to Dominion Diving's facility at Dartmouth Cove for final fit out.

The two boats have now been renamed Nova Pilot (the former SC Lynx) and Scotia Pilot (ex SC Cheetah) both were built in Huesden, Netherlands by ShipInstall BV. Although they are  built to the same basic design they are slightly different.

Nestled in at Dartmouth Cove, the pair have recovery platforms on the stern and lifting cradles to recover persons from the water.

Nova Pilot was built in 2010 and is powered by two Volvo engines totalling 1144 kW (1400 hp) and driving a pair of Rolls Royce water jets for a top speed of 24 knots.

Scotia Pilot was built in 2011 (according the previous owners, but 2012 according to Transport Canada) and is powered by a pair of Caterpillar engines totaling 1304 kW (1748 hp) and driving a pair of Rolls Royce waterjets for a maximum speed of 26 knots.

The boats are both 18.5m long by 5.6m breadth with a draft of 21.1m and can carry 12 persons with a range of about 300 miles.
They are also fitted with second steering station outside and extensive man overboard recovery gear. Other fittings include heated deck and hand rails.

Scotia Pilot returning from a practice run with the outbound Ningdo Express in the Middle Ground area, but the regular pilot boat Chebucto Pilot did the actual disembarking at the pilot station.

The ferry Dartmouth III has completed drydocking in Sambro, but is still undergoing some work alongside the government wharf. The new owners plan to sail the vessel to Toronto via the Gulf of St.Lawrence with many stops along the way.

Amongst the fishing vessels at the Sambro government wharf, Dartmouth III looks very much out of place.  Sharp eyes will detect that its name is applied to a plate which presumably covers a new name that will not be revealed until it reaches its now home in Toronto.

Speaking of long trips through the St.Lawrence system, the little bunkering tanker Arca I that got into trouble last winter and ran ashore in Cape Breton, has finally departed from Sydney on its way to its new home in Mexico. This time it is on board the heavy lift ship HHL Tokyo departing Sydney July 19 and now travelling in comfort and safety.

An interesting yacht visited Halifax last week, and sailed this morning, so if you didn't see it, here are some photos.

Silver Cloud is the world's first SWATH type yacht. The Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull design uses small diameter twin hulls to reduce water plane area and increase efficiency through the water. The two cylindrical hulls (11 feet in diameter in the case of the Silver Cloud) are bridged by the ship's deck making a roomy and stable catamaran.

This one was built in 2008 by Abeking and Rasmussen in Lemwerder, Germany and measures 134 feet long x 58 feet wide, and has generous accommodation for five guests and five crew. It features all the usual amenities and bells and whistles and can accommodate a small helicopter (of course).

With a Latin dance party going on at full blast on the adjacent dock, I hope the yachters had good sound proofing.
For this yacht, there are numerous on line links with many interior photos, and even identification of the owner:

This is not the first SWATH type craft to call in Halifax,. In fact one of the earliest SWATHs is CCGS Federick G. Creed, built by Swath Ocean Systems Inc of San Diego, CA in 1988 and lease / purchased by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans in 1989. Although it sailed out of Halifax for a time it has been based at the Maurice Lamontagne Institute in Mont Joli, QC and rarely leaves the confines of Gulf of St.Lawrence conducting marine research.

As  originally painted in white oceanographic colours, Frederick G. Creed approaches a dock in Halifax.

In Fisheries and Oceans colours, and as a Coast Guard ship, the vessels passes George's Island inbound to Halifax.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Siem Cicero on maiden voyage

The auto carrier Siem Cicero made its first arrival in Halifax today on its first revenue trip (aka its maiden voyage).

The ship was launched as recently as November 12, 2016 by Uljanik shipyard in Pula, Croatia, one of three new auto carriers under construction for Auto Marine Transport Inc of the Cayman Islands. It is on charter to and managed by Siem Car Carriers Inc of Norway. (The Siem group of companies includes Secunda Marine of Halifax and St.John's and is active in offshore work among other shipping interests).

The ship was delivered about June 30 and voyaged to Emden, Germany where it took on its first load. While sailing on July 13 it lost its ability to steer, through some sort of software glitch and ran aground in the River Ems. It was pulled off without damage and was able to resume its trip the next day.

The ship measure 56,677 grt and 17,416 dwt and has a capacity of approximately 7,000 cars.

There are several videos of its impressive stern first launch, including on Siem Carrier's web site: http://www.siemcarcarriers.com/siem-cicero-launch-12th-november-2016/


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ships named for people

Two ships named for people arrived in Halifax today. Most ocean going ships are not named for people (with the exception of some well known passenger ships) so it is is always interesting to find out who the people were.

First arriving was Akadenik Ioffe one of two Russian oceanographic/passenger ships operated by One Ocean Expeditions for arctic expedition cruises in Canada this summer. Akademik Ioffe was built in 1985 by Hollming in Rauma, Finland and is owned an operated by the Shirshov Institute. It carries 96 passengers, 65 crew and 10 Zodiacs, and is fitted with stabilizers. Its four northern cruises this summer out of Iqaluit and Resolute will cover much of the eastern arctic and end in Greenland. For this the ship received a coasting license as did sister Akademik Sergey Vavilov which will conduct similar cruises.

 Akademik Ioffe at pier 27 - not a usual pier for cruise ships- taking on stores. The shadow from the grain gallery at pier 28 falls across its bridge.

Akademik Ioffe is named for a leading Physicist of the Soviet era, Abram Fedorovich Ioffe (1880-1960) , a student of Roentgen (credited with development of  the X-ray)  and an early developer of the basis of radar. His many other achievement lead to Lenin and Stalin medals, but his Jewish ancestry (he converted to Lutheranism as an adult ) lead to a demotion. Nevertheless he is well remembered as a pioneer in many areas of physics.

The is not listed in the Port of Halifax cruise ships statistics because it is one a positioning voyage, and is here for stores. Its first of four cruises in the Canadian arctic depart from Iqaluit July 25.

The second caller named for a person is a more familiar visitor to Halifax. Radcliffe R. Latimer  is here to load gypsum, but must wait at anchor until the CSL Tacoma finishes loading tonight.
The ship was built in 1978 by Collingwood Shipayrd as Algobay a "Nova Scotia class" self-unloading bulk carrier. Built to maximum allowable St. Lawrence Seaway size, it was also designed to make Atlantic coastal voyages.  In 1990 it was reflagged Liberian and chartered to Atlantic Beltships, then  after a 1994-1997 charter to CSL as Atlantic Trader under Liberian flag, it returned to Canada and resumed services as Algobay until 2002 when it was laid up in Toronto.

In early 2008 it underwent extensive strengthening and was towed to China where an entire new forebody (to revised and larger Seaway dimensions), engines and generators were installed. It returned to Canada in time for the 2010 season.

In 2012 the ship was renamed Radcliffe R. Latimer in honour of the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Algoma Central Corp. Mr. Latimer retired in 2010 after a distinguished business career with, among others CN Rail, Trans Canada Pipeline, and Prudential Assurance. He lead the growth of Algoma Central Marine to the largest Canadian Great Lakes shipping company, it diversification into tankers and its fleet renewal program has seen many new ships added to the fleet. Born in 1933 in Florance, ON he now resides in Toronto.