Sunday, February 26, 2017

Long Term Parking at Autoport

Most auto carriers try to be in an out of Autoport during a normal eight hour shift. In past weeks some of those stays have extended to nearly two days. However this weekend's visitor must be setting a record.

Viking Adventure arrived Friday, February 24 and is not expected to sail until late Monday, February 27. There has been no sign that the ship is unloading yet, so it is no doubt waiting for the parking lots in Autoport to be cleared of previous arrivals. As mentioned in an earlier post, heavy snow and a continuous stream of ships has left Autoport in a backlog situation. Now that a lot of the snow has melted, and CN has been able to move larger train loads in and out there is some progress in making up the delays.

Viking Adventure towers over the land side installations of neighbouring Valero.

Viking Adventure is a very large Pure Car and Truck Carrier, with a capacity of 6500 automobiles. When it does start to unload, it will likely fill the near shore area of Autoport once again.

Built in 2015 by Jiangsu Jinling in Nanjing, China, the ship measures 62,106 grt and 18,372 dwt. It is one of four sister ships in the fleet of Gram Car Carriers. The company, now operating from Singapore, but owned in Oslo, specializes in forming and managing private equity syndicates to own ships and time charter them to the larger shipping companies. Its current fleet includes about 20 ships, some of the smaller feeder type (2,000 cars) and others in the world wide trade (4,200 and 6,400 size).

Ramp doiwn, but no action, Viking Adventure will begin to unload Monday morning.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Veteran Tanker Sold On

A veteran tanker has been sold and has left Canadian registry for an as yet unknown flag of convenience.
Thalassa Desgagnés has been a fixture on the Great Lakes, St.Lawrence and east coast as a dedicated asphalt / black oil tanker since 1993, and thanks to its most recent owner, has outlived many tankers of the same vintage.

Built in 1976 by Ankerlokken Verft Glommen A/S in Frederikstad, Norway, as Joasla, the ship is ice strengthened and double hulled with cargo heating coils. It became Orinoco in 1979 for Swedish owners, then in 1981 it was renamed Rio Orinoco and flagged in the Cayman Islands.

On October 1990 while inbound in the Gulf of St.Lawrence with an asphalt cargo, it experienced engine trouble and anchored off Port Menier, Anticosti Island. It was unable to maintain the anchorage and drifted ashore October 16. The crew were evacuated by helicopter, and the ship was feared lost.

However the ever resourceful Desgagnés recognized an opportunity, and on a "no cure / no pay" basis salvaged the ship the following spring and summer. The asphalt cargo had solidified, holding the ship in place and preventing major pollution. Re-liquefying the cargo to lighten the ship for refloating was  accomplished using barge mounted boilers. The lightened ship was then towed to Quebec City arriving August 23, 1991 and laid up  until the salvage claim could be settled.

Still showing signs of recent distress, Rio Orinoco awaits its fate in Quebec City. Note the large tank on the upper deck adjacent to the funnel - part of the salvor's equipment.

 Numerous bangs, dents and scrapes appear largely superficial.

In early 1993 Desgagnés acquired ownership, renamed it Thalassa Desgagnés, and began the  process of rebuilding the ship. It went into service in early 1994 and formed the basis for the Desgagné subsidiary Pétro-Nav Inc. It was so thoroughly reconditioned that its life was extended dramatically.

It called in Halifax numerous times with asphalt, but also with Bunker C fuel for the Nova Scotia Power plant at Tuft's Cove. It also carried heavy fuel from Halifax when Imperial Oil's refinery was in operation.

Safely at anchor in Bedford Basin, Thalassa Desgagnés had arrived the day before in a storm. 
Due to its ultra low freeboard, the pilot could not board the ship safely until it was inside the shelter of Meagher's Beach. 

The Pétro-Nav fleet has expanded dramatically and is continuing to do so. The eight ship fleet will expand with four new multi-fuel asphalt tankers under construction in Turkey to be delivered starting this spring. The first, Damia Desgagnés, a 11,978 grt, 15,100 dwt ship will be able to use LNG, marine diesel or heavy fuel for its main engine.

Thalassa Desgagnés had been laid up in Montreal last year in anticipation of its replacement. It has now been renamed Asphalt Princess and at an age when most tankers would have been scrapped, it will resume service for new owners offshore. It was 17 years old when it was declared a total loss, but has put in an added 24 years of service since then - a remarkable story.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Wall to Wall Cars

Although Autoport has few walls, the title is indicative of the current situation in Eastern Passage. The facility is stuffed with cars, mostly European, and more are on the way.

California Highway has its ramp up and is preparing  to sail from at Autoport.

 Less than 24 hours after yesterday's photo, the ship is outbound again.

As mentioned yesterday, California Highway arrived in the afternoon and in a little less than 24 hours sailed again, depositing an unknown number of autos and perhaps other vehicles. All the shoreside space was jammed and there were cars as far as the eye could see in the hinterlands behind. It is also understood that other vacant land nearby is also in use. A normal unloading schedule wold be about 8 to 12 hours, so the extra time was likely needed to ferry cars to remote destinations in the port.

Arriving on the Halifax side at noon time another ship, Mignon, spent a few hours at pier 31 offloading some machinery, but was ready and waiting to move over to Autoport as soon as the berth was clear again.

Mignon is owned by Wallenius Lines AB of Sweden abd was built in 1999 by Daewoo Heavy Industres, Okpo, South Korea. Originally it measured 57,018 grt, 14,841 dwt. In 2005 it was taken in hand by Hyundai-Vinashin Shipyard Co Ltd in Ninh Hoa, Vietnam and lengthened 29 meters by inserting a new section amidships. This 12 deck structure increased tonnages to 67,264 grt, 28,126 dwt and the car carrying capacity from about 3,000 to 7,194 units (Lane length increased from 5700m to 6840m).


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weeked Catch-Up

The port seems to have caught up after the many delays caused by Monday's and  Thursday's heavy snow falls and high winds. Almost every ship was effected, and at one time up to five ships were anchored in Bedford Basin awaiting berths.
Shipfax's mobility was hampered too, so it was not until Saturday that I was able to catch up, thereby missing most of the intense activity.

One of the many container ships that was delayed was NYK Constellation. It was initially due on Tuesday February 14, but put off its arrival until Thursday and even then anchored in Bedford Basin until Friday morning. With Fairview Cove running flat out it was not until Saturday morning that it was able to sail. While I normally avoid wide angle lens photos, the only spot to get a fair picture (without wading into hip deep snow) demanded the 28mm setting.

The lens makes the ship look much large than it s 55,534 grt, 65,000 dwt. Hyundai Mipo, Ulsan built the ship in 2007 and it carries a modest 4922 TEU, including 330 reefers.
One ship that apparently did not experience a delay was Hafnia Malacca. It arrived at the Irving Woodside terminal on Thursday  and sailed Saturday morning for Saint John.

Built in 2015 by Hyundai Mipo, the 24,120 grt, 39,067 dwt ship is on the small size of Mid Range tankers in the Hafnia Handy Pool Management fleet, operating out of  Singapore for the Danish Hafnia company.

Not photographed, was Saturday's arrival of UASC Umm Qasr the first ship on Columbus Loop service in two weeks. The line has reduced winter sailings and is changing partners in the service effective in April. UASC (United Arab Shipping) has been bought out by HAPAG-Lloyd, and although this ship is only a charter to USAC, this may be its last call here as H-L will not be a partner in the service with CMA CGM.

On Sunday temperatures  soared into the plus 7C range, but there was still a heavy snow cover, reflecting a bright sun. George's Island looked spectacular - like a populated iceberg (it is neither).

There was quite a traffic jam in the lower harbour as California Highway arrived but stood by east of George's Island until the Autoport berth was clear. It has little time to work since the next ship, Mignon is due tomorrow. An autocarrier of 59,447 grt, 18,644 dwt, it was built in 2010 by Imabari Zosen in Marugame. It flies the Panama flag for Taiyo Nippon Kisen of Kobe and operates for K-line.

With two tugs on its port side, the ships sits waiting for its berth.

California Highway had been anchored offshore since Friday waiting for Autoport to clear its backlog of shipping. Starting on Monday, the Metis Leader was due, but had to wait Tuesday, it was followed by Oregon Highway on Wednesday, Boheme on Friday, leaving no time for Oceanex Sanderling to load.

Oceanex Sanderling outbound from Eastern Passage to sea.

Its normal departure time is Friday evening, but it had to wait until Saturday evening to get into Autoport, and finally sailed late this afternoon, clearing the way for Oceanex Sanderling.

Not long after, Califronia Highway and its two tugs sailed in toward Autoport.

Outbound for St.John's the ship catches some late day sun.

Also today the Cyprus flag Maccoa arrived for bunkers. Owned by Navarone SA of Athens, it is operated by Daphne Shipping Agency LLC of  Odessa, Ukraine and employs exclusively Ukrainian masters officers and crews. 

Algoma Dartmouth clears Maccoa after bunkering.

The diminutive tankers carries its fenders permanently to save time while coming alongside ships.

Maccoa dates from 2009 when it was built by Shandong Weihai Shipyard in Weihai China. A bulk carrier of 19,814 grt, 30,898 dwt, it carries three 30 tonne crane. It is one of about forty ships operating for Canadian Forest Navigation (CANFORNAV) of Montreal that are frequent Great Lakes and St.Lawrence River callers. The ship is giving Ilheus, Brazil as its next port of call.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

To PEI - Part 1, the hard way

The recent closure of the Confederation Bridge to all traffic during a blizzard, was one of the rare times that Canada has been cut off from Prince Edward Island in recent years. Since the 8 mile long bridge opened in 1997 there have often been traffic restrictions due to high winds, but only a very few actual closures.

In the years before the bridge there were long periods when there was no traffic at all. Ice boats, then ships attempted to make the crossing during ice season, and were often turned back or delayed.

It was not until almost mid 20th century that regular ferries became powerful enough to battle most conditions, but even then there were frequent delays.

I recently came across some old photos taken with a tiny Minox "spy" camera, and so the quality is understandably poor, but they are worth sharing. They appear to have been taken in the spring of the LATE 1950s, after most of the ice was gone, but I have no further information.

The rail ferry Scotia II steams across the Northumberland Strait.

The barge-like ferry shuttled rails cars, and the occasional locomotive for the CNR.
The photos were taken from the deck of the ferry Prince Edward Island, a rail and car/passenger ferry. CN adopted its famous "wet noodle" logo in 1961. Before that CNR ships had a blue / white / red funnel ( or in the case of this ship, four of them.).

The spy camera was better at detail photos.
A view over the bow shows some ice. but also some interesting rivet work on the 1915 built bulwarks.

Laid up in Dartmouth for a time, the old ferry's looks were not improved by orange funnels with the white CN logo. It was later converted to be a dredge pumping station and finally scrapped in Toronto.
That is the sealer Arctic Endeavour alongside - also no stranger to ice, despite its wooden hull. The bulker Cavala is inbound for National Gyspum, and the CN pier at left, is a junk and scrapyard run by Leo J. Beazley, with several sunken hulks on the opposite side.

In 1983 I made a memorable crossing on the John Hamilton Gray and got a close up look of Abegweit (ii) making it look easy to work through the ice.

Although ungainly looking, Abegweit (ii) was built for the ice and did a superb job from 1982 to 1997.

In the spring of 1997 I made round trip on the Abegweit and saw (and heard) John Hamilton Gray putting on a good show as it worked its way through moderate ice.

The Confederation bridge in the background is two months from opening as John Hamilton Grey storms through heavy ice, her eight Fairbanks Morses singing a happy tune.

It was my last chance to do the ferry crossing, for as soon as the bridge opened in May 1997 the Marine Atlantic Ferry service was shut down.

If some of this seems familiar - see

There remains the seasonal ferry service between Caribou, NS and Wood Islands PEI - but that will be part 2.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Waiting for the next blast

With one severe storm safely past, the harbor is bracing for the next onslaught due over the next few days.

Chebucto Pilot and backup boat A.P.A.No.1 wait for the next call. Even an hour after high tide, the water levels Are still high in the harbour.

All scheduled arrivals and departures are on hold, although there might be one arrival later this afternoon. Tropical Shipping's AHS Hamburg is still scheduled for 1700 hrs. Tropical's normal sailing day is Monday, so they will try to reduce the impact on their schedule.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Blizzard and Storm Surge

Halifax Harbour is hunkered down for a rip snorter of a blizzard that is now estimated to bring 25 to 70cm of snow, blown by sustained winds of 60 kph and gusts in excess of 100 kph (peaking at noon today), coupled with a storm surge on top of a high tide of 1.9m at 0934 hrs AST this morning.

The large ships in port appear to be holding their own. Two tankers anchored in Bedford Basin have not shown any signs of dragging anchor according to AIS.

Meanwhile at Fairview Cove the tug Atlantic Fir is alongside Atlantic Sail and Atlantic Oak is alongside Yantian Express, both tugs helping to keep the ships alongside. The third tug Atlantic Willow is stationed nearby at pier 9C in case of need.

Algoma Dartmouth is still at pier 36. Although it often moves to an alternate berth in a storm, this time it is staying put. Nearby at pier 25-26 the wintering Atlantic Huron has its AIS turned off, and likely only has a skeleton crew on board. However it has had heavy moorings out since it arrived for layup.

The cable ship Isaac Newton and supplier Atlantic Griffon and Atlantic Shrike are at piers 9B and A and likely in the most sheltered berths in the harbour for north easterly winds.

The supplier Atlantic Condor is perched on the Exxon Mobil dock in Dartmouth, to some extent in the lee of the Dartmouth shore.

Halifax Transit cancelled bus and ferry service today, so all the ferries remain at their docks. HMC Dockyard is "closed" (i.e. employees are not required to report to work), but there will no doubt be crews tending lines on the many ships alongside. Most worrisome would be Preserver, which is very high out of the water, but which will certainly have many extra lines out.

Winds will have diminished somewhat for the next high tide at 2204 hrs, but the water levels are again expected to exceed the normal due to the storm surge. Many low level docks were flooded this morning.

Numerous other vessels tied up in port will have paid extra attention to lines before the storm and will be monitoring them carefully until sometime tomorrow.

The few ship that were due today will have to wait outside until conditions improve. Even then it will take some time for crews to clear snow from the piers to allow unloading and loading.


Rekord in Lunenburg

A delightful little Norwegian built ex freighter showed up in Lunenburg this winter. Regrettably I could not get a good photo on my last visit (at least not without trespassing) so you will have to  go to  the following website and Youtube to see the boat in detail.

The boat was apparently sold in 2015 and spent some time in Yarmouth, NS, perhaps after a failed transatlantic attempt. It was reported to be for sale again at $89,000 but it was not in a safe location in Yarmouth and needed immediate attention. It looks like someone has rescued it (again).

I it will get some more restoration work to preserve what is now a 100 year old treasure.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bedford Basin for Shelter

The two tankers tied up at Imperial Oil today headed for Bedford Basin this evening to shelter from the latest blizzard due tonight and all day tomorrow.

STI Virtus (left, with red hull) and High Pearl (right, with black hull) were unloading refined products from Texas until late this afternoon. 

High Pearl, which arrived from Beaumont, TX in the early hours of Saturday morning (see previous post) was joined Saturday evening by STI Virtus, arriving from Houston.  

Operated by Scorpio Commercial Management of Monaco, STI Virtus is another Korean built ship, dating from 2014 when it was delivered by SPP Shipbuilding Corp of Sacheon. Of 29,735 grt and 49,9990 dwt, it is more or less typical of its type. Close inspection reveal chamfered corners on its accommodation block below the bridge, a feature that may improve wind resistance. 

Also unusual are the inscriptions on the forward face of that block. In addition to the usual "No Smoking "and "Safety First" signage, found on almost all tankers this one also has the mottoes "Conserve Energy" on the starboard side and "Preserve the Environment" on the port side.  

The incoming storm with heavy snow has predicted winds in excess of 100 kph and a storm surge, which would make it unsafe to remain alongside at Imperial Oil. The ships will likely return to their berths sometime Tuesday.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

South Shore Follow Up

Back by popular demand - a follow up to my post about last weekend's trip to the South Shore - more particularly Liverpool.

Liverpool is the home of Mersey Seafoods Ltd, founded in 1964 by a local dentist, the late Dr. Bill Murphy, and now one of the important seafood companies in eastern Canada.

Although it started small it grew by expansion and acquisition (too big a story for this brief post) but now has boats fishing as far north as Greenland.

This is a follow up on the one boat featured in last week's post, Richmond Odyssey. Built for Richmond Fisheries (1983) Ltd of Petit-de-Grat, NS,  it was the built by Pictou Industries Ltd. Three more trawlers of the same design were built by Georgetown Shipyard Inc in Prince Edward Island and registered to sister company Usen Fisheries (1983) Ltd.

 Richmond Odyssey after some hard fishing, was ready for a paint touch-up. Mersey keeps their boats up very well, so this one didn't look this way for long.

It took government persuasion (i.e. subsidies) to convince Booth Fisheries of Chicago to expand beyond their fresh water home on the Great Lakes and to invest in deep sea fishing in about 1959. They established plants in Petit-de-Grat (on Ile Madame on the southeast corner of Cape Breton Island) and in Fortune, Newfoundland. They had a fine fleet of Dutch built side trawlers but in 1974 they threatened to pull out of Petit-de-Grat and concentrate their activities in Fortune. All levels of government stepped in and purchased the plant and saved the hundreds of jobs ashore and afloat that were the  lifeblood of the island community. After rebuilding the plant the operation was sold to Usen Fisheries.

The Petit-de-Grat plant (in Richmond County) was incorporated as Richmond Fisheries (1983) Ltd and a sister plant in Souris, PE operated as Usen Fisheries (1983) Ltd. (I believe the Fortune plant was also part of the deal, but I can't be certain).  Boston-based O'Donnell-Usen Fisheries was one of the largest independent sea food processors in the US and became th owners. They had been established in Prince Edward Island for several years before.  

The fleet of trawlers, now becoming obsolete was to be replaced and in 1988-1989 the four new stern trawlers hit the water. Disaster soon struck with the declaration of the cod moratorium in 1992 and a fire which destroyed the Souris plant in 1993.

All four of the draggers (stern trawlers) ended up in Liverpool, NS, in the hands of Mersey Seafoods, and tied up at Steel and Engine Products Ltd.

The first of the four Georgetown trawlers was Souris Lady, completed in 1988. I have been unable to trace its subsequent history. After several years laid up in Liverpool it was likely sold abroad and may still be sailing.

Souris Lady, Cardigan Lady and Richmond Odyssey at STENPRO.

Fortune Lady was built in 1989 and after layup in Liverpool it went to work for Mersey Seafoods as a stern dragger. Then in 2004 Steel and Engine Products of Liverpoool (STENPRO) rebuilt the boat as a scallop dragger and for Mersey Seafoods. It is still operating out of Liverpool.

Fortune Lady painted up for Mersey and still rigged as a stern trawler.

 Post re-build as a unique scallop dragger, still works over the stern.

Cardigan Lady was the third and last of the sisters built by Georgetown, and was also delivered in 1989. In mid-September 2012 it appeared in Metéghan, NS for a complete refit. It was renamed Antonio H under Panama flag and its Canadian registration was closed September 18, 2012. I have been unable to trace its subsequent movements either.


Icy calm before the next storm

The port was moderately active today as ships tried to catch up on time lost due to Thursday night's snow storm. Oceanex Sanderling and Nolhanava shared pier 41 for a change (the pier 36 crane must have had a problem) and Maersk Palermo was at pier 42, so Halterm had a busy day.

The veteran Atlantic Conveyor worked at Fairview Cove, and on leaving still had a thin ice coat which she arrived with.

Still soldiering on well after her retirement date, due to the late deliveries of new ships, Conveyor and fleet mate Atlantic Cartier will almost certainly have to be replaced this year.

Chebucto Pilot has a heated deck for safety*, but can still accumulate some ice in -12C daytime temperatures.

At Imperial Oil the High Pearl was also showing a bit of ice which she gathered on her trip up from Beaumont, TX.

Operated by d'Amico Tankers, DAC of Dublin, Eire, the ship is registered in Singapore to Blue Wake Shipping Pte Ltd. In a bit of a break from the endless sausage links of Korean built tankers, this one came from Iwagi Zosen in Iwagi, Japan in 2009. It has typical Mid Range tanker dimensions of 28,813 grt, 48,023 dwt.

*Addendum:  The boat was built with heated deck and heated handrails to prevent the accumulation of ice. I am relaibly informed that this system has not functioned for some years, and there is no plan to repair it...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Nolhanava - still sharp, and other traffic

The ConRo feeder ship that links Halifax with St-Pierre et Miquelon is still a striking sight, even after eight months of  weekly service. Nolhanava is unmistakable, for it resembles no other ship in shape and colour.

It arrived in Halifax Thursday evening and anchored during a snow storm with blizzard conditions. Today, while waiting for its customary berth at pier 36, it showed off that form and hue in bright sun.

Built in 2000 in Constanza, Romania, as Shamrock, the 4654 grt ship was refitted in China in 2015-2016 with an exhaust gas scrubber system and acquired its elaborate paint scheme. It arrived back in Halifax in June 2016 and resumed the St-Pierre service that it was built for. As Shamrock it had operated on the run from January 2001 for only three years before it was sold and sent to the Caribbean. It returned to Halifax in April 2015 and resumed it original service until September 2015 when it sailed to China for the refit.

Also anchoring over night in Halifax was the Canadian general cargo ship Evans Spirit. The ship was en route from Baltimore to Sept-Iles and put in for shelter. It sailed early this afternoon - skillfully eluding this photographer.

There are lots of photos on the net however:

It was built in 2007 by KNS Delfzijl, Netherlands (on a hull built in Turkey) as Spavalda for Italian owners. McKeil Marine bought the ship in 2015 and named it after company founder Evans McKeil, a Nova Scotia native. As Evans Spirit it has been put to work carrying aluminum ingots out of Sept-Iles, but is also fitted to carry bulk cement. Its shallow draft allows it to call in ports that other ships can't reach. Tonnages are 9,286 grt, 15,026 dwt.  A sister ship, named Ardita has also been acquired by McKeil Marine and will be operating under foreign flag for a time, but is expected to become Canadian later this year. McKeil has recently been awarded a major cement hauling contract on the Great Lakes, which it is expected to serve.

Arriving this afternoon, CCGS Corporal McLaren M.M.V. still had some traces of snow and ice on it from last night's storm. Built by Halifax Shipyard to a Damen design, it was completed in October 2013 and is based in Halifax.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Giving Halifax a Miss

CMA/CGM gave Halifax a miss last week end. Since starting up their service in earnest in October 2015 (there were three trial runs before that) they had not missed a  week.

It would also have been a week to expect CMA CGM Tage the largest container ship to call in Halifax (it has been here twice before), but it seems to have been shifted to another rotation within the loop and is east bound toward Egypt.

I don't know why there was no ship this time, but I can speculate that it was an intentional pass, due to seasonal traffic flow. The traffic between Christmas and Chinese New Year is usually slow. It is also winter on the North Altantic - a good time to find somewhere else to be - and many lines reduce service in winter.
There is also the possibility that a scheduled ship had a breakdown somewhere along the line. I would hope it had nothing to do with Halifax's ability to service one of the 9,000 TEU ships. Bigger ones than that are on the way.

Maybe not as large as the CMA CGM Marco Polo - 175,343 grt, 16.020 TEU.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Familiar / Unfamiliar name to the breakers

A once frequent caller in Halifax has been sold to the breakers at the age of 13 years. Surely a very young age for a ship, but another victim of the neo-panamax crunch.

Built in 2004 by Hyundai, Ulsan, Zim Shenzhen was a 53,453 grt container ship of 54,644 dwt. With a capacity of 4814 TEU (including 330 reefers), the 965 foot long ship was built to suit the old Panama Canal maximum size. Rendered obsolete by new larger locks, despite its relatively young age, it could no longer compete with larger ships that could cargo more cheaply on a per box basis.

ZIM Shenzhen made its first call in Halifax July 4, 2004. It was not until March of 2005 that I was able to catch it sailing from Halterm.

Owned by Zodiac Maritime of London, it was built for charter to ZIM, but that arrangement ended in 2014 and new work was found for it as OOCL Halifax, but that was short term and the ship was laid up in May 2016 with its name shortened to Halifax. (It did not visit its namesake port under either of those names.)

Zodiac Maritime was recipient of the "worst corporate dumper prize" of 2016 by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform for sending 12 ships to Bangladesh for scrap in 2016 alone. There was one death of a worker on one of those ships while in the scrapper's yard. Bangladesh and Pakistan, followed closely by most of India, have the worst records for unsafe and polluting ship breaking. Some minor progress had been made in improving conditions, but with 668 ships broken up in those three countries alone last year, the pressure to take on more ships has been too much to cope with, and progress on safety has gone out the window.   

Zodiac Maritime has been in the business of building ships to charter to shipping lines. They were financed at the time of high charter rates and before the new Panama Canal opened. When rates collapsed, charters were broken or not renewed, and Zodiac was left with unemployable ships, many of them old panamax size. A sister ship, Zim Pusan has been renamed Pusan and is also slated for breaking up.

Zodiac's owner is Eyal Ofer, son of the ZIM founder, and many of his ship were chartered to ZIM. His brother Idal Ofer, who controls Israel Corp, was the winner of the 2015 award for worst corporate dumper.

There is still a vast over supply of ships in the world, and with new ships coming on line all the time, the need to scrap ships is still there, and 2017 seems set to equal or exceed the record of 862 ships scrapped last year. Even that will not be enough to right the balance and it therefore seems equally likely that rates will remain low and we will continue to see  unsafe shipbreaking in southeast Asia and elsewhere.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Bright Red at Imperial Oil

The bright red Danish tanker Hafnia Crux arrived at Imperial Oil this morning from Antwerp, Belgium. (So Irving Oil is not the only company importing refined products from Europe.) Tankers come in all colours, but this one is certainly about the brightest red available - and there is a reason for it.

The ship was built by Guangzhou International in 2012 for Lauritzen Tankers as Freja Crux. In 2014 when Lautitzen decided to get out of the Medium Range tanker business, they sold this ship (30,241 grt, 52,550 dwt) and nine other similar ones to Hafnia Tankers, another Danish tanker operator. Lauritzen instead chose to concentrate on gas carriers and drybulk.  Rather than repaint the ship entirely, Hafnia just painted over the Lauritzen name and kept the bright red.

The red colour goes back to Lauritzen's specialization in navigating northern waters. They chose the bright red colour for the highest visibility in arctic conditions. Even in clear weather, red proved to be considerably more visible over distance than other colours. (It is also the principal colour of the Danish flag.)
Their first polar class vessel Kista Dan was built in 1952, and adopted the red colour, first with lifeboats, then with the crows nest and mast and finally with the entire hull. It later became the Canadian sealer/researcher Martin Karlsen in 1967.

Despite heavy snow, Martin Karlsen (ex Kista Dan) is still visible as it returns from the seal hunt in April 1978.

 Lauritzen pioneered winter navigation on the St.Lawrence River (much to the displeasure of Halifax) when the Helga Dan arrived in Quebec City on February 13, 1959. It was the first commercial ship to arrive from Europe in winter. (It received ice breaker assistance and aerial ice surveys, which was the bone of contention. That taxpayer's dollars went to support St.Lawrence ports for winter navigation at the expense of Halifax and Saint John was a political issue for many years thereafter.)

Helga Dan arrives at Pier 9 in 1969 on a general cargo run. The oil rig Sedco H is under construction at Halifax Shipyards in the background. The ship has an ice reinforced bow, and heated crows nest among many other features to permit navigation in ice.

Helga Dan again made history in 1962 when it arrived in Montreal on March 12. In 1964 it arrived there January 4 and in 1965 on January 1.Since then Montreal has been deemed a year round port for suitably equipped ships.

Founded in 1884, the J.Lautitzen companies have been active in many shipping sectors. They were a very large reefer operator for many years and have been in and out of tankers in various ways. With a large exposure to the drybulk sector they were hard hit by the (continuing) 2008 economic slow down, which prompted them to sell the very new tankers such as today's caller Hafnia Crux.