Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Atlantic Maple arrives

 As reported here June 10, 2024 the latest addtion to the Atlantic Towing Ltd fleet, is the Atlantic Maple, a RAStar 3200W class tug built by Uzmar in Turkey. It arrived in Halifax today, July 3 and tied up a the C.O.V.E. dock, which is the base for Atlantic Towing Ltd's Halifax tugs.

The tug will be easily identifiable from the other Halifax tugs due its very high exhaust stacks, bright red fire fighting line and combined fendering at the bow. (It may acquire the usual array of tires on the gunwales as part of its preparations for service in Halifax.) It also has a canopy over the shiphandling winch on the foredeck. This shelter is primarily to prevent the build up of ice in winter, but can also shield the tow line form ultra-violet degradation.

 Sister tug Atlantic Ash is also underway from Turkey and is due here July 22.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

Tug Saint-Georges - another trip

 A tug that arrived in Halifax on a barge from the Netherlands has embarked on another long trip as cargo on a heavy lift ship.

The Saint-Georges was one of three tugs built by Damen Shipyard, Gorinchem to a Stantug 1205 design. Twin screw, powered by Volvo engines developing 600 hp total, they are rated at 8.5 tonnes bollard pull. 

Two of the tugs, Dominion Enforcer and Dominion Rumbler were for Dominion Diving of Halifax while the Saint-Georges was for Pomerleau Inc, a large construction company based in St-Georges, QC. They arrived in Halifax December 5, 2021 on the barge Jacob Joseph C towed from Gibraltar by the tug Amy Lynn D, both of which had been purchased by H.R. Doornekamp Construction Inc of Odessa, ON. Once the two Halifax tugs were unloaded the larger tug and tow proceeded to Montreal where the Saint-Georges was offloaded. Amy Lynn D and barge continued on to Doornekamp's base in Picton, Ontario. 

Pomerleau Inc had also acquired the 808 kW (1,000 bhp) tug Intense built in Turkey in 2016 from SNC Lavalin, where it had been used on the new Champlain Bridge project in Montreal. 

Now Pomerleau has decided to transfer both Intense and Saint-Georges to British Columbia and they were loaded aboard the heavy lift ship Poolgracht in Trois-Rivières, QC between June18 and 22.

Poolgracht had also been engaged to carry the two new Royal Canadian Navy tugs Barkerville and Haro from Quebec City to Victoria.They were loaded last week and ship sailed from Quebec City June 27. It will stop at Newport, RI and Port Everglades, FL, possibly to  carry some pleasure craft, before transiting the Panama Canal en route to Victoria. I will cover these tugs in another post.



Saturday, June 22, 2024

McNally tug operations

 McNally Construction Inc has two projects underway in Halifax harbour at the moment and brought in some more "plant" today, June 22.

The longest running project is the extension to the pier at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. After preparing the seafloor and building a mat, McNally built several cribs which are now in place and filled. At that site the tug D.D.Kaufman (see December 21, 2023) tends to the scows and crane barge used in the work.

Meanwhile at Halifax Shipyard there is also a new pier project underway in its initial stages. That involves dredging contaminants from the seafloor before building the mat and then building and installing cribs.

 The dump scow Pitts No.1 and the crane barge Canadian Argosy at Halifax Shipyard.

PittsNo.2 and another crane barge possible Idus Atwell also set up for dredging.

The dredged material is transported to the IEL dock in Woodside where it is prepared for disposal inland. The IEL dock is owned by the Province of Nova Scotia's development agency Nova Scotia Business Inc. The adjacent Mobil dock (which may also be government owned) is the primary settling area. Irving Shipbuilding Inc also leases most of the area to transfer ship components fabricated at Woodside, to the Halifax Shipyard.

The contaminated material is transfered from the shipyard in the dump scows Pitts No.1 and Pitts No.2 and unloaded by crane and bucket. Initially the tug Mister Joe was shifting the scows, but another recent McNally acquistion, the tug W.A.Reid is now doing the work. It is a sister of the  D.D.Kaufman mentioned above.

 Built by A+B Industries in Amelia, LA in 2016 the 630 bhp twin screw tug was initially named Belinda B for Weeks Marine Inc of Cranford, NJ. Weeks purchased McNally in 2017 and they transferred the tug to McNally in 2022. It was registered in Toronto and renamed November 22, 2022. It steamed from the New Jersey area via the Hudson River and Erie Canal to Lake Ontario and then to McNally's yard in Point Anne, near Belleville.

In late May of this year it departed for Halifax "day tripping" between ports since it has no sleeping accommodation. Stops included Brockville May 25, Valleyfield, Sorel-Tracy, Quebec City, Cacouna, Matane, Gande Vallée, possibly Miscou Island, Summerside, Strait of Canso (likely McNally's base in Point Tupper) arriving in Halifax June 7. 

Today, June 22, the tug Mister Joe arrived from Point Tupper, towing the scow McNally Flat Scow No.1.

The scow was built in 1997 by Steel Style Inc, New Windsor, NY, and comes in at 431 gt with dimensions of 35.41m (116.7 ft) x 12.17 m (39.928 ft). It was registered in Toronto by McNally in 2007. I have not been able to trace any previous names or owners, but Weeks may be a possibility.

Mister Joe is the classic Russel built tug from 1964. Originally the Churchill River it worked in Hudson's Bay then Newfoundland and was renamed by McNally in 2001. They rebuilt the tug in 2014 and again in 2019 with a new wheelhouse, from the original drawings, but with better windows.

It is a twin screw tug of 750 bhp and has towed McNally plant all over eastern Canada. In 2023 Kiewit Corporation acquired Weeks Marine and thus McNally. However there has been no indication of identity change, except some Kiewit inventory numbers appearing on some (as yet unidentified) work boats.


Monday, June 10, 2024

New Tugs - on the way- amended

 The first of a pair of new tugs for Atlantic Towing's Halifax operation departed Turkey on June 9.  The Atlantic Maple is a RAStar 3200-W class tug of 499 gross tons measuring 32m overall x 13,2m breadth x 6,18m depth. Initial indications are that it will have 6675 bhp and an 85 tonne bollard pull, but that may be exceeded on trials. The popular RAStar 3200-W design of "escort/offshore terminal tug" features a sponsoned hull and foil shaped escort skeg on the forepart of the hull. See the fact sheet at: 3220-W

The two tugs will be employed in Halifax where larger container ships (15,000 TEU and more) require greater power and escort capability than the current fleet of tugs can provide. Those large ships now require two stern tethered escorts using the present tugs.

Builders Uzmar initially named the tug Uzmar 161 and have a sister tug Uzmar 162 under construction. Irving Maple has now been bareboat chartered to a ship delivery company and temporarily registered in St.Vincent and the Grenadines for the delivery trip. On arrival in Halifax - ETA July 3 - and after handover to Atlantic Towing it will be registered in Canada.

The new tug takes its name from a previous Atlantic Maple, built by Saint Drydock and Shipbuilding in 1966 as Irving Maple. Designed for ocean towing and salvage it was widely acclaimed as a fine sea boat. The 3200 bhp ice class tug was renamed Atlantic Maple in 1996. The tug figured in many noted salvage operations and long distance tows until it was laid up in 2008 and finally broken up in 2013.

The Irving Maple, later the first Atlantic Maple.

Atlantic Towing Ltd is part of the J.D.Irving group of companies, owned by the descendants of K.C. Irving, who also founded Irving Oil. 

Originally the Irving tug fleet was employed on the Saint John River towing log booms to supply saw mills and the paper mill in Saint John, NB. Appropriately, the tugs were named for softwood (coniferous) trees, such as Cedar, Fir, Pine, etc., When the company acquired tugs to work in salt water, they took the names from hardwood (deciduous) trees such as Birch, Maple and Oak. In later years river work was discontinued. Since then tugs have been named for both deciduous and coniferous trees. There are currently a Beech, Cedar, Elm, Fir, Hemlock, Larch, Oak, Spruce, Tamarack, and Willow in the fleet. (The company's offshore supply tugs are named for birds and their barges are named for species of fish or aquatic mammals.)

When Irving Oil and Repsol developed an LNG gas import facility near Saint John, Atlantic Towing in joint venture with Grupo Reyser, built three heavy tugs for tanker escort and standby at the offshore monobuoy. Two of the tugs adoped a new naming theme and were named Atlantic Bear and Atlantic Beaver. The third tug was named Spitfire III in recognition of the spruce frames and birch plywood skins manufactured by the Irving company for Spitfire fighter aircraft in World War II. Two of the tugs, Atlantic Bear and Atlantic Beaver have been transferred to Halifax to handle the ever larger container ships. They do go to Saint John on the rare occasions when an LNG tanker calls which potentially leaves Halifax under-equipped. The 5,432 bhp tugs sre rated at 72 tonnes BP.

With a second new RAStar 3200-W to be delivered I will go out on a limb (pun intended) and suggest that it will be called Atlantic Birch after another legendary tug of the 1960s. More on that when it happens.


I chose the wrong branch to climb out on. Uzmar 162 has been named Atlantic Ash

There was a previous Atlantic Ash, but its career was brief. It was built by East Isle Shipyard in 1999 (one of 37 similar tugs built at the J.D.Irving owned shipyard). It is a 4,000 bhp ASD tug with Cat engines and Aquamaster Z-drives. After a run-in period for Atlantic Towing Ltd it was sold in 2000 to Mexican interests and in 2004 was renamed Caballo Palomino. It is apparently still in service for Candies Mexican Investments, but does not show up on AIS sites.


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Big Tow 2

 The fire damaged container ship MSC Sao Paulo V arrived in Halifax 2 as a dead ship in tow from Quebec City.

The Groupe Océan tugs tasked with the tow may not be familiar to Halifax, but are worth noting as previous visitors.

Océan Taïga is one of two 8,000 bhp, 110 tonne bollard pull Lloyd's Ice Class 1A Super F.S. arctic class tugs, with fire fighting capability (the other is Océan Tundra) built to work in the high arctic and as escort tugs on the St.Lawrence River. It was lead tug in towing the 53,324 gt ship.

Letting up the slack on the tow line, April 2.

Despite its Quebec City and Baffin Island work routine the tug has been in Halifax before. It stopped over here in 2018 en route to Jamaica to work temporarily in Groupe Océan's Kingston tug fleet. (Note the extra wires to secure the tire fenders for the ocean passage, and containers of spare gear on deck.)

The second tug in the MSC Sao Paulo V tow is Océan Raynald T., a typical 5,000 bhp Robert Allen design tug, built by East Isle Shipyard in Georgetown PE. Completed in 2009 it was originally the Stevns Iceflower (the second of the name) then Svitzer Nerthus from 2009 to 2017.

With its sister tug Svizer Njal (ex Stevns Icequeen and renamed Océan Clovis T. in 2017) it also visited Halifax before. The two tugs were brought to Canada in 2015 when Svitzer attempted to break into the tug business in Montreal. The venture was not a success and Groupe Océan acquired both tugs and assigned them to harbour duties in Quebec City.

Océan Raynald T. acted as tethered stern tug to provide steering during the tow from Quebec City. It cast off and its place was taken by the local tug Atlantic Bear off Halifax.


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Big Tow

A big tug arrived in Halifax March 26 in preparation for a big tow.

The tug is the ALP Sweeper, classed as an anchor handling tug, it is equipped for long distance tows of very large vessels such as FPSOs and oil rigs. It is an ice class 1B ship with FiFi II and DP II capability and produces in excess of 300 tonnes bollard pull. Built under license by Niigata Shipbuilding in Japan, it is an Ulstein SX157 design with the patented X-bow.

The Dutch company ALP Maritime Servcies has a fleet of eight long distance towing vessels. A relatively new company, founded in 2010, it filled a gap when older established companies got out of the ocean towing market. Ironically it was announced last month that one of those companies, Royal Boskalis Westminster BV, has acquired ALP from its parent Altera. 

Boskalis, primarily a marine construction and dredging company, purchased Smit Salvage in 2010.*

The ALP Sweeper (tugs are named for football [soccer] positions) arrived from Ponta Delgada, Portugal and tied up at Pier 26 in Halifax. It will await arrival of the fire damaged MSC Sao Paulo V from Quebec City. The 53,324 gt container ship had an engine room fire March 3 on the Lower St.Lawrence River when outbound for Sines, Portugal. The ship's cargo was not damaged, so it seems that the ALP Sweeper may tow the fully loaded ship to Portugal.

The MSC Sao Paul V departed Quebec City March 22 in tow of the tug Océan Taïga (8,000 bhp / 100 tonnes bp) with Océan Raynald T (5050 bhp/66 tonnes BP) as stern tug. It is now due in Halifax March 29.

* Addendum:

Royal Boskalis BV acquired Smit International of which Smit Salvage is only one of several divisions, among them: Smit Transport, Smit Fleet, Smit Holding, Smit Engineering etc..


Saturday, February 24, 2024

New Life for the Tidal Pioneer - updated

 The Neptune Eurocarrier workboat Tidal Pioneer has found new work after its original owners declared banktuptcy last year.

 The "Swiss Army knife"of workboats is bristling with winches, thrusters and cranes to perform all sorts of marine construction work. Built in 2021 by Neptune Shipyard in the Netherlands, the 2 screw, 179gt vessel is a proprietary design of the builders. It is equipped with Dynamic Positioning 1 and develops a bollard pull of 34.7 tonnes.

It was acquired by Sustainable Marine Energy Canada Ltd (SMEC) to work with their tidal power project, which due to funding issues was halted and the company entered voluntary receivership in May 2023. The Tidal Pioneer was laid up in Dartmouth at Dominion Diving's base and listed for sale. (It has been maintained in working order.)

The vessel has now been sold to Leask Marine, an international marine contracting company based in the United Kingdom. Its Canadian registry was closed February 2 and it has been registered in the UK under the new name C-Horizon.

Leask Marine, through Nova Innovation CAN Ltd, has applied for a coasting license to use the boat to move a (submerged) tidal turbine from Meteghan, NS and install it in Petit Passage (between Digby Neck and Long Island, off Tiverton, NS). Citing the unique characteristics of the boat and the need to use experienced personnel (presumably not Canadian) a coasting license will be needed to use a non-Canadian vessel in Canadian waters. Although Eurocarrier type vessels are common in Europe they are rare in Canada, and no Canadian flag vessels are available for the work.

The work is to be carried out in March so that the C-Horizon can take up another contract in the UK by April 30.


As it turned out C-Horizon did not carry out the turbine move, and the vessel will be relocated to Europe on the heavy lift ship BBC Topaz late in March. See copmanion blog Shipfax for more news.