Friday, June 22, 2018

Southwestern (Nova Scotia) tugs

A couple of loops around southwestern Nova Scotia in the past few weeks turned up a bit of tug activity.

June 2 Lunenburg 

At Lunenburg Theodore Too was in port for a tune up before heading to its new summer base at Saint John, NB. It arrived there June 7.

 That looks like a new hard hat on the dock.

Also at the Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering's dock the basic tug  Mascot. It has an aluminum deckhouse, complete with an oar mounted on the cabin - not sure how much bollard pull they would achieve using that.

June 21 Shelburne

Shelburne Shipyard had two tugs alongside in addition to its own workboat.

 In the background the Canadian naval tug Glenbrook which arrived June 19 for refit. And alongside is SSR2 the former Stenpro III , which was transferred from Liverpool when Irving Shipbuilding Inc moved its operation to Shelburne.

 Undergoing a refit for Canadian service, the former Dutch naval tug Regge. At this time the  interior is being gutted to remove combustible material and fitting out new accommodations.

June 21 Meteghan River 

At the A.F. Thériault + Sons shipyard the much traveled Hudson Bay Explorer appears to be getting another makeover

The shallow draft tug/supplier was pre-fabbed by Vito Steel Boat + Barge Construction in Delta, BC in 1971 and was assembled in Hay River, NWT by Alberta Equipment Centre as Beaufort Sea Explorer for Arctic Transportation Ltd. After arctic service with several owners it was sold to Klynne Tugs (Lowestoft) Ltd and renamed Anglian Sea Explorer inn1992 and worked in the UK until returning to Canada in 1995 for Moosonee Transportation Ltd.

In 2003 it suffered a serious fire while on a slip in Wemindji, QC and was towed to St.John's where it was rebuilt from the main deck up. All new deckhouse and funnels changed the profile dramatically from its original Robert Allen design. Its original V-16 Cats, delivering 2250 bhp through two screws in nozzles, survived the fire and remained unchanged.

It then worked in Hudsons Bay, James Bay, and Voisey's Bay and on the St.Lawrence until 2006. It was then acquired by Peter Kiewit + Sons Ltd, along withe the barge The Pugwash and managed by their Marystown Shipyard. It also worked in Saint John, NB on the LNG terminal.

In 2017 Kelly's Cove Salmon Ltd, part of Cooke Aquaculture, bought the tug. I believe they had chartered it for some time prior. Now cocooned at Thériault's it will be interesting to see what it looks like when it is unveiled.

Ghosting through fog off Saint John, NB in 20007, the tug appeared to be carrying a payload of portable toilets.

Alongside and dried out at the tidal pier, Atlantic Tamarack was getting some TLC.
Built in Saint John in 1969 as Irving Tamarack the tug was originally assigned to the monobuoy serving Irving Oil's refinery. It has been working for Harbour Development Ltd for many years and usually attends the crane barge / dredge Cranemaster. That rig is in Shelburne for refit, so the tug is currently idled. Alongside it is what appears to be a modified seine skiff, which may be Thériault's own yard tug.

June 21 Digby

McNally Marine is carrying out some work at the ferry terminal and clearing away before the 5pm arrival of the Fundy Rose, the tug J.F. Whalen is hauling the crane barge Beaver Kay toward Digby harbour.

The tug was built in 2014 in Gaspé and is a 540 bhp twin screw vessel with push knees. It has a removable wheelhouse to make it truckable. 

The barge is former HMC Dockyard steam crane barge YD251 built in 1953 in Saint John and purchased by Beaver Marine and rebuilt in 1996. McNally purchased Beaver Marine but did not rename the barge. 

Visitors to Ship Central Eastern (home of Shipfax and Tugfax) may be treated to the sight of the barge's original name board, among other artefacts. It was rescued - with permission - from a dumpster, causing much amusement for the demolition crew.

This is the steam crane shortly before I retrieved the name board. (October 10, 1995)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Pups at Work

The Queen's Harbour Master directs a fleet of six tugs in Halifax harbour. Of these, three are small tugs of the Ville class. They range the length and width of the harbour doing various jobs of work for the Navy. Known as "pups" because they are small and tireless, they are most useful in small corners.

One of their tasks today was unberthing the Portuguese naval training vessel Sagres from pier 24. After assisting the barque out into the stream they returned to pier 24 to recover three fenders and return them to HMC Dockyard. They were still wearing their canvas bibs to ensure that they did not mar the white paint of the ship.

It isn't often that I get to see them working up close:

Granville comes in to pick up a fender.

 Merrickville backs away with a fender on its hip.

 Merrickville gets underway.

Granville turns smartly with its two fenders.

Both tugs underway back to HMC Dockyard.

Despite the white water caused by the fenders, the tugs leave surprisingly little wake as the pass west of George's Island. (Note the Coast Guard helicopter next to the lighthouse.).

Sagres did a turn in the harbour before heading for sea. Not a scratch on her hull from her visit.

The three Halifax based pups were built in 1974 in Georgetown, PE and are powered with a 365 bhp Cat engine driving a single screw in a steerable Kort nozzle. They are 45 tons displacement and 64 feet long. Despite their age the tugs are in pristine condition.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Océan Taiga and other Groupe Océan news bits - plus Addenda

The "super tug" Océan Taiga put in a surprise appearance in Halifax today. The second of two tugs of the TundRA 3600 class built at Industrie Océan for parent company Groupe Océan, it is an 8,000 bhp, 110 tonne bollard pull Lloyd's Ice Class 1A Super F.S. What that means is that it and near sister tug Océan Tundra are the most powerful conventional tugs in eastern Canada, and that they could  work in the high arctic, year round without icebreaker assistance.

The two were envisioned to serve the Baffinland Iron mine but as things turned out that project was delayed, and development plans changed, and so the tugs were not needed - at least on the original schedule.

Océan Tundra was completed in 2013 and construction of Océan Taiga was intentionally slowed down and it was not completed until 2016. Although there is some tanker escort work on the St.Lawrence where their 14 knot free running speed might be of use, there is little demand for tugs of their power and capability in the area.

Océan Taiga has a pair of small containers lashed down on deck.

That is why Océan Taiga is arriving in Halifax. It has been chartered out bareboat to undisclosed owners, who apparently need the tugs power, but not likely its arctic capabilities. The tug is flying the Jamaica flag.

Addendum #1: Océan decided to announce - after I made this post- that they had signed a ten year contract for three tugs for Kingston, Jamaica, in the New Port West section of the harbour. The contract is to start the end of June. The press release does not name the tugs. It also mentions "personnell" will also be sent, but that 40 jobs will be created locally in Jamaica. It also states that the contract is with the Port of Kingston.
Had I known all this before the tug arrived in Halifax I would have reported it.
All I had to go on was The Department of Transport web site, which says that the tug Océan Taiga is bareboat chartered out. It has certainly been reflagged to Jamaica, and therefore I stand by my previous statement that the tug(s) are chartered to an unknown Jamaican entity. According to other sources this is "Ocean J Towing Ltd".  The tug remains owned by Océan Remorquage Québec Inc.

The same* Jamaican owners of the Hercule, formerly Océan Hercule completed delivery of their tug last month. However there has been no movement on Océan Delta, believed to be bought by the same owners, and still lying in Sorel-tracy, QC.

*Addendum #2: The listed owner of the Hercule is West Indies Petroleum Ltd, as previously reported, with managers listed as "Blue Ocean Marine Ltd". Do you detect a similarity?

After acquiring the Cargill owned, Svitzer-managed Pointe Comeau, Océan has renamed it Océan Comeau. It has now left for Quebec City as its replacement has gone to work in the port of Baie-Comeau. That tug, the former Océan Cartier has been renamed l'Anse du Moulin [translated: mill cove] and ownership transferred to Cargill Limited. Océan Remorquage Baie-Comeau Inc manages the tug for Cargill.

Océan Stevns is bareboat chartered out under St.Vincent and the Grenadines flag. It spent the winter in Port Hawksbury, then sailed for St.John's, NL at the end of May. Its intentions are something of a mystery.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Lois M picks up a tow

The McKeil Marine's tug Lois M arrived in Halifax June 8 to pick up a tow, and sailed this morning.

Lois M alongside its tow at the Valéro dock in Eastern Passage.

Built in 1991 by Matsuura Iron Shipbuilding (Tekko Zosen) in Higashino the 60 tonne BP tug is powered by two Niigata engines delivering 4800 bhp to ASD drives. It started life as Lambert for Robe River Mining Co in Australia, with Westug as operators. McKeil acquired the tug in 2014 and it traveled from Singapore 16,500 miles via Mauritius and Walvis Bay to Tampico. MX, delivering a pair of dump scows Marmac 250 and Marmac 251.  It then sailed light to Mulgrave, NS where the Redwise delivery crew handed it over to McKeil. The crew had entertained themselves on the long trip by making repairs and upgrades and painting.
It was registered in St. John's as Lois M September 23, 2014.

Leaving Eastern Passage this morning.
On this trip to Halifax it picked up the 1352 grt oil spill response barge John P.Oxley for a tow to North Sydney and drydocking. The barge was built by les chantiers Verreault, Méchins for Eastern Canada Response Corp and was delivered to Halifax in December 2001 by Océan Foxtrot. The only time it has left Halifax since then was in 2011 when it went for a refit in Shelburne, NS in tow of McKeil's Salvor.

With its tow on a short wire, Lois M is outbound past the Shearwater Yacht Club moorings.


Monday, May 28, 2018

Theodore Too takes a trip

Ambassatours, the parent company of Murphy Sailing Tours Ltd, owners of Theodore Too, will be moving the iconic tug boat replica from The Big Harbour (a.k.a. Halifax) to Saint John, NB in June. The operators made the announcement last week.

Theodore Too spent the winter at Mill Cove in Bedford and appears to be in need of a little freshening before he moves to Saint John.

This is certainly not the first time Theodore Too has left the confines of Halifax. In fact the boat is probably more travelled than many of its full size counterparts. It has sailed all along the eastern seaboard as far south as Miami and into the Great Lakes as far as Chicago. The move to Saint John coincides with the cruise ship season and is likely brought about by the disruption along the Halifax waterfront due to construction of new piers for the Queen's Marque project.

Ambassatours is hoping to appeal to nostalgic millennials who grew up with the TV series Theodore Tugboat and now want to revisit their childhood or perhaps introduce the cute fellow to their own children. 

When the boat was built by Snyder's Shipyard in Dayspring, NS in 2000 it only carried the name Theodore but this was soon changed to Theodore Too because someone had already grabbed the Theodore name for their own vessel - a real tug at that.

That Theodore was built by Canadian Vickers, Montreal,  in 1932 as an oil-fired steam vessel of about 64 tons for Mont Louis Seignory Ltd, a subsidiary of the Hall Corporation.Named Vigilant it was used to tend pulpwood booms. It later passed into the hands of Marine Industries Ltd in Sorel and took the name Roseanne Simard. It was converted to a motor vessel in 1952 with 440 bhp engine. It passed through several other owners including Gaston Elie of Montreal, Coastlake Tankers Ltd of Montreal, and JW+J Anderson of Burnt Church, NB. In 1973 Techno-Maritime of Quebec City bought the tug and in 1976 renamed it Techno Manic. New owners Dufresne Construction Ltd renamed it simply Manic in 1989 and Les Constructions Ger-Con Ltée kept the name after they took it over. In about 1995 it passed into private ownership, and is believed to have sunk at its berth in St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, QC.


However it was salvaged and given a major upgrade including a new larger wheelhouse, and renamed Heritage 1932.

However it soon became Theodore, pre-empting the name for the full size replica. Now based in Montreal it still does sea time seasonally. Although it bears little resemblance to the TV character, it does wear the same colours as the "real" Theodore.

The cruise season usually ends about the end of October. Let's hope Theodore Too is back home by then, when it will be time to start a Movember moustache.



Friday, May 18, 2018

Return of the Osprey and other Atlantic Towing activity

The Province  of Nova Scotia's official bird is the osprey, a migratory fish hawk that usually puts in its first appearance of the year in late April or early May. Today's return of the big tug supplier Atlantic Osprey is certainly seasonally correct, but as to origin, it is coming from St.John's Newfoundland rather than more southern waters.

The 3453 grt, 16,000 bhp OSV is one of four similar ships in the ATL offshore fleet, two of which are UT 722 and two are UT 722L (L=long), all built at Halifax Shipyard under license from Ulstein. The boat was laid up for a time over last winter, and a large deck crane and other gear, such as an ROV davit have been removed.

While arriving it passed Atlantic Towing Ltd's Woodside tug base, where the usual four harbour tugs, Atlantic Oak, Atlantic Fir, Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Bear have been joined temporarily by Atlantic Larch. The latter tug will likely be towing out the barge Atlantic Sea Lion for northern supply work.

Atlantic Bear went to Saint John last week to assist with an LNG tanker, but returned to Halifax in time to put on a water demonstration for the inaugural call of the auto carrier Grande Halifax on Wednesday (see also Shipfax).


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Point Valiant away

The tug Point Valiant sailed from Sambro, NS this evening May 17 on the first leg of its trip to its new home. Sold by Svitzer Canada, as reported last month, the tug was re-registered in Vancouver on May 15 to new owners Davies Tugboat Ltd of Burnaby, BC. The tug was slipped at Sambro where the hull was cleaned and repainted red, the fourth colour scheme for the tug.

It is now headed for Narragansett Bay, RI where it will be lifted aboard the heavy lift vessel believed to be Spliethoff's Fortunagracht. It will then get a luxury ride to British Columbia, possibly with some high priced yachts loaded in Newport, RI.

Built by Industrie Océan for Groupe Océan and to be named Océan Jupiter, it was sold while fitting out to Eastern Canada Towing in 1998 and named Point Valiant, the second tug in the fleet to carry that name. Fourteen tugs and workboats in the predecessor Foundation Maritime and in the ECTUG fleet had names beginning with the letter "V", starting in 1948 with Foundation Vera. This was the last tug to follow that tradition.

When Cory Towage Ltd, parent of Eastern Canada Towing Ltd, was taken over by Wijsmuller, the tug was repainted, but that did not last long.

The paint was barely dry when Svitzer took over the expanded Wijsmuller, and the tug was repainted again.

In 2010 the tug was transferred from Halifax along with three other Svitzer tugs to Point Tupper.   The tug was particulary useful in some of the tight pier spaces in Halifax. What it lacked in weight it made up for in agility. Last year when Svitzer Montreal arrived in Point Tupper, Point Valiant became redundant, as the lowest powered tug in the Svitzer Canada fleet. Most work there involves docking tankers and bulk cariers at open docks where power is the main requirement.

Its new owners will presumably find the tug an excellent worker.