Sunday, July 5, 2020

More Big Tugs

Big offshore anchor handling tugs are working out of Pier 9C these days. Maersk Cutter, 6490 gt, built in 2015 has been in and out apparently for some big plow anchors.

Another biggie that arrived today is a recent arrival to Canadian ownership. Horizon Arctic 8143 gt, was built in 2016 in two steps. The hull came from the Vard shipyard in Tulcea, Romania and the ship was completed by Brattvaag as Bourbon Arctic. It was re-registered in St.John's March 13, 2020.


Friday, June 19, 2020

BOA Odin

Back in Halifax for the first time since 2015, the tug BOA Odin arrived June 19 from Storasund, Norway, towing the semi-submersible heavy load barge BOA Barge 34.

Built in 2010 to a Robert Allen design the tug is rated at only 4083 bhp but claims a bollard pull of 97 tonnes (fore winch) and 105 tonnes (aft winch). The tug has GE main engines and Schottel ASD drives. Despite looking like a harbour tug, it has made numerous transatlantic crossings towing barges.

In 2015 the tug was in Halifax on two occasions when it towed the sections of the former Novadock floating drydock to Tampa, FL on the BOA Barge 33.


Thursday, June 11, 2020

Maersk Maker back to Denmark

After a very short duration under Canadian flag the large offshore tug / supplier Maersk Maker has returned to the Danish registration. Built in 2019 under Danish International registration the tug was transferred to Canada February 4, 2020 for work in Newfoundland. However that work was apparently cancelled and it was then sent to Nova Scotia. It was in and out of Halifax for work related to the decommissioning of Exxon Mobil's Sable Offshore gas field, possibly setting anchors for the crane ship Thialf, then in supply/support.

It has been replaced in that project by Maersk Mobiliser another vessel of the same Starfish class of 260 tonne bollard pull.

Maersk Maker returned to St.John's, Newfoundland, via Bay Bulls, then sailed from St.John's May 16 for Aberdeen, Scotland. On arrival its Canadian registry was closed June 4 (effective June 1). It returned to Danish International registry and will be working in the North Sea spot market.


Monday, June 1, 2020

Atlantic Tern and Siem Commander

Atlantic Towing Ltd operates a varied fleet of suppliers, mostly based in Newfoundland, and including some newish vessels. One not so new boat is the Atlantic Tern, based in Halifax.

Built in 1975 by Vito Steel Boat and Barge of Delta, BC, it worked for Canadian Marine Drilling in the Beaufort Sea as Supplier II and Canmar Supplier II until 1998 when it went to the North Sea as Rem Supporter until 2005 and Thor Supplier until 2012. (It was also extensively modified.)

When Atlantic Towing Ltd acquired the boat they initially named it Atlantic Birch II. Atlantic's harbour and coastal tugs are typically named for trees and their offshore tugs are named for birds. Since the boat was assigned to the offshore, it was soon renamed Atlantic Tern.

Although fitted with engines providing 7,040 bhp, it seldom needs all that power. It does carry small amounts of supplies but spends most of its time in offshore standby mode at the Deep Panuke gas field off Sable Island.

Sailing for the same destination at the same time was Siem Commander, followed soon after by Maersk Mobiliser (not pictured).

The wells in the field are currently being capped and the structures removed by Heerema's giant crane ship Thialf  It will load the scrap material aboard company barges which will be towed to the UK by company tugs.


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Princess arrives

The Smit Boskalis tug Princess arrived this morning from Mulgrave, NS where it had delivered the Heerema barge H-591.

Built in 2002 by Yantai Raffles, the anchor handling tug/supplier is powered by a pair of 16 cylinder Wartsilas giving 16,500 bhp and 178 tonnes bollard pull.

Originally named Anglian Princess for Klynne tugs of England it was an early Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) in the UK. In 2012 it went to Union de Remorquage et Sauvetage of Belgium as Union Princess. It still flies the Belgian flag as URS became part of Smit, then Boskalis.

The barge will be used as part of Heerema's removal of the Sable Offshore Energy Project structures using the crane rig Thialf.


Saturday, May 2, 2020

Wavemaster stopover

The tug Wavemaster and its tandem tow made a stopover in Halifax last evening en route from Saint John, NB and Summerside, PE. It was towing the dredge Cranemaster and the split hull hopper barge HD-11.

This is my first opportunity to see the tug up close since it was refitted for Canadian service and renamed. I did see it in Shelburne shortly after it was acquired from the Royal Netherlands Navy in 2018. Originally named Regge it was built in 1987, and beautifully maintained.

This is the second Wavemaster in the Harbour Development fleet. See:

Among the modifications made for Canadian service was moving accommodation above the water line and the addition of a towing winch, rescue boat, etc.,

Harbour Development Ltd is the dredging and marine construction arm of the J.D.Irving Group, and is run independently from Atlantic Towing Ltd.


Thursday, April 30, 2020

McKeil in at Belledune, Atlantic out - UPDATED

On April 3 the Port Authority of Belledune, New Brunswick announced a change in tug operators. Following a transition period, McKeil Marine would be taking over from Atlantic Towing, effective April 27.

Atlantic had been providing two tugs at the port, and depending on the time of year, these would be Atlantic Elm and Atlantic Beech in winter. Both have now left Belledune and returned to Saint John.

Atlantic Beech, built in 1959 as Irving Beech, was renamed in 1998 - a twin screw tug of 2250 bhp.

Atlantic Elm ex Irving Elm -98, twin screw 3460 bhp, built in 1980.

 Other tugs would be drafted in during the summer when these two were assigned to northern barge duties. Atlantic also operated the small 660 bhp Voith-Schneider tug Atlantic Aspen in the port, but its registry was closed November 18, 2019, and has presumably been scrapped.

Atlantic Aspen, dates from 1966 when it was built for the US Navy as USN 761, Mascouta.It was acquired for use in Belledune and renamed Eddie Mac1 after the well known local pilot.

Atlantic Towing's connection with the Port of Belledune is fairly deep as parent company J.D.Irving were involved in the development of the port through New Brunswick Mining + Smelting in the early 1960s. However the smelter is closed and the major customer in the port is now New Brunswick Power's coal fired generating station. It imports US coal via the Great Lakes and petcoke from various sources. There are also general cargo and barge terminals in the port.

McKeil has never been noted as a port tug operator, except possibly in their home port of Hamilton, ON, but even there they do not have exclusivity, as Ocean Group also operates there.

McKeil has, at least for the time being, assigned the tugs Lois M and Tim McKeil to Belledune, but those seem like expensive assets to have sitting there idle for long periods. Perhaps they will have other work to occupy them.

Both are ASD tugs, built 1991, 4800 bhp, acquired in 2014.

McKeil's Jarrett M is noted downbound on the St.Lawrence, heading for Belledune. Built in 1945 as the famous McQueen Marine tug Atomic it has been rebuilt several times, and is now a 1200 bhp twin screw tug. Despite its age, it is a capable tug, which has been used for winter icebreaking at Windsor, ON and harbour berthing in various ports.

There are a lot of other rumours surrounding Belledune tugs, but I will refrain from speculating beyond what has been announced officially.