Thursday, August 13, 2020

East is East and West is West

The twain did meet in Halifax today with Atlantic Kingfisher and Pacific Constructor at pier 9C.

As previously posted Pacific Constructor with ROV was likely here for some well capping work off Sable Island.

Owners are Swires, one of the old established European / Hong Kong companies, with many business interests in the far east.

Atlantic Towing on the other hand is part of the J.D.Irving companies based in Saint John, NB.

Atlantic Kingfisher was built in 2002 by Halifax Shipyard, another J.D.Irving company. It is normally based in Newfoundland, and was also here in connection with the same well decommissioning project.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Articulate tug

The articulated tug / barge combination Leo A. McArthur / John J.Carrick arrived with another load of asphalt for McAsphalt Industries in Eastern Passage. Although the tug is equipped to tow if necessary, it rarely separates from the barge, even in rough seas.

The pair usually call a couple of times at least each paving season. The tug was built in 1908 as Victorious and was renamed in 2017.  Its fleet mates tug / barge Everlast / Norman McLeod do not venture this far east anymore, but seem to be confined to the Great Lakes. 

They are the only articulated tug/ tanker barges in regular service in eastern Canada. When competitor Irving Oil needs to transport asphalt they use the US flag tug Coho / barge Penn No.92 under a coasting license.

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Saturday, August 8, 2020

Rig Move

Offshore drilling oil rigs are becoming a rare sight these days as there are no active offshore oil  or gas fields and no plans for drilling any new ones. Therefore today's arrival may be the last for a while. Noble Regina Allen has completed its work plugging five gas wells in the Deep Panuke field off Sable  Island and arrived in port this morning.

The jack-up rig and was towed in by Atlantic Kingfisher and Siem Commander assisted in the harbour by Atlantic Fir, Atlantic Oak, and Atlantic Willow.


Atlantic Kingfisher cast off first and headed for Pier 9C.


Siem Commander followed later after the rig was alongside the IEL dock.

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Sunday, August 2, 2020

Firebird's new home

The former HMC Dockyard fireboat Firebird has found a new home on the west coast of Newfoundland. I recently received some pictures showing it doing pilot transfer and ship assist work in Lower Cove for the US flag self-unloading bulk carrier Donald M. James as it took on a load of limestone for Jacksonville, FL.

Built in 1978, the Firebird was declared surplus in 2014 a few years ago and acquired by Sealand Shipping Services of Baie Verte, NL. The vessel remained in Halifax until July when it sailed for Stephenville, NL. That area of the west coast had been without a regular tug since September 23, 2019 when Omni St-Laurent sank at its dock in Stephenville. Sealand's R.J.Ballott has also been reported in Stephenville and it may have been providing some tug service.

Firebird was most recently alongside The COVE (former CG base) in Dartmouth until July 23 when it sailed for Stephenville.

Firebird still has all its fire fighting pumps and gear, but is now classed as a tug with two 455 bhp main engines driving two Z-drives.

For more on the Firebird's naval history see: firebird farewell

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Friday, July 31, 2020

Pacific Constructor

The impressive SMPV (Subsea Multipurpose Vessel) Pacific Constructor made a brief stopover in Halifax today (July 31) en route to the Sable Offshore. The ship has apparently been deployed from the Pacific Ocean as its last stop was given as the Pacific anchorages of the Panama Canal.


Operated by Swire Pacific Offshore, it is a 8133 grt, 14,946 bhp ship built in 2014 by Kleven Ulsteinvik. Among its many features is the heli deck for a Sikorsky S-92, a 250 tonne heave compensated crane and all the gear to house and deploy an ROV.


The structure on the after deck carries the name of Ocean Infinity a US/UK outfit that operates dozens of marine robotic vessels used for underwater inspections. Their black and yellow colour scheme is carried on one of their devices which appears on deck.

When built the ship was named Olympic Boa but was renamed Olympic Athene briefly in 2016, then Seabed Constructor when acquired by Swire. It was renamed again the first of this year.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Big Tug, Big Tow

The 15,500 bhp tug Avalon Sea got underway this afternoon towing the barge BOA Barge 37. The tug was built in 2016 by Remontowna Gdanska in Poland and is equipped for a variety of tasks including anchor handling, ice management and standby.


At first the tug, towing the semi-submersible barge BOA Barge 37, headed from its Pier 9C berth to Bedford Basin where there was more room to turn.


With assistance from Atlantic Fir (stern) Atlantic Willow ( starboard quarter) and Atlantic Oak the tow was turned in about 40 acres or less.


The tow was then straightened out for passage under the MacKay bridge.

Destination is Mulgrave, NS where the barge will be used to carry a new crane to Argentia, NL where it will be stored until next year for installation on the Hibernia gravity base oil production and storage centre. The crane was to have been installed this year by the crane ship Thialf but time ran out for a variety of reasons, including COVID-19.




Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Maersk Cutter outbound

The tugs Maersk Cutter and Maersk Detector finally got away late this afternoon. Their departure had been scheduled for mid-morning, but something held them up.


In the final configuration it was Maersk Cutter towing the BOA Barge 34


Atlantic Towing Ltd brought in two tugs, Atlantic Hemlock and Atlantic Larch to assist with the tow and operations at sea. The Maersk Detector was well out ahead traveling independently, but in company.

The flotilla is headed for the Deep Panuke gas field off Sable Island where decommissioning operations are well underway. The barge will load the 25,000 tonne Thebaud Production Field Centre and move it to Mulgrave, NS where it will be stored until a decision is made on its re-use.

Meanwhile at Deep Panuke the crane vessel Thialf has removed several of the other structures. The first of seven barge loads has recently arrived in Teesbay, England with the tug Princess towing the barge H-591. Able UK will be scrapping the structures.

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