Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Pups in the harbour

 His Majesty's Canadian Dockyard in Halifax operates six tugs through the King's Harbour Master. All are crewed by civilians and are not commissioned Royal Canadian Navy naval vessels, but are designated as Canadian Naval Auxiliary Vessels. Three of the tugs are the Glen class of 1750 bhp Voith-Schneider tractor tugs and three are Ville class "Pup" tugs. A new tug program is underway to build replacements for the 1977 era Glens but the even older Villes remain in service with no sign of replacements any time soon.

Those small pups can be seen bustling about the harbour conducting many duties including ship berthing, fender handling, securing to mooring buoys and security rounds. I have covered these tugs here before and in a previous post I called them Gofers of the Dockyard.

CNAV Granville is typical of the type. The mast can be struck for working close alongside ships.

 The three Villes in Halifax were built by Georgetown Shipyard in Prince Edward Island in 1975, and were named Listerville YTS 592, Merrickville YTS 593 and Marysville YTS 594. The last of the trio was later renamed Parksville then in 2003 renamed Granville. The pennant designations were also changed from YTS (Yard Tug Small) to YTL (Yard Tug Little).

The tugs are powered by a 365 bhp Caterpillar engine driving a single screw in a steerable nozzle, giving a bollard pull of 7.5 tons. They seldom stray very far from Halifax, but I did notice the Merrickville in Sambro today. Yesterday the Granville was returning from the static Sound Range trot buoys in Macnab's Cove and was heading into a stiff northerly breeze, which it weathered with its usual dignity.

A familiar task for the Pups is moving inflatable (Yokohama) fenders to berths outside the Dockyard for visiting naval vessels. They are secured in such a way as to still provide visibility.

As befitting their miniature size the tugs deploy tiny Yokohamas as hull fenders of their own.


Sunday, October 15, 2023

Calusa Coast

 The United States flag tug Calusa Coast arrived today, October 15, from Boston and tied up at Pier 25. It arrived light tug.

Built in 1978 by Bollinger Machine Shop in Lockport LA, it carried the name Marc G until 1992 then became Katrina G. Dann Marine Towing Co of Chesapeake City, Maryland added the tug to their fleet and renamed it Calusa Coast in 2003. It has two GM-EMD 12-645-E2 main engines of 3400 bhp total driving two screws. The upper wheelhouse gives a 48 foot height of eye versus the 21 foot height of eye for the lower wheelhouse. It also carries a towing winch with 2,000 feet of 2 inch wire.

The tug shifted from dry cargo barge towing on the eastern seaboard to working on the Great Lakes from 2016 to 2020 with the barge Delaware delivering asphalt from Marathon, Detroit to sundry Lakes ports such as Cleveland and Buffalo. It left the Lakes in November 2020 and since then it has been reported in New York with barges carrying bulk sugar, but has likely been doing other work as well.

I am alwauys impressed by how well maintained these older US tugs appear. This one looks frech "from the showroom".

The tug is wearing its "lock ladders" - very long ladders on each side, standing upward, and which can be angled outward to allow agile crew members to land at the lock wall to assist passage if needed. They can also be used to access the deck of a light barge when the tugs goes "in the notch" for pushing.

 No destination has been given yet.


Friday, September 29, 2023

Welcome back Mister Joe

 There was another visit from a McNally Construction tug today. This time it was the Mister Joe, a 1964 vintage tug, often seen in Halifax over the years. Built as the Churchill River by Russel Brothers in Owen Sound, ON it operated in Hudson Bay until coming south to Newfoundland in the 1990s. It was then bought by Beaver Marine in 1998. When Beaver was acquired by McNally Construction Ltd of Hamilton, ON, they renamed the tug after their founder in 2001.

The Mister Joe has been in and out of Halifax frequently ever since, and is generally based in Point Tupper, NS but has also worked on the Great Lakes. It underwent a major refit in 2013-2014 when its wheelhouse was rebuilt to the orginal plans, but with modern glazing. McNally carried out the work in house at their Point Anne, ON base.

Today's visit was very brief, just long enough to tether its tow to the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) pier and head back to sea.  The tow appears to be the Beaver Neptune a semi-submersible barge used to build concrete cribs. The cribs are slip-formed concrete caissons, which are floated off the barge then sunk in place and ballasted full with gravel.

 McNally has the contract to remove the old timber pile pier and build a new pier at the BIO. Fleet mate and near sister tug Sandra Mary was featured here August 24, 2023 when it towed in other plant for the project, including the Derrick No.4 and scow with small tug D.D.Kaufman. It was here again September 9 with the crane scow Idus Atwell. It then departed for Point Tupper directly.

The Sandra Mary did not hang around Point Tupper very long, for it was reported earlier this week departing Sorel, QC for McNally's main yard in Point Anne, ON, near Belleville, towing the tug Bagotville. Reports indicate that the Bagotville, built in 1964, and laid up for a few years, will be scrapped, but that remains to be seen. McNally has done some significant rebuilds over the years.

Bagotville in Halifax in 2013.

I reported Bagotville's history here on May 11, 2013. It has spent very little of its life in salt water, and aside from the last couple of years in layup it has been well maintained. Bulwarks take a beating in its kind of work, but they can be replaced. 



Friday, September 22, 2023

Tug Exchange

 Atlantic Towing Ltd, the providers of harbour tug services in Halifax and Saint John, NB, periodically moves tugs between the two ports depending on the need. They have three tugs of 70 tonne bollard pull and 5400 bhp, the Atlantic Bear, Atlantic Beaver and Spitfire III that were designed with higher bows and extra fendering to work with LNG tankers at the Canaport monobuoy in the open roadstead off Saint John. With gas imports at a very low level now, one or two of the tugs have been shifted to work in Halifax where their power is useful for large container ships.

When a gas tanker or large crude tanker is due in Saint John, the tugs may be sent back from Halifax, and one of the other Saint John harbour tugs moves over to take its place in Halifax.

The Atlantic Beaver went to Saint John in recent days, the Atlantic Bear sailed today,  and the Atlantic Cedar arrived from Saint John to supplement the three other regular Halifax tugs, Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak (5050 bhp 68 tonne bollard pull), and Atlantic Willow (4,000 bhp, 50 tonne bollard pull).

The Atlantic Cedar is also a 5050 bhp, 68 tonne bollard pull tug and it was soon put to work doing the same jobs that its sister Halifax tugs usually do.

That work included tethered stern escort for the arriving 113,509 gt / 119,180 dwt container ship CMA CGM Cochin. With a container capacity of 10,100 TEU it is about 5,000 TEU shy of the largest container ships to call in Halifax, but still requires the good power of three tugs to berth at PSA Halifax's Pier 42 - this case with the Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak.

Ships must be turned 180 degrees to tie up starboard side to, and tugs are required for slow speed steering assist, braking and the usual push pull. The stern tug keeps its line up, but moves to the port quarter and the offside tug (in this case Atlantic Oak) shifts to port midships for the actual berthing.

For comparison purposes the following file photo shows the additional fendering on the Atlantic Beaver:


Dominion Warrior at Work - updated (and again)

 Dominion Diving's Dominion Warrior put to sea on a towing job September 21. 

Dominion Warrior at its base in Dartmouth Cove.

 Eurocarrier type vessels are commonly used for towing in Europe as they are equipped with towing winches, shark jaws and all the usual appurtenances for towing. However they are such rare vessels in Canada (there are only two, and both in Halifax - see below) that it is still a bit of a novelty to see one towing. 

 Today's tow is the Scotia Tide a specially constructed lift barge, designed for the placement (and retrieval) of tidal turbines from the sea bottom. When the orginal tidal power project was cancelled, the barge was laid up Saint John, NB where it was the subject of extended litigation, and eventually ended up in Halifax.

The launch Halmar retrieves the line handlers from the barge as it heads for sea.

According to reports the barge's new owners are planning to put the unit back in service, and are sending it to the shipyard for renewal of its classification. Despite the Dominion Warrior's AIS signal giving a destination of Gibraltar, it is more likely to be heading for a shipyard closer to home.

The 1293 gt barge was built at the Aecon Atlantic Industrial Inc shipyard in Pictou, NS. It is registered at 1293 gt (and surprisingly was not listed on the pilot dispatch list, as vessels of more than 1,000 gt usually require a pilot).


 1. The Federal Court ordered sale of the other Euro Carrier, Tidal Pioneer is expected next week (October 4). It is laid up at Dominion Diving Ltd's base in Dartmouth Cove. [see previous post].


 2. Thanks to a reader I have learned that there is also a Euro Carrier vessel working on Canada's Pacific Coast. The Haisla Northwind was built by Neptune in 2019 and is owned by Bridgemans GP Ltd of Richmond, BC. It is currently at work on the LNG Canada terminal construction project in Kitimat.

3. I have just discovered another Eurocarrier - this one in Newfoundland, operated by 360 Marine of Harbour Breton. As far as I can tell it is a 2209 model (21.6 m length overall x 9 m breadth), twin screw 748 kW and 15 tonnes bollard pull. Built in 2022 and orginally operated in the Netherlands as NP 574 , it was registered in St.John's in June as 360 Handler. It has been reported in St.John's, Harbour Breton, Marystown and Argentia.

4.There is slighly larger Turkish-built version also working in Newfoundland. Its name is Oderin and it is also working in the Marystown / Argentia area for NL Marine Services Inc of St.John's. It was built in 2017 and operated in Turkey as Ulubey and was renamed Ulubey 1 in 2019. It was registered in Canada and given its present name in 2020.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Tidal Pioneer for sale

 A notice in the Halifax Chronicle Herald newspaper on September 12 announced that the mult-purpose workboat Tidal Pioneer is offered for sale by tender. Its owners, Sustainable Marine Energy (Canada) Ltd entered into voluntary bankruptcy earlier this year, citing government permitting issues. After operating a pilot project in Grand Passage, Digby Neck, the company wanted to install floating tidal generators in Minas Passage, further up the Bay of Fundy where there is an extremely large tidal range and fast flowing currents. 

The Tidal Pioneer was used to tow the generators and install them on location, and service them once they were anchored and operational. The company suspended operations in April-May and the generators were to be scrapped according to press reports.

[There were controversial issues with this tidal power project which will not be dealt with here. An internet seach will reveal more information from news sites.]

The Tidal Pioneer was built in 2019 by Neptune Shipyards BV in Aalst, Netherlands.  It is a standard design EuroCarrier 2611 type, a twin screw flat deck vessel with two Caterpillar main engines delivering 1940 kW with 35 tonne Bollard Pull. It carries two deck cranes and a variety of towing and anchor handling gear. The hull measures 24.5m x 11.04m x 3.45m depth (about 2m draft). The offset superstructure allows for large deck loads. [Details from Neptune's web site for typical craft of the type.]

This type of vessel is popular in Europe, and has been exported world wide, but is still rare in North America. Remarkably it made an unassisted Atlantic crossing via the Azores, arriving in Halifax August 24, 2021. (Dominion Diving's Dominion Warrior is the only other vessel of the type in Canada and although only slightly smaller, it arrived in Halifax on a heavy lift ship in 2018.)

The sale ad notes that any claims against the vessel must be registered in the Federal Court of Canada by October 7, 2023.


Thursday, August 24, 2023

Sandra Mary - veteran tug

 In preparation for a wharf replacement project at the Bedford Institute, McNally Construction Inc is bringing in the required equipment. The new Jetty L will be built using concrete caissons and will replace the existing timber crib pier. New floats will also be installed. Dredging will be required for removal and bottom prep. The dredge spoil will be moved elsewhere (likely to the Pier 36 area - but that is only a guess.)

First in port was the small tug D.D.Kaufman, new to McNally, which arrived August 16 from New Jersey, the long way round - via the New York State canals and the Great Lakes. It tied up at an inside berth at the Bedford Institute Jetty L and is thus "immune" from photography. More on this tug when I can get a picture.

Today, August 24, it was the familiar veteran tug Sandra Mary arriving from Port Hawksbury with the crane barge Derrick No.4 and a dump scow (as yet unidentified).

Well outside the port limits the scow was handed off to the Dominion Enforcer which towed it in to the Bedford Institute.

Built in 2021 by Damen Gorinchem, Netherlands the 600 hp Dominion Enforcer has not seen as much use as its twin sister Dominion Rumbler. The latter handles the waste barge for cruise ships and is kept quite busy [as it was today with the Zuiderdam.] Both tugs measure 14.99 gross tons and have been re-registered by number, with their names now unofficial. Vessels under 15 gross tons can be registered in this way as small craft. The tug displays its registration number C30756NS above a wheelhouse window.

The tug Sandra Mary measures 96.82 gross tons and is thus registered by name. When it was built by Russel-Hipwell (formerly Russel Brothers) in Owen Sound, ON in 1962 it was named Flo Cooper by the C.A.Pitts Construction Co Ltd. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions it passed into the hands of McNally in 2000 and took its present name. (Near sister tug Churchill River of 1964 became McNally's Mister Joe in 2001).

Sandra Mary is a 75 footer, rated at 650 bhp through a single screw. [Some sources say 1320 bhp - two engines, single screw.] Its trip actually began in May in Ontario, and it was reported downbound in the St.Lawrence Seaway June 2 towing the crane barge William P. Dilly and the small tug Lac Vancouver. It was then recorded in Montreal and Trois-Rivières June 4 and arrived in Port Hawksbury. It was next reported leaving Port Hawksbury July 14 and in Sydney July 16 to 17. It was not recorded on AIS again until yesterday (August 23) when it sailed from McNally's base in Port Hawksbury for Halifax.

Despite their size McNally's tugs range widely, all over eastern Canada - often at towing speed (about 4.5 knots on this last trip).

Sandra Mary did not stay in Halifax long, but sailed later in the morning for Port Hawksbury - possibly for more equipment. (Its free running speed as a light tug is 9.5 knots.)