Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Atlantic Willow - correction and clarification

A regular Halifax based tug for several years is the Atlantic Willow. One of the large series of ASD tugs built by Irving Shipbuilding's Eastisle Shipyard , it was based on the original Robert Allen Ltd design, but with some modifications. It entered service in 1998.

Atlantic Willow moves between assignments in Halifax harbour.
It is still using the winter shelter over its ship handling winch on the foredeck.

It was the first tug in the series to be built with the full firefighting package, because it was intended for use at the NuStar oil terminal at Point Tupper, on the Strait of Canso. Presumably that is why it is the only tug in the ATL fleet registered in Port Hawksbury, NS instead of the company's home port of Saint John, NB. It was also equipped with a towing winch aft. 

The tug is rated at 4,000 bhp / 50 tonne bollard pull - somewhat less than the 5,000 bhp / 66 tonne, 5,500 bhp / 70 tonne ratings of the other Halifax tugs. Nevertheless it is still a hard working member of the fleet and it is often designated to work at the bow of a ship and with the smaller ships. 

In case the above photo is a bit placid looking, it should go on record that the tug can "step out". 

Irving tugs have traditionally been named after trees, because the company got is start in the tug business by towing timber on the Saint John River. Originally the river tugs were named for coniferous (softwood) trees (used for lumber and paper making), whereas coastal and ocean tugs were named for deciduous (hardwood) trees. No distinction is made now since some harbour tugs work coastal, and there is no longer any river work.

However, due to the limited number of local tree species, the names do get re-used. Such is the case of the willow, a name used in the fleet from 1980 to 1996. Irving Willow was built in 1958 by J.I.Thornycroft in Woolston, UK for Red Funnel Tugs of Southampton, UK as Dunnose. It was one of a series of first generation twin screw diesel tugs, built to serve the large ships, including the "supertankers"  of the 1950s. Its two 6 cylinder Crossley's giving 1340 bhp became obsolete for that purpose as ships continued to grow, and it was replaced with a new generation. Irving acquired four tugs from the Red Funnel fleet, three of which went into regular service.

Irving Willow ex Dunnose was assigned to the Harbour Development Ltd division of Atlantic Towing Ltd and tended barges and dredges all around the Atlantic region. In 1995 Atlantic Towing Ltd and Harbour Development Ltd,  were given a separate corporate identity under the J.D.Irving branch of the family companies, as distinct from Irving Oil. Most Irving tugs were given the "Atlantic" prefix, however those attached to Harbour Development  Ltd were given a "master" suffix, and Irving Willow was renamed Wavemaster in 1996. It carried that name until it was broken up in Dartmouth, NS in 1995.

Irving Willow with dump scows at a dredging site in Yarmouth, NS in 1985.


CORRECTION: The Atlantic Willow does not carry a towing winch. The most photo I have that shows the tug from the stern, has a picnic table where a towing winch could be installed if needed.


CLARIFICATION: In addition to Atlantic Willow, 4,000 bhp, Atlantic Towing Ltd normally posts two 5,000 bhp tugs and one 5,500 bhp tug in Halifax. The one larger tug is drawn from the three tugs built for working with LNG tankers at the Canaport buoy off Saint John, NB. If needed for an LNG tanker it will return to Saint John, but this is now a rare event. Currently that tug is Atlantic Beaver. The two 5,000 bhp tugs based in Halifax are Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Fir.

Thanks to readers for pointed out the error and inaccuracy in the last post.

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Friday, March 26, 2021

Theodore Too - sold

 One of Nova Scotia's marine icons (see also today's Shipfax) has been sold. Theodore Too, the beloved full size replica of the star of the animated childrens' television program of the same name, will be taking on a new role to promote careers in the marine industry. Ambassatours, owner of the "tug" , have sold the boat to Blair McKeil, former owner of McKeil Marine Ltd.

 Ambassatours, operators of Halifax harbour tour boats have been looking for meaningful work for Theodore Too ever since they acquired the tour boat business from the Murphy family. Coupled with last year's much abbreviated tour boat season and the need for maintenance on the twenty-one year old vessel, the timing is right for the sale.

Mr. MacKeil, son of the founder of McKeil Workboats, now a major tugboat, cargo ship and tanker operator based in Hamilton, ON, has deep family roots in Nova Scotia. He has been a promoter of various shipping initiatives and has partnered with Heddle Marine. McKeil Marine Ltd itself, although still bearing the family name, is not involved directly in the purchase. Blair McKeil is Vice Chairman of the company.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Siem Hanne becomes PSV Hakan

 The AIS signal for the supplier Siem Hanne is now showing as PSV Hakan. No new name has yet appeared on the vessel itself (it remains too cold for painting). 


After many months of layup, it was rumoured that the boat was to be sent back to Europe by parent company Siem Offshore. [See previous post of March 4.]

It now seems that it has been sold, with an as yet unknown destination. When it does sail that will leave fleet mate Siem Commander as the only Secunda Canada vessel in Halifax. It is also without work.

Siem Hanne is tied up at Pier 9C, preparing for new duties.
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Monday, March 15, 2021

Atlantic Beaver in Halifax

 It was a busy day for tugs in Halifax with all four tugs working at one point late this afternoon. As usual one of Atlantic Towing's three large 70 tonne bollard pull tugs has been assigned to Halifax for escort and ship berthing duties. The three tugs were built in association with the Spanish firm Reyser to service the LNG offshore discharge facility near Saint John, NB. Because LNG tankers are infrequent callers in there one of the big tugs can usually be spared for use in Halifax. Up to now that has always been Atlantic Bear and Spitfire III. However on March 9 Atlantic Beaver arrived in Halifax.

 

Heading through the Narrows into a stiff north wind this afternoon, Atlantic Beaver was making a little freezing spray on its bulwarks. Its winch and fire monitors are protected for the winter with heavy tarps.

To my recollection this is the first time that Atlantic Beaver has been back in Halifax since it was here on trials in 2008. It was built by Eastisle Shipyard in Georgetown, PE, and as with all the tugs built there it came to Halifax for bollard pull trials, which were conducted off Pier 24 in September and October 2008.

The three tugs of this class are easily identifiable by the extra fendering, particularly the three bow fenders, and the fire fighting monitors mounted on the bridge deck.

Atlantic Oak (left) moving Atlantic Bear during acceptance trials in Halifax in September 2008.

One other item of note is the fixed gangway platform on the stern. Saint John tugs moor in Mediterranean style - stern in to a landing stage, and personnel embark and disembark over the stern.

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Siem Hanne underway

 After a lengthy layup the supplier Siem Hanne got underway today for the short move from the COVE dock in Dartmouth to Pier 9C in Halifax.


Built in 2007 by Aker, the vessel came to Canada in 2016 under a five year bareboat charter (some called it a loan) by parent company Siem Offshore to affiliate Secunda Marine. The vessel was repainted from red to Secunda blue, but an expected renaming never took place. Siem took up the remaining 50% ownership of Secunda later the same year and kept Siem names for its vessels.

It has been rumoured for some time that the ship was going back to Siem. For now at least it looks like it will be reactivated with DP trials tomorrow. It will hardly be surprising with no activity offshore Nova Scotia, and no new work in the offing for Newfoundland, if the boat heads back to Europe.

Fleet mate tug/supplier Siem Commander remains tied up at the COVE dock. It has seen some spot hire towing work, but its prospects seem equally bleak for long term activity. 



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Saturday, February 13, 2021

All aboard

 After drydocking in St.John's Atlantic Condor returned to Halifax February 8 and tied up at the IEL pier.  Yesterday, February 12, the operation began to lift on the two lifeboats Cadboro Bay and Florencia Bay.

See yesterday's Shipfax

By this morning  both boats were sitting happily on deck while workers completed lashing and securing the deck load.





As yet there is no departure time posted.

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

New Gig for the Atlantic Condor

 The Atlantic Condor has been mobilized from layup in Stephenville, NL to carry out an interesting contract.

After drydocking at Newdock in St.John's for renewal of classification and certificates, I hear that the supplier will proceed to Halifax where it will load two Canadian Coast Guard  lifeboats as deck cargo and transport  them to Victoria, BC. Atlantic Towing Ltd won the contract with a $3,449,999.00 bid, and must deliver the boats by April 30, 2021.

The two boat were built in 2020  - CCGC Cadboro Bay by Chantier Naval Forillon in GaspĂ©, QC and CCGC Florencia Bay by Hike Metal Products in Wheatley, ON. At present Cadboro Bay is based in Sambro, NS filling in while the regular boat is in refit and Florencia Bay is at the Bedford Institute.

Each boat weighs close to 53 tonnes*, so will require shore based cranes to load and offload. The contract also requires provision of cradles, spreaders and rigging as required for safe transport. Each boat is valued at $ 8 million, so great care will be required.

Atlantic Condor was built by Halifax Shipyard in  2011 and is a UT755LN class cargo vessel, of 2334 gt, 3240 dwt to serve an extendable ten year contract with Encana to support the Deep Panuke gas field. That installation has been capped and removed in 2020, and Atlantic Condor has been without work.

I do not know if the ship will return to this coast on completion of the delivery. However more new CCG lifeboats are under construction - these two are number 7 and 8 of an order of 20, so the ship may find similar work in the future.

* [ Despite the CCG's web site that asserts that the boats "weigh 75 gross tonnes" the tender documents give the weights of the boats as 52.93 tonnes and 52.336 tonnes. Actual weight at time of lift will depend on what fuel, water, stores, etc., may be on board. 

[A gross ton is a non-linear measure of volume (not weight), where traditionally 100 cu.ft = 1 gross ton. Gross tonnage is now determined by international protocol and is the product of the ship's internal volume in cubic meters, multiplied by a variable logarithmic amplification factor, or sliding scale, and is thus not solely a direct measurement. However as a relative comparative term it is still useful in describing ships sizes.]

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