Saturday, October 13, 2018

Scrap Tow from Montreal

It seems likely that Océan Delta will soon embark on its last trip. Now under Panamanian registry, the tug was sold by Groupe Océan and its Canadian registry closed November  29, 2017. Since year end it has been idle in Sorel - Tracy, QC, latterly with crew aboard.

Lying in Sorel in August this year, the tug looked pretty tired.

It moved from Sorel September 5 to Montreal where it is slated to tow the decommissioned laker Nito to a scrapyard, likely in Aliga, Turkey, starting out Sunday, October 14.

Groupe Océan has sent both Océan Echo II to Montreal to take the stern line as far as the Escoumins pilot station.

It is very late in the year, but the former hurricane Michael is expected to peter out in the mid-Altantic this weekend. The record of late season tows has not been a starry one, particularly with this tug.

One of the last deep sea tugs under the Canadian, flag, and the last one on the east coast, its departure will follow only by a month of that other stalwart Ryan Leet which sailed from Sydney, NS for its new owners, and is now reported to be in Columbia. I was told that Ryan Leet was headed for a shipyard to be reconditioned for further use, but that seems too much to hope for at this stage for Océan Delta and most believe it will also be scrapped on arrival in Turkey.

Built in 1973 by Ulstein Mek.Verkstad AS in Ulsteinvik, Norway as Sistella it was an early member of the International Transport Contractors (ITC) fleet of deep sea towing tugs. In 1978 it was renamed Sandy Cape by the same owners until sold in 1980 to Quebec Tugs. As their Capt. Ioannis S. it was named for Capt "John" Styliadis, longtime Davie tug master.

In 1999 after Groupe Océan took over Quebec Tugs, they renamed the vessel Océan Delta and re- powered it with two 8 cylinder MaKs, giving 6464 bhp, replacing the original 5600 bhp N+H engines, driving a single controllable pitch single screw.

Over the years the tug took part it too many tows to relate here, including many trips to the far north, but in later years this work became harder to find eventually leading to its sale.

In Halifax in 1980 after losing its tows in the Gulf.

The laker Nito has an even longer history than the tug, starting life in 1967 at Collingwood Shipyard as N.M.Paterson's Mantadoc. Renamed Teakglen in 2002 by CSL, it passed through ownership by Goderich Elevators Ltd and near sale to scrappers in 2005 when it was returned to service as Maritime Trader for Voyageur Maritime Trading Inc. In 2011 Lower Lakes Towing took over ownership and renamed the ship Manitoba. It is also among the last of its kind - a wheelhouse forward laker, with no self-unloading gear.

Océan Delta was lead tug in the unfortunate December 2012 tow of HMCS Athabaskan that resulted in damage to the ship and its hastened decommissioning. It did successfully tow several lakers to scrap in years past, but not all without incident. In 1980 with a double tow of two lakers, its CPP malfunctioned, and it backed over the tow line and both ships went astray. It was major operation by Ectug to round them up and bring them into Halifax.

However those are only unfortunate incidents in a long and successful career. Groupe Océan spent a lot of money keeping the tug going, even to the extent of re-engining it, so it was well cared for.

The tug has been featured here many times see:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Jane Ann IV offered for scrap

The tug Jane Ann IV has now been offered for scrap sale on Facebook according to reports. The veteran tug had been laid up since 2009 until this summer when its barge coupler system was removed and then it was towed from Toledo, OH to Calcite, MI where it was hauled out on a beach.

Once based in Halifax as Secunda Marine's Tignish Sea, the tug was built in 1978 by Mitsui Engineering + Shipbuilding in Japan. As Ouro Fino until 1981 then Bonace until 1992, it was laid up in Brazil when Secunda found it. As Tignish Sea it arrived in Halifax May 9, 1993 towing sister tug Cavendish Sea. It went to work doing offshore supply and towing work until 2000. Included in that were several notable salvage jobs, including the Amphion featured here before.

Towing disabled Talisman in to Halifax.

The tug had a rendency to dip its bow, and was reported to be very uncomfortable at sea.

Great Lakes Transportation (GLT) of Halifax then acquired the tug and installed a coupler system  allowing the tug to push the barge Sarah Spencer. The barge, started life as the laker Adam E. Cornelius in 1959. It was modified by removal of its engines at Halifax Shipyard in 1989. A large notch was installed in the stern and several different tugs were used to push the barge in coastal trade and on the Lakes. Those tugs used face wires, but GLT installed the ladders needed for the coupler system.

 A large section of the accommodaiton was removed to install the coupler ram tunnel.

The hull was fared out to the width of the barge notch.

The actual coupler installation was not done in Halifax. The tug sailed from Halifax in October 2000 with plates over the coupler openings. The rams were installed on the Great Lakes.

Once GLT began running the pair as an integrated tug and barge it remained on the Great Lakes and Seaway until 2006 when it had a major refit. New owners were then listed as TGL Holdings of Plymouth, MI and Toronto, ON, but both tug and barge retained Canadian registry and management. However they finally laid up in Detroit in 2009, never to sail commercially again. Jane Ann IV sank at least once (in 2013) and perhaps once again until it was sold earlier this year. The new owners removed the coupler system for potential re-use in another tug and plated over the hull opening.

Sarah Spencer as it was intially converted to a barge. The tug was conned from the barge's wheelhouse. It also carried the name Sea Barge One before it was acquired by GLT.

Even with a fully loaded barge, the tug had no visibility forward.

The tug's Canadian registration was closed August 24, 2018 shortly after its arrival in Calcite, MI.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Scrap tow from Halifax

This morning two surplus navy barges were towed out for scrapping to shipbreakers in Sydney, NS. Because the barges are not over large, they did not require large tugs. Also, possibly in order to economize on pilotage fees, the tow was organized in elephant style, so that only one pilot was required.

Lead tug was Strait Raven, operated by Superport Marine Services Ltd of Port Hawksbury.  A 455 bhp twin screw vessel, it was built by Superport at their own yard in 2013.

It was towing the barge YRG-60, a fueling barge used in the naval dockyard.. It in turn was connected by towline to YDG-2 a degaussing barge.

 At the end of the procession was the McKeil Marine tug Dover Spirit, with a line to its bow.

I saw Dover Spirit in Quebec during the summer ( see Tugfax August 29 ) for the first time under its new name. It was previously called Kaliutik when it was built in 1998 by Dovercraft Marine. It is a two screw 550 bhp tug.

I did note that YDG-2 was towing stern first, so I suspect that when the tow reaches the harbour limits Dover Spirit will take over the tow of YDG-2 alone.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Atlantic Raven - new assignment - UPDATED

On August 11 the federal government announced that it had awarded the Emergency Towing Vessel [ETV] contract for British Columbia waters to Atlantic Towing Ltd, a division of J.D.Irving Ltd. The three year contract for $67 million includes seven, one year extension options.

Atlantic Raven arrived in Halifax today, and is freshly painted, so is no doubt headed to the west coast.

Atlantic Towing Ltd will send two vessels, Atlantic Eagle and Atlantic Raven to the west coast before the end of 2018.

Reaction to the announcement from the west coast was predictably negative. Citing lack of consultation and the age of the vessels, critics also complained that it an eastern company lacks local knowledge.

There is no denying that the two vessels are not new, but they have a great many positive attributes that would make them quite suitable for the job at hand, which let's face it is light duty compared to the constant pounding of offshore work. They are tug/suppliers built to the UT722 design, but come from different shipyards.

Atlantic Eagle was launched "conventionally", but bow first to protect the CP props and keep the deck dry.

Atlantic Eagle was launched by Halifax Shipyard August 14, 1999 and was in service by January 2000. Atlantic Raven was also built in 1999, but by Orskov Staalskibs.verft, Frederikshaven, Denmark. Originally named Asso Ventidue for Augusta Supply Vessel of Italy, it was acquired by ATL in 2011. Both are powered by Ulstein Bergen main engines, developing 14,450 bhp and about 162 tonnes bollard pull.

Before heading to the west coast, the Atlantic Raven is heading north for Baffin Island to work on some future port infrastructure for Baffinland Iron Mines. Groupe Océan has been providing tug assistance in the current port [see previous post] and Baffinland has hired the icebreaker Botnica for ice management work in Milne Inlet until the end of September. Navigation closes in the port in mid-October.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Scotian Sea - sold

The handsome supplier Scotian Sea has apparently been sold and re-purposed. Its Canadian registry was closed September 10, and now under British flag, it sailed September 12 for Aberdeen, Scotland as Scotian Sentinel. It was also classified on AIS as a fishing vessel.

Since it was acquired and renamed by Secunda in 2012 it has been used for a variety of work, including support of BP's seismic program in 2014. Since then however, it has been under utilized and during the past year or more, largely laid up at The Cove (former CCG Base in Dartmouth).

Secunda is now 100% owned by Siem Offshore of Norway, and has brought newer vessels to Canada when work is available.

Kvaerner Kleven of Lervik, Norway built the ship in 1997 as Rescue Saga for K.S Rem Seismic, but it was sold to Havila Offshore and renamed Havila Runde in 1998. It has been classed as a platform supply / oil recovery / fire fighting vessel.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Océan Comeau and Dover Spirit - 2018 renames

Two tugs that have been renamed this year were in the area of Ile-aux-Coudres this morning.
First was the downbound Dover Spirit on its way from the Lakes to Sydney, NS.

Built in 1998 by Dovercraft Marine of Nanticoke, ON its first name was Kaliutik for owners the Labrador Inuit Devlopment Corp. In recent years McKeil Marine has been using the tug, but it was not until June 12 of this year that the ownership was transferred to McKeil Workboats GP Inc and the new name registered.

For more on this tug (and better pictures) see:

Océan Comeau is on the slip at Industrie Océan for hull work. Ownership of the former Pointe Comeau was taken over by Groupe Ocean from Cargill as part of the deal to provide tug service at Baie Comeau. Svitzer / Eastern Canada Towing had managed the tug on behalf of Cargill, and under the new contract Cargill acquired the Anse du Moulin the former Svitzer Comeau. Cartier.

The large skeg under the tug's stern is an essential part of its design.It also helps to support the tug in drydocking.

Océan Comeau is now regularly stationed in Sorel, QC, and was re-registered in Quebec City August 17.

There are also large docking plates fitted forward to protect the Voith Schneider blades, and support the hull in drydocking.


Thursday, August 16, 2018


The tug Everlast with its articulated barge Norman McLeod were the cause for some minor excitement off Sorel-Tracy last week. At an early hour August 9 , while at anchor, the barge's anchor cable parted and the the barge drifted aground.

Several workers appear to be admiring their handiwork as Norman McLeod and Everlast lie alongside at Sorel.

The tug was built by Hakodate, Muroran, way back in 1976 as Bilibino for Russian operators and was acquired by current owners McAsphalt in 1996 to be paired with the heavy fuel/asphalt barge Norman McLeod of 6809 grt, built in the same year by Jinling, China.

Sorel based tugs, both with former Svitzer / ECTUG ties, wait their next assignments.

Local Sorel tugs (presumably Océan Sept-Iles and Océan Comeau soon freed the barge. There was no damage. There are conflicting reports as to whether the anchor and chain were recovered or not, however when I happened by August 15, the barge had been re-equipped with an anchor (it carries only one) and sailed later in the day for Detroit (or perhaps Windsor). It regularly works through the Seaway making transits on average every ten days to two weeks.