Friday, December 4, 2020

Veterans soldier on

 A couple of veteran tugs are hard at work in Halifax these days despite their great age and hard use. Both are small boats used for dredging and marine construction, and are forever shoving and towing scows.

Oshawa is the older of the two, built in 1969 at Whitby, ON by first owners McNamara Construction. I have taken scores of pictures of this tug going back over the years, in fact back to 1983 when I saw it first.

Pulling the dredge Harold M and an unidentified scow after a day's work.

Aside from a few label changes for ownership, the tug has changed very little from its days working first for McNamara, then Cartier (in the photo) and now McNally.

Doing essentially the same thing this afternoon, nudging an aged scow.

A "cousin" tug, also built by McNamara, but in 1978 is named for the company's home port. Whitby has also recently arrived in Halifax and is also working with scows.

These boats have a lot of life left in them, so should be going strong for many years to come.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

No More Offshore

 Offshore petroleum activity off Nova Scotia has ceased now that the last of the Deep Panuke structures have been removed and most of the material has gone to the UK for scrap. There is no more offshore gas production, and no more oil. There is also no exploration underway.

There is some activity off Newfoundland, but even that has been reduced with the Terra Nova field offline.

Therefore many offshore support vessels are out of work and laid up. Most are in Newfoundland, but there are three idle boats in Halifax.

At Pier 9c Atlantic Kestrel has been idle since the crane rig Thialf returned to Europe.

Built by Jaya SB+E, Singapore in 2012 Atlantic Kestrel is a powerful tug of 16,000 bhp.

Meanwhile Secunda (parent company is Siem of Kristiansand, Norway) has two vessels laid up at the COVE docks in Dartmouth.

Siem Commander (red hull) dates from 2008 when it was built as Stril Commander. The hull was built by Cemre Altinova, Turkey and completed by Havyard Liervik in Norway. It was transferred from Norway in 2019.

Siem Hanne (blue hull) was completed in 2007 by Aker Yards, Aukra, Norway on a hull started by the Aker Tulcea shipyard in Turkey. It was brought to Canada in 2016.

Secunda Marine also has its Venture Sea idle after its towing contract in Baffin Bay late last month. On its return the ship went directly to Shelburne, NS (for repairs?) and hasn't been back to Halifax since.

The veteran Secunda tug was built in 1998 by Halter Marine Inc in Pascagoula, MS. It is rated at 12,280 bhp.


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Tug Shuffle

 The advantage of having a multi-tug fleet was apparent this past week when Atlantic Towing Ltd sent two tugs to Newfoundland and moved one from Saint John to Halifax to cover. 

Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Larch were tasked with docking the Terra Nova FPSO in Bull Arm. Atlantic Willow is normally based in Halifax, so its place was taken in the interim by Atlantic Beaver brought in from Saint John. Atlantic Larch is often used as an "outside" tug, rather than a harbour tug, and is based in Saint John.

Atlantic Beaver returns to the base in Woodside after a job.

Now that the Newfoundland job is over, Atlantic Willow has returned to Halifax, and Atlantic Bear and Atlantic Larch are en route back to Saint John. 

Atlantic Beaver was built in 2008 and is rated at 5432 bhp and 70 tonnes bollard pull.
Atlantic Willow was built in 1998 and is rated at 4000 bhp and 50 tonnes bollard pull.

Both were built at East Isle Shipyard in Georgetown, PEI and are azimuthing stern drive tugs.


Friday, November 27, 2020

Balder Viking becomes Jean Goodwill

 See today's companion blog Shipfax for news on another AHTS conversion:



Back in Business

 An anchor handling tug supplier that was converted to a fishing vessel in 1988 has been converted back again for anchor handling and salvage work.

In May 1995 the Atlantic Surf was hauled out at Dartmouth Marine Slips for refit.

Built back in 1974 as Maersk Tracker by Aukra Bruk AS shipyard in Aukra, Norway, it worked for Maersk in Europe until was acquired by the Nova Scotia Clam Co Ltd in 1988 It was then fitted with dredging gear to harvest surf clams. The vessel was registered in Port Hawksbury and renamed Tracker I then Scotian Surf then Atlantic Surf all in 1988.

In 1992 owners became Grand Bank Seafoods Inc and in 1996 it was renamed Atlantic Surf I.

The ship was sold to Glaciar Pesquera SA of Argentina in 2004, and I have no record of its activities since then. In 2018 it was sold to Parana Logistica SA  and sometime thereafter, possibly as late as 2019,  the fishing gear was removed and it was renamed Atlantic Dama. It is now reported to be back in the tug and salvage business.


Thursday, November 26, 2020

New life for Kenneth A.

 Some more good news for an old tug. The veteran Kenneth A  has not only received a major rebuild, but it has also found steady work.

The story starts in 1950 when Mathieson Welding Services (also known as Mathieson Boat Works) of Goderich, ON built the tug for Island Freight Company of Toronto.  With approximate dimensions of 45 feet x 13 feet, it was powered with a 125 bhp engine giving 10 knots.

Named Kenneth A., it was put to use hauling freight to the Toronto Islands. After several years in that service it was taken over by the Toronto Harbour Commission, later to be known as the Toronto Port Authority (and now called Ports Toronto). It continued as a general duty workboat handling barges and towing as required, retaining the name Kenneth A.

In about 2016 it was purchased by a Nova Scotia buyer and transported to Tiller Marine in Port Dover, ON where it underwent a multi-year rebuild that included re-skinning the hull and constructing a completely new superstructure. It was then transported by truck to Nova Scotia. 

The tug's new owners, Trident Marine of Little Tancook Island, NS have put the tug back to work with a landing craft type barge, the Trident Lander, ferrying material from the mainland, to the islands. The current ferry has no drive on/drive off capability, and can only take small cars hoisted by crane. The Trident Lander can take larger vehicles over its hydraulic ramp.

The company also operates the World War II era standard tug Plainsville.

Kenneth A. has also conducted several tows, including a former Halifax ferry from Sambro to Lunenburg and various salvage and other marine services. The tug has also ranged as far as Halifax with a tow arriving as I write this.


Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Old but indestructible, or When I'm sixty-four

 This blog has contained too many notices of old tugs going to the scrappers recently. Tug companies may be cleaning house as they have been carrying worn out vessels on their rosters for too long. However a few durable tugs are still soldiering on at relatively unheard of ages. One of those is the R.J.Ballot, which has apparently answered the Beatles question "Will you still need me....when I'm sixty-four."

R.J.Ballott at the former Coast Guard base, now the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship (COVE) in Dartmouth.

Foundation Maritime, that legendary Halifax based towing company, built up a rag tag fleet during World War II. Some of those tugs were replaced by war emergency tugs in the late 1940s, but by the mid 1950s they still had several underpowered and steam driven boats. 

When the newly developing Labrador iron ore mines came into production, new port facilities were built at Sept-Iles, QC that could handle the largest of a new breed of bulk carriers. Along with nearby Baie Comeau, the ports required tugs with power and heft. Foundation went to Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon (now part of Lévis), QC for what eventually turned out to be nine new tugs. Delivered in the years between 1956 and 1963, and all powered by Fairbanks Morse engines (and all but one, single screw driven) they have provided remarkable service for a variety of owners. 

It is notable that of those nine tugs, three were sold foreign and likely scrapped, and all but one of the rest remain in daily service in Canada. * - see below

The first of what were big ship berthing tugs at the time, is in Halifax now, having transitioned to long distance towing work. R.J.Ballott arrived from Makkovik, Labrador, via St. Barbe with the barge Kaligak loaded with construction equipment.

It is the same barge that R.J.Ballott towed out of Halifax on October 3, 2019

The tug, built in 1956 as Foundation Victor has had a long career with several owners as Point Victor, Kay Cole and Jerry Newberry and is still going strong at 64 years of age. It has been noted in this blog many times. Enter the name in the search box, or for a complete record see: R.J.Ballott

This Tim Randall photo shows Foundation Victor in its orginal colour scheme.


* Foundation Valiant, later named Point Valiant (i) and André-H. was broken up in recent months at Quebec City. See this recent post

Point Vigour ex Foundation Vigour  is still at work as McKeil's Molly M 1.

Point Viking ex Foundation Viking  works for Construction Polaris Inc of Sept-Iles, QC.

Point Vim ex Foundation Vim works for Les Barges de Matane Inc of Matane, QC.

Point Valour ex Foundation Valour works for Thunder Bay Tug Services at Thunder Bay, ON.