Sunday, January 10, 2021

Jarvis sails south

 The former Venture Sea (see previous post) sailed late this afternoon, now with its new name Jarvis stenciled on the bows.

AIS is not showing a destination, but the boat is heading generally south if that is any indication of where it may be going.

Of the many pictures I have taken of this tug over the years, none have shown what it is really like out at sea. However perhaps this one gives some idea of how this boat might perform.


Saturday, January 9, 2021

More Towing for the Elm (revised)

 Atlantic Towing's Atlantic Elm returned to Halifax this morning towing the barge Scotia Tide from Liverpool, NS. After entering the harbour it was met by Atlantic Oak and made its way toward Eastern Passage.

The twin hull barge, built by Aecon in Pictou in 2015 for a reported $30 million, was designed to carry and place a 1300 tonne tidal turbine on the sea bottom of the Minas Passage in the upper Bay of Fundy. After a failed first placement, and a second placement in 2018, the turbine operators declared bankruptcy leaving an estimated $14 million owing a number of creditors. The barge was ordered sold at auction to recoup some of the loss.

Ironically, among the creditors is Atlantic Towing Ltd ($1.4 million) and RMI Marine ($444,720) . It was RMI's motor boat that picked up the insurance line and float as the tow neared the Cherubini dock in Eisner's Cove.

The barge, is now owned by Halifax Offshore Consulting and SPB Equipment of Wabush, Newfoundland and Labrador, a company specializing in iron and metal salvaging, dismantling structures, and dealers in recovered components. It is unclear what their intentions may be at this time. The tidal turbine remains inoperative on the bottom of the Minas Passage, and this barge could conceivably be used to recover it.

Atlantic Elm moved back to Pier 27 after securing the barge.

Built by Saint John Drydock + Shipbuilding in 1980 to a proven Robert Allen design, it is a 3460 bhp, 44.5 tonne bollard pull twin screw tug. Originally named Irving Elm it was renamed in 1996. The small "bird house" crows nest was also added later. 


Friday, January 8, 2021

Tugs in Transit - Part 3

 The latest arrival in Halifax is the former Venture Sea. Now sold by Secunda Canada to Virgo Ships and registered in Vanuatu, the tug/supplier is sailing under the name Jarvis, although this has not been painted on in the customary places.

Looking a bit bedraggled, and still carrying its former name, the tug arrives in Halifax this afternoon.

As Venture Sea it was noted on this blog as recently as September when it was mobilized out of layup in Halifax and sent north for a towing assignment.

On return from that job the tug went to Shelburne, NS where it has remained until yesterday when it departed for Halifax. On arrival this afternoon it berthed at Irving Oil's Woodside terminal for refueling.

The letters "M.V." formed no part of the tug's official name, but were applied by the builders and have remained ever since.

Although proving its worth so recently as a towing vessel, there is speculation that this may be the end of the road for the tug, and that it will be headed for the scrappers. After fueling it is scheduled to move to pier 27 so it may be some time before we learn of its fate.

Back in September Venture Sea was laid up sandwiched between its two newer and larger fleet mates.

Secunda Marine, founded in Halifax in the 1980s has been a subsidiary of the Norwegian company Siem Offshore since 2016. Siem is in the process of re-financing and has shed a number of idle vessels. With no work in the oil and gas offshore Nova Scotia, it may be a matter of time before other vessels in the fleet are sold or re-assigned too. Both Siem Commander and Siem Hanne remain laid up in Halifax with few short term prospects.

In addition, on December 22, SIEM received early termination notice for its Siem Pilot working for Suncor off Newfoundland. The charter was to last until November 2022. The total Siem fleet world wide was reported to be 33 vessels before the Venture Sea was sold but may now be down to 19.  

Another Canadian flag vessel, Siem Diamond was reflagged back to Norway in November 2020.


Tugs in Transit - Part 2

 With Christmas and New Year holidays over, it was time to get back to work for some temporary visitors. Atlantic Elm sailed light tug on January 7 giving Liverpool, NS as destination. It only took a few hours to reach that port, and the tug appears to have tied up at the former Mersey Paper dock in Brooklyn.

This morning, January 8 the small Harbour Development flotilla got underway for Saint John. Wavemaster lead off towing the dredge Cranemaster.

The tug is the former Royal Netherlands Navy tug Regge, built in 1987. It was renamed in 2018 after HDL acquired and refitted it to suit Canadian regulations. 

They were followed by Atlantic Tamarack towing the split hopper barge HD-9. Unfortunately when I was poised for a photo a sudden snow shower blotted out the scene. It soon blew over and a distant shot was possible.

Harbour Development Ltd is a subsidiary of Atlantic Towing Ltd, part of the J.D.Irving group of companies. It is essentially a dredging contractor and is nominally based in Halifax. Its equipment works throughout the region, often in the Saint John, NB area. (Their website is woefully out of date, so do not take information from it at face value.)


Saturday, December 19, 2020

Tugs in Transit

 For a variety of reasons, several tugs are visiting Halifax for short stays.

Atlantic Towing Ltd leads the way with two tugs plus two tugs from their sister company.

Atlantic Elm, built in 1980 as Irving Elm is a 3460 bhp tug that operates in the summers with supply barges in Hudson's Bay. It was recently deployed from what would usually be winter layup, to assist in moving the BOA Barge 34 arrival in Sheet Harbour. 

It is now tied up at Pier 9C North with the barge Atlantic Swordfish which is one of the northern supply barges. No towing gear is rigged yet, so it is unclear if the barge is to be moved - perhaps to Sheet Harbour?  The tug became Atlantic Elm in 1996 during a corporate re-branding.

At nearby Pier 9C South the J.D.Irving group subsidiary Harbour Development Ltd has its dredge Cranemaster, a split hull spoil barge HD-9 and the tugs Wavemaster ( former Dutch naval tug Regge) and Atlantic Tamarack (former Irving Tamarack). 

The equipment was working in Sheet Harbour for several months dredging to make room for the Boa Barge 34. They are likely stopping over here due to weather en route to winter quarters.

Also involved in the Boa Barge 34 move is the Atlantic Hemlock in from Saint John. It will likely be returning to Saint John when Spitfire III returns to Halifax from Saint John.

Built by Irving's Eastisle Shipyard in 1996, the 4000 bhp ASD is the oldest tug in the series still in the ATL fleet. (Atlantic Willow, built in 1998 is a firefighting version, and is normally based in Halifax.)

Meanwhile in the backyard of Eastern Passage some small tugs have returned from Alberta where they were working in the oil industry. Owned by a subsidiary of Horizon Maritime, they are "truckable" due to their demountable wheelhouse roofs.

Horizon Glacier was built by GFFM Leclerc in Ile-aux-Coudres, QC in ca. 2014. As an under 15 gross tons vessel it is registered by number only, and has no official name. However it has carried the names Cercle Polaire to 2015 and Halifax Tugger to 2018.

Less easy to identify is Horizon Chinook with no registration number displayed on the hull. However there was a "loose" wheelhouse nearby:

Its registration number leads to a tug built by Meridien Maritime Reparations in Matane, QC in ca.2018.

Horizon also has a second Leclerc built tug, believed to be carrying the name Horizon Aurora which may be on its way back to if it has not been delivered already.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Big Tow, Little Tow

 The last two days in Halifax have seen the extremes of towing operations - big and little.

First the big tow:

BOA Barge 34 carrying the topsides structure from the decommissioned Deep Panuke gas field, departed this morning, December 12.

The tug Atlantic Kestrel took the lead and was later joined by Atlantic Kingfisher. Assistance getting away from the dock was provided by Atlantic Hemlock and Atlantic Larch (the latter also accompanied the tow) with Atlantic Elm going on ahead to Sheet Harbour.

Atlantic Kestrel has been standing y at Pier 9C, except for a refueling move, waiting for this project.

Atlantic Kingfisher is a UT-722L type tug / supplier, built by Halifax Shipyard in 2002.

Then the little tow:

The McNally Construction tug Mister Joe sailed yesterday, December 11, bound for Port Hawksbury, NS towing an unidentified dump scow.

The classic tug, built as the Churchill River by Russel Brothers of Owen Sound, ON in 1964 has been well cared for, including rebuilding with new engines and a new wheelhouse built to original plans. It travels widely in eastern Canada, following the company's marine construction projects. 


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Safe Arrival

 Most transatlantic tows from Canada involve large barges or ships eastbound en route to the scrap yard in Turkey. Last night (December 5) marked the arrival in Halifax of  a somewhat smaller vessel. The barge Jacob Joseph C, 2076 GT in tow of the tug Amy Lynn D. Tug and tow are of interest in themselves, but of added interest is the deck cargo on the barge - three small tugs.

The tug Amy Lynn D is much traveled since it was built in 2013 by Damen's Hardinxveld shipyard in the Netherlands.  Originally named Otago it operated for Damen's own chartering fleet, but in New Zeland. In 2018 it as sold and renamed MSC Allianz Explorer by Allianz Middle East under the management of Maritime Craft Services Clyde. Earlier this year Damen apparently did a buy back and re-sold the tug to Canadian owners the Doornekamp company of Odessa, ON. They renamed the tug Amy Lynn D and it will be put to work in the Wolfe Island area in eastern Lake Ontario.

The tug is a Shoalbuster 3209 standard design, powered by two Cat engines giving 3498 bhp and 46.8 tonnes bollard pull (maximum) with two fixed pitch props in nozzles and a 350 bhp hydraulic bow thruster.

The tug was last working in the United Arab Emirates, and sailed from there to Algeciras, Spain (Gibraltar) where it rendez-voused with the barge. Also a Damen standard product (called a Stanpontoon), the barge had departed Rotterdam about a month ago and was towed to Algeciras.

On board the barge are three small tugs of the Damen Stantug 1205 class. Powerful for their 13m length, the 600 bhp vessels deliver a 8.5 tonne bollard pull. Standard main engines are Volvo driving twin screws in nozzles. They are also fitted out to a very high standard of finish with a complete suite of navigation gear.

Two of the tugs are destined for local owners, Dominion Diving Ltd. The company operates a number of work boats to support its diving and other work, but also provides line boat and pilot and agent transport in Halifax harbour. The Dominion Rumbler and Dominion Enforcer will be off loaded from the barge - weather permitting - December 7.

The third tug, Saint Georges is destined for Quebec owners and will remain on the barge until it reaches Quebec.