Thursday, March 3, 2011

Remember the Janie B?

1. Janie B. approaches the Mobil dock in Dartmouth, 1977-11-19.
Among the first generation Canadian built offshore anchor handling/ tug/ suppliers, were a pair built for Fednav Offshore. Since they exchanged names early in their careers it is sometimes hard to keep them straight. Both were built by Bel-Aire Shipyard Ltd in North Vancouver in 1972, and even shared the same hull number.

2. Cathy B servicing a rig in Halifax harbour.
First off the mark was hull number 222A, launched as Nordic Offshore, then renamed Janie B and was quickly renamed Cathy B. It operated on the east coast under that name for several years, and when Fednav joined forces with Seaforth it was renamed Seafed Margaree in 1981.
In 1983 it was transferred to Singapore operations and sold in 1987. Gibraltar flag owners renamed her Chungwa III, and in 1989 Honduran owners renamed her Rotam I. By this time she had become a cargo ship, working in the Caribbean. She was apparently still operating as recently as June of last year.

3. Janie B. also on 1977-11-19 after servicing Sedco 709 in Halifax harbour.
Bel-Aire's hull 222B also started off life as Nordic Offshore, became Cathy B. and was quickly renamed Janie B. She also operated out of Halifax under that name for several years.

4. Janie B. 1978-08-12, at the Mobil dock.
One particular incident remains memorable. Her accommodation was completely gutted by fire August 12, 1978. Fortunately the fire broke out when she was tied up at the Mobil dock in Dartmouth and no one was hurt. The next day Cathy B. towed her to nearby Dartmouth Marine Slips where she was repaired.

5. Like many first generation boats these ones were equipped with a travelling deck gantry, to be used for anchor handling. Other techniques became common and the gantry was removed at pier 28, 1979-03-18 and scrapped.
In 1981 Janie B. she was sold to the Minister of Transport and converted to a search and rescue vessel. Renamed CCGS George E. Darby, she was transferred to the west coast and extensively rebuilt. This included a new full width bridge, enhanced accommodation and new lifeboats. She was host ship for several visiting ships at Expo 86, including some Japanese civil defence vessels.

6. CCGS George E. Darby at Canada Place, Vancouver 1986-05-15, showing off her full width bridge and snappy new SAR colour scheme.
In May 1992 she was renamed 601 in preparation for sale, which took place the next year. Her Canadian register was closed April 23, 1993 when she was sold to Panama Maritime Inc and renamed Rambo.

That ownership lasted until 1997 when Oceaneering of Houston, TX bought the ship and gave her a major conversion to become an offshore diving and maintenance vessel named Ocean Project under the Vanuatu flag. Among her achievements was recovery of the Liberty Bell 7 space capsule in 1991 from 16,040 feet of water.

It was announced this week by Marcon International shipbrokers that they have arranged her sale to Peruvian owners, Obviously there is still life left in the old girl. See a recent photo on Marcon's web site at:


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