Sunday, April 24, 2011

Old favourite, among others at the Strait

Saturday was a fine day for run up to the Strait of Canso to see what might be seen (based on an excellent scouting report from Jim.)
I saw ten tugs in all, among them the usual suspects: Svitzer Bedford, Point Chebucto and Point Valiant at Point Tupper, ready to tend to tankers at Nu -Star. Atlantic Elm with generator running at Port Hawksbury, Gulf Diane in winter layup at Port Hawksbury, and Beaver Gamma at McNally's in Point Tupper. Superport's Wikit at Pirate Harbour, rounded up the that list.

Then came the old favourite and a surprise.
First the old favourite. Now known as Jerry Newberry, I first knew it as Foundation Victor. Built in 1956 (and followed in 1958 by near sister Foundation Valour) they were constructed to work at the new facilities of the Iron Company of Canada in Sept-Iles, QC, but in the summer months only. In winter they would return to Halifax. They also covered off Baie-Comeau, also a summer port. However winter navigation became a reality just as they entered service and they were not built to work in heavy ice. Big (for the time) single screw tugs, powered by a single 8 cyl Fairbanks Morse, putting out a (for those days) respectable 1380 bhp. They became dedicated tugs to Sept-Iles in 1961 when Foundation Vibert was delivered to Baie-Comeau.

1. Point Victor at speed in Halifax Harbour, 1975-05-08.

When new tugs were built for Sept-Iles in 1973, Victor and Valour were transferred to Halifax full time and with the move came the ownership of Eastern Canada Towing and the name change to Point Victor and Point Valour. In 1977 the new Pointe-Comeau was delivered to Baie-Comeau and (the now) Point Vibert also came to Halifax. Its twin screw agility displaced Point Victor, which was sold.

2. Kay Cole in her distinctive Pitts colour scheme, with a tow in Halifax. 1989-03-16.

New owners were the C.A.Pitts Construction of Toronto, a marine construction and dredging outfit, later to be called Pitts Engineering Construction Company, which was eventually swallowed up with Foundation and others into what is now Aecon. Pitts renamed the tug Kay Cole, and painted her in their distinctive orange and black colour scheme - relieved somewhat by the white wheelhouse. She ranged far and wide in their employ, working all over the east coast and into Hudson's Bay.

3. Kay Cole, now in McKeil colours alongside in Halifax, with the barge McAllister 252 and a load of steel fabrications for Boston. 1994-10-23

As Pitts evolved and got out of marine work, the tug was bought by McKeil Work Boats of Hamilton, ON. After a short spell, she was renamed Jerry Newberry, and again ranged far and wide with contract towing, reaching the east coast US on more than one occasion.

In 1995 McNally Construction acquired the tug, but because of a symbiotic relationship with McKeil, retained the name. McNally have also kept the tug busy with trips to Labrador and the Ungava region of Northern Quebec.
The tug has been working for the past year delivering plant to Long Harbour, Newfoundland, site of a major new port under construction for Vale Inco's nickel processing facility.

The surprise tug was Kaliutik, built in 1998 by Dovercraft Marine in Nanticoke and Port Dover, ON. It is owned by the Labrador Inuit Development Corporation and works out of the Goose Bay area, with the barge Sappatak carrying quarried stone. The distinctive stone is cut in large blocks and shipped to Italy for processing and sale in the high end European market.

4. Kaliutik was berthed beside Jerry Newberry at Port Hawksbury (with Gulf Diane and Atlantic Elm in the background) and her barge was docked in Mulgrave.

5. A contrast in styles, and the evolution of tug design over 40 years. The twin screw Kaliutik (550 bhp) has a wide stern for barge work, a spacious wheelhouse with winch station and all accommodation above deck. Jerry Newberry has a narrow stern typical of single screw tugs, and has crew berths below deck forward. Her tiny wheelhouse was built before there was a requirement for radar on tugs, and it was a tight fit for an early vacuum tube type.


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