Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Irving Birch 2 - new for Atlantic Towing

Atlantic Towing has made another acquisition, but this one is a bit unusual, as is the choice of name.
Built in 1975 as Canmar Supplier II by Vito Steel Boat & Barge Construction Ltd of Delta, BC to a Robert Allan Ltd design, it was one of several suppliers for Dome Petroleum's Canadian Marine Drilling.
It was built to work in the Beaufort Sea, which it did for several years.
When that work evaporated, it was redeployed, and even put in an appearance in Halifax in 1997.

Canmar Supplier II was fitting out with cable gear when it was in Halifax in June 1997
It was sold soon after and has worked in the North Sea, most recently for Faroes Island owners as Thor Supplier. It has also been extensively modified, with a raised forecastle and bridge extensions aft.
To see its present appearance:

A small vessel by current supplier standards it has 7,040 bhp provided by two Nohab Polar engines, through twin screws, controllable pitch props in nozzles and a bow thruster. 

Atlantic Towing;'s suppliers have been given bird names, but in this case it has been named Atlantic Birch 2. Tree names have been used for conventional tugs, so it seems likely that this one will be used in more tug-like activity.
Atlantic Towing currently has an Atlantic Birch in its fleet, but it has been laid up for many years. Built in 1967, it is a 3,750 bhp sea going tug. It has figured in numerous long tows, salvage jobs and barge work, but is unlikely to sail again. 

Atlantic Birch - still in the fleet, but laid up.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Leonard M ex Point Halifax readies for work and other Pictou tugs

1. Leonard M. at Pictou. A very tall light pole on the pier is NOT part of the tug.
  1. As previously reported McKeil Work Boats (aka McKeil Marine) acquired the Point Halifax from Svitzer Canada. After a spell in Sept-Iles covering for the drydocking of one of the other tugs it has been refitting at Pictou. Now renamed Leonard M. it looked to be about ready to sail on Saturday when I spotted it at the government wharf. It now has black funnels and a blue visor.
  2. Also in Pictou was the laid up supplier Hebron Sea, reportedly with a blown engine.
  3. Alongside in an unphotographable location was the tug May C (ex Mary Steele, Tignish, Techno-Rochette, Jacques Rochette) As reported it was acquired by Aecon-Fabco, operators of the Pictou Shipyard, from Superport Marine of Port Hawksbury.
  4. Also alongside was Gulf Dianne (ex Gulf Diane) a former west coast tug, owned by Mariner Towing of Summerside, PE. It had been laid up in Port Hawksbury for a couple of years, but was employed hauling gravel barges from Auld's Cove to Prince Edward Island. It now appears to have been refitted and perhaps will be re-entering service. Built in 1962 it is rated at 610 bhp.

Kaliutik from Newfoundland to Port Hawksbury

1. Kaliutik clears the Canso lock.
The Labrador based tug Kaliutik arrived in Port Hawksbury while I was there on Saturday. I was not expecting to see it, but it arrived to pick up the barge Kaligak and load a digger and wheel loader in Mulgrave for return to Newfoundland. The barge had been on charter to CAI.
Kaliutik is a  unique tug built in 1998 at Nanticoke, ON by Dovercraft Marine and fitted out in Port Dover, ON. Its owners are the Labrador Inuit Development Corp  based in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. It is rated at 550 bhp, with twin screws and a bow thruster.
2. The tug looks like a miniature offshore supply vessel. 
3. With the barge Kaligak on the hip, the tug heads across the Strait of Canso to Mulgrave to load.
It was built to haul barges of specialty stone from quarries near Nain, Labrador. In recent years it has done charter work for the aforementioned CAI, possibly for one of its subsidiaries, CAI Logistics, also an Inuit owned company that works in summer supply for the Labrador coast.

McNally tugs at Port Hawksbury

A rare assembly of McNally Construction tugs greeted me in Port Hawksbury on April 20.
1. Sandra Mary, Jerry Newberry and Mister Joe together.
Largest of the trio was the venerable Jerry Newberry, built in 1956 as Foundation Victor for seasonal service at Sept-Iles. In 1973 it became Point Victor for Eastern Canada Towing and in 1977 became Kay Cole for Pitts Construction. It passed to McKeil and acquired its current name in 1995. McNally acquired the tug from McKeil and it has been employed towing all over eastern Canada and into Hudson's Bay.
It is now reported to be for sale. It is a single screw tug with a 1280 bhp Fairbanks Morse.
Mister Joe, a 1964 product of Russel-Hipwell in Owen Sound, is a familiar sight in these parts and also ranges far and wide including Labrador. Its original name was Churchill River which it carried until 2001. It is a twin screw tug of 750 bhp.
2. Sandra Mary with a fresh copat of paint.
The pleasant surprise for me was Sandra Mary, also a Russel tug, built in 1962 as Flo Cooper (also for Pitts Construction) A slightly larger version of the Mister Joe, it has 1260 bhp. It usually works on the Lakes but also ranges as far as Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. In fact it just came down through the Seaway April 6 towing the barge Quensa. With fresh paint, it looks quite splendid.
3. Note the extra strong backs and cut down bulwark on the stern of the Jerry Newberry. Sandra Mary has an almost open stern.
McNally operates a large yard in Point Tupper, across the harbour from Port Hawksbury, and is currently refitting a number of scows and construction barges.

André H and tow at Mulgrave

1. Groupe Océan's André H. at Mulgrave, NS on Saturday.
Groupe Océan's André H. (ex Point Valiant, Foundation Valiant) has recently made a trip into its old familiar territory. In its days with Foundation Maritime and Eastern Canada Towing it did many coastal trips to Nova Scotia, but in recent years has been based in Trois-Rivières, with a spell in Sept-Iles last year.
At the end of March Groupe Océan acquired the assets of Dragage Verreault (see Shipfax for more on this)  and since then have been moving the plant from various points to the Industrie Océan shipyard in Ile-aux-Coudres, QC.
The dredge Rosaire and hopper boat I.V.No.14 were laid up in Meteghan, NS, and André H. was dispatched to pick them up, arriving in Meteghan on April 17 and sailing on April 18. I tracked to tow on AIS the best I could and predicted that they would reach the Canso Lock on April 20 in the early afternoon if they maintained their speed of 7.5 knots. I set out to meet them there , but they did not show up before dark on the 20th.
As you will see from the photos, they experienced a bit of an issue with the I.V.No.14 and tied up in Mulgrave. I was able to see then there on the 21st, while repairs were underway.
2. The hopper boat I.V.No.14 had some trouble en route, and repair crews are at work.
Point Valiant was built in 1963 as a larger version of the six boat order that included Foundation Vim and Foundation Vigour (now McKeil's Molly M.1). Point Valiant was intended as a small seagoing tug, and is an excellent seaboat. It is a twin screw vessel, with two Fairbanks Morse engines of 900 bhp each.
In 1995 it was sold to Three Rivers Boatmen, which later became part of Groupe Océan.
3. Although 13 years old when this photo was taken, the tug was in its original configuration. It was not fitted with a towing winch when built, and had a small derrick for handling towing and salvage gear.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tug Lina - history not known

1. WhAt remained of the Bear River bridge April 17. The girder sections on each end have been removed, and the swing section has been removed.

2. The barge TKL No5, fitted with spuds has one portion of the swing section suspended from its A-frame.

3. The pushboat type tug Lina is tied up to the barge.

It's not often that I see a "surprise" tug-that is a tug whose history is unknown to me. Such was the case yesterday at the site of the Bear River bridge demolition project.

Two railway bridges, once owned by the Dominion Atlantic Railway are being demolished by R.J.MacIsaac Construction Ltd of Antigonish, NS. They mobilised barges and workboats to the site last autumn and have resumed work on removing the badly deteriorated steel structures.

Among the workboats is the push tug Lina of obvious US origin. It is fitted with two push knees and is almost square in shape. It also carries the words "Teddy Bear" on the wheelhouse visor.
The barge T.K.L. No.5 is US built, and perhaps the tug was acquired with it.

For more photos of the demolition process and several closeups of the tug see: http://ns1758.ca/rail/dar-bridge-bearriv.html


Monday, April 16, 2012

Atlantic Poplar - on the move

Atlantic Poplar left Halifax yesterday - on the end of a tow line. The tug had been laid up here since at least 2009, but was really in the way perched for the winter on the end of the IEL dock. She had been laid up at pier 6 in Halifax Shipyard, but was in the way there too, because the Harbour Development dredges and tugs need that space.
Atlantic Poplar was built as Amherstburg in 1965 by the Erieau Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co Ltd in Erieau, ON for McQueen Marine Ltd of Amherstburg, ON. That company was involved in towing and salvage work on the Lakes and had a sideline of winter icebreaking. Owners of several famous tugs, including the Atomic, the new tug was the epitome of tug design of the time, with a double chine hull, twin screws and icebreaking bow. It was powered by two Davey Paxman V-8s totaling 2920 bhp.
1. Irving Poplar in Halifax with a fuel barge in 1979.
When McQueen scaled back operations in the 1970s. J.D.Irving Ltd bought the tug in 1975 and gave it the new name of Irving Poplar.
It was put to work towing fuel barges, doing harbour docking and general towing around Atlantic Canada, including being based in Belledune, NB and Point Tupper, NS.
In 1996, as part of a fleet wide renaming policy, the tug became Atlantic Poplar, as part of Atlantic Towing Ltd.

2. Ready to come off the slip at Shelburne in 2004, the tug shows off its icecrunching bow.

3. Atlantic Poplar threads its way through sail boats in Halifax Harbour, towing a barge.

4. Over the past winter it was perched on the end of the IEL dock in Dartmouth.

5. Atlantic Willow works it way round the Poplar on its way into its own berth.

The tug received a major refit in Shelburne in 2004, but by 2009 it was retired from active service.

Plans to restore/re-engine the tug may be in the works, but there has been no sign of any activity aboard since the tug laid up in Halifax. Although somewhat antiquated by today's standards, it would still be a useful vessel if work could be found for it.

It left Halifax Sunday April 15 in tow of the Atlantic Beech, destination Saint John, NB. There it will join two other long idled members of the Atlantic Towing fleet: Atlantic Birch and Atlantic Maple.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rowan M. McAllister - a trip to the Lakes

1. Rowan M. McAllister steams west in the Kill van Kull of New York harbour. The photo was taken from the Staten Island side.

2. Later in the day, returning from Newark Bay, the tug steams east.

The New York tug Rowan M. McAllister has been sent to the Great Lakes to tow a damaged fleet mate back to New York.

The tug Patrice McAllister, acquired over the winter, is the former Cleveland. It was built in 1999 by C&G Boat Works, Bayou la Batre, LA as James Palladino, a name it carried until 2004. An attractive twin screw tug, with Cummins engines giving 4930 bhp to twin screws,[see comment below] it towed the aptly named barge Cleveland Rocks until 2010 when there was no more work for the pair. A spring refit readied the tug to sail out of layup in Cleveland for New York under its new name.

On March 27 an engine room fire off Prince Edward Pt, ON gutted most of the accommodation and wheelhouse and injured the engineer. Although he was airlifted to Belleville, ON and later Toronto, ON his life could not be saved.

The tug Bowditch out of Clayton, NY towed the burnt out tug to Clayton.

Since the incident occurred in Canadian waters to a US flag vessel, both Canadian and US transportation safety boards are investigating the cause.

Damage is apparently repairable, and so McAllister dispatched the Rowan M. McAllister out of New York City, to make the long trek via the east coast, St.Lawrence and Seaway to fetch the Patrice McAllister.

Rowan M. McAllister was built in 1981 in Blountstown RI by RYSCO Shipyards Inc as Dolly S. McAllister. It was part of the Hvide fleet as Vigilant from 1989 to 1999 when it returned to McAllister. It a twin screw tug powered by a pair of GM EMDs totaling 4900bhp.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Leonard M - new name to get used to.

1. Point Halifax returns to the dock with a bit of Maersk blue paint on its tires (a hint of things to come.)

After 26 years under one owner, and carrying the same name, the tug Point Halifax was sold earlier this year to McKeil Work Boats of Hamilton, ON. It has now been renamed Leonard M.

It will take some getting used to on my part, but in time I am sure it will settle in.

Built in 1986 it was the first azimuthing stern drive tug in eastern Canada and was owned by Eastern Canada Towing Ltd (which became Svitzer Canada, a company owned by AP Moller Maersk). It is rated at 4200 bhp, and will be an important addition to the McKeil fleet.