Sunday, February 7, 2016

Atlantic Fir - with a little help from my friends

The tug Atlantic Fir made it into Halifax today with the barge Oceanus - but not without the help of all three of Atlantic towing's harbour tugs.

Atlantic Fir (left) has the tow and Atlantic Oak is providing steering from the stern of the barge. Atlantic Larch is nosing up on the barge's starboard bow and Atlantic Willow is standing off the port bow as the barge begins to make its eastward turn off Ferguson's Cove.

Originally scheduled to arrive yesterday afternoon, the tug and barge put back out to the anchorages for about 24 hours while some mechanical and electrical problems were rectified. Then in perfect conditions it entered the harbour this afternoon, keeping to the western channel, but there was no other traffic at the time so there was lots of room to maneuver into the IEL dock in Dartmouth. (The western channel is deeper, and less likely to snag a heavy tow line.)

 Atlantic Fir is leaving the western deepwater channel (the towline is just visible).

Atlantic Oak with the stern line is ready to swing the barge back into the main channel.

The barge Oceanus is registered in the United States, but is working in Canada under coasting license from September 15, 2015 until September 14, 2016. It was brought in by ATL to make multiple trips from Port aux Basques, Cow Head and Bay Bulls with components for the Hebron Topsides Project. (The topsides will be mated to the gravity base at Bull Arm once the latter is completed). The components include the 400 ft x 100 ft, 340 tonne flare boom, the 5200 tonne drilling support, helideck and lifeboat station components ranging from 30 to 213 tonnes.

Built in 2010 by Gunderson Marine LLC the 7913 grt barge measures 384 ft x 105 ft x 25 ft deep.   It is owned by Ulysses LLC of Belle Chasse, LA.

Atlantic Fir is a near sister to the Halifax based Atlantic Oak, a 5050 bhp ASD, built in 2005, with 68 tonne bollard pull and fire fighting gear. It differs visually from the Oak chiefly due to the large sat nav dome, fitted because it does ocean towing.

Earlier in the day Atlantic Towing called on Svitzer to provide the tug Svitzer Njal to assist with both container ships EM Kea and CMA CGM Titus in place of Atlantic Oak. Svitzer Njal and sister Svitzer Nerthus are wintering in Halifax until they go north again in July. Since Atlantic Towing Ltd and Svitzer operate the tugs in Halifax and Point Tupper in a joint venture, we might see this happen again from time to time. It would certainly avoid the kind of double escort we saw yesterday, which is really quite unsatisfactory for a number of reasons.


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