Saturday, February 6, 2016

Atlantic Larch and Atlantic Willow on a Double Date

Large ships transiting the Narrows of Halifax Harbour are required to have a tethered escort tug. The designated tug is Atlantic Oak, which has more than 5,000 bhp is set up for the work with some special strain gauges and an escort skeg.

The other two harbour tugs Atlantic Larch and Atlantic Willow  at 4,000 bhppull are considerably less powerful and do not have the hull escort skeg.
This afternoon when Halifax Express was due to sail from the Fairview Cove container terminal, Atlantic Oak was on standby for another job (see below) and was not available and so the other tugs did the job in tandem.

Each with a line to the ship's quarters, I am sure they were able to assist the ship in making its turn past the Pier 9 knuckle, however Atlantic Willow gave her line an awful lot of scope for such a narrow channel. Also with the two tugs as close as they were, I am not sure they would have been very good at braking if they had to stop the ship. They would clearly have been in each other's way.

It was not an ideal arrangement, but I guess it had to be done on time, since the next section of the Macdonald Bridge was coming out, and it was probably desirable to have the big ship well past when that was happening.

The bridge deck is undergoing replacement in sections, starting from the Dartmouth side (left in this picture), and although the work is so far not over the main harbour channel, it is just as well to keep shipping away to avoid wake. The old bridge sections are landed on a barge and the new sections lifted from the same barge, and great precision is needed. The barge is handled by the tugs Belle D and Halifax Tugger with assistance from Captain Jim. For more on these see: 

Atlantic Oak was standing by to assist sister tug Atlantic Fir and the barge Oceanus arriving from Newfoundland. More on that tomorrow.


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