Friday, March 4, 2016

Tug Moves

Atlantic Larch has sailed from Halifax for Panama. The tug presumably will be taking over the tow of Protecteur from Corbin Foss, which is still due in Balboa March 17. The former RCN supply ship is headed for Liverpool, NS and a date with the scrappers.

Atlantic Larch is fitted with a towing winch and often works outside of Halfax harbour.
Following the tow on AIS, as of today, Corbin Foss and Protecteur were well down the Baja California peninsula of Mexico, and had been making better than 8 knots. Corbin Foss has 7200 bhp  at its disposal.

To take Atlantic Larch's place in Halifax is Atlantic Fir. It seems an odd arrangement, since Atlantic Fir is a 5,000 bhp tug and Atlantic Larch is only 4,000bhp. Also Atlantic Fir has been doing a lot of outside towing and seemed to be ATL's go to tug for that kind of work.
Interestingly when Atlantic Fir was spotted working Halifax today, it had lost the prominent SatNav dome it was porting when last seen February 7. Perhaps it was transferred to Larch. [See today's Shipfax for partial photo.]

Océan Foxtrot in Halifax fitted for cable repair work.

A former Canadian tug is disabled south of St-Pierre (46.30N x 55.57W) and has called for Coast Guard assistance. The Océan Foxtrot had been laid up in St.John's for four years, and is only one day out of port for an unknown destination. Its Canadian registry was closed October 3, 2014 and it was reported sold, but the buyers were not disclosed. I believe the boat was in fairly rough condition, so it is perhaps not surprising that it is having a problem. Once again the wisdom of setting out to sea at this time of year, with severe storms passing through, in a questionable vessel, makes one wonder who protects the foolhardy?

Built in 1971 by Cochrane + Sons, Selby, England as Polar Shore it worked for Offshore Marine until 1977 when it was acquired by Dome Petroleum's Canadian Marine Drilling and renamed Canmar Supplier VII. Groupe Océan of Quebec City acquired the tug in 1995 and it performed a whole variety of chores for them including pushing a barge, towing pulpwood barges, dive support and salvage tows. It was among the vessels that worked on recovering material form the Swiss Air crash in 1998.
It was rated at 72 tonnes bollard pull from two 12 cylinder KHDs totaling 5280 bhp.

The last rumour about Océan Foxtrot in 2014 was that it would be towing the former RCN diving support ship Cormorant from Bridgewater, NS to scrappers in the Dominican Republic. The current story has echoes of the previous unhappy experience of the tug Charlene Hunt which towed Lyubov Orlova out of St.John's for the DR, lost the tow and was itself eventually towed away.

As of this evening Océan Foxtrot was not showing up on AIS, nor was any Coast Guard vessel showing up nearby.


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