Despite gale force winds out of the north, the big boxship CMA CGM Almaviva berthed at the Halterm container terminal in Halifax without incident today. It was a smooth operation thanks to the an expereinced pilot and the crews of two Atlantic Towing Ltd tugs.
Atlantic Willow awaits the ship just inside Meagher's Beach.
It then takes up its position at the bow, making fast to a sunken bit, helping to slow the ship down.
It then moves in position to push the ship's bow around, assisted by the ship's own bow thruster.
Atlantic Oak has been pushing at the stern of the ship, pivoting it about its centre.
High above the action, the harbour pilot on the bridge wing directs the tugs by VHF radio.
Atlantic Oak is not made fast, so when the ship has turned sufficiently and begins to make sternway, it can back off quickly.
Moving rapidly in reverse, the tug begins its move to the ship's port side.
Staying clear of the backing ship, Atlantic Oak makes a tight arc around its stern.
It takes skill and nerve to swing steadily around the moving ship to take up the new position. The deck hand is already forward to make the line fast when the time comes. It would be cold and wet work today.
Once clear, the tug straightens out to move alongside and push the ship into its berth.
The pilots and tugs make this similar manoeuver several times a week, but every time the wind and weather conditions are different. Even so they make it look easy.