Thursday, October 20, 2016

Change Day at Atlantic Towing

For a short time today there were five tugs alongside Atlantic Towing Ltd's dock at Woodside. One tug was only in port briefly - Atlantic Hemlock.

Atlantic Hemlock has begun to shorten up the tow, which is trailing its buoyed insurance line.

 With the Hemlock on the hip, the barge makes its way stern first toward pier 6.

The veteran tug, built in 1996 is the oldest of the modern ASD tugs in the fleet. It arrived this afternoon towing the barge Atlantic Sealion. The once notorious Irving Whale, the barge is back from a summer's work in Chesterfield Inlet, running the supply shuttle to Baker Lake. Since the tugs that were working in the north returned to Belledune, I am assuming that is where Atlantic Hemlock picked up the tow. After a short spell at Woodside it set out for Saint John.

Hemlock features the tapered sides to the deck house. A feature of the original Robert Allen design, it was eliminated in later tugs in the series.

Also sailing this afternoon was Atlantic Larch.It had been in Halifax to fill in for Atlantic Willow while it was on the slip in Shelburne. Willow is now back with a nice new paint job and will be ready to work. When Larch left Halifax earlier this year, when it was replaced by the more powerful Atlantic Fir, it was fitted with a large Sat dome from the Fir, but this has now been removed, altough the tripoid mast is till in place. 

Larch and Hemlock are fitted with towing winches, but no fire fighting gear, and are considered "outside tugs" meaning that they are available for coastal work.

Atlantic Hemlock away from the dock (far right)
Atlantic Larch (far left) readying to go.
Atlantic Willow (inside the pier), Atlantic Fir (centre left) and Atlantic Oak (centre right) are the regular Halifax tugs.

There is a sixth tug at Woodside, although it is not in the water.
Irving Chestnut, after several years laid up at pier 9 in Halifax, was in the way and was lifted out at Woodside this summer. Built in 1953 as the US Army T-Boat T-497 it is assigned to Atlantic Towing's subsidiary Harbour Development Ltd, and was used a general purpose tug / workboat / crew boat. A  sister boat Irving Hazelnut (ex T-435) is still operating as a dredge tender. 
With a third unit Irving Walnut (ex T-425) which may have been scrapped by now, the trio were called
the "Nut Boats" and worked Saint John Harbour and the Canaport offshore tanker buoy before being signed over to the dredging fleet. They are the last of the Atlantic boats to still carry the "Irving" name - the rest of the fleet was renamed in 1996-1998.
How long the Chestnut will sit until she is broken up or refitted is anyone's guess.


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