Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Toisa Pegasus sold and renamed

A big offshore construction vessel that spent some time in Nova Scotia has been sold and renamed.

Toisa Pegasus, 9494 gt, 7800 dwt, was built in 2009 by De Merwede in Hardinxveld, Netherlands for Toisa Ltd of Piraeus, Greece. Through a complex chain of intertwined companies, it was managed by Sealion Shipping  of London. Toisa was a largish company with something like 24 bulkers and tankers (some under construction) and an equal number of offshore support vessels.
The falling oil prices and reduction in offshore activity in 2016 hit the company particularly hard and in an effort to survive it laid up many of its ships, but kept them in operational condition.

One such ship was the Toisa Pegasus, which arrived in Shelburne, NS March 29, 2016. Its huge 400 tonne capacity crane loomed over the government wharf, where it was originally intended to remain for up to a year. The ship was equipped with twin bell 18 person saturation diving system and had accommodation for 199 people in order to support offshore projects. It had all the other  "bells and whistles" required for a state of the art ship, including DP3.

The ship did not stay in Shelburne for the whole year, sailing, I believe, sometime in July 2016.
Attempts to save the company through chapter 11 re-organization and re-financing did not work out and all the assets were sold off over the past several months.

Toisa Pegasus was sold to Subsea 7 for reported fire sale price of $38,950,000 and renamed Seven Pegasus. It has now left its last layup port of Perama, Greece for Rijeka, Croatia, where it will have a refit. It is expected to go to work in the North Sea in the 2Q 2019. (The second quarter of this year.)


Ocean Uannaq re-registered.

A small Grope Océan tug has been re-registered after it was declared a total loss in 2016.

Océan Uannaq at work on a dredging project in the summer of 2015.

Océan Uannaq was built at Industrie Océan in Ile-aux-Coudres in 2008. The 11.5 gt tug was twin screw and rated at 770 bhp. It, and sister tug Océan Nigiq, were intended to work in the north at the Baffinland iron ore port. In fact both were transported there as barge cargo during construction of the original port infrastructure. They were then used to move the lighterage barges to anchored ships while the port was being built. They likely assisted in the building work too since Groupe Océan had the construction contract.

When Svitzer unexpectedly won the Baffinland tug services contract Océan put the two tugs to work with their St.Lawrence River dredging operation, pushing spoil barges, usually connected by face wires in a stern notch.

Connected to their dump scows, Océan Nigiq (foreground) and Océan Uannaq (background) did not adjust the face wires when the barges were empty or full.

When construction of the massive new Champlain Bridge began in Montreal, Océan Uannaq was chartered to the Signature sur le St-Laurent construction consortium for barge handling work. On April 1, 2016 the tug was involved in an accident and sank at the work site. Fortunately no one was injured and both crew members managed to escape to the adjacent tug Océan Catatug 1.

On May 28 the tug was raised from its sunken position, but due to damage caused by the accident and the prolonged period submerged, it was declared a total loss. The incident was investigated by the Transportation Safety Board, and report number M16C0036 can be found here:


Photos in the report show a badly mangled wheelhouse and other bumps and bruises.
Nothing much more was heard of the tug, but it made its way back to Quebec City, where it was rebuilt. When I saw it early last summer, the wheelhouse had been completely restored. It appeared ready to go north for a dredging project in Iqaluit.

Now the tug has been re-registered in Quebec on March 15, 2019.

Footnote: nigiq and uannaq are terms used to describe direction by the indigenous people of northern Canada. The directions, usually of wind,  do not relate to the compass directions used by southerners, but relate more to prevalence of direction, and thus the same word may be used in different places to describe different compass directions.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Tugs and Ice

Tugs have to work year round, and in the cold of winter they are likely to take on quantities of frozen spray as they go about their business.

However towing in the winter takes on another set of problems as the tow line can become fouled by ice. If the towed ship cannot maneuver or use its own power, there is the danger of over running. If the tug is stopped by ice, the towed vessel can catch up quickly, and if it is unable to stop can slam into the tug. Therefore great care must be taken in towing in those conditions.

On successful, albeit lengthy, tow occurred in March 19898 when the tug Orion Expeditor was called out from its North Sydney, NS base to assist the paper carrier Margit Gorthon. The ship's rudder had become jammed 5 degrees off centre in ice and was unable to proceed. The tug set out on March 12 and took the ship in tow off Cape Ray.

It then had to tow well east along the Newfoundland south coast as far as the Avalon Peninsula before turning south. Fortunately it had the assistance of CCGS Edward Cornwlalis when it transited the Cabot Strait where ice was as its worst. From a position off Cape Race, it sailed to the northern tip of Sable Island to remain clear of the ice. It then made for Halifax, arriving March 16.
Under normal circumstances the voyage time from Cape Ray to Halifax would be a day and a half.

Just passing Ives Knoll inbound to Halifax, the Orion Expeditor is about to hand off the tow to harbour tugs.

A weary looking Orion Expeditor makes for its berth. After some rest the crew ill set to trimming the tug by shifting some bunker fuel.

Dominion Diving's Big Steel with divers and some work scows, attacked the rudder almost immediately on arrival.

Orion Expeditor was built in1974 by Bolsones Werft, Molde, Norway as Orion. Powered by an 8 cyl MaK it had 3400 bhp delivered to a single controllable pitch prop. It also had a huge "barn door" rudder that swung nearly 90 degrees to each side and was well suited to working in ice.
It came to Canada in 1981 for Arctic Offshore and worked in the Beaufort Sea until 1987. It then moved its base to North Sydney. 

In 1990 Secunda Marine Services acquired the tug and renamed it Breton Sea and moved its base to Halifax in 1992. In 1994 it returned to Europe for Finnish owners OY Yxpila Hinaus and resumed the name Orion. It is believed to still be in service from the port of Kokkola.

  All dressed and ready for action at North Sydney, NS.

If this post seems familiar, I posted some of the same information before see: Tugfax January 27, 2012


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Firebird registered

On March 5 the former navy fireboat Firebird was registered for the first time as a civilian vessel.
Ordered in 1974 and delivered in 1978 by Vancouver Shipyards Co Ltd in North Vancouver, BC, it was one of two fireboats built for the Minister of National Defence. The sister tug, Firebrand was assigned to the nearby Esquimalt naval base, but Firebird had farther to travel. It was brought to Halifax in August 1978 via the Panama Canal, nestled on a bed of gravel in a barge towed by the tug Ocean Crown. The tug and barges were being delivered to new owners in Quebec, and the fireboat was able to hitch a ride.

Still perched in its gravel nest, Firebird waits to be unloaded at Dartmouth Marine Slips Long Wharf. The RCN tug CNAV St.Charles is also in for a refit.

Assigned to the Queen's Harbour Master and classed as an auxiliary vessel, employing a civilian crew, the Firebird worked out of HMC Dockyard in patrol and firefighting duties. It was initially assigned pennant number YTR 562 (Yard Tug Rescue), but later re-categorized as YTB 561 (Yard Fire Boat) since it was rarely used as a tug. Its bollard pull rating of 7.5 tonnes was not in demand when the Dockyard had six other harbour tugs available.

Firebrd is powered by two 365 bhp Cats for propulsion through a pair of z-drives. Another duo of 365 bhp Cats drive the fire pumps and could deliver 5,000 igpm at 150 psi while the boat still moves independently. Three 3 inch monitors of 1250 igpm were the main firefighting tools, but it also had several deck connections and carried 500 gallons of AFFF (foam). In a fire emergency its crew was supplemented by Dockyard firefighters.

Firebird was called out on New Year's Day to retrieve an errant target float. 
Regular Dockyard tugs were apparently on holiday schedule.

In 2017 the Firebird was declared surplus and sold to R.C. Ballott of Springdale, NL. The boat was moved to Eastern Passage where refitting work has been going on, particularly in the past few months.
Although it is not clear what use will be made of the boat.

Sealand Shipping Services and Sealand Diesel Services Ltd of Springdale NL have made good use of the tug  R.J.Ballott (ex Jerry Newberry-13, Kay Cole -95, Point Victor -77, Foundation Victor-73) built in 1956 and still going strong, so they no doubt have good plans for the Firebird.

Rarely used to fight an actual fire, Firebird did from time to time put on a show.


Monday, March 4, 2019

Comings and goings in the offshore

On February 22 the supplier Atlantic Condor sailed from Halifax for St.John's, NL where it went into drydock. Word has it that the boat will be working from St.John's. This has not been confirmed officially but I have heard it from more than one source, totally unconnected to each other.

Atlantic Condor is a UT 755 LN type supplier, built with extra methanol carrying capacity.

The vessel was built by Halifax Shipyard and completed in 2011 to service a ten year extendable contract with Encana for the Deep Panuke gas field south of Sable Island. In May 2018 Encana announced the premature shut down of the project, after the gas was found to be heavily saturated. The project had been expected to produce for 13 years. Now that it will be decommissioned different types of support vessels will be needed.

Supply vessels from the United Starters are rare in Halifax these days, so the arrival on March 3 of the HOS Renaissance was a bit unusual. Out of Port Fourchon, LA, the boat is one of the HOS MAX 300 class and normally works in the Gulf of Mexico.

This may be the first time that HOS Renaissance has been in ice and snow. If so it got a real taste of winter, passing through one storm on the way and arriving in time for another today.
Its call in Halifax is apparently to load deck gear to enable it to carry fibreoptic cable. A sister boat HOS Red Dawn called in Halifax in 2015 for the same reason.

Typical of the offshore supply vessel industry world wide, HOS (Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC) has not been able to find traditional offshore work for all its boats, so is taking on other types of work. HOS reported at year end 2018 a fleet of 80 boats, of which 38 were stacked. They expected no improvement in that situation in the near future.

A more detailed account of much the same material can be found in Shipfax March 3, 2019


Saturday, February 23, 2019

Tug + OSV Annual Review 2018

In addition to organizing the bi-annual International Tug and Salvage conferences and the yearly Tugnology events, the ABR Company Ltd produces the authoritative industry periodical  International Tug and OSV. It is published bi-monthly and covers the tug an offshore vessel industry in detail.

Each year the ABR Company then publishes the International Tug + OSV Annual Review. It is very highly regarded in the tug and OSV sector as it highlights new vessels built during the past year all over the world. The 2018 version, just out, features thirty some vessels in great detail, describing the features and facts, with a high quality colour photo, and most fascinating to me,  general arrangement drawings. These usually include a couple of deck plans and a profile.

This edition covers 105 vessels, with about 35 detailed accounts and the rest in capsule form with descriptions and photo.

Each year the review covers the newest developments in tug design, whether it is hull form or configuration or propulsion arrangement. This year several trends that have been in the making for some time are finally embodied in actual ships and it is fascinating to see how the various designers and shipyards have developed the concepts. Tugs and OSVs from all continents are covered. As expected Europe is covered widely, but so is North and South America, the Pacific and Asia, including the newly developing tug industry in Indonesia.

The cover photo of this year's Review features two tugs built to work in Prince William Sound, AK for Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. Edison Chouest Offshore operates the general purpose tug Elrington (left) and the mammoth escort tug Commander (the first of five for this contract). With 12,334 bhp and a 142 tonne bollard pull, the Commander has a free running speed of 15 knots. It also carries a suite of oil spill response gear and extensive fire fighting equipment.

The advent of LNG fuel figures into some of the new builds.  There have also been more developments of the arrangement of propulsion units, whether ASD type thrusters or Voith Schneider. The first new build carousel tug is also featured, with its revolutionary ring mounted winch. Particularly for escort functions, the latest designs produce incredible power, generally in fairly small tugs. There is also tremendous development in northern regions and numerous ice class tugs have been delivered in the past year.

Not to be left out, and despite dire conditions in the oil patch, new OSVs are still coming out, many for highly specialized jobs, but they are also diversifying, particularly to work on offshore wind farms. Many of these vessels are equipped for 'walk to work', which allows safe transfer of workers from ship to offshore installation without using cranes and helicopters. Dynamic positioning of the ship and deployable gangways make servicing the offshore installations safe and convenient.

The International Tug + OSV Annual Review 2018, all colour, high grade paper, 114 pages, available from the ABR Company.
Their website is https://www.tugandosv.com/


Monday, February 18, 2019

Atlantic Tern

Another veteran vessel working the offshore from Halifax is Atlantic Tern. It works in concert with the much newer Atlantic Condor to supply and standby the Encana's Deep Panuke gas field. Production was halted at the field May 2018, but work goes on to decommission the platform and ready it for removal.

Atlantic Tern was built in 1975 as the anchor handling tug supply vessel (AHTS)  Canmar Supplier II by Vito Steel Boat and Barge Construction Ltd of Delta, BC. First owners Dome Petroleum, through their offshore subsidiary Canmar Drilling used the boat in the Beaufort Sea. Amoco took over the debt-ridden Dome and Canmar, and eventually closed down their arctic operations. By that time the boat had been renamed Supplier II but became Canmar Supplier II again (twice) until finally sold in 1998 to the Norwegian company Remoy. They renamed it REM Supporter until selling it to the Faroe Islands operator Thor p/f in 2005.
It then became  Thor Supplier. During this time it was extensively modified with the addition of an aft facing bridge structure and raised forecastle.

In 2012 Atlantic Towing Ltd acquired the boat and renamed it Atlantic Birch II. Initially it worked as a support vessel for seismic work off Greenland, but by 2013 it was back under Canadian flag and registered as Atlantic Tern. Paired with Atlantic Condor the boats are constantly shuttling to and from the Deep Panuke site, about 250 km southeast of Halifax. Atlantic Tern appears to spend more time in the standby role, leaving Condor for the heavier loads.

Atlantic Condor was built in 2010 by Halifax Shipyard for a ten year contract with Encana. Atlantic Tern may be working on similar terms. With the shutdown of the Deep Panuke field and its 175 km long  pipeline to shore, it is expected to take until 2021 to plug the wells, and remove the topsides production structure. The pipeline will be abandoned in place. So it seems there will be work for Atlantic Tern for a few more years.



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Burin Sea soldiers on

Burin Sea makes its way toward Bedford Basin for DP trials this morning.
It sports a little frozen spray, picked up on its way in from Sable Island.

The tug/supplier Burin Sea is still in service when many boats of its type have long since been relegated to the scrap heap. Its story, and that of sister vessel Trinity Sea has been told here before, but here is a capsule history.

The boats were originally built for the USSR by Stocznia Szczcinska im A Warskiego in Szczecin (Stettin), Poland in 1983. Burin Sea was named Neftegaz I and Trinty Sea was Neftegaz 2. With the democratic transition in Poland and dissolution of the USSR in the late 1980s there were major changes in the oil and gas industry there and the two ships were laid up. Secunda Marine Services bought both at a very good price. (They also acquired a third unit, Neftegaz 14, which arrived under its own power, and became Panuke Sea, and a fourth unit, Neftegaz 29 that was never converted.)

Secunda's own tug Magdalen Sea towed the pair from Norway, arriving in Halifax May 18,1998.

Soon after arrival in Canada, the boat's new name was painted on the bow. The hammer and sickle of the USSR was still displayed on the funnels, but was not to remain long.

After considerable demolition work, Ectug's Point Carroll towed the hull to the Verreault shipyard in Méchins, QC for hull work in July and back to Halifax in September.

The harbour tug Point Halifax assists in setting up the tow to the shipyard for hull work.

Rebuilding was completed by November of 1999. That rebuilding was extensive, and resulted in a very different looking superstructure. However the ice class 1A hull, which was apparently made of very high quality steel, and its original Sulzer engines (producing about 10,000 bhp, delivered to two controllable pitch props) were the reason that it was worth the investment.

Fresh from rebuilding the boat sets out on sea trials in November 1999.

Now, nearly twenty years later, both boats are still in service shuttling between Halifax and the Exxon-Mobil gas field off Sable Island. That installation is being decommissioned and removed, so the boats will be working on that project for some time to come.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Quebec Tugs

Quebec tugs are particularly busy this winter as much of the St.Lawrence is choked with ice. To get an idea of what some of the tugs are doing, there is an excellent webcam, playing live 24 hours a day, right above the Port of Quebec tug and pilot dock. It looks out over the St.Lawrence as far as the Lévis shore and refinery.

In winter, the harbour tugs also serve as pilot boats, and the pilot station is out in the stream directly off the dock. Ships exchange pilots from the lower river (they boarded at Escoumins) for pilots that will berth ships in the Port of Quebec or take the ships up river as far as Trois-Rivières.

The webcam which broadcasts on YouTube at https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/canada/quebec/city-port.html   has extremely high resolution and is amazingly clear at night. The famous Quebec City skyline forms the backdrop and is lit up spectacularly. The ferries are crossing regularly and icebreakers make their way back and forth in addition to the commercial traffic of container ships, bulkers and tankers. Then there is the ice as it moves up or downstream with the tide, leaving open patches, then closing up again.

The Quebec City tugs are fitted with boarding gangways atop the deck house. This keeps pilots well clear of  ice.

This winter there were five tugs working in Quebec City. Océan K. Rusby is usually the dedicated pilot tug, but all are equipped for this service if needed. However the biggest tug, Océan Tundra has been sent to Matane to keep the ice from clogging the harbour there to allow the train and passenger ferries to run.

Three of the remaining tugs are ASD stern drives, but one, Océan Charlie is twin screw and usually in reserve. However it has been called out several times in recent days, both for pilot and ship docking duties.

Océan Charlie was built in 1973 and is a 3900 bhp twin screw. 
Its boarding gangway is painted with yellow railings.
(The YouTube camera may be mounted on the pole above the white shed in background.)

Toggling back and forth between the YouTube video and an AIS display, you can keep track of which tugs and which ships are in view. And if you missed something, you can "rewind" the video by four hours to catch up.

Groupe Océan tugs are busy in other places too and ice has been a big issue this winter, frequently stalling traffic trying to reach Sorel and Montreal.

The tug Océan Bravo has been called away from its usual spot in Trois-Rivières and Duga from Sorel is filling in. It was dispatched to La Baie on the Saguenay River (also ice-filled) to assist the tug Fjord Saguenay. That tug damaged a thruster while docking the bulker Nord Montreal on January 26. It is now going to the Industrie Océan shipyard in Ile-aux-Coudres for repairs under escort on the Saguenay, but once into the St.Lawrence, under tow of Océan Bravo. Since Fjord Saguenay may be out of service for some time, another tug may be brought in. The RioTinto Alcan pier in La Baie is a busy spot, with too much traffic for just one tug, the Fjord Eternité.

Built in 1970 as Takis V, renamed Donald P in 1973 then Océan Bravo in 1998, this is also a 3900 bhp twin screw tug, with what are now classic good looks.  Shown here in its very attractive Quetugs livery. At the time Quebec City was noted for its white tugs, white ferries and white fire trucks!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Captain Jim

The tragic loss of a life in the sinking of the workboat Captain Jim on January 29 has thrown a shadow over the waterfront community in Halifax. The several companies that work on the water would have known the boat and its owners well.

The company, RMI Marine has operated the Captain Jim in a variety of roles around the harbour for many years. The boat was named for Jim Ritcy a co-founder of Dominion Diving and the father of RMI's owner, who was also skipper on the boat the night it sank. He and a cargo surveyor survived by escaping to a life raft. The deckhand however was not able to escape the sinking. After an intensive search and rescue operation, the boat was located in about 12m of water and the deckhand's body was recovered.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating the incident and no decision has been made as to whether the boat will be raised.

Built in 1989 by Guimond's Boats Ltd in Baie Ste-Anne, NB, the Captain Jim's lines were typical of fishing boats on the Northumberland Strait.

 The unbroken sheer line, flared bow and beaked stem are typical of Northumberland Strait boats.

 The engine is amidships with a large open, self draining deck, with a towing bit.

The boat's bow flare and lines were revealed when it was hauled out for a refit.

  The FRP hull was finished however as a crew / workboat and named Atantic Walnut by first owners, Atlantic Towing Ltd. They used the boat in Saint John as a workboat and for personnel transfers.  RMI Marine acquired the boat for use as a diving tender, workboat and for any other tasks that were needed on the water.

Some of those were tug work, such as moving construction barges during the Big Lift project on the Angus L. Macdonald bridge.

At the time of its loss it was returning from a tanker at the outer anchorages after a cargo sampling assignment conducted by the surveyor.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Mister Joe

The tug that has probably been featured in this blog more than any other is the Mister Joe. It has appeared in at least dozen posts, but continues to be of interest because of the variety of work it does.

Owned by McNally Construction Inc, the tug attends to the various dredging and marine construction projects around Atlantic Canada. Halifax has had its fair share of those projects over the years, and Mister Joe has been present for most of them.

Its latest assignment is to tend to the dredging at the Southend Container Terminal (Halterm) where the dredge Derrick No.3 is busy filling a pair of dump scows.

When a scow is fully loaded Mister Joe tows it (on the hip) the length of Halifax harbour to a disposal site in Bedford Basin. The scow S.11 is the former D.P.W.No.77, built in 1977 by McNamara in Whitby, ON.


The dump site, off Africville, is a cove formed by fill from various excavation sites around Halifax. The dredge spoil will eventually be covered with that excavated material, which is largely shale.


A recent subscription only news service referred to Mister Joe as "ancient". By that term I am sure they just meant "old" [OED: ancient: having existed, lived, long].

As one who has now entered the hallowed halls of seniordom, I attach a different slant to words related to age, and bristle at the implication that "ancient" somehow connotes decrepit, which certainly is not the case with Mister Joe. [ nor me, I hope. However I also take exception to its antonym, "spry"!] 

There is no denying that Mister Joe was built by the esteemed tug builders Russel Brothers, in Owen Sound, ON in 1964. It was delivered to its owners, Rupertsland Trading Co (Hudson's Bay Co) for service in Moosonee, ON as Churchill River. It worked all around Hudson's Bay for close to thirty years and was fitted with a sort of turtle back cowl over its foredeck to protect against seas and icing.
When the Hibernia offshore development began, a construction facility for the gravity base was established at Bull Arm, NL and the tug was acquired by Churchill River Tug Ltd of Manuel's, NL and without change of name worked around the construction site until 1997.

Ownership was transferred to Beaver Marine Ltd in 1997 and when McNally took control in 2001 the tug was renamed Mister Joe after the company founder.

Its original pair of 342bhp Cummins engines lasted until 2002. [Russel Bros had the eastern Canada license to sell and service Cummins engines, through their company Russel-Hipwell Engines Ltd].
A pair of new GM engines giving 750 bhp were installed at Brenton Gray's boatyard in Sambro [now CME.]
Then in 2014, the tug was taken to McNally's repair yard in Ontario and had its wheelhouse replaced with a new structure, built to the original drawings from 1964, but with improved windows and fittings. At the same time its accommodation was also refitted.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Atlantic Enterprise

The first sign of things happening in Halifax for the salvage of the container ship Yantian Express is the arrival of the tug Atlantic Enterprise. Owned by Donjon Marine Co Inc of Hillside, NJ, it is part of the effort mobilized by Donjon-SMIT the North American joint venture of two of the world's largest salvage companies.

SMIT, is the well known Dutch towing and salvage company founded in Rotterdam in 1842. Then know by the founder's family name of Smit, it evolved over the years as Smit Internationale NV, but since 2010 has been part of the Royal Boskalis Westminster and has been known as SMIT (all caps).
The tug SMIT Nicobar was first on scene after the Yantian Express caught fire January 4. It has continued to provide firefighting assistance but also evacuated the ship's crew and continues to care for then on board. It landed five of the crew back on the ship to attend to its machinery.

The Canadian tug Maersk Mobiliser was hired to assist in the salvage operation. After sailing from St.John's January 5, it arrived on scene January 7 and by the next day had the ship in tow for Halifax.

Donjon Marine was founded by the Witte family  and incorporated in 1966. It has wide interests in marine construction, shipbuilding, ship repair and recycling. It is also continues to be the designated provider of salvage services for the United States Navy in the western hemisphere.

The Donjon-SMIT joint venture was formed to provide marine salvage, lighterage and firefighting services in compliance with regulations emanating from OPA-90 (the US Oil Pollution Act). That act was the reaction to the grounding and oil spill form the Exxon Valdez in Alaska in 1989. One of the outcomes of that act was to require shipowners to have a designated response plan for pollution and firefighting emergencies.

The tug Atlantic Enterprise is Donjon's largest tug, and has participated in many of Donjon's recent projects. It was built in 1976 by Halter Marine Services in Moss Point, MS as Mister Pete for Jackson Marine Corp of Houston. That company evolved through mergers with Zapata, Gulf Fleet, Seahorse and Tidewater until 1999 when they sold the tug to Portland Tug Boat and Shipdocking Co of Portland, ME. Owned by the legendary Arthur Fournier, Portland renamed the tug Pete. McAllister Towing and Transportation took over the company in 2001 and kept the tug in service until 2007.
K-Sea Transportation then bought the tug and renamed it Barents Sea. K-Sea was taken over by Kirby Corp in 2011 and they continued to own the tug until 2016 when it was purchased by Donjon and renamed Atlantic Enterprise.

As with most big US tugs of the era it is powered by a pair of Alco diesels, delivering a reported 6,480 bhp. Some sources claim they are V-18s - a very rare 251 model -  but Lloyd's Register shows them as V-16s.  

Friday, January 11, 2019

Troms Sirius - first in, first to go, Plus Lundstrom Tide follows

The Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) Troms Sirius sailed this evening January 11 for Bergen, Norway. It is one of two ships brought under Canadian registry by Horizon Maritime to service a BP drilling contract off Nova Scotia. A member of the Troms Offshore fleet (a Tidewater company) it was built in 2012 by STX in the OSV Tulcea shipyard in Romania and completed at STX Soviknes in Norway.

Troms Sirius returning to Halifax for the last time, Christmas Eve.

A 4,201 gt vessel with a deadweight tonnage of 4868, it was built to the VARD PSV 09L CD class, and is fitted with numerous tanks for carrying fluids and a large cargo deck. It is also equipped with firefighting gear and DP 2, and numerous other features. Powered by four Caterpillar diesels, driving four electrical generators, it delivers 11,200 bhp to twin screws. It is also equipped with an azimuthing bow thruster and two tunnel thrusters.

It was registered in Halifax March 9, 2018 after a brief period operating under a coasting license. Followed shortly after by the similar ship Lundstrom Tide and Horizon's own Horizon Star it supported the ultra deep water semi-submersible drill rig West Aquarius. The rig was mobilized in Newfoundland and in April began to drill an exploration well, Aspy D-11, 330 km southeast of Halifax. By November the well had found no commercially viable oil or gas and demobilization began. Troms Sirius escorted the rig back to Bay Bulls, NL then returned to Halifax.

 Troms Sirius returning to Halifax Christmas Eve.

There are no exploration or development projects planned off Nova Scotia. The only work in the area is the decommissioning of the two gas fields that have both ceased production. 

Troms Sirius refueled at Irving Oil on Tuesday January 8, then tied up at the Cove with Lundstrom Tide and Horizon Enabler (ex Tidewater Enabler).  Both those vessels are also idle.


On Saturday January 12, Lundstrom Tide also left Halifax. Its destination however is Limassol, Cypress. Sailing under the Vanuatu flag, it is giving an ETA of February 2.
A similar vessel to Troms Sirius it was registered in Halifax April 4, 2018, under Horizon Maritime management. Built at the same STX OSV shipyard in Tulcea, Romania and completed in 2013 by STX Sovik, in Norway. Its gross tonnage is listed as 3943, and with 4700 deadweight tonnes, it appears to have similar characteristics. However its propulsion system is rated at 9,430bhp, and is diesel electric through Z-drives.

Lundstrom Tide arrived in Halifax for the first time April 11.

It also came to Canada to support BP's drilling program using the West Aquarius. After completing that work it moved the The Cove on about December 17.

Lundstrom Tide at The Cove (former Coast Guard base)

Troms Sirius, Lundstrom Tide and Horizon Star used Pier 9C as their base for operations. From there to the drill site was about a 20 hour trip.

  Some of the 3,000m of riser is laid out on Pier 9C ready to transport to the drill site

Both Horizon Star and Troms Sirius were certified as standby / rescue vessels. Crew changes were normally conducted by helicopter, a 1 hour 20 minute ride from the Halifax airport.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The New Wavemaster

On the move from Shelburne, NS for seal trials to Saint John, NB is the  tug Wavemaster. Owned by Harbour Development Ltd, the dredging subsidiary of Atlantic Towing Ltd, it has re-used a name from the past.

Built for the Royal Netherlands Navy as Regge, the tug was acquired early last year and sailed to Shelburne in March. Since then it has been extensively rebuilt, and in June 2018 was renamed Wavemaster.

See Tugfax 2018/03/21   for more on the Regge.

 Irving Willow working in Yarmouth harbour has an extended wheelhouse and modified deck house.

This is the second HDL tug to be named Wavemaster. The first was built in 1958 by J.I. Thornycroft in Southampton, UK for the local Red Funnel Tug fleet. It was powered by two 6 cyl Crossleys giving 1340 bhp with twin screws. Named Dunnose it was one of four similar tugs acquired by Atlantic Towing over the years. In 1980 it was renamed Irving Willow and seems to have been attached to the dredging fleet from early days. Because some of its accommodation was below deck, and no longer permissible for Canadian tugs, the deck house and wheelhouse were modified. Sister tug Atlantic Juniper ex Irving Juniper ex Thorness was not modified and remained a day boat as a result. (It was to be broken up in the last year.)

Sister tug Atlantic Juniper remained a day boat in Saint John, NB.

 When the J.D.Irving parent company removed the "Irving" name from its tugs in 1996, Irving Willow was renamed Wavemaster. It was laid up in Dartmouth in 1998, and although drydocked in 2004, it was never in service again and was finally broken up in Dartmouth in 2005.

 The same tug, as Wavemaster worked with dredges and scows.

Harbour Development has been making do with only one large tug (and small tugs and workboats) since 1998, so it seems likely that the new Wavemaster will be replacing the veteran Swellmaster. Also a Thornycroft- built former Red Funnel tug, it was built in 1965 as the firefighting tug Atherfield. It came to Canada for Atlantic Towing Ltd in 1971 and was renamed Irving Hemlock. It has been attached to the dredging fleet from the beginning, and was renamed Swellmaster in 1996.

 Irving Hemlock still carried fire monitors which were used for washing down scows.

A twin screw tug, originally with two Crossley engines totalling 1340bhp it was re-engined with a pair of 12 cylinder Caterpillars in 1987 giving 2,000 bhp. The new Wavemaster seems to be a suitable  replacement.

Swellmaster was also equipped with a winch for towing dredges from port to port.

At Shelburne Ship Repair in Shelburne, NS - also part of J.D.Irving and Irving Shipbuilding Inc, I hear that the yard's tug/workboat SSR 3 has been broken up some time ago.

Built in 1964 for Ferguson Industries in Pictou for the Department of Public Works dredging fleet, its original name was Grand Entrée. A 380 bhp single screw boat it was stationed in the Magdalen Islands, but later transferred to Gaspé. In 1996 it was renamed T.5 when DPW put their entire dredging fleet up for sale. Harbour Development Ltd bought the boat and used it for a time. It was then laid up in Dartmouth and when Dartmouth Marine Slips was shut down it was transferred to Shelburne.
It was then renamed SSR 3 but the registered name remained T.5. The shipyard used the tug for working around the slip and as a diving tender, but it was laid up about 2005, and broken up sometime in 2017.  

The number of tugs built in the 1950s and 60s is rapidly diminishing, Although about 25 are still listed in the Atlantic Region, several of those are laid up and unlikely to return to service. There are also a few still  listed which have in fact been broken up already.