Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Groupe Ocean in Jamaica

Groupe Ocean is augmenting its Kingston, Jamaica harbour tug operation with the addition of Ocean Tallawah which is currently en route from Capetown, South Africa.

Another Damen tug, this one was built in 2015 by Damen's Song Thu yard in Da Nang, and measures 268 gt. It has apparently been operating in South Africa for Damen's own rental fleet first as Njouri until 2016 and then Djouri until recently.

Ocean's Kingston fleet has been operating with two tugs, Ocean Kingston Pride and Ocean Stevns since Ocean Taiga returned to Canada this year to work in Milne Inlet. Ocean Stevns was re-registered in Canada May 2, but is still listed as bareboat chartered under Jamaica flag, so there is still the possibility that it will be heading back to Canada where its ice capability will be better utilized.


Groupe Ocean breaks into BC

Groupe Ocean has registered two new tugs in Vancouver with local Vancouver names.

Ocean Granville and Ocean Kitsilano are 381 gt vessels built by Damen's Song Cam shipyard in Vietnam. Although registered Canadian October 10, it would seem both have been chartered out to a delivery service and placed under the St.Vincent and Grenadines flag temporarily. AIS indicates both tugs are still located in Hai Phong, Vietnam.

Details are very skimpy at this point, with Canadian on line registry indicating a speed of 13 knots. This would certainly indicate an escort capability, and thus the 2525 kW (3386 BHP) figure given would be for only one engine of the two.  These tugs then are almost certainly Damen 2813 Compact Design tugs with an 85 tonne Bollard Pull (ahead), and 80 tonnes astern. They are ASD type tugs with escort skeg.

Damen ASD Tug 2813

The Dutch company Damen now builds most of its tugs in Vietnam and typically has a number of tugs in stock. Customizing, in terms of winches, and other fittings can be made quickly, and it is not unusual for new tugs to be in service within a very few months of orders.

With both tugs carrying the names of well known Vancouver neighborhoods, it is unlikely that they will serve anywhere but in Vancouver harbour. This would put them in direct competition with Seaspan (which owns Cates) and SAAM (now without Smit as a partner.) It is interesting that they may have got a jump on  Kotug Canada, the recently announced partnership with Dutch Kotug and the Canadian company Horizon Maritime. That partnership is seeking terminal operation and harbour tug opportunities in Canada.


Sunday, October 20, 2019

Triple Decker Correction

My error in my last post about Foundation's triple deckers was eventually corrected, but not until three days had passed, so may have been missed by many readers.

For the record Foundation Vera was not the first "triple decker" in the fleet. In fact Foundation had triple deckers a full ten years earlier in its operations. So, a little summary of the company history is needed. As it has been so memorably documented by the late Farley Mowat in Grey Seas Under, the Foundation Company of Canada got into the salvage business almost accidentally. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, when the company was looking for a tug to tow its marine construction equipment, they stumbled across and bought the Foundation Franklin at a distress price. It was such an exceptional vessel and so suited for salvage work that the company's east coast operation Foundation Maritime became as much a salvage company as a construction company.

It soon became apparent that having just one salvage tug was not going to be enough. The Montreal shipping and shipbuilding tycoon Frank M. Ross had acquired* four new tugs in Scotland for his company Ross Towing and Salvage, and established Nova Scotia Tug Boats Ltd, with R.W.Hendry Halifax as manger/agent in 1934 (Hendry had operated flock of antiquated tugs under various company names including Halifax Tow Boat Co) . The new tugs were to be based in Halifax in the winter and Montreal in the summer.  Ross was soon persuaded to sell two of the tugs to Foundation Maritime, and Maritime Towing and Salvage was established in 1935 to operate the tugs primarily as harbour tugs in Halifax, but to be capable of light salvage and coastal towing work.
* [It is almost certain that the tugs were originally ordered by James Towing + Dredging but either cancelled and completed on spec, or refused on delivery, due to the economic crisis.]

Bonscot, renamed Banscot and Banshee were state of the art for the day, 90 feet long steamers of 950 ihp, reinforced for working in ice and fitted with firefighting pumps and salvage gear. Builders A. Hall of Aberdeen, Scotland used a typical British tug design with open bridge. (All the better for ship's pilot, tug skipper and crews to both see and hear voice and whistle commands.)

A model of the Banscot shows a small wheelhouse built on the flying bridge, perhaps of wood.

It was not long however until it became necessary to build a rudimentary wheelhouse on the open bridge to protect the helmsman and skipper from the elements - particularly in Canadian winter. So either Banscot or Banshee must take the ribbon for the first "triple decker".

At some point the new wheelhouse was replaced by a more permanent structure and some of the navigation equipment, such as the RDF, moved up to join the standard compass and helm.

Foundation Vera and Banscot laid up in Halifax in 1966 were eventually scuttled in 1968. Their wheelhouses appear to be steel but still fairly rudimentary.

Whether the original wheelhouse remained operational is not known to me. However by the time the first of the new built trriple deckers arrived in 1956 - Foundation Victor - the second level house became accommodation for the skipper, and the top deck wheelhouse was no longer an afterthought.

The only problem with Foundation Victor's "penthouse" was that it was a tight fit to install the console for the mandatory radar.  More room was provided in the next tug in the series, Foundation Valour by extending the wheelhouse forward and eliminating the walkway in front.

The six tugs built in 1962- Point Vigour on the left is typical - were built without the added deck. 

It was a good many years before Foundation and its successors MIL Tug and ECTUG ordered any new tugs, but when they did, they were replacement "terminal" tugs for Baie Comeau and Sept-Iles and again all were triple deckers.

The company was certainly not the only one in the world to have triple decker tugs, but it is interesting to note that Cory - eventual parent company of ECTUG,  built triple decker terminal tugs for its super tanker work in Bantry Bay in the UK and used the same design of tugs for Point Tupper and Come-by-Chance in Canada. Cory never had triple deckers before that time - so where did the idea come from?

 A Cory design triple decker wedged between Point Vibert and Point Valour at the Ectug dock. (Either Point Melford or Point Tupper  is the jam in the sandwich.)

When ECTUG moved to ASD tugs, the triple decker design prevailed for Point Halifax of 1986,

and Point Chebucto of 1993.

Even though they were not terminal tugs per se they were used to dock larger ships and the elevated height of eye was extremely useful..

However as ships become even larger with greater and greater freeboard that advantage is now largely gone, even on moderate sized ships, triple deckers may not be needed for most ship berthing.
Today tugs work under ship's overhangs, use hull bollards and sometimes work virtually blind, relying on VHF communication. [Can you see autonomous tugs coming over the horizon?]

A third deck might have fouled under the stern or the bow of the YM Movement berthed in Halifax today by Atlantic Towing Ltd tugs.

Once almost a trademark of Foundation Maritime, the triple decker tug, may, like the company itself, fade from existence, just like some other quaint aspects of tug operations.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

New Home for well known tug (with revision)

Carrying the name Florence M a well known tug may be starting a new career. It has recently arrived in Thunder Bay, ON in tow of an equally well known fleet mate Molly M 1. (ex  Point Vigour ex Foundation Vigour). New owners have not been identified and no name change has been indicated.

Former Foundation fleet mates, Molly M 1 and Florence M  both went to McKeil.

Florence M is a one of a kind tug, built originally as Foundation Vibert in 1961, similar to two other Foundation "triple deckers", but unlike the original Foundation Victor of 1956 and Foundation Valour of 1958, the Vibert had a shorter hull, was twin screw, and was built in England.  P.K.Harris of Appledore, North Devon  followed the  hydroconic hull section invented by Burnett Corliss partners.
Unusual for a British built tug of the era it received a pair of small block Fairbanks Morse engines, shipped in from North America. Totaling 1332 bhp, they give a bollard pull of a reputed 20 tons.

The tug was built to serve at Baie-Comeau and Sept-Iles, QC and operated by Foundation Maritime for parent Foundation Corporation of Canada, builders of the port facilities. The shorter hull length and twin screws were needed to work within the tighter confines of the Baie Comeau terminals.

During the transition from Foundation through MIL to Eastern Canada Towing (Ectug), Cargill Grain ordered a new tug for Baie Comeau, the Voith-Schneider Pointe Comeau to be operated by Ectug. When it was delivered the word "Foundation" had been replaced by "Point". New owners Eastern Canada Towing Ltd (a Smit+Cory partnership) had renamed all Foundation tugs in 1973 and Point Vibert was transferred to Halifax in 1977.

Suitable for winter operation Point Vibert breaks through a skim of ice in Halifax's Bedford Basin.

When new ASD tugs were built Point Vibert was seldom used in Halifax, and worked in Point Tupper for a time. When Svitzer took over Ectug they soon put it up for sale.

Point Vibert carried Svitzer colours for a very short time.

Sold to McKeil in 2006 and renamed Florence M. the tug was equipped with a towing winch and used for barge work, but ran into trouble in November 2010 off Pictou, NS,  see:
In recent years it has been idle in Hamilton, ON.

In McKeil service, the tug got a towing winch.

On October 1 it was upbound in the Welland Canal in tow of Vigilant I. The tow was handed over to Molly M 1 (ex Point Vigour, ex Foundation Vigour of 1962) in Sarnia and made its way up Lakes arriving in Thunder Bay October 10.

Thunder Bay Tug Services Ltd operates former fleet mate Point Valour (ex Foundation Valour) of 1958, a big single screw tug with 1280 bhp, and seem to be the logical choice for a new owner. The company also operates the single screw Glenada built in 1944 for the wartime naval service. Although rebuilt in 1977, it is one of only four remaining Glen class tugs still in commercial operation in eastern Canada. One of those is Vigilant I (ex Glenlivet II mentioned above.) The other two, Robert John (ex Bansturdy, ex Glenlea) and George N. Carleton (ex Bansturdy, ex Gleneagle) are owned by competitor Lakehead Tugboats Inc (and coincidentally also former Foundation tugs).
[Two Glens are working in British Columbia at last report.]

Thunder Bay Tug Services operates the 1915 built ex steam tug Miseford and several smaller craft. However they are likely seeking slightly more power since competitors Lakehead Tugboats  acquired the 2,000 bhp ex USNavy tug Teclutsa in 2016. See:

Thunder Bay Tug Services operates Point Valour (1958) and Glenada (1944, rebuilt 1977).

If the Florence M goes to work in Thunder Bay, it should be very useful working between the long finger piers of the grain terminals. Lake Superior's fresh water should keep the hull in good condition almost indefinitely, and the largest ships to use the facilities do not exceed 35,000 dwt, because of St. Lawrence Seaway size restrictions.

Old style ship work with a towing line and quick release hook. 
Point Vibert in Smit +Cory colours.

A note about the use of the letter "V" in the Foundation, and later Ectug names. The first tug to have a V name was Foundation Vera built in 1945 as Rockhill, a Warrior class 1,000 ihp steam tug. It was completed by Midland Shipyards too late for war service with the British government and was declared surplus and sold. Briefly renamed Maritime Guardian in 1947, it was acquired by Foundation in 1948. Foundation's marine superintendent named the vessel after his wife.

Foundation Vera was the first another one [see note below] of Foundation's "triple decker" tugs. Skippers liked the elevated conning position, but only if it was enclosed and made weather tight. The Warriors were built with an open flying bridge which was still a feature of  British tugs. Canadian owners quickly added a wheelhouse to ensure survivability in winter conditions. Foundation Vera was laid up in Halifax in the mid 1960s and scuttled at sea in 1968.

It is believed that the next new tugs used the letter V in their names to mark the Allied victory in World War II. The names Foundation Victor and Foundation Valour certainly fit with this theory.
Foundation Vibert took another tack as it was named for the late Vibert G. Young, a recently deceased Foundation Company of Canada executive. His widow sponsored the tug when it was commissioned in Halifax.

After this the V names seemed to have been selected more or less randomly, but some were particularly appropriate for tugs such as the memorable Vim and Vigour . The last V name was the second Point Valiant. That tug is now operating on the west coast for Davies Tugboat Ltd of Burnaby, BC.

It was named after the first Foundation Valiant (of 1963) (later Point Valiant) now Groupe Océan's André H. It has been laid up in Quebec City and is unlikely to see service again.

André H  and the 1960 built Jerry G. laid up in Quebec City.

Point Vim and Point Viking (both 1962, 1000 bhp) are working for other Quebec operators. Foundation / Point Victor is operating as R.J.Ballott (see recent posts here) from Newfoundland.

The longevity of Foundation "V" tugs that left Canadian service has not been as positive. Two of the 1962 class went to Greece (Foundation Vanguard, Foundation Viscount) and one to Africa (Foundation Viceroy).  All are believed broken up years ago. Other Vs were salvage vessels, Foundation Vigilant and Foundation Venture now long gone. A small workboat, the Point Vanguard operates in Sept-Iles, QC for an unrelated company.

I was in error when I called Foundation Vera the first of Foundation's triple deckers. In fact the first harbour tugs the commany acquired when they set up in Halifax, Banscot and Banshee were triple deckers. More on this in a later post.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

KOTUG and Horizon

Halifax based Horizon Maritime has just announced an alliance with the Dutch tug company Kotug International BV to go after harbour and terminal work in Canada under the Kotug Canada banner.

In one of those huge upheavals common in European tug operations Kotug and partner Boskalis sold their Kotug SMIT tug operations earlier this year to the large Spanish operator Boluda Group.
Kotug SMIT had only been in existence since 2016, but operated in eleven ports in four countries.

Kotug had originally shaken up the European tug world by straying from their Dutch harbour tug base into Germany and France where complacent traditional operators enjoyed monopolies but were also bound by high priced labour agreements. Kotug took the companies head on and generally prevailed, in some cases despite legal challenges.

The Voith Schneider VS Hamburg and VS Rotterdam exhibited the owner's ambitions to spread beyond the Netherlands.

Among the companies shaken up by these moves was the main Dutch operator Smit. It was eventually picked off by Royal Boskalis Westminster a Dutch dredging and marine construction firm, that was not so much interested in harbour towage, but in their other assets internationally. However they did merge their European harbour tug operations with Kotug and controlled a big chunk of that tug work in Europe. However Boskalis remained more interested in its international construction work.

Note tug operating under Maltese registry in Hamburg! It could happen here.
Tractor type ZP Bulldog operating '"in reverse" as stern escort.

Kotug are also known as innovators and are certainly ambitious and when Boluda came calling they decided to cash out. By this time Kotug had also expanded internationally with terminal contracts as far afield as Australia, and opted to concentrate on those greener pastures, leaving Europe to others. They also have operations in Russia, Asia, the Caribbean and Africa and operate more than 100 tugs.

Canada does seem an odd choice (on either coast) for ambitious operators, since there are few harbour or terminal operations that might be up for grabs. The Svitzer contract at Point Tupper is about the only sizeable contract that might be in play in eastern Canada. In fact there are few terminals in Canada that have separate contracts within ports.

The trend in Europe for container lines to have exclusive berthing contracts has not taken hold in Canada since major ports usually have only one tug operator.

Certainly the established companies, Groupe Océan and Atlantic Towing Ltd seem to have  a lock on harbour work in the eastern ports. They have displaced Svitzer from all its long standing areas, and Svtizer was unsuccessful when it attempted to break into the Montreal work. Even its Strait of Canso work is in the form of a joint venture with Atlantic Towing. (So is ship berthing in Halifax, at least on paper.)

Both oil terminals in Newfoundland, Newfoundland Transshipment and North Atlantic Refining, own their own two tug fleets under long term management, altough the tugs are aging.

Horizon is a relative newcomer to the industry and until now has concentrated on offshore work. It lost out to Atlantic Towing for the west coast ETV contract, however they did cry foul on the award and may get another kick at it.

On the west coast tug, Smit also sold out to its partner SAAM in SAAM Smit. Seaspan remains a major force in Vancouver,  but new terminals of various sorts are planned or under way.

Kotug are certainly innovators, having developed and patented, the ROTOR tug. With three engines, the tugs have two omni-directional thrusters forward, in conventional tractor tug arrangement and one aft, and are thus extremely agile, and powerful. They may be able to capitalize on innovative solutions to specific harbour or terminal needs.

RT Magic, a ROTOR tug, can (and did) run circles around conventional ASD tugs...

... with two thrusters forward and one aft.

One interesting tug in the Kotug SMIT fleet was SD Jacoba, built in 1998 by East Isle Shipyard in Georgetown, PE (part of Irving Shipbuilding Inc) as Atlantic Fir (ii). It was sold after short term use  to Kotug. The first Atlantic Fir was built in 1995 and sold to J. Ostensjo of Norway and renamed Alex. The third Atlantic Fir, built in  2005, currently operates in Halifax.

Note:  All the photos above were taken before the formation of Kotug Smit, and all the tugs shown have been taken over now by Boluda, with the exception of the RT Magic which operates for Kotug International in Mozambique.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

R.J.Ballott follow up

The tug R.J.Ballott (ex Jerry Newberry, Kay Cole, Point Victor, Foundation Victor) sailed from Halifax today giving Triton, NL as its destination. It is towing the barge Kaligak, loaded with construction equipment taken on at the Waterworks Construction dock in Woodside. (In my previous post I stated that the barge was being unloaded, but in fact is was being loaded.) Some of the gear will be getting a real salt water dousing on the trip.

Since its Foundation days, the tug's exhaust stack has been extended, to reduce fumes in the wheelhouse.

The open tug/boat Waterworks 1 (a former seine skiff) stands by to remove linehandlers from the barge.

Waterworks Construction, as the name implies, specializes in building wharfs and has sent equipment to Newfoundland and Labrador before.

Incidentally the barge, although operated by NGC Nunatsiavut Marine Inc, is maintained by McKeil Marine and has been on the for sale list for some time. NGC is the business arm of the Nunatsiavut Government (the self-governed autonomous region of Labrador established by Inuit land claims). I believe the word "kaligak" refers to a specific type of sled in the Inuit language.


Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Trinity Sea

Secunda Marine's Trinity Sea remains laid up at The Cove in Dartmouth. It was replaced by the newly acquired Siem Commander (ex Stril Commander) this summer. 

Despite a slight resurgence in utilization rates among offshore supply vessels worldwide there are still more than 1,100 stacked according to recent reports. Older and "low end" vessels have the lowest utilization rates and even some higher end vessels are being cut up for scrap.

It seems unlikely that there be much of a future for Trinity Sea as an AHTS or PSV. Some alternative might be found for it, outside the offshore industry, but in the meantime it remains idle. The longer it is laid up, the more difficult it will be to bring it back into service.

Rebuilt as a virtually new vessel in 1999, on a Ice Class 1 A hull, it was built originally in 1983 as Neftegaz 2 . Some other former Neftegaz vessels are still running as research or seismic, but there would not be many as AHTs. Sister vessel Burin Sea (ex Neftegaz 1) may be the only one of its type still working. It is serving the Exxon Mobil Sable project off Nova Scotia.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

R.J.Ballott - return of a veteran

The Newfoundland based tug R.J.Ballott is back in Halifax for one of its rare visits, but it is certainly no stranger to the port.

Built in 1956 as Foundation Victor it initially served the port of Sept-Iles, berthing large bulk carriers, but often wintered in Halifax. When Eastern Canada Towing Ltd [ECTUG] took over ownership, new tugs were built for Sept-Iles, the tug was renamed Point Victor  in 1973 and transferred to Halifax. This was the first of the Foundation company's distinctive "triple deckers", designed to provide a clear view of the deck of large bulk carriers.

Although a big and heavy tug, its 1280 bhp and single screw were not adequate for the harbour work here and it was sold in 1977 to C.A.Pitts Construction becoming Kay Cole. McKeil took over ownership a few years later changing the name to Jerry Newberry. It kept that name when McNally Construction bought the tug in 1995. Current owners, Sealand Shipping Services Ltd of Baie Verte, NL bought and renamed the tug in 2013.

During Pitts ownership it was equipped with a towing winch but still runs its big 8 cylinder Fairbanks Morse main engine. On this trip to Halifax it arrived towing the 432 gt barge Kaliguk owned by the Labrador Development Corp of Goose Bay-Happy Valley, NL. It is unloading construction equipment at the Waterworks Construction (Dexter / Municipal Group) dock in Woodside.

Not surprisingly, for its age, the tug is looking a big rugged, but it is built of stern stuff and there is no indication that its career will be ending any time soon.

I have posted many photos of the tug over the years. Enter 'Point Victor" in the search panel on the left for more.

Here is a sample:

 In the colourful C.A.Pitts paint scheme, Kay Cole leaves Halifax towing a barge.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Stephenville Tug Sinks

The Stephenville, Newfoundland based tug Omni St-Laurent sank at its berth September 23. There was no one aboard at the time, and so far there is no explanation for the incident. According reports the tug had 7,000 liters of fuel on board at the time, but there was a quick response to minimize any spill and formulate a plan to raise the tug.


Omni St-Laurent dates from 1957 when it was built by the famed P.K.Harris shipyard in Apppledore, North Devon, England. It featured the revolutionary patented hydroconic hull designed by Burnett Corliss Partners. The twin screw tug was powered by a pair of Lister Blackstone engines. It has combined mast and engine exhaust uptakes in lieu of the traditional funnel, a feature of many British tugs of the time.

Ordered by the Dover Harbour Board, and named Diligent, the tug served in the port of Dover, England until 1984. It went through a variety of owners during the next five years, such as Peane, Greenhithe, S+H, and Henderson of Stroud until it was acquired by Sorel Tugs Inc (les Remorqueurs de Sorel, Inc) in 1989.

It became Omni St-Laurent when it took up duties in Sorel, QC in late 1989. Groupe Océan acquired the Sorel operation and in 2010 they sold the tug to Harmon Marine Inc of Kippens, NL.

Omni St-Laurent at the Industrie Océan Shipyard, Ile-aux-Coudres. 
Note the hull form using simple hull plate shapes and hard chines.

The port of Stephenville, on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland,  (once known as Port Harmon) sees only about six ships a year, but recently there has been controversy that the tug's 1040 bhp is inadequate for larger ships that must turn in the Basin. Such large ships are rare, and the cost of bringing in a second tug from Nova Scotia could have a negative impact on harbour business. The port is part of the infrastructure of the huge Stephenville Air Base built for United States Air Force during World War II. Later known as Captain Ernest Harmon Air Force Base, it was part of the US/British "Destroyers for Bases Agreement". Newfoundland was still a British colony at the time and not part of Canada. In 1949 when Newfoundland did join Canadian Confederation the base remained de facto US territory. That ended in 1966 when the base was closed and transferred to the Canadian government, then to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Port itself was privatized in 2003 and its name changed from Port Harmon to the Port of Stephenville in 2016.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Tugs from above - Updated

A walk out on the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge this afternoon allowed for some interesting angles on various tugs.

First was a general view of two of HMC Dockyard's  Glen tugs awaiting their next assignment.

 Glenside YTB 643 and Glenbrook YTB 644 alongside. They are Voith tractors built in 1976-1977.

The third tug, Glenevis YTB 642, was apparently elsewhere [see Upate below], possibly on refit. Construction work on the replacement tugs of this class will begin soon at Industrie Océan in Ile-aux-Coudres, QC. Unfortunately the powers that be think that only two tugs will be needed in Halifax, and two in Esquimalt, to replace five tugs and two firefloats.

The current tugs are the second generation of Glen tugs in the RCN (the first generation were built during World War II), and using many of the same names. I hope the new tugs will maintain the tradition. [see footnote]

I have photographed McNally Construction's J.F.Whalen from every angle but this one since it was built in 2013 by Chantier Forillon in Gaspé,QC. In this view the tug is sailing light and appears to have an electric arc welder mounted on deck just aft of the house. The 670 bhp (492 kW) twin screw tug has a demountable house for road transport and push knees for scow work.
It is registered in Toronto, ON, although McNally is headquartered in  Hamilton, ON.

Spitfire III heads north to assist in docking a container ship. One of three 5300 bhp (4000 kW) (70 tonne BP ahead, 66 astern) tugs built by Eastisle, Georgetown PE in 2007, it was designed to berth LNG tankers in the open roadstead off Saint John, NB. That facility does not need full time tugs so this one and Atlantic Bear work out of Halifax and make trips to Saint John when needed. The third tug Atlantic Beaver remains in Saint John.
It is fitted with a heavy duty berthing winch forward and a third "lip" of tubular fendering around the bow. It also carries a towing winch aft and is rated LR FiFi1 with water spray.

I was reminded recently about the first Glendyne, (YTB 503) built in 1945 by Russel Brothers, Owen Sound, ON. On February 15, 1957 while assisting in docking HMCS Magnificent, the tug was girted [pulled over by its own towing line] when the aircraft carrier went astern, and capsized with the loss of two lives.The skipper and four other crew members were recovered alive.
An inquiry found no negligence, but a misunderstanding about instructions to the tug lead to the tow line becoming so taught that neither tug nor ship could release it in time.
The aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent was returning from duties with the UN Emergency Force in Suez.

Glendyne was recovered from 80 feet of water off HMC Dockyard by navy divers and Foundation Maritime's crane barge Foundation Scarboro on February 19. The tug returned to service and was retired in 1979. The builder's plate has been preserved, apparently at the naval museum in Halifax. The hull was sunk off Shearwater for diver training for the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic, but I have no idea if it is still there. Her wooden wheelhouse served as a ticket office at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic wharf in Halifax.

 Two first generation Glens laid up retired but not yet de-stored at HMS Dockyard in 1977.

The second Glendyne, built in 1975 by Yarrow in Esquimalt, is one of two second generation Glens based at HMC Dockyard, Esquimalt and will be replaced under the new program, along with its west coast running mate Glendale.

For more on the first generation Glens see:

Thanks to readers: Glenevis is in St. John's, NL for ship berthing duties for visiting Canadian and foreign warships. Another reason why only two tugs in Halifax won't do!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Alberta Bound - REVISED

The Province of Alberta has become an important market for small tugs and workboats as the major oil companies need numerous reservoirs and catchment basins. These waterbodies require maintenance including dredging and icebreaking.

One of the major players is Suncor in Fort McMurray. In recent years it has built up a fleet of its own in addition to several boats it has chartered in, including conventional tugs and multicats to support work barges and cutter suction dredges.

The tugs are generally under 15 gross tons, and thus are only registered by official number, despite carrying a name.

Quebec City based Groupe Ocean has been providing various of the craft some chartered and some for purchase, which can be transported to Alberta over the road and assembled on site.

The latest appears to be a twin screw icebreaking tug/ workboat, built at Ocean's Quebec City facility, Ocean Marine Works Inc*. Carrying the (unofficial) name Suncor 11, it was spotted last month already loaded onto a heavy lift trailer, less its deckhouse, and ready for the road. No official number was visible on the hull, but it is likely C28964AB. If so, it is equipped with engines delivering 975* bhp and measures about 40 feet long.

I always welcome corrections from readers, so wish to thank those who pointed out some mistakes in the orginal post:
Revision: In fact Suncor 11 was built by Industrie Océan at Ile-aux-Coudres, QC. It was transported to the Quebec City facility for adjustments prior to beginning its  long road trip. It is powered by a pair of 500 bhp Volvo Penta engines.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Tugs at Ile-aux-Coudres - Part 2

The GFFM Leclerc shipyard on the eastern tip of Ile-aux-Coudres builds small powerful shallow draft tugs for sale or charter. Many of the tugs find work as lighterage tugs in northern supply work. Others are kept on hand at the home port of Ile-aux-Coudres for general duties or leased out to others.

A small tidal basin adjacent to the ferry dock is the base, and on August 10 there were four Leclerc tugs and a pair of similar tugs operated by Transport Desgagnés.

The Desgagnés tug Lumaaq is an early version of the type, whereas Rénard Polaire is one the newer triple screw versions.
Lumaaq, Siku and a pair of lighters will be loaded aboard an outbound Desgagnés Transarctik ship to land sealift cargo in the far north.

Siku is awaiting its next northern assignment with fleetmate Lumaaq, and Ours Polaire is standing by for other work.

Béluga Polaire and Eclipse Polaire return from an assignment moving a barge out into the stream.

Béluga Polaire prepares to land some barge workers.

Eclipse Polaire returns to the dock.

The tugs move JMC 185 away from its berth.

The tugs had moved the barge JMC 185 out to the stream. Built in 2007 by LAD Salvage of Louisiana in Stephensville, LA as an ABS classed spud barge, it was owned by Cashman Equipment in Boston. Groupe Océan then acquired the barge for transporting reinforcing steel to the Hebron gravity base construction in Newfoundland from 2015 to 2017.  They then used the barge to transport precast concrete components from Sorel for the new Champlain Bridge project. CRT Construction has now acquired the barge for work in north Quebec with their tug CRT Express (see yesterday's post).


Tugs at Ile-aux-Coudres - Part 1

Ile-aux-Coudres, QC, home of the Industrie Océan shipyard, and headquarters for the GFFM Leclerc tug building and leasing company, has long been a busy spot for tugs. Saturday August 10 was no

The shipyard will become very busy soon as work will begin on four new tugs for the Royal Canadian Navy.  In the meantime the yard continues to refit Groupe Océan tugs and repair other ships.

Sometimes when more fit out space is needed shipyard activity spreads across the channel to the mainland.  On Thursday the Renard Polaire and Eclipse Polaire moved the tug Fjord Saguenay to the at St-Joseph-de-la-Rive wharf.

Fjord Saguenay has been on the slipway since the winter for repairs. It damaged a thruster January 26 while berthing the bulker  Nord Montreal at La Baie forcing its removal from service. In the meantime Océan Bravo has joined Fjord Eternité in ship docking at the Saguenay ports of La  Baie and Grande Anse.

It appears that the access hatches to the thrusters have been re-sealed. This would indicate that both thrusters were removed and repaired.

Work is obviously on going below deck with lots of noise emanating from the thruster room escape hatch.

Fjord Saguenay was built by East Isle Shipyard in Georgetown, PE in 2006 as Stevns Iceflower (i) and after working as Svitzer Njord from 2007 to 2009 it was acquired by Rio Tinto Alcan. It sailed to Halifax on its own arriving February 28, 2009 on one engine. After repairs at Halifax Shipyard it finally entered service March 29. Sister tug Fjord Eternité (ex Stevns Icecap (i), Svitzer Nanna) was brought to Canada on the heavy lift ship Fairlane in 2010.

On the island itself, there were two tugs on the slipway one for repairs and one for "parting out".

Although officially named Océan Brochu, that name has never been painted on the hull. Shortly before transfer of ownership from Arcelor Mittal in late 2017 to Groupe Océan a fire in Brochu's engine room resulted in the tug being declared a constructive total loss.

Built by Star Shipyard in New Westminster, BC in 1973, for Québec Cartier Mining, the 3600 bhp ice class tug V-S was stationed at Port Cartier, QC, for its entire working career. Groupe Océan took over operation at Port Cartier in 2017 and purchased the two tugs. Sister tug Vachon  was renamed Océan A. Gauthier and it is presently stationed in Hamilton,ON. Working in the fresh water of Lake Ontario, it serves the ports of Toronto, Oshawa, and occasional forays ino the Welland Canal.

Parts from the Brochu are to be kept in reserve for its sister, but so far the hull appears intact, so is there hope for a rebuild?

At the adjacent slip Océan Sept-Iles is also undergoing a major refit. Also an ice class vessel, built in 1980, it is the former Pointe Sept-Iles operated by Eastern Canada Towing, later Svitzer at its namesake port until 2013. With 5400 bhp and twin screws in nozzles, it was built to replace the 1973 built Pointe Margeurite lost in Sept-Iles Bay in 1978. I believe the replacement tug was built as a day boat with limited crew accommodation.

It is interesting to see two ice class hulls, with distinctly different hull shapes and propulsion systems.

continued part 2............