Sunday, February 19, 2023

Atlantic Bear puts on a show

 It is not often that the tugs of Atlantic Towing Ltd display their fire fighting capabilities, but this afternoon the Atlantic Bear put on a demonstration for several minutes.

 Despite some snow left on the ground, the temperature was several degrees above zero C, so it was an opportunity to give the decks a good wash too.

 In fact the tugs have a deluge system that washes down the deck house and provides a water curtain to prevent damage when working close-in to a fire.

Atlantic Bear is one of three tugs, with Atlantic Beaver and Spitfire III, built in 2008 to work at the Canaport LNG terminal in Saint John, NB. The Aquamaster ASD tugs have 5432 bhp Cat main engines delivering a bollard pull of 70 tonnes (some sources said 79 tonnes). All three are owned by Atlantic Reyser, a joint venture between Atlantic Towing and the Spanish tug and terminal operators Reyser [REmolques Y SERvicios Maritimos S.L.] which has been owned since 2017 by P+O Maritime, a subsidiary of Dubai-based DP World.

Atlantic Towing bases two of the three tugs in Halifax, but dispatches one or both to Saint John when needed for LNG tanker berthing. 

 Two monitors rated at 1,200 cu m / hr (317k USGPM) mounted on the deck house, deck manifold and water curtain are powered by a 2,700 cu m / hr (713k USGPM) pump working off the port main engine.

Three other tugs (Atlantic Oak, Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Willow) are also based in Halifax, and they are also fitted for fire fighting, but are not as powerful.

As the pilot boat Capt. E.T.Rogers makes its way outbound, Atlantic Bear forms a water backdrop.



Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Kamarina sails

 On February 15 the Kamarina sailed from Halifax for Lisbon - light tug. See also companion blog Shipfax of same date. [Updates Tugfax post of February 11.]


Sunday, February 12, 2023

Missed Opportunity - perhaps

 The powerful icebreaking tug Polar Circle sailed from St.John's, NL February 8 for Bergen, Norway. This week (about February 10 or 11) it was announced that GC Rieber Shipping AS had acquired full ownership of the vessel, purchasing the 50% interest previously held by Maas Capital Offshore.

The ship arrived in Halifax October 7, 2022 and aside from one brief trip to Boston December 16-22 for refueling, it remained at anchor in Halifax, with a brief move to take on stores, until January 30, 2023. It arrived in St.John's February 2 for refueling, but had to wait for MDO (Marine Diesel Oil) which was not immediately available.  

Sailing from Halifax January 30, 2023.

 There was speculation that the ship was "shopped" to the Canadian Coast Guard and private companies, but if so there were no takers. The Canadian Coast Guard may need an interim icebreaker when the CCG Terry Fox undergoes a life extension process starting later this year. However they might need more power than the Polar Circle has. It is a 12,236 bhp tug with a bollard pull rating of 150 tonnes. Construction was completed by Langsten Slip in Tomrefjord, Norway in 2006 on a hull built by Aker Tulcea. (The Terry Fox is a 23,200 bhp vessel with a 1920 nautical mile / 58 day range.)

Polar Circle was built in 2006 for a 15 year charter to Exxon Neftegaz as a tanker escort in the Sakahlin Island region of Russia. The contract was extended to September 2023, but in July 2022 Rieber opted to exit Russia and the ship sailed transpacific via the Panama Canal and New York to Halifax. Its orginal name Polar Pevek was changed to Polar Circle in 2022. (A previous Rieber vessel named Polarsirkel built in 1976, was renamed Polar Circle in 1981. It participated in the seal hunt off Newfoundland in 1978 and possibly in other years.)

The future of the ship is thus unknown, but operation in Norwegian waters or the Baltic is the most likely.


Saturday, February 11, 2023

No news for Kamarina - updated

 The Italian tug Kamarina, as per the previous post, is in Halifax to tow the disabled bulker Ale to Setubal. Since that post the tug remained at anchor in Bedford Basin until February 9 when it moved to Pier 27 to take on fuel. That would only take a few hours, but the tug stayed at the pier over night before returning to anchor on February 10. I hope this allowed the crew some time ashore. There is still no word on when the Ale will be ready to tow - there does not seem to be any sign of activity on the ship.

Kamarina returning to anchorage on February 10.

Update:  On February 15 the Kamarina sailed from Halifax for Lisbon, Portugal - light tug.



Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Kamarina and an ocean tow - updated

 The deep sea tug Kamarina arrived in Halifax January 3 towing the disabled bulk carrier Ale en toute to Setubal, Portugal.


For a detailed account of the tug and its tow, see the January 4 post on companion blog Shipfax with the title A bit of everything - Part 2

See a further update on Shipfax January 18 including this January 13 photo.



Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Greeting

 As with companion blog Shipfax I like to send out older photos at Christmas time, along with best wishes for the holiday season.

My choice for this year is the tug Avantage when it was operating for the Quebec City based Groupe Océan. It is seen here while providing stern escort duties for the retired Great Lakes passenger ship Aquarama (renamed Marine Trader) in August 2007.

Lead tug for the trip to Aliaga, Turkey, was the Greek Aetos Z and the tow is off Quebec City on August 4, 2007. (Avantage accompanied the tow from Trois-Rivières as far as the Escoumins pilot station.)

Not long after and a little farther down stream off Ile d'Orléans, it was possible to get some tighter photos. (Aetos Z was built in 1986 by Yaroslavl as the USSR tug, then 1997-2006 as the training ship Muzhestvennyy.)

Avantage has an interesting history, it started life as the Sea Lion of the famed Belgian fleet of  Union de Remorquage et de Sauvetage (URS). The 2160 bhp, 34 ton BP single screw tug came to Canada in 1997 for Remorquage de Trois-Rivières / Three Rivers Boatmen and later merged into Groupe Océan. 

Laid up in Quebec City in 2018, it was "sold" earlier this year to Guyanese owners and renamed Kane G. Along with fleet mates Océan Echo II (renamed Brianna T) and the ATB Mega / Motti (tug renamed Mega II) all are now detained in Trois-Rivières, QC where they are likely to remain until next year - they are unlikely to depart in winter.

Built for work in the short steep seas of the English Channel it has a high bow and was probably a fine sea boat in its day. Its future is very much cloudy now. 

In closing I wish to thank all Tugfax readers for their support during 2021 and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous 2023.



Two Old Timers

 The longevity of some tugs is hard to believe. Spending many years in fresh water may be an explanation in some cases, but for others it must be quality of construction and maintenance over the years. As of December 24, 2022 there are two tugs in Halifax, both over fifty years of age.

The older of the two, clocking in at a spry 60 years of age, is the W. N. Twolan, built in 1962 by George T. Davie + Sons Ltd in Lauzon, QC. A twin screw tug of 2038 bhp, built with Stork Werkspoor main engines, its initial service was in the Port of Churchill, MB on Hudson Bay. After several years there (with occasional refits and winters in Halifax) it was acquired by McKeil Marine and operated mostly on the Great Lakes. Later acquired by ABM Marine in Thunder Bay, ON, it was fitted with an elevated wheelhouse and ran exclusively on Lake Superior, pushing a barge carrying lumber. However it was laid up for several years.

Current owners, since 2021, are listed as Halls Bay Marine Services of Springdale, NL. The company completed a major refit on the tug last year,  and returned it to active service. Proprietor Richard C. Ballott  also owns, through Sealand Shipping Services Ltd, the tug R. J. Ballott (ex Jerry Newberry, Kay Cole, Point Victor, Foundation Victor, built 1956) and Firebird (former RCN fireboat, built 1978).

The W. N. Twolan arrived in Halifax December 11 on its most recent trip, towing the barge NT 1802 from Matane, QC. It was reported that the barge will be loaded with a component for the McInnis Cement plant in Port Daniel, QC. No component seems gto hav e appeared yet, and it is getting to be very late in the season for towing in the Gulf of St.Lawrence. Recent bad weather has kept the tug in port.

The second elderly tug is the Atlantic Beech, a product of the Saint John Dry Dock + Shipbuilding Co Ltd in 1969.

The 2250 bhp twin screw tug was initially named Irving Beech but was renamed in 1991 when the entire Atlantic Towing Ltd fleet was renamed as part of a corporate restructuring. The tug was one of the first Canadian tugs built when new rules required all accommodation to be above the water line. For many years the tug operated in barge work for Irving Oil, usually with the barge Irving Seal. They ranged over most of Atlantic Canada and into the St.Lawrence River. After the corporate restructuring it also did harbour work in Saint John and even in Halifax for a time.

For the last several years the Atlantic Beech has worked in the Hudson Bay in the summers (with fleet mate Atlantic Elm) handling lighterage barges as part of the Nunavut Sealift. The barges ferry cargo from ships in Chesterfield Inlet to Baker Lake, 320 km inland from Hudson Bay, and Rankin Inlet.

On December 22 the Atlantic Beech completed the tow of the fire-damaged ferry Holiday Island from Wood Islands, PE to Sheet Harbour, NS for scrapping. It is now en route back to winter layup in Saint John, NB, but has put in to Halifax during the current spell of severe weather. The crew may have returned home overland!