Friday, September 29, 2023

Welcome back Mister Joe

 There was another visit from a McNally Construction tug today. This time it was the Mister Joe, a 1964 vintage tug, often seen in Halifax over the years. Built as the Churchill River by Russel Brothers in Owen Sound, ON it operated in Hudson Bay until coming south to Newfoundland in the 1990s. It was then bought by Beaver Marine in 1998. When Beaver was acquired by McNally Construction Ltd of Hamilton, ON, they renamed the tug after their founder in 2001.

The Mister Joe has been in and out of Halifax frequently ever since, and is generally based in Point Tupper, NS but has also worked on the Great Lakes. It underwent a major refit in 2013-2014 when its wheelhouse was rebuilt to the orginal plans, but with modern glazing. McNally carried out the work in house at their Point Anne, ON base.

Today's visit was very brief, just long enough to tether its tow to the Bedford Institute of Oceanography (BIO) pier and head back to sea.  The tow appears to be the Beaver Neptune a sem-submersible barge used to build concrete cribs. The cribs are slip-formed concrete caissons, which are floated off the barge then sunk in place and ballasted full with gravel.

 McNally has the contract to remove the old timber pile pier and build a new pier at the BIO. Fleet mate and near sister tug Sandra Mary was featured here August 24, 2023 when it towed in other plant for the project, including the Derrick No.4 and scow with small tug D.D.Kaufman. It was here again September 9 with the crane scow Idus Atwell. It then departed for Point Tupper directly.

The Sandra Mary did not hang around Point Tupper very long, for it was reported earlier this week departing Sorel, QC for McNally's main yard in Point Anne, ON, near Belleville, towing the tug Bagotville. Reports indicate that the Bagotville, built in 1964, and laid up for a few years, will be scrapped, but that remains to be seen. McNally has done some significant rebuilds over the years.

Bagotville in Halifax in 2013.

I reported Bagotville's history here on May 11, 2013. It has spent very little of its life in salt water, and aside from the last couple of years in layup it has been well maintained. Bulwarks take a beating in its kind of work, but they can be replaced. 



Friday, September 22, 2023

Tug Exchange

 Atlantic Towing Ltd, the providers of harbour tug services in Halifax and Saint John, NB, periodically moves tugs between the two ports depending on the need. They have three tugs of 70 tonne bollard pull and 5400 bhp, the Atlantic Bear, Atlantic Beaver and Spitfire III that were designed with higher bows and extra fendering to work with LNG tankers at the Canaport monobuoy in the open roadstead off Saint John. With gas imports at a very low level now, one or two of the tugs have been shifted to work in Halifax where their power is useful for large container ships.

When a gas tanker or large crude tanker is due in Saint John, the tugs may be sent back from Halifax, and one of the other Saint John harbour tugs moves over to take its place in Halifax.

The Atlantic Beaver went to Saint John in recent days, the Atlantic Bear sailed today,  and the Atlantic Cedar arrived from Saint John to supplement the three other regular Halifax tugs, Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak (5050 bhp 68 tonne bollard pull), and Atlantic Willow (4,000 bhp, 50 tonne bollard pull).

The Atlantic Cedar is also a 5050 bhp, 68 tonne bollard pull tug and it was soon put to work doing the same jobs that its sister Halifax tugs usually do.

That work included tethered stern escort for the arriving 113,509 gt / 119,180 dwt container ship CMA CGM Cochin. With a container capacity of 10,100 TEU it is about 5,000 TEU shy of the largest container ships to call in Halifax, but still requires the good power of three tugs to berth at PSA Halifax's Pier 42 - this case with the Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Oak.

Ships must be turned 180 degrees to tie up starboard side to, and tugs are required for slow speed steering assist, braking and the usual push pull. The stern tug keeps its line up, but moves to the port quarter and the offside tug (in this case Atlantic Oak) shifts to port midships for the actual berthing.

For comparison purposes the following file photo shows the additional fendering on the Atlantic Beaver:


Dominion Warrior at Work - updated

 Dominion Diving's Dominion Warrior put to sea on a towing job September 21. 

Dominion Warrior at its base in Dartmouth Cove.

 Eurocarrier type vessels are commonly used for towing in Europe as they are equipped with towing winches, shark jaws and all the usual appurtenances for towing. However they are such rare vessels in Canada (there are only two, and both in Halifax - see below) that it is still a bit of a novelty to see one towing. 

 Today's tow is the Scotia Tide a specially constructed lift barge, designed for the placement (and retrieval) of tidal turbines from the sea bottom. When the orginal tidal power project was cancelled, the barge was laid up Saint John, NB where it was the subject of extended litigation, and eventually ended up in Halifax.

The launch Halmar retrieves the line handlers from the barge as it heads for sea.

According to reports the barge's new owners are planning to put the unit back in service, and are sending it to the shipyard for renewal of its classification. Despite the Dominion Warrior's AIS signal giving a destination of Gibraltar, it is more likely to be heading for a shipyard closer to home.

The 1293 gt barge was built at the Aecon Atlantic Industrial Inc shipyard in Pictou, NS. It is registered at 1293 gt (and surprisingly was not listed on the pilot dispatch list, as vessels of more than 1,000 gt usually require a pilot).


 1. The Federal Court ordered sale of the other Euro Carrier, Tidal Pioneer is expected next week (October 4). It is laid up at Dominion Diving Ltd's base in Dartmouth Cove. [see previous post].


 2. Thanks to a reader I have learned that there is also a Euro Carrier vessel working on Canada's Pacific Coast. The Haisla Northwind was built by Neptune in 2019 and is owned by Bridgemans GP Ltd of Richmond, BC. It is currently at work on the LNG Canada terminal construction project in Kitimat.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Tidal Pioneer for sale

 A notice in the Halifax Chronicle Herald newspaper on September 12 announced that the mult-purpose workboat Tidal Pioneer is offered for sale by tender. Its owners, Sustainable Marine Energy (Canada) Ltd entered into voluntary bankruptcy earlier this year, citing government permitting issues. After operating a pilot project in Grand Passage, Digby Neck, the company wanted to install floating tidal generators in Minas Passage, further up the Bay of Fundy where there is an extremely large tidal range and fast flowing currents. 

The Tidal Pioneer was used to tow the generators and install them on location, and service them once they were anchored and operational. The company suspended operations in April-May and the generators were to be scrapped according to press reports.

[There were controversial issues with this tidal power project which will not be dealt with here. An internet seach will reveal more information from news sites.]

The Tidal Pioneer was built in 2019 by Neptune Shipyards BV in Aalst, Netherlands.  It is a standard design EuroCarrier 2611 type, a twin screw flat deck vessel with two Caterpillar main engines delivering 1940 kW with 35 tonne Bollard Pull. It carries two deck cranes and a variety of towing and anchor handling gear. The hull measures 24.5m x 11.04m x 3.45m depth (about 2m draft). The offset superstructure allows for large deck loads. [Details from Neptune's web site for typical craft of the type.]

This type of vessel is popular in Europe, and has been exported world wide, but is still rare in North America. Remarkably it made an unassisted Atlantic crossing via the Azores, arriving in Halifax August 24, 2021. (Dominion Diving's Dominion Warrior is the only other vessel of the type in Canada and although only slightly smaller, it arrived in Halifax on a heavy lift ship in 2018.)

The sale ad notes that any claims against the vessel must be registered in the Federal Court of Canada by October 7, 2023.


Thursday, August 24, 2023

Sandra Mary - veteran tug

 In preparation for a wharf replacement project at the Bedford Institute, McNally Construction Inc is bringing in the required equipment. The new Jetty L will be built using concrete caissons and will replace the existing timber crib pier. New floats will also be installed. Dredging will be required for removal and bottom prep. The dredge spoil will be moved elsewhere (likely to the Pier 36 area - but that is only a guess.)

First in port was the small tug D.D.Kaufman, new to McNally, which arrived August 16 from New Jersey, the long way round - via the New York State canals and the Great Lakes. It tied up at an inside berth at the Bedford Institute Jetty L and is thus "immune" from photography. More on this tug when I can get a picture.

Today, August 24, it was the familiar veteran tug Sandra Mary arriving from Port Hawksbury with the crane barge Derrick No.4 and a dump scow (as yet unidentified).

Well outside the port limits the scow was handed off to the Dominion Enforcer which towed it in to the Bedford Institute.

Built in 2021 by Damen Gorinchem, Netherlands the 600 hp Dominion Enforcer has not seen as much use as its twin sister Dominion Rumbler. The latter handles the waste barge for cruise ships and is kept quite busy [as it was today with the Zuiderdam.] Both tugs measure 14.99 gross tons and have been re-registered by number, with their names now unofficial. Vessels under 15 gross tons can be registered in this way as small craft. The tug displays its registration number C30756NS above a wheelhouse window.

The tug Sandra Mary measures 96.82 gross tons and is thus registered by name. When it was built by Russel-Hipwell (formerly Russel Brothers) in Owen Sound, ON in 1962 it was named Flo Cooper by the C.A.Pitts Construction Co Ltd. Through a series of mergers and acquisitions it passed into the hands of McNally in 2000 and took its present name. (Near sister tug Churchill River of 1964 became McNally's Mister Joe in 2001).

Sandra Mary is a 75 footer, rated at 650 bhp through a single screw. [Some sources say 1320 bhp - two engines, single screw.] Its trip actually began in May in Ontario, and it was reported downbound in the St.Lawrence Seaway June 2 towing the crane barge William P. Dilly and the small tug Lac Vancouver. It was then recorded in Montreal and Trois-Rivières June 4 and arrived in Port Hawksbury. It was next reported leaving Port Hawksbury July 14 and in Sydney July 16 to 17. It was not recorded on AIS again until yesterday (August 23) when it sailed from McNally's base in Port Hawksbury for Halifax.

Despite their size McNally's tugs range widely, all over eastern Canada - often at towing speed (about 4.5 knots on this last trip).

Sandra Mary did not stay in Halifax long, but sailed later in the morning for Port Hawksbury - possibly for more equipment. (Its free running speed as a light tug is 9.5 knots.)


Tuesday, August 15, 2023

New Tug in Town - Part 2

 Following up on the previous post, the "new tug in town" has a acquired a name and owner's identification.

 Eagle Beach Contractors Ltd have bestowed the name Eagle Fury on the 25 footer. (At 4.99 gross tons, it is registered by number only, so the name is unofficial. The Official Number C34850NS has not yet appeared on the hull.)

In recent days the tug has been spotted at various locations around the harbour with a sectional scow carrying a crane. The tug operates in the pusher mode, using a pair of beefy looking push knees and tugger winches.

Eagle Beach is based at the old Fader Agency wharf near the Macdonald Bridge in Dartmouth, now also used by the Atlantic Pilotage Authority...

 ...and has been seen at Mill Cove in Bedford Basin.

As per the previous post, the tug is a "Victory" model, built by Progressive Industrial in Palmetto, FL. The twin screw vessel is powered by a pair of Cummins QSB engines totaling 610 bhp.


Saturday, June 17, 2023

New Tug In Town

 It is not often that a newly built tug appears in Halifax harbour, so it was more than a little surprising to see one on June 15. I have no idea when it arrived in Halifax, because it was already at work on the waterfront when I saw it.

It is a type that is very common on inland waters in the United States and is usually referred to as a "truckable pushboat". About 25 feet long it is equipped with a pair of push knees and a towing bitt. On boats of this type the wheelhouse and its deck structure are usually demountable for road transport.


It appears to be one of the standard designs built by Progressive Industrial Inc of Palmetto, FL. Measuring 25' x 10' x 4' draft, and powered by a 310 hp Cummins engine driving a single screw and with flanking rudders.

I have not seen any registration information nor a registration number, but it was working with some sectional scows owned by Eagle Beach Contracting Ltd, which were in use installing some steel piling reinforcement on the Sackville pier.

An ideal type of craft for sheltered waters, it will likely become a familiar sight in the harbour. 

It deserves a name and as soon as I detect one, I will post an update. (It may be under 15 gross tons and thus will be registered  by number only, with the name being an unofficial one.)