Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Island Champion in transit

 The Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) Island Champion made a short stay at anchor in Halifax, NS September 14-15. The Bahamas flag vessel is en route from Montrose, Scotland to Norfolk, US.

Built in 2007 by Aker Braila, completed by Aker Brevik to a UT776E design, it is a 4,382 gt vessel of 4,100 dwt. With the usual capability to carry liquids, cement, and barite it can also carry pipe on deck and its fitted for oil recovery, standby and is rated FFII (firefighting) and DP2 (dynamic positioning).
Its reason for stopping in Halifax is not known.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

New life for old tugs

 A pair of elderly tugs appear to have been sold, or at least are in the process of being sold for further service.

The older of the two tugs is the W.N.Twolan, built by G.T.Davie + Sons Ltd, Lauzon, QC in 1962. A twin screw tug of 1520 bhp, it is powered by Werkspoor engines. It was considered to be a very powerful tug for its day, and even twin screw tugs were something of a rarity.

It was built to operate in the Port of Churchill, MB on Hudson Bay, to assist bulk carriers into the port to load grain. It was ice strengthened so it could continue to assist ships at the beginning and end in the short July to October season. There were facilities for minor maintenance in Churchill, but the tug sailed south in 1966-67 and again in the 1970s for five year surveys and refits. 


When in barge service with McKeil a small "birdhouse" was installed above the wheelhouse for improved visibility.

The tug was replaced in 1986 and passed through McKeil and Dufresne/McAllister ownership until 1995 when it was acquired Buchanan Forest Products of Thunder Bay, ON. They used it to push a lumber barge on Lake Superior. In 2011 it was chartered to push a grain barge but has been laid up in Toronto since about 2013.

Its AIS signal has reappeared in recent weeks in the area of Toronto Dry Dock Co, where it seems likely to be refitted for service. That company has successfully operated the veterans Salvage Monarch (1959) and Radium Yellowknife (1948) in recent years.

Another old tug destined for a new career is the Escorte, presently reported in Kingston, ON undergoing re-certification. Built in 1967 by Jakobson, Oyster Bay, NY for the US Navy as  Menasha YTM-773 and later YTM-761 it was (along with a sister tug Mascouta) the first Voith Schneider tugs built in the United States. As Menasha it worked for the St.Lawrence Seaway Authority for a time in the late 1980s until acquired by Groupe Océan. It worked with Océan's dredging fleet for several years until moving to Goderich, ON  for ship berthing duties.

The tug worked in Goderich, ON until April 2021. It then moved to Hamilton, ON in April, Oshawa, ON in May and Kingston. It has been idle at Kingston since mid-August in refit. It is rated at 1,000 bhp, (1300 ihp) 13 ton bollard pull  from two GM 12V-71 engines and two V-S units mounted forward - a true tractor tug.


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Strait Raven and barge

 The small tug Strait Raven arrived in Halifax from Sydney late August 30 with the McKeil Marine barge MM143 and tied up at the Cherubini dock in Eisner's Cove. Although a small barge at 542 gross tons, it has a clear deck area on hull dimensions of 43.90 x 16.46m, so can carry a significant size load. Cherubini Metal Works specializes large metal fabrications such as the bridges recently completed for Toronto.

Strait Raven was  built by its owners, Superport Marine Services of Port Hawksbury, NS in 2013 and is a twin screw 1,000 hp vessel, also equipped with a bow thruster.

A very useful vessel, it has carried out tows throughout the region, between Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Transatlantic Crossing

 It may be the first time that a "multi-cat" type vessel has made an unassisted transatlantic crossing. Even if it is not the first, today's arrival (August 24) of Tidal Pioneer is a notable one. The small workboat, measuring only 26m x 11m, and rectangular in shape, sailed from Rotterdam August 5. After a stop in the Azores, it resumed its voyage August 15 and sailed through the tail of Post Tropical Storm Henri before arriving in Halifax this morning.

Built on strictly utilitarian lines, the vessel has a square "bow" with push knees, large working deck, open from  bow to stern, with wheelhouse offset to starboard, a small superstructure and exhaust stacks to port, and a pair of cranes - one forward and one aft. 

This type of vessel, commonly called a "multicat", although that is a trademark, is popular world wide, but still rare in North America. Dominion Diving's Dominion Warrior was the first to be seen in these parts, and it arrived from Europe on a heavy lift ship in 2018. 

Tidal Pioneer is owned by Sustainable Marine Energy, the Scottish/Canadian company that has developed floating tidal power generators. It is currently commissioning the Grand Passage project, between Digby Neck and Brier Island, Nova Scotia. The floating platform has been built by A.F.Theriault + Sons, Meteghan River, NS, and equipped with tidal turbines built by Schottel. Seabed anchors and undersea power cable work are scheduled for completion this summer. Presumably Tidal Pioneer will be used in the construction and servicing of the installation.

Tidal Pioneer was initially laid down in 2019 by Neptune Shipyard in Aalst, Netherlands as their hull number 556 then fitted out and completed for SME earlier this year. Neptune's multi-purpose vessels are called "Eurocarrier" and Tidal Pioneer appears to be based on the 2611 standard design, with many modifications to suit the specific needs of SME. It is a twin screw vessel, of 2600 bhp.

Registered in Canada July 2, it was reflagged to Belize for the delivery trip. This is standard procedure for ship delivery companies. They are contracted by means of a charter arrangement, and use experienced delivery crews, mostly from the Netherlands. These crews also perform warrantee monitoring, break in procedures and other work during the delivery voyage. They must also be a hardy breed of seafarer to withstand a transatlantic voyage like this one.


Monday, August 16, 2021

Work for Suppliers

 With the lack of offshore oil and gas activity off Nova Scotia there has been no call for supply ships in the area. There were several boats laid up here earlier in the year, but they had all been redeployed to Europe, and it seemed unlikely that we would see any more.

However there have now been two visits. First was the return of Atlantic Condor after delivering two Canadian Coast Guard lifeboats to British Columbia.

See: New Gig and Lifting On

After off loading the boats in Victoria, Atlantic Condor was then used to assist in oil removal from an old shipwreck working with Resolve Marine Group and using an ROV to hot tap the hull and remove fuel.

See: Schiedyk wreck

Atlantic Condor arrived back in Halifax July 27 and after a short period at the IEL dock in Dartmouth returned to sea August 14 on an ROV survey far offshore. 

Today, August 16, saw another arrival, Siem Pilot from St.John's. One of the few remaining members of Siem's Canadian subsidiary Secunda Canada LP, the ship entered layup at the COVE dock in Dartmouth.

It is a 5,000 gt supply and pipe carrier. Construction started in 2007 at UMO, KD-Eregli in Turkey but was completed by Eidsvik, Uskedalen, in Norway in 2010. Fully equipped for standby and firefighting it is also DP2 with diesel electric drive and ROV support. Although not a tug, it has a bollard pull of 70 tonnes.
With its arrival in Halifax, possibly for layup, Siem/Secunda is left with Avalon Sea working off Newfoundland on the Hebron field.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Sandra Mary - a narrow escape

 The tug Sandra Mary had a narrow escape today August 1, 2021 when it began taking water off Charlottetown, PE. Thanks to a quick response from the CCG and private boat owners a pump was delivered and a CCG mechanic assisted in securing the tug. It was towing the dump scow Pitts No.12 which was also secured and both were brought in and berthed in Charlottetown.

Sandra Mary was built by Russel Bros in Owen Sound, ON in 1962 as Flo Cooper and its complete history is available on the excellent Russel Bros web site:

The tug had only recently arrived in Point Tupper after a long trip from the Great Lakes.

CCG vessels nearby responding included M.Perley, Samuel Risley (en route from the Great Lakes for refit in Pictou), CCG RHIB, two inshore fishing vessels and two pleasure craft.


Monday, June 28, 2021

Atlantic Cedar in Halifax

 There has been a temporary re-assignment of tugs to Halifax, with Atlantic Towing Ltd transferring Atlantic Cedar from Saint John, NB.

Built in 2005 by East Isle Shipyard in Georgetown, PE, it is a second generation  type, with 5,050 bhp, FiFi1 fire fighting and 66 tonne bollard pull.

It joins Atlantic Oak (2004) and Atlantic Fir (2005) also second gen types with the same horsepower and bollard pull.

Atlantic Fir, alongside and Atlantic Oak (astern) bring in the container ship ONE Hangzhou Bay (96,980 dwt). Atlantic Cedar had been on the starboard side, but once clear of the Narrows, moved on to assist MOL Experience with Atlantic Willow ((1998, 4000 bhp, 50 tonne BP).

Atlantic Willow is a first generation type, and the the first to be fitted with firefighting gear.

Irving Cedar is in Halifax to replace the  Atlantic Beaver (2008, 5432 bhp, 70 tonne BP) which has gone to Saint John to assist with the LNG tanker Hispania Spirit.

Atlantic Beaver
 and sister tugs Atlantic Bear and Spitfire III were built especially to handle LNG tankers at the mono-buoy unloading facility at Canaport, off Saint John, NB. Those ships are fairly rare now, so one of the three can usually be found in Halifax to assist with the large container ships.