Saturday, January 30, 2010

Big Tug

Point Halifax returns from berthing the auotcarrier Lapis Arrow at Autoport on a cool January 31 morning. The 4200 bhp ASD tug was built in 1986 and was the backbone Eastern Canada Towing's operations in Halifax.

Since delivery of Svitzer Bedford in 2005 she has been freed up to do other work, including a winter in Freeport, Bahamas and two summers towing barges to Hudson's Bay.

With fleet mate Point Chebucto in drydock in Lunenburg, Point Halifax is back doing full shifts in Halifax.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Even Smaller Tug

Yes it is possible to have a smaller tug than Carly J. Le Grow's Marine also operate Harbour Diver, an aluminum hulled craft, powered by outboard motors. It is used more often in the pushing mode than in the towing mode, but it performs a variety of chores for Le Grows.

I have no details on her either, except that she has an interesting multi-chine hull, which gives her considerable stability.

More Tiny Tugs

Another small tug working in Halifax harbour is LeGrow Marine's Carly J. She was busy yesterday moving a sectional scow to the pilotage wharf. The scow was spudded down alongside the wharf to drive some sheet piles. I have no information on Carly J, except that she seems to have appeared in Halifax in the past five years.

Le Grow keeps her quite busy, handling scows, notably the international garbage scow used during the cruise ship season.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The B-Team

Atlantic Towing's "A-Team" the modern azimuthing stern drive harbour tugs, are kept at work berthing ships and other duties in Halifax.

In the background of the photo, taken this afternoon, Atlantic Larch 4000bhp, built 2000, is seen shifting the former protest vessel Farley Mowat. Mowat's famous tug stories Grey Seas Under and the Serpent's Coil, were based in Halifax, with tugs of Foundation Maritime. He has since lent his name to the seal hunt protest movement.

Atlantic's "B-Team" of much older tugs, find work in the dredging and marine construction areas, and are often laid up for extended periods. Such is the case in the foreground of the picture. Seen is the pier 7 area of Halifax Shipyard where Harbour Development, Atlantic Towing's dredging arm, keeps its equipment. In the front is the small tug Atlantic Tamarack, built in 1969, with 750 bhp. It is a twin screw vessel, used now for handling mud scows.

Bows north (facing to the left) is Swellmaster, built in 1965 in England as Atherfield, and acquired in 1971 when she was renamed Irving Hemlock. She got her present name in 1996. She is a twin screw tug, which was re powered and now has 2000bhp. She handles dredges and mud scows too, and last fall was working in the St.Lawrence Seaway. She returned to Halifax with the scow HD8, to which she is secured.

Facing to the right (bow south) is Atlantic Poplar, built in 1966 as Amherstburg, for McQueen Marine of the Ontario city of the same name. Irving acquired her in 1975 when she was renamed Irving Poplar, and received her present name in 1996. She is a 2920 bhp vessel with twin screws. She arrived in Halifax in tow October 31, 2009, and there is apparently some work going on to refit her. At that time she may rejoin the A-team or become a member of the B-team. Meanwhile she and her mates sit at pier 7 awaiting work, or spring, which ever comes first.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Smallest tug in Halifax

The miniature Waterworks 1 is not to be scoffed at as a tug. Even though her hull is made of fibreglass, she packs 220 bhp and makes her living towing and handling her owners' construction barges. She works year round, despite having no wheelhouse, and as you can see from the picture taken this morning, she does accumulate snow from time to time.
As a provincially registered vessel (C14941NS) her name is unofficial, and her builders name and date of build are not recorded. By her looks however, I would say that she was built as a herring skiff, used by herring seiners to handle purse nets. She would have been carried on the stern of the fishing boat and launched with one end of the net, which she would then bring round in a circle back to the boat to be drawn in.
In the photo she is tied up to a big concrete barge, which she has towed around the harbour to various construction sites. The most recent was the reconstruction of the piers at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic last summer.

Atlantic Hemlock drops in

Atlantic Hemlock arrived at the IEL pier in Dartmouth to supplement Atlantic Towing's harbour fleet. Fleet mate Atlantic Oak has been away in Newfoundland working since before Christmas, so Hemlock will bring the fleet up to three again, with Atlantic Spruce and Atlantic Larch.

Built in 1996, Atlantic Hemlock has 4,00bhp compared to the 5,000 bhp of the Oak, and carries no firefighting gear.

She has thin film of frozen spray on her from the trip, and still carries one of the aluminum guard plates on a wheelhouse window. Her winch is also enclosed by a tarp.

She is normally based in Saint John, New Brunswick, but does get around to other locations from time to time, and made a round trip to Europe in 2000 to promote sales. She was in Rotterdam and at the International Tug & Salvage Conference in St.Malo, France. The trip was successful as several of her yard mates have been sold to a variety of European owners.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mister Joe

Although based in Halifax, the tug Mister Joe may be absent for long periods of time. Operated by Beaver Marine Ltd of Halifax (a division of McNally Construction of Hamilton, ON) the tug is used for marine construction projects all over eastern Canada. This has taken her to the Great Lakes, the coast of Labrador, all over Nova Scotia and New Brunswick- even up the Saint John River as far as Gagetown. She has also done some contract towing and other odd jobs.

Built in 1964 by Russel-Hipwell in Owen Sound, ON, she originally went to work as the Churchill River for Rupert's Land Trading Co Ltd (Hudson's Bay Company.) She worked in Churchill Manitoba and Mossonee, Ontario and other ports on Hudson's Bay and James Bay handling supply barges for the parent company.

In the late 1990s she was sold to the Churchill River Tug Co Ltd of Manuels, Newfoundland and was involved in the flurry of activity surrounding the Hibernia Project.

In June of 1997 she arrived in Halifax for the first time, for Beaver Marine Ltd. Since then she has often wintered in Halifax or refitted at Brenton Gray's shipyard in Sambro.

When McNally took over Beaver Marine in 2001, the tug was renamed Mister Joe and repainted in McNally colours. In May and June of that year she assisted in filming of the submarine movie K-19 The Widowmaker, but she never appeared on film. Instead she moved the former Russian submarine and did other chores during the filming.

In 2002 they gave her a major refit at Sambro, installing two new GM engines, totalling 750 bhp, to drive her twin screws.

Her most recent arrival in Halifax was January 5 towing the construction scow Beaver Kay. They offloaded construction equipment at the Halterm container pier for a pier extension.
She then left port to fetch the construciton barge William B. Dilly, arriving back in Halifax about January 12 and leaving January 13 towing it to Yarmouth.
File photo-2009

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ryan Leet-best looking tug in Halifax

I am willing to go out on a limb- in my opinion this is the best looking tug based in Halifax.

Built in 1978 in response to several catastrophic tanker collisions off the French coast, she was originally owned by the French company Les Abeilles (see also below.)

As Abeille Provence she was one of two tugs to the same design, the other was Abeille Normandie.

Despite their large size and tremendous sea keeping abilities, tankers kept getting bigger, and larger tugs were needed. A second and recently a third generation of larger sister tugs have been built by the French government for operation by Les Abeilles.

In 1987 the two were sold but saw little work until acquired by Secunda Marine of Dartmouth, NS. Secunda did major refits on both tugs, with Ryan Leet ex Salvor Commander ex Abeille Provence getting new main engines and a retractable, steerable thruster forward.

Sister Magdelan Sea ex Salvor General ex Abeille Normandie was sold in 2004 and has since carried the names Zouros Hellas and Tsavliris Hellas, and has worked as a salvage tug for Greek owners. She is currently stationed in Cape Town.

Ryan Leet has also worked in various parts of the world in towing, salvage and standyby work.

In these photos taken on December 13, 2009 she was preparing to tow the oil rig, Rowan Gorilla III to position off Sable Island with two other tug/suppliers. [see Shipfax December 25, 2009]Secunda Marine has become J. Ray McDermott Canada Ltd, and operates a fleet of offshore tug/supply vessels.
The large davits on her starboard size, just forward of the funnel, can carry a large rescue/work boat. She used to carry one called Copan Runner, but I have not seen it recently.

Ryan Leet is now mostly a standby vessel, but she can pull her weight, and looks good doing it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Atlantic Larch at work

Harbour tugs were kept busy today unberthing container ships that had been held in port due to last night's storm, and bringing in ships that had been held off.

Atlantic Larch is shown above returning to her base at pier 24 after undocking OOCL California at Fairview Cove. She then escorted the ship, using a line to the ship's stern, through the Narrows until they reached the lower harbour.

The Larch is one of three tugs normally based in Halifax for Atlantic Towing Ltd. She was built by East Isle shipyard in Georgetown, PEI in 2000 and is rated at 4,000 bhp.

The other tugs working here for ATL are Atlantic Spruce, built in 1997, also 4,000 bhp and fitted for firefighting, and Atlantic Oak, built in 2004.

The latter is rated at 5,000 bhp, has firefighting capability, and is fitted with an escort skeg under her bow, which dramatically increases her pulling power when she is used in the indirect mode. At present Atlantic Oak is working in Bull Arm, Newfoundland on an oil rig project. She is expected to return in a few weeks.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

West Coast News

Smit Internationale NV, the giant Dutch tug company has completed purchase of Minette Bay Ship Docking Ltd in Prince Rupert, BC.
Smit was a partner in Smit and Cory International Port Towage Ltd, owners of Eastern Canada Towing Ltd in Halifax, from 1973 to 1989. They had no North American interests for several years until they entered the west coast of Canada towing market with the acquisition of Rivtow Straits and Westminster Towing in 2000. [They did maintain an office in Houston for their deep sea towing and oil field work.]
After the Rivtow purchase Smit had a presence in Prince Rupert and began providing ship berthing at the new container terminal there (a direct competitor for Asian traffic with the port of Halifax.)
Minette Bay has three tugs, the new T.P.3, built in 2007 with 6000 bhp and the sisters S/VM TP1 and S/VM TP2, built in 1970 and rated at 3560 bhp. All are considered to be ASD type tugs, although only T.P.3 might be considered conventional.
T.P.3 was built by Nichols Bros in Freeland, Washington. Her delivery was delayed by the bankruptcy of the builders, but she was finally handed over in March 2009 after they were rejuvenated. She is a near sister of two tugs built for Baydelta of San Francisco by the same yard, designed by Jensen Marine, and a state of the art tug with fire fighting capability.
Minette’s other two tugs, were built as test platforms for the St.Lawrence Seaway authority, hence their names S/VM denoting Seaway/ Voie Maritime and TP meaning test platform. They were actually built as barges, with notches and mooring arrangements to attach to the bow and stern of ships, to assist then through the Seaway locks. After a period of testing, the platforms were decommissioned - bow thrusters were becoming common on ships and did not require complex tethering and control mechanisms.
Minette Bay bought the platforms and trucked then to Prince Rupert, where they were incorporated into new tugs, with the ASD drives in line at the bow and stern. [Although known as TP1 and TP2 their official names are still S/VM TP1 and S/VM TP2, but will likely change under Smit proprietorship.]
Minette Bay provides ship berthing at the Ridley Island Coal Terminal in Prince Rupert and at Kitimat, about 150 miles away. Smit has recently entered in to an agreement with the giant dredging and port terminal operator Bos Kalis Westminster, in which it will be a an independent subsidiary, and will likely expand its reach well beyond its current wide scope.
see Smit's website for more on their operations

Friday, January 1, 2010

Tugs of All Sizes

All tugs are important to Tugfax!

One operator of small tugs (some would call them workboats- more on that later) in Halifax is Dominion Diving Ltd. As their name implies, they do diving work - much of it offshore, but also in the harbour too. They also have contracts with the Atlantic Pilotage Authority and others for launch services in the harbour and approaches.
For this purpose they operate a fleet of launches and other vessels, including a growing fleet of scows used for a variety marine work, including stores and water barges and lineboat work at Autoport.
They also operate three tugs (you can tell because they have towing bitts- this makes them tugs!)

Their home base is in Dartmouth Cove, and the photo taken this morning shows their fleet in repose.
In the foreground - with no name visible- is Roseway built in 1960 for the Department of Public Works. She is a twin screw tug and packs 300 horsepower. Orginally used to tend a small dredge and mud scows, she is now a jack of all work, often working as a line boat at Autoport and handles stores and water barges.
In the middle is Big Steel, built in 1955 for the navy as YFU/ YMU 116, with 250 bhp. She also works as a line boat, but also handles scows. She was rebuilt by Dominion Diving with a new wheelhouse.
On the right is Halmar, also built in 1960. She is also single screw. Built by Halifax Shipyard for their own use, she was rebuilt by Dominion Diving in 2009 with a new house and possibly a new engine. Her old engine rated 110 bhp. She is used for in harbour towing too.

Their distinctive colour makes the highly visible, as they bustle about the harbour.

Oldie from the archive.... Abeille 30

On December 21, 1979 the French tug Abeille 30 arrived in Halifax towing the Algerian cargo ship Biban 12919/77 from Montreal. The ship was built by Marine Industries Ltd of Sorel QC for the Algerian state shipping company. She often traded to the Great Lakes, and it was on one such voyage in June 1979 when she had a catastrophic engine breakdown at Duluth MN.
American tugs South Carolina, Maryland, and Superior, assisted by Lenny B towed the ship to Montreal, arriving July 29, 1979. She sat there until December 11 when she left for Halifax in tow of Abeille 30. The pair tied up at Halifax Shipyard over Christmas.
On January 1, 1980 they set out for Europe where the ship was eventually repaired. She was sold and renamed Mariam 1 in 2002 but arrived in Alang, India January 12, 2003 where she was scrapped.

More info on the Abeille 30:
She was built in 1944 by Levingston Shipbuilding of Orange, Texas as LT 538 one of a large number of standard Large Tugs [LT] for the US Navy. These were ocean going, 2250 bhp vessels intended for towing anywhere in the world.
Following the war she was acquired by Moller Towage of Hong Kong and renamed Margaret Moller.
In 1951, the famous French towing outfit Société de Remorquage et Sauvetage "Les Abeilles" [the bees] bought her and she worked for them as Abeille No.10 until 1972. At that time she was completely rebuilt and repowered, with 5400 bhp, and renamed Abeille 30.
She was a single screw vessel with a Towmaster propulsion system and bow thruster.
Following her transatlantic tow with Biban, she remained with Les Abeilles (now known as Abeille International) until 1983 when they sold her to Spanish owners, Biscay Towing Inc. and she was renamed Biscay 30 under the Panamanian flag.
In early 1985 she was sent to the Mississippi River to tow the vessel Master Petros 22,391/69 , but something went wrong. She was towing the ship downbound on the Mississippi on January 14, 1985 when the tow overran the tug, sinking her, with the loss of one life.
Although she was raised, she was broken up in October of 1985.