Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ionian Pelagos due Montreal

Ulstein UT 505 type tugs.

1. Biscay Sky alongside in Halifax May 31, 1979.

2. Reliance on the St.Lawrence, August 27, 2010, off Ile-aux-Coudres.

3. Ocean Delta in Quebec City August 16, 2010.

The Greek owned tug Ionian Pelagos is due in Montreal October 3 to tow the laker Algoisle to Turkey for scrap. The current name of the tug may not sound familiar, but it was a caller in Halifax, and has some other interesting connections.
This tug was one of several built to the Ulstein UT 505 design, an anchor handling offshore tug, for long distance towing and salvage. Ulstein, in Hatlo Norway, was a busy yard, in the 1970s just beginning to take advantage of the North Sea oil boom. They have since become a giant world player, owning Rolls Royce, Bergen engines and Ulstein azimuthing thrusters among other things. Not only does Ulstein build ships, it exports its designs to other yards to build under license (and strict control.) All four of the tug/suppliers and the supplier now under construction at Halifax Shipyard are Ulstein designs, and incorporate Ulstein built propulsion packages and many other components.
Two of the early Ulstein 505s are now serving in Canada as Ocean Delta (ex Capt. Ioannis S-99, Sandy Cape -80, Sistella-78) for Groupe Océan and Reliance (ex Atlantic Cedar -02, Irving Cedar -96, Sinni -81) for Purvis Marine. Both were built as part of an order for three tugs for for International Transport Contractors (ITC) in 1972, 1973 and 1974. This generation of 505 were rated at 5,000 bhp.
A second generation was built in 1977, and were named Biscay Sky and Biscay Star by Biscayan Towing and Salvage, and placed under the management of the Dutch firm of Wijsmuller. These were rated at 7,040 bhp, and had some slight improvements and modifications. They were fitted with two Nohab Polar engines of 3520 bhp each driving a single CP prop in a fixed nozzle. They also have 400 bhp bow thruster.
Ulstein sub-contracted the building of Biscay Sky to the Molde shipyard in Hjelset, and they completed the tug in 1977. Both tugs were sold to the USSR in 1979 with Biscay Sky becoming Zubr [Zebra] and operated for Black Sea Shipping.

In 1998 the Italian Moby SpA bought Zubr and renamed her Mascalzone Oceanico. She was fitted with anti-pollution gear, in the form of a plant on deck and a boom boat.

The forward thinking Greek towing and salvage concern Megalohari Salvage & Towage SA have now acquired the tug, renamed her Ionian Pelagos and refitted her for towing and salvage.

Now back to her visit to Halifax,. This occurred when she was still fairly new, and was named Biscay Sky. She arrived in Halifax May 30, 1979 and sailed June 1. She was apparently travelling with the Wijsmuller tug Noord Holland, bound across the Atlantic. Noord Holland bunkered in Halifax, but Biscay Sky did not as far as I can tell from my records. However she did stop at pier 34 long enough for a picture!
She looks essentially the same today, and there are differences with the earlier UT 505s. She has two funnels instead of the single funnel and a slightly raised forepeak. She also has a winchman's/aft control station on her boat deck.
Reliance (shown for comparison) and Ocean Delta both have an elevated wheelhouse fitted to permit barge pushing.

Second Scrap Tow from Montreal

Simoon is due to leave Montreal in the morning towing the laker Canadian Prospector to the scrappers in Turkey.
A frequent caller to Halifax over the years Simoon is shown here in Halifax January 29, 2001 off pier 9.
[see September 19 posting bleow]

Working Halterm

Sequence of operation, reading from top to bottom. All photos taken from same position.

1. Atlantic Larch meets the inbound Tsing Ma Bridge. The outbound Zim Beijing uses the centre of the channel, and Tsing Ma Bridge favours the east to allow room for passing. Middle Ground Shoal is to the west (right.)

2. Once made up on the starboard quarter, Atlantic Larch provides some drag to slow the ship, and assists her in moviong back out into the main channel to give her room to turn.

3. Once the ship reaches the right position, Larch pushes up on the ship to turn her 180 degrees.

4. The ship is turning, with the assistance of her thruster, and has some sternway on. Atlantic Larch lets go to move round to the port quarter.

5. It is a quick move, allowing for the sternway on the ship, the tug has to turn 180 degrees too.

6. Larch "gives it the gas" to get into position around the stern of the slow moving ship.

7. Rounding up on the port quarter.

8. Getting in position.

9. Ready to push, at an angle, to give the ship more sternway and to complete the turn.

Tugs working at Halterm usually turn container ships when they arrive, so that the ships berth starboard side to, facing out to sea. This is done because it requires fewer tug movements when the ship is under way in bound and can use its own momentum in the turn. Outbound ships, with little way on would be much harder to turn, and they would be going astern.

To turn the inbound ships the tug must make up on the ship's starboard quarter as it approaches. Once the ship has made most of its turn and is ready to back in, the tug them moves around astern of the ship and makes up again on the port side to push her in alongside the pier.

It is usually a one tug job, since most container ships are fitted with a bow thruster, which also assists in the turn.

Today's arrival of Tsing Ma Bridge (see also Shipfax on this one) was a textbook example of how it is done. Atlantic Larch is a 4000 bhp ASD tug, built in 2000.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beaver Delta II

1. Halcyon Bay in DPW colours at Queen's Wharf in 1986. She is fitted with an A-frame for bottom leveling.
2. Beaver Delta II in Beaver Marine colours , lifted out on pier 9 March 5, 1996.

3. After her 1996 refit, in Beaver colours, working off pier 9 May 12, 1999.

4. September 4, 2010, Beaver Delta II sits on pier 9 to wait out Hurricane Earl.

McNally Construction's truckable tug Beaver Delta II has been a fixture off an on in Halifax since the 1980s.

Built in 1959 in Vancouver as Halcyon Bay, the tug was one of a fleet of dredge tenders built for the Canada Department of Public Works. Built to a west coast design, with centre cabin, she ended up in Nova Scotia. The tug remains registered in New Westminster, BC.

When the DPW wound down its fleet, Beaver Marine stepped forward and bought the tug, renaming her Beaver Delta II in 1989. They ran her pretty much as built until 1996 when they carried out a major refit in Yarmouth. She emerged with a forward wheelhouse, and twin funnels. She is twin screw vessel with 320 bhp.

McNally Construction acquired Beaver Marine and repainted the tug in their green colour scheme.
On September 3 the tug was lifted out of the water and placed on pier 9 during the passing of Hurricane Earl. Once he was gone by the tug was lifted back into the water alongside the scow Beaver Kay at pier 9. She appears to be in the midst of a well needed repaint and repair job.

Atlantic Willow

Atlantic Willow follows the bulker CSL Atlas through the Narrows, to berth the ship at National Gypsum. Two deck hands on the foredeck prepare to handle the docking line.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Battler to the Rescue

The new tug Stevns Battler sailed from Halifax September 11 for delivery to Denmark, via the Azores.

She arrived in Ponta Delgada September 22, but on the way had a bit of luck. The Danish cargo vessel SDK Italy, on trip from Cristobol to Rotterdam via Maracaibo, had an engine breakdown in the mid-Atlantic. Stevns Battler diverted to the ship and towed it into port.

Not strictly a salvage job perhaps, but certainly a towing job. The owner is reported to have said it helped pay for some of the fuel on the delivery trip.

SDK Italy is a relatively small ship of some 2657 grt, built in 1982, so was probably an easy tow.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Smallest Tug - candidate #2

Not to be outdone, Waterworks Construction operates "Waterworks 1" the unofficial name of this provincially registered craft. It is under ten gross tons, so does not require federal registration. At 6.58 gross tons it still packs 220 horsepower into its GRP hull.

And yes it certainly has a towing bit, and can often be seen handling scows and barges larger than this A-frame unit.

Waterworks is cutting out and replacing damaged timber under the Svitzer Canada pier office.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Old Props

Azimuthing stern drives are certainly here to stay. Their great maneuverability allows to them to direct their thrust in any direction, with minimal loss of power. All the harbour tugs operated by Atlantic Towing Ltd in Halifax have ASD, and most tugs being built for harbour work today are either ASD or cycloidal (Voith-Schneider.)
If there is a downside to ASD and cycloidal it is that they are sophisticated, expensive and when they break down or are damaged they can be are costly to repair.
There are still lots of conventional propeller tugs around, and so it was good to see a couple this summer on the ways at at les Industries Océan at Ile-aux-Coudres.
The yard is owned by Groupe Océan and builds and refits tugs for the parent group.

1. On August 27 Duga is shown with her port nozzle and rudder removed.

2. On August 20 Duga and Océan Golf are side by side on the ways, with rudders and props in place.

3. On August 20 Duga has her starboard prop wrapped for protection. Note the bar between the two nozzles.

4. Océan Golf (left) and Duga on the ways at Ile-aux-Coudres

5. On August 4 Océan Golf was alone on the ways, one of her open props has been removed.

Océan Golf was built by P.K.Harris of Appledore, North Devon, UK as Stranton, for British owners. However it was purchased by McAllister Towing of Montreal before delivery and towed to Canada by Salvage Monarch. It was renamed Helen M.McAllister and served the port of Montreal. Rebuilt and re-engined in 1997, it was renamed Océan Golf. The tug was built with the patented hydroconic hull form.

Thanks to her many years in largely fresh water, that hull is in remarkably good condition. She is fitted with twin open screws. You will note the ice knives over the rudders.
She now serves the port of Sorel-Tracy, QC.

Duga was built in 1977 by Rolf Rekdal AS in Tomrefjord, Norway as an anchor handling tug. It has two 7 cylinder Wichman main engines of 2100 bhp each. These drive two controllable pitch screws in fixed nozzles. After service in the Arctic and Beaufort Sea, Duga was acquired by Three Rivers Boatmen / les Remorqueuers de Trois-Rivières, which was subsequently acquired by Groupe Océan. She is fitted with a bow thruster and has ice knives above her rudders.

A powerful towing and ship berthing tug, she is also now based in Sorel and works year round. notice the lack of rolling chocks, which would be damaged in heavy ice.

Harbour's Smallest Tug?

Some would say that it isn't a tug - it has outboard motors. Some would say it is a work boat or a crew boat.

Well it is all of these things, and it is called Harbour Diver. It is a jack of all trades for LeGrow's Marine and is used to handle scows, run crews around and variety of other chores. It can also cover the distance between A and B with suitable alacrity if needed.

What settles it for me, is that she has a towing bit - so she's a tug. (It is mounted on an arch to clear the motors.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fir plays catch up

Atlantic Fir stood by off Ives Knoll for the arrival of the tanker North Fighter this afternoon. When the ship came up the tug ran along her starboard side, rounded up astern and came alongside her port quarter in a stiff breeze, with a bit of spray to enliven the deck hand's day. They berthed at number 4 oil dock.

Fir was built in 2005 and is a 5,050 bhp azimuthing stern drive tug with firefighting capability.

She is the third tug of the name to be built at Georgetown, PE for Atlantic Towing. The other two were sold abroad.

Atlantic Fir#1 a 4,000 bhp firefighter, was sold to Johannes Ostensjo of Norway in 1997. Renamed Alex, it has since been acquired by Lee Towage of Cork, Ireland, but is still managed by Ostensjo.

Atlantic Fir#2 , built in 1998, was sold in the same year to Kotug of Rotterdam and renamed SD Jacoba. [SD for Stern Drive]

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Larch and Willow on hull bollards

1. Atlantic Willow was built without a towing winch, but has a quick release tow hook.

2. Atlantic Larch has a towing winch, but no firefighting monitors.

Atlantic Larch and Atlantic Willow berthed the RoRo / container ship Saudi Hofuf at pier 30 on Saturday.
Here Larch is secured to a hull bollard aft, providing drag to slow the ship down. On order from the pilot she will swing out and begin to pull the ship around to slide stern first into the berth.

Willow is performing a similar chore near the bow, and has started to swing out.
Note the Willow is fitted with firefighting gear, but no towing winch. Larch has a towing winch but no firefighting gear. The tugs are of essentially the same class and could be retrofitted with the gear if needed.

Scrap tow underway from Montreal

1. Sirocco in Halifax January 19, 1996. She had delivered a barge to Bull Arm, NF and was on her way to the Azores, but was hanging around on spec for about a week, in case a salvage job came up.

2. Simoon in Halifax September 4, 1999. She left the following day towing a barge carrying the Venture gas field topside structure, which was to be placed at sea by the crane Saipem 9000.

The tug Sirocco got underway yesterday from Montreal, towing the retired Great Lakes bulk carrier Agawa Canyon to the scrappers in Turkey. The former Canadian navy tug Vigilant 1 (former Glenlivet II) is stern tug down river probably as far as Cap-aux-Oies, where the river widens out. This is the first of three similar tows scheduled this fall. It is reported that the tug Simoon is due in Montreal in ten days or so.

These were familiar tugs in Halifax over the years, towing barges with oil rigs aboard.

Owners ITC (International Towage Contractors) of the Netherlands built five tugs of this class between 1976 and 1978: Sirocco, Shamal, Suhaili, Simoon, Solano and Sumatras. A seventh near sister Santania (ex Shoei Maru No.82) was added soon after it was built. They were rated at 110 tonnes bollard pull at 8440 bhp. They are all named for winds (the sibilant "s" seems to be a common feature of wind names in many languages.) Santania and Shamal were sold in 1998, and Solano in 2004, but all still soldier on.

They are magnificent go-anywhere tugs, that have figured in many important tows and salvage operations. Now relegated to second string status by ITC, they can still perform despite their age, and relatively low horsepower compared to newer tugs.

The tugs have been around for a long time, so there is lots of info about them on the web, including these two videos:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gulf Spray and company (revised September 17)

1. Gulf Spray on September 6, resecuring barges after Hurricane Earl. The barges had been moved to pier 9 before the storm, then returned to anchorage off LeGrow's base. In the background CFAV Quest at HMC Dockyard, behind the force protection boom.

2. September 16. The veteran tug Gulf Spray proceeds down the harbour early this morning to the cruise ship Maasdam. It is towing the barge O/D Gavin David and is assisted by the outboard powered tug Harbour Diver. Once alongside the ship the barge will pump off waste.

Gulf Spray also handles garbage removal from cruise ships. International garbage is incinerated and does not enter the normal municipal garbage waste stream in Halifax.

Gulf Spray was built in 1959 in Pictou, Nova Scotia, by the now long defunct Ferguson Industries Ltd shipyard. The tug was used by the yard, but was built to a similar design to several other tugs built there for the Canadian Department of Public Works. These in turn were an enlarged version of the navy's Ville class tugs built during World War II.

Gulf Spray was laid up when the shipyard closed. It was rebuilt a few years ago, and now works for LeGrows Marine in Halifax.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Atlantic Willow at Pier C.

Atlantic Willow is casting off after assisting the post-Panamax container ship Granville Bridge. The tug was built in 1998, and is rated at 4,000 bhp. It is registered in Port Hawkesbury,and was based in nearby Point Tupper until August of this year when it transferred to Halifax.
The tug is fitted for fire fighting.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Atlantic Oak awaits

Atlantic Oak waits off pier 42 this evening for Maersk Pembroke to leave. The pilot was delayed due to heavy traffic, and the tug idled off the berth until called in to take a line.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nordane ready for Battle

Nordane Shipping is about to take delivery of its latest tug from Eastisle Shipyard. Stevns Battler is in Halifax for handover, having completed trials. This is the seventh essentially identical tug built by Irving Shipbuilding for the Danish operator. The last delivery was Stevns Breaker, completed earlier this year. These were the first two to delete the prefix "Ice" from their names. Iceflower (i and ii), Icequeen (i and ii) and Icecap have been the previous names.

Stevns Breaker is rated at 5,000 bhp and is ice-strengthened and fitted with firefighting capability. She is a typical azimuthing stern drive tug, built from an orginal design by Robert Allen Ltd, and upgraded by Irving over many years.

Top photo shows the tug at speed in the harbour as she was heading for pier 9 to to shelter from Hurricane Earl, on September 3.

Lower photo, taken today, shows the tug tied up at pier 24 with signal flags hoisted in preparation for handover ceremonies. In the background is the preserved World War II corvette Sackville - the veteran of the Battle of the Atlantic.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tony MacKay - returns to old roost.

1. Tony MacKay ex Point Carroll at the Svitzer Canada Dock, September 2.

2. Tony MacKay towing out of Halifax September 6.

3. Tony MacKay giving some power to get underway with Fraser, September 6.

4. Point Carroll in her prime July 30, 1994.

The McKeil tug Tony MacKay returned to her old stomping grounds this past weekend. She was set to tow out the old naval vessel Fraser when a court challenge and Hurricane Earl intervened to delay the departure.

The court challenge, by parties attempting to preserve the destroyer escort, failed but Hurricane Earl held things up until Monday.

Meanwhile Tony MacKay tied up at the Svitzer Canada dock -her old home when she was Ectug's Point Carroll.

Built in 1973 for coastal towing and tanker berthing at Point Tupper and Come-by-Chance, Point Carroll and sister Point Spencer, were soon put out of work when both refineries were closed. The sisters and four fire tugs were laid up in Halifax where the owners Smit & Cory International had set up Eastern Canada Towing. All the other tugs were eventually returned to Smit & Cory, but Point Carroll remained in Canada, and was put to work by Ectug doing some ship berthing, ocean towing and salvage tows. She also worked with cable laying, towing a trenching plow and pushed oil barges. Eventually Ectug opted to sell the tug, since her single steerable prop and modest horsepower limited her effectiveness.

McKeil Boat Works Ltd of Hamilton, ON (known as McKeil Marine) bought her in 2001 and put her to work in barge service. She was heavily modified with an elevated wheelhouse and extended exhaust stack.

It is in this guise that she arrived in Halifax. She had to go to anchor during the hurricane, then on Monday morning she moved to navy Jetty Lima to pick up Fraser, and sailed for Port Maitland, ON.
[see Shipfax for more on Fraser]