Friday, July 29, 2011

Vacation Time

Another vacation notice - posts to this site will be few and far between in the month of August -if at all!
Although I will be ship and tug watching, I will not be tug posting much since I will be away from my computer.
Watch for new posts in September.

Salvanguard (iii) - the new generation

The third tug to carry the name Salvanguard arrived this morning towing the Boabarge 36, after depositing the Deep Panuke topsides structure off Sable Island.
Although the owners have changed names three times since founding, they have kept the distinctive "Sal" prefix for their big tugs, hearkening back to the days when they were a Singapore based salvage company.

1. The current Salvanguard at rest at pier 25. The large open deck allows for anchor handling and offshore supply work.

2. Salvanguard arrives this morning and slows to let go her tow.

3. Harbour tugs takeover the Boabarge 36 on a hazy moring.

The current Salvanguard, built for POSH Semco in 2004 is 13,5000 bhp multi-use tug with a massive 158 tons bollard pull. As with most of the new deep sea tugs these days it can do anchor handling and various other forms of offshore support work. In my opinion not as impressive a vessel as its predecessors, but it is nevertheless extraordinarily capable.
In the years since Selco and Semco and now as POSH Semco the company has concentrated on worldwide towing and offshore installations, with salvage work a minor part of their activities.
The first tug named Salvanguard was the former American (but Japanese built) Alice L. Moran a yacht like tug that had also carried the names Stateseman and Statesman I before Semco acquired it in 1978. It was sold in 1986 and renamed Amsterdam. Last reported it was in Dubai.
The second Salvanguard was equally impressive, the Japanese built Dahlia acquired in 1987. This 2699 gross ton tug built in 1978 was sold in 1998 and converted to the seismic research vessel Geobay. It was strictly a towing and salvage vessel and made some very significant tows in its career.

4. The impressive Salvanguard (ii) gets underway towing an oil rig from Halifax August 15, 1997.

2. Capt Ioannis S (now Ocean Delta) and Ocean Foxtrot assist in steering and Salvanguard does the puling as the tow sets out for Quebec City August 15, 1997. Photo taken from Chebucto Head, at the entrance the Halifax harbour.

3. Setting up the tow of Spirit of Columbus August 15, 1997. Chebucto Sea stands by at right. The rig was towed to Quebec City for conversion to the production rig Petrobas 36.

Salvanguard (ii) towed the oil rig Spirit of Columbus from Halifax August 15, 1997. Due to the size of the rig its thrusters and flare stack were removed in Halifax to reduce its water draft and air draft, so it could reach Quebec safely. The tugs Capt Ioannis S (now Ocean Delta) and Ocean Foxtrot assisted in the tow to provide additional steering particularly in the narrow sections of the St.Lawrence River and where power lines cross. That rig was converted to Petrobas 36, a Brazilian production platform. On March 20, 2001 the rig exploded and sank off Brazil with the loss of ten lives.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oldie from the Shoebox

1. Metridia spent the winter of 1971-72 at Ile-aux-Coudres, QC. Its heavy icebreaker bow is visible in this April 11, 1972 photo.

2. A sad end to a handsome tug, Metridia beached at Bic, QC in 1978.

In 1928 the Anticosti Shipping Company commissioned Davie Shipbuilding & Repair in Lauzon (now Lévis) QC to build a modern seagoing tug for their wood operations on Anticosti Island, in the Gulf of St.Lawrence.

This large shipyard (much in the news in 2011 after being rescued from bankruptcy again) was building magnificent cruise ships for the St.Lawrence River, canal freighters and humble dump scows - all at the same time.

The tug was named George M. McKee and its primarily use was to tow bundled wood from various collection points around Anticosti Island to the waiting ship Port Alfred. The ship would then take to wood to the company's mill in Port Alfred for manufacture into paper.

That operation only lasted a few years before other methods were employed, and the tug was sold to Manseau Shipyard of Sorel. Manseau was the ownership vehicle for the Simard family, whose empire included steel fabrication and lucrative St.Lawrence River dredging projects. Manseau eventually became Marine Industries Ltd and maintained a large towing fleet.

The tug was built for icebreaking and was no doubt a useful adjunct to MIL's fleet of many wooden tugs. It was 100'-0" length BP and 26'-0" breadth with a draft of only 10'-0". Also remarkable for a tug of the period, it was fitted with a 700 bhp Fairbanks Morse diesel engine.

Crew accommodation for 13 was below decks forward, and aft over the tail shaft. The deck house was only for galley, mess and heads, with the rest devoted to accessing the huge engine which was 20'-0" long, not including flywheel assembly.

The original small wooden wheelhouse and dodger were replaced with steel one. A captain's cabin and spare cabin were located abaft the wheelhouse. Also a steel bulwark replaced post and wire stanchions on the foredeck.

Following World War II the tug was kept very busy by MIL towing surplus naval vessels to Sorel for layup and eventual demolition. The tug picked up the tows in such ports as Shelburne, Halifax and Sydney, NS.

MIL sold the tug in 1970 to International Diving Centre Inc of Montreal. They renamed the tug Metridia and it was in their ownership when I photographed it at Ile-aux-Coudres in 1972.

In 1976 it was sold again to Navires océanographiques Inc of Rimouski. I last saw it in derelict condition in Bic, QC in 1978, and I assume it was subsequently broken up there.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Russel tug changes hands

Another of those long lived Russel tugs has changed hands.

1. Beaupré in Matane, QC July 10, 2011, under new ownership.

2. Hauled out in Quebec City for refit in 1996, Beaupré shows her traditional hull form. No hard chines or flat plates for this small tug. Also no rolling chocks, evidence that she is meant to work in ice.

Delivered on November 24, 1952 by Russel-Hipwell, in Owen Sound, ON, the tug was originally named W.J.Balcom and was built for the federal Mininster of Transport at Coral Harbour, NWT. That community is on the south side of Southampton Island, which is located in the northern extremity of Hudson Bay. (It is now known as Sallit and is in Nunavut Territory.)

Whether it ever reached Coral Harbour is doubtful, because in 1953 it was reported in use as a pilot boat in Goose Bay, Labrador.

Its original use was probably to assist in landing cargo lighters during northern supply missions, but plans apparently changed.

In 1963-64 it was declared surplus by the MoT and sold to the National Harbours Board. Assigned to Quebec City, it was renamed Beaupré. With the privatisation of ports it remained with the port and was owned by the Port de Québec and finally l'administration portuaire de Québec.

Sometime in the last year I would guess, the tug was sold to 3326405 Canada Inc of Matane, QC and that's where I spotted her July 10.

For more photos and other information see:


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shelburne Ship Repair tug fleet in refit

With a major reconstruction of the slipway at Shelburne, NS, which has been underway for a year or more, the yard's three tug/workboats have been unemployed. SSR 1 appears to be just about completed on its refit, which regrettably has not improved the boat's appearance.

1. Extraordinarily homely SSR1 shows it seine boat roots, with the huge keel frames.

2. SSR 3 is a proper little tug, and SSR 2 is also a former seine boat.

Now that the new cradle nears completion, a refit is underway on the first of the boats. SSR 1, which is not documented under that name, is a former seine boat. When afloat is looks like a raft with an outhouse on it, but it is powerful.
SSR 2, also a former seine boat, and also not documented under that name, still has its original seine boat cabin. It was formerly used by the Steel & Engine Products shipyard in Liverpool (now closed) and was named Stenpro III at that time. A sister boat is till laid up at that former yard, the Stenpro II.

SSR 3 is also an unofficial name. Built in 1964 as Grande Entrée by Ferguson Industries in Pictou, it worked as a dredge tender in the Magdalen Islands. In 1996 it was renamed T.5 and sold to Harbour Development, the Irving dredging operation, arriving in Halifax in November 1996. In 1997 it accompanied the dredging fleet to work in Liverpool. Sometime before 2002 it wound up at Shelburne. Its official name is still T.5.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Russel tugs - do they last forever?

The Owen Sound, ON based tug builders Russel Brothers, and Russel-Hipwell Engines Ltd., as they later became, stopped building tugs in the 1960s, however so many of their hulls are still going, that one has to ask the question - will they last forever?
Several factors in their favour are that most have spent their lives in fresh water - or at least a good portion of their lives there.
Another is that they were built to do rough work, usually in logging operations, and so were built to take abuse. They were also technically simple - little more than a hull/cabin with a very basic propulsion system.
Those who operate then now want to keep them going due to very high replacement costs.
A recent trip through Quebec turned up a few Russels in various places:
1. La Trenche was built in 1950. It is seen here working on a bridge project at St-François du Lac for Groupe Océan.

2. This unknown Russel is now a pleasure craft at Louiseville QC, July 8.

3. OC 34 ex Rapide des Coeurs was originally built in 1934, but extensively rebuilt in 2002. It is shown at Groupe Océan's maintenance yard in Quebec City.

4. Groupe Océan is by far the largest owner of Russel tugs, and has several in various states of repair at any given time. (The tug on the left is not a Russel). Second from left is H.E.Graham, built in 1964 - it appears to have had an engine fire. Third from left is Pascal D. ex Namekos, built in 1955. Far right is La Croche built in 1940. Quebec City July 6.

5. Le Phil D. ex Expanse, was built in 1961. It is seen here at Rivière du Loup, June 30 tending the dredge Ocean Basque 2. It too works for Groupe Océan.

The excellent Russel web site (although a few years out of date) is well worth a look, to see the huge numbers of boats the company built, and an explanation of their unique appearance.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Classic tug arrives

The veteran tug Evans McKeil made one of its infrequent arrivals in Halifax this morning towing the floating drydock HM Dock 1. [see also Shipfax.]

The tug was built in 1936 in Balboa, Panama Canal Zone by the Panama Railroad Co. and named Alhajuela. Originally a diesel electric vessel of a modest 750 bhp, it has been rebuilt and reconditioned several times in its long life.

In 1970 Malcom Marine of Port Huron, MI acquired the tug and ran it as Barbara Ann until 1989.

In that year McKeil Workboats of Hamilton ON became the owners and added an elevated wheelhouse for barge work. It is named for the founder of the company, the late Evans McKeil. In its current configuration the tug is powered by two GM EMD engines, geared to a single screw, giving 2150 bhp.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Atlantic Oak puts on another show

Unlike last month's publicity exercises, today's show was put on by Atlantic Oak as part of its real job.
Oak took up position astern of the arriving container ship Kiel Express and assisted the ship through the Narrows, acting as a rudder and brake, but did not have to work too strenuously. However once into the Basin and clear of the MacKay bridge, Oak really went to work. The ship had a to make a wide arc to allow room for sister ship Rotterdam Express to sail, and Oak went into a full stern escort mode, giving lots of power to slow and turn the ship. The tug's escort skeg and its 5,000 bhp provide considerable lateral force to the ship when its own slow speed does not give it much steerage way.

1. Atlantic Oak in position astern of Kiel Express in the Narrows.

2. With line taught Oak is assisting with steering and braking.

3. Into the Basin, Oak pours on the power to turn and steer the ship.

4. Oak in full stern escort mode, exerting may tonnes of power.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Atlantic Poplar on the move

1. Irving Poplar with a barge at the old Irving Oil dock in Halifax.

2. Atlantic Poplar is brough alongside the dredge scow Channelmaster (another veteran).

The veteran tug Atlantic Poplar was moved back to pier 6 yesterday, by Atlantic Willow, after a few weeks at the IEL dock.

Built by Erieau Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co Ltd in 1965 at Erieau, ON, the tug was originally called Amherstburg, named for its home port, near Windsor, ON. It was built for the well known McQueen Marine Ltd., towing and salvage specialists on the Great Lakes.

J.D.Irving acquired the tug in 1975 and it became Irving Poplar, and was renamed Atlantic Poplar in 1996 as part of a fleet renaming by Atlantic Towing Ltd.

It has been laid up in Halifax for a number of years, with reported engine issues. It is a twin screw tug, powered by two V-8 Paxman engines producing a total 2270 bhp.

Ever hopeful that it will be rebuilt and returned to service -I have seen no activity on her for a long time. I expect that she may be rebuilt for the Harbour Devlopment dredging fleet if they can find enough work for her.

Her recent move was just to return her to her usual berth after she was displaced by fleet mate Swellmaster that came in a couple of weeks ago and left with a dump scow.

Under Atlantic Towing ownership it has been based in Saint John, Belledune and the Strait of Canso, as well as in barge towing all over Atlantic Canada.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Pups at play

In a very stiff northerly breeze, it wasn't exactly child's play to dock the visiting USCG Eagle this morning [see also Shipfax]. However the two navy Ville class tugs Granville and Merrickville were up to the job, and made it look easy.

Both tugs were wearing white "bibs" over their bow fenders, and made up well out in the stream. They had to push to keep the ship up into the wind, and to keep it alongside until lines were secure.Built in 1974 the tugs are rated at 7.5 tonnes bollard pull, with 365 bhp.

As Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessels (CFAV) they are manned by civilian crews and work under the direction of the Queen's Harbour Master at HMC Dockyard.

Océan A. Simard on the job - in Baie Comeau

1. Océan A. Simard on July 4, 2011 in Baie Comeau.

2. Océan A. Simard at the usual tug berth, alongside the government wharf.

3. Pointe Comeau in her original Ectug livery, in Halifax in 1976. Both tug and waterfront have changed over the subsequent years. Note the dent in the exhaust uptake.

The Groupe Océan tug Océan A. Simard (ex Alexis-Simard of Rio Tinto-Alcan) is now on the job in Baie Comeau, QC.

After an extensive refit at Industrie Océan shipyard in Ile-aux-Coudres, QC this spring, the tug went to Quebec City for a time, but in late June it transferred to Baie Comeau. That port is home to the tug Pointe Comeau, owned by the Cargill Grain Co, but operated under a long term contract with Svitzer. It serves ships at Cargill's grain berths. Now Ocean A. Simard is handling Alcoa's import and export berths.

Interestingly both Océan A. Simard and Pointe Comeau are Voith Schneider tugs, so ship handling will be carried out in the same way for the berthing masters.

Océan A.Simard looks quite splendid in its new Groupe Océan livery of blue hull and white house, with aqaua blue trim, which can only he seen from certain angles.

Pointe Comeau was built in 1976 by Marystown Shipyard and is rated at 3500 bhp.

Note: the above has been edited and corrected thanks to comment received - see below.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

McNally sells to Weeks

1. Whitby at work on July 11 at the Halterm extension.

2. Carl M swings around the Canadian Argosy at Halterm July 11.

3. Mister Joe arriving in Halifax in May.

As reported in Shipfax, McNally Construction has been purchased by Weeks Marine, Inc of New Jersey. McNally will continue to operate under its current name as a wholly owned subsidiary.

As the largest marine construction operation in eastern Canada (Ocean Group is probably a distant #2) McNally has a substantial fleet of work barges, scows, dredges and about 20 tugs.

There is unlikely to be any outward change in the look of the fleet in the near future, but some of the older plant is certainly due for replacement.

One of McNally's hard working tugs is Mister Joe, built in 1964 by Russel-Hipwell in Owen Sound, ON as Churchill River. After a career in James Bay and Hudson Bay, it worked on Hibernia for a time, before its acquisition of Beaver Marine (a McNally subsidiary that was folded into the larger company) in 2000. The twin screw tug of 750 bhp is named for Joe McNally, one of the company founders.

Smaller tugs include Carl M, built in 1957 as Louis M (renamed in 1975) and acquired from the now defunct McNamara Construction rates 475 bhp. Whitby (also a former McNamara tug) was built in 1978 and rates 474 bhp.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Big Tug heads north

The big Russian tug Vladimir Ignatyuk sailed from Halifax yesterday, headed for Greenland.

Built at Burrard Yarrows Corp in Victoria, BC in 1983 as Kalvik, it operated in the western Canadian Arctic Beaudril, a subsidiary of Gulf Canada Resources. It was renamed Arctic Kalvik in 1997 when acquired by Fednav Ltd.

Sister ship Terry Fox, built by the same company, but in North Vancouver, was sold to the Canadian Coast Guard, but they let Kalvik get away.

In 2003 it was sold to the Murmansk Shipping Co and has worked world wide in towing and arctic support. On her last visit to Halifax, in May of 2007, she was en route back to the Beaufort Sea to support drilling work as Vladimir Ignatyuk. With a helicopter landing deck mounted forward, she is distinctively different from her sister vessel.