Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Tugfax wishes you a very Merry Christmas.

As customary an old photo forms the subject of this geeting.

In June 1977 the tug D.Lauder was preparing to tow the dredge Nova Scotia to new owners in Quebec. It was tied up at the J.P.Porter dock on the Dartmouth side of Halifax harbour, just north of the Angus L. Macdonald bridge.
The tug was built in 1954 in at Port Dalhousie, ON for the J.P.Porter Co Ltd as the A.F.Fifield, named for one of the company superintendents. It was later renamed D.Lauder for another of the company personnel. When the Porter company was wound up in 1977 it was acquired by Sceptre Dredging and transferred to Sorel, QC.

Sceptre, after several re-organizaitons, was also wound up and the tug was sold in 1990 to Construction Ger-Con Ltée. They renamed the tug J.Manic before re-selling it to Navigation Harvey Frères (1992) Inc with the unlikely address of Thetford Mines, QC. They in turn renamed themselves Navcomar.

On June 29, 1994, while towing the barge Basse Côte from Sept-Iles to Monger Lake, the tug began taking water and sank . The crew took to a boat and were picked up by the tug Pointe Sept-Iles.
The sinking was the subject of a Transportation Safety Board Report :



Friday, December 20, 2013

New Names: Océan Basque, Océan Sept-Iles, R.J.Ballott and christenings

This week three former Ectugs changed names, and another tug entered service making 2013 a banner year for changes in the tug scene of eastern Canada.

On Friday December 20, the sale of Svitzer Canada's Pointe aux Basques and Pointe Sept-Iles became official when Location Océan Inc of Quebec City, re-registered the two tugs as Océan Basque and Océan Sept-Iles respectively. The surprise sale of these tugs to Groupe Océan after they had been displaced from Sept-Iles by Groupe Océan had been rumoured for some time, but Groupe Océan apparently did not want it to be known, but it is now official.

There is no outward sign of Océan ownership yet, but I can't imagine them letting the tugs sit idle for too long. As reported before, Pointe aux Basques has been inactive in Halifax since October and Pointe Sept-Iles was recently working in Point Tupper.

Meanwhile, also in the Strait of Casnso area, the new name for Jerry Newberry, ex Kay Cole ex Point Victor ex Foundation Victor  has now been revealed. New owners Sealand Shipping Service Inc of Baie Verte, NL have renamed the tug R.J.Ballott, and it appeared this week on the Transport Canada List of Shipping web site.

In the photo, taken in 2011, Jerry Newberry sits alongside the tug Kaliutik (built in 1998, 550 bhp, 2screw) which also is for sale. Behind them are Gulf Dianne and Atlantic Elm.

Meanwhile in Quebec City, the official naming ceremony for Océan Tundra took place one week ago on December 13. The tug was built in the company's own yard in Ile-aux-Coudres, with the superstructure and bow built at their ship repair facility in Quebec City and barged to Ile-aux-Coudres for installation after the hull was launched. The super tug has already entered service. For video of the ship's construction, up to and including some (brrrr) icy spins off Quebec City, see a 6+ minute Youtube item:


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tug and barge change hands

Idle since 2010 the tug Commodore Straits and the barge Marinelink Explorer have been sold and renamed. Chaulk Determination and Chaulk Lifter respectively. The new owners are shown as a numbered New Brunswick company, but based on the new names, I assume it is connected with CAI Logistics, a Moncton based freight forwarder.

Marinelink Explorer and Commodore Straits laid up in Trois-Rivières in 2011.

Halifax Shipyards built the tug in 1966 as Haida Brave, and it sailed directly to the wast coast on completion.  In 1984 Rivtow Straits renamed the tug Commodore Straits. A subsidiary of the Upper Lakes Group bought the tug in 200x and returned it east. It went to work for Distribution Grands Lacs/St-Laurent Ltée of Trois-Rivières, QC, moving grain barges through the St.Lawrence Seaway. It is a twin screw vessel with 3700 bhp Werkspoor main engines. Smaller tugs were found to be more suitable for the grain barge work and the tug was idled for a time and transferred eventually to Jackes Shipping, a UL Group subsidiary.
In 2008 Upper Lakes established Marinelink Inc, to be a tug barge service on the Lakes and St.Lawrence River. They bought a heavy lift ship, orginally named John Henry and built in 1978 by Peterson Builders Inc of Sturgeon Bay, WI. It was a specialized shallow draft ship with bow and stern doors and a reputed 300 tonne lifting capacity. It only worked for a couple of years until it went into a 15 year layup in a controlled environment. In 2000 it emerged from its US government cocoon and was to be rebuilt as Revival but work was suspended. Marinelink renamed the ship Marinelink Explorer and Commodore Straits was dispatched to Norfolk VA and towed it to Canada.

Shortly after the photo above was taken the tug Océan Golf met the tow and assisted it up river to Trois-Rivières. In September of 2008 Commodore Straits and Radium Yellowknife towed it up through the Seaway to the Port Weller Drydock where it was reduced to a barge, with temoval of its superstructure, but it retained its heavy lift capability.

The tug and barge did get some work, including transfer of some locomotives from Becancour to Sept-Iles in 2010, but they were laid up in Trois-Rivières. In 2011 when Upper Lakes sold its Great Lakes bulk carriers, the pair were put up for sale.

CAI Logistics is involved in freight forwarding and logistics by air, sea and road. Originally based in Goose Bay, NL but now headquartered in Moncton, NB, and with connections to the Canadian north, they have chartered or used ships, tugs and barges. Founder David Chaulk and CAI were listed in 2010 as one of the fastest growing companies in Canada (4,650% in the 5 years to 2009.)

In  about 2010 CAI acquired a ship, the former Visten ex Coldstream Trader-96, ex Aldabi -93. It was a 3,987 gross ton ice class combi tanker/cargo ship, built in 1990 in the Netherlands. Renamed Chaulk Tenacity it was sent to Swansea, Wales to be refitted as a cargo ship after some time in layup. It was to become capable of carrying 253 TEU and /or general cargo and to have a pair of 20 tonne cranes.
The refit did not go well and Chaulk sued the ship yard and the project managers for incompetence. The ship is still listed in the Canadian register, with owners as Chaulk Air Inc of Moncton, but to my knowledge the ship has never entered service.

Perhaps CAI will have better luck with their new venture.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Tows can go wrong

Things can go wrong with tows, and I have covered a few here. I am not pointing fingers - it is a fact of life, but there are factors that can be pointed to as possible causes.
One big tow that went wrong, but without permanent damage, took place in 1980. On September 17 the Quebec tug Capt. Ioannis S. (now Océan Delta, see previous post) set out from Quebec City towing two retired Great Lakes ships, Helen Evans and Thornhill. Destination was the scrap yards in Mamonal, Columbia. Things went well until just off Halifax when the controllable pitch mechanism on the Capt. Ioannis S. went into reverse and severed one of the tow lines. 

The result was one ship in tow and another on the loose, and this was more than the Capt. Ioannis S. could handle by itself. Point Valiant (ex Foundation Valiant)(now André H.- see today's Shipfax) went out to assist on September 22. The crew was able to recover the severed tow line, which was hanging down in the water, and did not have to use the emergency pick up line. Fortunately conditions were calm - but foggy.
Capt Ioannis S. still had Thornhill on a string and was able to tow it in, arriving early on September 23, then stood by the as Point Valiant brought Helen Evans in later the same day.

Once in port Ectug mobilized its harbour fleet to bring the ships alongside. Point Viking, Point Vigour, and Point Valour all assisted.

The tug and tows remained in Halifax until October 16 when the fotilla set sail  and reached Columbia safely October 30.

Remarkably all these tugs remain in service today. Point Vigour is now McKeil's Molly M 1, Point Viking works in Quebec for Construction Polaris and Point Valour is stationed in Thunder Bay, ON.

News Flash: The newly elected Liberal provincial government of Nova Scotia says it will go it alone to start removal of the wreck of Miner, which has littered a beach on Scatarie Island since its tow line parted two years ago. It will chase the Conservative federal government for compensation later - good luck with that.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Océan on the move again

Groupe Océan is making tug news again with acquisitions and sales.

1. Pointe aux Basques and Pointe Sept-Iles  reported sold.

I have received reports from several sources that Groupe Océan has purchased Pointe aux Basques and Pointe Sept-Iles from Svitzer Canada. As previously reported, the two tugs were idled when Svitzer's contract with the Iron Ore Company of Canada was not renewed. Svitzer, and its three predecessors, Ectug, MIL Tug and Foundation Maritime, had provided tugs in Sept-Iles since 1956 (and possibly earlier), and these twin screw icebreaking tugs were built to work there. The contract ended August 1, 2013.
Groupe Océan became well established in Sept-Iles the past few years, with their tugs supporting construction, dredging and ship-lightering in the bay.  They now provide tug service at both Pointe-Noire and at Sept-Iles. They also chartered Océan Arctique and Océan Stevns last summer with an option to buy, and have stationed them in Sept-Iles.

2. Point Valiant in refit, Lunenburg.

Pointe Sept-Iles found work in Belledune, NB and is presently filling in at Point Tupper while Point Valiant is in refit at Lunenburg. Pointe aux Basques arrived in Halifax October 10 and has been idle ever since.
Océan had previously reported that they would be assigning two tugs to Bull Arm next year, so these may be the tugs they will use.

Meanwhile Groupe Océan has listed the tug/barge combination Mega and Motti with Marcon International ship brokers. I hear that Océan bought the combo for a contract, which was subsequently cancelled. The transatlantic delivery of the pair last winter and spring, was a bit of a marathon, with extended stops in the Las Palmas and Hamilton, Bermuda.
Full particulars on the pair may be found on Marcon International's web site:  http://www.marcon.com/marcon2s.cfm?SectionGroupsID=20&SectionListsID=20&PageID=24&Action=Detail&File=HB42678

Also on the For Sale list are Océan Delta and Océan Foxtrot. These two are among the senior citizens in the Océan fleet, and with newer tugs available and on the way, they will have to go.

Océan Delta was Océan's largest tug, Built in Norway 1973 for the International Towing Contractors as Sistella it was renamed Sandy Cape in 1978, and in 1980 came to Canada for Québec Tugs [Quetug], then part of Davie Shipbuilding, which was owned by Canada Steamship Lines. Renamed Captain Ioannis S. (for Capt "John" Styliadis) it worked on the St.Lawrence, on the east coast, towing icebergs and in the arctic and farther afield. When the present Groupe Océan acquired the Quetug fleet they retained the name until 1999 when it became Océan Delta.
3. In Halifax in June 1997, the tug wearing its Quetug funnel marking.

4. In August 1996 it teamed up with fleetmate Océan Foxtrot to assist in the tow the oil rig Spirit of Columbus from Halifax to Quebec City for rebuilding. Foxtrot was carrying the name and wearing the new colours of Groupe Océan

Océan Delta made the headlines a year ago during the ill-fated tow of HMCS Athabaskan from St.Catharines, ON toward Halifax. As lead tug, Delta was plagued by breakdowns, (and I hear a scratch crew). They had to abort the tow in Sydney, NS, after the towline parted and the warship was holed when it made contact with the tug. Atlantic Towing Ltd completed the tow.

Groupe Océan spent a lot of money on the tug over the years, including a re-engining, when its original 5,600 bhp N+H was replaced with a 6,464 bhp MaK in 2000. However large single screw tugs* are becoming dinosaurs, and with a spring delivery of Océan's new Océan Tundra the Delta will be replaced with a much more capable ship. 
[* Marcon categorizes the tug as twin screw in its index, but the actual listing shows it correctly as single screw.]

5. Trading a Halifax grain elevator for Quebec City grain elevator as a backdrop, Océan Delta rests in its home port. It was just about to enter a summer refit. Soon after this photo was taken the Océan funnel mark changed again to a broader black cap and no logo.

For Marcon's listing  of Océan Dleta see: http://www.marcon.com/marcon2s.cfm?SectionGroupsID=20&SectionListsID=20&PageID=8&Action=Detail&File=TG56000

 Océan Foxtrot is an untypical tug for Groupe Océan. It was built as an anchor handling supply tug, with lots of pulling power for its size. Originally Polar Shore it came out of the Cochrane Yard in Selby, England in 1971 for Offshore Marine. With 72 tonnes bollard pull from a pair of Ruston-Paxmans totaling 5,280 bhp, it was considered a powerful vessel in its day. As its name implied it was built for work in northern waters to Lloyds Ice Class 1. 
In 1988 Canadian Marine Drilling bought the tug, renamed it Canmar Supplier VII and put it to work in the Beaufort Sea. Quetug bought it in 1995, giving it the name Océan Foxtrot and initially put it to work as pusher tug, with a special bow fitting. That was removed in Halifax in March 1999.
6. Océan Foxtrot with pushing fender. The former Coast Guard landing craft Nanook, then owned by Océan is alongside.
7. On a bitingly cold day in Halifax, Ocean Foxtrot carries a bit of frozen spray on its return from a trip to Come-by-Chance, NL in 2003.

 Meanwhile it worked on numerous unusual projects, such as dive support for the Irving Whale salvage in 1995, the Swiss Air crash recovery in 1998, several cable repair jobs, and salvage tows.It has also worked offshore and in the north. I am sure Océan will miss its versatility if it sells.
6. Océan Foxtrot leaving Halifax for a cable repair project. It has been fitted with a slide over its stern roller, and carries a containerized fibrepoptic splicing shop on deck.

Being "For Sale" doesn't mean "Sold" so we will have to wait and see what happens to these two tugs. Marcon is also listing McKeil's Tony MacKay - more on it another time.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Jerry Newberry sold

The veteran tug Jerry Newberry has found a new career. On the for sale list for more than a year, a buyer in Newfoundland has  purchased the tug, expecting to find work connected with the massive Hebron oil project. The tug is due to sail from its layup berth in Port Hawksbury in a few weeks, with a fresh coat of paint and some other improvements, to take up the new post.

The thrice renamed tug was the first in a new era of postwar tugs built in Canada for Foundation Maritime, the tug operation arm of the Foundation Company of Canada.With the development of new iron ore mines in Labrador and the looming opening of the St.Lawrence Seaway, Foundation saw a need for more powerful tugs. They set out to replace their entire fleet of pre-war and war-built tugs and in the end built ten new tugs over a seven year period, nine of them in Canada.

The Foundation Victor slid down the ways at Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon, QC on November 19, 1956 and was handed over to her owners December 22. At 244 gross tons and 1380 bhp (delivered by an 8 cylinder Fairbanks Morse, to a single screw) it was a big tug for its time, and was thought to be capable of handling the biggest ships of the day. It was intended to work in Sept-Iles, QC in summer and Halifax in winter, following the pattern of the day when the Gulf of St.Lawrence was closed to winter navigation and Halifax and Saint John became the primary eastern Canada ports in winter.

The tug sailed from Lauzon January 11, 1957, and with the assistance of the icebreaker N.B.Mclean
worked through heavy ice to Bird Island. It then reached Sydney on its own to effect repairs to due to iced up radar and standard compass. It reached Halifax 19 hours after leaving Sydney.

Joined by near sister Foundation Valour in 1958, the pair continued in the winter/summer pattern for some time, but events eventually overtook them. Winter navigation became a reality and  Sept-Iles became a year round port. Ships increased in size and tug horsepower had to grow with it, and the duo were virtually obsolete with a few years. It was not until 1973 however that new 4,000 bhp icebreaking tugs displaced the pair from Sept-Iles and they transferred to Halifax permanently. Even in Halifax, which had become a year round port, they were underpowered as larger ships needed more powerful tugs, with quicker response times.
1. Point Victor was built with an elevated wheelhouse to provide added visibility when docking large bulk carriers.

Meanwhile Foundation had sold the tug fleet in 1968 to MIL Tug, a division of Marine Industries Ltd of Sorel, QC, who then sold MIL Tug in 1971 to what became Eastern Canada Towing Ltd (a joint venture between the Dutch Smit and British Cory) in 1973. Ectug, as it was known, renamed the tug Point Victor and  found some work for it, but sold it in 1977 to Pitts Engineering + Construction Ltd of Toronto.
2. Kay Cole was fitted with a towing winch, mounted low on the after deck, feeding the tow wire forward through a sheave at the former towing hook location, then aft over the stern.

Renamed Kay Cole the tug ranged far and wide around eastern Canada towing Pitts' dredges and scows to construction sites.They also fitted it with a towing winch. It had a good run with Pitts (which among many other companies merged into various other concerns including Foundation) until 1991 when it was sold to McKeil Work Boats of Hamilton, ON.

3. In McKeil colours, the tug lays over in Halifax while towing a barge with crane components to the US.

4. As Jerry Newberry the tug worked in Montreal for time when McKeil provided ship berthing services in the port.
McKeil ran the tug as Kay Cole until 1995 when it became Jerry Newberry. It ranged even farther afield for McKiel, including barge towing to the United States east coast, but as their fleet expanded it was sold to McNally Construction, also of Hamilton in 2007. It was used by their Beaver Marine subsidiary on the east coast and the north. It was while returning from Labrador that it lost the crane barge McNally Olympic when the tow line parted and the barge drifted ashore. The barge was also carrying the smaller tug Le Taureau which was also lost.
5. The tug was looking quite forlorn while laid up in Port Hawksbury last summer. Competitor Mac Isaac Construction had their tug/wokboat conversion Whsipering Seas II tied up alongside.

McNally laid up the tug in Port Hawksbury and listed it for sale, but it was only last month that new owners were found. They have not re-registered the tug or changed its name yet.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Whitby to the rescue

When the ferry Princess of Acadia lost power on November 7, it was making its approach to the Digby, NS terminal and ran aground by the stern, not far away. The ship regained power and was able to berth at the dock two hours later. After several days of diver surveys, investigation and perhaps repairs, the ship was able to sail again on November 10.
Nowhere in the media coverage I saw, was the name of the tug Whitby mentioned, but it was on the scene and appeared in several media photos, alongside the ship's stern as it finally reached the dock. Normally the nearest tug to Digby is in Saint John, NB - several hours steaming time away.
Granted Whitby is not powerful, (474 bhp) if it figured in the "ungrounding" or was used as a precaution while the ship finally reached its berth I do not know, but its presence was fortuitous. Its owners, McNally Construction Ltd are finishing up work at the Digby terminal and it was only by chance that the tug was in the neighbourhood.
Built in 1978 for McNamara Construction, the tug worked in Halifax on the Halterm extension in 2010-2011 and left Halifax for Digby aboard the Canadian Argosy March ,11, 2013..


Friday, November 1, 2013

Scotia Diver in port

The tug ex fishing boat Scotia Diver  has been spotted in port October 30, at pier 9C and at pier 6 - both positions awkward for photography. It is still in as of this evening.

Built in 1979 by Lunenburg Foundry + Engineering as the fishing vessel Wanda and Paula, it was renamed Scotia Diver in 1997 when Halifax owners bought it as a dive tender/towboat. It did see frequent use in Halifax and as far away as Gaspé for a time, but was then laid up for number of years until sold in 2010. The current owner, from Port Hawksbury, has put the boat to good use in general towing and contracting work.
I assume the tug is in Halifax to tow out the small dump scows SA2 and SA3 that Dexter was using in  at Pier 6. They are owned by Indian Head Towing of Port Hastings, NS. Scotia Diver probably towed them to Halifax as well, but I missed that. The wild weather for the last few days has no doubt resulted in a postponement of any departure.

The new owner has done a lot of work on the tug, but this is how she appeared in 1999.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Roseway and the reef balls (and more)

A project to promote marine life in Halifax  got underway yesterday and part one was completed today. Since the commissioning of a new sewage treatment system, marine life has experienced a slow comeback in the harbour waters. Scientists have now developed a perforated concrete cone or ball which, it is hoped, will accelerate the growth of some marine growth in shallow water where sunlight can penetrate. Called reef balls, the devices also promote eddies and currents and provide a sheltered enclosure for some types of plants and animals.
Irving Shipbulding Inc is funding the balls, and they being placed by Dominion Diving Ltd. Using their tug Roseway (built in 1960), their work barge DD 2000 (built in the mid-20th century*) and the scow RB Barge (built in 1994) Dominion Diving placed a series of the balls close to shore near Point Pleasant Park's Black Rock beach.

1. The reef balls were lowered to the bottom by crane and divers ensured their correct placement. The barge DD2000 is secured by four anchors.

Once work was completed today, Roseway began the tow back to Dominion Diving's base in Dartmouth Cove.
2.Roseway gets under way. The scow RB Barge was used to transport the reef balls from base to site.  (In the background a pusher tug handles a barge** headed for the Northwest Arm.)

3. The deckhand lets out a little more line for the tow home.

3. Underway again.

Foot Notes:
*  The barge DD 2000 was once the Dartmouth Marine Slips Work Barge No.1:
4. Pictured in 1976, it was not new then!  I have always suspected that it was acquired in the United States with a number of other scows used in construction of the oil rigs at Halifax Shipyard in the 1960s, but have never been able to confirm it.

** The bandy legged legged spud scow in the background of photo number 2 is this item:
5. T.K.L. No.6 was built in 1976 by Sydney Engineering + Dry Dock Co Ltd as the cable ferry Angus MacAskill for the Province of Nova Scotia. It is now owned by R.J.MacIsaac Construction Ltd of Antigonish, NS. In photo 2 it appears to be under the control of the pusher Lina see: http://tugfaxblogspotcom.blogspot.ca/2012/04/tug-lina-history-not-known.html


Monday, October 28, 2013

From the (black and white) shoe box

With little tug activity to remark upon in Halifax recently, it was time to dig into the shoebox for some oldies.

Back in 1983 Cartier Construction, a Quebec company, included most of the assets of the former McNamara Construction Co. Among those was the tug Oshawa (built in 1969) and still going today for McNally Construction Ltd.

1. and 2. Oshawa pulling (and an aluminum motorboat pushing) the dredge Harold M and scow alongSide at Pointe-au-Pic, QC, 1983-08-20.

3. 2013-10-19 in Halifax.

In 1984 Canadian Dredge and Dock were the operators of the tug Bagotville (built in 1964)

4. and 5. Bagotville was tied up in Toronto 1984-04-13.
6. In Halifax, 2013-10-19.


Also in Toronto in April 1984 was the Canadian Dredge and Dock Co's tug Traveller. It visited Halifax two times that I know of. It was built as the steam tug Dalhousie Rover in 1941 by Muir Bros DD of Port Dalhousie, ON for C.S.Boone Dredging & Construction. However due to wartime needs it was chartered to Saint John Tug Boat Co. It arrived in Halifax October 24, 1941 from Pictou and cleared for Saint John., NB. (It may have returned to the Great Lakes seasonally.)
On March 12, 1945, while towing a ship from Saint John Dry Dock it capsized and sank in Courtenay Bay, with the loss of three lives. Six others were rescued. The tug was raised, repaired, and called in Halifax October 31, 1945 en route to Sorel.
On June 29, 1946 it foundered in Lock 1 of the Welland Canal and six were drowned. It was again raised and repaired and renamed Towmaster
In 1949 it was briefly renamed Shediac (possibly for work in New Brunswick), but was soon renamed Traveller by Canadian Dredge and Dock Co Ltd.In 1960 CD+D rebuilt it at their own yard in Kingston, ON, converting it to a diesel tug, upping its horsepower from 450 ihp to 720 bhp with a 6 cyl B+W Alpha. Its steam winch and windlass were converted to electric by Russel-Hipwell of Owen Sound, who also supplied Lister auxiliaries, steering gear and pumps from the Steelcraft line.
The tug seems to have lead an uneventful life thereafter, lasting until 1995 when it was broken up in Port Maitland, ON.
Its similarity to the Glen class tugs of the RCN, built very soon after, but as diesel tugs, is worth noting. 


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Océan Tundra update - launch-- UPDATE

Océan Tundra took to the water October 18.

See the following link for an incomparable photo:


Océan Henry Bain assisted the new 100 tonne bollard bollard, $25mn tug to the fitting out berth.
The article promises more detail in a future issue.

For a photo album of the unsual launch see:

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Gleeful tugs

It is debatable whether tugs can be gleeful, but it seems that the three McNally Construction tugs in Halifax were gleeful at noon time today when they completed placement of the last of the cribs at pier 6 in Halifax shipyard.


Freed from towing the huge concrete cribs at glacial speeds, and hours of nudging them into position, the tugs seemed to kick up their heels when the job was completed. The workers were also pleased to have the rest of the week end off too.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

McNally triple tow

McNally Construction used three tugs to tow a concrete crib from the work site to the Fairview Cove container pier on Tuesday October 15. Bagotville took the lead, towing Oshawa, which was towing the crib. Jamie L brought up the rear pushing the crib for a time. As they neared the destination, Jamie L turned and repositioned as a brake to help position the crib.
[Power lines in the foreground  were unavoidable, due to a crime scene investigation underway closer to the water.]

Monday, October 14, 2013

New McKeil barges towed in by Dutch tug

The McKeil Marine barge fleet continues to grow.  An application has been made by McKeil-Malaspina Ltd for a coasting license to use the Tobias to carry a concrete batching plant at Bull Arm, NL for construction of the Hebron Gravity Base (GBS) structure from January to December 2014. Normally a "non-duty paid" vessel, under the Canadian flag, is a chartered one, where ownership remains with foreign owners. However it is reported that McKeil-Malaspina purchased this barge, so it is likely they assumed no other Canadian barge could do the job, and thus they are avoiding paying Canadian duty. It is common in the oil industry to do this, since highly specialized oil-field craft are not usually available in Canada. I suppose the reasoning is that a 20t/m2 capacity deck barge fits the same category. McKeil have commissioned two other barges from local builders, but these are not highly specialized.

Tobias is a flat deck barge Damen Stan-Pontoon type 12032. It was built in China and transported to Europe aboard the heavy lift ship Zhen Hua 29 and given final fit out at the Damen yard in Gorinchem, Netherlands. The number 12032 refers to its length of 102m x breadth of 32m.It reportedly has a sophisticated ballasting system and mooring winches, powered by its own generators. With the aforementioned 20t/m2 deck load capacity, it has a capacity of 20,000 tonnes. Its gross tonnage is 8800 and it was registered in St.John's May 9 of this year.

It was towed to Canada by the Dutch tug En Avant 10 operated by Muller, Dordrecht arriving in Pictou in July. It is now being fitted out at the Aecon-Fabco shipyard.

The tug En Avant 10 was built in 2002 by Ast. Armon in Vigo, Spain as Dhoce and later carried the name Tryton while working in Poland.
The tug is powered by Cat main engines, giving 4400 bhp and 55 tonne bollard pull. It is rated for ocean towing, salvage, fire fighting and harbour work.

It is now en route for Argentia, NL with another new barge for McKeil-Mammoet, named Glovertown Spirit. Also built by Damen, it measures 71.28m x 23.5m and 2073 gross tons. Registered in Canada on October 1, it is due in Argentia October 22. nb: destination changed to Bay Roberts (revised 2013-10-15)