Thursday, January 31, 2013

New for McKeil

Rumours are circulating that McKeil has acquired two tugs from Swire Pacific Offshore. Built in 1994 for Hong Kong Salvage & Towage Co Ltd, the former Mai Po and Shek O are 4,000 bhp stern drive anchor handling/supply tugs of 54.5 tonnes bollard pull.Currently named Pacific Tempest and Pacific Typhon respectively they are registered in Barbados, but operated through Swire's Singapore offices.
Built by Imamura Zosen in Kure, Japan, they are powered with Niigata main engines and Rexpeller stern drives. They also have bow and stern thrusters. These drive combinations are common in Asia, but virtually unheard of in Canada.
For spec sheets see:

For general arrangement:
While no doubt they are handy tugs, they will require considerable Canadianization I expect.

Atlantic Hawk - to the rescue

1. Atlantic Hawk as built.

Reports have reached me that the anchor handling tug/supplier Atlantic Hawk has taken the drifting Lyubov Orlova in tow. The tug secured the wayward ex cruise ship last night (January 30).
Destination for the tow has not yet been made known to me, although I suspect it will be St. John's. I doubt that there will be much of a welcome mat extended there, since the ship languished in that port for two years after being abandoned by its owners. The resident rodent population may be happy to have its hotel back, although I am told it was fumigated at some point before sailing on its ill-fated tow behind Charlene Hunt.
There is some question now if the Charlene Hunt was bareboat chartered to Lyuobov Orlova's owners or actually purchased by them.The US Coast Guard's web site still shows that tug owned by Hunt Marine I LLC of Narragansett, RI..
Atlantic Hawk was built by Halifax Shipyards in 2000, and was the second of a pair of UT 722 AHTSs constructed for Atlantic Towing Ltd. It is powered by a pair of monster V-12 Ulstein Bergen engines developing a total of 14,400 bhp, driving CPPs in nozzles for a Bollard Pull rating of 157 tonnes. It is also bristling with thrusters.
Since the photo above it has added a 20 tonne Iron Fist crane and FiFi II fire fighting gear.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Craig Trans - lights on, no one home

After the repatriation of the tug's crew. through the generosity of the public, there was a little activity on the tug last week. A welding machine was parked on the pier and there was a watchman also. Since then the tug has taken a bit of a list to starboard. Now the gates to pier 24 are closed at both ends and there is no sign of any activity on board.
There are still lights on, indicating that a generator must be running, but there is no sign of other life. I hear that the owner is arranging for another crew, and hopes to resume his trip to Beauharnois, QC as soon as the Seaway opens in March.
With the ongoing Lyubov Orlova / Charlene Hunt situation in Newfoundland, I wonder if that will be allowed to happen? The ship is still adrift and the tug remains tied up in port, but there doesn't seem to be any resolution in the offing.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Charlene Hunt - more on the story

According to latest reports the tug Charlene Hunt has been ordered back into St.John's over concerns for the safety of the crew. As you will see from comments attached to previous postings. the tug sailed from St.John's towing the former cruise ship Lyubov Orlova, but the tow line parted off Cape Race. The tug ahas not been able to reconnect, and the ship is still drifting, but in a seaward direction.
CCGS Cape Roger was standing by to warn off approaching ships, but there does not seem to be any particular concern or effort to seek alternative means of securing the ship.
As we know the Canadian Coast Guard will not take a ship in tow. Commercial salvors will unlikely be interested in the ship, particularly if it is not insured, as scrap-bound ships frequently are not. Salvage awards are based on the value of the salved ship under traditional law.
There are certainly questions about the capability of the tug Charlene Hunt itself to under take such a tow in winter time, so a return to port may well be the end of the story for her.
The fate of the ship is open to question. The Department of Transport is taking a 'hands off" approach, as long as it not polluting or impeding navigation. Does that mean they would allow it to sink, with whatever ensuing pollution may result?
I have been promoting rescue / salvage tugs for Canada for several years, and this would seem to be another example to make the case, even though there is no immediate threat to human life. There are certainly potential environmental risks which should be of paramount concern now.
There is still a great deal of controversy in the salvage industry over how to compensate salvors for preventing pollution and environmental damage. Recent ship sinkings around the world, the Rena off New Zealand being a prime example pose huge risks to shipping.
I favour a pool of funds taken from harbour, pilotage or a new port fee from which to draw for compensation to salvors who step in to prevent pollution, groundings or loss. I also favour standby rescue tugs, on hire or owned by the government, that can step in and tow ships to safety.
Britain has recently cancelled or cut back such a plan through their Coast Guard, but France, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, among others, do have such tugs. In Canada's case they would rarely be used, and so would have other duties, but they should be in place for situations just as this. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

UPDATE: Charlene Hunt - welcome to Bolivia - or here we go again

I have been informed that the US flag tug Charlene Hunt, which called in Halifax, in distress in November, has now been re-flagged to Bolivia. This welcoming flag state is "home" to the tug Craig Trans also in Halifax  in distress.
Charlene Hunt managed to get itself back into condition to sail to Newfoundland, complete with plywood over its windows and had other harrowing adventures on the way. It took more than a week to reach St.John's.
The tug has been lying there ever since, but is set to sail today towing the miniature cruise ship Lyubov Orlova .
The Yugoslavia built ship dates back to 1976, and was arrested in St.John's in September 2010 for debts to Canadian charterers. The owners walked away, leaving 49 Russian and 2 Ukranian crew unpaid. The crew had been depending on local charities for food, and were eventually repatriated with public assistance.
In January 2012 the ship was sold in Federal Court to an owner based in the British Virgin Islands.
The intention is to tow the ship to the Dominican Republic for scrap.
Update: The tug and tow left St.John's on Wednesday January 23. Their weather predicting cpabilities are being brought into question as a rare winter "super storm" is predicted fo rthe weekend.
' A historic extratropical storm is possible over the central North Atlantic on Saturday, the 26th of January based on the latest computer models. A weak 1014mb low will move off the Virginia and North Carolina coasts early Thursday moving rapidly east to northeast deepening to a 977 mb storm low by 12Z Friday, the 25th southeast of Cape race with winds to 50 knots. Thereafter, this low is forecast to “bomb out” as it moves northeast dropping 57 mb of pressure to 920 mb by 12Z Saturday, the 26th with hurricane force winds to 85 knots (nearly 100 mph) likely. ' Source Ocean Weather Services blog

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tarpon makes a side trip

 1. Tarpon makes a bow wave as it ambles across the harbour.

The tug Tarpon arrived at Imperial Oil yesterday with its barge Potomac and berthed at Number 4 dock. This morning the tug exited the barge notch and made its way across the harbour to the Svitzer Canada (ECTUG) dock.
The tug was built in 1974 by the prolific McDermott yard in Morgan City, LA as Miriam M. Defelice for Defelice Marine Towing of New Orleans. That company was taken over by Gulf, then Zapata, then Tidewater, and the tug was sold in 1986 to Morania Oil Tanker Corp and renamed Morania No.1. When Morania was merged into Penn Maritime (they had common owners) it is reported that the tug was renamed Penn No.1 for a time. However this change must have been short lived, for all documentation that I can find, such as the USCG and Lloyds says that it became Tarpon in 1993. A sister tug, Morania No.2 did become Penn No.2, and kept the name.
In 2005 the tug was fitted with a JAK coupler system, and the barge Potomac was rebuilt to double hull, and its shallow notch was modified to a deep notch, with JAK fittings. The barge has a capacity of 79,000 bbls of cargo - usually asphalt or heavy black oil.
2. The tug slows as it approaches the dock. Note the array of ladders for reaching the deck of the barge.

The tug is rated at 4300 bhp, from two V-12 GM EMD engines (12-645-E) driving two open fixed pitch props. The tug still carries its large towing winch and can tow the barge if needed, but normally operates in the notch.
The purpose of the visit to the ECTUG dock is the same as that of several fleetmates, and that is to take on water and some stores. This is not possible at Imperial Oil due to the configuration of the jetty. Alsao if some minor repairs require hot work, that is also forbidden at the oil dock.
Penn Maritime Inc was taken over by the Kirby Corp in December of 2012, but so far the tugs have not been renamed or changed colours..  
3. The JAK couplers are built out from the hull in special housings, and are retracted to disconnect from the barge. An emergency tow line leads aft to the tug's winch. It appears not to have been used recently.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Surprise new Canadian tug

A surprise addition to the Canadian flag is the tug Itinerante I, registered in Thunder Bay, ON on December 10, 2012.
Built in 1963 by Gebr. Paans NV, in Moerdijk, Netherlands, it is small tug of 117 gross tons, powered by a pair of MWM Deutz engines giving 1600 bhp through twin screws. a single screw.
A lovely looking tug, it was built originally as Havendienst 1 (Havendienst = Port Service) for the Port of Rotterdam Amsterdam, also with the official name Vulcanus. It worked in the port as a fire tug until 2001, having been repowered and rebuilt in 1989.
After that I am still a little cloudy on its history. I believe it was renamed RPA 4 in about 2002, and may have carried the unofficial name of Vulcanus at one time.
It may laso have carried the name Auke Sr from 2002 to 2010 before acquiring its present name.the name Fire Fight Tug in 2010.
Registered owners are listed as Coastal Cayman Ltd of Toronto, but there is a website for Itinerante Marine which shows an excellent photo of the trim little tug.
It seems unlikely that it will put in an appearance in Canada, but it is odd that the Cayman Islands, usually a flag of convenience, would have a tug registered in Canada!
The only other photos I have found of the tug are at:
An older photo, perhaps taken before a rebuilding is at:

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Atlantic Juniper - say it ain't so Joe

Word reached me via the comment section of the blog that Atlantic Juniper may be on the way to her demise. This would certainly be sad, but I guess inevitable. Such is the way with old tugs.
Her is a small retrospective as far as my photos go.

 1. Back in 1993, she was still the Irving Juniper and was wearing the J.D.Irving colours, of blue funnel cap and Irving logo - the same device used on Irving Oil trucks and gas stations. 

2. By 1997 she had become Atlantic Juniper and with the rest of the fleet had lost the logo and assumed a black funnel cap. She is seen here with fleet mates Atlantic Birch and Atlantic Maple - also now sadly laid up and likely to go the same way.

3. By 2004 she had been re-assigned away from Saint John, but was still looking good. 
4. She even had a new bulwark section at the stern. Never fitted with a winch however, she still had her original capstan for line retrieval.

The best photo I have of the Juniper was taken in 1997 when she was returning from berthing the QE2 in Saint John, and was taken by the late John Weeks: