Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beverly M I arrives in Mulgrave

Thanks to the Strait Area Shipping blog for documenting the arrival in Mulgrave, NS on April 24 of McKeil Marine's Beverly M I. The tug made a one day stop in Horta, Azores en route, but otherwise made excellent time on its transatlantic crossing. See photos - My Favourites bar to the left.

Sister tug Sharon M I is still in drydock at Arab Heavy Industries Shipyard in Ajman, United Arab Emirates. No ETA for Canada has been given yet.

Work is progressing at Glovertown Marine Ltd shipyard in Glovertown, NL on two new barges that McKeil will manage for Kiewit/ Mammoet/Hunt's Transport to work on the Hebron Gravity Base structure at Bull Arm. Dowden Spirit is due for completion in August and Glovertown Spirit in April 2014.

Meanwhile the barge Nunavut Spirit arrived in Mulgrave last week from Morgan City, LA in tow of Miss Lis. Another McKeil barge, Huron Spirit, arrived at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI, in tow of Meredith Ashton from Chicago. The barge had worked its way up the Mississippi River (in tow of as yet unidentified tugs) also from Morgan City. The barge measures 328' x 82' x 23.6' and is about 6 feet too wide to fit the Welland Canal and St.Lawrence Seaway. There is speculation that it may be put on a diet at Bayship to thin it down for the transit.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Foundation Maritime - some memorabilia

I see my friend on Halifax Shipping News has plugged Shipfax and Tugfax again - thank you Peter! His recent reposting of a couple of photos from my collection shows the few colour photos I own of the Foundation Maritime tugs. Their distinctive green deckhouses and green "F" funnel mark were fixtures on the Halifax waterfront for many years.
  As Peter correctly states the Foundation Company itself was a large US construction firm. Attracted to Canada by the need for emergency shipbuilding during World War I, they were also large civil engineering contractors.
When they added marine construction to their portfolio they soon needed tugs and barges. Farley Mowat's humorous description of their early days as tug boat operators and their almost accidental entry into the salvage business, are well worth reading in the early chapters of Grey Seas Under-one of the classics of maritime literature. (Some would say in the creative fiction category).

Foundation Maritime Ltd as the parent company and Maritime Towing & Salvage as the Halifax tug operator really came into their own during World War II. With the huge increase in shipping, they were hard pressed to find tugs to meet the demands.The exploits of Foundation Franklin in Grey Seas Under and Foundation Josephine in The Serpent's Coil are mandatory tug enthusiast reading!

At the end of the War they acquired new tugs and expanded their operations to include Port Alfred, Baie-Comeau and Sept-Iles, while maintaining salvage stations in many ports from Québec City to Bermuda.
With the advent of modern aids to navigation, such as radar, Decca, Loran and safer ships, the salvage business eventually petered out and Foundation was left with mostly harbour work, coastal towing and the odd salvage job, usually carried out in association with other companies.They carried out a major fleet modernization between 1956 and 1963, but the management of parent The Foundation Company of Canada Ltd was looking in different directions.

In 1968 they got out of the tug business by chartering, then selling their fleet to Marine Industries Ltd, of Sorel, QC who formed MIL Tug & Salvage (Miltug) as a managing company. Marine Industries Ltd was having its own struggles however and started to run down the assets.

In 1970 Smit International of the Netherlands and Cory Towage Ltd of England formed Smit & Cory International Port Towage Ltd  to provide six tugs tugs at new refineries in Point Tupper, NS and Come-by-Chance, Newfoundland. Smit & Cory acquired MIL Tug in 1971 as a management company. Then in 1973 Eastern Canada Towing Ltd was incorporated by Smit & Cory and it acquired the remaining Foundation fleet, while also managing the operation of the Smit & Cory fleet of six tugs. Eastern Canada Towing (Ectug) removed the "Foundation" prefix from the tugs and substituted "Point".

Even though this is the fortieth anniversary of the formation of Eastern Canada Towing Ltd, remarkably there are still several former Foundation tugs working in Canada.
Eastern Canada Towing Ltd became wholly owned by Cory Towage in1990 and eventually through mergers with Wijsmuller evolved into present day Svitzer Canada Ltd. They no longer operate tugs in Halfax, but provide tugs in Point Tupper, NS and Sept-Iles and Baie -Comeau, QC. The current fleet consists of five owned and one managed tug.
Svitzer are partners with Atlantic Towing Ltd in Halifax Towing Partnership, but Atlantic Towing Ltd provides all the tugs in Halifax.
Former Foundation tugs still operating in Canada are:

Jerry Newberry, ex Kay Cole ex Point Victor, ex Foundation Victor, 1956 - laid up for sale in Point Tupper by McNally Construction Ltd.
Point Valour ex Foundation Valour, 1958 - owned by Thunder Bay Tug Services, Thunder Bay, ON.
Florence M ex Point Vibert, ex Foundation Vibert, 1961 - owned by McKeil Marine, Hamilton, ON.

Point Viking ex Foundation Viking, 1962 - owned by Construction Polaris of Quebec.
Point Vim ex Foundation Vim, 1962 - owned by Davis Shipping of Newfoundland.
Molly M 1 ex Point Vigour ex Foundation Vigour, 1962 - owned by McKeil, but chartered to Nadro Marine Services, Port Dover, ON.
André H ex Point Valiant ex Foundation Valiant, 1963 - owned by Groupe Océan and based Sorel, QC.
A pair of former Foundation Company work boats may also still exist.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ville tugs keep on trucking

The Canadian Navy has expressed interest in replacing its Glen class harbour tugs, with more powerful 4,000 bhp ASDs, but I have heard notiung on replacement of their Ville class "Pup" tugs.
These little work horses do a variety of jobs in the HMC Dockyard and are quite adequate despite their modest size and horsepower.
1. Merrickville on security rounds today, heading for the DRDC barge in Bedford Basin.

The 365 bhp tugs with single screw and steerable nozzles produce a bollard pull of 7.5 tons from their Cat engines. However they are able to work up under the overhangs of light displacement warships and are very useful. They also perform countless moves of light scows and barges in the Dockyard every day. 
Commemorating the names of wartime built Pup tugs, built by Russel Brothers in Owen Sound, they are almost as old as those tugs were when they were replaced.  The original Villes were built 1942-45 and retired when the new Villes were built in 1974.
2. Still Life With Tug - Parksville ready to be sent out for refit in 1971. The first generation Villes were built inland by Russel Brothers in Owen Sound, ON, and shipped all over Canada by rail.

3. When retired from Dockyard service the Villes were sold for civilian use or transferred to other duties, such as the 1976 summer Olympics in Montreal and the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour in Kingston, ON. Mannville got a fresh coat of paint before leaving Halifax for the last time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Scotian Sea - back from first trip

I covered the initial arrival of Scotian Sea in Canada on April 8 in Shipfax, but offshore supply vessels are usually lumped in with tugs, even thought they don't have towing capability.
After a very short time for preparation, the Scotian Sea went into service for Secunda Marine, sailing for the Sable Island area April 13. It returned this afternoon, allowing me a clear view of the ship for the first time.

Although it is a supplier, it also has standy, rescue and firefighting capabilities. It carries three Rigid Hull Inflatables (RHIBs), two appear to be fast rescue craft and the larger one a work boat with a cabin.
The biggest boat appears to have a name, but it was not legible from my vantage point.

Update: The boat is an MP-1000 WJ FRDC = Fast Rescue Daughter Craft, with a speed of about 30 knots:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sandra Mary - short tow line

Sandra Mary returned to Halifax last week from Digby, but had to wait several days for high winds to die down before setting out again with the spud scow VMS 087. (It is shown as VM/S 87 in the register, but is painted as VMS 087 on the hull.)

On April 2 the scow was retrieved from its winter resting spot, in the shadow of the MacKay bridge on the Dartmouth side - in the background of this photo, an area known as Turple's Cove. It took a bit of pulling in the high wind to get it over to the Halifax side to prepare it for sea.
On April 7, it was much calmer, and with the spuds guyed in place and pegged, they headed for sea. The pair reached Liverpool that evening where they will shelter from more high winds.
The scow's unusual name is derived from its first owners the St.Lawrence Seaway Corp (in French La Voie Maritime St-Laurent.) It was built in 1958 in Collingwood, ON as S.L.S.87 for use by the then new St. Lawrence Seaway system in maintenance work.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sharon M 1 to join Beverly M 1 at McKeil

The latest acquisition by McKeil Marine was registered in St. John's today as Sharon M 1. She is the former Pacific Tempest, ex Mai Po built in 1993 by Inamura Shipbuilding in Japan for Hong Kong Towing & Salvage and lately operated by Swire Group.
She joins sister Beverly M 1 ex Pacific Typhoon, ex Shek O, which was registered February 20.
The 4,000 bhp ASD tugs will likely be used with a pair of new barges under construction for McKeil at Glovertown Shipyard in Newfoundland. The barges, built in cooperation with Mammoet and Hunt's Transport, are to be used in construction of the huge new Hebron Gravity Base Structure at Bull Arm, NL. The 120 meter high concrete structure will eventually be placed in 93 meters of water on the Hebron oil field off Newfoundland. In the meantime it will take more than 2,000 workers and 132,000 cubic meters of concrete to build. Substantial quantities of aggregate, reinforcing steel and other materials will be needed, and they will be transported by these and other tugs and barges. Also at the Bull Arm site workers will assemble the accommodation topside structure. The topside production structures will be built overseas.