Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Nostalgia time: Christmas Season 1979

Halifax was a busy port for tugs over the Christmas season of 1979.

As previously reported here and in a recent Shipfax post, the French tug Abeille 30 was in port from December 21 to January 1, 1980. It was towing the broken down Algerian ship Biban from Montreal to Europe, but the ship needed drydocking in Halifax.

Abeille 30 revs up as she tows out Biban on New Year's Day 1980. 
Harbour tugs Point Vigour, Point Viking and Point Vim all assisted in getting the tow on the move.

Local tugs were being kept busy too, with Point Valiant assisting the three harbour tugs Point Vim, Point Vigour and Point Viking with docking the big bulk carrier Oremar.  I believe the ship was suffering some hull cracks and was escorted in to Halifax by Point Valiant.

Built in 1963 as Foundation Valiant, the tug was sold by Eastern Canada Towing to Three Rivers Boatmen in 1995 and renamed André H. Groupe Océan took over TRB and still operates the tug today.

There was quite a collection of tugs and suppliers at the Dartmouth Marine Slip. Front and centre was Tusker - a former Australian tug, acquired by McAsphalt Industries to tow its asphalt barge. It had yet to enter refit.
Pre-refit Tusker still wears the funnel marking "OSS".

Former Salvators on the left and former Shores on the right.

Also alongside were two Norwegian tugs, Odin Salvator and Orla Salavator. Both had recently been renamed, dropping the "Salavator" suffix, although the former became Odin II..

Two Canadian built suppliers, Scotian Shore and Breton Shore were in the process of reconfiguring as seismic survey vessels. Breton Shore had been renamed Edward O. Vettter, and Scotian Shore was to become Fred J. Agnich.

Two Fednav suppliers, Cathy B and Federal 6 also arrived for layover.

Glenkeen at the Irving  Oil dock, with the retired wooden tug Margaret Porter in the background.

The Glenkeen arrived from Montreal en route to the Caribbean. Built in 1945 at Kingston, ON it was one of 17 steel, and three wooden tugs of the Glen class built built for the Royal Canadian Navy. This one was of the A Type, with long deck house. Type Bs had a shorter house and no captain's cabin behind the wheelhouse. 
It operated for the National Harbours Board in Montreal until 1979 then sold to a Halifax company for work between Costa Rica and Columbia. That deal fell through and it sat in Halifax for a year until finally sailing in December 1980 ostensibly to work in Guadeloupe.

Another wartime build, Beaver Lily was laid up over Christmas at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth. Built in 1942 by Levingston Shipbuilding in Orange, TX for the United States Nay, it served in St.John's, NL as  ST 27. JPPorter acquired the tug post-war, and renamed it Catalina. It served them until Beaver Marine took it over in 1978. It also made its way to Guadeloupe, but in 1992 and returned to Canada in 1997 before heading south to US owners.

Another former JPPorter tug, JPP No. 11 was working in Sceptre Dredging colours at the former French Cable wharf in Dartmouth. The tug, built in 1958 in Montreal, had been acquired by Harbour Development Ltd, and was renamed HD No. 11 early in 1980. Sceptre took over many Porter assets in 1978, but soon sold off when it didn't find much work.

JPP No.11 moves the Cranemaster, with Biban in the background at Halifax Shipyard.

Eastern Canada Towing's Point Carroll, pitched in to help with harbour berthing work. Not well suited, since it steering nozzle was fairly slow acting, it was only used when all other tugs were busy.

Point Carroll sailed on Dec 22, and escorted Biban in on December 24, also assisting in its docking at the Shipyard. 
During 2015 the tug has been laid up in Hamilton, ON. Under McKeil Marine ownership since 2001 as Tony MacKay, the tug has seen better days since it was built in 1973.

Atlantic Towing Ltd had its big tug Irving Birch in Halifax toward year's end, tying up at the old Irving Oil wharf in Halifax. Built in 1967, it was a great tug, performing many salvage tows, but also handled barge tows. It became Atlantic Birch in 1999, and was scheduled for the scrap list last year, but as of June 2015 it was still intact at the Indiantown dock in Saint John.

 Atlantic Birch, Atlantic Pine, Atlantic Elm and Swellmaster at Atlantic Towing's Indiantown facility in Saint John last summer.

There is no use complaining about the current state of tugs in Halifax, but by comparison my January 1, 1980 count of ships in port included 21 tugs, suppliers and workboats. Eastern Canada Towing alone accounted for six tugs.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Breaux Tide working, not so Jones Tide - updated 2015-12-23

Support vessels for Shell's offshore drilling program come and go on a regular basis - that is until recently. Today Breaux Tide was backing in to pier 9B where Skandi Flora had been tied up, however sister supplier, Jones Tide has been sitting idle.

I hear that Jones Tide (owned by Tidewater, and bareboat chartered to Atlantic Towing) is off charter due to some unfortunate problems with its Dynamic Positioning System. DP is  used to hold a ship in position using sophisticated satellite navigation instrumentation, tied to the ship's propulsion controls. Something went wrong with Jones Tide's DP however and it "contacted" the drill ship Stena Icemax on two occasions. The nature of the contact is not known to me, and there is no visible evidence of it on Jones Tide- Even so it is not supposed to happen at all.

No doubt repairs are underway, but there will have to be a trials period before it can resume it charter, to ensure that there is no repetition. So far there has been no sign of a replacement vessel.

Update: Jones Tide sailed Wednesday December 23, so the problems were apparently sorted out.  Strangely, Marine Traffic showed its destination as a marina in Ston, Honduras, however its course heading indicates it is heading for the Stena Icemanx.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Beverly M 1

The McKeil tug Beverly M1 tied up at the Svitzer Canada dock December 7. I missed the arrival, but
there is a great shot on Halifax Shipping News.

The former Eastern Canada Towing [ECTUG] and before that Foundation Maritime dock has been very quiet since Svitzer assigned its tugs to Point Tupper, with only the occasional visitor, so it was good to see a tug there again.

Back in 1958 Foundation Maritime ran harbour tugs, a salvage fleet, ocean tugs and had a marine construction and repair yard. Although barely recognizable today, the main wharf and the secondary wharf with the old salvage shed still stands in the midst of a rejuvenated Halifax waterfront.

Beverly M 1 was built by Imamura Zosen , Kure, Japan in 1993 for Hong Kong Salvage + Towage as Shek O, and that name is still visible on the wheelhouse. The McKeil crew has modified the letters HK to McK [not visible in this photo] and kept "Salvage + Towage" . Even though the company's official name is Evans McKeil Workboats, it is commonly known as McKeil Marine.From its main base in Hamilton, ON it also has operations in Quebec, Newfoundland and has now established a base in Sydney, NS.

Following completion in 1992 the 4,000 bhp tug worked in Hong Kong, but in 2004 was transferred to sister company Swire Pacific Offshore and was renamed Hunter for two years, before reverting to Shek O. In 2008 it was became Swire Pacific's Pacific Typhoon. A very capable tug, it is fitted for ocean towing and has a massive towing winch. It is a ASD tug, with Niigata stern drives, and is also equipped to work over the bow for ship berthing.

When McKeil acquired the tug in 2013 it was for work in Newfoundland, but it has been in and out of Halifax several times.