Monday, June 27, 2016

Erie and Ontario - unplanned visit

Two tugs made an unplanned visit to Halifax today for medical assistance. En route from the US east coast to the Great Lakes, the Erie had the Ontario in tow when they diverted from their planned route.

 The tow line is shortened up as the pair make their way inbound in choppy seas and a stiff breeze.

Both tugs were bought last year by The Great Lakes Towing Company of Cleveland, OH after lengthy careers with the US Navy and McAllister Towing and Transportation of New York.

All Erie's hands are on deck to walk the tow line forward.

Erie was built in 1971 by Petersen Builders of Sturgeon Bay WI as YTB 810, Anoka and was based in Norfolk, VA. In 2001 McAllister bought the tug and renamed it Missy McAllister. 

Ontario has no crew aboard and still wears McAllister colours, although the grey bow fenders are remnants of navy days.

Ontario dates from 1964 when it was built by Mobile Ship Repair in Mobile AB as YTB-770 Dahloega and was also based in Norfolk until 2001. Under McAllister ownership it was renamed  Jeffrey K. McAllister.

 The two were brought together quite nicely without tangling their house mounted high fenders, another naval artifact.

Both tugs are of the large Natick class single screw ship berthing tugs. Erie is rated at 2,400 bhp and Ontario at 2,000 bhp. The engines are likely Fairbanks Morse.
Underway again, the pair headed for pier 27.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Point Vim - another visit

One of my old favourites,  Point Vim (ex Foundation Vim) put in another brief appearance in Halifax and sailed today. It first went to pier 9B with the barge NT 1032 where it loaded some steel frames.

 Looking very ship shape at pier 9B yesterday.

It then moved around the corner to the Fairview Cove container terminal and loaded a large transformer on a multi-wheel dolly. The steel frames it loaded yesterday will be part of a ramp structure to unload the dolly.

It got away smartly from Fairview Cove this afternoon in bright sunshine, but once into the lower harbour was soon engulfed in dense fog.

Making very good speed entering the Narrows in a stiff head wind.

No smoke and a nice Fairbanks Morse engine sound.

The ABB transformer on its transporter dolly with ramp gear stowed aft.

Of interest, former sister tug Molly M.1 (ex Point Vigour, Foundation Vigour) is downbound on the St.Lawrence with another barge, another multi-wheel dolly and a truck tractor. I suppose the two tugs will rendez-vous somewhere, and have a reunion. (Davis Shipping, operator of Point Vim, and Nadro, operators of Molly M.1 often work together for McKeil Marine).

The twins were built in 1962 and spent many years working together in Halifax harbour. I miss them.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Boston Tugs - Part 3

To round up the photos of my Boston visit, it is time to take a look at some of the smaller tugs and workboats around the harbour, plus some other sightings.

Boston Towing and Transportation operates some smaller boats for line handling and other chores. As usual with smaller craft, there is a shortage of data.

 Brian dates from 1956 and is a 40 footer built by Gladding Hearn as Dave White for Perini Corp. Boston Fuel Transportation acquired the boat and renamed it Eastern Point II. When Reinauer took control in 1985 it became Brian. [Eastern Towboat's Heidi pictured in Part 2 has a similar history]

Murray, also dates from 1956, and is listed as belonging to Chelsea Fuel Transportation Inc., which is part of Reinauer / BTT.

C.White Marine Inc of Danvers, MA operates the pusher Merit, built in 2000. I was fortunate to get the 25 footer both pushing and free running.

It is always great to see a tug with a flying bridge.

I spotted a couple of  very basic pusher craft too:

Bumper is operated by Harbor Fuels LLC and dates from 2012.

A similar craft is the Mantis built in 1965 and operated by Burnham Associates. [See Aegean Sea and Natick in Part 2]. It has a deck mounted package propulsion unit - possibly a M+T Harbormaster. 

There are also a few Offshore Supply Vessels working around Boston, although most have taken on second lives.

The traditional Gulf of Mexico mud boat J.W.Powell started life in 1965 at American Marine Corp in New Orleans as State Point.  Fitted with a pair of 12 cyl Cats its 3,060 bhp soon made it obsolete as an anchor handling tug/supplier. It fell in to the drug trade and after capture by the USCG it entered into government research service after 1984 as Polaris,  then on charter work after 2001 when SDI-Brooks Inc acquired the boat and renamed it J.W.Powell. It now appears to be awaiting an assignment for current owners CAJ LLC. 

A pair of sleek suppliers built by Raymond + Associates of Bayou Le Batre, AL belong to Boston Harbour Cruises. However they tend to the company's commercial division working in marine construction and supporting the Northeast Gateway offshore natural gas terminal among other duties.

Warren Jr. was built in 2013, 

and Scarlett Isabella in 2009.

Sea Hunter is now a deep water salvage and recovery vessel, operating the unmanned sub DSH-1. It was built in 1978 by Halter Marine of Lockport, LA as Florence A for Oil+Gas Rental Services Inc. Its was equipped with a pair of reconditioned V-16 GM EMD engines built originally in 1956. In 1994 it joined the Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc [HOSS] fleet as  H.O.S. Gallant Fox, and in 1996 as HOSS was merged into Tidewater it was renamed Gallant Fox. Sea Hunters LP acquired the vessel in 2008 and it has since engaged in cargo recovery at depths up to 1,000 ft of water.

As I reported in the June 12 post, I spotted the articulated tug barge combo Coho / Penn No.81 in Boston on May 27 and again in Saint John May 29. There was another Kirby combo in Boston , Weddell Sea and DBL 63.

 The tug was built in 2007 by Seaboats Inc of Fall River, MA for Tugs Unlimited of Portsmouth, RI as Scott C. Powered by a pair of Cats for 4500 bhp, the tug has a conventional wheelhouse and an elevated one.

In 2011 K-Sea Operating Partners LLC acquired the tug, but in turn K-Sea was acquired by Kirby, and the tug became the Weddell Sea.

No report on Boston would be complete without mentioning the Boston Fire Department's Marine Division.
Pride of that fleet is "Marine 1", John S. Damrell, a 70 foot aluminum high speed craft, built in 2011 by MetalCraft Marine of Kingston, ON. The fireboat specialists outfitted the boat with 12,000 gpm at 450 feet pumping capacity and Hamilton water jets for a 40 knot top speed.

Also alongside Burrough's Wharf  are BFD's Marine 2, an Armstrong aluminum catamaran commissioned this year, with 500 gpm /40 gal AR-AFFF and  Marine 3, the 30ft Ribcraft dive boat Capt. John Kenney.

John S. Damrell replaced the veteran Firefighter, built in 1972 with 6,000 gpm pumping capacity.

Digging deep into the files I find Firefighter putting on a show in 1988. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Boston Tugs - Part 2

Boston harbour is home to several veteran tugs - some still working, some restored and some apparently awaiting some unknown future.

The prime classic tug in Boston has to be the Luna. Built in 1930 it is said to be the first (and at this point only remaining) wooden hulled, diesel electric ship-docking tug. (The first diesel electric tug was built in 1924 for the Pennsylvania Railroad for barge service in  New York harbour.)
Powered comes from a pair of 6 cyl. Winton diesels of 380 bhp each, connected to two General Electric DC  generators of 250 kW each. Through a pair of exciters and a deadfront switchboard,  power is delivered to a single, shaft mounted GE motor of 600 hp driving the single screw.

The ship's wooden hull was built by M.M.Davis Shipbuilding Co of Solomon's MD, and outfitted by Bethlehem Steel Shipyard in East Boston and Boston Tow Boat's own shops.
After front line service with Boston Tow Boat it was eventually retired in 1979 and languished until the Luna Preservation Society took control in 1985. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989, restoration has proceeded ever since. A full hull restoration took place in East Boothbay, ME in 2000. The restoration is at such an advanced state now that plans are in place for a new berth in Charleston Naval Shipyard and it is expected to be open to the public this year.  

Among the in-service tugs, there are still a number of older vessels.

Ocean King dates from 1950 when it was built by RTC Shipbuilding of Camden, NJ for Baker Whiteley Towing Co of Baltimore, MD. McAllister Bros took over the company in 1980 and the 1800 bhp single screw tug became the David McAllister. The re-organized McAllister Towing and Transportation renamed it Resolute in 1997 and sold it in 2011 to its current owners, Patriot Marine LLC of Winthrop, MA.
They renamed it Ocean King recalling an older tug of the same name, which also worked out of Boston for many years for Farrel Ocean Services, and towed as far as Newfoundland on occasion.

Built in1945, the previous Ocean King was still going strong in 1993, still without direct engine control from the wheelhouse - it was a "bell boat". It is reputed to be still in existence, now registered in Las Vegas as a pleasure craft.

Another tug currently registered as a pleasure craft is the venerable Gaspee.

Dating from before 1940 when its unfinished hull was acquired by the Providence Steamboat Co, from Russell Erie Basin, Brooklyn, the big old single screw tug was powered by a 1440 bhp Nelseco engine. It was re-engined in 1960 with a 16 cylinder Fairbanks Morse of 1800 bhp, acquiring a shorter stack in the process.

In its pristine green livery with Providence Steamboat Co, the tug was an impressive sight sporting huge rope puddings on the bow and rails.

Providence operated the tug until 2004 when it was acquired by private owners

Another pair of older tugs came into view, perhaps not as old the previous ones, but they appear to be working still. Both are owned by Burnham Associates of Salem, MA, a dredging and marine construction company.

Natick has carried the same name since built in 1961 and delivered to the US Navy by Jakobson Shipbuilding of Oytser Bay, NY. They had completed a hull started by Southern Shipbuilding of Slidell, LA. Given the pennant number YTB-760, it was the lead tug of a class of eight large harbour tugs.   
From 1961 to 1964 it served in Norfolk VA, from 1964 to 1967 at Holy Loch, Scotland and then followed a number of years in La Maddalena, Italy.
It was stricken from the Navy list in 2003 and sold in 2005 to Burnham.
The single screw tug is powered by a 1200 bhp engine, likely a Fairbanks Morse.

Fleet mate Aegean Sea is slightly newer, built in 1962 by Equitable Shipyard in Madisonville, LA.
As Bronx 4 until 1979 it worked for Bronx Towing Line of New York, then passed through Hudson River Towing Co until 1987 as H.R.4, then Barker Marine Ltd as John C. Barker until 1989, and Disch Construction Corp of Summit, NJ as Jersey Coast until 1994.
Roehrig Maritime Co of Staten Island bought the tug and gave it the name Francis E. Roehrig. In 2004 they sent it to Atlantic Drydock in Jacksonville, FL where its 1300 bhp (total) Cats were replaced with two 1200 bhp Cats, providing 2400 bhp to its twin screws.
The Roehrig company was sold to K-Sea Transportation in 2006 and the tug became Aegean Sea. When K-Sea was sold to Kirby, Kirby assigned the tug to River Associates, which they then sold to Vane Brothers. Vane sold the tug on to Burnham, the current owner in 2013.

Several more antiques languish in the backwaters of Boston harbour awaiting a savior or the torch.
Easter Towboat Corporation are the owners of what is believed to be the New Jersey (ex Cross Harbour 1) painted in their colours, but for sale since at least 2008.
Eastern also owns the Cynthia Nicole which was acquired as the Cynthia Moran in 2006, but is as yet unpainted.

Cynthia Nicole, New Jersey and the workboat Heidi at ET's base. 
Another tug, with a blue house, is hidden forward of the Cynthia.

There may be more, but they are for another time.


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Boston Tugs - Part 1

Boston has always been a great place to see tugs of all sorts, from big to small and new to old. A recent visit, after many years, confirmed this opinion.

Boston Towing + Transportation, part of the Reinauer Transportation Companies LLC, provides most of the harbour towing work, and operates a fleet of some modern and some traditional tugs.

Justice is a Robert Allan RA3000 design ASD tug with FiFi 1 capability. It is powered by two MTU engines of 5,400 bhp driving Rolls Royce CPPs giving 65 tons bollard pull. It uses  the main engines to power the fire pumps.
Built by J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corp of Tacoma, WA in 2009 for offshore LNG terminal work (that contract ended in 2012) it is now the largest harbour tug and is used for tethered escort work, and carries winches fore and aft.

Freedom was built in 2003 by Washburn + Doughty of East Boothbay, ME, and is a 4400 bhp ASD tug, powered by Caterpillar main engines with separate fire pump engines. It delivers 55 tons BP through its fixed pitch Rolls Royce thrusters. It is also fitted with winches fore and aft. A sister Liberty is built to the same specifications.

The classic H.J.Reinauer dates from 1979 when it was built by Jakobson Shipyard, Oyster Bay, NY as Rowe for Boston Towboat. When Boston Fuel Transportation acquired Boston Towboat in 1985 it was given its present name. The tug is powered by a 16 cylinder, 2,000 bhp EMD driving a single prop in a fixed nozzle. It still sees service, and is maintained, like all BTT tugs, in pristine condition.

 Vincent D. Tibbetts Jr was built in 1972 by Southern Shipbuilding of Slidell, LA. It is a twin screw tug of 3,000 bhp powered by 2 - 12 cylinder EMDs. Originally named Daley it was also renamed in 1985.
Sister Harold A. Reinauer II is the former Cabot. Both see regular use as ship berthing tugs.

A typical tanker arrival, such as Irving Oil's East Coast has Liberty standing off the starboard bow with Harold A. Reinauer II tied on at the port bow and Justice as tethered stern escort. A bascule bridge passage and tight turns are needed to see the ship to its berth in Chelsea Creek.

Although taken in 1987, there would be little visible difference if this picture had been taken this year.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Svitzer Montreal takes shape

Crews are hard at work transforming Svitzer Caucedo for service in Montreal. On June 10 Transport Canada registered the tug as Svitzer Montreal.

The old name came off today, and the new one should appear soon.

Work is also underway on chain pads for fendering.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Eastern Tug Roundup

A recent circuit through Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia gave me a chance to see tugs in a variety of ports:

Ile-aux-Coudres is the place to be to see tugs in the springtime. May 22 was no exception. At Industrie Océan, work is still proceeding on the new super tug Océan Taiga . Construction has been slowed due to lack of immediate demand for the 8,000 bhp, 100t BP ice class tug, but delivery is anticipated this year.

Its immense size is apparent when compared to its fleet mate Avantage. The 2160 bhp single screw tug, the former Belgian Sealion until 1977, was built in 1969, and is in for a refit.

Rénard Polaire, Horizon Polaire and Ours Polaire rest in the mud at low tide.

Meanwhile in the marina three GFFM Leclerc tugs are already for work, with other members of the fleet dispersed to various areas on bareboat charters.

 Lumaaq and Pivut are lined up for launch at the next high tide.

Kingoak, Ullurriaq and Ullakut will be next.
At Leclerc's yard at the foot of the island the Desgagnés lighterage tugs were all ready to go back in the water. They will be heading north as soon as Desgagnés' ships return from their winter work.

New Brunswick
It was a quiet Sunday morning May 29 in Saint John and most of Atlantic Towing's local fleet were at rest at their base, tied up Mediterranean fashion at their floating jetty.

 Atlantic Spruce (left) with Atlantic Beaver, Spitfire III and Atlantic Bear.

One tug was on duty at Canaport with the tanker Eliza at the monobuoy. Atlantic Cedar is a 5,050 bhp ASD built in 2005. It keeps a stern line on the tanker while it is offloading in strong tidal currents.

 Coho is out of the notch of the barge Penn No.81 while loading at Irving Oil.

The US flag tug Coho was loading at Irving Oil for another trip to US ports. I had seen it two days earlier in Boston unloading its previous cargo.

Coho was also out of the notch in Boston. Built in 2008, the 4,000 bhp tug has a single elevated wheelhouse 51 feet above the water. Original owners Penn Maritime sold out to Kirby Petroleum in 2012. It seems to be on a regular shuttle for Irving Oil.

Nova Scotia
At Comeau's Marine Railway in Meteghan, Lady Comeau was just finishing up a refit. A few days later it was in Meteghan River assisting in the launch of the new Halifax harbour ferry Viola Desmond.

At Shelburne workers were taking advantage of a Sunday morning to blast the hull of the Atlantic Beech. The 1969 built, 2250 bhp tug is refitting before taking up its summer duties in Hudson Bay.  Fleet mate Atlantic Elm has completed a similar refit and is on its way to work.

Although not a tug, the offshore crane and diving support vessel Toisa Pegasus is in long term layup at Shelburne, which may last a year. Suspicion is that the ship may be used to recover the lost drilling riser from Stena Icemax off Nova Scotia, but this has not been confirmed,

Miss Jenna is the former Hercules, Cavalier and originally, Listerville.

 Miss Katherine was built in 1959 as the DPW tug Enmore. It was named T.A.2 until 2005.
It was also a quiet day in Mahone Bay where the ex RCN Ville class ''pup'' tug Miss Jenna was resting alongside. Her fleet mate Miss Katherine was peeking out of a shelter where it is still in the process of a rebuild.

Plainsville puts on a happy face at the Canadian Maritime Engineering shipyard in Sambro.
Another ex navy ''pup'' was hauled out at Sambro June 4. Plainsville is operated by the shipyard itself to assist in drydocking and other work.