Saturday, November 26, 2016

Big Move at Halifax Shipyard

Atlantic Towing Ltd's new suppliers swapped places at pier 8 this morning. Both Atlantic Griffon and Atlantic Shrike are nearing completion, but did not use their own engines. The three harbour tugs Atlantic Oak, Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Willow moved the boats, exchanging berths and turning them end for end.

  Atlantic Griffon was first off the dock, holding in the stream with Atlantic Fir
The weld line where the superstructure was attached has not been painted over on the starboard side.
 It will be painted from shore, once the boat is back alongside.
Atlantic Shrike readies to turn end for end and move to the south end of pier 8. 

Atlantic Willow on the bow and Atlantic Oak on the stern rotate the Shrike in the stream. Note the open winch reel.

It was then Griffon's turn to go in to the north end of pier 8.
Note what would be the winch area is completely plated over, indicating that no winch has been fitted, unlike Atlantic Shrike, where the winch reels are exposed. 

On both boats the weld line has been painted over from the shore side. 
Not a very good colour match.
Also the amateurish bow lettering does not compare favourably with the welded raised lettering on the stern, which was applied by the Damen Shipyard in Galati.

Fleet mates Atlantic Heron and Paul A. Sacuta (laid down as Atlantic Owl) are nearing completion in Europe. A recent photo shows Paul A. Sacuta on trials in the Netherlands. It has been modified for repair and maintenance work and equipped with a 100 tonne capacity crane. Atlantic Heron is still in Galati.



Panuke Sea - up for sale

Tugfax got a little mixed up with the last post and it is in fact Panuke Sea that is for sale.

Neftegaz 14 arrived in Halifax under its own power.

Although it started out as a Neftegaz tug / supplier, it has had a slightly different history.  Built in 1984 by Komuny Paryskiej in Gdynia, Poland it was named Neftegaz 14 for the USSR's Ministry of Gas Industry. It was working under Femco management when when Secunda acquired it in 2001. It arrived under its own power  with a Russian crew on October 15 and by October 22 it had been renamed Panuke Sea and reflagged to Canada.

During the winter it was renovated, but did not get the extensive conversion that Burin Sea and Trinity Sea got. On May 23, 2002 it sailed to St.John's, NL for drydocking and returned to Halifax July 11 painted in Secunda colours and within a week was doing harbour trials.

After its first refit, the Panuke Sea still had the original superstructure.

Visibility to the after deck was compromised and limited its ability to find work.

It was soon discovered that its opportunities for work were severely limited because it had poor astern visibility and the decision was made to start a second conversion, this time at pier 29 in Halifax. It emerged from this process in March 2003 with a raised forecastle and a full width aft facing bridge.

The second refit was carried out at pier 29.

The second time around the tug had a raised forecastle for better sea keeping.

It also had a full width aft facing bridge, with unobstructed visibility of the working deck. However it was not fitted with a towing winch.

Soon after it had a main engine failure, and the engine was replaced with another from sister Neftegaz 29. [Secunda had also acquired that supplier, but never did convert it. Although it was renamed Sable Sea in 1998 and Intrepid Sea in 2002, it languished in Halifax until 2012 when it was finally sold for scrap. On November 11, 2012 Altantic Elm towed out for Boston.]

Specs for the converted Panule Sea included the DNV 1A1 ICE-1C ice class, three thrusters, and 7200bhp from two 6 cylinder Sulzers, built under license by Zgoda. producing a modest bollard pull of 80 tonnes. Since there is no towing winch fitted, the boat was used for supply work, without towing. Including rescue capacity it has 28 berths.

It spent most of its working life in Nova Scotia waters, servicing the Sable Gas project. With hundreds of supplier laid up around the world, there is little prospect of a continued career in the oil and gas industry, but  perhaps its extremely low asking price of $600,000 will attract a buyer.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Trinity Sea - on trials RE-UPDATED

After an idle week or two at the old Coast Guard base in Dartmouth the tug supplier Trinity Sea got underway again this morning and to the deepwater piers for trials, which appear to have included bollard pulls or DPs based on the AIS track over several hours.

Trinity Sea with Atlantic Towing's Atlantic Condor in the background, heading for trials off pier 28.

One of three similar boats in the current Secunda (Siem) fleet, it was built in Szczecin, Poland in 1983 as Neftegaz 2. Secunda purchased it and sister Neftegaz 1 from layup in Norway and they arrived together in tow of Magdelan Sea on May 18, 1998.

Magdelan Sea tows up the harbour with Point Chebucto assisting. 
In the left background the tug Plainsville; it landed deck hands to assist in pairing up the tows.

Neftegaz 2 was gutted down to almost the bare hull and totally rebuilt in Halifax as a DNV class 1A1 ICE-1C tug / supplier with FF1 firefighting equipment and renamed Trinity Sea.

After removing most of the superstructure, the Trinity Sea's hull was hauled out at the Dartmouth Slip for rebuilding.

Totally transformed as a virtual new ship, Trinity Sea.

The aft facing bridge is the most prominent addition to the ship's profile.

Based from time to time in Halifax and overseas, Trinity Sea has mostly worked in Newfoundland so has been only an infrequent caller here over the years.

Point Chebucto shepherds the pair toward pier 9.

Sister vessel Neftegaz 1 was also completely rebuilt to the same standard, with much of the work accomplished at Verreault Shipyard in Méchins, QC.

Hastily renamed Burin Sea the former Neftegaz 1 sits at the IEL dock in Woodside in preparation for gutting out.

Point Halifax readies the stripped out hull to be towed to Verreault by Point Carroll.

The rebuilt vessel was towed back to Halifax by the Point Carroll and fitted out.

I understand that the appeal of the two hulls was their high quality Polish steel, heavy ice class and reliable Sulzer engines (built under license). They are now rated at 10,000 bhp on their two main engines and equipped with one 600 bhp and one 900 bhp bow and one 900 bhp stern thruster.

Secunda's Panuke Sea ex Neftegaz 14 will be the subject of another post at another time.

Update: Shortly after this post was initially published, the tug Trinity Sea appeared on the shipbroker Offshore Solutions Unlimited 's website. Several of the particulars listed above are now different, including a bollard pull of 80 tonnes, and engines of 3,600 bhp each. There is also additional information including the vessel is DP1, that it has accommodation for 28 persons and has standby / rescue capability.
New Update: The shipbroker Offshore Solutions Unlimited is offering fleetmate Panuke Sea ex Neftegaz 14 for sale - see subsequent post.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Océan Taiga joins the fleet

On October 28 Groupe Océan took delivery of the Océan Taiga the second of a pair of 8,000 bhp tugs built by Industrie Océan at Ile-aux-Coudres, QC.

It and sister Océan Tundra completed in  2013, are by far the most powerful conventional tugs in eastern Canada. Exceeding 110 tonnes bollard pull, and with a free running speed of 14 knots, it is also capable of exerting 86 tonnes steering force at 10 knots for tethered escort work. Built with firefighting equipment and an icebreaking bow, the tug will most likely be used for tanker escort work on the St.Lawrence, but could work anywhere in the world.

The TundRA 3600 design by Robert Allen Ltd was conceived for year round high latitude (arctic) work, but the contract evaporated and construction of the Océan Taiga was put on a slow bell, and the tug was only completed this year. The ship's hull was built undercover in the shipyard's building hall then moved to the slipway for completion.

The great size of the tug is only apparent when seen next to one of the smaller members of the fleet.

As late as May the shipyard was hard at work with hull painting. After a July re-launch from the slipway, the tug was moved to Océan's Quebec City facility. It underwent trials there in August and final fitting out.

Both sisters are available for charter work.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Maersk Chancellor arrived in Aliaga

The Maersk Canada tug/supplier Maersk Chancellor arrived in Aliaga, Turkey November 16 to be scrapped. Its Canadian registry was closed November 15, as Maersk pares down its supplier fleet world wide.

Maersk Chancellor was built in 1986 by Orskov Christensens Staalskibs Verft A/S in Frederikshaven, Denmark for O.I.L. (Ocean Inchape Ltd) as O.I.L. Chancellor, a 14,161 bhp anchor handling tug supplier. Maersk acquired the ship in 1991 and renamed it under Isle of Man flag.
It was flagged in Canada November 20, 2001, registered in Halifax, and arrived here December 20 for work with the West Navion oil rig. 
Later in began to work out of Halifax supporting the drilling rig Eirik Raude for Encana but spent most of its nearly 15 year Canadian run working from St.John's, NL.

A sister vessel from the same yard, built as Challenger III in1986, but soon renamed  O.I.L. Challenger became Maersk Challenger in 1991 and was registered in Halifax October 8, 2002 and began work with Eirik Raude in November. It eventually moved on to Newfoundland too.

Its Canadian registry was closed in 2014 when it was sold the Danish Blue Star Line and renamed  Blue Aries. It is still working out of Denmark.

A third sister vessel, built in 1985 as Kongsgaard, and renamed  O.I.L. Champion in 1987 became Maersk Champion in 1992. Although never registered in Canada, it did work out of Halifax and Sheet Harbour but under Danish flag, from June to October 1999 for the Sable gas project rig Rowan Gorilla III

Flying the Danish flag from the mast head and the Canadian flag forward, Maersk Champion turns off pier 9 to tie up at the EnCana dock.

Maersk Champion is currently at work in Brazilian waters, out of the port of Macae (no relation).


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Tugs for sale - surprise listing

Thanks to Towingline * I have learned that two Canadian-built tugs have been put up for sale in Denmark. It is explained that they are coming off a five year charter and have apparently been replaced by newer tugs.
This comes as a bit of a surprise, since I assumed that Canadian owners would have snapped them up, or at least been in line to acquire them.

The tugs in question were the last two tugs of seven built by Eastisle Shipyard in Georgetown PEI for Danish owners Nordane Shipping. They were part of a series of  more than 30 of similar design, and were, at least from my impression, among the best. At 5,000 bhp, 70 plus tonnes bollard pull and ice class**  firefighting ASD tugs, they should be in demand. Four of the earlier Nordane tugs,  have come back to Canada and two each are serving Svitzer and  RioTinto Alcan. Groupe Océan also repatriated two other Nordane tugs of a different class, built elswehere.

Christening day for Stevns Battler in Halifax.

Built as Stevns Breaker and Stevns Battler these two passed to Svitzer control in 2010 as Svitzer Nabi and Svitzer Nari. The former spent a year as Svitzer Hutton for a temporary reassignment to the UK in 2012. Svitzer Euromed currently owns the tugs as far as I know, and I am surprised that they are not being transferred to Svitzer Canada's fleet.

Stevns Battler on the way to Bedford Basin for trials.

Both Groupe Océan and Atlantic Towing Ltd (who started the Eastisle sereis at their parent company's yard) have several similar class tugs in their fleets now, so these would seem to be a natural fit for them too.

I could speculate on why none of these operators are grabbing these tugs, but that's all it would be:
Speculation 1: Atlantic Towing has enough tugs to do the work they have - I actually think they could find work for one more if they got it for the right price, and maybe two. The ice class would be an appealing feature I would think.
Speculation 2: Groupe Océan has too many tugs, particularly with delivery of Océan Taiga, and as they near the end of their work in Newfoundland. - but they also have many older tugs that could stand replacement.

Speculation 3: Then there is Arcellor Mittal which needs to replace its two tugs at Port-Cartier - but they really need Voith-Schneiders for their constricted port.
Speculation 4: McKeil has just upgraded to some big tugs with more ocean going capability - I agree with that, andl also they have a raft of older idle tugs, but are apparently in no hurry to scrap or replace them, since thet can meet the need with their newer tugs.
Speculation 5: Svitzer has an odd lot of tugs and could consider replacing at least two of them to have a consistent fleet of similar, even interchangeable, tugs, with a bit more power and capability - apparently that is not the case, and maybe, just maybe, they don't want these two to fall into a competitor's hands, so maybe are offering them for sale on a restericted basis.
All speculation.   

* If you don't know about Towingline it is a relliable source of worldwide tug, towing and workboat info. To reach the site, use the link in the left hand column.

** Update: thanks to alert readers for pointing out that these are not ice class tugs.

Monday, November 7, 2016

ETV on the horizon

In simultaneous announcements across the country, the Prime Minister (in Vancouver), the Minister of Fisheries (in St.John's), the Minister of the Environment (in Halifax) and the Minister of Transport (in Ottawa) unveiled Canada's new $1.5 bn Oceans Protection Plan.

Among the many features in the 5 year plan, the Canadian Coast Guard will lease two "large vessels capable of towing commercial vessels and large container ships" [who writes this stuff?] and the Coast Guard will equip (four) of its major vessels with towing capability by installing "towing kits".

So what will this mean?
The British Columbia government requested three large rescue / towing vessels - they will get one.
These blogs suggested three to five on the east coast - we will get one.
The arctic will get none - unless you count the "towing kits  " - sounds like something you rent from U-Haul for the weekend!

With 500 offshore support vessels laid up world wide and 100 in the North Sea alone, they shouldn't have any trouble finding a suitable vessel to lease. In fact they might look no farther than Maersk Canada which has the 150 tonne bollard pull under employed Maerk Cutter and it sister Maersk Clipper.These 15,000 bhp state of the art vessels may even exceed what is available on the world market. One on each coast would be a vast improvement on the present situation where have only vessels of opportunity, with no mission specific training. They would be wonderful for deep sea work but will be stretched very thin over a wide geographic area.

Last year the Maersk Cutter was used for a cable repair job - way under utlilized for its capabilities.

By leasing of course the government will get civilian tug crews, who may know something about towing. Canada's offshore vessels have towed oil rigs, FPSOs, icebergs and are used to close quarters work with oil rigs and fixed platforms.

The Canadian Coast Guard on the other hand has always been averse to towing and in fact refuse to do it except in case of direst emergency. So let us hope that these "tow kits" include a user handbook. Incidentally, CCGS Terry Fox should need no "tow kit" - it was equipped for anchor handling and towing when purchased by the CCG. Why it wasn't mentioned in the announcement is a mystery.

The leases may start as soon as the 2017 fiscal year (i.e. after April 1, 2017) and can't come soon enough.