Thursday, July 27, 2017

Paddling off

Tugfax will be paddling off on my annual summer break for a few weeks. It is possible that there will be some remote posts, but they will be rare.

Thank you for your support, additions and corrections, and to those of you who were able to attend my photo exhibit, which is now closed.  I hope to have an on-line verison in the fall.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Firebird for sale

The Royal Canadian Navy's Halifax based fireboat Firebird YTR 561 has now been put up for sale by GCSurplus:  here

At its customary berth in HMC Dockyard, Firebird shares space with YTL 593 Merrickville and YTB 642 Glenevis, part of the tug fleet operated by the Queen's Harbour Master. 

Built in 1975, and commissioned in 1978 the boat was one of two built for the RCN (Firebrand is based in Esquimalt) by Vancouver Shipyard, North Vancouver, BC. It arrived in Halifax in August 1978, nested in a barge of traprock, and towed by the tug Ocean Crown.

Originally classified as a Yard Fire Boat (YFB) it later became a Yard Tug Rescue (YTR), but was rarely if ever used as a tug. However it has tug-like propulsion of two azimuthing stern drives, powered by a pair of 385 bhp Cats and bow thruster, giving a 7.5 ton bollard pull. It also has a pair of 365 bhp Cats driving two fire pumps of 2500 igpm capacity @ 150 psi. These serve three 3" manual monitors and a variety of deck connections. It also carries 500 igals of AFF.

The 76ft x 20.5 ft x 8'-10" (draft) vessel carried a crew of 7 which included operators and firefighters. In addition to firefighting, the tug also carried out rescue work and security calls at various port installations. However, faced with cutbacks the night shift eliminated January 29, 2014. The tug was finally retired December 4, 2014. HMC Dockyard firefighting was then left to shore crews or the harbour tugs.

Closing date for the sale is August 13, 2017 and the minimum bid is $5,000. It is expected to fetch far more than that however.

Firebird doing security rounds in the Narrows is likely heading for the Defense Research barge in Bedford Basin. 


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Merger or Aquisition

In the Mergers and Acquisitions (M+A) world the distinction between a merger and an acquisition is often what the parties want to call it.  The second Hamburg based acquisition in recent months is being termed a merger, and unlike the earlier one in which the Spanish company Boluda took over URAG and L+R, this one involves two well known Hamburg companies.

It is one is certainly an acquisition but may look like a merger because both parties (for now at least) will continue to operate under their own names.  Fairplay (Fairplay, Schleppdampschiffs-Reederei Richard Borchard Gmbh) has purchased Bugsier ( Bugsier, Reederei-und Bergungs Gesellschaft mbH + Co KG).

 The Hamburg "Tug Ballet" uses representatives of  the local fleets.

Not as well known on the  world stage as they once were, the companies are a strong presence in North Europe, and with more than 100 tugs at their joint disposal, can be expected to grow and strengthen. 

Their company histories are well known, so I will not repeat them here, but it is a sign of the times as both companies retreated from the world market over the years, they became smaller and smaller players. Now perhaps rejuvenated, we may see more of them  outside of Europe.  

Once operators of the largest tugs in the world, Bugsier has pulled back to smaller vessels.

Fairplay did their share of ocean towing. This Fairplay X towed two lakers (Charles M.White and Thomas F. Patton) from Quebec City to Karachi, Pakistan in about 100 days.

Bugsier and Fairplay have worked together in Hamburg for many years as members of the harbour tug pool, and co-operate on ETV operation. They operate a variety of modern tugs, in addition to the older ballet tugs pictured above.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Now Showing

Although I am in my sixth decade of marine photography, my current show at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia is entitled Four Decades of Marine Photography. That is because I have selected images only from the 1960s to 1990s.

They are all in black and white and were taken in Quebec and Nova Scotia (with one from New Brunswick) and show a wide range of shipping related subjects from my large archive.

On Saturday, July 8, there will be an opening reception from 1300 to 1600 in the Chase Gallery at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, 6016 University Avenue, corner of Robie Street.

The exhibit runs until July 26. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday 0830 -1630, Wednesdays until 2100 hrs.

All photos are professionally printed on archival water colour paper, with acid free matte and framed behind glass and are for sale. Prices range from $125 to $150.


ZIM gets bigger

ZIM is now sending larger ships to Halifax (last week's Zim Antwerp crashed through the 10,000 TEU mark) but they are also sending former post-Panamax ships through the new Panama Canal from on their Pacific service.

At this time last year Hamburg Bay was too large to use the old Panam Canal, but now it can get through with ease. The 71,786 grt, 72,982 dwt ship has a capacity of 6350 TEU, including 500 reefers. It was built in 2009 by Koyo Dockyard in Mihara, Japan to a standarad design called Imabari 6350. It started out on a charter to APL as APL Tokyo  and in 2014 became ZIM Hamburg. When that name was needed for a new ZIM ship it was renamed Hamburg Bay in 2016 by owners based in Lodon and associated with Zodiac Marine.

The tug Spitfire III has assisted the ship in turning and will swing around to the port quarter to bring it alongside. Note the open frmae type containers with standard containers on top. Thes large transpacific ships usually carry empties on the after deck.


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Return of the Coho - AMENDED

A familiar sight in Saint John, NB, the articulated tug barge (ATB) combination Coho and Penn No.92 made one of its infrequent visits to Halifax today.

The US flag tug and its 7100 grt asphalt barge usually run from Saint John to US east coats ports, but due to a shortage of Canadian tanker space*, Irving Oil received a coasting license to use the pair to deliver asphalt to Halifax and the Newfoundland ports of  Stephenville, Holyrood and Botwood. They will be making a second trip later in the month or early in August, delivering asphalt to McAsphalt.

Coho was built in 2008 by Thomasea Shipbuilders LLC in Lockport, LA one of five tugs with 51.5 ft high pilot house, specifically for ATB work. The connection is made with a JAK coupler system, which has proven to be so successful at sea that the tug can remain in the notch at all time.

Original owner of the pair was Penn Maritime, originally of Philadelphia, but by then based in Stamford, CT, and the tug carried their distinctive grey colour scheme, with black hull and white trim.  It was in those colours that they visited Halifax in 2012. The same year Penn Maritime was acquired by Kirby Corp of Channelview, TX and although they retained the names of both tug and barge, the tug has been repainted in Kirby Colours.

Docked at McAsphalt's jetty in Eastern Passage in 2012, the tug had disconnected from the barge during the unloading process.

*   The new tanker Damia Desgagnés  was originally scheduled to make these trips, but it was late being delivered. It has since run aground and may require repairs, further delaying it.

Monday July 3, 2017 
Less than 24 hours after arriving, Coho and Penn No.92 sailed from the McAsphalt dock in Eastern Passage. 
The barge is carrying 80,000 bbls of ashpalt to distrubute to the four ports it will visit, so it likely unloaded one quarter of  its cargo here.

On sailing it took the starboard side of the channel allowing a bit closer view of the tug.