Monday, December 31, 2018

Atlantic Larch and tow

Atlantic Larch picked up some frozen spray on its way down the coast last night.

This morning Atlantic Towing Ltd's Atlantic Larch arrived towing the barge Atlantic Sea Lion. The tug is considered to be an "outside" tug, in that it is not assigned to a particular port, but roams the region as needed for towing and other assignments. Its last posting was in Belledune, NB and has now been replaced there by Atlantic Elm joining Atlantic Beech and Atlantic Aspen.

Atlantic Elm and Atlantic Beech worked in Hudson's Bay all summer, lightering supplies in to Baker Lake at the head of Chesterfiled Inlet for Trasnport Desgagnés. Returning in November, Atlantic Beech went directly to Belledune towing its barge Atlantic Sea Lion, whereas Atlantic Elm returned to Saint John for maintenance towing its barge Atlantic Marlin. At the same time Atlantic Teak returned to Saint John from Belledune. It is presently tied up at ATL's Indiantown shops.

Atlantic Larch dates from 2000 and is a 4000 bhp ASD tug rated at 51 tonnes bollard pull. It is equipped with a towing winch and is easily identifiable because of the two satellite domes it carries.

The barge started life in 1966 as the tank barge Irving Whale. Infamously it sank in tow September 7, 1970 and sat on the bottom of the Gulf of St.Lawrence until August 1996. Raised and refitted as a deck barge it was renamed ATL 2701 in 2001, then Atlantic Sea Lion in 2009. It often winters over in Halifax and has been used to transport components from Irving Shipbuilding's Woodside fabrication facility to the Halifax Shipyard.

The regular Halifax contingent of harbour tugsAtlantic Oak, Atlantic Fir, Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Bear were joined last week by Spitfire III subbing for Atlantic Bear which seems to be out of service.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Horizon Enabler back

Horizon Maritime's latest acquisition Horizon Enabler is back in port after completing cable work off Cape Breton. The ship made a quick stopover in Sydney, NS on Christmas Day and arrived in Halifax less than 24 hours later.

 Now renamed on bow and stern, and the Tidewater banner painted over, the ship will have the cable slide and portable work shop removed, and some decking  "tail gate"  re-instated. The section was removed for the cable work.

A section of transom was removed to install the cable slide.

Workers were re-installing the "tail gate" this afternoon.

When the ship arrived to fit out for the cable job on December 4, it was still carrying its Tidewater markings on the bow.  They were likely covered up before it sailed December 11.

Offshore work is grinding to a halt off Nova Scotia and it may be some time before the ship is back in Halifax. By then it may have been totally repainted in Horizon's attractive colour scheme worn by fleet mate Horizon Star.


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

BP gears down

The offshore support vessel Horizon Star moved this afternoon from pier 9c to pier 9 to refuel. The vessel has been working to support BP's oil exploration program off Nova Scotia.

That program has now been completed, and the rig West Aquarius has returned to Bay Bulls, NL with the supplier Troms Sirius in company. The third support vessel Lundstrom Tide has moved to the Cove and is in layup until its next assignment.

Horizon Star may still be engaged in cleanup operations related to capping the dry well. Horizon Maritime owns the Horizon Star and operates the two Tidewater boats under charter.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Atlantric Hemlock

Atlantic Towing is committed to having four tugs on station in Halifax at all times. This week when Atlantic Bear was needed in Saint John, Atlantic Hemlock traded places and is now working in Halifax.

Atlantic Hemlock in the Narrows after undocking the Radcliffe R. Latimer at National Gypsum.

Atlantic Hemlock was the third tug built at the East Isle Shipyard in Georgetown, PE under the Irving Shipbuilding tug program that started in 1995 and ended in 2011 after building 36 tugs to a similar design. When it was delivered in 1996, Irving Hemlock was the first tug intended for long term ownership by Atlantic Towing. The first two tugs in the program, Atlantic Spruce (i) and Atlantic Fir (i) were exported. Atlantic Hemlock is a 4,000 bhp vessel with two Aquamaster ASD drives.

In order to show off the yard's ability, the tug, which was state of the art at the time, travelled across the Atlantic to various ports in England and Europe in 2000, including St.Malo, France. It was present at the International Tug and Salvage Conference.

Over the years the design was tweaked based on operational experience, and such features as fire fighting, towing winches and ice reinforcement were added or deleted as the owners required. Horsepower also increased from 4,000 bhp to 5,000 bhp.

In 2008 East Isle built three tugs for working gas tankers in Saint John. Atlantic Bear, Atlantic Beaver and Spitfire III have heavier winches and more fendering for working in the open roadstead and more power for handling the larger ships. One of those 5432 bhp tugs is usually based in Halifax, but will return to Saint John for gas tanker work.

A comparison view of Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Bear.

Also in port this week is the veteran Atlantic Elm, built in 1980 as Irving Elm. It is a 3460 bhp twin screw tug now used for towing work. It spent the summer in the north working supply barges in Rankin Inlet with fleet mate Atlantic Beech. It had been in refit at Atlantic Towing's repair yard in Saint John since returning from Hudson's Bay last month.

Little changed since it was renamed Atlantic Elm in 1996, the tug is standing by in Halifax.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Ian Mac sold west

A small tug that has spent its entire working career on Lake Huron has been sold west and will be taking up duties in Aberta. Ian Mac was built in 1955 by Mathieson Boat Works in Goderich, ON and has worked in that port ever since, initially for D.B.Macadam Ltd then for MacDonald Marine Ltd. (Capt. Ian MacAdam). The two families, related by marriage, have been involved in shipping since the days of sail, and trace their ancestry to early Scottish settlers in the Huron Tract (some of whom were related to me too.)

Superbly maintained, and always in fresh water, Ian Mac has assisted its fleet mates in berthing ships at the salt pier and grain elevators. However in recent years Groupe Océan moved into the port, taking away core business, first with the converted pilot boat Côte-Nord and since last year with the small Voith-Schneider tug Escorte.

Ian Mac acquired a new wheelhouse (upper photo) in 2001, which has been removed so that the tug can be trucked to Alberta. It was also the "newest" tug in the four tug fleet, with sister tugs Debbie Lynn (1950), Donald Bert (1953) and Dover (1931). Don't let the tugs' ages deceive - fresh water is very forgiving, and these tugs have been kept up to near-yacht standards.

There has been a growing demand for small tugs in Alberta to work in dredging and settling pond maintenance, including icebreaking. Groupe Océan has built two tugs for work in Alberta as have several other companies.


Thursday, December 6, 2018

McNally back again

A tug that has been in and out of Halifax for many years is back again. Mister Joe is a jack of all trades for McNally Construction Ltd, towing their floating plant all over Atlantic Canada, including Newfoundland, and into the Great Lakes. With the award of the Halterm  expansion dredging contract to McNally the tug is back again, first with a pair of dump scows and last night with a crane barge. The two scows do not not bear any visible names, but the crane barge is Derrick No.4 and on its deck is another of McNally's tug/workboats, J.F.Whalen.

The J.F. Whalen was built in 2013 by Chantier Naval Forillon in Gaspé and is a twin screw boat of 540 bhp. It is equipped with push knees and its wheelhouse is demountable for road transport. A sister tug, D.L. Stanyer was built at the same time and is based with McNally's Ontario fleet.

The Derrick No.4 dates from 1963 when it was built by Marine Industries Ltd in Sorel, QC for Dufresne Construction Inc as C-304. They renamed it M-28 in 1966. Ownership passed to Canadian Dredge and Dock in 1972 and they renamed it Derrick No.4  It began to show up in Atlantic Canada in the mid-1990s working for Beaver Marine, which was eventually folded in to McNally. Although the various cranes have changed over the years, the barge itself looks much the same with a moderate size deckhouse and two spuds.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Horizon Enabler - split personality

Horizon Maritime's recently renamed Horizon Enabler arrived at pier 9A this afternoon, bearing the new name on the stern quarters, but still carrying its former name on the bows. As Tidewater Enabler the ship was first registered in Canada  July 17, 2018 for a one year charter to Horizon, and assigned official number 841848. The ship was then engaged in the oil removal from the wreck of Manolis L in  Newfoundland in August. The work was under the direction of Ardent Global LLC (the name for the merged Svitzer Salvage and Titan Salvage).

On November 21, 2018 the ship was re-registered in St.John's as Horizon Enabler, under 100% ownership of Horizon, and assigned official number 842166. No doubt due to inclement weather it was not possible to reach the bow to repaint the name, and block out the huge Tidewater banner on the flanks. The ship berthed today at IT Telecom where it will be loading gear for some emergency cable repair work - likely to the Magdalen Islands. The recent post-tropical cyclone (unnamed) severed the the near-shore landing of the island's fibre optic connection with the mainland.

Horizon Enabler is a multi-function OSV of 4769 grt, built in 2002. Its hull came from the STX  RO Offshore yard in Braila, Romania, and was completed by STX Norway at Brevik. Although launched as Enabler, it was given the Tidewater name on delivery. Equipped with a 100 tonne crane, a helo platform, FiFi1, DP2 and a range of other tools, it is propelled by engines totaling 11,700 bhp through ASD drives.

Horizon Maritime is much in the news lately on two counts. First is the recently announced deal with ten ships Nordic American Offshore (publicly traded as NYSE: NAO), which would combine the two fleets, but with Horizon in the drivers seat. Although it was reported that the deal was off, it is apparently on again and still in due diligence stage.

Horizon has also objected to the awarding of the Emergency Towing Vessel contract for British Columbia waters to Atlantic Towing Ltd. Horizon has stated that Atlantic's boats did not meet the specifications of the tender call, and that the bid was deficient in other areas, particularly in relation to First Nations participation. The matter is likely going to court and more details will be forthcoming.

Horizon currently still has Troms Sirius and Lundstrom Tide on charter from Tidewater. Both ships work out of Halifax along with Horizon Star cleaning up work on BPs now concluded drilling effort off Nova Scotia.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

No oil for BP and no gas either

The off again / on again exploration for oil, starting in the 1960s, with only a brief interlude of actual oil production, will once again come to a halt. BP and Hess (50/50 partners) did not find any commercially viable quantities of oil or gas in the Aspy D-11 well that was spudded in April.

That well, drilled by the rig  West Aquarius went to 7400 meters (in 2771 meters of water) experienced some difficulties, including the need to drill a sidetrack well, and had to extend the rig's coasting license from  October 15 to December 31.  Nevertheless the results were not positive and operations came to a halt earlier this month. The rig will now be going back to Newfoundland where it will drill for Exxon Mobil in the Flemish Pass starting next year.

Troms Sirius now idled at pier 9B in Hailfax.

Horizon Maritime dedicated three support vessels to the project, their own Horizon Star and the two chartered Tidewater boats Troms Sirius and Lundstrom Tide. The latter two will presumably be returned to Tidewater unless more work can be found for them. Both were brought under Canadian registration in the spring to work on the BP well.

Lundstom Tide will also be out of work.

Related News: 
Offshore gas has also had an equally dismal history with both installations on their last legs and now working on decommissioning. Supply vessels work in and out of Halifax to support that activity. 

Secunda / Siem has Siem Hanne, Venture Sea, Trinity Sea and Burin Sea working out of Halifax, but Burin Sea departed earlier this week for St.John's.

Trinity Sea making a sunset arrival in Halifax last week.

Atlantic Towing has Atlantic Condor working at Deep Panuke with Atlantic Tern on standby, but it has been tied up in Halifax for several days.

A "near miss" when some heavy equipment broke lose has resulted in shut down of work on one of the decommissioning operations on the rig Noble Regina Allen. The rig is contracted to plug 22 wells for Exxon Mobil.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018


The first visit of a new Loire class French navy tug is marked today with the arrival of Rhône, second in the series after the class named vessel, Loire A602.

Weather turned blustery later this afternoon and rain filtered the view of the ship as it arrived.

The French Defence Procurement Agency will take delivery of two more of the class in 2019, namely Seine A604 and Garonne A605.

Rhône is designated A603, and classed in French terminology as BSAH, "batiment de soutien et d'assistance hauturier" [meaning offshore support and assistance] indicating its multi-functional role as a deep sea towing and rescue tug. It is also equipped to deal with port work, carrying a 300m pollution barrier, supporting twelve divers and transporting weapons and ammunition. It will of course also conduct sovereignty patrols and courtesy visits as did its predecessors, and carry disaster relief aid when needed.

Its main job however is to be available to tow nuclear submarines in case of major damage, and to retrieve the towed arrays when they enter port. It was designed to tow a nuke at 5 knots in sea state 7 (9 meter seas). The Loire class are twin screw vessels with 80 tonne bollard pull, from 7200 bhp main engines. They carry equipment for dynamic positioning DP1 and firefighting FiFi-1

By the time Rhône got up into clearer conditions the tug At;antic Willow was coming alongside to assist it into its berth at HMC Dockyard.

This not the first Canadian port for the ship. It visited Esquimalt in Victoria, BC in late September.

Procurement for the French navy has taken an interesting path with the naval design office working closely with private industry to apply commercial vessel design to semi-military functions such as coast guard, police and customs.

In June Rhone replaced Tenace A669 aged 40, then the oldest ship in the French Navy and one of class of three tugs in the French navy. The last of those predecessors to call in Halifax was Malabar A664. A third tug, Centaure A674 was sold to the Turkish navy, but damaged beyond repair in a drydock accident in 2013. They were built to the same design as the German civilian tug Hamburg which was broken up in 1986 with irreparably damaged engine and gear box.

For more on that class see an older post:

Theodore Too - still smiling

Theodore Too arrived safely back in Halifax this morning - still wearing a smile.

After encountering some mechanical issues on its return from Saint John, the vessel had repairs in Meteghan and then made the long haul around the southern tip of Nova Scotia and back to Halifax, where it tied up at the Svitzer Canada dock.  This was a temporary stopover, before moving on to its winter residence at Mill Cove in Bedford Basin.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Not really tug news

We don't report fake news at Tugfax but we do report news about fake tugs.Our favourite fake tug being of course Theodore Too, that well known tourist attraction built as a life size version of a tiny tug from the children's television series of the same name.

Much to the disappointment of many, the "tug" was transferred to Saint John. NB for the 2018 summer season, where no doubt it entertained many, including cruise ship passengers. On November 2,  with the end of the cruise ship season, it was en route back to Halifax when it had problems with its gear box in the Bay of Fundy. Not a nice place for any vessel to have a problem. It called for assistance from the CCGC Westport, the Coast Guard lifeboat stationed at the port of the same name on Brier Island, at the end of Digby Neck. The Westport towed Theodore Too through Petite Passage, then on the Meteghan, NS where repairs could be made.

Theodore Too sails past George's Island where a building "keeps its eyes" on the channel.

Several charming newspaper accounts wrote of Theodore Too as a living thing - a rare example of anthropomorphism in journalism, but somehow appropriate under the circumstances. However the situation could have turned ugly and I am sure that the master of the boat, a seasoned seafarer, acted with excellent judgment in calling for assistance in a real emergency.

High winds since the incident have likely prevented the boat's return to Halifax (or possibly Lunenburg).

Another vessel, that might not be classed as a tug by some, has left Halifax for Newfoundland - and probably not on its own hull. Since it is fitted with towing bitts, I can classify it as a tug, though it did not see much service in that role.

Walrus at its usual berth in Woodside, with its registration number (painted incorrectly, with an extra "1" ) on the bow.

Registered under the small boat category, it did not have an official name, but a registration number: C14939NS. It was owned by Waterworks Construction Ltd of Dartmouth and was usually seen tied up at their facility next to the Woodside ferry terminal. It was known as Walrus but that was a purely unofficial name, and may even have been inherited from its original owners, believed to have been some branch of the Canadian government. It has an aluminum hull, and is credited with 540 bhp, but that seems excessive.

Out for a pleasure cruise - one of the few times I saw Walrus in action.
New owners are P.D.Industries Ltd of Cape Broyle, NL. a small community on the Avalon Peninsula, about midway between St.John's and Cape Race.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Tar Season

Some say there are two seasons in the Atlantic Canada - snow plowing season and paving season. The latter traditionally ends in late November when freezing temperatures make it difficult for asphalt to cure properly. So at this time of year there is usually a mad last minute rush to get all the planned work done.

Asphalt is a tricky commodity to handle as it must be kept heated at all times, and so it can only be carried in specialized tankers. There are never enough Canadian tankers (whether they be ships or barges) to meet the seasonal demand, and the region's major asphalt product Irving Oil, acquires a coasting license for the US flag tug barge combo Coho / Penn No.92 to operate between Canadian ports when the Canadian fleet is too busy. (This is the fourth coasting license trip the tug has made this year. Much of the rest of the time it is running from Saint John, NB to US ports.)

Coho and Penn No.92 arrived in Halifax today from Saint John, NB, carrying 80,000 bbls of hot asphalt (at 300 degrees Fahrenheit), some of which it will discharge at the McAsphalt depot in Eastern Passage. It will continue on with cargo for some or all of the ports of Stephenville, Holyrood, Come-by-Chance and Botwood, NL.

Built in 2008 by Thoma-Sea Boatbuilders of Lockport, LA, Coho is a Fin class ATB tug, with a 53 foot height of eye elevated wheelhouse. It is powered by a pair of Cummins engines giving 4,000 bhp through twin screws in nozzles and Nautican triple shutter rudders. It relies on a JAK-400 coupler system to connect with the 90,0000 bbl, 414 foot long barge, and stays in the notch in virtually any sea condition. It thus does not carry a towing winch, but has a capstan and H -bitts if required to tow the barge.

The tug was ordered by Penn Maritime of Philadelphia, and called here in their grey and black livery. In 2012 Kirby Corp acquired Penn and repainted the superstructure white, and applied the Kirby diamond to the stacks.

I have featured the tug here before where I posted some photos of the tug out of the notch.:


Friday, October 19, 2018

Lois M - Arctic assignment and other nothern operations

The tug Lois M has arrived in Deception Bay, Nunavut to provide assistance to the Fednav OBO Arctic. The combination bulker / tanker has experienced a mechanical issue that has prevented its departure from the northern port. The tug arrived yesterday at the nickel ore loading port. Due today is the bulker Federal Sable to take the last ore cargo of the season as winter closes in. That ship was brought in because severe ice conditions in June delayed the start of the shipping season. Deception Bay, off Hudson Strait, serves the Raglan nickel mine and carries concentrates to Quebec City.

Lois M spent most of the summer in Quebec City apparently on charter to Groupe Océan to cover for other tugs such as Océan Tundra which was called away from the St.Lawrence to work in an even more northerly port, Milne Inlet on Baffin Island.

Lois M was built in 1991 by Matsuura Iron Shipbuilding, Higashino as Lambert for the Robe River Mining Co in Australia. Acquired by McKeil Marine in 2014, the 4800 bhp ASD tug was one of four similar looking tugs acquired by McKeil.

The Arctic returning from Deception Bay with a full ore cargo and some containers on deck.

The ship Arctic dates from 1978 as an icebreaking bulk carrier. It was extensively rebuilt in 1985 to carry ore /bulk / oil (OBO) with a new bow. It is therefore able to reach northern ports without icebreaker assistance, and to carry supply cargoes, including fuel, for the mines. It then loads the outbound ore. In 2017 the ship received a life extension refit in China. A 30,000 dwt replacement ship was announced earlier this year for delivery in 2020. It will be a Polar Class 4 icebreaking OBO.

 After unloading in Quebec City, the ship's icebreaking bow is partly visible.

Other Northern Operations
The other tug copmanies operating in the north are now winding down for the year. Atlantic Towing Ltd has completed their summer supply runs for Baker Lake off Hudson Bay, with the tugs Atlantic Beech and Atlantic Elm en route home with their barges.

The shipping season at Milne Inlet has been extended until sometime next week, which is very late (October 15 is the normal end of season)  but the supply ship Qamutik is still in port unloading much needed mining equipment and supplies. The last iron ore cargo has been shipped, but the hired icebreaker Botnica is standing by in Eclipse Sound for ice management to ensure that the last ship is able to depart. Tugs Océan Raynald T and Océan Tundra will also stand by until the last moment before returning home. Océan Tundra was called in when the tug Océan K. Rusby damaged a thruster in ice. It returned to Quebec on its own and is now on the slip at Industrie Océan at Ile-aux-Coudres for permanent repairs.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Scrap Tow from Montreal

It seems likely that Océan Delta will soon embark on its last trip. Now under Panamanian registry, the tug was sold by Groupe Océan and its Canadian registry closed November  29, 2017. Since year end it has been idle in Sorel - Tracy, QC, latterly with crew aboard.

Lying in Sorel in August this year, the tug looked pretty tired.

It moved from Sorel September 5 to Montreal where it is slated to tow the decommissioned laker Nito to a scrapyard, likely in Aliga, Turkey, starting out Sunday, October 14.

Groupe Océan has sent both Océan Echo II to Montreal to take the stern line as far as the Escoumins pilot station.

It is very late in the year, but the former hurricane Michael is expected to peter out in the mid-Altantic this weekend. The record of late season tows has not been a starry one, particularly with this tug.

One of the last deep sea tugs under the Canadian, flag, and the last one on the east coast, its departure will follow only by a month of that other stalwart Ryan Leet which sailed from Sydney, NS for its new owners, and is now reported to be in Columbia. I was told that Ryan Leet was headed for a shipyard to be reconditioned for further use, but that seems too much to hope for at this stage for Océan Delta and most believe it will also be scrapped on arrival in Turkey.

Built in 1973 by Ulstein Mek.Verkstad AS in Ulsteinvik, Norway as Sistella it was an early member of the International Transport Contractors (ITC) fleet of deep sea towing tugs. In 1978 it was renamed Sandy Cape by the same owners until sold in 1980 to Quebec Tugs. As their Capt. Ioannis S. it was named for Capt "John" Styliadis, longtime Davie tug master.

In 1999 after Groupe Océan took over Quebec Tugs, they renamed the vessel Océan Delta and re- powered it with two 8 cylinder MaKs, giving 6464 bhp, replacing the original 5600 bhp N+H engines, driving a single controllable pitch single screw.

Over the years the tug took part it too many tows to relate here, including many trips to the far north, but in later years this work became harder to find eventually leading to its sale.

In Halifax in 1980 after losing its tows in the Gulf.

The laker Nito has an even longer history than the tug, starting life in 1967 at Collingwood Shipyard as N.M.Paterson's Mantadoc. Renamed Teakglen in 2002 by CSL, it passed through ownership by Goderich Elevators Ltd and near sale to scrappers in 2005 when it was returned to service as Maritime Trader for Voyageur Maritime Trading Inc. In 2011 Lower Lakes Towing took over ownership and renamed the ship Manitoba. It is also among the last of its kind - a wheelhouse forward laker, with no self-unloading gear.

Océan Delta was lead tug in the unfortunate December 2012 tow of HMCS Athabaskan that resulted in damage to the ship and its hastened decommissioning. It did successfully tow several lakers to scrap in years past, but not all without incident. In 1980 with a double tow of two lakers, its CPP malfunctioned, and it backed over the tow line and both ships went astray. It was major operation by Ectug to round them up and bring them into Halifax.

However those are only unfortunate incidents in a long and successful career. Groupe Océan spent a lot of money keeping the tug going, even to the extent of re-engining it, so it was well cared for.

The tug has been featured here many times see:

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Jane Ann IV offered for scrap

The tug Jane Ann IV has now been offered for scrap sale on Facebook according to reports. The veteran tug had been laid up since 2009 until this summer when its barge coupler system was removed and then it was towed from Toledo, OH to Calcite, MI where it was hauled out on a beach.

Once based in Halifax as Secunda Marine's Tignish Sea, the tug was built in 1978 by Mitsui Engineering + Shipbuilding in Japan. As Ouro Fino until 1981 then Bonace until 1992, it was laid up in Brazil when Secunda found it. As Tignish Sea it arrived in Halifax May 9, 1993 towing sister tug Cavendish Sea. It went to work doing offshore supply and towing work until 2000. Included in that were several notable salvage jobs, including the Amphion featured here before.

Towing disabled Talisman in to Halifax.

The tug had a rendency to dip its bow, and was reported to be very uncomfortable at sea.

Great Lakes Transportation (GLT) of Halifax then acquired the tug and installed a coupler system  allowing the tug to push the barge Sarah Spencer. The barge, started life as the laker Adam E. Cornelius in 1959. It was modified by removal of its engines at Halifax Shipyard in 1989. A large notch was installed in the stern and several different tugs were used to push the barge in coastal trade and on the Lakes. Those tugs used face wires, but GLT installed the ladders needed for the coupler system.

 A large section of the accommodaiton was removed to install the coupler ram tunnel.

The hull was fared out to the width of the barge notch.

The actual coupler installation was not done in Halifax. The tug sailed from Halifax in October 2000 with plates over the coupler openings. The rams were installed on the Great Lakes.

Once GLT began running the pair as an integrated tug and barge it remained on the Great Lakes and Seaway until 2006 when it had a major refit. New owners were then listed as TGL Holdings of Plymouth, MI and Toronto, ON, but both tug and barge retained Canadian registry and management. However they finally laid up in Detroit in 2009, never to sail commercially again. Jane Ann IV sank at least once (in 2013) and perhaps once again until it was sold earlier this year. The new owners removed the coupler system for potential re-use in another tug and plated over the hull opening.

Sarah Spencer as it was intially converted to a barge. The tug was conned from the barge's wheelhouse. It also carried the name Sea Barge One before it was acquired by GLT.

Even with a fully loaded barge, the tug had no visibility forward.

The tug's Canadian registration was closed August 24, 2018 shortly after its arrival in Calcite, MI.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Scrap tow from Halifax

This morning two surplus navy barges were towed out for scrapping to shipbreakers in Sydney, NS. Because the barges are not over large, they did not require large tugs. Also, possibly in order to economize on pilotage fees, the tow was organized in elephant style, so that only one pilot was required.

Lead tug was Strait Raven, operated by Superport Marine Services Ltd of Port Hawksbury.  A 455 bhp twin screw vessel, it was built by Superport at their own yard in 2013.

It was towing the barge YRG-60, a fueling barge used in the naval dockyard.. It in turn was connected by towline to YDG-2 a degaussing barge.

 At the end of the procession was the McKeil Marine tug Dover Spirit, with a line to its bow.

I saw Dover Spirit in Quebec during the summer ( see Tugfax August 29 ) for the first time under its new name. It was previously called Kaliutik when it was built in 1998 by Dovercraft Marine. It is a two screw 550 bhp tug.

I did note that YDG-2 was towing stern first, so I suspect that when the tow reaches the harbour limits Dover Spirit will take over the tow of YDG-2 alone.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Atlantic Raven - new assignment - UPDATED

On August 11 the federal government announced that it had awarded the Emergency Towing Vessel [ETV] contract for British Columbia waters to Atlantic Towing Ltd, a division of J.D.Irving Ltd. The three year contract for $67 million includes seven, one year extension options.

Atlantic Raven arrived in Halifax today, and is freshly painted, so is no doubt headed to the west coast.

Atlantic Towing Ltd will send two vessels, Atlantic Eagle and Atlantic Raven to the west coast before the end of 2018.

Reaction to the announcement from the west coast was predictably negative. Citing lack of consultation and the age of the vessels, critics also complained that it an eastern company lacks local knowledge.

There is no denying that the two vessels are not new, but they have a great many positive attributes that would make them quite suitable for the job at hand, which let's face it is light duty compared to the constant pounding of offshore work. They are tug/suppliers built to the UT722 design, but come from different shipyards.

Atlantic Eagle was launched "conventionally", but bow first to protect the CP props and keep the deck dry.

Atlantic Eagle was launched by Halifax Shipyard August 14, 1999 and was in service by January 2000. Atlantic Raven was also built in 1999, but by Orskov Staalskibs.verft, Frederikshaven, Denmark. Originally named Asso Ventidue for Augusta Supply Vessel of Italy, it was acquired by ATL in 2011. Both are powered by Ulstein Bergen main engines, developing 14,450 bhp and about 162 tonnes bollard pull.

Before heading to the west coast, the Atlantic Raven is heading north for Baffin Island to work on some future port infrastructure for Baffinland Iron Mines. Groupe Océan has been providing tug assistance in the current port [see previous post] and Baffinland has hired the icebreaker Botnica for ice management work in Milne Inlet until the end of September. Navigation closes in the port in mid-October.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Scotian Sea - sold

The handsome supplier Scotian Sea has apparently been sold and re-purposed. Its Canadian registry was closed September 10, and now under British flag, it sailed September 12 for Aberdeen, Scotland as Scotian Sentinel. It was also classified on AIS as a fishing vessel.

Since it was acquired and renamed by Secunda in 2012 it has been used for a variety of work, including support of BP's seismic program in 2014. Since then however, it has been under utilized and during the past year or more, largely laid up at The Cove (former CCG Base in Dartmouth).

Secunda is now 100% owned by Siem Offshore of Norway, and has brought newer vessels to Canada when work is available.

Kvaerner Kleven of Lervik, Norway built the ship in 1997 as Rescue Saga for K.S Rem Seismic, but it was sold to Havila Offshore and renamed Havila Runde in 1998. It has been classed as a platform supply / oil recovery / fire fighting vessel.