Monday, May 28, 2018

Theodore Too takes a trip

Ambassatours, the parent company of Murphy Sailing Tours Ltd, owners of Theodore Too, will be moving the iconic tug boat replica from The Big Harbour (a.k.a. Halifax) to Saint John, NB in June. The operators made the announcement last week.

Theodore Too spent the winter at Mill Cove in Bedford and appears to be in need of a little freshening before he moves to Saint John.

This is certainly not the first time Theodore Too has left the confines of Halifax. In fact the boat is probably more travelled than many of its full size counterparts. It has sailed all along the eastern seaboard as far south as Miami and into the Great Lakes as far as Chicago. The move to Saint John coincides with the cruise ship season and is likely brought about by the disruption along the Halifax waterfront due to construction of new piers for the Queen's Marque project.

Ambassatours is hoping to appeal to nostalgic millennials who grew up with the TV series Theodore Tugboat and now want to revisit their childhood or perhaps introduce the cute fellow to their own children. 

When the boat was built by Snyder's Shipyard in Dayspring, NS in 2000 it only carried the name Theodore but this was soon changed to Theodore Too because someone had already grabbed the Theodore name for their own vessel - a real tug at that.

That Theodore was built by Canadian Vickers, Montreal,  in 1932 as an oil-fired steam vessel of about 64 tons for Mont Louis Seignory Ltd, a subsidiary of the Hall Corporation.Named Vigilant it was used to tend pulpwood booms. It later passed into the hands of Marine Industries Ltd in Sorel and took the name Roseanne Simard. It was converted to a motor vessel in 1952 with 440 bhp engine. It passed through several other owners including Gaston Elie of Montreal, Coastlake Tankers Ltd of Montreal, and JW+J Anderson of Burnt Church, NB. In 1973 Techno-Maritime of Quebec City bought the tug and in 1976 renamed it Techno Manic. New owners Dufresne Construction Ltd renamed it simply Manic in 1989 and Les Constructions Ger-Con Ltée kept the name after they took it over. In about 1995 it passed into private ownership, and is believed to have sunk at its berth in St-Joseph-de-la-Rive, QC.


However it was salvaged and given a major upgrade including a new larger wheelhouse, and renamed Heritage 1932.

However it soon became Theodore, pre-empting the name for the full size replica. Now based in Montreal it still does sea time seasonally. Although it bears little resemblance to the TV character, it does wear the same colours as the "real" Theodore.

The cruise season usually ends about the end of October. Let's hope Theodore Too is back home by then, when it will be time to start a Movember moustache.



Friday, May 18, 2018

Return of the Osprey and other Atlantic Towing activity

The Province  of Nova Scotia's official bird is the osprey, a migratory fish hawk that usually puts in its first appearance of the year in late April or early May. Today's return of the big tug supplier Atlantic Osprey is certainly seasonally correct, but as to origin, it is coming from St.John's Newfoundland rather than more southern waters.

The 3453 grt, 16,000 bhp OSV is one of four similar ships in the ATL offshore fleet, two of which are UT 722 and two are UT 722L (L=long), all built at Halifax Shipyard under license from Ulstein. The boat was laid up for a time over last winter, and a large deck crane and other gear, such as an ROV davit have been removed.

While arriving it passed Atlantic Towing Ltd's Woodside tug base, where the usual four harbour tugs, Atlantic Oak, Atlantic Fir, Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Bear have been joined temporarily by Atlantic Larch. The latter tug will likely be towing out the barge Atlantic Sea Lion for northern supply work.

Atlantic Bear went to Saint John last week to assist with an LNG tanker, but returned to Halifax in time to put on a water demonstration for the inaugural call of the auto carrier Grande Halifax on Wednesday (see also Shipfax).


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Point Valiant away

The tug Point Valiant sailed from Sambro, NS this evening May 17 on the first leg of its trip to its new home. Sold by Svitzer Canada, as reported last month, the tug was re-registered in Vancouver on May 15 to new owners Davies Tugboat Ltd of Burnaby, BC. The tug was slipped at Sambro where the hull was cleaned and repainted red, the fourth colour scheme for the tug.

It is now headed for Narragansett Bay, RI where it will be lifted aboard the heavy lift vessel believed to be Spliethoff's Fortunagracht. It will then get a luxury ride to British Columbia, possibly with some high priced yachts loaded in Newport, RI.

Built by Industrie Océan for Groupe Océan and to be named Océan Jupiter, it was sold while fitting out to Eastern Canada Towing in 1998 and named Point Valiant, the second tug in the fleet to carry that name. Fourteen tugs and workboats in the predecessor Foundation Maritime and in the ECTUG fleet had names beginning with the letter "V", starting in 1948 with Foundation Vera. This was the last tug to follow that tradition.

When Cory Towage Ltd, parent of Eastern Canada Towing Ltd, was taken over by Wijsmuller, the tug was repainted, but that did not last long.

The paint was barely dry when Svitzer took over the expanded Wijsmuller, and the tug was repainted again.

In 2010 the tug was transferred from Halifax along with three other Svitzer tugs to Point Tupper.   The tug was particulary useful in some of the tight pier spaces in Halifax. What it lacked in weight it made up for in agility. Last year when Svitzer Montreal arrived in Point Tupper, Point Valiant became redundant, as the lowest powered tug in the Svitzer Canada fleet. Most work there involves docking tankers and bulk cariers at open docks where power is the main requirement.

Its new owners will presumably find the tug an excellent worker.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Ryan Leet - the yacht

The magnificent tug Ryan Leet has been temporarily relegated to yacht classification. Word has reached me that the current owner has made this change to allow for a trip to the Dominican Republic for a refit sufficient to have its certificates renewed.

I hear that work is currently underway on a gear box that will allow the "yacht" to sail in a couple of weeks from its layup berth in Point Edward (Sydney Harbour).

One can only hope that the vessel will return to tug status and continue to work, despite a couple of years laid up. Its Canadian registration was closed December 15, 2016 and it moved from Mulgrave to Point Edward, in Syndey harbour. Its last significant work was in the summer of 2015 when it did some survey work for the fibre optic cable to Hibernia.

I have covered the history of this tug before, the former Abeille Provence,built in 1978 by Beliard-Murdoch, Ostend, Belgium. It was built in response to the need for large salvage and rescue tugs off the French coast. As ships continued to grow, more power was needed and it and sister Abeille Normandie were sold to Venezuela. Secunda Marine Services picked up the pair in 1990 and they were refitted at Pictou, the Salvor Commander ex Abeille Provence becoming Ryan Leet and Salvor General becoming Magdalen Sea.
Secunda did another refit on Ryan Leet in 1995 installing a pair of V-20 GM EMDs to replace the original SACMs. They also installed a 550 bhp azimuthing thruster up forward. It already had controllable pitch props in nozzles and triple rudders.

In 2004 Secunda sold the Magdalen Sea to Greek owners and it sailed from Halifax as Zouros Hellas. In 2007 it became Tsavliris Hellas. It was in service until last year, but is now laid up in Greece.

Magdalen Sea had a flume stabilization tank forward of the bridge.

Secunda hung on the Ryan Leet even when the company was sold to McDermott, but its days were numbered when a management buyout and eventual sale to Siem lead to a leaner fleet.

Working for Secunda the Ryan Leet did numerous rig tows, several important salvage jobs and worked both in Canada and the North Sea. In its last years it was used for rescue / standby, idling around off offshore gas installations with only its azimuthing thruster to keep station. Although this was very economical operation, it certainly did not take advantage of the tug's towing potential.

It will be a sad when when it finally sails - especially as a yacht - but there is hope that it will return to service as a tug again.