Friday, June 22, 2018

Southwestern (Nova Scotia) tugs

A couple of loops around southwestern Nova Scotia in the past few weeks turned up a bit of tug activity.

June 2 Lunenburg 

At Lunenburg Theodore Too was in port for a tune up before heading to its new summer base at Saint John, NB. It arrived there June 7.

 That looks like a new hard hat on the dock.

Also at the Lunenburg Foundry and Engineering's dock the basic tug  Mascot. It has an aluminum deckhouse, complete with an oar mounted on the cabin - not sure how much bollard pull they would achieve using that.

June 21 Shelburne

Shelburne Shipyard had two tugs alongside in addition to its own workboat.

 In the background the Canadian naval tug Glenbrook which arrived June 19 for refit. And alongside is SSR2 the former Stenpro III , which was transferred from Liverpool when Irving Shipbuilding Inc moved its operation to Shelburne.

 Undergoing a refit for Canadian service, the former Dutch naval tug Regge. At this time the  interior is being gutted to remove combustible material and fitting out new accommodations.

June 21 Meteghan River 

At the A.F. Thériault + Sons shipyard the much traveled Hudson Bay Explorer appears to be getting another makeover

The shallow draft tug/supplier was pre-fabbed by Vito Steel Boat + Barge Construction in Delta, BC in 1971 and was assembled in Hay River, NWT by Alberta Equipment Centre as Beaufort Sea Explorer for Arctic Transportation Ltd. After arctic service with several owners it was sold to Klynne Tugs (Lowestoft) Ltd and renamed Anglian Sea Explorer inn1992 and worked in the UK until returning to Canada in 1995 for Moosonee Transportation Ltd.

In 2003 it suffered a serious fire while on a slip in Wemindji, QC and was towed to St.John's where it was rebuilt from the main deck up. All new deckhouse and funnels changed the profile dramatically from its original Robert Allen design. Its original V-16 Cats, delivering 2250 bhp through two screws in nozzles, survived the fire and remained unchanged.

It then worked in Hudsons Bay, James Bay, and Voisey's Bay and on the St.Lawrence until 2006. It was then acquired by Peter Kiewit + Sons Ltd, along withe the barge The Pugwash and managed by their Marystown Shipyard. It also worked in Saint John, NB on the LNG terminal.

In 2017 Kelly's Cove Salmon Ltd, part of Cooke Aquaculture, bought the tug. I believe they had chartered it for some time prior. Now cocooned at Thériault's it will be interesting to see what it looks like when it is unveiled.

Ghosting through fog off Saint John, NB in 20007, the tug appeared to be carrying a payload of portable toilets.

Alongside and dried out at the tidal pier, Atlantic Tamarack was getting some TLC.
Built in Saint John in 1969 as Irving Tamarack the tug was originally assigned to the monobuoy serving Irving Oil's refinery. It has been working for Harbour Development Ltd for many years and usually attends the crane barge / dredge Cranemaster. That rig is in Shelburne for refit, so the tug is currently idled. Alongside it is what appears to be a modified seine skiff, which may be Thériault's own yard tug.

June 21 Digby

McNally Marine is carrying out some work at the ferry terminal and clearing away before the 5pm arrival of the Fundy Rose, the tug J.F. Whalen is hauling the crane barge Beaver Kay toward Digby harbour.

The tug was built in 2014 in Gaspé and is a 540 bhp twin screw vessel with push knees. It has a removable wheelhouse to make it truckable. 

The barge is former HMC Dockyard steam crane barge YD251 built in 1953 in Saint John and purchased by Beaver Marine and rebuilt in 1996. McNally purchased Beaver Marine but did not rename the barge. 

Visitors to Ship Central Eastern (home of Shipfax and Tugfax) may be treated to the sight of the barge's original name board, among other artefacts. It was rescued - with permission - from a dumpster, causing much amusement for the demolition crew.

This is the steam crane shortly before I retrieved the name board. (October 10, 1995)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Pups at Work

The Queen's Harbour Master directs a fleet of six tugs in Halifax harbour. Of these, three are small tugs of the Ville class. They range the length and width of the harbour doing various jobs of work for the Navy. Known as "pups" because they are small and tireless, they are most useful in small corners.

One of their tasks today was unberthing the Portuguese naval training vessel Sagres from pier 24. After assisting the barque out into the stream they returned to pier 24 to recover three fenders and return them to HMC Dockyard. They were still wearing their canvas bibs to ensure that they did not mar the white paint of the ship.

It isn't often that I get to see them working up close:

Granville comes in to pick up a fender.

 Merrickville backs away with a fender on its hip.

 Merrickville gets underway.

Granville turns smartly with its two fenders.

Both tugs underway back to HMC Dockyard.

Despite the white water caused by the fenders, the tugs leave surprisingly little wake as the pass west of George's Island. (Note the Coast Guard helicopter next to the lighthouse.).

Sagres did a turn in the harbour before heading for sea. Not a scratch on her hull from her visit.

The three Halifax based pups were built in 1974 in Georgetown, PE and are powered with a 365 bhp Cat engine driving a single screw in a steerable Kort nozzle. They are 45 tons displacement and 64 feet long. Despite their age the tugs are in pristine condition.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Océan Taiga and other Groupe Océan news bits - plus Addenda

The "super tug" Océan Taiga put in a surprise appearance in Halifax today. The second of two tugs of the TundRA 3600 class built at Industrie Océan for parent company Groupe Océan, it is an 8,000 bhp, 110 tonne bollard pull Lloyd's Ice Class 1A Super F.S. What that means is that it and near sister tug Océan Tundra are the most powerful conventional tugs in eastern Canada, and that they could  work in the high arctic, year round without icebreaker assistance.

The two were envisioned to serve the Baffinland Iron mine but as things turned out that project was delayed, and development plans changed, and so the tugs were not needed - at least on the original schedule.

Océan Tundra was completed in 2013 and construction of Océan Taiga was intentionally slowed down and it was not completed until 2016. Although there is some tanker escort work on the St.Lawrence where their 14 knot free running speed might be of use, there is little demand for tugs of their power and capability in the area.

Océan Taiga has a pair of small containers lashed down on deck.

That is why Océan Taiga is arriving in Halifax. It has been chartered out bareboat to undisclosed owners, who apparently need the tugs power, but not likely its arctic capabilities. The tug is flying the Jamaica flag.

Addendum #1: Océan decided to announce - after I made this post- that they had signed a ten year contract for three tugs for Kingston, Jamaica, in the New Port West section of the harbour. The contract is to start the end of June. The press release does not name the tugs. It also mentions "personnell" will also be sent, but that 40 jobs will be created locally in Jamaica. It also states that the contract is with the Port of Kingston.
Had I known all this before the tug arrived in Halifax I would have reported it.
All I had to go on was The Department of Transport web site, which says that the tug Océan Taiga is bareboat chartered out. It has certainly been reflagged to Jamaica, and therefore I stand by my previous statement that the tug(s) are chartered to an unknown Jamaican entity. According to other sources this is "Ocean J Towing Ltd".  The tug remains owned by Océan Remorquage Québec Inc.

The same* Jamaican owners of the Hercule, formerly Océan Hercule completed delivery of their tug last month. However there has been no movement on Océan Delta, believed to be bought by the same owners, and still lying in Sorel-tracy, QC.

*Addendum #2: The listed owner of the Hercule is West Indies Petroleum Ltd, as previously reported, with managers listed as "Blue Ocean Marine Ltd". Do you detect a similarity?

After acquiring the Cargill owned, Svitzer-managed Pointe Comeau, Océan has renamed it Océan Comeau. It has now left for Quebec City as its replacement has gone to work in the port of Baie-Comeau. That tug, the former Océan Cartier has been renamed l'Anse du Moulin [translated: mill cove] and ownership transferred to Cargill Limited. Océan Remorquage Baie-Comeau Inc manages the tug for Cargill.

Océan Stevns is bareboat chartered out under St.Vincent and the Grenadines flag. It spent the winter in Port Hawksbury, then sailed for St.John's, NL at the end of May. Its intentions are something of a mystery.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Lois M picks up a tow

The McKeil Marine's tug Lois M arrived in Halifax June 8 to pick up a tow, and sailed this morning.

Lois M alongside its tow at the Valéro dock in Eastern Passage.

Built in 1991 by Matsuura Iron Shipbuilding (Tekko Zosen) in Higashino the 60 tonne BP tug is powered by two Niigata engines delivering 4800 bhp to ASD drives. It started life as Lambert for Robe River Mining Co in Australia, with Westug as operators. McKeil acquired the tug in 2014 and it traveled from Singapore 16,500 miles via Mauritius and Walvis Bay to Tampico. MX, delivering a pair of dump scows Marmac 250 and Marmac 251.  It then sailed light to Mulgrave, NS where the Redwise delivery crew handed it over to McKeil. The crew had entertained themselves on the long trip by making repairs and upgrades and painting.
It was registered in St. John's as Lois M September 23, 2014.

Leaving Eastern Passage this morning.
On this trip to Halifax it picked up the 1352 grt oil spill response barge John P.Oxley for a tow to North Sydney and drydocking. The barge was built by les chantiers Verreault, Méchins for Eastern Canada Response Corp and was delivered to Halifax in December 2001 by Océan Foxtrot. The only time it has left Halifax since then was in 2011 when it went for a refit in Shelburne, NS in tow of McKeil's Salvor.

With its tow on a short wire, Lois M is outbound past the Shearwater Yacht Club moorings.