Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Groupe Océan goes north and south - with 4 updates

When Groupe Océan took over Svitzer's Montreal operation last year, they also got the two tugs Svitzer was using for the Baffinland Iron Mines operation in the far north. The tugs completed their 2017 season, returned to Quebec and were handed over to Océan in October.

Svitzer Njal was renamed Océan Clovis T. and Svitzer Nerthus became Océan Raynald T and I expected both tugs would resume  their roles again this year, but apparently Océan Clovis T. has found a niche in Quebec City.

 Océan Clovis T.  off Quebec with several Desgagnés ships in the background, including their most recent, the former Jan which was in the process of renaming Miena Desgagnés.
 Tucked in to its berth at Quebec, behind Océan Arctique and Océan Tundra.
Océan Raynald T. has sailed for the north, but it will be the turn of Océan K. Rusby to work with it this year. Built to essentially the same spec, Océan K. Rusby is a 5000 bhp ASD, but is four years older, built in 2005. It also has a high ice spec and is equipped with fire fighting gear.

The reason the Rusby was given the task this year may be apparent from a close look at the photos. Note the yellow tipped pilot boarding gangways fitted on Rusby, Arctique and Tundra. Working from the top of the deck house allows pilots to board well clear of any ice that may be built up closer to water level  - a useful feature in heavy conditions.

Océan K.Rusby returning to its berth in Bassin Louise.

However Océan Clovis T.  did make a strange trip toward Sept-Iles in mid-June and returned to Quebec, so perhaps there was some other reason for it to remain in the Quebec.

Meanwhile the second tug assigned to their new Jamaica operation (there are supposed to be three according to press releases) will arrive in Halifax later this evening - in thick fog and likely after dusk.
Océan Stevns has had a strange six months or more, spending some of the time idle in Port Hawksbury under foreign flag on "bareboat" charter. However it then moved to St.John's NL for drydocking. This was apparently the only nearby available drydock, since Océan's own shipyard is full up.

Océan Stevns was built in 2002 as Stevns Océan for Nordane Shipping of Denmark. Builders were the Industrie Océan shipyard in Ile-aux-Coudres, but the yard became financially over extended and was closed. Ownership was reformed and the yard re-opened later under Groupe Océan ownership. Stevns Arctic lay partially built at the time and in 2004 it was launched then Atlantic Teak towed it to Halifax where it was completed by Halifax Shipyard in 2005 - the only ship to be "unlaunched" by the yard - it was hauled up the slipway into the old building hall, then re-launched after completion.

In 2013 Groupe Océan brought Stevns Océan and sister tug Stevns Arctic back to Canada  under a charter with purchase option. The tugs were re-registered and re-named becoming the current Océan Stevns and Océan Arctique and the purchase option taken up.

The morning after its return from Denmark, Stevns Océan waits its turn at Ile-aux-Coudres while its sister tug undergoes drydocking and survey at the yard where they were built.

If the pattern of the past two Groupe Océan calls in Halifax is followed, Océan Stevns will spend a few days storing and fueling before heading south. I will add any photos I am lucky enough to get as Updates to this post.

Looking at Kingston Harbour Jamaica on AIS, Océan Taiga is tied up adjacent to two Columbia flag tugs from Intertug. Both appear to be Rob Allen design ASDs. One, called Capidahl is a 5,432 bhp, 75 tonne BP ASD built in 2009 by Sanmar. The other, named Sirocco is a Chinese built ASD dating from 2013 likely around 4500 bhp to 5,000 bhp. Océan is unlikely to find an idle tug of equal capability in its existing fleet, so perhaps they will service the three tug contract using one of the Intertug boats. 

To my mind it would be a shame to lose Océan Taiga to a long term Jamaica bareboat contract, since it is built for work in the Canadian arctic, and except for its great power, it is wasted in the tropics. I didn't think Océan had a surplus of operational tugs, but apparently they do since they are keeping some of their old dogs working. - see a subsequent post.  

Groupe Océan has a acquired a nearly new tug to service the Kingston contract. The Robert Allen designed RAmparts 2400SX was built in Turkey by Sanmar in 2015 as Bogacay IX. Sanmar builds tugs to own account but sells them on to meet short delivery requirements of clients. The 80 tonne BP ASD is powered by a pair of Cats totaling 6300 bhp, and is equipped for firefighting. Renamed Ocean Kingston Pride, the tug is currently in Istanbul, fyling the Jamaica flag.

Some alongside views of Océan Stevns turn  up a few points of interest.

 A number of fenders and tires are lashed down on deck and the towing winch is tarped.

 While the St.Vincent and the Grenadines registry is often considered an interim one,  someone made certain this was a more long term arrangement, by making up cast metal "Kingstown". This may not have to be changed to "Kingston" when it arrives in Jamaica.

  There did not appear to be much activity on board, but some servicing was underway, since a technician van was parked at the foot of the gangway. Just above that gangway is the pilot boarding gangway, similar to that on other tugs, as noted above.

Update #3
2018-07-14 This afternoon Océan Stevns made a one hour trials trip to Bedford Basin and returned to pier 9B.

Whatever adjustments were made must have been acceptable as the tug has ordered a pilot for 1800 departure tomorrow.  

It was goodbye to Océan Stevns at 12800 this afternoon as the tug got away from pier 9B for Kingston, Jamaica, giving an ETA of July 25.

The Jamaica contract is for ten years, and it will be interesting to see if this tug ever returns to Canada. My opinion? Despite its seakeeping ability and extra accommodations for a larger crew, in a very few years 5,000 bhp will not be enough for the larger ships now coming in to service and 85 to 100t BP will be demanded. Therefore the  tug will be back within 5 years or less. 
Note the Quebec City type pilot boarding gangways are still fitted, and Quebec has only been painted out not burned off under the ship's name.


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