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.