Sunday, August 11, 2019

Tugs at Ile-aux-Coudres - Part 2

The GFFM Leclerc shipyard on the eastern tip of Ile-aux-Coudres builds small powerful shallow draft tugs for sale or charter. Many of the tugs find work as lighterage tugs in northern supply work. Others are kept on hand at the home port of Ile-aux-Coudres for general duties or leased out to others.

A small tidal basin adjacent to the ferry dock is the base, and on August 10 there were four Leclerc tugs and a pair of similar tugs operated by Transport Desgagnés.

The Desgagnés tug Lumaaq is an early version of the type, whereas Rénard Polaire is one the newer triple screw versions.
Lumaaq, Siku and a pair of lighters will be loaded aboard an outbound Desgagnés Transarctik ship to land sealift cargo in the far north.

Siku is awaiting its next northern assignment with fleetmate Lumaaq, and Ours Polaire is standing by for other work.

Béluga Polaire and Eclipse Polaire return from an assignment moving a barge out into the stream.

Béluga Polaire prepares to land some barge workers.

Eclipse Polaire returns to the dock.

The tugs move JMC 185 away from its berth.

The tugs had moved the barge JMC 185 out to the stream. Built in 2007 by LAD Salvage of Louisiana in Stephensville, LA as an ABS classed spud barge, it was owned by Cashman Equipment in Boston. Groupe Océan then acquired the barge for transporting reinforcing steel to the Hebron gravity base construction in Newfoundland from 2015 to 2017.  They then used the barge to transport precast concrete components from Sorel for the new Champlain Bridge project. CRT Construction has now acquired the barge for work in north Quebec with their tug CRT Express (see yesterday's post).


Tugs at Ile-aux-Coudres - Part 1

Ile-aux-Coudres, QC, home of the Industrie Océan shipyard, and headquarters for the GFFM Leclerc tug building and leasing company, has long been a busy spot for tugs. Saturday August 10 was no

The shipyard will become very busy soon as work will begin on four new tugs for the Royal Canadian Navy.  In the meantime the yard continues to refit Groupe Océan tugs and repair other ships.

Sometimes when more fit out space is needed shipyard activity spreads across the channel to the mainland.  On Thursday the Renard Polaire and Eclipse Polaire moved the tug Fjord Saguenay to the at St-Joseph-de-la-Rive wharf.

Fjord Saguenay has been on the slipway since the winter for repairs. It damaged a thruster January 26 while berthing the bulker  Nord Montreal at La Baie forcing its removal from service. In the meantime Océan Bravo has joined Fjord Eternité in ship docking at the Saguenay ports of La  Baie and Grande Anse.

It appears that the access hatches to the thrusters have been re-sealed. This would indicate that both thrusters were removed and repaired.

Work is obviously on going below deck with lots of noise emanating from the thruster room escape hatch.

Fjord Saguenay was built by East Isle Shipyard in Georgetown, PE in 2006 as Stevns Iceflower (i) and after working as Svitzer Njord from 2007 to 2009 it was acquired by Rio Tinto Alcan. It sailed to Halifax on its own arriving February 28, 2009 on one engine. After repairs at Halifax Shipyard it finally entered service March 29. Sister tug Fjord Eternité (ex Stevns Icecap (i), Svitzer Nanna) was brought to Canada on the heavy lift ship Fairlane in 2010.

On the island itself, there were two tugs on the slipway one for repairs and one for "parting out".

Although officially named Océan Brochu, that name has never been painted on the hull. Shortly before transfer of ownership from Arcelor Mittal in late 2017 to Groupe Océan a fire in Brochu's engine room resulted in the tug being declared a constructive total loss.

Built by Star Shipyard in New Westminster, BC in 1973, for Québec Cartier Mining, the 3600 bhp ice class tug V-S was stationed at Port Cartier, QC, for its entire working career. Groupe Océan took over operation at Port Cartier in 2017 and purchased the two tugs. Sister tug Vachon  was renamed Océan A. Gauthier and it is presently stationed in Hamilton,ON. Working in the fresh water of Lake Ontario, it serves the ports of Toronto, Oshawa, and occasional forays ino the Welland Canal.

Parts from the Brochu are to be kept in reserve for its sister, but so far the hull appears intact, so is there hope for a rebuild?

At the adjacent slip Océan Sept-Iles is also undergoing a major refit. Also an ice class vessel, built in 1980, it is the former Pointe Sept-Iles operated by Eastern Canada Towing, later Svitzer at its namesake port until 2013. With 5400 bhp and twin screws in nozzles, it was built to replace the 1973 built Pointe Margeurite lost in Sept-Iles Bay in 1978. I believe the replacement tug was built as a day boat with limited crew accommodation.

It is interesting to see two ice class hulls, with distinctly different hull shapes and propulsion systems.

continued part 2............

Saturday, August 10, 2019

CRT Express

CRT Express is the new name assigned to the former Dutch tug Meander when it was registered in Quebec City June 27. Built in 2006 by Gebr. Kooiman NV in Zwijndrecht it was acquired in May of this year by CRT Construction Inc of Lévis, QC and arrived in Quebec City under its own power on June 13.

With a pair of Mitsubishi main engines of 1278 bhp each, it is also fitted with a bow thruster, deck crane and towing winch with a bollard pull of 30.3 tonnes.

CRT Construction has a contract with Hydro-Québec and the tug will tow cargo barges between Chisasibi and Inukjuak on the east coast of Hudson's Bay. It sailed from Quebec City early in the morning of August 10 to pick up the barge JMC 185.

I was fortunate enough to get to Ile-aux-Coudres in time to see the pickup.

The barge was brought out to the waiting tug as soon as the tide had risen enough to free the barge from the muddy bottom where it was moored just west of the ferry dock.

The GFFM Leclerc tugs Beluga Polaire and Eclipse Polaire [see following post] shepherded the barge out to the stream. It was quickly connected and the tow was underway for Cacouna, QC, where it will be loaded for the trip north.