Saturday, December 19, 2020

Tugs in Transit

 For a variety of reasons, several tugs are visiting Halifax for short stays.

Atlantic Towing Ltd leads the way with two tugs plus two tugs from their sister company.

Atlantic Elm, built in 1980 as Irving Elm is a 3460 bhp tug that operates in the summers with supply barges in Hudson's Bay. It was recently deployed from what would usually be winter layup, to assist in moving the BOA Barge 34 arrival in Sheet Harbour. 

It is now tied up at Pier 9C North with the barge Atlantic Swordfish which is one of the northern supply barges. No towing gear is rigged yet, so it is unclear if the barge is to be moved - perhaps to Sheet Harbour?  The tug became Atlantic Elm in 1996 during a corporate re-branding.

At nearby Pier 9C South the J.D.Irving group subsidiary Harbour Development Ltd has its dredge Cranemaster, a split hull spoil barge HD-9 and the tugs Wavemaster ( former Dutch naval tug Regge) and Atlantic Tamarack (former Irving Tamarack). 

The equipment was working in Sheet Harbour for several months dredging to make room for the Boa Barge 34. They are likely stopping over here due to weather en route to winter quarters.

Also involved in the Boa Barge 34 move is the Atlantic Hemlock in from Saint John. It will likely be returning to Saint John when Spitfire III returns to Halifax from Saint John.

Built by Irving's Eastisle Shipyard in 1996, the 4000 bhp ASD is the oldest tug in the series still in the ATL fleet. (Atlantic Willow, built in 1998 is a firefighting version, and is normally based in Halifax.)

Meanwhile in the backyard of Eastern Passage some small tugs have returned from Alberta where they were working in the oil industry. Owned by a subsidiary of Horizon Maritime, they are "truckable" due to their demountable wheelhouse roofs.

Horizon Glacier was built by GFFM Leclerc in Ile-aux-Coudres, QC in ca. 2014. As an under 15 gross tons vessel it is registered by number only, and has no official name. However it has carried the names Cercle Polaire to 2015 and Halifax Tugger to 2018.

Less easy to identify is Horizon Chinook with no registration number displayed on the hull. However there was a "loose" wheelhouse nearby:

Its registration number leads to a tug built by Meridien Maritime Reparations in Matane, QC in ca.2018.

Horizon also has a second Leclerc built tug, believed to be carrying the name Horizon Aurora which may be on its way back to if it has not been delivered already.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Big Tow, Little Tow

 The last two days in Halifax have seen the extremes of towing operations - big and little.

First the big tow:

BOA Barge 34 carrying the topsides structure from the decommissioned Deep Panuke gas field, departed this morning, December 12.

The tug Atlantic Kestrel took the lead and was later joined by Atlantic Kingfisher. Assistance getting away from the dock was provided by Atlantic Hemlock and Atlantic Larch (the latter also accompanied the tow) with Atlantic Elm going on ahead to Sheet Harbour.

Atlantic Kestrel has been standing y at Pier 9C, except for a refueling move, waiting for this project.

Atlantic Kingfisher is a UT-722L type tug / supplier, built by Halifax Shipyard in 2002.

Then the little tow:

The McNally Construction tug Mister Joe sailed yesterday, December 11, bound for Port Hawksbury, NS towing an unidentified dump scow.

The classic tug, built as the Churchill River by Russel Brothers of Owen Sound, ON in 1964 has been well cared for, including rebuilding with new engines and a new wheelhouse built to original plans. It travels widely in eastern Canada, following the company's marine construction projects. 


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Safe Arrival

 Most transatlantic tows from Canada involve large barges or ships eastbound en route to the scrap yard in Turkey. Last night (December 5) marked the arrival in Halifax of  a somewhat smaller vessel. The barge Jacob Joseph C, 2076 GT in tow of the tug Amy Lynn D. Tug and tow are of interest in themselves, but of added interest is the deck cargo on the barge - three small tugs.

The tug Amy Lynn D is much traveled since it was built in 2013 by Damen's Hardinxveld shipyard in the Netherlands.  Originally named Otago it operated for Damen's own chartering fleet, but in New Zeland. In 2018 it as sold and renamed MSC Allianz Explorer by Allianz Middle East under the management of Maritime Craft Services Clyde. Earlier this year Damen apparently did a buy back and re-sold the tug to Canadian owners the Doornekamp company of Odessa, ON. They renamed the tug Amy Lynn D and it will be put to work in the Wolfe Island area in eastern Lake Ontario.

The tug is a Shoalbuster 3209 standard design, powered by two Cat engines giving 3498 bhp and 46.8 tonnes bollard pull (maximum) with two fixed pitch props in nozzles and a 350 bhp hydraulic bow thruster.

The tug was last working in the United Arab Emirates, and sailed from there to Algeciras, Spain (Gibraltar) where it rendez-voused with the barge. Also a Damen standard product (called a Stanpontoon), the barge had departed Rotterdam about a month ago and was towed to Algeciras.

On board the barge are three small tugs of the Damen Stantug 1205 class. Powerful for their 13m length, the 600 bhp vessels deliver a 8.5 tonne bollard pull. Standard main engines are Volvo driving twin screws in nozzles. They are also fitted out to a very high standard of finish with a complete suite of navigation gear.

Two of the tugs are destined for local owners, Dominion Diving Ltd. The company operates a number of work boats to support its diving and other work, but also provides line boat and pilot and agent transport in Halifax harbour. The Dominion Rumbler and Dominion Enforcer will be off loaded from the barge - weather permitting - December 7.

The third tug, Saint Georges is destined for Quebec owners and will remain on the barge until it reaches Quebec.


Friday, December 4, 2020

Veterans soldier on

 A couple of veteran tugs are hard at work in Halifax these days despite their great age and hard use. Both are small boats used for dredging and marine construction, and are forever shoving and towing scows.

Oshawa is the older of the two, built in 1969 at Whitby, ON by first owners McNamara Construction. I have taken scores of pictures of this tug going back over the years, in fact back to 1983 when I saw it first.

Pulling the dredge Harold M and an unidentified scow after a day's work.

Aside from a few label changes for ownership, the tug has changed very little from its days working first for McNamara, then Cartier (in the photo) and now McNally.

Doing essentially the same thing this afternoon, nudging an aged scow.

A "cousin" tug, also built by McNamara, but in 1978 is named for the company's home port. Whitby has also recently arrived in Halifax and is also working with scows.

These boats have a lot of life left in them, so should be going strong for many years to come.