Atlantic Towing's Atlantic Elm returned to Halifax this morning towing the barge Scotia Tide from Liverpool, NS. After entering the harbour it was met by Atlantic Oak and made its way toward Eastern Passage.
The twin hull barge, built by Aecon in Pictou in 2015 for a reported $30 million, was designed to carry and place a 1300 tonne tidal turbine on the sea bottom of the Minas Passage in the upper Bay of Fundy. After a failed first placement, and a second placement in 2018, the turbine operators declared bankruptcy leaving an estimated $14 million owing a number of creditors. The barge was ordered sold at auction to recoup some of the loss.
Ironically, among the creditors is Atlantic Towing Ltd ($1.4 million) and RMI Marine ($444,720) . It was RMI's motor boat that picked up the insurance line and float as the tow neared the Cherubini dock in Eisner's Cove.
The barge, is now owned by Halifax Offshore Consulting and SPB Equipment of Wabush, Newfoundland and Labrador, a company specializing in iron and metal salvaging, dismantling structures, and dealers in recovered components. It is unclear what their intentions may be at this time. The tidal turbine remains inoperative on the bottom of the Minas Passage, and this barge could conceivably be used to recover it.
Atlantic Elm moved back to Pier 27 after securing the barge.
Built by Saint John Drydock + Shipbuilding in 1980 to a proven Robert Allen design, it is a 3460 bhp, 44.5 tonne bollard pull twin screw tug. Originally named Irving Elm it was renamed in 1996. The small "bird house" crows nest was also added later.