Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Island Champion in transit

 The Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) Island Champion made a short stay at anchor in Halifax, NS September 14-15. The Bahamas flag vessel is en route from Montrose, Scotland to Norfolk, US.

Built in 2007 by Aker Braila, completed by Aker Brevik to a UT776E design, it is a 4,382 gt vessel of 4,100 dwt. With the usual capability to carry liquids, cement, and barite it can also carry pipe on deck and its fitted for oil recovery, standby and is rated FFII (firefighting) and DP2 (dynamic positioning).
Its reason for stopping in Halifax is not known.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

New life for old tugs

 A pair of elderly tugs appear to have been sold, or at least are in the process of being sold for further service.

The older of the two tugs is the W.N.Twolan, built by G.T.Davie + Sons Ltd, Lauzon, QC in 1962. A twin screw tug of 1520 bhp, it is powered by Werkspoor engines. It was considered to be a very powerful tug for its day, and even twin screw tugs were something of a rarity.

It was built to operate in the Port of Churchill, MB on Hudson Bay, to assist bulk carriers into the port to load grain. It was ice strengthened so it could continue to assist ships at the beginning and end in the short July to October season. There were facilities for minor maintenance in Churchill, but the tug sailed south in 1966-67 and again in the 1970s for five year surveys and refits. 


When in barge service with McKeil a small "birdhouse" was installed above the wheelhouse for improved visibility.

The tug was replaced in 1986 and passed through McKeil and Dufresne/McAllister ownership until 1995 when it was acquired Buchanan Forest Products of Thunder Bay, ON. They used it to push a lumber barge on Lake Superior. In 2011 it was chartered to push a grain barge but has been laid up in Toronto since about 2013.

Its AIS signal has reappeared in recent weeks in the area of Toronto Dry Dock Co, where it seems likely to be refitted for service. That company has successfully operated the veterans Salvage Monarch (1959) and Radium Yellowknife (1948) in recent years.

Another old tug destined for a new career is the Escorte, presently reported in Kingston, ON undergoing re-certification. Built in 1967 by Jakobson, Oyster Bay, NY for the US Navy as  Menasha YTM-773 and later YTM-761 it was (along with a sister tug Mascouta) the first Voith Schneider tugs built in the United States. As Menasha it worked for the St.Lawrence Seaway Authority for a time in the late 1980s until acquired by Groupe Océan. It worked with Océan's dredging fleet for several years until moving to Goderich, ON  for ship berthing duties.

The tug worked in Goderich, ON until April 2021. It then moved to Hamilton, ON in April, Oshawa, ON in May and Kingston. It has been idle at Kingston since mid-August in refit. It is rated at 1,000 bhp, (1300 ihp) 13 ton bollard pull  from two GM 12V-71 engines and two V-S units mounted forward - a true tractor tug.