Monday, July 28, 2014

Newfoundland Tug News


The veteran tug/supplier Riverton has left the Canadian flag after a memorable career. Built in 1975 Scheepsw. “De Waal” in Zaltbommel, Netherlands as Smit-Lloyd 112 it was powered by a pair of 6 cyl Werkspoors delivering 7,500 bhp through twin screws with controllable pitch props and two thrusters.
It worked under the Dutch flag for Smit-Lloyd until 1989 when it was acquired by the Royal Canadian Navy. Arriving in Halifax March 29, 1989 it went into refit in Dartmouth and emerged as Riverton. The second tug of the name in the RCN, it was used for a variety of chores including target towing, but rarely if ever did a major tow.

There was some controversy when it was acquired as several Canadian vessels were available, but were passed over in favour of the Dutch ship, and later when the RCN acquired two more suppliers from foreign owners (even though Anticosti and Moresby were Canadian built). Prime among the objectors was Secunda Marine Services. In 1997 when the RCN decided they didn't need Riverton anymore it was chartered to Secunda, and without name change, it served them until 2002. Interestingly as a naval vessel, it was not registered. On return to the RCN it was laid up. During its RCN career it carried pennant numbers AGOR 121 and ATA 121.

In 2002 it was sold to Cape Harrison Marine of St.John's and did odd jobs including some barge towing and seismic standby in addition to offshore work.
On March 27 its Canadian register was closed and it hoisted the Panama flag. Its new owners are listed as Yacht Bilgin Shipyard Europe of Funchal, Madeira. It has since sailed for the Mediterranean.


Newly registered on July 22 is Maersk Clipper, the latest newbuilding for Maersk Supply Service Canada. From Ast. y Servicos Navale SA of Santiago, Chile, the big boat measures 6,490 gross tons and wields 13,800 bhp. It will be delivered later this year. (I suspect that bhp rating is about 4,000 bhp understated.)

Atlantic Towing has also taken delivery of their newest supplier Atlantic Merlin June 26. Built as Jaya Sovereign it measures 6200 bhp and shows 16,300 bhp. It is a sister to Atlantic Kestrel (ex Jaya Supreme) delivered in 2012.

Atlantic Towing limited has also ordered four platform supply vessels (without towing or anchor handling capability) from Damen in the Netherlands for delivery starting in 2016.

Not to be left out Secunda Marine Services has ordered a supplier from Poland.


The biggest tug operation ever to take place in eastern Canada took place last week with little fanfare. The 180,000 tonne Gravity Base Structure (GBS) for the Hebron offshore oil field was built in an enclosed earthen drydock at Bull Arm. The Dutch dredge Leonardo da Vinci was called in to dredge out the bund wall allowing the area to fill with seawater.

It took 10 hours on July 22 for a flotilla of tugs to pull the base out into deeper water in Trinity Bay. It was then anchored where it will be extended to full height (thus increasing its draft considerably). Top sides structures and components under construction as far away as Stephenville and Halifax will be barged in for placement over the coming year. McKeil Marine has assembled a large fleet of barges for this work, some new and other purchased.

While at anchor, the GBS will be serviced by a number of speedy former Quebec passenger craft (see recent posting on Shipfax).

By my count the following tugs were involved in one way or another in the pull out:
Océan A. Simard, Océan Serge Genois, Océan Bertrand Jeansonne, Océan Ross Gaudreault, Océan Arctique, Océan Stevns, Escorte; Atlantic Hemlock, Atlantic Larch, and the tug/suppliers Venture Sea and Havila Venus.

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