Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Quebec Report

A whirlwind tour over the Canada Day weekend brought me up to date on some Quebec tugs that I had been following recently, and some revisited old (tug) acquaintances.

As usual maintenance dredging was underway at Rivière-du-Loup (they can't start much before the end of June due to the freshet of spring run-off). Also as usual, the veteran 1961 tug Le Phil D was attending the dredge Océan Basque 2. Over the past several years, crews have been working away at painting the small tug in Groupe Océan colours. This year it was time for the corporate logo.

The small tugs Océan Nigiq and Océan Uannug with their mud scows were also in attendance. The tugs don't adjust their trim for loaded or empty scows, so are bow down or bow up depending on the scowload.

An early morning arrival in Quebec City was the tug-barge Mega + Motti finally in service for Groupe Océan. The pair have made at least one trip to Port Hawksbury, NS with wood for chips for the paper mill there, and and had another load upbound, before typing up at about 0800, likely to await a favourable tide.

Meanwhile, after sailing the French warship Mistral the classic 1973 tug Océan Charlie stood by for the arrival of the tanker Minerva Doxa.

It joined the big new 2013 tug Océan Tundra using its 8,000 bhp and 100 tonne bollard pull to slow and steer the tanker. (Rumours of a sister, to be named Océan Taiga are yet to be confirmed.)

The impressive tug was delivered during the winter, and has lost some of its blue hull paint in ice. However, the special undercoat paint remains intact and does not come off.

Speaking of paint, the Industrie Océan shipyard in Ile-aux-Coudres  has the tug Océan Baques (ext Pointe aux Basques )on the slipway. After wintering Halifax, the tug went to Quebec City for work by Océan's machine shop, but now it is ready for a sandblast and repaint into Groupe Océan colours. The 1972 era tug will likely go into service back in Sept-Iles when it is ready.

Also in the yard is the 1969 Océan Echo II. It had a grounding accident near Kingston, ON (ironically at Quebec Head) on May 8. No sign of that damage was visible.

Note the round bilges of the fully molded hull of Océan Echo II versus the hard chine hull of Océan Basque. Neither tug has bilge keels to allow for working in ice.

Océan Echo II has been replaced in wood chip barge service by Mega + Motti, so is likely in for a long stay at the ship yard. Just visible at the bow is one of the hydraulic rams for barge connection.


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