Saturday, October 17, 2015

Big Lift, Small Tugs

The project to replace the roadway of the Angus L. Macdonald bridge in Halifax harbour got underway in earnest today as the first old deck section was removed. The year long project to replace the deck in 46  sections in over night operations will allow the bridge to remain open during the days when traffic is at its heaviest. The work is expected to take a year and a half.

Named "The Big Lift" the project has its own website:

Years in the planning this "mega-project" involves a couple of barges rented from Location Océan, part of Quebec's Groupe Océan. See Shipfax post from July.

RMI Marine is handling the tug work with three vessels.
Belle D, which is registered to Atlantic Towing Ltd, was built in 1967 as Boatman 4 by Fercraft Marine Inc of Cote Ste-Catherine, QC for Montreal Boatmen. It was rebuilt in 1989. Irving's Steel and Engine Products Ltd of Liverpool, NS, acquired and renamed it Stenpro IV in about 1997. It was transferred to Atlantic Towing Ltd and renamed Belle. D for use in Belledune, NB. By 2010 it appeared in Halifax and has been operated by RMI ever since. It is a twin screw tug of 450 bhp.

Captain Jim was built by Guimond's Boats Ltd of Baie Ste-Anne, NB in 1989 as Atlantic Walnut. Its glass fibre hull follows the lines of a typical Northumberland Strait fishing boat, but was initially used as a pilot boat in Saint John, NB by Atlantic Towing Ltd. It was renamed about 2000 and operates for RMI as a workboat, diving tender, crew boat and light tug.

 Halifax Tugger  is an unofficial name for RMI's latest addition. Since it is under 15 grt it is licensed under small craft regulations with a number only, and no official name. It was built by the GFFM Leclerc company on L'Ile-aux-Coudres, QC for their fleet of rental tugs. Most of their dozen or so similar boats are used by northern supply companies such as Desgagnés but have also been used on various marine construction projects. The tugs are truckable so turn up in odd places.

When I saw Cercle Poliare in June at Leclerc's yard it was painted and ready to go back in the water.

When RMI rented  purchased the tug and gave it the new name of Halifax Tugger, they inexplicably painted out its registration number. A little detective work on my part leads me to believe it was built as Cercle Polaire in 2011 (also an unofficial name).  If so it is a twin screw tug of  600 bhp.

As each old bridge deck section is lowered from the bridge, it is landed on a barge where it will be secured and moved to a scrapping facility where it will be cut up. Meanwhile the deck section, transported on another specially fitted barge from the fabricators, Cherubini Metals Works, in Eastern Passage, is moved into position and lifted up in to place.

 Belle D alongside the rental barges, with the first new roadway section.


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