Sunday, April 15, 2018

Point Valiant - long time no see - UPDATED

The Svitzer Canada dock in Halifax is usually devoid of tugs, since the entire Canadian fleet is based in Point Tupper, but it had a welcome addition this morning. The Point Valiant put in its first appearance in Halifax since the fleet was transferred in 2010. (Svitzer and Atlantic Towing Ltd formed two joint ventures: Halifax Marine Towing to service Halifax and Point Tupper Towing for the Strait of Canso with ATL tugs working Halifax and Svitzer tugs in the Strait.)

Built by Industrie Océan in Ile-aux-Coudres, Point Valiant was acquired by then Eastern Canada Towing  Ltd (ECTUG) while still under construction.  Intended to be Océan Jupiter for the parent company Groupe Océan, it was offered to ECTUG instead and delivered to Halifax in December 1998. It was the second in what was originally a class of four tugs designed by Robert Allan Ltd. One was sold overseas, and two, Océan Intrepide and Océan Jupiter remained with Groupe Océan.
Groupe Océan has since gone on to build two more tugs of the class, but with extended wheelhouse. All four work in the Port of Montreal. They are powered by Mitsubishi high speed engines giving 4,076 bhp.

The current Point Valiant is the second tug to carry the name,. The first was built as Foundation Valiant in 1963, became Point Valiant (i) in 1973 and  André H. in 1995 when ECTUG sold it to Trois-Rivières Boatmen. When Groupe Océan acquired that company from the Houde family, they retained the tug's name. When seen in Quebec City last summer, it was in need of a major refit.

The current Point Valiant appears to be en route to Lunenburg for its own refit is en route to Sambro, NS where it will be slipped for pre-purchase survey. I have it on good authority that the tug has been sold to west coast owners and will be transported by heavy lift ship. Stand by for more updates!


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Tidewater boats arrive

To support the oil rig West Aquarius while it drills the exploration well Aspy D-11,  BP hired Halifax based Horizon Maritime to provide three vessels. Horizon's own supplier Horizon Star has been working for some time now to deliver riser pipe to the rig as it was mobilized in Newfoundland.

This week the rig (which is a self-propelled deep water semi-submersible) arrived at the drill site and the two other suppliers arrived in Halifax today (April 11) for the first time. Although they were initially based in Mulgrave, the drill riser and pipe is coming through Halifax.

Both of these suppliers have been bareboat chartered from Tidewater, one of many supplier companies with a large fleet of laid up boats in its 300 vessel fleet. ( It is estimated that about 36% of the world's Platform Supply Vessels are unemployed).

First to arrive this morning was Troms Sirius, a 4210 grt ship built by STX OSV. The hull was built in Tulcea Romania and finished by STX Soviknes in Sovik, Norway in 2012. It has diesel electric propulsion driving twin azimuthing drives, and is fitted with all the mod cons including Fire Fighter 2 and dynamic positioning.  It was registered in Canada March 9.

Tied up at pier 9C it was loading conventional drill pipe when I happened by, but there is still considerable riser pipe on the dock to be delivered to the rig when needed.(Riser pipe is encased in white buoyancy material whereas the drill pipe that actually goes down the drill hole is exposed steel. Small diameter pipe is drill pipe, large diameter is casing pipe.)

This afternoon the second PSV, Lundstrom Tide, arrived. A vessel of the same class,  it was built in 2013, and has slightly different stats of 3943 grt, and 9,430 hp driving twin z-drives.

It tied up at pier 25, likely awaiting its turn at pier 9C. It was registered in Canada April 4.

The drilling program is expected to take 60 days and is taking place about 250 km offshore in the Scotian Basin.. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Boa Bison en route Halifax

The "monster" tug Boa Bison sailed from Rotterdam April 3 bound for Halifax. It has in tow the semi-submersible Boa Barge 37 .

The 7,328 grt anchor handling tug / supplier was built in 2014 and its two Wartsila main engines develop 26,969 bhp giving a 275 tonne bollard pull. Used mainly in the North Sea oil patch, the tug has been laid up for two years for lack of activity in that sector. It has been recommissioned for this tow, but it is unknown where it will go after reaching Halifax about April 17.

The 15,185 grt, 29,500 dwt heavy lift semi-sub barge will be delivered to Halifax Shipyard and the Royal Canadian Navy for a four year contract to float out the new Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels under construction in Halifax, and as a general purpose drydock.

Specifications and drawings of both tug and barge are available on Boa's web site:

 Thanks to pilot Hans Hoffman for supplying these photos, taken after he disembarked from the tug off Rotterdam.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Dutch tug bound for Canada

As the Royal Netherlands Navy upgrades its tug fleet, one of its veteran tugs is bound for Canada. Regge A875 is one of the four tug Linge class* declared surplus. Although not powerful by today's standards at 1600 bhp it has been well maintained and has many good years left in the right trade.

Photo taken when the tug was new, by unknown photographer (photo acquired in trade)

Despite being built in 1987, it has many desirable characteristics: including twin screws with controllable pitch props and has firefighting gear. It also has sufficient accommodation above the waterline to ensure that it can be registered in Canada. Despite its somewhat spartan appearance (and also in terms of interior fittings), it seems well worth upgrading to Canadian regulations.

As usual anonymity surrounds the name of the buyer, but all will be revealed in due course, including arrival date in Canada. The tug has been based in Den Helder.

Addendum: from online photos I can see that the tug is also fitted with a towing winch.
* - Linge A874, Hunze A876, Rotte A877. A fifth tug, named Gouwe A878 of the same class, but built 10 years later, will be retained by the RNN.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Local tugs assist

Although details are sketchy and accounts are conflicting (and some obviously wrong) two local tugs and the Canadian Coast Guard came to the assistance of a ship in trouble off Nova Scotia at the end of last week. The cargo ship Nordika Desgagnés had a steering problem while outbound from the Gulf of St.Lawrence east of Louisbourg. Reportedly bound for Sydney, Australia, the ship called in with its problem March 13. A storm was passing through the area at the time, and conditions must have been very poor with extreme high winds and seas.

CCGS Sir Wilfred Grenfell was first on the scene. Although based in  Newfoundland, it has been working out of Halifax this winter.

Built in 1985 in Marystown, NL, as an anchor handling / tug / supplier, on spec for the Newfoundland government, it was acquired by the Coast Guard and converted for Search and Rescue work. It was also upgraded to Ice Class I and fitted out for firefighting and equipped with survivor accommodation, including hospital.

Some reports indicate that the Grenfell took the Nordika in tow, but this seems unlikely. CCG ships are not normally equipped or mandated to tow vessels except in extreme circumstances. However under a new program recently announced, CCG ships are to be equipped with "towing kits" (whatever ever that may mean). Certainly a ship like Sir Wilfred Grenfell, with 12,860 bhp would be quite a capable towing vessel if it carried the right gear to tow.

Transport Desgagnés acquired Nordika Desgagnés a year ago, for use in northern supply work. Built in 2010 by Tianjin Xingang as  BBC Oder the 12,974 grt, 16,953 dwt ship is equipped with three 60 tonne cranes. As with many Desgagnés ships, it is chartered out bareboat for most of the year and brought back under Canadian flag from July to October during the northern re-supply season. A the time of this incident the ship is flying the Barbados flag, and is likely working for BBC Chartering.

Reports indicate that Sir Wilfred Grenfell handed off standby duties to the icebreaker CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent  which was off Sydney headed for the Magdalen Islands at the time.  How long it carried on these duties is not known to me. Sir Wilfred Grenfell stood by off Eddy Point at the entrance to the Strait of Canso to relieve the Louis at some point.

Desgagnés apparently put out the call for a tug, and Atlantic Larch, based in Halifax, was sent to the scene. The 4,00 bhp ASD tug is fitted out with a towing winch  in addition to the shiphandling winch forward, and is considered the "outside" tug in the Halifax fleet of Atlantic Towing Ltd.

It is reported that the Atlantic Larch secured a tow line to the ship. It is not clear what happened then, but either the line parted or there was some other reason that caused Atlantic Larch to break off the tow and head for Port Hawksbury. (The original destination was given as Sydney, but that was upwind and likely to be more difficult).

It was then that the 7,000 bhp Atlantic Tern was called in from its standby duties off Sable Island, to take over the tow. This it apparently did and safely delivered the Nordika to the paper mill dock in Port Hawksbury early Saturday March 17.

Atlantic Tern is much rebuilt from its original appearance as Canmar Supplier II when it was built in 1975 by Vito Steel Boat in Delta, BC. Fitted with two Nohab Polar engines driving CP props it was an ice class anchor handler with FiFi1 for use in the Beaufort Sea.  In 1998 it became Rem Supporter for the Norwegian company Remoy then in 2005 Thor Supplier for Faroese owners Thor P/F. In the meantime it had been rebuilt with a raised forepeak and its wheelhouse extended aft. Atlantic Towing acquired the boat in 2012 and initially renamed it Atlantic Birch II. However as it was attached to Atlantic's offshore support vessel fleet , they gave it a more appropriate bird name in 2013. 

Ships working through ice frequently strain their steering gear or even jam their rudders while backing, especially with an inexperienced crew. That is one possibility of how the ship "lost" its steering. It could also be the strain of weather, or any one of a number of reasons. (The tanker Australian Spirit lost its rudder completely closer to Halifax in December 2014.)

However it has to be said that although there was a speedy Coast Guard response, there was not a large towing vessel available to assist. Fortunately for all involved the weather improved dramatically and a tug was found to assist, but it does not take much to imagine more severe conditions where even a 7,000 bhp supply tug would not have been adequate. Calls for an Emergency Towing Vessel program for the east coast have apparently fallen on deaf ears. Either that or British Columbia called louder - they are getting ETVs.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Light duties for Glenside

In a break from the usual job of shoving naval ships around, the Canadian Naval Auxiliary Vessel Glenside was tasked this week to return two large fenders from the Bedford Institute to HMC Dockyard.

The Ville class "pup" tug Listerville moved the fenders originally (see a previous post) perhaps to be used to protect CCGS Hudson during the recent severe sou'easterly winds.

Glenside is one of three "Glen" class tugs based at HMC Dockyard in Halifax (there are two more at Esquimalt on the Pacific coast). Built in 1977-79 they are 1750 bhp (Ruston-Paxman) 19 tonne Bollard Pull Voith-Schneider tugs, and were quite revolutionary for their time. Despite their great agility and ability to move within the tight confines of HMC Dockyard, they are under-powered by today's standards and obviously are getting old and parts are hard to source.

Late last year the Department of Defense and the government procurement agency issued a Request for Information to "solicit feedback from industry" for replacement of these tugs. It was not a invitation for bids, since there is no funding in place yet, but more of a sounding out of those interested in building new tugs. I have detailed some of the particulars here before, but essentially the navy wants two new tugs in Halifax and two in Esquimalt, and they are to be more or less off-the- shelf commercial designs.

Canadian Navy tugs come under the direction of the Queen's Harbour Master (QHM) and and have civilian crews. The Master Attendant in the QHM is responsible for their daily operation.
When the current Glen tugs were planned, it was recognized by the QHM that work in HMC Dockyard had some unique characteristics due to the narrow cambers between the finger piers. The operators studied tugs in many other locations, including the Alcan tugs at Port Alfred, some of the earliest V-S tugs in Canada. Voith-Schneider tugs, with their ability to change thrust direction without having to re-orient hull direction, were ideal for the Dockyard work, but I believe it was a bit of hard sell to convince the top brass that the higher cost was justified. Perhaps that is why the horsepower is so low.

Things have changed since those days however, with  larger naval vessels in service and more to come. There are also many more options such as ROtor tugs (three thrusters), more sophisticated Azimuthing drives, including controllable pitch props, and more efficient V-S. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the RFI, which closed February 28.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Warrior has landed

After a stormy day yesterday that prevented unloading, Dominion Warrior took to the water today from the heavy lift ship Stellaprima.

The new acquisition was shepherded by Dominion's Roseway to the Dartmouth Cove base, attended by Dominion Bearcat and Halmar. Both of these boats have been rebuilt by Dominion's own forces during their tenure with Dominion and it is likely that Dominion Warrior will receive similar treatment before it enters service.

As per the previous post, Dominion Warrior ex Coastal Warrior will expand Dominion's capabilities to support its diving and marine service business by being a multi-tasking vessel with tug / cargo/ and other capabilities.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Dominion Warrior - on the way

photo courtesy of Dominion Diving

The Dutch heavy lift ship Stellaprima is en route from Gibraltar for Halifax carrying the latest addition to the Dominion Diving fleet.

Dominion Diving's base in Dartmouth Cove is a colourful place, with a variety of watercraft.

Dominion, the colourful operator based in Dartmouth Cove, is a long established diving and marine services firm, with a variety of launches, tugs, diving tenders, research vessels and barges, but with the Dominion Warrior they have seemingly combined all those functions into one craft. Owners describe the vessel as a "Swiss Army Knife" combining the abilities of a tug with a powerful winch and 1200 bhp Cat engines (driving twin screws in nozzles) giving a 15 tonne bollard pull.

The hull, which is barge like (21.6m x 9m x 2m draft) with an offset raised wheelhouse gives a large clear deck space carrying a 50 tonne capacity crane and is reinforced to carry heavy deckloads. It can also tend a ROV for specialized diving. The "cargo/tug/workboat" has a deadweight of 130 tonnes, can go 30 miles to sea and has a range of 200 miles.

Built as Coastal Warrior in 2007 by Neptune Alst for Acta Marine to a Eurocarrier 2209 design (known generically as a Multicat), the vessel has worked in Europe and most recently in Kamsar, Guinea. It made its way through Conakry to Algeçiras, Spain, thence to Gibraltar to load onto the Stellaprima.

Although common in Europe and the rest of the world, this is the first vessel of its type to appear in Canada, and marks a major breakthrough in capability for Dominion Diving. Despite the ungainly look, it is quite sea capable but can also carry out beach landings among dozens of other functions.

For a more detailed look at the Dominion Warrior see: Coastal-Warrior
or Eurocarriers

Monday, March 5, 2018


The Canadian Naval Auxiliary tug Listerville handled two large fenders today despite high cross winds in the Narrows. It moved the fenders from HMC Dockyard to the Bedford Institute. One was placed alongside CCGS Hudson and the other alongside the jetty. Very high water levels  - due to a stalled storm centre off Sable Island, and lunar high tides - may have made the fenders necessary to protect the ship from slamming against the pier.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Classic tug lost off Maine - with updates

A tug built for the United States Army in 1944, sank off the coast of Maine on February 23.
It had a varied career until finally going out of documentation some years ago with the name Capt. Mackintire.

 As I remember the tug, when it was named the Marjorie L. Winslow.

On Wednesday February 21, the old tug was in tow of a forty foot workboat which had then come alongside to transfer fuel, on a trip to Annapolis, MD. The workboat struck the tug causing it to take on water, possibly incurring some damage itself.
The USCG responded and towed the work boat called Helen Louise into Portland, ME and another vessel USCGC Reef Shark took the tug in tow. However in the 12 knot winds and six foot seas the tug began to  sink and the USCG had to cut the tow line early in the morning of February 23. The tug now rests on the bottom 3 miles off Kennebunk, ME in 158 feet of water. There it is likely to rest.

Virtually unchanged from its original appearance, but painted in classic US tug colours.

Various histories of the tug show up in on line accounts, but all seem incomplete. Here is what I know:

Built for the US Army as ST-725 by Pensacola Shipyard + Engine Co, fitted with 650 bhp Clarke engine.
1945: sold and renamed Utility for Jacksonville Utility Co, Jacksonville, FL.
1964: acquired by St.Philip Coastal Towing Co of Tampa, FL and renamed Marilyn.
1965: renamed Mary St.Philip by the same owners.
1969: bought by Coast Line Towing Corp of Providence, RI and renamed Castle Hill.
1977: acquired by Thames Towboat Co, New London, CT, but not renamed.
1977: acquired by Winslow Marine Inc of Southport and Falmouth, ME renamed  Marjorie J. Winslow
2012: bought by Eastport Port Authority, Eastport, ME and renamed Capt. Mackintire.
2014: sold to private owners and not renamed.

At the Boston Tug Muster and Parade in 1987.

Update#1 February 28. The tow was out of Bar Harbour, and the tug was carrying eight 44 USGal drums of fule for the workboat in addition to 4400 USGal in its own tanks.
USCG will send divers to the site to assess viability of raising / removal of fuel, etc.,
The owner of both boats is reported to be uin the business of buying old boats to use in television and movies.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

International Tug+OSV Annual Review 2017

The ABR Co Ltd, organizers of the International Tug, Salvage and OSV Conferences, held every two years and the annual Tugnology Conferences, have published their Annual Review 2017. As the cover states there are 103 tugs and offshore support vessels featured in the review, with more than thirty highly detailed write ups and general arrangement drawings in addition to some technical articles.

For the mechanically minded there are detailed descriptions of the engines, winches, propulsion systems and all the principal equipment aboard. These small masterpieces of technical writing are succinct but thorough and highlight the unique characteristics of each vessel.

The general arrangement drawings are usually of very high quality and level of detail and show how the boats work for those who run them and live on board. Combined with the photos one can see quite clearly that the combination of function and form in the hands of skilled naval architects can produce stylish, even beautiful vessel.

Nowadays tugs are highly specialized craft, often designed for specific uses, but also with the same necessary features to push and pull larger and larger ships. The prolific Canadian naval architects Robert Allen Ltd are as usual at the forefront of  new technology. The cover feature tug, the Norwegian Dux owned by Ostensjo Rederi AS, is a dual fuel vessel built for extreme northern conditions and is one of several Allen deign featured this year.

While Europe is well represented in the various featured vessels, so are Asia, the United States and Canada. In fact two Canadian tugs have made the pages this year. Both tugs are operated by Groupe Océan. The first is Océan Catatug 1 a shallow draft catamaran tug with large working deck that is demountable for truck transport. Currently working with its sister tug Océan Catatug 2 on the Champlain Bridge project in Montreal, the tugs could be sent to remote locations accessible only by land. The other is the Océan Taiga the second of the 8,000 bhp ice class tugs for St.Lawrence River tanker escort and arctic work (also a Robert Allen design) . Both featured vessels were built by Océan's own shipyard at Ile-aux-Coudres, QC and fitted out at their Quebec City facility.

The features give a wide overview of the tugs built in the past year and cover a huge range from the small 10 tonne bollard pull training tug to the 100 tonne plus bollard pull behemoths. There is also a range of offshore service vessels from anchor handlers, to suppliers and support ships including icebreakers.

While the publication is aimed at the tug and OSV industry, it is also of special interest to ship designers and those in related fields. Of course die hard tug enthusiasts will find it endlessly fascinating too.

There is probably no more authoritative source for this kind of information in one place. It is available for £30 (plus £5.50 for airmail) from the publishers:

The ABR organization will be hosting the 25th International Tug, Salvage and OSV (ITS 2018) conference June 25-29 in Marseille, France. Information on the conference is also available from the company website.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Conditions Vary

Winter in the North Atlantic is noted for high winds, frigid temperatures and notorious freezing spray.

This winter has been a bit of an exception with prolonged periods of mild air temperatures, well above the Zero degree Celsius mark. Nevertheless tugs must be prepared for whatever happens.

Today was one of those mild days. Yesterday's snow soon melted where it was exposed to the sun.

Atlantic Oak made its way through the Narrows in the late afternoon. The tug was tasked with unberthing and escort duties for the container ships YM Evolution.

On Saturday, temperatures were also relatively mild, with few tracers oof snow anywhere, but Atlantic Bear was bundled up for winter work nonetheless.

The tug's winch was tarped as were the two fire fighting monitors mounted on the bridge deck.

Earlier in the month there were frigid conditions as Atlantic Fir was stern escort on the YM Moderation. As the ship's name implied, that is just what the weather did a few days later.

February 3, 1996 was no better - in fact much worse, when Chebucto Sea arrived. It was assisting with the tow of the disabled Amphion.

Secunda Marine fleet mate Tignish Sea had towed the abandoned bulker from 450 miles SE of St.John's, Newfoundland. Chebucto Sea (former RCN tug St.Charles) assisted with the tow into Halifax in brutal conditions.

It was also a frigid day February 18, 1979. Point Vim was standing by at pier 36 (the shed in the background has long since been demolished).

Its fine coat of ice was acquired working around the harbour.

Some visiting tugs get more than they bargain for with Halifax weather. The 1968 built Eklof tug Thor took some freezing when it arrived with the oil tanker barge E57. It left the barge at anchor and moved to the Museum dock to clear ice in January 1989.

They came back for more however, and made a total of three trips to Halifax that month. The tug was used to hardship however. Built in 1958 as Marjorie McAllister, it sank with the loss of all six crew in November 1969 off North Carolina. Donjon Marine salvaged thre tug in 1972, rebuilt it and it became their Tracy Ann Witte in 1980. Eklof Marine Corp owned the tug from about 1983 until 1999 when it was reacquired by its original owners and renamed Mary L. McAllister. In 2016 it was reported sold to Haitian owners. It is a single screw tug with a 4,000 bhp GM EMD engine.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Atlantic Tern

Things have been quiet in the tug business recently.


There are tugs in Halifax, but just the usual ones, and nothing out of the way to report except for some freezing spray.

This morning the smallest member of the Atlantic Towing Ltd offshore fleet returned to port after a stint off Sable Island as standby vessel.

Named for the Common Tern (sterna hirundo), the Atlantic Tern is unlike its namesake, in that it does not flee southward in winter. The bird arrives in the Halifax area during the first week of May each year and usually begins its southward trek in the early fall. The supply vessel however works all winter.

Built as Canmar Supplier II in 1975 for work in the Beaufort Sea, it is well equipped for winter and has a cutaway bow below the waterline for working in ice. Extensively rebuilt in 1998, with a raised forecastle and extended wheelhouse, it also worked in the North Sea for a number of years before moving to Atlantic Towing Ltd in 2012.
Since then it has usually worked from Halifax providing support services to offshore gas installations.

Please forgive the unforgivable pun: one good tern deserves another.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Winter tow for Mister Joe

Winter towing is fraught with issues, not the least of which is freezing spray. Even if temperatures moderate, weather is still the major issue, particularly with small tugs on coastal voyages.

McNally Construction's Mister Joe arrived in Halifax on Friday on the first leg of a tow from Port Hawksbury, NS to Saint John, NB. There are very few ports to put into along Nova Scotia's eastern and southern shores, and Halifax was the first port aslong the route to provide shelter from predicted high winds and seas.

Mister Joe resumed the tow today, but once outside the shelter of the harbour, they found there was too much strain on the towing gear and so they put back in this afternoon.

Mister Joe has shortened up the tow as it approaches pier 9.

The tug slacks the line and in an adept bit of ship handling.....

...makes up on the bow of the scow, allowing two deck hands to scramble aboard the icy deck, and another to work the towing winch to bring in the bridle and ...

... with the scow "on the hip" moves in to its berth.

There will be another try tomorrow, and if all goes right the next stop will be Shelburne, NS.

Mister Joe was built by the once prolific tug builders, Russel-Hipwell of Owen Sound, ON, in 1964 as Churchill River for the Hudson's Bay Company and worked in Hudson Bay for thirty years. It was sold to Newfoundland owners in the 1990s, then to Beaver Marine in 1997. When Beaver was taken over by McNally Construction the tug was renamed after company founder, Mister Joe (McNally) in 1999. It was re-engined in 2002, with a pair of GMs giving 750 bhp to twin screws. In 2013-2014 it was given a major rebuild, which included a new wheelhouse built to the same pattern as the original, but with better windows.

The tug can be seen all over eastern Canada, ranging from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Coast and Newfoundland, supporting McNally's various dredging and marine construction projects.At sea it works with a crew of five.

Mister Joe prepared for winter work with its accommodaiton ventilators wrapped and duct taped.

The dump scow is ballasted down for the trip with a couple of dredge buckets and some large concrete blocks in the pockets.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Horizon Star makes it Halifax debut

Horizon Maritime Services Ltd (of Halifax and St. John's) has been involved in crewing and other services related to the offshore sector since it was founded in 2015. It has recently expanded into ship owning as part of a growth strategy. Owned and managed by Nova Scotians with considerable depth of experience with other operators, the company has chosen as its first vessel a highly sophisticated offshore support vessel with a range of capabilities.

Horizon Star arrived in Halifax for the first time January 10 after working off Newfoundland since the summer. Built by Kleven Ulstenivik to a Marin Teknikk MT 6015 design, the ship was originally ordered by IES Energy Marine of Malaysia and launched in 2015. When IES defaulted during the collapse of offshore activity, Kleven attempted to sell the ship, but with little success. Horizon, well financed by Nova Scotia investors, was able to wring a very good deal out of Kleven, and had the ship completed to their own specifications.

The naming ceremony in Norway August 3, 2017, coincided with is registration date in St.John's and Horizon Star sailed soon after, arriving in Newfoundland in mid-August.

At roughly 100m long and 5204 grt, it is reputed to be the largest Canadian vessel of its type. It is equipped with, among other things, a helicopter landing deck, a moon pool, ROV handling gear, and a crane that can work to depths of 3 km. Bristling with the usual array of directional thrusters, it is also fitted with the now standard fire fighting and oil skimming equipment, and can accommodate 60 persons, including its crew of 16.

After taking on some fuel today the ship returned to the IT Telecom berth at Pier 9A where a crane is standing by to load some equipment, that appears to be a large cable reel. The stern slide, fitted this week, indicates that it has been contracted to do some cable laying or cable repair work.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Atlantic Bear - fourth tug for Halifax, (and other news) - see Update

As ships grow larger and business picks up in Halifax demand for tug services also increases. Halifax Marine Towing Ltd is the only large tug provider in the port. It is a joint venture between Atlantic Towing Limited and Svitzer Canada, with Atlantic Towing providing the tugs since 2010.

It has made do with three tugs up until recently, but in mid 2017 it brought in a fourth tug temporarily, then in December made it a full time arrangement. [see Update at bottom of page]

 Atlantic Bear

The current fourth tug is Atlantic Bear a 5,432 bhp tug built in 2008 by East Isle Shipyard in Georgetown, PE for Atlantic Reyser Ltd. One of three terminal tugs to serve a new LNG import facility near Saint John, NB it was specially built for harsh conditions and work in exposed areas. It has additional fendering and delivers 70 tonnes bollard pull.

With the downturn in LNG imports, the sister tugs Atlantic Beaver and Spitfire III are now assigned to general duties in Saint John and the third tug is not needed there.

The three other tugs in Halifax are Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Fir, of 2004 and 2005, both 5050 bhp, 68 tonnes bollard pull and Atlantic Willow 1998, 4,000 bhp, 50 tonne bollard pull. All have firefighting equipment.

 Atlantic Willow

Other Tug News
*   Atlantic Towing Ltd and Svitzer Canada are also partners in Point Tupper Towing, with Svitzer providing tugs primarily for the NuStar Energy terminal in Point Tupper, but also serving the other port facilities in the Strait of Canso. This year PTT also added a fourth tug. Svitzer Montreal joined the other Svitzer tugs, Point Chebucto, Point Valiant and Svitzer Bedford. The move allowed Point Chebucto to go to Lunenburg for an extended refit (now completed).

*   Interestingly Groupe Océan has stationed Océan Stevns in nearby Port Hawksbury. It arrived in mid-December, shortly before the Canso Canal closed for the season. What plans they may have for a single tug there remain to be seen, but it has apparently found some docking work. The tug was built in 2002 by Industrie Océan in Ile-aux-Coudres as Stevns Ocean and exported to Denmark. It is a 5,000 bhp ocean going tug, and was brought back to Canada in 2013. Update: Océan Stevns has a barge tow for the Caribbean and is waiting out weather to continue south.

No sooner had I filed this post than Atlantic Towing Ltd sent Atlantic Bear back to Saint John on January 2 and replaced it in Halifax with Atlantic Spruce. This is certainly a step backward in terms of power. It rates at only 4,000 bhp and 50 tonnes bollard pull. Built in 1997, it is the second oldest of the ASD tugs in the Atlantic Towing fleet.

 Atlantic Spruce working in Halifax on a previous occasion. 4,000 bhp tugs no longer perfrom tethered escort service in Halifax, that is now done by the 5,000 bhp tugs.


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tug changes in Goderich

Groupe Océan has assigned the tug Escorte to the port of Goderich, ON. Situated on Lake Huron the port sees about 250 ships a year. Most of those ships load salt at the Sifto Salt mine, located in mid-harbour. There is also a grain loading facility and a grain elevator in the port.
We are told that Groupe Océan has a contract with Algoma Marine for ship docking at the salt pier, and has provided tugs for several years. Most recently they used the former pilot boat Ocean Côte-Nord.
It was built by Industrie Océan at Ile-aux-Coudres in 2001 as Côte-Nord and was based at the Escoumins pilot station with near sister Charlevoix built in 1995.
When the Laurentian Pilotage Authority replaced the two boats, Charlevoix went to Les Services I.C.E. Inc and has been stationed in Sydney, NS transferring ice advisers to and from ships transiting the Gulf and  St.Lawrence River.

 Côte-Nord and sister Charlevoix at the Anse-aux-Basques dock at Les Escoumins, QC..

Côte-Nord was transformed into a tug and sent to Goderich, ON in 2014. With a modest bollard pull of 10.8 tons, it must have been a bit of a challenge to work lakers in the tight confines of the port. Goderich remains open well into the winter as demand for road salt continues, but the port and its approaches often become choked with ice and other boats are often needed to break and scatter the ice.

Early in December Océan Côte-Nord was reported downbound through the St. Lawrence Seaway system and arrived in Montreal December 5.

Escorte, based in Hamilton, ON for a time until 2010 and again since 2016, arrived in Goderich December 17 and began work December 18. I have recounted the history of the tug here before, September 11, 2011
Built in 1967 as USN 760 Menasha it was one of the earliest Voith-Schneider tugs in North America.

 Still in navy colours, the tug worked for the US side of the Seaway.

After several transactions and refit it has served Océan in a variety of work, most recently in Hamilton, also assisting shipping in the Welland Canal.With more powerful V-S tugs now assigned to Hamilton, it has moved on once more.

No account of tug activities in Goderich would be complete without mention of the colourful fleet of MacDonald Marine [MacTug]. Their stylish little tugs have been a fixture in the port for decades, and the family owned business traces its origins to the days of sail.

MacTug handles ships using the grain berths, and sometimes the whole fleet is called out to work a ship.

 Debbie Lyn built 1950, 240 bhp.

 Donald Bert built 1953, 318 bhp.

 Ian Mac built 1955, 318 bhp.

Since the above photos were taken Ian Mac received a new wheelhouse:

Dover built 1930, (on a salvaged iron frame dating from 1905) 280 bhp, is reported to be out of service. its engine has been a fickle one by all accounts and that may be the problem. Its riveted hull, having been in fresh water its whole career is likely to still be sound.