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: www.tugandosv.com

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.

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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.

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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.

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