Tuesday, February 20, 2018


The second of three new Pure Car and Truck Carriers in the latest series for Grimaldi Group discharged its cargo at Autoport today. The shining white and yellow Grande New York brightened an otherwise gloomy day.

Built by Jinling Shipyard in Nanjing, China, the 62,134 grt, 18,360 dwt ship was delivered to Grimaldi Euromed SpA November 7, 2017.  The ship can carry 6700 CEU (car equivalent units) or a variety of RoRo cargo and cars, loading over a 150 tonne capacity quarter ramp or smaller side ramp.

The first ship in the series, Grande Baltimora has called in Halifax twice since its delivery July 19, 2017.
We anxiously await the first visit of the third and last ship in the series, Grande Halifax which was delivered January 10, 2018.

Grimaldi Group has owned Atlantic Container Line since 2001 and their stylised "G" is a familiar mongram in Halifax.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Holiday Monday - for some

Most Nova Scotians enjoyed a day off as Heritage Day, but there was some work in the harbour.

Asian Moon arrived for Nirint Lines, with another cargo of nickel from Cuba.

As Asian Moon passes the Middle Ground inbound, the tug Atlantic Willow takes up a stern first orientation near the ship's stern. This will allow it to pull the ship round then push it stern first into pier 31.
The ship tied up at pier 31, but work to unload will likely not start until tomorrow. Built in 2006 by Jiangdong Shipyard as Aliança Inca it took its current name the same year. It is a 9956 grt, 13,670 dwt vessel with a container capacity of 1118 TEU and has two 45 tonne cargo cranes.

Only one other container ship was in port today. YM Evolution arrived and sailed on THE Alliance's AL1 service (North Europe / East Coast North America). The 4662 TEU ship dates from 2014 when it was delivered by the China Shipbuilding Corp in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. It measures 47,952 grt, 57,320 dwt and is one of four sisters of the "E" class on the AL1 rotation.

YM Evolution outbound in the Narrows on the eastbound leg of its trip. Bound for Bremerhaven, the ship is carrying lots of containers, but is high in the water, signifying a lot of empties.

Factoid: In the year 2000 there were 2,617 container ships in the world, carrying 67mn TEU. Since 2011 there have been about 5,000 ships. Although the number of ships has not increased very much since the 5,083 in 2012 (it is now at 5,192) the size of ships has increased dramatically, as has the trade volume: from 155 mn TEU in 2012 to 192mn TEU in 2017, and still growing.
Last week Yang Ming announced that it will order twenty new ships, ten of 11,000 TEU and ten of 2,800 TEU.

With today's fine sea conditions, it was a good day for CCGC Baie de Plaisance to do some more trials work. (It was out in Bedford Basin on Saturday too.)

The first of twelve new rescue cutters to be delivered to the CCG, it arrived in Halifax from builders Chantier Naval Forillon Inc in Gaspé in November. It will take up station at Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands as soon as ice conditions permit it to make the trip.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Reykjafoss reassigned

A ship that had been serving Halifax for the Icelandic company Eimskip since 2005 has been replaced. Reykjafoss has been renamed RS Mistral and is currently operating between Lisbon and Caniçal Madeira, Portugal.
The was the fourth ship to carry the name for Eimskip. Built in 1999 by Cassens, Emden, it measures 7541 grt, 8430 dwt and has a capacity of 712 TEU (including 100 reefers) and has two 40 tonne cargo handling cranes. It is owned by MS Westersingel of Haren Ems, and managed by Reider Shipping, Winschoten, Netherlands. It has carried several names over the years.

Earlier this year Eimskip announced that it was increasing the frequency of its "Green Line" sailings to provide a weekly service between Iceland, Argentia, NL, Halifax and Portland, ME. This would also serve as a New England feeder service for CMA CGM, They added the ship Selfoss joining Reykjafoss and Skogafoss.

Last month Pantonio replaced Skogafoss.
Pantonio is a similar sized vessel of 7545 grt, 8153 dwt, but is a newer gearless container ship built in 2007 by Sainty Shipbuilding (Yangzhou) Ltd. It has a container capacity of 698 TEU, but an increase in reefers to 120.
If Pantonio is a long term member of the fleet, it seems likely that at some point it will be renamed "Reykjafoss".

 This morning's arrival was less than conducive to photography, but does give an idea of the ship's general shape. It seems to have picked up quite a bit of frozen spray en route from Argentia.

There have been many references to the ships named Reykjafoss on Shipfax:


Saturday, February 17, 2018

Comings and goings

It was a sunny today today for a change, so some brighter photos than those posted recently. The comings and goings today were all familiar faces going about their regular business.

APL Santiago arrived on the Columbus JAX service operated by parent CMA CGM . One of 17 ships on the service, that call in 17 ports from Oakland and Los Angeles through Asia to the east coast of North America and back again. All the ships currently on the service are in the 8500 to 9500 TEU size, but rumours have it that next month APL Salalah, a 10,642 TEU ship will join the loop. If so it will inch up the size for largest container ship to call in Halifax. It is no surprise that larger ships are coming, since the Columbus JAX ships always look fully loaded. Halifax is their first stop after the 20 day transit from Colombo, Sri Lanka (30 days out of Hong Kong)..

APL Santiago used three tugs to berth at Halterm. Atlantic Oak was stern tethered escort, Atlantic Fir took the bow and Atlantic Willow was working the starboard side (out of sight in the photo) to assist in the turn.

APL Santiago, built in 2014 by Daewoo, Okpo, is a 109,712 grt, 108,000 dwt ship with a capacity of 9200 TEU. It called in Halifax for the first time on October 21, 2017.

Arriving early this morning and sailing from Halterm in the early afternoon, the veteran Maersk Patras was on schedule for its regular return across the Atlantic from Montreal.

The former P+O Nedlloyd Marseille, renamed in 2006, was acquired by Maersk when they took over PONL. Again with rumours it is said that the 1998 built sisters on the route will be replaced come spring.

Fairview Cove had Berlin Bridge today on the AL6 service operated for THE Alliance. Although wearing K-Line colours, it is in fact owned by Seaspan International, part of the Washington Group, on long term charter.

 Berlin Bridge made a rare passage west of George's Island outbound. There did not seem to be any particular reason for this, as the east channel was open. However there is deeper water west of the island.

 The stylized "W" below the bridge wing is the Washington Group logo.

The AL6 ships appear to be carrying more cargo these days than when the service started last year, and this will be good news at Fairview Cove, now that the service is assured for another year at least. [see previous post below]

At Pier 9C work continues on the annual refit of Fundy Rose. Canadian Maritime Engineering Ltd seems to be working seven days a week on the inside and outside of the ship.

Rubbing stakes have been extended on the starboard side below the bridge. 
That is Atlantic Condor in the background at its usual berth between frequent trips to the Deep Panuke gas field for Encana.


Friday, February 16, 2018

More Big

ZIM is adding larger ships to its Zim Container Service Pacific rotation as former post Panamax ships become available for world wide trading. Previously confined to the Pacific and Suez routes, they are now able to transit the enlarged Panama Canal and can take up different routes.

The bow of Hyundai Mercury looms over the south end pier 42  on a dead calm morning.

Today's arrival, Hyundai Mercury although no longer a giant is still an impressive 94,511 grt, 95,811 dwt with a capacity of 8562 TEU. Owned by Zodiac Marine of the UK it carries the name and markings of Hyundai Merchant Marine, the troubled South Korean operator. The ship was built in 2009 by - no surprise, Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea.

Hyundai Merchant Marine reports a loss of about $1bn in 2017, but is on the verge of ordering 12 new mega ships. Since the collapse of Hanjin, Hyundai has taken up much of the failed line's business, but is still only a small player on the world market (It is tenth largest). It now also has arrangements with ZIM and the 2M alliance (Maersk and MSC) for its ships to serve the US east coast.


Thursday, February 15, 2018

More icebreaker woes

It's been a difficult winter for the Canadian Coast Guard's icebreaker fleet. Various mechanical issues have kept some of the ships out of service for days at a time. This has been particularly awkward as it has been a winter for heavy ice on the upper reaches of the St.Lawrence.
In mid-January CCGS Terry Fox was sidelined, just when one of the Quebec ferries was beset by ice. This week it is CCGS Amundsen with problems. On February 10 it had a crankcase explosion off Gros Cap-à-l.Aigle (near St-Siméon) a few miles from my summer roost. It was still able to operate with five of its six engines, but has now tied up at Gros Cacouna.

 CCGS Amundsen at the Quebec City Coast Guard agency, below the Citadel ramparts.

Of course this prompted calls for an immediate solution to a problem that has been brewing for years. As Canada's icebreaker fleet continues to age with no action on replacements (but many costly refits and life extensions).  The government has been fixated on replacing other ships for the navy and seemingly has no time to deal with icebreakers.

Offers of foreign ships, which would also require costly upgrades, are still being considered, but they would not be available this year in any event.  So far shipping has not been delayed for extended periods, but patience is wearing thin in some circles.

Amundsen has been in Halifax many times over the years for annual refits (when Halifax Shipyard was still in the ship repair business). It was built in 1978-79 by Burrard Dry Dock Co Ltd in North Vancouver as Franklin. Renamed Sir John Franklin in 1981 it was based in St. John's, NL until laid up in 1995. It was re-activated and then transferred to Quebec for the winter of 1997-98, then placed in reserve in 2000..
In 2002-2003 it was converted to an arctic research vessel, but to help out with icebreaking in the winter and renamed Amundsen.

In 2007-2008 it was intentionally "frozen in" in the Beaufort Sea to conduct research.
In 2011 it was removed from service while four of its six main engines were replaced and did not return to service until 2013. Several times over the past few years its research programs have been curtailed or  scrubbed completely due to various ice conditions in the Strait of Belle Isle and Hudson Bay, where its services as an icebreaker were needed.

According to the CCG"s maintenance calender Amundsen was to have a lengthy drydocking and refit just last summer. However with ships of this vintage more such problems can be expected. Sister ship Des Groseilliers, Pierre Radisson and Henry Larsen have also had their own mechanical issues and have undergone extensive refits in recent years or have ones planned in the next year or two.


Dutch General Cargo

Halifax general cargo stats were down last year, but they are getting off to a better start this year thanks to a pair of Dutch general cargo ships in port today, both carrying steel.

Ijsselborg arrived on February 12 with a cargo of rails for CN. The rails are manufactured in Poland and CN seems to have an inexhaustible demand. There is a more or less constant flow of rails into the port. They are stockpiled on pier 27-28 and shipped out on special railway cars. Once the stockpile begins to get low, another ship arrives.

Ijsselborg dates from 2010 when it was built by Damen's Yichang yard in China. It measures 8,999 grt, 12,016 dwt (also quoted as 11,000) and carries a pair of 80 tonne cranes that can work in tandem. The ship is currently operated by Royal Wagenborg, but has previously worked as Nordana Sarah (in 2015), Clipper Alba (2012-2015) Ijsselborg (2011-2012) and Onego Houston (2011) and was built as Ijsselborg.

Meanwhile at the opposite end of the port BBC Challenger was at pier 9C unloading drill pipe loaded in Louisiana. A similar vessel, it was built in 2008 by Damen Yichang and measures 7878 grt, 11,121 dwt, and also carries a pair of 80 tonne cranes.

It was built as Marina I and was renamed Clipper Marina (2008-2009), Marina I (2009-2010) and Thorco Challenger (2010-2017).
The drill pipe cargo is likely intended for the BP drilling program due to start later this spring.