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New Feature – The Port Report

we have launched a New Feature on our site – The Port Report. you can Reach it at http://halifaxshippingnews.ca/portreport.php

This report generates on demand, and updates every 2 hours. It currently features the latest posts on HSN,  Weather, Wind & Sea Conditions, and Arrivals & Departures.

We will be looking to add new information and features to the report, and are happy to entertain requests and comments.

 

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The Last Tribal, HMCS Athabaskan to be Paid off in March

Next weeks Council agenda contains an item for DND requesting a Flypast. March 10. For the paying off of HMCS Athabaskan. The good news, is that this paying off includes a Sailpast.

the Motion Reads:

That Halifax Regional Council grant permission for the Royal Canadian Air Force to conduct a low-level flyby, as low as 500 feet over the water, of two CH-124 Sea Kings as they escort HMCS ATHABASKAN during the final sail past on Friday, March 10, 2017 in conjunction with the paying off ceremony.

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2016 – Year in Review

Container Shipping Events:

ACL’s New G4 Vessels made maiden appearances with Atlantic Star, Atlantic Sail and Atlantic Sea making appearances. ACL also committed to the Port of Halifax until 2022 and projects a doubling of volume.

May brought the arrival of CMA-CGM Tage, at 9300teu, the largest container ship to call in Halifax, and the first to have the accommodation block forward. Her sister CMA-CGM Rhone called in December.  Dinkeldeip was replaced on the St. Pierre Run by Nolhanava. Halterm also picked up some new Toplifts, and Yard Tractors.

OffShore Events:

in offshore news, the Stenna Icemax drill rig, working for shell lost its riser in heavy weather. a eplacement was shipped, assembled at pier 9, and delivered to the IceMax. the Delay caused the charter of Jones Tide to End Early. All Seas pipe Layer Audacia also stopped in port to pick up supplies.

RCN Events:

In Navy News, HMCS Toronto finished FELEX, marking the end of that program. HMCS St Johns was deployed, and had prework done on the Synchrolift. SPS Patiño filled in for HMCS Preserver, as fleet AOR. Preserver was Decommissioned in October. HMCS Iroquois was also towed for scrap.  The RCN also Hosted Exercise Cutlas Furey which brought visits from a number of foreign Naval Vessels.

Visiting Naval vessels include USS Hampton, USCGC Neah Bay, ARM Cuauhtémoc, USS New Mexico, USS DetroitARC Gloria, USCGC Tahoma,USCGC Bristol Bay

Other Events:

The Yarmouth Ferry came back, this time run by Bay Ferries (again) and with a new High Speed Catermaran vessel (Again) leased from the US Navy. Nova Star, the previous operator declared bankruptcy. In the Bulk Carrier world, CSL and Algoma Bought vessels from Oldendorf, who was one of there Vessel pool partners, renaming them.  Svitzer bought a tug, and setup an operation in Montreal. Former Svitzer tug Point Vim also returned, moving cable by barge to Newfoundland.

Shipyard Events:

The HMCS Harry Dewolf AOPS continued construction and steel was cut for construction of the second ship. Atlantic Towing also bought 2 new Supply Vessels. The tops arrived separately from the Bottoms. Some assembly required.

The Year Ahead:

So what to expect for 2017? The major shakeups in container lines alliances to take effect. The Arrival of Tropic Shipping January 9th, from Saint Johns. Expect to see the final 2 ACL G4 Vessels to Appear, and the roll-out of HMCS Harry Dewolf for mega block assembly in the spring. Also Tall ships are coming.

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Sydney MegaPort!?!!

so the port of Sydney Nova Scotia is attempting to develop a megaport called Nova Port. The Idea is that it will be the Newest and greatest port on the east coast, and container lines and their 18000 TEU ships will flock to the port. The development is being done by SHIP Sydney Harbour Investment Partners, which includes China Communications Construction Company, Canderel Group, and Bechtel.

yesterday they announced a partnership with Ports America to run the thing. SHIP has said that they will start construction as soon as they sign up sufficient business. Its not going to happen.

First, Sydney Isn’t close to anything. getting containers to and from the port will be a pain. Sydney is 4 hours further up the road from Halifax, and the rail line, Cape Breton and Central Nova Scotia Railway, is near abandonment, having seen the last train from Sydney in December 2014 and likely in need of a massive overhaul to carry container traffic. A previous container service by Terra Transport via Marine Atlantic ferry  to Newfoundland, was re-routed to Halifax in 1997.  – in part because CN was uninterested in running trains to Cape Breton, favoring Halifax instead. this likely hasen’t changed, and its doubtful  CN will be interested in having to deal with the traffic, as will will only serve to slow down their existing trains.

Second, they keep referring to attracting Ultra Large container vessels, however no line currently has them calling on the East Coast of North America. while this might change, the large volumes occur in the pacific trade, and can justify these vessel sizes. its unlikely they will make the trip around when the smaller classes already service the routes with excess capacity.

Third – the only way they can make a business case is if they can keep the cost of container handling lower then any other East coast port. Since most of the costs to handle containers is labour, they will either automate, reducing jobs, or attempt to keep the facility non union and pay lower wages then any other port.

Finally, of note, Ports America abandoned its lease in Oakland, declaring bankruptcy for its operation there. That terminal handled 1/5th the traffic in the port of Oakland, which ran 2.4 million teu’s in 2014. Port Americas share of traffic in Oakland was about 100,000teu more then that entire port of Halifax handled last year. If they cant make that operation work – how are they going to make Sydney work.

My thought is SHIP is basically playing with other peoples money. They will make money whether anything is built or not. they will collect management fees, market the investment opportunity, and collect government subsidies. I don’t think any major shipping line is ever going to want to call on Sydney, and this mega port will never be built.

Look, Sydney NS does have a business case for port development. It has an excellent location in the Gulf of St Lawrence, close to Newfoundland. and inland waters. Its a central location for a tug base, or many other marine services. But a mega container port. no way.

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Coast Guard looks for interim Icebreakers and towing Vessels

From the RFI:
Due to age and reduced availability of the icebreaking fleet, the Coast Guard anticipates that it may require additional icebreaking capacity provided by one (1) to five (5) Icebreakers (Heavy, Medium, or Light) at various times over the next number of years. Accordingly, the CCG must investigate potential bridging strategies to address potential
gaps in service.
The Icebreaking capable vessels that are approaching the limit of their notional operational life and undergoing Vessel Life Extensions (VLEs) to keep them in service until replacement vessels can be built and delivered via the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The VLEs are scheduled to take place from 2017 until 2023, with up to three (3) vessels undergoing repairs each year. While efforts are being made to minimize work that would occur during an icebreaking season, the VLE work will remove some vessels from service for a significant period of time.
The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) currently has two (2) Heavy Ice Breakers (HI), four (4) Medium Icebreakers (MI), and nine (9) Multi-Task Light Icebreakers in its inventory. The Coast Guard deploys these vessels in Canada’s Arctic waters during the late-Juneto mid-November period (the Arctic season), and South of 60oLatitude from the December to May period (the Southern season). The vessels are based in Quebec City, Quebec; Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; Victoria, British Columbia and Argentia and St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Coast Guard is also looking at commercial towing options for standby tugs. the John 1 Incident (we covered that tow well) was specifically mentioned as a case where this service would have been beneficial. It looks like the government is looking to buy the services of an existing company.
Given the number of out of work offshore supply vessels – some of which are ice class, there should be some interesting responses.
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New Container service for Halterm

With Saint John NB changing container terminal operators from Logistec to DP World, Effective January 9th, 2017, Tropical Shipping will move its port operations to Halterm Container Terminal.

Tropical Shiping specializes in shipping cargo to the Caribbean, and around the Caribbean. It sounds like a weekly service is coming to Halifax.

The Port of Saint John has launched a C$205 million project over seven years to modernize the Rodney and Navy Island terminals to accommodate larger vessels and expand laydown areas for breakbulk and project cargoes. DP World Saint John recently took delivery of two post panamax container cranes.

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HMCS Preserver to be Paid Off Oct 21

HMCS Preserver will be paid off in a ceremony on Friday, October 21, 2016. It was announced back in may that the ship would be paid off by the end of the year. She has been used as an alongside Fuel depot for the past year.

The date for the Paying off Ceremony was reveled in today’s Halifax council agenda as a request for a flypast.

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Anchor from HMCS Niobe Uncovered



An anchor, believed to have belonged to His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS)Niobe, has been unearthed at HMC Dockyard in Halifax. HMCS Niobe was the first Canadian warship to enter Canada’s territorial waters, on October 21, 1910, a landmark event in the beginnings of the Naval Service of Canada.

As fate would have it, the discovery of the roughly 900-kilo (2000-pound) anchor was made just days before the commemoration of Niobe Day, which will from now on, be celebrated annually by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) on the 21st day of October. An excavation crew working at HMC Dockyard recovered an anchor and chain buried beneath a demolition site on the morning of October 14. The anchor has been inspected, assessed against relevant documents and photographs, and is now believed to be that of HMCS Niobe.

The anchor was unearthed at former Jetty 4, where Building D-19, a Second World War dockside warehouse and one of the first structures at HMC Dockyard, once stood and is now being demolished.

The position of the anchor speaks to a particular time and function. The direction of the chain links is consistent with the position of the Niobe’s bow when employed as a depot ship and the size is consistent with an estimated size of the links of the Niobe’s anchor in a post-Halifax Explosion photo. 
While a list of stores left behind by the Royal Navy is not available, no vessels in the newly formed Royal Canadian Navy were large enough for this size anchor except for the Niobe, or possibly the Rainbow (based in Esquimalt, BC). Additionally there would have been no other use for a heavy chain and anchor at the discovery site, except to permanently moor a large vessel such as Niobe.

After she was paid off, Niobe functioned as a depot ship from July, 1915 until 1920 moored in Halifax Harbour. The Halifax Explosion on December 6, 1917, pulled the ship’s concrete embedded anchor from the harbour floor and dragged the ship. Once re-secured to Jetty 4, additional anchors were put in place including one to the shore from the stem and one from the stern. The anchor that has been discovered is believed to be one of these three bow anchors that were used to keep Niobe in place

The dimensions of the roughly 900-kilo (2000-pound) anchor are, 4 metres (13 feet) from crown to head, 4.1 metres (13.5 feet) across the stock, and 3.35 metres (11 feet) from bill to bill of the flukes. Additionally, each link of the anchor’s chain is 51 centimetres (20 inches) by 28 centimetres (11 inches) and weighs approximately 34 kilos (75 pounds)
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HMCS Athabaskan Tow Report Released.

You Can find our Full Coverage of the HMCS Athabaskan Tow Here

The Canadian Press was able to get the May 2013 report into the tow issues with HMCS Athabaskan. I have not seen the report, so the info below is from the CP Piece. The report, obtained under access-to-information law, says the punctures require 18 square metres of steel to be replaced. Another 711 square metres of the ship needs fresh hull coating because the broken lines rubbed against the vessel, while rails, stanchions and a smashed sonar operator compartment window also have to be replaced, the report says.

the repairs would cost approximately $2 million.

The report says the Defence Department was invoiced about $546,000 by Atlantic Towing to complete the tow from Sydney, N.S., to Halifax, on top of the $707,000 the department has been billed for the initial leg of the journey by original Contract winner Group Ocean.

Investigators say the Ocean Delta,one of the two tugboats involved in the operation suddenly lost power in the Gulf of St. Lawrence between Sept-Iles, Que., and the Magdalen Islands on the morning of Dec. 26 when an air leak caused the clutch to disengage. The tug then spins around, striking the navy ship along one side while its fenders “burst as a result of the force exerted on them during the collision,” the report says.

On the 28ththe tow to Halifax resumed. Then, over a course of hours, four lines snap while the ship is about 10 kilometres off the rocky coast of Scatarie Island. The report says winds did not exceed 45 kilometres per hour and waves were between one to two metres at the time.

The first tow line snapped at 10 p.m. A search and rescue helicopter was deployed by the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre to bring personnel onto the drifting ship to secure a new line, which was done early on the morning of Dec. 29.

That tow line snapped about five hours later, and then a mooring line was used to continue the tow. But that line also broke a few hours later, and another mooring line was attached.

On Dec. 30 at about 3:40 a.m., that line broke. A third mooring line was then attached to HMCS Athabaskan to return it to Sydney.

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Navy Cuts to CFAV Vessels

The Navy recently cut service on firebird to normal Business hours, monday to friday. It was also Announced by the CBC that CFAV Quest had the remainder of her sailing days cut for this fiscal year.

The cancelation of the FireBird evenings and weekends is really not a major issue. Atlantic Oak, and Atlantic Willow, are both equipped for firefighting – in fact – Firebirds days were numbered anyway, and the large tug replacement project specified the new tugs to replace the Glen class had to include fire capability. I am also only aware of her being used once in recent memory – back in 2008.

Quest Supports the work of the Defence Research Establishment. It is likely that Quest will continue to be funded, though out of research budgets of DRDC and not operational budgets of the Navy. DRDC is getting a new building at the French cable Wharf in Dartmouth, and their research activities have expanded in recent years, so it seems unlikely they would be left without a vessel. Given there are only 2 months left in the fiscal year, the number of sailing days cut is probably minimal.

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