Category Archives: news

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.

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.

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.

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.

Min of Defence Announce Davie conversion for Temp Supply Ship

WATCH Defence Minister Jason Kenney LIVE here at 1 pm ET
CBC News has learned that Defence Minister Jason Kenney will announce today a plan for Quebec’s Davie shipyard to retrofit a commercial cargo ship to serve as a temporary naval supply ship.
CBCNews.ca and CBC News Network will livestream his announcement at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa starting at 1 p.m. ET.

Davie shipyard is located in Levis, Que., the riding of Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney

UPDATE: DND Posted the Press release early. These are the Key Parts:

The earlier than anticipated retirement of the Protecteur-class ships has resulted in an unexpected loss of both capacity and capability for the RCN during this transition to the future fleet. The Government of Canada will enter into discussions with Chantier Davie to see if arrangements can be made for an interim ship that provides a solution at a cost, time, and level of capability acceptable to Canada and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

Interim Auxiliary Oil Replenishment Capability

The Government will enter into preliminary discussions with Chantier Davie Canada Inc. to determine if it can provide an interim supply ship at a cost, time, and level of capability acceptable to Canada and the Royal Canadian Navy. Should the Government of Canada decide to pursue a provision of service contract agreement, it would provide a required interim ship to bridge the gap until the first JSS is delivered.
The provision of service contract agreement would be for a commercial ship to be refitted for military use. An interim supply ship would provide a more modest capability and would not conduct full-spectrum military operations in high-threat environments.
The Full release:

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) is in the midst of the most intensive and comprehensive period of fleet modernization and renewal in its peacetime history, touching upon all elements of the fleet.
This period of transition includes the modernization of its 12 Halifax-class frigates, the retirement of two Protecteur-class replenishment ships and two Iroquois-class destroyers and the procurement of three new classes of ships, including the Joint Support Ships (JSS), the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships and the Canadian Surface Combatants, as well as the integration of new maritime helicopters into fleet service.
The earlier than anticipated retirement of the Protecteur-class ships has resulted in an unexpected loss of both capacity and capability for the RCN during this transition to the future fleet. The Government of Canada will enter into discussions with Chantier Davie to see if arrangements can be made for an interim ship that provides a solution at a cost, time, and level of capability acceptable to Canada and the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN).

Retirement of HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver

On September 19, 2014, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, announced the retirement of the Navy’s legacy refueling fleet. HMCS Protecteur was an AOR ship based in Esquimalt, BC, and the lead ship of the Protecteur-class. Its sister ship, HMCS Preserver, was based in Halifax, NS.
HMCS Protecteur was retired after sustaining serious damage in a fire in February 2014. An extensive assessment concluded that the ship was damaged beyond economical repair. Considering the relatively short service life remaining for HMCS Protecteur, which was scheduled to be retired in 2017, the cost to re-instate the ship to full operational capability did not represent the best use of public funds.
HMCS Preserver was scheduled for retirement in 2016, but engineering surveys done in 2014 identified levels of corrosion that had degraded the structural integrity of the ship below acceptable limits. As a result, the cost to reinstate the ship to full operational capability also did not represent a responsible use of public funds.
These unexpected circumstances have resulted in the urgent need for Canada to obtain refuelling capacity in the short term to bridge the gap until the first Joint Support Ship is delivered.

The future Joint Support Ships

The Joint Support Ship (JSS) project is designed to increase the range and endurance of the Canadian Armed Forces by enabling naval task groups to stay at sea for long periods without obtaining provisions from ashore. The Joint Support Ships will supply deployed Naval Task Groups with fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food and water. They will also provide an at-sea platform for maintenance and operation of helicopters, a limited sealift capability, and support to operations ashore.
As the selected shipyard for non-combat vessels, Vancouver Shipyards will be responsible for the construction of both Joint Support Ships at their shipyard in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
The two Queenston-class Joint Support Ships (JSS) will replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels. The new ships will provide core replenishment, sealift capabilities, and support to operations ashore. The Queenston-class will be capable of operating across a full spectrum of threat environments.
The JSS are a critical component for achieving success in both international and domestic CAF missions. The ships constitute a vital and strategic national asset. The presence of replenishment ships increases the range and endurance of a Naval Task Group, permitting it to remain at sea for significant periods of time without going to shore for replenishment.

Interim Auxiliary Oil Replenishment Capability

The Government will enter into preliminary discussions with Chantier Davie Canada Inc. to determine if it can provide an interim supply ship at a cost, time, and level of capability acceptable to Canada and the Royal Canadian Navy. Should the Government of Canada decide to pursue a provision of service contract agreement, it would provide a required interim ship to bridge the gap until the first JSS is delivered.
The provision of service contract agreement would be for a commercial ship to be refitted for military use. An interim supply ship would provide a more modest capability and would not conduct full-spectrum military operations in high-threat environments.

Dartmouth CG Base Sold.

Finance minister just announced that Waterfront Development has purchased the Dartmouth Coast Guard Base as the location for an Ocean Technology Hub.

Update: Here is the Press Release
The former Canadian Coast Guard land on the Dartmouth waterfront will be home to an ocean innovation center.

The Waterfront Development Corporation has received approval from the provincial government to purchase the land from the federal government.

The corporation will now work with the provincial government, industry and post-secondary schools to develop the center, where ocean technology research and private sector marine businesses can work together to drive more investment, commercialization, exports and growth.

The annual global market value for ocean-related goods and services is $3 trillion.

“Nova Scotia is home to some of the world’s best ocean technology companies,” said Jim Hanlon, CEO of the Institute for Ocean Research Enterprise. “Providing this new facility as a space for collaboration and waterfront testing will allow those companies to more effectively innovate and compete globally.

“Having this as shared space brings even more value to industry and to the students who will create the next generation of ocean industries.”

More than 200 companies make up Nova Scotia’s ocean science and technology sector. Activity includes science, fisheries, aquaculture, offshore oil and gas, shipbuilding and maritime security.

“The ocean is our competitive advantage,” said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Michel Samson. “Acquiring the land is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, preserving a key site that will create new markets and opportunities for people in Nova Scotia’s marine and ocean-related sectors.”

Located at 27 Parker St., the property includes buildings, waterfront and over 850 metres of wharf and two 100 metre piers.

The property is a 9.5-acre site plus water lot. The purchase price is $6.5 million.

“Waterfront property holds great strategic value for the province and our economy,” said Colin MacLean, president and CEO, Waterfront Development Corporation. “This purchase creates an exciting opportunity to cluster ocean technology companies with Nova Scotia’s world-class marine research programs, enabling direct ocean access to support their work.”

An ocean innovation action team is in place to guide the vision and strategic direction for the ocean innovation centre.

The centre supports OneNS goals linked to business startups, exports from growth-oriented companies, and research and development partnerships.

Nova Scotia is recognized internationally for ocean research done by Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia Community College, Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Royal Canadian Navy, and a growing sector of export oriented ocean technology companies.

The Canadian Coast Guard now operates from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.

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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