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Cruise Season Anounced

The Cruise Ship schedule for 2012 has been released, and Begins in April, with visits by 2 titanic 100th Aniversary cruises. Azamara Journey will visit Halifax on April 12 and On April 16/17, Balmoral will make an overnight stay.

The regulars Carnival Glory and Maasdam are back, and are joined by Disney Magic. The Quest for Adventure, will make two turnaround calls – one on Sept. 16 and another on Oct. 1. These turnaround calls will have passengers begin their cruise from Halifax.

See the Press release here and the Full Schedule

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The End of Locomotive Shipments?

Locomotives for the export market have had a long history of shipping through Halifax, primarally on Jumbo Shipping vessels. The Locomotives Orignated at EMD’s London Ontario Facility. EMD was originally the Electro Motive Division of General Motors, but was spun off and sold to the Progress Rail Subsiduary of Caterpiller.

On Friday, Caterpiller closed the plant, after locking out the workers January 1, after failing to get Employees to agre to a 50% Wage reduction. Caterpiller announced a record Quarterly profit of nearly $5 billion, Up 58%

Caterpiller Ships heavy equipment via ACL through Fairview Cove

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Spies!

CBC news is reporting that a naval intelligence officer was arrested for disclosing information to foreign entities. Lt.Jeffrey Paul Delisle is reportededly tasked with monitoring shipping movements in the North Atlantic, and is based HMCS Trinity, which is housed within the Halifax Dockyard.

The navy monitors shipping movements in and out of Canadian Waters. This is done both via satellite and via P3 Auora aircraft. Vessels entering Canadian waters are required to report 24 hours in advance. This maritime surveillance can detect illegal dumping and fishing, as well as smugglers.

Update: speculation. Reports suggest that the information was leaked to the Russians. According to Wikipedia, one of the functions that was transferred to HMCS Trinity was the operation of the sub sea surveillance network, which was jointly developed with the US Navy during the cold war to detect foreign submarines. It was operated from CFS Shelburne, which closed in 1995.

Since the network can detect submarine movements, and it was jointly developed with the US Navy, presumably Canadian naval intelligence knows the positions of US Navy, and Possibly British submarines in the North Atlantic – which would certainly be of interest to the Russians.

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Ships Start Here – Money Well Spent?

The Nova Scotia Government Spent $600 thousand dollars on the recent Ships Start Here campaign, with the Irving’s and others spending another $500 thousand. Recent comments by the Defence Minister Peter Mackay, indicate he believes that the Ships Start Here campaign was a waste of money because it did not influence the national ship building procurement strategy bid process. This is true. All parties seem to believe the process was fair, and contracts were awarded on merit, however, perhaps influencing the Decision makers was not the main purpose of the campaign…

Nova Scotia has a long history of shipbuilding. The Halifax Shipyard has existed, in some form, at its present location for over 100 years. Nova Scotia Built the Bluenose, Ships built there were involved in every major conflict of the 20th Century, But in our current times, shipbuilding is viewed as a quaint activity from our past – A sunset industry, in the eyes of the previous Liberal Government.

The ships start here campaign brought to the forefront of every Nova Scotian’s mind that we are maritimers, and we build ships. It didn’t matter if you are a banker in an office tower or a Clerk at a connivence store, the lawn signs, stickers and pins turned us all into shipbuilders, and we all wanted the prize. The Campaign United us all – people who never thought or cared about shipbuilding now wanted to win, and win badly. Not only did Nova Scotian’s Embrace the campaign, but so did people from across the country. Canadians from sea to sea to sea were pulling for us.

In the end Nova Scotia won. We beat the competitors, and came out on top. We beat them fairly and without political influence or meddling. Our product, our people, and our facilities were judged to be the best and most capable. And now the entire province celebrates, United, as we are Are Nova Scotians, and we are Built to Build Ships.

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Arctic OffShore Patrol Ships

The first ships to be built in Halifax are the 3 Arctic Offshore Vesssels.
As this procurement program was begun several years ago, and Contracts for design work awarded in 2008, Presumably there is a design sitting in an office in Ottawa somewhere. The rendering above Comes from the DND project office, and represents the working design of the vessel.

Requirements (from DND)

  • Able to operate year-round in medium first-year ice as well as the open ocean areas in the Atlantic and Pacific Canadian EEZ;
  • Ice capability exclusively for their own mobility and not to provide icebreaking services to others;
  • Able to sustain operations for up to four months;
  • Range of at least six thousand eight hundred nautical miles;
  • Cruise speed of at least 14 knots and a maximum speed of at least 17 knots;
  • They will have a gun armament;
  • be capable of embarking and operating, in up to sea state three, an on-board organic helicopter, up to and including a CH 148 Cyclone, with one flying and one maintenance crew.

Its worth noting that these vessels displace 5780 tonnes compared to the Halifax class frigate’s 4750 t, and at 98m are not much smaller (aprox. 30m). The extra weight is Due to the ice class Hull. The top speed of 17 Knots, is not much faster then the Current MCDV’s top speed of 15. The Mcdv’s slow speed is what planers say make it unsuitable for Coastal Patrol, so these AOPS will likely be limited to the Arctic Area of Operations. For more, See:The Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) Projectand CASR

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Its Official, Ships Start Here

Just after 5 pm the winners of the National Shipbuilding procurement strategy were announced.
Halifax Shipyard won the $25 billion Combat Ship contract, and Seaspan in BC won the Non-Combat ship contract.

Irving Shipbuilding gets to build 3 destroyers, 12 frigates and 3 arctic patrol vessels.
SeaSpan Gets the work on 2 support ships a polar icebreaker, and hydrographic survey ship.

The 3 Destroyers Are intended to replace the Current Tribals, It is very likely that these will again be Area Air Defence Destroyers, though there could be a role for a command and control vessel. I would expect these to look very much like Current destroyers being built in Europe, as Canada has invested in the development of many of the newer combat technologies used by Nato countries, but currently lacks a ship that can support them. As well US ITARS (International Trafficking in Arms Regulations) makes using US technology a pain. I would expect these vessels to be built after the Arctic patrol vessels, as the current Tribals are nearing the end of their lives (built in the 1970’s), and one west coast tribal has already be decommissioned.

The 12 frigates will be the last ships built. The current Halifax Class is just beginning there midlife refit, and should have another 15-20 years of life out of them.

The Arctic Patrol vessels are an interesting project. Though various plans have called for armed

icebreakers, I would expect that in the end, these ships will end up as Ice Class Patrol vessels similar to the Danish Knud Rasmussen class patrol vessels. These vessels are a complete warship, with air, anti submarine and surface weapons. A big advantage to a design like this is the small compliment -the Knud Rasmussen class has a maximum crew size of 43 which makes the ships cheaper to operate and easier to staff. These vessels could then also be used in non arctic regions, where the MCDV’s have proven to be too slow. Mac Mackay of Shipfax advocates a tug like vessel, like Icelands Thor – based on a Offshore tug design while this idea has merit, I suspect the navy has limited interest in towing (Coast Guard Job), and such a vessel would simply be too unconventional.

The SeaSpan contract Calls for 4 ships, all of which are needed in fairly short order. The Polar icebreaker is a replacement for the Louis St. Laurent, The Research Vessel is a replacement for the Hudson, and of course the 2 Replenishment ships.

The Replenishment ships have been a pain, as Navy commanders want a ship that can do Everything

– from command and control, Helicopter operations and replenishment at sea. The Command and control requirement should be built into the New Destroyers.. Such a ship would work Very much like the Danish Absalon Class ships. These ships are built for command and control, and are also armed similarly to the current Tribal Destroyers, as well as carrying two helicopters.

With the Command role removed, We should then end up building Something like a British Bay class.

The Bay Class is actually an Amphibious assault ship capable of carrying vehicles, cargo, helicopters and landing craft to deploy them. Canada would make excellent use of a vessel of this type. Now when disaster strikes somewhere in the world (think earthquake in Haiti), we would have a vessel that could transport and land relief supplies to an area, operate a hospital, and not be dependant on outside resources to offer assistance. To Fulfill the replenishment at sea role, Ensure sufficient Space for Aviation Fuel and Bunker fuel for warships – its unlikely such a vessel would need to fulfill both roles simultaneously.

You will note I used 2 Classes of Danish ships in my examples.. why? because they have similar requirements and operating environment to Canada. Im not saying we run out and build danish designs, but we should look at what our allies have, and Design our own to meet our needs.

Congratulations Irving Shipbuilding. Good Job.

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Coriolis II and Hiberina Atlantic

Though Tied to the University of Laval, Coriolis II is currently conducting an undersea Survey for Hiberina Atlantic. Hiberiana Atlantic is a sub sea cable operator who recently announced a new cable connecting New York with London. The shortest route across the ocean is a great circle route, and halifax happens to lie on the atlantic edge.

This particular cable is meant to be the shortest route between London and New York, to save 5-6ms (thats Mili seconds, or 6 thousandths of a second). To obtain the savings, the cable will have to be shorter then the all the others, which means it must lie perfectly on the great circle, and be pulled tight. The entire route will need to be surveyed.

Hiberia Atlantic’s Cable Landing site is in Herring cove.

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Whats Up with Pearl Mist?

Shes Tied up at Shelbourn ship repair, waiting for Lawers to sort things out.
First Some Background.
ISI finished construction of the Vessel in April 2009, conducted dock–and–sea trials,
and on May 6, 2009 gave Pearl Seas written notice of completion of the trial run. During Consrtuction there were several changes made to the vessel design, and these were likely the source, at least in part, of the construction Delays. On May 9 Pearl Seas rejected the Vessel, aruging it is not compliant with the contract, that “would materially interfere with the operation of the Vessel.

The Contract contained an Arbitration Clause. During and after construction of the Vessel, Irving Shipbuilding and Pearl Seas repeatedly disagreed about the terms of the Contract and each other’s performance. They convened an arbitral panel to which they have submitted their numerous disputes. Perl Seas have sited several issues, including Late Delivery and deficencies (70 issues were identified, 17 of which were “[t]he most serious defects.”) including cosmetic or minor construction defects, failure to install certain Contract items, excessive noise and vibration (of HVAC), and failure to install shower stalls. As well, The Flag State Determined that the condition of ‘Pearl Mist’ is not to a standard acceptable for registration, and Pearl Seas argued the vessel was not in complicance with USCG Regulations. For these reasons, Pearl seas Terminiated the contract.

Irving Shipbuilding argued it was not in default because none of the non–regulatory defects rose to the level of a failure to perform a material requirement
of the contract, and that USCG requires that the owner of a ship must be part of the certification process, and that the “vessel must be crewed, in order to carry out the Training and Drills tests”

The arbitrator agreed with Irving, and and Pearl Seas Sued Irving in Connecticut Court to dismiss the arbitrators Verdict. In both cases the Case was dismissed. So Where does this Leave the Pearl Mist? Likely In the Arbitation Panels hands. At this point it appears that Pearl Seas will be held to the contract – though will likely recive some compensation for the deficencies (which is capped at 2 million dollars or so)

For the Rullings, See:

http://02ec4c5.netsolhost.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Pearl-Seas-2.9.11.pdf
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/connecticut/ctdce/3:2010cv01294/90364/51/0.pdf?1297340424

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Welcome Home HMCS Charlottetown

HMCS Charlottetown returned to Port just after 0900, Tieing up at the Dockyard just prior to 1000. She Was welcomed by a Salute from Firebird, and a Large Crowd of Families on the pier.

Charlottetown spent the Past 6 Months Off Libia, Having Departing Halifax on March 2. While on patrol, she became the first Canadian warship to come under enemy fire since the Korean War. She has been replaced by HMCS Vancouver

HMCS Charlottetown Turning to enter the dockyard.

Firebird Salutes the returning Warship.

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The Bids Are In

Well, its now a case of Hurry up and wait.
The Quebec based Davie Yard, Had its sale to Ontario based Upper Lakes Shipping approved Thursday, Just barely making them eligible to bid. Irving Shipbuilding, and BC based SeaSpan Have also confirmed bids. 32 boxes of bid documents were submitted, and of those 16 belong to ISI.

For More, See (Via The Chronicle Herald) Battle of the boatyards Source: Halifax ship bid on course
Shelburne district backs Halifax bid

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