Monthly Archives: April 2020

Plea from Crew Stranded on a Cruise ship

Cruise ship entering Halifax (file photo)

This morning I received an email from a crew member on a cruise ship. name and locations have been removed, for reasons that will become obvious later on. Below is Edited, but entirely her words.

I am looking to share my ongoing story of being held captive on a ship during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is currently my Day 79 at sea, and Day 27 past the expiry of my contract as an expedition crew member onboard.

I have 11 years of experience … This year, I signed up to work onboard a cruise ship as a kayak guide and zodiac driver and quickly found a contract with <cruise company> onboard the <Cruise ship>. I embarked on January 28th in <city> with the intention of finishing my first contract onboard on March 20th in <end point>. 

We were lucky; we never had the virus onboard. When we arrived early in <end point> on the 18th of March, borders were still open. We were told that the company policy was always to allow “passengers first” and we would be obligated to wait until the very last passenger had disembarked before we would be considered for disembarkation. After that last passenger had left, the <end point> Government closed its port for all crew changes and we were told we would be staying onboard indefinitely. On March 24th, we were told the company was intending to reposition its ship, and with the excess crew including myself still onboard and we set sail towards <Mediterranean Port>, despite many ports in Africa and South America remaining open for crew changes.

Somewhere south of the Equator the company changed their minds and ordered the Captain to change course towards the ______ Islands, where we were expected to arrive on April 15th. We were guaranteed flights home from there, as long as we singed new contracts that slashed our pay. We were threatened by our supervisors that if we did not sign the new contracts, we would be terminated and not repatriated back to our home countries. Those contracts expire today, with our pay now reduced to 0% of our original rates.

This morning, we were informed by the Captain that we would be arriving in the ______ Islands, but there would be no flights waiting for us from there; the company deemed the cost of chartering a flight to take us off the islands to be too high. Instead, we would be embarking 250 new crew members from the company’s sister ships (<ship 1 and <Ship 2>) and setting sail again for <Northern European Country>. The <ship 1> has had confirmed cases of COVID-19 onboard, and we are now to embark their crew onto our vessel and spend a further two weeks sailing towards the <Northern European Country> at full capacity. We were told the decision was made in the best financial interests of the company. As crew members, we are independent contractors and not employees of this company. We are also not being paid while onboard, though we are still expected to carry out our crew duties. 

We have been told we have no choice in the matter, and we are not going willingly. We have been threatened that if details of this situation gets to the media, our internet onboard will be shut off. The situation onboard is becoming dire. We are terrified at the idea of having 450 individuals crammed onto a cruise ship for a minimum of two weeks. We are terrified of the idea of experiencing an outbreak, with only one doctor and one nurse and a small first aid room onboard. We are terrified of being turned away from all future ports, and we are terrified of not being able to be back home with our families during these trying times. We are all being held captive onboard as this company exercises every opportunity to practice financial austerity over the best interests of the human beings that are still onboard. 

 We have wanted nothing but to disembark this ship since the 18th of March.  We were told the best we could expect is to be allowed to disembark by the 1st of May.

I am sharing my story in hopes that the company has a chance to comment on their actions and the decisions that they have made with our lives in the greater public sphere. I hope that Canadians become aware that there are still many citizens aboard that are still trying to make it back home, but are physically unable to do so. 

I have refereed the situation to the ITF – the International Transport Workers federation. the actions of the Cruise company are in violation of the Maritime Labour Convention.

The Author of the email is a Canadian, and the Ship has called on Halifax in the past.

Wood Chip Carrier Mcqueen

floating very high out of the water, the empty wood ship carrier Mcqueen took the inner anchorage for Asian Gypsy moth inspection. Mcqueen sailed from Dafeng China February 23. the ship is due to sail mid afternoon.

Built in 2009 in Japan as Ocean Destiny, the ship took its current name in 2016. it is owned by Hope Well Shipping, based in Shandong.

UPDATE: on departure, the Ship gave Belledune NB as its destination.

Crane Ship Q&A

I have been getting alot of questions about the Crane Ship Thialf currently in the approaches. Thus, I present this Q&A

Q: Why is it Here?
The Thialf is here to remove the topsides and Jackets from the Sable offshore filed. the Crane will lift the topsides, and put them on a barge. the barge will then be taken to sheltered waters, where it will be fastened for sea, and then taken to the UK for recycling. There are 7 platforms, so probably 14 total removals. (the jackets are the platforms legs sitting on the sea floor)

platform removal (

Q: Why is it not entering the Harbour?
Cheaper to anchor out there, Plus no need to pay for pilots, tugs and anchorage in the harbour. Vessels like this have support vessels to bring supplies to them, in this case Atlantic Kestrel and Bylgia.
Bylgia traveled from Amsterdam with the Thialf

Q:Where is it Anchored?
about 3nm East of Chubucto head.

Location of the Thialf, Bottom right corner.

Q: Wasen’t it here before?
One of Heerema’s smaller crane ships, Hermod, was here around 2003. The original Sable Offshore installations were performed in 1998 by the Saipem 7000

Q: If this is the second largest, Whats the largest?
Fleet mate Sleipnir. Built last year, it can lift 20,000tons. The Saipem 7000 is the third largest.

Q: you didn’t answer my question..
Ask it in a comment to this post, and i will

International Telecom Adds a Vessel

the ship is the Rolls Royce UT75L design Platform Supply vessel. It was acquired from Gulfmark and was last reported in Stavinger Norway.

From the renderings above, it looks as though the ship will be modified to perform cable handling work.I have been told that the ship has spent the last month in dry dock, with the Bulk tanks below deck being replaced with a cable tank.

IT Telecom operates from the Maritime Cable Base at Pier 9. IT Telecom currently operates IT Intrepid . IT Interceptor was apparently chartered, and since the end of 2014 has been working as the Italian Cable ship Antonio Meucci – though her class certificates were revoked in January as a survey was not completed – likely due to Corona Virus.

PCTC Grand Diamond at Pier 9

The car carrier Grand Diamond tied up at pier 9c this afternoon to offload 350 cars. The ship will likely be heading to Montreal, and needs to reduce its draft to make up up the river. The cars will then be picked up on the way back. the Ship Sailed at 16:00 giving Singapore as its destination. the ship will sail via the Suez Canal. i suspect the cars are either for local delivery, or another ship will be along to collect them.

The ship arrived from New York, and is likely carrying some sort of project cargo. This happened once before, in 2015, the Glovis Century lightened the load to pick up Military equipment. Since then, the car carriers Toscana and Onyx Arrow also tied up at pier 9 for work periods.

One Magnificence is Pink!

One Magnificence is a notable arrival as it is the first vessel to call in Halifax for ONE that is in the new ONE Branding – That is with the Magenta painted hull. ONE – short for Ocean Network Express, was formed in 2016 by the merger of the Container business of Japanese shipping lines NYK, MOL and K-Line

the Ship is the former MOL Magnificence, and the ship traded its MOL blue at its last drydocking. ONE will move its ships slowly to the new paint scheme as they are serviced.

EF Ava Riding the Hook

The Container ship EF Ava spent the morning riding the hook at anchor. The ship is likely waiting out weather to pass before sailing tonight for Portland Maine.

EF Ava Operates on Eimskips Green Line, stopping in Halifax, Portland, Argentia and Reykjavik.

Tower Bridge

The Products tanker Tower Bridge spent a few days at anchor before tieing up at Irving Woodside. The ship is scheduled to depart overnight.

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