Category Archives: tugs

The end of the ECTug Wharves

The former Foundation maritime wharves, now known as ECTug (short for Eastern Canada Towing and Salvage) which was what foundation maritime became when spun off from Foundation Co. (now AECON). ECTUG is now Svizter Canada.

Halifax has a history of Sea Stories, Men Left Halifax to fight in multiple wars, Privateers returned with their captured prizes. The stories that came out of Foundation Maritime were so immense, they filled 2 volumes by Farley Mowat; Grey Seas Under, and The Serpents Coil.

Foundation Maritime grew out of the Foundation Company of Canada, which was a construction firm who owned barges and dredges for constructing Harbour works. They needed a Tug, and found the Laid up ex HMS Frisky, renamed Gustavo Ipland, in Hamburg Germany. They purchased her, and Named her Foundation Franklin in 1930.

Having a tug, eventually led to it being chartered for salvage work, and Foundation Maritime was born. As the years went on, many additional tugs were purchased and chartered, and the business expanded to include terminal operations, towing and salvage. Foundation Maritime shrewdly perusing Business and ships in distress.

For much of its early years, even finding a ship in distress was a problem. Modern electronic navigation systems were not invented yet, and ships were guided by the stars. in a storm, or cloud cover, it could be days before you could confirm your position. This is also the case with the distressed vessel being sought. their position was days old, and may not have even been correct to begin with. if you could reach them on the radio, it might have been possible to RF Direction find them,Though during the wars, this was a asking to be sunk by a uboat.

The Foundation Company of Canada Still exists today as the construction firm AECON. Foundation Maritime Sold its tugs in 1973, Leading to the formation of Eastern Canada Towing and Salvage (EcTug). the tugs retained their names, however Point was substituted for Foundation in their names. ECTug was then acquired, and eventually became Svitzer Canada.

In 2010 they signed a MOU with Atlantic towing, With Atlantic Towing taking over Halifax operations, and Svitzer working Port Hawksbury/ Straight of Canso area. Svitzer last used the wharf in 2015, and Sold the property to Develop Nova Scotia last year.

More recently, the Atlantic Piliots Authority has made use of the wharves.

The foundation Maritime wharves still stand, at the foot of Salter St. for a few more days, to be replaced by a single new wharf to support marina operations.

Deep Panuke – Change in Plans

The Deep Panuke Production Field Center arrived in Halifax today, and was offloaded at the IEL Dock in Woodside. The barge carrying the platform was towed to Halifax by Maersk Detector and Maersk Cutter, and was assisted inbound by five Atlantic Towing tugs.

A change in plans occurred, when the Horizon Arctic was unable to get the anchors that would have held the platform and barge in place in Mulgrave to hold on the sea floor. the platform is only a few years old, so its owners are hoping to reuse it on another project elsewhere. it will be stored at Woodside until a use is found for it.

Maersk Detector and Maersk Cutter at Pier 9 prior to removing the PFC.

The Horizon Arctic returned to Pier 9 and offloaded the anchors. the Noble Regina Allen has been plugging Deep Panuke’s wells and currently is working on the final one. it will be towed back to Halifax in a few weeks. before it moves on to its next project.

the boa barge 34 being removed from under the Deep Panuke Platform.

Noble Regina Allen

the Noble Regina Allen returned to Halifax today, after sealing the wells of the Sable offshore Field. the rig tied up at woodside, where it will undergo a work period. in Febuary, it is scheduled to work for EnCana sealing the wells of the Deep Panuke project. When that work is complete in June, the rig is booked in Trinidad.

the rig arrived in Nov 2017, aboard Forte, and went to work later that month.

This Week in the Herald – new tugs

this week I talk about Horizon Maritime’s Joint venture with KOTUG, and Nolhan Ava’s new run to Agentia NL.

The New tug venture is proving mysterious – As I mentioned in the article, existing markets are dominated by incumbents. One Industry source contacted me this morning and suggested that they may be setting up to provide services for the Goldboro LNG Export Facility -positing that they would only have success at a new terminal.

Another thought along those lines is that the firm exists on paper to collect a retainer as a service provider to one of the container terminals proposed for Sydney, or the Straight of Canso. time will tell.

Nolhan Ava with a full load of new containers, 2016

New Tugs for the Navy

This week in the Herald, I cover the announcement that Group Ocean will be building 4 new Tugs for the Navy. These will replace the 5 Glen Class tugs, and 2 Fire Class boats. 3 Glen Tugs are currently stationed in Halifax. Firebird was retired and sold in 2014. The remaining 2 tugs and fire-boat are in service in Esquimalt.

I cover the History of the procurement, dating back to 2012, and the 2015 attempt to charter vessels. and have some details on the new Boats, that seemingly no one else asked about.

CITT says BC Towing Contract review required.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) has responded to a complaint by Heiltsuk Horizon Maritime Services, recommending a review of a key performance requirement in the process to procure two emergency towing vessels for the protection of Canada’s West Coast.

As a bid participant, Heiltsuk Horizon – a partnership of majority partner Heiltsuk Nation of Bella Bella, British Columbia and Horizon Maritime Services Limited, registered a complaint last August that the winning supplier did not meet important safety requirements of the tender process.

I wrote about the issues with the towing contract in this Chronicle Herald Piece when the Atlantic Towing vessels headed west. Heiltsuk Horizon has not publicly disclosed the vessels they bid on the project, though based on other charters they were likely tidewater tugs.

In a letter to Heiltsuk Horizon, the Tribunal recommends the Department of Public Works and Government Services Canada reevaluate the “bollard pull” (towing power) of the vessels in all bids received and also awards Heiltsuk Horizon costs incurred in submitting the complaint.

“The contract was awarded in the absence of the required proof that the vessels met the mandated towing power,” said Chief Operating Officer Steven Widmeyer, Horizon Maritime Services Limited.  “We hope this recommendation leads to a reconsideration of our Heiltsuk Horizon vessels, which are in accordance with recommendations of the 2018 Emergency Towing Vessel Needs Assessment by the Clear Seas Center for Responsible Marine Shipping.”

The CITT letter recommends no further expenditures be made on the awarded contract until a review is complete and also lays out potential actions to be taken post-review, including cancellation of the existing contract.

The Heiltsuk Nation, currently in reconciliation discussions with Canada, teamed up with Horizon Maritime to form Heiltsuk Horizon, following the devastating Nathan E. Stewart oil spill in its territory in October 2016.

Qikiqtaaluk W – Dead ship move into port.

the Woodward group products tanker Qikiqtaaluk W, has been anchored off Halifax for a number of days, and will be towed into port.

The Tugs Atlantic Oak and Spitfire III will be conducting the move from the outer anchorages to Pier 31. The ship sailed from Montreal on the 23rd, bound for Savannah Ga. under the Marshal Islands flag. it arrived off Halifax on the afternoon of the 26th, and has remained there since.

The Ship was built in Turkey in 2011, and is Ice Class A1. The Newfoundland Based Coastal Shipping is owned by the Woodward group, and spends the summer resupplying the arctic. in the winter, ships are laid up or charted out under foreign flags.

Update: After raising the anchor, the ship actully sailed into the harbour, turned around at anchorage 1, and sailed out again. where it picked up the tugs that brought it back into harbour as a dead ship move.

Track of the Qikiqtaaluk W. the squiggle to the right is where the ship anchored on arrival.

Theodore Too to Summer in Saint John

For whatever reason (probably waterfront construction) Theodore Too will spend the summer operating out of Saint John NB. a fixture of the Halifax Waterfront, He has traveled before with the Tall ships regatta, into the US, and the great lakes on good will tours. Work as a promotional piece for Halifax is a good reason for him to travel, though moving him to liven up the Saint John waterfront is weak. (Send the Harbour Hoppers, Haligonians seem to hate those)

the TV Show Theodore Tugboat ran between 1993 and 2001. The Big Harbour is based on Halifax, and Theodore himself is the personification of the Tugs at Eastern Towing and Salvage, such as Point Vim (below). the models and the Set from the show are on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.

New Navy Tugs – Charter?

The Navy went looking to Purchase 4 new Large tugs to replace the Glen and Fire Class Boats in 2012. That procurement hasn’t gone anywhere, and the government is now looking at the price and availability  to charter tugs for 5 years, with options on renewal for up to 20 additional years. They are looking at four tugs; Two for the East Coast; and Two for the West Coast.

The Stated requirements are:

•Twin engine/propulsion plant capable of delivering an approximate bollard pull of  40 tons or an equivalent total power of 4,000 BHP;
•Firefighting capability (FiFi 1);
•Full speed of at least 12 knots (fully loaded);
•Draft not to exceed 6 meters;
•Vessels not to exceed 5 years of age at the start of the contract.
•Preferred length overall not to exceed 33 metres;
•The vessels will be operated by a civilian crew holding Transport Canada certification;
•The tugs must have a Transport Canada Certificate of Registration;
•The vessels must meet regulatory requirements to operate in Canada and be in full compliance with the Canada Shipping Act; and
•Daily in harbour operations consisting of hot or cold moves of existing and future warships up to 25,000 tons displacement;
•Assisting in closing harbour gates, delivering supplies or fresh water, buoy operations and other routine harbour tasks

Interestingly, they are looking at both Bareboat Charter, or as a Time Charter. In a bareboat charter, the Navy would crew the vessels and only pay for using the Hardware (Much like leasing a car) the other option would be to provide a fully crewed tug, available on 15 min notice for an hourly rate. this is very much the arrangement commercial shippers use when they pay for tug services. The difference is that the tugs would be dedicated to navy use

The Last days of the Nova Dock?

The Nova Dock was  moved from the shipyard to Woodside at noon today.

4 Mckiel tugs had  shown up in the past few days, and they appear to be working the Nova Dock. Salvor, Tim Mckeil, Beverly M1 and Lois M are all present, and tied up on the dock, moving it to woodside. the trip left late, at 1pm, and arrived around 6pm.

The Nova Docks Canadian Registry was closed August 18th, And I have been told she has been sold to International Ship Repair of Miami Fl.

The plan is the cut the dock in Half, then tow each half to Florida.
 the dock was built in 2 pieces and assembled on delivery.



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