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2019 in review

As I have done almost every year, this post highlights the key harbor events in 2019. 2019 marks the 11th year of this site, and Saw a full year of Herald Columns, and a huge upgrade to the AIS System. I also did a nautical tour of the uK.

Previous Years: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

At the beginning of the year i asked “What does 2019 hold? Port expansion, new container ship size records, and the delivery of the HMCS Harry DeWolf to the navy are easy predictions to make – the rest, time will tell.” – Yes, One, not yet – the rest, see below.

Incidents

January Began with a flury of incidents. the PCTC Sincerity Ace caught fire in the Pacific. Days Later the Yantain Express bound for Halifax caught fire. It Eventually made it to Fairview cove in May. The tanker Kivalliq W suffered an generator room fire at Imperial oil, the the RMI Dive boat Captain Jim sank with the the loss of deckhand. In March, Viking Sky lost power off Norway, the Carvos Harmony lost power in Vancouver Harbour. Derick Hadfields VOR60 was lost off Lunenburg. A crew member of Maersk Patras was lost while lashing in the Saint Lawrence. the Ex NF Ferry Apollo twice struck docks in Quebec.

Container/Cargo Operations

The CMA-CGM Libre set the record for largest container ship to call at 11,388TEU. Halterm was Acquired and became PSA Halifax, and ordered new equipment

The port revealed all the options that were looked at for port expansion, dredging for the temporary expansion began, and the pier casons were installed. The Feds announced funding to deal with port truck traffic through the city.

2 BBC Shipping vessels conducted a ship to ship cargo transfer.

Tall Ships

Coffee arrived by Sail, via the cargo schooner Avontuur, And the Tall ship Caledonia went on to become a restaurant in Boston. The Mexican navies sail training vessel ARM Cuauhtemoc visited port ,and Activ played the Whaler Volunteer in Lunenburg.

Coast Guard.

The hudson went in for a work period. Davie thought it was a bad idea. CCGS Captain Molly Kool put in a tow. Fleet Renewal was announced for the Coast Guard. The CCGS did more cleanup on the ex HMCS Comrorant.the Ex CCGS Matthew Sold, as did the ex RCMP Murry Sold

Cruise

One Ocean Expeditions ran into trouble. they lost the use of their 2 Russian ships when the charters could not be renewed. the RCGS Resolute then had a trip ended abruptly, and the RCGS Resolute was arrested in Argentina. Their problems then got worse. The Cruise industry as a whole is problematic.

In Happier news, Cunards 2 queens preformed a sailpast and Georges Island is getting a new Wharf

Navy

USCG Campbell, FS Fulmar and USS Jason Dunham visited in April. The Mexican navies sail training vessel ARM Cuauhtemoc visited port. Cutlass Fury brought the Nato Fleet, Including HDMS PETER WILLEMOES (Danish),HNLMS VAN SPEIJK (Dutch) and HNOMS THOR HEYERDAHL, USNS PATUXENT and NRP FRANCISCO DE ALMEIDA USS GRIDLEY, USS JASON DUNHAM , and BNS LEOPOLD HMS Northumberland, HMS Dragon, RFA Tideforce and the UK’s new Aircraft Carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth .USS Billings stopped in her first salt water trip. USS Gravely also stopped in. the RAF’s red arrows put on a show. HNLMS De Reuyer and USS Indianapolis also visited.

Asterix Returned from deployment, and i got a tour

Naval Shipbuilding

the Future HMCS Margerette Brooke become whole, and was launched. tragically a worker was killed when sandblasting equipment failed. The HMCS Harry Dewolf underwent builders trials. new tugs were finally ordered for the RCN, with a new to Canada RAL Design

Other Notable

Sea Shepard’s Bridget Bardot visited port as well. NOAA Okeanos Explorer, and RRS James Cook stopped at COVE. the Noble Regina Allen finished capping Sable Offshore gas wells, and returned to Halifax. Someone when overboard from the ferry, the yacht squadron ran afowl of the traffic lanes.

The New AIS Setup.

I tweeted the above photo of my new setup, and it seemed to be quite popular, so i thought i would post an explanation of the setup.

All vessels over 350grt are required to transmit an ais signal (automatic identification system) over VHF. I have a 8′ VHF antenna mounted on my house connected to an SR-161 AIS receiver. The AIS receiver converts the VHF signal to an NMEA sentence. The NMEA sentence is sent to an old laptop running ShipPlotter which takes the NMEA data, logs it, displays it on screen, and sends the update to marinetraffic.com. (I operate station 347)

the 3 monitor setup is accomplished by running 3 instances of ShipPlotter. The first (the basin display) is a remote session to the PC that is connected to the AIS Receiver. its set to send data to the machine running the 3 monitors, and runs 2 instances of ShipPlotter. those 2 instances listen for output from the first on their own ports. then it was just a matter of adding the proper charts, and choosing the desired zoom level.

A big benefit to the 3 displays is that i now have a clearer view of traffic, and the ships render to scale. for clarity sake, i set the charts to be 75% transparent in ShipPlotter, which preserves readability, but makes the screen less cluttered.

having logged data let me do things like make maps after the fact. I have posted 2 revisions of the traffic map, the full view, and some closeups, as well as a how to post covering how i built it.

November 11th

The Brooding Soldier

This week, haligonians will collect up their trash and take it to the curb. It’s such a normal activity, we think nothing of it, and no one really notices the trash piled at the end of the driveway waiting collection. 

Last year in Belgium, 250000kg of unexploded ordnance was dug up by farmers and construction workers just going on with their normal lives. When people find it, they stack it on the side of the road, and call the army to collect it. Since the end of the first world war, its munitions have killed over 300 people.

Tyne-Cot Cemetery in Belgium. there are 8000 Canadians here.

the remnants of war are common, and normal, just like taking out the trash.

Today the battlefields of Belgium are pastoral. There is little sign of the destruction that the war caused – though its there if you know to look. The town of Ypres in Belgium looks hundreds of years old, though the date on the oldest building is 1922. though the town stayed in Allied hands throughout the war, it was obliterated.

When you visit vimy ridge, the monument is striking. But so is the landscape. The ground is pockmarked with shell holes, one connecting with another, no spot untouched. If you ski, and know what a field of mougles look like – that’s Vimy ridge, though grassy, and now dotted with trees. Fences and signs warning of unexploded shells keep you on the roads. 

this is where in flanders fields was written.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders Fields.

Major John McCrae, a field surgeon in the Canadian artillery, in the midst of the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium, in May 1915. He died of pneumonia at Wimereux, France on January 28, 1918.

CSS Acadia Dry Docking

The Province has released the RFP for the Dry docking of the CSS Acadia. the CSS Acadia was built in 1913, and is 106 years old. The much needed work was announced last December.

The Scope of work includes Sandblasting and repainting the hull, Testing and replacement of Steel less then 1.4″ thick, Replacement of a hatch cover, replacement of a fuel tank, improved access to the engine room, and some restoration and maintenance work.

the ship is to be towed to a shipyard, and when returned, will be docked bow in.

Ocean Force – lightly loaded.

A very light Ocean Force arrived at Fairview Cove this morning, and is due to sail this evening. The ship arrived from a New Jersey Anchorage.

Built in Germany in 1983, the Ship was originally named Condock III. besides being a CON-Ro, capable of taking containers and Ro-ro cargo, the vessel is also semi-submersible, allowing it to transport boats and other floating craft loaded via a full width stern ramp.

the ship is owned and operated by Prime Transport based in the Ukraine.

“Halifax Traffic is not very happy with me right now.”

Wednesday night is race night for the various yacht clubs around Halifax, and for the clubs in the North West Arm, that means racing in the Middle Ground – the area off Point Pleasant between Ives Knoll and Maugers Beach.

The race committee vessel, confirmed with traffic that the racing would be kept out of the channel, to the west. The race Committee vessel were also made aware of the 18:30 departures of Grandeur of the Seas and the container ship X-Press Makalu.

Despite the clear communication with Halifax traffic, however the race course was set to use Mark #37 on the NSYA Race Mark Sheet. Mark 37 is more commonly known as buoy H22, or Ives Knoll West, and getting to it requires crossing both traffic lanes.

CCGS Frederick G. Creed impeded by sailing Vessels

The CCGS Frederick G Creed was inbound, and had to slow up considerably, complaining to Halifax Traffic about the racing yachts failing to give way. the Pilot aboard the X-Press Makalu also complained about the conduct of the yachts blocking both channels as they were coming off the dock. By the time the two outbound vessels were underway, the yachts were held clear of the channels and the two ships passed without the use of Horns.

It would appear that the the Race Committee misled Halifax Traffic about their intentions. They got called out for being in the wrong place by both the Pilots, and a Coast Guard vessel, and potentially put peoples lives in danger.

the race fleet cleared the channel, staying clear on both sides.

Halifax Traffic will have recordings of non-reporting traffic in the lanes from the radar on Georges Is, as well as recordings of the the communications on VHF Ch12.

One final note..
the comment this post is going to receive is the rules of the road say Sail has the right of way over power. While this is true, it is not compete. Colregs Rule 9 gives right of way to any vessel over sailing vessels and vessels under 20m (60′) in a narrow channel. the traffic lanes would count as narrow channels. Sailing vessels are required to give way to Vessels Not under Command, Restricted in ability to Maneuver, or engaged in Fishing.

Give the Full Colregs a read at https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/c.r.c.,_c._1416/FullText.html

USS Billings Due today

the Latest Littoral Combat ship is due to stop in Halifax, late this afternoon. USS Billings collided with the cargo ship Rosaire A. Desgagnes June 21 while departing from its berth at the port of Montreal bound for Halifax. The ship looks to be scheduled to Tie up at Shearwater, perhaps in an attempt to arrive quietly.

Video of the USS BILLINGS hitting the ROSAIRE A. DESGAGNÉS minutes after departing it’s berth at the Port of Montreal. Video credit : Shipspotting Canada via Anonymous

Posted by Steve Geronazzo on Monday, June 24, 2019
video of the collision was posted to Facebook.

USS Billings Captain, Cmdr. Michael Johnson was relived of command after the incident. Word from the river was that the Johnson was arrogant captain, which would explain how you sail into the ship behind you with 2 tugs and a pilot aboard.

Command was turned over to Cmdr. Nate Rowan, who successfully brought USS Wichita out of the river.

USS billings is the 7th Freedom class Littoral combat ship, built by Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri at Martin Marinette shipyard in Wisconsin.  Of the 7 ships of the class, on their trip out of the lakes to their homeport, one was damaged in a lock, two suffered engine failures, and 1 spent an unplanned winter in Montreal due to ice.

Feds announce funding for the Port

The Feds announced funding for two port related projects. A total of 47.5 million federally will be spent to upgrade rail between the 2 terminals with the goal of removing 75% of the port related trucks from downtown streets. The announcement was vauge, but it appers trucks will be handled at the Ceres yard, then containers moved by rail to Halterm as required. CN, the port and the City own a great deal of land by Ceres, so there is ample space for expansion.

The second announcement will fix the Windsor Street Exchange with changes to Lady Hammond and the Bedford Highway To improve flow.

The total cost of the two projects in 90 million, with the feds picking up 47.5 milliion, and the rest divided between the Port, Province, City and CN.

Cynically this announcement could be viewed as an attempt by the federal liberals to secure Andy Fillmore’s seat. Most Haligonians I suspect are most interested in the Promised improvements to the Windsor street exchange. that the announcement featured no renderings suggests that the improvements could be seen as politically damming to Fillmore.

Here is what the Release said about the project.

The second project will upgrade the Windsor Street Exchange, which is the main access road to the Port of Halifax. This work includes realigning the Bedford Highway, upgrading Lady Hammond Road and installing new traffic signals to improve traffic flow. These upgrades will reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and increase the reliability and efficiency of freight movements.

Area Councilor Waye Mason tweeted

If you look at the mechanics of the Windsor street exchange, the biggest problem is people coming off Joe Howe and crossing the lanes to get to the bridge. At the same time, Joe Howe is the way to get trucks from Ceres to Highway 102. Lets Look at what the Announcement tells us.

“realigning the Bedford Highway” this likely means that the the Bedford highway will now end at an intersection with Joseph Howe. this would also be the entry and exit point for the Ceres Terminal. This is evidenced by the statement “installing new traffic signals to improve traffic flow” suggesting the addition of an intersection. controlling the flow from Joe Howe would solve alot of the congestion problem. “Upgrading Lady Hammond Road” suggests that the street will be extended towards the new intersection, and the existing exchange will likely be simplified.

Though not explicitly mentioned, i would expect transit priority measures to be put in place as well. The Costs also suggest that an overpass is to be constructed, likely to expand the Fairview overpass to accommodate an intersection over the rail lines.

Concept from the 1945 master plan for Halifax. the traffic circle was never built, but the original road alignment can be seen, with the origins of Joe Howe.
From the Functional plan for Harbour Drive. Again shows the connections through Fairview.

The Changes i have proposed are not without historical President. The Bedford highway previously joined with Dutch Village Rd before Joseph Howe was built, and Lady Hammond served as the main road onto the peninsula via the passage under the train tracks where the fairview overpass now is.

Everything old is new Again.

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