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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Only what is in the press release. 'realigning the Bedford Highway, upgrading Lady Hammond Road and installing new traffic signals to improve traffic flow' and that the objective is that trucks can get out of Ceres and get to highway 102.
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.
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.
With recent news of a NW Arm Ferry service waiting for dock installation to start, the question was asked what is required to Setup and operate such a service. So here is what you need to do it.
As a passenger – Look for the vessel registration on the bow, and Blue Compliance Decal
Captain and Crew. In our post, so you want to be a captain, I covered various licenses, and what they allow you to operate. Since Halifax is a sheltered waters Voyage, A PCOC is valid if you only need to carry 6 or fewer passengers and your boat is under 8m in length. the Kings wharf water taxi operates under this regime. To Carry up to 12 passengers, you will need a SVOP+medA3. In either case you will need a Marine First aid Course.
Crew will Require Med A3, and First aid.
The Vessel. if the Vessel is over 6 meters, it will need to meet small vessel construction standards. something built as a pleasure craft will not necessarily suffice, though in the case of a pontoon boat, it likely meets the stability and rail height requirements.
The vessel will need to be registered with Transport Canada vessel registry. Registered vessels will either have a name on the stern, or in the case of small vessels, a registry number on the Bow. The vessel is also required to be enrolled in Transport Canada’s Small Vessel Compliance Program (SVCP).
The SVCP requires reporting to TC every 5 years, and they issue you a decal that certifies your vessel is compliant. The form is essentially a checklist to ensure compliance with regulations that mandate required safety equipment. if the vessel is found compliant, then a decal is issued to the vessel. (Blue is for Passenger vessels and work boats, red for Fishing Vessels.)
Operations. Transport Canada requires a safety briefing be given to all passengers indicating the location and usage of life jackets. it can be Oral, a Video, or signage with pictograms.
I spoke to another tour boat operator about Insurance. They carry $2 million in Liability coverage, plus hull insurance on the boat. Coverage cost is around $3500/year.
word has reached me that the Sea Shepard Conservation Society Vessel Brigitte Bardot is headed to Halifax. I was told the vessel will be open for tours. its currently off Lunenburg, I estimate an eta of 1400.
Originally named Cable and Wireless Adventurer she was built for the purpose of circumnavigating the world in less than 80 days. This was successfully accomplished in July 1998 in 74 days, 20 hours, 58 minutes. Sea Shepard acquired the vessel in 2010.
This week sees 3 visits by warships. the first, Fulmar, arrived late last week for work at Tall Ships Quay. Fulmar is the French Marine National presence in Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and frequently puts into Halifax for work periods and friendly visits.
The US Coast Guard Cutter Campbell arrived Saturday morning. the ship is based in Kittery Maine, and stops in Halifax every few years. A Medium Endurance Cutter, the type visits Halifax frequently.
Arriving Sunday, is the USS Jason Dunham. the Arleigh Burke class destroyer is based in Norfolk, and was commissioned in 2010.
The Province of Quebec has a Ferry Problem, and it keeps getting worse in Spectacular ways.
La Société des Traversiers du Quebec (STQ) operates a ferry service year round from Matane to Baie-Comeau and Godbout Quebec. Without it, there is a 10-12 hour trip to a bridge to cross the St Lawrence river at Quebec city. The detour shortens somewhat with Seasonal Ferries in service.
In 2015, the brand new, F-A Gauthier went into service. the Ferry was built by Fincantieri in Italy, and is powered by LNG. this past December, it was pulled from service due to a technical issue, and drydocked. there is no timeline for its return, however there are reports it may be back in service in August.
STQ was able to borrow a boat from CMTA, due to the seasonal nature of the service, however that was only usable for so long. The STQ needed a long term solution, and was able to acquire the veteran ferry Apollo, which was serving between St. Barbe, N.L. and Blanc Sablon PQ, crossing the Straight of Belle Isle. The Woodward group, who own and operate the ferry have a replacement vessel Qajaq w in service this year as the permanent replacement for the 49 year old boat.
STQ purchased the Apollo for 2.1 million dollars in January, and promptly put it into service. What seemed like a good long term solution became problematic, after only a few weeks in service, the Ferry struck the dock in Godbout February 25th. The boat was repaired, and returned to service March 8, but 8 days latter, on march 16, struck the dock in Matane.
The second collision proved to be the fatal blow, as a more detailed inspection by the TSB raised concerns about the seaworthiness of the Vessel, including corrosion, issues with water tightness, and electrical problems. STQ has permanently docked the vessel, after spending 3.5 million on it.
However it gets worse – As the Quebec government is now stating that Transport Canada inspected the Apollo in 2018, and again when it was sold in January, and determined it was safe. The Transportation Safety board told the Saltwire network however they were expanding the investigation to look at the ferries operation in Newfoundland, as there recent inspections uncovered damage from previous incidents, that appear to have gone unreported.
This raises serious questions about the quality and competence of Transport Canada Inspectors. Concerns have been raised recently about TC inspectors, as at the criminal trial of the Marathasa, the judge found one of the inspectors to not be a credible witness.
The Marathasa was a new build bulk carrier that spilled bunker fuel into Vancouver’s English Bay. the ship faced criminal charges for the pollution incident, but was acquitted when they presented a Due Diligence defense. having one of the prime witnesses for the crown to be deemed not credible by the judge certainly went along way to advancing the defense’s position.
the TSB report into the Apollo, when it is released, should make for an interesting read.
i know posting has been thin this month. it should return to normal shortly.
In the beginning I was tied up prepping for an exam. That exam sent someone to the hospital. I know that’s vague, but not much has been said publicly, and its not my place to say more. Suffice to say, I was distracted, and needed some time.
I have updated the map, which should hopefully speed up page load times. there’s a few other things in the works, and you should see posts again this week.