Category Archives: Uncategorized

Avalon Sea and Boa Barge 37

Avalon Sea Departed with the Boa Barge 37 bound for Mulgrave NS.

The operator of the Hibernia platform will be using the barge to transport, remove and install the new Hibernia pedestal deck cranes via a heavy-lift, semi-submersible crane vessel. the plan is to use the Thialf – currently removing the Sable offshore platforms to install the new cranes.

The original plan was for the Thialf to arrive at the Hibernia platform in July 2020 to execute the pedestal crane lifts and then return to Nova Scotia to complete its work Due to COVID related delays with the work decommissioning sable, there is a high risk of not being able to do the crane replacement using the Thialf.

Atlantic towing had applied for a coasting trade license to use the barge to accept the cranes when they arrive in Nova Scotia where they will be moved from the delivery ship to the barge in Chedebucto Bay, then secured at the Mulgrave Marine Terminal before being transported to Port of Argentia, NL for discharge and storage until such time that an installation vessel becomes available..

Boa Barge 37 is on charter to Halifax Shipyards and is used as the launch platform for the AOPS.

Theodore Too for sale

in what is perhaps a shocking development, Ambassatours Gray Line has listed the Theodore Too for sale with Scrunton Marine.

Theodore was built by Snyder shipyard in 2000, as a full size replica of the namsake tug from the kids TV show Theodore the tugboat, which was based in a fiction harbour modeled on Halifax.

Based on Public sentiment previously expressed, i think most haligonians would gladly trade the harbour hoppers to save Theodore.

Global News Broke the Story – Ambassatours claims they loose money on every tour for the last several years. Theodore will remain tied up in Bedford until it is sold.

Ex HMCS Cormorant to be removed and recycled.

The feds posted an rfp for the removal and scrapping of the former HMCS Cormorant, which has been languishing in Bridgewater. The ship sunk in 2015, when someone went aboard and open valves from the sea chest. The coast guard cleaned up that mess, and last year took further actions to deal with the risk of pollution left over from its work in 2015.

A consultants report included with the RFP indicates the cost of removal and scraping to be in the 2 million dollar range. The rfp closes August 13.

These photos were taken by me, Just prior to the Coast Guard taking action last November.

Cyclone in Operation

VDQ anchored in the Basin.

I caught a cyclone in operation on VDQ early this afternoon. its not clear if it flew, but it was running at power.

Shutter speed has frozen the rotors, but they are both spinning when this image was taken.
Done, and crew are back on the Flight deck.

HMCS Fredericton’s Helicopter has Crashed

reports are that the CH148 Cyclone, carried by HMCS Fredericton has crashed in Italian waters. Both the ship and Helicopter are based in Halifax, and were serving with SNMG2 in the Mediterranean Sea.

Fredericton, along with Italian and Turkish ships are searching the area. Reports are 1 body has been found by the Italian frigate, along with debris, and 5 others are missing.

Updates to follow

UPDATE 1: DND has confirmed the Aircraft is missing, and SAR efforts are under way. the CH-148 was lost in the Ionian Sea. Plane spotters indicate Shearwater advised all cylcones to return to base an hour ago.

UPDATE 19:47: Its currently 00:47 in the Ionian sea, Initial reports were 3 hours ago, so this flight would have happened under night time conditions. Weather forecast is clear,light winds 17 degree temp. half moon, so not totally dark.

UPDATE 00:55: RCAF confirmed via tweet family of all those aboard have been notified. should be coming up on Sunrise in the next hour.

UPDATE 0549: the search continues, with an Italian military ATR flying search patterns.

UPDATE 10:55: The Chronicle Herald has identified sub-Lt. Abbigail Cowbrough from Eastern Passage as the first victim of the Crash through Facebook posts from her parents.

UPDATE:12:20: the ATR Air search ended at 7:55am our time

News Conference – They have the flight recorders, 5 are still missing.
Sajjan says that Italy, Greece, the US and Turkey are all helping with the search and rescue effort off the coast of Greece.
At 6:52 pm Greece time, HMCS Fredericton lost contact with the helicopter. Soon after, the ship spotted flares that were shot from the water. the voice and data recorders floated away from the helicopters wreckage. “It’s in 3000 M of waters in the Ionian sea”

UPDATE 18:00:
Names of the missing have been released.

Additionally, some tweets from the Turkish military on scene.

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.