Category Archives: Weekly News

Cats of the Royal Navy – Weekly News #12

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For latest port conditions, Including Weather,Wind, Tides, Arrivals and Departures be sure to visit the Port Report (Members get the information in realtime, not every 2 hours)


1.TEU’s By Port
Halifax has handled just under 276,000 TEU in the first half of 2018. Here is how that stacks up with other Ports:

for Comparison,  Vancouver did 1,637,440 TEU, and Montreal 813,665 TEU

2. Fires
A boat from the Discovery Series Cold Water Cowboys caught fire in Twillingate. In Vancouver, A barge loaded with crushed cars caught fire off Surrey.

3.Tidal Power
Emera has withdrawn from the Cape Sharp Tidal project, saying with open hydro’s insolvency, there is no point in continuing the venture. The turbine however remains on the ocean floor, and BBC Shipping has a Lein on the barge required to remove it.

4.NSP Spill Bigger then Reported
CTV News is reporting that the Oil spilled at tufts cove is actually 5 times larger then the Less then 5000 liters NSP originally reported. the other 19000 liters was contained to NSP’s property and didn’t enter the harbour.

5. Port goes digital
The Port of Halifax announced it has joined the IBM/Maersk led Tradelens. Tradelens uses blockchain to do stuff with logistics tracking. The port also is publicly tracking container dwell time, and other key performance metrics. you can check it out yourself at!/

Ship Movements

3 new vessels showed up in the past few days, all of which i missed. Alexandra At Fairview cove, and Seamax Stamford and San Allesio for Maersk at Halterm. Nirint’s ship Augusta Sun spent a week tied up at the ocean terminals, while they resolved a mechanical issue. they reloaded containers, and sailed yesterday (Aug 14th)


1.The Most Important RN Cats

The Royal Navy Banned cats on ship in 1975, However, up until that point, they played an important role in Ships life. to that end, complied a list of the top 10 RN Cat photos.

One small issue – only 9 are RN Cats. one appears to be the Late Erik the Red, who served as the Maritime Museums Rodent Control officer, aboard CSS Acadia.

2. Fire Boat Failure
You may remember the fiasco that was the Halifax Fire Boat. the department bought a new boat from a California firm, despite objections from the Nova Scotia Boat building Industry. anyway, it rolled over and sank on trials.

Someone has found video of it being towed back to the dock by the Coast Guard.


August 15, 1914 – the Panama Canal Opens

August 11, 1968 – Angus James Walters died (b. in #Lunenburg, 1881). He was athe first captain of the Bluenose from 1921 to 1938, winning five international sailing races and was undefeated for seventeen years.

August 10, 1628 – the Swedish warship Vasa sinks on her maiden voyage. 300+ years later she was raised, and is preserved in a museum.

Navigation Troubles

Your Camouflage Game is Weak – News #11

if you like, consider becoming a member. 2$ a month really helps cover costs, and in return you get the site Ad Free.

For latest port conditions, Including Weather,Wind, Tides, Arrivals and Departures be sure to visit the Port Report (Members get the information in realtime, not every 2 hours)


1. Harbour Hoppers.
After my article about the safety of the Harbour Hoppers, Halifax Today and  the Herald ran articles on the safety of the Vehicles. Indecently the preliminary report from the NTSB has been released. U.S. Coast Guard announced that it was convening a Marine Accident Board to investigate the accident.

2.Trade War and Boats
Apparently the Trump trade war is Causing headaches for US Boatbuilders – Both driving up their input costs, and adding 25% cost to buyers. Since Canada has free trade with Europe (And a large supply of aluminum) this could be good news for domestic industry.

3.New Scallop Vessel

Comeau’s Sea Foods, based in Saulnierville NS, has ordered a new Factory Scallop fishing vessel. The ship will be built in Spain, but was designed by Bedford based Allswater Marine. It is expected to be delivered in 2020. The ship will be named Lady Comeau III after Thérèse Comeau, the wife of Comeau’s Sea Foods founder, Bernardin Comeau.


1. GTS Katy Incident
This Twitter thread is interesting- it tells the story of the GTS Katie, a commercial ship carrying military equipment back to Canada. A dispute among the ship owners and the company hired by the military to bring our kit back, so the ship was ordered not to enter Canadian Waters by her owners.

In the End the ship was Boarded,  arrested, and escorted to a Canadian port.

2. Container Ship Cruising
JOC has a piece on a Container ship Cruise. recall you can actually sail to Vancouver from Halifax on CMA-CGM’s Columbus loop.

3. Hiding Ships
We are all familiar with dazzle schemes used in the first and Second world wars. It was meant to Disrupt the eye and make ships courses harder to determine. It was Proposed by Painter Norman Wilkinson (who painted Canada’s Answer), In part to Discredit the Cubist Movement. (How can it be art, if its Utilitarian) Clever – but then I came across this Tweet

after which, I was sent the image below of a Swedish warship.


Aug 7, 1996 – After spending 26years on the bottom, the Oil Barge Irving whale is raised, and the hulk towed into Halifax. She still sails today as the deck barge Atlantic Sealion

Aug 6, 1942 – HMCS Assiniboine rams and sinks German submarine U-210 south of Greenland

Aug 3, 1492 – Christopher Columbus, working for Spain, sailed for the Orient, But found south America

Aug ,1 1798 – The battle of the Nile – The British defeat the French fleet.


Wednesday is the new Thursday – Weekly News #10

Help keep the Lights On! Yesterday I tweeted a map of all the harbour traffic that passed through Halifax in one month. there is a couple hundred dollars of equipment required to provide the realtime positions of ships in the harbour, and its been replaced once since it went into operations.   if you like, consider becoming a member. 2$ a month really helps cover costs, and in return you get the site Ad Free.

For latest port conditions, Including Weather,Wind, Tides, Arrivals and Departures be sure to visit the Port Report (Members get the information in realtime, not every 2 hours)


1. Fishing Gear and Whales
A couple of university students are developing rope-less fishing gear –  there is actually still a rope, but it will only deploy when the gear needs to be retrieved. Timely, as there are reports of a Right whale tangled in gear in the Mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Rescuers are hampered by weather trying to find the Whale.

2.Tidal Power
apparently the French Naval Defense Firm DCNS has applied to shutdown OpenHydro, and liquidate it. the Company that is working with Emera in a joint venture Cape Sharp Tidal, to test turbines in the Bay of Fundy. the project just installed their second turbine last week.

Apparently the bankruptcy was known to the company before the turbine was installed, and has potentially left many Local businesses holding the bag.

This may be something that makes sense for Emera to buy outright. given the interest in Oceans sector research in Nova Scotia, and as a source of Renewable Power – this could be a great thing – certainly better then Wind Tubine parts.

3.Shearwater Turns 100
Shearwater began life in the waning days of the first world war as a Naval Air Station. today, 100 years later, it still serves in that capacity. Of note, Seakings have been flying from that base for more then half of its existence. (Seakings are to be retired in December, 55 years after entering service).

4.Yarmouth Ferry
A Maine company has submitted a proposal to operate a ferry between bar Harbor and Yarmouth. Seemingly a more modest operation then bay Ferries Cat, they seem to think they can make a go of it. BFL is also proposing to relocate from Portland to Bar Harbor to save fuel costs.

5. Wednesdays.
Im moving news bits to Wednesdays. hump day seems to be a better fit then Thursday.


1.Small Craft Advisory?!?

2. Nautical History.
I stumbled across the blog of author Phillip K. Allen its full of interesting nautical history, including this description of a Upper class, Victorian tattoo. apparently

Lord Charles Beresford, a distinguished rear admiral… is said to have had a large tattoo of the hounds of the Waterford Hunt in full cry. The dogs poured over his shoulder and down his back in pursuit of a fox. Only the tail of the fox was visible, the rest of the animal having apparently disappeared up Admiral Beresford’s arse.

SO yah – Check out the blog – its relatively new, but good.

So On that Tattoo.. the internet has turned up no pictures of that, though there is apparently one (or one like it) in Desmond Morris, Bodywatching (1985), 179.  and the British parlement’s Hansard turns up descriptions of it in Tattoo Debates.

(Thats Beresford and his Bull dog on the right)

Week in History

July 31 1970 – Black Tot Day – this was the last day on which the Royal Navy issued sailors with a daily rum ration. Canada Followed suit on March 31,1972.

July 31 1942 – An Order in Council creates the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS). Nearly 6,500 women will enlist for service during WWII. Also on this Date, HMCS Skeena and  HMCS Wetaskiwin sink the German submarine U-588 mid-Atlantic.

July 30 1768 – James Cooks first voyage to the pacific is Authorized by the Admiralty. Prior to his pacific trips Cook spent time in Canada, charting Halifax and Newfoundland, taking part in the Siege of Quebec, and the Fall of Louisbourg.

July 29 1572 – A small fleet of English ships commanded by Sir Francis Drake, attacked Nombre Di Dios,in modern day panama, making off with silver.
July 27 1758 – Louisbourg falls to the British for the final time.


Think Pink and other Weekly News #9

Small Change to the Site – We have Gone (Mostly) HTTPS. this means our pages will be delivered to your browser securely with encryption. If your browser gives you warnings about insecure content – Just ignore them.

For latest port conditions, Including Weather,Wind, Tides, Arrivals and Departures be sure to visit the Port Report


1.Navy Movements
HMCS St. Johns returned from her 6 month Mediterranean deployment on the 23rd.

HMCS Moncton Visited HMCS Haida in Hamilton on her Summer Lakes tour.

the 3 Japanese shipping companies, NYK, MOL and K Line have merged their container businesses and form ONE – Ocean Network Express. its hard to miss their containers which recently started showing up in Halifax – they are pink. They have also started rebranding ships – I cant wait to see one – its a bold Look.

3.Drill Baby Drill
BP has been permitted to restart Drilling after spilling 136 cubic Meters of drilling mud due to a loose connection in a line.

Passenger numbers on the Yarmouth ferry for June 2018 declined 13% from the June 2017 numbers — 7,677 to 6,701. Nova Scotia doesn’t release the numbers but Bay ferries is required to report them the the city of Portland, and they are required to release them. Halifax Examiner has the Full report from Portland.

5. UK Halts Type 31 Frigate Procurement
Janes is reporting the MOD halted the Type 31 Frigate Procurement citing lack of compliant bids. the type 31 are meant to be a lighter class of frigate compared to the type 26 currently under construction (A variant of which was submitted for the CSC)

6.Duck Boat Update
the Duckboat that Sank in Branson Killing 17 has been raised from the lake by the USCG. Halifax’s own Harbour Hoppers are well maintained, Regulated, and more capable vehicle. We wrote about Previous incidents and Hopper Safety


this twitter thread is brilliantly hilarious – a history of the military use of the Selfie Stick.


In History

July 25 1797 -Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson loses his right arm during the unsuccessful attack on Santa Cruz, Tenerife. After taking a Musket ball to the Arm, Nelson demanded: “Dr, I want to get rid of this useless piece of flesh here”. The severed arm was disposed of overboard

July 23 1963 – The Bluenose II was launched in Lunenburg.

July 22 1883 – The Clipper Ship Marco Polo ran aground on PEI, she was a total loss
July 17 1840 – Steamer RMS Britannia arrives in Halifax 12.5 days after leaving Liverpool England. She was the first ship of the Cunard Steamship Company.


Whale penis’ and Sea Monsters Unmasked – Weekly News Bits #9

there have been some site issues we are trying to work through with the host lately. thanks for your patience. expect some weirdness in the coming weeks. Also i know I’m a day late – i had minor surgery yesterday.


Container Consolidation
ZIM and the 2M Alliance (MSC & Maersk) have agreed to consolidate routes from Asia to the US East Coast. 2M Currently runs 5 routes, and ZIM 2. No word on what the changes will be, or how they will affect Halifax Traffic.

Lost Shipwreck
A shipwreck turned up in England in 2016, after she was partially exposed, buried in sand. it is now believed to be a Vessel called the AVON, built in Windsor NS in 1843.

Bail for Drug Smugglers
the 3 men arrested for attempting to import drugs in a sea chest of the Container ship Arcia were released on bail this week. The case is also now under a publication ban, so no further details will become public until after the trial concludes.


1.Sea Monsters

recently I came across a suggestion that old accounts of sea monster sightings were probably actually sightings of Whale Penis’. this led to an Article on Norwegian Sea Serpents which then led me to a book produced for the international fisheries exhibition, London in 1883 called Sea Monsters Unmasked(PDF).

This Week in the News.

July 18 1945 – the Naval Magazine Jetty in the Bedford Basin Explodes.

July 17 1749 – the First Liquor License is granted to The Double Eagle. Located on the north corner of Salter and Lower Water St. It is the spiritual Predecessor of the Modern Spilt Crow.

July 16 1947 – Tribal Destroyer HMCS Micmac collides with the SS Yarmouth of Halifax, Killing 10 and Injuring 15.
July 16 1915 – the US Navy Battleships USS Ohio, Missouri and Wisconsin transit the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific. When the US took over Canal Construction, the lock size was increased to accommodate the Warships.

Vote for Pedro and other Weekly News Bits #8

For latest port conditions, Including Weather,Wind, Tides, Arrivals and Departures be sure to visit the Port Report


0. Vote(Nominate) Pedro!

The coasts Best of Halifax is accepting Nominations. If you Like this Blog – Please vote Peter Ziobrowski for best blogger.

You can Nominate at
Best blogger can be found in the News and Media Category



1.More Container ports for NS.
Probably a bad idea says ACOA funded Study.

2. HMCS Sackville work period
The CBC reports that Sackvilles Work period is now going to run into next year – I suppose thats not surprising for a ship that was only built to last the war, and is now gong on 80 years old.

3.Stolen Car Exports
Stolen Cars are exported to africa in shipping containers, from the Ports of Montreal, Vancouver and Halifax. Montreal Police are not interested in investigating the thefts when suspicious car exports are reported by CBSA.

4.Naval Movements.
HMCS Moncton departed Halifax for a summer Great Lakes tour on July 9

5. Seakings get Paint Job – Head West.
Some Seaking’s have been identified and painted in their original paint scheme for museum use once retired. The helicopters are moving west, as 423 Squadron at shearwater is now only flying Cyclones.

6.Storm Movements
Offshore facilities have been evacuated, and Drill Rig West Aquarius has disconnected.


1. Tall Ships
The Tall Ship Oliver Hazard Perry Arrived in Lunenburg last weekend. She sailed Tuesday for For Boston.

2. Halterm from a crane.

Last week in History

July 12 1771 –  Lieutenant James Cook returned to England after his first voyage of exploration in the Pacific aboard Endeavour.

July 10 1970 – The MacKay Bridge opens to traffic.

July 8 1913 – CSS Acadia arrives in Halifax for the first time.
July 6 1943 – the tug Erg was rammed by a freighter and sank, with the loss of 19 lives. – She was Salvaged, and later re-sunk in the bedford basin.

Colregs reminder.

Buy a tall ship – or draw it with the flags in the right direction – Weekly News bits #7

For latest port conditions, Including Weather,Wind, Tides, Arrivals and Departures be sure to visit the Port Report


1.Ships Start in Australia.
Australia has chosen the BAE’s type 26 frigate as it next warship class. This ship is also a contender for the CSC.

2. Trade wars and Lobster.
Tariffs on US lobster to china will make the Canadian product more attractive.

3. Patrolling the wrong side of the border
US Boarder patrol has been inspecting Canadian vessels in Canadian waters on NB/Maine Border. We should park a frigate down there and tell USCBP to go away.

4.ROUTE Halifax Saint Pierre.

The results are in. the First across the line Honors went to Esprit de Corps IV – a VOR60 that was previously sailed by the Late Derek Hadfield as the Spirit of Adventure, and a previous race winner.

5. You can own your own Tall Ship.
The Caledonia is Still for sale. In 2012 the ask was 12 million. Her Creditors have now dropped the price to 1.5 million. Built in 1947, Caledonia was extensively refit in 2008, only to have her owners go bankrupt in 2010.


1. Historic USCG Lifeboat
CG36500 has been restored to working condition. the Boat and her crew took part in the rescue of the crew of the Pendelton in 1954, which broke apart during a storm. the story was the subject of the 2016 film The Finest Hours

2.Flag Direction on Full Rigged ships.
Sailor and Cartoonist Lucy Bellwood recently ran a twitter thread about the annoyance that is incorrect flag direction on Full rigged sailing vessels.

The Full explanation is available in this thread on Twitter need a Refresher on your sailing Rigs – See our Shipspotting 101 post.


This week in History

June 29 1799  – privateer Duke of Kent began her maiden voyage. she would go on to capture 8 French and Spanish ships.

June 30 1890 – the Halifax to Bermuda Cable is Completed.

July 2 1928 – Royal Navy Cruiser HMS Dauntless ran aground on Thrumcap Shoal

July 3 1970 – HMCS Bonaventure, Canada’s last aircraft carrier is decommissioned.

July 4 1843 – The first cargo of tea is delivered to Halifax, direct from China

I took this picture while sword fishing off Nova Scotia – weekly news bits #5

Issue #5 of the Weekly news bits. For latest port conditions, Including Weather,Wind, Tides, Arrivals and Departures be sure to visit the Port Report


1. Spills
Seadrill’s rig West Aquarius – working for BP spilled drilling fluids. it sounds like there was a leak in the riser. the fluids are said to be non toxic, and will sink to the sea floor.

2. CG Icebreakers for Davie.
Looks like Davie shipyard in PQ has sold the feds on another conversion. this time for Coast guard Ice Breakers. The ships were built for the offshore industry to work in Alaska, so should be well suited for the job. The Proposed ships are Tor Viking II, Balder Viking and Vidar Viking

Radio-Canada also released this piece, Where Montreal Based FedNav, over a year ago, offered to finance and build 3 icebreakers in Norway and lease them  to the government. They claim building in norway gets delivery in less then 2 years, and at half the cost of Canadian Yards. Fednav Operates a fleet of Bulkers and General Cargo Ships, and Operates Heavily in the arctic.

3. Halifax Shipyard Contract
Workers ratified the second attempt at a contract.

4. Drug Runner Followup.
3 Men from BC and Ontario were arrested with diving Gear in the case of the Arica. CBSA Reports that 150kg of cocaine were found in the ships sea chest. A sea chest is an indent in the hull where intakes for sea water are located. We first covered the story in News Bits #3 (Interesting Section)

5. Swordfishing off Nova Scotia

a few days ago a tweet appeared with the photo below, Captioned “Taken by Chris Holmes while swordfishing off the coast of Nova Scotia”

the obvious problem with the picture is that Killer Whales are not a species found off Nova Scotia’s coast. anyway, its become a thing, with various parodies appearing, so far the best is:



1. Scrapings.

Via Facebook, the former Newfoundland Shuttle Tanker Mattea was Beached for Scraping at Gadani Pakistan. she was a frequent caller in halifax when the refinery was in operation, shuttling product from the Hiberina and White Rose fields to refineries.

2. Yacht Racing Results

The first Finishers of the Route Halifax Saint Pierre Yacht race arrived in saint Pierre last night. The Canadian boat Esprit De Corps IV a VOR60 was first across the line at 21:34 yesterday. Second place, the French boat ST.PIERRE & MIQUELON – OAKCLIFF RACING a class 40, was second arriving about 3 hours later,

This week in History

June 24 1944 – HMCS Haida sinks U-971,  her only u-boat kill of the war

June 26 1959 – the Queen and Pres. Eisenhower open the St. Lawrence Seaway.

June 27 1813  – The American privateer Young Teazer met her end in Mahone Bay. Rather than surrender to the enemy, she was blown up by her crew – becoming a ghost ship

June 27 1918 – The Canadian hospital ship Llandovery Castle was sunk by German U Boat u-86. This war crime killed 234 Canadians, including all 14 nurses. there were 24 survivors


Self-Righting lifeboats and other flotsam – Weekly News bits #4

and now for the News…

For latest port conditions, Including Weather,Wind, Tides, Arrivals and Departures be sure to visit the Port Report


1. Shipbuilding Out West
Seaspan began construction on JSS #1

Unifor and Halifax Shipyard have reached a new tentative agreement, after the last one was rejected, triggering strike notice.  The longshoreman and the Port Employers have also reached a new 3 yr agreement.

3. Slavery
The Coast tells the story of the last African slave ship to the Americas, and her Nova Scotia Captain.

4. Sharks
they’re back…

Notable Movements

Fundy Pilot is in town filling in as the second pilot boat.

HMCS Oriole Sailed into Toronto for the first time in 69 years. she began her life as a yacht in Toronto. HMCS Moncton will be joining her on a Summer Great Lakes Tour.

HMCS Windsor returned to Port after NATO exercises in Europe.

Maersk Atlanta made a special stop at Halterm to deliver Empty refers.

Last week in History.

June 21 1749 – Edward Cornwallis shows up and founds Halifax.

June 18 1906 – British imperial Government properties in Halifax are handed over to the Dominion of Canada

June 15 1904 – The passenger liner General Slocum exploded and sank in the Hudson River, near NYC. Over 1,000 lives were lost in the disaster.

June 14 1917 – The British Admiralty approved the use of convoys of merchant ships as a precaution against U-boat attack.

Drug Runners and Other Weekly News Bits #3

its been a slow news week…


1. New Maersk Service

In May, Maersk announced a new MMX service to Montreal and Halifax. Yesterday they announced a new Southeast Asia service that will connect with MMX. Maersk Line’s AE6 service will connect ports Ningbo, Shanghai , Yantian ,and Maersk’s facility at Tanjung Pelapas, from which the AE6 sails non-stop to Algeciras Spain. From Algeciras cargo will be transferred to the MMX service to sail non-stop to Montreal, followed by Halifax.


COVE opened at the former Dartmouth Coast Guard Base.

3. Strike!
Halifax shipyard workers deliver 48hour strike notice after rejecting contract.

4. It doesn’t matter if your black or White.

the Lunenburg based Barque Picton Castle to repaint her hull white


Last weekend brought an extended stop for the Container Ship Aracia on the Maersk/CMA-CGM service. Word is the ship was detained by Border Services. Earlier in the week unmarked divers were spotted in the water off Halterm, and on arrival, the Aracia was boarded and searched, including and underwater hull survey by dominion diving. It was also noted while this was going on the RCMP dive team was working in the Harbour. The speculation is that the ship was going to be used to smuggle drugs on the underside of the hull from Canada to Europe. we can guess it was export, since the ship previously called in Montreal.

Running drugs on the bottom of boat hulls is not uncommon, and apparently sometimes successful. The sailing vessel Schwalb  was apparently running drugs when it arrived in Halifax, and subsequently abandoned. When crews went to remove pollutants after she went ashore, they discovered fittings on the hull suggesting the boat was rigged to smuggle drugs.

Last week in History

June 9 1944 – HMCS Haida and Huron, with 6 other allied ships, engaged and sunk 2 German destroyers.

June 11 1813 – Schooner Liverpool Packet is Captured by the US Privateer Thomas.

June 12 1912 – The last victim of the sinking of RMS Titanic, steward James McGrady, was buried at Fairview Cemetery

June 13 1984 – Halifax’s first tall ships event (Photos, more photos)


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