Friday, March 16, 2018

Light duties for Glenside

In a break from the usual job of shoving naval ships around, the Canadian Naval Auxiliary Vessel Glenside was tasked this week to return two large fenders from the Bedford Institute to HMC Dockyard.

The Ville class "pup" tug Listerville moved the fenders originally (see a previous post) perhaps to be used to protect CCGS Hudson during the recent severe sou'easterly winds.

Glenside is one of three "Glen" class tugs based at HMC Dockyard in Halifax (there are two more at Esquimalt on the Pacific coast). Built in 1977-79 they are 1750 bhp (Ruston-Paxman) 19 tonne Bollard Pull Voith-Schneider tugs, and were quite revolutionary for their time. Despite their great agility and ability to move within the tight confines of HMC Dockyard, they are under-powered by today's standards and obviously are getting old and parts are hard to source.

Late last year the Department of Defense and the government procurement agency issued a Request for Information to "solicit feedback from industry" for replacement of these tugs. It was not a invitation for bids, since there is no funding in place yet, but more of a sounding out of those interested in building new tugs. I have detailed some of the particulars here before, but essentially the navy wants two new tugs in Halifax and two in Esquimalt, and they are to be more or less off-the- shelf commercial designs.

Canadian Navy tugs come under the direction of the Queen's Harbour Master (QHM) and and have civilian crews. The Master Attendant in the QHM is responsible for their daily operation.
When the current Glen tugs were planned, it was recognized by the QHM that work in HMC Dockyard had some unique characteristics due to the narrow cambers between the finger piers. The operators studied tugs in many other locations, including the Alcan tugs at Port Alfred, some of the earliest V-S tugs in Canada. Voith-Schneider tugs, with their ability to change thrust direction without having to re-orient hull direction, were ideal for the Dockyard work, but I believe it was a bit of hard sell to convince the top brass that the higher cost was justified. Perhaps that is why the horsepower is so low.

Things have changed since those days however, with  larger naval vessels in service and more to come. There are also many more options such as ROtor tugs (three thrusters), more sophisticated Azimuthing drives, including controllable pitch props, and more efficient V-S. It will be interesting to see what comes out of the RFI, which closed February 28.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Warrior has landed

After a stormy day yesterday that prevented unloading, Dominion Warrior took to the water today from the heavy lift ship Stellaprima.

The new acquisition was shepherded by Dominion's Roseway to the Dartmouth Cove base, attended by Dominion Bearcat and Halmar. Both of these boats have been rebuilt by Dominion's own forces during their tenure with Dominion and it is likely that Dominion Warrior will receive similar treatment before it enters service.

As per the previous post, Dominion Warrior ex Coastal Warrior will expand Dominion's capabilities to support its diving and marine service business by being a multi-tasking vessel with tug / cargo/ and other capabilities.


Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Dominion Warrior - on the way

photo courtesy of Dominion Diving

The Dutch heavy lift ship Stellaprima is en route from Gibraltar for Halifax carrying the latest addition to the Dominion Diving fleet.

Dominion Diving's base in Dartmouth Cove is a colourful place, with a variety of watercraft.

Dominion, the colourful operator based in Dartmouth Cove, is a long established diving and marine services firm, with a variety of launches, tugs, diving tenders, research vessels and barges, but with the Dominion Warrior they have seemingly combined all those functions into one craft. Owners describe the vessel as a "Swiss Army Knife" combining the abilities of a tug with a powerful winch and 1200 bhp Cat engines (driving twin screws in nozzles) giving a 15 tonne bollard pull.

The hull, which is barge like (21.6m x 9m x 2m draft) with an offset raised wheelhouse gives a large clear deck space carrying a 50 tonne capacity crane and is reinforced to carry heavy deckloads. It can also tend a ROV for specialized diving. The "cargo/tug/workboat" has a deadweight of 130 tonnes, can go 30 miles to sea and has a range of 200 miles.

Built as Coastal Warrior in 2007 by Neptune Alst for Acta Marine to a Eurocarrier 2209 design (known generically as a Multicat), the vessel has worked in Europe and most recently in Kamsar, Guinea. It made its way through Conakry to Algeçiras, Spain, thence to Gibraltar to load onto the Stellaprima.

Although common in Europe and the rest of the world, this is the first vessel of its type to appear in Canada, and marks a major breakthrough in capability for Dominion Diving. Despite the ungainly look, it is quite sea capable but can also carry out beach landings among dozens of other functions.

For a more detailed look at the Dominion Warrior see: Coastal-Warrior
or Eurocarriers

Monday, March 5, 2018


The Canadian Naval Auxiliary tug Listerville handled two large fenders today despite high cross winds in the Narrows. It moved the fenders from HMC Dockyard to the Bedford Institute. One was placed alongside CCGS Hudson and the other alongside the jetty. Very high water levels  - due to a stalled storm centre off Sable Island, and lunar high tides - may have made the fenders necessary to protect the ship from slamming against the pier.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Classic tug lost off Maine - with updates

A tug built for the United States Army in 1944, sank off the coast of Maine on February 23.
It had a varied career until finally going out of documentation some years ago with the name Capt. Mackintire.

 As I remember the tug, when it was named the Marjorie L. Winslow.

On Wednesday February 21, the old tug was in tow of a forty foot workboat which had then come alongside to transfer fuel, on a trip to Annapolis, MD. The workboat struck the tug causing it to take on water, possibly incurring some damage itself.
The USCG responded and towed the work boat called Helen Louise into Portland, ME and another vessel USCGC Reef Shark took the tug in tow. However in the 12 knot winds and six foot seas the tug began to  sink and the USCG had to cut the tow line early in the morning of February 23. The tug now rests on the bottom 3 miles off Kennebunk, ME in 158 feet of water. There it is likely to rest.

Virtually unchanged from its original appearance, but painted in classic US tug colours.

Various histories of the tug show up in on line accounts, but all seem incomplete. Here is what I know:

Built for the US Army as ST-725 by Pensacola Shipyard + Engine Co, fitted with 650 bhp Clarke engine.
1945: sold and renamed Utility for Jacksonville Utility Co, Jacksonville, FL.
1964: acquired by St.Philip Coastal Towing Co of Tampa, FL and renamed Marilyn.
1965: renamed Mary St.Philip by the same owners.
1969: bought by Coast Line Towing Corp of Providence, RI and renamed Castle Hill.
1977: acquired by Thames Towboat Co, New London, CT, but not renamed.
1977: acquired by Winslow Marine Inc of Southport and Falmouth, ME renamed  Marjorie J. Winslow
2012: bought by Eastport Port Authority, Eastport, ME and renamed Capt. Mackintire.
2014: sold to private owners and not renamed.

At the Boston Tug Muster and Parade in 1987.

Update#1 February 28. The tow was out of Bar Harbour, and the tug was carrying eight 44 USGal drums of fule for the workboat in addition to 4400 USGal in its own tanks.
USCG will send divers to the site to assess viability of raising / removal of fuel, etc.,
The owner of both boats is reported to be uin the business of buying old boats to use in television and movies.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

International Tug+OSV Annual Review 2017

The ABR Co Ltd, organizers of the International Tug, Salvage and OSV Conferences, held every two years and the annual Tugnology Conferences, have published their Annual Review 2017. As the cover states there are 103 tugs and offshore support vessels featured in the review, with more than thirty highly detailed write ups and general arrangement drawings in addition to some technical articles.

For the mechanically minded there are detailed descriptions of the engines, winches, propulsion systems and all the principal equipment aboard. These small masterpieces of technical writing are succinct but thorough and highlight the unique characteristics of each vessel.

The general arrangement drawings are usually of very high quality and level of detail and show how the boats work for those who run them and live on board. Combined with the photos one can see quite clearly that the combination of function and form in the hands of skilled naval architects can produce stylish, even beautiful vessel.

Nowadays tugs are highly specialized craft, often designed for specific uses, but also with the same necessary features to push and pull larger and larger ships. The prolific Canadian naval architects Robert Allen Ltd are as usual at the forefront of  new technology. The cover feature tug, the Norwegian Dux owned by Ostensjo Rederi AS, is a dual fuel vessel built for extreme northern conditions and is one of several Allen deign featured this year.

While Europe is well represented in the various featured vessels, so are Asia, the United States and Canada. In fact two Canadian tugs have made the pages this year. Both tugs are operated by Groupe Océan. The first is Océan Catatug 1 a shallow draft catamaran tug with large working deck that is demountable for truck transport. Currently working with its sister tug Océan Catatug 2 on the Champlain Bridge project in Montreal, the tugs could be sent to remote locations accessible only by land. The other is the Océan Taiga the second of the 8,000 bhp ice class tugs for St.Lawrence River tanker escort and arctic work (also a Robert Allen design) . Both featured vessels were built by Océan's own shipyard at Ile-aux-Coudres, QC and fitted out at their Quebec City facility.

The features give a wide overview of the tugs built in the past year and cover a huge range from the small 10 tonne bollard pull training tug to the 100 tonne plus bollard pull behemoths. There is also a range of offshore service vessels from anchor handlers, to suppliers and support ships including icebreakers.

While the publication is aimed at the tug and OSV industry, it is also of special interest to ship designers and those in related fields. Of course die hard tug enthusiasts will find it endlessly fascinating too.

There is probably no more authoritative source for this kind of information in one place. It is available for £30 (plus £5.50 for airmail) from the publishers:

The ABR organization will be hosting the 25th International Tug, Salvage and OSV (ITS 2018) conference June 25-29 in Marseille, France. Information on the conference is also available from the company website.


Monday, February 19, 2018

Conditions Vary

Winter in the North Atlantic is noted for high winds, frigid temperatures and notorious freezing spray.

This winter has been a bit of an exception with prolonged periods of mild air temperatures, well above the Zero degree Celsius mark. Nevertheless tugs must be prepared for whatever happens.

Today was one of those mild days. Yesterday's snow soon melted where it was exposed to the sun.

Atlantic Oak made its way through the Narrows in the late afternoon. The tug was tasked with unberthing and escort duties for the container ships YM Evolution.

On Saturday, temperatures were also relatively mild, with few tracers oof snow anywhere, but Atlantic Bear was bundled up for winter work nonetheless.

The tug's winch was tarped as were the two fire fighting monitors mounted on the bridge deck.

Earlier in the month there were frigid conditions as Atlantic Fir was stern escort on the YM Moderation. As the ship's name implied, that is just what the weather did a few days later.

February 3, 1996 was no better - in fact much worse, when Chebucto Sea arrived. It was assisting with the tow of the disabled Amphion.

Secunda Marine fleet mate Tignish Sea had towed the abandoned bulker from 450 miles SE of St.John's, Newfoundland. Chebucto Sea (former RCN tug St.Charles) assisted with the tow into Halifax in brutal conditions.

It was also a frigid day February 18, 1979. Point Vim was standing by at pier 36 (the shed in the background has long since been demolished).

Its fine coat of ice was acquired working around the harbour.

Some visiting tugs get more than they bargain for with Halifax weather. The 1968 built Eklof tug Thor took some freezing when it arrived with the oil tanker barge E57. It left the barge at anchor and moved to the Museum dock to clear ice in January 1989.

They came back for more however, and made a total of three trips to Halifax that month. The tug was used to hardship however. Built in 1958 as Marjorie McAllister, it sank with the loss of all six crew in November 1969 off North Carolina. Donjon Marine salvaged thre tug in 1972, rebuilt it and it became their Tracy Ann Witte in 1980. Eklof Marine Corp owned the tug from about 1983 until 1999 when it was reacquired by its original owners and renamed Mary L. McAllister. In 2016 it was reported sold to Haitian owners. It is a single screw tug with a 4,000 bhp GM EMD engine.