Friday, December 31, 2010

A Mighty Pair of Tugs

1. Early this morning Pegasus moves away from her over night berth at pier 27 to get bunkers. She is trimmed down by the stern, having taken on fresh water.

2. After bunkering Pegasus is on an even trim. She deployed her deck crane to handle the refueling hose, and will use it again when she ties up for pumping out waste tanks.

3. Pegasus nearing pier 25.

4. Pegasus tied up astern of sister Centuarus at pier 25.

The 8000 bhp, 100 tonne bollard pull tugs Centaurus and Pegasus arrived in Halifax late yesterday afternoon. After taking turns bunkering at pier 34 from Algoma Dartmouth, they tied up at pier 25.

Built in 2009 they are part of the German company Harms Bergung Transport & Heavy Lift GmbH & Co KG of Hamburg. They are designated as anchor handling tugs and are well fitted for ocean towing, hose handling, berthing, fire fighting and salvage. They measure 1262 gross tons and were built by the Mutselfeldt Yard in Cuxhaven.

The Harms fleet has been built up significantly in recent years, with several tugs of the "super class" as well as these mid-range types.

See their website at for full specs on their fleet.

The tugs are here to tow the offshore rig TSS Chemul to the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

RMI Marine on the job

1. Captain Jim hauls an oil boom, while the rig Chemul rests at anchor.

2. Belle D is lashed up to Halifax Carrier and ready to go when conditions permit.

RMI Marine Ltd has been engaged to carryout work on the offshore rig TSS Chemul at anchorage #1. As of last week, the rig was handed over by Halifax Shipyard to PEMEX (Petroleos Mexicanos) the Mexican state oil company, after a multi-million dollar refit.

RMI will be removing some gear from the rig's pontoons, but requires calm weather to do so. This week weather did not cooperate, as for the third Monday in a row storm conditions prevailed. RMI has the tug Belle D lashed to their barge Halifax Carrier, ready to go, but needs a little meteorological cooperation before heading out.

RMI's tug/workboat Captain Jim has also been working on the rig, but has also been occupied with other work, such as towing 800 feet of oil boom to the shipyard from pier 24.

Belle D was built in 1967 by Fercraft Marine of Côte Ste-Catherine, QC as Boatmen No.4 for Montreal Boatmen. It was later acquired by the Steel and Engine Products shipyard in Liverpool, NS and renamed Stenpro IV. It was subsequently transferred to Atlantic Towing and renamed Belle D. It is a 470 bhp twin screw vessel.

Captain Jim was built in 1989 as Atlantic Walnut along fishing boat lines. It has a towing bit and is fitted out for a variety of tasks including diving support, and crew boat.

The barge Halifax Carrier was built by Great Lakes Marine Contracting at Port Dover, ON in 1981. It was named La Malbaie until 2004 when it was acquired from McKeil Work Boats.

For more on RMI see their website:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Greetings

Tugfax will be a taking a few days off over Christmas. Have a Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for 2011.

In the spring of 1987 ice from the Gulf of St.Lawrence swept into Halifax (which never freezes over.) The tug Point Vigour was called in to divert ice from the propeller of the Russian ship Elton, loading flour at pier 22. The ice moved in an out with the tides and after few days disappeared out to sea.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter has Arrived

Atlantic Willow returns to her berth at Woodside in Dartmouth on Saturday morning. She had just been assisting the rig Chemul.

The dusting of snow received Friday is the first real indication of winter in Halifax despite several severe storms recently.

The jack-up drilling rig Rowan Gorilla III is undergoing maintenance at the same Woodside pier.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ryan Leet - baby sitter

Ryan Leet was called out to shadow the rig TSS Chemul as it left port yesterday for sea trials (see Shipfax) It did not have to tow the self-propelled rig, which also had two tugs on escort wires for security,

Today Ryan Leet also went out to the rig for a supply trip, but soon returned to base.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Point Halifax returns to Halifax - but briefly

1. Point Halifax at her new home base of Port Hawksbury, November 12, 2010.

2. Ocean Foxtrot and Point Halifax with Atlantic Sealion as seen from Point Tupper. Both tugs were on charter to Atlantic Towing.

Point Halifax returned to her "home port" this evening for the first time since July, but did not linger. Based here from the time of her delivery in 1986, she was transferred to Port Hawksbury as part of the deal that saw Svitzer and Atlantic Towing forming joint ventures for tugs in Halifax and the Strait of Canso. Atlantic Towing now provides all tugs in Halifax, Svitzer provides all tugs in Point Tupper and Point Halifax is bareboat chartered to Atlantic Towing.

Her arrival in Halifax tonight had her towing the barge Atlantic Sealion [see Shipfax for more on the barge] from Port Hawksbury to the Novadock floating drydock at Halifax Shipyard. Once inside the harbour Point Halifax turned the tow over to Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Larch and headed directly back to sea, bound for Port Hawksbury.

All this happened after dark, so no photos of the actual event.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Back Under Canadian Flag

1. Mariner Sea arriving at dusk December 12.

2. Deck lights are on, but shielded from a forward view.

Mariner Sea arrived on Sunday, with the port of Bridgetown (Barbados) on her stern. Bright and early Monday morning she hoisted the Canadian flag again, with her port of registry as Quebec City. And yes, as you might have guessed, there is a story behind that.

She was built back in 1979 by Georg Eides Sonner A/S of Hoylunsbygd, Norway, as a deck cargo/ dive support vessel, with moon pool. Named Sulair, she was owned by BP Development Ltd before being sold and renamed TNT Puma in 1989. In 1990 she became Toisa Puma.

In 1995, with the wordwide craze for fibreoptic cable networks, she was sold to Tyco who converted her to a full scale cable ship named Coastal Connector. The work involved a complete packaged cable operation on her cargo deck, and increased her gross tonnage from 1939 (as built) to 4480. Tyco's timing was off and with the dot com bubble bursting and Tyco in trouble the ship was put up for sale.

Secunda Marine [since 2007 McDermott] purchased the ship late in 2002 while it was lying at Caracas, Venezuela, and it arrived in Halifax January 17, 2003 flying the Marshal Islands flag as Mariner Sea. They sent the ship to Verreault shipyard in Méchins for conversion back to a supplier. It was fitted with tanks for 1200 cu.m rig fuel 1200 cu.m drill water, 800 cu.m drilling mud, while retaining 860 sq.m of deck cargo space. Dynamic positioning was also fitted, using three thrusters forward and one aft. The newly refitted ship returned to Halifax May 15, 2003, with the new port of registry of Quebec City (assigned May 14.) Tonnage was now 2904 gross, 4450 deadweight.

Mariner Sea was fixed on charter to Encana, and until earlier this year had been supporting the Deep Panuke project, but was chartered out this fall and adopted the Barbados flag.

On Sunday the ship tied up at pier 9 to be fitted with cable laying gear. This will not be as comprehensive as in her previous incarnation, but will be a relatively small portable package, with a demountable stern sheave for passing the cable.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

McNally brings in reinforcements

1. S-12, FDJV3, Canadian Argosy, Whitby and Beaver Delta II at pier 9C, Sunday afternoon.

2. Carl M. on a the dredge scow, whose official name is VM/S 87.

3. Whitby swings around Mister Joe, Saturday morning.

4. Whitby secures a fender with Beaver Kay and Beaver Spartan in the background.

McNally Construction has brought in more equipment for the Halterm extension project. They now have another small tug, Carl M. and the dredge scow VM/S 87, to assist in the work. These were towed from Sorel via the Strait of Canso by the tug Mister Joe, arriving Halifax December 9. A crane will be loaded aboard VM/S 87 next week. (The barge owes its name to the Voie Maritime St-Laurent, a.k.a. the St.Lawrence Seaway, for which it was built as S.L.S. 87 in 1958 at Collingwood, ON.) Carl M. dates back to 1957 when it was built as Louis M. A single screw tug of 465 bhp, it acquired its present name in 1975. The M stood for McNamara, the original owners. It was built by Russel-Hipwell in Owen Sound.

On Saturday, to make room for the arrival of another ship, the barges were moved at pier 9 by Whitby, which has been tending the dredge Canadian Argosy. The scows Beaver Kay and Beaver Spartan were moved north, with Mister Joe moved as a dead ship to the outside of the fleet. VM/S 87 and the dredge Harold M. were moved south. The latter will also have a crane moved aboard next week.

Whitby returned to the Halterm site after these moves and later on Saturday night moved Canadian Argosy and the dump scows S-12 and FDJV3 to pier 9C to shelter from Monday's coming storm.The tug Beaver Delta II assisted in this move, but it will be lifted out next week and replaced by Carl M.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rig Move

All four Atlantic Towing tugs were pressed into service this morning to move the accommodation rig Chemul from the IEL dock to anchorage #1. The rig is nearing the end of a major rebuilding by Halifax Shipyard and will be conducting trials in the anchorage area.

Atlantic Fir, Larch, Oak, and Willow pulled the rig off the dock, and moved it position. As a semi-submersible rig it will also set out anchors once it is in position. The tugs will also assist in this work.

The small tug Belle D appears to be in the background of the photo, between the rig and the dock. It was probably assisting in line handling.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Navy tugs at work

Navy tugs are frequently tasked for cold moves within the harbour. This morning they moved HMCS Charlottetown from the Dockyard to Imperial Oil for bunkers. One Glen and two Villes were given the job. It is a very expensive operation to fire up the main engines on a warship, and so short trips in the harbour are usually done as cold moves.

The Glens are V-S propulsion and can thrust in any direction, but normally handle all lines over the stern. They are often seen lashed up stern too. In this way they can push or pull on command, without having to change position or orientation.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Not exactly a tug, but..........

1. Firebird on her rounds this morning in the Narrows.

2. Some firefighters on deck. The boat is graced with some well made rope fenders - a rare sight these days when old tires seem to be the rule.

3. Sister fireboat Firebrand is based in the naval dockyard in Esquimalt, BC, May 12, 1986 photo.

The Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessel Firebird is the only red painted vessel in Canada's east coast naval Dockyard. While not exactly a tug, it is built along more or less tug boat lines, but performs a very useful function.

As Dockyard fireboat it responds to fires and conducts regular fire and security patrols to various installations around the harbour. If called upon it could certainly tow a smaller vessel, in case of emergency, but its primary duty is firefighting.

It is one of two sister vessels, one on each coast, built by Vancouver Shipyard in North Vancouver, BC in 1978. Powered by 2-385 bhp Caterpillars, it also has two more 365 bhp Caterpillars for pumping. It can pump 2500 gpm @ 150 psi, without hindering its propulsion. (The force of spray in some cases would force the boat backwards, so it is important that it keep its station when fighting a fire.) It has z-drives (ASD) and three monitors rated at 1250 gpm. It also carries 500 gal of AFF (foam.)

Firebird arrived in Halifax in August 1978 on the barge G of G 240, towed by the tug Ocean Crown, which had been sold to Quebec owners - see following post.