Thursday, September 29, 2011

US tugs to Nigeria

Marcon International has just announced the sale of two US tugs to Nigeria. Both tugs are based in Tampa, FL and are operated by OSG. OSG took over the fleet of Maritrans Operating Partners in 2006, which in turn took over SONAT which took over Interstate in 1987, but which has roots that go way back. See this excellent summary:

Both tugs date from 1971 and were built by Maine Iron Works of Houma, LA, and fitted with EMD engines. These are probably outdated now, but they sound great!

OSG Seafarer ex Seafarer is a 5750 bhp tug with an elevated wheelhouse. This device has been modified and raised at least twice. According to Marcon it now has a height of eye of 55 feet.

OSG Liberty ex Liberty ex Satoco is a 7200 bhp tug. Its elevated wheeelhouse has been raised again since my 1992 photo and now gives a height of eye of 57 feet. It was built for Sabine Towing and Transportation and bought by Interstate in 1985.
Seafarer was the unfortunate tug in charge of the barge Ocean 255, loaded with avgas, when it was in collision with Balsa 37 resulting in a huge fire in Tampa Bay August 10, 1993.

The Maritrans tugs were always maintained in tip top condition, and had shipyard refits regularly, where they were sandblasted primed and repainted. It is no wonder then that they are still operating 40 years on.

See: for more.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Neftegaz 29 a target?

1. Intrepid Sea a.k.a. Neftegaz 29 , is guided from Bedford Basin to pier 9 this afternoon.

2. The tug arrived in Halifax in 2001 in tow of Topaz. Even Russian tugs in service can look like derelicts.

3. Tugs moved Neftegaz 29 in 2002 (her official name was Sable Sea at the time.)

One of a large fleet of supply/pipe carriers built for the USSR in Poland, the former Neftegaz 29 moved today from its longtime layup position in Bedford Basin. Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Larch moved the old vessel as a dead ship to pier 9.

Built in 1984 by Stoc. im. Konuny Paryskiej in Gdynia, Poland it was one of 55 vessels of its class. Reportedly built of excellent steel, with ice capabilities, the ships were of an obsolete design, and some were laid up on delivery.

Secunda Marine Services of Dartmouth acquired four vessels of the class, Neftegaz numbers 1, 2, 14 and 29. Numbers 1 and 2 were converted to the tug suppliers Burin Sea and Trinity Sea. Number 14 was transformed in to Panuke Sea.

Number 29 arrived in Halifax November 15, 2001 in tow of the Russian tug Topaz. Even then it was apparent that the ship has been laid up for some time. Although there was some activity on board in 2002 and again 2003 when one of her engines was removed for use on a sister vessel, she has spent most of the last 10 years laid up at Secunda's (formerly Gulf Oil's) Burnside pier in Bedford Basin. Now that all useful parts have probably been removed for re-use, she is pretty much in derelict condition and there is evidence of vandalism.

Shortly after Secunda acquired the ship they renamed it Sable Sea, but in 2002 this was changed to Intrepid Sea to free up the name for another supplier. Neither of these names has ever been painted on the ship.

In 2007 ownership of Secunda was taken over by McDermott, but there were no outward signs of change in the company.

Today's move may mean the end for the ship. We will soon discover if she is going to be sold to the navy for use as a target (most likely scenario in my mind), sold for scrap or even (unlikely) rebuilt.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Just Visiting

1. Point Halifax ties up at the IEL dock this morning with the deck barge Atlantic Swordfish. The Atlantic Larch returns in the background.

2. A brand new Point Halifax, as seen from the wheelhouse of the Point Vibert (now Florence M.) 1987-02-08. She is painted in the colours of Smit & Cory.

After more than a year's absence, the tug Point Halifax returned to Halifax, but it is still just visiting. (It was here one other time, but only handed off a tow and did not enter port or tie up.)

Built in 1986, Point Halifax was the first ASD tug to be based here, and was the prime harbour tug for many years. Powered by two English Electric engines (Ruston) it was rated at 4200 bhp and 62 tonnes bollard pull. At the time this was considered to be quite powerful for a harbour tug, and so it proved to be until the 5,000 bhp tugs came in.

Eastern Canada Towing Ltd ordered the tug when it was still part of the Smit & Cory organization. After numerous changes in that arrangement, they are now owned by Svitzer Canada.

In July 2010 the three Halifax-based Svitzer tugs were transferred to Point Tupper. Point Halifax however was under repair at the time and when it was ready to go, it was transferred to Port Hawksbury and chartered to Atlantic Towing Ltd. It is in their service that it arrived this morning towing the barge Atlantic Swordfish.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

More small tug work

1. Carl M. works with the spud scow Canadian Argosy.

2. Whitby follows.

No big tug news to report at the moment, but the small tugs are keeping busy in Halifax. McNally Marine's Carl M. and fleet mate Whitby continue to attend construction scows at the Halterm extension project.

Both tugs trace there existance to McNamara Construction, long defunct, builders of the orginal Halterm container terminal IN 1969-70.

Carl M. was built in 1957 by Russel-Hipwell in Owen Sound, ON as Louis M. She was renamed in 1975, and rates 465 bhp.

Whitby dates from 1978 and has 474 horses at her command. She was built by McNamara's own forces in her namesake port.

Both tugs are truckable, and their wheelhouses are removable.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Little Tugs: dirty job, but somebody has to do it.

1. Following up on the Armchair Captain's photo of Gulf Spray with the garbage barge on Monday and my own of the same tug with barge alongside Le Boreal last week, here is even smaller fleet mate Carly J also with a garbage barge. September 18.
All refuse coming off cruise ships is considered international garbage, and must be incinerated. Local garbage (in Halifax at least) is composted, recycled or land filled. During cruise season, when there are several large ships in port, there is a veritable mountain of garbage coming ashore, which does not enter the domestic "waste stream."

2. Gulf Spray works alongside Silver Whisper at pier 20, also September 18.

LeGrow's Marine handles most of the debris, and mobilizes itssmall fleet to do the job. The garbage is removed on the offside of the ship (to avoid the possibility that passengers will be be offended by their own garbage!) and barged to shore, usually at pier 29, where it is then trucked to the incinerator.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Roseway Returns

Dominion Diving's tug Roseway returned to Halifax late this afternoon after a summer working in Shelburne. In tow was the former La Have river cable ferry La Have II now used as a work barge.

Roseway was built in 1960 in Liverpool, NS by Steel and Engine Products for the (Federal)Minister of Public Works and assigned to the dredging fllet. Usually working out of Liverpool, but ranging up and down the Nova Scotia coasts, it tended a pair of small mud scows and the dredge D.P.W.No. 16 in the maintenance of numerous small harbours. Measuring only 36 gross tons, it was fitted with two engines generating 300 bhp.
As DPW began to exit the dredging scene, the tug was acquired by Dominion Diving in 1989.

In 1991 as it was returning to port it began to take on water and sank just off the IEL wharf in 60 feet of water. The next day (December 24) the tug/workboats Saint M, Little Saint and barge Coneco III lifted the tug off the bottom and moved it alongside the IEL dock. It was then raised by shore crane and taken to Dartmouth Marine Slip. There was very little damage except to the the electricals and electronics, which were replaced. The tug was back in service in 2 months, and later in 1992 was re-powered by Rolls Royce engines totalling 420 bhp.

The tug had provided sterling service as a tug, diving tender, workboat, crew boat, lineboat and any other job that Dominion has had for it.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Océan finds work for Escorte

1. In the camber at Pointe-au-Pic with the Manoir Richelieu hotel in the background.

2. Operating stern first, she arrives at Cap-à-l'Aigle with a spoil scow.

3. Removal of the orginal funnel improved visibility to the stern.

4. Escorte stands off Pointe-au-Pic at dusk, after a day's work.

Groupe Océan of Quebec City, has found work for its excellent small tug Escorte. After several years of service at their Hamilton, ON operation it was replaced this year by Océan Golf, and was reported to be for sale.

However I saw it in action this summer assisting the dredging fleet with some barge handling work. The tug was tasked with handling the barges Milne Inlet and Mary River to carry contaminated dredge spoil, which was then pumped ashore for treatment and disposal. This operation took place at both the Pointe-au-Pic, QC and Cap-à-l'Aigle, QC wharfs, in preparation for new wharf ownership and future development.

Escorte was built by Jakobson's Shipyard in Oyster Bay, NY in 1967 for the US Navy, as Menasha and was assigned the USN number 760. It and sister tug Mascouta, 761, now Atlantic Towing's Atlantic Aspen, were reported to be experimental, since they were were the first USN tugs built with Voith propulsion, and developed a modest 675 bhp. (There exists some confusion about the actual ancestry of the tugs, since the USN had YTBs or YTMs of the same name built at the same yard a few years earlier. This pair were definitely more like YTLs or YTSs, since they measure only 120 gross tons.)

After naval service they showed up on the United States section of the St.Lawrence Seaway in about 1989, still in USN colours. They were soon repainted in St.Lawrence Seaway Development Corp colours of black hull and green deck house, and did see service in the Snell-Eisenhower lock areas, and even with ship assist work at Cornwall, ON. Menasha was sold to John Fedek of Ogdensburg, NY in 1991. Vandalized and sunk in August 1992 it was raised by Donald Gordon of Courtwright, ON, who took possession of the vessel in payment. He operated the tug for a time out of Sarnia, repainting the deckhouse blue. He must have liked the name because he renamed his next acquisition Menasha (ex W.C.Harms-97, Ruby Casho-88, Hamilton-86, W.C.Harms-54, 132 gross tons, built 1949, 900 bhp)

In 1995 MTL Marine Tug Inc of Montreal (part of Three Rivers Boatmen) acquired the tug, and she was again repainted - this time with white deck house. Her plain black funnel acquired the red and white vertical bars of 3RB, and she was renamed Escorte, with "Tractor Tug" painted on her bulwarks.

After Groupe Océan took over 3RB, she worked out of Trois-Rivières for a time, then in 2002 was sent to Quebec City for a refit. There her funnel was removed and replaced by exposed exhaust pipes (improving visibility aft) and of was again repainted, this time in Groupe Océan colours of the day. Those have since changed, but the tug is essentially unaltered since then.

As with all Groupe Océan tugs, she is maintainred in spotless condition, and looks to be in excellent condition. Long may she run!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

New Tug Workboat for the Port of Quebec

1 and 2 Le Cageux at its own slip in the Inner Bassin Louise at Quebec City, 2011-08-05.

As reported on July 25, the Administration Portuaire de Quebec sold its former tug /workboat Beaupré to a numbered company in Matane.

That company may be associated with Meridien Maritime Reparation, builder of the port's new workboat Le Cageux, which I spotted for the first time on August 5. The new boat is equipped with a roomy deck house, wide open working deck aft deck, open stern, deck crane and other features more suited to its chores in the Port of Quebec. Some of this work would be associated with maintaining fenders at the various piers, and perhaps some buoy work, barge handling and towing. The new craft measures 24.20 gross tons, is 13.01m long, 4.91m breadth and 2.36m deep. It is a twin screw vessel, with a total of 420kW of power.

It resembles a miniature offshore supply vessel, with many similar features. I could not see a tow hook or towing bitts from my vantage point.

"Cageux" in translation can mean timber cribwork, or pier.