Sunday, July 29, 2012

Foundation tugs of 1962

In the early 1960s the Foundation Company of Canada through its subsidiaries decided to build a series of tugs to the same design for interchangeable use all over Foundation’s “empire”. The tugs could and would be tasked with ship berthing and harbour work, barge handling and coastal towing. Foundation’s fleet of floating cranes and scows for marine construction needed to be towed to ports all over Eastern Canada, and there was a need for more and better tugs than the mixed bag left over from wartime construction.

The company had already built three larger tugs between 1956 and 1961, but they were dedicated to work in Baie-Comeau and Sept-Iles, QC.
And so it was that Davie Shipbuilding in Lauzon, QC received the order for six 1,000 bhp single screw tugs for delivery in 1962, followed by a twin screw, slightly larger variant in 1963.
When Foundation decided to get out of the tug operating business in 1970 the fleet was split up and the tugs went in different directions. All six initially to MILTug under a management agreement with Marine Industries Ltd of Sorel, QC. In 1973 they were all sold, with three continuing to work in Halifax for the newly formed Eastern Canada Towing Ltd (Ectug) as the backbone of the Halifax harbour tug fleet.

1. Point Viking (on the bow) and Point Vim and Point Vigour work the British passenger liner turned cruise ship, Oriana away from the dock in 1979.

ECTUG transferred Viking to Port Hawksbury and sold it, and when they acquired more powerful tugs in Halifax, Vim and Vigour became backups until sold in 2006.

2. Point Vim and Point Vigour live up to their names.

I don’t suppose anyone imagined that seven of those ten tugs built between 1956 and 1963 would still be operating in Canada in 2012.
Of the 1962 batch of six, three are very much in operation in Canada and are reported to be in excellent condition by their present owners, all still running on their original Fairbanks-Morse engines.
The first four tugs were completed and launched as a batch, with the last two following soon after.
Davie Hull numbers 631, 632, 633 and 634:

Hull 631: Foundation Viscount

3.  Foundation Viscount working in Halifax harbour in the 1960s.

In 1973 the tug was purchased MIL's Richelieu Dredging Ltd and renamed C.O.Paradis. However in 1976 in a deal that involved dredges and tugs, it was sold to John S. Latsis of Greece and renamed Ikositria
[meaning "23"] It has been laid up since about 2005, and may well have been scrapped by now.

Hull 632: Foundation Vim
4. Point Vim returns to the Ectug dock in Halifax.

In 1973 the tug was sold to the newly formed Eastern Canada Towing Ltd and renamed Point Vim. It was based in Halifax and Port Hawksbury for a time. It was also modified at Georgetown Shipyard with the addition of a fixed Kort nozzle, and its engine uprated.

5. It's February and Point Vim has a heavy coat of frozen spray while waiting for a ship at pier 36.

McKeil purchased the tug in 2006, but it was resold to Davis Shipping of Wesleyville, NF and  has been upgraded by the new owners. It is in the best condition of the remaining tugs and is used in general towing work in Newfoundland and Labrador and harbour berthing.

Hull No.633: Foundation Vigour
6. Point Vigour heads out for a job in Halifax.

Eastern Canada towing acquired the tug in 1973 and renamed it Point Vigour. It was based in Halifax until 2006. It received the same upgrades as its sister Vim - a Kort nozzle and uprated engine.

7. The tugs were built with a patent quick-release towing hook and a small capstan for recovering towing lines.

In 2006 McKeil bought the tug and renamed it Molly M 1. It has travelled far and wide under McKeil ownership, and is now operated by the associated company Nadro Marine.

Hull No.634: Foundation Viking 
8. Point Viking off pier 31 in Halifax.

Also acquired by Eastern Canada Towing Ltd in 1973, the tug was renamed Point Viking and based in Halifax.

9. At pier 25-26 in Halifax, Point Viking has just assisted in berthing the Klavenes bulker Balao.

It did not get the upgrading treatment that Vim and Vigour received. After time stationed in Port Hawksbury it was sold to interests in Stephenville, NF where it was used in harbour berthing work in the Stephenville and Corner Brook areas. In the mid 2000s Construction Polaris Inc of Quebec bought the tug. Although based in Quebec City it spends most of its time assisting construction work on the Lower North Shore.

Hull No. 635: Foundation Viceroy

10. Foundation Viceroy nudges up on the Helga Dan at pier 9C in Halifax.

In 1973 the tug was sold to the Minister of Public Work, Canada, and assigned to the St.Lawrence River dredging fleet. Renamed Feuille d'Erable, it worked with the dredge DPW No.130 and mud scows up and down the St.Lawrence River and into the Gulf, from its base in Rimouski.

11. Feuille d'Erable tending to a mud scow off Ile-aux-Coudres, QC.

When the DPW got out of harbour dredging in 1996 the tug was renamed T.4 and laid up in Quebec City for sale. McKeil bought the tug and renamed it Florence McKeil  in 2000. After working on the Great Lakes for a time it was then sold to Davis Shipping Ltd of Wesleyville, NF. They sold the tug in 2006 to new owners in the Ivory Coast, however the tug was delivered to Ghana. There it was renamed Manhye and placed under the Honduran flag. The tug is believed to still be working in Africa.

Hull No.636: Foundation Vanguard

12. Foundation Vanguard assisting the CCGS Labradror into the graving dock at Halifax Shiyard.

In 1973 MIL bought this tug outright and renamed it A.Moir it continued working for Richelieu Dredging until 1976 when it was also part of the deal with John S. Latis and went to Greece. It was renamed  Ikosido [meaning "22"]. After several ownership changes within the Latsis organisation it was sold in 1998 to Saudi Arabia where it took the name Sete 10. The tug was laid up during 2009, and has not been working since.

  13. Point Vim and Point Vigour were familiar sights on the Halifax waterfront, and their charming names won them many fans. It was a sad day when they sailed away in 2006, but fortunately that was not the end.

14. and 15. Molly M 1 (former Vigour) pictured on the Welland Canal July 24, 2012. Now fitted with a towing winch, she was about to leave towing a barge with crane components to Iqaluit. This the longest single tow ever for the tug, but she is up to the job even at age 50. [John Vanderdoe photos used with thanks and permission.]

Point Vim looks as good or better. For more on her see this blog from last October:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

William J. Moore - end of the line?

The tug William J. Moore and tanker barge McCleary's Spirit have been laid up by their owners K-Sea Canada Corp, and the crew has been let go. First and foremost this is sad news for the crew, particularly when foreign flag tankers have been brought in on short term charters to work essentially the same trade.
Both tug and barge have interesting histories, well worth repeating.
1. As built, Warrawee in Australian waters.

The tug was built by Adelaide Ship Construction Pty Ltd in Port Dover, South Australia in 1970 as Warawee for Adelaide Streamship Co. In 1975 it was sold to Seaspan Overseas Ltd but sent to work in the North Sea for Union Towing & Transportation Ltd from 1976 to 1988. It was then renamed Raider and came to Canada to work for Newfoundland Marine Energy Ltd in Come-by-Chance, Newfoundland. It briefly adopted the name Raider IV but then became Alice A. before the end of 1988. McKeil bought the Newfoundland Marine Energy fleet of three tugs (Bonnie B. III  and Carroll C II being the others) in 1999 but it wasn't until 2002 that the tug took its present name William J. Moore when it was paired with the barge. Two GM EMD main engines and a total of 4078 bhp drive twin controllable pitch screws.

2. Tucked into the stern notch of the barge. The raised wheelhouse was added for this work.
3. Heading downstream for the Ultramar refinery to load. 

The barge was built in 1969 as a coal barge Nieuwpoort in Temse, Belgium. In 1978 it became Gato da Mar and in 1984 L'Isle Sous le Vent and converted to a floating fish farm. McKeil bought the barge from layup in Falmouth, UK in 1999 and renamed it Le Vent with the tug Ocean Wrestler towing it to Canada. It was rebuilt to carry jet aviation fuel, and renamed McCleary's Spirit. It now measures 67,888 gross tons, with a cargo capacity of 13,385 tons.
In 2005 ownership passed to K-Sea Canada Corp with McKeil continuing to manage the pair and working under a charter to Pétro-Nav.

4. Heading back upstream a couple of days later, there is visibility from the lower wheelhouse,
but it is not being used.
5. The tug's derrick was also removed and other modifications made to work with the barge.

What the future will bring for the pair is not known. Although neither is very new, they could be expected to last for some time in freshwater service. The combo has been listed for sale for some time, so perhaps a foreign buyer will be found.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Milk moustaches for pups

The navy's pup tugs Listerville and Merrickville put on their milk moustaches, or if you prefer, their bibs, yesterday to assist a special guest.
The white sheets were to prevent any unwelcome black scrub marks on the pristine hull of USCG Eagle.
1. Listerville plows up the harbour on her way to the Cable Wharf.
2. She nosed up to Eagle's hull, right at the red hull stripe, which is reflected on the bib.
3. Parksville with its bib on, stands by waiting for orders.

See Shipfax for a photo of Eagle after she cleared the dock.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Malabar - handsome French naval tug

The attractive French naval tug Malabar sailed form Halifax this morning after a courtesy visit over the weekend. Built in Hamburg by J. Oelkers and commissioned in 1973, it is one of three sisters to the same design, and classed as ATA , ocean tugs. With a bollard pulll of 60 tonnes and with 4,600 bhp, they would not be considered powerful by today's standards, but are certainly capable for naval towing. They are frequent visitors to St-Pierre et Miquelon where they carry out patrols. It can also carry out salavage and pollution control missions if needed.
All three tugs of the class, Malabar, Tenace and Centaure have called in Halifax over the years. Centuare was sold in 1999 to the Turkish navy and is now called Degirmendere.
As a new class of ocean tugs is expected soon for the French navy, so we we may be saying farewell with this visit.
1. Malabar clears the force proteciton booms and heads for sea. The flag flying from the stern will be struck as it is flown only while the tug is in port.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Elizabeth - short stay

The US flag tug Elizabeth made one of her very quick visits to Halifax July 5 to 6. As usual this was to load steel fabrications from Cherubini Metal Works at their pier in Eisner's Cove. The tug, with barge Weeks 297 arrived in the very wee hours of Thursday July 5 and loading commenced almost at once. The barge was aligned with the wharf at high tide to allow the fabrications to be driven on to the barge using several Mammoet multi-axle powered trailers.
After securing the load, the pair sailed early this evening.
The tug was built in 1984 as Kitty Hawk, but was acquired by Weeks Marine Inc of New Jersey and renamed. It is a typical southern US design tug, with a small elevated wheelhouse for pushing work. It is rated at 2000 bhp with Cat engine.
Weeks Marine Inc is now the parent company of McNally Construction Ltd.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quebec veteran still at work

On  a July 1 weekend trip to Quebec I was pleased to see a veteran tug once again. The annual maintenanace dredging at Rivière-du-Loup was well underway with the dredge Océan Basque 2 and the  small tugs Océan Uannaq* and Océan Nigiq handling a pair of dump scows. Lashed to the dredge was the tug Service Boat No.2 ex Weymontachingue, built back in 1934 by Canadian Vickers Ltd  in Montreal.
Ordered by the Shawinigan Engineering Co, along with sister tug R.F.Grant they were 65 footers, of 90 gross tons, and were for use on the St-Maurice River in log towing operations, with ownership passing to the St-Maurice Boom & Driving Co Ltd of Trois-Rivières.
(Weymontachingue is the name of a First NatIons reserve on the upper reaches of the St-Maurice River, north of La Tuque-
In the 19xxs Three Rivers Boatmen bought the pair and rebuilt them for use on the St.Lawrence. With new deckhouses, they measured 74 gross tons. Weymontachingue was renamed Service Boat No.2 but R.F.Grant retained it name. Three Rivers Boatmen operated the pilotage and tug service in Trois-Rivières, and serviced the nearby anchorages with boatman services.
When Three Rivers Boatmen acquired Sam Vézina Inc., providers of pilotage and boatman service in Quebec City, Service Boat No.2 went there. Eventually Groupe Océan bought Three Rivers Boatmen and Vézina. When acquired Dragage St-Maurice the tug was assigned to support dredging operations and marine construction. R.F.Grant seems to spend all its time in the Beauharnois area, above the power dam, but Service Boat No.2 travels the waters of the St.Lawrence.
The two modern tugs Océan Uannaq* and Océan Nigiq were built in 2008 by Industrie Océan at Ile-aux-Coudres and were initially used for barge lightering at the Baffinland iron  mine project in the arctic. They ferried the first test loads of ore out to waiting ships. Since that project has been on hold, the tugs have been lashed up to dump barges. At 770 bhp and twin screw they are more than up to the job.
Most Océan tugs are now owned by Location Océan Inc., and leased or chartered to the various Océan divisions for work.

1. Dredging silty sand is an annual requirement at Rivière-du-Loup. Océan Basque 2 has been the dredge for the last few years.
2. This year the tug Service Boat No.2 is lashed to the dredge for the frequent moves required to work around the ferry slip.
3. Some of the tug's riveted construction is still visible around the bulwarks aft.
4. The tugs Océan Oannaq and Océan Nigiq are connected to the dump barges, but do not compensate for the barges' draft. The tug is on an even keel when the barge is loaded. 
5. When the barge is empty, the tugs are well up at the bow, but still appear to perform well, even in choppy conditions. Rivière-du-Loup is totally exposed to westerly winds, with a fetch of well over 20 miles to the nearest land in that direction, explaining the heavy silt build up.