Saturday, May 24, 2014

Dominion Victory - jack of all trades.

Dominion Diving's Dominion Victory, visible in the the last Tugfax posts, is a notable vessel, having had several successful careers, and for the last nine years has been flagship of Dominion's fleet.

However that is a third career for the ship. It started life in 1965 at les chantiers maritimes de Paspebiac, in Paspebiac, QC as the prototype of a new design of seiner, named Vilmont No.2. After a few years fishing for Gorton Pew, then Canapro it was bought by the Province of Quebec in 1971. It was used as a fisheries patrol vessel and likely also did some research work too.

As a research vessel, it acquired an extra high  communications antenna and a small lab on deck.

Renamed Raymond Moore, then Alcide C. Horth, it was transferred to the Université de Québec à Rimouski. It worked on a number of marine research projects in the Gulf of St.Lawrence and St.Lawrence River, occasionally reaching the Atlantic coast.
As their research programs and partners increased, they acquired what is now Coriolis II and sold Alcide C. Horth to Dominon Diving. After a refit, including a new paint job, at Gaspé it arrived in Halifax to take up those duties October 27, 2004. Since then it has been a diving support vessel, operated an ROV and worked as a tug.

On February 19, 2014 Dominion Victory arrived in Halifax towing the tug/workboat Mersey Pride from Liverpool, NS. It still carries the extra high antenna.

At is Dartmouth Cove base, Dominion Diving has all the facilities to maintain and operate its fleet.

Dominion Victory keeps its inflatable boat up off the deck and covered with a blue tarp. It has a gantry for ROV and other under water work and a small deck crane.

For the next few weeks Dominion Victory will be the accommodation for divers working in Bedford Basin on a Nova Scotia Community College deep diving course.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Westport Ferry - harbour stalwart

One of the stalwarts of Halifax  harbour, though perhaps little known, is the tug/workboat Westport Ferry . When  I photographed it last Monday, making its way through the Narrows, I was struck by how it has continued to serve its current owners for 35 years, but even when they acquired it, it had seen many years of service.

It owes its unusual name to the first owner who had it built by St.Marys Bay Industries Ltd in 1965 to operate as a ferry across the Grand Passage between Freeport, Long Island and Westport, Brier Island. Carrying passengers and light freight, it was replaced by a purpose built cable car ferry.

It had four owners during that period: Walter E. Titus 1965-69, Loran F. Swift 1969-75, and Donald B. Kenney Jr 1975-1977, all of Westport, NS. Documentation may have lagged somewhat, for it was not until 1977 that the owner was listed as Neil J.Connors of Halifax. 

I first saw it in 1976, tied up at the Cable Wharf in Halifax. The corner of the wharf had been used by Smith's bum boat Nan and Greg and Walter Partridge's Atlantic Salvage. The boat still had its passenger cabin, and stout stem post, and must have looked much the same as it did when built.
Atlantic Salvage's war-built draggers Calm and Drift, which were to be converted to salvage ships, (but were never completed) and the Cable Wharf  form the backdrop.

Acquired by Dominion Diving Ltd during 1978, the boat has served them ever since, undergoing several modifications over the years.  One noteworthy feature is its mast, which supports a cargo boom, but also doubles as an exhaust stack.Its passenger cabin was cut back to a smaller wheelhouse.

Seen in action in 1987 and 1993 Westport Ferry has a business-like look about it.

It still retains its original, but modified, deck house, and has acquired a raised deck over its forward cabin. Additional windows in the deck house improve visibility, but the heavily stayed mast/derrick/ funnel remains its distinguishing feature.Its hull has been sheathed and the multiple tires replaced by tubular fendering, and appears ready to continue service well into or past its 50th anniversary next year.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Tugs on display and tugs at work

As per Shipfax, the tugs Atlantic Willow and Atlantic Oak were at work today berthing ships, but they broke off for a spell early this afternoon to perform a display for a certain royal personage at pier 20.

Atlantic Willow blots out the George's Island lighthouse and radar tower as she spins.

Atlantic Oak pauses momentarily, but was largely invisible for most of the demonstration.

Unlike some firefighting  tugs, Atlantic Willow does not have a dousing system to wet down the tug's superstructure.

Both tugs were doing pinwheels, and with their cannons aimed at various angles, they sprayed large arcs of water, covering themselves and the near shore with a fine mist. At times the tugs were hardly visible.

Left out of the demo was Atlantic Larch which also had real work in the harbour. The tug returned to Halifax last week after a quick refit and hull painting in Shelburne.

Atlantic Larch has no firefighting gear, but does have a towing winch. Here she is returning from Fairview Cove where she berthed Atlantic Cartier.

Atlantic Willow has firefighting gear, but no towing winch. Here she is returning from undocking Barkald and headed for the fire fighting demo.

Dominion Diving Flotilla

The annual Dominion Diving  work in Bedford Basin began this afternoon when the barge DD 2000 was moored in the #10 anchorage area. A small flotilla of DD tug/workboats towed the barge from Dartmouth Cove..

Leading the way is the twin screw tug Roseway , rolling a bit in the wake of a passing powerboat. It's work was completed when the barge was safely moored.

Multi-purpose Dominion Victory, a tug, diving tender, research vessel, assists in powering the flotilla, and will provide accommodations for divers working from the barge.

Veteran tug/workboat Westport Ferry will be the tender during the dive operation.

The barge will be moored in the Basin for 20 days as divers work on maintaining the RCN's sound range.  take the Nova Scotia Community College's deep dive course. The operation will be 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Halmar - on the go

Although I have featured the tug/workboat Halmar before:, it never hurts to look again at one of the busier boats in Halifax harbour.
Whether it is assisting in the launch of a new ship at Halifax shipyard - see yesterday's Shipfax - or ferrying pilots, agents and stores out to anchored ships, Halmar sees almost daily use.

This afternoon the boat was bustling along in the Narrows taking a pilot out to the tanker Cenito in Bedford Basin.
Built in 1960 by and for Halifax Shipyards, it was completely rebuilt in 2009 by current owners Dominion Diving. At that time it was repowered with an 8V71 main engine of 318 bhp and given a 12 inch bow thruster.


Saturday, May 17, 2014

Beverly M 1 hangs back

When the nine ship seismic fleet sailed from Halifax last night, the tug Beverly M 1 remained in port. I t moved from pier 24 to pier 25, and as of this afternoon the crew was on deck doing some painting.
Along with Atlantic Fir ii is to be a picket or chase boat for the seismic exploration on the Tangier prospect south of Sable Island.


Friday, May 16, 2014

Belle D at work

The small tug Belle D  has become busier with the start of cruise season in Halifax. The tug is used to handle a barge for ship's garbage and waste. The benefit of using a barge, as opposed to trucking the waste away, is that it happens on the 'off' side of the cruise ship and does not interfere with the passengers' comings and goings. All international garbage and waste requires special disposal procedures, including incineration for certain classes of waste.
In the photo  Belle D is south bound for pier 31 to handle waste from the cruise ship Veendam.


Monday, May 12, 2014

Tugs for seismic

The tugs Atlantic Fir and Beverly M 1 are tied up at pier 324, nose to nose, readying for BP's 2014 seismic expedition off Nova Scotia. The are is so heavily fenced and secured, that photography poses a bit of a challenger.From my perch I couldn't tell if they are being fitted with any special equipment for their work, except for supplementary satellite communication domes.

BP has hired six actual seismic boats, two suppliers and these two tugs to act as picket boats or chase boats.
They seem an odd choice to me, since neither one would be a natural pick for their sea keeping abilities. They are undoubtedly able towing vessels, but towing does not seem to me to be a necessity in seismic work.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

R.I.P. Farley

Farley Mowat, May 12, 1921-May 6, 2014

Farley Mowat was many things, to many people. For some, his 1958 book Grey Seas Under, a tribute to the tug Foundation Franklin, its crews and managers, was the start of a life-long interest in things tug related. A subsequent book The Serpent's Coil, a tale well told of an arduous tow and salvage by the Foundation Josephine added fuel to tug enthusiasm.
I will leave it to others to summarize the very full 92 years of Farley Mowat's life, but will only say R.I.P. Farley and Thank You.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

Same forest - different trees

A photo published in Shipfax on Sunday April 27 showed "a forest" of five Atlantic Towing Ltd tugs tied up at the IEL pier in Dartmouth. Today there was still a forest, but some different trees.

From left to right: Atlantic Oak, Atlantic Teak in behind Atlantic Willow, Atlantic Fir and Atlantic Hemlock across the end of the pier.

Atlantic Fir is filling in for Atlantic Larch which is in Shelburne for refit. Atlantic Hemlock and Atlantic Teak are just visiting.

Down in the lower left hand corner of the photo is Waterworks Construction's workboat/tug Walrus, hauled out for the winter. It is a speedy aluminum hulled twin-screw craft, built as a survey launch.