Monday, 14 May 2018

Battle of the Atlantic Sunday 2018

This is the 5th year that I have photographed the Battle of the Atlantic service and committal ceremony, so I will not go on at length about this year's edition, except to post the photos - especially where it is more than a week later and I have not even completed processing the photos yet!

This year, HMCS HALIFAX was assigned to take the families out for the service and committal ceremony off Point Pleasant Park.

A Glen tug approaches as we prepare to depart the jetty.

Sailors lined up on the quarterdeck with the ship's ensign flying.

Once HMCS HALIFAX was away from the jetty, the two Glen tugs dropped their lines and headed out to the west of George's Island while HALIFAX headed out on the eastern side.

As we approached the designated spot off Point Pleasant Park, the crew brought up the containers of ashes of those to be committed later in the morning, so that they could be arranged in order.

Trustees of HMCS SACKVILLE organizing the containers of ashes.

Trustees of HMCS SACKVILLE organizing the containers of ashes.

Commander Scott Nelson, CO of HMCS HALIFAX, stands in the centre of the flight deck during the service.

Battle of the Atlantic Service.

Battle of the Atlantic Service.

Commander Nelson and the ship's cox'n, CPO1 Gerry Doutre, prepare to deposit a wreath in the harbour.
It is difficult to find unique angles and images from year to year, but each ship does things slightly differently. This was something new that I didn't capture in years previous.

Saluting as ashes are committed over the side of the ship.

Committal of ashes.

A CH-148 Cyclone helicopter drops a wreath off the sailors memorial in Point Pleasant Park where another service was taking place. 

Piping of ashes during the committal ceremony.

Crew preparing lines prior to our return to the Dockyard.

The Canadian Coast Guard's Cape Roger heading out with an RCN sailor silhouetted in the foreground.

HMCS HALIFAX upon our return to the jetty.

The entire gallery of photos can be found here.

For previous years, please see the following:

Monday, 30 April 2018

Maiden Voyage of Norwegian Bliss

While not the largest cruise ship to visit Halifax, Norwegian Bliss is certainly getting up there, boasting 303 metres in length, 168,000 tonnes, and up to 4,004 passengers. She also boasts a more than 300 metre long go-cart track that spans two levels and large water slides that actually hang over the side of the ship.

Watching Norwegian Bliss pull out from behind George's Island in the fog reminded me of the opening gag in the movie "Spaceballs" where, in a parody of the opening of "Star Wars", there is a seemingly endless reveal of a space ship.

OK, I think that's all of her.

 No, apparently the fog bank was hiding the upper decks.

This angle isn't any better.

As impressive as these ships undoubtedly are, the artwork on the bow of these ships is presumably intended to distract the viewer from the fact that the age of beautiful ocean liners is long past.

Another look at the bow artwork.

Another "Spaceballs" type shot.

This is probably the most flattering angle on one of these ships.
One would trust that prices for cruises at this time of year are heavily discounted - for their visit today, passengers could look forward to heavy fog, heavy rain, and a chilly wind. Not exactly the weather for sunning oneself on the upper deck or taking in the water slides.

After leaving Halifax in the evening, Norwegian Bliss is headed to New York. 

Some information here was cribbed from this CTV story.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Launching Ships at Halifax Shipyard, and upcoming launch of HARRY DEWOLFE

When the Halifax Shipyard was modernized in recent years in support of the National Shipbuilding Strategy to allow it to construct the new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) and Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC), the original launching ways were demolished and the construction sheds were reoriented such that vessels under construction would exit the buildings at the north end instead of the south as was the case previously. 

Tugs belonging to Atlantic Towing Limited, another Irving company, line up in front of Atlantic Condor prior to the latter's launch from the old launching ways.

Atlantic Larch performs in front of Atlantic Condor, prior to launch.
The old launching ways were on the site where many ships were built previously, including the second group of four Tribal Class destroyers of the Royal Canadian Navy. Those ships were built right on the ways, and were launched stern first. Since the construction of the RCN's fleet of MCDVs, however, things changed slightly. The MCDVs were constructed in a shed further up the hill, and when complete were transferred out onto a "turntable" which transitioned the ships in both the horizontal and vertical so they could be sent down the launching ways. The turntable was upgraded several times over the years to accommodate larger ships, such as Atlantic Towings fleet of offshore support vessels - including Atlantic Condor.

Traditionally, ships tended to be launched stern-first in order to prevent damage to the ship's running gear (e.g. propellers and shafts) and rudders. Atlantic Condor and other recent vessels at Halifax Shipyard, however, launched bow first. As I recall, a protective cradle was welded to the ship's hull to prevent it from damaging this critical gear as the bow starts to float and the stern drops accordingly, and the cradle was removed after the launch. In addition, the Atlantic Condor at least was ballasted down by the bow significantly, so it is also possible that the ship simply floated off the ways on the level in the first place.

Prior to the launch, Atlantic Towing tugs (in this photo, Atlantic Oak) performed for the crowd.

Prior to the launch, Atlantic Towing tugs (in this photo, Atlantic Oak) performed for the crowd.

Atlantic Condor heading down the launching ways.

Afloat now, Atlantic Condor can be seen to be heavily ballasted down by the bow.

Atlantic Condor heading alongside to complete her fitting out.
Now, however, ships are built within the new shed in modules which are transported outside to a "land level transfer facility" where the modules are joined. I believe this method is modeled at least in part on that which is used at Bath Iron Works in Maine, and in keeping with BIW, the completed ship is eventually to be transferred onto a semi-submersible drydock or barge in order to be launched. Until today, this last part of the puzzle was missing from the Halifax Shipyard, as the shipyard's two previous floating drydocks, Scotia Dock and Nova Dock, were both removed in recent years.

Tug Boa Odin nudges one half of the Nova Dock onto the semi-submersible barge Boa Barge 33.

A portion of the former Nova Dock being removed from Halifax Harbour on the deck of Boa Barge 33.

The second half of Nova Dock, destined for Florida, on the deck of Boa Barge 33
Earlier today, Boa Barge 37 arrived in Halifax under tow by Boa Bison. When the future HMCS HARRY DEWOLFE, the first of the AOPS, is ready for launch, she will be transferred onto the deck of Boa Barge 37. The latter will be towed to a position deep enough (possibly in Bedford Basin, though the main harbour would be more convenient for this photographer - hint, hint) to submerge and allow HARRY DEWOLFE to float off.

Boa Barge 37 alongside at the Halifax Shipyard, having arrived earlier this morning.

Boa Bison in the narrows of Halifax Harbour.

The future HMCS HARRY DEWOLFE under construction.

The future HMCS HARRY DEWOLFE sits on the hard, just north of the new assembly building.

The future HMCS HARRY DEWOLFE under construction last year.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Recent Harbour Traffic, and HMC Dockyard views

I haven't had a lot of time for blogging recently, so I have developed a bit of an image backlog of harbour traffic images. In addition, I have managed some interesting angles on the ships in HMC Dockyard.

This past week, Scotia Pilot made a close pass to my morning ferry while on her way up-harbour.

A few weeks earlier, I captured this early-morning image of Scotia Pilot returning from dropping a pilot off on an incoming ship, possibly the ship in the background here.

YM Enlightenment's arrival was well timed for my afternoon ferry crossing last week.

Atlantic Willow escorting YM Enlightenment towards the narrows.

Atlantic Bear is tethered to the stern of YM Enlightenment in case she needs to provide extra steering power in the narrows.

One foggy afternoon recently, Nolhanava was sitting at anchor with a catamaran carried as deck cargo. It was unloaded in Halifax, and reloaded onto a larger container vessel bound for Thailand. 

They say that the difference between boats and ships is that ships can carry boats, so I guess this makes Nolhanava a ship.

Catamaran Aquarius on the deck of Nolhanava.
One of the Halterm container crane operators captured the loading procedure for Aquarius.

Nolhanava has been in port a fair bit lately, in one of the anchorages. She mostly handles the run to St. Pierre et Miquelon, and was apparently reflagged Canadian recently to allow her to stop in Newfoundland ports as well.

Tanker Damia Desgagnes also carries liquid natural gas (LNG) in tanks on deck.

Containership Malleco departing Halterm a few weeks ago.

Car carrier Miraculous Ace was also well timed, this time for my morning ferry ride.

Reflections from the rising sun highlight every single crease in the hull plating.

Most of the naval traffic recently has occurred while I was stuck in the office, and unable to pop down to take photos. That said, I have managed to catch a few ships alongside from angles that I don't normally get.

On March 6th, I attended the Welcome to the Fleet ceremony for M.V. Asterix (a future blog post will document my tour of that ship). Asterix is probably the tallest ship to serve in the RCN, at least in the recent past, and the view from her bridge provides some interesting views of the ships in HMC Dockyard.

Asterix herself is fully loaded with fuel, and ready to depart for RIMPAC 2018 - this year's Rim of the Pacific exercise run by the USN.

HMCS HALIFAX taken from the bridge wing of Asterix. A few weeks later, the brand new USS LITTLE ROCK was alongside in this same location, but she unfortunately was not there during either of my two visits to Asterix.


The bridge wings on Asterix overhang the water, and in this case, HMCS MONTREAL.

MONTREAL was alongside Asterix for a fuel transfer.
We also had two foreign warships in port this week, the aforementioned USS LITTLE ROCK and the Danish HDMS EJNAR MIKKELSON. LITTLE ROCK is a member of the FREEDOM class of Littoral Combat Ships, or LCS.

LITTLE ROCK arrived just before my morning ferry ride on Tuesday, and still had tugs alongside as mooring lines were made fast.

LITTLE ROCK has two doors in the transom for launching and recovering small boats.

Size comparison between Asterix and LITTLE ROCK.
HDMS EJNAR MIKKELSON is an offshore patrol vessel of the Royal Danish Navy. EJNAR MIKKELSON and her sister ships patrol the waters off Greenland

EJNAR MIKKELSON can land a helicopter, but does not have a hangar to store one.
Unlike LITTLE ROCK, EJNAR MIKKELSON has been in Halifax before, and was alongside the Cable Wharf during the Royal Canadian Navy's centennial celebrations.

RCN personnel handle the lines during EJNAR MIKKELSON's arrival in 2010.
To finish off, I captured this image a few weeks ago of HNoMS ROALD AMUNDSEN, a Norwegian Navy guided missile frigate.

I can only assume the crew felt that the skipper needed convincing that it was time to depart Halifax, and our appalling springtime weather.