Sunday 28 July 2013

Carlz Boats: Self Unloader CSL TADOUSSAC

Carlz Boats: Self Unloader CSL TADOUSSACIf you can't take the heat, then get out of the engine room and what better place is there to enjoy a smoke and see the rest of the world move by than from the engine room hatch door located just feet above the waterline

Self Unloader CSL TADOUSSAC (Revisited)

Seeing 730' CSL TADOUSSAC inching her way into Iroquois Lock last May brought back fond memories of when our family visited the community and this ship's namesake, Tadoussac, Quebec during the summer 1980. Our new Jeep Cherokee got quite a work out during that vacation which included being ferried across the Saguenay Fjord to the quaint and picturesque little village which is also  Canada's oldest settlement. Ferries are needed because the channel is too deep for bridge construction. Depths range from 700  to 900 feet along the 105 kilometre fjord and is regularly visited by cruise ships because of the fjords rugged beauty and whale watching.
Meanwhile, when launched at Collingwood Shipyards in 1969, TADOUSSAC was the last Canada Steamship Lines self unloader built with a forward wheelhouse and the first to be built with stern mounted self unloading equipment, like fleetmate FRONTENAC ( which was added on 5 years after being built as a straightdecker bulk carrier. In winter of 2000, the TADOUSSAC entered Port Weller Dry Dock where after all things were done, she received updated self unloading equipment, her centre section was rebuilt and widen by about 18" on each side to within an inch of the Seaway's maximum width of 78', and the company prefix 'CSL' was added to her name when she was rechristened in March 2001.    
If you can't take the heat, then get out of the engine room and what better place is there to enjoy a smoke and see the rest of the world move by than from the engine room hatch door located just feet above the waterline. The sailor in the snap above got a first hand view of it all - the slow and tight passage through Iroquois Lock, the smooth as glass and motionless channel below the lock and the sail past with FedNav bulk carrier FEDERAL KUSHIRO near Mariatown.

When I first snapped the CSL TADOUSSAC in January 2003, she was sporting a grey coloured hull and was going no where anytime soon as she laid somewhat encased in ice and berthed for winter in Port Colborne. It was two years after her 'modernization' refit and though it was a dull winter day when I took the snap, you can easily see her new bulging hull just above the 'ice'-line which was extended into her bow section. Despite her age and bulging gut, the TADOUSSAC continued to be useful throughout the 2014 shipping season and not laying-up for winter at Thunder Bay, Ontario until January 17, 2015. However as her gearless and self unloading fleetmates got underway in the spring, CSL TADOUSSAC stayed put and has remained in long term layup status in Thunder Bay to this date. While others have been cut apart by the breaker's touch in Port Colborne and overseas, at least her presence suggests there still may be a future for this classic laker. I guess only time will tell.

Yes there is life after a presumed death for this grand classic straight-decker. Her long term layup in Thunder Bay ended in the 2018 shipping season mostly working in the upper lakes but I did get to snap CSL TADOUSSAC today (December 9, 2019) motoring beneath the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge bound for Quebec. More pics to follow soon.

Monday 22 July 2013

Carlz Boats: Bulk Carrier IRMA

Carlz Boats: Bulk Carrier IRMA: 'One big mother of a ship', (or something like that), is what I thought to myself when I first saw the upbound 656' Polish...

Bulk Carrier IRMA

'One big mother of a ship', (or something like that), is what I thought to myself when I first saw the upbound 656' Polish bulk carrier IRMA round the bend near Morrisburg last Sunday afternoon. Built in 2000 in Ichihara, Japan and flying the flag of Cyprus, the IRMA is one of 67 bulk carriers owned by the Polish Steamship Company, now known as Polsteam of Szczecin, Poland.
IRMA is the second Polsteam bulk carrier that I have snapped to date. The first being the NOGAT ( in Havana, Cuba.
Pretty hot day there too but regardless, the IRMA was motoring pretty impressively and pushing water real good on a fairly calm seaway channel as she passed us at Loyalist Park near Mariatown, but was all ahead 'Dead Slow' as she made her way through Iroquois Lock. Watch the IRMA in action on this neat video:

Hey, if you have an extra 2 months of holidays to get rid of and about $6,000US in your pocket, POLSTEAM offers 'semi-liner' Trans-Atlantic and Great Lakes cruises on bulk carriers like the IRMA from April to November. As Johnny Carson of the 'Tonight Show' use to say, 'I did not know that.' Their ships depart from Holland near Amsterdam, cross the Atlantic, motor up the St. Lawrence River and Seaway, Lake Ontario, get lifted to the level of Lake Erie via the flight-locks of the Welland Canal and then open water to Cleveland, Ohio.  After a port visit there, it's off Burns Harbor, Indiana (Gary)on Lake Michigan. Cool, eh!! The return to Europe are called 'Tramp' voyages which is even more cool because port stops aren't certain until just before the return sailing and may include port stops in the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Black Sea or the Baltic, or NOT. You'll know when they know so passengers are asked to be flexible. One way cruises to just the Great Lakes or Europe are also available. Their operators are standing by (sitting actually). Does it get any better? 
It sure does, because when you  board the IRMA to see the world, and wonder 'what do you see?' You'll see a bunch of seas, and perhaps a family of Ospreys nesting on a special perch that was built and erected by Seaway workers at the west end of Iroquois Lock, just like those lads on IRMA's bridge got to see their way to, CLEVELAND. Probably the best looking birds they had seen since leaving Holland SEVEN  DAYS EARLIER. Meanwhile I snapped possibly an osprey 'your turn to watch the *@#%! chicks' shift change while one of IRMA's crane pods passed them by. Halee's Lockview Gift Shop located above the east end of Iroquois Lock has an even better selection of Osprey photos and shipping trinkets for bird and boat watchers alike. So stop by if you're in the area. I'm sure Elizabeth will appreciate your visit. You can mention this blogpost, or NOT!!

Sunday 14 July 2013

Carlz Boats: Tanker Barge DOUBLE SKIN 214 & Pushboat ROANOKE

Carlz Boats: Tanker Barge DOUBLE SKIN 214 & Pushboat ROANOKE:   As per Murphy's Law, "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". Despite all the modern and sophisticated equipment...

Tanker Barge DOUBLE SKIN 214 & Towboat ROANOKE

  As per Murphy's Law, "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". Despite all the modern and sophisticated equipment accessible to ship captains these days, accidents happen and though in many cases the impact may appear minimal, in others, the outcome is catastrophic. There's been many lesson learned and specification changes alone resulting from the grounding of the super tanker EXXON VALDEZ in Alaska back in 1989. Such as the phase out of single hulled crude oil carrying tankers which went into effect in 2010 and petroleum product carrying barges in the US by 2015.
Though it may seem like an odd name, DOUBLE SKIN 214 is quite a unique tanker barge because it has a double hull or 'double skin'. A double skin is a type of hull where the bottom and sides of the barge have two complete layers of watertight hull surface which basically means if the outer hull is breached, the inner one keeps the oil product cargo in place. Being guided by her towboat ROANOKE, my friend Jim of Salisbury, Maryland snapped the fully loaded DOUBLE SKIN 214 along the Wicomico River last April. The 297.5'x54'x13' DOUBLE SKIN 214 was built in 2012 and is owned by The Vane Brothers Company of Baltimore, MD and according to their website, of their fleet of 45 barges, 40 are currently double skins. Also snapped in Salisbury by Jim are DOUBLE SKIN 216 off-loading and the 97' towboat ROANOKE which was built in 1966 in Houma, Louisiana for Interstate Oil Transport of Philadelphia, PA, and 1998 was acquired by The Vane Brothers.
  It's comforting to see that The Vane Brothers aren't 'so vain' when it comes to the prevention of a potential economic and environmental disaster in the Chesapeake and Wicomico River regions thanks to their decision to introduce double skin barges prior to the mandatory date even though their requirement to do so, came to be as a direct result of something that badly went wrong 26 years earlier.
  A similar catastrophic event occurred last Saturday in the small Quebec community of Lac-Megantic where a runaway train which consisted of 72 rail cars filled with crude oil from North Dakota bound for a refinery in New Brunswick, derailed and exploded destroying almost every building downtown and killed 33 people to date, with 17 souls still unaccounted for. The explosion was so great, anyone nearby would have been vapourized from the heat of the fire. Of the crude oil that wasn't burning, it flooded the streets and eventually poured in the nearby lake. It doesn't matter where the crude came from, it could have easily have been from Alberta's oil patch or tar sands projects, but what's shocking is that regardless of where it's leaving the ground, the refineries to convert the oil into usable products are thousands of kilometres or miles away. As the oil boon is definitely on here, no new oil refineries have been built in Canada since 1984, and 1976 in the US. Therefore, if no pipeline is available, transporting crude oil in outdated pressurized black rail cars across half the continent seems to be the only other option, an option that puts every community at risk, if by chance something that can go wrong, REALLY goes wrong like the shock and aw so many have experienced this week in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The attached Nat'lGeo link about the disaster and more is worth the read too.
Hope you're all enjoying your summer or winter for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere, or NOT! PS: Thanks again Jim for the photos.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Carlz Boats: Bulk Carrier ALGOMA GUARDIAN

Carlz Boats: Bulk Carrier ALGOMA GUARDIAN729' ALGOMA GUARDIAN which was built in 1987 in Rijeka, Croatia, casts off and positions herself to enter the lock once the south-end bridge is raised

Bulk Carrier ALGOMA GUARDIAN (Revisited)

Here's my last batch of snaps from Canal Days 2012 in Port Colborne, Ontario last August. Here we have the upbound 740' Algoma Central self unloader, ALGOWOOD  ( slowly making her way out of Lock 8 while heading towards Bridge 21, while passing fleetmate ALGOMA GUARDIAN which is tied to the west wall waiting her turn to enter the lock and continue downbound.
 Though it may appear that the low in the water ALGOWOOD is sliding along the wall, there's at least a good foot clearance there. Not 100% certain on that, though this is a section of the Welland Canal where most anyone can be upfront and personal with a passing ship if you accidentally trip on a untied lace**. Enough said. (**Not an issue anymore as a tall fence was erection all along the wall in 2015)

With the ALGOWOOD clear of her stern, the 729' ALGOMA GUARDIAN which was built in 1987 in Rijeka, Croatia, casts off and positions herself to enter the lock once the south-end bridge is raised. Unlike the east wall which remains a straight continuation of the lock wall, both west walls (located at either end of the lock) are indented to make it easier for large lakers and salties to exit the lock without having to make potentially dangerous turns or manoeuvres. To prevent a ship from striking the cement abutment or 'knuckle' at the lock entrance, floating 'arresters' were developed and secured to the wall at both ends (just in front of the GUARDIAN'S bow in photo). By slowly hugging the bow section along the arrester and keeping the ship's mid-section parallel to the wall, the ship is guided and positioned for a mid-channel entry into the lock. Or, as in the case of the ALGOMA GUARDIAN, you turn the rudder hard to the starboard, switch on the bow thrusters and budda-bing with no budda-boom, the ship glides over to the east wall for an ahead slow entry into the lock. Either way works. It's your call!!