Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quebec Report 5 - TundRA class

Groupe Océan is forging ahead with the next in its series of TundRA class arctic/escort tugs, following on the impressive Océan Tundra, completed in 2013.

The 8,000 bhp, 100 tonne bollard pull Océan Tundra was built by the Groupe's own shipyard, Industrie Océan, to a unique Robert Allan design (hence the capital RA in TundRA). The immense size of the tug is not immediately apparent until one begins to look closely, particularly at the deckhand on the stern.

The next tug in the planned series of three is well underway at Ile-aux-Coudres, and a glimpse is possible when the shipyard shed door is open. The bow section will be fabricated in Quebec City, and will be joined on before launch. The superstructure, also to be built off site, will be added after launch.

Yet to be named officially, it will likely be delivered in 2015, and will join Océan Tundra in tanker escort work on the St.Lawrence, but will also work in the far north.


Saturday, September 13, 2014

Quebec Report 4 - Davie Delivers

The much maligned and often troubled Davie shipbuilding facility in Lévis, QC has delivered its first new ship under new ownership, a state of the art DPIII offshore construction vessel. I caught it earlier this summer as it was returning to the yard after trials. 

Soon after, it sailed to the Mediterranean to take up a charter. Built as Cecon Pride for Norwegian owners, it has been renamed Micoperi Pride by its charterers, the large Italian construction firm.

Since coming back to life under new owners, the yard known simply as Davie, has completed this ship and is hard at work on two sister ships. Work on the trio had been stalled when previous owners were unable to make a go of the yard. They are aslo building tow LNG powered ferries.

For more see:


Quebec Report 3 - Ocean Basques update (and friends)

Tugfax has been following the Océan Basques since it was acquired last year from Svitzer. After layup and renaming in Halifax over the winter of 2013-2014, it went to Industrie Océan in Ile-aux-Coudres for a comprehensive refit this spring. See:
By mid- August repainting was just about complete:

For a tug built in 1972, her hull looks incredibly good.

 Later in the month she moved on to Quebec City where she tied up for more work by Océan's repair facility in Bassin Louise. The large covered shop on the pier tends to the in-water maintenance of Océan's large fleet, and other machine shop and steel fabrication work. The facility has prefabricated components for new tugs, such as the Tundra class bow and superstructure.

Still without her tires, the tug looks quite different from her ECTUG / Svitzer days. Immediately astern is Océan Delta, which despite reports that she is for sale, was also undergoing refit work.

 In the background is Océan's shore facility, which is soon to be complemented with a new branch in Bas-Caraquet, NB, which will include a floating drydock.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Quebec Report 2 - follow up on Réjeanne Polaire

I just missed the launch of GFFM Leclerc's latest tug in July, but was able to see it briefly in August before it was taken away on its first assignment.

It appears to a clone of the most recent triple screw tugs built at Ile-aux-Coudres, and used for northern lighterage work.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quebec Report -1, Russel warping tug

While in Quebec this summer I was fortunate enough to spot  a typical Russel warping tug. Russel Brothers was founded in Fort Frances in 1907. They initially built tugs in wood, and moved to Owen Sound in 1937. The company expanded with diesel engine sales and service centres under the Russel Hipwell name. Using the trade name Steelcraft, Russel also built small ships in its later years, but was closed in 1974.
Its most popular product was the 37'-6" long warping tug, used in the woods operations of most of the pulp and paper companies. The boats were fitted with a large bow roller, grapple anchor and warping machine (winch). Setting out the anchor, the tug then connected to a log boom and winched itself up to the anchor.  The gearing of the warping winch allowed them to pull far more than they could on their own engine and prop. They were also able to warp themselves over land, portaging between lakes, often on winter ice or snow roads.  Using their heavily guarded props they working in amongst wood booms pushing and pulling.
Built to robust standards many outlived the woods operations of their owners, or became surplus as modern machinery was introduced.
Groupe Océan of Quebec City scooped up a number of these boats and put them to work in their marine construction operations, and some were converted to pleasure craft. Others have been preserved as displays at museums and interpretation centres. Since they were easily transported by train or truck, they sometimes moved around as the owners operations required. Others were abandoned in remote country since the cost of relocating them exceeded their value.

A preserved warping tug is the unnamed vessel I saw in Anse-St-Jean, QC, in August. The major pulpwood company in the area was Consolidated Paper, and this is likely one of their former units. Its cabin has been replaced. but the hull, and bow roller are still in the original configuration. It also appears to have been in service until fairly recently, and may still be operable. A slot in the housing over the warping winch aligns with the bow roller, and the protective cage around the prop and rudder is till in place.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Summer Break

 Tugfax has passed the 400 mark in posts and so it is time for a rest. My usual August break will certainly stretch into the first week of September.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Miss Jenna - Mahone Bay

Miss Jenna appeared to be taking a day off from her normal activities of assisting in wharf and other marine construction projects in the Mahone Bay area.

Acting as a race marker on a day when there was virtually no wind, may be a rather boring chore, but the crew seemed to be enjoying the outing.

Built in 1944 as Listerville for the Royal Canadian Navy, she was based in Halifax and Kingston, ON then was used as a pleasure craft under the names Cavalier and Hercules before Mike Kelley of Mahone Bay bought her in 2012. She appeared in Tugfax soon after returning to Nova Scotia: