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The Ship's Log — ARCHIVE

The Vancouver Branch of the World Ship Society publishes a newsletter which is sent to all branch members as part of their membership.   In addition, anyone anywhere in the world, wishing to subscribe, may do so for for little more than the cost of postage.

To subscribe to the newsletter, send your payment (by way of Canadian or US dollar cheque), payable to the "World Ship Society",  to — WSS, 701-1011 Beach Avenue, Vancouver, BC  V6E 1T8, Canada.  Subscriptions start on January 1st of each year and end on December 31st of each year.  If you are submitting a subscription request during the summer, include half the payment amount to carry you to the end of the calendar year, if you so choose.

A subscription to the Ship's Log  newsletter does not include any membership benefits.  The cost for membership (which includes a free subscription to the Ship's Log) can be found in the section to the left marked "MEMBERSHIP".


The "Metro Vancouver Scene" is just one of the regular monthly articles found in the newsletter.  To get all the news and photographs, immediately they are published, you need to subscribe.


Highlights from the September 2011 edition of our newsletter (Issue 185)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

The second half of the year has started with a fizzle – relatively speaking.  That would be the sound of rain on the hot parade of ships that streamed into Vancouver during the first half of 2011.  Down sharply from the year’s high of 292 ship visits in June, July came in with just 239, a decrease of 53 ships.  However, it appears to be just a blip on the screen as August, after the first 17 days has 150 ship visits, on target to hit 275 by month’s end.  This total would be in line with August of 2010 and 2009.  July 2011 was in fact a five-year high.

July did see a record number of flags, with 30 different countries being represented. That included a new one,  Dominica, bringing the year’s total to 50 different flags.  Dominica is a very small island in the southeast Caribbean, not to be confused with the Dominican Republic, on a much larger island with Haiti in the northern Caribbean.  The Dominican flag was seen flying on the 150,000 dwt  KEROS WARRIOR,  which arrived on July 26th.  She loaded coal at both Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver and at Westshore Terminals at Roberts Bank.  She departed on August 9th.  This vessel has been around for awhile, having been built in 1989 as the  CAPE LILA  for K-Line Shipping of Japan.  She was sold to Polembros Shipping of Greece in 2005 and given her current name.  She was still flagged in Panama then, as she was originally, but Polembros reflagged her in Dominica in October of 2007.  She last visited Vancouver in 2006.

Coal is a still a hot commodity this month with 16 ships already in for the first half of August and another 24 loading coal in July.  While most of the coal at the port goes out through Roberts Bank where two berths are available, Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver has one berth dedicated to loading coal.  Unlike Roberts Bank, Neptune Terminals is easily viewed from the south shore of Burrard Inlet and conducive to photographing with a good telephoto lens.  I would highly recommend an outing in this area if you love to look at ships and boats of all kinds or just admire interesting vistas of the city.  A stroll along Wall Street from New Brighton Park to Oxford Park, a distance of about 1.5 km, provides all the waterfront entertainment you need.  New Brighton Park, next to the Cascadia grain terminal is a wonderful place to start and finish, since you have all the amenities: free parking, washrooms, refreshments, and numerous places to sit and view.  When I did this outing on August 13th, a beautiful sunny Saturday, there was activity galore on the seafront.  A good thing as well, since it was one of only a few waterfront excursions that I managed to do in the past month.  I spent the last two weeks of July and early August in Boise, Idaho (a shipless city) visiting my wife’s family.

In the Cascadia Terminal was the  MARY F,  a 44,000 dwt Liberian bulker,  loading grain.  The terminal is right next to New Brighton Park, so it’s one of the few places in the port where you can get close to the action.  Directly across the water, the  WESTWOOD COLUMBIA  was loading forest products at LynnTerm-4.  On a really busy day, I’ve seen LynnTerm berths 4 to 7 (LynnTerm East) all filled.  Lynn Creek separates these 4 berths from LynnTerm West, berths 1 to 3.  These were all occupied on that day.  The  KASHI ARROW  was loading forest products at Berth-3 and the 13,000 dwt general cargo ship  BBC ONTARIO  was unloading steel and project cargo at Berth-2.  Tucked away in Berth-1 (which is perpendicular to 2 and 3) was the  PACIFIC JAVA,  loading forest products.

MARY F. at Cascadia loading grain, taken August 13, 2011 from New Brighton Park.  Ref: WS11-0366

KASHI ARROW, at LynnTerm-3 loading forest products, taken August 13, 2011 from Wall Street, Vancouver.  Ref: WS11-0365

LynnTerm West, along with Neptune Terminals, Cargill grain terminal and JRI grain terminal are better viewed from Wall Street.  This quiet residential road runs west from New Brighton Park along a cliff top.  Interspersed among the houses with water views are several lots that the city has bought and made into little parks, most with benches on which to relax and take in the wonderful views.  At Neptune Terminals Berth-2 was the Panamax bulker  RUBIN POWER  loading potash.  At Berth-1 was the  ANDREA D’AMATO, another Panamax bulker that was loading coal.  At the Cargill grain terminal, the newly launched Handymax bulker  HANJIN MATSUE  was loading.  At one of the small parks on Wall Street, Anchorage-E in Burrard Inlet is fairly close for viewing.  On this day, the 29,000 dwt bulker  SANTA PACIFICA  was anchored there, partially loaded with logs.  She had come from the mill at Crofton, on Vancouver Island, and was waiting to complete her cargo at Fraser-Surrey Docks.


BBC ONTARIO, unloading steel at LynnTerm-2, taken August 13, 2011 from Wall Street, Vancouver.  Ref: WS11-0358

In addition to all the freighters that were visible that day, a steady parade of pleasure craft, tugboats, fishing boats, barges and other commercial vessels passed through the slim channel at Second Narrows, near New Brighton Park.  One such vessel was the  HARBOUR PRINCESS,  a tour boat which I’ve been on several times, but have not often seen underway from the shoreline.  A highly-recommended tour for ship and shore lovers,  this boat does a 4-hour trip from Coal Harbour near Stanley Park, through the harbour and up to Indian Arm and back.  On the outgoing leg, she passes very close to the Vancouver docks and on the return leg, passes very close to the North Vancouver docks.  There can be as many as 6 ships anchored in the harbour as well, and another 5 in Indian Arm.  The tour includes a gourmet buffet lunch and a spectacular array of scenery – everything from oil refineries to wilderness.


HANJIN MATSUE, at Cargill-1 loading grain, taken August 13, 2011 from Wall Street, Vancouver.  Ref: WS11-0363

SANTA PACIFICA at Anchorage-E, inner harbour, taken August 13, 2011 from Wall Street, Vancouver.  Ref: WS11-0367

Another outing I made in August was a slight departure from my regular routes – Mitchell Island.  This 3-km long industrial area sits in the middle of the North Arm of the Fraser River in the southern part of Vancouver.  Famous for its auto parts dealers, it’s also home to several derelict boats, as was pointed out in a recent article in the Vancouver Sun.  I went down to investigate.  The ships are better viewed from the north shore of the river in Vancouver, rather than on Mitchell Island, but not so conducive to photographing during midday.  Poking around this island, I discovered the Arrow Shipyards where I could see a tug and a fishing boat sitting in the yard.  They were not very accessible but I found later that they could be easily viewed  from the south shore of the river in Richmond.  


HARBOUR PRINCESS, westbound in the inner harbour, taken August 13, 2011 from Wall Street, Vancouver.  Ref: WS11-0364

The tug was a familiar one, the  ANNE CARLANDER, an American tug which makes a regular run from Vancouver to Tacoma, Washington, hauling a large barge full of scrap metal.  The tug seemed to be getting some new paint at the very least, but that’s all I could determine.  Later in the day I stumbled upon an article about this tug in a local Washington newspaper called the Kitsap Sun.  It appears that in September 2010, this tug ran aground on Bainbridge Island, directly west of Seattle.  The couple who owned the waterfront property awoke one morning to loud grinding and creaking sounds to find the tug and barge in their front yard.  Quite thrilling I would think!


ANNE CARLANDER, in Arrow Shipyards for repairs, taken August 15, 2011 from River Road, Richmond.  Ref: WS11-0359

While relaxing in the sun at my viewpoint on the Richmond dike, I heard a strange noise.  Rounding the corner was the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft  SIYAY, heading upriver.  This vessel is one of two stationed at the Sea Island terminal near Vancouver Airport.  I’ve seen them often enough in Georgia Strait and English Bay, but never upriver.  According to the CCG website, the Fraser River estuary and its navigable tributaries are part of its bailiwick, not only for search and rescue, but also to do maintenance of navaids. 

On one of the two days I managed to get down to Stanley Park, it was a very busy time indeed.  In the space of one hour, five ships passed under the Lions Gate Bridge.  Incoming were the container ships  GUANG DONG BRIDGE  and  APL GARNET  and the bulk carrier  OCEAN HAWTHORN.  Outgoing were the bulk carrier  CONFIDENCE OCEAN  and the container ship  COSCO VANCOUVER.  Seeing  this particular ship with our city’s namesake made me curious as to how many other ships have been in port that bear the name Vancouver.  My records only go back to 2006 but since that time seven other ships have sported that moniker.  The  CIELO DI VANCOUVER is a bulk freighter,  the  MEDI VANCOUVER  is a general cargo ship and the rest are container ships:  VANCOUVER EXPRESS  (Hapag-Lloyd),  YM VANCOUVER  (Yang Ming),  CMA CGM VANCOUVER (the French company whose acronym means Compagnie  Maritime d’Affretement – Compagnie Generale Maritime),  VANCOUVER BRIDGE  (K-Line),  and  OOCL VANCOUVER  (Orient Overseas Container Line).

SIYAY upbound on the Fraser River, taken August 15, 2011 from River Road, Richmond.  Ref: WS11-0368

COSCO VANCOUVER, departing Vancouver, August 3, 2011 taken from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS11-0361

While not on an outing per se,  I was enjoying a cold beer on a hot August day on the deck of the Jericho Sailing Centre which has a panoramic view of English Bay.  As I admired the view, the Chilean tall ship  ESMERALDA  came around Point Grey and motored into the harbour.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t under sail, but nevertheless was an impressive sight even from my distant viewpoint.  The vessel docked at the Burrard Dry Dock Pier in North Vancouver and stayed about four days.  The visit wasn’t without some minor problems.  It seems a small group of Chilean ex-pats and their supporters were on hand to protest.  The protesters allege that this naval training vessel was used by the brutal dictator Augusto Pinochet as a torture chamber during his purge of left-wing thinkers in the 1970s.  It’s sad that this seems to have been the case, as borne out by survivors, but certainly her present-day image is one of splendour.  


DIAS, at Anchorage-7, English Bay, August 5, 2011 taken from Jericho Sailing Centre.  Ref: WS11-0360

ESMERALDA, at BDD Pier, taken August 6, 2011 at Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver.  Robert Etchell photo.  Ref: WS11-0362

At 113m in length, the 4-masted barquentine is one of the largest and most beautiful tall ships on the seas today.

While at the Sailing Centre I counted 10 ships anchored in English Bay, on the Vancouver side, and another two over in West Vancouver.  Anchorage-7 is especially close to Jericho Pier, right out in front of the restaurant deck.  The Capesize bulker  DIAS  was anchored in that position, riding high in the water.  When the wind and the currents swung her sideways, the 263m, 135,000 dwt vessel filled the landscape.  She spent almost a week there before sailing to Roberts Bank to load coal.


[All photos are Neil’s except where otherwise noted. In his report, underlined ship names indicate a photo accompanying the item.]


Highlights from the Summer 2011 edition of our newsletter (Issue 184)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

Since the last report in May, the cruise ship season has shifted into high gear and according to Port Metro Vancouver stats, business is up about 15% this year in terms of passengers.  The number of cruise sailings was at 73 by the end of June, up from 67 in June of 2010.

New to the Vancouver cruise scene is Disney Cruises, whose vessel the  DISNEY WONDER  has been making a weekly run to Alaska and back on Tuesdays since May 3rd.  There are currently 15 ships making regular runs to Alaska this season.  They include well-known lines Celebrity, Princess, Holland America and Royal Caribbean, who together have 10 ships sailing from Vancouver.  Four other smaller ships such as the  REGATTA,  an 800-passenger vessel operated by Oceania Cruises, are also doing scheduled cruises out of the port.  In addition to the Alaska cruises, another 12 ships have called in to Vancouver so far this year, either during repositioning cruises or as stops on long-itinerary cruises. 

DISNEY WONDER, en route to Canada Place, May 17, 2011, photo taken from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS11-0334

Shipping activity in general has increased over last year.  Much of this is due to the voracious appetite of mainland China for our natural resources.  Lumber exports to China have surpassed, for the first month ever, those to the United States.  Grain, potash and coal remain hot commodities.  Ship visits overall for the first half of 2011 numbered 1,441, up from 2010’s 1,368.  Container, bulk and general cargo ship traffic increased significantly while tankers and vehicle carriers were down slightly. It was a noteworthy day on May 21st when a whopping 50 ships were in the metro port – 32 alongside and 18 anchored.  This is the most I have ever noted since keeping track in 2006.  Newbuilds continue to roll down the launching rails. By the end of June,  64 ships delivered in 2011 had visited Vancouver.

There are typically 25 to 27 different flags represented by visiting ships every month.  There are presently a total of 49 flags comprising this year’s fleet and the list keeps getting longer.  In May, two new ones were added.  On the 23rd the 70,000 dwt bulker,  PRINCESS VANYA,  flagged in Mexico, called in to refuel. Four days later the 23,000 dwt Ukrainian flagged bulker DOBRUSH loaded forest products at LynnTerm.

REGATTA, at Canada Place refueling, May 23, 2011, photo taken from Canada Place.  Ref: WS11-0339

Having arrived back from a cruise through the Panama Canal in May, it has been interesting to have since seen four of the ships in Vancouver which I had photographed on the cruise.  The  container ship E.R. CANNES  was photographed in Cartagena, Colombia on April 27th and arrived in Vancouver on May 12th.  The container ship  CAP PRESTON  was also photographed in Cartagena and arrived here on May 15th.  The cruise ship  ARCADIA,  which we first saw while entering the Panama Canal on April 28th  followed us all the way up to Acapulco, Mexico before our itineraries diverged.  She eventually arrived in Vancouver on May 23rd.  And lastly, the  MSC LAUSANNE,  which passed us in the Panama Canal, was heading to the Caribbean.  I was surprised to see her arrive back in Vancouver on June 12th while I just happened to be strolling the Stanley Park seawall near the Lions Gate Bridge.

Two noteworthy events that have occurred since the last report  were the Tall Ships Festival in Steveston on June 4th, and the visit to the port of two Japanese naval vessels.  The Tall Ships Festival was small, attracting just four ships, all from the Pacific Northwest.  However, the crowds were large and enthusiastic and the weather was beautiful.  The  HAWAIIAN CHIEFTAN  and the  LADY WASHINGTON,  both based in Anacortes, Washington did mock battle on the Fraser River to the delight of all who were watching.

Visiting the Burrard Dry Dock pier in North Vancouver on June 16th and 17th were the Japanese destroyer  MINEYUKI  and the training vessel  ASAGIRI.  They were open to the public for viewing aboard.  They had been doing exercises with the Canadian Navy and were escorted into Vancouver by the HMCS WINNIPEG.

As usual, there’s always some interesting vessel activity in the harbour, even for the casual observer, but especially for keen shipspotters.  In English Bay near Kits Point, a shallow-draft anchorage designated as “Z”, is periodically occupied by a barge.  However, on May 20-24, a small freighter sat in waiting.  The 8,000 dwt Singapore flagged general cargo ship  OSLO BULK 5  eventually moved to the Fraser-Surrey Docks to unload her cargo of steel.

An unusual visitor which hasn’t been seen in the port since 2007 is the 2,000 dwt Danish livestock carrier  FINOLA,  docked at Vancouver Wharves from the 22nd to the 25th of May.  I couldn’t see whether there were any livestock being transported, and I didn’t hear any mooing or baaing, but I did see some large crates being loaded onto the deck.

Another interesting site to see was a vehicle carrier sailing under the Lions Gate Bridge.  Since there are no vehicle offloading terminals in the harbour (there are two on the Fraser River) it is a rare sight indeed.  However, times must be tough for vehicle shippers.  Rather than deadheading back to Japan after unloading vehicles on the West Coast, some vehicle carriers are now picking up forest products in Vancouver and sailing back laden.  Such was the case for the  ANDROMEDA SPIRIT  which had unloaded vehicles in Los Angeles and then picked up cargo in North Vancouver for the return trip to Japan.

And lastly, an update on a story well-reported in the local news media, and in the Ship’s Log, back in January and February of this year.  The  MCP ALTONA,  an 8,000 tonne Liberian general cargo ship, had spilled it’s cargo of uranium while enroute from Vancouver to China.  She returned immediately to Vancouver and eventually docked at the Ballantyne cruise terminal.  She was inspected by officials from the shipper, Cameco (in Saskatoon) and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) in Ottawa.  The ship had her radioactive cargo unloaded and shipped back to Saskatchewan.  The vessel was cleaned up and finally given clearance by the CNSC to resume normal activities in early May.  She was moved at this point to an anchorage in Indian Arm, near Cates Park in North Vancouver, where she still sits.  A Globe and Mail report on the incident stated that the cost of cleanup was about $15 million, more than the ship originally cost.  No doubt, the vessel will continue to sit in Indian Arm until a few insurance and liability issues are resolved.

FINOLA, loading at Vancouver Wharves, May 23, 2011, taken from Stanley Park Seawall.  Ref: WS11-0335

ASAGIRI with MINEYUKI portside, at Burrard Dry Dock Pier, North Vancouver, June 16, 2011.  Ref: WS11-0333

OSLO BULK 5, at Anchorage-Z in English Bay, May 20, 2011 Ref: WS11-0338

ANDRODA SPIRIT, en route to LynnTerm, June 28, 2011, from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS11-0332

MCP ALTONA, at Anchorage in Indian Arm, July 10, 2011, taken from Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby.  Ref: WS11-0337

[All photos in this article are those of Neil England.  Vessels whose names are underlined are represented by a photo.]ǂ 


Highlights from the May 2011 edition of our newsletter (Issue 183)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

There were enough cold, damp, grey and blustery days in the past month to deter the most avid shipspotter, and I must confess, I was one of them.  However, on what was probably my last opportunity to get out before writing this report, the heavens smiled upon us all and the sun shone.  I convinced my wife Beth and son Geoff to combine our planned walk with a little shipspotting.  Geoff brought along his two and a half year old, Oliver, to whom I guaranteed that he was going to see something awesome.  

The timing seemed favourable to catch one or maybe two ships coming down the Fraser River that sunny Sunday afternoon.  Our destination was the east end of Steveston Highway in Richmond where a nice boardwalk on the river and a continuing trail would provide exactly the sort of outing to satisfy all of us.  Enjoyable it was, but as the time came for Geoff and Oliver to return home there was still no sign of any ships.  As I had driven everyone, I was obliged to give up the shipspotting and return us all home.  As luck would have it, while returning to the car three familiar faces appeared out of nowhere.  Fellow WSS members and photographers Don Brown and Robert Etchell, accompanied by our friend and photographer Mike Zelt had arrived to shoot the very ships I was waiting for.  Problem solved.  Beth drove the family home and I stayed with the others, later getting a lift home with Don.

The first ship rounded the bend just after five o’clock.  The  PORT PEGASUS,  laden with logs on deck was an impressive sight.  She had left the Fraser-Surrey docks an hour earlier.  Her sky-blue hull was emblazoned with the name ‘Pacific Basin’ (in white), the Hong Kong based company whose fleet she comprises. She is 177m in length and 33,000 dwt, and is one of a large fleet of Pacific Basin ships that service Vancouver.

PORT PEGASUS, Taken April 17, 2011, from east end of Steveston Highway, downbound on the Fraser River.  Ref: WS11-0216. 


After the first freighter sailed by, a couple of tugs followed shortly after.  The  SEASPAN CORSAIR  was travelling light down the river, followed by the  SEA IMP XII  towing a cargo barge.  The barge was piled high with something that looked like it had been dredged from the Black Lagoon.  Beside it was a front-end loader.

Close on the heels of the barge was the bright orange container ship  CAP PALMERSTON,  which had also departed the Fraser-Surrey Docks.  The Liberian registered vessel is 186 metres in length, 28,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt) and can carry 1800 TEUs.  She is a regular visitor on the Fraser River.

I can remember waking up to only one other spectacular sunny day since the last report, at least a day when I was able to get down to the harbour.  More memorable was the decision that was to be, probably, the worst call of my shipspotting history.  With blue sky all around and a few clouds on the northeast horizon I decided to strike out for Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby to catch a rare event.  Two ships were scheduled to sail up Burrard Inlet to Port Moody, pretty much in a convoy, passing the narrow channel at the park.  I left home in good time but quickly ran into a detour on my regular route.  This was followed shortly by construction hold-ups in two other places.  In an effort to avoid further delays I turned off on a side street to pick up another route.  I ran into a dead end.  I eventually got out to a main street only to wait endlessly to get onto it, as there was no light or even pedestrian crossing.  
I had wasted so much time by then I knew it was going to be too close for comfort by the time I reached the park.  Approaching the turn-off to Barnet Marine Park, it started to rain.  I soon parked the car and ran the 200m or so to the beach.  To my utter anguish both ships had sailed by, one behind the other, just out of reach of my telephoto lens. I was about to console myself with a walk on the beach but it started to rain harder and I had neither brolly nor raingear.

Back in the car, I could see blue sky everywhere to the west.  I hadn’t driven two minutes from the park before the sun was out again.  It looked like the whole rest of the world was in sunshine except Barnet Marine Park.  As a consolation, I decided to drive down to New Brighton Park near the Second Narrows Bridge to see if there was anything worth photographing.  To my delight, two tugs had just arrived on the scene, escorting the  KEN SEI  into the Cascadia grain terminal.  The west end of the dock is so close to the fishing pier at the park that it seems one could jump onto it with a good running leap.  It was fascinating to watch the whole docking process at close quarters.  The  CATES II  and  CATES VIII  brought the ship alongside the dock.  The ‘2’ continued to hold the vessel against the wharf while the smaller of the two tugs, the ‘8’ handled the hawsers, the large ropes used to tie the ship to the dock.  I was able to see when she came around to the stern of the KEN SEI, just how the procedure is carried out.  The stern was secured with three hawsers, which were dropped into the water by one of the ship’s crew as he reeled them off the winch.  They were fished out of the water by a crewman of the tugboat and secured on the deck.  After the tug carried them over to the dock they were handed up to workers on the dock using a long pole with a hook on the end.  One by one, the hawsers were grabbed by three burly longshoremen and run in tug-of-war style over to a bollard on the dock where they were secured.  The slack was then pulled up by winches on the ship.  For the 32,000 dwt vessel, this was the first of three grain terminal calls she would make before departing Vancouver.

Directly across the water at LynnTerm in North Vancouver was the small container ship SEVILLIA,  a regular visitor to the port.  Her routine in Vancouver is to first call into CenTerm to unload and load containers and then to scoot across the water to LynnTerm to load forest products.  The 28,000 dwt, 1800 teu, Liberian flagged vessel has repeated this shuffle since her launch in 2008.

Two other notable container ships made appearances in the harbour since the last report.  Arriving on the 31st of March for her first visit to Vancouver was the  HYUNDAI INDEPENDENCE,  calling into CenTerm.  The 275m, 5700 teu vessel is one of dozens of Hyundai vessels calling into the port.

The other was a brand new ship making her maiden voyage here, bearing a British Columbia namesake.  The  COSCO PRINCE RUPERT  sailed into CenTerm on April 10th.  She was put into service on March 17th.  At 334m and 8500 teu, she is a giant among container ships here.  Ones of this size are seldom seen in the inner harbour any more since Maersk Lines switched their service from VanTerm to Deltaport.

In addition to the above, another 13 ships delivered in 2011 have arrived in Vancouver since the last report. 

Two of them that I spotted were the  CLIPPER PHOENIX  and  the  OZGUR AKSOY.  The ‘Phoenix’ is the latest addition to Copenhagen-based Clipper Bulk’s Handymax fleet.  The 56,000 dwt, 190m vessel was anchored in English Bay before moving to the Pacific Elevators to load grain.

The ‘Aksoy’ arrived on the 23rd of March to Fibreco to load woodchips.  Although flagged in Malta, the 58,000 dwt, 196m geared bulker is part of the fleet of Turkish company Akmar Shipping.

In all, a total of 30 new ships (delivered in 2011) have arrived in port this year.  For the month of March, a surge in the last two weeks vaulted the month’s total of all ships well beyond the predicted 217 to a total of 235.  This compares favourably with February’s 221 and March-2010’s 213.  Business is picking up.  So far in April, 121 ships have arrived up to the 17th of the month, forecasting about 214 for month’s end.  However, the last half of April heralds the start of the cruise season here in Vancouver and should bolster the total with a few more ships.

The first cruise ship did arrive on April 17 at Canada Place.  She was the  CRYSTAL SYMPHONY,  one of the luxury flagships of Crystal Cruises of Los Angeles.  After departing Vancouver she will be bound for Hawaii and Mexico before returning to Los Angeles.  She is 238m in length, 58,000 gross tonnes and carries about 940 passengers.

The next report from this scribe will be coming live from a cruise ship – part of it anyway.  On the 21st of April my wife and I will be bound for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where we will sail on the CELEBRITY INFINITY through the Panama Canal and up to Seattle.  I’m hoping spring will finally have arrived by the time I return.

SEASPAN CORSAIR, taken April 17, 2011, from east end of Steveston Highway, travelling light down the Fraser River.  Ref: WS11-0218. 

SEA IMP XII, taken April 17, 2011, from east end of Steveston Highway, from towing a barge down the Fraser River.  Ref: WS11-0217.


CAP PALMERSTON, taken April 17, 2011, from east end of Steveston Highway, downbound on the Fraser River.  Ref: WS11-0209. 

KEN SEI, taken April 2, 2011, from Mew Brighton Park, arriving at Cascadia Terminal.  Ref: WS11-0214. 

CHARLES H. CATES VIII, taken April  2, 2011, from New Brighto0n Park, docking the  KEN SEI at Cascadia.  Ref: WS11-0210. 

SEVILLIA, taken April  2, 2011, from New Brighton Park, loading forest products at LynnTerm.  Ref: WS11-0219.


HYUNDAI INDEPENDENCE, taken March 31, 2011, from Siwash Rock, en route to CenTerm.  Ref: WS11-0213.


OZGUR AKSOY, taken March 31, from Stanley Park Seawall, at Fibreco lo0ading woodchips.  Ref: WS11-0215.


COSCO PRINCE RUPERT, taken April 11, 2011, from Canada Place, departing CenTerm.  Robert Etchell photo.  Ref: WS11-02125. 

CLIPPER PHOENIX, taken April 02, 2011, from Ferguson Point, at Anchorage-3 in English Bay,  WS11-0211.



Highlights from the April  2011 edition of our newsletter (Issue 182)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

After a sluggish start in shipping activity, the month of February rebounded in the second half to close with 221 ship visits.  This is 18 more than January and 19 more than February of 2009.  For the month of March, 126 ships have arrived up to the 18th, and this would forecast about 217 by month’s end.  Last year there were 213 in March.

Dry bulk cargoes continue their strong trend as 36 ships were in for grain, 23 for coal, 10 for potash, 8 for sulphur and 2 for concentrates. These were all exports.  Fuel oil is also in demand as 13 ships arrived in port solely to bunker.  Container ships accounted for 62 visits, vehicle carriers for 18 and tankers for 17.

Potash would seem to be an especially hot item at the moment.  According to Port Metro Vancouver, shipments of the fertilizer component in January have almost tripled over January of 2010, and seem to be continuing the trend into February and March of this year.  One of the ships departing Vancouver with potash was the Liberian flagged bulker  COLUMBIA, which loaded at Neptune Terminals in early March.  The 190m, 59,000 dwt vessel was one of a legion of ships waiting for more than a week at anchorage before getting a berth.  She has the distinction of having one of the most common names on the high seas.  There are no less than 9 vessels with this name registered with the IMO, ranging from tugs to ferries to freighters.

COLUMBIA, taken March 6, 2011, from Lions Gate Bridge.  Enroute to Neptune Terminals.  Ref: WS11-0052.


Another ship in for potash made her second visit to Vancouver, but this time under a slightly different name.  The 190m, 54,000 dwt Bahamian flagged bulker  LEVAN  arrived at Neptune Terminals on February 27th.  She had made a previous visit in May of 2010 to load potash, sporting the name  JBU LEVAN.  She had been previously owned by J.B. Ugland Shipping of Norway (hence the prefix JBU) but was sold in December 2010 to United Shipping Services Three of Croatia.  She retained the same ship management group, Uljanik Shipping of Croatia, 

LEVANT, taken March 06, 2011, from Lions Gate Bridge.  Departing Neptune Terminals with potash.  Ref: WS11-0057.


whose logo remains on the funnel – a large U S with an anchor symbol in the middle.  This was confusing at first because the US could have stood for Ugland Shipping, United Shipping or Uljanik Shipmanagement.


The port anchorages as well as the Gulf Island ones have continued to be busy all year with ships waiting mostly for grain and coal.  Apparently, regular visitors aren’t able to jump the queue.  The 157m, 25,000 dwt, Panamanian flagged bulker  ORIENTE CHALLENGER waited two weeks in English Bay before loading grain at the Cargill terminal in North Vancouver.  Although making her first visit this year, she had visited seven times last year and eight times in 2009.

ORIENTE CHALLENGER, taken March 10, 2011, from Prospect Point.  Departing Cargill terminal with grain.  Ref: WS11-0060.


Another ship loading grain was the spanking-new Maltese flagged bulker  FATIH, managed by the Turkish company Ciner Shipping.  The ship was delivered to Ciner on February 14th and 

 made her maiden voyage here.  She loaded grain at Vancouver Wharves and Neptune Terminals, spending a total of two weeks in the harbour including anchorages.


FATIH, taken March 6, 2011, from Stanley Park Seawall.  At Vancouver Wharves loading grain.  Ref: WS11-0053.

Another 2011-delivered ship arrived in late February to load grain.  The 169m, 28,000 dwt bulker  KING CORN, flagged in the Marshall Islands, loaded grain at Cascadia and Alliance terminals from the 25th of February to the 1st of March.  She was delivered to SMTech Shipmanagement of South Korea on January 28th.  Before arriving in the harbour she had been anchored for a week off Galiano Island near Nanaimo.

KING CORN, taken February 25, 2011, from Lions Gate Bridge.  Enroute to Alliance Grain Terminal.  Ref: WS11-0056.


Yet other 2011 launch in port was the VIRTUOUS STRIKER, mentioned in last month’s report, but without a photo.  The Bahamian flagged vessel is 190m in length and 57,000 dwt, with a bright orange hull.  She was at the Fibreco terminal loading woodchips, and thanks to the fact that she was bumped by the SOUTHERN STAR before completing her loading, she spent an extra week at anchorage in the inner harbour.  I was able to get a photo when she returned to Fibreco for another day to complete loading.

VIRTUOUS STRIKER, taken February 25, 2011, from Brockton Point.  At Fibreco loading woodchips.  Ref: WS11-0062.


In all, 11 ships launched in 2011 have arrived since the last report, making a total of 14 new ships for the year, as of March 20th.  All of these ships have been bulk carriers except for one, the container ship  BILBAO BRIDGE, which arrived on March 2nd and is operated by Seaspan Shipmanagement of Vancouver.   Another ship operated by a Vancouver company, Teekay Shipping, was also in port in March.  The 183m, 47,000 dwt, Bahamian flagged products tanker  MAHANADI SPIRIT, was at Petrocan terminal in Burnaby, unloading refined petrochemicals.  I can only guess that it might have been bunker fuel for ships since many of the fuel barges operated by Island Tug & Barge load up at that facility.  On one of my rare forays into Barnet Marine Park in Burnaby, I was able to photograph the MAHANADI SPIRIT  as she departed the terminal escorted by the tugs  CHARLES H CATES II  and  CHARLES H CATES X.  

MAHANADI SPIRIT, taken March 7, 2011, from Barnet Marine Park.  Departing Petrocan terminal.  Ref: WS11-0058.


CHARLES H. CATES II, taken March 7, 2011, from Barnet Marine Park.  Escorting MAHANADI SPIRIT from Petrocan terminal.  Ref: WS11-0049.


CHARLES H. CATES X, taken March 7, 2011, from Barnet Marine Park.  Ref: WS11-0051.  


Highlights from the March  2011 edition of our newsletter (Issue 181)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

After a sluggish start in shipping activity, the month of February rebounded in the second half to close with 221 ship visits.  This is 18 more than January and 19 more than February of 2009.  For the month of March, 126 ships have arrived up to the 18th, and this would forecast about 217 by month’s end.  Last year there were 213 in March.

Dry bulk cargoes continue their strong trend as 36 ships were in for grain, 23 for coal, 10 for potash, 8 for sulphur and 2 for concentrates. These were all exports.  Fuel oil is also in demand as 13 ships arrived in port solely to bunker.  Container ships accounted for 62 visits, vehicle carriers for 18 and tankers for 17.

Potash would seem to be an especially hot item at the moment.  According to Port Metro Vancouver, shipments of the fertilizer component in January have almost tripled over January of 2010, and seem to be continuing the trend into February and March of this year.  One of the ships departing Vancouver with potash was the Liberian flagged bulker  COLUMBIA, which loaded at Neptune Terminals in early March.  The 190m, 59,000 dwt vessel was one of a legion of ships waiting for more than a week at anchorage before getting a berth.  She has the distinction of having one of the most common names on the high seas.  There are no less than 9 vessels with this name registered with the IMO, ranging from tugs to ferries to freighters.


Highlights from the March  2011 edition of our newsletter (Issue 181)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

One of the more interesting stories on the waterfront developed just before the deadline of last month’s report.  On the 20th of January the 8,000 tonne Liberian flagged container ship  MCP ALTONA  returned to the port of Vancouver, never having reached her destination.  She berthed at CenTerm-1, the old Ballantyne Pier and seldom-used cruise-ship terminal.  Her cargo included among other things, 350 tonnes of uranium ore concentrate, destined for a nuclear power plant in China.  The powdered product was contained in 840 drums stored in 24 containers.

Enroute to Zhanjiang she encountered several days of bad weather.  In the vicinity of Hawaii the crew notified the shipper, Cameco of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, that several containers had shifted and that some drums had fallen out of the containers and spilled in the hold.  The ship was ordered to turn around and head back to Vancouver.

The ship had loaded the uranium at Fraser-Surrey Docks and had departed on December 23rd.  The source of the uranium is northern Saskatchewan where Cameco has several mines and milling operations and is one of the leading producers of uranium in the world.  Uranium mining and transportation in Canada is overseen by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and is the only type of mining regulated by a federal body.  Hence the Commission’s involvement with the accident, and the ship’s requirement to return to port.

Because uranium is mildly radioactive, stringent regulations are in place for it’s clean-up.  The  MCP ALTONA  was docked at CenTerm for exactly one month, and only yesterday did she finally make her way back to Fraser-Surrey Docks, presumably to replace the damaged cargo.

I’ve always thought that the most interesting cargoes are in containers and it’s a pity we don’t get to see them, or in most cases hear about them.  One impressive and controversial cargo that we do get to see is logs.  And  as far as I know,  Fraser-Surrey Docks is the only terminal in greater Vancouver that still handles this cargo.  In the good old days when a mortal could still go down to the docks, one could watch logs being loaded at the Ballantyne Pier and several other terminals.  It’s possible to view log loading at Fraser-Surrey Docks from the quay at New Westminster, but a good pair of binoculars is recommended.

I had been waiting several months to get a good photograph of a ship, fully laden with logs, sailing down the Fraser River.  It was frustrating that they always seemed to leave the terminal at dusk or later and hence a good photo seemed unlikely.  I was convinced that this was done deliberately and advanced my conspiracy theory to fellow shipspotter Mike Zelt back in December.

I guess I owe Mike a beer the next time I see him because on February 7th I was able to get a nice shot, albeit minutes before the sun went down.  I was on the Alex Fraser Bridge well in advance of the 4pm scheduled departure of the  CAPE MORETON  from Fraser-Surrey Docks.  I paid for these photos with all the noise and vehicle fumes I endured for over an hour as this occurred during the traffic rush-hour.  I wasn’t aware of how long it took for a ship to go the short distance from the terminal to the bridge.

However, the log-loading berth is at the far end of the terminal and the ships have to be towed out backwards through the narrow slough adjacent to the terminal and then turned around in the river.  Fortunately the ship departed 10 minutes early, and 40 minutes later arrived in good photo position below the Alex Fraser Bridge.  It’s dramatic to see a ship from this angle with logs covering the entire deck and holds of the ship.  The stanchions on the sides of the deck keep the logs from falling off, but in addition, dozens of cables criss-cross the tops of the logs to keep them from shifting.  It would be impossible to get from the cabins at the stern of the ship to the bow, so a temporary wooden walkway is built, complete with railings, across the top of the logs.  A ladder at each end completes the route.

Log ships have been lining up at Fraser-Surrey and I’ve noticed one or two per week have been leaving steadily since at least last November.  It was also reported in the local papers last month that several mills in the British Columbia interior have re-opened and their entire lumber output has been pre-sold to China for several years.  And for those customers for whom we can’t make lumber fast enough – well, we can give them logs and they can make their own.  The  CAPE MORETON’s logs were enroute to South Korea.

It would seem that there must be many products that we can’t ship out fast enough as the harbour is getting busier than ever.  Anyone who has been down to the inner harbour or English Bay recently will have seen most of the available anchorage spots filled up.  With 12 dedicated anchorages in English Bay, another six in the inner harbour and four more seasonal and short-term, that’s a lot of ships.  That doesn’t even include the four in the Indian Arm area of Burrard Inlet, used mostly by ships berthing at the Port Moody bulk terminal and the Burnaby petro-products terminals.

As a consequence, more ships are being diverted to the southern Gulf Island anchorages between Nanaimo and Swartz Bay, on the western side of the Georgia Strait.  I’ve counted as many as 20 ships in this area.  The designated anchorages that I know of include four in Plumper Sound between Mayne, Pender and Saturna Islands, seven off of Nanaimo between Gabriola and Newcastle Islands, eight in the Cowichan Bay area between the south end of Saltspring Island and Vancouver Island, and five in the Trincomali Channel between Valdes and Thetis Islands.

In January the Westshore coal terminal at Roberts Bank experienced some problems with loading equipment which delayed loading at one of its two terminals for almost three weeks.  I’m sure that created a backlog for ships scheduled to load coal there.  One of them was the  AMAKUSA ISLAND,  which came into the inner harbour to bunker and waited there for five days before sailing to Roberts Bank.  She is one of the many Japanese ships specially designed for the coal industry there.  She’s slightly bigger than a normal Panamax bulker which is 225m long, 32.3m beam and has 7 standard hatches.  The AMAKUSA ISLAND is 229m long, 36.5m beam and has 5 oversized hatches.

Having commented earlier on the busy state of the port, the month of January, ironically, tapered off slightly in the last half and closed with 203 ship visits, down five from January of last year.  However, February seems to be buzzing with 135 visits up to the 17th, which would forecast the month’s total at about 220, almost 20 more than last year.

A few interesting sightings and trivia to finish off the report:

The first ship delivered in 2011 to call into Vancouver arrived on January 23rd to load sulphur at Pacific Coast Bulk Terminals in Port Moody.  She was the 30,000 tonne Liberian flagged bulker  LOYALTY,  operated by Cosmo Shipmanagement of Greece.  She was followed by three other 2011-delivered ships:  the  THRUSH  on Feb. 3rd loading potash at Neptune Terminals, the  NORD VELA  loading coal at Roberts Bank, and the  VIRTUOUS STRIKER  loading woodchips at Fibreco.

The  JA ALADDIN RAINBOW arrived on Jan. 10th to load grain at several terminals and danced the grain silo shuffle for an entire month.  She finally departed on Feb. 10th after several visits to anchorages between loadings.  WSS member Robert Etchell photographed her on one of her re-entries into the inner harbour from an English Bay anchorage and noticed something unusual.  On the funnel were two different house flags – above was the white on red ‘LB’ banner of Lauritzen Bulkers of Denmark, and below was the red and blue ‘ivs’ letters on white of the Island View Shipping Company of South Africa.  A marriage of convenience, no doubt.

 Another ship arrived on the 15th of January to load grain and spent three weeks doing the same shuffle.  The  TIARA GLOBE  is a standard looking, and standard dimensioned Panamax bulker, except that she’s fitted with deck cranes, something that I haven’t seen before.  The cranes looked odd as they were shorter than normal and obviously installed after the fact.  Given her vintage (1998), it seems someone was trying to extend her versatility, and perhaps, service.

We had a naval visitor in early February, around the 9th to the 11th.  The U.S. Coast Guard cutter  HAMILTON  was docked on the west side of Canada Place.  Apparently she had been deployed in the Bering Sea and was making a number of port calls on her way back to her home base of San Diego.  When I saw her on February 10th she was taking on bunkers, and probably some of that good local brew.

Yes, Virginia, there are Canadian shipping companies, but you wouldn’t know it out here.  None of their ships fly the Canadian flag.  You may know former Prime Minister Paul Martin’s company Canada Steamship Lines, whose ships are flagged in the Bahamas, and Teekay Shipping whose fleet of 137 tankers are flagged all over the world, but the majority in the Bahamas.  However, I became aware of at least one other Canadian shipping company on the high seas while walking on the Stanley Park Seawall on Feb. 10th.  Berthed at Vancouver Wharves was a bulker with the quintessential Canadian name of  LAKE ONTARIO, loading sulphur.  On her funnel was a stylized maple leaf and the letter F.  This is the logo of Federal Navigation (Fednav) of Montreal, who claim to be Canada’s largest ocean-going dry bulk ship owning and chartering company.  Maybe so, but no Canadian flag here either, not even a Québec flag.  This vessel was registered in Antigua and Barbuda.  The unusual dimensions of this vessel, especially the narrow beam of 23.7 metres and a shallower-than-usual draft of 9.8 metres for a ship of 185m in length, made me wonder whether it was originally designed for service on the St. Lawrence Seaway and its locks.

We see quite a few American tugs in port and they always seem to be beauties.  The  ALYSSA ANN sailed into Vancouver on January 30th towing a fuel barge.  She sported the bright white and yellow colours (or should I say colors) of the Olympic Tug and Barge Company, part of the Harley Marine Group out of Seattle.  The vessel is 107 Ft (33m) long and puts out 2100 horsepower. And she doesn’t betray her age – 45 years.


MCP ALTONA, taken January 22, 2011, at CenTerm-1.  WS11-0028.


CAPE MORETON, taken February 7, 2011 from Alex Fraser Bridge, departing Fraser-Surrey Docks.  WS11-0023. 

AMAKUSA ISLAND, taken January 26, 2011 from Prospect Point, enroute to Robert Banks.  WS11-0022.


JA ALADDIN RAINBOW, taken January 22, 2011 from Stanley Park Seawall.  Loading sulphur at Vancouver Wharves.  WS11-0025.


JA ALADDIN RAINBOW, taken February 5, 2011, from Lions Gate Bridge.  Robert Etchell photo.   WS11-0026.


TIARTA GLOBE, taken January 30, 2011 from Lions Gate Bridge, enroute to Cascadia Terminal.  Ref: WS11-0029.


USCGC HAMILTON, taken February 10, 2011 from Vancouver Convention Centre, at Canada Place.  Ref: WS11-0024.


LAKE ONTARIO, taken February 10, 2011 from Stanley Park Seawall, loading sulphur at Vancouver Wharves.  Ref: WS11-0027. 

ALYSSA ANN, taken January 30, 2011 from Prospect Point, towing a barge to Burnaby.

Ref: WS11-0021



Highlights from the February 2011 edition of our newsletter (Issue 180)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

Two shipping articles in the Vancouver Sun recently were of particular interest to me.  The first was about the decline in the Vancouver tugboat business in a tough economy and the second about Port Metro Vancouver forecasting a record year.  The reports would seem to be at odds with one another.  On further reading into the tugboat story, it was apparent that the decline was in the towing sector only.  The article mentioned that Seaspan International had just received delivery of the first of four new shipdocking tugs being built in Turkey.  Certainly by my observations shipdocking proceeds at a frenzied pace, and tugs like the  SEASPAN VENTURE  never shut their engines down.

The second story reveals that the port expects 2010 to be a record year when all the numbers finally come in.  As of November, almost all categories of cargo were up.  Port Metro Vancouver reports on its website that coal shipments are up 25%, fertilizer up 41% and even forest products are up 15%.  The state of the forest industry can be ascertained by counting the number of log barges like the  SEASPAN PHOENIX  that are laid up at Seaspan’s North Van terminal.  I jest, slightly.  The absence of a recession in shipping, however, may come as no surprise to some of our readers, as these pages have consistently reported that ship visits, month after month, were keeping slightly ahead of last year’s pace.  Except for the large decrease in cruise ship visits last year, which drags the overall total down, the increase over last year would look more impressive.

Well, my numbers are in, and although they don’t agree exactly with the PMV’s , they tell exactly the same story.  So here they are for comparison to 2009:  

Ship Type            2010                          2009
Bulker                   1134                          1016
Container                704                            744
General Cargo        279                            265
Tanker                    270                            253
Vehicle Carrier        214                            207
Cruise                    178                            259
Other                       13                              19
TOTAL                 2792                          2763

As you can see, the drop in cruise ship visits and container ships was more than compensated for by the large increase in bulk ships and significant increases in tankers and general cargo ships.  Although container ships were down by about 5%, Port Metro Vancouver reports that container TEUs (the number of Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) is up by 17% and the tonnage by 8%.  The shipspotters in our group will have noticed the decline in container ship visits to the inner harbour, but this has been countered by the significant increase in calls to the Deltaport container facility at Roberts Bank, especially by large container ships.  This was made possible by the opening of the 3rd berth there in January of 2010.  There were about 78 visits to that berth last year and many of them were from the 8,000 TEU class of ships.  The ZIM DJIBOUTI, the largest container  ship to visit  Vancouver to date is a 10,000 TEU giant at 349m in length with a 46m beam.  

By comparison, the container ships that call at CenTerm and VanTerm in the inner harbour are typically 4,000 to 6,500 TEU. The  ZIM DJIBOUTI  called at Deltaport on seven occasions in 2010. 

PMV also reports that vehicle imports into Vancouver are down by 15% and I guess that’s because so many of us are buying Fords now.  However, there were a few more vehicle carriers visiting in 2010 so the tug companies and the ships’ agents wouldn’t have noticed the drop.

The largest bulk ship to call last year was the LONDON SPIRIT, at 300m in length and 208,000 deadweight tonnes, just edging out the OCEAN CREATION by the weight of a well-fed crew.  The smallest bulker was the EL MAR VICTORIA, at 120m and 12,000 dwt.

Tankers varied in size from the Indian-flagged crude oil carrier  AMBA BHAVANEE, at 247m and 107,000 dwt down to the Maltese registered products tanker  SICHEM PANDORA, at 117m and 9,200 dwt.

The smallest cargo ship of all was the Danish-flagged general cargo vessel  OCEAN BIRD, which is a mere 94m in length and 4,200 dwt – slightly larger than the Queen’s yacht.  The largest cruise ship visiting in 2010 was the  SAPPHIRE PRINCESS, 290m in length and carrying 3,078 passengers.  The smallest was the  CLIPPER ODYSSEY, at 103m and carrying 128 passengers.

The 2,792 ship visits in 2010 were made by 1,529 different ships, so you can see why it’s such a wonderful port for shipspotters.  It would be an interesting study to determine how many are never seen by the light of day or only in foul weather – a shipspotters nemeses.  A total of 489 ships made more than one call.  Many of the containers ships are on liner service so they call regularly, as many as 10 or 11 times a year.  The  HANJIN LONDON is one such vessel, whereas her cousin, the  HANJIN GENEVA, called only twice.  All the container lines that call here had at least one ship that called six times or more.

If frequent-visitor points were awarded, the winner would easily be the products tanker  MAERSK BERING,  which called 23 times last year.  She brings in jet fuel from California to the Petrocan storage facility in Burnaby and often returns with petrochemicals from the Standard Oil Refinery, also in Burnaby.  On one of her trips in June she even had time to slip into the Vancouver Dry Dock for repairs.  Or perhaps it was just for a rest.

Those infrequent visitors, the remaining 1,040 ships that made but a single call to the port, are the ones we shipspotters hope only arrive and depart at midday under sunny skies.

The 1,529 different ships in 2010 were flying a total of 42 different flags.  It’s always worth noting the rarest of them and there were five that were flying on just one ship each for the year: the Barbados flag on the bulker  FEDERAL SCHELDE,  the Belgian flag on the bulker  CMB BIWA,  the Latvian flag on the tanker  RIGA,  the Libyan flag on the tanker  ALJALAA,  and the Russian flag on the general cargo icebreaker  ABAKAN.  All, except the Russian flag, have not been seen by this scribe before.  The most commonly seen flag was the Panamanian, flying on 528 ships – more than a third of the fleet that called into Vancouver last year.  The perennial runner-up is Liberia, this year with 149 ships, but it’s interesting to see Hong Kong, always a close third, getting even closer with 145 ships.  The surprise fourth was the Marshall Islands with 92 ships.

It’s also worth noting that early in 2011 a new flag has already arrived in port.  The crude oil tanker  ZIRKU  was flying the flag of the United Arab Emirates, when it arrived in mid January to take on cargo at the Westridge Terminal in Burnaby.  This is the same country whose planes don’t have landing rights in Canada and caused a brouhaha on Parliament Hill.  We can thank the fact that there are no Canadian flagged tankers competing with the Zirku that we see such interesting vessels.

January 2011 has started out a little on the slow side, but after 19 days it’s apparent that the pace is picking up.  Presently the month is on track to see about 200 ships (compared to 208 and 207 for the previous two Januarys) but I’m betting by month’s end we’ll see those figures exceeded.

One thing for sure, the woodchips have been flying during the past month.  A steady stream of vessels have called into the Fibreco terminal in North Vancouver to load the product.  The ships and pyramidal piles of woodchips can be easily seen from Brockton Point in Stanley Park.  A light orangey-brown haze above the deck of the ship is a tell-tale sign that she’s loading.  The vast majority of ships calling at Fibreco are specially built woodchip carriers, which are easily recognizable by their unusually high freeboard.  They also have their own special loading and unloading gear, which includes large hoppers sitting on the deck.  The  50,000 dwt Philippines flagged  SOUTHERN STAR  which visited in early January is typical of this class of ship.  Just days before her arrival a less typical freighter was loading woodchips.  The 54,000 dwt, Bahamian flagged  DAVAKIS G, by all accounts, is a typical handymax geared bulker.  It looked a little out of place there, but with her bright orange hull she was a cheerful anomaly to the usual visitor.  I’m assuming by the length of time she was at berth (10 days) that she was fully loaded when she left. Nevertheless she was riding a metre below the plimsoll line when she departed, indicating that the cargo is very light, relatively speaking.

Next door to the Fibreco Terminal is Vancouver Wharves which has 5 berths.  Sulphur and specialty grains are two of its big exports, but it’s also, as far as I know, the only terminal in Vancouver where ore concentrates are off-loaded.  This occurs at Berth-1, closest to the Lions Gate Bridge, where from the Stanley Park seawall or the bridge, one can see the giant blue crane on the dock.  Lately, a procession of ships have come in to unload ore concentrate.  Having mentioned the ore unloading in a previous article and musing about the story behind it, I decided to follow it up.

It appears that the ore is primarily zinc, with some lead.  It’s destination, by rail, is the smelter in Trail, B.C. owned by Teck-Cominco.  The sources of the ore are 3 different mines operated by Teck: one in Alaska, one in Peru and a third in Chile.  The Red Dog mine in Alaska is within the arctic circle on the northwest coast.  There are only about 100 days a year when the port is ice-free but the mine operates year-round, stockpiling the ore onshore.  Because the port is shallow, the ore has to be lightered by barge out to the ships anchored in the bay and loaded aboard.

The 10,000 dwt, Maltese flagged  COSTANZA  was in during early January and she had come up from one of the South American mines.  I’m assuming that since I tracked her from northern Mexico.  I’m also assuming there will be no more ships coming from the Red Dog mine until next summer, but that may change with global warming.

I’ll follow up in the future on two more stories that have been mentioned previously in the Ship’s Log.  The first is the salt ship  ISLA DE CEDROS  which brings in salt from Baja California 8 to 10 times a year.  Where does all that salt go?  Some of it goes off on a barge, loaded while the ship is anchored in the inner harbour.  In early January I saw the barge  OCEAN CARRIER  being towed by the  WESTVIEW CHINOOK  out through the Lions Gate Bridge.  It was last tracked going up the Fraser River.  On another occasion I saw it heading toward Vancouver Island.

The second story mentioned by Cecil Woods in the last Log concerned all the different measurements used in the maritime industry.  Since my reports are peppered with them, I’ll report on measurements when I’ve understood them a bit better myself – unless someone else reports first.

In closing, I’ll recount my only tale of redemption during the past month.  My wife and I headed up to Brackendale one sunny January morning to see the hoards of eagles.  Unfortunately there weren’t any.  Well, OK, there was one — 

– a lone maverick sitting motionless in a tree on the other side of the river.  Apparently the fishing was poor this year and the rest had left a couple of weeks before.  Oh well, it was cold enough up there to be concerned for your brass monkeys, so it may not have been pleasant anyway.  On the brighter side, we had a fabulous breakfast at the local hangout in Squamish, Big D’s Café.  By the time we left the cafe the mist had cleared, the sun had come up over the towering mountains and lo and behold, there were two ships at Squamish Terminals.  That is to say, the port was full.  The 43,000 dwt, Norwegian flagged  RADIANCE  was at Terminal-2, the side that’s visible from the beach.  My attempts to get on the dock to photograph the  STAR HIDRA on the other side however, were met with the usual terrorist-threat dismissal. 

It was fun trying.

 SEASPAN VENTURE, taken January 8, 2011 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS11-0009.

SEASPAN PHOENIX, log barge, taken January 2, 2022 from Stanley Park seawall.  Ref: WS11-0008.

OCEAN BIRD, taken June 13, 2010 from Brockton Point.  Ref: WS11-0005.

SAPPHIRE PRINCESS, taken September 2, 2008 from Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref: WS11-0007.

HANJIN GENEVA, taken January 8, 2011 from Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref: WS11-0003.

MAERSK BERING, taken October 27, 2010 from Park Royal Towers.  Ref: WS11-0004.

ZIRKU, taken January 8, 2011 from Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref: WS11-0012.

ZIRKU, (stern) taken January 8, 2011 from Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref: WS11-0013.

SOUTHERN STAR, taken January 7, 2011 from Porspect Point.  Ref: WS11-0010.

DAVAKIS G. taken January 2, 1011 from Brockton Point.  Ref: WS11-0002.

CONSTANZA, taken January 8, 2011 from Stanley Park Seawall.  Ref: WS11-0001.

RADIANCE, taken January 9, 2011 at Squamish, BC.  Ref: WS11-0006.

WESTVIEW CHINOOK (tug) with barge OCEAN CARRIER, taken January 3, 2011 from Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref: WS11-0011.


Highlights from the January 2011 edition of our newsletter (Issue 179)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

The day before writing this report the sun unexpectedly came out that afternoon, so I dropped what I was doing, grabbed my camera and high-tailed down to the Fraser River to catch a ship making her way up to the Fraser Surrey Docks.  Even more unexpected than the December sun, was running into a friend and fellow ship enthusiast and photographer, Mike Zelt.  Mike is a busy man and lives in Coquitlam, and I hadn’t seen him for a long time.  He was on the river at the east end of Steveston Highway in Richmond, shooting tugs – with a camera of course.  Tugs are his main interest and specialty, and many of his photographs have ended up on Smit Tug calendars and other promotional material.   We had lots of time to chat and I told him I was there to catch the SANKO ETERNAL, a 28,000 tonne, Liberian flagged bulker that was destined for Surrey to load logs.  She was replacing the outbound  GLOBAL ENDEAVOR,  which had finished loading logs and was due to depart at 4pm that afternoon. 

SANKO ETERNAL, taken December 17, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0477.

GLOBAL ENDEAVOUR, taken December 19, 2010 from River Road, Delta, BC, near the Alex Fraser Bridge.  Ref: WS10-0468.

I learned something about tugs that day, and Mike learned something about deep-sea ships.   He asked me what  type of ship  the SANKO ETERNAL was and I explained that it was a ‘geared bulker’.  A bulker, because it was designed to carry dry bulk cargos  such as grain, potash, coal or sulphur, that are most efficiently stored in holds that are open from ceiling to floor.  

Geared, because the ship has cranes to self-load and unload, as opposed to requiring equipment at the terminal to do this.  A geared bulker looks like a ‘general cargo ship’ except that geared bulkers are larger.  A general cargo ship is designed to carry a variety of packaged goods, equipment, machinery and other odd sized cargo.  It also has ‘tween decks’, as opposed to floor-to-deck open holds, which allows the general cargo ship to store more odd-sized cargo.  The SANKO ETERNAL, at 169m and 28,000 deadweight tonnes, is a bulk ship (or ‘bulker’) that is larger than a typical general cargo ship which is less than 150m and 15,000 dwt.  She is also specially fitted to carry logs (not your typical bulk cargo) by having a series of stanchions, or retaining rails fitted along the sides of the ship so that logs can be stacked high on the deck.

As Mike and I continued to wait for the upbound freighter we discussed how the internet and technology in general has changed our ability to track ships and get information about them.  Before I had left home that day I went on the internet to check the ship movements in Vancouver on the Pacific Pilotage website.  The SANKO ETERNAL was due to pick up a pilot and depart Sandheads (the entrance to the Fraser River channel in the Strait of Georgia) at 2pm.  I knew from experience that it should therefore be at Deas Island Park (or directly across the river where Mike and I were) at about 3pm.  Looking at my watch I commented to Mike that the ship seemed to be delayed.  He pulled out his i-phone and immediately brought up a map of the Fraser River.  Zooming in, he found the position of a ship nearby, clicked on it and got the name SANKO ETERNAL, and some information about it.  It wasn’t too far away.  I said that it should be here in 10 minutes.  It was closer to 15.  By then we had seen the reason why.  It was perhaps going 7 or 8 knots, two-thirds the normal speed of freighters going up the river.  I thought this could only mean one thing - the GLOBAL ENDEAVOR, which was coming out of the berth to which this ship was headed, was also delayed.  This turned out to be the case, which was disappointing because I was hoping to catch it coming down, fully loaded, in the last rays of the afternoon sun.  

We bid farewell after taking our photos and I decided to cross the river and follow River Road up to the Alex Fraser bridge.  A spot nearby is fairly close to the Fraser-Surrey Docks, from which the GLOBAL ENDEAVOR was coming.  As it was, I sat at my viewpoint, and thankfully in the warmth of my car, until 4:45 when I saw her rounding the corner and sailing through the pillars of the bridge.  It would have been a sight in broad daylight.  Her bright orange hull gleaming, she was loaded with logs on the deck up to her crane booms.  Despite the fading light, I took a few photos anyway.  It was well into dusk by then, but mercifully extended by a near-full moon.  The tripod helped until the ship turned and her quick speed combined with my camera’s necessary slow shutter speed overcame the camera’s ability to do anything about it.  I got one decent photo and five fuzzy ones. I managed to get to the waterfront on four other occasions in the last month and my photos attest to the fact that they were all sunny days. I wouldn’t have thought that we had 5 days or partial days of sunshine, but apparently we did have at least that.

On the 21st of November I was in the neighbourhood of the Annacis Auto Terminal, not on an outing per se, but on my way home from New Westminster.  I had time to swing by and see if any photo opportunities presented themselves.  The terminal area is expansive, but all fenced and barb-wired with an unfriendly looking guarded gate.  However, from a slight rise in the road alongside, it was possible to see the  MORNING SPRUCE  unloading cars.  She is a regular visitor to Vancouver and one of the older ships in EUKOR’s fleet of 62 vehicle carriers.  Built in 1981, she is 198m in length with a capacity of 5,340 cars. Her design is more flexible than the modern vehicle carrier, which today would be called a PCC (Pure Car Carrier) or a PCTC (Pure Car and Truck Carrier).  

 She would have been built as a RoRo (Roll on – Roll Off) general cargo vessel.  And that’s how she operates today.  After unloading her vehicles at the Annacis Auto Terminal she proceeded to LynnTerm in North Vancouver to load lumber and other forest products to take back to the Orient.

MORNING SPRUCE, taken November 21, 2010 from near the entrance to Annicis Auto Terminal.  Ref: WS10-0473.

On my four outings to Stanley Park the spectacular weather made the shipspotting merely a bonus. One couldn’t help being joyous in the sunshine and seeing everyone in good spirits and smiling.  There were surprisingly many tourists about, even at this time of the year.  On the 23rd of November two inbound ships and one outbound were passing through the Lions Gate Bridge in a short time frame.  First the 190m, 57,000 tonne Liberian flagged geared bulker  JPO DORADO sailed in to load grain.  She made the rounds at three different elevators: Neptune Terminals,  Pacific Elevators and Alliance Terminal.  She was followed by the  RUBY INDAH,  a 229m, 78,000 tonne gearless bulker registered in Singapore.  She was also in to load grain at several different terminals and would have been playing musical berths with the  JPO DORADO and a couple of other ships as they danced from dock to dock.  Shortly after the arrival of these two, the 46,000 tonne, 190m Cypriot flagged  geared bulker  ARION SB  departed laden with grain.  She must have been doing a dance of a different kind as she was at anchorage three times between loadings at the same grain terminal.

On the 3rd of December the Tokyo Marine products tanker  LIME GALAXY was outbound from LynnTerm where she had loaded ethylene glycol and caustic soda solution.  Product tankers tend to be smaller than crude oil tankers, both of which are seen here regularly.  The  LIME GALAXY is typical, being 146m in length and 20,000 dwt.  Tokyo Marine has dozens of such tankers in its fleet and many are regular visitors to Vancouver. 

The 17th of December was a very busy day, with 7 ships moving through the narrows in just over 3 hours. The brand new 77,000 dwt   bulker  HONG SHENG  arrived to load coal at Neptune Terminals.  The Panamax vessel sported the letters ‘CHS’ on her funnel, which is COSCO Hong Kong Shipping Company.  The company is part of the massive COSCO Shipping Group, a state owned entity based in Beijing, China which is so complex in its structure that it would take a team of lawyers to figure out who was running what.  It seems the communist country has mastered capitalism.  Shortly after the  HONG SHENG  sailed in, the spanking new 2010 launch  NAVIOS LUZ  sailed out.   The bright orange  hull seemed to take ages to pass under the Lions Gate Bridge, and at 292 metres in length,  I suppose it did.  She had not got up to speed yet as the massive Capesize bulker was laden with 170,000 tons of coal, loaded at Neptune Terminals.

ARION SB, taken November 23, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0466.

LIME GALAXY, taken December 3, 2010 from Stanley Park Seawall.  Ref: WS10-0472.

NS CENTURY, photographed December 5, 2010, from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0475.

NS CENTURY (funnel), taken December 5, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0476.

FALCON TRADER II, taken December 3, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0467.

HONG SHENG, taken December 17, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0469.

NAVIOS LUZ, taken December 17, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0474.

Next in line, departing Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody with a cargo of sulphur was the handymax bulker  WESTERN OSLO,  bound for El Salvador.   She is a Norwegian flagged vessel, 190m in length, 32.3m beam, and 57,000 dwt.  She is owned and operated by Western Bulk, based in Oslo.  She holds the dubious honour of having anchored here for the longest (or one of the longest) periods of time this year before taking on her cargo – 20 days.  It’s hard to say what was going on there – the sulphur hadn’t arrived yet?  The crew was all taking their 3-week vacation?

WESTERN OSLO, taken December 17, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0479.

I nipped out for a late lunch between ships and sat in the sunshine at Second Beach, partly for the beauty of it, and partly so that I could keep an eye on Point Grey, around which ships bound for Vancouver can first be sighted from anywhere on English Bay.   The  JS BELMAR  was due soon and I relaxed and enjoyed my meal in the  sun until then.   I know from experience that it takes approximately 45 minutes for bulkers to reach the Lions Gate Bridge after first sighted at Point Grey.  Once spotted, I knew I had another half-hour before I had to jump in the car and drive back to Prospect Point.  When I did, on this occasion, I decided for a bit of variety to stop near the eastern side of the Lions Gate Bridge and shoot her from the seawall.  I had second thoughts shortly after as the entire inner harbour was almost totally shaded and the light was fading fast.  Not wanting to risk missing the ship while I was in transit, I decided to stay.  It was a good move.  She arrived sooner than I anticipated.  The dim light, while not conducive to a good documentary photo of the vessel, produced a better artistic one, presented forthwith for the reader’s pleasure.  The  JS BELMAR  is a 2010 launch, first-time visitor to the port.  She would be classed as a handymax bulker, 190m in length, 32.3m beam and 58,000 deadweight tonnes.  The Hong Kong flagged vessel is operated by Belships Management of Singapore.  She was berthing at Vancouver Wharves, near to where I was, to load grain.  I watched the docking procedure, which I always find interesting, and while that was proceeding I notice a container ship slowly making her way toward the bridge.  It seemed obvious that she was advised to hang tough while the other vessel was docking because the channel is quite narrow there and the JS BELMAR was being swung about to face the outbound direction.  I waited for the container ship, the  HYUNDAI NATIONAL, for the sole reason that as the sun was setting, the harbour darkened but the sun was shining brilliantly on Mount Baker, which by now was directly behind the ship.  It looked spectacular and I’m sure my photo doesn’t do justice to the live experience, but nevertheless presented for the reader’s perusal.

HYUNDAI NATIONAL, taken December 17, 2010 from Stanley Park seawall.  Ref: WS10-0470.

JS BELMAR, taken December 17, 2010 from Stanley Park seawall.  Ref: WS10-0471.

Many of the ships that sail into Vancouver’s inner harbour were first anchored in English Bay, awaiting their berths.  In such cases, a pilot is dispatched to the vessel to bring her in.  One of several boats used to transport the pilots is the TYMAC PILOT SIX, which operates out of her base near the CenTerm container terminal.  Judging by her speed, it’s a thrilling ride for the pilots.

TYMAC PILOT SIX, taken December 5, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0478.

And finally, no Metro Scene report is complete without a few stats.  November finished with 205 ship visits, down from 222 in October but in line with the 204 of November 2009.  Amazingly, the total ship visits up to the end of November is 2,574 – 10 more than the same period in 2009.  Up to the 15th of December there has been 110 ship visits, which at the current pace would see about 227 by the end of the month.  This would be considerably more than the 199 in December 2009, and produce overall an increase of 38 ships in 2010.  However slight, this is good for the economy and good for shipspotters.

(Photos for this article taken by or supplied by Neil England.)


Highlights from the December 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 178)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

At a recent directors' meeting of the WSS it was decided to advance the deadline for submissions of articles to the Ship's Log. This was to accommodate our hard-working and sometimes beleaguered editors, who in times of trouble find themselves working late into the night to get the Log to the printers on time.  So a reasoned decision was made to move the deadline forward  At a recent directors meeting of the WSS it was decided to advance the deadline for submission of articles to the Ship’s Log. to the 20th of the month instead of the 25th.  Hopefully this will strike a fair balance between making life easier for the editor and publisher but keeping the news as current as possible.  As a consequence this particular article will still include monthly stats but they’ll be a little older, historically speaking. 

The noteworthy ship activities will continue to take place when they do, with no respect for our deadlines.  While writing last month’s article I was unaware of an unusual event that was taking place in our port.  A stricken container ship was being towed into Vancouver harbour by the deep-sea tug  SUMATRAS, on Oct. 22nd.  The event was captured on film (yes, that old-fashioned cellulose) by WSS member Don Brown, and the accompanying photo is a scan from his print.  Rare enough as it is to  see a large ship under tow here, this particular freighter had been towed all the way from Manzanillo, Mexico  The  SUMATRAS  is a Panamanian registered tug, 55m in length, 928 deadweight tonnes (dwt) and twin engines putting out 8440 horsepower.  Built in 1977, she also has a 263 HP bow thruster and a full range of salvage equipment, making her a venerable and versatile workhorse.  She is owned and operated by Netherlands based International Transport Contractors, who have a fleet of 13 such tugs, with another four under their management.  After delivering the container ship to the Vancouver Dry Dock, the SUMATRAS tied up at LynnTerm awaiting dispatch.  She left on Oct. 30th for Hong Kong.

SUMATRAS, taken October 24, 2010, at LynnTerm, from Brighton Park. 

Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0456.


The vessel under tow, the  HS DISCOVERER, experienced engine failure on Aug. 5th while enroute from Busan, South Korea to the Mexican port.  She does a regular route from the Orient to the western coast of Central and South America.  The German flagged ship is 208m long, 36,000 dwt and has a capacity of 2800 TEU.  She was towed into Manzanillo where she off-loaded all her containers.  It’s unclear why she was towed  to Vancouver.  My enquiries to the owner/operator of the ship, Hansa Shipping of Hamburg, Germany have gone unanswered.  However, given  that it might have taken two to three weeks to be towed up here, she must have spent a good deal of time in Manzanillo before the decision was made.  While in Vancouver she was only in the drydock about a week before being refloated and as of this writing she is still alongside the drydock pier.

HS DISCOVERER, taken October 22, 2010, from Lions Gate Bridge.  Don Brown photo. 

Ref: WS10-0449.


HS DISCOVERER, taken November 02, 2010, at Vancouver Dry Dock, from Esplanade Avenue. North Vancouver.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0448.


On October 30th I was witness to one of the most frenzied movements of ships in Vancouver’s inner harbour that I’ve ever seen.  At the height of it there were six ships under way between the two bridges and within about an hour and a quarter they had all passed through the narrows at Lions Gate Bridge.  The first to enter the harbour was the Liberian flagged 46,000 dwt tanker PACIFIC SOLARELLE enroute to anchorage in the Indian Arm at the eastern end of Burrard Inlet.  I had arrived at Brocton Point in Stanley Park just in time to see her stern sail past the light beacon.  While the tanker was in transit through the inner harbour, the 47,000 dwt Chinese geared bulker YANG HAI was departing her berth at Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver, laden with potash.  Before reaching Brocton Point she suddenly veered sharply to port, heading toward Canada Place with black smoke belching from her funnel.  I was sure there was trouble aboard.  Over the next several minutes it became apparent that she was carving a great circle and appearing to head back from whence she came.  At this point I thought she had left one of the crew on the dock.  The real reason materialized a few moments later when through the towers of the Lions Gate Bridge, 

 the gargantuan Capesize bulker  HANJIN SAIJO, fully loaded with coal, appeared from the shadows of Prospect Point.  At 206,000 deadweight tonnes, 300 metres in length and 50 metres wide, she was not about to share the narrows with any other ship.  Under escort by two tugs, she moved slowly toward Anchorage-A in the inner harbour where she was about to take on bunkers before departing for South Korea.  Meanwhile the YANG HAI had turned full circle and was cruising past the HANJIN SAIJO at mid harbour, heading toward the Lions Gate Bridge.  At this point three more ships came into view.  Minutes behind the Hanjin bulker was the empty 105,000 tonne crude oil tanker  NS CHALLENGER, on her way to an Indian Arm anchorage to await her berth at Westridge Terminals in Burnaby.  As she sailed into the harbour, two more ships had already slipped through the Second Narrows and into the inner harbour, forming a convoy behind the  YANG HAI, sailing out into  English Bay.  The American ATB (articulated tug barge) GALVESTON with the  oil products barge PETROCHEM PRODUCER was second in line with the 20,000 tonne Tokyo Marine products tanker CYPRESS GALAXY  bringing up the rear.  The ATB (more commonly called ITB, or integrated tug and barge, in Canada) is no small vessel itself.  The  PETROCHEM PRODUCER is 159m long and 20,000 dwt (deadweight tonnes).  The tug GALVESTON is 46m long, and together with the barge forms a unit 184m overall, roughly the size of a Handymax freighter.  After the last ship had cleared the narrows I thought to myself that this was the best parades of ships I had ever seen.  If Winston Churchill had been with me that day, he might have observed:  “Never have so many with so much sailed by in so little time”.


PACIFIC SOLARELLE, taken October 30, 2010 from Brockton Point.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0452.


YANG HAI, taken October 30, 2010 from Brockton Point.  Neil England photo.

Ref: WS10-0460.


HANJIN SAIJO, taken October 30, 2010 from Brockton Point.  Neil England photo. 

Ref: WS10-0447.


NS CHALLENGER, taken October 30, 2010 from Brockton Point.  Neil England photo. 

Ref: WS10-0450


GALVESTON with PETROCHEM PRODUCER, taken October 30, 2010 from Brockton Point.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0446.


Meanwhile on the Fraser River, a veritable beehive of activity ensued.  Probably the most interesting event was the return of the deep-sea Canadian tug ALEX GORDON.  Operated by Northern Transportation (based in Edmonton, Alberta)  she was photographed on the 24th of July of this year by WSS member Robert Etchell.  


CYPRESS GALAXY, taken October 30, 2010 from Brockton Point.  Neil England photo. 

Ref: WS10-0445


ALEX GORDON, taken November 7,2010, on Fraser River. Near Vito Shipyards.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0441.


At that time, the 62m, 7200 hp, ice-strengthened tug was towing a heavily laden barge, the NT 12000, down the Fraser River.  Piled high on the deck where pre-fab buildings, containers, vehicles and heavy equipment.  She was destined for Newmont Mining Corporation’s Hope Bay site on the Arctic shores of Nunavut.  On the 7th of November she returned with the empty barge and delivered it to Vito Shipyards in Delta, near the Alex Fraser Bridge.  Northern Transportation is Canada’s oldest Arctic transportation company (75 years) and has been operating from the east coast of Canada and Hay River, Northwest Territories.  In 2009 she started a service from Delta, going up the west coast of BC and Alaska and into the western Arctic.

The Fraser River is also Vancouver’s pipeline for auto imports.  Anyone who has ventured to the eastern end of Steveston Highway in Richmond or to the northern end of Annacis Island in Delta, will have seen the thousands upon thousands of vehicles parked on the sprawling acres of parking lots adjacent to the two auto terminals.  The Annacis Auto Terminal (AAT) has two berths for ships while the Fraser Wharves (FW) has one.  Many a day will see both terminals empty, but the ships seem to come in bunches, and suddenly all three berths are full.  In the past month 19 vehicle carriers have called at the terminals: 11 at AAT, five at FW and three have called at both terminals.  I was at the riverside promenade at the east end of Steveston Highway when MOL’s (Mitsui OSK Line)  AMETHYST ACE was moving downriver from AAT.  She was calling in to Fraser Wharves, which is very close to the promenade where I was waiting. Not having seen a move between the two terminals before, I didn’t realize how close to shore these big ships come, and of course they are moving very slowly as they approach the terminal.  Tethered to the stern was the Smit tug  WESTMINSTER PRIDE, making sure the 200m, 6400-vehicle carrier didn’t go crashing into the dock.


NT 12000, taken July 24, 2010 from east end of Steveston Highway.  Robert Etchell photo.  Ref: WS10-0451.


AMETHYST ACE, taken November 06, 2010 from east end of Steveston Highway.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0442.


WESTMINSTER PRIDE, taken November 06, 2010 from east end of Steveston Highway.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0459


The day after the AMETHYST ACE departed, one of her sisters, the  TRITON ACE, called in to Fraser Wharves.  I was across the river at Deas Island Park in Delta, where is situated a wonderful viewing tower on the shore.  By peculiar happenstance, as I was viewing the cars being driven off the vehicle carrier, in the background other cars were buzzing about the Silver City mall complex in Richmond.  Simultaneously coming into this neatly framed picture was the American tug  ANNE CARLANDER, towing a huge barge, the SEA-LINK RIGGER, with hundreds – perhaps thousands – of flattened shells of cars.  Before my very eyes was the life cycle of a vehicle:  Delivered - Driven - Destroyed.  Rumour has it that these vehicles, along with the thousands of tons of scrap metal also along for the ride, are recycled at a Seattle steel mill.


TRITON ACE, taken November 07, 2010 from Deas Island Park.  Neil England photo.

Ref: WS10-0457


October 2010 finished with 222 ship visits including 41 on the Fraser River.  This is 42 less than September but 11 more than October 2009.  The decrease in September was due to the closing of the cruise ship season here with 35 sailings in September but only three in October.  


ANNE CARLANDER, taken November 7, 2010 from Deas Island Park.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0443.


Bulkers were also down in October (92) compared to 109 in September.  Conversely, tankers increased to 27 from September’s 18, and we can expect to see a general increase in tanker traffic due to the demand by the U.S. for our crude oil.  Coal continues to be shipped out in huge quantities to the Orient, mostly Japan and South Korea.  One of the many interesting coal ships that departed from Neptune Terminals in November was the  Panamanian flagged bulker RISING SUN.  The design of this ship would be classed as a mini-cape.  At first glance she looks like a Panamax bulker with her seven hatches, but she is obviously of greater beam.  At 235m in length, she is only 10m longer than she is only 10m longer than the typical Panamax.  However she has a beam of 43m compared to the 32.3 of a Panamax.  And her draft (the depth below water when fully loaded) is only 12.9m.  This is less than the average Panamax, which is typically 14 to 14.5m.  Overall, the design of the RISING SUN gives her a deadweight tonnage of 92,000 compared to the typical Panamax of 75,000 dwt.


SEA-LINK RIGGER, taken November 7, 2010 from Deas Island Park.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0455.


WSS member Don Brown had told me that some coal ships were designed specifically to match the criteria of the Japanese ports at which they were unloading.  This would seem to be one of them.  The RISING SUN is owned and operated by Asahi Shipping of Tokyo, who have been in business since 1948.  They were bought out by Kobe Steel in 1987 but retained their name.  Later in 2002,  the huge Japanese conglomerate NYK bought a controlling interest in the company.  The Asahi name endures and its iconic robin’s-egg blue funnel with the fire-engine red band shines like a neon sign on the otherwise militaristic-looking grey hull and decks of the RISING SUN.

And to finish off – two more stories of another hot commodity – potash.  There has been a great buzz in the media lately about the importance of potash to Canada, since the attempted takeover of Potash Corp. by the Australian company BHP Billiton.  Most of our potash comes from Saskatchewan, and most of it is shipped out of Vancouver.  Six ships this month alone have called in for it.  One of them was the  2010-delivered CHANG SHAN HAI, a 57,000 dwt Panamanian flagged bulker.  She represents the new design of Handymax bulkers with her blunt vertical bow and slightly protruding bulbous feature, and a general boxy look to the ship.  Compared to older Handymax bulkers of similar dimensions she has an extra 5,000 dwt capacity.

The second potash ship of interest arrived on the 18th of November to the unlikeliest of places, the Canada Place Cruise Ship Terminal.  I went down there yesterday to investigate.  It seems she has arrived here on her maiden voyage from Japan after delivery from Imabari Shipyards of Tokyo, and was welcomed by dignitaries and representatives.  The vessel,  U-SEA SASKATCHEWAN is the first of nine ships to be built by a joint venture of Canpotex (the marketing agency for Canadian potash) and Denmark’s U-SEA Bulk.  This vessel is 200m long, 32.2m wide and 61,000 dwt.  On the 20th of November she will move to Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver to load potash, bound for Thailand and Indonesia.  I hope the paint on her will be dry by then.


RISING SUN, taken November 16, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Neil England photo.

Ref: WS10-0453.


RISING SUN (funnel), taken November 16, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0454.


CHANG SHAN HAI, taken November 10, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Neil England photo.

Ref: WS10-0444.


U-SEA SASKATCHEWAN, taken November 1st, 2010 at Canada Place, from the new Convention Centre.  Neil England photo.  Ref: WS10-0458..




Highlights from the November 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 177)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

I reported in last month’s Ship’s Log that with a week left in September the year’s total ship visits was projected to be between 2140 and 2150. With all the stats in I can now say that it finished with 2149 visits, exactly the same number recorded by the end of September 2009.With one week left in October there have been 170 ship visits so far, projected to be about 225 by month’s end. This would be slightly ahead of October 2009’s 211 visits. As the year end approaches one would expect to see more 2010-delivered ships arriving, and 17 have called in to Vancouver since the last report.

The sparkling orange paint of Aegean Bulk’s AGONISTIS lit up the dull sky of October 3rd, the day I was down at Prospect Point in Stanley Park, photographing ships and enjoying nature. Fresh off her sea trials, she was delivered to Aegean from South Korea’s Sacheon-Tongong Shipyards in September of this year, and could very well have been making her maiden voyage. She is 196m in length and 59,000 dwt. Aegean Bulk is a relatively new company, established in Athens in 2000, and has a fleet of seven bulkers with six more newbuilds to be delivered next year. The AGONISTIS was in port to load coal at Neptune Terminals and is bound for Finland.

AGONISTIS, taken on October 3, 2010, from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0422.

Another 2010 launch was loading coal at Roberts Bank this month, the ORIENT CRUSADER. Dubbed by her operator Interorient of Limassol, Cyprus as a “mini-cape”, she is 255m long, 43m wide and 115,000 dwt. This design falls in between the Panamax bulkers so commonly seen in Vancouver and the largest Capesize vessels carrying coal out of here which would typically be over 285m in length and 175,000 dwt. Although Vancouver has seen every kind of Capesize design between 105,000 dwt and 210,000 dwt, this ship is definitely on the small end of the scale, hence its moniker “mini-cape”.I was able to photograph a few more of the 16 ships delivered in 2010 which came into port in the last month. The DIANA SCHULTE was loading sulphur at Vancouver Wharves between the 10th and 12th of October. She was likely on her maiden voyage as well, having been delivered September. 23rd. She’s the latest launch of Schulte Thomas Reederei of Hamburg. An interesting story in itself, the Schulte family has been in the shipping business since 1883. Reederei Bernhardt Schulte was formed in 1955 and still operates today with a fleet of 85 ships, comprising mostly bulkers, containers, and tankers. Thomas Schulte is the son of Bernhardt and he started his own company in 1987 which now operates 51 vessels. Except for a few, all ships of both companies have the name [somebody] Schulte.

DIANA SCHULTE, taken October 12, 2010, from Stanley Park Seawall. Ref: WS10-0425.

Another photographic opportunity came by surprise on the 16th of October while on a family outing at Garry Point Park in Steveston. I’m rarely without my camera when near a body of water. Coming suddenly into view was NYK’s new delivery, the SENTOSA LEADER, downbound on the Fraser River. The Singapore flagged vehicle carrier was put into service in May of this year. She has a nominal capacity of 5,000 vehicles. It was interesting to note that her name was on the front of the bow as well as the sides – something that I haven’t seen before. I wondered about the significance of Sentosa and discovered that it’s a huge Disneyland-like resort in Singapore. It seems a likely derivation of this vessel’s namesake. Earlier in the month another 2010 vehicle carrier from NYK made her way up the river. The HYPERION LEADER, a slightly smaller 4000-car vessel was delivered in March of this year.

SENTOSA LEADER, taken October 16, 2010, from Garry Point Park, Steveston. Ref: WS10-0434.

HYPERION LEADER, taken October 3, 2010, from east end of Steveston Hwy, Richmond. Ref:WS10-0427.

If you happen to be at Garry Point when a freighter is transiting the river you are likely to see the pilot boat PACIFIC PILOT TWO racing out of (or into) Steveston harbour. In the case of inbound vessels the pilot boat takes a river pilot from Steveston to Sandheads, which is at the end of the dredged channel at the mouth of the south arm of the Fraser River. For outbound vessels the pilot would board at the dock and the pilot boat would race ahead to Sandheads to pick him (or her) up and return to Steveston. At high tide one would not know there was a channel out to Sandheads except for the chaotic snaking line of pylons extending for miles out into the Strait of Georgia.

PACIFIC PILOT TWO, taken October 16, 2010, from Garry Point Park. WS10-0431.

It’s been an average month for vehicle carriers on the Fraser River with 14 visits so far at the two terminals – Annacis Auto Terminal in Delta and Fraser Wharves in Richmond. On an outing to Deas Island at the end of September I witnessed two vehicle carriers passing each other near the Fraser Wharves, which is directly across the river. The PYXIS had just departed, while the MARGUERITE ACE was arriving. Both are regular visitors to the vehicle docks.

MARGUERITE ACE and PYXIS, taken September 29, 2010, from Deas Island Park. Ref: WS10-0428.

Cars and containers are the most popular commodities inbound to the port. And containers contain almost anything, including cars. According to Port Metro Vancouver’s stats, about 2 million containers have arrived already this year. In October 48 container ships have arrived so far. This is second only to bulkers, which numbered 69. Bulkers are almost always transporting cargo out of the port, except for the enigmatic case of the inbound ore. Three ships this month brought in ore concentrate to Vancouver Wharves. Rumour has it that the ore is coming from Alaska and being railed to Trail for smelting. Sounds like a story of bringing coals to Newcastle, but a story worth investigating. One of the three ore ships that I saw was the small general cargo vessel MCP TROODOS as she came through the Lions Gate Bridge and was docked nearby at Vancouver Wharves Berth-1. At only 117m in length and 8,000 dwt, it was a mystery as to why it took three tugs to assist it.

MCP TROODOS, taken October 12, 2010, from Stanley Park Seawall. Ref: WS10-0429.

For outbound cargo, drybulk products by far comprise most of it, the main ones being coal, grain, sulphur, potash and woodchips. Although coal accounts for the greatest tonnage of any drybulk product exported, it’s interesting to note that almost twice as many ships are carrying out grain than coal. October has been a typical month with 18 ships in for coal and 32 for grain so far. Two interesting ships in for grain which I captured — not on film anymore, but by use of pixels — were the STELLA HAMAL and the COL. CABALLERO. Interesting for different reasons. The COL. CABALLERO is a regular visitor to Vancouver. The Panamanian flagged, 24,000 dwt bulker was built in 2002 and is equipped with stanchions on the sides of her decks for stacking logs, and I suppose, other kinds of break-bulk cargoes. It was many years after my first sighting of her that I realized that there was a period after the COL and that it was in fact an abbreviation of colonel. Naturally I wondered if a Colonel Caballero actually existed, and of course he did. A bit of internet research uncovered a Colonel Caballero who fought in the Paraguayan Wars in the mid 19th century. It’s uncertain whether this man was the eponymous contributor to the ship’s name, but if so, there would be a story in the connection between this military officer and the Japanese company that owns the ship.

STELLA HAMAL, taken October 3, 2010, from Lions Gate Bridge. Ref: WS10-0435.

COL CABALLERO, October 19, 2010 from the Seabus. WS10-0425.

The STELLA HAMAL which departed with grain on October. 3rd is the latest in the fleet of Siba Ships. Siba is an interesting company in that it was founded in 1967 by an Italian livestock trader in the Alps, Emilio Balzarini. He started to build specialized ships for livestock transport to facilitate his growing business and eventually branched out to other types of ships and cargoes. Today Siba is headquartered in Singapore and owns or charters a total of 35 ships. The STELLA HAMAL is a Liberian flagged geared bulker of 35,000 dwt, and as you can see from the photo, also fitted with stanchions for carrying logs and other deck cargo. In closing I’ll report on a collection of interesting shipspotting moments this month. A highly recommended outing on a lovely autumn day, even for those indifferent to ships, is a walk along the Richmond dike of the North Arm of the Fraser River. The scenery is beautiful with a series of well-treed and manicured golf courses lining the north shore of the river. Not only is it a lovely stroll but there is a constant parade of tugs and barges, motor boats, sail boats and a few miscellaneous vessels plying the river. During a one-hour outing on October 2nd under idyllic conditions I saw a total of six tugs and barges from McDonald Beach, the dike trail’s end. One of these was the R.N. HODDER, towing a sprawling log boom up the river.

R. N. HODDER, October 2, 2010, from McDonald Beach, Richmond. WS10-0432.

At Prospect Point in Stanley Park the views from the cliff-top platform and down at the seawall both offer unique perspectives on marine traffic. From above, both sides of the Lions Gate Bridge are also readily accessible, giving even more interesting views. While on the seawall mid month a very interesting fishing boat called the NEMESIS passed very closely by. I don’t know much about fishing boats but I’m sure some of our readers could enlighten me more. I discovered the vessel was owned by New Leaf Fishing of Prince Rupert and that it was built in 1974 by Benson Bros. of Vancouver. I’d be interested to know what kind of fishing boat she is and what she might have been doing in port.I had an interesting view of the integrated tug and barge SEA RELIANCE with the 550-1 when it sailed under the Lions Gate Bridge on Oct. 12th. I could see clearly the V-notch cut out at the stern of the barge, into which the tug snugly fits. This US flagged combo from Crowley Maritime is a regular visitor, bringing refined petroleum products from the Anacortes refinery to the storage tanks in Burnaby.

NEMESIS, October 12, 2010, from Stanley Park Seawall. WS10-0430.

SEA RELIANCE, and 550-1, taken October 12, 2010, from Lions Gate Bridge. Ref: WS10-0433.

And lastly, always on the lookout for colourful funnels, logos and the like, a was delighted to see the APOLLONAS sail into the harbour on October 11th. Yet another 2010 launch, she’s in the fleet of Capital Shipmanagement of Athens, and was in port to load grain. Emblazoned on the front of the cabins is the company’s bright blue and red logo, something I’ve not seen before. I regret that the accompanying photo will not show these brilliant colours, (except on our website).

APOLLONAS, showing the vibrant logo, October 11, 2010 from Stanley Park Seawall. Ref: WS10-0424.


Highlights from the October 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 176)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

With only a few days left in September, the Alaska cruise season is winding down with the last scheduled sailing out of Vancouver by the STATENDAM on Sunday the 26th. There will still be a few cruise ship visits into October with repositioning cruises for the next two weeks or so.At the three-quarter mark of the year, overall ship visits are keeping an almost identical pace with last year. There have been about 2100 so far this year, projected to be around 2140 to 2150 by month’s end. Last year there were 2149 visits by the end of September.July and August were both busy months with 277 and 240 visits respectively. Another 207 have arrived so far this month. Bulkers continue to lead the parade with 102 visits in July and another 86 in August. In September another 81 have been recorded. One of the largest ever to visit the port arrived on July 31st to Anchorage-11 in English Bay. She is the 300 metre long, 206,000 dwt Panamanian-flagged giant CAPE VANGUARD. After more than a week at anchorage she moved to Roberts Bank to load coal. Another 33 Capesize bulkers over 150,000 dwt have arrived in the port since July 1st, all of them loading coal – most at Roberts Bank but some at Neptune Terminals.There has been a steady stream of container ships as well: 62 in July, 58 in August and 46 to date in September. The largest of them berth at Deltaport at Roberts Bank. The granddaddy of them all is the 349m, 9000-TEU ZIM DJIBOUTI, a fairly regular visitor there. For those of you who like to think in feet, that’s about 1,145 of them, and almost 200 feet longer than the largest cruise ship that’s come to Vancouver. Since Deltaport’s Berth-3 opened this year the terminal has definitely got busier. Since July 1st 75 ships have visited and over 30 of them had capacities exceeding 8000 TEU. One of them was our namesake VANCOUVER EXPRESS, a Hapag-Lloyd 2009 launch. The Deltaport terminal is used by container lines Zim, CMA-CGM, Evergreen, China Shipping, Hapag-Lloyd and Maersk. Contrarily, the inner harbour container terminals of VanTerm and CenTerm are serviced by APL, Hyundai, Hanjin, COSCO, K-Line, MOL and Westwood. The container ships visiting the Vancouver terminals tend to be in the 4000 to 6000 TEU range, except for the Westwood ships which are general cargo vessels moving small numbers of containers into westcoast ports and departing with forest products. Typically, their capacity is about 1500 to 2500 TEU. Since July 1st 33 vessels have called in at CenTerm and another 33 at VanTerm.The Fraser River also sees a significant number of container ships. These tend to be of the smaller type, typically 1500-2500 TEU, such as the HS SCHUBERT which has made a monthly visit to Fraser-Surrey Docks since March of this year. This vessel, owned and operated by Hansa Shipping of Hamburg, Germany, is 177m in length, 24,000 dwt and has a capacity of 1740 TEU. Fraser-Surrey Docks has hosted 22 container ships since July 1st. Tanker traffic increased to a peak of 33 vessels in July before dropping back to 24 in August and 15 so far this month. I suspect the general increase up to mid-summer is related to supplying the cruise ships with fuel. Of the many different types and sizes of tankers coming into the port, only a few are bringing in refined petroleum products. Others are carrying out refined petroleum products, crude oil, animal and vegetable oils and chemicals such as caustic soda, sodium chlorate and ethylene dichloride.The 213m, 62,000 dwt Liberian-flagged tanker XANTHOS departed in early September with crude oil, escorted out of the harbour by the tugs SMIT CLYDE and SMIT MISSISSIPPI. A smaller tanker, the 183m, 38,000 dwt Liberian-flagged BLOOM loaded petroleum products at Westridge Terminal in Burnaby and rendered oils at VanTerm.

HS SCHUBERT, taken September 11, 2010, at Fraser River (eastern end of the Steveston Highway in Richmond). Ref: WS10-0409.

XANTHOS, taken September 14, 2010, from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0414.

Tokyo Marine is a shipping line whose vessels are seen regularly here in Vancouver. Operating a fleet of 62 tankers, there bright orange hulls emblazoned with their moniker are easy to spot. They tend to be on the smaller side, 20,000 dwt and under, carrying mostly ethylene glycol from LynnTerm-7 (Univar Canada, formerly Dow Chemicals) and Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody. They also carry animal and vegetable oils from VanTerm-4 and Neptune-3. The newest launch from Tokyo Marine was in Vancouver recently.

BLOOM, taken September 14, 2010, from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0406.

Delivered in August of this year, the 160m, 25,000 dwt FUJI GALAXY was at VanTerm and Pacific Coast Terminals. There are 15 Tokyo Marine ships bearing the name GALAXY, most of them names of trees. It’s arguable whether Fuji refers to a tree, but there is in fact a Fuji apple tree. Nevertheless, this new design is slightly bigger than her 20,000 dwt cousins, but for all intents and purposes, looks about the same.

FUJI GALAXY, taken September 14, 2010, from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0408.

In July there were 18 ships in port that were delivered this year. August saw another 16, one of which I photographed from the Jericho Sailing Centre (while having lunch there), the SEAHOPE II. She is a Maltese-flagged Handymax bulker, 190m in length and 57,000 dwt. Lying at Anchorage-7 in English Bay, she was awaiting a berth at the JRI grain terminal in North Vancouver. There have been a further 18 ships in port this month that were delivered this year, and a total of 124 for the year. . Some interesting flags have been flying astern in port this summer. The tricolours of France, seen only once before on a freighter and once on a naval ship by the author, was seen flying from the from the container ship CMA CGM MOZART berthed at Deltaport. The Indian flag, once rare here, was flying from three ships in July and two more in September. The Swiss flag, seen about once a year, flew from the 34,000 dwt bulker LAVAUX, another 2010 delivery, as it loaded grain at Cascadia terminal. The Croatian flag, rare enough, flies in bunches. Three ships arrived in August, different than the other three that arrived last March. I hadn’t seen it before then. And this month for the first time the Bangladeshi flag flew in the port from the stern of the AMSIR, a 56,000 dwt bulker loading grain at Cascadia and Cargill terminals. It would seem this is not a flag of convenience, as the ship is owned and operated by Abul Khair in Chittagong.On the local traffic scene, on my few outings to Stanley Park this month I couldn’t help notice the number of tugboats, both travelling light and with tow, moving in and out of the harbour. I keep thinking I’ve seen most of the local ones by now but this month a saw a couple of bright orange and white ones. They were travelling together, inbound, one towing a barge loaded with gravel and the other seemingly travelling as a chaperone. These were the colours of Coast Marine, a local marine services company. The larger tug was the MALASPINA STRAITS, an 18m, 850 hp vessel towing the barge DELTA QUEEN. The smaller tug was the CM SCOUT, a 12m, 650 hp workhorse.

SEAHOPE II, taken August. 20, 2010, from prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0412.

MALASPINA STRAITS, taken Sept. 14, 2010, from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0411.

CM SCOUT, taken September 14, 2010, from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0407.

Still on the subject of tugs, in early August while on a harbour tour aboard the HARBOUR PRINCESS, I spied Island Tug and Barge’s ISLAND SCOUT refuelling at the floating Chevron station in Coal Harbour. I began to wonder what it would be like to pull into a gas station with one of these brutes. I decided to do a bit of checking and a little calculating, and by my conservative estimate it would be about $15,000 for a fill-up. I hope that makes you feel better the next time you take your car to the pump.

ISLAND SCOUT, taken Aug. 2, 2010 from tour boat HARBOUR PRINCESS. Ref: WS10-0410.

And lastly, a nod to the senior citizens of the seas, that is, the older vessels still trading in our port. There were 30 vessels arriving in the last three months that are 25 years or older. Three of them are in Norway’s Star Shipping Fleet, a company renowned for it’s high standard of maintenance. While at Prospect Point this month I photographed one of the company’s grand old dames, the STAR AMERICA, departing the harbour after bunkering here. Built in 1985, she looked as good as new.

STAR AMERICA taken September 14, 2010, from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0413.


Highlights from the September 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 175)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

The last report described activities up to the end of June. July and August have been very busy for me, to the point of being unable to keep up with my daily logging of ship activity in the Port of Vancouver. What I lack in statistics for the past two months, I’ll try to make up by regaling the reader with shipspotting adventures and filling the spaces with more photos.On Sunday June 27th my wife and I sailed out of Vancouver on a one-week Alaskan cruise to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. We boarded the CELEBRITY MERCURY early in order to enjoy the afternoon and familiarize ourselves with the ship while it was still quiet.

CELEBRITY MERCURY, at Ketchikan, July 2, 2010, from nearby pier. Ref: WS10-0385.

Sailing out of Vancouver on a cruise ship gives you spectacular views of the city from the top decks. For ship enthusiasts like myself it also includes the views of ships that you may get while sailing close to them. On this particular trip it was a beautiful afternoon as we departed about 5:30 pm and we saw the CARL OLDENDORFF at Vancouver Wharves, unloading ore concentrate. We also had good views of the COSCO bulker HAI HUANG XING at Anchorage-X in the inner harbour and the OCEAN HAWTHORN at Anchorage-6 in English Bay. Our captain announced that we had to calibrate our compass which meant doing a couple of circles out in the bay near Lighthouse Park. While doing so, the Holland America cruise ship RYNDAM overtook us on her journey to Alaska, but she was in sight of us for a good portion of the trip.

CARL OLDENDORFF, at Vancouver Wharves, June 27, 2010, from Lions Gate Bridge. Ref: WS10-0384.

When we awoke Monday morning we were just south of Port Hardy and close to the first of two pilot changes that take place on the route to Alaska. The pilot boat J.D. RILEY comes out of Port Hardy but the change is made near Pine Island, which is off the northeast tip of Vancouver Island, at the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound. The change is made on the fly, as the pilot boat comes alongside and maintains equal speed with our ship. The new pilot jumps on and shortly after the retiring one jumps off. This manoeuvre is easier on a cruise ship than a freighter since the former has a loading deck level with the pilot boat deck.

R.D. RILEY. Near Pine Island pilot station, June 5, 2010, taken from CELEBRITY MERCURY.  Ref: WS10-0394.

Our first port of call was not until Tuesday at 3 pm, at a village in the middle of nowhere called Icy Strait Point. The town of Hoonah, a small fishing port is nearby. There’s no dock at Icy Strait Point so the passengers have to be tendered in. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship RADIANCE OF THE SEAS was already anchored in the bay, but about to leave. The ensuing winds and rough seas kept many of us aboard and we had to reposition the ship after the tendering had started. We drifted in the open channel, unable to anchor, and repositioned constantly to stay near the village. Our next destination the following day was the Hubbard Glacier, billed as the highlight of the trip. This glacier is at the far north end of the Alaska panhandle and probably as far as any of the return-trip cruises to Alaska go. We almost didn’t see the glacier but magically the fog vaporized and the clouds lifted just as we arrived. We had two hours of excellent viewing as chunks of the 70-metre high shear wall of the glacier were falling into the bay. According to the captain, because of all the icebergs floating in the bay, conditions sometimes prevent ships from getting closer than five miles from the glacier. However, we had everything in our favour and we proceeded to the legal limit, one-half mile. Our next stop was Juneau, capital of Alaska. We were greeted with dark skies and low cloud, but no rain. We also met up again for the first time since leaving Vancouver with the RYNDAM and ASUKA II which were already docked there, and also the ISLAND PRINCESS which left Vancouver the day after us.

RADIANCE OF THE SEAS at Icy Strait Point, June 29, 2010, as seen from the CELEBRITY MERCURY. Ref: WS10-0393.

ASUKA II at Juneau, AK, July 1, 2010, taken from CELEBRITY MERCURY.  Ref: WS10-0383.

ISLAND PRINCESS at Juneau July 1, 2010, taken from CELEBRITY MERCURY.  Ref: WS10-0388.

After departing Juneau that evening we arrived the next day in Ketchikan, our final port of call. We were again greeted by the RYNDAM and ASUKA II but this time with beautiful sunny skies as well. Also docked in this small city was the SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR which left Vancouver three days after us. Ketchikan is the major center on the panhandle for shipping services: boat building, drydocks, repair and freight distribution. Steaming past our ship was the American tug and barge combo of the NATHAN E STEWART and DBL 54.

This was interesting because I later saw this combo in Vancouver in early August while on a boat cruise to Indian Arm. It seems she hauls fuel oil out of Burnaby up to Alaska. One thing that I didn’t see on our trip while in Alaska was a freighter, but I suspect they are there somewhere. It seems that the majority of goods are moved up and down the panhandle by barge, as we often saw large barges being towed with containers stacked five or six high on the deck.We returned to Vancouver a day and a half after leaving Ketchikan and I was up early to see our grand entrance into the city at about 6 am as we turned out of the Strait of Georgia into English Bay.On the weekend of July 17-18 North Vancouver had their Maritime Festival on the waterfront from Lonsdale Quay to the Burrard Dry Dock Pier. This coincided with the arrival of two ships from the South Korean navy, the HWA CHEON and the YANGMANCHOON, the latter which was open to the public. Also as part of this festival the Port of Vancouver sponsored a CDN$5 boat tour of the inner harbour with proceeds going to charity. And thanks to a heads-up from WSS member Joan Thornley I was able to get tickets. It was a beautiful day for the tour and our boat MAGIC CHARM was full. During the excursion we skimmed along all the docks on the north side up to the Second Narrows Bridge, then back along the south side to Canada Place, then straight back across to Lonsdale Quay. There were good views of a dozen ships or so but the ones on the north shore have the best light for photographing. We passed very close to the CIELO DI VAIANO and the WESTWOOD COLUMBIA, both loading forest products at LynnTerm.

NATHAN E. STEWART with DBL 54, At Ketchikan, July 2, 2010, Ref: WS10-0390.

YANGMANCHOON & HWA CHEON at Burrard Drydock Pier, taken 18th July, 2010, from MAGIC CHARM. Ref: WS10-0400.

CIELO DI VAIANO, at LynnTerm-4, July 18, 2010, from tour boat MAGIC CHARM. Ref: WS10-0386.

My wife Beth and I decided to do one of our favourite trips on the August long weekend: Harbour Tours’ luncheon cruise up to Indian Arm, which leaves from Coal Harbour near Canada Place. The route is four hours return with a gourmet buffet luncheon included. The scenery is varied, from the busy docks of the inner harbour to the wilderness of the upper reaches of Indian Arm. There were several ships anchored in the inner harbour including the FEDERAL SCHELDE, flying the Barbados flag, which I have not seen in Vancouver before. There were four other ships anchored in the inner harbour and another eight docked on the south side. As we approached the Second Narrows Bridge we were running fast with the tide and had a good view of the NEW LIU LIN HAI, a 56,000 dwt Chinese bulker loading grain at the Cascadia terminal. Proceeding through the narrows and up past the Chevron refinery in Burnaby, we met the American tug NATHAN E STEWART pushing her fully loaded fuel barge DBL 54, outbound. This is the same ITB (integrated tug and barge) that we saw in Ketchikan, Alaska during our cruise.

FEDERAL SCHELDE, at Anchorage-D, August 2, 2010, from HARBOUR PRINCESS.  Ref: WS10-0387.

NEW LIU LIN HAI, at Cascadia Terminal, August 2, 2010, from HARBOUR PRINCESS. Ref: WS10-0391.

AMBA BHAVANEE, at Anchorage-K, August 2, 2010, from HARBOUR PRINCESS. Ref: WS10-0381.

At Anchorage-L on the east side of Indian Arm was the much smaller 46,000 dwt Hong Kong flagged tanker UNIQUE DEVELOPER. Lunch is served almost immediately upon turning up the Indian Arm, so it never interferes with my shipspotting and photographing activities. On the way back, we retraced our path to the Second Narrows Bridge, but then proceeded along the north shore docks to Lonsdale Quay and then back across to Coal Harbour. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a single ship in the seven berths of LynnTerm, which is rare, but Neptune Terminals along with the grain terminals Cargill and JRI all had ships. We passed by the Maltese bulker SIFNOS SUN, looking a little worse for wear, being berthed at Cargill by two Seaspan tugs. Our last impressive sight of this trip was sailing very close to the colossal Capesize bulker ORIENT, a 180,000 dwt vessel at Anchorage-A, waiting to load coal. We passed close enough to see her rudder a good three meters out of the water and the large fuel barge beside her looking like a match-box. VESTA Our last outing of this report was a one-week camping trip to our favourite camping spot on San Juan Island, looking across the Haro Strait to Cordova Bay, north of Victoria. During our stay I was able to identify 50 ships plying the strait. Freighters of every type, naval ships, coast guard, tugs and barges and a couple of cruise ships comprised the parade that sailed past our campsite every day.

SIFNOS SUN, at Cargill grain terminal , August 2, 2010 from HARBOUR PRINCESS. Ref: WS10-0398.

UNIQUE DEVELOPER, at Anchorage-L, August 2, 2010, from HARBOUR PRINCESS. Ref: WS10-0399.

ORIENT VESTA, at Anchorage-A, August 2, 2010, from HARBOUR PRINCESS. Ref: WS10-0392.

One of the highlights was the NORWEGIAN SUN, coming out of Seattle and passing by at dusk, lit up like a Las Vegas casino. I saw some of the ships again when I returned to Vancouver, as the majority of them are destined for there. Unfortunately, conditions for photographing them have to be ideal, which infrequently occurs.. On the homefront, a few items are worth mentioning, two of them involving Gearbulk ships. The KIWI ARROW arrived on July 21st at LynnTerm, unloading steel and general cargo and taking on forest products. However, it wasn’t the KIWI ARROW many of us veteran spotters have come to know and love. This was a brand new KIWI . Freshly delivered this year, on her maiden voyage. The old KIWI ARROW was sold in September 2009 and renamed the AQUA PEARL. The new one, unlike the older which had open hatch gantry cranes, was geared with standard jib cranes.

KIWI ARROW, (new), at LynnTerm-6, July 25, 2010, from New Brighton Park.  Ref: WS10-0389.

Another ‘Arrow’ story involved another similar styled older Gearbulk vessel, the ARACARI ARROW, built in 1992. In port in mid July to load grain at Cascadia Terminal and then Vancouver Wharves, something went awry. While fully loaded and appearing ready to depart, she shortly after began unloading part of her cargo (barley according to WSS member Don Brown who monitored a communication between ship and port authority). When I saw her she had filled a good-sized barge with two heaping mounds of the grain and workmen were busy covering it with white plastic sheeting. Was it overloaded or the cargo gone bad?

Another ship of interest visiting in July was the 32,000 tonne Cypriot flagged bulker SEATTLE. She’s a regular visitor to the port, having made three previous visits this year, carrying a variety of cargoes both inbound and outbound. On her most recent trip she brought in sugar to the BC Sugar Refinery, just east of the Ballantyne cruise terminal. This cargo took about one week to unload, after which she spent another week loading grain. I assume she may have spent some time in between having the holds cleaned, or perhaps not. Maybe the grain is added to the leftover sugar and you have your cargo delivered as kid’s cereal.

SEATTLE, taken July 19, 2010 from Prospect Point.. Ref: WS10-0395.

SEVILLIA, July 26, 2010, (showing viewing tower at Harbourview Park), Ref: WS10-0396.

And lastly I’ll mention a viewpoint that is worthwhile visiting for anyone interested in watching ships load or unload. There are very few such public places in all of greater Vancouver, and this one is the best. It’s called Harbourview Park, and it’s at the mouth of Lynn Creek in North Vancouver. It requires a pleasant 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the end of the trail, where a viewing tower looks directly over the LynnTerm dock at berth-4. Views to berth-5 are good as well. This is as close as you’ll normally get to a working ship. When I was there in late July, the general cargo ship SEVILLIA (loaded with containers) was loading bales of pulp at LynnTerm-4. I watched with fascination for half an hour. I recommend it.

SEVILLIA, loading pulp at LynnTerm-4, July 26, 2010, from Harbourview Park. Ref: WS10-0397.

ARACARI ARROW, at Vancouver Wharves, July 30, 2010, from Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref: WS10-0382.

All photos in the Metro Vancouver Scene columns were either taken by or supplied by Neil England, unless otherwise noted


Highlights from the Summer 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 174)


Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

Since the last report for the Ship’s Log at the end of April the cruise ship schedule has moved into high gear with 40 ships sailing out in May and another 37 in June. The great majority of them are doing regular runs on the Alaska cruise circuit, either one-week or two-week round trips.Combined with merchant traffic the total number of ship visits was 253 in May and 268 in June. June was the busiest month of the year so far, averaging 8.9 arrivals per day, compared to this year’s average of 7.6. As usual, bulkers accounted for the greatest number by type – 104 in May and 93 in June. The hottest bulk commodities were grain, coal and potash. Of the 197 bulk ships calling in the past two months, 72 carried out grain, 61 had coal and another 18 had potash. Not far behind, another 10 ships loaded sulphur. Interestingly, 10 ships brought in ore concentrates, unloaded at Vancouver WharvesContainer ships always account for the second largest number, 59 in May and 62 in June. Vehicle carriers accounted for 17 in May and 20 in June, in keeping with the yearly average of 20 per month. General cargo ships tend to swing wildly with the numbers, from 17 in May to 32 in June, with a range of numbers in between for the other months of this year. These are my favourites, however, since they vary greatly in size and shape and carry the most interesting cargoes.One such vessel was at LynnTerm in mid May, the STELLAPRIMA, a 101-meter heavy-lift ship operated by Jumbo Shipping of the Netherlands. On her deck was a fair-sized motor yacht, perhaps 20 meters in length, which I believe had been loaded at LynnTerm. While I was watching from the Second Narrows Bridge for a short while, she was unloading a few dozen oddly-sized crates from her stern holds.

ANTIKEROS, photographed May 8, 2010, from New Brighton Park.  Ref: WS10-0167.

Many of our readers may have already been enlightened by our mainstream media of the controversy surrounding the increase in tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet and the possible danger of a spill. There is no doubt that the number of tankers is increasing. With an average of 16 per month from January to March, it ramped up to an average of 26 per month from April to June. Although petroleum products of various kinds are both inbound and outbound from the storage facilities in Burnaby, the main concern I’m sure is the amount of crude oil being shipped out and the larger size of these ships. Apparently Kinder Morgan plans to double the capacity of it’s crude oil pipeline from Alberta and consequently it’s exports out of the port as well. At least 34 tankers have carried out crude oil in May and June, ranging in size from the 40,000 tonne (dwt) OREGON VOYAGER to the 70,000-tonne STROFADES and ANTIKEROS up to the 110,000-tonne JAG LYALL. No doubt a lot of crude is moving out of the port. From my observations it would seem that all of these ships are tethered to at least two tugs when departing laden (some to three), and that they only transit the narrows at slack tide. If the rules put in place are adhered to, I’m sure there’s not much danger of a spill from this source.

OREGON VOYAGER, taken June 12, 2010, from Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref: WS10-0175.

STROFADES, taken June 5, 2010 from Porspect Point.  Ref: WS10-0179.

Since the end of June marks the halfway point of the year, I’ll finish off my ‘stats’ section of the report with a few interesting figures. The total number of ship visits by the end of June: 1372. If this pace continues we’ll end the year with about 2740 ships, very close to the 2760 of last year. There have been 69 ships delivered in 2010 that have visited the port so far; 29 of them came in May and June. The only one of the 29 I was able to photograph was the 35,000 tonne, 180m Liberian flagged bulker UNITED TENORIO, making her maiden voyage to Vancouver on June 8th to load grain. The paint on this vessel was gleaming, and the decks and hatches (as well as the stanchions) were a bright fire-engine red.

UNITED TENORIO.  Taken June 13, 2010, from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0180.

UNITED TENORIO, showing detail of superstructure.  Ref: WS10-0181.

The total number of flags represented so far this year: 38. There were 29 different flags in June, the most so far for any month this year. There were five flags for which only a single ship flew the colours: Libya, Malaysia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Taiwan and Turkey. In June the 53,000 tonne Turkish flagged general cargo ship IDC DIAMOND loaded potash at Neptune Terminals.Moving on to some recent excursions and notable ship spottings, the first occurred on May 2nd when my wife Beth and I took an overnight repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Seattle aboard the AMSTERDAM. It has to be one of the most luxurious and relaxing ways to get to Seattle and it’s very inexpensive. Sailing out of Vancouver on a cruise ship (typically around 5 pm) offers the passenger exceptional views of ships at Canada Place, CenTerm, Anchorage-X, Fibreco and Vancouver Wharves.

From the heights of the upper decks, the photographer has vantage points not normally attainable. There wasn’t much activity in the positions mentioned above, but I did see the SALLY ANN C unloading concentrates at Vancouver Wharves Berth-1. Arriving at Seattle the next morning about 6 am, we passed by the FOUR SHINANO, anchored in Elliot Bay (Seattle harbour). The next day I photographed her at Pier-86 Grain Terminal. This same vessel had been in Vancouver in March, loading coal at Roberts Bank.

IDC DIAMOND, taken June 14, 2010, from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0174.

SALLY ANN C., taken May 2, 2010 while berthed at Vancouver Wharves-1, taken from MV AMSTERDAM.  Ref: WS10-0177.

We spent two nights in Seattle, which gave me a chance to walk the wonderful public waterfront piers and the seashore trail past the Pier-86 Grain Terminal. At the terminal that morning was the 75,000 tonne Hong Kong flagged Panamax bulker GREAT BLESS, which was just about finished loading. She sailed out about noon, after which the FOUR SHINANO moved in. While Beth shopped I decided to do some exploring. Never having taken the foot ferry from downtown Seattle to West Seattle, I hopped aboard the water taxi RACHEL MARIE at Pier-90, near the south end of public waterfront. The US$3, 10-minute ride aboard the speedy catamaran passed very close to one of the anchorages, where the Philippines flagged bulker WESTERN SINGAPORE was waiting for a berth. A trip up to the Space Needle (where views of the harbour are fabulous) and a train ride back to Vancouver capped off our trip.

FOUR SHINANO, taken May 3, 2010 from MV AMSTERDAM, in Elliot Bay, Seattle, WA.  Ref: WS10-0172.

GREAT BLESS, taken May 4, 2010 at Pier 86 terminal, Seattle, from waterfront trail.  Ref: WS10-0173.

RACHEL MARIE, taken May 4, 2010 from West Seattle, WA.  Ref: WS10-0176.

WESTERN SINGAPORE, taken May 4, 2010 in Elliot Bay, Seattle, from water taxi.  Ref: WS10-0182.

We did another short trip on my birthday down to one of our favourite places, the Fairhaven district of Bellingham. This quaint village is also home to the cruise terminal and waterfront park, from which the Alaska ferry, the Victoria ferry, and the San Juan Island ferry call home. It also boasts the coast guard station and the Fairhaven Drydock. With excellent views of Bellingham Bay there is always some ship activity going on. While there on June 18th and 19th, the Alaska ferry COLUMBIA arrived and departed on her weekly run to Ketchikan. We saw the COLUMBIA in Alaska at the end of June while on a cruise aboard the CELEBRITY MERCURY (which I’ll write about in the next Ship’s Log). In the Fairhaven Drydock was the US Coast Guard buoy tender ANTHONY PETIT. She arrived from her homeport of Ketchikan for a refit.

COLUMBIA, taken June 18, 2010 at Bellingham cruise terminal (from South Bay trail).  Ref: WS10-0169.

We made the usual side trip to Anacortes since it’s less than an hour from Bellingham and always busy with ship activity. Of note was the progress of two ships in the Dakota Creek shipyards. The CADE CANDIES, the last of three offshore supply vessels being built there, is nearing completion. The other, an as-yet-unnamed Crowley tug, is also nearing completion. The tug is of the ITB (integrated tug and barge) variety commonly seen in Vancouver (such as the OCEAN RELIANCE) pushing the large oil barges into the Burnaby terminals.

Un-named Crowley tug, taken June 19, 2010 at Anacortes, WA (Dakota Creek Shipyards).  Ref: WS10-0170.

Back on the home front there were two vessels that caught my attention since the end of April. On May 1st the CSCC SHANGHAI sailed up the Fraser River to the Annacis Auto Terminal. The China Shipping Car-Carrier Company is a branch of the China Shipping Group, the same conglomerate that owns CSCL (China Shipping Container Lines). The CSCC SHANGHAI was built in 2008 to carry Chinese cars from Shanghai to Europe, but has since been chartered to NYK to carry Japanese cars to North America.

CSCC SHANGHAI, taken May 1, 2010, from east end of Steveston Hwy.  Ref: WS10-0171.

On the 5th of June the Canadian Coast Guard Ship BARTLETT sailed out of Vancouver after completing a CDN$1.4 million refit to extend her lifetime. Built in 1969 in Sorel, Québec, she was modernized in Halifax in 1988 with new propulsion and navigation systems. She is also strengthened for arctic service.

STELLAPRIMA, taken May 15, 2010 at LynnTerm-6, from Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.  Ref: WS10-0178.

CCGS BARTLETT, taken June 5, 2010 from Prospect Point.  Ref: WS10-0168.


Highlights from the May 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 173)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers


The last week of March slowed just a bit and the month ended with 213 ship visits, down slightly from March 2009’s 223. April has been a busy month with 185 visits up to the 25th and on target to reach about 220 by the end of the month. Last year 214 visits were made in April.So far there have been 74 bulkers, 50 container ships, 21 tankers, 19 general cargo ships, 18 vehicle carriers and 2 specialty ore-bulk-oil (OBOs) vessels. And as we’ve come to expect in Vancouver, April also heralded the start of the cruise ship season and the port’s first arrival – the AMSTERDAM at Canada Place on Sunday, April 25th.Two of the smallest ships to arrive this month were also two of the most interesting. The Russian icebreaker-general cargo ship ABAKAN arrived on the 1st of the month to load forest products at LynnTerm in North Vancouver. The 133m, 7400 dwt vessel is one of many in Russia’s Far Eastern Shipping Company (FESCO) fleet plying the waters between North America and northern Russian ports. The BELUGA FUNCTION arrived on the 18th to bunker in the inner harbour and moved down to Fraser-Surrey Docks to load general cargo. This interesting looking ship is 138m long and 13,000 dwt. One of the most striking design features of this ship, as with all the other Beluga ships I’ve seen in Vancouver, is that the company’s logo is not only painted on the funnel but also on the entire side of the superstructure. It’s a veritable work of art, like a giant mural. Beluga Shipping of Bremen, Germany has one of the world’s largest fleets of heavy-lift/project cargo vessels.

ABAKAN taken 3rd April 2010 from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0061

Down at Deltaport container terminal at Roberts Bank, the giants of the seas continue to be entertained. Three new ships delivered to Hapag-Lloyd in 2010 made their first visits to the port in April. The three sisters BUDAPEST EXPRESS, VIENNA EXPRESS and PRAGUE EXPRESS are 335m in length and 104,000 dwt, with a capacity of 8700 TEU. Some fairly large container ships still come into the inner harbour as well. Among them was spotted, a regular visitor, the HYUNDAI NATIONAL, sailing under the Lions Gate Bridge on April 19th. She is 304m in length and 81,000 dwt with a capacity of 6500 TEUs

BELUGA FUNCTION, entering Vancouver Harbour, taken April 18, 2010 from Stanley  Park Seawall. Ref: WS10-0063 

BELUGA FUNCTION, upperworks. Taken April 18, 2010. .Ref: WS10-0064

The TEU is the ‘Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit’, since at one time all containers were six-metre (20-feet) in length but quickly were surpassed by the more common 12-metre (40-foot) and 13.7-metre (45-foot) ones. However, the capacity is still measured on the equivalent number of six-metre (20-foot) containers the ship can carry.Among the giant bulkers (the Capesize vessels) to arrive in port, 11 of them were over 150,000 dwt. The two largest were the CAPE LAUREL and the OCEAN COBALT, at 289 metres in length and 180,000 dwt. I was able to photograph the Hong Kong flagged UNIQUE CARRIER anchored in English bay for several days. She is every bit as big, depending on how you want to measure. She is 292-metres in length and 178,000 dwt. The term Capesize originally referred to those ships that were too large to transit either the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal and typically would be under 80,000 dwt. To travel between the oceans they would have to go around Cape Horn in South America or the Cape of Good Hope in Africa.

HYUNDAI NATIONAL. Taken April 19, 2010 from Lions Gate Bridge. Ref: WS10-0058.

UNIQUE CARRIER, taken April 10, 2010 from Ferguson Point, Stanley Park. Ref: WS10-0056.

However in 2008 the Suez Canal (which has no locks) was dredged out to 18.9 metres draft and could accommodate all of the Capesize vessels that came to Vancouver this month. The new Panama Canal which is presently under construction will accommodate many of these vessels. The large Capesize vessels (over 150,000 dwt) that we see in Vancouver are bulk ships taking away coal. I’ve rarely seen a crude oil carrier larger than 110,000 dwt, but there are several over 100,000 dwt such as the POUL SPIRIT which sailed out of Vancouver on the third of April. The Bahamian-flagged tanker is 245 metres 804-feet) in length and 105,000 dwt. It was noticeable this month that of the 180 different ships visiting, 20 of them are spanking new, having been delivered in 2010. As well as the three container ships mentioned above there were nine bulkers, four more container ships, three tankers and a vehicle carrier. One of the tankers, the FREJA NORDICA, is the latest in the Lauritzen fleet and was anchored in English Bay before moving to Westridge Terminal in Burnaby. The Panamanian-flagged vessel is 186 metres in length (610 feet) and 54,000 dwt. The last ship I saw sail under the Lions Gate Bridge this month on Sunday, the 25th was a 2010-launch, just delivered in April and making her maiden voyage. So new is she that there were ’Wet paint’ signs on the deck. OK, I jest. However it did look like you could eat off the deck.

And in what must be troubling economic times for shipping, you’ll love her name: the RDB THINK POSITIVE, A Panamanian-flagged bulker which cruised into Neptune Terminals to load coal. Well it won’t be clean for long. In addition to the 20 ships launched this year, another 30 ships arriving this month were built in 2009 or 2008, accounting for more than one-quarter of all arrivals. Shipping may become a young ship’s game but not to the exclusion of a few old timers.

POUL SPIRIT, taken April 3, 2010 from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0059

FREJA NORDICA, taken April 10, 2010 from Jericho Pier. Ref: WS10-0065.

On one particularly busy day 10 of the 12 positions in English Bay were filled, as well as all three in West Vancouver and five of the six in the inner harbour. There were two more ships anchored in Indian Arm, where four spots are available. That’s 20 ships in 25 available anchorages in the port. I went over to West Vancouver that day to scope out possible vantage points for photographing ships in these positions, since it was rare to see all three of them filled. Designated as 13, 14 and 15 (east to west) they lie roughly between West Bay (west of Dundarave) and Lighthouse Park. Anchored at that time were the PANOS, GLORIOUS SAWARA, and DOUBLE REJOICE respectively. The GLORIOUS SAWARA, a 169m, 28,000 dwt Panamanian Handy-size geared bulker, was fully laden with grain and ready to depart. The DOUBLE REJOICE, a 225m, 77,000m Panamax bulker was empty and waiting for a coal berth at Roberts Bank.

The PANOS, another Panamax bulker, was involved in an interesting episode, parlayed to me by WSS member Don Brown, who witnessed the event, by sight and with the help of his UHF radio. Half laden with grain, she pulled up anchor and started underway to the Cascadia grain terminal to complete loading. A short while later she stopped and headed back toward anchorage. Listening to the conversation between ship and shore, Don deduced that she was unable to fully pull up the anchor and that the windlass (device that raises and lowers the anchor) had ceased to function. I didn’t hear the solution to the problem, but she eventually returned to Cascadia and secured her cargo.

GLORIOUS SAWARA, photographed April 10, 2010 from Marine Drive, West Vancouver, near Anchorage 14. Ref: WS10-0057..

Bulkers make up the majority of ship types that visit the port. Last year they accounted for approximately 37% of all ships visiting. This year, so far, it’s 45%. Some bulkers have cranes (geared) for self-unloading (or loading) and some don’t. I’ve never seen a geared Capesize bulker, and with good reason – I’m sure they don’t exist because it would take forever to load or unload one. The same goes for Panamax bulkers. However it is typical of Handysize bulkers (between 25,000 and 60,000 dwt) to be geared. The Handymax bulker is a very common design. Her dimensions are 190m in length, 32.3m wide and about 50-60,000 dwt., depending on her draft, which typically would be between 11 and 13 metres. She has four cranes. There were 14 such ships in port this month, and one of them was the Norwegian flagged SPAR DRACO, seen departing the harbour with a cargo of Potash on the 12th.

SPAR DRACO, taken April 12, 2010 from Lions Gate Bridge. Ref: WS10-0055

And lastly, a bit of non-freighter news. The venerable SEASPAN DORIS, the truck and train carrier often seen on the Fraser River, sailed into Vancouver Dry Dock on April 9th for maintenance and repairs. Normally she plies between the Tilbury Island terminal in Delta and Vancouver Island ports. And finally, I was able to photograph the SMIT MISSISSIPPI, redeployed here from Rotterdam in 2008. She is one of the larger tugs engaged in shipdocking in the harbour, at 31m in length and 353 gross tonnes. She was built in 1999 at Gdansk, Poland.

SEASPAN DORIS, taken April 9, 2010 from Prospect Point. Ref: WS10-0053

SMIT MISSISSIPPI, taken April 19, 2010 from Lions Gate Bridge. Ref: WS10-0054


Highlights from the April 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 172)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers


The Olympics and Paralympics have come and gone and with them the four cruise ships that served as accommodation for some of the personnel involved with those events. The CARNIVAL ELATION and OOSTERDAM both departed on March 2nd and the STATENDAM on March 4th. The MONA LISA, docked in Squamish, stayed around for the Paralympics and departed on March 23rd. I managed to get up to Squamish to see this aging beauty close up. It was especially interesting to see the funnel. As of this writing the 1966-built ship was on her way back to Europe and will do her final tour of duty cruising the Mediterranean this summer. According to the website Maritime Matters.com, efforts are in progress to return her to her homeport of Gothenburg, Sweden to be used as a floating hotel.

MONA LISA, at Squamish, B.C., March 15, 2010.  Ref: WS10-0044.

MONA LISA funnel.  Ref: WS10-0045.

At the pier next to the MONA LISA were two familiar looking tugs, but in the colours of Pacific Western Navigation. The 9 gt, 13-metre STORM FURY is the ex-JESSIE HODDER, built in 1992 by Hodder Tugboats of Richmond, B.C. The 98 GT, 18m STORM WAVE is the ex-ISLAND WAVE, built in 1977 by Allied Shipyards in North Vancouver.

STORM VAVE, tug, photo taken at Squamish, B.C.  March 6, 2010.  Ref: WS10-0050.

STORM FURY, at Squamish, March 6, 3010.  Ref: WS10-0049.

Back on the home front, as of March 25th there were 177 ship visits to the Port Metro Vancouver, on track to finish at about 220 by month’s end. This would be about the same as last year. The last week of February was busier than usual and the month finished with 202 visits, eight more than February 2009.The 177 vessels in so far comprised 85 bulkers, 44 container ships, 17 vehicle carriers, 15 general cargo ships, 14 tankers and two specialized woodchip carriers. There were 10 ships that were launched in 2010 including the PACIFIC IRMA, a 58,000 dwt Handymax bulker which was anchored in English Bay for two weeks before moving into the Pacific Elevators to load grain. Perhaps the paint was still drying in the holds.

Other newly launched vessels visiting Vancouver this month were the SALTA, MARIANNA, RUBY ACE, LEO FELICITY, IMPERIAL EAGLE, ZIM SAN DIEGO, MOL EMPIRE, KEN SEI and HANDY BAY. There were 21 different flags represented so far this month. Among the more interesting were the Bermuda on the MILAN EXPRESS, unloading containers at Fraser Surrey Docks, the Croatia on the TROGIR, loading grain at United Grain Growers, the Vanuatu on the RUBIN PEARL, loading grain at Cascadia and Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, and the US on the GREEN DALE, unloading vehicles at Annacis Auto Terminal and Fraser Wharves. You may not think the American flag is rare on ships here, but it is for ocean-going cargo vessels. Last year only five ships of the 2000 visiting were flying the Stars and Stripes. The flag is seen frequently on the coastal oil barges and tugs which come here regularly from the refineries in Anacortes, Washington. The oldest ship in this month was the regular visitor SKAUGRAN, a Norwegian owned and flagged roll-on roll-off (RoRo) cargo vessel built in 1979. The 38,000 dwt Vanuatu flagged bulker PIONEER was a close second, built in 1982. To put this in perspective, the average age of the nearly 450 different ships in this year is just seven years, having been built in 2003.The 300 metre, 204,000 dwt Panamanian flagged bulker SHIN KENRYU topped all challengers in the mammoth-ship category. There were five other Capesize vessels between 150,000 and 175,000 dwt, all loading coal at Roberts Bank. The largest containers ships to visit were the sisters ZIM SAN DIEGO and ZIM LOS ANGELES, at 334 metres in length and 8200 TEU capacity. Both were at Deltaport terminals. On the small end of the scale the 125 metre, 13,000 dwt general cargo vessel AQUA BLUE was bringing in steel and general cargo to the Fraser Surrey Docks.While down at Prospect Point in Stanley Park this month I was talking to fellow photographer and WSS member Don Brown about analyzing data on Vancouver shipping and he commented that it would be interesting to know the destinations of all these ships leaving the port. Indeed it would. Unfortunately this information is not easily obtainable and would require more time than I can spare. However it did get me thinking about what cargos are going out (or coming in) and what terminals are being used. So here’s what I found this month:Four ships were here just to refuel. Bunkering or taking on bunkers, as they say in the biz. One of them was the Norwegian bulker FERMITA, for which Don and I were waiting at Prospect Point. She was inbound from Prince Rupert fully laden with grain. And interesting she was, if only for her unusual minty-green superstructure. For those who are unable to get down to Prospect Point and the Lions Gate Bridge to view ships at close quarters, I’ve included a photo of the wheelhouse of the FERMITA, so that you can see the wonderful detail that’s visible from these venues.

FERMITA, taken March 15, 2010 from Prospect Point in Stanley Park.  Ref: WS10-0042.

Funnel & Bridge of FERMITA.  Ref: WS10-0043.

Emblazoned on her hull was the shipping line ‘Ugland’, which Don pointed out was the partner in the HUAL name seen on many vehicle carriers on the Fraser River in years past. HUAL, as I now learned, was Hoegh-Ugland Auto Liners. The most common cargo was containers – 44 ships, and I would venture to say most of it was inbound with a few going out with the empties being regurgitated into the system. Deltaport, with it’s three terminals handled 17 ships and seems to get all the larger ones of 6000 TEU and larger. The new Terminal-3, opened in January 2010, had four ships visiting so far this month, and 17 in total this year. CenTerm had 13 ships and VanTerm had nine. VanTerm also has a chemical handling facility which entertained an additional four tankers.There were 34 ships in for grain. There are five main grain terminals and a smaller specialty grains facility, all in the inner harbour of Vancouver. The busiest this month was Cascadia (also known as Viterra) west of the Second Narrows Bridge on the south shore . It had 12 ship visits. United Grain Growers (UGG, also known as Alliance) in east Vancouver, had nine. Saskatchewan Wheat Pool (SWP, also known as Cargill) on the North Shore, also had nine. James Richardson International (JRI) nearby to SWP, had four visits, as did the Pacific Elevators in east Vancouver.Vancouver Wharves, which loads specialty grains among their many cargoes, had two ships in for grain. There were also, as of this writing, four ships at anchor still awaiting a grain berth. If the numbers don’t quite add up, it’s because several ships typically visit more than one grain terminal while in port. Ten of the 34 ships visited two terminals, and one visited three terminals. Normally it would only take two or three days to fully load a ship with grain. However, as often happens when a ship needs to load at more than one terminal, the stay can be greatly extended.

The 54,000 dwt , Greek-flagged Handymax bulker PANOCEANIS arrived this month to load grain. She at first went into anchorage in English Bay, moved to the Cascadia terminal and after loading moved into an inner harbour anchorage for several days. Subsequently she moved into the SWP terminal to finish loading and then moved back into an inner harbour anchorage for bunkering. Total stay in port: nine days. Such is the life of many grain ships here. Another typical scenario for grain ships is to visit the same terminal several times during one stay. I can only speculate as to what is happening in this case. The 225m, 77,000 dwt Panamanian flagged bulker RED ROSE spent a total of 23 days in port while loading grain at Cascadia terminal. Arriving in Vancouver and anchoring, she subsequently moved into the terminal three different times while anchoring again in between – a total of five moves. No wonder the tugboat companies are kept busy.

As for other cargoes, coal was the next most popular, with 21 ships carrying that away. Coal is loaded at two terminals: Westshore at Roberts Bank, by far the bigger; and Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver. Westshore had 15 ships while Neptune had five ships visit for coal. Neptune, which has three berths, also deals in several other cargoes, primarily potash and chemicals, and had a total of 22 visits for all cargoes.Chemicals, both petrochemicals and vegetable oils and the like comprise a significant trade in the port. A total of 14 tankers had that cargo, inbound and outbound. Another major cargo is forest products. This consists mostly of pulp, logs, lumber and woodchips. These were outbound on 20 ships so far this month. Two of ships were in for woodchips, loaded at the Fibreco terminal in North Vancouver. Other terminals that ship forest products are Fraser-Surrey Docks, and LynnTerm and Vancouver Wharves on the North Shore. Some forest products are shipped out in containers and therefore loaded at one of the three container terminals in the port.Cars and other vehicles are a major cargo with 17 ships bringing in these. They are off-loaded at either Fraser Wharves in Richmond or Annacis Auto Terminal in Delta, both on the Fraser River.Other cargoes traded this month were potash, with eight ships carrying out that and sulphur going out on four. Potash is loaded at Neptune and sulphur is loaded at Vancouver Wharves or Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody. General cargo, inbound and outbound accounted for eight ships. This would include such things as heavy equipment, excavators, project cargo such as large transformers or the wind turbine on Grouse Mountain. Almost anything not classified as one of the other cargoes is general cargo. The Bombardier streetcar used at the Olympics, as an example, came over from Belgium on a general cargo vessel. The two main terminals for general cargo are LynnTerm in North Vancouver and Fraser-Surrey Docks.And lastly, two ships came in with ore concentrate and unloaded at Vancouver Wharves, and one ship, the venerable ISLA DE CEDROS, brought in salt to the Canexus Terminal in North Vancouver, just east of the Second Narrows Bridge. All told, it’s a busy, bountiful port, full of a great variety of ships for your (and my) viewing pleasure.

[All the photos are courtesy of Neil England]


Highlights from the March 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 171)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers


I had reported in last month’s Ship’s Log that January had been a slow month up to the time of submitting the article on the 24th. A flurry of activity in the last week, 60 arrivals in seven days, brought the January total to 210 ships – three more than January of last year and 11 more than the previous December.February, with three days to go, is shaping up to equal February of 2009 with 173 arrivals so far and another 20 expected. Bulkers have accounted for the majority with 69 visits, containers ships with 47, general cargo ships with 20 and tankers with 16. Surprisingly there were 20 vehicle carriers in so far this month. I’m still dumbfounded as to who is buying all these cars. There was one specialty vessel, the oil-bulk-ore (OBO) carrier MAGDA, loading sulphur at Vancouver Wharves and Pacific Coast Terminals.There were 25 flags represented this month and the three most common continue to be Panama (57), Liberia (25) and Hong Kong (19). There’s always a few rarer and more interesting flags such as the Vietnamese flying from the NOSCO GLORY, and the PHILIPPINE EXPRESS with the flag of Gibraltar. Repeat visitors to the port such as the WADI SUDR, flagged in Egypt, guarantee the stream of unusual registries. Flags of convenience such as the Cayman Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Vanuatu, and the Marshall Islands are becoming quite common now and were represented this month by the MARGUERITE ACE (vehicle carrier), the AQUILA COLLEAGUE (general cargo ship), the SEA ELEGANCE (bulker), and the FEDOR (tanker) respectively.The Olympics have brought visits by the Canadian navy and cruise ships not normally seen at this time of the year. In last month’s article you would have read about the arrival of the STATENDAM at CenTerm to be used by security forces and the MONA LISA up in Squamish, which is housing workers at Whistler. In late January, the CARNIVAL ELATION arrived on the 28th and the OOSTERDAM on the 31st, both docked at CenTerm to house security forces for the Olympics as well.On February 1st I made a trip to Stanley Park to photograph a ship that never arrived. I drove around to Ferguson Point and miraculously the sun appeared for a few brief moments. I photographed the 24,000 dwt Singapore flagged bulker VENUS FRONTIER. She was at Anchorage-3, the one closest to Stanley Park, awaiting a berth at the Alliance grain terminal (aka UGG). I drove over to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver for lunch and thought, while there, that I may get no better vantage point than this to photograph the cruise ships at CenTerm.

VENUS FRONTIER at Anchorage 3, English Bay, taken from Ferguson Point in Stanley Park.     Ref: WS10-0040.

It was a terribly grey day by then and spitting with rain but nonetheless intriguing, and photograph-worthy, to see three cruise ships together, with the OOSTERDAM in Berth-1 and the STATENDAM and CARNIVAL ELATION stern to stern in the seldom-used berths 2 and 3.

OOSTERDAM, STATENDAM, and CARNIVAL ELATION at CenTerm.  Taken February 1, 2010, from Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.  Ref: WS10-0039.

After leaving the quay I made my way over to Harbour View Park at the mouth of Lynn Creek in North Vancouver. This park has a viewing platform overlooking the dock at LynnTerm East, berths 4 to 7. At Berth-5 was the spanking new CS CAROLINE, one of five ships in port this month that were launched in 2010. The others are the Hong Kong flagged container ship MOL EMPIRE, the Liberian general cargo ship SANKO MARBLE, the Cayman Islands registered general cargo ship BRODIAEA, and the Panamanian bulker GLOBAL STAR. The CS CAROLINE, a Bahamas flagged bulker is part of the Campbell Shipping fleet out of Nassau. She was loading forest products at LynnTerm before moving over to Pacific Elevators for grain.

CS CAROLINE at LynnTerm 6, February 1, 2010,  Ref: WS10-0034.

My next stop was across the water at New Brighton Park next to the Cascadia grain terminal where I awaited the passage of the NCS BEIJING, which was moving from her inner harbour anchorage to Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody to load sulphur. The park offers close-up views of ships in the Cascadia terminal and excellent views across the narrows of Burrard Inlet to LynnTerm. The 47,000 dwt Panamanian bulker ANCASH QUEEN had just finished loading her cargo of grain while I was there. In the inlet nearby the Canadian coastal defence vessel HMCS WHITEHORSE was patrolling the waters around the Second Narrows Bridge.

ANCASH QUEEN at Cascadia Terminal, taken February 1, 2010, from New Brighton Park.  Ref: WS10-0031.

One of the tasks of this vessel, on assignment to Olympic security, was to operate the ‘Dorado’, an autonomous underwater vehicle that uses high-resolution side-scan sonar to survey the ocean floor. According to the Defence Department, besides surveillance, a secondary purpose is to provide up-to-date mapping of the seafloor of Burrard Inlet.A short while later it began to rain in earnest but I decided to stick around as the NCS BEIJING was coming down the channel, escorted by three tugs. She was nearly empty and a swift current was ripping through the narrows.

NCS BEIJING taken February 1, 2010, from New Brighton Park.  Ref: WS10-0038.

On Saturday the 6th, my wife Beth and I did a short walk around the east side of the Stanley Park seawall. There are many good vantage points on the Burrard Inlet side to view ships at Vancouver Wharves, Fibreco and the inner harbour anchorages. The 17,000 dwt Antilles and Barbuda flagged bulker BBC EMS was unloading concentrates at Vancouver Wharves Berth-1. It was interesting to note that after she departed the port she reappeared two days later to load grain. Where did she go and why? I’ve seen several of the BBC fleet here in Vancouver, mostly the smaller 3500 to 20,000 dwt vessels. According to their website BBC Chartering specializes in these sizes of heavy-lift general cargo ships and bulkers. BBC is a division of the giant German company Briese Shipping.

BBC EMS at Vancouver Wharves, taken February 6, 2010 from the Stanley Park Seawall.  Ref: WS10-0032.

Two weeks later on a beautiful sunny Saturday, Beth and I walked along the dyke of the North Arm of the Fraser River in Richmond, from the Arthur Laing Bridge to McDonald Beach Park. This walk not only offers wonderful country-like views on both sides of the river, but it’s one of the busiest hubs of tugboat activity. Within a 30-minute span on the route back we saw three tugboats steaming down the river. The most interesting (since I hadn’t seen it before) was the GOWLLAND CHIEF, built in 1968 and operated by Gowlland Towing in Campbell River. She’s mainly in the service of towing log booms.

GOWLLAND CHIEF on the North Arm of the Fraser River, taken February 20, 2010, near McDonald Park in Richmond.  Ref: WS10-0035.

HMCS WHITEHORSE near LynnTerm, taken February 1, 2010, from New Brighton Park.  Ref: WS10-0036.

I was able to get down to Stanley Park the following day for a brief visit, but it seems I missed most of the morning’s shipping activity. I arrived at Brockton Point just in time to see the 53,000 dwt Maltese bulker CAKE sail past to her destination at Anchorage-C in the inner harbour. This Turkish owned-and-operated vessel in the Geden fleet subsequently moved to Roberts Bank to load coal. The name, seemingly strange in English, comes from the owner company, Cake Shipping of Istanbul, and likely has nothing to do with baking.

CAKE, taken February 21, 2010, from Brockton Point in Stanley Park.  Ref: WS10-0033.

My last outing of the month was over to Vancouver Dry Dock in North Vancouver to see the tall ship KRUZENSHTERN which had arrived there on February 10th. She’s circling the globe promoting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. The four-masted Russian barque is the second largest sailing ship presently afloat. She is 114m long, 51m high and has 34 sails. She is presently used mainly for sail training and the occasional cruise charter. Built in 1926 in Bremerhaven, Germany as the PADAU, she was originally commissioned as a cargo ship. She was given to Russia in 1946 as part of war reparations and renamed KRUZENSHTERN after the early 19th century Baltic German explorer in Russian service, Adam Johann Krusenstern. If I had seen fellow member Robert Etchell walking off the ship, I wouldn’t have known that it was free to go aboard since there was no line-up at all. To my great delight I took a self-guided tour and then joined one of the guided tours in progress.

KRUZENSHTERN taken February 21, 2010, while berthed at the old Burrard Drydock Pier in North Vancouver.  Ref: WS10-0037.


Highlights from the February 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 170)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers


With one week to go in January, the year is starting off a bit slower than 2009. So far 150 ships have arrived in port, an average of six per day, compared to a 6.8 average in January of last year. No shortage of interesting vessels and events however.On the 3rd of the month the new Deltaport-3 terminal at Roberts Bank welcomed it’s first visitor, Evergreen Line’s EVER URANUS. It was just last summer that the new container cranes were delivered from China aboard the ZHEN HUA 23. There have been two other ships using the new terminal this month, the CMA CGM FLORIDA on the 5th, and the SHANGHAI EXPRESS on the 17th. So far it would seem that the berth is only being used when the other two are occupied.On Sunday the 10th of January I was down at Brockton Point in Stanley Park to see the departure of a regular visitor to the port for many years, the Hong Kong flagged bulker ISLA DE CEDROS. This vessel, however, is more interesting than your everyday bulker. At 222m long, 35.7m wide (too wide for the Panama Canal) and 62,000 dwt, she has a specific mission up here: bringing salt from Mexico. Several times each year she brings salt from an island terminal off the west coast of Baja California. The island, not so surprisingly, is called Isla de Cedros. In Spanish, ‘the island of cedars’.

ISLA DE CEDROS, January 10, 2010, taken from Brockton Point in Stanley Park. Ref: WS10-0004.

Her destination is the Canexus terminal in North Vancouver, just east of the Second Narrows Bridge. This facility has been there for more than 50 years, and was called Hooker Chemicals in the 1960s when I was living just a stone’s throw away. At that time two vessels called the BERKSHIRE and the ARGYLE made regular visits with salt. Canexus produces three main products from the salt: chlorine gas: used in water purification, PVC production and the petrochemical industry; caustic soda: used in the pulp and paper industry; and muriatic acid: used for masonry cleaning amongst other things. The company has a caustic soda production plant in Nanaimo, which may explain why the ISLA DE CEDROS can sometimes been seen at Anchorage-C in the inner harbour offloading some of the salt onto a barge, which is then towed over to Vancouver Island.A cargo just as fascinating as salt, but exported from here, is sulphur. It’s produced mainly in Alberta from the refining of natural gas and has a myriad of uses in the chemical, pharmaceutical and fertilizer industries. Last year over 4 million tons of it was shipped out from Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody and Vancouver Wharves in North Vancouver. After watching the ISLA DE CEDROS depart, she was followed shortly after by the RED IRIS, fully laden with sulphur which she took on in Port Moody. She’s a Panamanian flagged Panamax bulker. By definition, ‘Panamax’ is the maximum size of a ship that will fit into the Panama Canal locks. For bulkers like the RED IRIS, she’s a standard design for vessels in the 75,000 dwt range. At 225m long, 32.2m across the beam (the maximum for the Panama Canal) and 14m draught, she can be instantly recognized as a Panamax bulker by counting the seven hatches on the deck.

RED IRIS, January 10, 2010, taken from Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref: WS10-0005.

On Tuesday the 12th of January, Holland America’s STATENDAM arrived at CenTerm-1 to be the first of the Olympic cruise ships in the city. According to WSS member Frank Bolla, she will house the RCMP. The vessel is surrounded by a great floating rubber barrier extending far out past the ship itself. It’s purpose is unclear; either to keep leaking oil in, perhaps, or to keep intruders (ie. the taxpaying public) out. Or both.On Saturday the 16th, a lovely sunny day, I squeezed in a quick trip to Prospect Point between chores and obligations. To my delight, the three ships scheduled to arrive in the harbour within an hour of each other were all on time. As a bonus, a beautiful American tug followed them in. The first arrival was the CHERRY GALAXY, a 20,000 dwt chemical products tanker in the Tokyo Marine fleet. This 150m vessel is a regular visitor to the port and loaded product at the Pacific Coast Terminals and LynnTerm.

CHERRY GALAXY, January 16, 2010 taken from Stanley Park seawall.  Ref: WS10-0006.

Next in line was the Handymax bulker FRIENDLY SEAS. The name ‘Handymax’ denotes a class of bulkers typically around 52,000 to 59,000 dwt and about 190m in length. They are recognizable with their five hatches and four cranes if geared. The FRIENDLY SEAS was built in 2008, so a fairly current design but at 190m in length and 59,000 dwt, is typical of her class. What was unusual however was her very blunt bow and lack of the obvious protruding bulbous bow. I would describe it as a slightly pregnant bow. She was in port to load potash at Neptune Terminals in North Vancouver. She is operated by Allseas Marine of Athens, who have a fleet of 13 bulkers, all called ‘something SEAS’.

ANNA, January 16, 2010, taken from Prospect Point in Stanley Park.  Ref: WS10-0007.

FRIENDLY SEAS, January 16, 2010, taken from Prospect Point in Stanley Park.  Ref: WS10-0008.

Last in during that one-hour parade was the American tug PACIFIC PRIDE, towing the tank barge SCT280. The barge appeared to be loaded so I assume she was bringing in product to one of the tank farms in Burnaby. The tug sported the K-Sea logo on her funnel, a company familiar to some of our members. K-Sea is headquartered in New Jersey but operates several of their 78 tugs and 77 barges out of Seattle. The PACIFIC PRIDE was built in 1976. She is 26m in length, 148 gross tons and 2500 hp.

PACIFIC PRIDE, Jnuary 16, 2010, taken from Prospect Point, Stanley Park.  Ref: WS10-0009.

Later that same afternoon my wife and I were walking in Deas Island Park on the Fraser River near the tunnel. By a stroke of luck we arrived at the tip of the island just in time to see the Panamanian flagged car carrier ASIAN GRACE steaming up the river toward the Annacis Auto Terminal. She’s a 200m, 21,000 dwt vessel built in 1996 and operated by Glovis, a division of the Hyundai-Kia auto group. Vessels of her size could typically carry 5000-6000 cars.

ASIAN GRACE, January 16, 2010, taken from Deas Island Park on the Fraser River.  Ref: WS10-0010.

My next trip to the harbour was on Friday the 22nd when I took the Seabus to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver. I’ve always rued the fact that Seabus was built without an outside deck for site-seeing and photographing. The route from near Canada Place to the terminal near the Quay often passes by ships anchored in the inner harbour, and sometimes dramatically close to them. Anyone who has ever tried to take pictures from that glorified cattle carrier will have cursed the inevitable reflections on the windows coupled with the fact that the windows are almost always filthy. That being said, I always take pictures anyway and the quality seems to exceed my low expectations. On this voyage we passed very near the CMB SAKURA, at Anchorage-A. The Panamanian flagged Panamax bulker has been anchored there for a week waiting for a coal berth at Roberts Bank.As we approached the Quay I saw what looked like an old B.C. ferry tied up on the outside of the Mosquito Creek Marina, just east

of ferry terminal. There was no name to be seen anywhere and it wasn’t painted in the ferry colours. After disembarking and walking over to the park near the marina I was able to see through a good pair of binoculars, the original name painted over: the QUEEN OF THE ISLANDS. This is a ferry built in 1963 for the Tsawwassen-Gulf Islands route. It was sold to St. John’s Fishing Lodge in 1991 and used on the mid coast of B.C. until 2008 when the company went bankrupt. It was bought by the Mosquito Creek Marina in June of 2009 and laid up at Mitchell Island on the north arm of the Fraser River. It seems it is now up for sale again.

Former QUEEN OF THE ISLANDS at Mosquito Creek Marina, January 22, 2010, taken from the Seabus.  Ref: WS10-0011.

Sailing back to Vancouver I attempted one more shot through the dirty windows of the Seabus, pointing my camera at the beautiful blue-hulled ship with the bright yellow stripe down the side of the bow, the FRIEDA SELMER. The Marshall Islands registered Handymax geared bulker has been stationed at Anchorage-X since Jan. 17 awaiting a grain berth. She is part of the fleet of Oskar Wehr Shipping in Hamburg.

FRIEDA SELMER, January 23, 2010, taken from the Seabus crossing the Vancouver Harbour.  Ref: WS10-0012.

My last outing to the harbour this month was the following day when I returned to Prospect Point in Stanley Park where, lo and behold, four of my fellow WSS photographers had already arrived. We were awaiting the departure of the AFRICAN SANDERLING, a 59,000 dwt Panamanian flagged bulker in the MUR fleet. MUR is part of a humungous global conglomerate of Macsteel and South Africa’s Mittal Steel, but operates out of Dubai. I wasn’t able to determine if MUR is an acronym or the name of the company, but they have a very large fleet of ships. Shortly after her departure I left the Point and went down to the seawall below, just east of the Lions Gate Bridge to photograph another Marshall Islands flagged vessel, the 48,000 dwt geared bulker SPARROW. She had been anchored in the inner harbour since Jan. 16th and was moving out to English Bay to await a berth to load grain. Some ships have interesting funnels and some are beautiful – the one on the SPARROW is beautiful, so I snapped a picture of it, albeit while it zipped by me at 10 knots. The emblem is that of Eagle Shipping based in New York.

AFRICAN SANDERLING, January 23, 2010, taken from the Lions Gate Bridge.  Ref:  WS10-0013.

SPARROW, January 23, 2010, taken from the Stanley Park Seawall.  Ref: WS10-0014.

The final stop on the way home was at a small park on Point Grey road where I could view the cruise ship MONA LISA anchored in English Bay. As far as funnels go, this is one of the most beautiful I have seen. It’s a masterpiece, literally. Painted on the sides of its maroon coloured stack is a likeness of the famous da Vinci painting of Mona Lisa. I was too far away to get a close-up of it but according to Frank Bolla, the vessel is going to Squamish to house Olympic workers. It would be worth a trip up there to see it. It’s a smaller cruise ship, 29,000 gross tonnes, 201m in length and carrying about 750 passengers. According to member Robert Etchell,it’s going to accommodate 1100 workers! They must be laying a few mats out on the back decks and maybe a few in the swimming pool. It’s owned by, wait for this, Leonardo Shipping of Athens. Built in 1966 in Clydesbank, Scotland, the vessel was originally launched as the KUNGSHOLM for Swedish-American Line’s route from Gotheburg to New York. It has sailed under several names and companies since and is now chartered to Lord Nelson Seereisen of Germany. God bless the 2010 Olympics (can I use those words?) for the few treats allotted to shipspotters in Vancouver!

MONA LISA, January 23, 2010, taken from the foot of Dunbar Street off Point Grey Road.  Ref: WS10-0016.


Highlights from the January 2010 edition of our newsletter (Issue 169)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers


December is closing the year with another month of interesting ship activity and a surprising year overall. One would hardly know there was a recession going on. Port Metro Vancouver reports tonnage is down about 15 to 20% overall, but grain and petroleum products are up and ship visit numbers remain about the same.With three days to go in the year December is on target to see about 200 ship visits, slightly under the monthly average. By the time the horns and fireworks go off for the New Year there will have been close to 2800 deep-sea vessels that have sailed into metro Vancouver terminals this year. This makes it a veritable shipspotter’s paradise, with seven or eight new arrivals, on average, every day of the year.I wasn’t able to spend much time on the waterfront this month but nevertheless during the few times I got out the weather was co-operative. I was down at Jericho Beach early in the month to see a rare site in this port, a Russian ice-breaker cargo ship. The AMDERMA was anchored in English Bay for several days before loading concentrates at Vancouver Wharves. Not only did she have the distinctive ice-breaking bow but it was obvious that she was a veteran of the high seas. Built in 1983 in Finland, she’s 177m in length and 23,000 deadweight tons (dwt). She is owned and operated by FESCO (Far Eastern Shipping Company) based in Vladivostok. According to fellow WSS member Robert Etchell, a fleet of Russian ice-breakers were seen regularly in the 1980s and early 1990s, loading grain. This is the first one that Robert has seen since then. The AMDERMA is a ship that gets around: in January and February of this year she was down in the Antarctic delivering supplies and personnel to three research stations.

AMDERMA. Taken December 7, 2009 from Jericho Beach. Ref: WS09-0592.

While down at the beach it was hard not to notice how busy the bay was. Of the 12 anchorage positions on the Vancouver side, 10 were occupied. It seems, just like last month, ships are queuing up for grain, coal and petroleum products – the three hot commodities of the year. One of the ships waiting for a coal berth was the gargantuan CHINA STEEL ENTREPRENEUR. At 300m in length and 203,000 dwt, she’s one of the largest ships to visit the port this year.At the other end of the scale, the diminutive Turkish-flagged bulker ULUSOY-9, at 135m and 12,000 dwt was at Vancouver Wharves unloading concentrates. She was built in China in 2008.

ULUSOY 9. At Vancouver Wharves, December 14, 2009. Taken from the Stanley Park seawall. Ref: WS09-0599.

It was also notable that this month alone, three giant container ships visited the Deltaport terminal. Hapag-Lloyd’s SAVANNAH EXPRESS, Zim Shipping’s ZIM LOS ANGELES and Orient Overseas Container Line’s OOCL QIUNGDAO are all over 320m long with capacities exceeding 8000 TEU.I was down on the Fraser River on the 6th of the month, a beautiful day for a picnic, which is what I was doing while awaiting the arrival of the newly-launched vehicle carrier MONZA EXPRESS. This vessel is operated by a Dutch company called Vroon, and the ship has a large white ‘V’ emblazoned on the side of the ship near her bow. Painted a bright red with white superstructure, she looked beautiful sailing up the river in the winter sun. Interestingly she is registered in Gibraltar. At 170m in length and 11,000 dwt she is capable of carrying 3500 cars and would be considered a mid-sized vehicle carrier. Given that I had finished my picnic lunch by the time she arrived at Deas Island Park, I decided to chase her up the river to photograph her in several different locations. My last stop was near the Alex Fraser bridge, under which she sailed enroute to the Annacis Auto Terminal.

MONZA EXPRESS on the Fraser River, taken December 6, 2009 on the River Road, Delta. Ref: WS09-0597.

From this spot I noticed a familiar ship docked at the Vito Shipyards nearby. She’s the FRASER TITAN, a very distinctive looking vessel with a very specific assignment. For the last 10 years she has been dredging the Fraser River shipping channel to a depth of just over 11 metres, enough for Panamax-size freighters to navigate up to the Fraser-Surrey Docks. This venerable old vessel was built in Birkenhead (near Liverpool) in 1969. Operated by Fraser River Pile and Dredge, she’s 95m long and 5000 dwt. She has one very interesting feature: three engines and three propellers, generating 3150 HP. According to their website, she dredges 1.2 million cubic feet of sand from the river every year. That sounds like a big number and I’m sure it would fill a lot of sandboxes.

FRASER TITAN at the Vito Shipyards in Delta, taken December 4, 2009. Ref: WS09-0594.

Some interesting flags have visited the city this month including the Egyptian WADI ALARISH loading sulphur at Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody; the St. Vincent & Grenadines flagged DD VIGOR (owned by a Russian company) was loading grain at the Alliance terminal; two Manx-flagged crude oil tankers from the Greek company Golden Energy: the ENERGY COMMANDER and the ENERGY CHANCELLOR at the Westridge terminal in Burnaby; and the Vanuatu-flagged general cargo vessel YOUNG SPIRIT, unloading at the Fraser-Surrey Docks.My paucity of photographs for the month was rescued in the eleventh hour when my wife and I went to Bellingham over Christmas. We had five days of spectacular sunny weather. Although Bellingham doesn’t have a lot of shipping activity there is always something interesting going on at the waterfront. From our room at the Village Inn in Fairhaven, we looked directly out at the Alaska Ferries terminal, the dry dock, and the Coast Guard Station. These are all grouped together just three blocks from the hotel, so naturally I walked down there every day to see what was shaking. The Alaska ferry KENNICOTT was in the drydock for maintenance. This ship was on the Ketchikan-Juneau route. She was built in Gulfport, Mississippi in 1998 and her namesake is a glacier in the Wrangell Mountains of Alaska. She’s 382 ft long and can carry 748 passengers, 80 vehicles and travels at 16 knots.

KENNICOTT in the Fairhaven Drydock, taken December 26, 2009 in Bellingham, WA.         Ref: WS09-0595.

On Christmas morning we watched from our room as another Alaska ferry, the MALASPINA, arrived in berth at 7:30. She makes a weekly run to Skagway, Alaska, arriving at Bellingham every Friday morning and leaving the same day at about 6 pm. This vessel is 408 ft in length and carries 500 passengers plus 88 vehicles. She was built in Seattle in 1963 and cruises at 17 knots.

MALASPINA at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal, taken December 25, 2009. Ref: WS09-0596.

The two 87-ft coast guard cutters stationed in Bellingham are called the TERRAPIN and the SEA LION. They are basically patrol vessels that cover the Georgia Strait-San Juan Islands area, but according to one of the crew I spoke with they’ve gone as far afield as California. He told me an interesting piece of trivia about buoys since he used to work on a buoy tender in Alaska and we had been talking about the large buoy just offshore of the ferry terminal. Apparently such buoys are typically anchored to the seabed with an 11-ton block of concrete and secured by another 3 tons of chain. No wonder the buoy tenders have such large cranes. It seems they sometimes have to pull the whole lot up to service it..

USCGC TERRAPIN and SEA LION—taken December 24, 2009 at the Coast Guard Station, Bellingham. Ref: WS09-0598.

On the 26th of December we made a side trip to Anacortes, less than an hour away. There were three tankers in the oil refinery docks: the US-flagged SEABULK ARCTIC was at the Shell Refinery and the Liberian-flagged JOEL MARE was at the Tesoro Refinery along with the US-flagged ITB (integrated tug and barge) CHEMBULK PRODUCER. At the Dakota Creek Shipyards in downtown Anacortes construction was in progress on the third offshore support vessel being built for Otto Candies Marine of New Orleans. The shell of the bow section of the CADE CANDIES was just about complete. The second OSV, ROSS CANDIES, which was launched in August 2009 can be seen in the photo (in the background) as she has yet to be delivered.

CADE CANDIES—taken December 26, 2009 in Anacortes, WA. Ref: WS09-0593.

I’m going to close this article with a few tidbits of statistics for the year. It was a very good year – as are all years, for shipspotters. As I mentioned earlier, there were approximately 2800 ship visits. Bulkers made the bulk of them: - 1009. Container ships accounted for 736; general cargo ships – 270; cruise ships – 257; tankers – 253; vehicle carriers – 193; woodchip carriers – 9; OBOs (Oil-Bulk-Ore) – 8, and the rest were miscellaneous types. The 2800 visits were made by 1410 different ships. They flew under 46 different flags. The most common was Panama, accounting for 460 ships. 142 flew the Hong Kong flag and another 126, the Liberian flag. Many flags were rare. ‡The following were flying from just a single ship: Belgium, France, Qatar, Russia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates and Belize. Some ships were old, some were new. The 1964 OCEAN PHOENIX, a fish processor was the grand-daddy of them all. There were 90 ships visiting that were launched in 2009. The longest ship was the METTE MAERSK at a whopping 371 metres. The most massive at 208,000 dwt and 300m in length, the BAOGANG GLORY. The smallest at 99m and 4300 dwt, the general cargo vessel BBC SWEDEN. For container capacity, three giants: The MAERSK ALFIRK, MAERSK ANTARES and MAERSK ALTAIR, all named after stars, can carry more than 9000 TEU. It was a very good year indeed.I wish you all a very happy New Year, and an exciting year of shipspotting.


Highlights from the December 2009 edition of our newsletter (Issue 168)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

METRO VANCOUVER SCENE                                                                                         by Neil England                                                                                                            The grey days of November descended on us like a damp shroud thrown over a dead summer. This is anathema to shipspotting photographers but nevertheless some of the foolhardy among us were out shooting in the pouring rain on several occasions anyway.The month started with a flourish of sun on the first weekend and while I was down at Jericho Beach I noticed that English Bay was full of ships at anchorage, swinging in the breeze. As I walked out to the pier the 29,000 dwt Panamanian bulker ANGEL ISLAND dropped anchor in what was the next but last spot available. There were 11 vessels resting on the Vancouver side of the bay and three more in West Vancouver. It remained busy for the rest of the month. The vast majority of ships were queuing for coal and grain, two hot commodities in a sagging market. The ANGEL ISLAND was awaiting a berth at the Cascadia Terminal.

ANGEL ISLAND, taken Nov. 1, 2009, from Jericho Pier. Ref: WS09-0570.

During my three walks around the Stanley Park Seawall this month (mostly in the rain, with brief respites) I did see a couple of interesting ships come in while near the Lions Gate Bridge. The first was a Gearbulk vessel, familiar to shipspotters in the city, as they have a whole fleet called ‘something’ Arrow, with the ‘something’ being the name of a bird. The one I saw, sailing through the harbour entrance was the COTINGA ARROW, a typical member of the fleet with her moving gantry cranes on the deck, 200m in length and flying the Bahamian flag. Vintage 1987, like several of her cousins. Not being an ornithologist, I doubted that a cotinga was a bird, but after googling the name I stood corrected. It seems that it’s a family of very ornate and colourful birds found in Central and South America. Ironically it’s namesake freighter is black and white.

COTINGA ARROW. Taken Nov. 13, 2009, from Stanley Park Seawall, Prospect Point. Ref: WS09-0571.

Bearing down hard on her stern was the 28,000 dwt YOSEMITE, with her bright red hull shining through the mist. She looked rather odd, riding so high out of the water that I could see the top of her propeller just breaking the surface. She cruised into Anchorage-X, which is the one closest to Brockton Point.

GORA, taken Nov. 11, 2009, from Stanley Park Seawall. Ref: WS09-0572.

One of the more interesting flags flying on a stern this month was that of the United Arab Emirates, spotted on the 54,000 dwt, 190m MATUMBA, whose home port is Abu Dhabi. If this rings a bell, that’s because our FastCat ferries have been sold to a company there, Abu Dhabi MAR. My speculation is that they didn’t want the FastCats for the asking price so the BC government threw in 50,000 tonnes of grain to cinch the deal and get rid of them once and for all. While in North Van last weekend I dropped into the JRI Terminal to photograph her.

MATUMBA Ref: WS09-0574.taken Nov. 21, 2009, at James Richardson International Terminal.   .

There have been two ships in this month at Vancouver Wharves whose cargo has been listed as concentrates. The first was the 18,000 dwt Liberian registered GORA, on the 9th, followed by the 38,000 dwt Liberian registered MARIA OLDENDORFF on the 17th. For some reason I assumed we shipped concentrates out of here, but not necessarily so. While watching from my perch in Stanley Park, across from the terminal, I could distinctly see that the cargo was being clam-shovelled out of the holds of the MARIA OLDENDORFF and into a hopper on the wharf. The GORA, which I had seen arrive fully-loaded, was seen a week later riding high at Anchorage-C in the inner harbour, where she had been for several days before departing the day I saw her. There’s a good ‘coals-to-Newcastle’ story here and perhaps one of our members can enlighten us.

While thinking about this conundrum as I walked along the seawall toward the Lions Gate Bridge, I was surprised by the sudden appearance of the Greek-flagged Panamax bulker SAMJOHN AMITY, rounding Prospect Point. I had to scramble to get my camera out of my pack and get a photo while she was still at a good angle and nicely framed by the bridge. She moved into an inner harbour anchorage, awaiting a coal berth.

MARIA OLDENDORFF,, taken Nov. 21, 2009, from Stanley Park Seawall.    Ref: WS09-0573. 

SAMJOHN AMITY taken Nov. 21, 2009, from Stanley Park Seawall.   Ref: WS09-0575.

Through serendipitous circumstances I was invited, along with my friend Rod Thorimbert, to take a tour of Fraser-Surrey Docks on Friday Nov. 20th. The terminals sit on the south bank of the Fraser River between the Alex Fraser and Patullo bridges. It was a foul-weather morning when we left Kerrisdale but by the time our host Brady Erno had picked us up at the gate, we could see a few breaks in the sky.We started the tour in the meeting room where Brady gave us a good overview of the facility with the aid of a great large map mounted on the wall. This is no small dock. Covering over 140 acres, it’s the largest multi-purpose terminal on the west coast of North America. There are seven deep-sea berths: three for break-bulk and project cargoes, three for containers and one for logs. They have three Panamax-size container cranes, and equipment for handling breakbulk and project cargo of all types. There’s five storage sheds, a large railyard serviced by all the major railways here, and they have two of their own locomotives for moving cargo-laden cars into place. As Brady drove us around the yard it was impressive to see the amount of dockside equipment for moving cargo. Reachstackers, lift trucks, bombcarts, tractor trailers and gantry cranes were everywhere. The most obvious inbound cargo sitting in the yard was steel in the form of coils, pipe, rod and rails.

It was a quiet day at dockside with just a single ship in Berth-7. The 29,000 dwt, Panamanian-flagged bulker SANTA FRANCISCA was loading logs. This is interesting to watch. Just offshore of the dock was a long string of pylons to which were tied as many log booms as would fit. A dismantled boom was at the side of the ship with a boom-boat bobbing and weaving to manoeuvre the logs into position for loading.

SANTA FRANCISCA taken Nov. 20, 2009, at Fraser surrey Docks. Ref: WS09-0576.

Directly across from Fraser-Surrey Docks is the Annacis Auto Terminal, with its two berths. The aging but venerable Norwegian-flagged SKAUGRAN, was in that day unloading vehicles. Being of 1979 vintage, she is a general cargo roll-on-roll-off style of vessel, not commonly seen today as the newer vessels are specially constructed for carrying vehicles. The SKAUGRAN is a regular visitor to Vancouver and on many of her runs can be seen to unload vehicles at either AAT or Fraser Wharves (in Richmond) and then pick up forest products at LynnTerm and other coast ports for the return voyage.

SKAUGRAN taken Nov. 20, 2009, from Fraser Surrey Docks. Ref: WS09-0577.

My last adventure of the month before this writing was a trip down to Stanley Park to see off the last of the infamous FastCat ferries. On a dark and stormy day the PACIFICAT EXPLORER, aboard the heavy-lift Dutch vessel SWIFT, sailed dramatically through the pillars of the Lions Gate Bridge at high noon. Perhaps not in a blaze of glory, and certainly not into a sunset. Sadly, or perhaps fittingly, few were there to watch. With the wind gusting and the rain lashing, I stood on the seawall at Prospect Point with another photographer and a handful of walkers and joggers. I struggled to hold my umbrella in one hand and take pictures with the other. We all stopped and stared for a moment, like a brief paying of respects, and then carried on with life.taken Nov. 13, 2009, from Stanley Park Seawall.   Ref: WS09-0578.

YOSEMITE taken Nov. 13, 2009, from Stanley Park Seawall. Ref: WS09-0578.

SWIFT ‡transporting PACIFIC EXPLORER to Dubai. Taken Nov. 23, 2009, from Stanley Park Seawall. Ref: WS09-0579.

[All the photos are courtesy of Neil England]


Highlights from the November 2009 edition of our newsletter (Issue 167)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers 

METRO VANCOUVER SCENE, by Neil England.                                                             The departure of the CELEBRITY MERCURY on October 13th marked the end of the cruise season in Vancouver. She had been making a number of repositioning cruises on the west coast for the previous two weeks or so. The only other cruise ship to visit in October was the ZAANDAM and she departed for the last time on Oct. 4th. The number of ships visiting in October was 201, about average for the year in a month without cruise ships. Containers ship visits were noticeably down, indicative of a year-long trend. There were 54 this month compared to an average of 70 for the first five months of 2009. However, this was predictable with the downturn in the economy. The only other significant difference in ship traffic was tankers, down 50% from the peak in May-June. This, I would speculate, is due to the closing of the cruise season, during which large amounts of extra bunkers are needed.Among the giants in port this month was the largest container ship to visit Vancouver. The 349m long, 114,000 dwt, 9000 TEU ZIM DJIBOUTI was at Deltaport from the 5th to the 7th of October. She was launched in July of this year. Five Capesize bulkers over 150,000 dwt made visits, the largest being the LONDON SPIRIT, a 300m, 208,000 dwt vessel which loaded coal at Roberts Bank. She was making a return visit to the port. Making her maiden voyage was the 289m, 180,000 dwt CAPE VIOLET, another 2009-launch, also loading coal at Roberts Bank. Among the 13 new vessels launched in 2009 which visited the port this month, I was able to photograph two of them. The Norwegian flagged STAR KILIMANJARO, the latest of Star Shipping’s fleet of moving-gantry-crane bulkers designed for handling forest products, was at Vancouver Wharves on Oct. 2nd.

ARGENT BLOOM, taken October 26, 2009 from Prospect Point. Ref: WS09-0412.

As usual, there is always something interesting going on in the port, and the region, regardless of the number of ship visits. On the 3rd of October the 42,000 dwt bulker PETERSFIELD arrived at LynnTerm-1 with a gaping hole in her bulbous bow. Many readers will have heard that she ran aground on the 25th of September about two hours south of Kitimat. I viewed her from a park opposite LynnTerm on the south shore, from which I could see her bow high out of the water and the bulbous part covered in shrouds. She finally sailed out of Vancouver on Sept. 28th after repairs.

PETERSFIELD, at LynnTerm-1, taken October 26, 2009 from Wall Street, east Vancouver. Ref: WS09-0413.

On the 11th of October I drove down to Anacortes, Washington to take in the open-house for the ROSS CANDIES, an inspection-maintenance-repair vessel for the offshore oil industry, launched there in August. The event attracted thousands of people but fortunately I was there at the opening before it got too crowded. It was amazing to see an engine room so clean, and all you could smell was fresh paint. While this ship was due to go through her sea trials the following week, a third sister, an as-yet-unnamed CANDIES, was well on the way in the Dakota Creek Shipyards. Shortly after I left the shipyard the Liberian flagged tanker KARA SEA was escorted by two Crowley tugs through the narrow Guemes Channel to the oil refineries just east of downtown.

On the way down to Anacortes I stopped in Bellingham for a coffee and as usual, couldn’t resist poking around a bit. Berthed at the downtown terminal were two very old container ships, the HORIZON CONSUMER and the HORIZON FAIRBANKS. They were both built in 1973 and still see occasional service on Horizon’s lines between, the West Coast and Hawaii. The CONSUMER is 720 feet long (219m) with a capacity of 1664 TEU and the FAIRBANKS is 669 feet long (204m) with a capacity of 1420 TEU.I was down at Canada Place on the 16th and 17th of October to see the USCG MELLON berthed on the west pier, visiting the port for reasons possibly connected with the 2010 Olympics security. At the east pier were five Canadian naval ships: two maritime coastal defense vessels, the HMCS BRANDON (710) and the HMCS EDMONTON (703); and three patrol craft training vessels: the ORCA (55), the RAVEN (56), and the CARIBOU (57). These vessels, along with the RCMP and harbour police were involved in exercises for Olympics security.

USCG MELLON, taken October 16, 2009, at Canada Place.      Ref: WS09-0417.

KARA SEA, in Guemes Channel, taken October 11, 2009 at Anacortes, WA. Ref: WS09-0415.

The 2nd fastcat ferry PACIFICAT DISCOVERY sailed out of Vancouver aboard the Netherlands Antilles flagged heavy-lift vessel TEAL on October 21st. It was a miserable, windy morning and I wasn’t down at Prospect Point to see her leave, and I doubt whether the media were either, given their non-existent coverage of the event beforehand. I did make my way up to Belcarra village on Oct.19th to photograph her, already loaded with the ferry, in Deep Cove. On the way back home I stopped at Barnett Marine Park in east Burnaby, a wonderful vantage point for viewing ships anchored in Indian Arm and for ships sailing in and out of Port Moody. The park also has about a mile of shoreline to walk along. While I was there I saw the 105,000 dwt Cypriot-flagged tanker ZALIV AMURSKIY anchored offshore. A short time later she moved into the Westridge Terminal, and to my delight the very end of the shoreline trail gives one a fairly nice view of it.

HMCS EDMONTON, HMCS BRANDON, and ORCA, RAVEN and CARIBOU, taken October 17, 2009, at Canada Place. Ref: WS09-0418.

PACIFICAT DISCOVERY aboard the TEAL, taken October 19, 2009 from Belcarra village. Ref: WS09-0419.

ZALIV AMURSKIY, at Westridge Terminal, taken October 19, 2009 from Barnet Marine Park. Ref: WS09-0420.

My last adventure of the month was again to Burnaby. I was looking for any good vantage points of Burrard Inlet between the Second Narrows Bridge and Barnett Marine Park. A road called Penzance skirts the north side of Capitol Hill, moving quickly into forest and suddenly diving down to the waterfront, where one is greeted by a gate and ‘No Trespassing’ sign. Knowing that God forgives us our trespasses (especially for shipspotters), I parked the car at the turnaround and walked in. Before me was a half-mile of accessible waterfront and the Island Tug and Barge terminal. I soon met a woman walking her dog who said that the gate is left open on weekends and is ‘quasi-public’ (her word). I think that means ‘you can go in but just behave yourself, you’re on private property’. It’s a wonderful viewpoint. At the ITB terminal were a half-dozen fuel barges and as many tugs. Just offshore is the Port of Vancouver’s Anchorage-N, and in this position was the ATB (articulated tug and barge) COMMITMENT with barge 650-6. She is Crowley’s latest ATB launch (April 2009) and was waiting to offload at Westridge Terminal.

COMMITMENT and barge 650-6, at Anchorage-N, Vancouver Harbour East, taken October 24, 2009, from ITB Terminal, Burnaby. Ref: WS09-0421.

And you might have wondered whatever happened to the old McBarge, the floating McDonald’s restaurant, from Expo 86? Well, from this shore you’re staring right at her. Many of our readers will have seen her anchored there for the past 22 years or more, looking a little worse for wear but still seaworthy. I’ll bet not many know she has a name, after all, she is a ship. She’s called the SEABORNE II. No IMO number, and I don’t think she’ll be going abroad anytime soon.‡

SEABORNE II, (former McDonald’s floating restaurant during Expo ‘86), taken October 24 from ITB Terminal, Burnaby. Ref: WS09-0422.


Highlights from the October 2009 edition of our newsletter (Issue 166)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers

by Neil England

In the last week of August just after the deadline of last month’s Ship’s Log a couple of events took place of interest to ship enthusiasts and citizens alike.  The first of the fastcat ferries, the PACIFICAT VOYAGER, was transported out of Vancouver aboard the Netherlands Antilles-flagged heavy-lift cargo vessel SWIFT.  A photo of her being loaded in Deep Cove appeared in last month’s Log.

I was one of several WSS member/photographers standing on the Lions Gate Bridge, with only a few other interested parties, when she departed.  There was one helicopter buzzing around it briefly, and this was rumoured to be hired by the ship’s agent.  There was no sign of the media, or wistful NDP supporters nor gloating Liberals.  It was however a beautiful day for photographs as the SWIFT sailed for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

SWIFT with the PACIFICAT VOYAGER; taken August 26, 2009 from the Lions Gate Bridge. Ref: WS09-0410.

I was at a course in September put on by the Chamber of Shipping when one of my table mates mentioned the fastcats and said that he’d heard that the other two were being sunk in Deep Cove to be used for diving reefs.  Sounded plausible to me.  Perhaps there had been a change of plans.  Later in the day I chatted briefly with a gentleman whose company, CTL Westrans, had arranged the sale and transportation of the fastcats.  He assured me that all 3 cats would be shipped to Abu Dhabi MAR, the purchaser, to be converted to luxury yachts.  The PACIFICAT EXPLORER will go out in October aboard the TEAL, and the SWIFT will be back in November to take the PACIFICAT DISCOVERY.

ZHEN HUA 23 approaching Lions Gate Bridge; taken August 26, 2009 from seawall at Prospect Point. Ref: WS09-0411.

The other August event of interest was the arrival of the ZHEN HUA 23, a heavy-lift vessel which brought in 3 huge container cranes for the new Deltaport Terminal 3.  Although this event was well publicized it was an unexpected surprise to see her sailing toward the Inner Harbour while we were waiting for the SWIFT to come out.  She was delivering 3 rubber-tired gantry cranes to VanTerm.

The month of September was busy but down slightly from June when I last compiled stats.  With a total of 249 ship visits by 220 different vessels, the trend in ship types remained steady.  Cruise ships accounted for 46 visits (18%) while bulkers were most common with 85 (34%).  Twenty-four flags were represented, which is about average, but some notable ones included the French-flagged tanker BRO CECILE, a first this year for that registry. Other notables were Antigua and Barbuda with 5 ships, Vanuatu with 2, Malaysia with 2 and 1 from the Philippines.  Also of interest is the steady increase of Turkish-flagged vessels in port.  The arrival of 4 ships in September may coincide with the country’s emerging global trading presence and it’s bid to join the European Union.  New launches this year included the ZIM LOS ANGELES, an 8200 TEU giant, 334m in length and 101,000 dwt.  She was in Deltaport on the 20th of the month, and had made her maiden voyage there in August.  Ten other 2009 launches arrived here this month, 8 of them making their first visit.  One was the HANJIN CAPE LAMBERT, a Panamanian flagged bulker, 294m in length and 158,000 dwt.  She could be seen on the week of September, 14 anchored in English Bay before berthing at Roberts Bank to load coal.  A few vintage ships were seen this month, all regular visitors to the port.  The 1977-built, Norwegian flagged STAR DIEPPE continues to ply between Pacific Northwest ports and the Orient.  Another veteran in the Norwegian registry, the SKAUGRAN, a ro-ro general cargo vessel launched in 1979, brought in a load of vehicles and departed with forest products.  

September was an especially interesting shipspotting month for me as I had two diversions from my usual weekly jaunts down to Vancouver harbour or the Fraser River.  The first was the annual Inner Harbour tour put on by the Port of Vancouver, which provides a free 45-minute cruise with numerous opportunities for photographing ships.  This year it was held on Sept. 20 and the weather was superb.  The lighting makes it difficult to get good photos on the Vancouver side, but it’s ideal for the North Shore.  Among the ships I saw were the Liberian-flagged Panamax bulker, GIUSEPPE RIZZO, loading grain at JRI (James Richardson International), and the Marshall Islands-flagged container ship SANTIAGO, offloading at LynnTerm.

GIUSEPPE RIZZO at JRI Terminal; taken September 20 from cruise boat MAGIC CHARM. Ref: WS09-0401.

SANTIAGO at LynnTerm; taken September 20,2009 from cruise boat MAGIC CHARM. Ref: WS09-0407.

My second diversion was a little 5-day adventure with two of my long-time friends, Robert Hartridge and Tony Kirby.  Now, Robert and Tony are not shipspotters per se, but they are knowledgeable and curious, and had no trouble accommodating me on my many ship-photo stops.  We started the vacation in Vancouver aboard the VOLENDAM on the 23rd of September.  She would take us on an overnight cruise to Seattle, departing at 5 pm.  

We boarded the ship at 11 am to take full advantage of the great food, entertainment and luxury-hotel atmosphere.  Sailing out under brilliant blue skies we were able to see the SAPPHIRE PRINCESS leaving Canada Place just ahead of us.  We passed close to the HMCS EDMONTON (703) a Canadian Navy mine-warfare vessel which had been performing some inner harbour work connected with the 2010 Olympics.  Shortly before sailing under the Lions Gate Bridge we were able to look down on the Turkish bulker, ISMAIL K, at Vancouver Wharves.  It was also quirky to see, anchored in the inner harbour, the FORTUNE OCEAN, because the last time I went out on a cruise ship from Vancouver in May of 2006, this same ship was in Vancouver Wharves. 

SAPPHIRE PRINCESS in Vancouver Harbour; taken September 23, 2009 from the VOLENDAM at Canada Place. Ref: WS09-0408

ISMAIL K Ref: WS09-0402at Vancouver Wharves; taken September 23, 2009 from the VOLENDAM.

HMCS EDMONTON (#703) in Vancouver Harbour; taken September. 23, 2009 from the VOLENDAM. Ref: WS09-0400

OCEAN PHOENIX at Pier 90 in Seattle; taken September 24, 2009 from VOLENDAM at Pier 91. Ref: WS09-0404

We arrived at Seattle about 6 o’clock on a very grey morning.  I was up early and went out on deck.  To my surprise we were not downtown at the cruise ship terminal, but at Pier 91 at the north end of the city, amongst all the large fishing boats and across from a sprawling marina.  Looking toward downtown, the Space Needle loomed above the Pier 86 Grain Terminal, in which was berthed the 70,000 dwt Panamax bulker, JOYOUS WORLD

OCEAN ROVER at Pier 90 in Seattle; taken September 24,2009 from north end of Elliot Bay Park. Ref: WS09-0405

JOYOUS WORLD at Pier 86 in Seattle; taken September 24, 2009 from VOLENDAM at Pier 91. Space Needle at left. Ref: WS09-0403

We were surrounded by interesting fishing boats of all sizes, including very large processing/packing vessels such as the OCEAN ROVER.  Even more interesting, berthed beside us was the OCEAN PHOENIX, which had spent 3 weeks in Burrard Dry Dock in April/May of this year.  She was converted to a fish processor in 1989 but was originally launched as the general cargo vessel, OREGON MAIL in 1964.

Seattle, looking west at Pier 86 out to Pier 91; taken September 24, 2009 from the Space Needle. Ref: WS09-0409

We spent the night in Seattle at a downtown hotel, so had the entire day to explore.  The clouds burned off in the morning as we were taking in the Seattle Art Museum.  After lunching in a Pike’s Place Market pub, we walked along the beautiful seafront greenbelt that stretches from downtown to the fishing boat piers where our ship was docked.  Along the way we passed Pier 86, providing a close-up view of the JOYOUS WORLD at the grain terminal.  

When we arrived back at the start of the greenbelt, we saw that we were within short walking distance to the Space Needle, so that was our next stop.  From the top of this tower the view on such a clear day was spectacular.  Looking west we could easily see the JOYOUS WORLD, berthed at Pier 86, the fishing docks and the marina.  The VOLENDAM had departed Pier 91 about an hour earlier but we could still see her 20 miles up the coast and I was able to identify her thanks to having my binoculars as a constant companion.  After leaving the Space Needle we took the monorail back to our hotel in time for a late dinner and early nightcap.

CELEBRITY MERCURYand RYNDAM at Ogden Point, Victoria, B.C.; taken September 26, 2009 from Esquimalt.

We had to be down at the dock by 7:15 am the next morning to catch the VICTORIA CLIPPER IV to Victoria.

My first trip on the ‘CLIPPER’ was a surprising experience.  Firstly, it holds 325 passengers and it was full.  It always looked like a small boat to me.  Secondly, although it cruises at over 30 knots the ride was incredibly smooth even though the water wasn’t always flat.  We saw several freighters in Puget Sound, all southbound, including the APL MIAMI which passed close by.  We arrived in Victoria two hours and 45 minutes later to more warm sunny weather. The trek through customs was almost as long as the ferry trip, so we were glad to be able to get some fresh air and walk to our downtown hotel, where we spent 2 nights.  I visit Victoria often enough but there’s always something new to discover.  Whenever I’ve walked along the seafront on the north side of the inner harbour, I’ve never made it past the Spinnaker Pub.  This time we walked on and the seawall ended at a marina in Esquimalt’s east side.  After stopping for a coffee in the café, further exploration took us to Fleming Park on the southeast coast, surrounded by the Department of National Defence subdivisions where many of the naval personnel live.  From this vantage point we looked directly across to Ogden Point in Victoria where two cruise ships, the RYNDAM and CELEBRITY MERCURY were docked.  There are extensive trails in the park so we spent some time walking and came upon a hilltop lookout from which we could see two old gun emplacements and a fabulous panoramic view of the surrounding area.  Our trip ended with a farewell drink in our favourite pub, Bartholomew’s, and a bus trip and ferry ride back to Vancouver the following morning.

[All the photos are courtesy of Neil England]


Highlights from the September 2009 edition of our newsletter (Issue 165)

Please respect the copyright notice at the foot of the page. All material on this website, including photographs, is copyrighted by The World Ship Society of British Columbia, and/or the individual writers/photographers.

by Neil England

As much of my summer was spent away from the city, this column will be a temporary departure from the metro scene usually reported here.  Instead I will recount my vacation trip with my wife Beth to San Juan Island in Washington State and the ship activity I saw there and along the way.  Our first stop was Anacortes, Washington where we spent the afternoon and night before catching the morning ferry to San Juan Island, our eventual destination for two weeks of camping.  We have made this annual trip for the last 10 years, each time stopping in Anacortes to visit our friends.  This small city of approximately 17,000 people, located about 30 km south of Bellingham on the shores of Rosario Strait, has a surprising amount of ship activity.  There are two refineries sitting side by side on March Point, the eastern outskirts of the city.  Both the Shell Refinery and the Tesoro Refinery have docks capable of berthing two large tankers. 

 During my stay there on August 2nd, there were two American flagged tankers in the Tesoro dock:  the 142,000 dwt POLAR DISCOVERY and the 47,000 dwt SEABULK ARCTIC.  One more tanker, the 106,000 dwt Panamanian flagged STAVANGER BLOSSOM was anchored in the bay just offshore from the refinery.  She had been in Vancouver the previous day discharging cargo at the Westridge Terminal.  Also anchored was the tug LINDSEY FOSS, which I assumed may have been waiting to escort one of the tankers out of Anacortes, or perhaps to assist in berthing the STAVANGER BLOSSOM.  About 10 km north of March Point, where Padilla Bay meets Bellingham Bay, yet another tanker was anchored.  Ships anchored here can be seen from many of the viewpoints on the Chuckanut Drive, the coastal route from Bellingham to Anacortes.  I was unable to ascertain the name of this vessel, as it was just a little too far away.

STAVANGER BLOSSOM, tanker, anchored off March Point, WA.  Photo by Neil England. Ref: WS09-0289.

The ships docked in the refineries or anchored nearby can be viewed from a wonderful spot called Cap Sante, a twenty minute walk from downtown, and situated between the downtown and March Point.  This rocky bluff provides a more than 270 degree view of the city and surroundings. Looking to the south from this vantage point, you can see the marinas and the long row of boat-building yards.  For decades Anacortes has had a thriving shipbuilding industry, churning out all kinds of boats from small fiberglass powerboats to large steel-hulled luxury yachts, and even the next U.S. entry for the Americas Cup Race.  It has also been building ocean-going commercial vessels of many types at it’s downtown shipyard owned by Dakota Creek Industries.

LINDSEY FOSS, anchored off March Point, taken from Cape Sante, August 2nd, 2009.  Photo by Neil England. Ref: WS09-0292.

Downtown Anacortes, on the north side of the city, provides yet more surprising ship activity.  It has 3 wharves, one of which is used for deep-sea vessels up to a draft of about 13m.  During my visit the 30,000 dwt, Panamanian flagged SOUTHERN SPIRIT was at Pier II loading coke, but not of the cola kind.  This cargo is basically residue from the oil refineries. As I wandered the waterfront, a steady stream of trucks were hauling this material to the dock and dumping it into a hopper, from which it went via conveyor belt straight into the holds of the ship.

SOUTHERN SPIRIT Ref: WS09-0290, tanker, at Pier II, Anacortes, WA, Aug 2, 2009. Photo by Neil England. 

Next to Pier II, at the Dakota Creek Industries shipyard, a strange-looking ship could be seen gleaming in the sunlight, towering above everything else. I could read the name ROSS CANDIES, and recognized her as the sister ship to one that had just been completed in July of last year when I had visited.  She was as I later found out, an OSV, (Offshore Supply Vessel) a workboat of the offshore oil industry. OSV is a generic term that refers to many different types of vessels, and this particular vessel is sometimes referred to more specifically as an IMR (Inspection, Maintenance and Repair). With her huge heliport looming over her bow, she paints a dramatic picture looking from the ground.  As I approached the yard, which was gated, I saw a security guard and asked him a few questions about the ROSS CANDIES.  He told me that the ship was going to be launched in a week’s time on August 8th  so I planned to make a daytrip back to Anacortes from San Juan Island for the occasion.

ROSS CANDIES, photo taken August 2nd at the Dakota Creek Shipyard, Anacortes, WA..  Photo by Neil England. Ref: WS09-0278.

ROSS CANDIES, offshore support vessel at Anacortes.  Photo by Neil England. Ref: WS09-0276.

The Saturday I arrived back in Anacortes happened to be the weekend of the Anacortes Arts Fair.  During this annual event about 12 blocks of the main street from the waterfront are blocked off and crammed with marquees and kiosks from which are flogged every sort of craft, trinket and food item that one can imagine.  Adding to the festive air are street musicians, buskers and a wild assortment of galleries and collections.  I checked back with the security guard about mid morning and he conveyed to me that the christening ceremony for the ROSS CANDIES would start about 2 pm, but that was contingent on the owner of the company arriving on time from New Orleans.

Having got caught up in the fair in the meantime, I lost track of the hour and at 2:15 rushed down to the shipyard for the ceremony.  There was a crowd of about 500 people near the bow of the ship, listening to one of the half-dozen people on the podium making a speech.  I was just in time to watch Linda Nelson, wife of the shipyard owner, swing the champagne bottle and smash it against the bow to great cheering and applause.  Afterward the group on the podium stepped down and mingled amongst the crowd, often shaking hands with everyone around.  I thought I’d try to collar one of these folks and get some facts and figures.  Seeing one of the gentlemen free, I introduced myself to him as a member of the World Ship Society.  I asked him what his connection was to this ship and he replied in a slow southern drawl, “I own it”.  Taken aback slightly, I noticed his name was on his shirt: Otto Candies.  ‘Pleased to meet you, sir’ I said.  He chatted for a couple of minutes and told me the ship was going to be in service in the Gulf of Mexico where most of the Candies fleet is working.  

 I spoke to two other very interesting people while there.  One was the vice-president of the shipyard who told me the ship was state-of-the-art in the oil industry.  She has three bow thrusters and dual T-propellers.  The ship, he told me, can be positioned via her computer-controlled GPS system to within 1 meter, even in 10-ft seas.  Another chap I spoke with was the president of the Portland, Oregon company that supplied all the steel for the ship.  The steel is cut, fabricated and marked in the Portland factory and shipped up to be welded together like a jigsaw puzzle in the Anacortes shipyard.  This 309-ft vessel was built in about 1 year at a cost of US$50 to 60 million dollars.  A second sister to this vessel is already under construction in the same yard. The as yet unnamed ship goes by the moniker Hull 52.  

I was hoping to stay around for the launching but was told that the shipyard would be closed to the public for safety reasons.  However, I was assured I wouldn’t be missing anything as there would be no rolling down the skids with a great splash into the water for this ship.  It would be slowly lowered into the water at about 7 or 8 pm, too late for me to stay anyway.

 I had about an hour to pass before catching my bus back to the ferry.  I wandered further down the waterfront, and to my joy there was yet more to see.  In a floating drydock next to the shipyard was a naval vessel called DISCOVERY BAY, a torpedo trials craft.  The name on the bow was TTY 11, which I later found out was the hull number. 

BELUGA FASCINATION, in Guemes Channel, taken from Pier I.  Photo by Neil England Ref: WS09-0293.

I looked at my watch and thought I should be leaving soon.  But I could see looking westward toward Rosario Strait, a freighter turning toward Anacortes.  I decided to wait.  Not disappointed, within 15 minutes the general cargo vessel BELUGA FASCINATION sailed past me in the narrow channel separating downtown Anacortes from Guemes Island.  I took a few quick pics and ran for the bus.  I had five minutes to spare so all was well and I returned on time to catch the ferry.

 Beth and I spent 14 nights on San Juan Island, as has been the custom for the past 10 years.  For Beth, it’s relaxation and a family reunion, as we meet up each year with her sister and family from Boise, Idaho.  For me, it’s relaxation and a continuous parade of shipspotting.  The county campground is situated on the west side of the island overlooking  Haro Strait, and directly across from Cordova Bay near Victoria.  All day and night a steady stream of marine traffic plies the waters.  Some of the northbound vessels come close enough to shore to be easily photographed.  The HANJIN BERLIN was one of them.  Rarely do I spend an entire day at the campground, but nevertheless on a typical day I’ll see six or seven freighters during daylight hours, in addition to many tugs and barges, Coast Guard and naval vessels and a few large yachts and miscellaneous ships.  On the one day that I actually hung around the camp all day, I spotted 14 freighters – tankers, container ships, bulkers and vehicle carriers. Twice during my stay I saw the CELEBRITY INFINITY heading north out of Seattle.  In the twilight hours around the campfire I saw many other unidentified vessels, although I could usually identify the type.  In the dead quiet of the night, if I should happen to be awake, I could hear the humming of the engines of a fully loaded vessel or the dog-spooking rumblings of a large empty bulker.  Such eerie sounds used to awaken me, but not anymore

DISCOVERY BAY, torpedo trials vessel, in the floating drydock, taken from Pier I, Anacortes, WA.. Photo by Neil England.  Ref: WS09-0294.

This year I logged in my San Juan journal, 80 vessels identified.  This was a typical year, as I’ve been keeping records for 7 years now.  It’s a wonderful place to relax and a wonderful place to shipspot. If I choose, I never have to leave the comfort of my camp chair, with binoculars in one hand, a glass of cold beer in the other and a good book in my lap.‡         Neil England



PHOTO OF THE MONTH  This month we present another of Robert's excellent photographs — Holland America Line cruise ship AMSTERDAM outbound in Vancouver Harbour, toward Lion's Gate Bridge, April 26, 2009.  Robert Etchell photo.  Ref: WS09-0258.


HANSEATIC entering Vancouver Harbour while undergoing a world cruise.  Photo by Glenn Smith. Ref: WS09-0310

OCEANIC entering Vancouver Harbour after passing under the Lion's Gate Bridge for a 3-day stay in Vancouver. Photo by Glenn Smith. Ref: WS09-0311

FROM THE WHEELHOUSE by Glenn Smith.   Top Photo is the HANSEATIC arriving early morning of July 28, 2009.  Photo taken from Brockton Point in Stanley Park.  Ref: WS09-0310.   Second photo is the Peace Boat’s OCEANIC, which arrived early morning on July 27, 2009.  Ref: WS09-0311. Both photos by Glenn Smith. For a most interesting blog of Peter Knego’s recent trip to Vancouver and his trip on the HANSEATIC go to http://maritimematters.com/ or directly to the blog at http://maritimematters.blogspot.com/2009/07/northbound-hanseatic-ten-nights-on.html,     then look for “Vancouver Manoeuvres” in the Blog Archive.