Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New duck in the house

Its been rather quiet in this web space lately - on the blog anyways - the main site has had a fresh update, and the Common Rail forum is still quite active. One of the reasons is this incredibly hot weather we've had on the west coast, and the constant need to have a dip or be in the shade outside somewhere.

The other reason for the silent treatment, is that our little family welcomed a new addition. Our third boy was born last Friday morning, so as you may well understand, its been, and continues to be a bit busy in the house right now.

Felix and his mother are doing very well; his two brothers and I, are very happy to have him around, although he is, so far, a very quiet baby and doesn't announce his presence very loudly.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Scientific Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, is not really the most recognized name in ocean science circles, the yocals call it the land of the "newly weds and nearly deads". The city often sees many visiting cruise ships and mega yachts, but lately, the harbour front is playing host to some pretty neat ships with grand aims of scientific discoveries.

First off, the Joides Resolution is back in town for a stopover. The world travelling drill ship is no stranger to the port, although it always raises eyebrows. It arived in town Sunday morning from a trip that started back in Honolulu, in May, and is bidding farewell to its its scientific contigent known as the "School of Rock". No they are not doing Jack Black impressions. The purpose of the vessel is to drill deep into the earth crust, in order to understand what lies beneath and how that affects us. Check out their website for further information.

The CCGS Amundsen is due west of Victoria, about 2 or 3 days away from land, and I presume port bound. The Canadian Coast Guard ship, you may remember, is on a scientific trip that is circumnavigating the North American continent, from Quebec City, through the Panama Canal, up to Victoria, and on throught the Northwest Passage in the Arctic, on its way back to Quebec City. You can view the expedition plan here.

And lastly, french owned and operated cable lay ship Lodbrog just left Victoria Shipyard on its way north, to the area just west of Vancouver Island, abeam Port Alberni. The ship spent several days in Victoria making preparations to put the final touches on the Neptune underwater observatory, located just offshore of the "Pacific Northwest". Read about the current mission here and a local media story here.

The massive scientific endeavor is a boon to the local scientific community, in particular the University of Victoria. Unfortunately, and despite the massive funding from the Canadian goverment (my taxes), the same cannot be said for the Canadian seafaring and maritime sector. You can read a previous blog entry about the project and this angle here.

Alcatel Lucent owned Lodbrog is managed by french shipowner Louis Dreyfus Armateur, and is just one of the many ships working on the project, which do not have any Canadian port painted on their transom, yet, are benefiting from Canadian tax dollars. All the power to the scientific community; unfortunately, its yet another example of the neglect that the government shows towards the Canadian maritime sector, which is fading - fast - into the history books.

Pictured above is the RV Joides Resolution, below that, is the CS Lodbrog, and just above here, is the CS Ile de Sein during the last trip of Neptune's installation. Pictures from various internet sources.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Advanced vessel going to work for Portland, Maine

One of my favorite companies to deal with is located in Meteghan River. They do mainly American business due to the difference in the dollar. It is great to see that they are getting this attention for their work.


N.S.-built fire boat heads south
By BRIAN MEDEL Yarmouth Bureau

METEGHAN RIVER — One of the most advanced firefighting boats in the world was launched this week from a Nova Scotia shipyard and will see service in Portland, Maine, later this month.

The MV City of Portland is a 20-metre, aluminum-hulled fire boat built by A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd. in Meteghan River.

"We think it’s great," said the skipper of the new vessel, Capt. David Pendleton of the Portland Fire Department.

"The workmanship is wonderful. It feels like it’s going to be stable and sturdy," he said Friday at the shipyard.

It’s a state-of-the-art boat, too.

A 13-horsepower bow thruster will help keep the boat on station. And the large water gun on the tower atop the flying bridge is remote-controlled, so it does not require a firefighter in bad weather or in a smoky environment.

"Portland has the only true fire boat . . . north of Boston," said Capt. Pendleton.

Portland is a city of some 65,000 but swells to 100,000 during the day, he said.

A cruise ship terminal used by the Cat ferry from Yarmouth and a bulk cargo terminal are active.

Since 9-11 more emphasis is being placed on harbour protection.

"The federal government has made homeland security funding available. . . . A lot of (municipalities) like the City of Portland have taken advantage of grants to get boats.

The vessel is worth about US$3.2 million now, he said.

The City of Portland is powered by twin 454-horsepower Caterpillar marine diesel engines.

"This is probably a little bit more powerful than most fire boats of its type and size," said Michael Mason, the project manager. A 11,356-litre-per-minute water cannon on top of a tower is driven by its own 525-horsepower diesel engine.

The boat has two smaller cannons mounted on the bow and a portable unit on the aft dive platform and a medical bay that is like the back of an ambulance.

( bmedel@herald.ca)

Picture from the Portland Press Herald