Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Halifax Harbour Traffic and Shipbreaking at Port Mersey

I will start with three photos taken yesterday morning of HMCS FREDERICTON underway in Halifax Harbour. It's always nice to catch a ship underway during my morning ferry ride.

FREDERICTON in front of the Halifax skyline.

CHARLOTTETOWN, still on the Syncrolift, is photo-bombing this shot of FREDERICTON by appearing to perch on the latter's helicopter deck. 

Tribute Tower stands in the background of FREDERICTON in this image.
Tribute Tower is the new Junior Ranks mess and accommodation building, and has about 300 rooms over 10 floors, with the dining, kitchen, and mess halls over the remaining two. It replaces the old Fleet Club, A Block, and A Galley.

I was also down in Liverpool over the past weekend, and ran over to Brooklyn to take a few photos of the former Royal Canadian Navy vessels being broken up at the Port Mersey Commercial Park (aka the former Bowater Mersey Paper Company). Read no further if you are sensitive to such things. 

The two ships visible from the Brooklyn side are the former HMC Ships IROQUOIS and ALGONQUIN.

IROQUOIS is closer to the camera, with ALGONQUIN in behind.
Outwardly, IROQUOIS doesn't yet show signs of the breaking up process, other than having been stripped by the Navy prior to disposal. In fact, I am slightly surprised at the equipment that wasn't removed before she was towed away: the Mk.32 torpedo launchers, LIROD gun director, TACAN antenna, SATCOM antennas (I assume that's what they are), navigation radar (on ALGONQUIN), and launchers (or portions thereof) for both the Plessey SHIELD (both ships) and Nulka (ALGONQUIN only) decoy systems. But then, my wife says I am a bit of a packrat. None of this equipment has been carried over to the modernized HALIFAX class frigates, so I guess it can be presumed to be safely obsolete.

IROQUOIS, with ALGONQUIN in behind.

ALGONQUIN (left) and IROQUOIS (right), this time from the port bow.
From the bow, ALGONQUIN can be seen to have lost her bridge windows, and there is a burn or cut mark running under the bridge windows from bridge wing to bridge wing. The whip antennas have also been cut from the forward corners of the bridge.

All that remains of PROTECTEUR, hauled out onto the shore.
I had to head over to the Liverpool side to get photos of the other side of the wharf. Not much remains of PROTECTEUR, and what little does remain has been hauled out onto the shore to finish the job of cutting her up. She was hauled up bow-first, and that is where the most advanced work is. Slightly more remains at the stern, and the aft end of her keel and overhang remain. A portion of either her engine or boilers stick up above the remains of the hull. 

The two small landing craft carried by PROTECTEUR on either side of her hangar are landed on the hard, and seem to be intact. Not sure if they are for sale, or if the contractor intends to find their own use for them.
The work that goes on at the Port Mersey Commercial Park is a far cry from the loading of paper that the former occupant of the site, the Bowater Mersey Paper Company, used to do here. Indeed, I spent part of a summer (and one Christmas holiday) loading paper on ships on both sides of this wharf. 

The Brooklyn side of the wharf (where IROQUOIS and ALGONQUIN are located) was mostly used (in my limited experience) for ships to load with their own cranes, although there was also a concrete ramp for ships with RO-RO capability. The Liverpool side, where PROTECTEUR is being broken up, was used by Gorthon Lines ships that loaded through the side via elevators and forklifts. 

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