About those billionaire megayachts in Halifax Harbour this week... | The Coast Halifax

About those billionaire megayachts in Halifax Harbour this week...

Container ships, cruise ships, cargo carriers and more vessels bound for Halifax the week of July 3-9, 2023.

The $80-million Vive la Vie (foreground) and $40-million Silver Shalis (rearground) yachts, docked in Halifax Harbour on Monday, July 3, 2023.

Ever wondered how much it costs to keep a superyacht seaworthy? For each year that New York multibillionaire and real estate developer Larry Silverstein keeps his US $40-million megayacht Silver Shalis running, complete with its lap pool, elevator and gym, it’s estimated to cost the former World Trade Center owner somewhere between US $2-4 million. That’s about five to 10 times as much as Halifax spends on arts every year.

Silverstein’s 175-foot yacht was secured near the base of Salter Street on Halifax’s waterfront from Wednesday, June 28 until late Tuesday morning. Prior to that, the 90-year-old’s luxury vessel spent three days berthed in Lunenburg after an earlier four-day Halifax stint. And he’s not the only deep-pocketed visitor who came to see Halifax Harbour ensconced in fog—across the pier, the 135-foot Homecoming (worth an estimated US $7.9 million, according to United Yacht) has been berthed since last Wednesday, too, and the $80-million Vive la Vie (owned by Swiss pharma multibillionaire Willy Michel) was docked outside of the Nova Scotia Power building from Saturday until early Tuesday. Respectively, the ships clock in as the 775th-largest, 1,979th-largest and 480th-largest yachts in the world.

click to enlarge The Homecoming (foreground) and Silver Shalis (background) yachts, docked in Halifax Harbour on July 3, 2023.
Martin Bauman / The Coast
The Homecoming (foreground) and Silver Shalis (background) yachts, docked in Halifax Harbour on July 3, 2023.

The most mind-blowing part? Not one of the three is close to the largest motored yacht to have berthed in Halifax. Per Halifax Shipping News’ Peter Ziobrowski, that claim belongs to the 255-foot Sea Ranger, which was converted from a tug for oil platforms into a yacht with its own basketball court, helicopter pad and swimming pool that was once owned by Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt. That’s not to be outdone, either, by the 247-foot Bella Vita, formerly owned by Nova Scotia tuna tycoon John Risley. (As yachts owned by billionaires do, the ship has since changed hands—and switched names—to the Huntress, owned by a US diplomat who also once owned Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners.)

Last week, Halifax also saw the world’s largest ketch-rigged sailboat, the 282-foot Aquijo, pay a two-day visit to the harbour. (Estimated value? $100 million.) That ship is owned by German billionaire Juergen Grossmann. 

Must be nice to have things, I guess. A pity all that wealth couldn’t be shared or used to save the planet. Anyway, on to other things—here’s what else is coming in and out of port the week of July 3-9, 2023:

Monday, July 3

Bon voyage to Canadian naval ships HMCS Summerside and Shawinigan. The two Kingston-class coastal defense vessels left Halifax Harbour on Monday as part of the ongoing Operation Reassurance NATO mission in central Europe, Canada’s largest current deployment of military assets across the globe. More than 1,100 Canadian Armed Forces members are currently deployed around the Baltic region between land, air and naval efforts. The roughly 90 members aboard the Summerside and Shawinigan will be taking part in “mine countermeasures” over the next four months, rear admiral Josee Kurtz tells CBC News. Both ships are equipped with mine detection and disposal tools.

The Atlantic Star container ship arrived at Fairview Cove Terminal just after 5:30am Monday morning. It wrapped an eight-day crossing from Liverpool, UK, and left later that evening for New York City. Meanwhile, the Eimskip-owned Lagarfoss container ship arrived around 7:30am from Reykjavik, Iceland. It sails next to Portland, Maine.

click to enlarge About those billionaire megayachts in Halifax Harbour this week...
Martin Bauman / The Coast
The Lagarfoss container ship arrives in Halifax Harbour on July 3, 2023.

Two more ships rounded out a busy Monday on the harbour: The NYK Remus container ship and CSL Tacoma self-discharging bulk carrier arrived at around 4:30pm and 7:30pm, respectively, inbound from Saint John, NB, and Wilmington, North Carolina. The 293-metre-long Remus left Halifax early Tuesday morning for Southampton, UK. The Tacoma, meanwhile, was anchored in the Bedford Basin as of Tuesday morning. It’s scheduled to leave again for Wilmington on Friday.

Tuesday, July 4

One of Halifax’s biggest ship arrivals of the week chugged into port at the South End Container Terminal early Tuesday morning: The 364-metre ONE Swan finished a whopping 22-day crossing from Colombo, Sri Lanka, via Egypt’s Suez Canal. With a summer deadweight of 138,907 tonnes, the ship ranks among the heaviest haulers for the first week of July. It’s scheduled to leave Halifax for New York City on Tuesday evening.

click to enlarge A crane lifts a steel container from the ONE Swan container ship in Halifax on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.
Martin Bauman / The Coast
A crane lifts a steel container from the ONE Swan container ship in Halifax on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

At about half the size, the 65,867-tonne NYK Daedalus arrived early Tuesday morning from Cartagena, Colombia. It’s berthed at the Fairview Cove Terminal and sails onward to Southampton, UK early Tuesday afternoon.

Finally, the Morning Capo vehicle carrier arrived at Eastern Passage’s Autoport around 7:30am. It finished a nine-day crossing from Zeebrugge, Belgium. The ship is set to leave for New York City later Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday, July 5

New York never sleeps, and neither does the Energy Artemis. The 182-metre-long oil/chemical tanker is set to arrive in Halifax around 4am after leaving the Big Apple early Monday morning. The 182-metre ship was built in Korea in 2022 by K. Shipbuilding Co. It’s set to dock at the Imperial Oil Terminal.

Konnichi wa to the ZIM Yokohama container ship, set to arrive early Wednesday morning from Spain. It left the coastal city of Valencia on June 28 after earlier stops in Barcelona; Genova, Italy; and Piraeus, Greece. After Halifax, it’s bound for New York City. (Not a bad summer vacation itinerary.)

click to enlarge About those billionaire megayachts in Halifax Harbour this week...
DmitTrix (CC BY 4.0)
The ZIM Yokohama container ship, seen in Haifa, Israel in February 2023, is slated to arrive in Halifax on Wednesday, July 5, 2023.

At about the same hour the Yokohama is slated to arrive, the Oceanex Sanderling ro-ro/cargo carrier is scheduled for its weekly trip from St. John’s, NL. It’s projected to berth at the South End Container Terminal.

Thursday, July 6

The first week of every summer when I was a kid, my Oma and Opa would rent our family a small cottage on a lake. It was part of a bigger camp/resort complex, which meant there were certain amenities that mattered a lot if you were a kid: A wooden playground, an outdoor basketball court, shuffleboard courts that seemed to always be in direct sunlight and a swim-out dock where you could cannonball and dream about backflipping like the bigger kids, if only you had the guts to try it. The main attraction, though, was the tuck shop. It was loaded with penny candies and other sweets you could buy for a nickel. I must’ve gone every day. Sometimes, twice a day.

That’s a little how it feels, now, with the 1,430-passenger Zaandam cruise ship making its 11th Halifax stop of the season this Thursday. I like to imagine the captain at the helm, turning hard for Halifax Harbour week after week—even if the stop wasn’t scheduled—just for another scoop of Dee Dee’s ice cream or to hear the noon cannon one more time.

Elsewhere, the Augusta Luna general cargo ship and Nolhan Ava ro-ro/cargo carrier are set to arrive at 5:30am and around 8pm, respectively, from Moa, Cuba, and St. Pierre and Miquelon.

click to enlarge The 1,430-passenger Zaandam cruise ship, seen in Halifax on May 4, 2023, returns to Halifax on July 6, 2023.
Photo: Martin Bauman / The Coast
The 1,430-passenger Zaandam cruise ship, seen in Halifax on May 4, 2023, returns to Halifax on July 6, 2023.

Friday, July 7

The Wallenius Wilhelmsen-operated Manon vehicle carrier is marked for a 5:30am arrival from Zeebrugge, Belgium. The ship can carry up to 7,194 cars (based on the size of a 1966 Toyota Corona). It’s set to dock at Eastern Passage’s Autoport.

The 294-metre-long MSC Pratiti container ship is expected to arrive around 4pm on Friday. It’s en route from Sines, Portugal, after earlier stops in Salerno, Naples and Gioia Tauro, Italy. (I would say this qualifies as a decent summer vacation, too, but a pickpocket once nicked my phone in Naples. And while we’re settling scores, the Neapolitans don’t put enough toppings on their pizza, either.)

Last, but not least, the Atlantic Sail container ship is expected to reach the Fairview Cove Terminal around 6pm. It’s currently travelling from Baltimore, Maryland, to Norfolk, Virginia.

Saturday, July 8

Behold, the biggest ship to arrive in Halifax this week: The 366-metre CMA CGM Magellan container ship is set to arrive at the South End Container Terminal around 4am Saturday. It’s in the midst of a weeklong crossing from Tanger Med, Morocco.

On its heels are the ONE Crane and MSC Esthi container ships, inbound from Norfolk and Baltimore, respectively. The former is expected at the South End Container Terminal around 5pm, while the latter is slated for an 8pm arrival. (Speaking of massive fortunes, the Aponte family, who own Mediterranean Shipping Company, saw their net worth climb by $46 billion in just this past year, thanks to an ongoing shipping boom.)

Sunday, July 9

The last day of the week brings some of the last letters of the alphabet into play, with the arrivals of the Warnow Master container ship and Viking Neptune cruise ship. The 180-metre container ship has been plying a regular route between Halifax, New York and Kingston, Jamaica, in recent months; it last left Halifax on June 26.

The 930-passenger Viking Neptune, meanwhile, is currently in Quebec City after stops in Montreal and Saguenay. It returns via the Gaspé Peninsula and will carry onward to Boston and New York after its Halifax stop.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story referred to Valencia as a Catalonian city. While Catalan is spoken in parts of Valencia, the region is, in fact, more accurately described as Valencian. The Coast regrets the error and promises to eat three heaping plates of paella as a gesture of goodwill.