The George Harrison of cargo ships arrives in Halifax Harbour this week | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Like The Beatles' George Harrison, the Atlantic Sun ro-ro/cargo ship calls Liverpool, UK home.

The George Harrison of cargo ships arrives in Halifax Harbour this week

Container ships, cruise ships, cargo ships and other vessels bound for Halifax Harbour the week of Oct. 9-15, 2023.

Most of The Beatles’ catalogue, at least as history remembers it today, started with what remains the most successful songwriting duo in all of popular music: John Lennon and Paul McCartney. So prolific were the two at their craft—and so symbiotic was their relationship—that even today, reciting their names rolls off the tongue like a single word: Lennonandmccartney. (It’s like peanutbutterandjelly, or macaroniandcheese. There is no one without the other.)

But the band owes one of its best songs—and in fact, its most-streamed song on Spotify—to guitarist George Harrison. That song? Abbey Road’s “Here Comes The Sun.”

The Atlantic Sun ro-ro/cargo ship arrived at Halifax’s Fairview Cove Terminal around 4:30am on Wednesday morning. It came in from Norfolk, Virginia and will leave for The Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool, UK around 5pm. Not unlike Harrison within the band, the Atlantic Sun is one of five ro-ro cargo ships in Atlantic Container Line’s fleet, along with the Atlantic Star, Atlantic Sail, Atlantic Sea and Atlantic Sky. (Don’t ask why, but Atlantic Sail is absolutely the Pete Best of the fleet. Just a feeling. The others? Fine. Since you asked, Paul is the Sea, John is the Sky and Ringo… well, he has be the Star.)

With that out of the way, here comes a look at what else is travelling in and out of port this week.

Monday, Oct. 9

Two early arrivals came into Halifax on Monday: The Tropic Lissette container ship reached Halifax’s South End Container Terminal around 4:46am, and Pete Best—err, the Atlantic Sail container ship—berthed at Halifax’s Fairview Cove Terminal even earlier, around 4:30am. Both ships departed Monday evening. The former is en route to West Palm Beach, Florida, while the latter arrives in New York City on Wednesday morning.

Tuesday, Oct. 10

Another week of cruise ship arrivals began Tuesday, with three vessels coming into port: The 922-passenger Explora I, 2,390-passenger Norwegian Pearl and 380-passenger Silver Shadow all paid visits to the Halifax Seaport. All left Halifax Harbour by early evening. The MSC-owned Explora I is wrapping up a 10-day trip from Quebec City to New York, while the Norwegian Pearl is bound for Boston. The Silver Shadow arrives in Charlottetown, PEI on Wednesday morning.

click to enlarge The George Harrison of cargo ships arrives in Halifax Harbour this week (3)
William Murphy / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
The Silver Shadow cruise ship, seen in Dublin in 2013, arrived in Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2023.

Finally, the 148-metre-long Contship Art container ship reached the Fairview Cove Terminal around 5am, inbound from New York. It left early Wednesday morning for Kingston, Jamaica.

Wednesday, Oct. 11

The Liberty of the Seas arrived at Halifax’s Pier 22 around 11am. With a capacity of 3,635 passengers, it’s the second-largest cruise ship to visit Halifax Harbour this week. It’s in the midst of a nine-day round-trip cruise through Massachusetts, Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

The day’s earliest arrival was the Algoscotia oil tanker, which berthed in Eastern Passage around 2:45am. The double-hulled ship left Sydney, NS early Tuesday morning and returns to Cape Breton on Thursday afternoon.

click to enlarge The George Harrison of cargo ships arrives in Halifax Harbour this week (2)
pverdonk / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
The Algoscotia oil tanker, seen on the St. Clair River in 2016, arrived in Halifax on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023.

Last but not least, the Oceanex Sanderling ro-ro/cargo carrier arrived in Halifax for its weekly run from St. John’s, NL. As of Wednesday morning, it was docked at the Fairview Cove Terminal. The ship leaves again on Friday.

Thursday, Oct. 12

Ten-thousand years ago, rising seas buried the valley land in present-day Maryland. It created a river that would become something of an etymological mystery. From as far back as the 1660s, maps have referred to the large river in Anne Arundel County as the Magothy River, Magoty River or Maggotty River. That’s on account of two possibilities: It could be from the “larvae of mosquitoes,” the US Geological Survey suggests, “which some residents say are still abundant,” or it could derive, as ethnohistorian Hamil Kenny suggests, from a Piscataway phrase, mega pi-meguke, meaning “a place without trees” or “a wide plain.”

On Thursday, the SLNC Magothy general cargo ship is due to arrive in Halifax Harbour from Gdansk, Poland—a port city with its own share of interweaving rivers, namely the Vistula and the Motlawa. More importantly for this writer, it’s a region to which I owe my existence: It’s where my grandparents met and, following years of war, survival and separation, reunited and fell in love. I’m glad they did.

click to enlarge The George Harrison of cargo ships arrives in Halifax Harbour this week
Naval S / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
The port city of Gdansk is one of the jewels of the Baltic Sea.

Thursday marks a busy day in Halifax Harbour: In addition to the SLNC Magothy, as many as seven ships are forecasted to make port calls between Halifax and Dartmouth. The MSC Mexico V, NYK Remus, NYK Daedalus and Skogafoss container ships are all due to arrive between 4am and noon. (Of those four, the Skogafoss has the longest trek: 14 days, from Immingham, UK.)

The 3,080-passenger Emerald Princess cruise ship is slated to arrive at Halifax Seaport’s Berth 22 around 9am. It’s wrapping a seven-day Maritime cruise from New York.

Finally, the Alpine Marina oil tanker and Nolhan Ava ro-ro/cargo carrier are due at the Irving Oil Terminal and Fairview Cove Terminal, respectively, from Saint John, NB and St. Pierre and Miquelon.

Friday, Oct. 13

Another busy day in the harbour on Friday—and a Friday the 13th, at that! Just in time for spooky season. On that note, want to know what’s really scary? Cruise ship pollution. In the 10 hours that a cruise ship like the 2,500-passenger Mein Schiff 6 will dock at the Halifax Seaport, one air quality study finds it will raise levels of sulfur dioxide—a compound known to cause lung cancer—more than three kilometres away. A 2021 environmental review of the cruise industry found ships not only affect “air, water, soil, fragile habitats … and wildlife,” but also compromise the health of passengers, crew, shipyard workers and those who live near ports. For the largest cruise ships, like the 4,260-passenger Norwegian Escape that also arrives in Halifax on Oct. 13, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per passenger, per kilometre amounts to more than 10 times that of a trans-Atlantic flight from Halifax to London.

Friday marks the third-busiest day of Halifax’s cruise season, with as many as 7,160 passengers arriving aboard the Escape, Mein Schiff 6 and 400-passenger MS Europa—the lattermost of which visits Halifax in the midst of an 18-day trip from Montreal to Miami. No other day will surpass it for the remainder of 2023.

Two container ships and an oil tanker round out the rest of the day’s arrivals: The 364-metre-long ONE Swan and 366-metre-long CMA CGM G. Washington are both due in Halifax Harbour, inbound from Suez, Egypt and Tanger Med, Morocco, respectively, while the PAG oil tanker is expected at Dartmouth’s Imperial Oil Terminal around 4pm.

Saturday, Oct. 14

Two cruise ships and three container ships glide into port on Saturday. The USSR-built and movie-famous Seven Seas Mariner cruise ship makes its Halifax return, as does the 3,140-passenger Caribbean Princess. Both ships left New York on Monday; the former is headed for Montreal, while the latter finishes its trip in Quebec City.

The Em Kea, Contship Leo and MSC Melissa container ships are due to arrive between 2am and 8pm. Of those three, the Contship Leo lays claim to the most enviable destination after Halifax: It will leave Nova Scotia for Jamaica.

Sunday, Oct. 15

The 2,700-passenger Jewel of the Seas and 684-passenger Oceania Insignia cruise ships are both scheduled to make Halifax stops on Sunday. The former is in the midst of an 11-day trip from Quebec City to New York, while the latter is en route from Montreal to Boston.

Finally, the East Coast oil tanker is expected to reach the Irving Oil Terminal late Sunday night, according to the Port of Halifax’s Port Control website. It arrives from Charlottetown, PEI and will leave for Saint John, NB.

About The Author

Martin Bauman

Martin Bauman, The Coast's News & Business Reporter, is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Capital Daily, and Waterloo Region Record, among other places. In 2020, he was named one of five “emergent” nonfiction writers by the RBC Taylor Prize...
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