People Around the Port: Dan Albert, Tug Boat Captain

Dan Albert on ATL tug.jpg

Pictured here: Dan Albert, tugboat captain for Atlantic Towing Limited at the Port of Saint John.

Port Saint John is a busy place. Many people, doing many different jobs, all contribute to keeping things moving.

It is easy to assume that everyone who works here is a Port Saint John employee – but that’s not true. A great number of the people who work on the water and on the wharves work for partner companies who provide essential services.

Today we’re featuring Dan Albert, who is one of seven tugboat captains working for Port Saint John partner company Atlantic Towing Limited. We asked him about the kind of work he does, and how he started out on the tugs.


A:  Tugs are an integral part of harbour operation, ensuring the safe and timely docking and undocking of ships in the Saint John harbour.


A:  Most of my work consists of providing ship assist for tankers and cargo ships in Courtenay Bay, and cargo ships in the main harbour – helping them move safely in and out of the harbour. We also assist the odd cruise ship when the weather calls for it, and can get called to fill in at Canaport and assist with LNG tankers. 

I’m also responsible for ship management and ship maintenance. We have a preventive maintenance program onboard our tugs that keep the crews busy throughout each day, along with regular maintenance and upkeep of the boats.


A:  Operating the tug is definitely my favourite part of the job. I have always enjoyed manoeuvring boats, it never gets old for me. 


A:  The most exciting and challenging day I’ve had on the job was when I passed my exams to become Captain and started training the very next day on a brand new Z-drive tug.

It was very challenging, because these tug were unconventional at the time. They do not have a steering wheel like you would expect, as they are operated by joysticks and are highly manoeuvrable.

It took a while to wrap my brain around this new concept of tug manoeuvring, especially as a Captain just starting out.


A:  I have been with Atlantic Towing for 31 years full-time this coming July. It was a natural fit for me, because my family has a strong connection to the company.

My father (Claudius) worked here for 46 years before retirement, and my uncle Augustine worked here for roughly 42 years before his retirement.

My brother also started working with Atlantic Towing at the age of 14 or 15. He still works on a tug at this time, but for Irving Oil (Canaport).

Several of my cousins also worked here over the years. My cousin Mario Gionet started out as a deckhand then went on to become Chief Engineer and is presently Superintendent.


A:  I started going on the tugs with my father from the time I was 5 years old. When my brother and I were a little older, Dad would let us bring a friend with us for trips up the river to Chipman.

I started working on the St. John River with my father during the summer months when I was 14 years old. At that age, I had to get a note from my doctor and a work permit to be able to work on the river tugs.

I started out as deckhand, and there wasn’t any type of formal training like they have now. It was all on-the-job training.

I became mate in 1991. To be a mate, I went to the School of Fisheries in Caraquet for four months and then to Holland College for an extra two months to complete my courses the following winter.

In 1995, I went to the Nova Scotia Community College to become Captain.


A:  My advice would be to take pride and interest in your job, stay motivated, and to always try to be the best worker you can be. 

To learn more about careers at Atlantic Towing visit their website.

Editors’ Note:  Watch for the tug water display in the harbour on Community Day, June 12, 2016 at 1 pm.  Dan Albert just maybe the captain on one of the tugs!




The Marco Polo Cruise Terminal gets a sophisticated new look!

Above: the ABC’s of Judith Mackin’s colour scheme for the Marco Polo terminal. A:  Existing ceiling colour. The new palate had to play nice with this shade, since it wasn’t changing. B:  All columns, the wall area above the wood in the main foyer, and all window/door trim in that area too. C:  The wall area in the back entrance, washroom hallway areas. D:  Wall area and trim above wood in the main terminal area.

Above: the ABC’s of Judith Mackin’s colour scheme for the Marco Polo terminal.
A: Existing ceiling colour. The new palate had to play nice with this shade, since it wasn’t changing.
B: All columns, the wall area above the wood in the main foyer, and all window/door trim in that area too.
C: The wall area in the back entrance, washroom hallway areas.
D: Wall area and trim above wood in the main terminal area.

Monday January 19 saw the scissor-lift go up and the drop cloths go down in the Marco Polo Cruise Terminal. In what will be a month-long project, the building will bid adieu to its dusty rose walls and get a fresh coat of paint that will neutralize and modernize its look.

Emily Teed, Venues Coordinator at Port Saint John, says the change was based largely on feedback from venue rental clients.

“This is our third year of renting the space for weddings and other events, and our clients have told us that the existing colour is hard to work with. We wanted to act on that feedback, and give them a more neutral space – but we also wanted to blend in with the surroundings of our neighbourhood in an historic but also contemporary way,” she says.

That was the direction the Port gave to Judith Mackin of PUNCH Inside – when they asked her develop a new colour scheme for the space.

“I was really pleased to be brought in on the conversation,” says Mackin. “I felt there was a lot we could do to enhance the visitor and user experience with some simple cosmetic changes.”

Mackin’s vision for the new colour scheme, which embraces the wood paneling, polished concrete floor and blue ceiling already in place, conjures up visions of bright and airy Scandinavian airport terminals that mix white with natural textures of wood, concrete and glass.

“It’s no secret that I am an ambassador of white in design,” says Mackin.  “But it really is a great fit for this project. In large spaces like Marco Polo terminal, colour needs to be downplayed. When the building is in use, it’s full of visitors and guests. The focus should be on what’s happening in the room, or on the beautiful views of our harbour and cityscape – not on the walls.”

Above: the team from Tim Desmond Painting, hard at work. (Credit: Judith Mackin)

Above: the team from Tim Desmond Painting, hard at work. (Credit: Judith Mackin)

Bids from three painting companies were solicited, and Tim Desmond Painting was awarded the month-long contract.

“As a rental space for hundreds of events a year, the new colour scheme will be a minimalist backdrop which will accommodate a wide variety of event décor styles, and result in better on-site photography,” says Mackin. “It will also create a soothing, modern environment for cruise passenger reception. Travel can be a stressful time, and a space with minimal visual distractions will complement the visitor experience.”

The project will be complete before the end of February.

“We are really looking forward to the finished product,” says Jim Quinn, CEO of Port Saint John. “We think it will have a tremendous positive impact on the space, raising the bar for the Port as one of the city’s most important venues.”

To book a site tour for your upcoming event, send an email to Emily Teed at:

Blount Small Ship Adventures embarking from Port Saint John in 2015

ImageStarting in 2015, cruise ships will be setting sail from Port Saint John.

Just weeks after Port Saint John and the province jointly announced the findings of the home porting feasibility study, Blount Small Ship Adventures has confirmed that it will originate a Bay of Fundy cruise itinerary out of the Port City.

Port Saint John was deemed well-suited to become a home port for expedition-class ships, according to the results of the feasibility study. Blount’s customer offerings and line of ships fits well within this expedition-class of vessels, carrying 98 passengers on 7-16 day tours focused on unique destinations, educational opportunities and adventure.

“We are very pleased to be able to confirm that Blount Small Ship Adventures will be homeporting one of its cruises in Saint John in 2015,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Trevor Holder. “The Blount line will be the first to offer cruises where passengers will start or end their cruise experience right here in New Brunswick, and this signals to other similar companies that we’re anxious for their business, too.”

The Bay of Fundy experience and the unique features of the area are all drawing interest in the region.  As recognition of the brand expands, the province and Port will be looking to expand this niche business line. 

“Unlike the average visiting cruise ship, our Port won’t be the first stop for Blount passengers. They’ll experience the city before our world-class port becomes a gateway to this region’s natural wonders. We’re proud to be part of this bigger picture and be an economic driver for culture-building industries like hospitality, tourism and retail in the province,” said Peter Gaulton, chair of Port Saint John’s board of directors. 

The feasibility study examined the strategic position of Port Saint John on the Canada-New England itinerary of expedition-class ships. It evaluated tourism offerings of Saint John and what steps Port Saint John needs to take to become a home port of expedition-class ships. These are often high-end, niche-market vessels, carrying 50 to 200 passengers plus crew. Expedition cruises are often geared toward adventurers with specific interests such as exploring nature.

During a call to Port Saint John, passengers spend an average of $60 to $80. In the case of home porting, passengers spend up to twice these amounts. Most passengers visiting home ports stay at least one night in a hotel while spending money on meals and other incidentals.

“We are thrilled to announce this partnership and our continued commitment to New Brunswick and Port Saint John,” said Nancy Blount, President, Blount Small Ship Adventures. “We have already been operating in the destination as part of Blount’s ‘Classical Maine and the Northeast’ cruise, and know it is beloved by our customers for its historic cities, charming maritime villages and the beauty of its rocky shores jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond the stunning backdrop it provides, we understand the economic impact of calling Port Saint John home, and are proud to partner with the destination and contribute to its tourism development.”

Blount Small Ship Adventures epitomizes the best of small ship cruising, offering highly authentic and personal experiences aboard amazing ships that can simply go where the big ships can’t.


Port City celebrities: Faces of FUSION boosts youth profile

ImageFaces of FUSION is like a night at the Oscars. Just trade the gold statues for handcrafted awards and Hollywood stars for Port City ones.

The awards ceremony and gala affair takes place February 28th at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal. Hosted by FUSION Saint John, a networking group for civic-minded Saint Johners, Faces of FUSION celebrates youth achievement in the community.

“It’s a source of inspiration for people. It’s an opportunity for the community to recognize young people for their hard work, even though they don’t do it for the recognition. These people are driven by passion,” Eric Savoie, chair of FUSION, said.

Finalists were unveiled online earlier this month. Winners will be announced at the celebration and, in keeping with the Evening at the Oscars theme, short video clips will showcase each finalist’s accomplishments.

Finalists are:

Arts & Culture

Apryll Stansfield

Third Space Gallery 

Personal Achievement

Adrian Phinney

Julia Wright

Immigrant Entrepreneur

Enchan Endo

Robert van de Straat & Christel Postel

Community Building

Greg Bishop

Phil Sweezey

Wendy MacDermott

Business & Entrepreneurship

Fundy CrossFit

Gilliane Nadeau

Micah Peterson

Sports & Recreation

Carly Baxter

Katie Robinson

Lisa Harlow

Port Saint John, as a sponsor, will be presenting the Personal Achievement Award. The awards themselves were designed by talented young woodworker Phil Savage, each as unique as the winners receiving them.

The evening is hyper local. In addition to celebrating Saint John youth, the food will be catered by East Coast Bistro, with Tomato Tomato and WTFunk getting the crowd moving. Hance Colburne, of CBC Information Morning, will act as MC. FUSION also partnered with creatives Kelly Lawson, Bonfire Stories and Lisa Hrabluk of Wicked Ideas. Atlantica Centre for the Arts filmed the nominee clips.

After the show, guests can take their ticket up to the Canterbury Lounge for free admission, Oscar after-party style.

“We’re aiming for Saint John to come out, dressed in their evening best and honour the achievers in our community. It’s a good opportunity to connect with people, network and talk about our community,” Savoie said.

The FUSION chair said finalists are humbled by their nominations. In fact, most of them aren’t even sure why their nominator threw their name in.

“That’s not unusual for people who have true passion in what they do. I think they are really honoured and humbled by it. Hopefully this will inspire people to get involved with causes close to their hearts,” he said.

Faces of FUSION rolls out the red carpet starting at 6:30 p.m. on February 28th at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal.  Entry into the gala is reserved for those 19 and over. Tickets are $60/each and special student ticket prices are discounted 50 per cent thanks to additional support from presenting sponsor CanaportLNG.

Purchase tickets here and click here for more information. 

2013: A year in review

Last year was a great one for Port Saint John. We saw major strides in container tonnage, celebrated 25 years in the cruise industry and brought even more people in to experience our state-of-the-art terminals. These highlights, among others, are listed below. In no particular order (we’re proud of them all!)  


With the introduction of Mediterranean Shipping Company’s weekly service to Port Saint John in the fall of 2012, we began to see major increases in the volume of containerized goods travelling through the Port. This is great news for the local and regional economy.

Long-time Port stakeholder Tropical Shipping also announced they would be partnering with global container line Hapag-Lloyd shipping containers through Saint John.


American Iron and Metal signed a 40-year lease with Port Saint John in 2011. In 2013, they completed a $30-million expansion of their business, including a metal recycling plant.

This year, the volume of recycled metals shipped through the Port increase from 71,000 metric tonnes to 215,000.


Our third annual Community Day, the first part of Port Days, saw thousands of locals visiting the Port. They were invited to join us for a barbecue, tug boat display, games, inflatable castles, Canadian Forces display and more.

This, in combination with a Port Days fundraiser, raised $10,000 for PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools). All of the money goes right back to children in need. Missed out on Community Day? Catch up here and mark down June 8, 2014 in your calendar for the next one.


For two years, members of the Port Saint John team and PALS coordinators have been developing a classroom education plan to teach local students about the Port and it’s relation to the community.

The plan underwent testing with students and launched on Dec. 12. The education plan includes three topics: Dredging, Cruise and Cargo. It was developed with curriculum outcomes in mind and can be adapted for any grade level.

School tours of the Port have already begun booking for this semester. See here for more information.


Hapag-Lloyd, a German company offering 90 liner services across all continents, began calling Port Saint John via Tropical Shipping in the fall.

Saint John has been the home base for Tropical’s Container services for the past 12 years and this new partnership will benefit local shippers and receivers.


On Aug. 1, TransCanada announced big news for Saint John – and the port. Their proposed Energy East Pipeline Project, beginning in Alberta and Saskatchewan and ending in Montreal, Quebec City and Saint John, is expected to carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day.

Saint John will be an export terminal for western crude as part of the project. In May, the Port was part of a delegation of New Brunswick political and industry leaders visiting Calgary to promote the Port City.

Our long history of safety and commitment to sustainability makes our Port an ideal export terminal for Energy East.


From an accidental arrival to a marquee Port – Saint John’s storied cruise history was highlighted in 2013.

Sept. 10 marked the 25th anniversary of the Cunard Princess, a ship rerouted due to Hurricane Gabrielle, arriving in Saint John. In 1989, citizens rolled out the red carpet for cruise passengers and gave them a hometown welcome. That same welcome has been extended to millions of cruise passengers since.

This year’s celebration was marked by crew appreciation, celebratory cupcakes at the City Market and the arrival of our two millionth cruise passenger. The cruise season wrapped up on Oct. 25 with Revel at the Lido, a Gatsby-esque celebration for the community at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal.


We may be one of the city’s oldest industries, but we don’t want to act that way.

This year, the Port team embraced new media and a new look. In 2012, we rebranded from the Saint John Port Authority to Port Saint John. In 2013, we reinforced our new brand with a boosted social media presence (this blog included).

Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Instagram.


We’re proud of our Port team’s accomplishments in 2013.

In June, the American Association of Port Authorities awarded the Port communications team:

  • Award of Excellence – Port Saint John Social Media Engagement Strategy in the Social/Web-based media category
  • Award of Excellence – “Where the City Begins” Video in the video category
  • Award of Distinction – #portcity Event in the Special Events category, and
  • Award of Distinction – Port Saint John Re-brand in the Overall Campaign Category

The “Where the City Begins” video was produced with the help of Hemmings House and National Public Relations. National also played a big role in the Port’s rebrand.

In May, the Port was recognized by the Department of Economic Development and the Canadian Manufacturers for export excellence. The Port was honoured with the Collaborative Partnership Award along with the Greater Moncton International Airport. The award is given to organizations that champion New Brunswick exporters and help them access the world market.


Port Saint John’s new cruise terminals are the first thing passengers see when they disembark.

These airy, modern spaces have emerged as rental venues among married couples-to-be, event planners and businesses. In 2013, the cruise terminals were rented more than 60 times.

We look forward to welcoming more people in to experience the beauty of the waterfront in 2014.

Revel at the Lido


On Oct. 25, the last ship of our 25th cruise season sailed away.

From the glass pedway of Port Saint John’s Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal, we watched Oceania Cruise Lines’ Regatta go by. She was lit up and sounding her horn, all for the party goers cheering, toasting and snapping photos.  In the harbour, tug boats from Atlantic Towing sprayed water in the air in a spectacular and uniquely Saint John show.
Revel at the Lido was more than just a celebration of 25 successful cruise seasons. It was the celebration of a community that reached out in 1989 to visitors in need of a warm welcome and have been doing so ever since.

Now, Port Saint John has seen over two million cruise passengers pass through. The waterfront has been transformed and enhanced. Our infrastructure has evolved from sheds and tents to two state-of-the-art cruise terminals. In turn, those terminals have evolved into venues capable of housing a party like Revel at the Lido, weddings, business meetings and large-scale conferences, such as T4G’s Big Data Congress.

Cruise has a $41.5 million impact annually on the region and has helped transform Saint John’s vibrant Uptown core. Our Port City has been internationally recognized as a tourism destination brimming with rugged beauty, historic charm and genuine hospitality.

It only made sense to celebrate a quarter-century in the cruise business in style.

Revel at the Lido brought members of the community together, outfitted in 1920s attire in a venue that rivaled one of The Great Gatsby’s famous affairs.

Downstairs, party goers danced to local music sensation WTFunk underneath the glittering chandeliers. Upstairs, they perused the makeshift mini-mall featuring local businesses, all of whom generously donated prizes to our play-money casino. The casino itself was crowded with guests trying their luck at the host of prize offerings.

Our own Betty Mac Millan, manager of cruise development, recognized sponsors, cruise pioneers and champions for their support and help making Saint John a destination port for passengers.

The evening raised a grand total of $5,200 for the Saint John Seafarer’s Mission. The local branch is part of an international organization, offering a home away from home to visiting seafarers.

Thank you to all who joined us in revelling. You make Saint John a party, on cruise days and beyond.

This evening would not have been possible without sponsors like,

Lido Deck  
Atlantic Pilotage Authority
Aquila Tours
Commercial Properties
Oceania Cruises

Verrandah Deck

Atlantic Towing
Holland America

Promenade Deck

Carnival Cruise Line
Ambassatours Gray Line


Country 94/97.3 The Wave

Bar Service and After Party Host

Canterbury Lounge


So, what is Revel at the Lido?


Over the past few months, excitement has been building around Revel at the Lido.

Still, we’ve been getting the same question – what exactly does ” Revel at the Lido” mean?

(noun) – Boisterous merrymaking or festivity, usually includes drinking or dancing.
“Did you hear about the revel at the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal on October 25th? It’s going to be a blast.”
(verb) – To take great pleasure or delight; to make merry; indulge in boisterous festivities.
“I can’t wait to revel with a cocktail in my hand and my dancing shoes.”


Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal, Port Saint John’s newest facility on the waterfront, on October 25th from 7 to 11 p.m.
(noun) – The most happening deck on a cruise ship; recreation deck. Where you would find dances, activities and games.

* * *

Not only is this revel at our sleek and chic cruise terminal going to be the party of the season, it’s the party of this quarter-century!

We’re celebrating 25 years of cruise on the last night of this cruise season. It’s a Great Gatsby-themed affair, with as much party spirit as the legendary Gatsby himself. Oceania Cruises’ Regatta will be sailing by, lit up like a floating city, at 8 p.m. that night as we raise our glasses in celebration.

Every ticket includes two drink tickets, so you won’t be searching for something to toast with. The venue will also be outfitted with several bars pouring beer, wine and cocktails.

Downstairs, you’ll be greeted by local velvet-voiced poet Clyde Wray, our “cruise director” for the evening. He will be mingling with the crowd, presenting special gifts to our valued cruise stakeholders and sponsors and introducing our entertainment for the evening – WTFunk.

This funk, soul and R&B cover band will be serenading the crowd with vintage hits and setting the dance party atmosphere. Bring your comfiest dancing shoes and get ready to revel! Upstairs, folk and jazz duo Tomato Tomato will be crooning to folks in the Fundy Room.

There, you’ll find our casino. Every ticket includes $10,000 in casino play money. Play the games for ballots and cast those ballots for a chance to win amazing prizes from a host of Uptown businesses and regional hot spots (complete list to come). Those same businesses will be represented in our “promenade” – a mini-mall with samples, demonstrations and even a chance to shop around.

Does partying make you hungry? Chow down on a host of gourmet appetizers from French-inspired restaurant Decimal 81.There will also be cupcakes from Piece O’Cake Custom Creations!

After the party is, of course, the after-party. Wind your way up to The Canterbury Lounge, one of the city’s hottest night clubs to dance the night away. Admission to the after-party is included in your ticket price.

Tickets are $60 and include all of the above. They can be purchased through the Imperial Theatre Box Office online or by calling 674-4100. You can also visit Port Saint John at 111 Water Street. Call 636-5400 or 636-5114 for more information.

Tickets will also be sold at the Saint John City Market on Thursday, Oct. 17 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Want to feel even better about your purchase? Proceeds from Revel at the Lido support the Saint John Seafarer’s Mission, a home away from home for visiting seafarers. 

Attending? Let us know on Facebook.



– Port Saint John

– Aquila Tours

– Atlantic Pilotage Authority

– Commercial Properties

– Oceania Cruises


Atlantic Towing


Holland America



Ambassatours Gray Line

Carnival Cruise Lines


– Country 94 / 97.3 The Wave