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!




Getting down to business at Port Days 2015

 Recognizing and seizing upon opportunities takes vision and confidence.

Turning those opportunities into growth takes skill and experience.

Turning opportunities into growth, the 2015 Port Days theme, is designed to inspire and energize local business leaders and visiting delegates with success stories, big ideas, productive discussions, and networking opportunities.

Mark your calendars and clear your schedules for Port Days’ business programming, which rolls out June 8th and 9th.

Port_registration2015 - 2nd reminder

June 8th

 This the day to kick your networking into high gear through these events: our now sold out golf event at the Algonguin Resort in St. Andrews; our newly offered vineyard tour in King’s County, and our opening reception which includes the Port Award of the Year in the evening.

June 9th

 On June 9th, after opening remarks from Premier Brian Gallant, you’ll hear from our breakfast speakers John Van der Put, Vice-President, TransCanada Pipelines and Mark Sherman of Irving Oil Ltd,  on the topic the Energy East Pipeline project.

Through the morning, you’ll watch Madeleine Paquin, President & CEO of Logistec Corporation, moderate an all-star panel of speakers as they discuss our theme: Turning Opportunities into Growth.

At lunch, you’ll take in Federal Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford’s keynote address, delivered in conjunction with the Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce’s East Coast Energy Connection 2015 event.

Finally, the ever-popular Seafood Fiesta closes off  the networking and information sharing with a bang on the evening of Tuesday, June 9th.

Here’s what Jim Quinn, President & CEO of Port Saint John has to say about this annual event:

“Port Days is an important tool for business in our region. It helps connect port clients with business leaders and officials from all levels of government – strengthening trade links and creating new partnerships. But it’s more than a chance to network. It’s an opportunity to showcase our port and our city in a way that directly contributes to the prosperity of our province.”

For more information or to purchase tickets to the events listed here, visit

Thank you to our sponsors for Port Days 2015 Community & Business events:


Our biggest Community Day yet!


From Port Saint John’s rooftop patio looking down, the parking lot was a sea of colour.

Bright bouncy castles, deep blue water, cotton candy pink, army green and a cherry red train – to name a few.

Our fourth annual Community Day was the brightest (and biggest) yet. Thousands of people flocked to the waterfront for the afternoon, with fun and fundraising in mind. The event raised $10,000 for PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools), an organization helping local schoolchildren in priority neighbourhoods with the tools they need to learn and play.

We had CN Rail’s Little Obie, Irving Oil’s right whale, a tugboat watershow from Atlantic Towing, military displays and LAV rides from CFB Gagetown, equipment from Irving Equipment, trucks and a gorilla from O’Leary Buick GMC and four packed tours of the Port aboard the Aquila Tours trolley. All this, plus displays from stakeholders and community partners, cotton candy, inflatables, musical acts, Magical Memories princessesfacepaint and our brave roster of dunk tank participants! Phewf. After all that, people relaxed in the sunshine by the barbecue – sponsored by Giant Tiger and Costco.

Fully expressing our gratitude would take until next Community Day (June 7th, 2015, in case you were wondering), so we’ll share some photos and list our supporters instead.


Irving Oil


Giant Tiger
F. Andrew Simpson Contracting Ltd.
CN Rail
Saint John Airport Inc.


Saint John Marina
Larry’s Crane
Saint John Energy


MIDI Construction
Conquest Engineering
Shades of Green Garden Centre
OPUS International Consultants
O’Leary Pontiac Buick GMC
Design Art Signs
Clayco Construction (2001) Ltd.
CBCL Limited
Fundy Fencing Ltd
Commercial Tent Rentals & Sales Ltd.
Mark Campbell Plumbing & Drain Services
NRB Construction
PBX Engineering
Stevens Septic Services
Reno-Vison Construction (Harry Rowe)


Country 94 and 97.3 The Wave







How can Atlantic Canada be competitive on the global marketplace?

Maybe you already know the answer. Maybe not. 

Share and learn during Port Days!

Tomorrow, June 10, a panel of esteemed industry leaders will be sharing their insight on Atlantic Canada’s place on the global shipping map. 

This business session, part of Port Saint John’s annual Port Days networking and business development event, is free and open to the public. Port Days is presented by platinum sponsor Mediterranean Shipping Company.

The event begins at 9 a.m. in the Loyalist Room of the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre. 

Geoff Britt, former reporter and Communications Officer with J. D. Irving Limited will be moderating the panel. 

The business session will feature discussion between: 

Michel Têtu, Former Diplomat & Consultant in Trade & International Relations; Dale Thibodeau, President, DJ Thibodeau & Associates; Dan Bresolin, Director of Marketing, CN Railway; Raymond Johnston, Executive Vice-President, Green Marine Management Corporation and Amanda Neadow, Director of Advocacy, Canadian Importers and Exporters Association. 

Britt will be asking questions of our panelists and members of the audience are encouraged to submit questions. Ask away by tweeting with the hashtag #sjportdays. Using this hashtag by the end of day on June 10 enters you in a draw for one of two afternoons on the Port City.  You could win one of two pairs of tickets to ride Ambassatours Big Pink Bus and $50 to Saint John Ale House. 

After the session, Port Days continues with a keynote address from Francois Poirier, President of the Energy East Pipeline Project. The luncheon is hosted in conjunction with The Chamber. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased by visiting the Port Days website. Follow that link for tickets and more information. 

Port Days: Community, Connections, Commerce


The three Cs of Port Days – Community, Connections and Commerce.

These are the things our industry has grown from and these are the things we’ll be celebrating June 8th through 10th on the waterfront.

During Port Days, the Port will play host to industry leaders and local citizens alike. At its core, Port Days is a learning opportunity. The community learns more about Port Saint John as they open their gates for an afternoon of fun. Industry leaders connect at the Port, sharing best practices, visions for the future of Port Saint John and building business relationships.  


Port City, this is where you come in.

On June 8, our gates open for Community Day. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., join us for an afternoon of fun and fundraising. The event raises funds for PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) and is sponsored by Irving Oil and TransCanada.

The Marco Polo Cruise Terminal and Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal will be filled with displays and entertainment, while the parking lots will be filled with games, treats and activities.

Cotton candy and barbecued hot dogs are on the menu, with proceeds supporting PALS. Activities are free of charge, with the exception of the barbecue and snack station which will be cash only. There will also be a pay-to-play dunk tank featuring some local celebrities!

Local acts entertaining the crowd that day include Fredericton funky musician Stephen Lewis and the BIG Band of One and tomato/tomato. InterAction School of Performing Arts will be doing live theatre and some princesses will be making a magical appearance for photos.

There will be bouncy castles, air brush face painting, carnival games and multicultural displays.

CFB Gagetown will be on site with LAV rides, equipment displays and camouflage-style face painting. The tugboats from Atlantic Towing will be doing a water show in the harbour.

New for this year, our rail industry partners at CN Rail will bring their ‘Little Obie’ train and offer rides to attendees.   Little Obie’s message about railroad safety is an important one for families.

Community Day is also a learning opportunity. Aquila Tours will be offering trolley rides throughout the Port for people to learn more about what goes on behind the gates. The tour will span the east and west sides of the Port. 

Of course, we’re hoping for sun. But, if it rains, take shelter in one of the terminals or under our gigantic tent where tons of activities are taking place.


Port Days isn’t strictly business.

It’s also an opportunity for transportation industry leaders to connect and share best practices.

June 9th is all about making connections. There is a river cruise up the picturesque St. John River and a golf tournament that day.

That evening, the province’s Department of Economic Development has partnered with Port Days for the Export Awards. The event celebrates transportation excellence and collaborative partnerships in New Brunswick.

Port Days closes on June 10 with a true Maritime feast. Seafood Fiesta is a longstanding tradition at Port Saint John, with hundreds of people showing up for a relaxing lobster dinner.


Port Days has long been a vehicle for driving business to and through Port Saint John.

The event is made possible by platinum sponsor Mediterranean Shipping Company.

This year, the event’s business session will include an interview-style panel moderated by J. D. Irving Limited communications officer Geoff Britt.

Panelists have been carefully selected for their background and unique perspective on making Atlantic Canada competitive in the global marketplace.

The list includes: Joy Nott, president, Canadian Importers and Exporters Association; Michel Têtu, former diplomat and consultant in trade & international relations; Dale Thibodeau, president, DJ Thibodeau & Associates; Dan Bresolin, director of marketing, CN Railway and  Raymond Johnston, president, Green Marine Management Corporation.


This is the first year the business session will engage the online community. Using the #sjportdays on Twitter, people can direct questions to the panelists. The session is open to the public.


Following the business session, Francois Poirier of TransCanada Corporation, president of the Energy East Pipeline Project, will be giving a keynote address. The event is being held in partnership with The Chamber.  


For more information about Port Days or to register, visit


Fire safety means Port safety


As with any major industry, ports come with their share of risk.

Today, Port Saint John made a commitment to reducing risk and keeping our community safe.

The Port is contributing $75,000 to the Saint John Fire Department’s (SJFD) training centre on Grandview Avenue. The funds will support the Grandview Avenue Emergency Services Building, offering training to SJFD personnel, other municipalities and businesses.

The announcement was unveiled Thursday morning during a safety exercise held on Port property.

We have an excellent record of safety and a commitment to keeping that record strong. Supporting our local fire department and ensuring this community continues to have world class emergency responders is vital,” Jim Quinn, president and CEO of Port Saint John, said.

The Port deals with high-risk cargo on a regular basis, including energy products. Ensuring the city’s 136 fire fighters and 30 relief personnel have up-to-date training is essential to the safety of the Port and surrounding community.

“Our Board of Directors recognizes the value of emergency preparedness and are pleased to support this initiative which will prepare local firefighters even more thoroughly for not only potential industrial incidents but also for their excellent service to the entire City of Saint John,” noted Peter Gaulton, chairman of Port Saint John.

The Live Fire Emergency Training Structure is a simulation-based training module that will allow SJFD firefighters to more efficiently and effectively respond to land based ship board fire and rescue events specific to passenger or cargo ships. Part of the module contains ship doors, stairwells, narrow hallways, engine compartments and the international ships connection on the deck of the ship.

The presentation was accompanied by a live rescue simulation in which Port Saint John board director Al McNulty and Port president and CEO Jim Quinn were rescued from the roof of the Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal by SJFD’s Ladder Tower 1, a 114-foot rescue ladder. The ladder also reaches downward, capable of rescuing someone in need in the harbour, for example.

The Grandview Avenue Emergency Services Building is expected to open in May of this year.


Q&A: Introducing Green Marine to the Port City.


Port Saint John was the first east coast port to join Green Marine, a voluntary environmental program, back in 2011. This June, coinciding with Port Days, the Port will play host to the organization’s GreenTech conference.

We’re proud to be involved with Green Marine and the strides they’ve made across North America as ports adopt more sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices. Find out more below from Green Marine executive director David Bolduc.

Tell us more about what Green Marine does.

Green Marine is an environmental certification program for the North American marine industry.

It is a voluntary, transparent and inclusive initiative that addresses nine key environmental issues such as greenhouse gases, pollutant air emissions, dry bulk handling and storage and spill prevention. Participants are shipowners, ports, terminals, Seaway corporations and shipyards based in Canada and the United States. The program encourages its participants to reduce their environmental footprint by taking concrete actions. To receive their certification, participants must benchmark their annual environmental performance through our exhaustive self-evaluation guides. They also need to have their results verified by an accredited external verifier and agree to publication of their individual results.

How has Green Marine grown since its inception?

Green Marine has more than doubled its membership since it started, in 2007. The program now counts 81 participants, compared to 34 when it started. The program was originally conceived for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence corridor, but the interest it has generated throughout the marine industry has enabled it to evolve and cover North America in its entirety. The scope of the program was broadened too. From the six initial environmental issues, Green Marine has grown to cover nine priorities and to include international shipowners and shipyard within its program.

To what do you attribute this growth to?

The program has rapidly gained a reputation for credibility and transparency, and for challenging participating companies to improve their environmental performance beyond regulatory compliance. The performance indicators are tailor-made for the industry and really address the relevant issues for the sector. Year after year, the results provide graphic evidence of the environmental program’s effectiveness in motivating a large segment of the maritime industry to undertake concrete action to protect the environment. I think companies are looking for a simple but rigorous program that can help them benchmark and improve their environmental performance and for a way to showcase what is being done. Green Marine is viewed as a results-oriented initiative that makes it possible for any marine company operating in Canada or the U.S. to reduce its environmental footprint, no matter the size of the company.

What are Green Marine’s long term goals in terms of lessening the transportation industry’s environmental footprint?

Continuous improvement is the keyword here. Green Marine is designed to encourage companies to go beyond regulatory compliance and the program itself is highly adaptive and flexible to take into account new regulations, new technologies and new best practices. That means it will never stop evolving in order to remain relevant.

So far, the global average continues on its upward trend, despite a growing membership and a more stringent program. Our goal is to continue on this path and develop new indicators to address other topics of interest and broaden our scope of evaluation. Our participants have shown how committed they are in always rising the bar higher

How does having Green Marine-certified organizations benefit the community at large?

One of the most important goals of the Green Marine program is to improve, in the long-term and collectively, the relationship between the industry and its stakeholders on sustainability issues. So far, we have been successful beyond expectations in that regard with unprecedented support and endorsement from governments and high-profile NGOs. Green Marine allows companies and ports to not only demonstrate and communicate their environmental commitment and achievements, but also to work in collaboration with these stakeholders to find concrete solutions to environmental issues. This is the right thing to do and it is certainly the key to maintaining our social license to operate.

Anything else you want to add.

We certainly hope that companies in Saint John, New-Brunswick and Atlantic Canada will seize the opportunity provided by the conference to learn more about the Green Marine program and take the decision to be part of this great initiative.