Gold Ribbon Banner
Friday, May 24, 2019

East Hudson BayMuch media attention has been given in recent months to the subject of global warming. The impact of this with regard to shipping routes has meant that the famous North West Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific areas is now ice free.

Experts predict that the whole of the Arctic could be ice-free as early as 2030 which is much sooner than has been predicted in the past. These facts have triggered off arguments about who controls the North West Passage that cuts 5,592 miles off a journey between Asia and Europe and also has provided tensions between countries over the possibility of gaining access to the huge reserves of gas and oil thought to lie beneath the seabed of the Arctic Ocean. At a time of low energy reserves these untapped reserves have sparked new interest in these previously ignored polar territories.

A US Geological Survey team recently estimated that the Arctic has up to 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. Previously deep ice and the extremely cold climate have made oil extraction uneconomic but with the thinning of the ice cap thought to be due to global warming, drilling will become feasible, and opens up many new shipping opportunities. In recent years arguments have sprung up over who actually owns the huge Lomonosov Ridge, a 1,200-mile underwater ridge that is thought to hold huge resources. Arctic MapDenmark, Norway, Russia and Canada are all trying to claim ownership. Denmark bases its claim on its ownership of Greenland which only has a population of 57,000 and which was awarded to them in 1933 by an international court. In 2007 Russia planted a titanium capsule containing the Russian Flag on the Lomonosov Ridge, which is 2.5 miles below the ice of the North Pole. The other countries disputed this show of ownership and Canada said they would build a deep-water port at Nanisivik on Baffin Island where they intended to have an armytraining centre for cold weather fighting. Overall the area covered by ice in the Arctic has fallen by a million square kilometres to about 3 million square kilometres in just two years.

One company, which is now serving these remote Arctic regions, is the Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc (NEAS) based in Quebec. They have begun trading from Valleyfield, Quebec, Canada and are making about three sailings per season. Three vessels were employed during the season 2008 from June through to November. The rest of the year, during the winter period, the vessels return to world wide trading, often returning to Europe for dry-docking and maintenance before making voyages gradually making their way back to Canada for the following June to commence another season. The vessels employed during the 2008 season were the Avataq, Umiavut and Aivik.

Aivik 1980/7,048gt was built in France and is classed as a ro-ro, lolo, and heavy lift vessel owned by Igloolik Inc of Montreal whilst Umiavut 1988/6,037gt is a 15-knot vessel built in Japan as the Lindengracht for the Splietoff Group of Holland. She has maintained sailings in season in the Arctic for a number of years now. Recently she has been joined by her sister vessel Avataq 1989/6,037gt which was built by Miho Zosensho KK, Shimizu, Japan as the Poleca. In 1989 she was renamed Mekhanik Volkosh becoming the Tiger Speed in 1991 before being renamed Mekhanik Volkosh for a short period prior to her sale to Spliethoff in 1992 when she became the Lootsgracht. Strengthened for heavy cargoes the ship measures 113.16loa and is equipped with two 50t cranes. On transfer to the name Avataq, registered in Montreal for the season she is owned by Inukshuk Inc and managed by Transport Nanuk of Montreal. When she comes back to Europe in winter she is registered once again in Amsterdam to complete her dual flag and port registration.

As the Avataq (an Inuit Eskimo name for a sealskin float attached to a harpoon line to keep a harpooned animal from sinking), she has her name written on her bow in Inuit lettering as well as normal lettering – a rare sight when she is trading in Europe. Because the Inuit language is spread over such a large and diverse geographical area divided between several different nations and political units and was originally reached by Europeans of differing origins at various periods, there is no uniform way of writing this language. The Canadian connection means that this is a pictographic alphabet where symbols are used in picture writing.

...

Competition to NEAS in the Nanisivik region is provided by Desgagnes Transport Inc of Quebec who use their Canadian flag roro vessel Camilla Desgagnes 1982/10,085 gt managed by V Ships of Montreal. This vessel was also once well known in Europe when she was the Finnish flag Camilla until 2004 and at that time was a regular visitor to such ports as Birkenhead with paper.

I would like to thank Bob Knoester, Aernut Meijer of Spliethoff, and John Aitken for their help in preparation of this article.

Click on a thumbnail below to open a slideshow in a new window.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=22}

Read the rest of this article with additional pictures in Sea Breezes Magazine - February 2010 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!

Island Princess

Most Popular

  • 1
  • 2

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Move to Enlarge River Terminal +

    Grimsby River Terminal Associated British Ports (ABP) plans to expand its Grimsby River Terminal to enable it to handle the world’s largest car Read More
  • At the Helm of the RNLI +

    Mark Dowie A new Chief Executive has been appointed by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to succeed Paul Boissier, who has held Read More
  • Keeping the Tyne Clean +

    Clearwater Each year, the Clean Tyne project removes around 400 tonnes of debris from the River Tyne between Blaydon and the Read More
  • First Part of Huge Port Investment Completed +

    Sheerness Port The 20-year Master Plan for boosting trade through the Kent port of Sheerness has reached a significant milestone with the Read More
  • Ship Sinks After Fire Breaks Out in Cargo +

    Grande America All 26 crew and one passenger were rescued after the roll-on,rolloff container ship Grande America, 56,642gt, caught fire and then Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Houston Ship Canal Closed After Major Fire +

    Houston Fire The Houston Ship Canal reopened to daylight traffic after being closed for nearly a week due to a serious fire Read More
  • Back Home After Eventful Antarctic Season +

    Polar Star The US Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star arrived back at her homeport of Seattle, Washington on Mar 11 after an Read More
  • Four More Giant Cranes Arrive from China +

    Zhen Hua 31 Four new Super-Post-Panamax container cranes arrived at Tacoma, Washington, from China in early March, just over a year after the Read More
  • Two Hurt as Lifeboat Falls Overboard +

    USCG Reliance Two crew members of the tanker Chemtrans Nova, 73,870dwt, had to be flown ashore for treatment after the lifeboat they Read More
  • Cutters Seize $466mn of Drugs on Patrols +

    USCG Forward At Port Everglades, Florida, on Feb 5, some 34,780lbs of cocaine with a street value of $466mn was unloaded from Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Asia-Pacific

  • Three Main Courses Being Plotted for MOL +

    MOL Triumph The major Japanese shipping line Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has unveiled a number of new objectives aimed at improving its Read More
  • Cargo Ships for Bass Strait Service +

    Tasmanian Achiever II The first of two 700 teu cargo ship for the Bass Strait route between the Tasmanian port of Burnie and Read More
  • Race to Save Coral Reef After Grounding +

    Solomon Trader A major anti-pollution operation was launched in the Solomon Islands after the bulk carrier Solomon Trader, 73,592dwt, with a cargo Read More
  • Special Place for Tanker in Port History +

    Pro Alliance The largest fuel tanker in the 220 year history of the Australian port of Newcastle, NSW, arrived on Mar 18 Read More
  • Data Recorder Recovered From Ore Carrier Wreck +

    Seabed Constructor The Stellar Daisy, owned by Polaris Shipping, of South Korea, was carrying a cargo of iron ore from Brazil to Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • US Navy Orders Flight II Landing Platform Dock +

    LDP30 American News The contract for the construction of LPD30, the first Flight II Landing Platform Dock of the San Antonio Read More
  • US Navy Seeks Faster Ship Delivery +

    FFGX Rendering American News The future frigate program for the US Navy is getting fully underway and some idea of the urgency Read More
  • HMS “Dragon” in £75 Million Narcotics Seizure +

    HMS Dragon British News Whilst on patrol in the Gulf, the Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon seized and destroyed ten tonnes of Read More
  • New Generation of Enterprise Confirmed +

    USS Enterprise American News On 31 January, the US Department of Defense announced the awarding of a block buy contract with Huntington Read More
  • Brazil to Take Over HMS Clyde +

    HMS Clyde British News It has been announced by the Brazilian Government in early December that the Falklands Patrol ship HMS Clyde Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Further Delay for LNG Powered Glen Sannox +

    Glen Sannox The drama surrounding the much delayed new ferries for Caledonian MacBrayne continues to rumble on with the latest, not unsurprising, Read More
  • Favourite Claymore +

    Claymore A poster of Llandudno pier prompted a memory from ex Calmac chief engineer Charlie McCurdy as he took another trip Read More
  • Baltic Battery Power +

    Aurora Scandinavian and Baltic operators seem to be leading the way in reducing ferry reliance on fossil fuels. Read More
  • Electric Solutions +

    Polarkunsult Ferry A new ferry will replace the 1992-built MF Herjólfur to the Westmann Islands and will be in line with Iceland’s Read More
  • Variety of New Builds +

    Red Kestrel I am gratified to hear at Cammell Lairds and Red Funnel have a particularly good record in ordering from UK Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • Thames Tributary Barges +

    Lady of the Lea Most of the rivers flowing into the Thames had their own barge type. Read More
  • Dry Rot and Dry Dock +

    HMS Victory For some time Victory, the 110gun ship of the line, has had trouble with dry rot and is in danger Read More
  • Everards Eulogy +

    Greenhithe Scottish maritime interests particularly may mourn the loss of Geo Gibson. Read More
  • Welsh Port Gentrification +

    Penarth In the Victorian era, there were many coastal places where craft worked off open beaches. Read More
  • Sussex Sterns +

    Edward and Mary and Valiant In the Victorian era, there were many coastal places where craft worked off open beaches. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Red Funnel’s New Ferry Arrives +

    Red Kestrel Red Kestrel, the newest addition to Red Funnel’s fleet, arrived at her new home in Southampton on 18 April. Read More
  • Keeping an Eye on the Weather +

    Royal Charter storm I was intrigued to read recently about the career of Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy (1805-65). Read More
  • Port of London Trade at 10-Year High +

    DP World London Gateway Trade through the Port of London reached 53.2 million tonnes last year, a level last seen over a decade ago. Read More
  • Northlink Celebrates Apprentices +

    Paul Wheelhouse NorthLink Serco Northlink Ferries has been commended by the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, Paul Wheelhouse, for developing young Read More
  • An Auction with no Buyer +

    Falls of Clyde I was reading recently about the unsuccessful auction to find a buyer for the Falls of Clyde, the last remaining Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Seadream Yacht Club to Build New Ship +

    SeaDream Innovation For over fifteen years, the SeaDream Yacht Club has operated two yachtlike ships, on 7 to 15-day voyages. Read More
  • Tradition Plays Its Part +

    Prana by Atzaro If ever proof was needed that traditionally built craft can still play a part in the luxury charter market in Read More
  • MV "Magellan Explorer" +

    MV Yet another new and modern expedition vessel custom built for Antarctic air-cruises will make her debut in 2019. Read More
  • The Saga Continues +

    Saga Discovery Saga Adventure SAGA Cruises has announced it is taking up an option for it’s second new ship to be built at the Read More
  • Reconstruction of “Danah Voyager” +

    Danah Voyager Reconstruction of redundant offshore oil industry tonnage turning them into luxury superyachts is not a new phenomena, but recent photographs Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

San Juan

A Truly Different Shipyard

The entrance to the port of Pasaia on the Spanish coast of Biscay is one of Europe’s most picturesque. At Read More
Victoria

Victoria High and Dry

Five-hundred years ago, Ferdinand Magellan sailed out of Seville, Spain, on one of the most memorable discovery voyages ever made, Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

SS Eastern (2)

MT Arthur Foss

“The last vessel to escape Wake Island before Japanese forces captured the island” Read More
SS Eastern (2)

Rescue of Crew Member From Tanker Avanti

Captain A J Murdoch served with Eastern & Australian Steamship Company until he retired in 1982. Hailing from Melbourne, during Read More
  • 1
  • 2