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Master Mariners of Canada backs three icebreaker purchase

2018-07-09

McKeil Marine's Evans Spirit  won the International Bulk Journal's 2016 Ship of the Year Award during the IBJ's Salute to Excellence in the Maritime Bulk Industry gala awards ceremony in London, UK on November 21.
"It's a fantastic way to closeout our 60th anniversary year: having a vessel named after our founder, Evans McKeil, win this prestigious international award," said Steve Fletcher, President and CEO of McKeil Marine.
Acquired by McKeil in 2015, the Evans Spirit is a cargo ship with the shallow draught characters of a tug and barge; however, compared to a tug-and-barge unit, she can transport approximately 40 per cent more cargo about 50 per cent faster on a very similar amount of fuel.  She is in service throughout the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River.
Evans Spirit was shortlisted for 2016 Ship of the Year competing with three other vessels: CS Bright, Mitsui OSK Lines, Japan;  Damen Shipyards, Netherlands; and MN Baroque, Swiss Marine, Switzerland. The award is presented to the owner, operator or builder of an outstanding individual bulk ship. Judged on operational efficiency, design innovation, safety and environmental protection, the Evans Spirit was selected as winner. (Photo Paul Beesley).

The Company of Master Mariners of Canada said it is very much encouraged by the decision of the federal government to immediately acquire additional icebreaking vessels to supplement the existing Coast Guard fleet of capable but seriously aging icebreakers. Recent announcements propose the purchase of the Tor Viking, Balder Viking and Vider Viking from Norway's Trans Viking shipping company. They are to be refitted at Davie Shipbuilding in Levis QC with the first vessels to be operational for the 2018 - 2019 ice season in the Saint Lawrence, Saguenay and East Coast Newfoundland waters.

"The announcement to purchase and repurpose to Canadian requirements three icebreaking offshore supply vessels with towing capacity will greatly enhance reliability of the existing Coast Guard fleet," the Master Mariners said.

These three 18 year old vessels present a short term solution to CCG's growing demand for icebreaking services for Canada's Great Lakes, Saint Lawrence, Saguenay and Eastern Canadian waters as well as the Canadian Arctic which has seen a significant increase in marine traffic in recent years.


 

Three additional vessels will provide middle-class employment for Canadian marine professionals such as those represented by Master Mariners of Canada. These multipurpose vessels also respond to the 1990 "Brander-Smith" report which recommended the Government of Canada acquire powerful tugs, capable of towing disabled tankers, and other ships away from environmentally-sensitive areas.

Captain Christopher Hearn, President of Master Mariners of Canada said: "The Master Mariners of Canada fully support the direction of the Canadian Government to add additional capacity in way of additional ice capable vessels to provide ice breaking and support services to shipping on the Lakes, St, Lawrence and NL regions."
The "BALDER" trio is neither the final nor the ultimate solution to the icebreaker capacity required for Canada. New vessels with modern propulsion systems will be required to meet Canadian emissions requirements beyond 2020 and up to 2050 which may present a challenge for both the existing Canadian Coast Guard fleet and the "Balder trio".

Master Mariners of Canada encourages the Government of Canada to quickly review and decide on options available for the permanent acquisition of new icebreakers. (Photo Joachim Sjostrom).

 
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