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Fednav joins network of whale watchers

2018-07-30

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).

Fednav Limited has become the first international shipowner to join the whale watching members of the Marine Mammal Observation Network (MMON) based in Rivière-du-Loup, Québec. The important commitment notably concerns the Arctic-bound navigation corridor.

Fednav is the world's largest operator of ice-class dry-bulk carriers and Canada's leading oceangoing dry-bulk shipowning and chartering group. It operates a modern and efficient fleet of approximately 100 vessels, the majority of which it owns. The crews of two of the company's domestic vessels sailing within the Arctic will participate in the whale watching data collection project.

Training of these crews has started, with biologist and Green Marine program manager Véronique Nolet having already been aboard the Arctic at the start of July to train the captain and team in observing and identifying marine mammals. She will soon train the team aboard the Umiak I. Already, these Arctic mariners have sent their first whale-watching data from the St. Lawrence Gulf and Estuary; north of Hopedale in Labrador; and, south of Resolution Island in the Arctic.

"Protecting the environment is a cornerstone of Fednav's philosophy and a fundamental business value," says Fednav's Director of Governmental Affairs and Sustainable Development, Marc Gagnon. "Therefore, it made sense to participate in this observation project that will make it possible to learn more about the movement of whales, with this knowledge definitively contributing to their conservation."

 

 

The project engaging the maritime industry in the collection of marine mammal data was initiated by MOMM in 2015 with Groupe Desgagnés and Canada Steamship Lines, a division of the CSL Group. Green Marine then joined the project funded by the Government of Canada's Species at Risk Habitat Stewardship Program to facilitate the networking with shipowners and to develop the appropriate training tools.

In just a few years, more than 1,800 data observations have been gathered by the network's member vessels. The collected data is available to the public through the St. Lawrence Global Observatory (l'Observatoire global du Saint-Laurent) website at https://ogsl.ca/en.

"The addition of these two Fednav vessels is particularly interesting given that the territory sailed by both of them extends into the Arctic, permitting us to further consolidate the territory encompassed by the project since the majority of participating vessels now mainly cover the St. Lawrence Gulf and Estuary," says MOMM's Executive Director Esther Blier.

"Fednav makes numerous trips within this Arctic-bound navigation corridor and these many journeys will permit us to collect accurate and calibrated data throughout the season about the presence of marine mammals and their behaviour," adds Ms.  Nolet.

The addition of Fednav's two vessels brings the fleet of vessels with trained whale watching crews to more than 50, in addition to the observations made from shorelines, the Matane, Godbout, Baie-Comeau, Rivière-du-Loup, and Tadoussac ferries, and an evolving collaboration with marine pilots. Five commercial shipowners are now taking part in the project - Desgagnés, CSL, Oceanex, Algoma, and Fednav - demonstrating the maritime industry's support of environment protection and conservation. (Photo Fednav).

 
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