Friday, August 21, 2015, 11:54
Fednav's 2013-built, Marshall Islands flagged Federal Tiber took a 53,624-tonne cargo to Nordenham, near Bremerhaven in Germany.
FEDNAV's ice-class dry bulk vessel Federal Tiber has completed a voyage taking a first cargo of iron ore from Canada’s Baffinland mine to Europe.
The 2013-built Marshall Islands flagged vessel took a 53,624-tonne cargo to Nordenham, near Bremerhaven in Germany.
The voyage marks a pivotal moment for the Arctic iron ore mine, which has been developing its resource extraction for a number of years.
Federal Tiber is ice-class 1C and the voyage had at least one independent ice adviser on board incase it encountered any ice during the initial stages of the voyage.
The extreme location of the Baffin Island mine means that initial exports can only be seasonal after winter ice has thawed.
Privately owned shipowner Fednav has long been linked to the shipping of the Baffinland ore.
Baffinland is jointly owned by the multinational listed conglomerate ArcelorMittal and a private company, Iron Ore Holdings, which used to be known as Nunavut Iron.
There were plans to build two loading ports to export the iron ore, one at Milne Port to the north of Baffin Island, and a larger terminal at Steensby to the south.
Two years ago the Baffinland project updated its early revenue phase which has included this first test cargo, reintroducing the shipment of an initial 3.5m tonnes per year export via Milne Port, deferring indefinitely plans to build Steensby Port and the rail link needed to ship the cargo from the mine to the port.
The Steensby port could allow for year-round exports, but only by bulk vessels with the ultimate ice-class notation during winter months.
Baffinland chief executive Tom Paddon had previously told Lloyd’s List that the mine produced iron ore with an exceptionally high iron content that would likely be sent to European steel mills, particularly those owned by ArcelorMittal, in the first instance.
At the time he did not rule out future sales to Asian steel producers that could result in vessels transiting the Northwest Passage, although with the general iron ore market as it is this remains unlikely.