Polar powerhouse makes a visit
BILL POWER BUSINESS REPORTER
Published February 4, 2015 - 6:12pm
Last Updated February 5, 2015 - 6:24am
Ice-breaking bulk carrier to call on Sheet Harbour
A powerful celebrity arrives in Sheet Harbour Friday afternoon in the form of the MV Nunavik, arguably the toughest ice-breaking bulk carrier in the world.
Nunavik, owned by Fednav Ltd. of Montreal, achieved celebrity status in industry circles last fall after a successful solo voyage through the Northwest Passage.
The icebreaker visited Nova Scotia last year on its way to Deception Bay, in northern Quebec, after it was built in Japan. This is its first stop at Sheet Harbour.
“Nunavik stopped briefly in Halifax on its delivery to Deception Bay and before its Northwest Passage voyage,” Sarah Norgaard, fleet operator for Arctic operations and projects with Fednav, said Wednesday.
Norgaard said the Nunavik will stop at Sheet Harbour to load essential mine supplies for Nunavik Nickel Mines, owned by Canadian Royalties, in Deception Bay.
She said the ship will likely depart within 48 hours, bound for northern Quebec.
The 31,700-tonne vessel was the first commercial vessel to complete a trip through the Northwest Passage with an Arctic cargo and without additional icebreaker support.
The ship’s voyage attracted attention on the Internet as reports were publicized through social media about the use of drones, equipped with high-definition cameras, to provide guidance through Arctic ice.
The ship is rated as a Polar Class 4 vessel, meaning it is capable of year-round operations in thick, first-year ice.
Fednav said in a news release the ship carried 23,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate for its maiden voyage through the passage.
Nunavik is not huge by bulk-carrier standards, but its 29,600-horsepower engine is about three times more powerful than the engine of a conventional bulk carrier of the same size.
The icebreaker is equipped with new environmental technologies to reduce emissions, and a ballast-treatment system to protect Arctic waters from invasive species.
Nunavik’s call at the Sheet Harbour port Friday increases hopes that the rural facility can serve more megaprojects in the north, said Lane Farguson, spokesman for Halifax Port Authority.
“This type of call is ideal for the Port of Sheet Harbour as it can handle multiple configurations of break-bulk, bulk and special-project cargo, as well as containerized cargo.”
The authority operates the Port of Sheet Harbour on behalf of Nova Scotia Business Inc.
The provincially owned Sheet Harbour facility boasts deep water for big ships and lots of open space for storage, Farguson said.
Fednav owns and operates two other powerful icebreaking vessels, the MV Arctic and the MV Umiak I, that serve the Voisey Bay nickel mine in northern Labrador.
Details of the journey of the MV Nunavik through the Northwest Passage to China are available at www.fednav.com/en/voyage-nunavik.