Busy ships in the north

Just joined another ship, okay, a tug, but a fair size and
certainly capable 4000 hp tug; the Beverly M I, ex Swire Pacific Offshore’s
Typhoon. The Beverly MI is the sister ship to the Sharon MI, which saw me
travel to Ajman, near to Dubai, what seems like so many months ago, and many,
many degrees colder. The company I worked for, McKeil Marine, bought both
vessels in Dubai, where before sailing them back to Canada, had dry-docking
work carried out.

Now the Beverly is in Deception Bay, the very northern tip
of the province of Quebec, in an area called Nunavik, assisting with ships
loading Nickel and Copper concentrate from the nearby mines. Most people know
this area for the Raglan Mine, operated by Xstrata (Glencore).  Xstrata is the big boy up here, here for some
time, with a large mine complex, and impressive ship berth facility.
As there are no railroads or roads connecting with the rest
of the province’s transportation grid, the majority of the supplies coming in,
and product coming out, is done by ship. Although Xstrata has a large berth to
accommodate their ship, the Fednav operated, MV Arctic, the company is not
associated by with the company we are here working for, Canadian Royalties Inc.
(CRI). They are fairly new to the area, but have not quite built their own
berth yet, so McKeil is providing the large barge, Nunavut Spirit, fitted with
six spuds, as a temporary berth to facilitate loading of the ships.
While the barge is the primary bread winner for the company,
the tug Beverly M is standing by to provide berthage assistance to the ships,
including the MV Arctic last week, as the winds can be quite ferocious in the
Now loading in Deception Bay is Wagenborg’s MV Arneborg,
loading Nickel concentrate bound for Germany. She slid in a few days ago, after
Fednav’s MV Federal Power loaded the new mine’s first shipment, Copper concentrate
bound for Europe. Mentioned above is the MV Arctic, tied to the Xstrata berth
for about 5 days now, is a long time presence in these parts, serving several
area mines. The Canadian flagged, ice classed OBO, is offloading camp supply
and fuel to Xstrata’s tank farm, before loading its cargo of ore, bound for
Quebec City.
NEAS’s Canadian flagged MV Mitiq is also in the bay,
offloading containerized cargo, via their own barge and yarder tugs; landing
them on the beach for the nearby camp. Expected in a few days is one of the
Rigel tankers, now Desgagnes, here to replenish the CRI’s fuel supply.  
It is an isolated part of the world. High speed internet is rarer
than precious minerals, owls or foxes, not to mention, heavy equipment. Even
slightly more rare, is unprocessed food…

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