A Canadian built "well boat" has returned to the Canadian flag after an absence of three years.
Built by Verreault Navigation in Les Méchins, QC in 2002 as Sterling Carrier , her design was based on the Norwegian live fish carrier Froyfisk. She left the shipyard in December 2002 for British Columbia.
The little ship was specifically designed to transport live fish from farms to processing plants. Her first owners, Persistence Shipping Co of Vancouver had high hopes for this business, but a downturn and a plant closure meant that she did not have enough work to support her and so she was sold in 2007. She was apparently quite successful in the work she did, which was to transport up to 200,000 lbs of live fish daily, without damage to the fish. This meant that the fish were in good condition and were processed within three hours of arriving at the plant.
Following the 2007 sale to Norwegian owners Froyfish, she was renamed Froytind and departed Campbell River, BC for Puerto Montt, Chile. Froyfish was acquired by another Norwegian concern, Solvtrans of Alesund, at about the same time, and they renamed the ship Ronja Carrier.
In 2009 Solvtrans "retracted" three well boats from Chile due to a crisis in the salmon market there. Since that time the ship has worked in Norway and Scotland on the spot market.
In April Solvtrans concluded a six month charter of the ship to Cooke Aquaculture Inc of Black's Harbour, NB. Cooke operates in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, Chile and Maine and has a distribution business based in Montreal.
The ship arrived in Halifax on May 31 and was registered in Canada on June 3.
A long standing connection between Halifax and Alesund, Norway through Karlsen Shipping is reflected in Karlsen acting as owner's representatives while the ship is on charter in Canada.