Monday, May 12, 2014

Atlantic Huron, back again for another year

The self-unloading bulker Atlantic Huron was back in Halifax today to load gypsum. As the first ship in from the Great Lakes this season, she is arriving in ballast. Once upon a time the first ship from the Lakes each year brought in grain, but that commodity now seems to be coming almost exclusively by rail, despite issues with railroads and export grain delivery.
Tracing Atlantic Huron's recent movements indicates a major shift in the bulk to coal from grain. The ship spent its brief winter layup in Montreal from February 20 to April 9. On April 14 it was upbound in the Seaway and headed to South Chicago where it loaded at the KCBX terminal.
It may be a matter of terminology, but its cargo was reported to be coal. However the KCBX terminal is better known for its export of petroleum coke. Petcoke, as it is commonly known, is a waste product in the refining of tar sands crude oil. Much cheaper (and dirtier and sulphur laden) than coal, it is used by Nova Scotia Power in its coal fired power plants, such as Point Aconi, near Sydney. In any event Atlantic Huron loaded cargo at KCBX and was douwnbound again in the Seaway on May 5-6, and discharged at Sydney, NS.It then proceeded directly to Halifax, arriving this morning.
The veteran ship was built in 1984 at the now defunct Collingwood Shipyard Port Weller Dry Dock as a gearless bulk carrier named Prairie Harvest. It was converted  to a self-unloader by Port Weller Dry Dock the same yard in 1989, and was renamed Atlantic Huron. From 1994 to 1997 it carried the name Melvin H. Baker II, under the Bahamas flag and on charter to National Gyspum. It was in and out of Canadian registry, returning to Canadian in 1997 when it reverted to its present name.
In 2002-2003 it returned to Port Weller where it was widened to take advantage of new Seaway regulations. The wider portion of the hull is visible in the photo above, just below the banner name.
Until 2012 it did appear in Halifax with grain cargoes, but is now almost exclusively in the ore/coal/gypsum trade.



  1. I believe the Atlantic Huron was built at Collingwood rather that Port Weller.

  2. Atlantic Huron went up the Seaway on April 14 with ore for Cleveland and spent about ten days in drydock at Erie, PA for rudder repairs before taking a salt cargo in Windsor prior to loading in Chicago, which accounts for the long amount of time she spent on the Great Lakes