Friday, April 15, 2011

First grain from the Lakes

Atlantic Huron once again arrived with the first load of grain from the Great Lakes.

The ship was in winter layup at Quebec City, but went down river first to Sept-Iles for a load of iron ore. On March 31 it was upbound on the Seaway for Toledo, OH to discharge the iron ore. It then headed up light ship to Thunder Bay to load grain, passing through the Soo Locks upbound April 4 and downbound April 7. It was again downbound through the Seaway on April 11.

Built in 1984 at Collingwood as a gearless bulk carrier, it was first named Prairie Harvest. In

1989 it was converted to a self-unloader at Port Weller DD and renamed Atlantic Huron. From 1990 to 1992 it was registered in the Bahamas and worked internationally, but still calling in Halifax for gypsum. In 1994 it was renamed Melvin H.Baker II and worked on a contract for National Gypsum, mostly from Halifax. By 1997 it returned to the Canadian flag and reassumed the Atlantic Huron name. During 1997 it was temporarily fitted with equipment to carry magnetite slurry for ballasting the Hibernia gravity base. On completion of this work the equipment was removed, and the ship returned to its usual trades.

In December of 2000 it arrived at Halifax Shipyard to start a multi-year rebuild program. The work included extensive bottom replacement and bow repairs. Over the winter of 2002-2003 the work was completed at Port Weller DD, which involved new mid-body steel, which widened the ship from its original 75 foot width to the new Seaway maximum width of 78'-1".

Despite rumours of a sale in 2009, the ship remains in service, and like most Lakes ships lays up for three months or so during the winter. During that time the ship is not entirely idle, but is usually the scene of considerable maintenance activity.


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