1. Bella Desgagnés clears Meagher's Beach inbound to Halifax.
On completion of the design in 2008, construction was awarded to the Kraljevica shipyard in Rijeka, Croatia. Although launched May 10, 2010, the construction process was fraught with delays, culminating in the financial collapse of the yard last year, before the ship was completed. After legal maneuvers, Desgagnés took possession of the ship and moved it to the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy for an assessment. Reports indicate that the ship was 92% complete (others say 60%) - the former figure seems more likely. The Palumbo shipyard in Naples was selected to complete the work, and the ship was able to sail from the shipyard on March 22.
2. The ship has a variety of accommodation in four classes.
At 95 meters length, 19.35m breadth and only 4.42 meters draft, the ship can still accommodate 381 passengers-many of which would be deck passengers. It has 63 cabins (some de luxe), dining room, cafeteria, lecture room and other passenger amenities. It can also carry 125 TEU of containers and has its own 30 tonne, long reach crane to work them on and off. It is built to Ice Class IA and can reach a speed of 15 knots. Its propulsion system consists of four diesel engines, driving two electric motors and two azimuthing stern drives. It also has two bow thrusters and as a result it has maneuverability comparable to a harbour tug.
3. A large clear after deck for containers is served by a long reach crane.
The ship will replace Nordik Express, built in 1974 as an offshore supply ship, and converted at Dartmouth in 1987. It is rated for 200 passengers deck, 60 berthed, and 56 TEU. Long past its replacement date, it will soldier on this year, running in tandem with Bella, but will be retired in the fall.
The ship's normal weekly itinerary runs from Rimouski to Sept-Iles, Port Menier, Havre-St-Pierre, Natashquan, Kegaska, La Romaine, Harrington, Tête-à-la Baleine, La Tabatière and St-Augustin, where is there is a connection through Blanc Sablon to the ferry to St.Barbe, Newfoundland.
4. An impressive full width bridge, with enclosed wings for winter work, dominates the superstructure forward.Update:
Bella Desgagnés sailed from Halifax at 1800 hrs this evening, giving its destination as Blanc Sablon, with an ETA of 1900 hrs April. 11. While in Halifax the ship refueled and loaded stores, some of which arrived from Quebec on a Desgagnés truck.
5. A Desgagnés truck waits outside the port gate this morning. The ship had to clear customs before taking on stores.