Monday, January 5, 2015

Trillium with a difference

When CSL (Canada Steamship Lines) embarked on its ambitious fleet renewal program, it called the new class of ships Trillium, after the Province of Ontario's official wildflower. Intended to replace older inefficient ships, the program was to incorporate new greener technologies and other improvements in vessel design and construction. 
The Canadian shipbuilding industry had long ceased to be competitive on the world stage, and so it was to China that CSL turned, and the Changxi Shipyard in Jiangyin City. That Canada was ready to give up the tariff on foreign built ships may have been a factor in the final decision, but ships in this quantity and of this size could certainly never have been built in Canada so quickly and for the price.
In fact the Trillium class consists of nine ships of three different types.

To serve CSL's domestic fleet there were four self-unloading Seaway max self-unloading bulk carriers, Baie St. Paul (2012), Baie Comeau, Whitefish Bay and Thunder Bay (2013). The 24,430 grt ships measure 225.2m x 23.76m x 14.75m depth, and 8.077m Seaway draft, with a cargo capacity of 37,690 tonnes.

They have now been followed by two more ships without self-unloading capability (called straight-deckers in Great Lakes parlance)  CSL Welland has arrived in Port Cartier to load a cargo of iron ore for winter storage in Montreal. CSL St-Laurent is en route from China and is in the Pacific Ocean. Essentially identical in exterior form to the self-unloaders, these two ships have greater cargo carrying capacity.

CSL Americas (the former CSL International) and its pool of self-unloaders also received Trillium class ships, but these are built to Panamax size standards 228.6m x 32.26m x 20.15m depth, 13.48m summer draft, and a cargo capacity of roughly 70,000 tonnes.Of these Rt.Hon. Paul E. Martin, CSL Tecumseh and CSL Tacoma are operated directly by CSL. However two more were built for CSL Pool partner Thorvald Klaveness, of Oslo, named Balto and Balchem.

Balto arrived in Halifax today and anchored in Bedford Basin. It was quite a n arrival, in very high winds, when the ship had to make at least two if not three complete 360 degree turns off the pilot station while creating a lee for the pilot boat to board the pilot. As sen from shore through binoculars, the ship took some vicious rolls - close to 10 degrees by my estimate.

Once inbound its bluff bow, similar to the Seaway type, but with a bit of bulbous shape below the waterline, kicked up lots of spray in today's gale force winds.

Fitted with an 80m long slewing boom to unload, the ship presents a much cleaner profile than fleet mate Barkald which arrived in Friday.

Crew members work on the forepeak to prepare for anchoring.

The Panamax version of the Trilliums are speedy unloaders: coal:4200 tonnes per hour, gypsum 4500 tph, stone 5,000 tph, iron ore 6,000 tph. (Compared to Barkald's 1,000 tph using buckets and conveyors.) 
Balto measures 43,691 grt, 71,405.3 dwt, and was built in 2013.
The ship went to anchor in Bedford Basin, due to the high winds, which are expected to continue through tonight.

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