Wednesday, December 11, 2019

New Arrival

The Handysize bulk carrier Ultra Lascar made it into port this morning after a weather delay. The ship tied up at pier 28, under the grain spouts, so it will be loading whatever cargo is currently stored in the grain elevators. Based on the recent truck traffic at the facility, I would say it is wood pellets. Now commonly called "biomass" the material is used as a fuel in power generation as a more sustainable alternative to coal or other hydrocarbons such as oil or gas.

The ship is operated by Ultrabulk, a division of Ultranav, the Chilean / German  shipping conglomerate. The bulk  carrier division's roots however are with Eitzen Bulk of Denmark, acquired by Ultranav in 2010, which in turn was founded as the (Danish) East Asiatic Company. That explains why Ultrabulk's head office is in Copenhagen.

Built in 2015 by Oshima Shipbuilding, Saikai, Japan, the 22,469 gt, 37,429 dwt ship carries four cranes and is fitted with a hold ventilation system.

The ship's name pays tribute to the thousands of sailors from east of the Cape of Good Hope (mostly from what was India, but would now included Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indian regions such as Goa, but also Malayans) who crewed British and other ships for centuries. Although largely displaced by seafarers from the Philippines, they still form a significant presence on the high seas. Their ranks include those working in the engine rooms, on deck, in catering, and nowadays include the officers in both departments.

The term "lascar" is not intended to be a pejorative or racist term, but if I have offended anyone by using it I apologize. Certainly many indignities were suffered by east Asian crews, including being banned from landing in Canada at one time, and being signed under different articles from European sailors.

A most shameful aspect of the history was that more than 600 seafarers from India served on Canadian Pacific ships during World War II. All were awarded service medals by the Admiralty, but none were actually presented.[Source of this report is Wikipedia]. I would be interested in learning more about this issue.


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