Some of the information in the orginal post was out of sequence. Thanks to readers for pointing this out. The second paragraph has been re-writtten, with errors lined over and revisions in bold. There has also been additional information added in bold.
Shipfax doesn't deplay the word legendary very often, but the recent news that Fednav has sold their Arctic for scrap after 43 years of service surely warrants at least a few superlatives.
The Arctic shows off its icebreaking bow on the St.Lawrence River.
Arctic was built in 1978 by Port Weller Dry Dock to transport lead-zinc ore from the Polaris (75 degrees North) and Nanisivik (73 degrees North) mines. In 1984 the ship was converted by Portship in Thunder Bay, allowing it to carry oil in additon to bulk cargo. Damage from a grounding resulted in side and bottom strengthening
in 1984 at Portship, Thunder Bay at Port Weller in 1985. During the winter of 1985-86 the ship returned to Port Weller where it then received a new icebreaking bow and was converted to carry oil in addition to bulk ore. The new work resulted in the ship's ice class being upgraded to Finnish-Swedish 1A Super.
It was the first ship to export crude oil from the arctic when it loaded from Panarctic Oil's Bent Horn terminal.
When the Polaris and Nanisivik mines closed in 2002 due to low lead-zinc prices, the ship shifted to serving the Raglan and Voisey's Bay nickel mines, operating year round from Ungava Bay and Labrador to Newfoundland and Quebec City. It transports ore from the mines, but also carries general cargo, containers, equipment and fuel to the mines. Two 16 tonne and two 30 tonne cranes handle the dry cargo.
The ship has made calls to Halifax from time to time to load specialised cargo, and to off load crude oil, but it was certainly a rare caller.
The ship underwent a life extension in China in 1997, and has outlived the twenty-year expectancy of that work. It had another major refit in China in 2007. A 30,000 deadweight tonnes replacement ship is currently undergoing trials in Yokohama, Japan and so the Arctic has been laid up in Quebec City until it sets out for the scrap yard in Aliaga, Turkey.
While the current ship is named for Capt. Joseph-Elzéar Bernier's arctic exploration ship the auxiliary CGS Arctic*, the new ship will be named Arvik I, using the Inuktitut word for bow head whale.
* For more on that earlier Arctic see Wikipedia's CGS Arctic