Monday, January 10, 2022

Crimson Queen

 The bulk carrier Crimson Queen anchored in Halifax today (January 10). The ship arrived from Saint John, NB where it loaded potash at the Barrack Point terminal.


The ship is an unusual caller - the first I can recall - to stop in Halifax with such a cargo. Potash is mined in Saskatchewan and sent by train to terminals on the west coast (for export to Asia) and the east coast (for Central and South America, Africa and Europe). Potash is essentially potassium rich salt. Potassium, along with nitrogen and phosphorus is an essential component of soil fertilizer, but has many other industrial uses.

The Saint John export facility, which is served by CN Rail on the land side, can store 210,000 tonnes of potash in two large sheds. It loads up to 2700 tonnes per hour via quadrant loader to ships alongside its dolphin type jetty. The two Canadian potash producers Mosaic Canada Crop Nutrition LP and Nutrien Ltd operate a 50/50 joint venture called Canpotex Ltd which manages potash export terminals. Quebec Stevedores Ltd operates the terminal on their behalf.

 Crimson Queen is owned by MMSL Private Ltd, a Singapore branch of the giant Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corp. Oddly the ship is operated by Fleet Ship Management Pte Ltd, a Carnival Group company. It was built in 2014 by Tsuneishi Cebu, the Philippine shipyard owned by the Japanese shipbuilder. Coming in at 32,309 gt and 58,140 dwt, it is what is termed a "Supramax" sized bulker. It carries four 30 tonne capacity cranes fitted for clamshell buckets, but I do not see any buckets on the ship. Unloading terminals frequently provide their own buckets and crane operators.

As for the ship's name I am quite certain it does not relate to the University of Alabama's football team, the Crimson Tide. The colour red, and all its tones, have cultural significance in Japan. I will not begin to guess what the importance of crimson in particular may be, but can be fairly certain it has more meaning than meets the eye.

The purpose of the ship's visit is not clear, but likely involves some maintenance. Halifax no longer provides bunker fuel by barge and there would not seem to be any government requirement to stop here unless it is an operating deficiency or health issue. It could also be for a crew change as Halifax has international airport facilities with COVID isolation.


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