Transport Desgagnes Inc. contracted with the shipbuilding firm of Kraljevica in Croatia, for the construction of a new passenger / vehicle / container vessel to replace the aging
Nordik Express. The new ship was christened Bella Desgagnes at the launching ceremony on May 10, 2010.
The Ice Class 1A Bella Desgagnes was scheduled to enter service in July 2011 but completion was delayed until 2013. The final work was carried out at the Palumbo Shipyard in
Naples, Italy, and the ship departed from there on March 22, 2013.
Bella Desgagnes arrived at the Halifax from overseas on April 9, 2013, after encountering severe weather on the delivery voyage. It was christened at Sept-Iles, QC on April 19,
2013. Its entry into service in May 2013 marked the beginning of a new year round passenger and freight route between Rimouski, Quebec, and remote ports along the lower north shore
of the St. Lawrence River and as far east as Anticosti Island.
The new $52 million ship has an overall length of 312 feet, a beam of 63 feet and a fully loaded draft of under 15 feet. These dimensions are considered the maximum that can be
accommodated at the various small harbors that the ship will serve. The vessel was designed with a service speed of 15 knots and is able to accommodate 381 passengers in 63 cabins.
It can also handle 125 TEU when carrying containers.
Adapted with permission from “The Desgagnes Fleet” by Buck Longhurst, Mac Mackay, Skip Gillham.