CSL’s New Purpose-Designed Diesel-Electric Self-Unloading Ship Begins Service for Windsor Salt

Montreal, QC – Earlier this week, Canada Steamship Lines’ new diesel-electric self-unloading vessel, MV Nukumi, successfully completed its inaugural loading and discharge of deicing salt for dedicated customer, Windsor Salt.

 “The successful launch of Nukumi’s operations is the culmination of many years of planning with our visionary partner, Windsor Salt, to achieve the next level of safe, sustainable and efficient shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Great Lakes region,” said Louis Martel, President and CEO, The CSL Group. “We are extremely proud of our vessel’s early performance, which is a testament to the expertise, ingenuity and skill of our design and newbuild teams who conceived Nukumi, and of our seafarers who are now operating this highly sophisticated ship.”

Purpose-designed to service Windsor Salt’s deicing salt shipping and handling needs in Eastern Canada, the vessel’s state-of-the-art technology and innovative features were put to the test for the first time during loading at the Mines Seleines salt mine in the Magdalene Islands last week, and during the discharge in Montreal yesterday.

On her first trip to the Mines Seleine salt mine, the ship’s modern hull design and twin-fin diesel-electric propulsion system demonstrated the vessel’s ability to transit through narrow channels more quickly, at lower tide and with exceptional maneuverability.

 The ship’s fully automated single point of loading and state-of-the-art cargo handling systems performed as designed and eliminated the need for vessel shifting during loading, making for a safer and more efficient operation. 

 During discharge in Montreal, the vessel’s shuttle discharge boom arrangement significantly reduced shifting, while sensor technology installed on the boom and programmed to auto-pile mode contributed to saving time and crew effort.

 Several innovations built into the design of M/V Nukumi are also reducing the ship’s overall environmental footprint and are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants by 25% and 80% respectively, compared with previous ships servicing the same routes. These include diesel-electric tier 3 engines, a ballast water treatment system, a waste heat recovery system, and overall quieter machinery.

 “Canadians count on the critical deicing salts that Nukumi will deliver to stockpiles throughout Eastern Canada to help keep roadways safe during the winter,” said Luc B. Savoie, Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer, Windsor Salt Ltd. “Reducing the environmental impact of shipping our deicing salt and ensuring everyone’s safety are important objectives at Windsor Salt, and we are delighted that this new, advanced ship will help us achieve both.” 

 CSL is grateful to the Ministère des Transports du Québec for its financial contribution as part of the Ministry’s program to improve the efficiency of marine, air and rail transportation. 

 “With Avantage Saint-Laurent, our government has given Quebec a clear vision for the marine industry: aligning economic development and protecting ecosystems. CSL’s Nukumi is a perfect example to what we want to do on the St. Lawrence. I am very proud to support this project, which uses innovative marine transportation practices that respect the environment, and has concrete benefits for communities,” said Chantal Rouleau, Quebec’s Minister for Transport.

Canada Steamship Lines


Great Lakes Ships Lose a Month Due to Lack of Icebreakers

Cleveland, OH – The ice season is over on the Great Lakes but the impacts of insufficient Coast Guard icebreaking linger.  With a defined shipping season of 10-months, due to the closure of the navigational locks in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan which connect Lake Superior and the iron ore mines to the steel mills in the southern lakes, delays to the maritime supply chain have tremendous impacts.

During this year’s ice season, the U.S.-flag Great Lakes shipping industry lost the equivalent of a month due to delays in ice covered waters.  1.645 million tons of cargo carrying capacity was delayed for 679.5 hours or 28 days due to ice conditions on Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and in Green Bay and a lack of Coast Guard icebreakers to meet the needs of commerce. 

 “It amazes me that a cargo container stuck in Chesapeake Bay or in the Suez Canal gets worldwide attention and that happens on the Great Lakes every year.  The loss of one day of shipping is tremendous, but a month is devasting.  Imagine if highways in the northern states didn’t have enough snowplows to keep traffic moving during frequent winter storms and sat on the road for a month…it is unacceptable,” stated Jim Weakley, President of the Great Maritime Task Force.

 According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), ice conditions this past winter were “average” to “slightly below average” during the bulk of the icebreaking period.  Several ships, including some Canadian-flag lakers, faced perilous journeys through ice infested waters that nearly forced a vessel aground in the Straits of Mackinac and shutdown waterways.  At one point several vessels were stuck in eastern Lake Superior for more than three days.  With an aging fleet of six 40-year-old small icebreaking tugs and only one heavy icebreaker the U.S. Coast Guard couldn’t keep up.  Multiple vessels were shoved near the edge of the navigational channels as ice floes over a foot thick shifted which lasted up until mid-April.  At the beginning of the ice season the U.S. Coast Guard lost five icebreakers to engineering casualties, just when they were needed most.

 “The Coast Guard needs more icebreakers on the Fourth Sea Coast.  We have 237,000 jobs depending on a reliable Great Lakes Navigation System.  In addition, our sailors deserve to feel safe navigating our waterways regardless of the time of year,” stated John D. Baker, International Longshoremen’s Association and Vice President of the Great Lakes Maritime Task Force.

 While progress fixing the icebreaking issue has been slow, it is moving forward thanks to key Great Lakes Senators and Congressional Representatives.  Over the past year both the current Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and the nominee to replace him testified before the Senate Commerce Committee acknowledging the need for another heavy Great Lakes icebreaker.  In addition, the Great Lakes Winter Commerce Act has passed the House in the Coast Guard Authorization Bill which authorizes full funding for the new icebreaker, mandates transparent and accurate performance measures, and commissions a study by the Government Accountability Office to examine the impacts and needs for additional U.S. Coast Guard icebreakers on the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


SS Badger ready to sail with big changes on horizon

 Ludington, MI – The ownership of Lake Michigan Carferry and the SS Badger are happy to see the 2022 season start off today, and there could be some changes on the not-too-distant horizon, too.

 “It’s always a fun day. I think it’s exciting and a lot of anxiety to get it going and get it out there,” Mark Barker, president of Interlake Holding Company and parent company of LMC, told the Daily News after remarks at a kickoff event Wednesday evening at the Lake House in downtown Ludington.

 “Sara (Spore, general manager of LMC) and her team have been working non-stop. It’s always a sigh of relief to get underway and start the season.”

 Barker outlined some of the changes the boat went through over the course of the winter and what could be ahead for the national historic landmark in brief remarks to the people on hand for the event. He mentioned in brief remarks the company is starting to investigate looking into the possibility of moving away from the Badger being powered by coal.

 “We’re looking at all options,” Barker told the Daily News. “At the end of the day, we need a boat that is sustainable, and that means economically, environmentally, from everything. We want the boat to continue to run for the communities that we serve. We need to look at all options.

 “Coal is not the most favored fuel in the world.”

 The previous ownership group studied and even received a grant from the State of Wisconsin to convert from coal to natural gas in the early 2010s. Barker said Wednesday that the company is going to start from the beginning in its search to determine a new fuel source for the Badger.

 “We looked at natural gas. We were actually looking at natural gas for our other ships at the same time Bob (Manglitz, former co-owner of LMC) was looking at natural gas for here,” he told the Daily News. “I was talking to Bob because he was asking me questions about it. I don’t think natural gas is the right fuel for this application nor is it in the future.

 “I think we have to look at opportunities, and what they are, I don’t know, yet,” he said. “There’s a lot of talk about what the right long-term fuel is to decarbonize by 2050. That’s maritime goal, to be carbon-neutral by 2050. We have to look at all options, and we have to start somewhere. We’re starting from scratch and looking at what can we do now and how is that going to work for the future.”

 Read more at this Ludington Daily News link: https://www.shorelinemedia.net/ludington_daily_news/news/local/ss-badger-ready-to-sail-with-big-changes-on-horizon/article_7151e4b9-6ee1-55e7-97a5-b77edc2f6d03.html?utm_campaign=blox&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&fbclid=IwAR2q1HGeII6VF5fF7s2ex5jOyJzF6ke7QQTx-dTX4-91k-lunhNYGF6gnc8

Ludington Daily News


US Navy chief defends plan to scrap troubled warships even though some are less than 3 years old

The chief of the US Navy defended the service’s plans to scrap nine relatively new warships in the coming fiscal year even as the service tries to keep up with China’s growing fleet. Three of the littoral combat ships slated for decommissioning are less than three years old.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday told the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday that the anti-submarine ships could not perform their primary mission.

“I refuse to put an additional dollar against a system that would not be able to track a high-end submarine in today’s environment,” Gilday told the committee. He said the main reason for the early retirement was that the anti-submarine warfare system on the ships “did not work out technically.” The decommissioning of the ships would save the Navy approximately $391 million, according to the service’s proposed FY23 budget.

But that recoups only a fraction of the cost of the nine littoral combat ships, which totaled about $3.2 billion.

The USS Indianapolis, USS Billings and USS Wichita were all commissioned in 2019, which means the Navy plans on decommissioning ships that are only a fraction of the way into their expected service life. The Navy also plans to retire six other littoral combat ships, all of the single-hull Freedom-variant, as opposed to the trimaran Independence-variant. Both variants can achieve speeds of 40+ knots.

Under a 2016 Navy plan, the Freedom-class variants were all homeported Mayport, Florida, mainly for use in Atlantic Ocean operations. The Independence-class variants were homeported in San Diego, and designated for mainly Pacific operations.

The decision amounts to an embarrassing admission that some of the Navy’s newest ships are not fit for modern warfare.

Read the full article at this Microsoft Start link: https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/us/us-navy-chief-defends-plan-to-scrap-troubled-warships-even-though-some-are-less-than-3-years-old/ar-AAXaSon?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=abcc3f89602641d6b5ec907fcac79327

Microsoft Start


Visitor Center boat hotline has new number for 2022

 Sault Ste. Marie – The Soo Locks Visitor Center Boatwatcher’s Hotline has a new number this year for checking what vessels are due at the locks. Call 906-202-1333 to play the recording. The Visitor Center is closed Wednesdays and Thursdays in May but the recording will still be updated those days.

CSL's Nukumi. CSL group photo

Freighters stuck in the ice in Whitefish Bay, March 2022. GLMTF photo

S.S. Badger arriving in Manitowoc, WI. Charles E. Nelson photo

USS Billings (LCS 15) in the Menominee River. Scott Best photo


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