CSL introduces Whitefish BayLocal media and officials got a chance to “kick the tires” on a brand new laker Friday.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Local media and officials got a chance to “kick the tires” on a brand new laker Friday.
Canada Steamship Lines opened the Whitefish Bay, a self-unloading vessel filled with 32,500 short tons of low-sulfur Western coal, for tours Friday at the Midwest Energy Resources Company dock.
“We’re not here by accident, by any means,” said Dan McCarthy, CSL’s vice president of marketing and customer service. “We chose this location, we chose this venue. Why? Because we’re very proud of the relationship we have with Fred Shusterich and his team of excellent guys who run this world class facility. We’ve loaded well over a million and a half tons here just last year and this year and we hope to continue to do that for many years to come.”
For Kent Powell, captain of the Whitefish Bay, it was an opportunity to show off the vessel, which included advancements from bow to stern.
“There is so much we have on board this vessel to make it more efficient, more environmentally efficient as well,” he said. The integrated bridge system puts all the navigation equipment within the captain’s reach.
“He can get all that information at one time, everything from the wind to his speed, the radar, the electronic chart information, everything, the engine, bow thruster, stern thruster, everything is at his control right here,” said Capt. Scott Porter with CSL.
With both bow and stern thrusters the captain can stop on a dime without personnel on the dock, Porter said. Other navigational improvements include thermal imaging cameras, which helped when the Whitefish Bay came into port Thursday night in dense fog.
The vessel’s engines are one-fifth the size of traditional engines, according to chief engineer Zbigniew Warias. Yet they are 15 percent more fuel efficient than the company’s previous class of ships. That can result in real savings when propelling a ship longer than two football fields and taller than a three-story office building through the water. A special shaft drive design allows the laker to generate power as it travels, and heat is piped back into the engines instead of released into the atmosphere, Warias said. In other environmental improvements, the hydraulic oil used to open doors has been replaced with glycol.
The Whitefish Bay is one of a series of six Trillium class vessels being built by CSL with an eye toward efficiency and environmental sustainability. They are also, said McCarthy, a signal of the CSL’s commitment to doing business in the Great Lakes, something the company has been doing for nearly 100 years.
The vessel is a self-unloader, using a series of hatches and conveyor belts to move dry bulk cargo from the ship to shore through a 250-foot boom. The process moves cargo at about 5,000 tons per hour, Warias said, allowing the vessel to unload in five or six hours. It can also be offloaded regardless of what kind of shore side infrastructure is in place.
A typical laker of this size would need a crew of 26, McCarthy said. But Powell’s crew numbered 19. The vessel’s wide stairways and large rooms were also impressive.
“My wife said it’s nicer than most hotels,” said Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen during the visit. He also noted the terminal, which he dedicated in 1975, would turn 40 this week.
The Whitefish Bay pulled out from the Midwest Energy dock over the weekend, headed toward Quebec City in Canada on the first leg of a trip that will take the coal from Superior to Rotterdam, Netherlands.
“This is a fantastic environment, a fantastic region in which to do business,” McCarthy said. “I suspect we will be doing more and more business in the years ahead because of the world class players as well as the world class facilities and assets you have here.”