The tugs Numas Warrior and Renegade ‘dance’ with their water cannons firing as the guide the Niad to last week’s blessing of the CSL tanker Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin.

New freighter celebrated at Orca quarry debut

PORT McNEILL-First Trillium-class ship in CSL fleet welcomed with a blessing by First Nations chiefs and elders at Orca Sand & Gravel quarry

PORT McNEILL—With a backdrop of the stunning scenery of Broughton Strait, the newest bulk freight carrier in the Canadian Shipping Lines International fleet was welcomed to the North Island with a blessing by First Nations chiefs and elders last Wednesday.

The Rt. Honourable Paul E. Martin, the first of the CSL’s new Trillium Class of Panamax ships, had just completed its first loading at the Orca Sand and Gravel quarry ship loader just west of Port McNeill.

The Orca quarry is operated by Polaris Minerals Corp. of Vancouver in a unique partnership with the Kwakiutl and ‘Namgis First Nations, negotiated by Polaris founder Marco Romero prior to the quarry’s opening in 2007.

“The blessing of ship, being a new ship hauling our products, was something Marco asked if we would consider doing,” ‘Namgis Chief Bill Cranmer said. “We said that would be an appropriate blessing to hold onboard, believing that ceremony will protect the ship and its crew and be good for our partnership.”

Cranmer and fellow ‘Namgis elder Bruce Alfred were joined by five members of the Kwakiutl band, including Chief Calvin Hunt, Chief Peter Knox, Chief George Hunt and members Mervyn Child and Tom Child.

The seven clambered aboard the Niad Explorer water taxi for the short trip to the ship. They were joined by a who’s who of dignitaries including executives from Polaris and from CSL, Port McNeill Mayor Gerry Furney and local artist Jeanne Alley, who has been commissioned by Port Hardy-based shipping agent Hoqwesa Holdings Ltd. to create a painting of the ship’s maiden call to Port McNeill.

Once alongside the 225-metre, 72,000-tonne ship, participants exited the water taxi off its bow ramp to the deck of the tug Numas Warrior, and from there climbed a staircase lowered off the big carrier’s starboard side.

They then made their way the length of the deck to the aft superstructure and climbed seven floors to join Captain Vladyslav Tarasov and other officers on the roof for the open-air blessing high above the water’s surface.

The Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin is a self-unloading carrier dedicated to the transport of construction aggregates, including the sand and gravel produced at the Orca quarry.

It is named for Paul E. Martin, Canada’s 21st Prime Minister and former owner of the CSL group. The ship is the first of the three planned Trillium-class additions in CSL’s ambitious fleet upgrade program.

Ken Palko, VP of Operations at Polaris, said it is fitting the ship is named for Martin, who with his son David founded the Capital for Aboriginal Prosperity and Entrepreneurship Fund to help establish and grow successful Aboriginal businesses.

“We’re quite happy it’s the Right Honourable Paul E. Martin, considering the family’s relationship with first nations,” said Palko. “It’s one of the nice tie-ins with Polaris, since the Martin family started this fund recognizing there was ground to be made up with first nations.”

The partnership between Polaris and the two local bands, which included training and jobs for first nations members, was a ground-breaking achievement at the time it was drafted.

As such, it has since become a precedent-setting model providing guidance for the drafting of other such agreements in Canada.

“It was the first instance of industry partnering with first nations,” said Palko.  “Since then I’ve been contacted by a couple of companies put to task with creating partnerships with first nations. But they tell us ‘They want an Orca deal; can you tell us what’s involved with that?’”

The partnership with Polaris may have helped to kick-start additional economic development projects by the ‘Namgis First Nation, which include construction of a land-based, closed-containment fish farm south of Port McNeill and a partnership with Brookfield Power Corp. in a run-of-river hydro project on the Kokish River upstream from Beaver Cove.

“Things are going really well,” said Cranmer, who recently toured the closed-containment fish farm with a group of international aquaculture professionals who were attending a conference on Vancouver Island. “These are exciting times.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

North Island students are back in class, sitting six-feet apart

School District 85 schools reopened June 1 for students who want to come in person

Universal basic income is a good thing

‘I’ve always loved change, so I’m rooting for a different way of life altogether’

Port Hardy school sending food home to students in need

Hunger doesn’t take the weekend — or a pandemic — off

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read