The Lowlands Opal is the first ocean-going vessel from an overseas port to dock at the Port of Trois-Rivières in 2018. It reached the port on Thursday, January 4, at 1:10 p.m., following a 16-day non-stop Atlantic voyage. The vessel, with its twenty crew members of Indian and Filipino nationality, left the port of Sao Luis in Brazil on December 19, 2017 with a cargo of 42,500 metric tonnes of alumina for the Alcoa aluminum smelter in Deschambault.
Mr. Luc Arvisais, Vice-Chairman of the Trois-Rivières Port Authority (TRPA) Board of Directors, explained: “To receive the title, the vessel must arrive in Trois-Rivières from an overseas port without making a stopover and perform a loading or unloading operation at the port.”
At the ceremony marking the arrival of the first vessel of the year, the captain and chief engineer of the Lowlands Opal, Capt. Sanjay Pharasi (right) and Mr. Pardeep Singh (left), were presented with a giclée reproduction of the painting À bon port, produced by artist Ms. Caroline St-Pierre.
During the 52nd ceremony marking the arrival of the first vessel of the year at the Port of Trois-Rivières, the captain and chief engineer of the Lowlands Opal, Mr. Sanjay Pharasi and Pardeep Singh, were presented with a giclée reproduction of the painting À bon port, produced by Mauricie artist Ms. Caroline St-Pierre. Mr. Gaétan Boivin, President and CEO of the TRPA, pointed out that 2017 marks 25 years of partnership between G3 Canada Ltd., which operates the terminal, the TRPA and Alcoa, for supplying the Deschambault plant. As Mr. Boivin explained, “Today’s ceremony is a great opportunity to highlight that the Lowlands Opal has completed its 22nd crossing with alumina. This is also the second time the vessel has achieved the feat of being the first vessel at the Port of Trois-Rivières, when in 2009 it arrived on January 7th.”
About the Lowlands Opal
The bulk carrier Lowlands Opal was built in 2007 and is currently sailing under the Singapore flag. It has an overall length of 190 m and a width of 32 m (Panamax). The vessel is currently moored at section 17 of the port of Trois-Rivières for approximately four days. During its stay in Trois-Rivières, it will be represented by Lower St. Lawrence Ocean Agencies Ltd. and G3 Canada Ltd. will be responsible for unloading the cargo for its client, Alcoa.
Navigating ice-covered waters: the challenge continues
The ceremony highlighting the arrival of the first vessel of the year brings forward the crew members who navigate on the St. Lawrence River during winter. Winter navigation is now possible, more than ever, thanks to the efforts of many actors in the river system. These include the Canadian Coast Guard, whose ice breakers keep the channel open between Quebec and Montreal during the winter.
How do ships navigate in the winter?
To navigate on the St. Lawrence during the winter, the ships lighten their cargo. They also need a reinforced hull, an adapted engine water cooling system (to prevent ice build-up) and be equipped with high-performance navigation equipment, such as high-efficiency radar systems, to facilitate their passage through the ice.
About the Port of Trois-Rivières
The Port of Trois-Rivières handles over 3 million metric tonnes of traffic and 70% of this traffic is related to international trade. It accommodates 55,000 trucks, 11,000 railcars and more than 200 merchant ships annually originating from over 125 different ports in more than 40 countries around the world.
As part of the 18 Canadian Port Authorities and active since 1882, the Port of Trois-Rivières offers a wide range of facilities and services to the maritime industry throughout the year. Generating close to 900 direct jobs, it is an important player in regional, national and international economic development for major industrial sectors such as the construction industry, aluminum, mining, energy and agri-food.