Monday, September 28, 2009

When You Lose Your Engine

Residents of Salluit had an unexpected visitor show up under tow last week. The MV Avataq, owned by Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, apparently lost the power of propulsion somewhere out in Hudson Strait en route to Repulse Bay. Fortunately, there was an ocean-going tug in the general vicinity, and the MV Avataq was dragged into our sheltered bay with no smoke from her stack.

Doubly fortunate, since there was a very strong gale two days later, with winds topping out over 110 kilometers an hour from the south. Despite being on the leeward side of the bay, she broke away from her anchorage on the south side of Sugluk Fiord and drifted powerless to do anything towards the north shore. Luckily, a short distance before it would have grounded out its anchor managed to snag something on the bottom. People in town were very concerned about the crew during the gale and there was a very rare feeling of caring for others that day amongst the town folk.

The next day, the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Des Groseillier came into our fiord to keep an eye on the Avataq, pictured in the foreground to the right. The winds have died down, and mechanics have arrived to repair the engine: apparently some problem with the camshaft was the cause of the stoppage. NEAS reports on its schedule that she is expected to continue on her voyage tonight.

But I'm hedging my bets. It has not been an auspicious season for the annual summer northern sealift, so vital for supplying fuel, equipment, dry goods, vehicles and other important items to communities cut off from the southern road network. Earlier this month rival Desgagn├ęs Transarctik's brand new vessel the MV Sedna Desgagnes ran aground on the east coast of Hudsons Bay and is out of commission for the balance of the season.

Thus endeth the Salluit Shipping News dispatch for today.

This is more of a panoramic shot from this morning showing most of Salluit, with the MV Avataq barely visible in the distance. And yes, that is snow on the roof tops. It's a very short shipping season.

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Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

The anchor probably snagged on the last ship that tried to make port there...

Hope your whiskey shipment made it ok!

BTW Great to hear from you, thought the polagriz got you!

6:25 PM  
Blogger Fuff said...

Not snowed in yet tho..

9:30 AM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Hey Phos! Thanks for the thought!!

Fuff: That only happens in December, but the weather in October and November is so bad that shipping companies try to complete their voyages as early as possible.

5:45 PM  
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