Sunday 17 August 2014

Bulk Carrier FRITZ

Apparently the FRITZ is no longer "on the fritz", or is it? The FRITZ was built in China in 2012, and everything appeared normal for the 622' bulk carrier when she passed Gibraltar on May 29th with her 18 tonne cargo of steel rods destined for Toledo, Ohio. Again no problems were known when she entered the St. Lawrence Seaway's St. Lambert Lock on June 9th but on the next day, the FRITZ dropped anchor in the Seaway channel just west of Upper Canada Village near Morrisburg, Ontario (where I snapped these photos on Canada Day) and remained there for a month.
Initially it was reported that the reason for the FRITZ's unscheduled anchorage was due to engine problems. However as days passed it also became known that the crew's morale was also "on the fritz" as they had not been paid for over three month and the ship was running low on supplies of fresh food and drinking water. Meanwhile, residents on both sides of the border began complaining about the extended stay of the badly rusting eyesore in their front yards with its ongoing loud noises and bellowing smoke from the funnel. Finally the FRITZ got underway and arrived at Oshawa, on July 9 where financial woes continued for the ship owner, Intersee of Haren Ems, Germany, and for the striking crew who were heard pleading for equipment from with local fisherman so that they could catch Lake Ontario fish to survive. Eventually a new investor provided funds to allow the FRITZ to be moved to Hamilton to repair its still "on the fritz" engine while an Oshawa area Romanian church provided fresh food for the crew who were mostly from Russia and Romania though the ship flies the flag of Liberia.
With a repaired engine and somewhat happier crew, the FRITZ finally arrived in Toledo on August 9th, and thereby actually taking about two months to complete a journey that should have normally taken a only a few days once entering the St. Lawrence Seaway. Though her cargo was finally delivered, the FRITZ's future is still somewhat "on the fritz" as the "Made in China" rust bucket has been detained in Toledo indefinitely. "Pan-fried Lake Erie Perch, anyone??" YUMMY!! c);-b  

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