Sunday 16 April 2023

General Cargo Vessel EVANS SPIRIT

And then there were "two" jigsaw puzzle 🧩🧩 pieces left to be placed - the general cargo ship's name, EVANS SPIRIT which is a special name because it acknowledges the drive and determination of the hard-working McKeil Marine founder, Evans McKeil who with a 35' wooden boat named MICMAC which he and his father built in a barn in Ancaster, Ontario became a way and means to transport supplies and labourers to worksites during the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1956.  Over the next 40 years, Evans McKeil went on to create the largest tug and barge operation on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. Following his father's entrepreneurial outlook when he became company president in 1992, Blair McKeil continued to pursue niche business opportunities by entering the dry bulk carrier market while growing the McKeil Marine fleet to 24 tugs and workboats, 31 barges, and 4 bulk carriers. Later 4 tankers and a cement carrier were added to the fleet. 
Actually the earlier namesake was the veteran tug EVANS MCKEIL which was built in 1936 at the Panama Canal Shipyards in Balboa, Panama and though recently dismantled in Port Maitland, she had worked hard for the Hamilton based McKeil Marine since 1989.

Designed by Conoship International of Groningen, The Netherlands, her name was SPAVALDA when built in 2007 at Royal Niestern Sander Shipyard in Delfzij, NL  and owned by Armamento Setramar of Ravennar Italy.
Her name was changed to EVANS SPIRIT when McKeil Marine purchased the modern shallow draft general cargo vessel in 2017. With a combined deadweight capacity of 15,000 MT in her two holds, the 459'2" EVANS SPIRIT can carry a wide variety of dry bulk cargoes into shallow draft ports with ease. 

Photo of fully loaded EVANS SPIRIT by Pat English
on April 13, 2022 at Loyalist Park near Morrisburg.
Though not needed while being loaded with soybeans at the Port of Johnstown on April 19, 2022, the  EVANS SPIRIT is also fitted with efficient pass-pass cranes (seen amidships on her left or port side in my photos and Pat English's to the left). They are used for loading and discharging of break-bulk cargoes like aluminum slabs, a product McKeil Marine has had a partnerships with Aluminaire Alouette of Sept-Iles, QC since 1992 to transport to multiple Great Lakes ports including Oswego, NY.  

As you can see in these Port of Oswego photos I found on Twitter, the pass-pass cranes are swung towards the dock and while one platform of slabs are lowered to the dock, the other platform is lowered into the ship's hold. According to Captain Dave Yager who has mastered the EVANS SPIRIT along with other McKeil Marine vessels, forklifts are lowered into the holds to position stacks of 700 kg aluminum slabs onto the lifting platforms while dockside forklifts remove the stacked slabs and transport them into the dock warehouse or awaiting flatbeds which take them to the local Novelis plant which makes them into aluminum sheets used in the automotive industry. Meanwhile, loaded and unloading platforms continue to be swung or passed over until the ship is empty. Quite an innovated process which enables McKeil Marine to provide enhanced service to Alluminaire Alouette and the stevedores at the Port of Oswego. And once unloaded, the hard work and spirit of Evans McKeil is underway to take on another dry bulk cargo like grain at the Port of Johnstown or more aluminum slabs at Sept-Iles. Who knows, but if there's a will, there's a way it seems for McKeil Marine.

Had a lot of fun with this puzzle. Piecing the old grain elevator was which was built almost 100 years ago was quite the challenge. More Carlz Boats Jigsaws 🧩 will be posted soon. Meanwhile, click here to complete this one if you haven't already done so: Stay Well c):-D

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