in brief

Festa italiana

On October 10, Mariners’ House served about 550 guests at its annual Festa Italiana luncheon. Iberville Passenger Terminal was transformed into a dining room for the occasion; as a result it was full of the scents of rigatoni, prosciutto, sausages… and of course, tomato sauce. The luncheon brought together stakeholders in the shipping industry, which had invited employees and friends to dine with them. The meals were prepared by the Iacono family of Le Muscadin restaurant in Old Montreal. Volunteers from the Port of Montreal lent the organizers a helping hand.

This fundraiser enabled Mariners’ House to raise close to $50,000. Mariner’s House of Montreal is a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the material, social and spiritual welfare of seafarers on stopovers in Montreal. It is open 24/7 and welcomes more than 13,000 seafarers a year.

a walkway finalist

A walkway built last year by the Port of Montreal was named a finalist for the 2013 Award of Excellence from the Canadian Institute of Steel Construction. This brand-new walkway spans the port road to connect the parking lot, used mainly by longshoremen, on the north side of the road, to Termont’s Maisonneuve Terminal, on the south side. The project was carried out by a team led by David Dionne, an engineer at the Port of Montreal, and composed of Salah Assal, for Fabrispec, Clément Bastien, for Birtz Bastien Beaudoin Laforest Architects, Laurent Desourdy, for Construction DJL, and Marc Melançon, for the consulting firm EXP.



in a mariner's words

"Branle-bas de combat !"


"Branle" was the name given to the hammocks that sailors slept in on navy warships in the 17th century. When the ship was under attack, “Branle-bas de combat!” was the call that went out. It meant that every sailor should unhook his hammock in order to have more space and freedom of movement to fight the enemy. The hammocks were placed in bulwark nettings and the decks were cleared to get ready for combat. This was done quickly, in a state of emergency and intense turmoil.  An English equivalent would be,  “Action, stations!”
Later, in the 19th century, “Branle-bas de combat” began to be used as an expression to describe disorganized action and frenetic preparation for an activity.

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What is air draft ?

Laviolette bridge, in Trois-Rivières

We know what water draft is: it’s the height of the part of a vessel that is submerged, or, in other words, under water.

Logically, the air draft would be the height of the part of the ship that is out of the water. To put it another way, the part we can see when a ship is in the water.

Why is this information important for vessels sailing on the St. Lawrence River? Quite simply, because bridges and electrical wires cross the river. Vessels cannot exceed a certain clearance height, or else they’ll hit them. The lowest insurmountable obstacle on the river is Laviolette Bridge in Trois-Rivières, which has only 52 metres of clearance under its structure. Consequently, vessels with an air draft greater than 52 metres can’t go any farther upriver.

The air draft is vital data, especially for cruise ships. While they are usually lighter than cargo ships and, therefore, have less of a water draft, they are built higher. The many decks intended for passenger activities means the air draft mounts up fast. A cruise ship such as Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 has 15 decks and a 72-metre air draft. That’s with only a 10-metre water draft, whereas a large container ship's water draft can reach 15 or 17 metres. 

Some power lines that cross the river are lower in height than the Laviolette Bridge, in Trois-Rivières West and Longue-Pointe, in Montreal’s east end.  Hydro-Québec is thinking about raising them to 52 metres, which will allow large cruise ships to reach the Port of Montreal.

camera buffs

Logbook is proud to publish its readers’ photos. There are numerous ship enthusiasts in Montreal, and many of them handle camera equipment very well, too. You can spot them any time of day, and practically any time at night, on the lookout, waiting patiently for their target ship to show her best side. They seek that ray of sunshine that will make the water sparkle, or they count on heavy clouds to give the shot a dramatic effect.
To send us your photos :

The Oceanex Cabot. Photo by René Beauchamp

René Beauchamp
“I photographed my first ship in December 1966 between Christmas and New Year’s Day,” recalled René Beauchamp, a retired postal employee. The ship was the Helga Dan, owned by the Danish shipping line Lauritzen’s . “It was red.”

When he was a teenager, René Beauchamp enjoyed watching ships anchored at Longue-Pointe, which he could see from his house on Mercier Street, between Notre-Dame and Bellerive. On foggy days, the sound of their foghorn impressed him. “I started at Canada Post in December 1965, and for Christmas 1966 I bought myself a camera to photograph the ships.” He never stopped. It’s his passion. How many people do you know who, when asked where they live, reply “Between Cast and the petroleum docks”?


The AIDAbella. Photo by Édouard Painchaud

Édouard Painchaud

It was about 7:15 on the morning of October 2, and Édouard Painchaud was already at Iberville Passenger Terminal on Alexandra Pier, camera pointed east, his bike leaning against the fence beside him. Then, on this still morning before the sun was up, she arrived in all her splendour. The AIDAbella! She sailed under Jacques Cartier Bridge for the first time.

“In March, I check out the cruise ship schedule on the Port of Montreal website. I jot down the names of a few ships, I find their pictures on the web, and I write the date of their arrival on my calendar. On D-Day, I’m here,” explained Édouard Painchaud.

When he’s not snapping photos, he’s reproducing them. Fifteen years into his retirement, he found a hobby: making models. “I’ve made the AIDAaura, and also the Titanic, because I wanted to see where she would have docked if she’d reached the Port of Montreal,” he stated. As a young boy growing up on the south shore in Sainte-Angèle, opposite Trois-Rivières, “I saw the huge white Empress ships go by, bringing immigrants in the 50s!”