The MV Nukumi: a very special ship at the Port of Montreal!
On April 16, 2023, the MV Nukumi sailed from the Port of Montreal to the Magdalen Islands. We invite you to learn a bit more about this exceptional ship.
For the preceding weeks, this self-unloading bulk carrier specially designed to carry salt was berthed in Section 36 of the Port of Montreal, near the Windsor Salt facilities.
Designed by Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), the MV Nukumi is a next generation 26,000 DWT laker. This vessel alone supplies salt to all of Quebec and certain regions of Ontario. No fewer than 1.2 million tonnes of deicing salt are distributed during the season, from early spring, when the St. Lawrence Seaway opens, to December. Much needed deliveries after the ice storms we’ve been through!
The Nukumi was designed as a “pilot” vessel of sorts. “We put all the technological innovations we could,” said Guillaum Dubreuil, Director, Government and External Affairs at CSL.
These innovations make it possible to improve safety and performance while reducing the vessel’s environmental footprint. “We’ll be testing them so that we can then adapt and use them on our next vessels.”
Equipped with a diesel-electric engine, the Nukumi is not only quieter than traditional bulk carriers, but also able to use less fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.
Another special feature is that it was designed specifically for our Seaway. It is 78 feet wide, while the locks on the Seaway are 80 feet wide, and it is 739 feet, 10 inches long, making it just long enough to pass through the St. Lawrence Seaway Locks! The propulsion system is also designed to improve manoeuvrability in the shallow channel of the Magdalen Islands and its engine allows for better speed control, which benefits marine mammals in the St. Lawrence.
A central computer manages and monitors various components of the vessel, including the engine, the UV ballast water treatment system and the propellers. It’s a big challenge to adapt to this 2.0 level of mechanics. “I have over thirty years of experience as a ship mechanic,” said Dave Cook, Chief Engineer on the Nukumi, “but this is completely different from anything I’ve ever known!”
The vessel also has an automatic self-unloading system. With its mobile shuttle boom and an internal conveyor, the vessel does not need to move during the loading and unloading operation. This improves performance. Crews can adjust the speed of the operation based on noise requirements or desired performance. When the vessel is unloading near residential areas, the unloading speed can be slowed to the minimum to operate silently, but when berthed in uninhabited areas, it can increase the unloading speed and break efficiency records! The 26,000 tonnes of salt can be unloaded in record time, only five hours compared to twenty-six hours for a normal bulk carrier.
After several weeks spent at the Port of Montreal for maintenance, the vessel set sail again to begin a new season. Congratulations to CSL Group for this achievement!