Environmental hazard as cargo ship loses containers in Canada’s far north

The Nunavut government and Canada are facing a potential environmental issue and boating hazard in the northernmost territory. Although it is located south of the Arctic Circle, it has a polar climate and temperatures are below freezing for much of the year. Late on Friday afternoon, October 27th, local time, a cargo vessel that provides supplies to the remote region had an accident, losing a portion of its cargo into the harbour. The vessel was tentatively identified as the Canada-registered Sivumut (IMO 9501253), an 8,000 dwt cargo ship that was built in 2010.

Some 20 containers and assorted freight fell off the cargo ship and into Frobisher Bay near the Iqaluit port.

Alerts have been sent out warning boaters to use caution. The Canadian Coast Guard and NEAS, the operators of Nunavik Eastern Arctic Shipping, are working to locate the cargo which is reported to be floating in the harbour.

The Sivumut can transport up to 655 containers or loose cargo. The vessel has two onboard cranes for cargo handling. Photographs appearing online showed the vessel at anchor with the containers floating behind the ship. Temperatures in the area are running at about minus three degrees centigrade.

The government did not advise what is in the containers. However, they warned that the containers are drifting and could be heading to neighbouring Apex. The vessel appears to have been in the port all week handling cargo.

Iqaluit new deep sea port was only opened officially in July. Replacing the old sealift beach was a C$100m project. The town is Nunavut’s territorial capital and a regional hub.

The new Iqaluit deep sea port was designed to provide sealift operators and local companies with safer conditions to offload and pick up cargo. The new port they said during the opening ceremonies would permit ships to offload at all tides, streamline sealift operations, and strengthen Nunavut’s marine transportation network.

2010-built, Canada-flagged, 9,618 gt Sivumut is owned and managed by Transport Sivumut Inc of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ISM manager is Transport Nanuk of Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is entered with NorthStandard on behalf of Transport Sivumut Inc. As of October 29th the vessel was at anchor off Iqaluit, Canada.