Lois M spent most of the summer in Quebec City apparently on charter to Groupe Océan to cover for other tugs such as Océan Tundra which was called away from the St.Lawrence to work in an even more northerly port, Milne Inlet on Baffin Island.
Lois M was built in 1991 by Matsuura Iron Shipbuilding, Higashino as Lambert for the Robe River Mining Co in Australia. Acquired by McKeil Marine in 2014, the 4800 bhp ASD tug was one of four similar looking tugs acquired by McKeil.
The Arctic returning from Deception Bay with a full ore cargo and some containers on deck.
The ship Arctic dates from 1978 as an icebreaking bulk carrier. It was extensively rebuilt in 1985 to carry ore /bulk / oil (OBO) with a new bow. It is therefore able to reach northern ports without icebreaker assistance, and to carry supply cargoes, including fuel, for the mines. It then loads the outbound ore. In 2017 the ship received a life extension refit in China. A 30,000 dwt replacement ship was announced earlier this year for delivery in 2020. It will be a Polar Class 4 icebreaking OBO.
After unloading in Quebec City, the ship's icebreaking bow is partly visible.
Other Northern Operations
The other tug copmanies operating in the north are now winding down for the year. Atlantic Towing Ltd has completed their summer supply runs for Baker Lake off Hudson Bay, with the tugs Atlantic Beech and Atlantic Elm en route home with their barges.
The shipping season at Milne Inlet has been extended until sometime next week, which is very late (October 15 is the normal end of season) but the supply ship Qamutik is still in port unloading much needed mining equipment and supplies. The last iron ore cargo has been shipped, but the hired icebreaker Botnica is standing by in Eclipse Sound for ice management to ensure that the last ship is able to depart. Tugs Océan Raynald T and Océan Tundra will also stand by until the last moment before returning home. Océan Tundra was called in when the tug Océan K. Rusby damaged a thruster in ice. It returned to Quebec on its own and is now on the slip at Industrie Océan at Ile-aux-Coudres for permanent repairs.