Monday, March 23, 2009

Shipping on a budget

Currently Labrador sees services from a relatively small seaborne contingent of fleets. Right now, the world is awash with various Marine transports, with a surprising number of cargo types suitable for coastal service. May of these are available at brokers for a pittance of cash. Surprisingly, many of these are in great shape and have much remaining sailing life in them.

The question for Labrador is what type of ships are needed. For sure a Geared Cargo ship is desirable. These have the necessary derricks and cranes to quickly offload the cargo. Ideally ones also carrying passengers would be ideal for a lower transport cost for coastal residents. However, these seem to be infrequently found. A Dry Cargo ship provides plenty of uses, particularly if it's gear allows stacking of containers. Currently there are some Container Carriers available. But they are hard to configure any other way, and tend to be high use items in the surplus ship market. Lastly there are also all manor of Landing craft around. Many of elderly or odd origin.

Aside from those are many types of passenger ships. There are a glut of light, overly top heavy cruise liners. Not particularly good for the Labrador sea. There are also a few genuinely laid out cruise liners that are much safer, but command premium prices. Yet every now and then you can run across a suitable ferry. Although most are unfit for this area. There are many good small ferries suitable for areas like Goose Bay to Rigolet, Cartwright and the sheltered communities just to the south.

Lastly there are all manner of service craft for a song. Tugs,Dredges,cranes and barges, and I'll add in the odd Tanker here, mainly as they garner tougher regulations and must be double hull in Canada. One could assemble quite a service fleet for $400,000 or so.

So there is a viable array of useful ships out and available. The question is what is needed and where. And what Labrador citizens would like to find employment with them. If it is too be done, it should be with local sailors. Even if they share time in the Naval Reserve service. Food for thought.