181010 Bulker - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

This is the Baie St. Paul, seen in Toronto on September 28, unloading cargo at the Redpath Sugar plant on Toronto's inner harbour. As I write this it is at anchor off of Milwaukee – it turns out that there are lots of websites for tracking marine traffic. 

Baie St. Paul was built in 2012 for Canada Steamship Lines. To get a sense of its size, consider that all we can see here of the line name on its side is "CANA'. Yet it's small, as bulk freighters around the world go. It's 225 and one-half metres long, making it a "Seawaymax" ship – the largest that can transit the locks of the Saint Lawrence Seaway, between Ontario and the Atlantic, and the Welland Canal, between Ontario and Erie. Substantially larger ships can be found in the upper Great Lakes, but they don't get any bigger than this around here. 

Given their size constraints and that speed is not as important with the shorter distances that Lakers travel, they tend to have less sloped bows and are generally boxier than ocean-going ships. Baie St. Paul tends to average around 12 knots, or 22 kilometres per hour, but has a hold capacity of almost forty-two thousand cubic metres. That's about the equivalent volume as 625 40-foot shipping containers.


Baie St. Paul was the first ship in CSL's "Trillium" class of self-unloading ships. The third ship in the class is Whitefish Bay. 

"The searchers all say they'd have made Whitefish Bay / If they'd put fifteen more miles behind her"

The Edmund Fitzgerald was the largest ship on the lakes when it was built, being about a metre narrower and 3.5 metres shorter than the contemporary Seawaymax ships. 


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