Contracting the Mars Rustler has allowed Mowi Canada West to plan better. Photo: Mowi / Facebook.

Ex-military vessel drafted into Mowi ranks in Canada

A landing craft originally built for beaching military equipment and tanks now has a more peaceful purpose helping British Columbia salmon farmer Mowi Canada West streamline its marine freight operations.

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The new freight vessel, the Mars Rustler, which is contracted from Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations (GNN), is just under 23 metres long, has capacity of 59 tonnes and is equipped with an eight-tonne crane for loading.

“Having a dedicated freight vessel means that we spend a lot less time sourcing vessels and organising freight deliveries,” said Mowi’s Port Hardy area production manager Riley McFadyen in a Facebook post.

Set schedule

“We now have a set schedule, and the sites know exactly when their freight will arrive and can plan accordingly.

“It also allows our area work boats to focus on projects and not get pulled off to assist with freight deliveries. This means that we can stay on schedule and focus on having the sites ready for smolt entries, treatments and harvest.”

The vessel made its first run in September, delivering freight to Doyle, Duncan and Bull Harbour sites.

Cyrus Singh: "Symbolic" that former military vessel now helping GNN's fight for economic self-determination. Photo: LinkedIn.

Economic engine

Cyrus Singh, chief executive of k’awat’si Economic Development Corporation (KEDC), a subsidiary of GNN, said: “It is symbolic that this vessel has been transformed into an economic engine that is being utilised to serve the interests of the GNN, a people who continue to fight for their economic self-determination.

“Working with partners such as Mowi Canada West, k’awat’si Marine Services (KMS), a subsidiary of KEDC, continues to move forward with the goal of becoming a marine transport powerhouse.”

Singh added that KMS is building on its current platform, expanding services to both industry and neighbouring nations that require freight and cargo support.

“In the future, KMS hopes to acquire other vessels and get more members actively working in the territory, reaffirming GNN’s unbreakable connection to the land and sea,” he said.