Sunday, August 24, 2008

A big ship comes in over the horizon

All that seemed to be missing was Roger Whittaker's the Last Farewell as the official soundtrack, as the city celebrated the arrival of one of the largest container ships to ply the waters of the Pacific.

The Daily News measured the response of Rupertite and visitor alike as the Napoli pulled in at Fairview dock. The story was featured as the front page story in the August 1st edition of the paper.

By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Friday, August 01, 2008

Shooting up from behind the multi-coloured shipping crates, the Napoli's white bridge was an awe-inspiring sight. The ship, which had traveled from China, docked at the Prince Rupert Port at approximately 10:30 am.

Carrying 8,200 TEU containers - far more than any other ship that has called at the facility before - the Napoli measured a staggering 355 meters long and 43 meters wide."Impressive," said Brian Smith, who brought his wife Gale and two sons, Jordan and Max, along to see the offloading of the vessel.

Just off the private road that leads to the port, many Ruperites and visitors from around the area took the opportunity to gather at the viewing area to see what the boat looked like up close and witness the port's grandiose moment during which it showed its potential to handle ships that few other ports could accommodate.

With the ship docked, a rush of motion on the Fairview Container Terminal could be seen from the viewing area. The port's intermodal system was working hard to offload the goods from China: the blue cranes took the containers off the ship and loaded yellow chassis trucks, which then drove to-and-from train cars, instantly transferring containers for the next leg of their journey: by rail.

Smith, a resident of Mackenzie, was in Prince Rupert working as a temporary maintenance worker at the Ridley Terminal. Currently he is on a four-month contract with the Terminal and he is hoping he and his family can stay in Prince Rupert for good. He says it is the kind of community he wants to be part of.Smith was laid-off from a Mackenzie pulp mill and is looking for permanent work - at the port if he can get it.

His wife Gale definitely wants this. She lived in Prince Rupert 15 years ago and said she has noticed how much the city has changed since she left."

There is a lot more going on in Prince Rupert, though there is not as many stores."But after what we went through in Mackenzie, we think this would be a nice place for us."

Barbara Barton and Bud Ward took in the massive ship's docking as well from the viewing area. Barton was not initially impressed by the ship's size."I thought the ship was going to be bigger," said Barton. "

Not that it matters because I am glad that (the Napoli) is here. The port has really added a touch of the exotic to Prince Rupert."Barton continued, saying that she was wondering when all the benefits of the port were going to be realized by the city's retail district."

I haven't seen any direct spin-offs to the economy other than ship crew buying bags of chips"However, both Barton and Ward were more than happy to witness the offloading of the largest container ship to ever enter the Pacific coast of Canada."

It's nice to see a ship like this coming in," said Ward.The Napoli will be docked in Prince Rupert until at least today. It will then set sail for Long Beach, CA followed by Oakland, CA and then on its way home back to China.

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