For just one afternoon the scores of people filling the lobby of the Delta Spirit Lodge, a re-fitted Estonian ferry to serve as housing for contract workers, were not workers themselves but community stakeholders and business people, on hand for the official blessing and opening of the ship.
The vessel, which can house about 600 people, has already been opened to its guests, people located temporarily in Kitimat for the Kitimat Modernization Project.
So far 450 beds have been committed, said Bridgemans Services’ partner Brian Grange, who was in attendance for the opening on April 24.
Bridgemans and the Haisla partnered to bring the ship to Kitimat.
The ship is currently hiring for on-board workers but Grange says that they’ve tapped local residents as best as they can, with a so far 20 per cent workforce of local employees. There’s about 52 people working on the ship but may see that grow to around 70 in the near future.
Brent Hegger, Rio Tinto’s managing director for product delivery, said that the 450 rooms so far reserved for KMP workers is enough for the modernization’s current demand but they may increase that number in the future if they need.
The ship traveled for 45 days to get to the north coast and hit rough weather in the English Channel and near San Francisco before arrival.
It’s a 10-deck ship, 580 feet long and 100 feet wide. By comparison the Northern Expedition ship of BC Ferries, which services Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, and to Haida Gwaii, is 507 feet long.