It was the trip of a lifetime for Ian D’Mello.
A 2010 graduate of Georgian’s Marine Technology – Navigation (Co-op) program, D’Mello is no stranger to the sea. He worked on ocean-going ships for two Scandinavian firms before joining Great Lakes shipping firm Algoma Central Corporation in 2012.
But beginning in November 2014, D’Mello was part of a unique team that took the wheel of a brand-new, next-generation Great Lakes freighter – the CWB Marquis – from a shipyard in China and sailed the ship to her new home in Canada.
Starting at the mouth of the Yangtze River, the crew took the Marquis across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal and up the coast of the United States and Canada.
Then they proceeded west through the St. Lawrence Seaway, arriving in the Port of Montreal on January 7, 2015, where the Marquis was put in lay-up for the winter.
By spring, the Marquis was already at work moving cargo up the seaway.
The Marquis is one of Algoma’s new fleet of Equinox Class ships which have been specially designed to optimize fuel efficiency and operating performance to minimize environmental impact. (The Marquis, named for a historical variety of wheat used on the Canadian prairies, is owned by the Canadian Wheat Board and managed by Algoma.)
For D’Mello, the voyage was an opportunity to learn the new technology on board the ship and “to discover how to use it to its fullest potential – without over-relying on it or getting trapped in the overload of information it can provide.”
During the trip he served as 3rd Mate, an officer in charge of navigation and cargo work. The crew featured a number of other Georgian alumni, reflecting the heavy presence of Georgian-trained personnel serving on the Great Lakes.
Capt. Seann O’Donoughue, Master (class of 1992), headed the list, ably assisted by deck cadet Tim Westmoreland (class of 2015); Chief Engineer David Michalowicz, (class of 1982); and Cal Roque (class of 1998).
The experiences of D’Mello and the rest of the crew on this extraordinary voyage are documented on a blog he kept on the Algoma Centre Corporation website. Below are pictures from his experience.