Thursday, December 07, 2006

Is the proposed re supply viabile?

This front page item shows one part, one idea ofa successful transportation system. There is a greater dark side. I was the man who planned and executed the evacuation of barges and tugs from the Athabasca System into the MacKenzie system when the Athabasca was last shut down

All that portage could handle was a 400 series barge (400 metric tonne loaded to four foot of draft) The water levels would not allow a loaded barge to go through, all had to be lightered, scraped through and reloaded on the other side. Double and triple handling.

This was the biggest barge, the heaviest load that could be undertaken and only with transfer and handling. Most were in the range of 90 or 100 tons cargo. Very small!

Of interest the oil companies rejected the rail system in Canada out of hand as being undependable in every regard. They opted for Korean supply into the Prudhoe Bay area. They sited some of the reasons as being the incredible expense in shipping rail. Not only the cost of transportation and the uncertainty of arrival but the additional cost of fabrication and installation of the rigs as all the pieces had to be made to fit a rail car rather than being made in 40 meter square pieces that could simply be craned together at one-quarter the expense.

The barges used in the Dome Tarsuit rig construction in the arctic were 1500 and 1800 series barges. Those tonnages being taken at 7 foot of draft which often was not available on the river and was too deep to navigate Prudhoe Bay. Typical drafts would be 5 foot.

Of interest we could not get these large barges within 6 miles of the shore line and were often grounded due to shifting channels. And, the US has the Jones law in place designed to stop foreign vessels from going up to New Orleans and discharging directly. (They had to and still have to high us vessels and crews to do this.) This same Jones law prevented a landing at the US Alaska coast.

So, I have to ask. Is this a real possibility or sensationalism used as a threat to intimidate southern routes and trades?

With this information can you imagin what the "Canadian" arctic would be like under the rule of the US Jones law?

John Clark
cyberclark@shaw.ca
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