Inside Logistics

Light load: Piggyback on the water

A look at the less serious side of supply chain


June 15, 2012
by MM&D staff

HAMILTON, Ontario and NEW YORK, New York: June has been quite the month for unusual, large-scale, water-based logistics jobs.

In the US, NASA’s space shuttle Enterprise was floated up the Hudson River on a barge. It was being moved from Jersey City to Manhattan, New York and its new home at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. (The museum carries “Intrepid” in its name because it’s housed on the retired US Navy aircraft carrier, USS Intrepid.)

A flotilla of vessels including a police boat, a fire department boat and a yellow taxi boat accompanied the Enterprise as it sailed past the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center site and other Manhattan landmarks en route to the Intrepid at midtown. Then it was hoisted by crane onto the deck of the Intrepid.

The Enterprise never went on an actual space mission; it was a full-scale test vehicle used for flights in the atmosphere and experiments on the ground.

It was sent to New York as part of NASA’s decision to end the shuttle program after 30 years. It is scheduled to open to the public in mid-July.

At home, Canadians had their own opportunity to watch a piece of history float by. The decommissioned Royal Canadian Navy submarine, the HMCS Ojibwa, was given a lift as part of the journey to its new resting place. 

The Ojibwa is 91m (300ft) long, is five stories high, and weighs 2,500 tonnes. It entered into Canadian services in 1965 and served the Royal Canadian Navy and NATO throughout the Cold War until it was decommissioned in 1998.

The sub spent 12 days being transported from Halifax to Hamilton. It journeyed along the St. Lawrence River and crossed Lake Ontario while sitting on a floating drydock, provided by Heddle Marine Service Inc, that was pulled by the boat, Florence M, which is part of the McKeil Marine Limited fleet.

According to a statement issued by the Hamilton Port Authority, “planning for the submarine’s 1,200-nautical mile voyage required innovative marine solutions and a detailed engineering study of each step to verify stability, deck loading, sea fastening and effects that weather would have on the transportation process.”

The Ojibwa is currently at the Hamilton port in the Heddle shipyard where it is undergoing some early restoration work, including the addition of permanent cradles to assist in the transportation to its final destination. Once that work is completed, it will be shipped by barge to Port Burwell, where it will transferred  to a truck and moved overland to its permanent home. There it will receive additional restoration before being opened as a military history museum in summer 2013.

With files from the Canadian Press.