It was one of the more intricate christenings ever to take place on northern coastal waters.
Hanging from a crane and attached to a plastic rope was a wine bottle that wasn’t long for this world last Thursday afternoon at Butze Terminal.
The crane itself sat on the newest pride and joy of Broadwater Industries – the “Broadwater Driver” – the pile driving spud barge about to be christened.
The ‘Driver’ measures 130 feet long by 50 feet wide by 8.5 feet deep and on this day, sits just on the shores of Butze Terminal.
On the day of the christening, there was crab legs, refreshments and barbecue meat on hand at the terminal for anyone wishing to take a tour inside the monster that dominated the shoreline.
Those who did head inside were greeted by a narrow, slumping staircase that leads them down below deck. The first thing noticed wass the fresh paint smell, as the interior is decked out in clean, white paint, that will never look this immaculate again.
Navigating through the mix of tunnels and open-spaced rooms meant to hold any cargo from coal, grain, oil, chemicals, trash, gravel, sand, recyclables or other materials, one could see hydraulic pressure lines stretching along the walls and first aid kits and a small kitchen that occupies one room.
“We spent two years planning for this [barge],” exclaimed Broadwater president Doug Mackereth to a crowd of approximately 50 people when all the tours were completed and it was time to christen the vessel.
“Now it’s ready to work.”
The Manitowoc crawler crane atop of the barge inched forward, bringing the bottle of wine with it. Doug and Teresa Mackereth, standing atop a boat facing opposite the ‘Driver’, grab hold of the bottle. After one unsuccessful attempt that lands the wine in the ocean a second strong swing from the president hurled the christening bottle straight on top of the Broadwater Driver’s logo, splattering the foamy drink everywhere.
The ‘Driver’ is a pivotal piece of equipment that will boost the company’s marine construction division immensely, said Mackereth. It’s also the largest marine barge north of Vancouver.
“We’re getting prepared for hopefully all the good things that are going to happen here. There’s going to be a lot of marine work and we want to be part of it,” said the president.
Even before it was christened, the barge already had undertaken some work, setting 36-tonne anchors and placing the breakwater at the Cow Bay marina.
For now, the Broadwater Driver’s chambers are bare, but not for long.
“You’ll never see it like this again,” laughed Mackereth.