ESCANABA – A First Ship Ceremony was held Wednesday to welcome the first saltwater ship into the Escanaba merchant dock in more than 80 years.
The BBC Mont Blanc is a merchant ship from Italy under the flag of Antiqua Barbuda with a Russian and Ukrainian crew. It was in Escanaba to unload new generators for Marquette Board of Light and Power.
Dan Kobasic at North Shore Marine Terminal and Logistics says the use of the new dock in Escanaba has been a long time coming.
“This is an example of what we’d like to do here. It’s a long time coming. I wish it would have been years ago. If we would have had a little more support from everybody, this could have been years ago. However, it’s here. Just to show you what we can do. Just think of what we could accomplish if we all joined together,” said Kobasic.
Kobasic started Basic Marine in Escanaba in 1979. He is building a 1,200 foot deep water port, reinforcing the dock with sheet steel walls to service larger vessels for repair, storage and loading and unloading. The BBC Mont Blanc is the first vessel to use the new facility.
“Now, 37 years since he started Basic Marine, Dan has embarked on a new endeavor. We are here today because of that vision to put Escanaba back on the map as an international port with the founding of the North Shore Marine Terminal and Logistics Incorporated,” said Bob Bink, emcee of the event, as he introduced Kobasic.
The BBC Mont Blanc was at the terminal to unload three 390 ton Wartsila Italia power generators. There was no place in Marquette that the equipment could be unloaded.
“We are one of the few places that has the water depth to accommodate this,” Koasic said. “We can accommodate a fully loaded saltwater ship which a lot of ports can’t do. They have to lighten up before they come in.”
The generators were lifted from the ship onto a barge that will head to the Soo Locks before traveling to Marquette.