Welcomed by Denis Lapointe, Mayor of Valleyfield (which owns Port of Valleyfield), the latest addition to NEAS Inc.’s fleet was christened MV Mitiq on July 5 at the port of Valleyfield. Additional welcomes were extended to the invited guests by company President Suzanne Paquin and Board Chairman Michael Gordon. Inuit throat singers Beatrice Deer and Elvie Mark performed a few samples from their truly unique repertoire of Inuit song culture, passed down from many generations before them.

The ship was christened by Iris Tatty of Rankin Inlet who had won the contest to select a name for the new ship. Mitiq is Inuktitut for Common Eider, a large and fast sea duck that lives and breeds in the Arctic.

The ship was built in the Netherlands in 1994, was previously owned by Rederij Emmagracht, and managed by Amsterdam-based Spliethoff Group, the largest shipowner in the Netherlands. It was sold in June to be owned by NEAS, operating under the Canadian flag. During the winter months when NEAS is unable to operate, the ship will see service in other parts of the world, being managed by Spliethoff to earn income for NEAS.

Mitiq is a 137 metre-long class 1 ice-strengthened general purpose cargo vessel equipped with three 60-tonne cranes to enable it to provide service to northern communities that are not equipped with port facilities. It joins NEAS’ fleet of three, which includes MV Qamutik, an identical vessel built by the same shipyard in 1994. The two other vessels owned by NEAS include the 113 metre-long class 1 ice-strengthened general purpose cargo vessel MV Avataq, and its identical sister ship MV Umiavut. The latter two were built in Japan in 1988 and 1989.

Through two subsidiaries (Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc., and Nunavik Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc.), NEAS provides sealift to numerous communities in Nunavut, Nunavik and northern Quebec. NEAS is majority Inuit-owned. Its shareholders are Makivik Corporation, Inuit Birthright Corporation, and Transport Nanuk Inc., a Joint Venture between Logistec Corporation and The North West Company.