McKeil Marine’s newest vessel, Arklow Willow which will be renamed Florence Spirit, is the second bulk carrier in McKeil Marine’s ever-expanding fleet. Hamilton-based McKeil Marine also has a fleet of tugs, barges and workboats.

A modern, gearless bulk carrier with four cargo holds, Arklow Willow will complement Evans Spirit—the company’s first bulk carrier which was acquired last year and named after company founder Evans McKeil. As the Florence Spirit, the new ship will carry the name of Evans’ wife Florence.

“I’m immensely proud that McKeil Marine continues to grow. Acquiring a second ship and naming her after my mother really is a good news story that crowns our 60th year celebrations,” says Blair McKeil, Chairman and CEO. “Our investment in Evans Spirit and what will be Florence Spirit has enabled McKeil to create 50 new permanent, full-time positions for skilled sailing crew.”

Built in 2004, Arklow Willow is a 136 metre by 21 metre general cargo vessel capable of carrying 13,500 metric tonnes, supporting the company’s focus on a 9,000-to-15,000-tonne niche cargo size. Trading predominantly between the Great Lakes and the Maritimes, the vessel will carry powdered cement and raw materials for the cement industry, amongst other bulk cargo.

Arklow Willow serves as an alternate solution to Ardita—a bulk carrier that McKeil intended to acquire and took delivery of earlier this spring, but the deal was cancelled after the owners failed to deliver the documents required for closing. Reacting quickly to meet the needs of its customers, McKeil moved to acquire Arklow Willow.

McKeil mobilized Arklow Willow from Marseilles, France; sailed her across the North Atlantic to Sydney, NS; flagged and registered her in Canada; and will be loading her first cargo, all in just under four weeks. “Our acquisition of this new vessel is another example of how, in the face of unexpected challenges, McKeil’s agility and readiness separate us from the competition,” says Steve Fletcher, President.

Plans to convert the vessel to McKeil colours are pending and a christening of both Evans Spirit and Florence Spirit are in the works as part of McKeil’s 60th Anniversary Celebrations.