NEAS adds ship to fleet, opens summer sealift across Nunavut and Nunavik

By Kierstin Williams, Nunatsiaq News - June 18, 2024
The MV Ukpik is the newest addition to NEAS Group Inc.’s fleet of vessels. (Photo courtesy of NEAS Group)

A new ship is being put into service by NEAS Group Inc. for its summer sealift.

The MV Ukpik, named after the “wise snowy owl,” according to a company news release, has been added to the fleet of NEAS Canadian-flagged, Inuit-owned container vessels.

NEAS Group, a joint venture by Makivvik Corp. and Transport Nanuk Inc., provides sealift shipping across Nunavut and Nunavik.

The approximately 140-metre-long ship offers “specialized heavy lift capacity for safe and reliable ship-to-shore discharge,” the release, issued June 13, said.

The demand for shipping in the Arctic and growth of business prompted the company to purchase the vessel, said president Daniel Dagenais.

“It’s an investment in the future of Nunavut and the confidence that the [territory] will continue to grow and the economy will grow,” Dagenais said of the addition of the ship.

He said the vessel cost between $20 million and $25 million.

The ship isn’t brand new — it’s been in service for more than a decade. But Dagenais said the MV Ukpik is newer than most of NEAS current ships and will allow the company to retire some of its older vessels.

“The ship could also undergo additional changes in the next few years in order to potentially introduce different types of equipment on board to save fuel or potentially use electricity or some type of alternative fuel,” he said.

Located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada, Nunatsiaq News is dedicated to covering affairs in Nunavut and the Nunavik territory of Quebec since 1973. It has been a partner to ArcticToday and its predecessors since 2016.