Famous Dubai-bound bulker breaks down off Quebec

The bulker Phoenix, famous in Canada where she spent more than two years under port arrest, has broken down after finally leaving port
The bulker Phoenix, famous in Canada where she spent more than two years under port arrest, has broken down after finally leaving port
The bulker Phoenix, famous in Canada where she spent more than two years under port arrest, has broken down after finally leaving port

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The UAE-bound bulk carrier Phoenix, which has been under port arrest in Canada for the last two-and-a-half years, was finally released this week, but suffered engine failure after just 107-nautical miles.

The 187m, 29,400-dwt Phoenix left this weekend from Sorel-Tracy, but only made it to waters off Quebec City before running into technical trouble, CBC reported.

The Canadian Coast Guard was summoned and the ship was towed to Quebec City on the St Lawrence River, where Transport Canada will conduct repair work.

The bulk carrier has become famous in Sorel-Tracy, where its legal woes have played out in local media. The ship was placed under port arrest after Canadian investment company Ballantrae Holdings filed a lawsuit aimed at foreclosing on a November 2013 loan.

A team of sailors and engineers from Turkey were flown to the vessel this year to prepare her for sea after her long period in lay-up, but reports emerged weeks later that they were running out food on-board and had not been paid for two months.

A local union representing seafarers called the situation "barbaric and beyond comprehension", but the Ontario-based company Menpas Shipping which had originally flown the men from Turkey to repair the ship and sail it overseas for dismantling denied the reports.

Now the ship is in Quebec City and it is unclear when she will be able to complete her long-delayed voyage to Dubai.

The mayor of Sorel-Tracy, Serge Péloquin, for whom the ship has been a recurring political issues, found the humour in the situation, writing on his official Facebook page, “Good luck Régis!” in reference to Régis Labeaume, the mayor of Quebec City.

"Our famous Phoenix is broken and is currently being towed to the port of Quebec,” he added. “A small gift from Serge to Régis."

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