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MV Nuliajuk commissioned
Territoriy's $3.2-million research vessel navigates towards Cumberland Sound for its first research project

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Friday, July 15, 2011

IQALUIT - Nunavut's newly-commissioned research vessel was set to embark on its first research project on July 15, bound for Cumberland Sound.

NNSL photo/graphic

Nunavut's newly-commissioned research vessel, the MV Nuliajuk, was scheduled to navigate towards Cumberland Sound on July 15 for its first research project. - Jeanne Gagnon/NNSL photo

Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak broke a glass bottle of Perrier water on the hull of the MV Nuliajuk in Frobisher Bay on July 11. It was part of a ceremony commissioning the $3.2 million, 19.5-metre vessel.

Nunavut Commissioner Edna Elias, territorial Environment Minister Daniel Shewchuk, federal government House Leader Peter Van Loan and other dignitaries also attended the event.

"I think its a very important moment for Nunavut," said Aariak. "I am very impressed with this vessel. We need to know more about our own waters around Nunavut. I hope it will help very much, in terms of gaining more knowledge of what our waters are like and what our fishing industry potential is, what kind of fish we have that we may not necessarily know in terms of how much and whatnot."

The vessel will participate in projects identifying species and fisheries development potential in offshore and inshore waters. Its first assignment will be in Cumberland Sound from July 19 to Aug. 27, when scientist with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and others will asses the population of Greenland halibut and explore alternative fishing methods.

Built in Glovertown shipyard in Glovertown, N.L., the cost of the vessel, including the equipment, was shared by the federal and territorial governments.

It is estimated it will cost some $400,000 per year for operations and maintenance.

Leeno Kublu Jr. from Pond Inlet helps the researchers on the vessel. He said it means a lot to him to be working on the ship.

"Its amazing. Shes beautiful," he said. "When we departed from Newfoundland going to Nain, Labrador, she was soggy all the way but then when we reached the Nunavut area under the Resolution Islands, she was nice and calm."

Ivan Oxford, the vessel's captain, steamed the ship from Newfoundland to Frobisher Bay, a six-day trip.

"It was a lovely ride. We had a day or a day-and-a-half with some fairly strong winds 25 knot winds, 30 knot winds but it was on our stern so it was a comfortable ride," he said. "I think the Government of Nunavut has purchased a very useful tool, a very useful platform that, I think, is going to do them well in the future in determining what they have for fish stocks and developing the fishery this territory has."

Rudy Alaaq Aaluk, a child from Gjoa Haven, chose the name Nuliajuk, a figure in an Inuit legend believed by many to have nourished people for generations with the seas bounty.

Pangnirtung artist Andrew Qappik painted the pair of Sednas on the bow of the boat.

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