Workers stacking 50kg bags of rice in Cap Haitien, Haiti.
Copyright: WFP/Piotr Drozdowski
On March 4th, the barge Connor with the tug Miss Cloe, both US flag, arrived in Cap Haitien in the northern most part of Haiti. Loaded with 6,993 metric tonnes of rice, the vessel began unloading a few days later after a rain delay.
For the duration of the discharge, WFP Port Captain Piotr Drozdowski has supervised the process. He has been sending us regular updates and keeping us informed of the progress.
A standard dispatch from the field reads as follows:
Barge Connor discharging on March 8th morning with 3 gangs. More than 20 trucks for delivery to WFP Cap Haitien WH ready. Hatch 1&2 PS and 3&4 SS open. Now 1,2 and 4 working. The barge has 4 HO (actually 8 separate HO as each is divided by longitudinal bulkhead into PS and SS) /8HA, double bottom which is empty and has no ballast capacity, therefore Master needs to control trim, list, stability by adjusting rate of discharge of the cargo from each hold which will slow down the ops a little bit.
It is an interesting look into the day-to-day dialogue and activities of the people that keep the food moving here in this challenging context.
The 50kg sacks are bagged in larger bags which are fittingly referred to as 'Jumbo bags'. They were loaded into the hull of the ship in Jacintoport, Houston. On arrival in Cap Haitien mobile cranes bought by the barge owner and placed on deck of the barge began unloading on the morning of March 8th.
Each Jumbo bag is loaded with approximately 18 bags of rice. The mobile cranes placed on deck of the barge can lift only one, or - with limited reach - two Jumbo bags, while the stevedores' mobile crane onshore can lift six totalling 5.5 metric tonnes per lift. At time of writing five cranes and five unloading gangs were working from dawn to dusk. It is estimated that at this rate the barge will finish discharging its load on the 17th of March.