Fertilizer ship docks in Charlottetown

Dave Stewart
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The large vessel docked in Charlottetown these past few days is here to make the Island soil better.

The Tiberborg (the name Wagenborg is also displayed on the ship) sailed into Port Charlottetown on Christmas Day from New Orleans.

It's carrying about 20,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer, half DAP (diammonium phosphate) and the rest MAP (monoammonium phosphate) for Cavendish Agri Services Ltd.

"They mix it and make fertilizer for the farmers,'' said Les Parsons, chairman of the Charlottetown Harbour Authority, adding that once it finishes unloading in Charlottetown it will be sailing up to Summerside.

The crew was supposed to start offloading on Sunday but couldn't due to the wet weather.

Fertilizer tends to cake when it gets wet.

"They wait for breaks in the weather. It's sensitive in the sense that it's sensitive to moisture.''

The fact the ship is flying Dutch flags had a few residents wondering what the ship's business was in Charlottetown.

It's sensitive in the sense that it's sensitive to moisture. Les Parsons

People are used to seeing lots of cruise ships and the petroleum tankers.

Parsons said it isn't unusual to see large vessels docked at this time of year in the P.E.I. capital port.

But there haven't been many ships loaded with fertilizer sail in.

"Fertilizer usually comes in this time of year. In my nine years (with the harbour authority) there have probably been three or four fertilizer ships in total. This is the second fertilizer ship that we've had (this year).''

According to the harbour authority, the large delivery of product will save about 1.2 million kilometres of trucking and all the emissions from those rigs.



Organizations: Cavendish Agri Services, Charlottetown Harbour Authority

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Iceland, New Orleans Summerside P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Joan Diamond
    January 04, 2016 - 16:21

    Island Observer: Could you kindly point out which part of my statement criticized farmers? Or said we didn't need any fertilizer? Just because a person voices concerns over the way things are done does not translate (as you continue to do) into a dislike for the person in any way, shape or form. I would like to say for the record that I have a huge amount of respect for farmers. I disagree with many of the methods that have been forced upon them in order to remain viable. The reasons I disagree are many, but not one of those reasons has anything to do with our farmers. Most island farmers know it is time for serious change in our farming methods. Denial of the problem will not serve anyone's needs, especially not our farmers.

  • Island Observer
    Island Observer
    January 01, 2016 - 12:56

    First of all, Happy New Year to all Islanders and visitors! We drove by the harbour last night and wondered what the ship was about. It's interesting to read about its load and the conditions required to unload the fertilizer. I wish our farmers a healthy and safe year ahead and I want to thank them for their work to help feed us all. I hope they are not discouraged by the comments from people like Joan and Roger, who appear to put more effort into criticizing farmers than in trying to understand what it takes to grow food. Perhaps Roger, Joan and the others who think no commercial fertilizer is needed could start raising cattle and pigs in their back yards and provide the manure to farmers. It seems the number of livestock farmers has declined a lot in PEI, so unless great people like Joan and Roger step up and produce manure (real manure, not just the typed stuff), commercial fertilizers will still be needed. From what I've read, commercial fertilizer can be used properly and likely is being used properly on most farms in PEI. Let's support the farmers in ways to do it even better rather than kicking them. All the best to you all, including the anti-farming folks, in 2016!

  • Joan Diamond
    January 01, 2016 - 08:40

    This kind of acceptance of propaganda is the big problem on PEI. People need to realize that the only reason we use this fertilizer is because our unsustainable farming methods have obliterated all organic matter in the soil. One would think that with the year of the soils just having passed in 2015, people( especially reporters), would know just what an unsustainable product this is. It just keeps the cycle of unsustainable farming going. Very telling and very sad.

  • don
    December 31, 2015 - 15:14

    is this the same stuff the the EMO was talking about in summerside as it being a time bomb??

  • Jay
    December 31, 2015 - 15:11

    Bring on the fertilizer. Unfortunately, too many uneducated people talk about nitrates and pesticides and the damage they cause without any real knowledge about agriculture. If only these people realized the role fertilizer and pesticides play in sustaining agriculture on our Island. I very much doubt you could find a farmer who likes paying for pesticides and fertilizer. Perhaps people would enjoy getting all our produce and other food from other countries, where I can tell you, the regulations are not in place like they are in Canada. Research agricultural practices and regulations in Canada before jumping on the bandwagon to blame farmers. Farmers are doing their part, do yours. Do your research people.

  • Gardener For Many Years
    December 31, 2015 - 15:04

    "The large vessel docked in Charlottetown these past few days is here to make the Island soil better"??? PEI has beautiful soil where it's not farmed. These chemicals have turned it into a mere substrate with no nutrients. This is not making our soil better. SHAME!

    • James
      January 01, 2016 - 20:56

      I hate when people comment on stuff there so ignorant too just cause there bored or need to be apart of something it's not for the soil

  • Roger Gordon
    December 31, 2015 - 13:26

    Isn't this the problem with the mindset of many islanders? Look at the opening sentence that the Guardian reporter writes: "The large vessel docked in Charlottetown these past few days is here to make the Island soil better." "Better?" Loaded with nitrates that will end up contaminating surface and ground water. There is nothing wrong with island soil. It does not need fertilizer to make it "better." It needs enriching with organic matter the natural way. But, people have become accustomed to the quick fix solution. Need more nutrients in the soil? Lace it with fertilizer. Got a weed problem? Sock them with pesticides. And this is what is called "sustainability?" Oh, dear.

    • Tulpa
      December 31, 2015 - 14:44


    • Big D
      December 31, 2015 - 23:14

      You know what is in organic matter? Nitrates! Whether it comes from a pig's rear end or a factory the nitrogen and oxygen molecule is the same.

    • Mary
      January 01, 2016 - 15:30

      Roger go away no one cares what you think!

    • How It Is
      January 01, 2016 - 20:53

      Well said, Roger.