The 590-foot MV Diana Bolten is scheduled to arrive in Bellingham Bay on Thursday afternoon, making it the first arrival of cargo to the shipping terminal in more than 17 years.
The ship is expected to arrive around 3:30 p.m. and anchor in the middle of the bay, said Mike Hogan, spokesman for the Port of Bellingham.
Having come from Turkey, the ship will remain anchored in the bay while the U.S. Department of Agriculture spends two days sampling the 10,700 metric tons of organic corn and soybeans.
Once it pulls into the Bellingham Shipping Terminal, the Diana Bolten will take about four days to unload before departing, Hogan said.
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The one factor that can alter the unloading schedule is the weather – the inspection and unloading of the grains cannot happen if it is raining, Hogan said. The National Weather Service has rain in the forecast for Bellingham on Friday and Saturday, with a chance of showers early next week.
Once unloaded, the organic corn and soybeans are destined for local markets, according to the Port.
The Port has been making improvements to lure shipping companies to Bellingham, including spending $500,000 to replace the roof on Warehouse 2, allowing it to be certified for the storage of organic grains.
Other recent improvements in the area include the clean-up of the Whatcom Waterway, a new bulkhead and updated stormwater and power systems.
Hogan said the shipping terminal will be closed to the public during the ship’s visit, but said the best viewing areas are probably at Western Washington University.