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Winner of Ice Breaker Naming Contest

Edison Chouest and Shell Congratulate 12 year old Elizabeth Itta from Trapper School in Nuiqsut, 1st prize submission of the name Aiviq, meaning Walrus.

Elizabeth described in her essay how, "A walrus can use its big, long, sharp, and powerful tusks to break through the ice.  The walrus is important to the Inupiaq culture because we love to eat the meat and muktuq."  For her submission, Elizabeth's school was awarded a $5000 grant to the Inupiaq language program, while Elizabeth has the honor of naming the vessel, dinner with Alaskan musher DeeDee Jonrowe, and an invitation to attend the blessing of the vessel in New Orleans. 

M/V Aiviq, the newest vessel being built by Edison Chouest Offshore, will be one of the most advanced and powerful U.S. built, non military, ice breakers on the water.  The vessel is being built to Polar Code 3 and measures 360' long, 80' wide, with a 29' draft.  Its primary mission will be to support offshore development in the Arctic.  This vessel is the very first of its class to be built in the United States. 

With such an incredible resume it seemed only fitting that this leader in vessel technology be given a name that lives up to its reputation and that honors the traditions of the Arctic.  To accomplish the task Edison Chouest Offshore and Shell teamed up and held a vessel naming competition within the North Slope Borough School District in which students were asked to submit their choices. 

The competition guidelines required students to submit essays that contained: 

  • Their suggested Inupiaq name for the vessel
  • The English translation
  • The origin of the word
  • The cultural significance of the word
  • The student’s personal connection with the word

The selection committee was represented by Edison Chouest, Shell, former North Slope Borough Mayor Edward Itta, Rex Rock from Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, and a representative from the North Slope Borough School District. 

Over 40 essays were received from schools throughout the North Slope Borough School District and the selection committee was very impressed with the caliber of submittals and really struggled to make the final selections.  Second place was awarded to Melanie Maasak Tikluk from the Harold Kaveolook School in Kaktovik for Aġviq (ugh –vick), meaning bowhead whale. 

Third place was awarded to Samuel Nasuk Patkotak from the Hopson Middle School in Barrow for Sikusuuqtiqpak (sick – ew – sue - k – tique – puck), meaning one that handles big or lots of ice.  Honorable Mention was awarded to Jasmine Nicholls from Trapper School in Nuiqsut for Ivuniq (e-voo-nick), meaning an ice pressure ridge. 

Second prize consisted of a $2500 grant to the Inupiaq language program in the area, the honor of naming lifeboat #1, and a pizza party for his/her class.  Third prize consisted of a $1000 grant to the Inupiaq language program in the area, the honor of naming lifeboat #2, and a pizza party for his/her class.

M/V Aiviq has a completion date of early 2012 and will be used to support Shell’s offshore activities.  It is projected that the M/V Aiviq will create over 100 jobs in Alaska.

Congratulations to all the students from the North Slope who participated!

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