Algowood Moved, Traffic Resumes04/16 3:00 p.m. update
The tugs were successful in moving the Algowood and shortly before 10:00 a.m. the Algowood was being moved along side the Carbide Dock on the U.S. side.
The survey vessel James Bray was called to do a sweep of the area where the Algowood grounded near the ice boom. This will verify that the bottom is clear of any obstructions before opening the river to traffic. At 10:00 a.m. Soo Traffic posted a two hour delay for startup of vessel traffic in the river.
Traffic in the river resumed about 12:30 p.m. The first vessel to proceed downbound was Canadian Olympic followed by the Algomarine, which was the first ship through the locks this morning. First upbound vessel through the locks was the George A. Stinson, followed by the Burns Harbor. This morning 12 vessel were waiting to go upbound and 7 vessels were waiting to head downbound.
Divers were surveying the Algowood at the Carbide dock. Once the survey is complete the vessel's owner, Algoma Central Marine, will present a transit plan to the Coast Guard. The departure of the Algowood will depend on the extent of the damage. The vessel may sail with temporary repairs or it may be necessary to off load the cargo of coal to another vessel and immediately sail for a dry dock.
Early survey of the vessel shows multiple holes in the No. 1 ballast tank and other large scraps and insets on the port side where the vessel ran out of the channel. No leaking was reported in the cargo hold.
A transit plan is expected to be presented by Wednesday morning.
8:30 a.m. update
Coast guard marine safety officers boarded the Algowood at 7:30 a.m. for a final inspection before moving the ship to the Carbide Dock. The tug Missouri and Florida from Great Lakes Towing took a position on the middle of the hull on either side of the ship At 3:30 a.m. the tug Avenger IV arrived on scene to attach her cables for the tow.
At 8:00 a.m. the first attempt was made to move the Algowood. The tugs push and pulled but could not free the vessel, as the Algowood had become hung up on the anchor chains from the ice boom. at 8:30 a.m. they were attempting to free the Algowood for the chains.
In the winter ice booms are placed at the edge of the channel to help control ice flowing down the St. Marys River.
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The Canadian-flag bulk carrier Algowood grounded and began taking on water in the St. Marys River below the Soo Locks Monday morning while moving downbound through an area of heavy fog near a bend in the river known as Mission Point. Reason for the accident is unknown at this time. The side of the shipping channel off Mission Point is lined by piles of heavy rocks.
Witnesses said they heard the incident but could not see it due to fog. They described the noise as metallic banging and creaking, followed by the sound of an anchor dropping.
The Algowood's No. 1 port ballast tank flooded and the vessel took on a severe list. The flooding was bought under control but the water level in the flooded ballast tank remained at 29 feet.
The vessel stopped in the channel and dropped anchor. The stern of the Algowood blocked the shipping channel and the busy St. Marys River was closed to commercial traffic from Six Mile Point to the Soo Locks. A number of vessels went to anchor or tied up at the locks.
Divers from Purvis Marine surveyed the damage to the Algowood Monday afternoon, and the tugs Missouri and Florida from Great Lakes Towing were standing by. Crews working with the Coast Guard and Algoma Central Marine, the vessel's owner, made plans to salvage the vessel.
Through the night, water was pumped into the Algowood's number four and five starboard ballast tanks in an attempt to adjust her draft to 27 feet, three inches. Repairs were to continue and a move was expected this morning. Once clear of the channel the Algowood will be moved to the Carbide dock on the U.S side of the river.
The Algowood was on a trip from Duluth where it loaded coal on Saturday for the Ontario Power Generating station at Nanticoke, Ontario.
On June 1, 2000 the Algowood experienced structural problems while loading stone at Bruce Mines, Ont. A loading error caused the vessel to bend in the center section causing damage in the millions of dollars. Repairs were completed at Port Weller Dry Docks the following months. Also of interest, 21 years ago today the Algowood departed on its maiden voyage.
In early April 1999, fleet mate Algontario grounded in the lower St. Marys River. The Algontario was never repaired and remains in lay-up at Thunder Bay.
Pictures by: Ken Hamilton
Close up of the Algowood aground.
Port side view.
Close up of bow.
Close up of stern.
The images below show the conditions in the river at the time of the grounding. Kathleen & Bruce Tomlinson
Canadian Olympic downbound behind the Algowood, only the top of the pilot house is visible above the fog.
Soo Locks Live Cams
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Reported by: Jerry Masson, Scott McLellan, Bruce Tomlinson, SooToday.com, Roger LeLievre and Brian Kloosterman