St. Marys River

Roger LeLievre

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Algocape

Originally launched as the Richelieu (3) for Canada Steamship Lines on Nov. 25, 1966; this vessel was built by Davie Shipbuilding, Lauzon, PQ. At the time, the Richelieu was designated as the flagship of the CSL fleet sailing for the first time April 4, 1967 from Quebec City to Pointe Noire, PQ in ballast to load ore for Hamilton, ON. This standard Seaway-sized bulk carrier was powered by a Sulzer 6RD76 6-cylinder 9,470 installed horsepower diesel engine. She is equipped with a bow thruster. With 17 hatches feeding six holds, this straight-decker can carry 26,100 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 29,950 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 29 feet 1/2 inch.

The Richelieu was the last straight-decker built for the CSL fleet that was not converted to a self-unloader. Under the CSL flag, her cargoes consisted mostly of grain and ore. The Richelieu registered the earliest opening of the Seaway to that date when she headed upbound with iron ore on March 25, 1970. She had loaded that cargo as a storage load at Pointe Noire at the end of the last season. In 1992, the Richelieu carried an unusual deck load of steel vats from Thunder Bay, ON to Matane, PQ. As the grain business slowed, the Richelieu made only one trip in 1993. She was towed as a barge from Thunder Bay to Windsor, ON with a load of canola.

With the decision by CSL to divest of their straight deck fleet to focus on self-unloading trades in 1994, the Richelieu was sold to Algoma Central Marine and renamed Algocape (2). This name has been associated with the Algoma fleet since 1987. The 714 foot 11 inch steam turbine powered Algocape (1) was launched in 1960 as the Carol Lake, sailing for Carryore Ltd. until being purchased in 1987 by Algoma. P & H Shipping acquired the Algocape (1) in 1994 renaming the vessel Mapleglen (2). The Mapleglen was sold in 2002 to Canada Steamship Lines, and scrapped in 2003. The "Algocape" name comes from her owner's name "Algo" (Algoma) and "cape" possibly from Cape Gargantua (located on Lake Superior's east shore).

Her cargoes consisted primarily of grain products and ore; though, she was noted to have carried bulk cement and coke. Typically, the Algocape would load grain products in Thunder Bay, Ont. for Baie Comeau, PQ; then in ballast to Sept Isles, PQ to load ore for Hamilton, ON; then in ballast back to Thunder Bay. The ports may vary slightly but the load pattern remained basically the same.

The Algocape operated throughout the 2011 season, with her last load of grain coming aboard in Thunder Bay and discharged in Port Cartier, passing down at the Soo for what proved to be the last time on December 13. After unloading she proceeded to Montreal for winter layup arriving there on December 22.

With extensive work being required to pass her next 5-year survey, she was sold for scrap and her Canadian registry closed on June 12, 2012. With her name shortened to GOC for her last voyage, stack markings painted over and a homeport of Freetown (Sierra Leone) lettered on the stern, the Algocape was pulled from Montreal on August 15 by the deep sea tug VB Artico with Ecosse on the stern, as far as Les Escoumins, bound for Aliaga Turkey. The old Richelieu was beached there on August 22, and subsequently broken up.


Overall dimensions
Length 729'09"
Beam 75'04"
Depth 39'08"
Capacity (tons) 29,950

Welland Canal. Luke Collection

Close up of stack. Scott Guenthner

Welland Canal. Jeff Thoreson

Loading in Thunder Bay. Rob Farrow

St. Marys River. Roger LeLievre

Lay-up in Toronto, Dec. 2002.  Ted Siuda

Welland Canal. 2001

 Richelieu in 1975. CSL

Detroit River. Mike Nicholls

More pictures from our archives

As the Richelieu in 1983. John Vacilek

Aerial view underway. Don Coles

In Sarnia. Marc Dease

Algocape under tow in 2012 bound for scrapping. Serge Beauchemin
Stern view. Mike Nicholls

St. Clair River. John Meyland

Welland Canal. Todd Davidson

Welland Canal, 2002. Dan Sweeley

Welland Canal downbound above Lock 1 in 1999. Richard Jenkins

Duluth. Al Miller

Aerial view underway. Don Coles

Loading in Duluth. Glenn Blaszkiewicz 

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