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 Welland Canal, Oct. 2006.

Bill Bird 

-- Algoeast --
(Texaco Brave 1976 - 1986, Le Brave 1986 - 1997, Imperial St. Lawrence 1997 - 1998)

by George Wharton

This oil products tanker was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., Shimonoseki, Japan as their hull #779 and was launched October 4, 1976 as the Texaco Brave (2) for owners Texaco Canada Ltd., Don Mills, ON. Originally built as a single hulled tanker to ice class “1A” standards, the ship was constructed outside the British Commonwealth by the granting of a waiver issued by the Canadian Government at the time due to all of the Canadian shipyards being fully booked and Texaco Canada’s immediate requirements for additional new tonnage. On January 8, 1977; the Texaco Brave departed on her maiden voyage in ballast from Japan to Hawaii, then on to Port of Spain, Trinidad where a cargo of "lub. oil" was loaded on board bound for Toronto, ON. On board for the maiden voyage was Anil Soni, later a Captain and now Master Mariner and Regional Ship Inspector for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, St. Catharines, ON. The Texaco Brave was officially registered under the Canadian flag on February 11, 1977.

The tanker is powered by a single Hitachi B&W model 6K45GF single acting, 4 stroke cycle, 6 cylinder 5,300 b.h.p. (3,898 kw) diesel engine built in 1976 by Hitachi Zosen, Hiroshima Works, Innoshima, Japan.  burning intermediate grade 180 fuel; the power is fed to a single controllable pitch propeller giving the vessel a service speed of 15.8 m.p.h. The vessel is also equipped with a 500 h.p. (368 KW) bow thruster. The tanker has 6 zinc coated cargo tanks, all with deck heaters capable of maintaining temperatures of up to 150.5 degrees F (65.83 degrees C). These tanks enable the vessel to carry 9,750 tons (9,907 mt) up to 64,956 barrels (10,327 cubic meters) of liquid product at a mid summer fresh water draft of 25’ 00 ¾” (7.637m). Other capacities include 4,096 barrels (651 cubic meters) of fuel oil and 867 barrels (138 cubic meters) of diesel oil. The tanker displaces 4,034 tons (4,098 mt) lightweight.

The Texaco Brave sailed for her original owners until 1986, operating on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Canadian eastern seaboard including routes to the Arctic. During this time, there was only one notable incident when, on February 10, 1982; the tanker’s mast struck the Quebec Bridge structure over the St. Lawrence River at Quebec, QC after being pushed by ice and strong currents. Damage was limited to radar and communications equipment.

In 1986, the Texaco Brave began sailing under operation and management of Sofati-Soconav Ltd., Montreal, QC following a ten year agreement with Texaco Canada to move Texaco products. This agreement continued following the takeover of Texaco Canada by Imperial Oil in 1986. The Texaco Brave came under Imperial Oil ownership on September 1st and was renamed Le Brave on November 11, 1986, remaining under charter to Sofati-Soconav. Sofati-Soconav Ltd. became just Soconav Ltd. in 1993 after which followed a transfer of the operating responsibilities of the tanker to QMT Navigation Inc. During the 1993/94 winter lay up, the Le Brave received a new electronic chart display and navigation system as part of a $7.6 million Canadian federal project.

With a slump in the demand for Canadian tankers, the Le Brave was laid up in 1996 at Sorel, QC. While in lay up but in “stand by” status, the Le Brave collided with the Turcotte Bridge over the Richelieu River at Sorel damaging her foredeck and bowsprit, and slightly damaging the bridge structure. The Le Brave, which had been rafted to the tanker L’Orme No.1, was attempting to move with tug assistance to allow for the departure of the other tanker when the collision occurred. Strong north easterly winds contributed to the incident.

On November 26, 1996; the Le Brave was moved to Halifax, NS. Following the formal demise of Soconav in early 1997, Imperial Oil had the Le Brave dry docked and repainted at Halifax. After being renamed Imperial St. Lawrence (2), the tanker returned to service under the ownership and management of Imperial Oil.

Sailing under the Imperial Oil banner was short-lived as on February 2, 1998; Algoma Central Corporation purchased the Imperial St. Lawrence and her fleet mates Imperial Bedford, Imperial St. Clair, and the Imperial Acadia from Imperial Oil Ltd. for $13 million, establishing a new corporate division Algoma Tankers Ltd. Included with the acquisition was a long term contract for the movement of Imperial Oil products by Algoma Tankers throughout the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Canadian east coast. Shortly after being acquired by Algoma, the tanker entered service under her new name Algoeast. The tanker’s new name continues with the corporate naming prefix “Algo” and “east” reflecting on the Canadian eastern operations of Imperial Oil.

The Algoeast arrived at Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, ON December 20, 1999 for a $5.5 million conversion to a double hulled tanker including new cargo pumping, heating, and piping systems. The tanker returned to service April 28th, 2000 proceeding in ballast to Nanticoke, ON. This was the first conversion of this type completed at the Port Weller yard.

On August 10, 2000; the Algoeast is noted to have grounded outside the deep draft portion of the Amherstburg Channel while upbound in the Detroit River bound for Sarnia, ON with bunker “C” oil. Only minor damage to the tanker’s forepeak and double bottom hull was reported. Then on February 23, 2001; the Algoeast lost power and became stuck in ice one mile north of the Lake St. Clair crib light and was pushed by the ice 200’ (60.96m) to 300’ (91.44m) outside the shipping channel. The tanker was in ballast bound for Nanticoke at the time of the incident. Assistance and subsequent escorting was provided by the CCGS Samuel Risley. The tanker lost power and rudder control June 18, 2003 and ran soft aground in the St. Lawrence River near Vercheres, QC by straying out of the main channel. After regaining power and with the use of her bow thruster, the Algoeast was able to free her self and proceeded to Tracy, QC at a reduced speed for hull inspection. The tanker was proceeding downriver to unload at Tracy / Sorel at the time of the incident.

On June 4, 2003; the Algoeast was entered into Transport Canada’s “Delegated Statutory Inspection Program” involving extensive ship audits and safety inspections by Transport Canada, Marine Safety, and Lloyds Register of Shipping. The Algoeast continues to be owned and operated by Algoma Tankers Ltd., a division of Algoma Central Corporation both of St. Catharines, ON and is managed by Algoma Central Corporation.  The winter of 2006/07 saw the Algoeast trade places with fleet mate Algosea to operate out of Halifax, NS serving Imperial Oil's customers on the Canadian east coast from their Dartmouth, NS facility.  The Algosea, in turn, operated on the Great Lakes from Imperial Oil's Sarnia facility.

Overall Dimensions (metric)
 Length  431' 05"
 Beam  65' 07"
 Depth  35' 05"
 Capacity (mid-summer)  9,750 tons (9,907 mt)
at a draft of 25' 00 3/4" (7.637m)
 Capacity (liquid)  64,956 bbls (10,327 m3)
 Displacement (lightweight)  4,034 tons (4,098 mt)
 Power (diesel)  5,300 b.h.p. (3,898 kW)

Welland Canal, June 2004. Bill Bird

Detroit River, May 4, 2002.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view, May 4, 2002. Mike Nicholls

Detroit River, Aug. 20, 2001. Mike Nicholls

Downbound the St. Lawrence River at Vercheres, QC,
Oct. 16, 2004. Lorraine Morrill.

St. Marys River, July 2004.
Roger LeLievre

Detroit River. Mike Nicholls

Welland Canal. Todd Davidson

Welland Canal. Paul Beesley

St. Mary River. B. Barnes

Le Brave in 1987. Jimmy Sprunt

Welland Canal. Todd Davidson

Upbound at Grassy Island, Sept. 12, 2004.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view, Sept. 12, 2004.
Mike Nicholls

Aerial view. Don Coles

Detroit River. Mike Nicholls

Winter passage. Paul Beesley

Aerial view. Don Coles

Another view. Don Coles

Stern view. Don Coles

Loading in Sarnia. Mike Nicholls

St Lawrence Seaway. Marc Piche

Saginaw River. Todd Davidson

Detroit River, July 20, 2002.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view, July 20, 2002.
Mike Nicholls

Winter lay-up.

St. Marys River. B. Barnes

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