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Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Algomarine
By George Wharton
Built as a straight-deck bulk carrier by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd., Lauzon, PQ; this vessel was launched in 1968 as the Lake Manitoba for Nipigon Transports Ltd. (Carryore Ltd., managers), Montreal, PQ. Fueled by intermediate grade 180 fuels, she is powered by a single Sulzer 6RD76 diesel engine rated at 9,470 b.h.p. driving a controllable pitch propeller giving her a rated service speed of 17 m.p.h. She is equipped with an 800 horsepower bow thruster. This vessel has 16 hatches feeding into 6 holds where she can carry 24,800 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 27,000 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 27 feet 8 inches (current statistics). Other capacities include 399 tonnes of fuel oil, 68 tonnes of diesel oil, 78 tonnes of potable water, and 14,337 tonnes of water ballast.
As part of the small Nipigon fleet, the Lake Manitoba was kept busy in the grain and iron ore trades. The other vessels in this fleet were the Lake Winnipeg (scrapped 1985), Lake Nipigon (Algonorth), and the Lake Wabush (Capt. Henry Jackman). The Nipigon fleet was the sister operation to the small Carryore fleet both jointly owned by the grain firm Cargill and Hannah Mining. Hannah acquired the Cargill shares of the operation in 1985.
During the Lake Manitoba’s first full season of sailing; the vessel broke two cargo records. On April 25, 1969; 1,001,130 bushels of corn was loaded on board at South Chicago. On July 4, 1969; 27,170 gross tons of iron ore was loaded at Port Arthur, ON (now Thunder Bay) destined for Cleveland, OH. Both records were broken later that same year by other vessels.
Algoma Central Corp. of Sault Ste. Marie, ON bought Nipigon Transports Ltd. on March 27, 1986 acquiring the three remaining vessels. The Lake Manitoba was renamed Algomarine in 1987. The name was derived from the corporate fleet prefix “Algo” with “marine” honoring all the staff at Algoma Central Corp. involved in “marine” operations both shoreside and shipboard.
The Algomarine arrived at Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, ON August 30, 1988 for a $16 million reconstruction and conversion to a self-unloader. Her self-unloading equipment consists of a two belt gravity system with two loop belt elevators feeding a 250 foot discharge boom that can be swung 90 degrees to port or starboard and discharge at a rate of up to 5,440 tonnes per hour. The system includes variable speed belts, bulk flow gates, plastic linings and vibrators throughout.
The Algomarine is a very active vessel in the Algoma Central Marine fleet sailing under the management of Seaway Marine Transport, St. Catharines, ON (partnership of Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Group). Recent navigation seasons have seen this versatile carrier handle bulk cargoes as iron ore, coal, limestone, salt, and stone between Great Lakes ports such as Bruce Mines, Goderich, Meldrum Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Thessalon, Thunder Bay, and Windsor, ON; Calcite, Detroit, Marquette, and Marysville, MI, Ashtabula Ashtabula, Huron, Sandusky, and Toledo, OH; Green Bay and Milwaukee, WI; and Duluth, MN.