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Downbound the St. Marys River, July 27, 1983.
Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Algoport
by George Wharton
At Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., Collingwood, ON,
the keel was laid on September 27, 1978 for their hull # 217, a new
self-unloader for Algoma Central Railway - Marine Division, Sault Ste.
Marie, ON. Built at a cost of $23.6 million (Cdn) net of federal
government subsidies, the new vessel was to be of a smaller size than the
regular Seaway-sized ships of the day (730' 00" / 222.50m) to provide
service to smaller Great Lakes ports which could not accommodate the larger
vessels. The new "Nova Scotia" class self-unloader was given an ice
strengthened hull and bulbous bow for winter and coastal service similar to
that of her Seaway size fleetmate Algobay. Algoma's intent was to have
their new vessel see service on the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, Gulf
of St. Lawrence and the Canadian east coast. On May 7, 1979,
Collingwood Shipyards launched their new build at a ceremony where the new
vessel was christened Algoport by the new ship's sponsor Mrs. Henry R.
Jackman, the wife of a former long-time Algoma Central board member.
Although of similar appearance to the Algobay, due to her smaller size,
Algoma considered the Algoport a "sister ship" by purpose and size to the Agawa
Canyon, Algorail and Algoway. The Algoport name included the commonly
used Algoma corporate ship prefix Algo" and the "port" suffix to honor the
small city of Port Colborne, ON located at the Lake Erie entrance to the
Welland Canal and home of the Algoma subsidiary Fraser Ship Repair.
The Algoport was
powered by twin 5,350 b.h.p. (3,935 KW) Crossley Pielstick model 10PC 2V MK3
V-10 cylinder single acting, 4 stroke cycle diesel engines built by Crossley
Premier Engines Ltd., Manchester, England burning intermediate grade 40 fuel
oil. The power was fed to a single controllable pitch propeller giving her a rated service speed of
13.8 m.p.h.. The vessel was equipped with a 1,000 h.p. (746 KW) bow
thruster. Nineteen hatches serviced
4 holds where the vessel was capable of carrying 32,000 tons (32,514 mt) at mid-summer
draft. The Algoport's holds had the cubic capacity to carry 25,443 net
tons of coal (standard measurement for coal equivalent to 22,717 tons /
23,082 mt). Optimized for the gypsum trade, the vessel's self-unloading equipment consisted of a
three-belt gravity fed system feeding a stern mounted loop belt elevator to a
261' 00" (79.55m) discharge boom that could be swung 90 degrees to port or starboard.
This special slow moving self unloading system had a designed discharge rate
of up to 3,750 tons (3,810 mt) per hour.
After completing sea trials on Georgian Bay in August 1979, the Algoport left
Collingwood on her maiden voyage August 27, 1979 sailing in ballast to
Calcite, MI for a load of limestone to Spragge, ON. That same year, on
December 27 the Algoport had the honor of closing the Welland Canal for the
season. The vessel grounded briefly on the Manistee River on August 9,
1980 with little or no damage. In 1981, the Algoport became the first
vessel to load potash at Thunder Bay, ON taking on 19,091 tons (19,398 mt)
in 15 hours. The self-unloader is noted to have opened Thunder Bay for
the season on March 24, 1984 and again on April 1, 1986. The vessel
was then noted to have allided with the sea wall at Grand Haven, MI on April
21, 1986 while inbound with a load of salt.
During the winter of 1991/92, the Algoport's engines were
modified to burn the less expensive residual fuel consisting of a blend of
bunker "C", marine diesel oil and heavy crude at an estimated cost of $1.3
million. Beginning in 1993, the vessel with her self-unloading fleet
mates commenced operating under the banner of the newly formed Seaway Self
Unloaders, St. Catharines, ON, a pooling arrangement combining the self
unloading fleets of Algoma Central Corporation and ULS Corporation (Upper
Lakes Shipping). This arrangement was modified in January, 2000 when
the bulkers of the two fleets (sailing under the Seaway Bulk Carriers
banner) were merged combining all the vessels of both fleets into one
operational partnership known as Seaway Marine Transport, St. Catharines,
ON. The partnership was further modified in 2004 when Seaway Marine
Transport took over the complete operation and management of the Algoma and
Upper Lakes domestic self unloading and bulker fleets.
On October 9, 2001, the Algoport was reported aground at Iles
de la Madeleine in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and was refloated the next day
with no reported damage. Then on May 6, 2004, the vessel received hull
damage while attempting to dock at the stone quarry at Stephenville, NL.
Temporary repairs were made prior to loading and after delivering the load
to Sept Isles, QC, she proceeded to Les Mechins, QC arriving May 12 for
dry-docking to complete permanent repairs including a 5-year survey and
inspection. After departing Les Mechins on June 11, the Algoport
sailed to Lower Cove, NL to load. Later in 2004, on November 1, the
self-unloader lost her port anchor about 656' (200m) from the Grand Entree
Wharf at Iles de la Madeleine. While berthing at the Lafarge Cement
dock at Clarkson, ON September 8, 2007, the vessel sustained a hole (2' 04"
/ .72m x 3' 02" / 1.01m) in the lower forepeak tank with ingress of water
forward of the bow thruster. After unloading and damage inspection,
she proceeded to Hamilton, ON arriving September 10 for repairs, returning
to service 2 days later. From late 2007 on into 2009, the Algoport
continued to have occasional but persistent issues with the ingress of water
in areas of the forepeak and numbers 1 and 2 ballast tanks (as reported by
Lloyd's Marine Investigation Unit November 2007, April 2008, November 2008
and June 2009).
In 2007 Seaway Marine Transport announced that
they had entered into agreements to construct two maximum Seaway size
self-unloading forebodies and to attach these new forebodies to the refurbished
aft ends of the Algoport and Algobay. The forebodies were to be constructed by Chengxi
Shipyard Co. Ltd. in Jiangyin, China. The two vessels were expected to be in
service by September 2010 and December 2009 respectively, at an expected cost of
approximately $125 million. The Algoport remained operational into the 2009
navigation season and the Algobay had last operated in 2002 and remained laid
up in Toronto, ON until being towed to Hamilton, ON in 2007 and then on to
Montreal, QC where the overseas tow originated May 25, 2008 arriving at
Jiangyin, China on September 10, 2008.
On April 3, 2009, the Algoport was drydocked at
Seaway Marine & Industrial Inc. (formerly Port Weller Dry Docks) for hull
strengthening and other necessary modifications to be completed for the upcoming
voyage to China. As fate would have it, the Algoport loaded what
would prove to be her final cargo on June 4, 2009 when the vessel arrived at
Little Narrows, NS for a load of gypsum destined for Bowmanville, ON.
After unloading at Bowmanville on June 10, she proceeded in ballast to
Hamilton's Pier 10-4, arriving there later the same day. New bridge wings
were added to meet Panama Canal transit requirements and other final
preparations completed for her overseas voyage. On June
27, 2009, the Algoport departed Hamilton sailing under her own power for Balboa,
Panama to await her tow to Jiangyin, China. She passed through the Panama Canal on July
anchoring about 8 miles (13 km) south of Balboa to wait for the tug.
On September 6, 2009 the Algoport broke in half and
sank overnight in heavy seas while under tow of tug Pacific Hickory (formerly
the Canadian registered Atlantic Hickory, renamed March, 2007). The tow had
encountered some rough
seas from Tropical Storm Dujuan that had passed near the vessel's
route. The tow was about one week away from her destination when the Algoport sank in approximately
16,404' (5,000 m) of water,
location 30°0'0" N by130°0'0" E (East China Sea south of
Japan). The Pacific Hickory managed to
release the tow wire before the vessel sank.
There were no injuries, loss of life or environmental issues reported from the
foundering. While the Algoport did have some fuel oil onboard to power its generators, the fuel is contained in the bunker tanks with all vents closed as a requirement of the tow. The tug reported that no signs of pollution or debris were evident after the vessel's sinking.
An official news release from Algoma Central on September 10, 2009 confirmed the
loss and stated that insurance proceeds would be used to source an aft end to
attach to the forebody under construction in China.
|| 658' 00"
|| 75' 10.5"
|| 46' 06"
tons (32,514 mt)
at draft of 33' 05.75" (10.205m)
|| 23,320 tons (23,695 mt)
at draft of 26' 06" (8.08m)
- fuel oil
|| 476 tons (484 mt)
- diesel oil
|| 79 tons (80 mt)
- potable water
|| 112 tons (114 mt)
- water ballast
|| 14,602 tons (14,837 mt)
| Power (diesel)
|| 10,700 b.h.p. (7,980 KW)
Transiting the Panama Canal on July 19, 2009 heading for Balboa to await
a tow to China for a new forebody.
Miraflores Lock webcam (thumbnail size only)
Leaving the Great Lakes for the last time ...
Sailing down the St Lawrence River, at
to Balboa Panama,
June 30, 2009. Kent Malo
Captain Clarence Vautier standing on the newly added bridge wing to
enable Algoport transit the Panama canal, seen here from the pilot
boat. at Trois-Rivieres, QC. Kent Malo
Algoport is due to arrive at Balboa, Panama, July 13,
2009, crew will disembark July 15.
St. Lawrence River passing Mariatown, ON,
June 29, 2009. Murray Blancher
Entering the St. Lawrence Seaway's Iroquois Lock, June 29, 2009. Murray
Stern view departing the lock. Murray Blancher
Hamilton's Pier 10, June 15, 2009.
Welland Canal at Port Weller, May 9, 2009.
Joe van der Doe
Downbound entering the St. Lawrence Seaway's Iroquois Lock, May 18,
2009. Murray Blancher
Stern view. Murray Blancher
With tug assistance, slowly turning into position to enter the drydock,
Apr. 3, 2009.
Tug Wyatt M working aft entering the drydock. Paul Beesley
Downbound above Lock 3, Welland Canal bound for Port Weller and
Apr. 3, 2009. Paul Beesley
After leaving Lock 3. Paul Beesley
Upbound the Welland Canal approaching
Lock 1, Sept. 8, 2008. Bill Bird
Winter lay up at Hamilton, ON, Mar. 31, 2009.
Another view. Phil Nash
Upbound S. Lawrence River at Mariatown, ON with gypsum for Clarkson, ON
from Little Narrows, NS, May 29, 2008. Ron Beaupre
Stern view. Ron Beaupre
St. Lawrence Seaway near St. Lambert Lock,
Montreal, QC, Oct. 4, 2007. Michel St-Denis
Draft marks. Michel St-Denis
Downbound the St. Lawrence River in the 1000 Islands, July 5, 2007.
Winter lay up, Montreal, Feb. 2006.
Bow profile. Laurent Cote
St. Lawrence River from the Quebec Bridge at Quebec City, QC, June 30,
Downbound the St. Lawrence River from Wellesley Island, July 29, 2005.
St. Lawrence Seaway, July 26, 2007.
Wintering at Montreal, QC, Feb. 18, 2005.
St. Lawrence River, Sept. 23, 2004 as seen from the Queen Mary II. John
Another view from the Queen Mary II.
Winter passage, Detroit River Jan. 14, 2003.
St. Lambert Lock near Montreal, QC,
Sept. 24, 2003. Kent Malo
Beautiful day off the Gaspe Coast, 2003.