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St. Clair River, April, 2006..

Bill Bird

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature --  Algosar (2)

By George Wharton

Until recently the largest American flagged powered tanker operating on the Great Lakes; this ship was built by Levingston Shipbuilding Co., Orange, TX as their hull #745. The keel was laid for the twin screwed, double hulled product tanker on November 1, 1977 with her launch date being on May 13, 1978. The new tanker departed Orange, TX on her maiden voyage in ballast to Baytown, TX where a cargo of #6 fuel oil was loaded aboard bound for Detroit, MI; passing upbound through the Welland Canal on September 8, 1978. After unloading, the vessel proceeded to Huron, OH where she was formally christened on October 28, 1978 as the Gemini for Cleveland Tankers Inc., Cleveland, OH (a subsidiary of Ashland Oil and Refining Co., Ashland, KY at that time). Following a naming pattern of celestial objects used for some this fleet’s vessels, this tanker’s namesake is the constellation Gemini located in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Gemini is powered by twin Alco model 16V251E four stroke cycle, single acting, 2,610 b.h.p. (1,920 kW) V-16 diesel engines built in 1978 by Alco Engine Div., White Industrial Power Inc., Auburn, NY.  These engines burn marine diesel oil with the power being fed to twin fixed pitch propellers giving the vessel a rated speed of 14.4 m.p.h. The tanker is capable of carrying 75,298 barrels (11,972 cubic meters) of product or 12,500 tons (12,701 mt) at her mid-summer draft of 23’00 ˝” (7.023m). The cargo is contained in 12 epoxy phenolic coated cargo tanks (6 starboard & 6 port); all tanks being coiled and capable of maintaining a temperature of up to 175 ˝ F (79.72 C).  Cargoes could include gasolines, heavy fuel oil, diesel/distillates, or petrochemicals. Because of her tank coating and construction, the vessel may also carry calcium chloride, caustic soda, or nitrogen fertilizers. The tanker also carries 344 tons (349.68 mt) of diesel oil and displaces 2,849 tons (2,895 mt) lightship.

During the Gemini’s first winter of operations on the Great Lakes, she became trapped in ice on January 8, 1979 on Saginaw Bay; being freed with the able assistance of the United States Coast Guard. Later, in May of 1989; the Gemini allided with the N&W rail bridge over the Maumee River in Toledo, OH damaging her number’s 1 and 2 starboard ballast tanks. In late 1991; the Gemini along with her fleet mate Saturn and barge Phoenix were acquired by a new enterprise Cleveland Tankers (1991) Inc., Cleveland, OH. This new company was 75% owned by U.S. citizens who were partners in the bulk shipping consulting firm Jones, Bardelmeier & Co. Ltd. of Nassau, Bahamas; and 25% owned by Algoma Central. The Gemini was then operated by Cleveland Tankers Ship Management Inc. under a long term time charter to Algoma Tankers (US) Inc., Cleveland, OH and managed by Algoma Tankers Ltd., St. Catharines, ON.

The Gemini was struck March 3, 1994 by a massive ice flow while moored and unloading at Detroit, MI. Bow damage (both port and starboard sides) to hull plating including some damage of internal structural nature resulted. Essential repairs were completed at Detroit before being permitted to proceed to Toledo for completion of the repair work. On December 7, 2000; the Gemini collided with a dock while entering the Buffalo River causing some damage to her port bow hull plating.

The Gemini is also noted to have been the first ship of the season to visit Manistee, MI for 2 years in a row; on January 1, 2002 and January 3, 2003. On the latter visit, the Gemini loaded a cargo of 8,000 tons (8,128.5 mt) of brine for Amherstburg, ON.

On February 14, 2005, Algoma Central Corporation through its subsidiary Algoma Tankers Ltd. bought the Gemini for $2.3 million (US).  The tanker was subsequently transferred to the Canadian flag and renamed Algosar (2).  With the sale of the Gemini comes the end of the Cleveland Tankers fleet; a fleet which was founded in 1933 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Allied Oil Transport Co. Inc. and later a subsidiary of the Ashland Oil and Refining Co., Ashland, KY.

Overall Dimensions (metric)
Length  432' 06" (131.83m)
Beam  65' 00" (19.81m)
Depth  29' 04" (8.94m)
Capacity (mid-summer)  75,298 barrels / 12,500 tons
 (11,972 cu. meters / 12,701 mt)
 at draft of 23' 00 1/2" (7.023m)
Power (diesel)  5,220 b.h.p. (3,840 kW)


Aerial view. Don Coles

Winter lay-up with the Saturn.

Stern view Saginaw.

Upbound St. Marys River 12/04.  Roger LeLievre

Downbound at Mission Point 12/04.  L. Rowe

Ice on the bow.  L. Rowe

Stern view.  L. Rowe

Detroit River 9/04.  Mike Nicholls

Stern view.  Mike Nicholls

St. Marys River 5/04.  Roger LeLievre

St. Clair River, Apr. 2005. 
G. Wharton

Stack & accommodations.  G. Wharton.

Stern view.  G. Wharton

St. Clair River, May 25, 2006. staff

Passing the Reserve, St. Clair River, May 2006. staff

Stern view. staff

St. Clair River at Marysville, MI,
June 3, 2006. Roger LeLievre

Stern view. Roger LeLievre

Aerial view. Don Coles

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Detroit River. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Docked. Jeff Thoreson

Close up of bow during winter operations. Todd Shorkey

Unloading in Saginaw. Todd Shorkey

Stern view Detroit River.

Detroit River

Saginaw River. Todd Shorkey

Stern view. Todd Shorkey

Underway loaded. Mike Nicholls

close up of bow.

Lower Detroit River. Mike Nicholls

Detroit River 2002.  Mike Nicholls

Detroit River, Aug. 2004.  Mike Nicholls

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