By George Wharton
Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Algowest
Launched April 26, 1982 as a lake straight deck bulk carrier, the Algowest was built by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., Collingwood, ON for Algoma Central Corp., Sault Ste. Marie, ON. The Algowest currently holds the distinction of being the last new vessel built for the Algoma fleet. She is powered by 2 Krupp MAK 6M522 6-cylinder 4730 horsepower diesel engines giving her a rated service speed of 12 knots and is equipped with a 1000 horsepower bow thruster. With 18 hatches feeding 4 holds, the Algowest can carry 27100 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 32000 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 29 feet 2 inches.
A serious mishap of note took place on June 15, 1988; where, in dense fog on the St. Lawrence River, the Algowest was in collision with the small coastal freighter Coudres De L'Ile with the resulting sinking of the smaller vessel and the loss of one life The Algowest continued to Baie Comeau, PQ for unloading, then proceeded to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.
On July 10, 1998; the Algowest was re-dedicated at the Port Weller Dry Docks following an 8 month $20 million conversion to a self-unloader. Her self-unloading equipment consists of a single belt gravity system with single loop belt feeding a 260 foot boom that can swing 90 degrees to port or starboard unloading at a designed discharge rate of 5440 tons per hour.
On March 30, 1999; the Captain of the Algowest was awarded the traditional tophat in a ceremony celebrating the opening of the Welland Canal for the 170th consecutive season (the Algowest being the first vessel through the Welland Canal in 1999). She was on her way from Hamilton, ON to Windsor, ON to load salt for Milwaukee, WI. She is currently sailing under the management of Seaway Marine Transport.
A relatively new, modern vessel; the Algowest should see many more navigation seasons of profitable voyages for her owners.
Overall dimensions Length 730'00" Beam 75'10" Depth 42'00" Capacity (tons) 32,000