St. Marys River

Jeff and Greg Barber

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature - Salarium

By Todd Davidson

The Nanticoke was launched on December 18, 1979, constructed by Collingwood Shipyards for Canada Steamship Lines Inc. She has been strengthened for ocean service and is considered to be of the "Nova Scotia/St. Lawrence" class standards. The Nanticoke is 730' x 75' 8" x46' 6" and is powered by two Crossley-Pielstick diesel engines producing 9,000 h.p. and has a mid-summer draft capacity of 35,100 tons. She is active in the ore, stone and coal trades.

Canada Steamship Lines are known for their vessel utilizations and experimentation, and during the Nanticoke's maiden year of service she took part in the first ever direct unloading of coal to a deep ocean-going ship while at sea. As we all know, this was a great success, and CSL continues to actively use their vessels to discharge coal and iron ore cargos on the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Canso Straits.

The Nanticoke made history again during the 1997 navigation season as she and 2 other sister ships, the Atlantic Huron and Atlantic Erie, participated in one of the most complex and challenging projects ever taken on by Canada Steamship Lines. The "Hibernia Challenge" as it was named called for CSL to directly deliver magnetite ore into an offshore drilling platform for ballasting the rig to the ocean floor. The project called for 411,000 tons of the dense material to set the giant caissons firmly to the sea bed off the coast of Newfoundland. The 3 ships were fitted with a Dutch designed operating/discharging system where the magnetite had to be mixed with water to form a slurry. Her forward most cargo hold was used specifically to house the added machinery and pumps and a special discharge unit was attached ahead of the bow.

The Nanticoke, Atlantic Huron and Erie each made 4 round trips from an exclusively built ore dock in Newfoundland to the Hibernia platform, taking an average of 12 days to complete the trip. The 3 CSL captains and officers received advanced ship handling techniques and training while utilizing simulators due to the often volatile sea conditions in the northern Atlantic. On August 13, 1997, the Nanticoke delivered the last load of magnetite to the project, and the specially designed equipment was removed from all three vessels and each returned to their Great Lakes/Seaway trades. The Hibernia oil rig was expected to produce up to 150,000 barrels per day and has a storage capacity of over 1,000,000 barrels.

So, as long as CSL has the vision and commitment to excellence, the Nanticoke and all of her sisters have a great future still yet to come as they eye new markets to be explored and current ones to be expanded.

In April 2009, the Nanticoke was chartered by Societe Quebecoise D'Exploration Miniere, Ste-Foy, QC to replace Algoma Central’s former Sauniere which they had held under charter from 1982 until her retirement in March 2009. Nanticoke was fittingly renamed Salarium in Montreal (meaning a ‘payment made in salt’) and deployed on the same run as had been the Sauniere. Employed mainly carrying salt between Iles-de-la Madeleine (Magdalene Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence) and Quebec ports along the lower St. Lawrence River as well as Great Lakes and east coast ports, she occasionally makes trips to the upper Great Lakes to load coal and iron ore when not required on the salt run.


Overall dimensions
Length 730'00"
Beam 75'08"
Depth 46'06"
Capacity (tons) 35,100


St. Lawrence River by Trois-Rivieres, QC 2009.
René Beauchamp
1-salar-04-15-10-pb.jpg (79135 bytes)
Upbound Welland Canal, Apr. 15, 2010.
Paul Beesley
DSC_0400.jpg (66753 bytes)
Inbound Maumee Bay at Toledo, OH, Apr. 16, 2010.
Jim Hoffman

Stuck in Toledo, 2001. Jim Hoffman

Another view. Bob Densic

Tugs work to free her. Bob Densic

Another view. Dave Wobser

Passing Detroit River Light, January, 2001. N. Schultheiss.

Stuck in the ice

Samuel Risley works to free her.

Bow profile.

With black hull. Todd Davidson

Welland Canal. N.S.

On the St. Lawrence River. Marc Piché

More pictures from our archives


New stack markings. Rene Beauchamp

Toledo Jim Hoffman

Aerial view loading in Sarnia. Don Coles

Loading in Windsor. Mike Nicholls

Welland Canal. Alex Howard

On the Seaway. Peter Carter

Detroit River. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Underway. CSL

Stack & web site address, Dec. 3, 2001.
Alex Howard
2-salar-04-15-10-pb.jpg (67099 bytes)
New markings, Apr. 15, 2010.
Paul Beesley
Sal1.jpg (75341 bytes)
 Undergoing work at Montreal 2011 - Adrian Platts
Sal2.jpg (70503 bytes)
Sal3.jpg (70921 bytes)

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