-- Saunière --
(Bulknes 1970 - 1970, Brooknes 1970 - 1976, Algosea (1) 1976 - 1982)
by George Wharton
Built in 1970 by Lithgows (1969) Ltd., East Yard,
Glasgow, Scotland as their hull # 1177, this ocean bulk carrier was
initially laid down as the Bulknes but was launched on September .2, 1970 as
the Brooknes for Kristian Jebsens Rederi A/S, Bergen, Norway. The
Brooknes was completed on December 18, 1970. In 1973, Langra Schiffahrtsges GmbH and Company KG, Hamburg,
Germany took over the operation of the Brooknes.
The Brooknes' overall dimensions as
were 520' 04" (158.60m) loa (including bulbous bow) x 74' 10.5" (22.82m) beam x 42' 00"
(12.80m) depth. The vessel was built with a hull strengthened for heavy
cargoes and 6 hatches servicing 6 holds with a capacity of 21,540 tons
(dwt). The ship was equipped with 6 Velle type 12-ton derricks mounted
in pairs (each pair with 1 forward and aft facing) and capable of operating
grabs carried onboard. She was initially powered by two 4,400 b.h.p.
(3,236 kw) 8-cylinder single acting, 4 stroke cycle diesel engines built by
Helsingor Skibs & Msk., Helsingor, Denmark driving a 4-blade KaMeWa
controllable pitch propeller giving her a rated service speed of 15 knots.
The ship had a capacity for 1,407 tonnes fuel and was fitted for the burning
of high viscosity fuel. The vessel was also equipped with a 600 h.p.
(441 kw) KaMeWa bow thruster.
The search by Algoma Central Corp. for a replacement for
the Roy A. Jodrey which sank in the St. Lawrence River
on November 21, 1974 led to the Brooknes, a ship with ocean capabilities and the
possibility of year-round operation. After many negotiations with Jebsens,
Algoma purchased the Brooknes for $7.5 million (US funds) at 12:01am, January 1,
1976 at Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England and registered the ship in Hamburg, Germany
the next day as Algosea. The purchase timing was crucial. Jebsens
wanted to sell the ship in 1976 so they could claim depreciation on the ship for
their 1975 Norwegian taxes. Since it was still 1975 in Canada, Algoma was
able to claim a full year's tax depreciation of 15% on the 1975 purchase price.
The ship was owned by Algoma Steamships Ltd., a subsidiary of Algoma Central
Corp., Sault Ste. Marie, ON. Her new owners then sent the ship to Swan
Hunter Ship Repairers, Northshields, England for lengthening 122' 06" (37.34m)
by adding an additional hold. The
lengthening to 642' 10" (195.94m) increased the ship's capacity to 24,481 tons
(dwt) and cost $3.5 million.
sailing from England in early April, 1976, she was renamed
Algosea after which the vessel departed for Port Colborne, ON, arriving on April
29, 1976 to be converted to a self-unloader
by another Algoma subsidiary Herb Fraser and Associates. Prior to arriving
at Port Colborne, the Algosea allided with a concrete wall below the Welland
Canal's Lock 1 and then lost her cables and was blown across the canal below
Lock 2 by strong winds. The conversion commenced on April 30 and
included the removal of the deck cranes. Her
new self-unloading equipment consisted of a three-belt gravity hopper system
with vibrators fitted feeding a stern-mounted loop-belt elevator to a 245' 00"
(74.77m) discharge boom. The designed discharge rate was up to 3,750 tons
(3,810 mt) per hour. As completed, the Algosea's final configuration
consisted of 9 hatches servicing 7 holds where the vessel could carry 23,750
tons (24,132 mt) at a mid-summer fresh water draft of 30' 05" (9.27m) and a
Seaway capacity of 19,000 tons (19,305 mt) at the early Seaway draft of 26' 00"
(7.92m). The new self-unloader was formally christened Algosea (1) by Mrs.
Howard (Betty) Andrews, wife of the Vice President of Marine Services, Hanna
Mining Co. as sponsor at a ceremony held at Port
Colborne on October 19, 1976. The final cost to Algoma in acquiring the
Algosea, the lengthening, the self-unloader conversion and other work was
Meetings with Jebsens during the spring of 1976 exploring the
possibilities of mutually beneficial operations of the ship resulted in
nothing being settled upon. The Algosea departed Port Colborne on November
19, 1976 on her maiden voyage in ballast to Goderich, ON for
a load of salt for Quebec City, QC passing downbound through the Welland Canal
on November 27, 1976. Later that year, the vessel was buffeted by a storm
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence causing considerable internal damage. After
completing a round trip to the Gulf of Mexico in early 1977, severe ice
conditions on the lower St. Lawrence River were encountered upon their return.
With the safety of the crew and ship in mind, the decision was made to lay the
Algosea up at Quebec City, QC in February, 1977.
After operating problems had been experienced on the
Algosea, the decision was made to install a new crankshaft in June of 1980 as a
solution. New engines were considered but the approximate $5 million was
considered an expensive remedy. The Algosea rejoined the fleet in mid-July.
Little improvement was realized however and by the late fall of 1981, it was
decided that with
the company's heavy investment in the Algosea already, new engines were
required. As a result, 2 new MaK 6M552AK non-reversing, single acting 4
stroke cycle, 4,400 b.h.p. (3,236 kw) 6 cylinder diesel engines built by Krupp
MaK Maschinenbau Gmbh, Kiel, Germany were installed at Halifax, NS during the
winter of 1981/82 at a cost of $3,289,683. The new engines, using by IF280
grade fuel, continued to feed power to the single controllable pitch propeller.
An option to buy the Algosea was made to Navigation Sonamar,
Inc., Pointe Claire, QC on September 11, 1980 for $23.25 million but expired
January 1, 1981 without being exercised. Negotiations continued, however,
focused around a 15-year charter of the Algosea based upon an agreed rate per
day with a guaranteed minimum usage of 330 days per year. The charter
began in 1982 with Navigation Sonamar as charterers, the vessel being operated
by SOQUEM, Inc. (Societe Quebecois d'Exploration Maniere), Ste. Foy, QC.
Under the charter, the vessel would mainly carry
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.
On the Algosea's first trip into the Great Lakes since being
repowered, the vessel allided with the east pier at the Port Weller, ON (Lake
Ontario) entrance to the Welland Canal on June 6, 1982. The extensively
damaged bow was patched sufficiently to allow her to proceed to Port Arthur
Shipbuilding, Thunder Bay, ON for dry-docking where a new ice-strengthened bow
was fabricated and installed. By mid-August, the vessel was ready to sail.
Just prior to her return to service, the ship was reflagged Canadian out of
Quebec City, QC and renamed Saunière honoring
the salt trade of her charter (the literal French translation meaning 'salter').
Classed under the Lloyd's Register of Shipping, her hull notation read: "bulk
carrier, Great Lakes service (with limits of Great Lakes and River St. Lawrence,
Strait of Belle Isle, south of 52 ~ north latitude and coasting seaboard of
Canada during the months of April through to December)".
After renaming, the Saunière promptly
then loaded 18,000 tons (18,289 mt) of potash at Thunder Bay for Baltimore, MD.
On April 26, 1984, the vessel was noted to have grounded in the St. Lawrence
River near Trois-Rivieres, QC and after being released, proceeded on to
Baltimore, MD to load phosphate. On December 15, 1995, the self-unloader
touched bottom at Fairport, OH with no damage or pollution reported. A
much more serious incident occurred on September 15, 1996 when the
Saunière made contact with the bottom of the
St. Lawrence River at Bay State Shoal in U.S. waters near Brockville, ON.
The ship was upbound with 19,033 tons (19,339 tonnes) of iron ore from
Sept-Iles, QC for Fairport, OH and approaching the Brockville Narrows section of
river at the time. Upon inspection, the contact resulted in damaged bottom
shell plating on the starboard side and the #1 starboard ballast tank being
holed in 3 places. The Saunière was permitted to proceed to Hamilton, ON
to off-load her cargo and then to Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catherines, ON for
dry-docking and repair. After completion of the repairs, the vessel
returned to Hamilton to reload her cargo and complete her trip to Fairport, OH.
The total cost of this incident to Algoma including off-loading, repairs and
reloading was $950,000. The Saunière was on an 18 1/2-day off-charter hire
to the Seaway Self-Unloaders pool at the time of the occurence.
April 6, 1999 saw the Saunière depart
the Novadock, Halifax, NS after a lengthy refit during her 1998/1999 winter
lay-up. Included in the refit
was a complete repainting of her hull with the inclusion of Algoma's
crest and 100th anniversary banner but retaining the stack markings of
her operators (SOQUEM). More extensive work was completed during the
vessel's 2001/2002 winter lay-up at Port Weller Dry Docks including a refit to
the self-unloading boom, the addition of new hydraulic hatch covers, bottom
plate replacement and a 5-year survey.
The Saunière lost her
starboard anchor and 8 shackles of anchor chain while approaching the Mines
Seleine dock near Grande Entree, Iles-de-la Madeleine in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence on September 21, 2006. She departed October 2. Then on
September 18, 2007, the Saunière contacted the south sea wall of the Canso
Causeway (the main artery joining the Nova Scotia mainland and Cape Breton
Island). A dent above the waterline in way of the # 1 portside tank
resulted. A crack in the vessel's forepeak was observed at Quebec City on
January 23, 2009; the ship sailing on January 26 after the necessary repairs
The Saunière remained in active service under Sonamar charter
after the initial 15-year term until laying up for a
final time on March 1, 2009 at Montreal, QC. After remaining laid up
through 2010, final preparations were completed in early 2011 for a scrap tow to
Aliaga, Turkey. In late May, the Panamanian flagged 978 gross ton, 8,202
b.h.p. (6,032 kw) ocean tug Panormitis operated by Diavlos Salvage and Towing
Ltd., Piraeus, Greece arrived at Montreal to take the
Saunière in tow. After leaving Montreal on
June 3, 2011, the Panormitis arrived at
Aliaga with the Saunière on July 2, 2011.
|| 642' 10"
|| 74' 10.5"
|| 42' 00"
- summer, salt water
tons (23,805 tonnes)|
at a draft of 29' 02.5" (8.903m
| - Seaway
|| 19,302 tons (19,612 tonnes)|
at a draft of 26' 06" (8.08m)
- fuel oil
|| 529 tons (537 mt)|
- diesel oil
|| 223 tons (227 mt)|
- potable water
|| 162 tons (165 mt)|
- water ballast
|| 10,428 tons (10,596 mt)|
| Displacement (lightweight)
|| 8,315 tons (8,450 tonnes)|| Power
|| 8,800 b.h.p. (6,472 kw)
Beached at Aliaga, Turkey next to the 1977-built
ro-ro cargo ship Oto,
July 6, 2011.
Selim San, courtesy of Kent Malo
With the Canadian Ranger, July 20, 2011.
Selim San, courtesy of Kent Malo
Close up, July 20, 2011.
Selim San, courtesy of Kent Malo
Waiting for a scrap tow at Montreal,
May 12, 2011. Sylvia Masson
Another view. Sylvia Masson
From the bow. Sylvia Masson
Laid up at Montreal, QC, Oct. 12, 2009.
With the Halifax, Jan. 2010.
Bow detail. Adrian Platts
St. Lawrence River, Aug. 23, 2007.
Stack view. Michel St-Denis
Winter lay-up at Montreal's Section M4,
Apr. 15, 2008. Kent Malo
Downbound St. Lawrence River at Verchères, QC
for the Magdalen Islands, Sept.12, 2003.
'Winter lay-up' at Montreal after having worked
most of the winter, Apr. 14, 2004. Kent Malo
St. Lawrence River near Quebec City, June 2006.