Algoma Central Fleet Updates

The Algoma Central fleet has seen quite a bit of change in the last few days. The company’s newest Equinox-class vessel, Algoma Conveyor, arrived in Quebec earlier this week on her maiden voyage from China where she was constructed. For the trans-Pacific trip, she carried a crew from and was registered in Tuvalu, however now that the delivery voyage is complete she will be re-flagged Canadian and registered with Transport Canada to prepare her for Great Lakes service.

Algoma Conveyor, a 740′ Seawaymax self-unloading bulk carrier, is the eighth member of the Equinox Class that began in 2013 with the delivery of Algoma Equinox and now consists of four gearless bulk carriers and four self-unloaders. The other members of the class aside from the Equinox are Algoma Harvester, G3 Marquis, Algoma Strongfield, Algoma Niagara, Algoma Innovator, and Algoma Sault. The Conveyor is a sister ship of the Niagara and Sault, both of which arrived on the lakes in late 2017/early 2018. A sister to the smaller 650′ Algoma Innovator, named Algoma Endurance, may possibly be arriving on the Lakes this year – she was constructed at the 3Maj shipyard in Croatia, where Algoma originally had quite a few contracts for new vessels. However, these contracts were cancelled last year, and it is unknown if the Endurance will still be delivered or not. Algoma also has possible contracts for up to five additional 740′ Equinox vessels to be built in China, but as of now no new orders have actually been placed, meaning the Equinox series is complete (at least for now).

Algoma’s other new purchase, the tanker Louise Knutsen, arrived in her new home port of Halifax on April 14, where she was officially registered in Canada and her new name, Algoterra, was applied to the hull. This is the second vessel that Algoma Tankers has acquired in recent months – the other vessel, formerly known as Ramira, now operates for ATL as Algonorth. The ATL fleet will have a rather diversified appearance this season – Algonorth is still painted in the colors of her former owner, which consists of a bright red hull and a white waterline stripe, while Algoterra is coated in Knutsen company orange. Knowing Algoma, painting these vessels isn’t exactly high on their list of priorities, so it could be a while before they receive the standard Algoma blue hull.

And lastly, two of Algoma’s Canadian-built lakers destined for scrap are being prepared for overseas tows. Algowood and Capt. Henry Jackman both laid up for good at the end of the 2018 season in Montreal, and their names have now been shortened to Gowo and Enry, respectively, as is typical with scrap tows. The Canadian registry of both vessels was closed on April 12, confirming that their careers have come to an end. Algoma hasn’t officially announced anything as of yet, but the vessels will presumably head for Turkey in the next few months to be broken up.

The photo above shows Algonorth sailing, likely on the St. Lawrence Seaway (courtesy of Boatnerd.com).

The next few photos were taken by Mac Mackay, and show the new Algoterra in Halifax being renamed. In the photo above, the name Louise Knutsen is being painted out.

The ship was temporarily named Louise K for the delivery trip from Europe.

Here, the new name is hastily applied above the ship’s previous name, which is welded onto the hull.

And lastly, a closeup shot of her stern shows, again, her previous name and homeport welded on. I assume that when Algoma eventually drydocks her and repaints her hull, they will remove the old name, but who knows? (Previous four photos courtesy of Mac Mackay, Shipfax)

 

 

Interlake Steamship to Build New Great Lakes Self-Unloader at Sturgeon Bay

Yes, you read that right, Interlake Steamship Company has just announced their plans to construct a brand new self-unloading bulk carrier for service on the Great Lakes! The photo below is a preliminary sketch of the current plan for the design of the River-class vessel, which will be the first ship for U.S. Great Lakes service built on the Lakes since 1983. Here’s the full details of what has been released so far.

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  • The ship (which has not yet been given a name) will be 639 feet long, 78 feet wide, and have a depth of 45 feet, and will have a maximum carrying capacity of approximately 28,000 tons.
  • She will be powered by two sixteen-cylinder Electro-Motive Diesel (EMD) diesel engines, providing 7,800 shaft horsepower to an 18-foot controllable pitch propeller and giving her a top speed in excess of 15 miles per hour when fully loaded. She will also be equipped with a flap rudder, which quickens the ship’s response to a course change, and both bow and stern thrusters to enhance her maneuverability.
  • The ship’s unique cargo hold arrangement and hatch design will allow for maximum cubic hold space and the ability to handle difficult cargoes.
  • As with much of Interlake’s current fleet, the new vessel will be as environmentally friendly as possible, including everything from exhaust gas scrubbers to high-efficiency, low consumption shipboard systems.

The contract for the ship has been awarded to Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, and the vessel is scheduled to be completed and ready for service by mid-2022. According to Interlake President Mark Barker, “when we approached a historic project of this magnitude – building our company’s first ship since 1981 – we knew it was critical to choose the right partners. Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding is the shipyard that has the experience and skill to execute on our long-term vision…we’ve had a long and positive relationship of partnering with Fincantieri Bay Shipbuilding as we have modernized and reinvested heavily in our fleet. They have skillfully handled four repowers, five exhaust gas scrubber installations, as well as regular maintenance and regulatory drydockings on our vessels.”

No date has been announced for when construction will officially begin, but I will update readers when new information about this exciting project is released!

A Dark Double Departure

In yesterday’s post, I shot the Tim S. Dool, William A. Irvin, and Arthur M. Anderson at Fraser Shipyard in Superior. Remember when I said that today’s post would include some wave action? Read on for that!

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There unfortunately wasn’t much activity in the Twin Ports while I was there, and the only two vessels in port both departed on Thursday night when it was cloudy and dark. The first of those two is seen here making the turn for the lift bridge.

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It’s ASC’s 1,000-foot American Integrity, leaving port with a full load of coal from Midwest Energy.

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She ended up delivering this load to Essexville, Michigan, and became the first visitor to the Saginaw River for the 2019 season.

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The weather really wasn’t cooperating on Thursday night – it was very windy, rather cold, and Lake Superior wasn’t feeling it either. Some waves rolled as high as the canal walls, especially while the 105-foot wide vessel was on her way out.

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This shot turned out to be one of my favorites, mainly because of the decent splash I caught. Of course, all of these almost look black and white thanks to how gray everything is, but that’s neither here nor there.

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I tried a new perspective for Integrity‘s departure, since I normally shoot from much closer to the bridge. Standing at the end of the canal makes a bigger difference than you’d think, as the bridge was almost all the way down by the time the ship’s stern got to where I was.

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There’s just something about watching a ship power through waves – and compared to the open lake, these were nothing!

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I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw the Integrity, so I was plenty happy to catch her departure even if the shots were dark.

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And here’s the whole reason I came to the end of the canal – I’ve seen other photographers absolutely nail shots of vessels passing the lighthouse, and I wanted to have a crack at it. Certainly not the best, but it’s a start.

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American Integrity began life in 1978 as the Lewis Wilson Foy. She was constructed at Bay Shipbuilding for Bethlehem Steel Corp., and was initially slated to be named Burns Harbor, however this was changed before she was launched.

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One of Bethlehem’s other 1,000-foot vessels, which would join the fleet in 1980, was given the name Burns Harbor, a name that she still carries today. Bethlehem operated three 1,000-foot vessels, the third being Stewart J. Cort.

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While Burns Harbor operated for Bethlehem until her sale to ASC, the Lewis Wilson Foy was acquired by Oglebay Norton Co. in 1990, and began service as Oglebay Norton in 1991.

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She served Oglebay until 2006, when she was part of the mass sale of the Oglebay Norton fleet to American Steamship.

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The Integrity‘s career has not been without incident, and one of her most notable mishaps occurred on July 6, 1982, when she struck the breakwall and grounded at Taconite Harbor, Minnesota.

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Three of her tanks were flooded and she developed a list, in addition to receiving $2.5 million in damage to her hull plates, propellers, shafts, and rudders. The damage was repaired at Sturgeon Bay.

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Her career has been fairly incident-free throughout her years of service for ASC thankfully, and it’s crazy to think that she turned 40 last season.

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And with that, American Integrity is off into Lake Superior and on her way.

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Luckily, I didn’t have to wait long for the next vessel. The bridge was lowered briefly to allow for traffic to clear, but was back up again within a few minutes for departure number two.

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Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort had spent the day loading at Canadian National, and were now outbound with a full load of iron ore.

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The last time I saw this pair was quite a few years ago, so I was happy to catch them again.

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The GLT is VanEnkevort’s original tug and barge unit, and the only one they operated until 2015.

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Great Lakes Trader was constructed in two sections in Pearlington, MS, in 1999.

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The two sections of the barge were then towed to New Orleans, LA, where they were joined together and outfitted for service. Overall, the barge measures 740 feet long, which is the maximum size for a vessel to pass through the St. Lawrence Seaway and Welland Canal.

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The 135-foot tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort was built by Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay in 1998, and her maiden voyage was the downbound trip through the Lakes and down the East Coast to pick up her barge.

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The pair departed New Orleans on May 28, 2000 on the return trip to the Great Lakes. Things got interesting at the Seaway, however – keep in mind that the barge alone is 740′, and overall the pair is longer than that with Joyce L. in the notch.

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In order to make it through each lock of the Seaway, a smaller harbor tug had to push GLT into and out of the lock, while Joyce L. would have to lock up by herself and then rejoin with her barge once both were through.

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The pair finally made it through the Seaway in mid-June, and loaded her first cargo of iron ore pellets at Escanaba on June 23, 2000.

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This hardworking combo has been in active service ever since, while the VanEnkevort fleet has grown around them. The company acquired Joseph H. Thompson and tug Joseph H. Thompson Jr. in 2015, and then picked up the lease on Lakes Contender/tug Ken Boothe Sr. in 2017, renaming the latter pair Erie Trader and Clyde S. VanEnkevort, respectively.

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A fourth unit will join the fleet next year, as Bay Shipbuilding is currently constructing a 740′ barge similar to GLT that will be named Michigan Trader. Pushing the new barge will be Laura L. VanEnkevort, a former saltwater tug that the company acquired and is currently preparing for Great Lakes service.

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So with that little history lesson over, Great Lakes Trader follows American Integrity into Lake Superior, and I say goodbye to her.

That will conclude my Duluth trip – short, but sweet. I do wish I could have seen more ships in the time I was there, but the season is still starting up and the port isn’t near it’s normal level of activity yet. I’ve got a very exciting post dropping tomorrow though, so check back for that one!

 

 

Timmy, William, and Arthur

Late last week, I made a sporadic trip up to Duluth for a short visit. I had hoped to be lucky enough to maybe catch Tim S. Dool emerging from drydock, or see the Anderson going in, however unfortunately I had no such luck. To make it worse, the sun didn’t make an appearance once during my visit, making all my shots dark and dreary. The plus side: some cool wave action! However, that will come in tomorrow’s post.

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Today, we’ll start at Fraser Shipyards. There was a lot more snow and ice the last time I was here, much of which has thankfully melted off since.

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On my last visit, Tim S. Dool‘s bow was covered under painting tarps, however now she is showing off her fresh coat of Algoma blue.

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William A. Irvin is also still at the shipyard, and, to my knowledge, is still awaiting drydocking before she returns to her home slip (she may have been drydocked in the fall, but I’m not entirely sure).

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Here’s another bow shot of the classic laker and more modern Canadian ore carrier.

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And for no particular reason at all, here’s the two ships with some lovely shrubbery in the foreground.

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Astern of the Irvin was Fraser’s newest arrival: Arthur M. Anderson was towed across the harbor last week from Canadian National dock #6, where she has been laid up for two years.

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Once the Dool finally emerges from drydock, the Anderson will go in for a major refit to prepare her for an eventual return to service. We’ll get back to her in a little bit.

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Here’s a dark stern shot of the Irvin – as crazy as it seems, the historic ore carrier isn’t that much older than the Anderson. William A. Irvin entered service for U.S. Steel in 1938, and the AAA-class Anderson followed only 14 years later. What’s interesting is that the Irvin was retired from active service in 1978, while Arthur continues to operate with no sign of an end to her career anytime soon. With a carrying capacity of only 13,900 tons, the Irvin was retired at a rather young age due to the addition of much larger vessels to the U.S. Steel fleet that rendered smaller vessels like her much less efficient.

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Here’s another very dark shot, but this one includes Tim S. Dool.

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Although hard to see with the lighting, Tim‘s paint job is now complete, and she looks good in fresh Algoma blue.

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It’s a little easier to see the difference here – she certainly doesn’t look her age anymore! Of course, we’re very familiar with the usual Algoma practice of not painting their vessels until it’s extremely overdue, and the Dool has been no exception.

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This shot was from my February trip – notice that Algoma has decided to get rid of the white paint on her upper hull, and has opted for an all-blue look. This seems to be their new paint scheme, as they did John D. LeitchAlgoma Compass, and Algoscotia this way as well when those vessels were drydocked recently.

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Before moving on to the Anderson,  I adventured to Timmy‘s bow, and got a much better view of her new appearance. I still can’t decide if I would rather have the white on her forecastle, but I certainly don’t like the other change with Algoma’s new paint scheme: they have opted to remove the bear logo from the bows of their vessels. Notice that it’s missing on the Dool‘s bow.

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But enough about Algoma and their annoying habits, it’s time for Arthur M. Anderson to have her turn in the spotlight. Like I said earlier, she has been laid up in Duluth since January of 2017, and she was just moved to Fraser last week by Heritage Marine tugs to prepare her for a refit.

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Now approaching her 70th birthday, it is certainly understandable that the Anderson is in need of significant work. Some of her hull problems can be traced all the way back to the November 1975 storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald, which undoubtedly put severe stress on the Anderson‘s hull.

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The steel within her cargo holds, as well as the beams that support her spar deck, are in poor shape, and I’ve heard rumors as extreme as stating that her stern is in such bad shape that she is in danger of breaking her back if the work doesn’t get done. Regardless of how true these rumors are, it is safe to say that the Anderson needs some extensive steel work, as well as a renewal of her certificates (USCG and LCA inspections) and some new paint.

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That all adds up to some very costly work, and when Arthur M. Anderson finished the 2016 season, economic conditions weren’t good enough to warrant the repairs to be done, hence why she was sidelined. Thankfully, conditions have improved enough for GLF to now be willing to put the ship through a refit. This will be no small project either: once drydocked, the Anderson will undergo $4 million worth of work, which is an incredibly large amount considering that she was constructed for less than double that amount (in 1952 dollars, of course).

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So for now, the Anderson awaits her turn in the drydock, while last-minute work is completed on Tim S. Dool. GLF hasn’t given an estimate as to when they expect the Anderson to be back in service, but my best guess is that it won’t be until June or July, or even later.

I’m going to end this post here, as that was all the shots I got from Fraser. Tomorrow’s post will involve a bit more action, so stay tuned!