Algoma Mariner was constructed by the Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, Jiangsu, China as hull number CX0324, it was the second vessel constructed in Algoma Central Corporation’s bulk
fleet renewal program (beginning in 2008 with the Algobay /Radcliffe R. Latimer forebody project) and the first all new Canadian laker to enter service since 1985.
Initially conceived as a forebody replacement for the 1978 built self-unloader Algoport along the same lines as the Algobay, the decision was made to
construct an entirely new stern to attach to the completed forebody following the loss of the Algoport while under tow in the East China Sea on
September 6, 2009. The new stern would prove to be of a similar design to that of the later Equinox Class new builds. The new vessel was originally intended to be operated by Seaway
Marine Transport (a partnership between Algoma Central Marine and Upper Lakes Shipping) under the ownership of Upper Lakes Shipping as their Canadian Mariner (2). However, with the
acquisition of the ULS fleet and their interest in SMT in February 2011 by Algoma Central, the name was changed again to Algoma Mariner. While she never sailed as Canadian Mariner,
the name and ULS diamond stack logo were applied but went unpainted at the shipyard.
The Algoma Mariner’s forebody was launched in November 2009, but the completed vessel did not take to the water in her final form until late 2010 when she was floated off the
dry-dock on which she had been completed. Sea trials took place during May 13-18, 2011 and following final preparations and painting, she was delivered to Algoma Central Corporation
on May 31, 2011.
Built at a total cost of over $50 million, this modern, efficient vessel is constructed to Coastal Class specifications (allowing for operation on the Great Lakes and Eastern
Seaboard). She measures 740' long by 77’ 11” and 49’ 03” deep. The self-unloader's 22 hatches feed into 6 holds where she can carry approximately 37,162 tons at the mid-summer draft
of 35.9-feet. The vessel displaces 9,504 tons lightship. Her self-unloading equipment consists of a two-belt gravity fed system with a loop belt elevator that feeds a 262' stern
mounted discharge boom that can be swung 95 degrees to port and starboard and unload at up to 5,440 tons per hour. Motive power is supplied by a single M.A.N 6L48/60CR 6-cylinder,
slow speed diesel engine producing 9,792 BHP. Power is transmitted directly to a single controllable pitch propeller that can push her to a service speed of 14 knots. She is equipped
with a bow thruster.
From Algoma Central Corporation’s 2011 Annual Report:
This new vessel is powered by a single slow speed engine which provides excellent fuel efficiency. This combined with the controllable pitch propeller and a modern advanced
control system that interprets the power demand from the bridge and responds with the most efficient combination of engine speed and propeller pitch at any load, giving a significant
improvement in performance compared to other vessels currently in our dry-bulk fleet. The engine room has been designed as an Unmanned Machinery Space (UMS) which provides for remote
and redundant alarm and monitoring systems. The electric power generation and distribution system also takes full advantage of electronic control and monitoring from the same
platform as the propulsion control system. A power management system (PMS) monitors vessel power demand and ensures that sufficient generating capacity is available at all times. The
PMS starts and stops generators automatically based on the power demand as well as having various operating modes to accommodate specific operating conditions such as unloading and
transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway locks, ensuring sufficient capacity is available at all times.
The living areas on the Algoma Mariner are well equipped and comfortable. Individual crew cabins feature specially designed private washrooms, sleep, work and sitting areas and
each cabin is equipped with connections to broadband internet and satellite TV. The accommodations also include comfortable crew recreation facilities.
The new vessel departed China on June 4, 2011 at 10:45 am local time on her delivery voyage to the Great Lakes. After stopping at Davao, Philippines for fuel on June 21 to
sustain her during the Pacific crossing, she transited the Panama Canal on July 23rd. The vessel arrived at her first Canadian port of call, Port Cartier, QC, on August 2 where she
took on her first payload of iron ore pellets for Arcelor-Mittal Dofasco’s Hamilton, ON mill. Arriving off the Burlington Piers on the evening of August 7, she proceeded to Dofasco
pier 21 to unload prior to shifting to pier 22 for approximately 7 days of minor repairs and modifications including a change in her port of registry from Toronto (a ULS hold-over)
to Port Colborne. Following this work, she proceeded on her first upbound trip in ballast for Superior, Wisconsin to load coal.
A formal christening ceremony was held on her next downbound transit at Port Colborne on August 25, 2011, where she was dedicated and her new port of registry was affirmed to be
in recognition of Algoma Central’s long standing association with the community. Within a few hours she resumed her transit destined for Sydney Nova Scotia and the beginning of her
career on the Great Lakes and Coastal areas.
Written by Ted Wilush.