Click on image for a full screen view

Detroit River, July 2001.

Mike Nicholls

Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Algowood

By George Wharton

The Great Lakes self-unloading bulk carrier Algowood was built by Collingwood Shipyards, Collingwood, ON and was launched Oct. 7, 1980 for Algoma Central Corp., Sault Ste. Marie, ON. The Algowood was named in honor or her builder's community; the fifth and final vessel built here having this distinction. She is powered by 2 M.A.K. model 6M552 6-cylinder 5100 horsepower diesel engines driving a single controllable pitch propeller giving her a rated service speed of 13 knots and is equipped with a 1,000 horsepower bow thruster. Her 22 hatches feed into 5 holds where she can carry 27,100 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 31,750 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 29 feet 2 inches. The Algowood's self-unloading equipment consists of two-belt gravity system with a loop belt elevator feeding a stern-mounted 260 foot unloading boom that can be swung 90 degrees to port or starboard and discharge at a rate of up to 5,440 tons/hour. Built with a bulbous bow for operating in ice, the Algowood can sail early or late into the navigation season and is at home on coastal waters as well as the Great Lakes.

Operating under the management of Seaway Marine Transport (partnership of Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Group), the Algowood's cargoes could include coal/coke, aggregate, slag, iron ore/oxides, salt, fertilizers, grain products, gypsum, quartzite, or sand. She and her fleetmates are equipped with DGPS (Differential Global Positioning System) precision navigation systems. The Algowood opened the 1999 navigation season for Thunder Bay Terminals on April 9th by loading 26,401 metric tons of coal for Dofasco Inc., Hamilton, ON.

On June 1, 2000 at 11:30 p.m., the Algowood encountered serious structural problems while loading stone at Bruce Mines, ON. The hull reportedly had buckled and split just forward of midship. Being moored alongside the berth at the time, she settled on the harbor bottom with 15 feet of her hull remaining above water. The vessel master immediately activated the Algoma Ship Management Emergency Response Plan. There were no injuries to the crew and no risk of pollution (though all precautions were taken including the deploying of a containment boom). With the assistance of Purvis Marine, the Algowood was lightered and temporary repairs were made so that the vessel could safely be taken to dry dock for permanent repair.

The Algowood departed Bruce Mines on July 10, 2000 with the assistance of McKeil Marine tugs Carrol C 1 (lead tug) and Bonnie B. III (trail tug). They took the Algowood through to Thorold, ON where the smaller tugs Progress, Seahound, and Vac took over; taking the disabled vessel through the Welland Canal locks to Port Weller Dry Docks where the permanent repairs were completed.

The repair costs were estimated at $5 million. These repairs included replacing 30 feet of damaged hull with a new 40 foot section, that increased her length to the new St. Lawrence Seaway maximum vessel length of 740 feet.

On April 15, 2002 the Algowood again ran into trouble when she grounded on the St. Marys River in heavy fog. Algowood was downbound below the Soo Locks traveling from Duluth with coal for Nanticoke, Ontario.

Algowood grounded on the edge of the shipping channel off Mission Point, this area is lined by piles of heavy rocks.

The vessel came to stop in the middle of the channel and dropped anchor. The number one port tank was flooding with a ballast reading of 29-feet.  The stern of the Algowood blocked the shipping channel and the St. Marys River was closed to commercial traffic.

The follow morning flooding had been brought under control and the Algowood was moved by tugs to the Carbide Dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Fleet mate Algosoo arrived on April 18 and the Algowood offloaded the cargo of coal into the Algosoo.

That evening the Algowood departed the dock, turned in the river and headed for the Soo Locks. The Algowood crossed Lake Superior to Thunder Bay where repairs were made at Pascol Engineering's dry dock.

Crews at the dry dock quickly began repairs. Work consisted of replacing a 70-foot by 8-foot section of hull. The Algowood was holed in the number 1 port side tank. The vessel also received large dents at the port side number 5 tank.

On May 10 the Algowood was pulled from the dry dock, almost a month after the grounding took place.

Overall dimensions
Length 740' 00"
Beam 75'10"
Depth 46' 06"
Capacity (tons) 31,750
Diesel engine horsepower 10,200
Self-unloading boom 260'

Propeller and rudder. Alex Howard.

Aground in April, 2002

Bruce Mines loading accident. June 1, 2000

Damage to hull

Another view

Flooded cargo hold.

Temporary repairs for tow to Port Weller.

Detroit River.
Mike Nicholls

Welland Canal. Jeff Thoreson

Thunder Bay. Rob Farrow

Loading in Windsor.
Mike Nicholls

Heading for the dry dock in Thunder Bay. Rob Farrow

Mail delivery. N. Schultheiss

Mail by the pail.

Loading in Thunder Bay. Rob Farrow

Thunder Bay tug assist. Rob Farrow

Winter lay-up. Alex Howard

Welland Canal. Jeff Thoreson

Detroit River.
Mike Nicholls

Loading in Windsor.
Mike Nicholls

Port Huron. Rod Burdick

Stern view. 
Mike Nicholls

Bow. Alex Howard

Detroit River.
Mike Nicholls

Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping     Great Lakes Fleet Photo Gallery
Copyright All Rights Reserved.