John D. Leitch
IMO 6714586

Upbound at Mission Pt., June 27, 2014.
(Matt Miner)


This unique Great Lakes self-unloading bulk carrier was built by Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, Ont., as Hull #41. She was christened Canadian Century for Upper Lakes Group, Inc., Toronto, Ont., on April 15, 1967 by Mrs. G. E. Gathercole, wife of the Chairman of the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario. The name paid tribute to the 100th anniversary of Canadaís confederation.

At the time of her launch, the vessel was the largest capacity self-unloading vessel on the Great Lakes. Her squared hull design reduced wasted space thus increasing her tonnage, however her very tall wheelhouse and forward accommodation block gave her the distinction of being known as the "little bank building that floats."

The Canadian Century's original self-unloading system consisted of a single, center line conveyor belt gravity system with a 300-ton reclaimer feeding a bucket/hopper elevator system leading to a forward-mounted 250 foot discharge boom. The reclaimer consisted of 2 auger screws, each 26 feet long and 7 feet high. As they would turn, the cargo would be forced forward to the bucket elevator system. It could discharge at a rate of up to 4,000 tons per hour. Due to the technological advances in self-unloading systems, the Canadian Century's bucket elevator system was replaced in 1975/76 with a modern loop belt elevator system capable of discharging cargo at a rate of up to 4,572 tons per hour. The discharge boom can be swung 95 degrees to port or starboard.

The vessel is powered by a Burmeister & Wain type 574 VT2F 160 diesel engine rated at 7,394 b.h.p. at 115 r.p.m. burning intermediate grade 180 fuel driving a controllable pitch propeller, giving the vessel a service speed of 14.5 knots. She is equipped with a 1,000 horsepower bowthruster. Her enormous single hold is fed by 22 hatches. She can carry 25,700 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 31,600 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 29 feet 4 inches. Other capacities include 465 tons of fuel oil, 75 tons of diesel oil, 186 tons of potable water, and 17,348 tons of water ballast.

In December 2001, Canadian Century entered Port Weller Dry Docks for a mid-life refit. The $25-million (C) refit was similar to the work that the shipyard completed on Canada Steamship Linesí CSL Tadoussac the winter before. The bow and stern sections remained intact, along with most of the main deck. The cargo hold and the rest of the midsection were replaced with a new, larger cargo hold and a one-belt self-unloading system with a flat tank top. When it returned to service in May of 2002, it not only carried more cargo, but could operate more efficiently through the increased use of technology.

The Century was built specifically to accommodate Upper Lakes Groupís first contract to carry coal for Ontario Hydro. During her first season of operation, she made 63 trips delivering coal totaling 1.7 million tons. On Dec. 8, 1967, she set a Welland Canal coal record by carrying 28,283 tons from Conneaut, Ohio, to Dofasco at Hamilton, Ont. June 18, 1969 saw the Canadian Century load a Conneaut, Ohio, record of 31,081 tons of coal for Ontario Hydro's Lambton Generating Station at Courtright, Ont. In her early years, she would sail to Sept Isles, Que., to rendezvous with her former fleet mate Ontario Power to transfer coal loaded aboard the latter vessel at Sydney, Nova Scotia, for delivery to Nanticoke, Ont. The Canadian Century carried her first load of taconite ore pellets in 1986 when she loaded 25,427 tons at Pointe Noire, Que., for Hamilton, Ont. The vessel has carried cargoes of salt from ports such as Goderich, Ont., and Fairport, Ohio. She has also carried the odd cargo of grain products.

In her later years, the Canadian Century sailed under the management of Seaway Marine Transport, St. Catharines, Ont., a partnership of Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Group.

On March 23, 2001, the vessel was honored in the traditional Top Hat ceremony recognizing the passing of the first upbound vessel through the Welland Canal for the 2001 navigation season.

In 2002, the vessel was renamed John D. Leitch, honoring the chairman of the Upper Lakes Group. On February 25, 2011, a formal statement was issued announcing the sale of the privately owned Upper Lakes fleet and their associated interest in Seaway Marine Transport to the Algoma Central Corporation. On April 15, 2011, Algoma announced that the John D. Leitch would retain her name.


Written by George Wharton.



Ship Particulars
Length 730' 00" (222.51m)
Beam 77' 11" (23.75m)
Depth 45' 00" (13.72m)
Midsummer Draft 29' 8" (9.04m)
Unloading Boom Conveyor Length 250' (76.2m)
Capacity 34,127 tons
Engine Power 7,500 bhp diesel
Previous Names
John D. Leitch 2002 - Today
Canadian Century 1967 - 2002

 


Coming out of the drydock at Port Weller with help from the G. W. Rogers, March 1979.
(Barry Andersen)

On the St. Clair River.
(Peter Worden collection)

Out in Lake St. Clair.
(Peter Worden collection)

On the Detroit River, June, 14, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view unloading, June 27, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

On the Detroit River, July 21, 2001.
(Mike Nicholls)

Under conversion at Port Weller, Mar. 9, 2002.
(Jamie Kerwin)

Close up.
(Jamie Kerwin)

Another view.
(Roger Tottman)

 

In the Welland Canal, May 27, 2002.
(Dave Wobser)

Loading in Windsor, June 8, 2002.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Former name visible.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Close up of new hull sections.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Under the boom.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Boom extended.
(Neil Schultheiss)

Upbound Detroit, June 23, 2002.
(Mike Nicholls)

Stern view.
(Mike Nicholls)

Underway.
(Ken Hamilton)

Lake St. Clair Oct. 23, 2002.
(Don Coles)

Stern view, May 22, 2003.
(Mike Nicholls)

Detroit River, July 24, 2003.
(Mike Nicholls)

Upbound in the Welland Canal, June 2004.
(Bill Bird)

Passing the Empire Sandy below Lock 2, June 8, 2008.
(Bob Dowson)

Entering Duluth Piers, May 24, 2009.
(Rod Burdick)

Downbound at Sarnia, Mar. 27, 2010.
(Terry McCullough)

       

Entering the Burlington Piers, July 1, 2011.
(Bill Bird)

Stern view with the stack partially changed over.
(Bill Bird)

Passing through Glendale Bridge, Sept. 9, 2012.
(Eric Holmes)

Close up of the bow.
(Eric Holmes)

Sten view.
(Eric Holmes)

Loading at the Jonick Dock in Lorain, Oct. 20, 2012.
(Jim Bobel)

Downbound at Port Huron, June 8, 2013.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of the bow.
(Matt Miner)

Back side of the pilothouse.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of the stern.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Below Lock 2 on the Welland Canal, Nov. 14, 2013.
(Barry Andersen)

Upbound at Mission Pt., June 27, 2014.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Upbound above the Soo Locks, June 27, 2014.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of the bow.
(Matt Miner)

Close up of the sten.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

Sunset above Sarnia, May 19, 2016.
(Marc Dease)

Clear of Lock 1 on the Welland Canal, June 9, 2016.
(Paul Beesley)

Stern view.
(Paul Beesley)

Securing in Owen Sound for the winter, Jan. 14, 2017.
(Mark Harris)

View from accross the harbor.
(Mark Harris)

Algoway tied up further down the harbor.
(Mark Harris)

Downbound at Detroit, July 15, 2017.
(Matt Miner)

Stern view.
(Matt Miner)

       

More pictures from our archives


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