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Arriving at Hamilton, ON, Dec. 10, 2011.

John McCreery

-- Algoma Progress --
(Canadian Progress 1968 - 2011)

by George Wharton

Built by Port Weller Dry Docks*, St. Catharines, ON as their hull # 48; this new Great Lakes self-unloading bulk carrier was float-launched on July 8, 1968 for Upper Lakes Group, Inc., Toronto, ON. The keel for this new-build was laid June 5, 1967.  Upon completion, she set the standard as being the largest deadweight self-unloader on the Great Lakes. Included in the new features incorporated in her construction were aluminum hatch covers designed to reduce weight thus increasing capacity. The vessel was the first self-unloader constructed for the Upper Lakes fleet with all accommodations aft.  After being christened Canadian Progress on July 27, 1968 by Mrs. Stanley Randall, wife of Ontario's Minister of Trade & Development; the Canadian Progress sailed on her maiden voyage Aug. 24, 1968 with a load of coal from Conneaut, OH to Toronto, ON.  The new self-unloader became the fourth vessel of the fleet to haul coal for Ontario Hydro at that time, the other three vessels being the cape Breton Miner, Ontario Power and the Canadian Century (now the John D. Leitch). The name Canadian Progress was derived from Canada's 1967 centennial year's motto "A Century of Progress".  Though substantially different in outward appearance, at the time of her launch, the Canadian Progress was considered a near "sister ship" to the Canadian Century in basic hull design and hold configuration.

The Canadian Progress was originally powered by 2 Ruston and Hornsby 3,750 b.h.p. (2,798 KW) diesel engines. The vessel was repowered at Sarnia, ON during the winter lay-up of 1989/90 with 2 Caterpillar 3612TA V-12 cylinder, 4-stroke cycle diesel engines, each rated at 3,586 b.h.p. (2,675 KW) at 900 r.p.m. The dry weight of each engine is 57,276 lbs. (25,980 kg) and have the overall dimensions of 15' 11 1/3" (4.86m) long, 5' 08 1/2" (1.74m) wide, and 11' 07 3/4" (3.55m) high.  These engines burn marine diesel oil with the power being driven to a controllable pitch propeller. She is equipped with a 1,000 h.p. (746 KW) bow thruster.

The self-unloader's 22 hatches feed into 1 large hold where she can carry approximately 27,415 tons (27,855 mt) at the Seaway draft of 26' 06" (8.08m) and is capable of carrying 31,732 tons (32,240 mt) at her maximum mid-summer draft of 29' 04 1/4" (8.95m) or a cubic capacity of 31,160 net tons (equivalent to 27,822 tons or 28,268 mt) of coal. Other capacities include 520.6 tons (529 mt) of fuel oil, 72 tons (73 mt) of diesel oil, 189 tons (192 mt) of potable water, and 18,567 tons (18,865 mt) of water ballast.  The vessel displaces 8,800 tons (8,941 mt) lightweight.  Her self-unloading equipment consists of a single belt gravity system with a reclaiming machine feeding an inclined belt elevator to a stern mounted 250 foot (76m) discharge boom that can be swung 100 degrees to port or starboard unloading at a rate of up to 4,500 tons (4,572 mt) per hour.

During her early years, the Canadian Progress set new records for coal, iron ore, and barley. September 1969 saw the vessel carry a record 32,016 net tons of coal from Conneaut, OH to Courtright, ON. Later that year, on November 27, the self-unloader carried a record 26,190 tons (26,611 mt) of iron ore from Sept-Isles, QC to Lackawanna, NY.  Then on May 5, 1970, another record 32,435 net tons of coal was loaded at Ashtabula, OH for Courtright, ON.  In June of 1970, a record 1,152,000 bushels of barley were loaded at Duluth, MN for Trois-Rivieres, QC.  Yet another coal record was set on June 14, 1972 when 35,075 net tons were loaded on board at Ashtabula for Nanticoke, ON.  On May 26, 1983, the Canadian Progress participated in the first ship-to-ship self-unloader cargo transfer in Cleveland by unloading directly into the holds of the American Steamship Company's self-unloader American Republic for delivery up the Cuyahoga River.

Of note; the Canadian Progress ran aground in the St. Lawrence River, 5 miles east of Ogdensburg, NY on April 23, 1985 while enroute to Chicago with ore. She also ran aground at Ballard's Reef on Dec. 11, 1988 while hauling coal. Both instances required tug boat assistance. On Nov. 28, 1998; the Progress entered the Port Weller Dry Docks* for the replacement of 1 of her 2 rudders lost in the U.S. Seaway while in transit to Lorain, OH with a load of coal. She was able to deliver her cargo before returning to St. Catharines for repairs.  

The Canadian Progress participated in the late season Lake Erie coal trade to finish the 2003 navigation season, not laying up until late in January, 2004.  After a short lay-up, the self-unloader was the first vessel upbound through the "Soo Locks" on March 25, 2004 officially opening the Duluth/Superior season on March 26 to load coal for Nanticoke, ON.  The 2004 navigation season for the Canadian Progress continued well into 2005 this time with salt cargoes from Goderich, ON, the vessel not going into winter lay-up until February 19, 2005.  The last salt cargo was loaded on board on February 15, breaking a Goderich harbor record for late season loading.

On March 20, 2008, the Canadian Progress was the honored vessel at the 76th consecutive official opening of the Welland Canal at a ceremony held at the Lock 3 Visitors Center.  Capt. Randy Smith accompanied by Chief Engineer Bernard Begin signed and received the ceremonial Top Hat to mark the occasion.  The Canadian Progress was on passage to Ashtabula, OH to load coal for Nanticoke, ON, the first of 3 back-to-back similar trips planned for the vessel to start the 2008 navigation season.  Then, on March 19, 2010, the large self-unloader had the honor of opening the port of Goderich, ON for the 2010 navigation season by taking on a load of salt for Chicago, IL.

The Canadian Progress remained an active carrier in the Upper Lakes fleet, being operated and managed by Seaway Marine Transport, St. Catharines, ON (a partnership of Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Group combining the fleets of both companies into one large fleet). She is usually involved in the coal trade for customers such as Dofasco, Hamilton, ON and various Ontario Hydro power plants. Other cargoes could include coke, aggregates, slag, iron ore/oxides, salt, fertilizers, grain products, gypsum, quartzite, or sand.

On February 25, 2011, a formal statement was issued announcing the sale of the privately owned Upper Lakes Shipping fleet and their associated interest in Seaway Marine Transport to Algoma Central Corporation.  Former Upper Lakes Chairman of the Board, company spokesman and owner John D. ("Jack") Leitch stated "It is with some regret and sadness that I tell you that we have decided to sell the vessels of Upper Lakes Shipping and our interest in Seaway Marine Transport to Algoma Central Corporation. A definitive agreement has been signed and the deal is anticipated to close in about a month. By the end of this season the proud logo on the funnels of Upper Lakes vessels will no longer be seen on the Great Lakes or along the St. Lawrence River."  Jack further states "For 80 years we have been a part of the Canadian landscape and of the fabric of the Canadian economy."  The Upper Lakes Shipping fleet will takes its place in modern Canadian Great Lakes history as having been a prominent player in the economic development of the regions served by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system.  On April 15, 2011, Algoma announced that the Canadian Progress will be renamed Algoma Progress, the new name being applied at Port Colborne, ON in early July, 2011.  The Algoma Progress' name was officially registered with Transport Canada on July 31, 2011.

* renamed Seaway Marine and Industrial, Inc. in 2007


Overall Dimensions (metric)
 Length  730' 00" (222.50m)
 Beam  75' 00" (22.86m)
 Depth  46' 06" (14.17m)
 Capacity (mid-summer)  31,732 tons (32,240 mt)
 at a draft of 29' 04.25" (8.946m)
 Displacement (lightweight)  8,800 tons (8,941 mt)
 Power (diesel)  7,172 b.h.p. (5,350 KW)

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Arriving at Hamilton, ON, Dec. 10, 2011.
John McCreery
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Backing around the Mandarin into her Dofasco berth. John McCreery
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Below the Welland Canal's Lock 2, Dec. 14, 2011.
Paul Beesley

Upbound Welland Canal, Aug. 10, 2011.
Bruce Hurd
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Upbound the St. Clair River at Port Huron, MI,
Aug. 13, 2011. Bruce Hurd
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Making the turn at the Lake Huron cut buoys 1 & 2,
Nov. 2, 2011. Marc Dease

Welland Canal, Port Colborne, ON, July 15, 2011.
Jim Winsor
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New stack markings. Jim Winsor
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Stern view. Jim Winsor
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Loading salt at Goderich, ON, Mar. 19, 2010.
Phil Nash
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Sifto Salt's loading spout. Phil Nash
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Stern view. Phil Nash
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Loading taconite at DMIR, Duluth, MN,
June 24, 2009.Travis Chadwick
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St. Marys River, June 25, 2009.
Dave Wobser
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Stern view. Dave Wobser

Leaving Fairport, OH, Sept. 19, 2008.
Bob Hunter
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Lake St. Clair June 17, 2009.
Alex & Max Mager
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Stern view. Alex & Max Mager

Being raised in Lock 7, Welland Canal,
Mar. 20, 2008. Phil Nash

Emerging from the lock. Phil Nash

Flags from the bow. Phil Nash

Upbound the Welland Canal, Mar. 20, 2008.
Bill Bird

Stern view to Lock 3. Bill Bird

Captain Randy Smith and Chief Engineer Bernard Begin at the Welland Canal's "Top Hat Ceremony",
Mar. 20, 2008. Bill Bird

Loading at Mid West Energy, Superior, WI,
Aug. 22, 2007. Rod Burdick

Lake St. Clair, Oct. 8, 2007.
Alex & Max Mager

Stern view. Alex & Max Mager

Loading at the Port Colborne, ON fuel dock,
Mar. 20, 2007.  Phil Nash

Conveyor loading at Port Colborne.
Phil Nash

Welland Canal, May 7, s007. Alex Howard

Loading salt at Goderich, ON, Feb. 8, 2005.
Grant Culbert

Panoramic view. Grant Culbert

Leaving the Shell fuel dock at Corunna, ON,
Sept. 16, 2006. George Wharton

Detroit River, Aug. 10, 2002.
Mike Nicholls

Corporate logo. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Detroit River., Oct. 6, 2001. Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Docked at Detroit, Nov. 2, 2002.
Mike Nicholls

Winter lay-up. Alex Howard

Repairs Jan., 2002. Alex Howard

Repairs Jan., 2002. Alex Howard

Detroit River Light. N. Schultheiss

Detroit River, Aug. 14, 2001.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Upbound Allenburg Bridge Welland Canal.
Todd Davidson

River Rouge passing the Louis R. Desmarais. John Belliveau
Detroit River, Aug. 4, 2004.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Detroit River, Aug. 29, 2002.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

Welland Canal Alex Howard

Aerial view. Don Coles

Port Colborne winter lay-up 2001. 
G. Wharton

Welland Canal, Allanburg Aug. 2000. 
G. Wharton

Leaving Lock 7.  G. Wharton

Between Locks 2 & 3.  G. Wharton

At Mission Point July, 2004.  Jim Zeirke

Detroit River August, 2004.  Mike Nicholls

Lake Huron, Apr. 20, 2007.
John Meyland

Docked. Rob Farrow

Rouge River, June 17, 2003.
Mike Nicholls

Stern view. Mike Nicholls

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