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Detroit River

Mike Nicholls

-- Canadian Enterprise --

by George Wharton

The modern Great Lakes self unloading bulk carrier Canadian Enterprise was built as hull #65 by Port Weller Dry Docks, St. Catharines, ON for ULS Corporation (division of Upper Lakes Group, Inc.), Toronto, ON. The vessel is powered by 2 M.A.N. type 7L40/54A 7 cylinder 4,402 b.h.p. single acting, four stroke diesel engines made by Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nurnberg, Augsburg, Germany. These engines burn intermediate grade 180 fuel with the power being fed to a single controllable pitch propeller. Designed and built specifically for the coal trade, the vessel incorporates a new hull design at the stern with half tunnels running lengthwise along the shaft to a larger propeller allowing for the increased flow of water to a larger propeller giving the vessel the thrust of a 10,000 h.p motor but saving up to 10% in fuel costs. The Canadian Enterprise has a rated service speed of 13.8 m.p.h.

The Canadian Enterprise has 1 large hold with flat tank tops fed by 22 hatches. The vessel is capable of carrying 33,947 tons at mid-summer draft of 30’09 ˝” and can carry 27,156 tons at Seaway draft of 26’03”. Other capacities include 510 tons of fuel oil, 67 tons of diesel oil, 179 tons of potable water, and 17,172 tons of water ballast. The vessel’s displacement (lightweight) is 9,049 tons. The Canadian Enterprise’s self unloading equipment consists of a single belt gravity system with hydraulically controlled gates and the latest cargo reclaiming machine (operated by 1 man) feeding a loop belt elevator to a stern mounted 250’ discharge boom that can be swung 100 degrees to port or starboard and unload at a rate of up to 6,000 tons per hour. The vessel is equipped with a 1,000 h.p. bow thruster.

This bulk carrier was float launched on August 18, 1979 and was christened Canadian Enterprise by Maureen McTeer, wife of Joe Clark, Prime Minister of Canada, on December 8, 1979. The vessel’s name utilizes the Upper Lakes fleet prefix Canadian with Enterprise referring to the then new large contract with Ontario Hydro for moving western coal from Thunder Bay to various lower lakes power plants. The Canadian Enterprise departed on her maiden voyage December 13, 1979 sailing light to Conneaut, OH to load coal.

On April 19, 1980; the Canadian Enterprise was the first vessel of the new season to arrive at Toledo, OH and on April 6, 1986; was the first vessel of the season to load coal at Ashtabula, OH. October 23, 1987 saw the Canadian Enterprise stranded in the Amherstburg Channel while laden with coal bound for the Lambton Generating Station, Courtright, ON. After lightering 1,840 tons, the vessel was freed with the assistance of 4 tugs and allowed to proceed to her destination. The Canadian Enterprise saw another first on July 19, 1988 by being the first Canadian vessel to load American coal at Superior, WI. On November 25, 1996 while exiting Lock 1 of the Welland Canal; the Canadian Enterprise was struck by the upbound saltie Mallard whose bow bounced off the rub rails swinging to port across the channel as the stern became subject to bank suction thus coming into contact with the port side of the Canadian Enterprise twice. After necessary repairs were made, the Canadian Enterprise departed the Welland Canal the same day with her destination being Port Cartier, PQ.

From 1993 through to January, 2000; the Canadian Enterprise sailed under the management of Seaway Self Unloaders, St. Catharines, ON (partnership of Upper Lakes Group and Algoma Central). With the beginning of the 2000 navigation season, the vessel commenced sailing under the management of Seaway Marine Transport, St. Catharines, ON. A continued partnership of Upper Lakes Group and Algoma Central; this new entity combined the operations of Seaway Self Unloaders and Seaway Bulk Transport thus combining the self unloaders and bulkers of both fleets into one operation for increased efficiency in fleet management. Cargoes for the Canadian Enterprise continue to be focused primarily in the coal and iron ore trades.

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 take 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 the Canadian Enterprise will be renamed Algoma Enterprise.

Overall Dimensions
 Length  730' 00"
 Beam  75' 10"
 Depth  46' 07"
 Capacity (tons)  33,947 tons


Engine room. Alex Howard

looking down to the engine room floor. Alex Howard

Engine work. Alex Howard

Crew room. Alex Howard

Thunder Bay. Rob Farrow

Docked Jeff Thorsen

Working with the Shannon. Gaelic Tugboat Co.

Aerial view. Don Coles

Stern view Mike Nicholls

Passing Grassy Island. Mike Nicholls

Detroit River. N. Schultheiss

Thunder Bay heading for the Pascol Dry Dock. Rob Farrow

At Port Huron. Rod Burdick

Spot lights on. Alex Howard

Welland Canal. Alex Howard

Bow view. Alex Howard

View from the pilothouse. Alex Howard

Stacks. Alex Howard

Close up of stern. Alex Howard

Deck view. Alex Howard

Christening brochure. Alex Howard

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