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|Lake St. Clair
Algoma Quebecois --
(Quebecois 1963 - 2012)
by George Wharton
Built be Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, PQ, the Quebecois was launched in 1963 for Papachristidis Co. Ltd. of Montreal, PQ. She is one of only a few vessels that can claim the
distinction of retaining her original launched name. The vessel is equipped with a bow thruster and is powered by a Canadian General Electric Type MD70 steam turbine engine rated at 9,896 horsepower at 103 r.p.m. The traditionally styled Seaway straight-decker has 20 hatches feeding into 5 holds. She can carry 25,600 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 26 feet and is capable of carrying 27,800 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 27 feet 8 inches.
While sailing for Papachristidis, the majority of her cargos consisted of grain from Canadian and American Great Lakes ports to grain elevators along the St. Lawrence River with return loads of iron ore from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to American steel companies.
Just prior to the 1972 navigation season, Papachristidis Ltd. sold the Quebecois along with her fleet mates Montrealais, Grande Hermine, Hamiltonian, and Feux-Follets to Upper Lakes Shipping, Toronto, ON. As with the Quebecois, the Montrealais retained her name, the Grande Hermine renamed the Canadian Mariner, the Hamiltonian renamed the Canadian Hunter, and the Feux-Follets renamed the Canadian Leader.
The Quebecois remains active member of the Upper
Lakes fleet, being operated and managed by Seaway Marine Transport (partnership of Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Group) principally carrying grain and iron ore cargos along the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River trade routes.
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.
In early 2012, Algoma formally changed the vessel's
name to Algoma Quebecois with Transport Canada's registration being changed