They thought she was a goner,
But the MONTREALAIS came back, Because She's NOT DEAD YET, Baby!!
Come on now, eh! She's the right size: 730' long, the previous Seaway max length. She was built to last in 1962 with a hull that's 'Made in Canada' with Canadian steel and she's steel, or rather, 'still' in great shape. She's got the capacity of nearly 29,000 tonnes to carry grain, iron ore, or whatever. True, she's still powered with steam turbines but who's fault is that? The American self unloader LEE A. TREGURTHA which was originally built in 1942, then converted into a laker in 1961, was upgraded and re-powered to diesel 2006, and she's still motoring today. (See her story: http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/01/self-unloader-lee-tregurtha-part2.html).
When ALGOMA MONTREALAIS arrived for winter lay-up, it was speculated her hull would be towed overseas and broken up as scrap, just like her sister, ALGOMA QUEBECOIS which will soon be completely dismantled at the International Marine Salvage yard in Port Colborne. Then a miracle or change of fate happened for the doomed MONTREALAIS. Perhaps we can blame it on the 'Polar Vortex' which because of the horrendous ice conditions that resulted from months of vicious cold temperatures on all the upper Great Lakes especially Lake Superior, the Spring sailing season was delayed for several weeks. Cargoes of grain and iron ore were ready to go to market, but the ships were virtually motionless or blockaded due to ICE. With the demand to receive and move products continuing, ALGOMA MONTREALAIS was given a reprieve and set sail at 0600 from her extended berth in Montreal on Sunday, June 29, and she's currently making her way across Lake Superior to pick up a load of taconite pellets in Superior, Wisconsin which will then be delivered to a smelter in Hamilton, Ontario. Well guess whose not quite ready to be made into scrap after all?
Meanwhile, please enjoy my friend, Nathan Attard's photos of the ALGOMA MONTREALAIS as she motored through Port Colborne at 5am on Monday morning. Thanks again Nathan.
Remarkably, for an 'old steamer', the MONTREALAIS is making good speed on her current assignment. Let's hope it's not her last one, again.
For more background info about the MONTREALAIS, check out these previous Carlz Boats post:http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2012/08/straight-deck-algoma-montrealais.html & http://carlzboats.blogspot.ca/2013/02/straight-decker-algoma-quebecois.html c);-b