Thursday 1 October 2015

Oil & Chemical Tanker ALGOSAR (Re-Visited)

Like they say, "you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover". Just because she may not be as sleek looking as all the other Algoma tankers that we see so often with their bulging bulbous bows, high multi-deck superstructures, and tall monolithic funnels, the 434.5' ALGOSAR which I snapped motoring through Morrisburg, Ontario in July 2013, works as hard as any other tanker plying the Great Lakes, and then some. When launched in 1978 at Levingston Shipyards in Orange, Texas, for Cleveland Tankers of Cleveland, Ohio her was name GEMINI, and despite her squatly appearance and out of this world namesake, she was known then as the largest American flagged powered tanker on the Great Lakes. Along with her fleetmates (which also bore celestial names) MERCURY, SATURN, JUPITER and METEOR, the GEMINI continued to carry heavy oil and asphalt throughout the Great Lakes for Cleveland tankers until she was purchased by Algoma Tankers in 2005 and renamed ALGOSAR.

She is actually the second Algoma tanker to be named ALGOSAR. The first, the former IMPERIAL ST. CLAIR was given the name soon after Algoma Tankers acquired her when they bought out Imperial Oil's marine division in 1997. When ALGOSAR (1) was sold in 2004, the GEMINI, which needed to be flagged Canadian, was purchased the following year and given the name with the suffix "SAR" to commemorate the City of Sarnia which is known in Canada for its massive growth in the petroleum industry located there. I first snapped the 12,000 gross liquid ton ALGOSAR as she was entering the Welland Canal's Lock 8 in Port Colborne on the evening of August 5, 2012. Not the best photo in my "2BeDone" folder but at least I got her.

Algoma Tankers, a division of Algoma Central Corp. is based in St. Catharines, Ontario and have  a fleet of seven tankers. With the exception of the SAR, most of their fleet is less than 11 years old and two of the bigger boats, ALGOMA HANSA and ALGOSEA (snapped approaching Lock 4 by my Maryland friend, Jim Moyer, a few years back were both built in 1998 and can carry over 17,000 tons of liquid product.
Just like her predecessor which was the first Canadian tanker to operate year-round thus breaking the winter navigation barrier, the ALGOSAR has an ice breaking reinforced bow, and though she's been laid up at Sarnia for the past two winters, while she was the Cleveland Tankers owned GEMINI, she got to experience the wrath of old man winter even during her first year of winter operations in January 1979 when becoming locked in the ice on Saginaw Bay until the U.S. Coast Guard came along to free her.  Nothing unusual about that for both American and Canadian Coast Guards, especially during these past two brutal winters.

Though the ALGOSAR may no longer be the largest powered tanker on the Great Lakes, she's still a pretty nice looking ship to photograph and despite her so-called "different" look, she has continued to remain useful for the last 37 years. More power to you ALGOSAR c):-D

Photo by Brenda Benoit - May 13, 2016
Photo by Jeff Cameron - May 16, 2016
Unfortunately the usefulness of the Sarnia, Ontario namesake did come to an end at as the 2015 shipping season was closing close. Instead of a refit and new coat of paint, contaminates were removed during her winter layup at the old Port Weller Dry Docks and then on May 17, 2017 she became a nameless scrap-tow being led up the Welland Canal to Port Colborne for dismantling. It was the same day that the self unloader PETER R. CRESSWELL   ( started her final journey to Montreal then eventually being scrapped in Turkey. The two doomed vessels can be seen meeting in Jeff Cameron's photo above.

Though nameless and all Algoma branding removed, the tanker looked pretty much in tacked when I photographed her during a visit to Port Colborne on July 2, 2016 but when I returned to Port on a dreary February 11, 2017, the ALGOSAR could barely be seen while former fleetmate ALGOSOO was well on her way to become just a memory too. Both are now gone but not forgotten.

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