Monday 27 June 2016

Final Voyage(2): Self Unloader PETER R. CRESSWELL (Revisited)

At Ogdensburg, New York - August 11, 2015
You may have seen one on a recent episode of NCIS: NEW ORLEANS, or on the HBO series TREME, or maybe you simply lucked out while taking a New Orleans "City Tour" of one of their many historic cemeteries.  The "Funeral Parade" or "First Line", consists of a Grand Marshal and a multitude of family and friends of the deceased slowly marching behind a horse drawn hearse or a pallbearer carried casket through the narrow streets of the French Quarter and accompanied with a brass band playing a variety of slow and somber dirges and hymns like "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" while making their way to the cemetery. c):-(( However, when leaving the cemetery or when the hearse breaks away from the procession, the streets come alive during the "Second Line" with dancing in the streets and upbeat jazz tunes bellowed loudly like "When the Saints Go Marching In" or "Joe Avery's Blues". Oh YAAA!! c):-))
Above Cardinal, Ontario - April 27, 2016
Our funeral parades are over, for now at least. The last little while has been tough for us boat watchers as we tracked the last voyages of not one but four Great Lakes carriers. Though for some, their tattered appearances may have suggested the time was right for their demise but in reality or like what we often hear when we've lost a loved one, "they all still had a lot of good years left in them".
It just seems like yesterday when I stood along the St. Lawrence River and snapped the proud ALGOMARINE motoring by low in the water with her holds still partially laden with road salt working her way down to Montreal, her last port of call under her own power. Renamed "MARI" for her scrap-tow overseas, the former 730' self unloader was hauled up onto the beaches at the Aliaga, Turkey scrapyards just this week awaiting the wrecker's torch.
At Toronto, Ontario - March 3, 2015
ALGOMA NAVIGATOR's future looked pretty bleak when I snapped her in an iced over  Toronto Harbour in March 2015 (, and she appeared to be innocently waiting for another season to begin almost a year later when I caught her laid up in the Old Port of Montreal last February. Meanwhile the powers at be at Algoma Central had other plans for the former British-built deep-sea bulk carrier. Yesterday, the renamed "NAVI" arrive at Aliaga and awaits offshore for her fire piercing end to begin. Ouch c):-o
At Montreal, Quebec - February 15, 2016

At Morrisburg. - July 14, 2013 (

Port Weller Dry Dock, May 13, 2016 - by Brenda Benoit
Meanwhile, at both ends of the Welland Canal, preparation appeared to be just about over for two more Great Lakes beauties that had been placed on Algoma's chopping block list before the previous winter layup. For some time now, Algoma has been using the closed Port Weller Dry Docks to refurbish their bulkers like ALGOMA GUARDIAN ( . When all was said and done, each carrier looked especially ready to get back to work sporting a fresh coat of paint. 
That would not be the case for the 434.5' tanker ALGOSAR who spent the winter having contaminates removed and the only new paint that was added to her hull were a couple lines of Algoma blue to remove her name and port of registry as shown in Brenda Benoit's photo above. Built in 1978 in Orange, Texas, the SAR may not have been as pretty and sleek-looking as her sisters, but she always looked clean and well maintained, a quality that would have made my Dad proud. She was designed to do one thing, haul oil and she did that job well for her previous owner, Cleveland Tankers when she plied the lakes as GEMINI and during her 11 years with Algoma Tankers. What more can you ask for. c):-)
At Port Colborne, Ontario, May 15, 2016 - Photo by Nathan Attard
When word came out that the PETER R. CRESSWELL was being sold off to the ship breakers, most everyone believed she'd be cut apart at Port Colborne's International Marine Salvage, where she was laid up at their dock at the end of 2015's shipping season.
At Port Colborne, Ontario - Photo by Nathan Attard
Removing an engine crankshaft and other parts to be reused on fleetmate, CAPT. HENRY JACKMAN which was berthed for winter at the stone dock below Lock 8 seemed honourable and a short scrap tow would hardly be noticeable to onlookers once the cutting was completed on the former Great Lakes classic AMERICAN FORTITUDE (

It was not to be. Smoke appearing from the CRESSWELL's stack meant one thing. No, there wasn't going to be a new Pope, but instead the PETER R. CRESSWELL would sail again. It would not be to pick up a load of salt like she'd done many times over the years but rather a "First Line" final voyage or funeral parade to Montreal where she'd too become a scrap tow bound for Turkey. After turning around beyond the canal entrance and operating on her remaining engine, the slow procession to her end began on May 17th. Though there weren't any brass bands bellowing or dancing along the shoreline, boat watching "Second Liners" we're there, not with musical instruments but instead with their waving hands and cameras clicking to celebrate her passing and a supporting gesture to her crew. Your images like these below and those posted on several Facebook boat watching groups were appreciated by all I'm sure.
PETER R. CRESSWELL and ALGOSAR scrap tow meet above Port Robinson, Ontario - Photo by Ted Wilush

Another view of PETER R. CRESSWELL and ALGOSAR meet - Photo by Jeff Cameron

Passing beneath Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge, Johnstown, Ontario - by PeggyAnn Adamson

Near Summerstown, Ontario - Photo by Brenda Benoit

Straightdecker ALGOWEST - Photo by Andy Torrence
When launch in 1982 at Collingwood Shipyards, her name was ALGOWEST and she was the first straightdeck bulk carrier built for Algoma Central since 1968. The 730' new build immediately started breaking records like carrying 26,876.45 tons of barley from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Baie Comeau, Quebec on her maiden voyage. When the wheat and grain trade started to decline, ALGOWEST was converted into a self unloader at Port Weller Dry Docks in 1998 which allowed her to continue to prove her worth by carrying new cargos like stone, aggregates, coal, and salt, and more efficiently discharge iron ore. Not wanting to waste anytime in the new 1999 shipping season, the now self unloading ALGOWEST picked up a load of salt from Windsor for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but not after being awarded the Top Hat as the first upbound to enter the Welland Canal on March 30, 1999.
Self Unloader ALGOWEST - Photo by Andy Torrence

My first meeting with the PETER R. CRESSWELL was at the Rideau Bulk Terminal dock near Mariatown, Ontario - October 8, 2012. Read all about it here:

She was always known as PETER R. CRESSWELL at any of my encounters with the self unloader, a name that was given to her at a special re-christening on October 14, 2001 to commemorate Algoma Central's then retiring President and Chief Executive Officer. Regardless of her name, she continued to set records hauling road salt and she was upgraded to better handle cement clinker during the winter of 2003/04. Unfortunately I was never able to get up-close and personal with the CRESSWELL as most of my photos were taken from a distance and though it was good to see that she was always kept busy, perhaps too many cargoes of salt and cement clinker caused her early retirement and upcoming demise.
Taking on a load of cement clinker at St. Mary's Cement plant in Bowmanville, Ontario - October 21, 2012

At Ogdensburg, New York - August 11, 2015

PETER's scrap tow getting under way June 14, 2016- Photo by Simon LeBrun

PETER near Contrecour, Quebec - photo by Simon LeBrun
With most of name blackened over along her stack and former company emblems, and unable to motor on her own, the former proud self unloader was eased away from Montreal's Wharf 29 on the morning of June 14th by a couple of Svitzer tugs. Soon after, secured behind the deepsea tug FAIRPLAY 32, the scrap tow PETER commenced her over 6,000 km journey to the shipbreakers in Turkey.
While all of the other recent Algomas to go to scrap or "recycling" have been acquisitions like former ULS boats, PROVIDER, TRANSFER, PROGRESS, QUEBECOIS, MONTREALAIS, and of course the JAMES NORRIS, though she's no longer a straightdecker, when the PETER R. CRESSWELL gets hauled ashore in Aliaga, she will be the first of the "built for Algoma" new-builds to be fully dismantled. First to come, First to go.

On a lighter note, for those still not completely certain what a New Orleans "Funeral Parade" is, here's a short YouTube video of a scene taken the 1971 James Bond thriller "Live and Let Die" .  Enjoy and have a Great Summer!!. However for those of my blog readers living in the Southern Hemisphere with winter approaching, "Gee, That's Too Bad!!" c):-()

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