Sunday 31 January 2021

Former Self Unloader ALGOMA ENTERPRISE

 ENTERPRISE fueling up in Port Colborne - March 8, 2006

And then there was one last piece to put in place to complete my Jigsaw Planet puzzle of the 730' ALGOMA ENTERPRISE last Tuesday night. As you can see in the pic above it was the Algoma Central Corporation "Bear" logo or emblem that can be seen at the bow and also on the stack on any of their vessels. The ENTERPRISE didn't always bear the bear. While being built in 1979 at Port Weller Dry Dock, her hull was painted black and the familiar Upper Lakes Shipping's white trimmed diamond logo was displayed on her red and black twin side by side stacks until she and the Upper Lakes fleet were sold to Algoma Central Corp in February 2011. 

Originally her name was CANADIAN ENTERPRISE, and she was the last of five self unloading newbuilds that were uniquely designed with relatively blunt non-angled bows, flattened sterns and a long single hold all done to maximize cargo capacity. Along with introducing this new design of ships to the fleet, it was also the start of Upper Lakes including the prefix "CANADIAN" to a ship's name which generally commemorated a special event, a type of commerce or tradesman in Canada. 

The CENTURY was renamed JOHN D. LEITCH after her mid-body was rebuilt wider in 2002.

The first, the CANADIAN CENTURY with her tall "high-rise-like" wheelhouse situated a short distance from the point of her bow, resembled a traditional Great Lakes straight-decker, and commemorated Canada's Centennial year in 1967, the year it was built. The CANADIAN PROGRESS was next and the first of the remaining newbuilds that were wheelhouse aft, built in 1968 and her name acknowledged Canada's Centennial theme:"A Century of Progress"

The TRANSPORT & OLYMPIC at Port Colborne, March 10, 2005.

The CANADIAN OLYMPIC was named after Canada's first Olympic games in Montreal in 1976, the year she was built.  The CANADIAN TRANSPORT named for the primary purpose of each vessel, to "transport" coal to Ontario's coal-burning power plants, was built in 1979 along with the CANADIAN ENTERPRISE which was named for the long-term business arrangement that was created to haul the coal from Thunder Bay to various Ontario Hydro power plants on the lower lakes. As Ontario Hydro's coal-burning plants began phasing out in the early 2000's, the vessels were used to haul other cargoes like grain, iron ore and road salt.  There were many other ULS ships that bore the prefix "CANADIAN" like the LEADER, HUNTER, and MARINER to name a few that joined the fleet through acquisitions or as rebuilds like the RANGER and EXPLORER, but most of them had already been sold for scraps before  Algoma Central took over the Upper Lakes Shipping and their fleet on February 25, 2011.

CANADIAN PROGRESS at Port Colborne, January 16, 2003.

Soon after the prefix "CANADIAN" was replaced with "ALGOMA", named for the region the corporation which started in 1899 first as a railroad and then a steamship company the following year was based, in Sault Ste, Marie, Ontario. 

 Others like the NAVIGATOR and TRANSFER continued to sail with ALGOMA prefix but they're now gone too including the special-built Ontario Hydro coal haulers, PROGRESS, OLYMPIC and now the ENTERPRISE arriving for dismantling at Marine Recycling Corp. ship-breaking yard in Port Colborne just last weeks ago.

The TRANSPORT with the OLYMPIC at her stern wintering below Lock 8 in Port Colborne in January 2, 2011, a little more than a month before being sold to Algoma Central Corporation.

While her days of hauling cargo is over, she looked very much alive and useful when I snapped ALGOMA ENTERPRISE for the first time while bearing the bear as she cautiously approached then passed the old Iroquois Lock entrance to the former Galop Canal as she made her way to the newer Seaway lock on September 14, 2015
For a 76' wide ship passing through several 80' wide Seaway and Welland Canal locks all season long, a few visible scrapes above the waterline is more than acceptable.

The side engine room hatches are great for ventilation and a wonderful vantage point to see the world go by.  

It was like I was looking at my dad as the seaway worker with a white hard hat on for safety and suspenders, (for doing what they're supposed to do), walks the big self unloader into the lock and then stops to look at her draft in front of the lockmaster's shack. It was a task or routine I saw my dad do many times when he was a lockmaster at Lock 8 in Port Colborne until he retired in 1991. Fond memories. He's gone and so soon will be the ENTERPRISE.
Beyond the bascule bridge but the tall superstructure of the ENTERPRISE with her 250' long discharge boom extended from it must still get by the east end arrester before the gates are closed and the ship is raised to Lake Ontario levels is needed.

Just about as far she'll go at the bow...

...the west end gates crack open....
...the arrester goes up...
...and then the ALGOMA ENTERPRISE gets underway. Got to love the observation area at Iroquois Lock.
My next rendezvous with the ALGOMA ENTERPRISE was almost a year to the day later on September 19, 2016 from my balcony at the Inn at Lock Seven as the big downbound self unloader entered then passed through Lock 7 in Thorold. It's a wonderful vantage point and an interesting tale to tell and see on another day.
In my last photo of the ENTERPRISE on December 29, 2018, she sat high in ballast and looking a little worse for wear while wintering in Port Colborne. Despite her looks, the hardworking girl would ply the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway for another two seasons while the ships to her stern, the former package freighter and then cement carrier ENGLISH RIVER, tug ROBIN LYNN and Algoma fleetmates ALGOWAY and ALGORAIL wait for dismantling to begin at the Marine Recycling Corp's ship-breaking yard there. Today, they are all gone but not forgotten while the ALGOMA ENTERPRISE sits in their place after more than a half of her tattered hull was hauled out of the water last week.  She served her owners well,  and was a great home away from home for her officers and crew for just over 40 years. Soon she'll be taken apart like a completed jigsaw puzzle and for many more years to come, her pieces will be used to make something new, over and over again  Not a bad a way to go. 
ALGOMA ENTERPRISE being hauled ashore on huge inflatable rolls in this photo by Bill Salton with his DJI Mavic Mini drone. Great shot and thanks Bill. Be Safe my friend. 

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