Algoriver - Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

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Algoriver is seen in this photograph while she was transiting upbound in the Welland Canal in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada during the afternoon hours of September 28th, 1999. At the time it was taken she was sailing southbound in the canal in ballast destined for Thunder Bay, Ontario to load another cargo of grain for export overseas.

Great Lakes Classics - Algoriver
By George Wharton

This traditional styled straight-decker was built by Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, Quebec and was christened on August 26, 1960 as the John A. France for Misener Shipping Ltd., St. Catharines, Ontario. Burning heavy fuel oil, this vessel was powered by a General Electric steam turbine engine rated at 9,000 installed horsepower. She was also equipped with a bow thruster. John A. France's dimensions were as follows: 222.22m (722' 6") loa x 22.86m (75' 0") beam x 11.89m (39' 0") depth. Her 22 hatches feed into 6 holds where she could carry 24,900 tons at maximum Seaway draft of 7.92m (26') and was capable of carrying 26,800 tons at her maximum mid-summer draft of 8.42m (27' 7.5").

As part of the Misener fleet, grain products and iron ore were the primary cargoes for the John A. France. Her maiden voyage was in ballast from Montreal to Pointe Noire, Quebec where she loaded Labrador iron ore for Ashtabula, Ohio, USA, delivering the cargo September 8, 1960. During her second season of sailing, she carried a record load of 835,195 bushels of flax from Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay) loading on November 14, 1961 for delivery to Port Colborne, Onario. This flax record still stands today.

The beginning of the 1991 season saw the John A. France sail under the management of Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, Inc., St. Catharines, Ontario. The consortium Great Lakes Bulk Carriers Inc. was a partnership of the bulker fleets of Canada Steamship Lines, Misener Holdings Ltd., and Pioneer Shipping Ltd. Also formed in the early 1990's was the consortium Seaway Bulk Carriers, Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba. It was a partnership of the other two large Canadian bulker fleets owned by Algoma Central Marine and Upper Lakes Shipping. These partnerships were formed in an effort to maximize profits and vessel utilization in a difficult economy for bulker fleets.

With the demise of the Misener fleet and Great Lakes Bulk Carriers, Algoma Central Corporation acquired the John A. France in 1994 renaming her Algoriver. The Algoriver name is derived from her owning Company's name Algoma (Algo) and (river) in honour of the St. Mary's River joining Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

Algoriver sailed under the management of Seaway Bulk Carriers from 1995 through to the end of the 1999 navigation season. She currently sails under the management of the newly formed Seaway Marine Transport, Inc., St. Catharines, Ontario (partnership of Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Group). Algoriver's activities continue to be focused in the grain products and iron ore trades. As such, her sailings can be subject to long periods of lay-ups due to seasonal fluctuations of the grain industry.

Algoriver's 2000 sailing season typifies the fate of many Canadian Great Lakes bulkers that see activity only during the fall grain rush. She departed her Montreal lay-up berth on September 26 sailing in ballast to Pointe Noire, Quebec to load iron ore for Indiana Harbor, then in ballast to Thunder Bay for a cargo of grain products to Port Cartier, Quebec. Her season ended with a load of grain products from Thunder Bay to Montreal where she arrived December 23, 2000 for unloading and lay-up. During this short season, Algoriver visited Thunder Bay five times to load grain cargoes destined for Hamilton, Ontario, Montreal and Port Cartier, Quebec.

Algoriver is seen in the above photograph shortly after she arrived in Aliaga, Turkey and the picture below shows her once crews began cutting her apart in September of 2002. Photographs by Selim San.

If you know more about this ship - trade routes, cargoes, accidents, layups, drydockings etc.etc..
please feel free to contact George Wharton or Myself so that the information can be included.

Posted: October 6th, 1999       Last Revised: December 19, 2002
First picture by Jeff Cameron - Copyright © - 2002

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