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Join me in wishing the crew fair winds and safe sailing aboard their vessel Algolake launched 35 years ago yesterday.  I mentioned my Facebook link with Algolake here more than a month ago.  Boatnerd has more than a dozen fotos and all the specs here.    As of this posting, the vessel is in the middle of Lake Superior, having departed Thunder Bay, ON laden with coal, Detroit-bound.

Their Facebook page results from the efforts of  1st Mate Brian McAlpine, 2nd Mate Frank Julian, and C/E Stefan Danielski.  Their stated goal is as follows: “to present life on board the Great Lakes cargo ship seen from crew perspective, without embellishment and glorification.”  In the past month, their FB site has included portraits of the nearly two dozen crew aboard the vessel, nicely done, I might add.

MV Algolake has a self-unloading system, which has evolved from a prototype nearly 100 years ago, allowing discharge of up to 6000 MT/hour.  Crew size is 22, including three cargo-handling “tunnelmen.”   I’d love to hear more about the duties of a tunnelman.

Average load size is 27,000 to 28,000 MT.   Loa is 760.’  Typical cargoes are coal for power plants, metallurgical coal for steel plants, grain, iron ore, sand, gypsum rock, aggregates, potash, slag, AND especially important this time of year . .  road salt.

Here she discharges road salt in Duluth.  Two of the Algoma Central fleet may operate through the winter–assisted by icebreakers if necessary– delivering salt from Goderich, ON, to Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Buffalo . . . ports not involving locks.

After unloading coal in Detroit, she heads for Toledo to load Virginia coal for for Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, ON;  then in ballast, she heads for Duluth to load Montana (low-sulphur) coal for a steel plant in Hamilton, ON.  The season ends around Christmas.  Ships are then laid up, deck crew paid off, and engines overhauled by engine crew.

And could Algolake return to the shipyard where it was built 35 years ago in Collingswood, ON , you ask?  Uh . . no, the Shipyards is now a condominium complex.

So if you do Facebook, you might befriend M.V. Algolake, and wish them a one-day-belated happy 35th launch day.    All fotos were taken and copyrighted by Stefan Danielski.  Many thanks to Stefan for helping with this post.

Imagine what we’d do with trucks if the Great Lakes were not navigable?

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