There was a time long ago when the very life, soul and heartbeat of our town sat at the foot of Hurontario Street on the shores of Georgian Bay, our storied shipyard's. It was the bread and butter for many in our town, and in fact my grandfather and great-grandfather worked there oh so long ago. Throughout the years, the blood, sweat and tears of many of our townspeople tired and toiled away in building many Great Lakes and seafaring vessels. Two of these ships were the "Algobay", and her sister, the "Algoport."
It is the Algoport that is the focus of my post here today, and it came to mind after I received some wonderful photos from fellow Collingwood resident, Donald Ayres. He sent me some wonderful scans of our shipyards, the harbour, and included were some great photos of the Algoport along with an interesting link detailing her demise. This peaked both my interest and my creativity, and I decided that I had to do some artwork to memorialize her. Commissioned by the Algoma Central railway, the Algoport was officially listed as "Hull #217", and her keel was laid on September 27th, 1978. The plans were impressive in size, encompassing a length of 658" with a 75" beam, and a depth of 46.6" feet. Powered by a diesel engine packing 10,700 b.h.p, she was destined to be a titan of the Great Lakes. The hull was completed in May of 1978, and she was launched on May 7th, 1978. My grandma and I attended the launch, and I remember the day well. Launches were always a cause for excitement and concern, for there was always the worry of injuries or death related to a side launch.
She completed sea trials in August of 1979, and officially entered service on August 27th of that year. Throughout her lifetime, she was the carrier for many kinds of cargo, including coal and salt. Not only was she self-loading, her four generous sized hatches were capable of loading up to 32,000 tons into the holds of her cavernous belly. Throughout the years, she suffered several small calamities. She ran aground in 2001, and several years later in 2007 sustained a small hole which laid her up for repairs in Hamilton. She also saw several modifications and improvements in her lifetime, and eventually she and the Algobay were scheduled to receive new forebodes at a shipyard in China. In order to facilitate this work and the necessary towing through the Panama Canal, she and her sister were fitted with wider bridge wings for improved visibility.
The Algobay was towed to China in 2008, and the Algoport followed in 2009. While under the tow of the tug "Atlantic Hickory", the Algoport was caught in the throes of tropical storm Dujan. Under the relentless pounding of waves, the Algoport "broke her back" and split in half. Her bow slipped under the waves first, and her stern followed soon thereafter sinking some 16,500 feet to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
There was no loss of life, nor any environmental damage as a result of her sinking. It is somewhat sobering to think that something that once graced the foot of our storied Main Street now sits lost forever at the bottom of the ocean.
|The Algoport in Georgian Bay, Watercolour on paper - 2016|