Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- Algosound
By George Wharton
This straight deck bulk carrier was first named in honor of a famous dancing/ballet troupe in Montreal. Mr. Phrixos Papachristidis had his new fleet flagship christened Don-De-Dieu at Montreal on June 9, 1965. Mr. Papachristidis had a great personal interest in this troupe. This name was also the name of explorer Samuel de Champlain’s ship which translated means “Gift of God”. Built in two sections; the 245’ bow was built by George T. Davis & Sons Ltd., Lauzon, QC as hull #94 and was launched April 20, 1965. The stern section was built by Canadian Vickers Ltd., Montreal, QC as hull #285 and was launched December 9, 1964. The two sections were joined at Lauzon on May 26, 1965. The registered owner of this new Great Lakes bulk carrier was Seagrams Ltd., Montreal, QC with Papachristidis Co. Ltd., Montreal, QC as managers.
Burning heavy fuel oil, this lakeboat is powered by a 9,000 s.h.p. Canadian General Electric steam turbine engine with 2 water tube boilers and a single fixed pitch propeller. The vessel is capable of speeds up to 17.3 m.p.h. and is equipped with a bow thruster. Her 20 hatches feed 6 holds where she is capable of carrying 27,700 tons at mid summer draft of 27’07” and approximately 25,455 tons at Seaway draft of 26’03”.
The Don-De-Dieu sailed in the grain and iron ore trades for the Papachristidis fleet for only 2 years. In 1967, the vessel was acquired by Labrador Steamship Co. Ltd (Sutcliffe Shipping Co., operating agents), Montreal, QC. Labrador Steamship Co. was a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary of Pickands, Mather & Co., owners of Interlake Steamship Co. The vessel was renamed V. W. Scully in 1967 in honor of Mr. Vincent William Scully who was at the time Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Steel Co. of Canada, Hamilton, ON (Stelco). The V. W. Scully’s activities continued in the iron ore and grain trades; particularly in taking Labrador iron ore through ports such as Port Cartier and Pointe Noire, QC for delivery to U.S. blast furnaces along Lake Erie and Lake Michigan.
On April 1, 1971; the V. W. Scully was acquired by Diamond Shamrock Canada Ltd. (Algoma Central Marine, managers), Sault Ste. Marie, ON becoming the last steamship to enter service under the Algoma banner. Ownership of the vessel was transferred directly to Algoma Central in 1973. Again, the vessel continued in the grain and iron ore trades with the change being in the destination for the iron ore cargoes shifting primarily to Canadian ports such as Hamilton, ON. The V. W. Scully was the lakeboat chosen to depict the Edmund Fitzgerald in a film made about her loss. Her name was changed for the filming on Lake Superior in late 1978 / early 1979. (The film was entitled “Shipwreck: The Mystery of the Edmund Fitzgerald”.)
Algoma renamed the vessel Algosound in 1987. Her new name carries Algoma’s corporate prefix “Algo” with “sound” for a body of water with the first letter “S” in continued honor of Mr. Scully. From 1993 through 2000, the Algosound sailed under the management of Seaway Bulk Carriers, Winnipeg. MB (partnership of Algoma Central and Upper Lakes Group). Management of the vessel was passed to Seaway Marine Transport Ltd., St. Catharines, ON in 2001.
On April 8, 1999; the Algosound became the first full Seaway transit vessel to arrive at Duluth, MN and the first that season to take a load of grain products from the port (25,000 tons of corn to Baie Comeau, QC). On December 18, 2000; the vessel was Duluth’s last vessel of the season to fully transit the Seaway system carrying a load of soybeans for Port Cartier, QC passing through the Welland Canal December 21, 2000.
The Algosound laid up in Montreal after delivering the above mentioned load; not to sail again until the fall of 2002. On October 6, 2002; the vessel departed her lay up berth destine for Port Cartier, QC to load iron ore for Hamilton. With the scrapping of her fleet mates Algogulf (2) and Algoriver in 2002; the Algosound remains as the last steam powered vessel still sailing as part of the Algoma Central Marine fleet.
Capacity (tons) 27,700 tons