Algoma christens new bulk carrier in Great Lakes

The following is the text of a news release from Algoma Central Corp.:

(ST. CATHARINES, Ontario) — Algoma Central Corp. is pleased to announce the arrival in Canada and the christening of its second Equinox-class bulk cargo vessel, Algoma Harvester. The christening took place at Pier 26 South in Hamilton Harbour earlier today and was observed by an audience that included local dignitaries and members of the marine industry.

Kathy Baske, wife of Jim Baske, the president and CEO of ArcelorMittal Dofasco, imparted the traditional blessing. As is customary for these ceremonies, a bottle of champagne was broken against the bow of the ship, a banner revealing the ship's name was unveiled, and Father David Mulholland of the Mission to Seafarers offered prayers and other words of inspiration to the Canadian crew of the ship.

The Equinox class represents the next generation of Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway bulk cargo vessels. The ships have been designed to optimize fuel efficiency and operating performance, thus minimizing environmental impact. A 45 percent improvement in energy efficiency over Algoma's current fleet average is expected, resulting from the use of a modern Tier II compliant engine, increased cargo capacity, and an improved hull form. In addition, a fully integrated IMO approved exhaust gas scrubber will remove 97 percent of all sulfur oxides from shipboard emissions. Algoma is the first company to use an IMO-approved integrated scrubber on a Great Lakes-St. Lawrence vessel class.

"We have been extremely pleased with the performance of the first Equinox-class vessel, the Algoma Equinox, since she joined the Algoma fleet last November," said Greg Wight, president and CEO of Algoma. "We are also very pleased to host the Algoma Harvester christening in Hamilton today with our major customer, ArcelorMittal Dofasco. The Equinox-class bulkers have been designed to optimize performance in the movement of iron ore for companies like ArcelorMittal Dofasco and for the movement of grain products. We expect the ship to move 1 million tonnes per year of these commodities."

"Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway marine transport is integral to our business and fleet renewal is critical for a sustainable supply chain," said Jim Baske. "Sustainability is a core value for our company and a main area of focus. The range of environmental improvements that we see on this fleet aligns with our efforts to continuously improve our productivity, efficiency and environmental footprint. It's a win-win when one of our partners is able to achieve the kinds of improvements that Algoma has with this new fleet, effectively reducing the environmental impact of our supply chain, from raw material inputs to shipping of finished products."

Algoma took delivery of Algoma Harvester on May 13 and the vessel departed from the shipyard in China on May 18. Algoma Harvester picked up its first load of cargo at Port Cartier, Quebec on July 11, following a 54-day voyage across the Pacific and through the Panama Canal to get to Canada. The first cargo of iron ore, which has set a new record size, will be delivered to ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton immediately following the ceremony.

Algoma Harvester joins its sister ship, Algoma Equinox, as part of Algoma's 32-vessel Canadian-flagged Great Lakes fleet. Algoma is investing $300 million to construct six state of the art Equinox-class vessels with two additional Equinox-class vessels currently under construction for CWB Inc. These CWB Inc. vessels will be managed by Algoma as part of the fleet serving our customers in and around the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway.

Algoma Harvester will serve primarily agricultural and iron and steel industry customers, making regular voyages from lakehead ports on Lake Superior such as Thunder Bay and Superior/Duluth to Port Cartier, Quebec City, and Baie Comeau in the St. Lawrence. In between, this maximum seaway-size bulker also visits other ports such as Contrecoeur, Hamilton, Toledo, Chicago, and Milwaukee during the course of a navigation season.

Algoma Harvester is expected to depart from Hamilton for Thunder Bay on July 18. The vessel is expected to make approximately 10 grain and iron ore trips on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway over the balance of 2014.

By Professional Mariner Staff