So why would I find this particular ship intriguing, you ask? I mean, it looks pretty much like any freighter that you would find plying the Lakes, right?Well it turns out that this ship is actually the combination of two ships. The front of the ship used to be the Hamilton Transfer and the back was the Canadian Explorer. In essence the Algoma Transfer is the history of five ships.
I'll start with the current chapter first. The Algoma Transfer started the current chapter as the Canadian Transfer as that was the combination of the names of the two ships at the time. She was built at Port Weller Dry Docks in 1998. She was recommissioned in August of that year.
She is capable of speeds up to 18 miles per hour and has a 6,100 horsepower diesel engine. She is capable of carrying 16,000 tons of cargo and is 650 feet long.
As I said, she has a long history. Most ships only have the history of one ship, she has two.
The Hamilton Transfer started life as J.H. Hilman built by the Great Lakes Engineering Works in Ashtabula, OH in 1943. She was a Maritimer built for the U.S. Maritime Commission in World War II. She was run by the Great Lakes Steamship company until she was sold to Northwestern Mutual in 1957.
In 1974, she was sold and renamed the Crispin Olgebay.
In 1981, she was laid up in Toledo due to the economic slowdown and she was destined for the scrap heap. She briefly came in service in 1989 until 1991 and then she was laid up again. She was then sold again in 1995 and converted to a barge.
The stern section started as the Cabot which was a coastal packet freighter. She was built in 1965 by the Davie Shipbuilding Company in Lauzon Quebec. In 1966, she rolled over on her side and was repaired and returned to service in 1967.
The Cabot was laid up in 1982 as the package business became more containerized. She was then combined with another ship to become the Canadian Explorer.