Disabled tug

1000ft of wire is way too short for towing offshore. I am surprised that the tow line didn’t part first. would be of interest to know the horsepower of the tug and diameter of the tow line.

For reference:

Doesn’t say “wire” says tow line. More likely tow line.

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I was on the west coast for 40 years towing on soft line is unheard of
I do recall talking to east coast surveyors that they tow on soft line with steel wire bridals instead of chain. Also unheard of in the west coast
Thanks for filling me in

With an almost 300 ft barge, I always slept well with 2 inch or greater stud link chain and 2000 ft of 2 inch tow wire


I’ve only seen & heard of soft line towing in the Caribbean, specifically in The Bahamas. The tug Legacy is Saint Kitts flagged so it is possible?

It looks like the former SeaBulk tug Goliath.

Towing on a hawser, I think. Somehow they got one wheel fouled and then the other. The CG got the crew offshore of Ocean City MD and now according to their broadcast notice to mariners the tug and barge are about 45-50 miles east of the northern outer banks.

I’m really surprised no tugs are heading towards it. Are they just going to let it drift and sink eventually?

Someone is missing a good opportunity

They can claim salvage get a judgement plus degree of risk. Probably need 2 tugs one for the barge one for the tugSimply matter to cut the soft line or you’ll tear the shaft out of the tug

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I did coastwise hawser tows on the East Coast right up to 2009 until I jumped on an ATB. 1000’ seems about right for a light scow like that.


I’ll take your word for it
Guess it the custom on the right coast

The left coast, The North Pacific above point conception is pretty rugged

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Tug Legacy ex Goliath, IMO # 8227501:

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Stasino’s Charles James and Shannon Dann are both hauling ass south and pointed in the direction of Legacy and her tow. Maybe they are the salvage boats.

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Proper looking tug, the halyards are so tight they are bending the mast backwards.

CG has sure changed in in 45 years. 1967 I was a seaman on the CG Cutter Cherokee ex Navy ATF 195 feet. Curtis Bays Lambert Point was towing a Victory Ship from the James River idle fleet to a southern scrapyard.

Off Hatteras they got the tow wire in her screw, bad winter storm. We were two days to get there then stayed beside her drifting stern too dragging the wire. Ship had a riding crew that either dropped the bridle or it broke & let her go. Couple more days until it calmed down enough the tugs crew could get on deck to take our gun thrown messenger line and hook our wire up.

Cherokee towed her back to Cape Henry then headed south to pick up the ship. Before we could get to her commercial tug picked her up. We were on the case 2 weeks.

New CG WMEC is not a tug but you would think they could get a line aboard safely. I still remember our stern off the tugs bow when the line throwing gun shot the messenger line. You could see the tugs wire dragging straight behind her .

At the time CG had 3 ex ATFs on the East Coast. Tamaroa in New York Cherokee at Little Creek, Chulia Morehead City. All capable salvage tugs . Now it’s Helicopter crew off & let the vessel go.

Was that a Navajo class tug? Enormous towing hawser through a traction winch?

First my math was off 55 years ago.

No she was much older. First of the big Navy ATFs built at the Brooklyn Navy yard 1937. Towing Machine (that’s what we called it) was a Almond Johnson with I think was 2 1/4 inch wire. Many of the Almond Johnson’s were pulled off ATFs as scrap and rebuilt, some still around .

Coast Guard took Cherokee over right after the war, ran her until about 1975. Many significant rescues over the years, 5th Districts primary asset large jobs. 19 year old kid straight from boot camp everything about her impressed me. I was on her twice Seaman and later as BM2


I am very familiar with Almond Johnsons, just about all you saw on the west coast when i started. double drums with spoolers. very reliable winches. Boy! you really going back. !

The article says “tow line” but I’d bet it was wire. Sounds like the crew didn’t have enough experience towing. That would explain not having enough wire out and managing to get wire wrapped around both screws.

Maybe, maybe not. My first ship was the Cutter Galatian in '75. That was one of the best run ship I’ve ever been on.

We successfully passed a line to fishing vessels at sea a couple time. At night in shit weather. There was a BM2 on there and he was in charge on the fantail. Everyone called him “Duce”, he made it look easy. His supervisors didn’t mess with him. They let him run his deck.

At the time I figured that’s just the way it was. Till my next ship, a WMEC out of Kodiak. We did an exercise with another cutter of connecting a tow at sea. Daytime, nice weather, calm seas. We got the tow line wrapped around the prop and limped in on one engine.

Same on the Cutter Alex Haley. Tried to take the Kulluk under tow, got a line in the prop and had to limp home.

So maybe in this case the CG cutter captain was smart and made the right move. Maybe his crew wasn’t up for the task. Didn’t have the Duce.

I agree, no catenary for the sea state. its hard for me wrap my head around 1000 ft of soft line, maybe a flounder plate holds it down? I assume the bridal is wire rope shackled to pad eyes on the deck as chain bridals seem from the general consensus are not usual?? or do they just figure eight around the mooring bits? in some of photos of the vessel in repose there appears to be a wire type towing winch on the aft working deck. The tug is less than 100 ft long and the winch seems small, so how much soft line could they get on the drum? If they had 1800 ft of wire rope on the drum you’d would think they would leave at least a layer on the spool so you may be right that it was wire.
this is nothing that a west coast surveyor is familiar with. and I’ve done hundreds of tow set ups and approvals from a YC 110 x 33 coast wise (chain figure eigh around the bitts with a keeper accross the top, bit reinforced under deck)to 700 x 150 from the west coast to the far east. So chain bridals, and wire rope is all I know.

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The article in gcaptain (quoting USCG) just say; “a 1,000-foot towing line”
Nothing about what kind of line; wire, polypropylene, or some of the fancy new composite lines becoming popular for everything. (??)

Nor does it say if there were any type of surge line, or what type of bridle was in the tow configuration.

But I do agree that 1000’ of towline length in deep water and the weather conditions that could be expected on the USEC at this time of the year is NOT very professional.

Was this tow surveyed and approved by an MWS before departure??