West Coast Tug Lost about 197?

I’ve been trying to get some information on a tug that was lost, I think mid or late 70s or thereabouts. I believe it was a relatively big new tug and was sent out to recover a barge. Likey sent out of a PNW port, maybe Portland or Seattle. Anyone recall this?

Might have been later, early 80s.

I can think of two tugs that sank on the early '80s, one was the tug Eagle that sank crossing the gulf of Alaska during a storm and the other was a Riedel tug that sank on a barge rescue during a storm, I think only one survivor on the Eagle and none on the Riedel tug, I was working on tugs out of Seattle at the time.

I may be mistaking about a barge rescue, could have been just a tow, long time ago, memory is not the same

[QUOTE=caldwell275;181351]I can think of two tugs that sank on the early '80s, one was the tug Eagle that sank crossing the gulf of Alaska during a storm and the other was a Riedel tug that sank on a barge rescue during a storm, I think only one survivor on the Eagle and none on the Riedel tug, I was working on tugs out of Seattle at the time.[/QUOTE]

Yes, the tugEagle went down Oct 27, 1983 with a loss of 8 crew, one survivor..

I’m looking for info/name on the Riedel tug, I didn’t know it was Reidel but that makes sense. The barge recovery part I think is correct.

The personnel manager who worked for Riedel at the time left after the sinking and became our manager, wasn’t well liked by the tug crews after the sinking

[QUOTE=caldwell275;181358]The personnel manager who worked for Riedel at the time left after the sinking and became our manager, wasn’t well liked by the tug crews after the sinking[/QUOTE]

You and I might have worked for the same outfit. That manager (I believe) hooked me up with a job at Riedel.

Willamette Pilot III, sank May 2 1985, 6 crew lost.

Six crewmen were missing Saturday and feared drowned in the icy waters off Northern California after their tugboat apparently sank in rough seas, while Southern California was pummeled by rain, hail, snow and gale-force winds.

Coast Guard spokesman Brad Terrill said the Willamette Pilot III radioed a Mayday call at 12:30 a.m. and reported that the tug was listing heavily in the stern and taking in water 50 miles west of Point Arena. The six crew members reported they were donning survival suits and preparing to board a life raft when radio contact was broken, he said.

“It’s imperative that we find them soon because of the cold water,” Terrill said of the crewmen.

The Willamette Pilot III had been sent out to relieve the Pacific Challenge, another tug that was towing a barge loaded with newsprint from the Pacific Northwest. Soon after taking the tow, the Willamette Pilot III began to sink, Terrill said. Another tug was sent out to retrieve the barge while the Pacific Challenge helped in the search for survivors.

Two fixed-wing aircraft from the Air Force and Coast Guard and the cutter Confidence were also helping in the search.

Article about the Lawsuit:

A tug and barge company and its insurers have agreed to pay close to $6 million to resolve a lawsuit involving the 1985 loss of a boat off the coast of northern California, in what may be the largest out-of-court settlement of its kind.

Five crewmen and a passenger died in the accident. Settlements to the various estates included sums of $4.5 million, $1.1 million, $870,500 and $60,000.The defendants in the case were offered a pretrial settlement far below the amount eventually agreed on but turned it down. Philadelphia attorney Marvin Barish, who negotiated the $4.5 million settlement, said he offered to take $750,000 earlier in the case but was turned down.

The settlement was reached March 16, two days after the case went to trial.

It’s by far and away the largest settlement of its kind, said Forrest Booth, an attorney with Hancock, Rothert & Bunshoft, which represented the boat owner and the insurance companies.

The accident occurred off Point Arena, Calif., in the early morning hours of May 2, 1985, and took the lives of all six people on board the vessel, the Willamette Pilot 3.

Western Tug and Barge, a division of Reidell International Inc. of Portland, Ore., owned the vessel. The property and indemnity insurer, which was not named in the suit, was Lloyd’s of London, which covered only the passenger. The primary underwriter on the marine operators liability insurance was National Union, an affiliate of the New York-based American International Group, which also was not named.

The Coast Guard said it received a distress call at about midnight May 1 saying the pilot boat was listing, Mr. Booth said.

Fourteen minutes later the Coast Guard received a second call from the vessel indicating that the list was then 25 degrees starboard in the direction of the stern. That was the last word heard from the vessel, Mr. Booth said.

The water in the area is about 10,000 feet deep and the only object recovered was a circular life ring that had evidently plunged down with the vessel before returning to the surface, Mr. Booth said.

It looked like a raisin. The pressure had collapsed it. It was all misshapen, he said.

Tom Boyle, an attorney with the San Francisco firm Sullivan, Johnson, Boyle & Nurik, which represented one of the victim’s estates, said a sister ship, the Gulf Gale, which sank about a year earlier in shallow water, had experienced stability problems.

The testimony of a port engineer established that the owner of the Willamette Pilot 3 knew about the earlier incident but went ahead and sailed anyway, Mr. Boyle said.

But Mr. Booth said the sister ship had been substantially modified without performing any subsequent stability tests and no longer had the same design construction.

Mr. Booth said no one knows exactly why the ship went down. He said an engineering consulting firm was hired to try and recreate the reported list. They determined that it would have taken a flooded aft ballast tank and possibly an open hatch to replicate the list but that this still didn’t explain the sinking. It’s a very difficult thing to determine, he said.

Mr. Barish said the case turned on the fact that the crew was inadequate in number and in experience. It was crewed in violation of U.S. codes, which require able-bodied seamen with officers not working greater than 12 hours, he said. The vessel was also too low in the water, and there appeared to be a problem with the docking nuts.

A

That’s the one, remember when it went down. Sad day for us tug boaters

yeah, that one hurt. Rest in Peace, Suzie.

I worked on the Willamette Pilot III just before this happened. I was her chief mate when she started the round-the-world voyage in November 1982. They crew changed the vessel in Alexandria after landing the Hyundai barge in Yenbo, Saudi Arabia, left Capt. Dave Edwards on there and the Chief. The rest of us were replaced by foreign crew. They tried to find work for her over in the Med, but it didn’t happen, so they ran her light boat back across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal, and up to LA. There, everybody got off and the entire crew was replaced. The next job was the one when she was lost. My heart still remembers her well.