Page 93: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (November 2018)

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trol and man overboard drills, and conducts towing exer- cises with other ROCS ATFs to practice the seamanship skills required to assist a vessel in distress and tow her to safety. Ta-Han received an overhaul in 2016, to include a through bottom cleaning and hull-thickness measure- ments. She’s ready to sail for years to come. That she looks so good today speaks to how well she was built, and how well the ROCN has taken care of her over the past 40 years.

The author, on his vessel, then & now.

Legacy of U.S. Navy tugs continues with new design

The USN had two closely related classes of ocean go- ing ? eet tugs. They were their 205 feet (62 m) long, with a 38 foot (12 m) beam, and a fuel capacity of more than 90,000 gallons. The ? rst three ships, Navajo, Seminole and Cherokee, were built prior to WWII. Later versions had a slightly different stack and diesel exhaust arrange- ment, but they all had a similar and distinctive shape.

Altogether, more than 70 were built, and many had long service lives, as well as serving in other navies.

Several classes of smaller tugs also served, including small auxiliary tugs (ATs) and wooden-hulled rescue tugs (ATRs). Most of the ATAs and ATRs carried only their hull number, and didn’t have a name. At the begin- ning of the war the ocean-going tugs were designated as ATs. These included to new Navajo-class, but there were also many older ones – many built in the late 1800s – which were acquired from various sources of assorted dimensions. On May 15, the newer ATs were designated as ? eet tugs (ATFs), and the other pre-war ocean-going tugs as ATOs, meaning “? eet tug, old.” There were also

Photos: Courtesy of the Author

ATAs built for Britain, designated as BATs.

The U.S. Navy built a class of several ocean going tugs after the war. The Powhatan-class displace 1,387 tons and do not have organic diving or salvage equip- ment, but can embark them as needed. These tugs were delivered between 1978 and 1981 and operated by the

Military Sealift Command. Four of them are still in ser- vice with MSC. A follow-on class of tugs is planned to replace the Powhatan-class, which will be designated

T-ATS. Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc. subsidiary Gulf Is- land Shipyards, L.L.C., has been awarded a $63.5 mil- lion contract for the detailed design and construction of a Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) for the

U.S. Navy with an option for seven additional vessels. If those options are exercised, the total value would nearly $523 million. The Houston, Texas-based company has three shipyards in Louisiana, and will build the T-ATS at its Houma yard. The Ta-Han is one of ? ve ex-U.S. Navy

ATFs, along with two ex-U.S. Navy ARSs, still serving in the Republic of China Navy. 93

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