Last Call for Navy's Large Harbor Tugs

Friday, April 20, 2007
Large harbor tug Opelika (YTB 798) and Kittanning (YTB 787) follow alongside the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) as she gets underway on board Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Bryan Reckard

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Bryan Reckard, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Japan The U.S. Navy large harbor tugs seem to have all but disappeared from most U.S. ports over the last decade. But in a few ports around the world the Navy-owned and operated tug endures as the backbone of port operations.

Fleet Activities Yokosuka happens to be one of the naval bases on which the legacy of the large harbor tug continues to influence not only the operations of the port, but the Sailors that work aboard these perennial workhorses of the Navy. A year ago Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Jared Kendrick would never have thought he would be working on the diesel generators that power the large harbor tugs, or working shoulder-to-shoulder with the boatswain’s mates that make up most of the tugs crew. That all changed seven months ago, when he was assigned to the Large Harbor Tug Opelika (YTB 798).

“I never had to know boatswain’s mates jobs,” said Kendrick. “Here engineers work side by side [with] boatswain’s mates, that’s the big thing. I had to learn a lot.” Kendrick has been in the Navy for just over six years, and was first stationed on the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54). Although being assigned to a large harbor tug is considered shore duty, according to Kendrick, life aboard a tug is considerably different than your ordinary shore duty.

“A lot of ships have emergencies, and they have to come in right away. We’ll get called up at late hours sometimes,” said Kendrick. “You have to come in and pull the ships in late at night when they have problems. I like that -- having to stay on your toes.” Many of the large harbor tugs have been sold and taken out of the Navy Vessel Register over the last several years, making the few that remain the last of their kind.

Talking with the crew members of the Opelika it does not seem likely that the memory of the U.S. Navy large harbor tug will be easily forgotten, as they reel off numbers and facts, with the pride of knowing they are the last of a dwindling breed. For Kendrick, it’s the excitement of the job that keeps him passionate about his assignment to the Opelika. “You are doing something everyday, pushing the ships and getting them to where they need to go,” said Kendrick. “I like what I do. You never know what’s going to come along. I like being able to say I actually love my job.”

There are currently five U.S. Navy large harbor tugs in active service status at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, including the oldest large harbor tug in active service status, the Muskegon (YTB 763) launched in 1962.

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter April 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Matson Announces Q2 Dividend of $0.18/Share

The Board of Directors of Matson, Inc. today declared a second quarter dividend of $0.18 per common share. The dividend will be paid on June 2, 2016 to all shareholders

Subsea 7 Profits Dip in Q1

Subsea 7 S.A. announced its financial results for the first quarter ending March 31, 2016, reporting revenues of $746 million, down 37 percent from the prior year period.

WCI's Toohey Applauds WRDA 2016 Bill

Waterways Council, Inc. (WCI) President/CEO Michael J. Toohey issued a statement regarding today’s mark-up and passage of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

Navy

UK Navy Warship Escorts Queen Mary II

U.K. Royal Navy warship HMS Defender provided escort duties for transatlantic ocean liner RMS Queen Mary II through the Gulf of Oman. The Type 45 destroyer,

This Day In Naval History: April 28

1907 - A U.S. Marine Corps detachment from the patrol gunboat Paducah serves ashore at Laguna, Honduras, to protect Americans during a war between Honduras and Nicaragua.

Philippines: Coordinated Patrols Needed to Protect Shipping

The Philippines has been discussing coordinated naval patrols on its southern maritime borders with Indonesia and Malaysia to protect shipping after attacks and kidnappings by Islamist militants,

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0973 sec (10 req/sec)