Military Vessels Converted to Tugs & Yachts in British Columbia Waters

by the late John Henderson with updates by John M. MacFarlane 2015

St. Catherine

Canadian National No. 2 #143165 (Photo from the John Henderson collection.)


Before he died in 2008, my cousin John Henderson wrote a draft of an article on converted military tugs which, to the best of my knowledge, was never published. With growing interest in the subject matter I thought it wise to complete and update it and to share it with interested readers. Henderson was a well–known marine engineer of the coast and a life long ship buff. He developed this great passion from his early childhood interest in tug boats.

After the First and Second World Wars the influx of high quality military surplus tugs propelled the towing industry, and with it the forest industry and other commerce to a level that might not otherwise have been possible in British Columbia. The tugs cam mainly from the UK and USA with a few provided by the Canadian forces after the Second World War.

This is a topic with many threads. It does not begin to cover the Canadian Fairmiles and other Canadian Naval vessels that made their way into private hands after their military service. That is a subject for another article.

Saint–class Tugs

In April 1916 the British Admiralty placed orders for 64 tugs from shipyards around the United Kingdom and in Hong Kong. When the First World War ended on 11/11/1918 many of them were not yet completed. Eventually 18 were cancelled, 46 were completed and most were laid up as soon as they were delivered. The decision was made to sell surplus tugs to commercial operators who prized them as high quality vessels. They were the first tugs to have a raised forecastle deck that extended to the aft end of the boat deck. All the tugs were single screw and fitted with a coal fired triple-expansion steam engine with an output of 1,250 ihp and were capable of a speed of 12 knots. With a large coal capacity they could steam at full power for 15 days.

The triple–expansion reciprocating engine had cylinders of 18 1/4", 28 1/2" and 48 1/4" diameters and a 28" stroke at 125rpm the engine developed 1250 ihp. The two single-ended scotch boilers were coal fired along with the usual auxiliaries and fitted with a ten ton per day capacity evaporating and distilling plant for de–salination of sea water. They were also equipped with electric lighting power derived from a 12kw generator driven by a 20hp turbine.

Original Name Later Names O/N
St. Catherine later St. Catherine; later Canadian National No. 2; later Polaris; later Gulf Freda #143165
St. Faith later St. Faith; later S.D. Brooks; later Haida Monarch; later Le Beau #143397
St. Florence later St. Florence; later Kyuquot #143307
HMS Caledonian Salvor later Caledonian Salvor; later Sudbury II; #?
HMS Cambrian Salvor later Cambrian Salvor; later HMS Cambrian Salvor; later HMAS Cambrian Salvor; later Cambrian Salvor; later Caribische Zee; later Collinsea; later Francois C.; later Ras Deira; #?
HMS Finwhale later Hopkins Bros.; later Canadian National No.1 #145356

Royal Navy Assurance–class Tugs

There were 21 Assurance–class tugs built by Cochrane and Sons Ltd., Selby, Yorks UK during the Second World War as Rescue Tugs. They were all 156.6' x 35' x 16.6' powered by triple expansion 1350ihp steam engines producing 13 knots. They were all single screw.

Original Name Later Names O/N
HMS Cautious later Rivtow Lion #?
HMS Tenacity later Adherent; later Hermes; later Rivtow Viking #182199

Miki Miki–type Tugs

This class of tugs was modelled after the Miki Miki built in 1929 for Young Bros. towing of Honolulu Hawaii. They were designed by L.H. Coolidge and several were built by Ballard Marine. Officially they were known as Miki–class Tugs (Ocean-going). There were 61 of them built for the U.S. Army Transportation Service. They were 128’ x 28’ x 16’. They were powered by either a 1200hp Enterprise engine or a 1200hp Superior engine in the single screw version. In the twin screw version they carried a 600hp or 900hhp Fairbanks–Morse. All the twin screw version were built on the west coast with fir and cedar construction. The name Miki Miki means "on time".

Original Name Later Names O/N
LT–144 (USATS) later Florence Filberg #176286
LT–188 (USATS) later Island Navigator; later Isla; later Pablo; #177383
LT–462 (USATS) later James M. Curley; later Johnstone Straits; later Centennial Lion; #198101 / #252183 (US)
LT–496 (USATS) later J.S. Foley; later Haida Warrior; later Active; later 109; #178830
LT–465 (USATS) later Ernest F. Ladd; later Lloyd B. Gore; later Ernest F. Ladd; #193524
LT–158 (USATS) later Mary Mackin #176287

US Army LT–class Tugs

The Large tug (LT–class) were all built as steel hulled diesel powered Ocean-going tugs. They were powered by 1,200bhp and 1225bhp Fairbanks–Morse diesel engines. Some apparently had 1200hp steam uniflow engines. The ATA-type had 1,900bhp diesel electric engines and were of various lengths from 113 feet to 149 feet.

Original Name Later Names O/N
SC–715 (USS); then LT–785 (USCGS); then Cape Pine; #193787
Major Richard M. Strong (USATS) later LT–62 (USATS); later Island Sovereign; later Seaspan Sovereign; #192879
LT–533 (USATS) later 178987; later Roy H. Peters; later Escort; later Escort; later N.R. Lang; later Haida Chieftain; later Audry Gail; #178987
LT–829 (USATS) later Gulf Joan; later Seaspan Commander; later Sea Commander; #325683

US APc–class Tugs

This group of vessels is covered in detail in an article by George Duddy on the Nauticapedia. For the full story of this class see the article which also sorts out the very confusing history of each of the vessels.

Original Name Later Names O/N
APc–32 (USS) later Sekani; later Wilmae Straits; later Enterprise; #178052
APc–26 (USS) later George M. Lindsay; later La Belle; Calm C.; later Calm Sea; #179053
APc–15 (USS) later Gulf Trader; later La Belle; Black Trader; #179077
APc–111 (USS) later Coastal Trader; later Sea Queen; La Fleur; T-W Sea Queen; #192059
APc–25 (USS) later Coastal Trader II; later Cape Scott, later Cape Cross; #192067
APc–50? (USS) later Northern Girl; Loughboro Princess; #192495
APc–96 (USS) later Sea Prince; later Le Prince; later T-W Sea Prince; later Sea Prince; #192870
APc–3 (USS) later P.B. Anderson; later T-W Zelley; #193770
APc–7? (USS) later sea Lark II; M.J. Scanlon; #193771
APc–22 (USS) later Stormbird; later La Dene; later Anna D; #193790

US Army TP–class Wooden Tugs

The TP–class tugs were all purpose support vessels used in towing and tendering and general utility work for the US Army. There were 43 TPs constructed and all had low power as wartime economy measure. Almost all were sold into commercial use after the war ended. They were 91.4’ x 14.10’ x ?’ with 450hp Fairbanks–Morse six cylinder engines. All were built with 12" x 14" deck beams on 18" centers and 12" x 14" ribs. All the hull planks were through bolted and the hull treated with coal oil and sheathed in ironwood. They all had extra cabins and a large hold in the stern with a 40 ton capacity.

Original Name Later Names O/N
TP–? (USATS) later Jim; later Sirmac; later Jim; #?
TP–133 (USATS) later Island Champion #177373
TP–126 (USATS) later Island Challenger; later Seaspan Challenger; later Seaspan Challenger; later Challenger; #177380
TP–? (USATS)) later Senator; later Rosario Straits; later Fury Straits; later Seaforth Fury; later Senator ; later Mt. Ream; later Wild Horses; #178207
TP–100 (USATS) later Adak; later Pacific Chief; later Adak; #193517
TP–123 (USATS) later Santrina; later Haro Straits; later Outlaw V; #320295
TP–231 (USATS) later Sea Giant; later La Brise; later Seaspan Breeze; later Breeze; #178231
TP–? (USATS) later Daring; later Anna Gore; later Seaspan Daring; later Daring 1; #194698
TP–225 (USATS) later Artic Queen; later Charlotte Straits #193766
TP–? (USS) later Titan; later Trojan #820094
TP-?–(USATS) later La Pine #178799

US ST–class

This class was comprised of tugs under 75 feet. They were not all of the same design or specifications.

Original Name Later Names O/N
?? (USATS) later Santrina; later Pacific Master; later Haro Straits; later Haro; #193772
YMS ? (USS) later Thor; later R. Bell–Irving; later Stormking #194214
ST ? (USATS) later Island Ranger; later Seaspan Ranger; later Island Ranger; #177371
ST ? (USATS) later; E–170; later George McGregor #177387
ST ? (USATS) later Isabella Stewart; later Fraser Crown; later Pacific Buoy; #177418
ST 1923 (USATS) later Grand Bank; later Nanaimo Clipper; later Savage Warrior; later Grand Bank; #183366

Miscellaneous US Army Transport Vessels

Original Name Later Names O/N
(name not known) later Veta C.; later Chelan #193774
FS–242%20(USATS) later Pomare; later Princess of Alberni; later Nootka Prince; later Techno Crown; later Ocean Crown #195786
(name not known) later Columbia King; later Gillking; #178776
(name not known) later Abele; later Superior Straits #173188
Mount Edgecumbe %20USATS) later Cape James #189245
Anderson JMP–64 (USATS) later Pacific Yellowfin #822563

US Navy Submarine Chasers (WW One & WW Two)

Original Name Later Names O/N
SC–772 (USS) later Joan Lindsay; later Maplewood; later Lady Goodiver; #194224
SC–715 (USS) later LT–785 (USCGS); later Cape Pine #193787
PC–504 (USS) later SC–504 (USS); later Wesco No. 50; later Pacific Laurel; #194941
USS–? later Kaigani II; later Seymour Narrows; later Triggerfish; #179598
SC–772 (USS) later Joan Lindsay, later Maplewood, later Lady Goodiver; #194224
Radiant (USS) later Sechelt Chief; later Nanaimo Chief; later Donalee; later Radiant; #190339
USS–? later Quatsino; #179614
SC–137 (USS) later Cairdeas; #192037
SC–293 (USS) later Etta Mac; later Grant Lindsay; later Debbie Kathleen K. #150649
SC–308 (USS) then Hurry Home; later Marauder; later Maraudor (H.M.C.S.); later Marauder; #156633
C–310 (USS) later Trucilla; #150650
USS–? later Terry; later Amboyna; later Suquamish I; later Julian Rose MMXI XI XI; #179642
USS–? later Norqueen; #178814
USS–? later La Gloria; later Randy; later G.N. Carrier; #194690
USS–? later Jervis Express; later Tournament; later T–W Islander; later Mainland Express; later Pacific Express; #178056
PC–1039 (USS) later USS SC–1039; later Norking; #179630
PC–504 (USS) later USS SC–504; later Wesco No. 50; later Pacific Laurel; #194941

US Navy ATR–class Tugs

There were 47 ATR–type Salvage and Rescue tugs constructed. They were 157.5' x 33.4' x 20.3' powered with four cylinder triple expansion reciprocating steam engines developing 1,600ihp.

Original Name Later Names O/N
ATR–64 (USS) later Logmac; later Mogul; later Island Monarch; later Seaspan Chinook; #179431
ATR–? (USS) later Salvage King #150909
ATR–? (USS) later Pacmar #179480
ATR–? (USS) later Towmac?; later Salvor #179458
ATR–? (USS) later Towmac?; later Salvor #179617

Miscellaneous US Navy Vessels

Original Name Later Names O/N
Original Name Later Names O/N
Keosanqua (USS) (ATO–38) later Edward J. Coyle; later Commodore Straits; #179466
YMS–? (USS) later Diesel #150928
YMS–123 (USS) later Y.M.S. 123; later Uchuck III #179475
YMS–? (USS) later Leslie; later Del Draco; later Basalt No. 1; later Jorgie; later Ocean Comet; later Mount Comet #178829
YMS–? (USS) Later Salvor; later Salvage Queen #179617
YMS–? (USS) later Tahsis King; later Tahsis Straits; later Pacific Venture; #192079
YMS–? (USS) later 2202; later Arbutus; later Nanaimo Clipper; #153320
YFN–911 (USS) later YFN–911 #833199

RCN Norton–class tugs

Original Name Later Names O/N
Clifton (HMCS) later Clifton (CNAV); later Clifton #
Eatherton (HMCS) (AKA-527) later Heatherton (C.N.A.V.); later Heatherton; #368343

RCN Glen–class Tugs

Original Name Later Names O/N
Glendevon (HMCS) later Glendevon #323277
Glendon (HMCS) later Glendon (CNAV); later North Arm Highlander; later Timber Wolf; #323218
Glencove (H.M.C.S.) later Consol II; later Glen Rover; #176561

RCN Vessels Converted to Tugs

Original Name Later Names O/N
Sudbury (HMCS) later Sudbury #190601
Armentieres (HMCS) later A.G. Garrish; later Arctic Rover; La Force; Polaris; #?
Truro (HMCS) later Herchmer (R.C.M.P.); later Gulf Mariner; #177616
Rossland (HMCS) later La Verne; #179470
Kalamalka (HMCS) later Kalamlka #190303

RCAF Vessels Converted to Tugs

Original Name Later Names O/N
General Caldwell (R.C.A.F.)) later General Caldwell; #172497
General MacKenzie (R.C.A.F.) later Mar Bermejo; later Majellan Streight; Magellan Straits; #194210
R.C.A.F. M.468 Songhee later Songhee (R.C.A.F.); later Songhee (C.N.A.V.); Songhee; later Driftwood; #176893

Canadian Vessels With Second World War Origins in the United States

These are vessels thought to have had US naval and military origins but whose early history is not currently known. List is not complete – or confirmed.

Original Name Later Names O/N
(Original Name Unknown) later Maureen M. #190825
(Original Name Unknown) later La Risque #178236
(Original Name Unknown) later Clearwater; later Horn River #176217
(Original Name Unknown) later F.M. Yorke #178238
(Original Name Unknown) later West Hawk #197692
(Original Name Unknown) later Waterboy #179450
(Original Name Unknown) later Titan; later Trojan I #820094
(Original Name Unknown) later Royal Van #190300
(Original Name Unknown) later Mamin #190832
(Original Name Unknown) later La Pointe #178217
Original Name Unknown) later Klinaklini #190331
(Original Name Unknown) later Klatawa Chief; later Nanaimo Chinook; #193366
(Original Name Unknown) later R.M. & S.; later Kateen #179610
Original Name Unknown) later Marjory H.; later Grandy II; later Y–Tee Grandy; #197357
(Original Name Unknown) later Westply II #193484
(Original Name Unknown) later Western Express #179082
(Original Name Unknown) later Norman Nelson; later Western Dispatcher #190573
(Original Name Unknown) later Speedmac; later Griffin III; later Shogun II; #192514
(Original Name Unknown) later Slave #176218
(Original Name Unknown) later Rosario Princess; later Nautilus VII; later Emerald Tide; #818031
(Original Name Unknown) later Pullaway No. 5 #194223
(Original Name Unknown) later Pollux #192028
(Original Name Unknown) later Pacific Prince #195231
(Original Name Unknown) later Nahmint #179478
(Original Name Unknown) Later Fram; later Norcrown; later John Todd #197707
(Original Name Unknown) later Glaco #190299
(Original Name Unknown) later Canyon No. 1 #190101
(Original Name Unknown) later Tidings; later Western Ocean; #197702
(Original Name Unknown) later Veta C.; later Western Producer #197696
(Original Name Unknown) later Skeena Belle #179644

Acknowledgements: I would like to thank the members of the British Columbia Nautical History Facebook Group for their assistance in sorting out the origins of several vessels in this list, and background on Miki Miki tugs.

To quote from this article please cite:

the late John Henderson with updates by John M. MacFarlane (2015) Military Vessels Converted to Tugs & Yachts in British Columbia Waters. 2015.

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