Port Adelaide South Australia asks how to move a landlocked 500 ton tug

11th May 2008, 08:06
working with the SA Maritime Museum, i am needing assistance in the way of technical advice on how to save the Steam Tug Fearless from Scrapping. Govt has sold the land it sits on to developers so it has a 12 month deadline.
It needs to be moved either into the water then towed to a mooring or, preferably, moved across land to another site 500 mtrs away.
Tug has sat in corrosive sand for 20 years and has suffered major rust along the entire keel, some of it structural, esp at the skeg-rudder. It would take major overhaul to make it watertight at a cost Museum cannot afford.
Moving across land, the major problem is its weight. No crane can lift above 200 tons. Putting down railway line was considered similar to slipways so it could be towed. No-one seems to know if that would work.
Any ideas?
Cheers.....Chris Sojenka

non descript
11th May 2008, 09:27
A warm welcome to you and thank you for joining the Site. Hopefully your interesting and very worthwhile question will bring forth some useful replies.

non descript
11th May 2008, 13:20
I see that as if by magic, a picture of the tug Fearless has appeared here (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/gallery//showphoto.php?photo=118087)

Bruce Carson
11th May 2008, 13:25
Chris, from Michigan, a warm welcome to Ships Nostalgia.
I hope you find some answers here and, ultimately, have the tug restored for future generations.


K urgess
11th May 2008, 14:25
Welcome aboard from northern England, Chris.
I'm sure we're all saddened by the plight of the "Fearless" and hope a solution is found.
I'm also sure that our crew members will be interested in the solution.
Enjoy the voyage.

Jan Hendrik
11th May 2008, 14:42
Chris and Tonga,
You find more pictures as follows:

As you may note I started that thread already Oct 2005.

Gareth Jones
11th May 2008, 15:09
I wonder how they gt it out of the water in the first place ?

11th May 2008, 18:26
Greetings Chris and welcome to SN. As Gareth said reverse the transfer as to how it got there in the first place. But no doubt that would cost to many dollars.

11th May 2008, 19:36
Welcome from Lancashire UK.

I hope you will enjoy the site.

Sounds like you have a real problem on your hands - both technical and financial. I hope you have more success than we have had in the UK when it comes to preserving nautical history.



12th May 2008, 00:47
Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy the voyage

jim heslop
15th May 2008, 08:51
Hi Chris
Well to lift your tug you should be able to lift it with heavy jacks with out any problem then you are going to have to decide how you are going to move it by rail lines or trailers but that would depend on the hardness of the ground that it is sitting on but any heavy haulage company that moves heavy equipment will advise you the best method of doing it

jim heslop

16th May 2008, 12:25
Thanks for the advice.
No-one can move it with cranes or heavy haulage except one company called Mammoth Movers but too costly for our budget. Fearless is sited on sandy spoil and as we have found out, the more you dig, the more the hole resembles a well. We feel the railway line method, much like a slipway would be our most viable proposition.
How it was positioned into the current position was that during a king tide, bulldozers towed her into a channel that was previously cut into the banks of the Port River, which were then backfilled. Sadly, 20 years sitting in corrosive sand has taken it's toll.
Update: The developers are getting closer and have marked nearby buildings for demolition. There was a story on the News other night how local boat builders have need forced out in the name of progress. Fearless is sited on the same property.


16th May 2008, 12:56
Welcome aboard Chris,

I saw Fearless there in 2003, in fact the Sth Australian Museum sent me a photo of her. I used to work for Macdonald, Hamilton & Co in Melbourne, originally founded as a partnership by James Lyle McKay - 1st Lord Inchcape - to Manage Australasian United Steam Navigation Co (AUSN). Fearless was owned by AUSN and bore the company's colours - a black funnel with two white bands - in fact the same as BISN Co, with whom the company was linked. She has a sister in Brisbane, owned by the Queensland Maritime Museum there, she is afloat and is/was used for taking people on the river.... furthermore she is in her original colours. Her name is Forceful.

She is part of Australia's history and should be saved somehow. Perhaps the Sth. Australian Govt could be persuaded to assist in setting up a fund to save her. I guess her hull would need extensive restoration before she could even be considered to be put back in the water.

Dulcibella (Ian)

jim heslop
17th May 2008, 08:32
In New Zealand they move large building using rail lines . I would talk with you railway comp to see if they can offer the equipment that you need also talk to the government and also get a reporter to do a story on the problem of trying to shift it you may be surprised at what help you will get

Jim Heslop

17th May 2008, 21:31
I have been watching a program on TV, called mammoth moves, this was about moves in the USA. In one case it was a 100 year old house, they used steel girders as the soil was soft to place the jacks on, then had to move it using rail tracks for about 200metre untill they could winch it onto a trailer. That sounds a viable proposition for you. Maybe even contact the UK television channel, maybe they will sponser you in order to make a film.

20th May 2008, 00:45
would it be feasable to make a flotation collar around her and redig the channel out?

20th May 2008, 06:32
How to move a 500 ton land locked tug? - I'd imagine very, very carefully.