Tongue in Cheek RMAS Tug History - Ships Nostalgia

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Tongue in Cheek RMAS Tug History

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Old 22nd December 2015, 14:39
Waighty's Avatar
Waighty Waighty is offline  
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Organisation: Merchant Navy
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Active: 1966 - 2009
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Tongue in Cheek RMAS Tug History

Going through old papers and files and found the following. I cannot claim authorship unfortunately, as I think it's a good bit of humourous writing.

(Note: it was typewriter written on old and stained foolscap paper so I copied it out to make it legible.)



Built from 1964 onwards as general harbour tugs. The class name is a totally apt description of their progress through the water, weaving and rolling as they do from side to side. The four tugs listed below provide a representative sample of the twenty or so that were built.

1964 (First of Class). Famous for colliding with one of the forts off Portsmouth at full speed; rebounding and continuing on passage with no trace of damage. Further proof of a suitable name.

1965. The only Admiralty tug ever to be arrested and detained overnight by police. An interesting legal case since never before had a tug been arrested and charged with being intoxicated while in charge of a Master.

1966. Most successful of the class having lead a totally unblemished career but 3 days before being taken out of service, fell to pieces following a prolonged tremor.

1966 and again in 1967. Launched initially by the side-slip method in 1966, she remained on her side after launch setting an ominous portent of things to come. Recovered, rebuilt and relaunched in 1967. Spent much of her working life flopping from one side to the other, only remaining upright when in a cold-move, lash-up configuration.


A new series of advanced harbour tugs known as TUTTs (Troublesome Unit Tractor Tugs). Designed with full pollution capability and sophisticated problem causing state of the art technology.

1980. (First of Class). Excelled all previous records for innovative towing techniques when, after ramming a Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel stern first and becoming so embedded in the hull, she was able to use her cruciform to effect a successful tow into port.

1980. Famous as the tug that towed a car! During bollard pull tests the towline parted, snaked through the air, landed on and snagged the Captain of the Port's car, towed it off the quay and across the harbour at full speed. The task was duly entered and charged as a fleet cost.

1980. Following a mediocre build at the shipyard she failed to start or move on her own at all. She was redesignated as a Totally Unreliable Tractor Tug (TUTT) and scrapped in 1981.

1984. Collided with two ships and demolished a jetty while on trials. Continued this blemished record throughout her working life. Her star turn being to pull the bitts and bollards out of every ship she towed.

1985. Became one after a faultless career, when she ran over a caisson at full speed and cascaded into a graving dock shortly after the water had been pumped out. Momentos to the world's only "flying tug" were made out of the wreckage and sold by the Treasury to raise money for the replacement.


These reasonably successful tugs were built on the premise that high superstructures and shortened aft towing decks give the appearance of power even if the opposite was the case.

1973. Constantly defied all attempts to make her work properly. Would pull if ordered to push and push if ordered to pull. Last seen in Pu-Shan-Fol (Korea) after hearing a similar sounding order while standing by a vessel at Devonport.

1974. Famous for accomplishing a very tricky and complicated tow of a floating dock from Rosyth to Hong Kong in record time and through appalling weather, only to discover that the floating dock should have gone to the Clyde. Bore a grudge ever after.

1974. Very successful tug but had an unfortunate tendency to mount just about anything - vessels, sandbanks, islands, buoys, etc. but most partial to warships with names like Hermione or Penelope.

An MSO 1992

Last edited by Waighty; 22nd December 2015 at 14:45..
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