Official Number
Yard Number: 746

Engine details: British Polar Engines Ltd., Glasgow
Twin M481 through MWD reverse/reduction gearbox to single screw in Kort nozzle. 1420 b.h.p. @ 129 r.p.m. 12.5 knots.

Date of completion: February 1958 - delayed due to problems with the main engine drive couplings in the gearbox. Later resolved by the discovery that an incorrect oil grade had been put into the drive.

Burntisland Shipbuilding Group Journal, Vol. 25, No. 1, October 1956, page 23-24:

"Tusker" a single screw geared diesel tug for Ritch & Smith Ltd., Port Adelaide, Australia, was launched on 11th April 1956, from the shipyard of Alexander Hall & Co. Ltd. The vessel has been designed for salvage, coastal and harbour towing duties at Port Adelaide... As the ship left the 'ways the naming ceremony was carried out by Miss Xenia Barr Smith, daughter of Mr T E Barr Smith, a director of the Adelaide Steamship Company Ltd.'

'The bronze propeller has been specially designed for use with a Kort nozzle which will enable the vessel to exert a direct pull of over 24 tons.'

'The windlass forward and the large winch aft are both electrically operated. The steering gear situated on the deck aft is of electric hydraulic type.'

'Accommodation is provided for 20 persons and is lined with plastic material in pastel shades. The wheelhouse, which is constructed of aluminium, is also lined of plastic material. A large refrigerated compartment is fitted for food storage. Mechanical ventilation is fitted throughout the vessel, including the machinery spaces, in addition to a system of natural ventilation.'

'Electric light and power is provided by two 60kw. diesel generators. A standby generator of 10kw. is also fitted, and emergency lighting is provided by batteries.'

'The propelling machinery consists of British Polar twin diesel engines each of 800b.h.p. driving a single propeller shaft through twin hydraulic couplings and reverse reduction gear box which will give the vessel a service speed of 12.5 knots. Both engines are controlled direct from the bridge. Extensive use has been made of sound absorbing insulation in way of the engine room to eliminate noise.'

'Sufficient oil fuel and fresh water is carried to enable the vessel to remain at sea for 20 days at full power. The entire machinery is being installed by the engineering department of Alexander Hall & Co. Ltd.'

Further details courtesy of Stewart Ross, Tasmania:

After a career of some twenty two years, Tusker was sold to Mc Asphaldt Industries in 1980 for barge towing work, in Canadian waters, with no name change.

I can recall the "Tusker" coming from South Australia to Beauty Point, in northern Tasmania, to tow the "George H. Evans" from there to Port Headland in Western Australia.

She was then sold to Lowebod of Lagos, Nigeria in 2001, and renamed BODE, not long afterwards she was wrecked in local waters.

Newspaper article from The Press & Journal, dated 1957, talks about how many of the crew were Britons emigrating, though no Aberdonians "among them"; "the ship's agent, Mr James W. Pirie, Marischal Street, told a reporter [...] yesterday: 'I had quite a few applications here, but the recruitment was done by the owner's office in London'". Roughly half of the crew were from Scotland and England, to stay in Australia, and the rest were Australians.

Photograph attached to the newspaper article is of the tug at the pontoon dock at Aberdeen, being prepared for her trials.
A. HALL & Co.
length 120' x breadth 33' x depth 14'
Gross Tonnage: 393 ton

  © 2006 - 2018 Aberdeen City Council