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Many thanks to Steve Seely of New Brunswick, Canada, for sending these photos and this story. Never heard of a “quarantine tug?” Well, neither had I. But here it is, launched at Bath Iron works in October 1932 as a tug for the US Public Health Service, christening with ginger ale–since it happened to be Prohibition era. If you have 50 minutes, here’s a 1936 film from the US National Library of Medicine at NIH on the work of these vessels; good references in the movie to Hoffman Island and Ellis Island. I’d forward to about five minutes in for historical background; quarantine tug activity, including clips of vessels like the one below, starts at about the six-minute mark.
Here’s some specs on the vessel: T. B. McClintic is “built of riveted Norwegian Steel (Charcoal Iron)… 60 feet, 10 inches in length overall with a 16.5 foot breadth and a 9.2 foot draft. At launching, [she] displaced 65 tons. This single screw vessel with its engine–direct reversible Standard Motor Construction Company diesel engine with 100 horsepower … four-cylinder, eight-and-one-half- inch bore by 12-inch stroke weighing 13,475 pounds–turning a 50-inch diameter, 36-inch pitch bronze propeller at 350 RPM, cruised at an average of 10 knots.”
During her life as a quarantine tug, she operated out of Boston, Norfolk, and finally Baltimore, where she also performed some light ice breaking work. The photo below shows her in Baltimore in the early 1960s.
In the early 1960s, she was sold at government auction and purchased by “City of Wilmington, North Carolina, to become the city’s new fireboat, she was completely rehabilitated by the Wilmington Iron Works in order to perform her new function. This included adding a full array of fire-fighting equipment, replacing her original 100 HP engine with a new Gray Marine 671 Diesel which increased her HP to 185, and installing a new Twin-Disc 4.5 to 1 reduction transmission. In addition, due to dangerous rust-pitting on each side of the bow, the forward steel plating was replaced. The conversion cost the city approximately $18,000. … Renamed Atlantic IV, she “was distinguished as the only ship that could sink the battleship USS North Carolina in one of her first services after conversion to a fireboat, when her hoses were used to fill the great ship’s bilge with water in order to settle her into her permanent berth in the Cape Fear River.”
From 1987 until the present, she’s been owned privately. The photo below, taken by current owner Steve Seely, was taken in Baltimore in 2012. Here I quote Steve: “I bought [her] in Baltimore in 2011 and brought it to New Brunswick, Canada in 2012. I happened to pass through NY Harbor to take advantage of the lack of swells in Long Island Sound.”
He continues: “The photo underway show it moving as fast as it’s Detroit Diesel will push it, just shy of 11 Kts. It’s an official antique by your standards but that doesn’t mean it can’t work. I salvaged a sunken barge in St Andrews harbor this summer.”
And what identification does she sport on her stern?
Her original name and Bath, Maine. The tug’s namesake was ” a University of Virginia Medical School graduate and twelve-year veteran PHS officer, Thomas B. McClintic. In 1911, at the age of thirty-eight, McClintic was detailed to Montana to perform research on Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In August of 1912, McClintic contracted the disease and died.”
The tug has its own website here. The info quoted above not by Mr Seely comes from the application for her admission to the National Register of Historic Places, which makes for fun reading if you wish.
Because of the dimensions and certain missions of T. B. McClintic–boarding ships for quarantine purposes and ice breaking–this vessel is a forerunner of the WYTLs that will soon start to work the Hudson River ice chokepoints. Click here for an unpublished magazine article I posted less than a year ago on the “extended cabin” sixth-boro WYTLs.
Steve, thanks much for writing.
Trying to do a drive-through of maritime Maine in a few days is as futile as trying to tease town genealogy from its graffiti, but I’m a fool and I rush in.
It was 20-something years ago that I last saw this exhibit of generations of lobstering boats at Maine Maritime Museum.
Since then, MMM has installed this most effective display of a vessel built on the grounds, schooner Wyoming, the largest ever wooden ship, the last of 10 six-masters. For scale, note the workmen and the black pickup truck and yellow lift at the bow.
Here’s the vessel and a fleet of Winslow tugs as seen from the Route 1 Bridge.
Prock Marine’s Marie hangs in the balance.
Rubbing shoulders with the brawn at the pier is the beauty Wagon Box.
Gimmick like the brass spheroids hanging from some pickups I’ve seen?
Hardly . . . it’s one of the few Amphicars.
Now if I can follow signs like these to reorient myself, I might get to Portland . . .
All fotos by Will Van Dorp, who may go a few days before posting again.
I call this a “water blog,” but usually avail myself only of salt water shots. Below is what I saw from my bedroom window yesterday morning: rainwater pool on roof beside my building. Foto is obviously flipped, but the vent with round hole to the right serves as “portal” for at least three raccoons who cavort and sing after dark. New York is wild.
Foreshortening . . . makes for some arresting shots: here McAllister Responder, Franklin Reinauer, Jennifer Turecamo, and RTC 150 pushed by Meredith C. Reinauer enjoy much greater separation than appears.
Left to right here are: Chemical Pioneer, Johann Jacob, and OOCL Busan. I post this foto because it suggests that the forward portion of Chemical Pioneer and its stern seem mismatched. Think about it . . . and I tell you the story below.
Foreshortening again . . . plenty of searoom exists between NYK Constellation and OOCL Busan, but for some seconds, from my vantage point, I was getting nervous.
No comment on the frothiness in the center of this foto. Notice the building on the tip of Manhattan between the red and green buoy. That is 17 Battery Place, once the “footprint” for Moran Towing. Starting on p. 273 of Tugboat: The Moran Story by Eugene F. Moran and Louis Reid, there’s an incredible story about a Captain Daniel F. Anglim that dates back to the 1927. In short, Dan had a naturally loud voice “even louder from having to yell against the wind” (pre-walkietalkie days) did dispatch from the 25th floor of that building down to the tugs waiting between Pier 2 and 4 on the Hudson. I cannot imagine. Looking for a good read: Get The Moran Story!
Today several hundred feet of landfill separate 17 Battery Place from the nearest water. See a foto of 17 Battery Place from that time here . . second foto down. I’d love to see a larger version.
Cape Melville bound for sea. I love the name . . . that northeast corner of Australia. In the background you see parts of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and One Court Square, Queens’ and Long Island’s tallest building. One court Square also appears in the second foto above.
Yes, this is a wild turkey in Battery Park, it looked totally indignant when I asked that he pose in front of either the Terminal or one of the Homeland Security cars in the background . Imagine that !! But the location is inland about 100 feet with the Staten Island Ferry Terminal to the left and the Coast Guard station to the right. Wild New York.
The Chemical Pioneer story: in late May 1973, a Bath Iron Works container ship called Sea Witch bound for sea lost steering and collided with an anchored tanker called Esso Brussels, resulting in a deadly fire (15 deaths, 13 of them on Esso Brussels, loaded with Nigerian crude) and New York harbor oil spill. Read the complete story here. Later, the stern section of Sea Witch was grafted onto a new forward section. For Sea Witch‘s original lines, click here; she’s the second one down.
All fotos taken on May 20 by Will Van Dorp.
By the way . . . that turkey . . . she goes by the name Zelda; be good to Zelda when you see her.