You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘US Public Health Service’ tag.

Here’s a post I did on McClintic and another I did on Cotter.

Today’s post comes out of a response I received yesterday from retired FDNY dispatcher and historian, Al Trojanowicz, who wrote, “The full photo is fire aboard SAUGUS, American Export Lines (1919) with fireboat WILLIAM F GAYNOR (1914) alongside, and a mystery vessel off to left.  Appears to be similar configuration to the quarantine tug, and original print shows and what looks like a government pennant displayed with a circular or ships-wheel design.  The information below is all I have found on this fire, and was the caption pasted to the back of the print.  Those ladders seen on forward well deck may be accessing the hold – or from another vessel rafted on the port side.”

The caption pasted on the back reads:  “10/2/1926 Fire in freighter Saugus. Photo caption READS  “FIREBOATS STAGE SPECTACULAR BATTLE AND SAVE FREIGHTER!”    Fireboats fought a brilliant battle, October 2nd, and saved the freighter Saugus from burning to the water’s edge in the East River, New York. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the rolls of thick black smoke issuing from the hold, attracted passing craft, and fire patrols. This photo shows the ship which was loaded mostly with cotton, removed frantically by the hands, off New York City.”  (10-2-26) [Photo shows fireboat William J. Gaynor alongside Saugus. An unknown launch is rafted outboard of Gaynor, and an unknown vessel to the left.]  

The caption says . . . East River, but the background to me looks like Staten Island seen from mid-Upper Bay.

0at1SAUGUS fire c1923

So here’s a closer up of that unknown vessel.  Is it flying the USPHS flag?

I’d speculate that this is a US PHS cutter.  I’ve been unable to find a listing of these–like McClintic–based in New York.  Also, although today’s FDNY boats have medical response equipment on board and FDNY personnel receive first responder training, back in 1926 they probably did not.  And this raises another whole set of questions like, what was training like in the 1926 FDNY, what medical equipment if any was there on board FDNY vessels, and would USPHS vessels have a role in assisting during fires on the water and along the shores and docks?  It ask strikes me that–given the amount of smoke emanating from the stacks of these steamers made a fire on the water look very different from one today, where all the smoke you see is from the emergency, not the routine use of fuel.   Finally, I’m guessing this fire was not catastrophic consequence given that no story appears in the NYTimes archives and SS Saugus continued in service until 1946, when it as scrapped.

0at2Saugus tug Oct 2 1926

Al also sent along this photo of the Buffalo fireboat Cotter (1900), still in service.  Here is a photo of it in 1924, probably in Buffalo.   At that date it was still known by its original name, William S. Grattan.  In 1928, while fighting a fire on the Buffalo River, it was heavily damaged and rebuilt.

0at3grattan 2 c 1924

Many thanks to Al Trojanowicz for these photos and questions.  Click here and scroll for more information from Al on FDNY Marine division.

Note:  This is day 13 of December, tugster’s classic/historic vessel month.  If you have photos/stories to share that fit the “classic” parameters, please get in touch.

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.

Launch BathIronWorks1932

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.

0aamcBalt 1965

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.”

0aamcwilmtTBMcC White

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.”

0aamcBaltimore 2012

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.”

0aamcSt Andrews2015

And what identification does she sport on her stern?

0aamcSt Andrews 2015-2

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.”

0aamcbathsternSt Andrews 2015-2

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.

I supposed you’ve read about the latest Bath Iron Works(BIW) vessel, but if not, check out the Zumwalt here.  Click here for previous mentions of BIW vessels on this blog.

 

 

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