Friday, January 1, 2010

Abeille 30 from the shoebox

On January 1, 1980 the tug Abeille 30 sailed from Halifax with the Algerian cargo ship Biban in tow. [See previous post]

More info on the Abeille 30:

She was built in 1944 by Levingston Shipbuilding of Orange, Texas as LT 538 one of a large number of standard Large Tugs [LT] for the US Navy. These were ocean going, 2250 bhp vessels intended for towing anywhere in the world.

Following the war she was acquired by Moller Towage of Hong Kong and renamed Margaret Moller.

In 1951, the famous French towing outfit Société de Remorquage et Sauvetage "Les Abeilles" [the bees] bought her and she worked for them as Abeille No.10 until 1972. At that time she was completely rebuilt and repowered, with 5400 bhp, and renamed Abeille 30.

She was a single screw vessel with a Towmaster propulsion system and bow thruster.

Following her transatlantic tow with Biban, she remained with Les Abeilles (now known as Abeille International) until 1983 when they sold her to Spanish owners, Biscay Towing Inc. and she was renamed Biscay 30 under the Panamanian flag.

In early 1985 she was sent to the Mississippi River to tow the vessel Master Petros 22,391/69 , but something went wrong. She was towing the ship downbound on the Mississippi on January 14, 1985 when the tow overran the tug, sinking her, with the loss of one life.

Although she was raised, she was broken up in October of 1985.

A variation of this post will appear on my new blog Tugfax, which will from hereon cover tug events in Halifax. Shipfax will continue to cover shipping in general with some tug info from time to time.

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