Tutahaco of the Hisada may be no more
The Navy ordered 29 Hisada-class district harbor tugs, large (YTBs) in the tail-end of WWII. These chunky little 100-footers could plug away at 12 knots and were assigned across several different Naval Districts on all coasts to render towing, fire fighting and other services of her type to vessels of all size. In the 1960s, they were reclassified as district harbor tugs, medium (YTM) and, by the late 1980s, were increasingly stricken and transferred to the Maritime Administration for disposal.
One, USS Nanigo (YTB/YTM-537), was lost while unmanned and under tow in 1972. Others were transferred or withdrawn until the last, USS Accohanoc (YTB-545/YTM-545), which was the tender to the Essex-class carrier USS Lexington (AVT-16) in Pensacola, was put to pasture in 1987.
As far as I can tell the last of the breed, USS Tutahaco (YTB/YTB-524), who spent most of her career at Guantanamo Bay, was sold in 1986 then turned into a live-aboard yacht, moored on the Halifax River at Ormond-by-the-Sea, Florida.
By 2015, the 70-year-old tug was repainted haze gray and was to be established as a floating museum on the Halifax.
However, the Coast Guard since February had to respond to leaking fuel oil from the vessel, deploying hundreds of feet of containment boom and absorbent boom around the tug.
Now, they have removed the aging vessel altogether.
From the Coast Guard’s presser:
The Tutahaco was deemed a maritime threat to the environment after finding significant amounts of oil, PCBs, lead and asbestos.
“The Tutahaco is in a dilapidated condition,” said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Svencer, the incident commander for the removal. “Not only was it a threat to the environment, but to the community, and that’s our primary concern.”
The Coast Guard hired T&T Salvage to hoist the vessel onto a barge where it will be transported to All Star Metals in Brownsville, Texas to remove the hazardous contaminates.