The magnificent tug Ryan Leet has been laid up at pier 9B in Halifax. Just before the arrival of the salvage tow of Australian Spirit on Friday afternoon, the tug moved from the Mobil dock and the crew signed off. I thought it odd at the time that this tug was not used in the salvage tow, but apparently plans to tie it up were in the works and it was not available to use.
Ryan Leet moves to its layup berth on December 12.
The longest serving member of the current Secunda Canada fleet, the tug has been a stalwart for them since 1990. Although mostly used as a standby vessel for offshore work, it has figured in numerous salvage and rescue jobs over the years, most recently in March 2014 when it worked on the salvage and towed off the grounded bulker John I.near Rose Blanche, Newfoundland.
Now behind a security fence, with only a watchman, it is unclear what the future may bring for the only tug of its type in eastern Canada. With so many more powerful anchor handling tug suppliers available to tow ships when needed, the days of deep sea tugs are numbered around the world. Sadly it is no different here. These wonderful sea boats, built for rescue towing can handle any kind of conditions and are a valuable asset to marine safety.
I have written the story of this tug on this blog several times before, so will only mention in passing that it was built as Abeille Provence in 1977, for use on the French coast. It was replaced by bigger tugs and went to South America as Salvor Commander in 1987. Secunda Marine Services, as it was then, bought the tug and near sister Salvor General ex Abeille Normandie and reconditioned them for service.
Sisters: Magdelan Sea (foreground) in 2003. The next year it was sold to Greek owners and became Zouros Hellas. In 2007 it became Tsavliris Hellas and is still in service as a salvage tug.
Ryan Leet was re-powered in 1994 with a pair of V-20 GM EMDs of 3,650 bhp each, and was fitted with a retractable 800 bhp omnidirectional bow thruster. For station keeping in standby mode, it can use the thruster only. Its controllable pitch props are in nozzles.
One of Ryan Leet's finer moments, fighting the container fire on the ship Kitano in Halifax harbour, March 23, 2001.