This great tug arrived in Halifax in the summer of 1971.
Built in 1945 by Marietta Manufacturing Co of Point Pleasant, Virginia (some say she was built by Tampa Marine) as LT-829 for the U.S.Army, she measured 150' LOA and was fitted with a 1200hp steam engine. She was built to go anywhere.
Gulf of Georgia Towing Co Ltd put her to work in 1966 as Gulf Joan after repowering her with four Caterpillar engines, totalling 3,060 bhp. This gave her a speed of 14 knots, free running, or 10 knots towing a barge of 6,000 tons.
On June 26, 1971 she left Esquimalt, BC towing the 500 ton crane barge William Denny for Morgan City (it became McDermott Barge No.18.) They arrived in Morgan City on July 31. It was then on to Halifax where they rendez-voused with the tug Salvage Monarch. It had brought the former Sorel ferry Napoleon L down the river. I did not record the date of the handover, but in a few days they were at sea again.
The tow arrived in Vancouver Sept 18, 1971 where the ferry was rebuilt as Howe Sound Queen.
Gulf Joan had been in eastern Canada previously, when she towed the barges GofG 270 (with the tug Gulf Diane aboard) and GofG 271 from Vancouver via San Diego to Halifax. She then spent the summer on charter to Fednav towing machinery to Resolute.
This was in the era when Gulf of Georgia and McAllister of Montreal had a common owner in Sogemines/ Genstar of Belgium.
When Gulf of Georgia became part of Seaspan (formed by Genstar) the tug was renamed Seaspan Commander. In 1990 they sold her off and she became Sea Commander for Sea-Link Service of Vancouver. They are still listed as her owners today. Last heard of, she was handling the barge Swiftsure Prince for them.