Monday, October 15, 2012

More USSR Rescue tugs

Among the various classes of rescue tugs associated with the USSR's fshing fleets there were two small classes of tugs that I used to see in Halifax.

Gerakl class

These were much bigger tugs than the Orel class, but carried out essentially the same duties, providing salvage, rescue and towing services to the Warsaw Pact fishing fleet, which included Poland, East Germany and even Romania for time.
Built in 1974 in the Netherlands and rated at 6800 bhp, they were also ice strengthened.
1. Gektor dwarfs Besstrashnyy at Purdy's Wharf in Halifax. It was built by IHC Verschure in Amsterdam
2. Gektor ,call sign URKY, also carried the fleet number KCH-0610. The letter K indicated it was a member of the Kaliningrad Baltic fleet. The CH meant that it was a tug. In the 1990s it was chartered out to Dutch owners for salvage and towing, but was broken up in Alang, India in August 1990.

3. Gigant was built by the same builder, and carried call sign URJQ. Its fleet number was MCH-0819, meaning it was attached to the Murmansk fleet.

4. In 1989 it arrived in Halifax to tow the tanker Coastal Canada (renamed Coastal 1) to Alang India for scrap.

5. In 1994 it was laid up in Long Beach, CA with mechanical troubles and abandoned. Eventually sold at auction it was rebuilt in to an expedition super yacht in 2003 and renamed Giant I .

Another class, of which only one ship ever visited Halifax was the Stroptivyy class. These were really ocean going icebreakers, rated at 7,600 bhp. They were capable of towing the largest USSR mother ships and returning to port in mid-winter.
1. Stakhanovets was a big ship of 2635 gross tons, built in 1980 by Wartsila, Helsinki.
2. The ship carried a full suite of salvage gear and could support diving. It was attached to the Murmansk fleet, (MCH-0425) with radio call sign ULJV.

3. A close up of the stern shows the heavy ice knives at the rudders and the Baltic stern notch. The notch is used for tight tethered escort in ice. Towing gear however appears to be much lighter than on the other tugs.
 In 1995 the ship was lengthened about 7m increasing tonnage to 3121 gross. As far as I know it is still operating.

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