Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ryan Leet - off to the oil fields

After a week of fitting out for a new task the Ryan Leet sailed this morning from pier 9. After a stop in St.John's, the tug will survey the route for a new fibreoptic cable to run to the Hibernia offshore oil field.

It was almost exactly 25 years ago that I got my first glimpse of this mighty tug and its sister, after they arrived in Canada for the first time. Secunda Marine Services, as they were then called, picked up the pair in South America. Despite being built by Belliard Murdoch in Ostend, Belgium in 1978, Abeille Provence and Abeille Normandie were French rescue tugs commissioned in response to several large tanker disasters.
When replaced by larger tugs in 1987 they were sold to Venezuela as Salvor Commander and Salvor General, but their new owners were not able to find sufficient work for them and they were laid up.
Under Secunda ownership they were extensively refitted to become Ryan Leet and Magdalen Sea, and  performed numerous tows and other chores both in Canadian and European waters.

On June 2, 1990 the tugs were reftting for Secunda at Pictou, NS.
Ryan Leet has remained with Secunda through its changes in ownership, and has been used extensively as  a standby vessel. Magdalen Sea was sold in 2004 becoming Zouros Hellas and in 2007 Tsavliris Hellas. It has figured in several important salvage operations. It is currently based in Las Palamas.

Ryan Leet won't be doing towing work any time soon, with all the survey gear on its deck. It has also been fitted with a small crane right aft, and a portion of its rolled stern bulwark has been cut out.


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