Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Russians towing Canadians - Part 2

For a Canadian warship, the ultimate indignity, as I called it in Shipfax, was to be towed to the scrap yard  by a Russian tug. The Canadian navy (as with all NATO navies) played "cat and mouse" with the USSR for years during the cold war, but it was all in earnest, as the expectation of real war was never very far over the horizon.

During that time there was also a large communist bloc presence of fishing vessels from the USSR, Poland, East Germany, and even Bulgaria and Romania off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. They were always near when there was any naval activity and invariably a trawler or a rescue tug or even a research ship showed up in Halifax when there were visiting naval ships from other NATO countries. See Tugfax for photos of USSR rescue tugs here: and
When the USSR was broken up the threat seemed to vanish overnight and Russian (former USSR) ships began to appear under different conditions. As I showed in Part 1, they showed up to tow old ships to the scrappers, and seemingly had their fair share of former naval ships.

The harbour tug Point Halifax arrives off pier 9B to assist Purga with ex HMCS Skeena.
Purga eases off the pier. It was built in 1974 by Okean shipyard in Oktyabrskoye, and is still operating out of Murmansk.

The tug was carrying two Yokohama fenders on deck, which would be used if the tug had to come alongside the tow.

A small riding crew were on the Skeena only to let go the mooring lines. They disembarked soon after the tow got underway for India July 3, 1996.

Once off the pier, the tow had to turn in the Narrows to head outbound for sea. Harbour tug Point Chebucto assisted in the turn.


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