USMMA gets new training tug

Baltimore-based Vane Brothers has donated the 800-hp tug Elizabeth Anne to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y. The 60’x23′ tug was built in 1980 at Turn Shipyard in LaRose, La. Vane president Duff Hughes purchased the tug, then called the Mr. Wade, at auction in 1989. It was the company’s first tug. The tug was overhauled at Allied Shipyard in LaRose, La., and the Elizabeth Anne was christened in Baltimore on Easter Sunday 1990 by Vane Vice President Elizabeth “Betsy” Hughes.

Elizabeth Anne. Photo courtesy of Vane Brothers.

Elizabeth Anne‘s classic stout lines are a far cry from the newbuild fleet Vane has developed. “For a small boat she had enough ass to get you where you needed to go,” longtime captain Jeffrey Gulley told the Vane Pipeline newsletter. 

“She was a great little tug that never let you down,” said Jim Demske, who led the Elizabeth Anne delivery crew and became Vane’s senior port captain. “The tug took care of a lot of families while working under the Vane flag. That’s for sure.” 

After a final trip to General Ship Repair, the tug was repainted in the academy’s colors and sailed north to King’s Point. She is slated to become a training vessel for cadets seeking a towing endorsement to their Merchant Marine license.

Vane now has over 100 vessels in its fleet but many in the company, including President Duff Hughes, have a soft spot for the flagship. “The Elizabeth Anne was our first tugboat. There is so much history behind her service with us. We bought her in 1989 at an auction in Louisiana. She was in terrible shape, but we fixed her up and she has never let us down.” More importantly, he said, “A lot of our mariners cut their teeth on that little tug. She was our training vessel in the beginning, and I am excited that she will take that role again at Kings Point.”

About the author

Kathy Bergren Smith

Kathy Bergren Smith has been a correspondent with WorkBoat since 2002. She is also a writer and photographer for the Port of Baltimore Magazine covering shipping and port activities. Smith, also a noted commercial and fine art photographer, resides in Annapolis, Md.

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