In August of 2018, Curtin Maritime was awarded a contract to tow the Ex. USS St. Louis from Pearl Harbor to a position off of Guam.
• Pearl Harbor to an undisclosed position off Guam
• Charleston class Amphibious Cargo Ship measuring 576’ x 82’
• 3,300 nautical miles
• Over 17 tons of chain, wire, and other rigging.
• Six man tug crew.
The tow was the key component to a SINKEX exercise that the United States Military was conducting in the vicinity of Guam, where the ship would be used as target practice and sunk by other US military assets.
The USS St. Louis was a decommissioned Charleston class Amphibious Cargo Ship measuring 576’ x 82’, with an estimated displacement of 11,000 tons. The tug Alice C is a Curtin Maritime ocean-going tug measuring 120’ x 31’, boasting 4,300 hp and 132,000 lbs of bollard pull.
After being awarded the contract to rig and tow the ship to Guam, the Curtin Maritime team had to get to work to ensure they could meet the customer’s deadlines. Curtin immediately flew crew to Pearl Harbor to board the St. Louis and to create a rigging and towing plan in full compliance with the US Navy Towing Manual’s Appendix H. This plan was then sent to Seattle where Curtin’s rigging vendors worked tirelessly to supply them with over 17 tons of chain, wire, and other rigging needed to load on the Curtin tug Alice C before her departure for Hawaii.
Once loaded with rigging, fuel, and supplies- Curtin’s tug Alice C departed Seattle and ran straight for Pearl Harbor. Upon arrival, the crew of Alice C began rigging the ship for the tow. Within 48 hours of arrival, the six-man tug crew was able to complete initial rigging of the ship including the main and emergency tow bridles using only the tug’s power; as well as securing sea valves and rigging a high and low bilge alarm system in the ship’s cargo holds.
Alice C departed Pearl Harbor with the USS St. Louis in tow on a calm Oahu Morning. 3,300 nautical miles and almost three weeks later, the tug Alice C broke tow in the open ocean setting the St. Louis adrift so that the Military could conduct their exercises. The mission was successful and safe on all accounts, and the Alice C made a pit stop in Apra Harbor, Guam for fresh groceries before returning to Hawaii.