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SINKING A TUG
As demonstrated by USS Kawishiwi AO-146 in 1956 at Long Beach, California
On returning to San Pedro Harbor from the Far East, Kawishiwi's captain had to display his ship handling capabilities. Kawishiwi was making ready to receive needed repairs when she encountered trouble. Seaman A.M. Blackner explained in an email. "I was on the flying bridge which is where the conn was during our trip to Todd Shipyard in San Pedro, CA. The pilot and Captain J. B. Swain were running the ship from anchorage, proceeding to Todd shipyard with the pilot having the conn. A Navy tug was assisting in the move as Kawishiwi neared the shipyard. We did have a liberty boat in the water which was normal when the ship was at anchorage in Long Beach harbor.  The coxswain was a guy named Wooten. As we entered the shipyard waters, very tight quarters, the tug was along port side aft helping to maneuver the ship to the pier in Todd.  The ship was also under power as we neared the pier, Captain Swain and his great ability as a good ship handler knew that we were moving too fast...he sang out loudly...."I have the conn!"....."Emergency BACK" this prevented Kawishiwi from ramming the pier in front of the ship which had many pipes...probably carrying a variety of products...no doubt some of explosive nature. At that moment the tug was in close on the port aft quarter and as the screws probably caused some drawing of the tug closer...managed to take a few chops through the tugs starboard aft quarter and it sank in a matter of minutes. Scranton SM2 also on the bridge, told Capt. Swain,"you better send a boat back to the tug - it's sinking".      Witnessed by TOM WICKERT AM2

The crew of the tug jumped into the water...we called to the liberty boat verbally ....it was on our starboard aft quarter, to go around to port and pick up the tug crew. Since I was 1JV talker I heard and saw the whole thing unfold.

After being in dry dock in Long Beach for some time, having the screw repaired, Kawishiwi entered San Pedro Harbor again, but while shifting oil from one tank to another, she dumped several tons of oil into the local marina. Kawishiwi then left for Hawaii, leaving many yacht owners very upset.

All Photos by
 Robert Lewandowski SF2 (54-57)

J. B. Swain was a good captain and expert ship handler but a very tough captain.  The first year we were in commission we had 25 summary court marshals on board.  He also convened one special court martial aboard during my time on Kawishiwi.  One of the crew missed movement and that lead to the special court martial.  He was defended by a seaman by the name of Walsh who unbeknownst to the board of officers on the court martial board, Walsh was a member of the bar in the state of Illinois who was drafted into the Navy during the late fifties. Walsh got the man off with a light sentence and later moved from the deck force to ship's office to never represent another mate." Tony Blackner YN3 (55-57)
I was aboard when we sunk that tug in Todd's Shipyards. Fox Div. had anchor and sea duty on
the fantail so we watched it jump with each prop hit. Seemed like the tug Captain thought he could ignore
it and continue on. Surprise! I will send you some pix one of these days as promised in Boulder. They're slides and I have to get them out.
Richard Inman FT2 (56-59)

 GIANT CRANE RAISES SUNKEN TUG
Huge German-made crane salvages 320-ton tug,
YTB-266, near Todd Ship yards drydock Saturday.
tug sank in 30 feet of water Friday while towing
Navy tanker Kawishiwi after larger vessel's
propeller struck side of tug and ripped it. open,
forcing five crewmen to swim ashore.
                   Press-Telegram photo by Bob Shumway
Photo left; Submitted by Bill Willis ETSN  55-57
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