The Jacksonville Port Authority’s (JAXPORT) Talleyrand Marine Terminal facilitated the return of a historic, made-in-Florida World War II tug boat this week to the United States.
The tug, Tiger ST 479, arrived at JAXPORT from Sweden aboard the Spliethoff multi-purpose vessel Snoekgracht. The Spliethoff crew lifted the 140-ton tug onto the St. Johns River using the cargo vessel’s onboard cranes. Towing services provider Cross State Towing guided the 86-foot-long, 30-foot-tall tug to a private dock in Jacksonville.
The body of the tug was built in 1944 near DeLand, Florida, and its engine was installed in Jacksonville. During the war, the tug is believed to have been used as a multi-purpose vessel to conduct rescue missions and carry supplies from England to Normandy, France, following the historic invasion.
DeLand Historic Trust President Dan Friend worked with JAXPORT’s Director of Project Cargo Rick Schiappacasse to ensure the tug’s safe return to Florida. Private owners donated the vessel to the Trust, which plans to use it as a national monument in Central Florida dedicated to the crews and builders of U.S. Army harbor tugs.
“This is an incredible survivor. It is the only one to ever come home to where it was built,” Friend said. “We are just over the cloud, over the top, that this is going to come home. Rick was extremely supportive and provided information that was crucial to getting this done.”