Tug "Tai Koo" III

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"Tai Koo" III
Type Harbour tug / Ocean-going Salvage vessel.
Gross Registered Tonnage 812 tons.
Builder Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co. Yard No. 327.
Delivery date July 1950.
Hull Steel.
Decks 1
Length 170 ft.
Width 35 ft.
Engine Builder Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co.
Engine Type Steam, 2 x triple expansion, plus L.P.impulse turbine.
Engine cylinders 3 per engine, 14 ins, dia., 22.75 ins.dia., 37ins.dia.
Engine stroke 27 ins.
Engine Power Total 1,500 ihp. - 1800 ihp with L.P.turbine.
Engine RPM 140 rpm.
Propulsion mode Twin screw, operating in Kort nozzles.
Speed Design 12.5 kts. Bollard pull 30 tons.
Deadweight 554 tons.
Power Steam.
Aspiration Forced.
Boiler 2 x circulating (Scotch)
Boiler pressure 200 psi.
Fuel HFO.& exh. gas from a diesel engine
Propeller 2, right and left hand, operating in Kort nozzles.
Propeller blades 4 per propeller
Propeller formation Solid.
Propeller material Bronze.
Original owner Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co.
Delivered to owner July 1950.
Scrapped Oct. 1973.


William (Bill) Roy Worrall, who was master of the tug for many years, in the book written with co-author well known journalist Kevin Sinclair of the South China Morning Post, "No Cure No Pay" states that the vessel was designed behind the barbed wire of a Japanese Internment camp in Hong Kong by a group of senior officials of the Taikoo Dockyard & Engineering Co. who had been a long time in confinement, were all senior staff and getting well on to middle age. She was a hybrid vessel bred during a time of technical changes in the shipping world. They had grown up in a world of steam and coal, diesel power being a rarity on the China coast, and were unaware of the technical developments which had taken place during the war, however she was designed to be oil fired.

The vessel they wanted was a tug which could efficiently and economically carry out the day to day jobs of harbor towing of vessels from berth to berth / wharf / buoy in Hong Kong harbor and also a powerful seaworthy ocean going tug which could go any where in the South China Sea in all weather for the rescue and salvage of ships which had gone aground, broken down, caught on fire, or were in distress.

The steam reciprocating engines were identical to those installed in the Tug Tai Koo II. However the addition of an L.P. impulse turbine provided an increase in the thermal efficiency, and the corresponding horsepower developed.

The tug was completed in July 1950 as an ocean-going salvage vessel with a range of 3,500 nautical miles. Salvage equipment carried included:- diesel and steam driven pumps with a capacity of 2,290 tons/hr., diving equipment, welding equipment, submarine bolt gun, underwater cutting gear and electric lamps, portable ship-ship loudspeaking telephone sets, salvage anchors and chains, with large quantities of repair materials.

The tug was designed to operate at 12.5 knots on 12 tons of fuel per day, however in practice 10.5 knots was the best that could be achieved on 17 tons of fuel per day. For a number of years Taikoo Dockyard would make adjustments and alterations etc. to improve the efficiency - but all to no avail. It was said "that she would roll on wet grass". In a sea the tug would roll like a log, going 25 degrees in the best of weather. The bridge was well for'd, so high and for'd that when she lifted over a big swell in a monsoon sea and crashed down into the trough, the men on the bridge would drop a sickening 30 feet. The "Tai Koo III" pitched and rolled and corkscrewed so badly that even "old salts" who had spent their lives at sea fell prey to seasickness. However when towing a large disabled ship the "Tai Koo III" would dig her stern deep under the waves, and under full power performed well.

The crew numbered about 33 when on harbour duties, however extra riggers, welders and fitters from Taikoo Dockyard were employed. China Navigation Co. mates and engineers who were "Free" at the "Bungalow" or on CNCo. ships at Taikoo Dockyard were sometimes recruited for the ocean going voyages.

The tug "Tai Koo III" was possibly the first Swire owned vessel to have the "Swire Flag" painted on the funnel.

Oct. 1973. Sold to Asia Marine Corporation Ltd. Renamed "Audrey B", registered in Panama. Later broken up in Bangkok.

1986. Deleted from Lloyds register.


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