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Big Steel

Canadian List of Shipping 1956: Steel tug [C.372258] Big Steel was built at Owen Sound in 1955: 46 feet; 21 gross tons, 20 net tons. Owned by Dominion Diving Ltd., Dartmouth, N. S. Same owner in 1997. Transport Canada List 2002: Built by Russel-Hipwell Engine Co., Owen Sound, Ont. Owned by Dominion Diving Ltd., Dartmouth, N. S. Transport Canada List 2003: Owned by Dominion Diving Ltd., Dartmouth, N. S.

Mac Mackay notes (2006): "YFU 117 is an exact sister of the vessel BIG STEEL. BIG STEEL had a new wheelhouse fitted, but orginally it was just like the YFU 117..."

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Big Steel in Nova Scotia, May 2010. Pete Spencer comments: "This was in Bedford Basin, during the Canadian navy Centennial a few years back." Photo courtesy Pete Spencer. Click to enlarge.


Big Steel in Nova Scotia, c. June 2011... Pete Spencer notes: "We we raising a sunken sailboat from the bottom of Halifax harbour". Photo courtesy Pete Spencer. Click to enlarge.


From Mac Mackay's excellent TUGFAX blog about Halifax vessels JANUARY 1, 2010

Tugs of All Sizes In Halifax is Dominion Diving Ltd. Their home base is in Dartmouth Cove, and the photo taken this morning shows their fleet in repose. In the foreground - with no name visible- is Roseway built in 1960 for the Department of Public Works. She is a twin screw tug and packs 300 horsepower. Orginally used to tend a small dredge and mud scows, she is now a jack of all work, often working as a line boat at Autoport and handles stores and water barges. In the middle is Big Steel, built in 1955 for the navy as YFU/ YMU 116, with 250 bhp. She also works as a line boat, but also handles scows. She was rebuilt by Dominion Diving with a new wheelhouse. On the right is Halmar, also built in 1960. She is also single screw. Built by Halifax Shipyard for their own use, she was rebuilt by Dominion Diving in 2009 with a new house and possibly a new engine. Her old engine rated 110 bhp. She is used for in harbour towing too. Their distinctive colour makes the highly visible, as they bustle about the harbour.


From Mac Mackay's excellent TUGFAX blog about Halifax vessels APRIL 15, 2010

Big Steel and YFU 117 Dominion Diving's Big Steel steams down harbour this evening on her way to pier 33. In the background is Atlantic Towing's Woodside base, with Atlantic Larch, Atlantic Oak and Atlantic Spruce tied up for the evening. Big Steel is a multipurpose vessel, used as a tug, diving tender, lineboat and general utility vessel. As a tug she often handles water and supply barges for tankers berthed at Imperial Oil. Built for the RCN as YFU 116 / YMU 116 she was built for this role (the YU designation means Yard Utility vessel) She was one of two vessels of this type - the other was YFU 117 / YMU 117.

They were built by the famed Russel Bros of Owen Sound, ON in 1955, and worked in Halifax or Sydney (Point Edward) or Shelburne as needed. Once acquired by Dominion Diving in the 1980s, she was modified, then in 1992 her wheelhouse was rebuilt. Sister tug YFU 117 (photo taken 1994) is now owned by Indian Head Towing Ltd of Troy, NS.


For more Russel exhibits visit Owen Sound Marine & Rail Museum 1165 1st Ave West, Owen Sound, ON N4K 4K8
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