Aberdeen to Argentina: tug stands test of time

TugBoat-panel
2 July 2013

A historic tug which was built in Aberdeen 80 years ago has been found in Argentina.

The 1933 steam vessel - which was thought to be lost-was discovered in the port of Santa Fe by a team from the Histarmar Foundation of Buenos Aires.

The tug, which was named Nutria and then became known as Triunfador, was built in the early 30s by Alexander Hall and Co in the Granite City.

When found, she had external wear but the team were amazed at how well the interior had weathered the test of time.

Guillermo Berger, project director of the Histarmar Foundation, said they expected to find stripped down and vandalised accommodationandmachinery spaces.

He said: "Instead we were treated to beautifully preserved cabins and common spaces, and almost untouched original steam driven machinery.

"Triunfador is almost in her original state. The original wood panelling is pristine and truly needs only polishing.

"And little has been removed from the triple expansion engine and boiler.

Even the steam pressure gauges are still there, being one of the first items to be taken as souvenirs."

Meredith Greiling, curator of maritime history at Aberdeen Maritime Museum, said there were no plans to move the tug back to the UK - but that the Histarmar Foundation hoped to preserve it in Buenos Aires.

She said: "I'm sure she's survived this long thanks to the gentle climate in Argentina.

Clearly the weather is a major factor, but also it's just plain good luck that the owner has kept the vessel largely in its original condition.

"That's what's so exciting about this, the fixtures and fittings are so vulnerable to being stripped out and replaced over time, butsomehow they have survived on this small working vessel and you really get a feel for the craftsmanship of the original work. That's a testament to the craftsmen of Aberdeen's shipyards."

Image above: GOING STRONG: The Triunfador, left, as she became known, has turned up in Argentina, 80 years after she was built in Aberdeen

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The Nutria was built in Aberdeen in 1933