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Photo Details
Photographer:Kyle Stubbs [View profile]Title:POLAR MERCHANTAdded:Jul 11, 2012
Captured:July 07, 2012IMO:5361150Hits:2,557
Location:Tacoma, United States
Photo Category: Wrecks & Relics
Though this stripped hull doesn't leave much for identification purposes, the fantail does bear three words:

A quick search of the normal resources gives no answers. In fact, the only POLAR MERCHANT Miramar would lead one to believe existed is a product tanker built in 2007. Definitely not this relic, though, ironically, she does exist in Miramar under a different name, but I'll get to that later.

However, a Google search does produce vague mention of a Pacific Northwest tugboat named POLAR MERCHANT, which is a much more likely identity. This doesn't exactly look like a tugboat hull, but it was a possibility. Contacting a local maritime historian got me some more info, including some pictures of her as an active tug.

Further digging revealed her previous guise of TIGER, which she bore until 1975. It is that name that does appear in Miramar, as it turns out she was launched in 1927 as the US Coast Guard Cutter TIGER (WSC-152) of the Active Class. While serving, one must note her presence on December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, where she patrolled the harbor entrance during the Japanese attack, at different points coming under fire from both sides. Her military career ended in 1947, and her civilian life began, eventually leading to her end as a part of a breakwater at Tacoma's Tyee Marina, as seen here.

Characteristics (as TIGER)
Length: 38.1 meters
Beam: 7.2 meters
Tonnage: 210 GT
Year of Build: 1927
Builder: American Brown Boveri, Camden, NJ
Yard Number: 346
Vessel Identification
Name:Polar Merchant
Former name(s):
- Cherokee (Until 1976)
- Tiger (Until 1968)
Technical Data
Vessel type:Tug
Gross tonnage:198 tons

Additional Information
Build year:1927
AIS Information
AIS information: N/A
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Photo Comments (4)

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davidships on Feb 19, 2016 04:00 (5 years ago)
Interesting story and "semi-survivor", Kyle. Thanks for bringing it to us.

I also have it that she was named CHEROKEE between 1968 and 1975. Any confirmation?
Couldn't access either link - but try

IMO is 5361150 (6108921 is a feasible, but apparently unallocated number)
Mont Smith on Feb 19, 2016 02:48 (5 years ago)
There may be some interest here in Hawaii to bring USCGC Tiger back and restore her. Who should we talk to?
The Wreckmaster on Jun 24, 2014 18:50 (7 years ago)
Ah, I hate to tell you this but she almost sank last month while serving as part of the Tyee breakwater alongside that rust bucket Comanche. Her hull is filled with Styrofoam and old tires and is leaking oil. The EPA and CHB are circling like sharks just waiting for the Tiger to sink.
Delship on Jul 20, 2012 20:54 (9 years ago)
Very interesting story and nice detective work--had no idea TIGER still existed! At least she is still serving something of a useful purpose, and not just rotting away on a waterfront and putting environmentalists in an uproar.
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