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Photographer:Cisco [View profile]Title:UnknownAdded:Oct 24, 2020
Location:Jurong, Singapore, Singapore
Photo Category: Mystery Ships
March 2004 or thereabouts.
We spent several days anchored near Sultan Shoal.... watching tugs trying to pull these two apart.
A ship shaped tank barge and a US flagged pusher tug..
Maybe they are still stuck? Who knows.....
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Photo Comments (10)

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Cisco on Oct 27, 2020 00:57 (28 days ago)
Not sure about the 'two'.. maybe I am seeing what I want to see....
Both the name on the barge and the name on the tug are quite short and about the same length. Home port on the barge is a single word a bit longer than the name. Date of photo is March/April 2004...
The funnel is the really confusing thing... none of the other photos I have seen so far match it... white funnel side ..white diamond in a blue square... red letter in the diamond....
George.Schneider on Oct 26, 2020 05:21 (29 days ago)
For Robbie, SMT ONE was named OXY 4103 until 1999. That would have been the name on the bow. The tug was named FRANCIS HAMMER at the time, and was originally OXY GROWER.
For Axel, these were basically tankers (as you can see, the tug wasn't really designed to separate) and they went anywhere tankers traded. Normal routes were coastwise and intercoastal US, but they could be found just about anywhere in the world. These had double bottoms, so escaped the first round of OPA scrappings, but weren't fully double-hull, so are now all gone. The only one of this type (called a CatTug ITB) that is still around is the MOKU PAHU, whose barge was a geared bulk carrier instead of a tanker.
And for Cisco, if people are indeed seeing the word "two" on the barge hull, you're probably safe in naming her SMT CHEMICAL TRADER,with IMO number 7821207.
George.Schneider on Oct 26, 2020 05:17 (29 days ago)
A great photo showing the "tongue" on the barge that the tug fit over, is shown on this site at
Axel Huettemann on Oct 24, 2020 17:24 (1 month ago)
Where did they trade? I saw SMT Two around 2008 at a jetty on the Houston Ship Channel. I thought they were shuttle tankers within US waters.
George.Schneider on Oct 24, 2020 14:49 (1 month ago)
You're correct, the tug had the name, the barge had the number. And in another difference from the Hess group, both tug and barge were built by the same yard, Avondale in New Orleans. There was a third sister built, but didn't survive her maiden voyage due to "working" between tug and barge on their Atlantic crossing. When they attempted to separate them, the tug sank, but the barge was salvaged and later used as the forebody of the tanker SEABULK AMERICA.
Robbie Cox on Oct 24, 2020 14:47 (1 month ago)
Hi Cisco we had a tank barge and tug at Dublin very like this vessel called the Oxy 403 she delivered a cargo of molasses to the port but she was detained by the port state after spending about a month at anchor she was towed by a tug to liverpool for lay up, The photos i have of her where taking 23/7/95
alexds on Oct 24, 2020 08:57 (1 month ago)
Former JULIUS HAMMER or FRANCES HAMMER - 1981 built for Occidental Petroleum for trade between US Gulf and Ilichevsk (USSR).
Cisco on Oct 24, 2020 06:12 (1 month ago)
So if it is SMT Two that would make the 'tug' SMT Chemical Trader?
Cisco on Oct 24, 2020 06:06 (1 month ago)
Thank you George.
It looks like we have narrowed it down to one of a pair SMT One or SMT Two as the hull is black and the name on the side is quite short. ( it looks like it could be 'two'
Funnel mark on the original is a white diamond in a blue square.. Red letter(s) in the white diamond.
I imagine they appealed to the bean counters due to reduced manning requirements for a 'tug'?
They would have been hard pressed with this pair to get a greater difference in draft and trim....
George.Schneider on Oct 24, 2020 05:35 (1 month ago)

It looks like the hull is green, in which case this is one of the 6 ITB's built for Hess Oil, but I would have expected the stacks to be orange. If so, the tug and barge were built by different builders but shared the same name. The names were JACKSONVILLE, GROTON, NEW YORK, BALTIMORE, PHILADELPHIA, and MOBILE. If the hull is black, these would be SMT CHEMICAL EXPLORER / SMT ONE or SMT CHEMICAL TRADER / SMT TWO.
It was a catamaran tug, that fit tightly over a knee and into a notch on the barge. They'd stay together for years until drydockings required them to be separated, at which time any difference in draft or trim between the two caused resistance, not to mention the marine growth that had "glued" them together. The ITB's were great for the financial people, but misery in every way for the crew.
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