Tenders & Tugs and Asbestos
Tenders and tugs are Navy vessels that go out to sea with other ships as part of a support team. The tenders and tugs provide aid during important military missions at sea by carrying serviceable goods for the primary ships. The tenders and tugs also help bigger vessels to maneuver in and out of ports or harbors, and sometimes to navigate through narrow waterways.
A famous example of a Navy tender is the USS Isle Royale AD-29. This ship helped to keep the peace in the 1950s up through the early 1960s. The USS Isle Royale AD-29 was built in 1945 at the Todd Pacific Shipyard. The ship was invaluable for its assistance during military maneuvers, providing parts and labor for ships in distress. A ship that was damaged could be easily fixed, even while at sea, by the men on the tender. They would de-board the tender and board the damaged vessel until it was fully repaired.
Tugs are small vessels that pack a powerful punch. These often tiny but mighty ships assist bigger vessels by towing them through either harbors or the open water. Tugs also help to steer bigger ships as they travel alongside each other. Navy tugs were very famous during World War II as the tugs transported incapacitated vessels to safety. If a tender was unable to fix a stranded Navy ship, the tugs would tow the ship back to safety in a port. The USS Lipan AT-85 is a prime example of a tug used in the Pacific Ocean at the time of World War II.
Without tenders and tugs and the men who operated them, an important piece of maritime history would be missing. Unfortunately, these brave and hardworking men were more than likely exposed to asbestos. While asbestos occurs naturally as a toxin a ship's piping insulation, it is a highly toxic substance to humans. U.S. military personnel aboard older tenders and tugs (those built prior to 1980) were probably exposed to harmful levels of asbestos and should see a physician.
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