Pensacola Sea Stories

A Story of Pensacola's Maritime History

The tug Nellie It was around 1925 that the Railroad serving New York Harbor had a Problem. They owned their own "railcar barges" that moved their cars in the harbor area where there were no bridges, but they were at the mercy of the New York Harbor tugs who had a monopoly on the rates charged to move the barges. Aiken Towing Company, a long time Pensacola firm was hired to bring its tugs and personnel to New York to be used as a threat by the Railroads against the New York harbor tugs and their crews. The whole fleet of Aiken tugs were dispatched to New York. These tugs were the Richmond; Simpson; Nellie; Sea King; Dixie; and Leroy. The Steam Tug Richmond was the largest tug in the fleet at 160 feet overall and 30 foot beam. Steam tug Sea King It drew 16 foot fully loaded with coal. The crews that went to New York consisted of Captains Asa Ward and Ike Ward, Engineers Charles Johnson and Tom Brown as well as numerous Pensacola folks rounded out the crew lists. The tugs remained in New York for around two years but only as a threat as leverage for the Railroads. They must have been a good threat as it is said they stayed tied up at their docks the whole time while in New York. - "Toby" Ward, 1997

Asa Ward (right) and Associates head to New York.
The Crews The opposition tugs in New York

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