TYNE TUGS AND TUG BUILDERS
A history of Tyne Tugs, their builders and owners

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Above: Select the required Tug Owner by using the initial letter of the Owner's Name eg: Batey, Lawson or Tyne.
KEY BELOW: D / H / P (D = basic dimensions are shown; H = a history is given; P = one or more photographs are available)

Tug Owner: Tyne Towage Ltd, Hebburn

Tyne Towage was owned by Mikey Devlin and started from a base in Dunston on Tyne in 1986. The company carried out general towage services on the Tyne and in 1989 moved to a more convenient down river location at Tyne Dock. They stayed at Tyne Dock for a couple of years and in 1991 moved to their own quay, "Devlin's Quay", in Hebburn. Devlin's Quay was immediately down river from the then Swan Hunter Hebburn Dock shipbuilding complex and formerly Palmer's Drydock at Hebburn.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s the river Tyne was still a very active river. Shipbuilding and shiprepair, although in steady decline, were still busy industries requiring regular towing work and the Offshore Industry was at its peak at this time. Unfortunately these industries declined to almost nothing in the early years of the new century and the general towage work all but disappeared. Tyne Towage was more or less excluded from Port of Tyne vessel movements as they were largely contracted to Cory, Wijsmuller and then to Svitzer.

Svitzer were looking for a base for their tugs because their regular moorings at South Shields were not secure and eventally Mickey sold Devlin's Quay and the existing Tyne Towage tugs to Svitzer Marine in 2007.

The majority of the Tyne Towage tugs were either sold just before the Svitzer deal or passed to Svitzer and were immediately placed in lay up pending disposal. The only exception to this was the second, but older, SARAH D that Tyne Towage had purchased as the CLEVELAND ENDEAVOUR.

As well as being a tug owner, Mikey Devlin was also a tug dealer, buying and selling tugs on a regular basis. He also modified many of the tugs that he owned. See the following fleet photos to understand the variety of conversions undertaken.

My thanks to Kevin Blair for his help with this short history and also to Ken Lubi who has provided many of the fine photos.

The following tugs were owned or operated by the company:

Tug Name Year D / H / P
Alys Ann 1952 D / H / P
Asp 1959 D / H / P
Bantam 1 1948 D / H / P
Boa 1959 D / H / P
Bonchurch 1946 D / H / P
Cherry 1970 D / H / P
Cob 1911 D / H / P
Dockman 1949 D / H / P
Dunheron 1955 D / H / P
Kielo 1922 D / H / P
M B 1 1957 D / H / P
Mikey Dev 1962 D / H / P
Pengarth 1962 D / H / P
Primrose 1906 D / H / P
Pullwell Bravo 1955 D / H / P
Pushy Dev 1956 D / H / P
Sarah D 1881 D / H / P
Sarah D 1990 D / H / P
T H Dev 1952 D / H / P
Tommy Dev 1959 D / H / P
-------------------- ----- ----------


To complete the fleet list, Tyne Towage also operated the following non-tugs:

Vessel Name Year D / H / P
Anya Dev 1972 D / H / P
Louise Dev 1965 D / H / P
-------------------- ----- ----------

My thanks also to Susan Lively for identifying these additional Tyne Towage vessels. Susan worked at Tyne Towage for a number of years and then at Svitzer Marine for a time after their takeover of the Tyne Towage business.