109' Oceangoing Tug (YTB)
(click on photos for details)

photos taken at Suisun Bay

Tuscumbia Data Sheet

history of
ex-USS Tuscumbia YTB-762


ex-PERL Vessels on Tabuaeran

ex-USS Tatarrax YTB-372
at Tabuaeran (circa 1980)

Tatarrax on bottom at Tabuaeran
(December 4, 2006)

Barge on bottom at Tabuaeran
(December 4, 2006)



Proposed R/V PERL



Length:  109 feet
Beam:  30 feet
Draft:  16 feet
Displacement: 286 tons (light) 346 tons (full)
Dead Weight: 60 tons
Diesel Fuel:  27,316 gallons
Armament:  none
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, one shaft, 2,000 hp
Launched:  1961

Naval Vessel Resister:  Tuscumbia YTB-762 re: Tuscumbia YTB-762


The Atoll Institute is currently in discussions with the Maritime Administration (MARAD) regarding possible donation of the ex-USS Tuscumbia YTB-762, which is currently a MARAD fleet vessel that is moored at the Suisun Bay Ready Reserve Fleet (aka the "mothball fleet").  is hoped that she will be recommissioned to serve as an oceanographic research vessel and as a merchant marine training vessel.

It is proposed that the Tuscumbia be renamed the "R/V PERL" in honor of the ex-USN Tatarrax YTB-372 which is now sunk in the lagoon of Tabuaeran (Fanning) Atoll, located in the Northern Line Chain of the Republic of Kiribati midway between Hawaii and Tahiti, but which faithfully served as the main oceanographic research vessel of the Pacific Equatorial Research Laboratory (PERL), at the former undersea telegraphic Cable Station on Tabuaeran.

The Tatarrax provided logistical support to the PERL operations on Fanning by towing barges from Hawaii laden with surplus heavy equipment for research and general support.  Moreover, she was experimentally operated in the mid-70s to create hydrogen fuel by being anchored mid-channel at English Harbour where her propeller, connected to a very large DC motor, was spun by the tidal current that reaches about 8 knots at peak and was thereby used to generate the electricity that was required to create the hydrogen fuel.  Likewise, the Atoll Institute intends to use the PERL in the same way to continue those experiments.

Given the serviceable condition of the Tuscumbia (proposed "R/V PERL"), it is proposed that she be the first vessel to be made operational and would then be utilized to tow the Planetree (proposed "R/ V Martin Vitousek") and Triumph (proposed "R/V Charles Gordon") from the mothball fleet to a west coast dry dock where all three would be recommissioned.


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Copyright 2006, Atoll Institute, all rights reserved.