Being ‘Tugged’ in the Right Direction


For most of my life I have lived within sight of, or close to the sea or some large river. When I was small, I could look out from my grandma’s window in Scotland and watch the ships go up and down the River Forth to the port of Grangemouth. Later, my first job was in a shipping office and I could actually go aboard some of the ships that came to Grangemouth, mostly from Scandinavia, Germany and Holland. When I moved to Australia I came to Newcastle, where I returned to live some ten years ago. Newcastle is another large port where the ships come so close to the city centre, you can almost touch them. But in Grangemouth and Newcastle there are other vessels lining the harbour. They are the Tugs; small but powerful boats that guide the big ships safely into harbour. It’s fascinating to watch the skill with which the Tug Captains manoeuvre the much larger vessels. When the ship is especially large, two or three of them are seen fussing around the great ship, herding it in the right direction like some kind of aquatic sheepdogs, to get her safely to her berth,.


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