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T-ARS-53 "USNS GRAPPLE"
Photo by: Birk Thomas

Built in 1986, at Peterson Builders Incorporated Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin (hull #ARS 52) as the ARS-53 (USS Grapple) for the United States Navy.

She was the fourth Safeguard class salvage ship designed and built for the United States Navy. The tug was launched on December 08th, 1984 and commissioned on November 15th, 1986. And the tug was allocated Atlantic Fleet Service Force at Little Creek, Virginia.

On July 13th, 2006 the tug was decommissioned and transferred to the service of Military Sealift Command, and redesignated as the T-ARS-53 (USNS Grapple).

On October 1st, 2016, the tug was towed to the Naval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Where she was placed out of active service.

Powered by four, Caterpillar 399 diesel engines, turning two, shafts with two, controllable-pitch propellers. She is a twin screw tug, rated at 4,200 horsepower.

The towing equipment consists of an Almon A. Johnson Series 322, double-drum, automatic towing machine. With 3,000 (ft) of 2.25(in) towing wire. A Series 400 traction winch, outfitted with 14(in) synthetic hawser, and a set Norman pin rollers.
(NAVSource Online)


  • Vessel Name: T-ARS-53 "USNS GRAPPLE"
  • Vessel Service: TOWING VESSEL
  • IMO Number: 8434336
  • Trade Indicator: Coastwise Unrestricted Registry
  • Call Sign: NGRP
  • Hull Material: STEEL
  • Hull Number: ARS 53
  • Ship Builder: Peterson Builders Inc.
  • Year Built: 1986
  • Length: 255
  • Hailing Port: NORFOLK, VA.
  • Hull Depth: 17
  • Hull Breadth: 51
  • Gross Tonnage: 3203
  • Net Tonnage: 2354
  • Previous Vessel Names:
    ARS-53 "USS Grapple"
  • Previous Vessel Owners:
    United States Navy