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Pictured as: the Patricia B. McAllister (McAllister Towing) Photo by: Marc Piche

Built in 1976, by Atlantic Marine Incorporated of Fort George Island, Florida (hull # 4161) as the Esso Santa Cruz for the Esso Shipping Company of Wilmington, Delaware.

The tug was registered in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles. Her primary function was the handling of large oil tankers.

In 1987, she was acquired by the Naviera Carralvo Company of Minatitljn, Mexico. Where she was renamed as the Santa Cruz. And, registered in San Nicolas, Netherlands Antilles.

In 1988, she was acquired by McAllister Towing and Salvage Incorporated of Montreal, Canada. Where she was transferred to a Canadian registry. And, renamed as the Patricia B. McAllister.

On April 22nd of 1991, the tug was lost in the St. Lawrence River. In the early morning hours, the Patricia B. McAllister suddenly sank off the Gaspe Peninsula. While in route from Montreal to a shipyard in Pictou, Nova Scotia. Where she was slated for a routine inspection, and general repairs.

Fourteen ships, and six aircraft patrolled the area off Riviere au Renard, Quebec for several days. As that was the tug's last reported position. Pierre Niguet, the sole survivor, was located after he had drifted for thirty six hours in one of only three on board emergency escape craft.

In a statement he said, "There was a large noise, a large bang" and shortly thereafter Patricia B. McAllister went down. Of the five missing crew members, four bodies were recovered. The fifth body was never recovered. Sometime later, a chance sighting by a research ship revealed Patricia B. McAllister's sunken position.

A length of blue line which had been stowed on the aft deck of the tug, and secured at one end to prevent it form washing overboard. Had unfurled, as the tug sank the unbound end to floated to the surface. Providing the search parties with a direct path to the wreck. Loran coordinates were taken. A remotely operated submersible was brought to the scene by the HMCS Cormorant to record the position.

Upon inspection, it was found that a barely submerged ice floe know as a "growler." Had torn a 30(ft) long gash in the tug's hull immediately adjacent to the engine room compartment on her starboard side. The tug's main engine was visible through the gash. The Patricia B. McAllister had filled with water rapidly, and within minutes her stern had sunk below the surface. The tug went down stern first and struck the bottom. In the same vertical manner, her bow pointing towards the surface. Since she sank in 320(ft) of water, no salvage effort was ever attempted.

She was powered by two, sixteen cylinder, General Motors EMD 16-645-E7 diesel engines. For a rated 6,100 horsepower.
(Gerry Ouderkirk, Auke Visser)

  • Vessel Name: ESSO SANTA CRUZ
  • USCG Doc. No.: C.810810
  • Vessel Service: TOWING VESSEL
  • IMO Number: 7514309
  • Trade Indicator: Coastwise Unrestricted, Registry
  • Hull Material: STEEL
  • Hull Number: 4161
  • Ship Builder: ATLANTIC MARINE, INC.
  • Year Built: 1976
  • Length: 120
  • Hull Depth: 17
  • Hull Breadth: 37
  • Gross Tonnage: 439
  • Previous Vessel Names:
    Esso Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Patricia B. McAllister
  • Previous Vessel Owners:
    Esso Shipping Co., Naviera Carralvo S.A, McAllister Towing & Salvage Inc. of Montreal