capable of supporting deep sea (helium/oxygen) diving and are configured for quick mooring in water depths up
to 1,000 feet. ASRs, with the exception of ASR 21 Class, are fitted with automatic towing machines and are
fully capable of rescue towing.
Convoy Escort-Another type of rescue duty was performed by the tugs which escorted the convoys.
This duty was originally assigned to older, commercially built and operated tugs, but later in WWII
the Rescue Tug (ATR) was as- signed for this service. Today the T-ATF Class performs this
d. Ice Convoy and Arctic Rescue Towing-These were the missions of the Icebreakers (AGB Class).
Until the mid-1960s, the Navy-operated AGBs were distinguished as the largest and most powerful
tugs operated anywhere in the world. The Icebreakers (designated WAGB) were transferred to the
U.S. Coast Guard in the 1960s; the older ones have since been decommissioned. Few, if any, of
the remaining WAGB Class retain a specialized towing machine.
e. Special Projects Towing-Navy tugs often become involved with unusual tows or ocean
engineering tasks. Some of the towing operations include: target services, submersible towing, array
movements and classified operations In the area of ocean engineering, the tug may serve as a
diving platform, establish moors, or perform a variety of deepwater tasks including remotely-
operated vehicle support and deepwater recovery.
SALVAGE TOWING. Salvage vessels have been designed primarily for salvage work and only
secondarily for towing. They have relatively large afterdecks. Below decks, they are equipped with good shop
facilities, diving support equipment, limited off-ship firefighting systems, and large quantities of beach gear and
other salvage supplies.
1-2.3.1 Combat Salvage and Towing. Ships playing this role include Fleet Tugs (T-ATF) when out- fitted,
Rescue Salvage Ships (ARS), and Salvage Tugs (ATS) when they escort amphibious landing forces and battle
groups. Their job is to tow ships or landing craft that are damaged, afire or disabled or beached and (if
beached) likely to broach The tugs also stand by to tow away disabled vessels from the bombardment group, as
well as transport and supply ships laying off the beachhead. In the case of amphibious landings, these rescue
tugs and salvage ships can be subject to enemy fire from ashore. During World War II, the ARSs were
originally intended to extract stranded ships by means of beach gear transferred to, and operated from, the
stranded ship. They essentially were salvage support ships. The ARSs of the early years of WWII even lacked
towing machines. Later, automatic towing machines were diverted from the ATA program and installed on the
ARSs, thus adding towing to their capabilities. The current ARS 50 Class and ATS 1 Class are designed from
the keel up to support combat salvage and towing missions.
1-2.3.2 Rescue Towing. The mission of rescue towing encompasses saving a stricken ship at sea or towing
a disabled ship from the scene of a successful salvage to a safe refuge.
TOW-AND-BE-TOWED. Another kind of towing worthy of note is emergency towing accomplished
not by tugs but by other ships, often of the same class. This is referred to as "tow-and-be-towed" or
"emergency ship-to-ship towing." As early as the 1929 edition of the Navy General Specifications for Building
Ships, a provision was made for accomplish- mg this type of towing. The Ships' Characteristics Board requires
that every ship in the Navy be capable of and equipped to "tow-and-be-towed."'
Generally, this means that the ship is capable of towing one of its own or a similar type in an emergency, with
each ship providing half the towline. Tow-and-be-towed operations for NATO Navies are covered in ATP 43