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ARS - Safeguard Class Res

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Registered: August 2001
Posts: 46,792
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Function: Rescue and salvage ships render assistance to disabled ships, provide towing, salvage, diving, firefighting and heavy lift capabilities.

History: Fleet tugs are used to tow ships, barges and targets for gunnery exercises. They are also used as platforms for salvage and diving work, as participants in naval exercises, to conduct search and rescue missions, to aid in the clean up of oil spills and ocean accidents, and to provide fire fighting assistance. USNS Apache (T-ATF 172) is the last of the Powhatan class of ocean tugs delivered to the Navy in 1981.

Description: The mission of the rescue and salvage ships is four-fold: to debeach stranded vessels, heavy lift capability from ocean depths, towing of other vessels, and manned diving operations. For rescue missions, these ships are equipped with fire monitors forward and amidships which can deliver either firefighting foam or sea water. The salvage holds of these ships are outfitted with portable equipment to provide assistance to other vessels in dewatering, patching, supply of electrical power and other essential service required to return a disabled ship to an operating condition. The U.S. Navy has responsibility for salvaging U.S. government-owned ships and, when it is in the best interests of the United States, privately-owned vessels as well. The rugged construction of these steel-hulled ships, combined with speed and endurance, make these rescue and salvage ships well-suited for rescue/salvage operations of Navy and commercial shipping throughout the world. The versatility of this class of ship adds immeasurably to the capabilities of the U.S. Navy with regard to rendering assistance to those in peril on the high seas.

General Characteristics, Safeguard Class


Peterson Builders

Power Plant:

Four Caterpiller 399 Diesels, two shafts, 4,200 horsepower

Length, Overall:

255 feet (77.72 meters)


51 feet (15.54 meters)


16 feet 9 inches (5.11 meters)


3,282 long tons (3,334.67 metric tons) full load


14 knots (16.11 miles, 25.93 km,

per hour)


6 officers, 94 enlisted


8,000 miles (12,872 km) at 8 knots (14.824 km/hr)

Salvage Capability:

7.5-ton capacity boom forward; 40-ton capacity boom aft

Heavy Lift:

Capable of a hauling force of 150 tons

Diving Depth:

190 feet (57.91 meters), using air


2 .50 caliber machine guns

2 Mk-38 25mm guns


USS Safeguard (ARS 50), Pearl Harbor, HI

USS Grasp (ARS 51), Little Creek, VA

USS Salvor (ARS 52), Pearl Harbor, HI

USS Grapple (ARS 53), Little Creek, VA

· Date: Sat January 3, 2004 · Views: 5536
· Filesize: 6.3kb · Dimensions: 219 x 150 ·
Additional Info
Keywords: ARS - Safeguard Class Res

Junior Member

Registered: April 2006
Posts: 17
Mon April 17, 2006 10:04pm

Good write about an ARS. Don't remember the "class" (possibly the Discover class), but older ARS types were smaller, 213ft long, with 14ft draft and round bottom.

USS Current ARS22 conducted rescue/salvage ops in Vietnam. On or about May 1971, we conducted salvage ops on the merchant ship Green Bay at QuiNhon, South Vietnam. Green Bay was sunk by VC swimmers (water sappers) using estimated 500# TNT.

Green Bay sank in 40ft water, rolling over on her side at a 45% angle with the booms holding her on the pier to keep her from rolling completely over.

Current patched and floated the 800+ft merchant in a record time (for that size ship) of 26 days. Current crewmen also took out another swimmer attempting to sink the Current about one week into the operation. After Green Bay was afloat, an ATF (fleet tug) was called in to tow her back to the world. During the 1971 tour, Current conducted numerous smaller operations along the coast of South Vietnam. This was Currents last tour, as she was decommissioned spring of 1972.

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