Coast Guard has WWII-era tugboat once featured on TV removed

By MARK HARPER | The News-Journal, Daytona Beach, Fla. (Tribune News Service) | Published: June 8, 2017

And then it was gone.

A World War II-era tugboat stuck for 19 years in the Intracoastal Waterway near Ormond-by-the-Sea in Florida has been removed, towed to Jacksonville on Wednesday.

A contractor hauled off the USS Tutahaco to a Jacksonville shipping yard, said Petty Officer 3rd Class Ryan Dickinson, a public affairs specialist with the U.S. Coast Guard in Jacksonville. It will be secured for a final journey by sea to a salvage yard in Texas.

"There is no timetable for when it will make that final journey," Dickinson said. "The Coast Guard took the operation because it was a threat to the environment."

The 300-ton tugboat has begun leaking bilgewater, including oil, into the river off John Anderson Drive at San Jose Drive. The boat's owner was unable to pay to have it removed, so the Coast Guard took action.

It had previously been inhabited by a man once featured on TV's "American Pickers," Gordon McCarthy, aka "The Captain," and his faithful pet, a miniature horse named Alfie. But McCarthy died in 2014 and efforts to preserve the vessel locally were unsuccessful.

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