Previous name:
Subsequent name:                                                                          

Class:                                               SAMSON Class Tug

Pennant No:                                     A390

Laid down:                                       
Builder:                                            Alexander Hall & Co Ltd, Aberdeen
Launched:                                       14 May 1953
Into Service:                                     May 1954
Out of service:                                  29 April 1977
Fate:                                               broken up March 1981



Items of historic interest involving this ship: -


Background Data:   There were 3 ships in this Class, only one of which saw service as an RFA They were all built and engined by the same Company and are generally referred to as SAMSON or GIANT Class. The full Class was as follows:


Pennant Nr       Name                         Launched                  Completed                      Fate

A 390                SAMSON                      14/05/53                     05/54                       RFA Service

A 288                SEA GIANT                    2/06/54                                                     Scrapped 1980 

                        SUPERMAN                   23/11/53                                                     Scrapped 1979


Career Data:

14 May 1953 launched by Alexander Hall & Co Ltd, Aberdeen as Yard Nr 741 named SAMSON



Builders Plate - © Andy Crespin – used with permission


11 March 1954 entered dry dock at Portsmouth and undocked on 15 March 1954

20 May 1954 placed on standby after a Subsmash signal had been sent due to HMS/m SCORCHER failing to surface off Portsmouth. Had commenced to load equipment for a rescue mission when the submarine surfaced

31 May 1954 undertook trials at Portsmouth Dockyard.The Dockyard trials consisted of Bollard pulls at various r.p.m. and took place at Bull Nose Jetty between B & C Locks

1 June 1954 towing trials at Stokes Bay took place. There involved towing RFA Capable at various speeds

8 February 1955 sailed Portsmouth to stand by HMS MONTCLARE which was anchored off the Nab Tower. The Submarine Depot Ship was being towed from the Clyde to Portsmouth for a refit. The weather was bad and it was considered impossible to get her into the Dockyard until it had died down

15 January 1958 towed RFA OAKOL off a shingle bank off the Isle of Wight where she had run aground

4 August 1960 with other tugs moved HMS VANGUARD out of Portsmouth Harbour for final voyage, under tow, to the ship breakers. The move out of Portsmouth Harbour did not go smoothly with VANGUARD running aground at the habour entrance. With the assistance of other tugs VANGUARD was freed and towed out of the harbour

13 February 1965 attended the Irish cargo steamer City of Waterford on fire off St Catherine's Point, Isle of Wight on passage from Zeebrugge to Waterford and fought the fire before taking the steamer in tow to St. Helen's Roads

26 September 1969 to 29 September 1969 berthed alongside at Portsmouth Harbour with ETV Whimbrel outside of her

November 1974 reported to have been sold to the Chilean Navy but this did not materialise and she was laid up at Portsmouth.

29 April 1977 sold to H.G. Pounds Ltd, Portsmouth.

December 1977 sailed Portsmouth after sale to Cosimo Lo Nigro, Palermo

1978 renamed COSMO by her owners.

March 1981 broken up at Palermo



  1. Based at Portsmouth mainly deployed on harbour work with occasional sea towing and salvage work
  2. Had a Bollard Pull of 30 tons and a range of 5,000 miles at 12 knots

Additional information

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