The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1918 to 1939 SATURNO - Yard No 81 - Tug - Wilson Son & Co Built 1928

Leith Shipyards

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SATURNO - Yard No 81 - Tug - Wilson Son & Co Built 1928

SATURNO was another in the long line of tugs built in the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb she in fact was the fore runner of all the large Ocean going Tugs built at the yard

 SATURNO first in line of many fine twin screw Ocean going

and Harbour Tugs built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb

Owners   Wilson Son & Co
Registered    Leith Keel Laid    19/12/1927
Type of Ship    Twin Screw Tug Launched    22/05/1928
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    108' 0" Weather    
Beam    24' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Moulded     12' 0"      
Draught    6' 0" for'd 10' 10" aft light draft      
G.R.T.    213      
Engines    Browns reversing engines, producing a max IHP of 1,000      
Props    2      
Speed    11.5 knots      
Other known names    N/a    
Current Status    The SATURNO was broken up at Santos in 2010    
As info on the SATURNO becomes available it will be updated here. 


The classic old tug SATURNO seen here in the background, wasting away in Brazil, looks like she is just waiting on the scrappers burning torch.

(Unknown photo credit)


Ships History

Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to
pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her on just like any other disposable commodity.

Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was
hoped for a long and successful working life.

The Ocean going salvage tug SATURNO, spent all of her working life out in the waters of Brazil. She had a life span of around 82 years before being broken up in Santos Brazil, a real testament to quality shipbuilding by the men of the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb Ltd.

She was in fact the first in line of many such mighty Ocean Going tugs built at the yard, while built as a Harbour tug she had no problems with dealing all kinds of weather in the South Atlantic waters around the coast of South America.

She was built for the same owners who ordered another two Lighters to be built at the shipyard and as she was named after the Planet in the native language of Brazil (Portuguese) Saturn which has two satellite moons called Iapetus and Encelades both launched from the yard on the same day in 1928 and both of 200 tons grt.

Thes two lighters both at over 95 foot long were in fact the first vessels to be built in the yard that used to be the Ramage & Ferguson Shipyard and was now part of the Henry Robb Shipyard, they were both launched from seperate berths within 10 minutes of each other.

SATURNO was to take both lighters in tow to the companies station at Dakar, Senegal which she accomplished with no problem before heading off back to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to pick up 3 crane barges which had been re-assembled there after first being put together at Leith, yet another early modular build built then taken back down again to be built in another country altogether, she then set off over the South Atlantic to her home port of Santos in Brazil a total maiden journey of 9,463 miles, she was some vessel.

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info
or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.


Above photographs presented to the Leithshipyards website by P.Wallace Grandson of ex Foreman Loftsman William Wallace.
Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

So if you know any of the men or women who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch and we shall add the story here. 

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