April T. Beker

April T. Beker – Beverly Anderson – Defiance


Articulated Tugboat, Bludworth Coupler; Paired with Barge Ashtabula

Defiance in winter layup at Sarnia, Ontario, viewed from the Ojibway, February 18, 2017. Photo by Roger LeLievre


Build Information

Year Built: 1982

Builder: Marinette Marine Corp., Marinette, WI

Hull #8271

Registry: U.S. 646729

IMO #8109761

Laid Down: —

Launch Date: —

Commissioned: Summer 1982

Paired Barges:


The Defiance was constructed as the ocean-going tugboat April T. Beker for Beker Transportation. The tug and her paired barge were built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. She was paired with the barge Erol Y. Beker, now the Ashtabula, which she remains paired with to this day. The tug was originally designed to fit into a notch in the barge’s stern, being lashed in by cables running between the vessels, with the option for the tug to tow the barge on a wire if necessary. The April T. Beker was also fitted with an upper level pilothouse for a better view over the consort.


  • Retrofitted with Bludworth Articulated Tug/Barge System, 2007.

General Stats

Length Overall [Combined Tug & Barge]: 705′

Length Overall [Tug]: 145’01”

Breadth: 44′

Depth: 21′

Vessel Type: Articulated Tugboat

Propellers: 2

Rudders: 2

Engineering Equipment



Engine Type: Diesel Engine

Engine Manufacturer: General Motors Electro-Motive Division, Chicago, IL

Engine Model: 20-645-E7

Number of Engines: 2

Rated HP: 7,200 BHP



April T. Beker – 1982-1987

Owner: Beker Transportation, Greenwich, CT

Operator: Beker Transportation

Flag: United States

Home Port: Wilmington, DE

Beverly Anderson – 1987-2002

Owner: Gulfcoast Transit Co., Tampa, FL [Tampa Electric (TECO)]

Operator: Gulfcoast Transit Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Tampa, FL

Beverly Anderson – 2002-2007

Owner: Tampa Electric Co., Tampa, FL

Operator: Tampa Electric Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Tampa, FL

Beverly Anderson – 2007-2011

Owner: U.S. United Ocean Services, Tampa, FL

Operator: U.S. United Ocean Services

Flag: United States

Home Port: Tampa, FL

Defiance – 2012-Present

Owner: Grand River Navigation Co., Traverse City, MI [Rand Logistics]

Operator: Grand River Navigation Co.

Flag: United States

Home Port: Cleveland, OH

Her Story

The tug Defiance was built in 1982 as the April T. Beker for Beker Industries’ subsidiary Beker Transportation. The tug was paired with the self-unloading barge Erol Y. Beker, which she remains paired with to this day as the barge Ashtabula. The tug/barge pair were constructed to operate on the Atlantic Ocean in the Gulf of Mexico coal trade. The tug was delivered to the shipyard that the barge was being constructed at on April 23, 1982, and the pair entered service that summer.

The tug/barge pair April T. Beker and Erol Y. Beker soon fell into their usual trade route, carrying coal from the New Orleans region to power plants in Tampa, Florida. The barge ran aground in the Gulf of Mexico on January 21, 1983, requiring drydocking.

In 1985, Beker Industries filed for bankruptcy, and the tug/barge pair were acquired by Tampa Electric Company’s subsidiary Gulfcoast Transit. The tug was renamed Beverly Anderson while the barge was renamed Mary Turner. The tug Beverly Anderson suffered a major engine room fire while on Tampa Bay on April 16, 1992.

Gulfcoast Transit was reorganized as TECO Ocean Shipping in 2002, with the pair remaining under their ownership and operation. In 2007, the pair were sold to the United Marine Group. Operation of the tug and barge was taken over by their subsidiary, U.S. United Ocean Services. The pair were retrofitted with a Bludworth Articulated Tug/Barge connection system, making them an official ATB unit.

On December 6, 2011, Rand Logistics announced that they had purchased the tug/barge pair Beverly Anderson / Mary Turner and their fleetmate Tina Litrico as part of a $25 Million deal. The tug/barge pair made their way up the St. Lawrence Seaway in April 2012, stopping in Port Colborne, Ontario, where the barge Mary Turner‘s old 80′ self-unloading boom was removed and the 250’ boom from the scrapped vessel Joseph H. Frantz was placed on her deck. The pair sailed to their builder’s yard in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for a 6-month refit, drydocking, repainting into Lower Lakes Towing/Grand River Navigation fleet colors, and installation of the unloading boom on the barge.

They departed the shipyard on October 23, 2012, heading for Sand Products Corporation’s loading dock in Brevort, Michigan, to load sand. The pair then sailed for Sarnia, Ontario, where the tug was christened Defiance and the barge was christened Ashtabula on October 27, 2012. After the christening ceremonies, they proceeded to Buffalo, New York, to unload their cargo of sand.

The tug/barge pair Defiance / Ashtabula remain an active member of the Grand River Navigation fleet, serving the ore, coal, stone, sand, and salt trades.

Compiled By Brendan Falkowski

Updated on April 20, 2023



“Ashtabula Integrated with tug Defiance”. Rand Logistics, N.d. Accessed 8 June 2020. https://www.randlog.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Rand-Vessel-Profile-AST.pdf

Greenwood’s Guide to Great Lakes Shipping 2016, Harbor House Publishers, 2016. Pp. 6.5.

Falkowski, Brendan. “Defiance”. Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping Online. N.d. Accessed 8 June 2020. http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/Defiance.htm

Pennock, Isaac. “Defiance”. Great Lakes Tugs & Workboats. N.d. Accessed 8 June 2020. https://gltugs.wordpress.com/defiance/