U.S. Army ST-488 is an 86 ft (26 m) harbor tugboat, design 327-A, of the numerical series 885-490 built by J.K. Welding & Co shipyards in Brooklyn, New York in 1944. The Army's ST small tugs ranged generally from about 55 ft (17 m) to 92 ft (28 m) in length as opposed to the larger seagoing LT tugs. ST-488 was delivered May 1944 and served in the United States Army from October 1944 to 1946 in the French port of Le Havre and on the floating docks of the U.S. Mulberry harbour of Arromanches in Normandy. After a civilian career at the port of Le Havre until the late 1970s, saved from wrecking by volunteers, she became a museum ship in 1994, part of Musée maritime of Le Havre and was classified a Monument historique (historical monument) in 1997.
The association "USST 488 tug, Le Havre 16th Port US" (association governed by the law of 1901) was founded in 1993. Its purpose is to safeguard, preserve, maintain and promote the American tug USST 488 (property of the Association du Musée Maritime et Portuaire du Havre).
It also organizes the presentation to the public, participation in various events (sea festival, European heritage days) as well as guided tours of the ship.
Since October 1997, the tug has been classified as a "historical monument". This classification gives right to public subsidies for the financing of works. In return, this work must respect certain rules:
- Be validated, beforehand, by a maritime expert
- Be carried out by competent companies.
- Respect the original state (1944) of the boat (appearance or technique).
The operation of the association is financed by membership fees, donations (in cash or in kind) and, more rarely, by corporate sponsorship.
As of January 1, 2017, the association has around sixty members, including ten regularly active members on board.