The USS Mazapeta (Yard Tug-181), a Woban class NAVY tug was laid down by the Gibbs Gas Engine Co. of Jacksonville, Fla., August 7th 1942; launched May 8th 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Howard Fortson and placed in service August 12, 1943. Twice she was reclassified initially as Yard Tug Big-181 May 1944, and again as Yard Tug Medium-181 February 1962.
Mazapeta was originally assigned to the 3rd Naval District based in New York City and was transferred in 1944 to the 12th District in San Francisco. Except for the period between May 1947 to September 1950, when she was in the reserve fleet out of service at Mare Island. She performed miscellaneous tugging and ship assist services for that district into 1976. During her NAVY carrier she has worked in many ports such as San Francisco, Guam, Japan, and the Philippines. On June 1, 1976 she was decommissioned from the Navy register and six days later sold as scrap at auction.
On June 7, 1976 Sanders Towing of Benicia, CA was the high bidder with $99,101.00. They changed her name to “Leross” and added her to their fleet of working tugs in the San Francisco Bay. Saunders changed her name one more time in 1982 to “Gail L Saunders:, the name many local mariners remember and know her as today.
On September 18, 1998 Sanders Towing sold Mazapeta for an unkown amount to Rich Williams and Ron Ihle. After a brief time of being berthed at Fulton Ship Yard in Antioch CA she was towed a few miles to her new home at Big Break where she laid untouched for 10 years.
In early June 2008 SF Tugboats was tipped off about the Mazapeta’s existence and her soon to be death by scrapping. When we saw her, we liked her and saved her from scrap once again. After a month of going through her systems and giving her a good bill of health, painting her and cleaning her up, she then made her voyage to Alameda to begin her new life.