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"You've let the fog get to you, m'dears!"
Hercules, after explaining to the Star Tugs the truth about the White Fleet.

Ghosts is the ninth episode of TUGS.

Plot

Winter arrives early in Bigg City Port, and so does the big fog that comes with it. It was much more difficult to navigate through fog in these years, due to the tugs having neither a radio nor radar.

One night, Big Mac is travelling back home to the Star Dock, after working with Scuttlebutt Pete, who has been telling him ghost stories. The fog makes everything seem very spooky. Just then, Big Mac sees some tugs – silent, tugs white all over that appear to be ghosts. Big Mac thinks it’s the ghost tugs Scuttlebutt Pete told him about while working. Big Mac rushes home, and while reluctant at first, tells the others. The tugs make fun of Big Mac while telling him to get a grip. The next morning, the tugs still give Big Mac a hard time, including O.J., after he sarcastically gives him wise advice about the fog. Big Mac wishes he hadn’t told them now.

That night, on Warrior’s way back to port, some shrimpers are using him a guide. Suddenly, Warrior sees a mud-bank, and swerves just in time. But the shrimpers can’t react in time and end right upon the mud-bank. Then, Warrior sees the Ghost Fleet too.

Further away, Izzy Gomez is about to attempt to get into port free, using the fog as cover. Zorran comes across Izzy and taunts him about it. He then leaves Izzy. Up ahead, Zorran sees two lights in the mist that he thinks is another tramper needing a tow – but it turns out to be the Ghost Fleet. Meanwhile, Izzy Gomez has started away on his own. Before long, he too sees the ghosts. A frightened Zorran has travelled right round in a circle, and ends up running straight into Izzy’s side. A desperate Izzy, wanting to get into port away from the ghosts, offers Zorran to tow him for any price. Zorran though, also scared, says he will tow him in free as he needs some company on the way back to the port.

O.J. is also on the way back to port, after escorting two trampers out to sea. He takes a shortcut through the inlet where old cranes are kept. The fog makes everything look very creepy. Suddenly, Scuttlebutt Pete raises his dredger out of the water, startling O.J. and shouts that he's scaring the other workers. O.J. soon continues on – and sees the Ghost Fleet pass right on by.

Top Hat is now travelling home after a long day. He is suddenly startled – but soon finds it is merely a train crossing the rail bridge. The fog and all, it would seem, is getting to Top Hat’s nerves as well. Upon steering between two idle trampers, Top Hat sees the Ghost Fleet, and docks behind a tramper to hide, thinking he is miles from home.

Ten Cents and Sunshine are taking fuel to Lillie Lightship, but it’s hard-going. Just then, they hear a strange cracking noise. To add to that, the Ghost Fleet past. As time goes on, an old galleon slowly rises from the water. Lightning strikes it allover, several times, and a freakish face appears in the sky. Ten Cents and Sunshine clear the scene the way they came in terror.

Next morning, Grampus finds Top Hat and spits some water at him, waking him up with a start. Top Hat pleads for the ghosts to go away, and then sees Grampus, telling him he must have been dreaming. Grampus makes great fun of Top Hat for mooring there, as he is no more than 500 yards from the Star Tugs Pier.

Top Hat heads over to the pier and tells the others all about what he saw, thinking his side doesn't matter since they have all seen the ghosts. Hercules, just arriving back, hears the commotion, and calmly asks what the problem is. The tugs tell Hercules all about the Ghost Fleet. Hercules explains the floating figures are not ghost, but the White Fleet. Visiting from Northern waters on the trail of an iceberg. Often sailing at times with engines off, listening for cracking ice. Hercules then explains that the galleon was simply frozen in the iceberg that melted. Hercules tells them they have let the fog get to them.

Just then, Burke and Blair pass by towing the old galleon, now nothing more than burned, destroyed and rotten. The tugs are embarrassed, but soon find they can laugh at their own expense.

Characters

Trivia

  • This is the only episode to use cartoon animation such as lightning bolts and Neptune's Face.
  • This is the only episode to only feature one Z-Stack, being Zorron.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Grampus, Nantucket, Burke and Blair.
  • This episode marks Grampus, Izzy Gomez and the shrimpers' last speaking roles.
  • This is the first and only appearance of the White Fleet.
  • It is revealed that Top Hat has a fog horn.
  • The cause of Neptune's Face is never explained.
  • The Japanese version of this episode is called "Who's Afraid of Some Ghost Ship".
  • The shadows of the train reveal that Puffa was pulling an 8-wheeled flatbed, which is the only time a truck with such configuration has been used.

Goofs

  • From the galleon scene onwards, Ten Cents is missing one of his side fenders.
  • A piece of Big Mac's number on his stack is missing until the first day scenes.
  • Due to error with Zorran's model, light can be seen coming from beneath his hat.
  • After O.J. leaves Scuttlebutt Pete, his paddlewheel clips one of the crane's buckets.
  • When Puffa's goods cars finish crossing the bridge, the lights on the sides of the tracks to create the shadow of the train, turns off, yet they were still on just before Puffa crossed the bridge.
  • The rear cover of the single Japanese VHS release features a photograph from the episode Regatta, but that episode is not included.
  • In his last two close-ups, Hercules' glasses are upside down.

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