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"Strange how ordinary people can suddenly turn into criminals, Zeb."
Zak gossiping with Zebedee about Ten Cents

Pirate is the second episode of TUGS.


Engineering parts need to be taken to Scuttlebutt Pete, the dredger so he can start work early in the morning. Ten Cents is ordered to take on the job, as he is the first tug to return to the Star Dock. He delivers the barge loaded with goods, and after encountering Zip and Zug, moors the barge, noticing a mysterious figure moving in an old warehouse.

That foggy night, a stranger to Bigg City Port steals Ten Cents' barge. Zip and Zug discover it is missing the next morning, and are sure that Ten Cents has stolen it. They head out to tell Captain Star, who tells them how he has already received a complaint from the client. He then speaks sternly to Ten Cents about the matter. Ten Cents tried to explain that he had delivered the parts, but Captain Star sends him to do dredger detail as punishment.

As Ten Cents is working with Scuttlebutt Pete, Grampus, the midget submarine, pops up. He says how he has heard the whole story, which Ten Cents certainly does not find amusing. Zak and Zebedee happen to come by and taunt Ten Cents. Sunshine, who has just arrived, informs Ten Cents he has to do more work for the Z-Stacks, which is part of the punishment. Ten Cents must tow an oil barge. After more taunting from Zak and Zebedee, he heads off, annoyed.

That night, Grampus cannot sleep due to the loud music coming from the Bridge Café Band, and goes out for a nosy round the harbour. He encounters an unknown tug, who stole the barge the previous night, which Ten Cents was blamed for. Grampus sees he is stealing Ten Cents' oil barge, and worries who it could be. Through the night, even more barges disappear.

The next morning, a big meeting is held between the Star Fleet and the Z-Stacks at the Star Dock, on how to try and catch the “pirate”. Captain Star and Captain Zero have come up with a plan, which will see all the tugs going out in pairs, to camp out in designated areas with barges filled with flare that will go off if touched, and try and spot and nick the Pirate.

Meanwhile, Grampus is searching where he lost the Pirate the night before. He sees an old warehouse that hasn't been used in years and goes inside. The “pirate” tug is being ordered by two sinister, green-eyed tugs to steal another barge. He must do so to keep his uncle from being scuttled. Grampus sees everything, luckily not being spotted.

That night, Captain Star and Captain Zero’s big plan is put into action. Top Hat is paired with Warrior, which he is not in the least satisfied.

Ten Cents and Sunshine are paired together also. Sunshine is comforting Ten Cents' feelings. Suddenly, Grampus emerges from the water and warns them of what he had seen. Their so called “Pirate” is a tugboat called Sea Rogue, who is forced into stealing the barges. Ten Cents and Sunshine are very surprised.

Also paired are Zip and Zug, who see Ten Cents and Sunshine leaving their posts with Grampus, out to find Sea Rogue, but think they are out to steal barges. Zip and Zug then follow.

The green-eyed tugs then plan their escape, like covering up Lillie Lightship, putting out lights in lighthouses, and muffling Philbert the bell buoy so he wouldn't be seen or heard when he sailed off with his loot.

Meanwhile, Sea Rogue is found by Ten Cents and Sunshine. He explains about his uncle. They come up with a big plan to capture the pirates.

Zip and Zug find the old warehouse and are chased out by the green-eyed tugs. Grampus goes to save Sea Rogue’s uncle. Ten Cents, Sunshine and Sea Rogue take the chance to charge the bad guys, and put their green lights out once and for all. Warrior sees that something is going on. Not paying attention, he bumps into the flare barge, causing it to go off. 

The next morning, a slightly singed Warrior and Top Hat take the villains away, Grampus goes off for a nice rest, and Sea Rogue and his uncle head for home. Hercules tells Ten Cents and Sunshine that they did a good job and that Captain Star is sorry for not believing Ten Cents about the missing barges. Zip and Zug are nearby, and they boast to Ten Cents and Sunshine that nothing scares them. Zug then clumsily bumps into a flare barge behind him; Zip tries to warn him, but it's too late. The flares go off, causing both Z-Stacks to run away in fright, which Ten Cents and Sunshine find a great joke.


VHS Version Exclusive


  • The episode marks the first and only appearances of Sea Rogue, his uncle, and the pirates.
  • The episode marks the first appearance of Grampus and Scuttlebutt Pete.
  • The episode marks Zebedee's first speaking role.
  • This is the first episode where an explosion is used in the series.
  • This is the second and final episode where Captain Zero speaks.
  • This is the only episode where all the Z-Stacks speak.
  • This is the only episode where Captain Star and Captain Zero are seen together.
  • This is the first episode not to feature O.J.
  • There are some deleted scenes included in the TV version of this episode. The scenes are:
    • Sea Rogue entering the harbour.
    • A close up of Ten Cents at night (seen in VHS opening credits).
    • Ten Cents charging towards Sea Rogue.
    • A close up of one of the stolen barges.
    • A close up of Sea Rogue's uncle inside the warehouse.
    • Two scenes of Ten Cents and Sunshine in the morning.
  • Other differences from the VHS version included the following:
    • After Grampus leaves his dock, the music plays whilst Captain Star is finishing narrating. The music isn't heard in the VHS version until Captain Star has finished speaking.
    • Captain Star's narration after Grampus leaves the warehouse is different to the VHS version.
    • The narrator speaks when Grampus surfaces after nearly crossing Sea Rogue's path.
    • Captain Star says in the VHS version "Grampus lost the barge snatcher in the mist, and spent the rest of the night worrying who it could be." and "Next morning, I told Captain Zero Stars and Z-Stacks had to get together on this.". In the TV version, Captain Star says "Grampus lost the thief in the mist. Next morning, I called an urgent meeting with Captain Zero.". Also, the scenes of Sea Rogue taking the over barges are not included in the TV Version, neither is Captain Star's dialogue: "And all that time, the thief was busy, and other barges were disappearing."
    • Zorran's line, "We're wasting time! Ten Cents' barge is the only one that's gone!" is different to the VHS version and after saying: "Quiet! We've decided to set a trap!" Captain Star says: "Captain Zero?"
    • When Grampus is inside the warehouse, he says: "Looks like a problem." This line is not included in the VHS Version.
    • Ten Cents says: "Well, let's get the Pirate!" He'll be sorry he crossed me, I'll tell ya!" in the director's cut. In the TV Version, he says: "Let's get that Pirate! He'll be sorry he crossed me, I'll tell ya!"
    • In the VHS version, when Hercules appears and congratulates Ten Cents, Sunshine and Grampus, the naval submarine says: "Thanks, Hercules. Well, I'm off to get some rest." In the TV Version, Hercules does not appear, so Grampus says "Bye, Ten Cents, Sunshine. I'm off to get some rest."
    • The narrator speaks when Ten Cents, Sunshine and Sea Rogue charge for the pirates and after Zug hits the flare barge.
    • A lot of scenes were also cut from the TV version, such as Top Hat and Warrior being paired up.
    • Ten Cents and Sunshine swap lines at the end of the TV version when they say "They move pretty fast when they're not scared, eh." and "They certainly do!". This version also has an ending message from Captain Star, "It goes to show that you shouldn't be fooled by appearances. Just because Sea Rogue wore a black patch didn't mean he must be a pirate."
  • In the Japanese version, the beginning is a bit altered, with scenes such as Captain Star telling Ten Cents to go to Scuttlebutt Pete and the music in those scenes is lower than the original version.
  • This episode marks the first time underwater footage is used (although it is too dark to see). The second time is in "Quarantine."
  • This episode marks the first time a tug is seen out of the water. The second time is in "Trapped."
  • This episode marks the first time the Star Fleet's logo is shown.
  • Pre-filmed footage from "Jinxed" is used.
  • At the start of the episode, Zug remarks "All work and no play makes Ten Cents a dull tug." This is a play on the words, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", a phrase used to describe a person who becomes bored and boring without time off from work.
  • Although Pirate was first broadcast in 1989, the director's cut was released on VHS in 1988.
  • This episode and "Sunshine" are the only two that are twenty minutes long in Japan.
  • The Japanese title of this episode is "Fearsome and Loathsome Pirate Ship".


  • When Ten Cents corners Sea Rogue, the two do not actually collide, yet Sea Rogue still shifts. This is because of the chassis the tugs are placed on. Likewise, The Pirates do not come in contact with Ten Cents, Sunshine and Sea Rogue later on.
  • The back cover of the single Japanese VHS release features a deleted scene from Sunshine, but that episode is not included.
  • When Zak and Zebedee pass Ten Cents smoke is coming out of the base of Zak's smokestack.
  • Scuttlebutt Pete's voice is not as gruff as it later became.
  • After Sunshine says, "Leave 'em Tents Cents, Captain Star's got another job for you," Ten Cents is wearing his smiling face.
  • Ten Cents is smiling after Zak and Zebedee tease him for the first time.
  • When Warrior hits the barge, his hat jumps up a little.
  • When Top Hat and Warrior tows the pirates away, the pirates' green lights are missing.
  • In three scenes, Ten Cents is missing his number and hooter.

In Other Languages

Language Title
Finnish Merirosvo - Pirate
Japanese かいぞく船をやっつけろ - Fearsome and Loathsome Pirate Ship