Johnny Cuba is a notorious and violent tramp steamer gangster. His strong accent indicates that he is from Australia. He makes his only appearance in "High Winds". He can also be known as a gangster, because he ran into a coastguard and being really unclean.
Johnny had arrived in Bigg City to make plans with fellow criminal friends during a period of strong and troublesome tempest weather. He threatened Zebedee and manipulated him into helping him into the port un-noticed.
Johnny sent Zebedee on an errand to steal a barge of coal for him, and threatened to sink him if he landed either of them in trouble. Due to a feud between Johnny and Captain Zero that occurred in the past, Zebedee was placed in an awkward and dangerous situation, until Hercules discovered Johnny's hide-out in an abandoned dock. He attempted to escape, but Zebedee stuck up courage to ram him against the quayside and then take him to the authorities. Despite Johnny's claim "they can't hold Johnny Cuba!", they did.
He later appears in one of the stories of the TUGS 1989 Annual, "The Missing Barge" waiting for goods in the estuary, but Sunshine gives the crates to the Customs Launch. While Sunshine receives praise, the tanker that contained his goods was arrested.
Despite his notorious persona, in the Buzz Book, "Nothing to Declare", it was shown that Johnny Cuba had a good streak in him as he stopped a submarine from foiling Bluenose's inspection and the arrival of the top secret navy vessels.
It is a mystery where Johnny Cuba comes from. The TUGS Board Game states that Johnny Cuba comes from Cuba, after his surname, though in the television series, he speaks with an accent reflecting that of Australia or New Zealand.Johnny's whistle is very low pitched and has a distant whooping noise.
- In Salty's Lighthouse, he was named 'Steamer' and was a friendly character, instead of being an antagonist.
- His model makes numerous cameos in Tugs itself as a prop, but without a face mask.
- His superstructure was reused for Old Rusty.
- He has only one face mask, alongside with Sea Rogue's Uncle and Old Rusty.