Ship In Distress is the second story in the 1990 annual.


It is the day of the lowest tide of the year, and Captain Star's tugs are all hard at work to get everything done before the tide makes movement around the harbour too difficult. Hercules is away guiding an ocean liner into port, and Big Mac, O.J., and Sunshine are working Up River at Mittsville, hurrying to get cargo moved downstream. Only Ten Cents, Top Hat, and Warrior are working in the harbour itself. Captain Star calls Ten Cents and Top Hat to the pier and orders them to bring in a large steamer, loaded with cargo that was having engine trouble. It is very dangerous work, but the tugs were determined. As the two tugs head out to open sea, Zorran, leader of the Z-Stacks, was watching them, wondering what they are up to. In a state of curiousity, Zorran keeps a safe distance behind the Star Tugs. Zorran then realises they are going to bring in the tramp steamer, and starts laughing in stupidity, knowing there is a huge chance the Z-Stacks can take over the job. Meanwhile, Top Hat hitches lines to the tramper and begins to pull her along, while Ten Cents went alongside to guide her. They slowly move her towards the harbour mouth, already feeling worn out. The tide was dropping, and their progress being slower than ever, with Top Hat urging Ten Cents to go harder, while Ten Cents was up to full steam. The tramper soon comes to a halt as the two strained to keep her steady. Zorran watched, ready to make his move. But of course, the Star Tugs never give up, and with a blast of his hooter, Top Hat makes one last huge effort and the tramper starts to move. She begins to slip sideways, as Ten Cents is not able to keep her straight. It looks as though they are out of luck, and Zorran and the Z-Stacks would have to take over. With an unexpected loud blast from Warrior, he pushes against the tramper and begins to help. The three tugs eventually successfully make it through the harbour, and the ship is taken to the shipyard to be repaired. At the Star Dock, Captain Star praises the tugs for a job well done, and the three proved that Star Tugs are still the best team around.