"Quite a mess, in't it? Captain Star'll go mad!"
"Yes, well I did tell him, O.J. Working with Z-Stacks just doesn't work."
"It-it-it wasn't my fault! Ask Zorran!"
"One of Zorran's little schemes? Hrrgn, I thought as much...
— O.J, Top Hat, Zug and Big Mac

Trapped is the third episode of Tugs.


There is a time when the Star Tugs and Z-Stacks take on a big job together. One of these times is when timber and tanning bark have to be brought from the sawmills Up River. This year everyone must all work together.

On this day, Zug is pulling a large, rusty, old tramper hull to the breaker's yard. Captain Zero said to take it on his way and deliver it before working with Zorran on the timber and bark job. But this extra task has now made him very late.

An alligator tug, called Billy Shoepack, works up river. He transports dangerous loads, notably dynamite, from Mittsville to the logging camp. Billy sees O.J. and Big Mac, who just want him to get away with his load.

Zug sees Zorran waiting – impatiently. Zorran says how they are all supposed to be on log detail. Zug tells Zorran how Captain Zero told him to take the old rust bucket to the breaker’s yard on his way. Zorran jumps in to “help” Zug get it to the breaker’s yard faster. But Zorran pushes too hard, which causes the vessel to go out of line and jam right across the river with Zug trapped on the other side along with some of the Stars. Now no one can get past it either way. Zorran steams off and leaves Zug there. He is pleased, thinking that all the Stars are trapped Up-River, leaving the harbour entirely to the Z-Stacks.

Top Hat and Sunshine then find Zug and the jammed tramper on their way down. Zug explains the situation and confesses that it wasn't his fault. Sunshine goes back-up-river for help. Meanwhile downriver at Mittsville, Zorran is surprised to see Ten Cents. Ten Cents is pulled off log detail to deliver timber-cutting machinery to Mittsville. Zorran tells Ten Cents about the “accident”. Ten Cents goes to head up there, and he tells Zorran to inform Captain Star, Captain Zero and the salvage team. Unknown to him, Zorran intended to keep the Star Tugs trapped Up-River.

Sunshine meets Billy Shoepack and talks to him about the accident. Billy then offers to blast the tramper open with dynamite, much to Sunshine's dismay. At the scene of the accident, Ten Cents has arrived on the lower side. He calls out, and Top Hat raises his wheelhouse to talk to him. Ten Cents says he will fetch help. Big Mac and O.J., also on the other side, come up with a bright plan: To make a battering ram, using three or four barges.

Back at Mittsville, Ten Cents finds Little Ditcher, of whom Ten Cents asks if he can help with the tramper.

At the site, all the tugs have the barge ram ready. They charge forward but only manage to buckle the tramper. Zug gets trapped between the barges and the tramper. Sunshine arrives with Billy Shoepack, all ready with his dynamite.

Zorran passes Ten Cents, and comments the tramper will crush Little Ditcher. Ten Cents suspects Zorran has not fetched any help and realized his intentions to keep the Star Tugs trapped.

Sunshine pulls Zug clear, leaving Billy Shoepack ready to rig the dynamite and blast the tramper apart. After a tense countdown – nothing happens. Billy finds the fuse has become wet. Meanwhile, Zorran approaches the tramper and scoffs that Little Ditcher will not be able to shift it. Billy has fixed the problem, and the countdown begins once more, just as Zorran arrives on the lower side. The dynamite breaks open the tramper; the sudden flow of water sends Zorran downstream, and the trapped tugs escape down fast. After their ride down the rapids, the tugs find Zorran stuck on top of some rocks. Everyone finds it a great joke, even Zug (although he does not want to admit it). The tugs thank Billy, and soon Ten Cents arrives with Little Ditcher and jokes about Zorran's predicament.



  • This episode marks the first appearance of Billy Shoepack.
  • This episode does not feature Warrior, Hercules or Zebedee.
  • This is Little Ditcher's first speaking role.
  • This is the first episode to take place Up River.
  • This is the only episode where Bigg City Port does not appear.
  • This is the only episode not to feature Warrior, and the first episode where Hercules is absent.
  • This episode marks the second time a tug is seen out of the water, the first time being in Pirate.
  • The scene where Billy is travelling past the tramp steamer after the explosion is filmed on a tilt.
  • The Japanese title of this episode translates to "Zorran's Plan".
  • Captain Star and Zorran break the fourth wall at the end of the episode by having Captain Star saying "For once in his life, Shoepack had done a great job." Zorran then interrupts him by saying "Never mind him! What about me?"
  • This is the first and only episode where Billy Shoepack has major role.
  • Zebedee is the only Z-Stack not featured in this episode.
  • This is the first episode where neither Captain Star or Captain Zero are seen, although Captain Star does narrate this episode.


  • In the scenes with the tugs trying to ram the tramper, Top Hat and Zug's hulls both bang on the sets, causing the set to wobble a bit.
  • The barge full of timber-cutting machinery Ten Cents was pulling appears to be taking on water and is sitting low in the water.
  • Sunshine is wearing his grinning face mask when he says "Oh no, not dynamite! Billy!" He would have obviously been displeased at Billy's idea.
  • The back cover of the single Japanese VHS release features a photo from the episode Munitions, but this episode is not included.
  • It is claimed that all the Stars, except Ten Cents, are trapped. But this episode does not feature Warrior and Hercules, so they are not trapped either.
  • After the tramper explodes, only O.J., Top Hat, and Billy Shoepack start to move and Top Hat is in front of Big Mac. Three shots later, all the tugs are moving and Top Hat is behind both O.J. and Big Mac. However, when the tugs are passing the tramper, Top Hat is in front of O.J.
  • When Zorran is being pushed back by the rapids, a space can be seen through the area between his eyes.

VHS Release

Trapped was first released on VHS in the UK in 1989 by Castle Vision. It was released along with the episodes Ghosts and High Winds.

It was released again in 1990 by Castle Vision under the Playbox range of videos along with the same episodes.

The episode was released on VHS a third time by PolyGram Video in 1993 along with the same episodes plus 4th of July.