After its completion in 1876, the monitor Ambohimanga
ran aground on its way to Imerina. The ship was towed to Malta for repair by a British firm. This incident revealed a hole in the fleet of the Royal Merina Navy. It possessed no ships capable of towing the new monitors. The same could be said of the local maritime industry at the time. Due to their size, the existing torpedo boats could be towed about with relative ease. The solution was to purchase a paddle tug second-hand from a private enterprise operating from Durban. The tug had been built in 1867 and was commissioned into Merina service in 1879. She was named Andevo
, somewhat controversially to modern audiences, after the slave caste of Imerina.
had a relatively unassuming career towing ships, both military and civilian, about the kingdom. She was sent to Ceylon to receive new engines in late 1886. The work was ‘delayed’ until the conclusion of the Franco-Merina War in 1888. Andevo
then returned to Imerina. In 1890, a conservative sailor attempted to set the ship alight. Fortunately for the Royal Merina Navy, the flames were quickly extinguished. She was later joined by smaller and larger tugs as the Royal Merina Navy evolved into a force divided between cruisers and torpedo boats. Andevo
had the honour of towing Ambohimanga
to the scrap yard in 1900. The ship was decommissioned in 1909 after the structural integrity of her hull came into question.