Calls are being made for a Hull museum dedicated to tugs and a famous city firm. In its heyday, United Towing Company Ltd employed around 500 people and boasted a fleet of around 30 docking and river tugs, and 12 ocean-going salvage tugs. But Michael Hussey, chairman of the United Towing and Salvage Society, believes more needs to be done to recognise the contribution tugs made to Hull. He said: "It is disappointing to me personally, and the society in general, that so little has been made by the city to promote this fantastic and relevant maritime history and heritage.
(Source: Hull Daily Mail / Towing

Steam tug FURIE: The lady turns 100!


The Dutch National Towage Museum of Maassluis in Holland celebrated this fact in 2016 with a new exhibition dedicated to the working life and museum period of this last remaining seagoing steam tug of the Netherlands. The new exchange exhibition opened on September 24th 2016. This show gave a wide overview of the building, working life of the tug, the TV series in which it figured and her life as sailing heritage museum. Her owner, the Foundation Dutch Glory, has not only preserved the tug but has always been keen to obtain photos and information about the ship and her history. All this is now was on display at the National Towage Museum of the Netherlands with unique photographs, films, documents and special objects. The celebrated tug herself is moored in front of the museum.  The opening of the exchange exhibition was the start of a number of events to celebrate the 100st anniversary of the FURIE. The highlight of festivities was the Furieade festival on October 1st and 2nd 2016 in Maassluis.

DSC 1129 furie in aanbouwThe beginning.

In the year 1916, in Holland, by newbuilding shipyard Bodewes, two steam tugs were launched. One of these, the GEBROEDERS BODEWES VI (in English: Brothers Bodewes VI), was after a long career in Sweden to return to the Netherlands for a unique second life. A Dutch television Network, AVRO, required an authentic Dutch steam tug for the film version of the famous book ‘Captain Jan’ by Jan de Hartog. An intensive international search resulted in only one, but perfect, candidate – in Sweden. That was the tug HOLMVIK (Swedish for Island Bay) and she would be the star in the 1978 tv series ‘Dutch Glory’. The GEBROEDERS BODEWES VI was part of a series of almost sister ships that were built on the shipyard's own account and risk during the First World War. Building started in 1915 and in 1916 the ship was available for sale. The ship was of a simple but proven design and build to high standards. The original lay-out featured only one mast, no deckhouse and only a small wheelhouse. The main accommodation was aft below decks. It lasted until 1918 before an export license could be obtained and in March of that year with ‘SVERIGE’ painted on the sides to evidence DSC 1130 holmen IIIneutrality as a safeguard against attacks on the tug, now called ‘HOLMEN III (het eiland) undertook the voyage from the Netherlands to Sweden. A major conversion already took place in 1920 when a deckhouse ("walegang") on the sides and a much larger wheelhouse were added in view of the harsher weather conditions on the Baltic Sea. Her new owner was a Swedish paper mill that obtained tree logs higher up in the Baltic Sea. The logs would be chained together into floats up to 9000 m3 and the task of the HOLMEN III was to tow these to the factory in Norrkoping. For certain a slow passage with just 450 ihp engine power. With the exception of the Second World War, when the tug was requisitioned by the Swedish Navy, the HOLMEN III towed those log floats until 1976. As from 1969 in ownership of her last captain as HOLMVIK. 

Holmen IIITelevision series. 

Originally, the television network contemplated just to hire the tug for a few months but captain Akerlund was only willing to sell the tug. And so the network bought the vintage tug and she sailed under the command of the later harbour master of Amsterdam and a volunteer crew to IJmuiden in the Netherlands. After a small conversion, during which modern features like radar were removed and to make it possible to feature as two different tugs at the same time (FURIE and JAN VAN GENT), the FURIE was towed to Bantry Bay in Ireland by Smit International for filming and afterwards towed back to Holland by Wijsmuller.

Dutch Glory.

With the series still being showed on television, a group of towage enthousiasts in Maassluis, The Netherlands, former home port of Smit, were wondering about the future of the unique tug. Quick action resulted in sufficient funds to salvage the tug from the breakers and the municipality of Maassluis provided a prominent berth in front of former 16th century town hall, now residence of the National Dutch Towage Museum. In 1980 the refit was completed to the extent that the FURIE was able to sail again under own steam. This milestone was celebrated with a big maritime event in Maassluis during which key actor Hugo Metsers stood one more time as captain Jan Wandelaar on the bridge of ‘his’ tug. The event was such a success that since then, every year this Maritime event with vintage tugs and other historic craft is held in Maassluis.


de FURIE sleept houtvlotten in Zweden100 years.

Nothing or nobody reaches that age care free. After obtaining ownership of the tug in 1978, the foundation ‘Hollands Glorie’ painstakingly and successfully restored and conserved the FURIE so that she now has an official status as operational museum. The volunteers ensure that the old lady remains fully certified to be able to sail under own steam for many years to come. Major maintenance projects were the boiler tube refit of the still original boiler and complete overhaul of the main steam engine. Frequently the tug takes part in maritime events in Holland which is a reward for the volunteers and a joy for visitors and paying guests. Tranquillity on deck and heat, hissing of steam and a reciprocating steam engine in the engine room below.  

National Dutch Towage Museum.

The goal of the Dutch National Towage Museum is to preserve and to display to a wide public the history of the Dutch towage industry, the people who worked in the industry on board and ashore with past or present day companies, at sea or on inland waters, by means of two exchange exhibitions per year and a permanent exhibition. The museum has a large collection of models, photographs, artefacts, library and documents.


For more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 010 – 5912474. Stichting Nationaal Sleepvaart Museum Hoogstraat 1-3,3142 EA Maassluis


Monday, 19 September 2016 16:01

Mersey Tugs Through Time

The main role of the tug is to assist vessels in the river or within the dock system by moving them by pushing or towing. They are also used to tow barges or platforms which have no engines or methods of propulsion. Tugs are designed to be highly manoeuvrable and powerful as they normally work with large vessels in restricted spaces. The main towing companies operating on the Mersey in the twentieth century were J. & J. H. Rea Limited, Liverpool Screw Towing Company and the Alexandra Towing Company Limited.

Mersey tugs were employed to work with passenger liners, cargo vessels, oil tankers and other vessels working on the river. The modern tug is equipped with azimuthing thrusters or Voith Schneider Vertical propellers which enable them to generate the thrust required for towing the larger vessels which are now being built. In this book, Ian Collard charts the development of the Mersey tug from the late nineteenth century to the present day.


- See more at:

Thursday, 17 September 2015 00:44

Maritime market Sunday in September

After a successful first edition of the Maritime market the second edition took place on Sunday September 18th, 2016 on the quay of the s.s. ROTTERDAM. 

On this Maritime Market you will find several stands with products from the maritime sector. This market is a special for collectors in the field of shipping in all varieties. This market will take place on a Sunday in September from 10:00 till 16:00 h. on the quay of the s.s. ROTTERDAM in the Katendrecht quarter of Rotterdam.

Also the National Dutch Towage Museum and the Foundation Tug Harbour Maassluis will attend.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016 11:28

Exhibition: Artist's Impressions of Towage

Sunday September 18th is the last day of the exhibition "MEESLEPENDE EXPRESSIES" (Artist's impressions of towage) in the National Dutch Towage Museum in Maassluis. The show has been a success until now and has seen many an interested visitor. A number of exposed art works have been sold, and some others are still for sale.


From Saturday September 24 a new exposition opens, titled "Tugboat FURIE 100 years", about the life and times of this famous ship, that plays a central role in the moving story "Dutch Glory" of author Jan de Hartog and in the film about that story. The FURIE has its berth in Maassluis.


The Dutch National Towage Museum takes a different tack from the 14th of May with this new exhibition. Renowned Dutch maritime painters, together with students from the Art and Culture Academy in Maassluis, present a fascinating insight into the rich world of Dutch towage. Due to the large number of works on display, the exhibition space has on this occasion been extended to include the historic ocean going tug "Hudson" (1939). (The tug "Hudson" left Holland just prior to the outbreak of World War II and returned 66 months later.) This exhibition marks the realisation of a long held desire for the National Towage Museum. Where previous exhibitions often presented the tug in a technical or historical light, the impression of towage in this new exhibition takes a different tack. The elegant and powerful tugs, together with the mark left by the towage industry on the local community of Maassluis, have formed the main inspiration for the artists. Works are on display by Fred Boom, Hans Breeman, Willem Eerland, Ron de Jong-Beekhuijsen, Robert Murk, Ronald van Rikxvoort and Lenie Simons Molenwijk. The works by members of the Art and Culture Academy Maassluis are centred around four themes: 'Tugs by night' (large acrylic paintings), 'Tugs in action' (water colours), 'Water' (sculptures and ceramics) and 'a Seaman's life' (acrylic on wood panel). The inspiration for this last theme was the Dutch television epic 'Hollands Glorie'. "Impressions of Towage" includes a diverse collection of dynamic works and objects providing a fascinating picture of how artists from Maassluis and elsewhere view the Dutch Towing industry. The exhibition will be opened on Saturday May 14th, 2016 at 11:00 o'clock on board the tug "Hudson". "Impressions of Towage" ("Meeslepende Expressies" in Dutch) can be seen from May 14th to September 18th 2016 in the National Towage Museum and tug "Hudson". The Hudson" is moored next to the National Towage Museum, Hoogstraat 1, Maassluis. For the actual opening hours please see: and For further information on this exhibition or the National Towage Museum, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +31 (0)10 5912474 or Maarten Helwig, +31 (0)6 33008733, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Annemieke Lub-Lucieer, +31 (06) 51561770, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Art and Culture Academy Maassluis).
(Press Release National Towage Museum)


Period: May 14th till September 18th 2016.
Opening hours museum: Tuesday till Sunday from 13.30 till 16.30 h. (in July and August: Monday till Sunday from 12.00 h.).
Opening hours tug HUDSON: Wednesday and Saturday from 14.00 till 17.00 h.
Part of the exhibition is located on the near-by museum tugboat HUDSON. On both locations a modest entrance fee has to be paid. This allows the visitor full admittance to both locations.

Monday, 22 August 2016 14:29

History of Rhine towage Vulcaan company

Special Rijn(sleep)vaart VulcaanThe Dutch Society of Inland Shipping (VERENIGING DE BINNENVAART)  comes with a special edition about the VULCAAN Rhine shipping company.

"Who could ever have foreseen this? On January 1, 1968 the merger took place of the two largest competitors from the SHV and Thyssen concerns, N.R.V. (Dutch shipping society) and Vulcaan, who imitated each other so often in introducing new ships and organisation concepts". This sentence was written by Jan van 't Verlaat in a remarkable edition of the magazine of the (Dutch) Inland shipping society (Vereniging ‘De Binnenvaart'), fully dedicated to Vulcaan Shipping. This book, a special about N.V. Handels- en Transportmaatschappij Vulcaan", is part of a series by The Binnenvaart Society, "The History of Inland Shipping"

It was a painstaking job for the Society to have this book written and completed. For a long time already it was a wish of the Society to have a special composed about the Vulcaan. A barrier was that there has been preserved few archive material about this company. Bu at last the Society has succeeded in making this publication, said the Society in a press release. The magazine has 72 pages showing more than 100 images, some of them have never been published yet. It contains interwiews with members of the Binnenvaart Society about their memories from the times they were navigating on the ships of the Vulcaan Company. Also the pioneers of the Pushboats and Rhine gas tankers are mentioned and depicted in the magazine, that is completed with a fleet list. Towage is the central subject, also because this is the main theme of the Society in 2016. In Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 20 kilometers from Rotterdam, has been organised an exposition in the Centre of Inland Shipping: This is situated on the large Rhinepushboat René Siegfried, berthed in the river Wantij on the Maasstraat (Meuse Street) in Dordrecht. This exposition is open on Thursdays and every first Saturday of the month, between 10 and 15 hrs.). There the Vulcaan-edition is also fot sale, for a price of € 7,50. You can also order the booklet via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post address P.O.B. (Postbus) 24066, 3007 DB Rotterdam. Postage cost will be added then.





Saturday, 06 August 2016 14:12

Iskes tug TELSTAR on trials

On Thursday 18th August 2016 the new building Eddy design 24/75 tug TELSTAR from the Holland Shipyard was seen passing underway to the Rotterdam Europort for her technical trails, speed and bollard pull tests. The tug named TELSTAR was built for Iskes Towage and Salvage. The TELSTAR is named after a local soccer club in IJmuiden. The TELSTAR has 2 thrusters. It is remarkable that both thrusters are mounted in alignment under the fuselage - one under the prow and one under the stern. As a result, the Telstar has extensive maneuvering options. Another unique feature of the Telstar is that it is a hybrid tugboat. A combination of diesel direct and diesel electric propulsion ensures that it will consume less fuel. This also contributes to reduced CO2 emissions. On Saturday 30 July 2016 yard number 2015-27 from Holland Shipyard at Hardinxveld-Giessendam was launched by the sheerleg MATADOR.
TELSTAR 2016 Iskes foto Arie Boer4The Eddy 24-75 Hybrid Harbour Tug designed tug TELSTAR (Imo 9796066) is the smaller type of the Eddy-1 (Efficient Dynamic Double Ended). It is expected that the tug reached a bollard pull of 75 tons developed by two Mitsubishi main engines S16R2 with 1450 kW each and two permanent magnet electric drives. Veth Propulsion supplied the two VZ 1800 thrusters with 2,350 kW each, two Scania DI16-090M generators with 640 kW each and a SiSu 49 CTAG with 89 kW as harbour set. The Eddy design is a new concept with a slender hull form and thrusters in the centre for high stability and fuel efficiency. She has a length o.a. of 25.45 mtrs a length lpp of 23.57 mtrs a beam of o.a. of 12.20 mtrs a moulded beam of 11.40 mtrs and an operational draught of approx.. 5.05 mtrs. Her maximum free sailing speed will be 12.5 knots and 9.5 knots in the Hybrid mode. The vessel is classed BV1 +Hull, +Mach, AUT-UMS. She is the second vessel of this Eddy type built by the Holland Shipyard. In the next months the tug will be outfitted by the yard.
(source: Towingline. Photos: Arie Boer)

Sunday, 24 July 2016 15:05

Three Damen hybrid tugs for Dutch Navy

In an official handover ceremony at the Den Helder Naval Base, the Royal Netherlands Navy took formal delivery of three Damen ASD 2810 Hybrid tugs. In addition to providing an increase in ship handling capacity, the new vessels are also installed with hybrid propulsion systems. This will contribute to Dutch Ministry of Defence ambitions regarding sustainable operations of the Navy.


The acquisition of the three Damen tugs is part of the Royal Netherlands Navy’s ongoing fleet renewal programme. The hybrid vessels, named Noordzee, Waddenzee and Zuiderzee, can sail under diesel-direct, diesel-electric or fully-electric power.


Zero emissions
This will result in a significant increase in fuel efficiency and reduction of exhaust emissions. For example, when sailing in fully-electric mode – possible for up to one hour at a speed of 4 knots – the vessels will have zero emissions.
This is highly relevant to the Ministry of Defence Operational Energy Strategy. Recently presented to the Dutch government, this concerns future emissions targets and dependence on diesel as a principle fuel.
New generation of tug
When sailing under diesel power, the Damen ASD 2810 Hybrid can store any electrical energy that is not immediately used in its battery pack. This can subsequently be used to sustain vessel operating systems or for use in electric sailing mode.

In addition to their hybrid capabilities, the new tugs are also more powerful than the vessels that they are replacing. The Damen ASD 2810 Hybrid packs a 60-tonne bollard pull: considerably more than the 22-tonne bollard pull of the ongoing Linge-class of tug.
This increase in bollard pull will support safe and efficient ship handling operations of the largest vessels of the Royal Netherlands Navy fleet, such as HNLMS Johan de Witt, HNLMS Rotterdam and the 204-metre long Joint Support Ship HNLMS Karel Doorman in all weather conditions.
Now that the tugs are in active service, Damen Shipyards Den Helder will perform an ongoing maintenance programme of all three vessels. This is a notable fact because this task is normally undertaken by the Royal Netherlands Navy itself. This is the first time that Damen has been called upon for ongoing maintenance works for the Dutch Navy for an extended period.
Sunday, 12 June 2016 15:33

In Memorial Ary Lels

While being on holiday I received the sad message that Mr. Ary M. Lels passed away at the age of 90 years.  A couple of years ago in several maritime magazines I had the honour of publicing articles about the life and visions of Mr. Lels. On several occasions I met him, although it was long after his active career as a director of L. Smit & Co’s Internationale Sleepdienst and later on of the Holland America Line. After his retirement he kept on following the developments in every field of the maritime market. He started his career as a trainee for L. Smit & Co at Rotterdam. One of his first jobs was to assist the management of the company during the clearance of the Suez Canal in 1956/57. Mind, in those years he was only 30 years of age. On board of the tug Noordzee of Smit he had a long conversation with the captain on the upcoming oil-industry in the Persian and Mexican Gulf. He realized that no doubt  oilcompanies would be interested in the oil and gas stocks under the North Sea, that were still in the process of being discovered. When he visited the Mexican Gulf region some months later, he noticed that the first suppliers for drilling platforms were active there, however these ships were not suitable at all for the sometimes rough weather in the North Sea.  He presented his ideas for a company with Dutch suppliers to the management of Smit and of the Rotterdam Lloyd. They were prepared to finance the first Smit-Lloyd suppliers. As we all know the developments went fast and SmitLloyd  became an tremendous success. A second  idea of Mr. Lels was establishing a company for heavy transport at sea. His friend mr. B.van der Laan already started such a business on a modest scale. As the management of Smit was not ready at that time to explore the possibilities of the new ideas of Mr. Lels, he turned to the Holland America Line  and found ways to establish together with business partners Big Lift in 1972.  The life and the ideas of Mr. Lels has been extensively written by himself in his recent book  “Man van de waterkant” of which I received a copy from him personally in the National Towage Museum at Maassluis just a few weeks ago. Mr. Lels had a warm heart for the museum and other institutions for maritime history. It’s a  great loss  for the maritime world  that Mr. Lels has passed away.  
Nico J.Ouwehand (National Dutch Towage Museum, Maassluis, Holland)

Coastal Shipping Publications issued their latest tugs album. This latest Tugs pictorial album Volume 2, documents some of the smaller tugs that used to be seen in Bristol City Docks plus some of the rarer and larger tugs that have paid only one or two visits to the port in recent years. Each photograph is accompanied by an informative caption. The book is a 235 x 155 mm softback edition 64 pages in full colour ISBN 9781902953700. The price is £9.95 and can be ordered  on the link:


Stock CodeBMB77.0
AuthorMcCall B
Page Count64
Publication Date9 May 2016
Publication StatusAvailable
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