History 1959 – 1976

As from February 24, 1959 until today, the Elbe wrote towing- and shipping history. It all started with a days during fog, which threatened the trial and the hand over to the owners. The hand over could yet take place, thanks to an unexpected but powerful spring sun that expelled the fog and so, the ship’s career could start. Her first towing job, under captain A. Poot’s command, was only a short trip. Passenger ship Victoria was towed from Flushing to Rotterdam in 10 hours time.Later, bigger jobs followed. From salvage station Fayal on the Azores, the German tanker Richard Kaselowsky, which couldn’t get anywhere due to a broken crankshaft, was picked up and delivered to Hamburg by the Elbe. During Pentecost in 1959, the Elbe, together with 2 other tugs, the Tasman Zee and the Schelde, towed the famous Admirality Floating Dock from Portsmouth to the Rotterdam Dockyard Company. This was a very appealing job that dominated the presses for days. Still in 1959, the Elbe towed two aircraft carriers from Boston to Antwerp. Further, the severely damaged Africa Queen was towed in ten days from Lisbon to the Flushing roads. Her first survey, after 4 years in service, was not hasted. Improvement to the exhaust gas turbines for charging, plus the installation of air coolers, resulted into a higher charging pressure. The engine output increased therefore from 4000 to 4500 horsepower. Until the Zwarte Zee (IV) came into service in 1963, the Elbe was during a short period the most powerful tug in the world. Due to the decreasing demand for heavy duty sea-going tugs, L. Smit & Co’s Internationale Sleepdienst decided to plan and order the sisters Clyde and Elbe. Heavy duty, at that time, because the most powerful tug until then was still the Zwarte Zee (III), with 4200 horsepower already more than 2 decades an example of power. The two planned sisters should be able to match the power of the flag ship.