Steam tug Dockyard III

A unique steamboat is coming to Ostend

Not a ship for Father Christmas, but the restored steam tug ‘Dockyard III’ that will be sailing to Ostend in May to take part in Oostende at Anker!

The vessel has a remarkable history.

The third of eight tugs to be built by the Rotterdam Drydock Company for delivery to the port of Murmansk in Russia, she was launched in 1941.  The largest shipyard in the Netherlands, RDM was taken into German control and hence became a frequent target for allied air attacks.   Before Dockyard III could be completed, she was sunk by a bomb and spent the rest of the war under water!   With the end of hostilities the tug was raised, restored and re-launched in 1946, but the Cold War meant delivery to Murmansk was no longer possible, so RDM decided to retain the craft for their own port operations.

In 1962, Dockyard III’s original coal-fired boiler was replaced with an oil-burning system and the tug continued to operate until 1981 when, after 35 years faithful service she was offered for scrapping but acquired by the Beltman Company in Dordrecht who renamed her ‘Gebroeder Bevers’ (after characters from a 1960’s children’s TV programme).  She continued in commercial work until 1993 – the last steam boat to operate commercially in the Netherlands.

Dockyard III passed to the Stolk Company located in Henrik Ido Ambacht, the well-known ‘ship-breaking’ village in southern Holland where, in 2017, she was acquired by Rotterdam tug enthusiast Mr R O Hettich.  With a small team, in just under a year, the tug has been restored and re-dedicated with her original name.  After 25 years, ’Dockyard III’ is back in steam and looking forward to visiting Ostend

  • Built by the Rotterdam Drydock Company: build number 228
  • Overall length 25m (81 ft) Beam 6.3m (21½ ft)     Draught 65m (8½ ft).
  • Lentz Valve Machinery built by the RDC (1941): construction number 257.
  • 500 hp at maximum 300 revolutions.
  • Propellor (2.2m) equipped with short jet tube stirrer, increasing power to 650hp.
  • 2 x Oil-fired Scottish Boilers built at RDM
  • Working pressure 14.05 atm
  • Heated area 122 m2.