In Wolf’s Clothing: Seawolf’s transformation from oceangoing tug to luxury yacht


22 May 2019 16:00 Fleet MarketWritten by Georgia Tindale

Seawolf yacht cruising

Out of a superyacht fleet spanning 4,981 yachts currently in operation, there are those vessels with stories behind them which are truly remarkable. And, when you’re listening to a story beginning with ‘Once upon a time’, it’s always the Big Bad Wolf that sticks in your mind.

Seawolf yacht aerial

One yacht whose tale has always been worthy of telling is the 58.83-metre motor yacht Seawolf. Built by J & K Smits Scheepswerven N/V in the Netherlands in 1957 as the steel tugboat Clyde, she underwent conversion works to transform her into a unique expedition superyacht. The work was done in Astilleros de Mallorca between 1998 and 2004. But this is not just any superyacht: Seawolf’origins as an oceangoing tug set the groundwork enabling her conversion to a truly ‘go-anywhere’ expedition superyacht, and allowing the next chapter of her life to begin. 

Seawolf yacht cruising

We open the book of Seawolf back in 1957, where this fascinating part of yachting history began. Once upon a time, Seawolf was originally commissioned by the now-defunct shipyard J & K Smits in Kinderdijk in the south of the Netherlands, to a design by Dr J. A. C Hoogenbosch. Originally built as Clyde and joined the company’s fleet of seagoing tugs which had been built to similar designs and named after famous rivers, including Clyde’s namesake: the second-longest river in Scotland.

Seawolf yacht deck

Clyde’s only sister ship, Elbe came into the world two years later in 1959. Both boats began their hardworking careers as tugs, towing flattops from the US to Belgium and Japan, cargo ships to scrap yards and drilling platforms to various destinations all around the world. All this labour was made possible by Clyde’s two Smit-MAN six-cylinder, four-stroke diesel main engines generating 1390 horsepower each. Seawolf still makes the most of these original engines during her world-cruising expeditions today. Boasting a top speed of 13 knots, a cruising speed of 10 knots and range of 9,600 nautical miles at economical speed. 

Seawolf yacht side deck

This first chapter in Clyde’s career came to a close in 1977 when she was sold to Matsas Salvage. She worked for 13 years at the salvage company in Greece until she was bought by a German towage enthusiast and gifted her the lupine name, Seawolfe. In 1998, it was all to change again. and a Greek owner based in the Caribbean took a shine to Seawolfe. He made the biggest decision in her career: to convert Seawolf from a tugboat into a luxury yacht. 

Seawolf yacht anchored

Maintaining her distinctive and rugged tug outline, Seawolfe’s transformation took five years of hard grafting. The work was completed at the Astilleros shipyard in Palma and resulted in a stunning and utterly unique superyacht at the other side. The vessel’s tough exterior designed by Bob Hoghton hid a new, luxurious interior. Designed by Renato Parla Piano it was full of elegant details and clever design elements. Carrying the names Seawolfe C and Dolce Far Niente later on in her career, her name was finally shortened to Seawolf when her current Canadian owner, Mike Potter, bought her in 2008.

Seawolf yacht dining room

Thanks to Potter’s care to keep Seawolf in excellent condition through numerous refit works. During the most recent, in 2016, she underwent a complete repaint and rebuild of her main engines. Nowadays, she has all the amenities and qualities one could expect from any of the world’s most exclusive superyachts. 

Seawolf yacht pool

Accommodating 13 guests across six generous staterooms comprised of two double VIP guests, a double guest with ensuite, a double with an additional single bed and ensuite and two twins with ensuites.

Seawolf yacht saloon

She boasts a separate owner’s deck with full-beam cabin, private study and pantry. The 14 crew are at home across eight staterooms. Exploration yachts don’t get much more serious than Seawolf thanks to her long range, ice-strengthened hull, excellent fuel efficiency and ABS class-status. 

Seawolf yacht stateroom

This extraordinary vessel has sailed to some of the world’s most remote and beautiful spots over the past decade. She has seen Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands and enjoyed adventures in locations as diverse as French Polynesia, Fiji, Indonesia, Istanbul, Ireland, the Dominican Republic and New Zealand. Her owner, Canadian tech entrepreneur and avid pilot Mike Potter, is now ready to pass her on to new hands for the start of the next chapter of her story.

Seawolf yacht stateroom

To this end, Seawolf is now on the market exclusively with Fraser. Offered at an asking price of $9,900,000, with the highly-experienced sales broker Jody O’Brien – who has been at the company for 25 years. In addition, Seawolf is commercially compliant, with her five-year ABS out of water survey completed in March 2019. All who know the origins of this remarkable boat will be following closely and waiting anxiously to see who will continue their story with this truly remarkable yacht.

Seawolf yacht anchored

For more information about Seawolf, contact her broker directly using the details below.


1800 Southeast 10th Avenue
Suite 400
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Jody O’Brien
T: +1 954 463 0600
M: +1 954 646 4970

Seawolf yacht sundeck
Seawolf yacht cruising

Timelapse Clip: ONE MINATO to RWG, Port of Rotterdam

The containerships of ONE are one of a kind, simply because they are pink. Join the Rotterdam pilot on an inbound voyage from sea to Maasvlakte 2, and see things from his perspective. This giant of the seas , ONE MINATO, measures 365 meters in length and draws almost 14 meters deep. Assisted by three KOTUG-SMIT tugboats Schelde, Rebel and Innovation, she was piloted to Rotterdam World Gateway terminal at Maasvlakte 2, port of Rotterdam.

Special thanks to the excellent master and very professional crew of ONE MINATO !

Oceanco Acquires the Heerema Zwijndrecht Construction Facilities

Source: PRNewswire

ALBLASSERDAM, Netherlands, May 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Oceanco is pleased to announce that it has acquired the premises of Heerema Zwijndrecht as part of the company’s long-term initiative for growth, expansion, and consolidation of its construction activities. Intrinsic to Oceanco’s vision for increased efficiency, these new facilities will be a hub that will allow numerous co-makers to physically set up offices alongside the construction works, encouraging maximum synergy and co-maker alignment among all parties.

Oceanco acquires the Heerema Zwijndrecht construction facilities (PRNewsfoto/Oceanco)
Oceanco acquires the Heerema Zwijndrecht construction facilities (PRNewsfoto/Oceanco)

The new Oceanco premises encompass 28 acres of construction facilities. The main area, which is 570m X 200m: (approx 114.000 square meters) includes administration offices and conference rooms, construction facilities, outfit facilities, a piping shop, paint facilities, and sandblasting facilities.

The construction and outfitting facilities will be utilised in several different ways: 

  1. The entire Phase 1 of construction works for new builds will take place here. 
  2. The enhanced space will allow for the maintenance, refit and lifetime extension activities of the Oceanco fleet as well as provide the ability to do outside refit work. The Outfit facilities measure 38m high X 132m long  X 50m wide. With these generous dimensions, Oceanco will be able to handle the widest spectrum of refit work for all types of superyachts from around the world with the added benefit of expert work taking place with the yachts being fully under cover.    
  3. The acquisition fits into Oceanco’s greater forward-thinking strategy, to create an infrastructure where numerous companies servicing the superyacht industry can come together. The idea is for the premises to be utilised as a co-maker’s superyacht brain park where diverse companies will have their offices and workshops in one area and work side by side with the ability to share knowledge and expertise. 
  4. As part of this superyacht hub, Oceanco is planning the creation of an educational campus for technical training and education across different superyacht- related disciplines to foster cross-pollination among companies. With experts in their respective fields leading the training,  Oceanco feels that industry standards can be brought to the highest level possible and also ensure a qualified workforce for future builds.

As the construction facilities are also located in the Drechtsteden region, approximately 10km down river from Oceanco’s outfitting facilities, commuting and transport will be able to flow freely and conveniently between the two facilities both via motorway and waterway. Thenewfacilities are looking forwardto receiving two 100 meter plus Oceanco’s before the end of the year. 

The Netherlands has long been a region that is known for its innovation in the larger maritime sector. Drechtsteden is considered the center of the Maritime Industry and is known for its skilled construction of oil platforms, offshore facilities, and more. There has been an ongoing initiative in the area for propogating economic and sustainable opportunities in a circular economy which is intended to lead to cost savings, innovation, job creation and a more sensible use of energy and raw materials. Oceanco is taking a leadership role in creating a platform for similar benefits in the superyacht sector.

Shipping to Halve Carbon Footprint by 2050

Shailaja A. LakshmiMay 18, 2019


Pic: International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)

The world’s principal shipping organisation, representing around 80% of the world’s merchant tonnage, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)  remains confident that shipping will improve its carbon efficiency by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 2008, in line with the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  

This follows important decisions made by the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) which met in London this week, said a press release from the world’s national shipowner association.

ICS Secretary General, Guy Platten said: “We welcome the adoption of important new IMO regulations to strengthen and bring forward the application of the Energy Efficiency Design Index for several different types of new build vessel, including containerships.  We are keen to see further progress on developing more short term measures to help the existing fleet reduce its emissions, and are optimistic that IMO Member States can agree some additional regulations, during 2020, combining prescriptive and goal based approaches that will deliver further GHG reductions before 2023.”

Platten added “If this solid IMO momentum continues then the industry is on track to meet the 2030 target.  Progress by the industry so far will be clearer after the conduct of the next IMO Greenhouse Gas Study, whose terms of reference were finalised this week.  Hopefully this will confirm that the sector’s total emissions actually peaked in 2008 due to the technical and operational efficiency measures that shipping has taken since then to reduce its fuel consumption.

“Following the agreement of procedures to conduct assessments of the impacts of proposed GHG reduction measures on the economies of IMO Member States, there is no reason why IMO should not be able to quickly agree on low hanging fruit such as speed optimisation measures.”

“We believe that these can best be addressed in part through the ‘Super SEEMP’, as proposed by ICS and other shipowner associations – the mandatory external audit of Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plans as part of the ISM Code.  This will require shipping companies to demonstrate they have done everything possible to improve fuel efficiency in pursuit of the 2030 target.”

He continued “There does appear to be widespread support among many Member States for these proposals, as there also was for constructive proposals from Japan to help existing ships deliver further technical efficiencies which have much in common with the industry’s approach” Mr Platten remarked.

He added: ‘Although no final decisions have been taken it was clear that the majority of IMO Member States, including major economies such as China, India, the United States and many South American nations, had little appetite at present for initiatives such as mandatory speed limits, expressing concern that these would reduce the efficiency of maritime transport, in effect increasing the distance between economies and their markets, while acting as a disincentive to the take-up of new CO2 reduction technologies.”

Platten concluded: “While short term measures are important, ICS continues to assert that IMO needs to move quickly onto considering the critical long term measures that will help the industry to deliver the very ambitious target of a 50% total cut of GHG emissions by 2050 regardless of trade growth.  This can only realistically be achieved with the introduction of commercially viable zero – or near zero – CO2 emitting propulsion systems, which means that accelerated research and development programmes have to be at the centre of the IMO strategy.”

ICS also welcomes the additional guidance agreed by the IMO MEPC to assist smooth implementation of the global sulphur cap on 1 January 2020, the requirement for ships outside sulphur emission control areas to use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5% or less.

ICS will be using these latest IMO guidelines to update its well received ‘Guidance on Compliance with the 2020 Global Sulphur Cap’ which is available to all ship operators via the ICS website free of charge.

Ships coming to Bay Area slowing down to avoid hitting, killing whales


1of7Scientists and volunteers with the Marine Mammal Center and California Academy of Sciences perform a necropsy on a beached gray whale on April 23 in Tiburon.Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

A campaign to slow ships steaming toward San Francisco and other California ports so they are less likely to injure or kill whales is beginning to pay off, with 22 local and international shipping companies agreeing to reduce speeds voluntarily, federal officials said Thursday.

The effort is all the more important this year, given the carnage caused by large vessels, which often have to travel through national marine sanctuaries to get to their destination ports.

Four of the 10 gray whales found dead near San Francisco this year were killed by ships, and nearly 140 whales have died after being struck since 1988, said representatives of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 22 shipping firms, which represent 45% of the 8,000 inbound vessel trips through the Golden Gate every year, were honored by the two organizations Thursday for cutting their speed in 2018 to 10 knots (11.5 mph) or less in areas populated by whales. Those include the Farallones, Channel Islands, Monterey Bay and Cordell Bank marine sanctuaries.

“We’ve been working closely with the sanctuaries to do a lot of outreach and communications with the shipping companies,” said John Berge, vice president of the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which deals with maritime trade issues. “Just as anyone driving down the highway doesn’t want to hit an animal, nobody in a ship wants to hit a whale. It’s a tragic accident and we want to do what we can to reduce the risk.”

The shippers recognized by NOAA include local carriers like Chevron Shipping Co. and Marathon Petroleum Corp., which owns the former Tesoro refinery in Martinez. Major national and international lines, including Celebrity Cruises, Canada Steamship Lines, Shell Trading Co., Cosco Shipping Lines and the Mediterranean Shipping Co., were also praised for helping save the whales.

The effort is an attempt to reduce what marine biologists say is a huge number of whale strikes along the coast, including almost half of the 10 gray whales found dead in the Bay Area since March.

It began in 2013 when NOAA extended shipping lanes several miles beyond the continental shelf, where blue and humpback whales feed. A year later, the Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank sanctuaries began voluntary vessel speed reductions from May to November, peak time for blue and humpback whales visits to the area.

There are no speed limits at sea, so oceangoing vessels like container and cruise ships can zip along as fast as they want, usually 20 knots, about 23 mph. Ships heading into and out of the Golden Gate have slowed by an average of three or four knots over the past decade, according to NOAA officials. The speed limit inside the bay is 15 knots.

Unfortunately, Berge said, there are a lot of ships that come through once a year or less, and the captains don’t know they are supposed to slow down.

Maria Brown, superintendent of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, said five years ago only 17% of the incoming ships slowed down. Now 45% are throttling down to 10 knots.

Lethal ship strikes are a worldwide concern, especially among blue, humpback and fin whales, which tend to suffer more than other species.

NOAA Fisheries biologists documented 138 whales killed by ship strikes in California marine sanctuaries from 1988 to 2016. It’s believed that number represents, at most, 10% of the actual number of whale deaths caused by collisions.

Large vessel traffic, and the tonnage of individual ships, has increased over the last few decades, and it is widely recognized that shipping lanes adjacent to San Francisco Bay ports are especially susceptible. That’s because record numbers of humpback and blue whales have been feeding in recent years off the coast and even in San Francisco Bay.

California’s marine sanctuaries have the largest concentrations of blue whales in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

“Endangered blue whales come to the sanctuary every year. We’re the bread basket, the restaurant for blue whales,” Brown said. “And the National Marine Fisheries Service has determined that the No. 1 human-caused death of blue whales is ship strikes.”

Although more whales in general are getting hit by ships, blue whales — the largest creature to ever live — appear to be the most in danger, marine biologists say. There are only 1,800 to 2,000 blue whales in the northeastern Pacific, a small fraction of their historic numbers, but there are more of them along the California coast than anywhere else.

Their well-being has been a concern since 2007, when five dead blue whales washed ashore in Southern California — four of them had major wounds consistent with ship strikes. A little less than half of about two dozen blue whale deaths along the California coast since 1988 were caused by ships, according to recent studies.

The injuries have extended this year to gray whales, which normally do not enter the bay or linger in the area during their winter migration, which usually ends in May.

This year, those whales have been hanging out for long periods and feeding on bay mud, a highly abnormal practice for the species, said Pádraig Duignan, the chief research pathologist at the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands.

Of the 10 gray whale carcasses found in the Bay Area this year, six had entered San Francisco Bay, including a mother and calf seen recently trying to feed near the San Mateo Bridge. Four died of malnutrition, four after being hit by ships, and two were too decomposed to tell what happened.

A necropsy performed on a 41-foot female that washed up last week on Ocean Beach found injuries consistent with a ship strike. Tired, malnourished whales are more susceptible to ship strikes, attacks by orcas or entanglement in fishing gear, Duignan said. In a typical year, only one or two gray whales wash ashore in the Bay Area, he said.

The good news is that gray and humpback whales are at or near their historic populations, and the number of fin whales has also been increasing. About 20,000 humpbacks and 27,000 gray whales now inhabit the North Pacific.

Ship strikes are also believed to be a primary reason the critically endangered northern right whale hasn’t recovered after being almost killed off by centuries of whaling. Only 20 or 30 right whales still exist in the North Pacific.

Peter Fimrite is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @pfimrite

Buffalo becomes a cornerstone of UK ship towage

Source: Tug Technology and Business

BUFFALO ( Source:

Kotug Smit Towage officially named its latest azimuth tractor drive tug in the UK as the joint venture’s sale to the Boluda Group continues.

Buffalo was named in Southampton, England, by container terminal operator DP World, Kotug Smit Towage and builder Damen Shipyards, on 15 May 2019.

This ceremony, witnessed by Tug Technology & Business, was conducted with the backdrop that 50/50 joint venture partners, Kotug International and Royal Boskalis Westminster, are selling this business to Boluda for around €300M (US$340M).

Buffalo is a 2018-built azimuth tractor drive tug. It was built by Damen Shipyards in Vietnam to an ATD 2412 design and Lloyd’s Register class for ship manoeuvring and escort. Its main employment is assisting container ships into DP World’s terminal in Southampton.

Kotug Smit Towage chief executive Rene Raaijmakers said the addition of Buffaloboosted the company’s fleet in the UK to 14 vessels, operating in Southampton, London and Liverpool.

He explained at the naming ceremony that Kotug Smit Towage invested in the fleet in Southampton for a strategic position.

“There was a need for networked solutions of suppliers in Southampton, so we felt it was our mission to support the container ship and terminal business,” he said. Kotug Smit Towage began operating in Southampton in Q2 2017.

“We wanted to be the cornerstone of the container business in Europe.” Mr Raaijmakers said.

He told Tug Technology & Business that the sale of the joint venture to Boluda remained on schedule and due diligence is continuing. In the meantime, safety is the joint venture’s chief focus.

“We are able to build communities,” he continued. “Towage is about people and safety, so we seek people that are committed to local ports and their operations.”  

Kotug Smit Towage had no personal injuries in the last 12 months. “We are committed to focusing on safety as our primary value,” Mr Raaijmakers said.

Buffalo captain Giles Innes agreed with Mr Raaijmakers that safety was the most important factor in towage as he explained some of the key issues he faces in daily operations.

Capt Innes highlighted overweighted heaving lines or not using a weight at all on a line can be a safety issue for tug crew. He told Tug Technology & Business his preference was to have a well-displayed weight on a heaving line that a person on a tug deck can easily see to avoid when it is thrown by the crew of an assisted vessel.

This minimises the risk of a deck-board accident and the need for the tug captain to manoeuvre too close to the ship’s bow. This reduces the risk of the tug being T-boned on the assisted ship’s bow, Capt Innes explained.

Buffalo has 72.5 tonnes of bollard pull that comes from its propulsion, which consists of two Caterpillar 3516C main engines and two Rolls Royce US 255 fixed pitch azimuth thrusters.

DP World UK commercial director Aart Hille Ris Lambers, whose wife (Petra Hille Ris Lambers) is became the lady sponsor of Buffalo, told Tug Technology & Business that 24-m azimuth tractor drive and azimuth stern drive tugs were ideal for operations in Southampton. “These are highly manoeuvrable around the harbour, even in tight port spaces,” he said. “Pilots like these tugs because they are highly manoeuvrable.”

Two or three tugs are required to tow and berth container ships of up to 22,000 TEU capacity at DP World’s terminal in Southampton, depending on the wind speed and other weather and current conditions.

What can maritime learn from the Boeing 737 Max disaster?

Source: Splash 24/7

What can maritime learn from the Boeing 737 Max disaster?

May 17th, 2019 ContributionsOperationsRegulatoryTech 0 comments

Wallem Group CEO Frank Coles compared the Boeing 737 Max disasters to maritime last month at the Maritime CEO Forum, a theme he came back to when speaking at the Nautical Institute’s Singapore conference this week. Writing exclusively for Splash today, Coles expands on the topic, maintaining the current maritime industry model is not designed to provide the technology oversight required for the next level of technological solutions.

As the never ending discussion of autonomous ships continues it’s worth noting the events surrounding the Boeing 737 Max disaster. We can quickly see similarities and issues that also occur in maritime.

The 737 mistakes began nearly a decade ago when Airbus announced a new fuel-efficient plane that threatened Boeing’s core business. So it was that Boeing rushed the competing 737 Max to market as quickly as possible.

Boeing not only cut corners, and then also pushed them as selling points for airlines. The 737 Max was the same plane type as its predecessors, which meant pilots would only need a 2.5-hour iPad training to fly its newest iteration.

MCAS is the new software system blamed for the deadly Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes. But its failure in both crashes was the result of Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to properly inform pilots of its existence or to regulate it for safety.

The FAA has admitted to being incompetent when regulating software. Also as a policy, the FAA allows plane manufacturers to police themselves for safety. Nowhere in the amended type certification of the 737 Max is MCAS mentioned.

Nevertheless, Boeing only recommends a 30-minute self-study course for pilots on MCAS, rather than additional simulator or classroom instruction.

It appears that regulatory oversight failures, a lack of training and the manufacturers failure to disclose the weakness in the system all contributed to a disaster. The maritime industry must for future reference take heed if it is to consider any form of automation, or autonomy. A development cycle cannot be fast, cheap and good. Moreover auditing, training and transparency cannot be outsourced or bypassed.

The maritime industry needs to move to a different business model where failure is not an option, mistakes cannot be allowed to escalate and where training is paramount.

The current maritime industry model is not designed to provide technology oversight at the level required for the next level of technological solutions. Aviation has been working with complex automation for years and years, and still fails to keep an aircraft in the flight envelope.

The classification societies are either not equipped to be the arbiter of equipment and software certification and/or conflicted with their commercial operations and desire to have the most ships.

The manufacturers are often forced to compete at a commodity level against each other. In a rush to get something out this creates weakness in the product manangement cycle in terms of software releases being buggy, not tested enough.

At the centre of the problem the prescriptive method of creating regulations (using a United Nations body with advisers) provides too much ambiguity for manufacturers and this allows both wide variations and even weaknesses that are not disclosed. If we keep doing the same thing over and over again we cannot expect a different result. (ECDIS, Ballast Water, 2020)

Even when we have released the software or navigation tools or other equipment, the training cycle or requirements are dialled back, not repetitive and provide certification rather than competence. Training is a paramount factor going forwards in a technology world. (Type versus specific training and use of simulation)

The industry infrastructure needs a shake up, business attitudes have to change and best practice collaboration has to prevail before a safer environment for automation can exist. In fact there can be no real digitalisation of the industry unless changes come to process, business models and adaption to the role of technology and impacts on the way to design, test and operate.

Another thing I find important for the discussion is how the need for MCAS emerged. Boeing didn’t redesign the plane, they just increased the size and modified the position of the motors, which resulted in the tendency for the plane’s nose to pitch up. To overcome this they developed MCAS and they wanted MCAS to be an element of the aircraft like a wing or a flap…that’s why they didn’t include this in the manuals; it wasn’t a special operation it was how this aircraft would fly, and worse is that they gave priority to the system than the human element on the decision making process.

I see two issues with this.

Adding new technology to an old design it is not innovation. We do this much in shipping, we just add bits and pieces of technology on the ships, but the fundamental design of the systems is the same as in the ‘70s.

We are not there yet when the machine can be me absolutely trusted to overcome the human, unless multiple barriers are out place in which case it wouldn’t probably make economic sense to go autonomous in the current environment.

Safe Pilot Transfer, a team effort

Pilot Transfer into the fast launch craft at the MC pilot station

    When a maritime pilot boards an incoming ship, the ships voyage enters the final phase, coming into port. Using high speed tenders, or even swath-type vessels, we can now board ships at a speed of 5 to 10 knots safely. This enables the ships involved to maintain a good steering while making lee for taking a pilot.


Nieuw Statendam’s Maiden Call in Amsterdam


The newest cruise ship in the Holland America Line fleet, the Nieuw Statendam, made its maiden call to the port of Amsterdam on Sunday, 5 May 2019.

The second Pinnacle Class ship moored at the Passenger Terminal Amsterdam (PTA) and was welcomed with a water salute by Port of Amsterdam. Amsterdam will be the ship’s home port during the upcoming summer season.

This was the maiden call for the ship that was christened by Oprah Winfrey in Ft. Lauderdale last February. A cruise ship’s maiden call to a port is traditionally accompanied by a plaque & key ceremony.

Alma Prins-Droog, Commercial Manager Cruise at Port of Amsterdam, presented Captain Sybe de Boer with the port of Amsterdam coat of arms. Dick de Graaff, Director of PTA and Nico Bleichrodt, Managing Director Sales & Marketing – Continental Europe Holland America Line also attended the ceremony.

“We are proud that our newest ship will have Amsterdam as its home port this summer. Holland America Line always feels wonderfully welcome in Amsterdam and it is a very highly rated departure port for both international and Dutch cruise passengers. We have no less than 15 departures from Amsterdam this year. It’s a perfect way to discover a cruise holiday,” says Nico Bleichrodt.

Alma Prins-Droog said: “We are delighted that the Holland America Line has once again chosen Amsterdam as its home port. In addition to the dynamism of the city with its rich history, world-class sights and culture, the Amsterdam port region offers excellent facilities for sea cruise ships that have Amsterdam as a destination. This makes Amsterdam one of the most popular destinations for sea cruises in Northwestern Europe.”

The Nieuw Statendam an accommodate 2,666 passengers. After having made cruises in the Caribbean area last winter, the ship will have Amsterdam as its home port from May through September. Cruises will depart from Amsterdam to destinations including the Norwegian fjords, Iceland, the Baltic States and the North Cape. The length of the cruises varies from 8 to 15 days.

A remote-controlled ship carrying British oysters to Belgium becomes the first cargo vessel in the world to traverse the seas without a crew


A boat carrying a cargo of British oysters across the English Channel has become the world’s first ever shipment completed using remote control. 

Mersea Island molluscs were on-board the 40-foot (12 m) long Sea-Kit vessel heading to Orstend in Belgium and there was not a single human being on-board. 

It successfully completed the delivery of the 11 pounds (5kg) of shellfish and then made a return journey with some Belgian beer on-board.

Myriad technological gadgets and innovations fed data back to a control room in Maldon, Essex where two workers completed the 22-hour trip. 

Scroll down for video 

The British vessel is equipped with cameras, radar, microphones, thermal imaging and a back-up autonomous system to keep it and other sea-goers safe. 

‘This voyage has been months in the making, and to see it all come together is amazing,’ said Ben Simpson of SEA-KIT International Ltd. 

‘[The USV’s] potential lies in its ability to be adapted to a range of tasks, whether it be transit, hydrographic surveys, environmental missions, or marine safety and security. We’re tremendously excited to push the technology to its limits and see what we can achieve.’ 

Its journey across the Channel opens up the possibility for future trips also without a crew. 

Sea-Kit is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine.   

Remote pilots use a system known as Global Situation Awareness’ which obtains location data from on-board GPS and radar. 

The intrepid mission was done with the support of the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the Department for Transport, the Foreign Office, officials in Belgium and the European Space Agency.

Mersea Island molluscs were on-board the 40-foot (12 m) long Sea-Kit vessel heading to Orstend in Belgium and there was not a single human being on-board. A myriad of technological gadgets and innovations fed data back to a control room in Maldon, Essex where two workers completed the 22-hour trip
Sea-Kit is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine. It successfully completed the delivery of the 11 pounds (5kg) of shellfish (pictured) and then made a return journey with some Belgian beer on-board

Its developers say that, in the event of catastrophic failure of these systems, the autonomous features will kick in and allow it to avoid a collision. 

This, according to its developers, is the direction the company envisions the project going, as autonomy becomes a viable full-time prospect. 

Future endeavours will involve larger vessels by the mid-2020s and other firms, such as engineering giant Rolls-Royce also focuses on autonomous shipping. 

Zakirul Bhuiyan, a senior lecturer at Solent University, told The Times that the technology is ‘already there’ but faces bureaucratic hurdles.    

Professor Martyn Thomas, of Gresham College, said: ‘There are obvious benefits, such as removing people from a potentially dangerous environment.’ 


Sea-Kit is a British vessel which is remote-controlled at a central hub in Essex. 

It was designed by Hushcraft Ltd in Tollesbury, Essex and SEA-KIT Maxlimer was initially developed to take part in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE to find new ways to map the seafloor. 

The 40-foot (12 m) long Sea-Kit vessel is capable of speeds of up to four knots (4.6mph), has a capacity of up to 2.5 tonnes and is powered by a hybrid electric-diesel engine.

Remote pilots use a system known as Global Situation Awareness’ which obtains location data from on-board GPS and radar.

it completed the world’s first cargo-carrying remote-controlled trip when it transported oysters from Essex to Belgium. 

Dimensions: 40 foot (11.75m) long and 7.2 feet (2.2m) wide

Propulsion: Hybrid diesel-electric system

Range and speed: Up to 22,000km at 4 knots (4.6mph)

Can fit inside a shipping container

Future endeavours will involve larger vessels by the mid-2020s