hudson 01

International Call Sign: Papa-Echo-Uniform-Juliet

Hudson, built in 1939, is the only remaining prewar ocean-going tug in the Netherlands. During the war, the ship was five years in service with the Allies. Today, the Hudson is a museum ship in Maassluis.

She was ordered in 1938 by N.V. Internationale Sleepdienst at P. Smit Jr. N.V. Shipyard in Rotterdam. For 24 years she sailed under the name Hudson. The construction costs amounted to € 135,000. In July 1939 the Hudson joined L. Smit & Co. International Towing, whose home port was Maassluis. On July 15, 1939 Hudson departed for her first job; towing a dredger to Beira.

In May 1940 captain Ben Weltevreden, during the fourth journey of the Hudson, received the news that German troops invaded the Netherlands. Hudson did not return home, because of the German occupation. Throughout the Second World War, the Hudson directed by the Dutch government in exile, served the Allied cause. The tug and her crew have many feats to her name including towing a burning ammunition ship in the port of Algiers . In 1944, as part of the Normandy landings, the Hudson assisted creating an artificial harbor on the coast of Normandy, from where the Allied forces were supplied. In the same year she assisted in Operation Pluto; the construction of a pipeline under the channel for supply of fuel for the allied troops.

After the war, the Hudson was deployed everyywhere in the world. Tow jobs to Brazil and Indonesia, but also closer to home. In 1963, L. Smit & Co. International Towing decided to decommission Hudson: her power (600 hp) was at that time no longer sufficient. The Hudson was offered for sale to the breakers.

The fishing company D. Hunter of Stellendam bought the Hudson in 1963. The engine was removed and the ship was converted into crushed ice factory. This ice was used in the fishery for the preservation of fish caught. After almost 25 years, this came to an end this. The demand for crushed ice decreased through the use of new methods in sea fishing. In 1989 the ship was again offered for sale to the scrap yards.

Mr P. de Nijs, captain at L. Smit & Co. International Towing founded the "Help the Hudson Foundation", aiming to bring the ship back to its former glory and new life as a museum ship. With financial support from the nautical world and contributions from various funds, the foundation purchased the Hudson. After a restoration period of 14 years, the Hudson is returned to her original state as much as possible. A unique piece of industrial heritage was thus preserved for posterity.

Visitors to the Maassluis moored ship get an impression about the life and work aboard a tug in the period 1940-1960. The port and starboard bunker areas as well as the engine room are exhibitions about towing just before and during World War II, entitled "Heroes willy-nilly."


Museum info:
Address: Haven 3, 3143 BB Maassluis, Netherlands
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