Past and PresentSalvage Tug

MV Seefalke (I) – Salvage Tug

IMO Number: 5317276

MV Seefalke (I)

Steel twin screw motor vessel built in 1924 by Joh.C. Tecklenborg A.G., Wesermünde (Yard No 401) as a Salvage Tug

Technical Data

  • Length: 59.20 m (overall) 55.8 m (between perpendiculars)
  • Breadth: 8.99 m
  • Depth: 5.20 m
  • Draught: 4.62 m
  • Tonnage: 569 – 619 gross/30 net/ deadweight
  • Engines: 4 tew 6 cyl. M.A.N. diesel (1924) /4 tew 6 cyl. Klöckner/Humboldt/Deutz diesel (1942)
  • Power: kW/2400 – 3000 bhp
  • Bollard Pull:
  • Speed: 15 knots
  • Crew: 10
  • Call Sign: DDSR
  • IMO Number: 5317276
  • Port of Registry: Bremerhaven/Germany


September 27th 1924: Launched.

November 1924: Completed.

January 22nd 1925: Delivered to Reederei W.Schuchmann – Wesermünde.

1926: Bugsier-, Reederei- und Bergungs A.G. – Bremerhaven

1926: Schleppdienst W.Schuchmann – Bremerhaven.


1939: Deutsche Kriegsmarine, Kiel

September 15th/16th/17th 1940: Towed “BISMARK” from Hamburg to Brunsbüttel.

“On 15 September 1940, the Bismarck departed Hamburg for the first time to conduct her sea trials in the Baltic Sea with her base in Gotenhafen (today Gdynia). The Baltic was a very secure place to conduct sea trials and exercises, and it was utilised by practically every single unit in the Kriegsmarine during the war. Its only entrance through the Skagerrak and the Kattegat was very well guarded and strongly protected by minefields. At 1658, while steaming north down the Elbe River, the Bismarck collided with the bow tug Atlantik, but fortunately neither vessel was damaged, and at 1902 the battleship anchored in Brunsbüttel Roads in order to enter the Kiel Canal the next day. During the night of 15/16 September, while anchored there, British aircraft appeared in the sky and the anti-aircraft battery of the Bismarck engaged them at once. More than 300 projectiles were fired by Bismarck, but no observable hits were scored on enemy aircraft. On 16 September, the Bismarck entered the Kiel Canal. The Kiel Canal, inaugurated in 1895, runs for 98 kilometres through Schleswig-Holstein (from Brunsbüttel to Kiel-Holtenau), and links the North Sea with the Baltic, thus avoiding a longer voyage around the Jutland Peninsula. The Bismarck passed through the canal assisted by tugboats. At 1448 on 17 September, the ship entered the Kiel-Holtenau sluice, got out of the Kiel Canal, and then came alongside in Scheerhafen, Kiel, on 17 September, where she stayed for the next week calibrating the batteries and embarking supplies. After four more days of having made fast to Buoy A 12, the Bismarck departed Kiel on 28 September, escorted by the mine clearance vessel 13 (Sperrbrecher 13) up to Rügen Island, and then arrived at Gotenhafen alone on the same day.”

Bundesarchiv, Bild 193-04-1-26 / CC-BY-SA 3.0  Bundesarchiv, Bild 193-13-3-13 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 – Bundesarchiv, Bild 193-04-1-26 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 (left) and Bundesarchiv, Bild 193-13-3-13 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 (right)

1942: Converted and re-engined

April 4th 1945: During a bombing raid in Kiel sank in harbour ; raised over night by crew and (to avoid being taken as “spoils of war”) re-sunk in Kieler-Förde.

1950: Re-floated and repaired in Bremerhaven at Technischen Betrieb des Norddeutschen Lloyd.

April 28th 1950: Returned to service. Bugsier-, Reederei- und Bergungs A.G. – Bremerhaven

1960’s: Stationed at Dover

Courtesy of Ted Ingham  Courtesy of Ted Ingham

Courtesy of Ted Ingham

1969: Laid up.

June 6th 1970: Sold for 50.000 DM. and donated to Deutsche Schiffahrts Museum – Bremerhaven.


© Frank Behrends

© Leo Johannes

© Leo Johannes

All information is believed to be correct and no responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions. All items included in this article are subject to © copyright. We would like to take this opportunity of thanking: Frank Behrends, Ted Ingham, Bundesarchiv (via Wikipedia Creative Commons license CC-BY-SA 3.0) and Leo Johannes for their assistance in producing this feature.

Article © Nigel Thornton and Ray Goodfellow (Dover Ferry Photos Group)

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