Local Shipping – 1939 built tug SABU

One of the Dutch built vessels serving around the Maltese Islands was the 1939 built 21.67 metre single screw tug SABU.

During the Golden Days all tugs were named by taking the first letters of the owner’s name, Salvatore (SA), and the first letter of his surname, Bezzina (B) and then adding a vowel infact we had SABA, SABE, SABI, SABO and SABU.

She was built by S.Saijmondsbergen, Scheepswerf & Motorien Fabrick Concordia BV at Amsterdam, The Netherlands. During March 1940 she was delivered to Vereenigde Nederlandsche Scheepvart (VNS) or United Netherlands Shipping Co for service at Beira, Mozambique. On 4th November 1949 she arrived at Malta to be operated by the Naval Stores Department with pennant number C 767 and in 1958 with the Captain of the Dockyard and renamed as NS 767.

In July 1963 she was sold to Salvatore Bezzina & Sons Ltd and renamed SABU. She was registered as no 2 in the registry.

On the 28th December, 1973 she was provisional registered with the Maltese Registry. She was used in various maritime services including towages of Salv. Bezzina & Sons barges and when I was young I remember her at St. Julian’s Bay with the floating crane SALVER dredging the Bay with grab before the Grab Dredger IL-GIDDIEM made deeper dredging.

Her drydocking used to happen at the 1944 built former Admiralty Reinforced concrete floating dock former AFD 52 of which today 78 years later she’s still in use – a testimony to the durability of reinforced concrete..

Her official number was 0021 with radio callsign as 9HBY.

She had 1 Internal Combustion Engine built by Werkspoor NV, Netherlands equivalent to a U-Boat Engine with 1 shaft and BHP of 300 with 10 knots maximum speed.

She was deleted from the Maltese Register on 1st October, 1999.

She was laid up mainly at Church Wharf of which she foundered later on in early 2000s and raised.

She was finally broken up in 2009/2010 by Bezzina Group.

Bezzina Group also owns Bezzina Ship Repair Yard (BSRY) which is a complete Ship and Yacht repair facility for vessels of steel, aluminium, CRP and wood. It is a family owned and situated at Coal Wharf, Grand Harbour inner side.

BEZZINA GROUP – www.bezzinagroup.com

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Published – Wednesday 13th July, 2022.