FENLAND is unique in being the oldest diesel 'working' tug in the UK that was originally diesel and not converted from steam. She was built as Seaby in Amsterdam for CW Beckett at Kingston-upon-Thames who were the first to operate a fleet of heavy-oil tugs on the Thames. She operated initially from Brentford Dock, before working on the Thames until 1947 when she was then bought by Wisbech council and renamed FENLAND.
She was subsequently sold to Clements-Knowling and continued to work on the Thames until 1980. Based at Maldon and working on the south and east coasts until 1990, FENLAND then became non-commercial. She was bought by her current owner in 2000 and while her condition is structurally good, has undergone some conservation work. Her engine was rebuilt in 2006, repairs were made to her hull in 2008 including shot-blasting and galvanising and if funds allow, her wheelhouse will be replaced with a more traditionally shaped structure. Seaby was originally fitted with an Kromhout 4-M-4 200 hp diesel which was replaced by a 1941 built Ricardo Paxman TP12 in 1956, and is still running with that diesel engine. The story of Seaby and her arrival in the UK is written in an article in the Motor Boat magazine dated November 22nd 1929.
- 1929 Vessel built as SEABY in Amsterdam for use on the Thames
- 1947 Vessel bought by Wisbech council and renamed FENLAND
- 1990 Vessel retired from commercial service
Bought by present owner
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