Tugs Photos History
At the outset the company built their first tug on Samos Island. She was made of wood, steam powered and named “AGHIOS GEORGIOS”. At that time, Piraeus had no piers and therefore the sailing boats and the few steam-powered vessels were anchoring in the port and unloading their cargo onto barges. For many years “AGHIOS GEORGIOS” towed barges with various cargoes from Pachi to Piraeus. Also, she towed large sailing boats from the port to the roads before they set sail.
The first Greek steam powered Tug “AGHIOS GEORGIOS” which was built in 1880 on Samos Island. The picture is taken during a daily excursion in Aegina Island and shows the Company’s founder Loucas K. Matsas, office staff and members of the Matsas family.
The founder of the Company and his wife Marigo had six sons, who comprised the second generation of Matsas Company. The son of the first born son George, was Loucas G. Matsas (1916-1993). He was born in Piraeus and constituted the third generation and had three children, Maria, Alina and George.
A coastal cargo / passenger vessel sits on a rocky seabed. The Matsas Salvage Tug had to wait until the sea became dead calm in order to shift near the casualty and establish her towline connection. The picture was taken in the 1920s.
Salvage services rendered to the Passenger Vessel “POPI” which ran aground on 1935, in Fleves Islet, Saronic Gulf. Both crew of the participating Salvage Tugs “MARIGO MATSAS” (built in 1900) and “AGHIOS NIKOLAOS” (built in 1907) and the Matsas Company were congratulated by the Government for the successful refloating and towage of the vessel to Piraeus.
Two Matsas Salvage Tugs “ATLAS” and “KERAVNOS” render salvage services to a bulker, which ran aground in strong winds in shallow waters near Beirut. Some of the pre war tug steam boats of the company Loucas G. Matsas
Some of the pre war tug steam boats of the company Loucas G. Matsas
Marigo Matsas (Built 1907)
Loucas Matsas (II)
Keravnos (Built 1921)
The period of the Second World War
The salvage Tugs “AGHIOS NIKOLAOS” (Built 1900) and “AGHIOS DIMITRIOS” (Built 1907) while rendering salvage services to a vessel aground. These are the two out of three Matsas Tugs that participated in the towage of the Bulgarian “MARIA LUISA” off Piraeus port that caught fire and exploded while laden with ammunition, during the Word War Two.
Passenger vessel ADRIAS II while on voyage from Crete Island to Pireaus grounded on Falconera Islet, on November 1952, 40 miles NW from cape Maleas and suffered an opening of 12 meters in length.
These pictures shows divers of Matsas Company who participated in the refloating work of Passenger Vessel “ADRIAS II”. The stink from the rotten meat in the vessel’s fridges, forced the salvage crew to throw them into the sea. As a result, a shoal of sharks caused a lot of trouble to the divers who were occupied in sealing openings in the vessel’s bottoms. Up to the early 1960s, the Salvage Tugs were manned with divers who wore the old fashioned diving suits with the iron helmet and supplied with air from the vessel with the use of a hose.
Tugs Operated from 1950-1995
Marigo Matsas II (Built 1932)
Starlet (Built 1959) - Tolmiros (Built 1943)
George L. Matsas
Matsas Salvor (Built 1957)
Asteri (Built 1970)
"Asteri", the first ocean going salvage tug was built on 1970. During 25 years of operation, the legendary salvage tug participated in more than 500 succesful salvage operations in the Aegean and the broader area including Mediterranean, Red Sea and Black Sea.
During the Gulf war of 1985-1988 and despite the potential dangers, three Matsas Greek flagged Salvage Tugs continuously rendered salvage services to Greek and foreign flagged tankers ablaze, saving property worth billions of dollars.
During 1984 Poseidonia Exhibition, a reception took place onboard the newly acquired “SMIT MATSAS 1” (ex. “POOLZEE”) in view of her acquisition and before her departure to the Persian Gulf where she maintained salvage station during the Iran – Iraq war.
The Greek Salvage Tug “SMIT MATSAS 1”, while at anchor at a position approximately 50 miles north of Ras Tanura off Saudi Arabia ready to render assistance to humans and vessels in distress, was hit by an Exocet missile launched by an Iraqi airplane on 13th of September 1985.The Tug caught fire but fortunately all of her 19 strong Greek crew were rescued without injury.
-In 11th of July 1988 during the return voyage of the daily cruise vessel “CITY OF POROS”, from the Saronic Gulf Islands to Piraeus, three armed terrorists among the passengers started throwing grenades and shooting at the other 468 passengers and crew.
Nine people were killed and sixty were injured.
Matsas Tugs “ALCYON” and “PEGASUS” arrived first at the burning vessel, commenced firefighting and picked up 250 passengers from the casualty. The remaining passengers boarded another ferryboat. After extinguishing the fire, the casualty was towed to the port of Piraeus.This picture shows passengers gathered to the casualty’s bow and jumping into the sea to escape from fire.
Fierce fire. “MATSAS STAR” extinguished the fire onboard the “ANAFI”, ablaze at Piraeus Roads, when laden with 46,300 tones of Chinese coal. The fire was extinguished before reaching the cargo holds.