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cutter was placed in Kjalmar in Sweden. Further salvage vessels were acquired in the late 1860s – ØRESUND and HELSINGØR built for SVITZER in 1865 and 1868 and the paddle steamer HERTHA bought in 1869. The development of the steam engine soon presented SVITZER with another challenge. Steam tug boats started to emerge and were strong enough to pull grounded but otherwise undamaged vessels free without using special equipment or extensive salvage expertise – and often at a more competitive price than a specialized salvage company. The introduction of ballasting systems intensifi ed this trend as grounded vessels were often able to re-fl oat merely with the aid of pulling power and deballasting. Smaller salvage jobs had historically provided a steady income and enabled SVITZER to take economic risks on the bigger jobs. Being the fi rst on the spot offering assistance to vessels in need was becoming increasingly diffi cult. With more intense competition a new strategy was needed for the company to survive. THE IMPORTANCE OF LOCAL RELATIONSHIPS SVITZER had from its early beginning developed an information network of fi shermen, pilots, shipbrokers etc. to ensure that they would have a good chance of being the fi rst salvor on the spot. This network was extremely important in the 19th century, when communication generally was expensive and slow, relying on boat connections and horse carriages. A telegraph line between Helsingør, København, Nyborg, Fredericia and Flensburg was opened only in 1853 and telephone lines were rare until the beginning of the 1880s. In 1877 SVITZER decided to meet the intensifi ed competition by expanding cooperation with local fi shermen and salvage guilds through agreements and contracts. In return for a share of the salvage award they would contact and cooperate with SVITZER every time a vessel was found in distress. This co operation supplied SVITZER with manpower and the ability to respond quickly. The contracts also proved valuable to counter historical differences between the local communities and guilds and the salvage company. The work that SVITZER had turned into a profession had taken important extra earnings from the people living on the coast. The strategy of cooperation enabled SVITZER to keep and expand the business in Denmark and benefi ted the local The idea of cooperation with local guilds and fi shermen through salvage contracts established in 1877 was used to the end of the 20th century. In this salvage contract from 1951 the fi sherman Kaj Hansen agrees to put his boat and crew at SVITZER’s disposal whenever needed in a specifi c coastal area in Denmark. Kaj Hansen would receive a monthly rate as well as a day rate when assisting SVITZER. When contracts were made with salvage guilds each member of the guild would sign the contract. 24 S V I T Z E R – S A F E T Y A N D S U P P O R T AT S E A


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