Page 48

175_anniversary_year_book

THE ESCAPE TO SWEDEN By the spring of 1945 Russia had seized Warsaw and Krakow and the Americans reached Cologne. Danish shipowners were generally concerned about confi scation of vessels by the German forces. Various precautions had been taken to avoid this, including sinking vessels deliberately and blowing up the bridge of Langebro to trap vessels in the southern port of Copenhagen, Sydhavnen. In order to avoid German confi scation of its vessels, an escape to Sweden was carefully planned by SVITZER together with the Danish resistance movement BOPA and the Danish Freedom Council. As many SVITZER vessels as possible were to sail into Swedish waters on 9th April 1945 – exactly fi ve years from the day Germany occupied Denmark. Some of the vessels could do this easily from their operating positions at sea. Others were allowed out of port on fi ctitious operations. Getting the tug boats operating in the port of Copenhagen out was the biggest challenge, as they rarely left the inner harbour. In a carefully orchestrated operation the Danish vessel, RØSNÆS, was captured by members of the resistance movement and grounded with the crew held at gun point. With the salvage vessels all busy on other operations this manoeuvre enabled the harbour tugs to leave the port to assist the grounded vessel. The following morning RØSNÆS was easily pulled free and the vessels of SVITZER and Det Forenede Bugserselskab continued to Landskrona in Sweden. The management of SVITZER had also fl ed to Sweden to avoid being taken into German custody. The German forces responded promptly to the fl ight of vessels by seizing control of the two companies’ remaining vessels in the provinces of Denmark Underwater cutting machine. In 1940 SVITZER invested in new modern equipment including echo sounders, direction fi nders and motor driven centrifugal pumps. Furthermore, 10 underwater cutting machines were purchased allowing divers to work with a blowtorch below water. The cutting machines put an air casing around the fl ame enabling it to cut iron. SVITZER also acquired more diving suits, which then numbered more than 20. 46 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


175_anniversary_year_book
To see the actual publication please follow the link above