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Tug Use in Port

Captain Henk Hensen is a Master Mariner FG. After his career at sea he became a Port of Rotterdam pilot for 23 years, during which time he started the first combined simulator training courses for harbour pilots and tug captains, and participated in many port studies, including simulator research. Following his piloting career he continued to work as a marine consultant on the nautical aspects of port studies, harbour tug advice and simulator training and research, and as an expert witness. As an author, his publications include Ship Bridge Simulators (1999), Tug Use in Port (2003), Tug Stability (2016), co-authored with Dr Markus van der Laan, and numerous articles in nautical magazines. Captain Hensen is a Fellow of The Nautical Institute and of the International Tugmasters Association, and a member of the International Federation of Shipmasters. He was elected Tug Personality of the Year 2010 by the British Tugowners Association.

Tug Use in Port

Henk Hensen
Maritime & Technology, Ports & Logistics
ISBN 978-90-831243-4-6


Tug Use in Port

‘A must read for all involved with tugs, pilotage and harbour manoeuvres.’

‘The best investment you can make (…) real bibles .’

First published in 1997 ‘Tug Use in Port’ has been known for over two decades as the ‘tug bible’ – the essential practical guide to port towage and escort operations.  Significant developments in port towage have taken place since then – new tug types have come on to the market and escort tugs have been developed further also with regard to the conditions that these tugs have to cope with. An increasing number of LNG carriers and bulk carriers are being escorted, in addition to tankers; remote controlled and autonomous ships are no longer simply the stuff­ of science fiction, and will have an e­ffect on tug operations.

The fourth edition of ‘Tug Use in Port’ has been fully revised and updated and now contains information on decision support systems on board tugs, full electric tugs, tug operations in swell, stopping a ship by tugs, new escort and carrousel tugs and assisting navy ships.

At the centre of all these developments and changes are the people – tug masters and crews, pilots and ships’ captains – who need to be able to handle the newly designed tugs and their equipment in a safe and efficient way. This book is designed to help them achieve that.

The author, Capt Henk Hensen, has published several articles on tug boats. They are available free of charge and you can read (and download)  them by clicking on the links:


No Tugs

Tugs and Wind Drift

These two articles first appeared in ‘Seaways’, the magazine of The Nautical Institute,


Autonomous Ship Handling with Tugs

Certification of Towing Companies

Where is the Practical Know How?

Towline Friction and its Consequences

Towline Friction Summary

Learning from Accidents

More Collaboration in Workboat World

Who Takes the Lead?

Report on Safe Tug Procedures

This Man’s Books Saved Many Lives