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The Muller Shipping family (The Netherlands)

Last modified: 2018-12-15 by rob raeside
Keywords: muller | multraship | multratug |
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[Willem Muller Zeesleepdienst] image by Jarig Bakker, 10 Nov 2003, after image sent by Neale Rosanoski, 7 Nov 2003 See also:

Willem Muller Zeesleepdienst

I wonder whether there is confusion here with the towage company of the "Muller" name as the only one I can trace is  Willem Muller Nederland B.V., operating out of Terneuzen, having changed name 1990 from Willem Muller Zeesleepdienst B.V., and which appears to have been taken over by Wijsmuller and then coming under the Dockwise N.V. group. This company has a blue flag with thick yellow "M" which can be seen on Josef  Nüsse's site.
Neale Rosanoski, 7 Nov 2003

Jansen & Van Heck – on p. 59 of their book “Duwvaart” (1988) – mention Leenderd Muller, a coal merchant of Puttershoek who operated a sailing ship.  Father of eight children, he gave each of his six sons a tugboat.  Willem and Theunis (at a later stage, at Terneuzen and Dordrecht) would both come to possess an important towage company.

1. Willem Muller was the first one to establish a towage service (1911).  Terneuzen being his base of operations, he offered his services mainly on the canal linking this town and Ghent, Belgium, but also operated pushboats most of which were chartered.
The company name being ‘Willem Muller B.V.’ and the house flag being shown in b/w and described as blue with a yellow ‘M’, this tallies with FOTW-ws (Jansen & Van Heck p. 62).  Still an independent firm at the time of writing (1988).

Some tugs show the flag on these pages:

2. T. Muller (Sleepdienst En Avant) B.V. at Dordrecht.  This seems to be the only independent Muller left!
Jan Mertens, 17 Mar 2006

Theunis Muller

[Theunis Muller] by Jarig Bakker, 24 Mar 2006

According to Jansen & Van Heck in “Duwvaart” this firm – complete name: ‘T. Muller (Sleepdienst En Avant) B.V. – was founded about 1918 by Theunis Muller, one of Leenderd Muller’s many sons.   Including ‘Muller Zwaar Transport’ (meaning heavy transport), pp. 59-61 are dedicated to this company.
Established in Dordrecht since 1922, T. Muller is engaged in push navigation (of course the main interest of Jansen & Van Heck) since the ‘seventies, followed by Muller Zwaar Transport which started out by acquiring the waterbound activities of A. Hak Zwaar Transport, Krimpen aan de Lek.
The house flag is shown in b/w on p. 60 and described as white with four blue corners and a red diamond with white ‘M’.  The “corners” are the squares obtained by placing a very broad white cross on blue!   (Muller Zwaar Transport has, or had, a different funnel but a photo shows a vessel with the T. Muller flag.)
There seems to be confusion (again…) as concerns the colour of the diamond which is placed in the cross’s centre.
The following pages show an orange diamond (yes?) on several photos:
and then there is Josef Nuesse’s item (last but one on this page) - at least this diamond is clearly orange.  A very patriotic colour scheme, to be sure.

English version of company website:
“At this moment Muller operates several seagoing tugboats varying from 12 to 20 tons bollardpull and they mainly operate in Europe. With a well-maintained fleet of seagoing tugs and skilled crew, Muller works around the clock.”
“Muller has various pusher tugs and roll-on/roll-off barges. These barges can be used both inshore and offshore.”
“For a very long time, Muller has also specialised in launching bridges with heavy load pontoons throughout Europe. The launch operations are calculated by a team of engineers and executed with skilled crew and supervisors. Muller can deliver the heavy load pontoons to the place of operation using their own fleet of push-and tugboats.”
The site hosts an impressive number of photos and all visible diamonds seem to be orange!
More generally, what is said about the firm’s history confirms what is related by Jansen & Van Heck.
Jan Mertens, 17 Mar 2006

Perhaps some confusion is caused by the similarity of this flag with the one of Smit-Lloyd.
Jarig Bakker, 24 Mar 2006


[Multraship houseflag]by Jarig Bakker, 3 Mar 2005

Jan Mertens reported this link with mainly Dutch houseflags. Multraship - blue flag, from top hoist to bottom fly two yellow intertwined links, fimbriated blue.
Jarig Bakker, 3 Mar 2005

This firm is mentioned in "Duwvaart" by Jansen & Van Heck, but only in passing; the flag is shown (described by them as "blue with two yellow half links").

Company website (in English),  `About us':
"Multraship Towage & Salvage is a division of the Muller Maritime Group, a private company owned by the Muller family of Terneuzen, The Netherlands.  The company's main activities are: harbour towage / worldwide salvage & wreck removal / coastal & deep sea towage.
The Muller family has been engaged in the shipping industry for more than 230 years, specializing in towage and salvage since 1911, when Willem Muller opened for business as a local tug operator and salvor in the river Schelde area.

Today, Multraship carries on this proud tradition of services with expert staff and experienced salvage masters and crew. The company operates a large, modern fleet of tugs, self propelled floating sheerlegs, diving support vessels and other units."

This page shows the company emblem, with slight variations, on flags and funnels.

`Multratug' on the other hand is the name for a series of sturdy tugboats loved, so their presence on the internet shows, by many shiplovers.
Obviously this is another jewel in the Muller crown!
Jan Mertens, 17 Mar 2006

Multraship and Multratug.  As Jarig suggests in his comments for Multratug these two are connected with Multraship Towage & Salvage [Handel-en Scheepvaartmaatschappij Multraship B.V.] being as outlined by Jan for Multraship with a name subsidiary being Multratug B.V formed in 1990. Of the two flags shown that by Jarig would seem to be the actual as I have a photo of it being flown by "Multraship Commander" and whilst it is the reverse side and thus "looks" on that side as for the Brown design, it could only be so on the obverse if the flag was double sided which seems highly unlikely to me especially in view of the company logo. Probably the confusion for the Brown version is that is has been based on a report using the funnel panel as a basis for whilst both sides of a funnel generally show the same design, with that of the port side being generally deemed to be the equivalent of the flag obverse side, some starboard views show a mirror image so that the emblem faces forward on both sides of the funnel. And that it is the position with their tugs with the portside showing the flag obverse and the starboard side showing the flag reverse. Jarig's version is also supported by the table flag shown by Josef Nüsse, at least for design, though there is no sleeve visible to really clinch things.
Neale Roasanoski, 16 Jan 2010

Multratug, Terneuzen

[Multratug houseflag] by Jarig Bakker, 3 Sep 2005

Image after Brown's Flags and Funnels Shipping Companies of the World, compiled by J.L. Loughran, Glasgow, 1995 [lgr95].
Multratug B.V., Terneuzen - blue flag, two intertwined yellow ropes over all. Probably the same company as Multraship.
Jarig Bakker, 3 Sep 2005