Ambiorix – Tug of War

The Ambiorix, named after a Belgian folk hero, is a tugboat built in 1909 and one of the few remaining tugboats that were never motorized. In addition to their large rudder, trailing spits can be recognized mainly by the various masts that were used to pull the ship from shore (chase). In the early 20th century, families often had to harness themselves to do this but later the use of horses and motorized vehicles became more common.

The last skipper gained possession of the ship after the war in 1948 by exchanging it for his wooden waal, a 19th-century wooden drag spire. The Ambiorix then took the name of its predecessor and has since sailed under the name VIR Bonus, literally translated “good man. The ship has been considerably modernized over time, including a wheelhouse and a steel rudder which was not uncommon in more modern towing. Not much is known about its further history other than that the Ambiorix served mainly around Antwerp and, in addition to transport, was presumably often used as storage.

Many of the details of the time have unfortunately been lost over time since the ship went out of service. After restoring the name, the owners plan to bring back many of these unique details.


Dit schip is privé-eigendom en niet vrij toegankelijk.

technische informatie



Towing spire






Lengte x breedte: 38.08 x 5.05 meters


355 ton