Silver anniversary on Calorius

On 28 December, deckhands Per Maj and Torben Iversen were able to celebrate a special anniversary – for 25 years they have worked together on board DONG Energy’s tugboat 'Calorius'.


  • The crew on 'Calorius' is made up of two deckhands, a captain, a chief officer, a chief engineer and an operations engineer.

  • Torben Iversen and Per Maj are deckhands and have a fixed routine – they spend one month on board 'Calorius' followed by a month off.

  • Torben Iversen is the safety steward on board.

  • Per Maj is the shop steward and a member of the committee in the Danish Metalworkers' union's maritime department.

  • 'Calorius' collects coal from Poland about once a month. The ship has also collected wood pellets from Germany and the Baltic states.

  • The coal is loaded into barges at Stigsnæs in south-western Zealand, and 'Calorius' then sails the barges to the Studstrup, Asnæs and Avedøre power stations. DONG Energy has four barges in addition to the tugboat 'Calorius'.

  • In addition to shipping coal, 'Calorius' is also used to manoeuvre large bulk ships loaded with coal from Poland, Russia and Africa when entering and leaving Danish harbours.

  • 'Calorius' was extensively renovated in 2011. The wheelhouse and the cabins were modernised, and the ship’s engines were converted so that, instead of using heavy bunker fuel (thick oil), they could sail on marine gas oil (diesel oil), which is more eco-friendly as it contains less sulphur.
Per Maj and Torben Iversen started their partnership on the newly built tugboat 'Calorius' on Wednesday 28 December 1988 in the coal port in Aarhus. They had not previously sailed together, but had already met one another through their trade union activities. 'Calorius' is DONG Energy’s only tugboat, and is used to sail loaded coal barges from Stigsnæs transit port to the Studstrup Power Station near Aarhus, the Asnæs Power Station on the west coast of Zealand and the Avedøre Power Station near Copenhagen. About once a month, 'Calorius' sails to Poland to collect the coal itself. 

In addition to shipping coal, 'Calorius' is also used to manoeuvre large bulk ships loaded with coal from Poland, Russia and Africa when entering and leaving Danish harbours. 

During the past 25 years, Per Maj and Torben Iversen have had five different captains. However, despite various skippers, the ship and the daily tasks are basically the same as they were back in 1988. Both deckhands agree on what is required for such a successful and long-standing cooperation as theirs.

Humour an important ingredient 

The recipe for an enduring and good partnership is a mix of several things.

"Generally speaking, we are always on the same wavelength. We know what the other person is thinking without having to talk about it. And then we share the same sense of humour. And that, in my view, is pretty important," said Torben Iversen.

Per Maj added: "The fact that we both attach the same degree of importance to performing our jobs well is also a key factor." 

After 25 years as colleagues and regular workmates, the two men know each other extremely well. They also know each other’s neighbours and families and always invite each other to milestone birthday celebrations. Both men set great store by their friendship.

The two have previously been likened to a married couple. When they celebrated their 12½-year anniversary on 'Calorius', the crew constructed a traditional Danish wedding anniversary arch made of copper pipes and various bits and pieces.
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Carsten Birkeland Kjær
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