Seacamels were buoyancy boxes that could be attached to the side of a vessel to reduce her draft.
In those days, the people in Holland only had a vague idea of what camels looked like, but they were thought to be very strong and good at carrying very heavy loads.
Filled with ballast water, the seacamels were attached to the side of a vessel. The vessel’s draft was reduced by pumping out the water from the seacamels. This invention allowed vessels to pass shallow waters and to call the port of Amsterdam.
The seacamels were invented by “Meeuwis Meindertsz Bakker”. He tested his construction in April 1690 by lifting the warship “Princes Maria” over the sandbank “Pampus” in the “Zuiderzee”. Because of this success, the Admiralty of Amsterdam paid a year’s salary to the inventor.
After more than 300 years, seacamels were used again during the discharge operation of the Tahiti spar. Weighing 24,787 tonnes, the draft of this spar had to be reduced to allow the float-off operation from the Dockwise Vessel “Mighty Servant 3”.
Rob Hoekstra founded Seacamel B.V and has worked on many exciting projects since.