Maritime Cineast Pim Korver passed away

by Hans | December 8th, 2012

In the Netherlands and in many other countries around the world Mr. Pim Korver is considered to be THE maritime film- and photospecialist. During about 50 years he has made numerous productions, which for the greater part show that towage and salvage is part of the Dutch maritime heritage. Apart from maritime reports for Dutch television he also presented himself as a journalist on various other subjects.  His films as well as his photos are of extreme high quality.

The beginning of a career: Pim Korver had a thorough schooling in filming and photographing. As he learned the basic principles of his profession from the very beginning, the job had no secrets for him. In the professional press he was considered to be an expert.

His first productions: The first maritime production of Pim Korver was of the British coaster Gladonia that ran ashore in bad weather on Maasvlakte on 23rd January 1962. He went to the scene by a small rescue-vessel  and made a spectacular film. Still he was on board of the coaster when the rescue-vessel was about to return to Hook of Holland and at the very last moment he managed to jump off the ship. One of the remarkable, but sad events that Korver covered with his cameras was the towage of the capsized Swedish tanker Thuntank VII . This ship was taken upside down by the Dutch tug Gele Zee from the North Sea to the Rotterdam port and subsequently tilted in a normal position by means of sheerlegs. Korver was 26 years old when on board of Ebro ( the former Hudson of 1939) he sailed to the transport, filmed the situation and returned to Hook of Holland even before arrival of Gele Zee and her tow. The next day his film was broadcasted by Dutch television.

In 1964 he covered a.o. the transportation of the drilling-platform Mr. Louie to Bremerhaven, the raising of the Eilbek, a freighter that sank on the Nieuwe Maas at Rotterdam, and the towage to Angola of the drilling-platform Transworld 58, built by a Dutch yard-combination.

The Van Ommeren-tanker Pendrecht  was severely damaged at Montevideo in 1965. Korver flew to South-America where in the meantime the tanker was burned in two separate parts. During the voyage from Montevideo Pim stayed on board of one of the tanker-sections and made a spectacular film. It is very disappointing that this film could not be traced in the archives of his client at that time: the Dutch government.

Busy times: During the second half of the sixties a great number of shipping-accidents caused Mr. Korver to pack his cameras regularly. There were fires on board of the freighters Akti and South America, strandings of Vikingbank and Alkyone, the launching of tug Witte Zee and the commissioning of quite a number of Smit-Lloyd suppliers. These are only some examples of the events he filmed. Of the stranding of the freighter Ping An at the shore of Terheyde Pim made, apart from pictures, an impressive film lasting almost an hour.

The seventies caused much work of a different nature. First of all the British bulk carrier London Valour ran aground at the rocky entrance-pier of the Genua-port.  Smit Tak was charged with the removal of the wreck and Pim Korver filmed the whole operation. The use of expanded polystyrene balls  (an idea from the youth magazine Donald Duck, as they said) was new and spectacular.

The oil-industry in the North Sea was booming since the beginning of the seventies . The Andoc-platform was built at Europort and there was a great interest in this construction. Subsequently Ekofisk-, Dunlin- and Condeep-platforms were built and were towed by a combination of strong ocean-going tugs to their locations. Pim Korver was always present.

Tanker-accidents were occurring regularly. Notwithstanding the fact that the events happened some thirty or even forty years ago and caused a lot of pollution on various coasts these accidents are still anchored in the memory. We all still recollect names like Torrey Canyon, Amoco Cadiz and Olympic Bravery. The latter was a new giant of 275.000 tons and fortunately not loaded.

Very tragic was the enormous explosion at Bantry Bay of tanker Betelgeuse in 1979. 50 people lost their lives and the ship had to be sawed in three sections in order to be able to remove her.

Even more tragic was the capsizing of the ferry Herald of Free Enterprise just outside theport of Zeebrugge. Korver was the only filmmaker and photographer allowed to do his job during the salvage. The result was the impressive film “March 6,1987”.

During a number of years at the end of the last century Pim Korver concentrated on making productions that were not related to the salvage and towage world or only sideways. This was i.e. the case with a film about the construction of a railway-tunnel and a films about rescue operations. The last few years again there were occasions when he filmed subjects connected with the maritime world. The long-distance towages of drilling-platforms performed by Fairmount tugs are certainly spectacular. The removal of the MSC Napoli wreck was almost a technical impossible task, however, led by Dutch experts the remaining heavy parts of the ship, like the engine-room, were successfully pulled and lifted from the sucking mud. Pim again made a great film.

Like we said, the work of Pim Korver has a historical value. The filmmaker fortunately  took measures that his motion pictures will be conserved in a proper way in maritime museums. His death on 6th December means in the first place a tremendous blow for his relatives. His remarkable appearance and approach of his job will be missed by many admirers and colleagues.

by Nico J. Ouwehand – National Towage Museum

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One Response to “Maritime Cineast Pim Korver passed away”

  1. Undersigned was a friend and admirer of Pim Korver, who also
    made movies about the SAR events at Curacao.
    Joop (John) Kooijman

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