Alfons Håkans history

1896 -1930’s

In 1896, Johannes Håkans, a farmer from Strandas, established a small steam sawmill. The sawmill’s production was modest at first and mainly consisted of sawing timber in order to build houses.  However, tragedy struck in 1897 when the mill burnt down, believed to be the work of an arsonist.  What was left of the burnt sawmill & property were sold and Johannes emigrated to the USA.  It was during this time that the steam sawmill was put back into operation and it even expanded to incorporate a forage and planning mill. Johannes returned to Finland and in 1905 he bought back the mill. The company was registered as a limited company in 1910 and during the next 5 years the first tugs, Leo and Tor, were purchased and were used for shipping timber to the mill.

In the 1920s, Johannes’s son, Alfons Håkans, joined the family business. More tugs and pontoons were purchased, among them Kraft and Hurtig (built 1920-21) to name but a few. Interestingly enough, many of the old names are still in use on the modern tugs.

Hard times struck again though in the 1920s with 2 devastating fires at the sawmill as well as a world economic crisis that lasted from 1929 until 1932.  However, there were also good times; one of them being the successful salvage of the Greek 10,000tdw steamship ‘Diamantis’ in 1929. The salvage took place off the rocks of Norrskär Island, just outside the Port of Vaasa and Alfons worked as a diver during the salvage.

In 1934, a change of ownership resulted in him becoming the Managing Director. Within 2 years the company had managed to turn the tables and production continued to increase steadily - even throughout World War 2.

1945 – 1960’s

 In 1945, Alfons Håkans established a company under his own name and the first tug to be purchased was ‘Fakir’. In 1956 the tug ‘Fart’ was bought from the town of Vaasa and was refitted with diesel power in 1960.  From 1945 until 1960, Alfons Håkans was involved in more than 30 salvages with the most well known and often talked about being Gustaf Erikson’s ‘M/V Bergö’ and Henry Nielsen’s ‘M/V Panu’. In 1961 the company moved its entire operations and headquarters to Turku - firmly establishing its reputation as a reliable company. 

1970’s – 1990’s

In 1974, Stefan Håkans joined the family business and introduced T/B Simson to the market. Unfortunately the tugboat was lost off Utö Island in 1978, but thankfully there was no loss of life.  Soon after, T/B Kraft (ex Kone) was purchased, raising the company’s profile, especially within the forest product & barge operation industry. Offshore towages became a part of daily operations and 4 more tugs Triton, Fram, Fakir & Hurtig were purchased in the 1980s.  Icebreaking services were privatised in 1985 and this process was completed by 1989, with the exception of the ports of Kemi & Oulu. In 1988 Alfons Håkans purchased EFFOA owned ‘Hangon Hinaus Ltd’ as well as buying 4 additional tugs from a bank which was handling an insolvency case.

During the same year, he established a subsidiary company ‘Finntugs Ltd’ with a Mr A. Murto and the towns of Kotka & Hamina.  

Over the next 12 months the company experienced rapid expansion and as a result restructured the business ownership. Stefan Håkans and his family became the sole owners of Alfons Håkans. In 1991, Alfons Håkans purchased S & H Satamahinaus which was based in Helsinki and included the T/B’s Harald & Hamlet. Restructuring was necessary once again on the operations side during 1991-92. Consequently the T/B’s Herakles & Hermes were refitted to become pushers and charter contracts were established with Rautarukki Ltd & Finncarriers Ltd.

In 1996, Alfons Håkans expanded its operations to the offshore market and ‘Zeus’, a medium –sized anchor handling tug, was built for this purpose. It was engaged in offshore operations in the south sector of the North Sea. Further expansion towards the end of the late 1990s resulted in additional purchases, e.g. the pusher ‘Mercurius’ and Suomen Merisukellus Ltd (including their 5 tug boats).

Present

Alfons Håkans continues to operate today as a family business with Joakim Håkans at the wheel.
We take pride in providing reliable service to our customers.
Our fleet currently consists of more than 40 modern tugs and we also manage a fleet of barges.
This fleet reflects our solid position as one of the foremost towage and salvage companies in the Baltic.
Companies where Alfons Håkans is the principal shareholder are Finntugs based in Kotka, FC Inter Turku and Veritas stadion.