The history of Tarbit

A Decisive Meeting

The shipping company’s two founders Knut Hermansson and Sture Svanström met way back in 1958 at Ideal’s engineering workshop in Gothenburg. Knut arrived in the tanker Redön which was to undergo a boiler replacement and Sture was the ship’s agent. They gained considerable confidence in each other and this resulted in the purchase of their first jointly-owned ship in 1962.

The purchase of Oiltank was not all plain sailing. But with hard work they managed to finance the purchase and the deal could be concluded. Their collaborations has continued since then and, today, and it is gratifying for them that the new generation’s personal chemistry is just as agreeable.

A unique deal

The purchase of the ship Inger Express, ex Seaspeed Dora, shows that characteristics such as curiosity, knowledge and an eye for business are vital to success. The brand-new ship had capsized in the Red Sea in 1977 and was to be sold in its capsized state. Knut and Sture saw the potential and Knut quickly travelled to the Red Sea to inspect her on site equipped only with a pocket torch.

They made a decision on the spot and the deal went through before anybody else had inspected her. She was then towed from Pireus to Gothenburg where she arrived on 10 January. She went on her initial sea trial as early as 5 May the same year. Inger Express then operated in ro-ro traffic right up to l981 when she was sold. Knut’s and Sture’s eye for business led them in the right direction since Inger Express was a really good deal for the shipping company.

Redo leaves Skärhamn

When the asphalt tanker Redo was sold to Russia in September 2003, one of the true faithful servants in the shipping company’s fleet disappeared. With her more thanforty years she was one of Sweden’s most beautiful conventional ships and a well-known landmark for the people of Skärhamn. She was built in 1963 as the Nynäs and was sold to the shipping company in 1976.

Despite her 27 years with the company she was still in good condition and retained her original Deutz engine. She was rated at ice class 3 and transported liquid asphalt heated to 220°C. Redo was the first ship to have a heating system based on hot oil instead of steam. All the tankers owned by Tarbit since 1976 comply with the ”double – double” hull rule.

The new generation takes over

The choice of profession for the new generation was self-evident. Whether or not the sons would follow in their fathers’ footsteps was obvious. The desire to go to sea was there, the exciting environment was a temptation and as soon as school was finished they went to sea. The generation change went via shipping training and all the sons have sailed and are still active – prepared to go onboard when required.

Major accidents have changed tanker shipping and now it is necessary to keep up-to-date and comply with the latest environmental and quality requirements in order to carry out transports for the oil companies. The combination of seamanship and theoretical training is therefore a necessity for meeting customers’ increasing requirements.

In 1995 the trio felt ready to take on major tasks and they decided to invest in Oktavius, Chess and Bitfjord. This was a major responsibility in terms of greater tonnage and more ships. But, because the sons had learned to take on responsibility from their parents, they never hesitated. The new generation were not handed anything on a plate. The shipping industry is a question of hard work, 24 hours a day.

The history of Tarbit Tankers

11 april 1947

Company established by the family van Seumeren and named after wife of founder. Two converted shant tankers.


Growth of fleets with ups and downs. Transport of coal tar and chemicals.


Furness takes minority/majority share in the company and acquires remaining shares in 1971. Last van Seumeren family member leaves the company.


First bitumen tanker.


Tanker for transport of liquid sulphur ”Stella Duval”.


First tanker for transport of liquid pitch ”Stella Lyra”.


Theodora Tankers buys Seran S.p.A. Italie, two vessels.


Furness and Pakhoed merge.


Pakhoed Shipping Theodora Tankers joins Broere in Dordrecht.


Van Ommeren and Pakhoed merge into Vopak.

14 june 2001

Theodora Tankers sold to new shareholders Tarbit Shipping.

1 january 2011

Theodora Tankers BV changed name into Tarbit Tankers BV.