Activities in the port of  Delfzijl
Activities in the port of Delfzijl

And then the First World War breaks out in 1914 and all sea shipping stops. The Germans place mines in the estuary of the Eems and around the island of Borkum and they have to give permission to any vessels wanting to leave the harbour. During the war the port becomes especially busy with the shipment of timber from the Baltic. The German ships can no longer cross the North Sea to Antwerp, Rotterdam or Amsterdam therefore everything to and from the Netherlands, Belgium and southern Germany is shipped via Delfzijl. A new business activity begins when the stevedoring firm Stuwadoorsmaatschappij N.V. is established in March 1917. The stated aim of the company is: "To have goods loaded, unloaded and received and all related matters; to have them transported or placed by steam and other seagoing ships, which are to undergo customs clearance in the ports of Delfzijl."

The passenger services on Borkum and Norderney is brought to a halt when the war breaks out. Egbert Wagenborg is asked by a number of businessmen from Groningen to run the ferry service between Groningen and Schiermonnikoog now that the "Thea Lotte", owned by the German Count Von Bernstorff, is no longer in use. Originally he thinks he is able to meet this request because the Vooruitgang II has been freed up since the Emden service is stopped. Unfortunately, the Vooruitgang II is unable to complete the entire route because the lock at Zoutkamp is just a few centimetres too narrow for the ferry. However, Egbert solves this problem by having the “Koningin Wilhelmina” sail the first part of the route and then Vooruitgang II is standing by outside of the lock.  The embarkation and disembarkation process on Schiermonnikoog is laborious and rudimentary because there is no jetty on the island. That means that the ships have to anchor and bring the passengers ashore with landing boats. The boats sail up to the shore where a horse and cart arrives to pick the passengers up for their onward journey.

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