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Captain Leendert Westdijk (1927-2017) | 30-12-17

In Memoriam


Captain Leendert Westdijk (1927-2017)


By: Marinus C. (Rien) van Felius


Leendert Westdijk passed away peacefully at his home in Roundrock (Texas) on December 27 at the age of 90. He joined Smit International in 1949, and became a tugboat captain at the age of 29 in 1956. In 1972 Capt. Westdijk - commonly known as Leen Jr, because his father (also named Leen) was a tugboat captain with Smit as well - was promoted to the position of marine superintendent at Smit (Americas) Inc., Smit's U.S. headquarters in New York. At the time, Leen, his wife Trudy and their daughters Annelies, Beth and Carla settled in the State of New Jersey. From his new home base Capt. Westdijk served the interests of Smit and its customers as a maritime and salvage expert throughout the U.S. and the Caribbean until his retirement in 1987. Shortly after 1987 Leen and Trudy moved to Austin (Texas) to be closer to one of their daughters, and Leen started his own maritime consultancy business under the name Union Marine Inc.

One of Leen's latest achievements was the publication in 2013 of the book "Zeesleper Thames in de Tweede Wereldoorlog", which contains an interesting historic review of  the operations of Smit's ocean-going tug "Thames" during the Second World War. The "Thames" served the allied forces from the Western Approaches to the Far East and in Normandy. The reason for Leen's interest and for dedicating so much time to research in Britain and Holland, was the fact that his father served on the "Thames" as its chief mate throughout the war. The book was published in co-operation with the Dutch National Towage Museum (Nationaal Sleepvaart Museum) in Maassluis and maritime publisher Lanasta.

With Leen's passing away many of us lost a respected and dear friend. 

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