The roots and the background behind the establishment of this enterprise goes back to the mid 1920's when the founder Alexander G. Tsavliris arrived in Piraeus as a refugee from Asia Minor. As a young boy one of his first jobs was working on a small harbour tug, which triggered a life time ambition to be actively involved in salvage and towage.


With the support of his uncle, who was involved in coal bunkering in Piraeus, young Alexander (with his brothers and uncle) bought a tiny wooden coal-burning tug of about 10hp, which they named "ALECOS" and nicknamed "BOURBOULAS" ('small beetle'). Working as deckhand in the mornings and company clerk in the afternoons, Alexander also attended night school to acquire education. He continued his training in London, working 'through the ranks', eventually establishing his own business in 1939. At the end of Second World War he purchased his first ship, a 1,200-dwt tons collier, which he named "ALEXANDER T".


His first ocean-going ship, which he named "MASTER NICOLAS", soon followed as the budding owner set about creating a fleet of dry-cargo ships. Alexander returned to Piraeus in 1956 to become one of the expanding shipping community's leading owners.


Long fascinated and deeply impressed by the actions and bravery of the salvage men, Alexander Tsavliris established a salvage operation in 1964 with the purchase of the British Admiralty tug "HENGIST". Renamed "NISOS CRETE", this unit was the first of what became known as the Nisos tugs, as the TSAVLIRIS' company, over the course of the next few years, grew into the largest registered tug owner in the world, comprising of 30 units by the end of the 1960's. During the mid-1970's TSAVLIRIS had 15 tugs on station in Greece and throughout the world.


Consistent with international trends, these numbers have now diminished, but thanks to a vigorous policy of modernisation, TSAVLIRIS' fleet is now better equipped to cope with today's larger and more complex vessels, as well as with the threat of pollution, which has imposed new demands on salvors.