iPS consultant Christian Aarnoudse was assigned to the Van Oord dredging company for five months. At Van Oord, he scheduled staff for Svanen, a floating crane that at the time was being used for the construction of the Walney Extension Offshore Wind Farm, located in the British Isles.
Christian: ‘A staff change in Van Oord’s crewing department caused a lack of personnel. The department had so much work to do and it urgently needed someone who understood the requirements that the on-board crew had to meet. That’s how I got started there. As a crewing officer at Van Oord I was involved in the project and my job went beyond my Maritime Consultant position at iPS. I gained a lot of knowledge, which is very useful to provide iPS services even more efficiently. In close consultation with the captain, I scheduled the crew and made sure they were on board at the right time. Sometimes a crew member had to leave the ship at a moment’s notice because of, for example, urgent family reasons. That’s a stressful moment because it requires a replacement to be arranged quickly. ‘
Svanen works within the Offshore Wind Pool, as do the ships Aeolus and Nexus, for which Christian has also recruited and planned personnel. Svanen was purchased by Van Oord and converted in 2014, making it suitable for driving the piles for the foundation of wind turbines. The Aeolus is also used for the transition of pieces and the construction of the wind turbines themselves. The Nexus is used for laying the cables on the seabed between wind turbines.
Christian: ‘In addition to taking care of the permanent crew employed by Van Oord, I also took care of a flexible workforce. At times, Van Oord works with Baltic crew. The fact that iPS has an agency in Lithuania is very convenient. The agency recruits staff on the spot and does a lot of preparatory work.’
Projects of this kind require qualified crew, because placing wind turbines is precise work, says Christian. ‘The staff must be able to do the right thing at the right time. Experience is at least as important as good qualifications. On this type of project, time pressure is high, often there is no time to work with inexperienced colleagues. Pro-activity and safe working practices are paramount. For example, when hoisting equipment is moved, everyone on board must know; this requires experience.’
Meanwhile, the job has been completed, and the Svanen has already sailed on for work on the German Arkona Becken Südost offshore wind farm. Christian is back in his office at iPS, looking back on a wonderful time: ‘It was very pleasant and instructive to work on these projects in my opinion.’
As per the 1st of September 2018 Christian joined Van Oord in a permanent position as Crewing Officer.