Think fast in changing 40 crews simultaneously
It was a mammoth task providing staff for the Malaysian company Sapura Energy. From his office in Mexico, Guido van der Zwet, Manager Americas at iPS, talks with pride about a successful partnership.
Guido: ‘The ship has left the port, the job has been completed. We established a close relationship with Sapura Energy and it’s guaranteed that iPS will be a preferred supplier for the next project.’
The Sapura Energy 3500 was used to lay an offshore pipeline between a production platform and an oil extraction rig. There were 180 men aboard, of whom 120 were on iPS’ payroll, most of which were welders and supervisors.
At an onboard station, the 18-kilometre long pipeline was welded and subsequently lowered to 300 metres below sea level. The job took six months to complete.
Guido: ‘For a job like this we recruit staff, we conduct the interviews and we check their credentials. Many of the staff had previously worked for us which saved us time. Before boarding they are subjected to a practical exam, to ensure we provide the client with qualified personnel. We then provide ‘door-to-door’ service: we pick up the staff, arrange a hotel for them in the city where they will stay and we arrange their transport to the port. From there, the client takes over. We changed 40 crews simultaneously. You need to think and act fast. We worked very closely with our offices in Mexico City, Ciudad del Carmen and the Middle East. The office in the Middle East took care of all contracts.’
As a Dutch company in Mexico it is unusual to work with a ship sailing under the flag of Panama for a Malaysian client. Guido: ‘Panama is affiliated with the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), a treaty that stipulates the quality requirements and regulates the protection of personnel on board. iPS is MLC: 2006 certified and can therefore perfectly meet the requirements of the client.’
Guido works in a region where a lot will happen in the coming years. After 80 years, the state-owned Pemex monopoly has come to an end, and oil and gas fields have been released in turns since 2014. Currently there are 66 new operators that have bought units. However, the infrastructure will also be required, which will offer great opportunities for iPS. Expectations are that 200,000 new jobs will be created in the next 10 years. Guido: ‘We are working hard to prepare ourselves for the future.’
Guido is proud of his team of twenty staff members: ‘We are doing very well. Our turnover has doubled in four years, and more and more projects coming in. The way we approached the Sapura Energy project is a textbook example for us. The client, the client’s client as well as the staff who worked for us are satisfied. We have been able to maintain 120 families for six months. That’s great, isn’t it?’
Ramses Sanchez, senior Electro Technical Officer
‘I did enjoy the rush’
‘When I first joined Sapura Energy onboard the SK- 3500 Vessel, I performed the Electrical Foreman position for one trip only, but based on my knowledge, experience and development I was promoted to become an ETO (Electro Technical Officer) and finally I became a Sr. ETO. The job was a challenge because we were different nationalities working together. This makes things a bit complicated at times due to issues with language barriers and different way of doing things. But once we got to know each other we became a very strong team capable of handling any task given to us.
I found lots of challenges throughout this project as we needed to be on top of things to avoid downtimes due to equipment failures. We often received several calls during our shift, especially during projects to fix breakdowns and to avoid them, in order to maintain the vessel properly and meet the planned production times. I did enjoy the rush of having to troubleshoot equipment and was very pleased with the outcome of our team efforts.´