Way back in 1992 – TOS was just starting up – Dennis Pijl came in contact with TOS while searching for work. One minute he was calling the TOS office and before he even realised he was on his way to Lagos, Nigeria as an AB to deliver a tug boat of Damen Shipyards. At this moment he is the Captain of the Stemat Spirit. How did his career start? Which choices did he make, but most of all what would he advise students and young professionals about a Career at Sea?
Name: Dennis Pijl
Connection to TOS:
Started his career at TOS in 1992
Captain at Stemat
First step: getting the right experience
Pijl: ‘For seven years I’ve worked as an AB, AB/Cook or Motorman in every possible combination. I’ve sailed on all types of vessels (small and large), but most of all on boats to assist dredging and wet construction projects near the coast. The list of boats is endless, but most frequently I’ve worked on tugs, multicats and survey & dredging vessels. Working for TOS gave me the opportunity to work for quite a lot of different Dutch shipping companies and on the vessels of my preferred choice: tugs and multicats. TOS offered me a great working area. I enjoyed working as an AB, but at some point I started looking for ways to get higher up the career ladder.’
Second step: getting the right papers
Getting from AB to Mate/Skipper was his new goal and TOS supported him. ‘He graduated as a teenager from a Dutch Fishing School and we discovered that in combination with his sailing time he was able to get his CoC Master near coastal voyages,’ says Marleen Stuurman, Executive Manager Operations. Marleen, at that time working as a Consultant Maritime, was his direct contact person at TOS.
With the right papers TOS was able to offer him a position as Mate/Skipper on his so beloved tugs and multicats. ‘Through TOS I’ve been able to experience working for Damen, Boskalis, Rijkswaterstaat, Van Oord, Ballast Nedam, HAM, Van Stee, Stemat, Smit, Van den Akker, Neptunes, Van Wijngaarden and Waterweg. Despite this long list I may still have forgotten some companies I’ve worked for over the years.’ says Pijl.
Third step: increase your skills and take your job serious
In 1998 TOS arranged work as a Mate at Stemat, a honorable client since the early days of TOS. Stemat owned, at that time, a wide variety of crane barges, pontoons, pushers and tug boats for dredging and wet construction projects. Pijl: ‘At Stemat the work field was quite the same as the years before, so it gave me the opportunity to increase my skills and experiences as a Mate. And when you love your job and take it seriously you will get noticed! In the year 2000 Stemat offered me a fixed contract, which I proudly signed.’
Fourth step: be proud and keep developing yourself!
Pijl: ‘The CoC Master near coastal voyages is nice, but not enough to sail the vessel to the next project/work field for example. I decided to go back to school for the CoC Master
‘The Stemat Spirit was built amongst others for cable laying activities in shallow waters or even grounding. A marvelous job to manage as a captain and to have the final responsibility over such an important project and enthusiastic crew. Our next project is to lay two export cables in the ‘Waddenzee’ for a wind farm project called Gemini.
A career path while working at TOS
Pijl: ‘At the time I worked for TOS I always appreciated the personal contact with the office crew. Over the years TOS has grown into a large company and I still work with a lot of TOS professionals on board of the Stemat Spirit. TOS offered me positions on vessels and projects which I really liked. It gave me the opportunity to get more and more experienced in my work field. It helped me, TOS helped me to get higher up the career ladder. But you also have to be eager and willing to change and to seize the opportunities given!.’