FIRST PRIZE: CAPTAIN JOHN VENIS
On 14 June 1993, I walked into the TOS office on the Westerkade 1a. At the time, the office consisted of two men: Kees Wagenaar and Joop Keesmaat. Who would have thought that TOS would grow into what it is today? Although, with the variety of work and assignments, it makes sense that it has made it so far. During my career at TOS, I have had many invigorating experiences. My time in Gabon was one of the most memorable periods of my time working with TOS over the past 24 years.
In 1995, TOS placed me in Gabon. I went to sail on the Sally Bell for the firm Damen Gabon in Port-Gentil. We investigated the possibility for passage to the Lagune d’Iguela for conducting geological research. In the past, captains had refused to go near that area. They declared it impossible, because the lagoon had been closed for 18 years and was blocked by a sand bank. In preparation of my work as captain, I was supposed to take a crash course to learn French in a monastery. After all, French was the language spoken on board the ship. In the end, the crash course in French fell through. Joop Keesmaat reassured me that this wouldn’t be a problem: ‘There is always someone on board who speaks English.’ Upon arrival, my first task was to explain, with my very best body language, what it was I had come to do. Nobody spoke a word of English! Fortunately, the Dutch manager at the time was there to help me explain the purpose of the trip to the crew.
A small plane had discovered a passage near the lagoon. It was our job to go and observe the lagoon at low tide to determine the exact location of this passage. About an hour before high tide, we passed parallel to the beach and sandbank in the direction of the passage in order to reach Lagune d’Iguela. The passage was about three-quarters of a mile long and 200 meters across with varying depths and currents. I can tell you that crossing that unknown passage was so exciting; I was sweating in places I didn’t even know that was possible!
Eventually, we made it to the lagoon. A place where no ship larger than a canoe had ever been before. We were discovering a whole new world. We were regularly visited by monkeys that came and snatched our things. In the mornings we woke up to the sounds of grey, red-tailed parrots and we moored the boat to palm trees (see photo). One day, we wanted to set out early due to the tide. I had asked the crew to untie the vessel and pull up the ramp. However, there was a bit of a problem: there was a 3.5-metre long crocodile lying on it taking a nap! None of the crew wanted to risk waking it up, which was understandable! I then decided to go around the outside of the railing, climbed over the front of the ship and began moving the ramp up and down with the winches. The beast finally had enough and left the area. These are certainly unforgettable experiences!
After that, I also had a wonderful time in Gabon on board different ships: including the Mitzic and the towboat Duquesne. Less enjoyable was the moment when I took a fall on the Mitzic. The drop was 6.5 metres down. Fortunately, it happened nearby a Shell camp. Thanks to the quick response of TOS, I was soon on my way home again from Gabon. Also, the project with the first inland tankers in Africa (Maga and Remboue) was great fun. In Libreville, we travelled 52 km against the current to load the tankers. Next, we had to unload past the breakwaters, a unique project.
I could fill pages with the unusual things I’ve experienced in the past 24 years. In any case, I look forward to completing 25 years with TOS!
Captain John Venis
SECOND PRIZE: OLEKSANDR PANSHYN
Since the 24th of October 2010, I have started my career at TOS. At the time it was my first contract, and the first time I worked in the offshore. I’ve learned a lot, worked with good professionals and TOS helped me with education to become a navigator. In the future, I hope to work as an Officer. I am very grateful to TOS because of the work and the good experiences. I hope we will have a lot more projects, TOS THANKS!
THIRD PRIZE: BRUNO BILLEN
Thx TOS: In 2016 I went aboard the Tog Mor for Allseas to cook for 140 men. There was no galley, so I went looking for one. I came across a mobile cooking container. Despite the rain, wind and freezing cold, I continued to cook in that mobile cooker container during Christmas and New Years. Also, I won a safety award during the work activities in the Rotterdam harbour.
July 2017: Thanks to the good and professional approach of TOS & Allseas, I managed to get a permanent contract!!! Thank you, TOS… I won’t forget this… and a big thumb’s up for Laura Versteeg!
It’s wonderful to be a part of your company.
Wish you many years of success and a very happy twenty-fifth anniversary!
In 2014 and 2015, I had the most wonderful experiences of my life.
I went four times to the Bahamas and once to Abu Dhabi
on a Damen delivery.
Thanks, TOS for that possibility! And certainly worth repeating!!
CAPTAIN JOHN MARTIN
Proud to have been employed by TOS twice in the last year!
CONSTATIN GIANI POMAZAN
Congratulations and I hope it will be a good year for TOS
which is until now one of the best in their services!!!
Congrats on your 25-year jubilee, TOS!!!
Wishing you much luck, longevity and fair wind …
LUIZ MARCELO REZENDE
Dear good friends of TOS.
It is a great pleasure to see TOS reaching 25 years of success! My heart will be with you forever as I had great moments working for this fantastic company. Gefeliciteerd!