Meet Lars van der Heul, a motivated and enthusiastic maritime professional. He spent eight years sailing at sea with Seaway Heavy Lifting, now Subsea 7. Lars consciously decided to transition from a successful seafaring career to applying his sea knowledge onshore as a Technical Superintendent. Read his journey.
Memorable moments at sea
There have been several projects that left a mark on me. Each voyage had something unique. We had heavy and awe-inspiring lifts, encounters with severe weather, ocean crossings, and the opportunity to learn interesting project-specific techniques. One project that stands out is the Sheringham Shoal Wind farm. It was the first project I worked on when the vessel was newly commissioned. As a crew member, we were just getting to know the ship and its operations, and it marked the beginning of my career as an engineer. I am proud that I had the chance to start my seafaring journey on such an impressive ship, learning from highly experienced colleagues. From day one, we had a great atmosphere and a strong bond formed within the team.
Career transition via TOS
When I started searching for a new onshore position, I kept an eye on the open vacancies on TOS’s website. My experience with TOS has always been positive. For instance, with their assistance, I joined Seaway Heavy Lifting after completing my maritime education, and after a year, I was permanently employed in agreement with all parties involved. At the beginning of my job search, I arranged a meeting with Jolie Seleba to discuss my experience and career interests. I had high hopes that TOS would eventually come up with a suitable proposal since they have strong connections with various maritime companies.
The contact with Jolie went smoothly right from the start. During our initial discussion, she skillfully filtered out my interests. Over time, a few potential proposals emerged, including the position of Technical Superintendent at Fairplay Towage. I was enthusiastic, and Jolie introduced me as a candidate for the position. This eventually led to an interview abroad. TOS arranged my return flight impeccably, and I was kept informed about the outcome afterwards. I got the job! What appeals to me about the role of a technical superintendent is working in the diverse world of shipping. I’m responsible for managing a fleet of roughly 15 seagoing and harbour tugs. This includes maintenance systems, improving safety, purchasing software, and maintaining office infrastructure. We oversee tug performance, budgets, claims, and compliance with regulations. And also, evaluate personnel, coordinate with departments and vessels, and manage supplier contracts and invoices. Basically, dealing with different cultures, technologies, and regulations makes almost every day challenging.
The value of practical experience at sea
TOS often assists former seafarers in transitioning to onshore positions. What advice would you give other seafarers considering transitioning to the shore and wondering where their value lies in their new roles?
To fellow seafarers looking to work onshore, I emphasize the immense value their practical experience brings to any onshore position. The diverse systems and materials knowledge, the ability to work independently and as part of a team, and the problem-solving mindset are all qualities that can be incredibly valuable. While working at sea, I couldn’t imagine that a shore position could have so many similarities with working at sea. I discovered that a journey from sea to shore can be immensely rewarding.
Professional growth as Technical Superintendent
It has been a rewarding experience for me at Fairplay Towage. I am grateful for the opportunity to work in this role and be part of the team. The company has provided me with ample space and trust to take on large and small projects and see them through to completion, considering the various factors at play.
Over the past years at Fairplay Towage, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience, for which I am extremely grateful.
LOOKING FOR A SEA2SHORE CAREER OPPORTUNITY?
Being at home more often, but also have the opportunity to travel sometimes? Please do contact us!