International Women’s Day 2023 – Embrace Equity
The 2023 theme of International Women’s Day (IWS) is “Embrace Equity”. Kotug supports IWS and embraces equity, diversity and inclusion. We are committed to contributing to more gender equity in society. This starts with offering the same opportunities for men and women and zero tolerance for gender discrimination. However, gender equity goes further than that; it’s about acknowledging that certain advantages and barriers exist. Improving equity is about redressing that imbalance.
How do we do that at KOTUG? Let’s have a look at our operations in Port Hedland, where we work with employees from differing backgrounds, life experiences and genders, both onshore site and crew, to support our client FMG with our towage activities. “We are indeed a diverse group of people with more women onshore than onboard our vessels,” says Becky Poole, site administrator at KOTUG Port Hedland (Australia). “And it’s not just that, but all the differences people have, which requires a working environment where people can safely speak up when things need to be said.” This does not always go by itself, and the remoteness (the management is based in Perth, 1,800 km from Port Hedland) makes it even more challenging.
Introducing an Employment Assistant Program
Therefore, Kotug introduced an Employment Assistant Program (EAP) of Hunterlink, a quarterly workshops program with its staff and management to assist all staff in various areas of workplace behaviour, diversity and other associated programs. The workplace program is designed to assist employees to help employees deal with issues that may affect their work performance and well-being. Jenelle Connors from Hunterlink, a qualified clinical psychologist and accredited mediator, coach and trainer, pays quarterly visits to both Perth and Port Hedland to address these challenges. Hunterlink also provides various mental health services and recently completed a program of mental health first aider training to a number of staff. Kotug has been using the services of Hunterlink since 2016 across its Australian fleet.
“We aim at proactivity instead of waiting until crisis point” says Jenelle Connors. “Reaching out when needed is highlighted and encouraged. Normalising the unique issues that can arise in your industry and any challenges faced in terms of diversity and equity opens up the employee’s mind as to how to handle certain situations”
Becky Poole about the programme: “Jenelle taught us to be more open; we all feel that making more connection by being more open makes the difference and nurtures trust. It feels as a good commitment from management to have an eye for this, and we felt a change, the working environment is nicer, and we know how to empower each other.”
Get out there and have a go
There are still more men than women working on board worldwide. Annette Brewer, Tug Master at Kotug hopes she can be an example for women to follow in the same role. “Strong women have influenced myself to believe I can achieve anything as long as you have a go and don’t give up. One of the challenges many women face is the work-life balance with regard to having children, making it difficult to pursue their careers further. I hope my journey and fight to get where I am today, will make it easier for women to follow into the same role. Get out there and have a go, would be my advice! And, if one door closes, there are plenty more doors; keep on knocking!”
Darren McCormick (Managing Director of Kotug Australia): “Addressing diversity, inclusion and managing unconscious bias and assumptions, effective communication in the workplace, company culture and teamwork allows Kotug as an organisation to proactively equip our employees in being the best in terms of gender equity and knowing how to support everyone as an individual within the workplace.”
KOTUG Canada and GIT work together to help reduce underwater radiated noise in oceans
KOTUG Canada Inc.*, strongly committed to reducing the impact of operations on the environment, has recently applied revolutionary non-toxic noise reduction coatings to the hull of one of their vessels, the K.J. Gardner.
KOTUG Canada has worked extensively with Graphite Innovation and Technologies (GIT), an industry leader focused on manufacturing graphene-based sustainable marine coatings to meet these goals. KOTUG Canada used GIT’s XGIT-URN coating to help reduce underwater radiated noise emitted from the ship’s hull and the vibrations that disturb marine life. Aquatic life, such as mammals and the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale reside within the area of employment for KOTUG Canada’s vessels. These mammals rely on underwater noise to communicate, navigate, and find food.
The K.J. Gardner is the first of three vessels using the GIT applications in support of KOTUG Canada’s mission to reduce the environmental impact, specifically related to the reduction of noise that potentially disturbs aquatic life in the Salish Sea and adjacent waters. Steve Widmeyer (Director with KOTUG Canada) reports, “This is a major step forward to strengthen our focus to be a sustainable company. We have set a high standard to meet these goals by using GIT’s XGIT-URN coating which significantly impacts meeting those targets.”
Further applied to the K.J. Gardner were GIT’s XGIT-FUEL and XGIT-PROP coatings. These coatings will enhance the reduced impact with the additional benefits of considerably improving fuel efficiency and decarbonization. It is expected that over the next five years, this vessel will significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
Mo AlGermozi (Chief Executive Officer at GIT) stated, “Our team is excited to work with KOTUG Canada in meeting their sustainability goals. Our XGIT-URN, along with our other two marine coatings, will support their desire to maintain healthy and vibrant oceans while still supporting the needs of their clients. Our shared goal of reducing the environmental impact on the world’s oceans is of paramount importance. GIT is on a mission to contribute to the movement of green shipping activities in the world’s oceans.”
The K.J. Gardner plans to continue working in Northwestern Europe over the next few months. She will then venture to the Western Coast of Canada, specifically the Salish Sea, host to a vibrant marine ecosystem. The other vessels receiving such coating applications will arrive in Canada later this year and early 2024.
*KOTUG Canada is a partnership between KOTUG International and Horizon Maritime Services Ltd.
Zero-emission city logistics over water gains popularity
KOTUG E-Pusher increasingly used for emission-free and efficient waterborne transport of various cargo flows in Dutch inner cities.
For several cities, 2022 was the year in which the E-Pusher S was introduced. It is the smallest model of the KOTUG E-Pusher series and is a collaboration between KOTUG and Circle Line Logistics. The pusher boat of the Rotterdam-based Kotug is designed to transport almost all types of cargo in inner cities as an alternative to diesel boats, but also for heavy trucks that are already banned in many cities worldwide. The logistics concept behind the boat and the modular design are characterized by simplicity and efficiency.
Transport of construction waste, building materials and project cargo
Since the first launch of the E-Pusher in 2020, there has been widespread interest. The E-Pusher was first used in the municipality of Utrecht by contractor Van Zoelen to remove demolition waste and to supply construction materials while renovating historic buildings in the city centre. The zero-emission waterborne transport from the construction site to the hub outside the city centre is executed together with van Hees.
The E-Pusher also is an excellent means of transport for project cargo such as scaffolding and other large objects.
Driven by a search for clean and affordable transport, more parties soon followed, such as deck barges owner Blom in Amsterdam, which uses the E-Pusher for emission-free transport of construction materials on their barges in the center of Amsterdam.
In December 2022, Van Veen Grondwerken used the E-Pusher S in the municipality of Rotterdam to carry out an inspection of the Piekbrug. This way, the foundations of bridges and quay walls are efficiently inspected from the boat. Due to the very stable position of the boat, inspections can even be carried out without a pontoon.
The pusher boat is perfect for quay refurbishing/renewal and for dredging; loaded barges are pushed out of the city via the waterways which means heavy truck transport in the congested streets of the city centre is something from the past.
A metro line over water for goods transport
In collaboration with Circle Line Logistics, Kotug’s E-Pusher S is even more than just a boat; it is a logistics concept for emission-free city logistics. Various ship stations are currently being developed in the canals of Leiden where the E-Pusher will moor according to a fixed daily schedule. It’s like a public transport service, only for goods. Local companies can use this service and add their cargo.
At the end of 2022, a timetable for building materials will be set up for a renovation project at Leiden University, with a fixed stop on the outskirts of the city and a temporary stop at the construction site. It is a project together with partners Constructif, Renewi and with support from the municipality of Leiden, the Province of South Holland and Top Sector Logistics. In the coming year, we will expand this metro service to other construction projects and cargo flows.
As a playful kick-off to this project, the municipality of Leiden, together with partners Renewi and Circle Lines Logistics, used the E-Pusher S to collect Christmas trees in the first week of January.
Collaboration with Provinces and Municipalities
With a view to the Modal Shift and stricter rules regarding road transport in inner cities, the Provinces of North and South Holland and Utrecht, and various municipalities are closely involved in achieving better use of waterways. The province of South Holland has been a partner from the very beginning.
Advanced technology for real-time insight into cargo flows
Soon the boats will also use new technologies in which the boat is ‘connected’ to the cargo and sails the smartest route.
Next steps: store supplies and?
For 2023, in addition to the above applications, the supply of shops in inner cities is on the agenda, as we speak, agreements are being made with several retail chains. For more information about the extensive possibilities of the Kotug E-Pusher, please contact us! For the development of metro services over water in and around the city center, contact Circle Line Logistics
N.B. In addition to the E-Pusher S, the E-Pusher series also consists of two larger models for respective transport on smaller and larger waterways. In the second half of 2023, the E-Pusher M will sail between the port of Amsterdam and Zaandam for Cargill’s cocoa division. This boat differs from other push boats due to its modular design and interchangeable energy container.
The revolutionary modular design of the E-Pusher, with a swappable energy container.
A message from our CEO
As the year draws to a close, I would like to reflect on the past year. 2022 has been a challenging year with ongoing geopolitical unrest and COVID still being a threat. And on the other hand, the year also brought exciting new steps for Kotug, of which I would like to mention a few.
The conclusion of the acquisition of Seaways International last September is a true highlight in Kotug’s history that will strengthen our leading position in global offshore markets. In addition, we gained contracts for all our divisions across the five continents. It was also the year we celebrated the fifth anniversary of our partnership with Seabulk Maritime in the Bahamas and our five years Goal Zero for Shell Prelude in Australia (no less than five years of zero incidents in a row for our offshore towage operations!). We are also very proud that KOTUG CityBarge, the smallest type of the zero-emission KOTUG E-Pusher, took off this year. The zero-emission pusher is now active in Utrecht, Leiden, Amsterdam and Rotterdam municipalities, with more cities to follow, contributing to more liveable cities while making operations more efficient. Furthermore, the first contract for the zero-emission KOTUG E-Pusher type M for the cocoa division of Cargill was a fact and soon this vessel will see the day of light. Together with the KOTUG E-Barges, this is the first zero-emission barging set-up in the world.
We stay true to our reputation and keep working on innovations that support sustainable operations. Among others, our Drone Line Transfer, using a drone to connect the towline to an assisted vessel, our Artificial Intelligence-based planning tool OptiPort and our unique training app to assess and enhance crew skills. I look forward to Tug Technology 2023 in our hometown Rotterdam, where we will showcase our innovations, and I hope to see you there!
I am proud of all Kotuggers, who made it happen in this complicated era in which unpredictability has become the new normal. A big thank you for all your hard work, which made it all possible! Kotug has become more than just a towage company; we are a team of motivated people working together to achieve our vision of being the world’s leading towage and maritime service provider, offering a broad range of maritime services.
Last but not least, I want to thank our customers and partners for their trust and take this opportunity to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Safe 2023!
President & CEO of KOTUG
KOTUG FINALISES THE ACQUISITION OF SEAWAYS INTERNATIONAL
KOTUG International B.V. (KOTUG) announces the successful closure of the intended acquisition of SEAWAYS INTERNATIONAL (Seaways). As a result, Seaways is now a 100% owned subsidiary of the KOTUG Group of Companies.
The acquisition of Seaways brings together the assets, expertise and people of two leading companies that support the worldwide floating facility business such as FSO, FPSO, FLNG, FSRU and SPM Terminals. With all customary, governmental, and other required approvals, KOTUG will now focus on the integration of Seaways and strengthening its leading presence in the floating offshore market.
The founder and former owner of the family-owned Seaways, Captain Ashish Nijhawan will be stepping down from his role as Managing Director effective immediately. Under his leadership, the company has been built from scratch to become the thriving business it is today. Owning and operating an impressive fleet comprising DPS-2 capability AHT’s, Fast Crew Suppliers (Crew Boats for Passenger Transportation) and Cargo Barges, and also providing terminal management services.
Ard-Jan Kooren, President & CEO of KOTUG: “It is with great respect that we say goodbye to Captain Ashish Nijhawan, his sons and wife, whose accomplishments have been outstanding. Today, we welcome 340 new colleagues into the family-owned KOTUG Group of Companies, whose corporate cultures and values are very similar and compatible.”
“I am very proud of the company we have built, and I am incredibly thankful to everyone who has worked to support our journey. I have deep trust in a bright future for Seaways under the leadership of KOTUG executing their vision to be the world’s leading towage and maritime service provider,” said Captain Ashish Nijhawan.
Signing Ceremony in Dubai: from left to right: Kush Nijhawan (ex Seaways), Mrs. Roma Nijhawan (ex Seaways) ,Capt. Ashish Nijhawan (ex Seaways), Ard-Jan Kooren (President /CEO KOTUG), Maxime Kohl (Legal Counsel KOTUG), Osman Munir (Vice President/CCO KOTUG), Kunal Nijhawan (ex Seaways), Guillaume Caillard, Seaways/KOTUG), Paul van Aalst (Manager Finance & Control, KOTUG)
KOTUG to provide additional support to operations in Guyana
KOTUG’s ‘SD Honour’ joins ‘SD Power’ to provide continuous terminal support to growing floating offshore production facilities at the Liza Field
KOTUG Guyana Inc. (100% local subsidiary of KOTUG International B.V.) has been awarded a second contract by Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited (EEPGL) to support operations in Guyana. KOTUG’s latest additions, the 120 tonnes bollard pull strong “SD Honour”, will join the fleet of dedicated offshore terminal tugs supporting the two Floating Production, Storage and Offloading units (FPSO’s) offshore Guyana with static tow, push-pull duties and general offshore support to very large crude carriers (VLCC’s) taking offload cargo from the FPSO’s.
KOTUG International has been supporting EEPGL since October 2021 with the state-of-the-art and unique Offshore Terminal tug “SD Power’, marking KOTUG’s first operation in South America.
“The addition of the SD Honour to KOTUG’s operations is a reflection of KOTUG’s high values and standards with regards to safe operations, teamwork and maritime excellence. Strengthened by the outstanding performance of the crew onboard the SD Power, we are proud to be able to contribute to the rapid growth of EEPGL ’s operations and continue our pleasant and transparent working relationship. With our expertise and large fleet of Offshore Support Vessels, we can support offshore floating projects that emerge in response to rising energy demand at short notice” Says Ard-Jan Kooren – CEO and President of KOTUG International
Day of the Seafarer 2022: ‘Your voyage – then and now’, the journey of KOTUG’s Captain Willem van Woercom.
The Journey of Captain Willem van Woercom, Corporate Director of Operations at KOTUG
25th June each year is the IMO Day of the Seafarer, recognising seafarers’ invaluable contribution to international trade and the world economy. Besides, a career as a seafarer offers endless opportunities to learn and progress. This year’s theme is ‘your voyage then and now’, so we would like to share the journey of KOTUG’s Corporate Director of Operations, Captain Willem van Woercom, who started his voyage in 1983 on the MV Britsum, an 80k tons bulk carrier.
- Can you tell us something about the start of your maritime journey Willem?
In the footsteps of my father and grandfather, I wanted to work in the maritime industry and studied at the Maritime Academy in Flushing. Although supported with a scholarship to sail on SHELL tankers, I got the opportunity to do my internship at Vinke & Co in Amsterdam, where I accomplished my first journey onboard the Britsum as an apprentice mate. I sailed to Sweden, Russia, the USA and West Africa and I just loved it! I travelled the world and visited many places.
- Where did your career take you before arriving at your current role as Corporate Director of Operations at KOTUG International in Rotterdam?
Well, that’s quite a story! After finishing school, I went back to Vinke & Co to work as Third Mate; after that, I went to Boskalis and worked as an apprentice engineer on various dredging vessels. Then, in 1988 I went to the USA for KOTUG to bring a new series of Z-Pellers to Rotterdam to perform harbour towage services, marking KOTUG International’s start. It was an exciting time and I helped establish the KOTUG harbour towage division in Rotterdam.
After that, I worked for a short while for Offshore Marine Contractors as a rig mover and soon after, I found my place at Heerema Marine Contractors, where I worked for 28 years as Tow Master and Operations Manager. ‘Never a dull moment’ I can tell you that! I helped establish companies worldwide, did engineering activities and supported many projects.
In 2018, the opportunity to become Director of Operations at KOTUG crossed my path; a dynamic job in which all my knowledge and experience come together since KOTUG was, and still is, rapidly expanding its business worldwide with a strong presence in the offshore terminal support. The impressive fleet, the locations, and our clients make my job very diverse. Furthermore, the ‘One KOTUG, One Team’ spirit is great to work in.
- How has your maritime journey enriched your life?
To me, the most appealing aspect was being able to travel the world and work with people from other cultures, I visited many (remote) places worldwide and it broadened my view.
- What are new opportunities & challenges when you look at new technologies and the need to make shipping greener?
There are countless opportunities, and I am glad to see many companies, from startups to established organizations, develop innovations such as electrifying shipping and introducing greener fuels. The challenge, in my opinion, is that these innovations have to be affordable to enable mass introduction; otherwise, it will remain an academic discussion. Therefore, I see it as a joint responsibility of the entire logistics supply chain to work together on solutions to take care of our planet.
- How does KOTUG pave the way for more sustainable shipping?
Innovation is key when it comes to sustainable solutions. At KOTUG, innovation is part of our DNA. Already in 2012 we introduced the E-KOTUG reducing fuel consumption by 25%. More recently we presented the KOTUG E-Pusher Series, a range of modular and scalable electric pusher tugs, powered by swappable energy containers on which we can install a smart AI-driven dispatch and route planning application, KOTUG OptiPort.
- What is the difference between shipping then and now?
Innovations are unstoppable and we see larger vessels with endless technical features. However, as a seafarer, the most important difference, in my opinion, is connectivity; seafarers can talk to their families no matter where they are via satellite. Also, the systems onboard are all connected, changing processes and creating more safety for everyone involved.
- One last question Willem, what would you say to people who think of becoming a seafarer?
Seafarer is an excellent profession in a stable market; one can earn a good living, it gives much freedom and offers good career prospects. However, it is essential to realize that being a seafarer is for those who want to take responsibility, you will be literally at the vessel’s helm, so this may not be for everyone, keep that in mind!
Keep following us via our socials, more seafarer journeys will follow!
KOTUG, ADMA and King AbdulAziz University sign MoU to develop a strategic partnership
KOTUG Training & Consultancy, the training and consultancy division of KOTUG International, Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy (ADMA), the regional leader in the Middle East region in the provision of simulator space and nautical training provider, and the Faculty of Maritime Studies (FMS) at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), a leading maritime education and maritime training provider in Saudi Arabia, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a long-term strategic partnership. The MoU encompasses the investigation of a close partnership for knowledge sharing, building and upgrading the training facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to enhance the training of (tug) Masters, ships’ crews and Pilots by certified KOTUG trainers at these training facilities.
In recent years Saudi Arabia has been on a drive to grow its network of ports, as part of what has become a period of transformation for the Kingdom’s port infrastructure, in line with the countries Vision 2030. Facing an increasing demand for qualified maritime professionals in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, FMS is seeking ways to increase its capabilities whilst maintaining its best-in-class training, for which the organisation is renowned. Joining forces with strong knowledge partners KOTUG and ADMA, assures FMS to remain the number one training facility in the region, and significantly broaden its training-portfolio. It also supports the countries’ recently declared pursuit to enhancing maritime security and safety, and protecting the marine environment, as well as accelerating the implementation of the initiatives of the IMO to reduce pollution resulting from maritime navigation, in line with the first objective of the establishment of the organization which is to work to raise the efficiency of maritime safety and reduce marine pollution. Training is an important driver of success to achieve these goals which we sincerely endorse.
Patrick Everts, General Manager of KOTUG Training & Consultancy: “We are extremely happy with this strategic partnership. As the only ISO 9001-certified tug training company in the world, we set high standards for the training facilities it uses, working together with two strong knowledge partners enable us to go beyond today’s market demands. Our training method consists of three components, classroom and simulator training at state-of-the-art simulators, and on board training. It is a proven didactic method for the best training results, preparing the students for expected and unexpected real-life situations. We are looking forward to starting our training and providing students with our highly regarded KOTUG Training Certificate, ensuring more safety and efficiency to the maritime industry.”
Dr Yasser Al Wahedi, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy, AD Ports Group, said: “It is our great privilege to be a part of this valued collaboration that aims to enhance the level of maritime education available in the GCC region, elevating the professional development of future seafarers to new heights. As one of the region’s leading facilitators of maritime education, we stand ready to share our expertise and insights on how innovation can be incorporated into the modern
curriculum, and as a champion in the development and implementation of maritime simulator technologies, we can leverage our experience to aid the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to modernise its maritime education infrastructure and capabilities.”
Dr. Faisal W. Althobiani, Dean of Faculty of Maritime Studies (FMS): “We are delighted in this Cooperation Agreement and in the effort taken from the schedule of your essential concerns to attend this event. The Faculty of Maritime Studies is considered one of the distinctive faculties in King Abdul-Aziz University and highlights its importance as being the first faculty in the Kingdom which provides high-quality maritime education to produce competent Saudi qualified personnel in the field of hydrographic surveying and maritime transport that fulfil the standards of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). Also, to keep pace with the requirements of modern development in technology, economic and security fields, the preservation of the environment, and maritime safety”.
KOTUG and Seamen’s Church Institute entered into strategic partnership to offer world-class training across the USA
KOTUG AND SEAMEN’S CHURCH INSTITUTE KICK-OFF THEIR STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP BY HOSTING MORAN TOWING CORPORATION FOR ASD TRAINING, ASSISTED BY RIBEN MARINE
The Training & Consultancy division of KOTUG International (KOTUG), and the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI), the leading maritime education and maritime training provider in the United States of America entered into a strategic partnership to offer exclusive training of (tug) Masters, ships’ crews, river barge shippers, and Pilots by certified KOTUG trainers at SCI training facilities across the United States. The partnership was officially kicked-off by hosting Moran Towing Corporation for a week of ASD operator training assisted by Riben Marine founder Captain Jay Rivera.
Since 2019, SCI, Riben Marine, and Netherlands-based KOTUG have performed training for ship pilots and tug masters—-prior to conducting feasibility studies for new docks and waterway projects–along the Texas Gulf Coast.
For the week of May 16 to May 20, 2022 this partnership came together to conduct its first Basic Azimuth Stern Drive (ASD) Tug Class for Moran Towing Corporation, among the largest tow and tug fleet operations in the United States.
The course was led by KOTUG Senior Trainer Captain Xavier Blejan, assisted by Riben Marine founder Captain Jay Rivera. SCI Staff served as facilitators and subject-matter experts. The course brought together some of the best training resources available -expert tug trainers, ship-handling experts, pilot-grade custom tug models, and state-of-the-art Kongsberg simulators- delivering high-impact and quality instruction for the Moran team of ASD operators.
Patrick Everts, General Manager of KOTUG Training & Consultancy: “We are extremely happy with this strategic partnership. Supporting SCI with their navigational training and preparing their students for expected and unexpected real-life situations with our proven training method in their state-of-the-art simulator-based facilities, is a win-win.”
Stephen Polk, Director of Center for Maritime Education, SCI : “This course establishes a new standard in maritime education. We are excited to offer comprehensive coursework together with KOTUG and RIBEN in Basic ASD training, Advanced ASD training, Harbor Assist/Towing, and Advanced Ship Assist and Escort Maneuvers for tug personnel in the USA using our best-in-class simulators at SCI’s facilities in Paducah, KY and Houston, TX.
KOTUG Training App for advanced safety
In addition, SCI will implement the KOTUG Training App, KOTUG’s latest feature to bring training to the next level by monitoring the knowledge and skill levels of all seamen. The app detects possible gaps in skills at an early stage and registers progress made as a result of training. It gives valuable insights to put together tailor-made individual training which is highly motivational and improves overall safety.
KOTUG to acquire Seaways International
An important milestone for KOTUG to strengthen its leading position in global offshore markets.