From the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kazakhstan

Lyazzat Tursynbayeva - Senior Economic Policy Officer / Government Relations


I’ve been with the Dutch Embassy in Kazakhstan for more than seven years, so I knew about Wagenborg as a renowned Dutch maritime transportation company that operates globally, including in Kazakhstan. Our diplomats frequently mention the company’s impeccable reputation and outstanding performance. Normally, I’d take such stories with a bit of scepticism. But let me say loud and clear: “what Wagenborg has to say is all true!”

I recently had the opportunity to attend a ceremony at which Wagenborg presented a maritime simulator to Caspian State University in Aktau with Ambassador Hans Driesser and the Wagenborg team. It became clear to me that all the stories I’d heard were the result of the hard work put in by people who are literally in love with their work. Their commitment to providing services as effectively and as safely as possible is unprecedented. These are people who are proud of what they do and really care about their work. 

For me personally, the whole programme was a revelation. For one thing, Wagenborg has made a considerable effort and investment to donate the training centre in Aktau. That merits gratitude. In addition, the friendly gestures between the local authorities and the university administration, but also the conversations between students and the official bodies, show the deep respect for what Wagenborg does in and for the region.

During the ceremony, one of the guests navigated a ship with the simulator. I didn’t realise how much focus, concentration, and attention that required until I had the opportunity next day, at Bautino, to take the helm in of the Arcticaborg, a real icebreaker.

 

I can’t say precisely how long I stood at the helm because your perception of time changes when you’re working at the peak of your mental and emotional capacity, because that’s exactly how I felt at that moment. But I do remember vividly how the solid floor felt under my feet and how I saw the Arcticaborg crossing the waves into the bay. The feeling of how the ship slowly obeyed my commands from the effortless moving helm and my desperate attempts to compare all the numerous screens with the view outside. I also remember the guiding and encouraging voice of Captain Kees, who was ready to take over immediately if there was any risk to the Arcticaborg – his baby.

The extreme attention that the Wagenborg crew paid to safety issues was really impressive. You can see and hear – always and everywhere – that the safety of people and the environment is the cornerstone of all the operations. 

I want to say a big thank-you to Fabio Giurato and Graddy Franke for the opportunity to get to know more about the Royal Dutch way of working, for their hospitality, and for the chance to share my experiences through TIMES magazine.

Lyazzat Tursynbayeva at the quay side in Bautino in front of the icebreaker Arcticaborg.
Lyazzat Tursynbayeva at the quay side in Bautino in front of the icebreaker Arcticaborg.

“I’ve been with the Dutch Embassy in Kazakhstan for more than seven years, so I knew about Wagenborg as a renowned Dutch maritime transportation company”

Hans Driesser - Ambassador


The Dutch writer Jan de Hartog published his novel Hollands Glorie (translated into English as Captain Jan) in 1940, with the action taking place aboard Dutch seagoing tugboats. 

As a passenger on board one of Wagenborg’s icebreakers in the Caspian Sea near Bautino in April 2016, I was proud to be a Dutchman. I was proud to be a citizen of a country that for more than four centuries has sailed the seven seas and discovered new continents and new horizons. 

I was also very impressed by Lyazzat, a member of our local embassy staff, when she took the helm of the icebreaker and calmly took us along the coastline at Bautino. In fact, I was relieved that she didn’t apply for a job with Wagenborg but decided to stay on at the embassy….

Set up over 100 years ago in the north of the Netherlands, Royal Wagenborg is a typical example of a proud Dutch company. Wagenborg is a symbol of that feeling of “Holland’s Glory”, with its impressive operations in the Caspian Sea and the important role it plays in the growing number of Kazakh students at the Maritime Academy in Aktau.

In short, with the assistance of Wagenborg, the Kazakh nomads of the steppes are becoming nomads of the sea – just like the Dutch! 

Hans Driesser in front of the State University in Aktau
Hans Driesser in front of the State University in Aktau
“In short, with the assistance of Wagenborg, the Kazakh nomads of the steppes are becoming nomads of the sea – just like the Dutch! ”