Through the eyes of the
newbuilding inspector

Interview with Mike Settels, newbuilding inspector Wagenborg

Mike Settels has been working in shipping for 27 years now, the last 8 years as newbuilding inspector for Wagenborg’s Projects & Newbuilding department. During the last year, Mike has meticulously monitored the build of the Easymax for Wagenborg. In part working from the office but during the last months mainly on the newbuilding location at shipyard Royal Niestern Sander. Keeping a tight rein on ensuring the vessel is build and delivered according to plan. Since prevention is better than cure. Mike Settels shares his experiences with us regarding this project…

What is your background?

“Shipping has always fascinated me ever since I was a little boy. Even though my family doesn’t have a background in this area, I decided to start studying at the nautical college of Vlissingen. Though I’m one of the few from my class still working in shipping. From 1998 till 2009, I sailed for Nedlloyd. During my years at sea I witnessed many dockings, several newbuilding projects and repairs. This comes in handy in my job as newbuilding inspector.” 

Can you tell us something about your record of service for Wagenborg?

“During the last 8 years I’ve had the opportunity to supervise around 20 newbuildings for Wagenborg. I started with the E-series at Royal Niestern Sander in 2009, my first year working for Wagenborg. Followed by the F-series at Ferus Smit, Leer in 2011. Even before this series was completed, I started engineering the R-series, 23.000 ton vessels. I’ve supervised this series until 2015. In between I also had the opportunity to do the supervision of the Vxl series at Ferus Smit, Westerbroek in 2013. 

Apart from newbuildings I’m also doing several other projects together with my colleagues from the Projects & Newbuilding department. I was involved in the take-over of the Bore vessels end of 2014. Another interesting project was m.v. Nicola. After this vessel was secured for sea in Scotland she sailed to Delfzijl for her great survey. Since late 2015 I’ve been involved in the build of the Easymax as newbuilding inspector.”

How did you experience the Easymax build?

“Before the actual build, the entire plan needs to be thought through. During the engineering phase and approval of the drawings, several things need to be taken into account like the budget. It is quite a challenge to deliver a good product to Wagenborg on budget, functioning as well as possible for the crew. 

To me it’s paramount to believe in the end result during development of a new vessel and to stand behind it completely. In the beginning, a lot of people thought this vessel to be a bit strange with funny colour combinations. As the vessel became more complete, people became more enthusiastic. And now, shortly before delivery, everyone thinks it’s a beautiful ship! "

“The Easymax will be attractive to our customers.”

Her appearance is just one side of the story. What isn’t noticed so much is the  constant care for quality, making sure that the ship still looks good in 10 years time. Every piece of steel is checked on construction, welding and grinding, preparatory work prior to painting etc. Continual attention is paid to the interior of the ship such as the accommodation, bridge, engine room and holds. I’m not only trying to focus on the moment of delivery during supervision but also on preserving the condition of the vessel and its value even after a long period of time. 

All in all, I’m working with a lot of people during construction of the vessel. All these people are focussing on their own part of craftsmanship. It is my job to guard the overall quality of all of these separate parts, making sure that they all connect eventually. I’ve gained a lot of experience supervising this build since I encountered numerous new challenges. That is what makes this job so much fun.”

What makes the Easymax special according to you?

“This is a combination of factors. The design is aimed at a hold as simple, large and straight forward as possible. Besides this the Easymax has an optimal streamline and aerodynamic lines because of the shape of the hull and an accommodation situated at the front of the vessel, resulting in less air resistance. Combined with a relatively small, but high performing, main engine, contributing to low fuel consumption. And finally to be able to sail open top. Adding all of this up I really think the Easymax has a “Wow factor”!

What makes this vessel innovative?

“Innovation can be found at different levels: the ones that are included in the design and the ones resulting from innovative solutions. I can’t name them all but some examples are: the ability to offer technical support in case problems are reported from the ship by using Remote Support, through innovation achieve a usable draught and a new internal information system, ensuring that crewmembers can stay informed while located on  different parts of the vessel. Taking everything in consideration, this vessel can take in a lot more cargo at reduced costs and in a much safer manner for the crewmembers. The vessel is very reliable and can maintain its power longer in bad weather. In short, the Easymax will be attractive to our customers. ”

“I really think the Easymax has a “Wow factor”!”