Iskes Towage & Salvage took delivery of a new Damen ASD 2411 in November 2015. In its first 100 days, the tug has been performing vessel assistance duties in the locks and canals around the Dutch Ports of Amsterdam and IJmuiden. Three months after delivery of the Venus, the captain and crew give their comments about the new member of the fleet.
Home to a cross-section of industries, the two ports see a wide variety of vessel types and sizes. For Iskes Managing Director Jim Iskes, combining power with minimal dimensions was an important factor. “We needed a compact tug that could work in the IJmuiden locks – but also a versatile one that could handle anything.”
Talking about the vessel acquisition process, Mr Iskes’ experiences with Damen are clear: “You call them with what you want and they organise it. Then you get the key and you’re on your way. Of course, any new build has problems to start off, but Damen sorts them out. It’s top quality – what every ship owner really wants.”
Voice from the bridge
The Damen ASD 2411 combines advantages of various tug designs. It has an impressive 70-tonne bollard pull for a 24-metre tug. The Venus, part of Iskes’ twelve-strong fleet operating out of Amsterdam, has assisted a wide variety of vessels since her delivery. In fact, her first ever job was helping a 280-metre bulk carrier out into the open sea and her second was handling a small fishing trawler.
The vessel’s captain, Auke de Haan, has worked for Iskes for six years, mainly on larger, but less powerful, tugs however. “I had my doubts about working on this relatively smaller tug, but these have turned out to be unfounded. We work a lot over the bow towing in reverse, but her stern rises nicely out of the water with great course stability. She’s very manoeuvrable and can handle the power well thanks to the slipping clutches. I can perform manoeuvres with only 10 revs on the prop.”
While Captain De Haan is pleased with the visibility he has from the bridge, he does have some important feedback for Damen concerning the levels of comfort there. “The bridge could be more spacious,” he comments. “For example, there’s a good chair for the Captain, but only a simple bench for my crew.”
From the engine room
Below in the engine room, Wilco Wittekoek, the Venus’ Engineer, is well placed to comment on how the Venus has performed in her first 3 months of service. “She’s nice and quiet,” he says. “There’s quite a lot of electronics down here compared to some of the older tugs that I’ve worked on, but that’s unavoidable these days. And, being an engineer, it’s a shame that you can’t do much work on the engine. That all happens via the laptop. However, the shore support that we get from Caterpillar is very handy. Collecting and analysing data in this way really contributes to keeping the ship tip-top.”
From the galley
Deckhand Niels Segelen has numerous responsibilities on board the Venus. He performs the deck work during vessel assists, the various mooring and unmooring jobs in the harbour and is also the cook. This first-hand experience also qualifies him to give Damen some ideas: “There are a couple of things that could be improved, in my opinion. The shore supply electricity cable is heavy. And it would be nice if Damen could find a way to increase the size of the sink in my cabin. For the rest, the Venus is a super boat!”
Part of the Damen team visiting the Venus and her crew was Sales Director Benelux Mijndert Wiesenekker. Responding to the comments he heard, he says, “It is our customers who are out there every day getting the hands-on experience with our vessels. So we treat their feedback very seriously. Listening to, and acting on, their comments is the best way to improve our vessels.”