During the entire process of the construction of the new sea lock, the work of the boatmen continues as normal. Boatmen work in 24/7 shifts in and around the ports and locks. What does their work involve? Will this change when the new sea lock is operational?
What does your work involve?
"We provide mooring assistance to ships when they arrive, depart, or when they shift berth from one location in the port to another. We provide many other services as well, such as the transportation of crew or divers, and the delivery of packages to ships. We also provide passenger transport within the port and the provisioning of ships at the anchorage.”
Do you work together with Port of Amsterdam?
"Yes, we work closely together with Port of Amsterdam, the pilots, and the tugs. As IJmuiden boatmen, our work area comprises the IJmuiden port region, including the North Sea Canal and the area to up to 12 miles offshore from IJmuiden. Port of Amsterdam provides us with the so-called 'dynamic lock planning schedule’ which tells us the exact arrival times of the ships that are expected in port. Port of Amsterdam also sends us information about changes, planned meetings, and so on. We can access this information through an on-line programme (HAMIS - Harbour Master Management Information System) that is constantly kept up to date. This way, we keep abreast of everything that’s going on in port.”
What effect will the opening of the new sea lock have on your work?
"Although the scale and dynamics will change because of the enormous size of the new sea lock, our work remains basically the same. At present, there is less space on the south side of the North Lock due to the construction activities and so our work area there has been reduced. Of course, the most important thing for us is that we can continue to do our work safely while the construction activities are underway. That is why prior to the start of the construction work, agreements were made with Rijkswaterstaat and building contractor OpenIJ. The agreements included the installation of escape gates in the fencing along the lock - one escape gate after every 20 metres; and we also agreed on the installation of half containers that provide shelter should one of a ship's the mooring lines break.”