Maaskant bids farewell to director Frits van Dongen
A very familiar figure to the Dutch and UK fishing industries in particular, Frits van Dongen has retired after a forty-year career at the Maaskant Shipyard in Stellendam, and at a 70th birthday party for the yard held at the yard last weekend, friends, staff and many customers gathered to wish him well, and to welcome new director Eric Moerkerk.
The yard was established by Piet Maaskant and his two sons in 1948 as a repair yard in Bruinisse for the local fishing boats. The yard that is now Damen Maaskant Shipyards Stellendam (DMSS) has, despite a subsequent move to Stellendam, stayed true to its roots ever since.
In that period it has developed a side specialisation in maintaining winches, but it has also built 627 new vessels, many of which have been fishing boats. This has been a cyclical market, but in the current decade the yard has benefited from demand from the offshore industry and, more recently, an upturn once again in the fishing industry. Recent deliveries have included the completion of the first new beam trawler in the Dutch fleet in a decade, and two innovative, tightly designed fly shooter and twin rig vessels.
As well as a celebration of all that has happened over the past seven decades, the party marks the change in leadership at the yard. Frits van Dongen, who has worked at Damen for the past 40 years, with 25 of those as managing director of DMSS, handed over his responsibilities on the first of October to Eric Moerkerk. Eric was previously at Keppel Verolme, which became part of Damen in September 2016. At that point he moved to DMSS as project manager and ten months later was promoted to deputy director.
m happy to be back at home and, as a son of a fisherman and a member of a family that owned a Maaskant beam trawler, it really feels like coming home,â€™ Eric Moerkerk said.
â€˜I look forward to continuing our journey and to setting course for 100 years of Damen Maaskant. Despite the challenging conditions within our home market I am confident that we will continue to deliver sustainable and profitable products for our customers.â€™
Despite officially retiring, Frits van Dongen is still going to maintain an involvement with the yard and the industry.
â€˜Frits has been an enthusiastic ambassador for the fishing industry,â€™ said Jan-Wim Dekker, Chief Products Officer for the Damen Group.
â€˜He will continue to carry out support tasks for both Maaskant Shipyards and for our headquarters in Gorinchem while also making partial use (for one or two days in the week) of his early retirement entitlement. I would like to thank Frits for his commitment to Damen and wish Eric much success in his new role.â€™
Source: Damen Shipyards
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