Captain Willem de Vlamingh, Jan De Nul Group

Bjorn Van Riet has been working at Jan De Nul Group for fifteen years. The company is his first employer, and he is still very satisfied. “The possibilities to expand your knowledge and your career is something I really appreciate at Jan De Nul”, says Bjorn. He is the captain of multipurpose ship Willem de Vlamingh.

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After his education at the Hogere Zeevaartschool (Higher Nautical School), Bjorn started working immediately at Jan De Nul Group. “This is where I started as mate (pupil) and I was able to grow further through the years”, says Bjorn, who is now captain of the Willem de Vlamingh. The first ten years, he worked on board of dredging vessels. “The thing that struck me the most from that time are the glory days of Dubai and the palm islands, a project I worked on for three years.”

“Since the 1st of January 2019 I am captain of the multipurpose ship Willem de Vlamingh.” Jan De Nul Group is known for using the names of scientists, explorers and other important historical figures when naming its new vessels. This vessel was named after the 17th century Dutch-Flemish explorer Willem de Vlamingh.


Willem de Vlamingh is a multipurpose ship and able to combine various activities, such as laying cables, digging slots and installing mattresses or rockbags. “That’s why it’s so special to work with this ship. We execute many different and specialized projects. We adjust the ship to the wishes of the customer for each project”, Bjorn continues. “The last few months we have contributed to the first commercial windpark in Tawain. We installed and digged the cables both towards the land as between the wind turbines. At this moment, the ship is in Singapore for a new project.”


The ship has space for 65 persons. “Living on board is like living on a small village, where we are self-sufficient and work together.” The crew consists of personnel of Jan de Nul but also of the customer’s and other partners. “It’s up to me to get all these parties aligned. It’s important to get everyone’s nose to point in the same direction, so that they will work within the Jan De Nul method.” In that method, safety plays a most important role. “At Jan De Nul we have high safety standards which apply to the entire fleet. This means that we also uphold high standards to hired parties”. Bjorn continues: “In the end, we have to get the job done together. I get great pleasure out of making sure the atmosphere on board is pleasant, everyone goes to work with a smile on their face, is able to obtain all the necessary materials and everything runs smoothly.”

Being able to work together is an important quality all crew members must have. Regardless of level, position, background or nationality. “We work like a well-oiled machine.” Working professionally and striving for progress is also highly valued.


“It’s a challenging sector with lots of developments. Technology never stops. Everything is becoming larger and heavier. Jan de Nul always looks to the future and keeps investing in both new technologies as in ships. We have many ships under construction.” These developments create opportunities. “Because of these innovations you are able to continue to grow within the company. This is not only true for offshore but also for the dredging sector. Older ships are discharged and replaced by newly built ships.”


This all makes Bjorn Van Riet a satisfied employee. “Jan De Nul has always been good for me and the other crew members. Pay is good, and in the case that a crew member has a personal problem, he or she is always heard and together a solution is found. This is very nice.”

The possibilities to expand your knowledge and career is also something Bjorn appreciates. “Moving from the dredging sector to the offshore sector has taught me a lot. I have worked on many different ships and learned to sail with various propulsion technologies. From conventional propellers to azimuth-propellers to dynamic positioning. Personal development is very important for Jan De Nul.” As captain he has many more career goals.

“I am very proud of the projects that we are doing right now and of the fact that I am now captain of this special ship, the Willem de Vlamingh. My wish for the future would be to become the captain of a newly built ship. I did this as first mate but I would love to do this as captain.”


View Jan De Nul's company profile in the sector dredging


View Jan De Nul's company profile in the sector offshore energy