Fifteen years ago, IRI opened its Roosendaal office as a central location for ship inspections. Strategically positioned between two of the busiest ports in Europe, close to heavily trafficked shipping lanes, and easily accessible to important business and finance centers throughout Europe, Roosendaal was a natural choice for inspections and technical support in Northern Europe. Today, the Roosendaal office has grown significantly and developed into a key office for regulatory affairs, marine safety, and yacht operations.
“The initial focus on inspections really drove the direction of our growth,” noted Hans Krijger, General Manager, Roosendaal. “With more vessels we had more inspections and technical queries, which required an increased number of inspectors and technical experts. Today, that diversity has helped us support nearly every aspect of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Registry’s operations and services.”
Krijger, who joined IRI in 2004, has seen the office grow from 3 to 17 individuals, with team members located in Belgium and France and across departments as varied as yachts to regulatory affairs.
“Our growth has really supported and mirrored the growth of the Registry, and we have an incredible team of professionals in our office. Geographically, our location provides access to regional port authorities, regulators, owners, operators, inspectors, shipyards, and RMI flagged vessels,” noted Krijger. “We’re able to personally assist and support stakeholders and clients across the region and to attend regional meetings, training sessions, and seminars. That face-to-face interaction and ease of accessibility has allowed us to build strong working relationships and contacts that have supported the increasing number of vessels flying the RMI flag.”
Marc Verburg, Director, Yacht Operations, who joined as the second full-time hire in 2007, noted that a key factor in building those relationships has been the flag State’s long-term commitment to supporting safe vessel operations worldwide.
“We don’t sit and point fingers at vessels or operators or throw up our hands when an inspector has a question,” said Verburg. “We say: how can we help you, or how can we improve this process?” That attitude of working collaboratively and coordinating with regional coastal States and port State control authorities has created a reputation for being solution driven and responsible flag, which is apparent in the Registry’s long-term performance and whitelist status with the Paris Memorandum of Understanding.
Focused on technical support and operations with a background in yacht operations and building, Marc worked closely with the Geneva office to expand the technical support for yachts as the number of RMI registered yachts increased. “Each yacht is unique and really needs individualized technical support,” said Krijger. “Marc has led the technical development of our worldwide yacht team, and we have seen an increase in newbuild and owners with innovative yachts choosing to flag with the RMI because of that specialized technical support and solution-driven mentality,” he noted.
Both Krijger and Verburg see the future of the Roosendaal office strengthening in respect to both yachts and technical support, especially as the regulatory environment continues to evolve. “The need for comprehensive technical, fleet operations, and regulatory support will only grow as the industry continues to adapt to new regulations and requirements,” noted Krijger. “Owners and operators want assurance that they have competent and skilled maritime professionals ready to solve a problem, address innovative ideas and technologies, or assist in fulfilling regulatory requirements.” he said. “Our team understands the current conditions and the transition that is taking place. We are adaptable and ready to support our clients whatever the future may hold,” he concluded.