Dutch Inspector H. Spaargaren: The Quality Smart Maritime Group Delivers Is on a Par With That of Overseas Shipyards


The next visit of Mr. Huig Spaargaren, a representative of the Dutch VEKA Shipbuilding WT B.V., to the shipyard of Smart Maritime Group left him with positive impression of Kherson shipbuilders' performance. “My task is to monitor the quality of the work performed. I am pleased with what I saw today,” he said in an interview.

- What did you pay special attention to this time?

- It is always essential for me to see myself how the processes of manufacturing the key parts are going on, whether the deck, the stern and the bow are made in a quality manner. Yet, the main job was not made on the slipway, but rather in a meeting room. Neither correspondence nor telephone conversations give such a result as direct communication does. It is much more important to sit down at one table – this gives a feeling of ownership or involvement. Together with our colleagues Oleg Kupyanskiy, Yuriy Korniyenko and Vasiliy Filipiev, we came to a common opinion. It is very important when people are able to hear each other. We have made a good team.

- What issues did you solve together with the staff members of Kherson shipyard?

- This is the third chemical tanker that SMG is building for Shipbuilding WT B.V. In the Netherlands, a number of design changes were made to the drawings, which must now be implemented here at Kherson shipyard during the construction process. I am sure that after all the adjustments we will get a perfect vessel that will fully satisfy the owner. We plan to work with your company in the future. Therefore, it is essential for me to be here in order to jointly resolve all the issues regarding design-related changes.

- You have experience of cooperation with other shipyards. Is their work different from that of Ukrainian ones?

- Yes, we have our ships built at other shipyards too. For example, at Polish and Chinese shipyards. Once again, I want to note that your people are distinguished by unity and friendliness, and they quickly respond to comments from the customer. You know your job. I come to Ukraine about once a month, while I visited the Polish shipyard at least once every two weeks. The whole process had to be monitored much more thoroughly. In Poland, we had 10 identical projects. So, they made the same mistakes in 9 out of those 10. Of course, no one is safe from mistakes either in Ukraine, or in Poland, or in China. However, if you say: “Change this and that”, Ukrainians take it and change it. In China you say: “Change it”, they say: “Good” and nothing is changed.

- Who are the main competitors of Ukrainian shipbuilders?

- In Poland and in Ukraine the quality of work is at the same level. However, as I said, tougher monitoring is needed at Polish shipyards. In China, they will do it well, but only if you are there on site constantly and in control of the process. By the way, here is another nuance. It is quite normal for the Chinese to put more people on the production site, but the progress and quality will be the same as in Ukraine with fewer workers involved.

- What does the Ukrainian shipbuilding need to do to regain its positions in the global market?

- You are self-sufficient. The quality that Smart Maritime Group delivers is on a par with that of overseas shipyards. In my opinion, you have everything for a successful business. Let us be frank: if we had problems with the first order, would we do any further business with you?

- In a couple of words, what are your feelings from this visit?

- I am happy.