Traveling the Seven Seas: Pieter Details His Offshore Experience

24 January 2023

We meet Pieter at his hotel in Hoofddorp the Netherlands, approximately a kilometer away from Atlas Professionals Headquarters. There, he is waiting for the next day’s flight to Taiwan to commence his upcoming position as Electro-Technical Officer on a heavy lift vessel. He greets us with a smile on his face and we start discussing his career, the state of the industry and what he has in mind for the future. 

Pieter details just how he got into the industry in the first place: “I started out as an electrician in a chemical plant as a teenager and worked there for some years to look after myself. I wanted to do something more and started looking for other opportunities and came across the offshore industry – I have never worked another job ever since.” 

Electro-Technical Officers are responsible for maintaining and fixing their vessel’s electronic systems such as powerplant, engine room controls, all sorts of communications devices, radar and similar electronic chart systems. The position is considered one of the top sought after roles within the industry and requires skilled Professionals with discipline and great attention to detail. 

When asked about why exactly he enjoys working in the offshore industry, Pieter boasts about all the perks this line of profession has to offer: “The working hours – the shift system. Definitely. It is so good to have a shifting schedule which allows you to program your entire year and have multiple 6 week long vacations – how many vacation days do you have?” he jokes while laughing. “There are downsides as well though. If anything happens while I am offshore, I can't do anything about it. But I can never imagine a career outside offshore and the working hours are one of the main reasons.” 

He also touches on two other aspects he likes: traveling and food. “I travelled the world. I was in Brazil for many years, it was an amazing experience. I worked in Indonesia for two years – the best two years of my life, amazing food, amazing culture and amazing weather. I have been to the USA, Taiwan, many other places. All thanks to working offshore. Oh, and the food is always good – you can really tell how the industry is doing by just inspecting the desserts. When the price of oil goes up, you get big bowls of whipped creams and everything!” 

The Past, the Present and the Future 

As a seasoned industry veteran, Pieter has a lot to detail regarding what changed and what remains the same: “Safety has improved a lot. I remember back in the day safety measures were simply not there – there were very few rules and people did not care. After some dire incidents, we realized that this was not the way to go and the whole industry decided to pay more attention to safety. Now, it is a significantly safer industry to operate in – so safety has overall changed a lot.” Pieter also compliments how far amenities have become: “Living areas, working conditions – practically everything about the industry has changed for the better.” 

Atlas Professionals presents a nice change of pace in Pieter’s life as with Atlas Professionals, he consistently managed to secure positions he excels at in a company he enjoys working for: “I was introduced to Atlas Professionals when I was recruited by my current company. They had a long and outstanding relationship with Atlas Professionals and asked me to enrol with them as they mainly sourced Professionals via their services – and I did. I have never experienced any issues with Atlas Professionals right from the beginning, they are always there whenever you need something. When I am in the Netherlands, for example, I just drop by the office and have a coffee with Atlas Professionals staff, enjoy a nice conversation. They are always very welcoming and very nice people to have around.” 

However, some things have remained the same, he argues, as tried-and true formula of becoming better at what you do is still there: “For the next generation of electricians or offshore Professionals, what I can say is: Do not be afraid of getting your hands dirty. Go out there and do something. That’s how you get experience in this industry.”

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