New Jersey-headquartered Donjon Marine places a lot on emphasis on training its personnel for the new requirements in salvage and its diversified operations. The group has operations in salvage, towage, dredging, heavy lift and marine transportation. It also owns a shipyard in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Donjon executive vice president and senior salvage master John Witte said the group’s strategy is to own as much of the equipment needed for these diverse operations as possible to minimise the costs of hiring tugs and other vessels. Donjon also focuses on training its own marine and shipyard teams.
This requires considerable time and expenditure on teaching employees to make the best use of the vessels and equipment, said Mr Witte. “We have people trained on specific equipment and aligned with the rest of our operations,” he added.
There are times when salvage, towage or construction projects are too complex for Donjon’s own equipment. “We contract out some operations, but try to maintain as much in-house as possible,” he continued.
Donjon has a fleet of heavy lift barges, tugs, dredgers, workboats and small utility boats (see table) but Mr Witte stressed that the most important element of the company is human. “Without good people salvage and tug operators would not be successful,” he said. “We need well-trained and competent people to operate tugs and barges.”
It is costly to maintain the vessel fleet and the equipment required for salvage and other operations. Which is one of the reasons why Donjon acquired the Erie shipyard. “Diverse operations keeps a company ahead of the bankers and ensures there are benefits from different operations,” said Mr Witte. “There are few exclusive salvors these days, so diversification is key to success.”
Its yard also creates repair business, including contracts associated with salvage. One of these was achieved in May this year when the shipyard repaired bulk carrier Indiana Harbor. This ship grounded while backing into an ore dock in Ohio and sustained damage below the waterline. An emergency tow and repair was needed to get the vessel back into service.
The fleet statistics will be published in the third quarter issue of Tug Technology & Business