Driven by local expertise

We are in a business of building relationships. Following our long-term project approach, we continuously invest in creating lasting bonds with our clients, our crew and the local community.

Our operations in Gabon stand proof that our commitment pays off. The crew that started out two decades ago is still with us today, and the same goes for our local suppliers and contractors. With mutually beneficial partnerships everybody wins.

Setting up operations in remote locations like Gabon is a challenging undertaking. After establishing all legal entities and obtaining the needed permits and licenses, we make sure our equipment is fit for the job. By customising our vessels to exact project specifications or investing in a new purpose build fleet, we show our long-term dedication and determination. But adapting our hardware to client demand is only the easy part. The real challenge is in selecting and training the right crew from the local pool of talent. Especially when you have to start out from scratch and there is no Maritime college.

Comprehensive training program

Because in our business accidents can happen anywhere, it is critical to have strong safety awareness. More than necessary, extensive training is a prerequisite for safe and successful operations. So, as there was no maritime college in Gabon, we set up a comprehensive training program of our own to enable build up capacity with local content. We fly in French-speaking trainers from Senegal to introduce new talents to our trade, after that with proper on the job training the crew is ready to do their job. Few selected students continue their education abroad to gain higher level of competency.

Uncharted waters

Our Gabon operation can boast of a proud achievement, more than 95% of the team is local. We are convinced that knowledge of local rules and customs adds to our quality and that our active involvement in the local community ensures future success. As a policy, we hire where we operate. For our Shell contract we rely on the deep maritime understanding of our local captains; to reach our Mayonami base, you have to cross the river mouth, ride with the surf and gauge the entrance, all without touching bottom or running the boat into one of the many shifting bars. For controlling a vessel in these circumstances one needs to have nerves of steel, with regular training this skill becomes an art and sets one apart from their peers.

Mutually beneficial relationship

Our involvement with local communities goes well beyond investing in local talents and offering training and excellent career opportunities. We share our base facilities, such as electricity, water and Internet, with the surrounding villages, support schools and native projects and offer primary medical assistance and ambulance services to local residents. As a result of our efforts, social activity picks up and local development takes off. The community gains from our presence, just as we build on their craftsmanship and local expertise. That’s a mutually beneficial relationship working for you.

 

For more information, please contact Satish Shetty – Managing Director Africa

  • SShetty@smitlamnalco.com