DISCOVER Magazine #7

Herman Senior is active in all corners of the globe

Published in category: Countries

The Netherlands is notable in having a considerable number of family-owned businesses. This is true of many sectors, but particularly so in the maritime industries. Like Damen, a number of these companies have been active for a considerable amount of time. Over the years, Damen has had the pleasure of supplying vessels and solutions to many of them. Here we speak to a number of Damen clients from across a range of different sectors.

Dutch tug and workboat company Herman Senior BV and Damen have a long history together, with Damen being its shipyard of choice from 1947. Located just 20 minutes from Damen’s headquarters, Herman Senior is also a family-owned company, dating back several generations.

Jack van Dodewaard, Managing Director, explains that his grandfather Herman Senior, and his grandfather’s brother, had established a business focusing on the inland waterways. They bought their first vessel from Jan Damen, the father of our Chairman, Kommer Damen, back in 1947. She had a 77Hp Caterpillar engine, one of the first in the Netherlands.

A generation on, Jack’s father then bought a Pushy Cat 46+ in 1971, from Kommer Damen. This was the first extended Pushy Cat with a seagoing classification.

The Herman Senior BV of today was actually founded in 1992 by Jack and named after his grandfather, Herman Senior. Again the company’s roots, like that of Damen, are founded in the dredging industry. The company’s tug Herman Sr sailed for many years, but due to demand it was eventually necessary to invest in more powerful vessels and Herman Senior ordered a much larger tug.

In 1996, the Tarka arrived, a Damen Shoalbuster 2409. Tarka was actually only the second vessel ever built of this new type of shallow water tug. After the Shoalbuster proved a huge success the company again decided to invest in 2000 and replaced the Herman Sr with a new Shoalbuster 2208.

12 Damen vessels

Herman Senior has bought twelve vessels from Damen over the years, the last one just recently when it took a new Damen Multi Cat 2712 into its fleet – the Panda. This is the second Multi Cat the company has acquired. Many of the ships in the fleet are named after famous bears. As well as Panda, there is a Baloe, Bommel, Barney and Yogi!

The company’s Shoalbusters and Multi Cats are currently all over the world. And the former one-man operator has grown into a company with more than 35 employees, including two of Jack’s sons. Erwin is Commercial Manager and Chris is Technical Manager/Purchaser.

back to top