DISCOVER Magazine #7

Hipolito dos Santos & Vojislav Zivkovic

Published in category: People

To reflect Damen’s global scope, this ‘Working at Damen’ article hears from two of the company’s international specialists. First of all from Portugal-born Hipolito dos Santos, whose shipbuilding career has spanned more than five decades. And then Vojislav Zivkovic, who, in his 20 years with Damen, has worked in Turkey, Vietnam and Romania as well as in his home country of Serbia.

Enjoying the challenges

“I started as an apprentice in a shipyard in Lisbon,” says Mr Dos Santos. Over the years, he has worked in China, Qatar, Indonesia, Thailand and Dubai. “I now work for Damen Technical Cooperation at Ha Long Shipyard in Vietnam – a job I have been doing for just over 3 years. We build various vessels here – ferries, tugs, PSVs and fishery vessels to standard Damen designs – for local customers and on behalf of Damen. I have a coordination role in piping production from the fabrication stage, to installation, testing and assisting the commissioning of piping systems on the vessels built here.”

Talking about his current workplace, he says: “I feel lucky to be working in this part of the world. It’s a very nice place to live – warm with friendly people – and in the middle of a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. I should have found this job many years ago,” he notes. “It is so interesting in terms of opportunities. Yes, there are a lot of challenges, but, after all, these are actually the salt of life.” Mr Dos Santos’ current function will be his last before retiring in summer 2017. “For more than three quarters of my life I have been working in ship production. So, after 50 years of active work, I am going to have to find a way to keep myself busy!”

Shipbuilders to the core

“Wherever they need me, I will go,” Mr Zivkovic says. “When people ask me what’s it like to work for Damen, I tell them that it is a very serious company – an honest company.”

The geographical diversity of where he has worked is mirrored in the responsibilities that he has taken on. After studying mechanical engineering, and specialising in naval architecture, he has been Technical Surveyor, Head of Quality Control and Outfitting Manager. He currently works at Damen Shipyard Antalya in Turkey, where his broad range of knowledge and skills come to the fore. “A major part of my job is to advise the yard here on the subject of steel and aluminium construction – providing technical support.”

Mr Zivkovic keeps fit by running and going to the gym. Sport, however, is not the only way he uses his downtime. “Physics and mathematics are also hobbies of mine,” he adds. “Keeping the mind as strong as the body.”

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