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Optima(l) cooperation between Fransbergen and Damen Marine Components

26 May 2020

As long as he can remember, his life has revolved around water transport and ship technology. As a child of ambitious entrepreneurs, Wilmer Fransbergen grew up with a love of shipping. Along with his brother and sister, he owns Fransbergen Trading & Shipping BV.

Fransbergen’s pusher tugs are used for all kinds of transport, such as gravel and blasting sand. Typically, they move large push barge combinations that transport tons of cargo on national and international waterways.

Wilmer: "In order to be able to transport as economically as possible, we basically always need to be on the move. Following the recent modifications to pusher tugs Mitchell-F and Dennis-F, we use much less fuel, which means our company and the environment both benefit. That's how we achieve maximum returns."

During his search for ways to increase the efficiency of his ships, Fransbergen soon came across DMC. Damen Marine Components was recommended to him by various relations.

“It was soon clear that we were talking the same language. DMC knows the market well and worked professionally. The advice given to us by representative Kees Oevermans was perfectly in line with our expectations".

For the first pusher tug Mitchell-F (built in 1943), named after his nephew, we chose two Optima nozzles with a diameter of 1,762 mm in 2018. "In our case, that meant 20% more efficiency and a more pleasant on-board experience."

Kees Oevermans, Sales Manager of Damen Marine Components says: "The properties of the Optima nozzle perfectly matched Wilmer's wishes. The nozzles have made a very positive contribution to the sailing characteristics of the pusher tugs, both when simply replacing the nozzles on the Mitchell-F and rebuilding the entire stern on the Dennis-F. Wilmer knows what he wants and, together with the propeller supplier and the shipyard, we were able to deliver that."

Wilmer describes the collaboration with DMC as professional and pleasant. “Personally I know quite a lot about ships and everything that goes with them. For example, in 2018 we designed our own hopper barge, which we built in China. That is precisely why I am so satisfied with DMC; the support we get from them is ideal and we really work on our projects together. For instance, they come to the shipyard and suggest ideas throughout the whole process."

That collaboration was the start of a customer relationship with DMC that has lasted for many years. "The advice we got and the back and forth of ideas during all the processes felt very natural. We were so satisfied with the entire pathway that it was a logical step to put our other project in DMC’s hands as well."

The modification of the pusher tug Dennis-F (built 1922) in July 2019, named after my brother, was an altogether bigger undertaking. Wilmer: "We had to do much more with this one; the stern was removed and we tackled the stability issue fundamentally. Kees Oevermans of DMC was right by our side throughout this operation. He has a great deal of knowledge of the hull below the waterline."

At the advice of DMC, they chose the Optima nozzle with a diameter of 1,616 mm. As a result of the work, the single propelled pusher tug is now much more flexible and more powerful. "Especially at high tide, power is needed to get in and out of the gravel pits; we now have power to spare!"

Fransbergen is satisfied with DMC and the partnership. He is even thinking of a repeat with a third pusher tug, the Colin-F. That's right, another family member.

"You feel the warmth of a family business like our own. DMC makes it possible to modernise a relatively old vessel with the right applications. A personal approach, commitment and expertise have always been key for us."