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Career Newsletter: Big, bigger, biggest

The first quarter of the academic year is already over. That means we have started working on some big projects for this lustrum year like a symposium and a gala. Even bigger projects are on our mind.
A lot of companies are also working on big projects. In this career newsletter, Boskalis, Spliethoff Group and MARIN are telling about some of the 'big, bigger, biggest' projects they have been working on the past year.

Boskalis banner


Boskalis creates new horizons, executing an extensive range of dredging and marine projects in 90 countries and across six continents.
We use our expertise and experience to provide ground-breaking solutions, adding social, environmental and economic value where we can: creating new horizons. Projects we are proud of range from creating new nature in the Marker Wadden to the transportation and installation of five floating wind turbines for the Kincardine floating wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen in Scotland. The salvage of the Ever Given in the Suez Canal is another project Boskalis is famous for. Chances are that you will be working on one-of-a-kind projects like these during your career at Boskalis.

Our people are the key to our success. Through our human excellence strategy, we pursue an environment where you are constantly challenged to be the best version of yourself- we offer a plethora of options to personally and professionally develop yourself. The career opportunities within an international organization like Boskalis are endless, so your first at Boskalis likely isn't your last.

If you are interested in the possibilities at Boskalis, please take a look at the Froude website or at the website of Boskalis

Marin banner

Machine Learning project kicks off

MARIN has launched AI Sail, a pilot project examining machine learning.

In this project, we will let an algorithm learn to sail an Optimist in our simulation and test environments with the overall objective of exploring the possibilities (and limitations) of Reinforcement Learning (RL) to control dynamic systems. This pioneering project will bring RL from simulation exercises into the physical world.

The idea for AI Sail is based on the observation that children can intuitively learn how to sail in an Optimist, without understanding the details of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics. So, we are challenging ourselves and asking: can an algorithm learn how to sail an Optimist in a comparable way by using machine learning techniques?

In 2022, we performed a first try-out of sailing with an actual (full-scale) Optimist in our Offshore
Basin. One of the techniques used is RL, which is a subset of machine learning that deals with
choosing actions in dynamic environments. As opposed to the more well-known supervised
learning algorithms, RL does not directly learn from examples, but rather gathers experience
through interaction.

This year we initially modified the Optimist to be operated and tested by remote control in the
basin and we will fully train an RL model in a simulation environment and test its performance in
upcoming basin experiments.

MARIN is a globally recognised institute in maritime research, based in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Our mission is ‘Better Ships, Blue Oceans’: we stand for clean, smart and safe shipping and sustainable use of the sea. We do this as an independent knowledge partner for the maritime sector, governments and society. We work with around 450 specialists in various fields who are proud of an open and collaborative culture in which you can explore your ideas and take initiative. 

If you are interested in the possibilities at MARIN, please take a look at the Froude website or at the website of MARIN


AI optimist

Spliethoff banner

Big(gest) STS cranes

Spliethoff Group, comprising Spliethoff, BigLift Shipping, Transfennica, Sevenstar Yacht Transport, Wijnne & Barends and Bore, is one of the largest shipowners in the Netherlands with a versatile fleet of 115+ cargo vessels sailing worldwide. Our head office is located in Amsterdam close to the Sloterdijk railway station.

Recently BigLift Shipping’s heavy transport vessel BigLift Baffin shipped three immense STS container cranes from Cork, Ireland, to New York, US. In order to be able to ship these cranes, BigLift’s engineers set out to find solutions for several challenges.

The biggest challenges to address were found both under the waterline and high up in the sky at the same time. When BigLift Baffin was loading in Cork, IE, the water level in port was low, so that the cranes had to be driven on board on a minimal draft. This resulted in a clearance of water under the keel of only slightly over 2 ft.

At the destination, the opposite issue had to be considered. Due to height restrictions of 67.4 metres to pass under the Verrazzano-Narrows and Bayonne Bridges in New York, and the total height of 65.25 metres of the cranes alone, the vessel had to ballast down completely to be able to pass under the bridges, leaving clearings of only 1.5 metres free board and up at the other end a clearance of about 60 cm only, high up in the air between the cranes and the bridges. Click here for more info and videos of the project.

Spliethoff Group – worldwide ocean transport

If you are interested in the possibilities at Spliethoff Group, please take a look at the Froude website or at the website of Spliethoff Group


The BigLift Baffin

Damen banner


Oceans of opportunities
Are you looking for an internship within a dynamic and international company, in which you are
given responsibility and the chance to discover the wonderful world of shipbuilding? Our diverse
departments, including Engineering, Services and Research & Development, are challenging you with
one of their projects, that you can work on with a great deal of independence.
Don’t see anything for you? Don’t worry! Send an open application with your CV and motivation
letter and our campus recruiter will check whether there is a suitable assignment for you within the

Are you ready to dive into a new adventure at Damen? Scan the QR-code for our open internship and graduation assignments or take a look at the Froude website!


Thank you very much for reading this career newsletter! Good luck in the second quarter of the year and see you at the lustrum activities!

With an ever loud Splash,

Quirine Steentjes
Commissioner of Excursions