Jan De Nul Bollard Step

Crew invents innovative bollard step

During marine transfers, it is essential to achieve a maximum level of control. With the bollard step, Jan De Nul has designed a simple solution to enhance safety during transfers of crew and visitors. This innovative idea came from the crew of the multicat DN46 and was picked up during an Operational Control meeting, where an advisory board discusses suggestions that improve the safety and efficiency of the company’s operations. ‘We stimulate all possible innovative ideas within our company’, says Quinten Schaumont, Area QHSSE advisor. ‘At all levels, at all times.’

Jan De Nul’s bollard step has created a solution that is both easy and quick to use, as well as being low on maintenance. Designed by crew members, the bollard step transforms mooring equipment into a safe and secure step on which to make marine transfers. The main materials used are steel and anti-skid grating. The latter creates a safe surface from which one can make a safe transfer either between two vessels or from a vessel to the shore. The fact that the bollard step is quick and easy to use is reflected in the way it is mounted: two persons can effortlessly carry the two parts of the step and put it in place without the need for extra securing measures.

Operational advantage

A major plus of the bollard step not being a fixed structure is the operational advantage it provides. When in use, the deck space is not restricted as the step can be dismounted at any time (e.g. when cargo needs to be lifted on deck), nor does it interfere with mooring operations. If mooring operations would be hindered, the bollard step can simply be removed or placed on an alternative bollard. 

The design is adjustable to different sizes of bollards and could be extended with a longer surface to step on or made adjustable in length, in the case the width between two vessels is larger than usual. A simple and clever solution, the bollard step creates a safe and steady platform where there could never be a safe step-over zone. Thanks to a straightforward design, local workshops can easily manufacture the bollard step to match the specifications of locally hired vessels. The costs of the prototype were considerably low at around EUR 850 making it a cost effective solution.

There are several step designs that can be used on a variety of vessels. The innovation will also increase safety of crew transfers on small Crew Transfer Vessels (CTVs) where designated means of transfer such as built-in steps are temporarily out of use. Future enhancements of the design could include an adjustable platform at the end to cope with different project locations. One benefit is that CTVs that otherwise might not be suitable during a project could therefore be used thanks to the bollard step. Depending on the cost of the CTV, this could result in considerable savings.

IADC Safety Awards 2021

The International Association of Dredging Companies’ Safety Committee and Board of Directors received 15 submissions for the 2021 Safety Awards. Since this year, two awards have been granted: one to a dredging contractor (also non-IADC members) and one to a supply chain organisation active in the dredging industry.

After deliberations, the committee selected Jan De Nul’s innovative bollard step as recipient of the Safety Award for dredging contractors. During IADC’s Annual General Meeting held digitally on 16 September 2021, Secretary General Rene Kolman announced the winners and later presented the award to Heleen Schellinck, PR and Communications, who accepted on behalf of Jan De Nul Group.