Gert Bunt (50) has recently started as Business Development Manager Fleet Support Services at MULTI.engineering. Introducing a man who says he's got "salt water in his blood".
Back to school as a sailor
At the age of sixteen, Gert was working as a sailor on an inland vessel. On board he received his share of corrective cuffs on the ears, but he was also quick, smart and eager to learn enough so that the skipper believed he should go back to school. During his training as a Maritime Officer at the Amsterdam Maritime School, he never stayed ashore for long. Before graduating as a certified chief engineer and captain of all ships, he first started working for Van Oord Dredging and then for the dredging company Blankevoort.
"I was very quickly given a lot of responsibility at these dredging companies, which I really liked. But when my traineeship company JO Tankers asked me to join them as a Maritime Officer, I didn't hesitate for a moment. On board their ships loaded with chemicals and oils, I manned the bridge, the deck and the engine room. One day I could be unloading cargo and cleaning tanks, the next day I'd be tinkering with the main engine. It was a fantastic time in which I learned a lot about all aspects of the ship."
At a certain point, Gert had to make a choice and he became a chief engineer. After thirteen years at JO Tankers, the company decided to switch to a foreign crew and Gert was the last of the Dutch employees to leave his job there. "Yes, that was hard, because you can't wrap your head around it and it never occurred to me to look for a job elsewhere. Fortunately, I didn't have to be out of work for long."
A week later, Gert was allowed to sail with Stolt Tankers aboard "the queens of the ocean": the – then brand new – diesel-electric ships, "designed by sailors, perfect and state-of-the-art." However, Gert found himself missing a bit of challenge and ended up on a work vessel, at his own request. When she was towed to a shipyard for repairs, Gert and his team would prepare it for sailing again. "We searched for the root causes of the problems found and based on that we repaired and automated the vessel as efficiently as possible. Now, twenty years later, that ship is still going strong."
The achievements of Gert and his team did not go unnoticed and he was asked to become a Technical Superintendent and to manage ship repairs from shore. Among other things, he was given responsibility over several diesel-electric ships with complex propulsion problems. In those years as superintendent, Gert lived successively in Spain, England and Houston, where he helped to establish the office of Stolt Tankers.
Fleet Manager LPG
After a stint in Hamburg, Gert ended up at Exmar Ship Management in Antwerp. During his time as Fleet Manager LPG, the fleet grew from 12 to 34 tankers. "I was used to tankers for chemicals and had to learn about LPG very quickly during that period. And that was also necessary because, with such a large fleet, there's always an issue to resolve wherever the ships were sailing."
LNG cruise ship simulator
When Carnival Corporation came up with the idea of building a 6,500-passenger LNG cruise ship, Gert's expertise was called in. "A gas-powered cruise ship was completely new at that time. At Carnival, for the first time, a simulator of the entire ship was built before the building and delivery by the shipyard. That simulator was used to train the very first crew and to analyse the systems before the ship went on sea trials. Other projects Gert has worked on at Carnival included research into methanol as a fuel with a fuel cell, electric propulsion with batteries and carbon capture. An exciting process, but then Covid came along and LNG became more expensive."
Business Development Manager Fleet Support at MULTI.engineering
Gert has found a new challenge at MULTI.engineering, where, as Business Development Manager, he will further expand the Fleet Support Services and adapt them to the future needs of shipping companies and fleet managers. Simulators and digital twins will also play a key role in this...