In our special column this month, we are pleased to host an interview with Dewi Wesselman, Group Sustainability Coordinator at Damen Shipyards Group, who advises ship managers and operators to favour leasing vessels over selling them. By performing green refits in this way, they could increase the lifespan of the ships and maintain their high value through maintenance and repair.
n a personal note, Dewi says she invested in her personal development to learn and understand her purpose and her values. This was a rewarding effort that made her realize what what truly makes her happy in life. She also makes a point of maintaining her curiosity and studying about subjects relating to the shipping sector.
SAFETY4SEA: How did it come about that you joined shipping industry and your field of expertise specifically?
Dewi Wesselman: I have a background in strategic product design and communication design for innovation at Delft University of Technology. As a child as I grew up nearby the Damen yard in Gorinchem (the Netherlands). Once I graduated at Damen I really wanted to work there as the ambitions of the company are very much in line with my ambitions to build vessels cradle-to-cradle and to operate them emission-free.
S4S: What about your current job/ role most excites you and why?
D.W.: As a Groups Sustainability Coordinator, I am most excited about collaborating with colleagues, other professionals, and companies in the maritime industry to work towards a shared goal to make the shipbuilding and shipping industry more circular and sustainable.
S4S: When you think of the word successful who’s the first person who comes to mind and why?
D.W.: Ellen MacArthur is the fastest solo sailor to sail around the world. This experience gave her an understanding of finite world resources. Afterward, she set up the Foundation to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. With her foundation, she accelerates the transition toward a circular economy. She is a big inspiration to me as I also want to contribute to this goal in the shipbuilding industry.
S4S: What is the most worthwhile career investment (in energy, time, money) you’ve ever made?
D.W.: The most worthwhile career investment is related to my personal development to learn and understand my purpose and my values to make sure I work on something that really makes me happy. Next, always stay curious and keep learning on the content side about ships, circularity and decarbonization.
S4S: If you could give a piece of advice to your 18-year-old self one thing, what would it be and why? What piece of advice should you ignore?
D.W.: I would advise you to explore what you really like to do and not bother too much about what others will think of you. Believe in yourself that you are good enough and by working hard you can accomplish great things.
S4S: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your business life?
D.W.: In the last five years, I have learned not to give up my own values, make the best of a situation and learn from it to improve. Besides this learning from professionals in the maritime industry to understand current ways of working and see if (sustainable) improvements can be implemented.
S4S: What would you like to change in the current maritime landscape and your area of expertise specifically and why?
D.W.: I want to contribute to the shift towards a circular maritime industry in which we retain the value of vessels by building high-quality and future-proof designs that consider the full life cycle. For example, lease vessels instead of selling vessels and perform green refits to extend the lifetime of vessels and keep the value of the vessels high by repair and maintenance. At the end of the life of vessels prevent waste and pollution by reusing, refurbishing, and remanufacturing systems, components, and materials on board the vessels in an ethical way.
S4S: What is your personal motto?
D.W.: I believe you have to be the change you want to see, do not expect others to do it. If you believe in something you have to work hard and collaborate with others to make it happen.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.