The two-day commute

Hans Burhanudin embarks on a two-day journey every time he leaves his home in Indonesia to travel to work. Once he is in Soyo, Angola, he has to maintain full focus in his role as Master of Svitzer Padrao.

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Hans Burhanudin, Master of Svitzer Padrao.

M. “Hans” Burhanudin

  • Age: 42
  • Nationality: Indonesian
  • Education: Indonesian National Maritime Academy (AMNI) in Semarang, Indonesia
  • First job: As 3rd officer on a cargo ship
  • Family: Married with two children, Rigel Kent (14) and Helga Atria (11)
  • Languages: Indonesian, English
  • Interests: Spending time off with the family

Hans Burhanudin travels more than 13,000 kilometres each time he goes to work.

The Master of Svitzer Padrao flies from his home city of Semarang to Jakarta, then to Dubai to catch a connection to Luanda. Finally, he makes the short 50 minute hop to Soyo in northern Angola, where he signs on for a two-month stint working the state-owned liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal on the river Congo.

“Although I have to travel very far from my home town, I’m really very happy to do so, because I am committed to doing my very best for Svitzer”, says Burhanudin.

“Working together with the crew from various countries is an exciting challenge for me, because we have to be a team, or a small family if you like, while on board. So it’s really great, and I’m very satisfied and happy when we get the job done properly”.

Flying in the right people

Svitzer’s fleet of tugs in Soyo works to provide towage for the Angola LNG plant. When towing, captains, work under the command of a pilot on board the visiting LNG tanker.

“All vessels require certain levels of qualifications, plus for tug handling you require other particular skills, hence the need to fly the right people in from all over the world”, says Peter Blackett, country manager for Svitzer.

In addition to its local Angolan employees, Svitzer also employs seafarers from Honduras, the Philippines, Indonesia, Ukraine, Egypt, Ghana, Poland, Montenegro, Bulgaria and South Africa in Soyo.

“Communication is very, very important to getting LNG tankers safely alongside the jetty”, Burhanudin says. “Before a job, we always hold a crew meeting to discuss what we will be doing, what risks we face and how to overcome them. The job is not difficult if it is done correctly, and that requires planning and communication”.

Balancing work and life

When Burhanudin is on the ship, he remains on board for the entire duration of the two months he is on duty. The food is good and time passes quickly with the interest of the work and company of the crew, he says. As a Muslim, he prays five times a day, but it does not interfere with work, as he only needs five minutes in his cabin each time.

Moreover, when he is home in Indonesia, he has plenty of time for his family – his wife Evie and their two children.

“It’s a lot of fun being with the family, a lot of what we do at home we do together, like dropping my daughter off at school in the morning and picking her up again at noon, and we are always on holiday together”, Burhanudin says. “I know they are sad when their father has to leave for work, but they also understand that it is for his and their own good”.