BobsBlog Prolongation

By ending my work in Angola by October 2017, I had the intention to close the blog for the public. Due to the large number of world-wide visitors, the lack of information about Angola and the  visits by Heerema own staff,  I decided to keep this blog open for the public. Rarely new paged will be added but the achieve of 6 years (2011-2017) of pictures shall stay available.

You can scroll the calendar on the right side of the page. All colorer dates are issued of blogs mainly published every Sunday.

With kind regards,
Bob van der Meer


Wk41-2017 OUT OF ANGOLA (last blog)

After more than 6 years in Angola my assignment was accomplished, place HPA on the map and ‘Build a First-class Fabrication yard recognized by the Oil Majors’.
The yard successfully performed the fabrication of the MAFUMEIRA driven piles, the KAOMBO suction anchor piles, KAOMBO marshalling scope and ongoing the KAOMBO spool and jumper scope.
We build the MSD, trained our local employees from almost nothing to high skilled certified workers. We developed the HTC ‘Heerema training centre’ and the ‘Heerema safety centre’. We introduced VCA to our employees and trained them. We took care of knowledge transfer so we were able to operate a first class fabrication yard. Looking at the jobs we performed, we see a learning curve and continuous improvement.


Today HPA is mentioned by the client as the ‘BEST performing yard of the KAOMBO project’.

Not only offshore project work. We are also highly involved in social projects:
The Library, a small but well equipped  library. Here a team of two teachers run the facility. Each month new themes, themes that matters and educate the local population. But the also provide support to students al the schools of Porto Amboim with elementary knowledge to make them grow. The Heerema Library of Porto Amboim has a high reputation. Even from other provinces, more than a days travel, the undertake the voyage in order to satisfy their eager of knowledge or to solve a problem.



REMAR Boys shelter
We are supporting REMAR, the boys shelter at Porto Amboim, already for almost 6 years. REMAR shelters boys from the age of 5 till 18 who felt over the edge of society,. Dugs and alcohol addicts, abandoned children and orphans but also children that cannot live at home any more. Here they are rehabilitated with the target to integrate them back in the society. HPA and its employees made a difference for these unfortunate boys by creating an environment the breaths trust. We take care of the technical installation, we improved the facilities, we take care of daily food and on a by-weekly base the yard nurse/doctor visit REMAR and advises in their healthcare. The management stay within the REMAR Organization in Angola.

We also support some smaller ‘one time’ projects as the upgrade of the local old folks home, student support for yearly meetings, the yearly football tournament, the yearly Carnival etc.

This week I said GOODBYE to the Library and all the boys of Remar.

They know what HPA is doing for them, keep in mind that these are kids from the street from 6 to 12 years old.

They expressed their thankfulness with speeches and drawings.

They mentioned our positive contribution on REMAR and their live for now and for the future.

We closed the afternoon with the awards for the earlier drawing contest of which one drawing I want to highlight, a portrait.


My HPA goodbye gift, I am honored:
The piece of sculpture called “O Pensador” (The Thinker) is one of the most beautiful statutes of Tchokwe origin.

It represents the figure of an elderly person that could be a man or a woman. It expresses an intentional subjectivism as, in Angola, the elderly represent wisdom and,experience of long years and knowledge of the secrets of life.

With these results I will end my Angolan assignment. This will also be the end of my active involvement in HMC, followed by an early retirement in 2018.  I will continue ‘exploring the world’ as this planet is a too beautiful place to stay at just one place.
My ‘fun blog’ placed HPA on the map and grew to an information scours for the benefit of HMC and all clients and parts of it where regular used for reporting. reported on a weekly base the developments on the yard and information about this beautiful country this resulted in the following statistics:

  • 6 Years
  • 240 Posts
  • 4625 Pictures
  • 65.673  Views divided over:
  • 142 Countries (official 197 countries worldwide)
  • Main views: Netherlands, Angola, Poland, USA, UK and Canada

My blog will continue on a private base. It will be password protected and only accessible for friend and family, to be affected by the end of October.

I can be found on LinkedIn and if you are interested following send me a message with your private email to

Wk40-2017 CAULKING

Did you know that you can click on the picture to open in a new screen and if you click for the second time on the picture it will enlarge even more.

Spreader bar stored on the yardSpool spaghetti on the yard. Inspection of a subsea connector.Installation of the connector seal.

Fabrication work ongoing.

Crane waiting for its next load-out.

Spreader frame fitted out and located on the supports under the crane

Delta plate with rigging arrangement.

Spool ready for pressure test

Fairplay-31 with the stern on DP at the quay

Barge at the quay

Transportation supports prepared at the fabrication hall.

Sunday morning 05:30h, a photo shoot at the beach. Last night it rained a little and I did not notice that is was PA slippery so I went down. Covered by mud and a bruised hip. This woman saw it happen and assisted me very friendly cleaning up a little. ‘Muito obrigado para ajuda de limpa meo’ 

A fisherman caulking boat. An old technic but still common in Angola and in use.

Fishing boat in deteriorated condition stored on the beachPorto Amboim beach

Waiting for the fishermen to come in with their catch of the day.

Not all fishermen ar at work this early Sunday morning.

Porto Amboim beach seen from Pumangol fuel station

.Porto Amboim east seen from Pumangol fuel station.

Fish netting cleared on the beach of Porto Amboim

Women carrying buckets (20kg) of water up the slippery dune.

This was a great Sunday morning, 2 hours well spend!!!

Wk39-2017 Pins for the Employment Celebration and a Surprise Goodbye Party

Past week I arrived on Friday. After many delays at Schiphol but also at Paris, at last I arrived in Luanda.  The driver was waiting and around noon we arrive at Porto Amboim. As I did not sleep the night, the first thing I needed was rest. I slept till late in the afternoon. Tomorrow I will go to the yard. Saturday morning I was informed that the team building party that evening will also be my goodbye. 

The party was organized at a new facility opposite the Casa Branca hotel, a ver big but nice facility.I was requested to start with the speech I prepared that morning. It was professional translated by Tagilde into Portuguese. To say goodbye after 6 years for me is an emotional step that I have to make. Due to my health and the fact that i celebrated by 65th birthday with almost 20 years away from my family, also made me decide to end my professional life. I will first consume my never taken holidays followed by an early retirement. My real departure will be in 2 weeks from now.

Marc Mellema as CFO of the early HPA days, looked back at the past 6 years, our struggle, our frustration but also our successes. We realized the assignment ‘Built a First Class Fabrication Yard, Recognized by the Oil Majors’.  And we can end with the remark ‘ACCOMPLISHED’

I received the Angolan male symbol  ‘The PENSADOR’

The party continued celebrating the 3 and 5 years employment of many of our employees.

As per HMC standard, we handed out the GOLDEN pins.

My successor Maarten van den Wittenboer handed the pin to Domingas

It was a cheerful event. The majority of the employees were present

Marc Mellema was one of the DJ’s that took care of the music. In Angola this means DANCE.It took some time to get loose but after a few DJ minutes the dance broke loose.

At the outside area, the HPA employees took care of the BBQ and the drinks. They really deserve the compliments for their support and professional performance.

And the other guys ….. enjoying the dance, the laughter and …. the beer.



Wk37-2017 more spools, REMAR and 65

Spools and more spools (pictures by Michal Antecki)

The load-out of a spool onto the barge.

Testlift of the spool

Spreader-frame ready to be installed above a spool

VIV (Vortex Induced Vibration) Strakes, installed on the spool.

REMAR football tournament

Sunday the TECHNIP team organized a football tournament at the REMAR. The teams were installed and the last team were the Technip engineer from the HPA site team. 

New balls, drinks and some finger-food was part of this event. It was a very successful day and by this I want to thank the site team with Aymen as big promotor for the support they are giving to REMAR. Days like this are making the difference in their already so hard young lives .

BOB’s Birthday, 65 YEARS

It took me 65 years to reach the day of today (10 September), many ups a few downs and grateful to built the life that I have today. With a wonderful birthday cake , we celebrated my this event with wonderful people.

Thanks to all of you. 

The next 2 weeks I will be on leave in the Netherlands. I will be back 29 September.



Wheatstone spreader frames arrived on the yard for the load-out and installation of 10 spools

Welds are not coated to allow MPI on these welds.IMG_4910 kopiëren

Overview of the two Wheatstone frames with out-reachers to be installed spool dedicated.IMG_4914 kopiëren

Spreader frame in preparation for transport to the spool assembly area

The last three buoyancy tanks to be installed. By the end of September 2017, the SSCV Balder will be finishing its scope

Heerema barge H405 moored at the HPA quayside

BIGLIFT, HAPPY ROVER approached the yard to deliver installation equipment.

Spreader frame lifted from the SPMT’s ready to be installed at the spool assembly slot.
Happy Rover discharged its cargo and is ready to sale-away


New, small bore spool assembly is ongoing.


Last weekend I visited Quiçama National Park, also known as Kissama National Park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional do Quiçama or Parque Nacional da Quissama), is the national park in northwestern Angola. It is the only functioning national park in all of Angola, with the others being in disrepair due to the Angolan Civil War.
The park is approximately 70 km from Luanda, the Angolan capital. The park covers 3 million acres (12,000 km²), more than twice the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island.


What is now Quiçama National Park was formed as a game reserve in 1938. In January 1957, it was proclaimed a national park by the Portuguese administration of the Overseas Province of Angola.

The park once was home to an abundance of large game animals such as elephants and Giant Sable, but after wide-scale poaching during 25 years of civil war, the animal population was virtually eliminated.

In 2001, the Kissama Foundation, a group of Angolans and South Africans, initiated ‘Operation Noah’s Ark’ to transport animals, especially elephants, from neighbouring Botswana and South Africa. These animals, who were from overpopulated parks in their home countries, adapted well to the move. Noah’s Ark was the largest animal transplant of its kind in history and has given the park momentum to be restored to its natural state.

The restaurant at Quisama lodge. the lodge is managed by a friendly crew. As a regular visitor I am welcomed by the parc manager. In the evening I enjoy a simple but good dinner with a glass of wine and whisky as a desert. In the centre of the parc ‘Quissama loge’ is located. The lodge  is a gated area with accommodation to stay the night over. I visit the Quissama Lodge regular, at least twice per year and each time the Park improves.

The first Safari starts at 6:00 in the morning, a good time to se the most, only one problem, bad light for photographer. The Safari takes 3 hour through the park with an ancient UNIMOG

It is a great experience and the drive itself is already an adventure. We follow the dirt paths with the noisy truck.

The animals are used to the truck and visitors. 

The The wildebeests, also called Guns, are a genus of antelopes, scientific name Connochaetes. They belong to the family Bovidae, which includes antelopes, cattle, goats, sheep and other even-toed horned ungulates. Connochaetes includes two species, both native to Africa: the black wildebeest, or white-tailed gnu (C. gnou); and the blue wildebeest, or brindled gnu (C. taurinus). 

In East Africa, the blue wildebeest is the most abundant big game species; some populations perform an annual migration to new grazing grounds, but the black wildebeest is merely nomadic. Breeding in both takes place over a short period of time at the end of the rainy season and the calves are soon active and are able to move with the herd. Nevertheless, some fall prey to large carnivores. Wildebeest often graze in mixed herds with zebra which gives heightened awareness of potential predators.

Lamprotornis nitens (Cape Glossy starling, Glossy starling)  

The ‘Yellow-billed Hornbills'(Tockus leucomelas) is a Hornbill found in southern Africa. Yellow-billed hornbills feed mainly on the ground, where they forage for seeds, small insects, spiders and scorpions. This Hornbill species is a common and widespread resident of dry thornveldt and broad-leafed woodlands. They can often be seen along roads and water courses.

More giraffes here a complete family. The youngsters are protected by their parents. Very elegant and curious animals.

The monitor lizards are large lizards in the genus Varanus. They are native to Africa, Asia and Oceania, but are now found also in the Americas as an invasive species. A total of 79 species are currently recognized.

Monitor lizards have long necks, powerful tails and claws, and well-developed limbs. The adult length of extant species ranges from 20 cm (7.9 in) in some species, to over 3 m (10 ft) in the case of the Komodo dragon, though the extinct varanid known as megalania (Varanus priscus) may have been capable of reaching lengths of more than 7 m (23 ft). Most monitor species are terrestrial, but arboreal and semiaquatic monitors are also known. While most monitor lizards are carnivorous, eating eggs, smaller reptiles, fish, birds and small mammals, some also eat fruit and vegetation, depending on where they live. Picture below Monitor Lizard of 1.5m.

Crocodile on the borders of the Rio Kwanza