Dredger Operator craves the sea air

Rasmus Helenius became interested in Terramare over 10 years ago.

“I’ve lived in Loviisa my whole life and knew of Terramare because the local area houses Terramare’s equipment centre. I thought they had interesting jobs,” Helenius recounts.

The young man came across a job advertisement for warehouse workers. “I applied and was brought into the company at the end of 2012.” 

However, he yearned for the sea, leading Helenius to gradually move towards the role of a dredger operator. “Initially, I performed some random jobs with a floating crane lifting dock elements, but, by the summer of 2017, I permanently moved to being a dredger operator.” 

The work on a dredger is specialized and requires a tight-knit team. “The smallest crew consists of two operators and a barge master. The larger the dredger, the larger the team.”

Master of the waves

With the sea as the office, the view is always right – and every day is guaranteed to be different.

“The conditions and tasks vary – you never get bored,” he grins.

On small vessels, team spirit is everything. “When you’re with the same small group for days, you quickly understand how important effective teamwork is,” Helenius shares, adding that a genuine “dredger spirit” includes a unique sense of humour that spices up their work.

Operators and office staff are in this respect the same people, part of the same team.

Dredging work is demanding specialized work that is learned at sea – there is no formal educational institution for becoming a dredger operator. “You learn these jobs well through experience.”

Guardian of the seas

Dredgers often play a key role in ensuring that bottlenecks or other problems don’t develop in domestic infrastructure and logistics – and in enabling, for example, the basic operation of ports.

Challenges do arise: notably, the installation of eight fixed sea marks on a new fairway near Oulu in 2020 stands out. “Everything imaginable was against us, from harsh natural conditions to working far out at sea. We even got messages from Swedish telecom operators on our phones,” Helenius chuckles.

At the location of the marks, the sea depth varied from between 9 metres to 18 metres – and the task required expertise in piling, blasting, and drilling. However, the project was successfully completed, and the fairway can now be used all year round.

Oulu is not the most remote project on Helenius’s CV. “I’ve been on many work sites in Sweden and also in Germany and Denmark.”

Opportunities abound

The varied, international tasks are part of Terramare’s attraction, Helenius assesses.

“Additionally, it’s great that we have so many different opportunities to develop in the direction we want, whether it concerns drilling, blasting, or working with floating cranes.”

The generous staff benefits also receive Helenius’s wholehearted approval: employees are really well taken care of. “I know that few places offer as comprehensive benefits,” praises Helenius.

Looking towards the horizon, Helenius views the future with confidence: large, interesting construction sites are definitely in store. He still feels privileged to work at sea:

“When you feel that fresh sea air in the morning, you know it’s going to be a great day – and sometimes even sunny,” he grins.