Q&A: Bergan Marine Systems talks maritime safety and compliance

Written by

Heather Ervin

Kyle Durden, President and CEO, Bergan Marine Systems.

For 45 years, Bergan Marine Systems, Pensacola, Florida, has operated as marine safety consultants and equipment suppliers of cargo protection systems to barges, vessels and US government vessels. The company creates custom marine systems that meet the unique challenges of shipbuilders, engineers, naval architects and shipyards.

As Gold Sponsor for Tugs, Towboats & Barges (TTB) 2022, we wanted our audience to know more about Bergan Marine Systems and what they can offer the TTB audience. To do this, we caught up with the company’s President and CEO, Kyle Durden.

Durden graduated from Texas A&M University in Galveston (Texas Maritime Academy) in 1986, with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering as well as a USCG license as a Third Assistant Engineer. He sailed as a ship’s engineer on different types of ships, where he obtained his chief engineer’s license.

Today, Durden leads a team of approximately 40 employees in delivering innovative products for the marine industry. Below, Durden answers questions about these products, marine safety, durability and more.

Marine Log (ML): Last year, Ian-Conrad Bergan LLC was renamed Bergan Marine Systems and the company’s focus expanded to include electronic and computer controls, as well as certain other marine systems. What can Bergan Marine Systems offer the tug, tug and barge industry here in the United States?

Kyle Durden (KD): Bergan Marine Systems is now able to offer its customers a wide range of solutions ranging from simple electromechanical tank level and alarm systems to complex systems used to automate an ocean-going vessel’s ballast system. Our customized solutions can help ship owners and operators in four key areas:

  1. Spill Protection—Bergan has been a leading supplier of tank level and alarm systems for over 46 years. In fact, Bergan developed the first high level and overflow alarm system for chemical tankers. Over the years, we have constantly updated our technology to provide our customers with reliable and regulatory compliant systems;
  2. Fuel Management Systems – Our Fuel Management System (FMS) and associated Fuel Reporting System (FRS) are now installed on over 95 tugs in the United States. The system is used by vessel operators to track fuel consumption, vessel position and provide reports on all aspects of onboard fuel management, including transfers. We are currently updating our software systems to provide better near real-time data to our customers. You will see updates to these offers in the coming months;
  3. Automation and sensor integration—Bergan has recently expanded its capabilities to include automation of floating drydocks and ballast water treatment systems. We also provide several gas detection solutions that integrate with our existing alarm cabinets; and
  4. Data Reporting via Cloud Data Services — Bergan has been providing fuel data to its customers via cloud servers for many years. We are now expanding the type, amount and frequency of data provided to help operators make better decisions. We also work with ship management software providers to integrate our data into their systems so that operators can see all of their data through one comprehensive resource.

ML: For the rest of the market, what new or advanced systems or products do you offer to improve efficiency and limit liability?

KD: Bergan’s historic strength in the tank level and alarm market now extends to systems that provide users at all levels with more and better data. We clearly heard this need from our customers. Better data leads to more efficient operations that optimize fuel consumption and maximize the efficiency of freight operations.

ML: Are there any major projects underway at Bergan Marine Systems that you can tell us about?

KD: We have quite a few new products that we are developing for the marine industry. At the next Tugs, Towboats & Barges conference, we will be showcasing our new SMARTBARGE™ loading system.

This solution will allow a tanker to load their barge to a specific draft without having to hang over the side and try to read the draft markings. The system will reduce the risk of falling overboard as well as heat stress when operating in hot weather. We believe this will be a game changer in the inland barge industry.

ML: Bergan provides onboard safety practices that support ecological, human and economic vitality. Can you tell us more about how you achieve this?

KD: At Bergan, we like to support the sustainability and ESG goals of our customers in the shipping industry. Although water transport is already the greenest way to transport goods, it has been amazing to see the innovative ways in which it has been made even more efficient.

Bergan will continue to play a role in measuring and monitoring fuel and cargo information, regardless of fuels consumed or cargoes transported in the future.

ML: Finally, do any of your custom systems help your customers stay compliant? If so, which ones and how?

KD: Our industry-leading tank level and alarm systems help our customers meet flag state and class requirements. Bergan systems meet all applicable US Coast Guard requirements as well as American Bureau of Shipping type approvals. These reliable systems help our customers avoid costly and dangerous cargo spills, which could harm the environment.

Categories: Unclassified
Key words: barge, Bergan Marine Systems, ESG, Ian-Conrad Bergan, Kyle Durden, maritime safety, marine systems, regulatory compliance, tug, TTB 2022, tug