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Koningsdam captain gets his senior officers

Koningsdam captain gets his senior officers
Capt. Emiel de Vries, who will command Holland America Line's new Koningsdam, has been assigned a seasoned team of senior officers. They are hotel director Stan Kuppens, chief engineer Willem Zuidema, staff captain Kevin Beirnaert and safety, environmental and health officer Martijn van Dam.

Since joining the line in 1990, Kuppens has sailed on 12 current ships and four that are no longer with the fleet. He was the hotel director for the introductions of Nieuw Amsterdam, Eurodam, Noordam and Westerdam, HAL's four newest ships. He also has worked aboard Amsterdam, Maasdam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam, Ryndam, Statendam, Zaandam and Zuiderdam.

A native of Nijmegen, Netherlands, Kuppens graduated from the University of Hotel Management and was selected to join HAL's management trainee program, a multiyear course that provides training in all aspects of the marine hotel department and leads to the hotel director job He lives in Seattle with his wife and son.

Staff captain Beirnaert joined HAL in 2006 and worked aboard Rotterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam prior to being named to the newbuild team. Hailing from Ghent, Belgium, he studied at the Hogere Zeevaart school in Antwerp and worked for freight company Ecuadorian Line and on dredging ships in Dubai for the Palm Jumeirah Project. Beirnaert lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chief engineer Zuidema came to HAL in 1991, first working aboard Rotterdam, after sailing on cargo ships with Nedlloyd. He has served on several HAL vessels and was involved in the building of Ryndam and Rotterdam. Prior to being named to the Koningsdam team he was Oosterdam's chief engineer.

A graduate of Marine Engineering College in Rotterdam, the Dutch native from The Hague began his seagoing career as a dual-purpose officer (deck and engine) before committing to the engineering side. Zuidema also holds a master's degree in international development. He and his wife live in Atibaia, Brazil, and when on leave he is involved in educational projects there.

Safety, environmental and health officer van Dam grew up in Aalsmeer, Netherlands, as the fifth generation in a family of shipbuilders, and sought a career at sea when he was 18. A graduate of Hogere Zeevaart School Amsterdam with degrees in navigation and engineering, van Dam joined HAL in 2000 on the previous Nieuw Amsterdam in the engineering department.

He has worked in several capacities on almost all of HAL's ships and has served as a safety and environmental trainer for the fleet. Van Dam lives in a small village at Costa Blanca, Spain, where he is restoring an old farm.