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

Written by Heather Ervin
Kyle Durden, president and CEO, Bergan Marine Systems

Kyle Durden, president and CEO, Bergan Marine Systems.

For 45 years, Bergan Marine Systems, Pensacola, Fla., has operated as marine safety consultants and equipment suppliers of cargo protection systems for barges, ships, and U.S. government vessels. The company creates custom marine systems that address the unique challenges of the shipwrights, engineers, naval architects, and shipyards.

As a gold sponsor for Tugs, Towboats & Barges (TTB) 2022, we wanted to let our audience know more about Bergan Marine Systems and what they can provide the TTB audience. To do so, we sat down with company President and CEO Kyle Durden.

Durden graduated from Texas A&M University at Galveston (Texas Maritime Academy) in 1986, with a Bachelor of Science degree in marine engineering as well as a USCG License as a Third Assistant Engineer. He sailed as a shipboard engineer on various types of ships, where he obtained his Chief Engineer’s license.

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

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

Kyle Durden (KD): Bergan Marine Systems is now able to offer our customers a wide range of solutions from simple electromechanical tank level and alarm systems to complex systems used to automate an oceangoing vessel’s ballast system.  Our custom solutions can assist vessel owners and operators in four key areas:

  1. Protection against spills—Bergan has been a leading provider of tank level and alarm systems for over 46 years.  In fact, Bergan developed the first high level and overfill alarm system for chemical tankers.  Through the years, we have constantly updated our technology to provide reliable and regulatory compliant systems to our customers;
  2. Fuel management systems—Our fuel management system (FMS) and associated fuel reporting system (FRS) is now installed on over 95 tugs in the U.S. The system is used by vessel operators to track fuel consumption, vessel position and provide reporting on all aspects of onboard fuel management including transfers. We are currently updating our software systems to provide better and near real-time data to our customers. You will be seeing some updates to these offerings in the coming months;
  3. Automation and sensor integration—Bergan has recently expanded our capabilities to include automation for floating drydocks and ballast water treatment systems. We are also providing multiple gas detection solutions which integrate with our existing alarm cabinets; and
  4. Data reporting through cloud data services—Bergan has provided fuel data to customers through cloud servers for many years. We are now expanding the type, amount and frequency of data provided to help operators make better decisions. We are also working with vessel management software providers to integrate our data into their systems so that operators can see all their data through one comprehensive resource.

ML: For the rest of the market, what are some new or cutting-edge systems or products you’re offering to improve efficiencies and limit liability? 

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

ML: Are there any big projects Bergan Marine Systems has in the works that you can tell us about?

KD: We have quite a few new products that we are developing for the marine industry.  At the upcoming Tugs, Towboats & Barges conference, we will be showing off our new SMARTBARGE™ Loading System.

This solution will allow a tankerman to load his or her barge to a specific vessel draft without having to hang over the side and try to read draft marks. The system will reduce the risk of falling overboard as well as heat stress when operating in hot weather. We think this is going to be a game changer in the inland barge industry.

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

KD: At Bergan, we love supporting our customers’ sustainability and ESG goals in the marine transportation industry. While water transportation is already the most environmentally efficient way to transport goods, it has been amazing to watch 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 no matter what the fuels consumed, or cargoes carried will be in the future.

ML: Finally, do any of your customized systems help your customers stay in compliance? If so, which 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 U.S. Coast Guard requirements as well as having type approvals from the American Bureau of Shipping. These reliable systems help our customers avoid costly and dangerous cargo spills, which could harm the environment.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,