Jean-François NEFOERENU, crane operator at Nakéty

Jean-François is 37. He is currently daily worker as crane operator in Cotransmine at Nakéty Center.

Jean-François adores angling. He comes from Canala and previously worked as a sailor for Mitewa GIE Company. He then progressed and was appointed to the position of Mechanic 250.

In November 2011, he decided to join Cotransmine as a chain man casual worker. He is in charge in guiding the crane operator who processes the loading of the ore from the barge into the ore carrier. In a way he is “the eyes of the crane operator”. Indeed, the latter, from the top of his crane, has no visibility on the precise location of the barge full of ore, docked along the ore carrier. It is therefore the chain man who, thanks to gestural communication, tells the crane operator where to steer the crane toad, to open it and to close it, before raising it up, and pouring it into the hold of the ore carrier.

He is passionate about it and the company enrolled him in a crane operator course entitled “Safe Driving and Use of Cranes on Board” provided by Formation NC, which he obtained in May 2019.

This two-days training reinforces and formalizes his knowledge through acquisition of fundamental bases of the use of a crane and the assimilation of related rules and safety devices.

Because in this profession, experience is as important as qualification. The positions of crane operators are generally entrusted to experienced workers at the building site, and able to anticipate risks. Alone, perched above, and although lonely at first sight, the crane operator is part of a team, and his actions engage the safety of workers on the ground. Vigilant and observer, he must be able to establish a quick inventory of the site, and anticipate his colleagues’ movements. When Jean-François manipulates several tons of charges in the air, he must have a sense of responsibility, nerves of steel, and take unnecessary risk. (Burnt heads to abstain!).

Very responsive and quick-witted, he must be able to follow the remote instructions of the workers and/or men of chain, in situation of bad visibility. A strong sense of coordination and orientation in space is vital in the handling of ore loads, and of course, one must not be subject to unsteadiness!! He must also support outdoor work and its disadvantages (heat, cold, bad weather …). The crane operator works several hours in a cabin, in uncomfortable conditions (limited space, lack of sanitary …).

Casual workers such as Jean-François are required only in loading periods that can last from 5 to 11 days, depending on weather conditions and the tonnage capacity of the ore carrier. The wok rate is then sustained and the days are spread out from 4am to 8pm, so most workers sleep on the ore carrier to save time. “The work is quite physical and the schedules are offbeat, but I like the contact with the sea and the boats”, says Jean-François.

When a problem occurs on a crane, he informs the Shipper who relays it to the ship’s captain. “When we face challenges, we must ensure that everything is organized so as not to delay loading period and all is done right away, preventing any interruption.” Once the loading achieved, Jean-François takes full advantage of his family and tribal life. Thanks to his experience on the job, Jean-François now wants to pass on his knowledge to the younger generation.