Brown Water Training and Collision Reconstruction Taken to a New Level

When a new or expanded port is planned on an inland waterway, how do you assure the civil marine engineers and ship operators of feasibility and operability while at the same time allaying the fears of local residents that their quality of life and local environment will not be significantly spoiled? “Simple,” says Paul Morter, Business Manager for BMT ARGOSS’s brown water version of their tried and tested ship simulator REMBRANDT. “You take the ships and the port to them. This is exactly what we did towards the end of 2014. We delivered customer workshops and a public consultation for two planned overnight rest ports on the Rhine transport route between Germany and the Netherlands.”

It was BMT ARGOSS inland waterways specialist Johannes ‘Hans’ Veldman who identified a potential market for brown water simulation through his work experience with the Dutch inland waterway networks.

Veldman has brown water in the blood, growing up afloat on the inland waterways of the Netherlands and beyond and has a broad knowledge of the European inland waterway network, the locks and other structures found on inland waterways. For example, he had significant involvement in the development of the hydraulic lock leveling system for the new canal between the rivers Seine in France and Scheldt in the Netherlands.

Another project attributable to him was the initiation of the completed Joint Industry Project “Improved Push-Barge Connection System” that resulted in an improved connection system for inland push-barges on inland vessels. “The BMT Group is very proactive in supporting well thought out ideas that require some development”, explains Morter, himself a blue water Master Mariner. He added, “We received the full backing, including financial assistance, from the Group’s innovation board to make the necessary adjustments to the software for this market.”

REMBRANDT has been in existence for over twenty years, starting as basic, two dimensional software. Now a fully DNV type approved navigation and maneuvering simulator with high quality graphics and all the attributes of a modern day bridge simulator, the brown water version of the simulator has allowed BMT ARGOSS to extend this capability into the inland waterways market. For this particular market, portability is as important as capability, so not only was the software specifically adapted to the needs of brown water, but also the bridge infrastructure had to be fully portable and representative of the inland vessel bridge.

“Developing a brown water version of the simulator was not without its challenges”, continues Morter, “Hans’s experience was invaluable in this respect in ensuring that we got it right.” Inland vessel bridge design is much more standardized than ocean going vessels so the layout of the wheelhouse was critical to the skippers’ immersion. However, there are some vessel controls that are not normally encountered on deep sea ships. Some of these systems required a significant amount of development to ensure correct operation and behavior of models. This required close cooperation between software specialists and BMT ARGOSS’s in house team of experienced naval architects.

Recently, an existing harbor near Lobith-Tuindorp and the river flood plain Beijenwaard near Lobith-Spijk have been selected for the development of 70 berths to provide overnight layover facilities to satisfy the rest requirements for inland vessel crews. An important design aspect for these facilities is the safety for the vessels arriving at and departing from the harbors. Simulation is not only essential for establishing safety, but has also been shown to be a very good way of involving the public in the developments. As many as 80 different simulations were conducted, covering the whole range of expected conditions, using licensed inland waterway pilots to carry out the simulations. The result of the simulations was an assessment of the planned development along with a proposal for alternatives to provide safe berths.

The regional authority responsible for the planned development took the decision to involve the nearby local community as part of the design process. Using the simulators portability a demonstration was set up in the local town hall enabling visitors to gain a good understanding of the studies involved in the development process to ensure the port designs are safe for navigation.

As well as providing traditional port and canal development simulations, REMBRANDT-INLAND can be used to accurately reconstruct specific incidents involving collisions in order to identify the root cause and any lessons that can be learned. The simulation uses available shipboard data combined with high fidelity models, to produce meaningful three-dimensional simulations. Voice, radar and position data sets are automatically synchronized together with environmental data and navigational circumstances, to present a complete and seamless reconstruction of events for in-depth analysis. The resulting incident reconstruction can be used to identify what happened not only for litigation purposes, but to help improve safety. Once the root cause is determined the first steps towards future prevention can be implemented. This knowledge and also the liaison with the client can produce a range of “what if” scenarios that can be thoroughly investigated and evaluated to produce specific training needs, valuable lessons learned and possible review of operational policies and procedures.

REMBRANDT-INLAND is a highly accurate, capable and flexible alternative to Full Mission Bridge (FMB) marine simulators, delivering equivalent functionality at a lower price point. REMBRANDT allows the user to load any port, river or canal and utilizes high fidelity vessel models that include over 750 parameters, ensuring that the user experiences identical vessel to vessel interaction, vessel to bank interaction, squat and shallow water effects as the real vessel would in the same conditions. REMBRANDT-INLAND is currently being used as part of BMT ARGOSS’s consultancy offering and will be available to purchase later in 2015.

Cruden to Unveil High Speed Boat Simulator



Cruden is unveiling its new high speed boat simulator at the 7th HSBO Forum (Lisbon, May 4-6).

Using detailed modelling and motion cueing techniques, as well as professional image generation developed in the automotive and motorsport industries (including Formula 1TM), the simulator is designed to set a new training standard for offshore, coastguard, naval, search and rescue, and security and control applications. The simulator was developed with data gathered from the Dutch military on its fast interceptor vessels and Florida powerboat specialists.

“We are excited to announce our entry into the marine simulation market. We believe our high speed boat simulator is one of the first to combine real boat and associated hardware with professional wave and boat dynamics models and image generation for power boat training scenarios,” says Maarten van Donselaar, CEO of Cruden.

“While scenario-based simulator training is commonplace in the marine sector, this tends to be focused on larger craft. We are offering a new solution for training in critical safety and boat handling situations where motion, forces and dynamic feedback play an important part. We want to bring renowned Cruden technology to improve safety and reduce costs to new applications.”

Simulator highlights:

  • 6-DOF 640 motion system
  • Range of hulls available. (Cruden will bring an open cockpit demonstrator to the HSBO Forum.)
  • Shock-mitigating seat by Ullman Dynamics
  • SIMRAD NSS7 and NSS12 EVO2 Chartplotter/multifunction displays
  • Customers will be able to integrate their own hardware, if required
  • Display either with on- or off-board projection systems
  • Service and maintenance packages.

“We look forward to presenting the high speed boat simulator to the HSBO Forum community in May. The reaction from the organisers and our partners has been very positive so far,” concludes Maarten van Donselaar.

VSTEP Class A simulator for Ho Chi Minh Maritime College


vsteph-41496 Ho Chi Minh City, March 18th 2015 – A DNV Class A certified NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge Simulator was delivered and installed by VSTEP at the Ho Chi Minh City Maritime Vocational College in Vietnam.

The simulator delivered is a NAUTIS Class A Full Mission Bridge simulator with a 270° field of view through projection.  A NAUTIS Instructor Station was also installed.  The Maritime Vocational College is a well-known higher education institution in Ho Chi Minh City. The simulator will be used for training and education of maritime students at the vocational college and will be implemented in the existing courses curriculum.

To allow students maximum familiarisation with the Vietnamese waters, three additional environments were added to the extensive environments library. The new environments include the approach of Ho Chi Minh City and its harbour, as well as the approach and harbours of Hai Phong and Da Nang. All environments were recreated in detail for use in the simulator.

Robin Lim, Business Development Manager, VSTEP Asia Pacific: "With the integration of the Vietnamese environments, the NAUTIS DNV Class A simulator will provide the Ho Chi Minch Maritime students with a realistic educational tool to prepare themselves for a successful seafarers career. The cooperation with our Vietnamese partner Tecotec and the Maritime Vocational College has been excellent and we look forward to continue this relationship in the future."

VSTEP will be showcasing its simulator solutions at the INMEX Vietnam 2015 from 18-20 March 2015. Come visit us at stand G03 at the Dutch Pavilion.

AMC Purchases Bridge Simulator


Indonesian Maritime School purchases DNV certified class A Full Mission Bridge Simulator to enhance its training curriculum.

VSTEP will deliver and install a NAUTIS DNV Class A Full Mission Bridge Simulator at the Maritime Academy of Cirebon in Indonesia. The new simulator will be used to provide certified maritime training and education in accordance with the latest international standards.

The Full Mission Bridge simulator is compliant with the Class A DNV Standards for Certification No. 2.14 for Maritime Simulator Systems and IMO model courses 1.22 and 1.32 and provides a 240° horizontal field of view. Following installation of the simulator, the academy instructors will receive extensive simulator instructor and maintenance training from VSTEP.

Transas Simulator Installed at the Istanbul University


transas_istanbul Istanbul University has received a multipurpose simulator complex from Transas Marine. The package includes a full mission navigational simulator NTPRO 5000 and a four-workplace multifunction simulator class that will enable training in shiphandling, radio-communication and liquid cargo handling operations.

According to Transas, the project’s requirement to house a 270-degree visualization bridge in a space-constraint room presented a challenge. Taking into account the university’s plans to move to new facilities in the future, Transas provided a configurable and cost-effective solution for easy dismantling and reassembly.


BCG Delivers Simulation Software to MTI



Buffalo Computer Graphics (BCG) Inc. has delivered a series of simulation products to Maritime Training International (MTI), in Jacksonville, Fla. MTI contacted BCG earlier this year and opened discussions to add simulation capabilities to its existing inventory of maritime training resources.

MTI shipped three laptops to Buffalo for BCG engineers to install and configure two of the laptops with Raytheon’s NSC ECDIS software and ARPA/Radar software in addition to BCG’s Virtual Steering Stand (VSS) software; the third computer was configured with BCG’s Instructor software (the Enhanced Graphical User Interface). This software package will enable MTI to teach ECDIS courses as well as various radar courses.


After the laptops were delivered to MTI, Captain Nick Andrew (MTI’s president and owner) installed the student stations into two custom made enclosures that will house the computers and two monitors.

Currently, MTI has two student stations with plans to upgrade to a third station in 2015.

Radar simulation upgrades from BCG



Buffalo Computer Graphics (BCG) has reported that it has upgraded the technology used by two of its existing customers for radar training and simulation.

The River School in Memphis, Tennessee, received laptops preloaded with BCG’s simulation software. They will be used alongside BCG’s PCS-250 Portable Radar Stimulator and four Furuno Radars for portable training at various locations around the country.

Elsewhere, Columbia Pacific Maritime in Portland, Oregon, has expanded its radar simulation capabilities by adding a Tabletop Steering Console and BCG’s Virtual Steering Software.

BCG says the upgrade will provide students with the ability to control their own ship’s heading and speed as well as providing Auto Pilot capability and visual indicators of the vessel’s operating parameters.

Kongsberg Maritime Launches K-Sim Navigation


K-Sim Navigation features an advanced physical engine and state-of-the-art hydrodynamic modelling.

K-Sim Navigation features an advanced physical engine and state-of-the-art hydrodynamic modelling.

Kongsberg Maritime has unveiled its latest generation ship’s bridge simulator, K-Sim Navigation, which meets the requirements of the most demanding navigation training for merchant, offshore and naval vessels. Designed for the future of advanced and integrated simulation training, K-Sim Navigation is based on a new cutting-edge technology platform enabling more realistic training scenarios and enhanced user benefits for both instructors and students.

K-Sim Navigation features an advanced physical engine and state-of-the-art hydrodynamic modelling, allowing vessels, objects and equipment to behave and interact as in real life. To enhance the realism further, a sophisticated new visual system is included, bringing vessels and objects in all possible weather conditions to life.

The result of these improvements is, according to Terje Heierstad, Global Product Manager, Kongsberg Maritime Simulation: “A fully immersive and optimum quality simulation experience. It’s a step change in maritime simulation. The shipping sector doesn’t stand still, and neither do we. Using our 40 years of simulation experience, it was our goal to take ship’s bridge simulation to the next level.”

K-Sim Navigation has been developed with the user experience firmly in focus. In addition to the realistic environment for students, instructors benefit from an award winning* instructor system designed to facilitate ease of use. It features an intuitive and modern educational tool utilising a modified ECDIS chart as a starting point with drag & drop function for creating exercises. The instructor system also includes automatic recording and an advanced assessment system for ensuring optimal training and feedback standards.

“Instructors are perhaps the key link in the training value chain, so we wanted to give them the ability to create the most advanced training scenarios, with the utmost efficiency and ease,” explains Heierstad. “Flexibility is also crucial, giving instructors the capacity to adjust exercise parameters before and during simulations to provide the best quality training for every individual student.”

K-Sim Navigation’s flexibility extends to hardware, with a fully scalable range of options available – from a PC based desktop system, through to a full mission bridge simulator. The system, built on the same core technology platform as the market leading K-Sim Offshore simulator, can easily be integrated with other Kongsberg Maritime simulators (including crane, offshore, engine, cargo, ballast and DP) to enable a comprehensive range of training scenarios.

Already approved to DNV GL Class-A standards, K-Sim Navigation allows maritime schools and academies to extend their available portfolio of courses, while in addition, providing them with the controlled environment necessary for undertaking valuable research projects.

“We believe that the new functionality and realism we have developed for K-Sim Navigation is an essential building block for enhancing sea skills and thus providing safe, secure and reliable vessel handling. Which, at the end of the day, is what maritime simulation is all about,” concludes Heierstad.

Australian Army Buys Maritime Simulator


Members of the Australian Defense Force training at one of the 12 NAUTIS desktop stations at the Townsville base

Members of the Australian Defense Force training at one of the 12 NAUTIS desktop stations at the Townsville base

The maritime wing of the Australian Army purchased and installed a VSTEP simulator classroom for landing craft operations and navigation training at its Townsville base in Queensland.

According to VSTEP, the simulator purchase was made following an enquiry from the Australian Defense Force (ADF) and Bohemia Interactive Simulations, a global software company providing simulation training solutions for military and civilian organizations. As a developer of certified maritime simulators, VSTEP was approached by the ADF to supply an advanced maritime simulator classroom for the Australian Army at the Townsville base.

The maritime simulator classroom delivered by VSTEP includes 12 NAUTIS Desktop Trainers and 2 NAUTIS Instructor Stations. The simulators use the NAUTIS Naval Task Force software module, a training module specifically designed to meet the training requirements of the military. NAUTIS Naval Task Force includes tactical communications, landing craft operations, replenishment at sea and antipiracy training.

To maximize familiarization during training, VSTEP has also modeled and integrated the Townsville base and surrounding waterways into the NAUTIS simulators.

The Australian Army contract is the latest in a row of military simulator contracts for VSTEP. Earlier this year, VSTEP won the contract to provide maritime simulators to the Mexican Navy.

Transas Simulators for Wallem Training Centre


Three Transas training simulators have been unveiled at the Wallem Maritime Training Centre in Odessa, Ukraine.

The bridge simulator (Transas NT-PRO 5000 5.25), engine room simulator (Transas Techsim 5000 8.3) and liquid cargo handling simulator (Transas LCHS 5000), will be used to train officers across a variety of vessels.

Captain Fared Khan, Wallem’s fleet personnel director, spoke at the launch about how seafarers will benefit from the simulators through development of their maritime knowledge and skills.

“Nothing is better than hands on training when evaluating capability for making ships safer for everyone onboard,” he said.

“The state-of-the-art Transas simulators will assist us to not only refine the officers’ skills leading to operational excellence onboard, but also to train our sea staff in how best to respond to different non-routine, challenging and critical situations at sea and in port.”

“Integrating previous incidents and lessons learnt will ensure the same mistakes are never repeated in the fleet.”

Wallem Ship management operates eight training centres around the world, with Odessa currently offering 18 different courses to improve skills and safety. According to Wallem Europe crew manager Wiebke Schuett, hundreds of seafarer will benefit from the new simulators.

“The Wallem Maritime Training Centres in Odessa trains not only Ukrainian officers, but also officers from other Eastern European countries including Russia, Romania, Serbia and Croatia,” she said.

“We currently have about 250 officers from the region on board Wallem-managed vessels, and a pool of 700 officers.”