The technology group Wärtsilä has been contracted by the City of Duisburg, Germany, to provide the latest in simulator technology for inland waterway navigation. The simulator will consist of seven full mission bridges in two locations within Duisburg; six at the Schiffer-Berufskolleg Rhein vocational college, and one at the DST Development Centre for Ship Technology and Transport Systems. This will form the most modern inland simulator training facility in Europe. The order with Wärtsilä was placed in the first quarter of 2020.
Wärtsilä technology will enable inter-connectivity with other simulators, a universal hardware interface for future developments, and can be used for R&D purposes. It will also be utilised for advanced modelling purposes with other Wärtsilä tools, and for planning and analysation tasks.
“The more realistic the training, the more capable will be the crew, which is why state-of-the-art simulation is so important. Inland waterway navigation presents a number of challenging situations, and with this simulator training these challenges can be realistically studied and prepared for,” says Hendrik Posenauer, Senior Sales Manager, Wärtsilä Voyage.
“This new SANDRA – Simulator for Advanced Navigation Duisburg Research and Application – comes at the right time and will fulfil the requirements for giving future seafarers the skills they need,” says Thomas Krützberg, Head of Family, Education and Culture, Work and Social Affairs, City of Duisburg.
All seven bridges will comply with the latest CESNI (Comité Européen pour l’Élaboration de Standards dans le Domaine de Navigation Intérieure) requirements relating to standards in the field of inland waterway navigation.
Installation and handover of the Wärtsilä equipment will take place later this year.
Wärtsilä Voyage radically transforms how vessels perform their voyage by leveraging the latest digital technologies, to deliver a step-change in safety, efficiency, reliability, and emissions.
The technology group Wärtsilä has completed replacement of the Ship Analytics simulator solution at the United States Coast Guard Academy’s Ship Control and Navigation Training System (SCANTS) facility. The original simulator system was installed at the Academy in the 1990s, and the replacement work was carried out primarily by, and in partnership with, NavSim Services, Inc., the prime contractor. The upgrade was accomplished in two stages to accommodate the operational training schedule of the Academy, and to fit within the academic breaks. The primary purpose of the USCGA SCANTS facility is bridge training for Academy cadets and officers preparing to take command of their own cutters. The training emphasis is on navigation, piloting, and collision avoidance. However, the inclusion of specialty modules within the Wärtsilä simulator solution also enables highly advanced training in naval operations, search and rescue, and other operational activities unique to the mission of the US Coast Guard (USCG).
The highly advanced Wärtsilä system consists of two Full Mission navigation and ship-handling bridges, three additional part task bridges and five separate yet interconnected instructor stations, designed to provide the instructors and operators with the maximum flexibility in accomplishing their training missions. Designed to provide trainees with a realistic perception of operating in a real-life shipboard environment, the simulator complex utilizes an advanced physics engine and high fidelity hydrodynamic vessel modelling capabilities to replicate the behavior of vessels in various sea states, and at all speeds and environmental conditions.
“The comprehensive and highly advanced Wärtsilä simulation system allows the US Coast Guard Academy to conduct extremely realistic exercises, pertinent to the various operations required now and for a long time into the future,” says Timothy Park, Sales Director, Wärtsilä Voyage Solutions.
The USCGA carries out more than 15,000 man-hours of training annually on the SCANTS complex. The SCANTS simulators are used for a wide variety of training: from teaching new cadets the basic Rules of the Road, to advanced maneuvering exercises for experienced officers. They needed a reliable, flexible, realistic, state-of-the-art simulator system to handle that amount and breadth of training. Upon completion of the project, we were told that the Academy was extremely pleased with the results”. explains Anthony Kunecki, President of NavSim Services.
After a careful analysis of the missions performed by the USCG, several functionality modules were included within the deliverables. Furthermore, since the potential exists for underway replenishment at sea during operations, Wärtsilä’s high fidelity Naval UNREP training module, an advanced functionality, was included. This module will allow Coast Guard personnel to train for risky operations within the simulation environment. The Wärtsilä Model Wizard and Virtual Shipyard 2 programs were also included, allowing the USCG to not only modify area and vessel databases as needed, but enable the creation of new area and model databases as well when necessary.
With the inclusion of the Wartsila SAR training module, large scale search and rescue operations can be rehearsed, either on each bridge individually, or with all bridges participating in large scale, complex operations. This module provides the USCG Academy with the tools to train for emergency situations, including man overboard, lifeboat, fires and collisions.
Wärtsilä Simulation & Training solutions are built from the ground up to train and prepare seafarers of the future. They offer micro-learning, enabling education anytime from anywhere, personalized training and e-learning supported by remote tutoring. They offer gamification of training, drawn from real-life situations and virtually recreated, to make it more engaging for individual learning or for building team skills in multi-player mode. Furthermore, new content distribution technologies allow these solutions to reach seafarers on every platform, with options for virtual, augmented and mixed reality.
Wärtsilä Voyage radically transforms how vessels perform their voyage by leveraging the latest digital technologies, to deliver a step-change in safety, efficiency, reliability and emissions.
The technology group Wärtsilä will supply a complete navigational simulator upgrade for the Le Havre pilot station in France. The intention is to provide the pilot station with a totally new simulator specifically adapted to the requirements of the pilots’ operations. The order with Wärtsilä was placed in February 2020.The new unique visualisation system to be supplied is based on 14 DP projectors, comprising seven main circular and seven ground projection systems. It features a panoramic 350-degree screen. The station’s existing Wärtsilä simulator was installed in 2004, and the new upgrade is required to address current and anticipated requirements.
“We have worked with Wärtsilä for a number of years already, and we are familiar with their experience and expertise in simulation technology. The new system will be of great benefit to us in training the pilots, and will complement the practical training they acquire at sea,” says Pavel Pereira, President of the pilot Station.
“Le Havre is a busy port and safety is a prime consideration. For this reason we have been contracted to deliver a totally new, state-of-the-art navigational simulator that will enhance and ease pilot operations,” says Eric Letrou, Area Sales Manager, Wärtsilä Voyage.
The simulator enables users to study the reaction of a vessel in operational situations. It assists trainees in perfecting manoeuvres under challenging sea and weather conditions, and in emergency situations, taking into account currents and winds as well as pitch and bank effects. Furthermore, it will enable the validation of future port planning. Wärtsilä’s navigational simulators are in full compliance with international standards and regulations.
The Le Havre pilot station has existed since the 16th century. 47 pilots currently operate from the station, 24 hours a day, all year round, and in practically all weather conditions. The station serves the port of Le Havre, the Antifer oil terminal, and the port of Fécamp.
Wärtsilä Voyage radically transforms how vessels perform their voyage by leveraging the latest digital technologies, to deliver a step-change in safety, efficiency, reliability and emissions.
Finland to deliver a comprehensive upgrade of the institution’s simulator training capabilities.
This large-scale overhaul will update the university’s existing K-Sim Engine simulators to the newest technology and models, while the faculty’s ship’s bridge simulators will in turn be upgraded with new hardware panels and ported over to the latest K-Sim Navigation technology platform.
Additionally, to enable advanced training in LNG handling and bunkering procedures, a new vessel model based on a pioneering Dual Fuel passenger ship will be developed as an integrated Bridge/Engine simulator solution for the K-Sim Engine DEDF 42 model. The entire delivery, scheduled for the autumn 2020, is reinforced with a five-year LTSSP (Long-Term Service Support Program) agreement.
Included in the delivery will be several K-Sim Navigation Full Mission Bridge simulators meeting DNV GL Class A and B certification requirements. One of the simulators will be integrated with KONGSBERG’S Dynamic Positioning system for DP training. Further, the contract also includes K-Sim Navigation DNV GL Class C Desktop Bridge simulators incorporating NAV and GMDSS notations; instructor and debriefing systems; and a K-Sim Engine Full Mission and Desktop simulator upgrade with four additional student stations, instructor training modules, touch-based main and emergency switchboards, and model software simulating operational equipment on a variety of vessels.
The end result will be a state-of-the-art simulator facility with largely unparalleled functionality in an educational establishment, capable of mounting integrated team training exercises for marine engineers and bridge crew on a total of five different simulated vessel models. The integration of K-Sim solutions will instruct students on such crucial disciplines as decision-making and leadership, situational awareness, team interaction and crew/ship-to-shore communications.
“We chose Kongsberg Digital to deliver this contract because the company offered the best solution at the best price,” said Bengt Englund, vice-rector, Aaland University of Applied Sciences, “and that combination is unequalled, so it was a logical and beneficial choice. This huge upgrade emphasises our commitment to educate students by using the best and most modern simulation equipment available. It’s a substantial investment which means that the university will now have a complete range of simulators for study and research purposes. Our focus is on team training to strengthen both individual and collective competence, and the five simulated vessel models, with their integration flexibility, will address all of our training requirements.”
“This highly significant contract continues the long and mutually fruitful relationship we have enjoyed with the University of Applied Sciences in Aaland,” said Tone-Merete Hansen, senior vice president, Kongsberg Digital. “We’re extremely proud to be providing such high-quality training tools for the university, knowing that by doing so we’re helping to produce the best-qualified and skilled crews for the maritime industry in Finland.”
The “artificial” experience provided by simulators is widely recognized as both effective and cost-efficient, says Captain Chris Hearn, Director of the Centre for Marine Simulation (CMS) at the Marine Institute of Memorial University, Canada.
CMS has the most comprehensive suite of maritime simulators in Canada and is expanding its capacity further with the addition of another bridge simulator – this one for a shuttle tanker – in partnership with industry clients. The simulator will be integrated with others at CMS to allow for multi-ship operations including ship-to-ship transfers between tankers.
CMS has a history of managing large technology research projects that improve its simulation capacity and is currently partnering in a project involving dynamic positioning technology for drilling operations in ice-covered waters. While other project partners focus on the technology and commercial aspects, CMS is working on more realistic ice simulation.
Improvements in technology continue to change how training is conducted, says Hearn. There’s a new emphasis on so-called digital twin technology, and CMS is collaborating with a diverse group of partners to develop a digital twin application that is primarily focused on how shore-based management centers for offshore oil and gas operations interact with offshore assets and offshore support vessels. The intent is to eventually have a digital twin of an offshore field, its assets and its subsea components that can be used on shore for education and training.
The Centre for Marine Training and Research at Georgian College, Canada is also adopting digital twin technology, including the latest class of ships built for the Great Lakes Seaway and a recent high-tech ferry, the Pelee Islander II. Centre Director Thomas Aulinger says, “Here the owner, Ontario Ferries, had the foresight to make a virtual twin of the vessel prior to construction in order to train the crew before the arrival of the vessel from the shipyard.”
The College offers over 30 marine courses in its new Marine Emergency Duties facility, simulation labs and also off site. Aulinger says developments in simulation technology and program development are constantly evolving, and the College is currently installing another simulator with the latest generation of Kongsberg K-Sim technology with dynamic positioning in combination with an existing engine room simulator.
Existing Wärtsilä bridges are also being upgraded with consoles reflecting the latest changes seen on ships. “An upgrade to 75-inch vertical monitors in a Class A bridge simulator scenario provides an unparalleled experience for students,” says Aulinger. “Here too, dynamic positioning capability has been integrated. Furthermore, the College invests in both hydrodynamic and area-modeling capabilities. As such, we are one of the few schools in North America able to provide clients with this service on both the Wärtsilä and Kongsberg systems.”
If possible, the College strives to incorporate hands-on or simulator exercises in courses which by IMO standards are otherwise highly theory-based. There are numerous examples where more simulated training – prior to increasing a junior employee’s responsibilities, for example – could be beneficial, says Aulinger.
“As advanced technologies are developed in industry, we are able to reflect these technologies in our simulation systems for training,” he explains. “These will include simulating such technologies as auto-docking and auto-locking while integrating hyper-accurate forces such as squat and piston effect within a lock.”
Sea stories are an integral part of Resolve Maritime Academy’s course offerings. The U.S.-based academy has recently reduced its curriculum to focus on firefighting. “Our Resolve team members have fought container ship and bulk fires,” says Joseph Farrell III, Director of Business Development. “For example, I was actually at a bulk ship fire about a year and a half ago off Africa, so we bring that to the academy as our edge.”
Farrell notes his own early-career training experience at another school: “Our firefighting training was at a house where we put out a hay fire, and that was enough to meet the core requirements for the Coast Guard. At Resolve, we do it very differently. We have a real Class A fire in a compartment that people have to come down and fight.” The 180-foot training prop is designed as a ship with three decks. “Students have to negotiate small alleys and ladder wells. “It’s very tight, and the fire hose can get stuck, so it’s like a real ship fire,” says Farrell.
Cruise lines are one sector taking particular advantage of the facility, often providing their own case studies and near-miss experiences to be incorporated into the training. Resolve is now planning the construction of a new fire trainer using the latest technology in fire props and able to provide both Class A and propane-generated fire training.
“The new fire trainer will allow us to provide realistic training beyond meeting regulatory requirements,” says Director Denise Jones. “Our trainer will accommodate cruise ship scenarios with a live grease fire, a balcony fire, entry into a fire space from above and from a long corridor, to name just a few.”
Earlier this year, STAR Center in the U.S. launched a new on-campus firefighting training simulator to expand required STCW and Military Sealift Command course offerings at the AMO Safety and Education Plans’ training center in Florida. The new simulator, designed by Fireblast Global, has received U.S. Coast Guard site approval and can accommodate the training needs of both AMO members and commercial mariners. The new fire field and simulator have the ability to replicate shipboard firefighting scenarios above and below decks. The helicopter props effectively simulate helicopter firefighting operations and deck fires.
Innovations & Upgrades
At MITAGS in the U.S., it’s common to have four or more simulators integrated into one exercise for port operation studies or advanced training.
Glen Paine, Executive Director, MMP MATES Program (MITAGS), says this is just one part of the innovation going on. Additionally, MITAGS has expanded its Maritime Apprenticeship Program to include unlimited tonnage licenses for oceans and inland waters. “These new programs are based off our highly successful Workboat Mate Program,” he says. “In addition to those seeking an entry-level opportunity to quickly advance, they are ideal for retired military and others looking to start a second career in the maritime industry. In addition, we are standing up a similar program for the engine department by year-end.”
MITAGS is also expanding its highly successful Navigation Skills Assessment Program (NSAP®) to most industry sectors. “We now offer watchkeeping assessment scenarios for management/operational levels for the deep sea, workboat, river, cruise ship and ferry sectors,” says Paine. “We also have assessment centers in the U.K., Croatia, India and the Philippines.”
Paine says mariners are coming from diverse backgrounds and seek training that meets their specific needs: “One of the great benefits of NSAP® is the training officer receives a detailed report on a mariner’s strengths and weaknesses. From the report, a custom training program can be developed with an objective methodology to measure change in performance after training. We see these types of detailed assessments being used in engineering and cargo operations as well.”
Maritime Professional Training (MPT) in the U.S. is upgrading projection technology for its main bridge simulator and introducing additional integration for engineering and navigation simulators. Courses are being harmonized with a number of overseas academies so that joint scenarios can be conducted.
“Our industry is evolving,” says COO Ted Morley, “and training providers have to evolve right along with it to maintain the viability and applicability of their training. Ships and vessels are increasingly complex with smaller crew sizes. If the training doesn’t keep pace, then efficiency and safety suffer.” MPT has been engaged in workshops and “town hall” presentations to introduce a wider demographic to the industry and attract new recruits. There are job opportunities out there at virtually all skill levels, he says.
MPT also conducts regulatory and non-regulatory leadership training. “Many companies want to include their own procedures and policies in these classes to ensure they are not only familiar to the crew but also that they are viable and effective,” adds Morley. Skill assessment and revalidation are major focus areas. “Ensuring a mariner has the knowledge and competence at the time of certification is only part of it. If those skills aren’t used, they are lost. It’s vital to look at recurring training and competence assessments to ensure ongoing capability.”
Svitzer has its own in-house simulators, including in the Bahamas, where ongoing training is provided to both staff and external clients. Denmark’s Force Technology is modeling regional ports and vessels from the company’s tug fleet. Svitzer says more and more clients, such as terminals, port authorities and pilots, are wanting to try out different towing techniques for their ports. The company has its own staff training policy and has also trained captains from Brazil, Peru and Canada and pilots from Equinor and Peru LNG at the Svitzer facility in Freeport.
Ralph Franjul, Svitzer’s Country Manager for the Bahamas, says the main advantage of conducting the training in-house is being able to train crews to the company’s high standards and ensure safe collaboration during operations among clients, pilots and Svitzer crews. “The flexibility of having our own simulator is also priceless,” he notes.
Synthetic rope manufacturer Samson has initiated a new program to help customers maximize line life and reduce risk. The new integrated technology and service solution, Icaria® for Mooring, is designed to facilitate the transition to OCIMF’s Mooring Equipment Guidelines, Fourth Edition.
One of the major components of Icaria, called “Classroom,” offers a set of virtual tools with consistently updated course content designed to allow for easy competency management of crews and certification programs for key specialist skills. It’s another example of the ongoing evolution of education and training in the maritime industry.
Damen Shipyards Group and VSTEP Simulation, a leading provider of training simulation technology, have joined forces to establish a laboratory to explore innovative new simulation solutions. The aim of the partnership is to develop software that will extend the capabilities of VSTEP’s existing NAUTIS Maritime Simulation platform into engineering applications and so open up new research and development possibilities for Damen’s numerous R&D programs.
The initial focus will be on ship design and engineering, where software will be developed that will allow naval architects and engineers to first model potential changes in a design and then view in virtual reality the impacts that these would have on other aspects of the vessel’s performance.
“Business units across the group require ever more simulations to mitigate the risks inherent in designing and commissioning,” says Marcel Cleijsen, team leader at Damen R&D. “Costs per simulated vessel are currently high due to dependency on suppliers, high tariffs and limited re-usability as ownership remains with suppliers. This project is an investment that will drastically lower the cost per simulation by standardizing the interface between components and making the completed simulations re-usable for future purposes.” Damen is well-known for its commitment to continually improving its designs based on industry feedback and the application of new technology, and this capability will be a valuable tool in supporting that process.
“With our focus on driving innovation within the industry, we can ensure that our combined solutions will complement each other,” added Steve Claes, technical director at VSTEP Simulation. “The industry demands better quality each year, which is something our maritime simulators can help accommodate. I believe this new project marks the beginning of a closer cooperation that will lead to a wealth of new data findings. These findings will contribute to the digitisation of the industry and pave the road to a new norm, with our simulator solutions in the lead.”
Damen and VSTEP Simulation already work together via Damen’s associate company 360-Control. There, NAUTIS Maritime Simulators are used to train crew in maneuvering tugs and OSVs in a range of scenarios in a highly lifelike but zero risk environment.
The new laboratory will also explore the potential to create ‘Digital Twins’. That is, virtual representations of existing vessel types that can then be manipulated to establish how they might perform in roles or conditions that they have yet to experience. That information will then be applied to optimizing the designs to allow them to operate effectively in new markets.
“Investing in a full bridge simulator is a step towards the Digital Twin goal,” adds Marcel, “and not only enhances Damen’s capability as a digital system integrator, but also enables us to present our findings to our internal and external clients and suppliers in an intuitive 3D graphical format.”
The laboratory will be based at Damen’s headquarters in Gorinchem and operational from February 2020.
In designing bridges, highway officials have in the past been most concerned about the traffic that will cross them. Now, Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) is also helping them think about the traffic crossing beneath them.
With increasingly realistic simulations available, SCI has worked with transportation offices in Kentucky, Iowa, West Virginia, Louisiana and elsewhere to determine bridge location and pier configuration and placement so as not to interfere with inland waterway navigation.
“What Seamen’s Church has allowed us to do is go in with two or three options,” said Keith Todd, spokesman for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet’s (KYTC) district 1 office in Paducah, Ky. “They have pilots come in and go through two or three scenarios.”
Todd credited SCI for help in planning for a new Interstate 69 bridge over the Ohio River between Henderson, Ky., and Evansville, Ind., for the U.S. 60 bridge over the Green River in Spottsville, Ky., and, more recently, planning for the U.S. 60 bridge over the Cumberland River in Smithland, Ky. Although SCI’s simulator involvement in some cases was years ago, many of the bridges are now getting close to construction, Todd said. Bidding for construction on the Spottsville bridge should begin within the next month to two months, Todd said. The Smithland project should be let for bid in February. The I-69 project is still years away.
KYTC officials have seen such benefit from SCI’s simulations that they are already asking for assistance in the planning for another major bridge crossing. KYTC held public planning meetings in September for the construction of a new U.S. 51/U.S. 60/ U.S. 62 bridge connecting Wickliffe, Ky., to Cairo, Ill., over the Ohio River and near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
“It just provides a lot of information to the design staff as they move along the process for these new bridges,” Todd said, adding, “It may be 10 to 15 years before we get to the point of construction, but we’re getting lined up to do that early design work.”
Matthew Hyner, simulation and database manager for SCI’s Center for Maritime Education in Houston, Texas, explained more about how the simulations work.
The bridge’s engineering firm generally provides a few different potential bridge alignments that it believes are feasible, then has mariners test them in the simulated environment.
“The bridge engineer can receive real-time feedback from the mariners on what does and doesn’t work and why,” Hyner said. “We’re not only simulating how the towboat drives. We can bring in current data generated by mathematical algorithms that accurately predict how the towboat will handle in the water and through the bridge piers during different river stages.”
Other major bridges SCI has consulted on in recent years have included: the Interstate 74 bridge over the Mississippi River in Quad Cities, Ill.; East End and Downtown Ohio River bridge projects in Louisville, Ky.; potential placement of a new Mississippi River bridge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the Sunshine Bridge connecting Brook County, W.Va., and Jefferson County, Ohio; and the Iowa 9 bridge over the Mississippi River in Lansing, Iowa.
Simulation technology has improved in the past year or two to the point where the simulations also include river depth, the shape of the river bottom at the potential bridge site and the river currents at the site, Hyner said. Experienced pilots and captains generally run the simulations both at normal water levels and during simulated flood conditions.
“Identifying issues and crafting solutions in a simulator before spending millions and millions of dollars significantly reduces risk and is just a smart business practice,” Hyner said.
In the case of the Smithland bridge, Hyner said those simulations saved the contractor both time and money. The engineer’s initial thoughts on pier placement turned out not to work.
“We saw that on the second day, so—on the fly—they gave us some different plans with different placements, and we were able to put those in the simulator and create some new plans,” Hyner said. “In the end they decided we’ve got to put them on land.”
Todd said once officials could see the winding lower Cumberland River, near where it joins the Ohio, they understood the need for the piers to be placed on dry land during normal water conditions and could justify the expense of more expensive building methods to budget-conscious state legislators.
“It saved them eight months of design work,” Hyner said.
That was especially important since the bridge is such a major undertaking, Todd said. The $45 million, continuous-truss bridge is expected to take two to three years to build once construction begins, most likely in April. The new bridge is being built just downstream from the existing structure. The work should cause only minimal disruptions in river traffic, Todd said, adding that it will be comparable to when KYTC built the nearby U.S. 60 bridge over the Tennessee River in Ledbetter, Ky. That bridge opened in July 2013.
Hyner said the consulting work on the bridges ties in nicely with SCI’s mission of improving mariners’ lives by focusing on safety improvements. “The main reason why we’re doing these is a focus on mariners and making sure the waterways are safe and navigable,” he said.
The technology group Wärtsilä will supply two additional mini-bridge simulators to the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy (NVNA), located in Varna, Bulgaria. The academy already operates a number of Wärtsilä simulators, developed and supplied by Transas. The order was placed in Q2 2019.
The state-of-the-art solution includes the hardware and software for two Wärtsilä NTPro bridge simulators. The scope also includes extending the functionality of an existing engine room simulator in order to upgrade it to meet the latest standards. When completed, the installation and upgrading of the simulators will provide a high level of advanced training for the academy’s students. By simulating actual operating conditions onboard ship, the students will be better prepared for their future at sea.
“Safety and efficiency at sea are key pillars in Wärtsilä’s Smart Marine approach. By providing the opportunity for maritime students to attain realistic, hands-on training with the latest navigational systems we are endorsing our commitment to this approach. We design our systems in close collaboration with training institutions around the world to provide the most comprehensive, flexible, and customised solutions possible,” says Shalbuz Talibov, Senior Commercial Project Manager at Wärtsilä.
The installation of this Wärtsilä training solution is timed to coincide with the start of the new academic year 2019/2020. NVNA is the oldest technical educational institution in Bulgaria. Today NVNA is a national institution for tertiary education, training and research in the field of national security and defense, maritime business and maritime technologies. The order with Wärtsilä was negotiated through Innovative Maritime Solutions Ltd who represent Wärtsilä locally.
€4m MaritimeMT seeks to make Malta a centre for excellence
A maritime education training centre spread over 2,300 square metres in Ħal Far was inaugurated on Friday, as Malta seeks to establish itself as a centre for maritime training in the Mediterranean.
The €4 million MaritimeMT training centre will offer various courses leading to maritime careers, both directly at sea as well as shore-based ones. The centre will also provide specialised training for the superyacht industry, including navigation, engineering and hospitality training.
It features two DNV-certified Full Mission Bridge Simulators manufactured by Dutch firm MARIN, a Liquefied Cargo Handling Simulator, a GMDSS Simulator and ECDIS lab.
The centre has been developed by the Malta Maritime Pilots Cooperative.
Sailors, captains and pilots may no longer have to travel to the UK or Singapore to get trained on ship simulators. They will be able to acquire this training at IIT-Madras, which will soon launch a 360-degree full bridge simulator.
The simulator will help train sailors in navigating Indian ports and waterways under different conditions, and also help investigate maritime accidents.
Unlike most such equipment, the simulator at IIT Madras will have the facility to customise data, to reflect advances in hydrodynamics and data collection, said K Murali, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT-Madras, who is also the Nodal Officer of the National Technology Centre for Ports, Waterways and Coasts, which has set up the simulator.
The centre works to modernise Indian ports and fast-track waterways under the Centre’s Sagarmala project, an initiative for port-led infrastructure.
Murali said a full bridge ship simulator has real controls of a ship’s bridge and seamless visuals that displays port and the marine environments. It could be used to train people in navigating different kinds of ships through various environments, such as in the port basin, inland ports, sea ports, the deep seas and in rough weather.
Training on the simulator at IIT will cost just one-third of what ports incur on sending officials to the UK, Murali told BusinessLine. Typically, a port’s details are sent to the UK facility, where the official is trained for a particular manoeuvre – say, handling a very large crude carrier coming to the port for the first time.
The simulator, which has been set up in collaboration with the Delhi-based ARI International, will have details of all the major ports in the country. Apart from training mariners, this equipment can also help conduct studies on new ports and investigate maritime accidents. Data on accidents such as collisions and oil spills could be fed into the simulator, along with wind and ocean current information, to find out how an accident occurred.
Murali said the ship simulator modelling delivers new and innovative methods of teaching ship manoeuvring and port operations. It could be used to conduct studies such as navigation in open waters, coastal navigation, navigation in high traffic density situations, approaching the harbour, approaching the berth, mooring, berthing, and un-berthing, standard manoeuvring, passage planning, and execution and collision regulations.
The simulator is also suitable for navigation training in different environments, such as night time, poor visibility, heavy rains, strong winds, and severe sea states and strong currents, besides in areas of rapidly changing currents, said Murali.
Boon to Chennai port
Chennai Port Trust Chairman K Raveendran said that with the port’s entire model available, the simulator can be used repeatedly to understand what changes need to be made, before handling a ship or if the port is capable of handling a ship.
Last year, Chennai Port handled a Very Large Crude Carrier inside the port basin for the first time by any major port. Usually, due to the huge size, such ships are handled outside and cargo brought on barges. Before the ship was handled at the port, pilots were sent to a private company in Delhi to work on a simulator and check the feasibility of handling the VLCC inside the port basin. A few lakhs were spent on this. This can now be done at IIT Madras at a much cheaper cost, Raveendran added.