As the mega ship era continues to unfold, the margin for error when large vessels approach and depart ports is nil. Improvements in port infrastructure, such as the widening and deepening of channels, along with upgrades to piers and cargo handling equipment is necessary for ports to capitalise on new economic opportunities. In addition, the collaboration of humans and technology is necessary to make vessel berthing as safe as possible.
In order to assess if ever-larger ships can safely navigate waterways, both ports and pilot organisations have turned to navigation simulators to verify and validate the most appropriate procedures. However, despite these best practices, pilots are also being challenged by some waterways where port infrastructure has not yet been adapted for the large vessels, so they must adapt as best they can until improvements are made.
NEW VESSELS, NEW TECHNOLOGY
Vessel sizes have increased exponentially due in part to the new Panama Canal. But even before it opened, the pressure was there for larger ships. In the 70s, we saw large tankers, VLCCs and ULCCs appeared at our sea buoys. Now we see new Panamax and Post-Panamax container vessels, Quantum cruise ships, large gas carriers and capsize bulk carriers requesting berths, tugs and pilots.
eMaritime group have written a new five-day Simulator Operators Training Course (SOTC) and will launch it with a free one-off session from June 19-23, 2017 at eMaritime Group HQ, Whiteley, Hampshire.
The SOTC course has been written to give those who wish to teach on a maritime simulator the necessary skills, teaching techniques and aids within a standard bridge simulator environment. The course is generic to simulator training in general and so can be applied to any make or model of simulator.
Course topics covered include:
- Role of a Simulator Operator
- Simulation Equipment Management
- Rules Of the Road
- Ship Handling Principles
- Ship Board Emergency Procedures
- Responsibility of a Simulator Operator in Critical Situations
The author of the course George Ward, eMaritime Group Project Support, said, "The simulator has become a vital tool for maritime colleges and companies all over the world. But as a company who run two ‘Train the Trainer’ courses, we are only too aware of their complexity which not only can be overwhelming to the instructors, but also they’re not getting the most out of the simulators potential. We’ve written the SOTC course to address these issues, and we would love to invite those who are interested in attending to the inaugural five-day course on Monday, June 19."
A recent cooperation agreement between Damen and VSTEP has been established for the delivery of a NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge Simulator with Alphatron Marine equipment to the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. The delivery is part of the Sandy Bottom Project, which sees the Defence Force acquire a range of Damen patrol vessels, upgrade its existing fleet and develop its port and base infrastructure.
Damen is an international shipyards group, operating 33 newbuild and repair yards and employing over 9,000 personnel all over the world. Working in all sectors of the maritime industry, Damen delivers 180 new vessels and carries out 1,500 repair and maintenance projects per year. Damen’s success is rooted in its philosophy of standardised shipbuilding, ensuring clients of fast delivery of proven, reliable technology.
VSTEP, with input from Damen, will develop four simulated vessels for use in its custom simulator. Pushing the boundaries of maritime simulation, the results of this collaboration will involve the seamless digital recreation of the whole of the Bahamas, an area of 13,878 km2, including nine detailed ports.
The project will see VSTEP deliver the latest version 3.0 of NAUTIS featuring improved graphics, advanced ship dynamics and increased accuracy and visual fidelity of the sea, allowing for the most realistic training possible.
Damen Sales Manager Alan Borde, said, “The incorporation of the simulator package was an instrumental part of the overall Sandy Bottom agreement. It will give the RBDF the ability to recruit and train new cadets annually in a professional manner. The synergy between the simulator training, the familiarisation training we have already completed and the general commonalities between the different classes of vessel and the bridge systems will provide longevity and increase the patrol capabilities of the RBDF.”
VSTEP CEO Pjotr van Schothorst: “The crews of these new vessels will be trained on the simulator for situations which are difficult or dangerous in real life, which makes them well prepared. They can train for ship handling & manoeuvring, and prepare for various operations relevant in their area.”
An official partnership agreement has been signed by SMR Links Consultants and VSTEP, making SMR Links the exclusive partner of the NAUTIS maritime simulators and RescueSim Incident Command Simulator in the UAE region.
Through SMR Links, VSTEP will be making available its simulator solutions to the UAE market, meeting the needs of the maritime, safety and security sectors, with a focus on education and training, more effectively.
According to VSTEP, “SMR Links has already provided us with several projects from high-profile clients including the UAE Navy and the UAE Naval College. They have proven to be a very useful and trustworthy partner, with a big focus on our products.”
Dubai-based SMR Links Consultants specialises in providing technology-driven solutions, including training, simulation and technical support for the marine and military sector as well as onshore and offshore oil and gas fields and facilities services, and management training.
Headquartered in Rotterdam, VSTEP is a leading manufacturer of simulators and virtual training software. The company has two core product lines- maritime simulator solutions for the civilian and military marine industry (NAUTIS) and incident command and disaster management simulators for first responders (RescueSim).
Jakarta, Indonesia-based maritime training center PT Azureus Simulator Asia has chosen KONGSBERG’s Dynamic Positioning (DP) simulators to help it meet significant growth in regional demand for offshore operational training.
Due for delivery in June 2017, PT Azureus Simulator Asia is the first Indonesian training center to utilize KONGSBERG DP simulators. It joins a long list of South East Asia facilities enjoying the technical and pedagogical benefits of Kongsberg Digital’s simulation technology and operational partnership with the company.
The contract Scope of Supply includes delivery of a full-mission, Nautical Institute Class A K-Sim DP Manoeuvring Trainer, offering highly realistic hands-on DP training based on real KONGSBERG K-Pos DP technology and featuring a 240° field of view for in-depth immersion.
Kongsberg Digital has developed an advanced physics engine and models for realistic offshore operations using the K-Pos DP system as a basis. With K-Pos DP’s global market share, PT Azureus Simulator Asia selected K-Sim DP to ensure its students trained on the systems they will be evaluated on by employers, and use during daily operations at sea.
Kongsberg Digital will also provide six desktop configured K-Pos Basic DP Trainer simulators and an advanced instructor station for a new DP classroom at PT Azureus Simulator Asia, in addition to developing specific regional area models so students can train on realistic simulations of the same environments that their vessels are working in.
“We have an in-depth knowledge of offshore operations in South East Asia and believe that K-Sim DP simulators are the best platform to support our DP training program, which is currently under expansion to meet the growing requirements from the Indonesian offshore community,” said Mr. Rudy Haryanto, Managing Director, PT Azureus Simulator Asia.
“While we have significant market penetration within the South East Asia maritime and offshore training sector, this is a breakthrough for a market that is in need of a high quality, proven offshore simulator system to provide training to local Dynamic Positioning Operators and engineers,” Tone-Merete Hansen, Sr. Vice President in Maritime Simulation, Kongsberg Digital.
Safe navigation is a priority operating principle for the UK’s largest energy Port, the Port of Milford Haven. And earlier this week the Port demonstrated that commitment with the unveiling of its new, state of the art marine navigation simulator.
Significant investment has been made in developing this new facility, and it is an exceptional tool. Built using MARIN’s latest software, DOLPHIN, the navigation suite is positioned to lead the market in training and exercise scenarios. MARIN, the Maritime Research Institute Netherlands, is an industry leader in hydrodynamic and nautical research and development and they were selected as delivery partners for this reason. Their systems bridge the gap between research and commercial operations and deliver a navigation tool with incredible precision.
Deputy Harbourmaster and Pilotage Operations Manager, Captain Steve Hardcastle, expands on its potential, “This is going to be an important facility for us and, we believe, the industry too. We’ll use it for training our own pilots who are required to manoeuver some of the world’s largest vessels inside the deep, but relatively narrow channel of the Milford Haven Waterway. The suite’s adaptability means that training scenarios can address both standard and extreme conditions but also allows training in emergency scenarios such as failure of ship’s equipment and machinery. The facility will be promoted for use by others in the maritime industry.”
“The simulator suite has a modular design. Rooms can either be booked individually or as a whole to allow a combination of navigation bridge, tug bridge and VTS simulation suite in creating a complex port-wide scenario,” Steve continued. “The software allows users to experience as close to real life as is possible with exact reaction to all environmental and hydrodynamic forces (such as ship to ship interaction or bank suction), all within a safe environment. It also has multiple vessel programs and we can even modify the suite to recreate different bridge layouts.”
Noel Bovens of MARIN continues: The DOLPHIN software follows DNV guidelines and is based on extensive and on-going research into the field of ship hydrodynamics, port and waterway design. Our mathematical ship models are widely considered as highly sophisticated maneuvering models that are based on sea trials and model test results. It is a high performing piece of equipment and we can see the suite becoming a primary training and learning site for the sector.
Port of Milford Haven’s Chief Executive, Alec Don, summarises: “Safe operations on the waterway are our primary concern. Alongside the commissioning of three new pilot vessels, investment in portable safe navigation software, and a major dredging campaign, the Marine Navigation Suite has been a key element of our investment strategy. The suite also demonstrates the dynamic nature of our business, with our team taking an innovative approach to solving industry issues.”
Both the Port and MARIN are looking forward to a long and productive partnership extending into all aspects of marine simulation.
BMT Ship & Coastal Dynamics, a subsidiary of BMT Group Ltd, has announced new enhancements to its marine navigation and maneuvering simulator, REMBRANDT, used globally by pilot organizations, shipping companies, naval architects, civil marine engineers and port authorities.
Separate controls for setting wind, wave and swell wave parameters have been introduced. By allowing independent control of these features, more realistic scenarios can be examined – a feature of particular relevance for offshore simulations, as well as certain critical port approach maneuvers, BMT noted. Wind shielding is also now available.
REMBRANDT V6 also supports the direct import of high resolution terrain data (LIDAR data) which will allow users to quickly and automatically create their own highly detailed visual scenes. This combined with the new near photorealistic visualization of sea surface further enhances users’ immersion into the simulated environment.
In line with these and other additional functionalities which have been incorporated into the newly established simulator complex in BMT’s U.K. offices, its marine navigation and maneuvering simulator capability is set to be further enhanced with the imminent establishment of a new simulator center of excellence in Indonesia.
Paul Morter, Global Sales Manager for REMBRANDT, commented, “These new and improved features have further elevated an already high end and globally respected simulator. It was important for us to look at delivering a significantly broader and more capable tool that will better support our diverse range of clients, enhancing the value this simulation aid can offer them in helping to achieve their operational goals.”
Morter continued, “An important factor when berthing at an offshore structure is the shielding effect it creates – as the visiting ship comes into the ‘lee’ of the structure, the magnitude of the prevailing wind, waves and current can be significantly reduced; REMBRANDT V6 can now realistically represent this effect in real time simulations.”
Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) has invested in a Full Mission Bridge and an Engine Room simulator for its training center in Limassol, Cyprus, allowing BSM to offer training for the career development of its own officers, as well as external training for participants in the region. Training will include STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) courses as well as tailor-made customer courses to the advanced level required for Deck and Engineer officers.
The bridge simulator consists of two separate 180 degree visualization bridges fully equipped with various controls and systems, including ECDIS, RADAR/ARPA, VHF, bow and stern thrusters, simulated anchoring and mooring, use of tugs for berthing assistance, GMDSS radio communication, signaling equipment such as lights and shapes, steering gear and engine control.
This equipment allows users to select vessels from the library of 40 different ship types, operating in 25 sea and port areas. The Bridge Simulator also connects with the newly installed Engine Room Simulator enabling up to six students to train in ship’s maneuvering and machinery operations on individual stations.
Simulation training is of the utmost importance in modern shipping, particularly for the employees of a shipmanagement company. With the wide range of possible operating systems present even across the same fleet and an ever-increasing number of processes becoming automated, it is vital that personnel are competent in handling the nuances of whichever vessel they are assigned to.
Via this training, nautical and engineering officers will gain knowledge and improve the skills required to serve on board in today’s technology-led shipping environment.
John Pritchett, Corporate Manager HRM – Training and Development, said, “With training and the emphasis we place on career development of our sea staff being at the forefront of our philosophy, BSM have invested in our facilities in Cyprus with the addition of this new equipment, which takes the center to another level; and further promotes our ability as the leading training provider in the region. This also aligns the center in Cyprus with our facilities in Manila and Mumbai.”
The Port of London Authority (PLA) has invested £250,000 (US$366,015) to upgrade its ship bridge simulator suite. It has added a full tug bridge simulator in reaction to the expected rise in port trade and terminal expansion. PLA has used its existing bridge simulator to train pilots that guide ships along the Thames.
However, it decided to invest in a new simulator and recruit 12 new pilots to facilitate increased traffic on the Thames, which has risen to more than 45 million tonnes of cargo a year. In addition to its core role in PLA pilot training, the simulator is also used for coaching pilotage exemption certificate holders and for specialist training of senior officers from shipping companies, tug masters and pilots from other port authorities.
“This upgrade integrates the latest hydrographic modelling, allowing trainees to learn the characteristics of the Thames from the North Sea right through to central London,” said PLA marine operations director Peter Steen. “It gives pilots the chance to experience all kinds of ships from tankers to container ships, cruise ships to car carriers, before they go on-board and operate them for real.” He said the facility includes an interactive tug simulator for training of large ship manoeuvring in the PLA area.
Terminal operators plan to invest more than £1 billion in their operations over the next five years, several looking at handling larger ships. The new simulator can be used for research and development purposes, to check proposed new berth plans and to demonstrate how new ships will be handled on the Thames, Mr Steen said.
The Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization (DALO) has entered into a new framework agreement with Kongsberg to renew their maritime simulation co-operation.
As part of the agreement, a ten-year, long-term system support programme (LTSSP) extension has been signed to provide the latest simulation technology, and upgrade DALO’s existing Kongsberg simulators to the new K-Sim Navigation simulator platform.
The renewed cooperation will enable Kongsberg to deliver its simulation systems along with service support at DALO’s training centres in Denmark and cater to the future maritime simulation needs of Denmark’s armed forces.
The new, user-oriented, K-Sim Navigation simulator is fitted with an advanced physical engine and advanced hydrodynamic modelling, enabling vessels, objects and equipment to enact scenarios in real life.
Kongsberg Maritime area sales manager Bjarne Torkelsen said: “Our new framework agreement enables DALO and Kongsberg to build up competence and functionality that will offer tangible and significant benefits in training.
“It provides stability for DALO in terms of maritime simulator capabilities today, and in the future, ensuring high-uptime at its simulator parks through dedicated support services and access to the latest advances in simulation technology to enhance training.”
In 2012, Kongsberg was contracted by DALO to deliver four DNV Class B part task bridge simulators for the Danish Home Guard School.
Additional deliveries included instructor and debrief stations, and integrated with real vessel equipment to provide enhanced physical realism for the trainees.