Navy Navigates Toward Revolution in SWO Training


By Journalist 2nd Class Jason Heavner, Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO (NNS) — Projecting power to all parts of the globe requires a team of surface warfare officers (SWO) with proficient skills in seamanship, navigation and ship handling.

To satisfy this need, the U.S. Navy has developed a Navigation, Seamanship and Shiphandling Training Requirements Document (NSS TRD). The NSS TRD identifies the core competencies for SWOs assigned to Navy warships. It outlines a navigation, seamanship and shiphandling training continuum for Surface Warfare Officers, from newly reported ensigns all the way to the commanding officer.

The TRD is consistent with the specifications and requirements of the Merchant Marine “1995 Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.” It also conforms to the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 46, which is a list of shipping regulations set by the Department of Homeland Security.

“As it works in conjunction with Task Force EXCEL, the TRD is especially beneficial for navigators, as it expedites the process of attaining Third Mate licensure,” said Lt. Tom Mack, assigned to the staff of Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Readiness and Training Department.

The TRD consists of many initiatives. One is the Navigator Course of Instruction. This course implements a newly established personnel qualification standard (PQS) for navigators and assistant navigators. The course will be software-based training distributed on CDs.

“Platform endorsement” is another initiative implemented by the TRD. “Platform endorsement” formalizes the re-qualification process for the Officer of the Deck. For example, every SWO, including the executive officer and department heads, will re-qualify in platform-specific evolutions (i.e. loss of steering, flight quarters). The goal is to enable a SWO to maintain their proficiency in navigation and shiphandling, regardless of the platform to which they are assigned. Both initiatives are scheduled for fleetwide roll-out in Spring 2004.

A third initiative of the TRD is the Training Record Book. Much like a pilot’s log, this will give commanding officers and executive officers a tool to track a SWO’s career qualifications. It will offer supervisors and leaders a clear picture of their subordinate’s professional development with regard to navigation, seamanship and shiphandling experience. The record book will include pages for sea service time, qualifications and facts, and characteristics of the ship on which the SWO stood deck watches. It will also include watchstanding records for combat, deck and engineering departments. The TRD is also compatible with Merchant Mariner and federal certifications, so a SWO could use the record book to more easily pursue civilian and other licenses.

In an effort to fill a considerable capability gap, the Navy will bring navigation simulators to almost every fleet concentration area by 2006. Currently, shiphandling simulators are located in the Norfolk and San Diego fleet concentration areas. Another simulator is located at the Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport, R.I. By mid-2005, additional full mission bridge simulators will be online in other fleet-concentration areas, including Mayport, Fla.; Sasebo and Yokosuka, Japan; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Everett, Wash.

“With the use of these simulators, the level of proficiency for a bridge watchstander will improve significantly. They can navigate a ship during any special evolution, or pull into any particular port in the world without using any fuel or altering ship schedules, thus saving the Navy time and money,” added Mack.

These initiatives will change the way Navy personnel are trained in navigation, seamanship and ship handling. The NSS TRD moves away from a knowledge-based approach to a competence-based system of qualification where candidates must physically demonstrate they have mastered the skills necessary to stand a navigational watch.

For related news, visit the Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Navy NewsStand page at

Advanced simulator will train mariners


Seamen and their employers are welcoming a new training facility for mariners, complete with a full-scale “bridge simulator,” that will open near Seattle’s waterfront in April.

The state-of-the-art simulator will help train seamen and mates to operate large vessels, just as flight simulators help train aircraft pilots. The $1 million device, the only one of its kind between San Francisco and Seward, Alaska, will feature lifelike effects, bridge equipment identical to that used on a full-sized ship, and a software-driven system that can simulate the characteristics of any ship operating in most ports in the world.

The simulator is the core of a 15,000-square-foot facility that will operate from a renovated building leased from the Port of Seattle near the container terminals on the waterfront.

The port contributed $550,000 in tenant improvements on the structure in return for a 10-year lease, said Gregg Trunnell, director of the Pacific Maritime Institute, which is developing the new facility. The training center will include classrooms and offices, a dozen computer stations for initial training, and the simulator itself.

The institute, known as PMI, is a state-certified vocational school that has operated in the Seattle area since 1972. The institute is supported by the Maritime Advancement, Training Education and Safety Program, a Baltimore-based nonprofit trust formed by ocean carriers and unions to support training and safety programs. The trust also operates the Maritime Institute of Technology and Graduate Studies in Baltimore, a training center substantially larger than the Pacific Maritime Institute.

Training, virtually


FORT EUSTIS – The bow of the Army’s high-speed vessel pitched and rolled across the white-capped waves, slipping quickly through the sea.

Welcome aboard Fort Eustis’ vessel bridge simulator and welcome to the future of U.S. military training.

Virtual reality systems are key to the Pentagon’s vision of a new Joint National Training Capability program directed by the military’s Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk. The Defense Department plans to spend $1.2 billion between 2004 and 2009 developing the program.

Computer Science Corp.’s Virtual Ship software is built on commercial off-the-shelf software. The simulator operates on Windows NT and mixed Windows and Unix systems, the company says.

MPA cuts fees for some courses by 19%


(SINGAPORE) The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has cut fees for mandatory courses and at its integrated simulation centre (ISC) by an average of 19 per cent this year.
The cuts apply to 13 of the assessment courses, including pilotage exemption, port limit tanker masters, passenger ferry safety and tug master training.

The state-of-the-art $12 million virtual vessel at Singapore Polytechnic is among the most sophisticated in the world, with inter-linkable simulation systems covering all aspects of ship operations, including engine room operations, pilotage and crisis management, with realistic bridge-view graphics.

New year sails


ONE of the most advanced maritime training centres in Europe is running team building exercises for Merseyside office workers.

The Lairdside Maritime Centre in Birkenhead is part of Liverpool John Moores University and has developed the only 360 ship simulator in the UK.

It is used to train ships’ officers how to handle vessels using state-of-theart computer projections of the Mersey or other waterways.

Some of the tasks mariners are set include piloting a tug boat and guiding huge oil tankers up the river in whatever river or weather conditions the trainers decide.

“As we have the only 360 simulator in the country, delegates have the chance to plot a course down the River Mersey or a stretch of water of their choice and feel as though they are really there. It is so realistic that we often get cases of sea sickness!

“Our newly-introduced tug simulator forces the teams to work together and communicate while facing the task of connecting the two vessels and navigating them to port.”

Panama Canal Authority Announces Fiscal Year 2003 Metrics

Panama Canal Authority Announces Fiscal Year 2003 Metrics

Significant capital improvement efforts in FY2003 have contributed to the Canal’s ability to handle increased traffic. Projects have included: the deepening of the Gatun Lake channel; the acquisition of new locomotives and rehabilitation of the locomotive tracks; the addition of new tugboats; improved aids to navigations; a training and research maritime simulator center; and the implementation of the Automatic Identification System (AIS) — a sophisticated vessel tracking system.

Owens creating new fire, police training center


It will also feature a Maritime Training Site and a 27,000-square-foot Simulation Center for Regional Anti-Terrorism Emergency Management. The interior of the center will consist of a containment chamber, classrooms, science-type laboratories, a decontamination room and shower/locker facilities.

Link: Owens Community College

Singapore, US navies link up naval simulators for virtual drills


SINGAPORE : US and Singapore warships have hooked up their respective naval simulators, so they can conduct joint exercises virtually instead of travelling half way around the world for the drills.

This is one of the displays at the International Maritime Defence Exhibition, which focuses largely on the importance of security at sea and the maritime threats posed by terrorists.

But it’s not just about military hardware, it’s also about well-trained personnel capable of dealing with different scenarios and reacting to real threats.

That is why the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) has not only developed its own realistic simulator but also linked it up with the US Navy’s Battle Force Tactical Training system.

This means the two navies can conduct joint high-tech simulator exercises, with realistic scenarios set around the world.

Navy to use more simulation training

Navy to use more simulation training

HONOLULU – The Navy will invest in simulation software and applications in the future to help reduce the cost, time and strain of training its sailors, service officials said here this week.

The Battle Force Tactical Training system is being used during in-port exercises to improve the training of strike group command and control elements, from simple reporting procedures to the current application of rules of engagement in a realistic environment,” Doran said Nov. 5, at the AFCEA Hawaii chapter’s TechNet 2003 Asia Pacific Conference. “Through technology, our strike groups can practice and evaluate the tactics, techniques and procedures in port before getting underway.”

In addition to combat training, the Navy is distributing simulation software that can be used to practice navigating through unfamiliar waters.

“Soon — very soon — a ship heading into a port that they have never been to before will be able to practice the night before during their navigational detail brief, by plugging into this onboard simulator,” Doran said. “Our [ports] will be outfitted with bridge mockup simulators for complete navigation training. Our ships will be equipped with a version that is a virtual reality hood, designed to train individual watch commanders and enabling our sailors to see precisely what they would see from the bridge of their ships.”

Asia’s Largest Maritime Fair to Open in Pusan


Marine Week 2003, the largest maritime business exhibition in Asia, gets underway tomorrow at the BEXCO in Pusan from Oct. 21-24.

The exhibition is co-hosted by the Pusan city government, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Korea International Trade Association.

The exhibition brings together 836 companies from 36 countries, including the United States, Germany and France, to promote their high-end products, according to organizers.

South Korean, Russian and Chinese firms are expected to showcase their latest port logistics systems, while some 63 defense-related companies from 13 countries, including the U.S.? Lockheed Martin, are scheduled to display state-of-the-art naval defense weapons and technologies.