Wärtsilä simulators provide advanced training at newly inaugurated Portuguese facility


Ana Paula Vitorino, Portugal’s Minister of Sea & Cmdt. Rui Cunha, APDL Port Operations and Security Director, testing the Full Mission Bridge simulator – the biggest and most modern in Portugal with a 360◦ projection technology – during the inauguration ceremony.

The technology group Wärtsilä has supplied advanced technology simulators providing realistic hands-on training at a new facility in Portugal. The training centre is developed and run by the Port Authority for the ports of Douro, Leixōes and Vano do Castelo (APDL), and was inaugurated in the end of July at a ceremony headed by Portugal’s Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino. The order was placed in October 2018.

The centre is the country’s largest and most advanced maritime training facility. It features a Wärtsilä Full Mission Bridge (FMB) simulator with 360 degree projection, two tug simulators with 360 degree LCD, and one VTS simulator to allow full training, complex exercises, and certification for pilots, tug masters, merchant navy offices, and seafaring vessel crews. The simulation technology has been developed by Transas, a Wärtsilä company.

“Our ability to customise the configuration of the simulators to meet the precise requirements of APDL was a key contributor to the winning of this prestigious contract. The Full Mission Bridge simulator with 360 degree projection technology is the largest and most modern of its kind in Portugal. Without a doubt it is also on a par other state-of-the-art simulation solutions provided to well-known European training centres since it implements the most realistic simulation possible,” says Alex van Knotsenborg, Global Sales Director, Wärtsilä Transas.

The VTS simulator for two trainees, allowing combined exercises with other simulators.

“This is a state-of-the-art training centre with state-of-the-art simulators, and we thank Wärtsilä for their support throughout this project. The centre will promote both safety and operational efficiency at sea and on inland waterways. By being able to re-create actual operating conditions, the training doesn’t need to be carried out onboard, thus saving fuel and reducing pollution. The River Douro inland waterway has its five locks and corresponding approaches recreated in this simulator, as well as all the scenarios of Porto de Leixões and Viana do Castelo. This allows for intense and continuous training of ships’ crews, and for maintaining the skills of APDL pilots and parties,” says Comandante Rui Cunha, Director of Operations and Safety at APDL.

One of the two tug simulators – with 360◦ LCD technology. It provides a realistic immersive tug-like environment for hands-on advanced training.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Minister Vitorino said: “The simulator management software allows the creation of scenarios for any port and for differing weather and sea conditions. It is especially relevant for preparing pilots and masters, and for studying manoeuvres in adverse conditions, crisis situations, and maritime rescue.”

The Wärtsilä scope includes the development of several 3D zones and a tug boat model. Wärtsilä has earlier provided APDL with a VTS system. Source: Wärtsilä

SimFlex Accredited as Full-Mission Class A Simulator by DNV GL Again


FORCE Technology’s ship bridge simulator product SimFlex is once again accredited as a full-mission Class A simulator according the DNV GL Standard: “DNVGL-ST-0033 Maritime simulator systems” and has obtained a Statement of Compliance.

With the Statement of Compliance in hand, it is possible for SimFlex training providers to obtain a product certificate through FORCE Technology, however, issued by DNV GL. The product certificate is also valid for five years.

The approach is that DNV GL uses the ‘as built’ documentation including signed site acceptance tests, which will be provided by us. Then, DNV GL conduct a review and issue a “Simulator Product Certificate” with appropriate class and notations for the training provider.

“The Simulator Product Certificate” is then handed over to the training provider through us. This certificate enables the training provider to prove STCW compliance to their national maritime administration. This approach is valid for both new and existing SimFlex training providers.

The SimFlex ship bridge simulator is renowned for its realism and has been under constant development for more than 30 years. Right from the very beginning, our focus has been on accurately modelling the hydro- and aerodynamic physical characteristics.

This is done by addressing all the forces acting on the vessel and then solving the equation of motions for the vessel. Each force component is a function of many variables, which each contributes to the total force exerted and the corresponding motion. This approach makes it easy to add or remove an effect.

The design is based on an eclectic approach where data is retrieved and combined from many sources. Herein lies the success and realism of the ship bridge simulator.

RAN awards contract to Kongsberg Digital to deliver K-Sim simulators


Kongsberg RAM

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has awarded a contract to Kongsberg Digital to deliver two new K-Sim Full Mission Bridge simulators.

The new equipment will expand training capabilities at the HMAS Watson Bridge Simulator Facility in Watsons Bay, Sydney.

RAN Command and Navigation head commander Chris Doherty said: “Our simulator training requirements continue to grow and Kongsberg has shown the flexibility to support our requirements, even in a compressed timeframe.

“This latest delivery reflects the depth of our partnership, as well as the importance of high-quality simulator training to the safety and operational performance of our people and fleet.”

The two simulators being procured for installation at Watsons Bay will be used for the ongoing training of RAN officers and sailors.

The training covers all levels of ship handling, navigation, warfare, and bridge management courses

Kongsberg Digital Sales vice-president Mark Stuart Treen said: “The navy continues to grow its navigation and engine room training capacity using K-Sim simulators, and we are committed to providing the technology and support that ensures trainees are always ready for their role on board new and existing ships.”

In August last year, the Australian Department of Defence announced more than A$80m ($57.50m) investment to expand and upgrade the RAN simulation trainer fleet.

The latest agreement follows Kongsberg’s previous contracts with RAN for the delivery of multiple shiphandling and engine room simulators for training facilities across the country.

In November last year, the company secured a contract to supply simulators for installation at a new training facility at HMAS Stirling in Perth.

Kongsberg said that the demand within the RAN’s training pipeline was triggered by the acquisition of new ship classes.

RAN is preparing to receive two Supply-class auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessels.

The service will also receive new Hunter-class anti-submarine frigates and Arafura-class offshore patrol vessels.

Navy admiral wants better training simulators for sailors in response to deadly ship collisions


ship simulator

WASHINGTON — Constructing better training simulators for sailors on surface ships is one of the initiatives being undertaken by the Navy as it implements recommendations made after the deadly USS John S. McCain and USS Fitzgerald collisions, Adm. William Moran, the vice chief of naval operations, said Tuesday.

Moran discussed the Navy’s efforts as a result of the 2017 collisions during a maritime security discussion at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

Moran, who leads the Navy’s Readiness Reform Oversight Committee that oversees the implementation of 111 recommendations that came out of two reports after the McCain and Fitzgerald collisions, was nominated last week to be the next chief of naval operations, the Navy’s most senior officer.

During the discussion, Moran said he was encouraged by the progress of the implementation, and that part of the progress included building better training simulators in the Navy. He was “very disappointed” in the simulators that he saw used by the surface force compared to what he was used to as a naval aviator.

The aviation simulators that he used could train pilots under stressful conditions without risking an aircraft, but they did not exist for surface forces in areas where it was needed, Moran said. The Navy has looked at ways to modify and modernize some of the simulators.

One of the lessons learned from the 2017 collisions was poor communications and teamwork between the ship’s bridge and the combat information center, Moran said.

“So we bolted on [combat information center] simulation to the existing bridge simulators that are in the fleet, and that is helping the instructors teach basic communications but also some skills that are important that we reinforce,” he said. “Unfortunately though, we don’t have the capacity I think the fleet needs to do this as much as I think [commanding officers] would like to do it.”

The Navy’s training simulators for ships such as the littoral combat ships are “the best in the business,” Moran said. He wants that type of realistic simulator for every ship class or at least be able to reconfigure one to train a sailor for any ship that they might work aboard.

The Navy is constructing new buildings in San Diego, Calif., and Norfolk, Va., with multiple simulators that will allow sailors to undergo more training.

“That to me will make the biggest difference over time in terms of proficiency, experience, and the kinds of things that we need,” he said.

The simulators are not meant to replace experience aboard a ship at sea but to complement it, Moran said.

He said he hopes one day to see training simulators aboard ships in shipping containers with capabilities like the “holodeck” in the Star Trek: The Next Generation television series.

“That’s probably a vision a little too far but, I tell you, the way things are moving, I’m not so sure,” Moran said.

Southampton Solent University to build £4m maritime simulator


Ship Handling Simulator
A bridge simulator being used by a member of the Royal Navy at HM Naval Base Clyde Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Archive/PA Images

Institution seeks supplier to develop and roll out technology for training naval officers

Southampton Solent University is looking to appoint a supplier to design and install a new “maritime simulator suite” in a project worth more than £4m.

The university has issued a contract notice seeking a contractor who can help design and then build the simulator technology, which will subsequently be implemented during “the refurbishment of an existing university facility”. The new-look facility is intended to incorporate a number of different simulators, including machines to train students in environments replicating a ship’s bridge and its engine room. 

The contract will also cover the provision of classroom and office space, as well as ongoing support and maintenance over a five-year period. The deal’s likely worth is estimated at between £4.1m and £4.7m.

Potential suppliers have until 10 April to submit their bids, with work slated to begin on 7 May. The design and build phases are scheduled to take about nine months.

Southampton Solent University’s existing facilities include bridge simulators that feature a 270-degree view and replications of equipment including rudders and thrusters. The consoles come loaded with a wide range of ship configurations and geographical databases.

The simulators, which also contain radar technology and an electronic chart display and information system, are located at the Warsash Maritime Academy, which is part of the university.

RBDF’s Full Mission Bridge Simulator passes FAT


nautis simulator

The NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge Simulator jointly developed by VSTEP, Damen Shipyards and Alphatron Marine for the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) has successfully passed factory acceptance testing (FAT).

The RBDF is acquiring a range of Damen patrol vessels and upgrading its existing fleet.

The bridge of the simulator replicates four different Damen vessels, achieved by a changeable steering console with touch screen panels.

The simulator is based on the latest version 3.0 of NAUTIS featuring graphics, advanced ship dynamics and increased accuracy and visual fidelity of the sea, allowing for the most realistic training possible.

With the completion of FAT, the project will now progress to the next phase where the installation of the simulator in the Bahamas will be completed. Final touches will also be made on the virtual environment, which will make the entire Bahamas available in NAUTIS.

Massive simulation and training facility opens in the Netherlands



Simwave BV and Kongsberg Digital have completed the site acceptance test of one of the largest, most advanced maritime simulation suites ever delivered.

Apart from eight K-Pos DP Basic dynamic positioning simulators, the facility also has a K-Sim Offshore simulator with Kongsberg K-Pos DP2 NI Class A and 360-degree field-of-view unit configured for tug and support vessel training.

The successful acceptance test, which took place on 19 January 2017, means that the new Simwave Maritime Centre of Excellence in Barendrecht, Rotterdam is now fully operational.

As the sole simulation technology partner in the development of the unique Simwave facility, Kongsberg Digital delivered the full scope of work in accordance with the contract awarded in April 2017, which represented one of its most extensive deliveries to date. Following the SAT, all technical aspects of the delivery, a unique new floor projection system and a complete integrated engineroom, are performing above expectations.

Simwave’s training facility covers more than 5,000 m2 across two floors containing Kongsberg simulators, meeting rooms, offices and welfare facilities.

The next step in the Simwave project is to develop a hotel facility on the top floor of the building for customers and trainees, enabling training to take place 24/7, which Simwave believes will be a key differentiator in its approach to maritime training. The onsite hotel in Rotterdam is due to be completed in Q2 2018.

AV Stumpfl provides blending for ship bridge simulator


Picture: Cosmo Pro AV and Media-Go Engineering
Picture: Cosmo Pro AV and Media-Go Engineering

Cosmo Pro AV has created a high-end, 270° edge blending ship bridge simulator, specified by the Hong Kong Marine Department as part of their overall training strategy.

In addition to traditional lecture rooms with professional AV teaching equipment, various computer-based simulation environments have also been installed in the training centre.

One of the key challenges of this project was to deliver a reliable solution for the blending and automatic calibration of the seven projectors.

The Hong Kong Marine Department wanted a truly user-friendly solution that would could easily re-align the projector images without the need for complicated and time consuming maintenance procedures.

Cosmo Pro AV decided to employ the latest generation of AV Stumpfl’s media servers running Wings Vioso software, which include Vioso’s multi camera calibration system for maximum efficiency and image accuracy.

“The limited projection distance meant that the camera positions were critical for the ship simulator project,” explained Jason Yeung, Cosmo Pro AV’s CTO. “Located in the centre of the simulator was the control bridge, which partially obstructed the camera views.

“Ultimately a total of seven cameras were needed to fully capture each projection image. In the end, it all worked beautifully. Thanks to great technology and the support of AV Stumpfl and Vioso, we were able to successfully deliver exactly what the end customer had envisioned.”

Two Wings Engine Stage media servers were used to capture all the image sources from the simulator software, creating one synchronised image.

The simulation experience features many scenes that have to realistically portray a variety of real-life scenarios, including the deep black of maritime nights. Seven Barco FL35 projectors were perfectly suited for displaying the visual environments.


Simulation Improves Port Operations


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.


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.