Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Latest Training Aids and Data Transfer Devices Make the Marine Environment a Safer Place

Maritime Technology Moves on Apace - and at a Reasonable Cost
Shipping News Feature

BULGARIA – NETHERLANDS – UK – Two items of technology news relevant to the maritime sector this week, firstly Dutch outfit VSTEP has supplied the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy in Varna, the oldest technical school in Bulgaria, with a 360° Class A Full Mission Bridge simulator and an Incident Management Simulator for training of its Naval and Merchant marine students. The simulators were officially opened by the IMO Secretary-General Mr. Koji Sekimizu and the Dutch Ambassador in Bulgaria Mr. Tom van Oorschot during a ceremony at the academy on September 14th.

The NAUTIS DNV Class A Full Mission Bridge (FMB) Simulator and the RescueSim incident Management Simulator were delivered and installed at the Naval Academy in Varna by VSTEP and its Bulgarian partner NavySim. The NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge simulator has a complete 360° surround horizontal field of view and 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. At the request of the Naval Academy, VSTEP has also added advanced oil spill recovery and onboard fire training to the simulator.

The RescueSim Incident Management Simulator will be used to train and prepare for any thinkable incident, both on and offshore. It has specialized modules focusing on training for Shipboard incidents, port incidents, industrial incidents as well as offshore incidents. The port of Varna was custom made in full 3D and implemented into the RescueSim simulator. VSTEP Director, Pjotr van Schothorst, said:

"It is an honour to have our VSTEP simulators become part of the rich tradition of the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy. To have Bulgaria's finest maritime students use our simulators to become better mariners makes us very proud. Throughout the project, it has been a real pleasure working with the Naval Academy and we look forward to continue this strong relationship in the future."

The Academy trains specialists for both Navy and merchant marine in all areas of maritime life and, with its illustrious history and traditions in training sea specialists, it is one of the symbols of Varna and Bulgaria in the world maritime community. The opening ceremony was attended by high ranking officials from the Bulgarian and Romanian Navy, as well as the Bulgarian Maritime Administration and was concluded with the official acceptance of the simulators by the Naval Academy Commandant, Captain Boyan Mednikarov.

In other technical news marine survey group, CMS-Geotech has a twenty four metre survey vessel the MV Flatholm which provides specialist geotechnical seabed sampling services and marine geotechnical surveys & support to the marine industry. The survey company needed to transmit survey data back to shore whilst out of the range of GSM (cellular / mobile) coverage. The cost of Fleet Broadband was considered to be unsuitable for the task and a low-cost, low-bandwidth remedy was needed that avoided the need to sail closer to the shore to establish communications.

CMS-Geotech, approached Navidatum Limited which supplied a satellite terminal running their SemaphoreM2M service allowing the transmission of daily survey logs in compressed format to the office of CMS Geotech’s Managing Director, Dr David Hitchcock within ten seconds of being prepared onboard. Dr Hitchcock commented:

“The use of the service has enhanced efficiency in the deployment of the MV Flatholm with not only the ability to transfer survey data but to send and receive messages from any PC to the vessel, from the need for supplies to be readied in port to sending sailing instructions to the captain for amended deployment.”

The SemaphoreM2M service also provides a web portal to assist in managing the service and provide visibility of latest reported position. With the hardware supplied for under £1,000 and monthly airtime at about the price of a mobile-phone contract Navidatum says the SemaphoreM2M service provides low-bandwidth messaging at affordable prices in a fiercely competitive marine environment.

Photo: MV Flatholm