Travel restrictions are propelling shipping companies to use cloud-based simulation solutions for engineroom, bunkering and cargo-handling training
Ship engineering training has been significantly disrupted by the global coronavirus pandemic that has restricted worldwide travel.
In response to the Covid-19 crisis, much of the training that would have been achieved on engineroom simulators had to be transferred online. This has led to a growth in e-learning programs, courses and assessments for seafarer training, career development and competency.
Training technology providers, such as Kongsberg Digital and Wärtsilä Voyage, have delivered a mixture of simulation and remote learning experiences to shipping companies and shipmanagers.
“The advanced e-learning solutions are extremely well received and have enabled instructors to manage and distribute simulation exercises to students located at home,” Kongsberg Digital senior vice president for maritime simulation Tone-Merete Hansen explained, “whilst the students have had the opportunity to practice and prepare for their exams.”
He said volume training, where operations can be practiced multiple times, is important to increasing skills. “With our e-learning solution this is indeed possible, as the students can get access to advanced simulation exercises anytime and can train at their own pace,” Mr Hansen said.
Kongsberg’s high-fidelity simulator K-Sim Engine and K-Sim Cargo models are available on the K-Sim Connect system for maritime simulation and training. Instructors upload their own exercises from the instructor system at an academy to K-Sim Connect.
Through the eLearning module, students can practice and repeat challenging operations until they have gained the knowledge expected. This includes education in engine control room operations, thermal power plants and cargo handling. There are K-Sim Engine models for VLCC tankers, cruise ferries, container ships, plus models for dual-fuel engines and gas turbines.
“Our cloud-based solutions on K-Sim Connect are true cloud-native,” said Mr Hansen, “which means that the simulation is operating 24/7 without any limitations to the number of instructors and students running exercises at the same time, nor any need to book a timeslot on a remote simulator running the exercises,” he added.
Kongsberg Digital released another application for cloud-based e-learning at the end of November. It introduced radar training compliant with the IMO model courses 1.07 and 1.08.
“This is the first in a line of training applications to be released on K-Sim Connect as part of the K-Sim Navigation portfolio,” said Mr Hansen.
“Within the next few months the radar application will be supplemented with ECDIS, followed by increased functionality for the complete cloud-based K-Sim Navigation,” he continued.
These will be compliant with all the requirements for ship officer training as stated in IMO’s Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) convention.
Kongsberg is constantly developing new engineroom simulation models, based on market trends. One of its latest on the K-Sim Engine is the MAN 6S70ME-C SCC model. “This enables training on switching from one type of fuel to another, the use of different fuel oils and the use of exhaust gas recirculation and scrubbers,” said Mr Hansen.
“Students can access advanced simulation exercises anytime and train at their own pace”
Another model is a diesel-electric, dual-fuel CF-II, which provides training on the use of LNG fuel, LNG bunkering and switching between fuel oil and gas.
“Our latest addition to our K-Sim Engine models is the MAN MEGI-LNG dual-fuel model, which is under development,” said Mr Hansen. “This will simulate two main engines which can be fuelled from the LNG extract from the cargo. The engines will also have the possibility to run on low-sulphur heavy fuel oil, in addition to heavy fuel oil and marine diesel oil, all of which will give the students realistic training in various fuel usage.”
In Germany, the Maritime Center in Flensburg University of Applied Sciences ordered a new engineroom simulator and online e-learning solutions from Kongsberg.
A complete K-Sim engineroom simulator package will be installed in Q3 2021 to teach engineering on different LNG-powered and fuel oil-driven ship engines. It includes a K-Sim Engine Full Mission simulator and desktop classroom configurations.
Due to rising demand for remote working, the university ordered Kongsberg’s e-learning modules, accessible via K-Sim Connect, with six different K-Sim Engine models for a variety of propulsion and engine types.
Wärtsilä Voyage also developed cloud-based simulation training linked to its various models. It has developed simulation models for engineroom and fuel supply system operations and bunkering of LNG as more ships are powered by LNG.
These technological simulators are part of the TechSim product line for traditional physical classroom training or cloud-based services, said Wärtsilä Voyage solutions manager Sergey Tarasov. “These enable remote training, as well as automated exercise scenarios that enable self-study of the LNG fuel system operating procedures,” said Mr Tarasov.
His colleague, Wärtsilä Voyage TechSim solutions manager Vittorio Esposito said training courses follow IGF Code basic and advanced requirements and STCW training rules.
“Uptake of LNG as a fuel for shipping is growing, so we wanted to increase the value of our portfolio with LNG management as part of the engineroom simulation training,” said Mr Esposito.
“A higher level of system familiarisation drastically reduces the learning curve, saves costs and, most importantly, time of readiness,” he continued. “Our models are detailed and type-specific while they recreate something we have physical access to, such as Wärtsilä’s fuel gas supply system LNGPac,” Mr Esposito said.
Wärtsilä Voyage has provided LNG bunkering and fuel gas supply system simulators to the training centres of major shipmanagement customers over the last five years.
“This reflects the increasing adoption of LNG fuel by fleet owners and the consequential need to ensure crews are sufficiently trained in operating LNG-fuelled vessels,” said Mr Tarasov.
He explained the complexity of producing these simulation models to reflect operations on these gas-fuelled ships.
“By its nature, LNG is no ordinary fuel, and this is why we apply highly accurate mathematical modelling of physical processes for bunkering, storage and general handling,” said Mr Tarasov.
“Development of the mathematical models is based on the full set of manufacturer’s documentation of the prototype Wärtsilä systems. The resulting mathematical model is verified by the trial data of the real systems, and the simulator behaviour checked by the experts of Wärtsilä’s Land & Sea Academy,” he explained.
Wallem selects cloud-based simulation training
Wallem Group has selected cloud-based simulation from ARI Simulation for training more than 7,000 seafarers.
Cloud infrastructure will provide a single simulation environment with access to a wide range of training modules, including navigational, machinery operations and liquid cargo handling.
Wallem has turned to online resources as shipping companies reassess training requirements and enhance the skills of seagoing personnel, while tackling Covid-induced travel restrictions.
ARI’s simulation will ensure training, assessment and certification will continue without disruption during and after the pandemic.
Wallem Group chief executive Frank Coles said ARI was selected for its future-proof technology and analytics, including “the possibility to evaluate individual competence in both technical and behavioural criteria”.
Cloud-based simulation could be supported in India with physical training for local crew.
“A safe navigational mentality and awareness start from having the complete picture in training,” said Mr Coles.
“Technology will play an ever more prominent role in helping maintain and continually develop the competency of ships’ crews,” he added.