With the global coronavirus pandemic preventing seafarers travelling to and from ships, vessel operators have turned to online training for their career development and compliance with industry competence rules
Training providers are thus becoming more reliant on satellite communications to deliver online training courses, video and e-learning content.
Inmarsat has started providing access to live-streamed video for seafarer training through its Fleet Xpress connectivity. Training courses can be live streamed over Ka-band VSAT to around 10,000 ships following an agreement between the satellite operator and UK-based training company Tapiit Live, an Inmarsat certified application provider.
Ka-band connectivity will be through Inmarsat’s growing Global Xpress satellite constellation and FleetBroadband L-band will be used as a backup.
Tapiit Live chief executive Richard Turner said this agreement will transform seafarer training and reduce its costs at a time when the global coronavirus pandemic has restricted movement of crew between ships and shore-based teaching centres. Training courses will be available worldwide through a dedicated on-demand service.
“Our initial talks with shipowners, ship management companies and ship registries has shown a massive problem with shore-based training now and into the future because coronavirus,” said Mr Turner.
“There is a real need to adapt training to the new normal of restricted movement and travel and this is a big problem that our deal with Inmarsat solves,” he explained.
Online video-based teaching has the potential to cut ship operators’ managers’ and owners’ training costs by 80%, said Mr Turner, as it cuts out travel, accommodation, expenses and room hire.
“Seafarers no longer have to travel,” he said. “They can do a lot of the training while still at sea via desktop, tablet or phone with sessions broadcast from our studios in Liverpool and India.” This will soon be supplemented by studios Tapiit Live is looking to open in America and Singapore.
Companies can also use this new platform to broadcast their own conferences and meetings direct to ships, “helping crew become closer to day-to-day operations on land,” said Mr Turner.
Tapiit did technical work in the background to compress the file size of the different platforms required for live streaming such as video, recording and presentations.
“As a result, we felt confident to approach Inmarsat with a technically robust product that would work on live stream,” Mr Turner continued. “We wanted something that was fit for purpose, which can innovate and improve seafarer training fundamentally.”
Tapiit provides live classroom-style learning online, which is different from existing e-learning and computer-based training packages, Mr Turner said.
“It ensures seafarers who are attending the training can actively engage with the tutor in real time or via private chat.”
Seafarers at sea also need news and information from outside the sector to continue their career developments and welfare requirements.
Communications provider Marlink has extended its partnership with software and service provider Quadrille to provide a dedicated news and information channel to thousands of ships.
It will provide a range of video and news content over Marlink’s VSAT connectivity and using the XChange Media service and onboard device.
In another remote learning collaboraion, Marine Learning Systems (MLS) is working with Stream Marine Training (SMT) to provide mandatory safety-critical courses and technical training programmes online. This combines MLS’ software design and platform with SMT’s training content and blended learning elements.
They will provide targeted training to plug identified knowledge or skill gaps within an organisation through a blended learning approach enabling the non-practical elements of a course to be completed online.
For the practical elements, trainee knowledge is assessed prior to arriving at SMT’s purpose-built facility, in Scotland, UK, so appropriate training can be arranged in advance.
Together they would monitor and react to training requirements, providing reports on dashboards to help shipping companies monitor compliance and training across fleets of ships.
SMT has appointed former managing director of Clyde Marine Training and Clyde Group director Colin McMurray as its group managing director.
In a separate deal, Norwegian Training Center (NTC) and Danica Crewing specialists have partnered to offer online training courses to seafarers in eastern Europe.
This collaboration will initially offer 36 NTC-developed courses, covering a wide range of technical and leadership modules, aimed at enhancing seafarers’ competencies and onboard performance.
Their online offering includes a course on mental health management, which can help seafarers reduce the risk of accidents and improve their mental health at sea.
UK P&I Club has launched online training to promote risk awareness. Its loss prevention team has produced Inside Ship animated videos encouraging risk management practices on board.
UK P&I Club expects these training programs will complement other training videos, such as the Lessons Learnt series, to improve safety.
These are based on risk assessors’ real-world experience carrying out risk assessments on board UK P&I Club member vessels. The first video will focus on the importance of taking proper samples during bunker operations.
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