Tug Training & Consultancy has used its facilities and experience teaching tug masters using simulators and a training vessel to test remote operations in harbours
Simulators and real-vessel operations are important aspects of training tug masters, pilots and captains, as offered by Tug Training & Consultancy (TTC) through certified trainers at its training centre in Rotterdam. Besides its simulator centre in Rotterdam, TTC has strategic partnerships in Europe (STC, Nautitec), the Middle East (Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy) and South Africa (South African Maritime Training Academy), enabling regional training at modern facilities.
TTC also offers train-the-trainer programmes to answer the increasing international focus on operating ships safely and economically. “We provide the trainers for on-the-job training to pilots and tugs operating at the newly expanded Khalifa Port’s container ship and bulk carrier terminals in Abu Dhabi,” says TTC general manager Patrick Everts.
Safeen provides marine services at the port, including ship escort and handling, docking and unberthing.
“We offer combined classroom and simulator training, and each course is finalised with training on a tug or a vessel,” he says. TTC uses Borkum, a 15-m Rotortug with 10 tonnes of bollard pull for training and real towage operations. “This enables trainees to put their learning into practice for first-hand experience,” says Mr Everts.
In the Netherlands, TTC has DNV GL Class-A approved 360˚ tug bridge simulators to teach tug competence on all tug types including Rotortugs, azimuth stern drive (ASD) tugs, tractor and Voith Schneider tugs and infield service and support vessels. The training programmes include:
“Due to the restrictions caused by Covid-19, we started offering real-time online theory training,” says Mr Everts. “Many seafarers now have the time to study; we responded to that with our online training. The practical training that completes the course can follow at a later stage.
“This online training will remain on our programme next to our other courses. Online training is here to stay with online training features improving daily,” says Mr Everts.
The second pillar of TTC is consultancy, with expert advice that can be applied to all situations involving tugs, from designing port and terminal layouts, to determining procedures for waterborne transport projects.
By pre-testing and simulating operations with various tug types and port layouts, TTC provides evidence for guiding infrastructure design and the choice of tugs and configurations to use in all possible scenarios.
“We advise Allseas, Boskalis, Shell and Safeen on complex cases, among others,” says Mr Everts. “We can for example simulate interaction between ships in the same simulated environment for complex offshore floatover projects involving multiple tugs, decommissioning projects, precarious harbour towage operations and specialised transport towage.”
TTC also assists ports planning new marine facilities. “When port authorities or other organisations look to build new infrastructure, we advise them on the marine side, such as, turning circles channel width and draught requirements, banking effects, ship/ship interaction and emergency tow out possibilities,” says Mr Everts. “We can show them on simulators and provide operator experience. We then familiarise and train all involved on the new situation.”
TTC and Kotug International are also working on new applications and innovations such as remote sailing. “Two years ago, we conducted two successful tests in autonomous and remote sailing,” says Mr Everts.
TTC uses Borkum and the onshore simulators to further improve these remote-control operations. “We have remotely manoeuvred this tug in the port of Rotterdam from a control workstation in Marseille, France,” says Mr Everts. “Our ART can now also be operated autonomously with no one at the wheelhouse.”
TTC and its partners are further developing applications for remotely controlled and autonomous tugs. “We did a remote fire-fighting exercise in Rotterdam,” Mr Everts says. “Through remote control, tugs can get closer to dangerous situations without threatening crew safety.”
TTC is looking at the advantages and opportunities of remote operations. “There is a wide range of options we are exploring,” he continues. “Of course, this will have a significant impact on the way we train people, it has different challenges.”
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