Up to four tug masters, pilots and ship captains can practice towage and manoeuvring operations on new simulators at a large training centre in Australia
HR Wallingford has installed two new simulators in its Australia Ship Simulation Centre, in Fremantle, Western Australia. The centre, opened by Western Australian minister for ports Alannah MacTiernan on 6 February, now has six simulators that can operate alone or be connected for collaborative port operations.
This enables a full manoeuvring team including pilots, tug masters and VTS operators to conduct integrated and immersive full port scenarios.
Investment in these new simulators was partially prompted by HR Wallingford’s new four-year contract with Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) to provide integrated pilot and tug master training.
PPA operates Port Hedland, the world’s largest bulk export port, where Kotug International operates a new fleet of Rotortugs to support terminal operations.
HR Wallingford’s Australia Ship Simulation Centre is used to train masters operating escort tugs in Chevron Australia’s Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG terminals.
Crews of tugs supporting Shell Australia’s Prelude floating LNG production, storage and offloading ship also use these simulators for training.
These linked simulators are ideal for mariners to familiarise themselves with new port layouts, larger or new classes of ships, and to allow marine pilots and tug masters to practice specialist manoeuvres together.
“Specialist leading-edge facilities such as these are essential to ensure our ports and terminals are designed and operated to the highest of standards,” said Ms MacTiernan.
The largest new simulator has a wide beam of over 8 m and would typically be configured as a ship’s bridge, four of the other simulators would typically represent tugs.
HR Wallingford’s sixth simulator is primarily intended to be set up as a VTS, or can function as a secondary ship or tug bridge.
PPA general manager of operations Captain John Finch said these expanded facilities “are ideally suited for our needs and have improved the realism for our marine pilots and tug masters. Safety is of paramount importance to us, so it is essential for the full port resource management team to be able to train together for particular situations, including emergency responses,” said Capt Finch.