Training providers Seagull Maritime and Videotel, software provider Tero Marine and document management company Coex have formed new company Ocean Technologies Group
Ocean Technologies Group is a global learning and operational technology company dedicated to accelerating the potential of innovative companies that serve the maritime industry. It brings together 60 years of experience with Seagull and Videotel training, Tero Marine’s fleet management software and Coex’s document management technologies.
“We are working together to find synergies and to find value for shipowners, operators and managers,” said group chief executive Manish Singh. “We will focus on learning, seafarer development and on enhancing operational safety and efficiencies through technologies.”
Under the combined group, each trading brand will leverage skills, experience and investments from the others in technology, product development and market outreach.
“Integrating ourselves as a learning and technology partner with our customers requires us to offer a broader portfolio of services and merge our skillsets,” Mr Singh told Maritime Optimisation & Communications. “We are able to leverage talent and expertise across the group’s businesses, taking the best processes and systems to ensure we offer the strongest and most comprehensive training and personnel development tools.”
For shipping companies, the benefits come from optimising operations and adopting new technologies with training support. “Benefits to shipowners will come from our individual brands and how they interact with each other, as it will enable us to have a richer picture of their whole operations,” said Mr Singh.
“As a group we can see shipping challenges, solve their problems and add more value. We are tuned in to the optimisation of running their vessels. Our role is to underpin ship operators’ proposition, by operating in an increasingly integrated rather than transactional relationships with them.”
Ocean Technologies’ group of companies have a combined network of more than 1,400 customers, serving over 20,000 vessels and about 1,000,000 seafarers with a large data-rich picture of learning and development behaviour.
This scale benefits companies in the group and shipping stakeholders.
“Scale is important as it allows us to invest in great systems, great people and digitalisation,” said Videotel managing director Raal Harris. “Our scale provides additional geographical coverage and means we can respond quickly to the needs of seafarers, shipping companies and our colleagues. It also provides unique opportunities to partner with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), P&I clubs and other industry stakeholders.”
Videotel and Seagull can create specific training for manufacturers’ high value systems, such as main engines, generators, ballast water treatment systems and exhaust abatement technology.
“We can produce type-specific training for plant maintenance because equipment failures are often derived from operational failures,” said Mr Harris. “It is about following the right procedures because poor maintenance can cause incidents and accidents, increase running costs and shorten the life of critical equipment and parts.”
As ship operators install more advanced technology, training becomes more and more important. “The human element in technology is often forgotten about,” said Mr Harris. “Automation has an impact on how people work, so we must not lose sight of the fact that humans should be seen as key factors when designing technical advances.”
In these rapidly changing markets and environments, Ocean Technologies’ companies will be enablers in delivering more than just training and management systems to ship operators and crews. “We will take on some of these challenges and show how we can be part of building up competencies and training,” said Mr Harris.
“It is about talent management and not just training. It is about how to support seafarers and focus on their full employment lifecycle. There are a lot of opportunities to work closer with manning and crewing agencies as we now have additional resources.”
One of the examples he offers is developing virtual reality (VR) as a training aid for equipment-specific training. “VR training can be done on ships. Portable VR sets that support six degrees of freedom (6DoF) like the Oculus Quest technology enables hands-on training without the need for additional sensors and a large floor space,” he explained.
“This is good for high-value equipment and machinery that can be easily damaged by incorrect operations or by using the wrong tools in maintenance. There is potential for training high-risk onboard operations such as working with high-voltage systems.”
Companies within Ocean Technologies are already investing heavily in developing new and improved products using expertise from others in the family. “We believe in investing in our teams and technology to ensure we have the expertise we need to provide innovative solutions,” said Mr Singh.
“Global situations such as the Covid-19 impact are at the very heart of our customers’ businesses. Our role is to move quickly and help our customers to be resilient to such challenges. Often this will mean we complement our organic product development with highly selective acquisitions in areas that ship operators are seeking more support from us”.
“Consolidation is set to continue, as our industry evolves, we will be a selective consolidator. Where it makes sense, we will add value to our proposition for our customers.”
These will ultimately bring value to shipping companies and maritime stakeholders as Ocean Technologies expands through organic growth and acquisitions.