Tideway is assessing vessel masters using a new simulator in London, UK for the £4.2Bn (US$5.7Bn) Thames Tideway Tunnel project. These masters will be navigating barges along the Thames river to transport spoil from 25 km of tunnel, minimising the need to move this dirt bulk in lorries.
To train and assess masters for its fleet of vessels, Tideway is using HR Wallingford’s software at a UK-based simulator centre. This enables Tideway to ensure masters meet its safety standards and can practice navigating vessels along the routes before doing them for real.
HR Wallingford developed a four-day course with Tideway. This was designed to ensure vessel masters were given the opportunity to demonstrate that they are fully prepared, and are aware of the health and safety requirements for the project.
The course uses a virtual reality simulation of the tidal Thames, which covers the river from Putney Bridge in the west to Margaretness in the east. This simulation program includes accurate visual scenes, tides, current flows, other river traffic and changeable weather conditions.
HR Wallingford’s hydrodynamic model uses data from tide gauges and flow measurements along the Thames to simulate realistic flow and tide conditions on the river. Its naval architects developed a suite of realistic ship manoeuvring models for the vessels used in the simulation.
During the simulation course, vessel masters are assessed during normal operations and need to demonstrate how they would respond in unexpected scenarios and examine credible emergency situations in a safe, risk free environment.
This detailed River Thames simulation is also available for other groups to use, such as the Thames Skills Academy, which has funding from the Trinity House Maritime Charity. This academy use the simulator to provide river awareness courses to river practitioners that are not connected with the Tideway Project.
The Tideway Project will involve a 25 km new sewer that will be a conduit for waste from west London to a processing centre in Becton. Tideway expects to transport around 4M tonnes of this material by river during the construction of the tunnel. This will generate 200 maritime jobs including barge handlers and masters.