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National Maritime College of Ireland,
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Virtual Training Solutions through Return to Scene Technology

Posted: April 20, 2011

Virtual Training Solutions through Return to Scene Technology

By Conor Mowlds, Director of GAC Training & Service Solutions Limited (GTSS).

The modern maritime business faces a multitude of pressures in its operating environment.  Faced with the global shipping downturn, shrinking commercial margins, increasingly stringent environmental regulations and ongoing operational challenges, it is understandable that some will regard training as just another cost.

However, the need to ensure that all your maritime professionals are qualified, capable and confident of doing their jobs to the best of their abilities is not only an investment worth making, but one that could also give you a crucial commercial advantage over your competitors, particularly when there is a shortage of qualified, experienced crew.  And just as new technology is revolutionising shipping operations through the likes of ECDIS, so technology has a critical role to play in delivering safe, effective and value-for-money maritime training.

At GAC Training & Service Solutions Limited (GTSS), we are committed to delivering high value, technologically advanced training in order to empower maritime professionals.  Right now, there are a number of innovative new tools for maritime training, but among the most exciting technological advances is Return to Scene technology, as developed by Return to Scene Ltd.

Return to Scene (R2S) technology links together high resolution 360° spherical photographs, using highly specialised cameras never before used for training purposes, to create a virtual walk-through environment for trainees.

This ‘immerses’ the training participant in the scene, allowing them to explore linked scenes, as well as magnifying, enhancing and measuring elements in each.  The participant can also view associated plans, documents and certificates, listen to audio, view video and access web links, all from a single PC interface.  In many ways, this is more practical than being in situ, as well as being safer and more cost-effective. Team collaboration is also enhanced, as users anywhere in the world can use R2S.

R2S has already been put to good use by the oil and gas industry, where this enhanced visualization tool has been utilized for vessel and asset management, training, familiarisation and emergency response planning by the likes of Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Petrofac. Bibby Offshore, a provider of management services for floating production and storage facilities, makes wide use of R2S, predominantly for risk management and business continuity activities, but also for incident investigation.

R2S’s immersive, visually intensive approach to training promotes situational awareness and readiness without the need to physically visit the asset in question.  As such, R2S is the perfect tool for training people in the skills needed for remote vessels and other assets, where access and safety is at a premium.  For larger organisations, R2S is also a great tool for ensuring global standards across your personnel and disseminating best practice.

The potential for Return to Scene technology is the maritime training industry is huge.  At a time when there has never been a higher premium on delivering safe, cost-effective training that better recreates the operational environment and drives up professional standards for seafarers and onshore staff, R2S ticks all the boxes.

GAC Training & Service Solutions Limited (GTSS) is a partnership between GAC, the global provider of shipping, logistics and marine services, and the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI), a state-of-the-art $100m training facility in Cork.  Learn more at or email

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