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National Maritime College of Ireland,
Co. Cork,

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Its day 2 of our #OPITO approved #BOSIET with #CAEBS. Understanding the processes involved in helicopter travel & being competent in your own ability to escape from a ditched or ditching helicopter in an emergency is just 1 of the key elements taught on this course. #SNO #NMCI


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TRACE certification sends strong message for GAC Egypt

Posted: March 27, 2013

 TRACE certification sends strong message for GAC Egypt

Underlines commitment to ethical business practice

Gulf Agency Company (Egypt) Ltd is the latest GAC company to become a member of anti-bribery body TRACE International, underlining its strong commitment to ethical corporate conduct.

“TRACE International, Inc. is a non-profit group that offers practical and cost-effective anti-bribery compliance solutions for multinational companies which are required to demonstrate transparent business practices regardless of pressure, local law or custom.

GAC Egypt’s certification comes after a stringent due diligence review of every aspect of its operations and key managers, highlighting the company as a beacon of compliance and stability.

The GAC Egypt Management Team with their TRACE certificate

Managing Director Capt. Mohammed Badawi (pictured, holding the certificate) says: “TRACE certification is yet another recognition of our integrity, a reflection of our transparency as well as an endorsement to our Code of Ethics.”

About GAC Group

GAC is a global provider of integrated shipping, logistics and marine services. Emphasising world-class performance, a long-term approach, innovation, ethics and a strong human touch, GAC delivers a flexible and value-adding portfolio to help customers achieve their strategic goals.

Established since 1956, GAC employs over 10,000 people in more than 300 offices worldwide.

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Simulation advances lead to better vessel manoeuvring

Posted: August 23, 2011

lngtrainingSuppliers deliver new systems to colleges, academies and ship operators as guidelines on ship-to-ship transfers and vessel handling are set to increase demand for innovative bridge simulators

Colleges with 360 degree simulators are the main beneficiaries when ship managers follow guidance on training for vessel handling and ship-to-ship transfers (STS). The guidance regarding STS training comes from the UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), which has called for practical courses to help mitigate the safety and environmental risks arising from these operations.

Training centres have invested heavily in new simulators from suppliers including Kongsberg Maritime, Transas and Ari Simulators in response to the rising demand for training on modern bridge equipment. The National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI) in Cork claims to have the world’s largest bridge simulator suite, supplied by Kongsberg Maritime and utilised by GAC Training and Service Solutions (GTSS) for its STS courses.

According to Clive Hotham, who lectures for GTSS on its simulator-based STS operations course, training requirements for these activities will become mandatory in the future.

“Any situation in which ships are in close proximity to each other or moving at speed poses very real dangers, including vessel damage, injuries to the crew and environmental implications,” he says. “This makes ship-handling experience critical, especially in delicate operations such as mooring or STS. At the moment, specialist training for STS professionals is voluntary. But the MCA has started issuing guidance on the subject and it never seems long before guidance becomes law. I have no doubt that it will become mandatory that the master, at least, has been on some sort of training course.”

There are advantages with using 360 degree screens as they add a high level of reality to the training. “Simulator training enables a progression of challenging scenarios and such a flexible and varied range of conditions that we can clearly see if our trainees are operating in a safe manner,” explains Mr Hotham. “It also allows us to train them to recognise when they should make the decision to abort the operation because of poor weather or other problems.

“Once an exercise has begun, participants tend to forget it’s a simulation. This is particularly useful when we throw things at them that we hope would never happen, like engine breakdown or steering failure. They experience the full stress of the situation in a safe environment, allowing us to train them to react appropriately.”

NMCI’s simulator also has the capacity to link two bridges together, as in real world ship-handling scenarios. “We have eight or nine ships in our electronic tanker fleet, and with just a phone call we can obtain more from Kongsberg Maritime’s database,” adds Mr Hotham. “For clients running a lot of courses it’s even possible to train in simulations of their own real-world ships. In a simulator you can change the time, weather and seasons as you wish – summer to winter, day to night, sunny to thundery.”

In another deal, Kongsberg Maritime will supply eight Polaris ship’s bridge simulators to academy Vlaamse Dienst Voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding (VDAB) in Zeebrugge, Belgium. The VDAB facilities will help train crew for local shipowners, including two of the world’s major dredging companies, Jan De Nul and DEME.

The Polaris simulators will allow students to train in a large number of sailing areas and over a broad range of disciplines including navigation, manoeuvring and ship handling, plus search and rescue operations. Starting in August, Kongsberg is due to deliver two Polaris DNV B bridges with 225 degree visual systems and six Polaris special task stations, each equipped with a 30 degree visual system. The installation will also include an instructor station and a secondary instructor or debriefing station.

Kongsberg Maritime recently helped shipowner Ezra Holdings open a suite of simulators in the EMAS Academy, the first of their kind in Singapore. The new facility includes a full-mission offshore vessel simulator with fore and aft bridges and a Kongsberg K-Poss dynamic positioning simulator. There are also two anchor handling simulators and one for training engineroom personnel.

Transas Marine will be delivering a full mission simulator to Kimberley TAFE Broome Maritime in Western Australia. The simulator will be used to train pilots and tug masters, who will operate in a new port development. The centre’s range of services will be expanded further through a research project. For this, Transas will develop rotor tug ship models and will integrate real drop-in panel and steering controls from Schottel for advanced training of masters and integration with pilots in live situations. The Transas simulator will have a number of replaceable panels including a set of controls for anchor handling vessel manoeuvring and all associated offshore training. The facility will have a configurable design for the main bridge console, so trainees will be able to use real steering controls from Sperry Marine and Raytheon Anschütz integrated bridges.

The system is based on a Navi-Trainer Professional 5000 ship handling simulator. The visualisation system will have the highest level of realism, featuring wind-generated sea state and variable swell models. There will be accurate vessel and wave interaction, full scene and environment reflection, and three dimensional bow waves and propeller wash. New grounding, synchronous rolling, broaching and other modelling features will be included.

Ari Simulation has supplied simulators for Indian shipowner Great Offshore for offshore vessel and crane handling. The facility can recreate the bridges found on anchor handlers and platform supply vessels operated by Great Offshore. It can be integrated with Poscon controls and dynamic positioning. Great Offshore will use the training centre to simulate ship handling, crane operations, heavy lifting, towing and navigation. The main simulator has nine plasma displays providing a 270 degree field of view. The aft bridge simulator has ship handling and engineering controls.

German company Safebridge has signed an agreement with Sperry Marine to provide online training for users of its VisionMaster FT ship navigation systems. Safebridge’s software allows students to train on all the watch modes found on the Sperry Marine bridge products supplied to the vessels they work on. It enables seafarers to access hands-on training at any time, so long as they have internet access. Users are taken step by step through a number of modules, replicating the use of the actual equipment, and are shown how to use each feature in various simulated scenarios.

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CBT and Video are Offered for New Bulk Cargo Cod


Training companies Seagull and Videotel have developed new programs covering the regulatory changes on solid bulk cargoes. New rules on the loading, discharge and transportation of cargoes such as coal and iron in bulk carriers became mandatory under Solas from the beginning of this year. The regulatory changes, made through the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) code, replace the Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes (BC Code); they have to be followed by all bulk carriers.

Seagull’s computer based training (CBT) module introduces best practices and sets out optimum safety measures for the loading, discharge and carriage of solid bulk cargoes, as set out under the IMSBC code. It incorporates 12 chapters dealing with different aspects of the new code and is aimed particularly at seafarers of Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping STCW Management and operation level who are involved with cargo operations.

“This is also a very useful tool for management at the shore-based offices of owners and operators, since it can give staff in these locations a very detailed view of the issues involved in loading, discharging and transporting these types of cargoes,” says Jim Dibble, managing director of Seagull’s maritime IT subsidiary.

Seagull’s CBT module outlines the correct procedures and methods for stowage of solid bulk cargoes and the compatibility of different ones, with aspects relating to ship and crew safety, and environmental protection. It covers the precautions required for transporting dangerous cargoes, including those that are liable to self heat, and combust; how to maintain the structural stability of a ship by eliminating stresses on bulkheads and other components; and how to ensure the safety of onboard personnel.

Taking about two hours to complete, Seagull’s IMSBC Code module gives practical examples of real situations that have occurred on bulkers in the past, says Capt Dibble. “We have illustrated the dangers of non-compliance with actual accidents or incidents that have occurred within the industry,” he explains. “Introducing real scenarios helps focus the minds of seafarers on the task in hand, which will ensure the safety of themselves and their colleagues, as well as the safety of the vessel itself.”

There are assessments at the end of each chapter to provide trainees feedback on the level of understanding they have reached. The results of these can be examined by a company’s training administrators, via databases, so that they can keep track of trainee progress and the level of comprehension that has been achieved.

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GAC Introduces Seafarers to Return to Scene Training


R2S used on offshore vessels will aid seafarer training

Return to Scene (R2S) technology is one of the latest innovations in maritime training to improve safety and reduce repetition of potentially serious incidents. R2S was developed by UK-based Return to Scene Ltd and can be used not just for training but also for managing maintenance, vessel management and emergency response.

R2S technology links together high resolution 360 degree spherical photographs, using highly specialised cameras. The photographs create a virtual walk-through environment for trainees, says Conor Mowlds, director of GAC Training & Service Solutions Ltd (GTSS).

“R2S is one of the most exciting technological advances to be developed for shipping safety,” Mr Mowlds adds. “This immerses the training participant in the scene, allowing him or her to explore linked scenes, as well as magnifying, enhancing and measuring elements in each.

“Participants can also view associated plans, documents and certificates, listen to audio, view video and access web links, all from a single PC interface,” Mr Mowlds explains. “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.”

This is all linked through R2S software. After capturing the onboard images, R2S processes the data to create a database in collaboration with the client. This builds an asset management system that can then be used by multiple departments in an organisation, which in the case of training is the maritime academy.

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

GTSS is a partnership between global shipping and logistics group, GAC, and the National Maritime College of Ireland (NMCI). NMCI is a US$100 million training facility in Cork with a suite of 17 simulators, fully operational full-sized ship engine and control rooms, workshops, an R2S program, fire- fighting training facilities and a survival pool.

R2S has already been put to good use by the oil and gas industry, where the enhanced visualisation tool has been utilised for vessel and asset management, training and emergency response planning by the likes of US oil majors, Chevron and ConocoPhillips, and North Sea platform operator, Petrofac.

Support vessel owner Bibby Offshore, makes wide use of R2S. It predominantly uses the technology for risk management, contingency planning and business continuity activities.

Bibby’s offshore vessels have been captured in their entirety using 360 degree spherical images. Bibby has added supplementary information, including risk assessments, processes, procedures, reports, video footage, 3D models, animations, plans and audio files, which have been ‘tagged’ to relevant parts of the images. These become ‘hotspots’ on the image, allowing users to retrieve the associated documentation.

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Innovative Training for Testing Times

Posted: June 16, 2011

Innovative Training for Testing Times

Christer Sjödoff, Group Vice President GAC Solutions and Director GAC Training & Service Solutions (GTSS), explores how training providers are adapting their philosophies and methods to face the needs of the modern maritime industry.

The maritime industry has always been the backbone of world trade but now its businesses face a multitude of pressures from within its operating environment.  Amid continued economic uncertainty, shrinking margins, rising bunker prices, increasingly stringent environmental regulations and ongoing operational challenges, it is perhaps understandable that some might regard training as just another cost.

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