Showing off in advanced simulators

With a rocketing demand for qualified personnel, the activity level at Kongsberg Maritime's new training center in Rio de Janeiro is equally high.

Norwegian dynamic positioning, automation and controls specialist Kongsberg opened the new training center in downtown Rio de Janeiro last year, and NBCC visited the facilities this February.

The courses are given to classes of six to ten students, depending on the subject and the requirements of the particular discipline. In the simulators, students need to resolve critical situations and have the chance to improve their skills.A rapidly expanding offshore fleet and the move into deeper waters has created a strong demand for dynamic positioning systems, and hundreds of dynamic positioning operatives will be trained here the next years.

A worldwide trend
Kongsberg is currently a market leader in the area of maritime simulators in general and DP-simulators in particular. Advanced simulators has been installed in the new training center, and until the end of 2014, a second state-of-the-art simulator will be in place.

An increasing use of simulators in training is a trend worldwide.

“In the simulators, the course participants go through situations and conditions which may take years to experience on board a vessel, and the training provides them with experiences that enables him or her to handle a critical situation more properly. It could be an emergency situation or weather conditions that requires the student to take action and show attitude. The training also enables the students to make better and more effective use of the equipment, to avoid mistakes and gives him or her the opportunity to improve their skills”, says Cinthya Lopes, Area Sales Manager for Simulation & Training in Brazil.

The training center occupies four of the seven floors in the Kongsberg office in downtown Rio. The eight instructors of the center give courses in six different class rooms. In addition they have three technical labs and three rooms with different simulators. The most advanced is a ship´s bridge simulator where it is possible to recreate different demanding conditions to the students.

Practical skills
Operation of the Kongsberg dynamic positioning equipment and automation equipment are among the most requested courses, and the facility offers both basic courses and advanced courses. Different maintenance courses are also offered, and the participants need to show practical skills in the simulators.

“Simulators are a very important tool for the maritime industry, allowing students to practice real life scenarios in a safe environment”, says Cinthya Lopes, Area Sales Manager for Simulation & Training in Brazil. All photos: Runa Hestmann“The simulators are extremely realistic, and simulate situations very close to reality. The student has a lot to gain from this training. Today the companies are very concerned with giving their employees the proper training, and they all want highly skilled employees, that knows more than the basics”, Cinthya Lopes says.

Sea time reduction and more effective navigation are other benefits of the simulator training at the variety of courses offered.

Increased capacity
In 2013, 1000 people attended different courses given by Kongsberg Maritime Training in Brazil. This year, Cinthya Lopes expects to attract even more people. Seamen from Norwegian companies like Farstad, Solstad, DOF, Norskan and Brazilian companies like Odebrecht Oil & Gas and Queiroz-Galvão are frequently to find among the students. These companies all have many vessels equipped with Kongsberg equipment.

“Our capacity is bigger here, and we expect to received more students and offer more courses in 2014. Our maximum capacity today is 200 students per month”, Mrs. Lopes says.

The former training center of Kongsberg was located in Macaé up to last year. Kongsberg has been present in Brazil in 2003. It was the clients that expressed the need for moving the training center to new and larger premises in Rio de Janeiro.

“Most of the participants live in Rio or come from other places through Rio´s airport. We moved to ease the logistical part for our clients”, Cinthya Lopes says.

Alternative route
The demand for qualified offshore vessel crews in general and dynamic positioning operators in particular, is rocketing, and DNV GL is currently working to open up the Brazilian regulatory system, governing the training of dynamic positioning operators. This effort would provide an alternative route to the current certification process.

“The courses we offer today are all certified by the Nautical Institute of London, and the Brazilian Navy recognizes all operators with certificates from certified courses. The DNV standard is already being implemented in other countries. Kongsberg Maritime Training is constantly monitoring the new training scheme in development. ”, Cinthya Lopes says.

Big investments
Kongsberg Maritime Training provides training in different parts of the world, and the biggest training centers are located in Kongsberg/Horten, Norway, in Aberdeen, in Singapore and in Houston.

In Brazil, few other institutions offer similar courses. Among these are the union/ Fundação Homem do Mar, Maersk, Vision Marine and Ciaga.

Rolls-Royce Marine is another company only a few steps from opening a new Simulation & Training Center in Niteroi.

“Our training experience covers the operations of the whole ship, not just the DP system”, Brazil manager Paulo Rolim told Upstream in an interview last year.

Training people locally is also an important contribution to increasing the local content.


By Runa Hestmann, NBCC journalist


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