Ship owners, managers, and operators should aim for training excellence, rather than just attaining the minimum standards required, and use training as a key tool for attracting and retaining high-calibre seafarers in a competitive market, according to Mark Woodhead, KVH Videotel senior vice president EMEA, who spoke at CrewConnect Global, in Manila, today.

“Training needs to be part of a shipping company’s DNA,” Mr. Woodhead said, “and as our seafarers embrace the shift towards continuous learning, we need to develop cultures that support and demand it.”

In the ever-changing and highly regulated shipping industry, continuous learning is needed to avoid incidents and accidents that could lead to costly delays, fines for non-compliance, asset damage, or, more seriously, loss of life. “Talk is cheap but accidents aren’t,” Mr. Woodhead said. “With new training techniques and technologies, seafarers are engaged and motivated to learn.”

Mr. Woodhead advised that one of the key ways to build loyalty amongst crew is offering quality training programmes to incentivise and motivate personnel and attract the younger generation to consider a career in the maritime industry. Shipping offers a structured career path, unlike many jobs available today, and continuous training and development are integral to improving skills and standards. He also urged ship owners and managers to take advantage of the international standards of the highly regulated shipping industry to provide the training that can drive up performance and reduce accidents and claims.

The demands levied on the industry by charterers is also another consideration for operators, in Mr. Woodhead’s opinion, as the analysis of vessel performance becomes more accessible through improved data analytics. He expects performance and crew competence to become increasingly transparent, bringing high-quality training into the spotlight.

KVH Videotel offers training courses and modules available onboard, onshore, and online so they can be accessed anywhere at any time to suit the needs of the trainee. The company has embraced new technology including virtual reality and gamification to make its training relevant and engaging to young seafarers working their way through the ranks. In September, the company launched Videotel Performance Manager, a maritime training solution combining content and web-based data analytics.
Source: KVH Videotel

On September 29, 2017, Lockheed Martin Canada, Ottawa, Canada, was awarded a $21,439,277 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide development, maintenance and upgrade of the Visual Interactive Simulation Training Application (VISTA) computer based synthetic operations and maintenance trainers in support of the Center for Surface Combat Systems. VISTA is a flexible high-fidelity computer based networked system that provides a training environment for both operation and corrective maintenance tasks on selected combat systems. The simulations are designed with fault scenarios representative of those experienced on the actual equipment so that troubleshooting, isolation, removal and replacement of the components may be practiced by the technicians under instruction. This contract combines purchases for the Navy (25 percent); Japan (20 percent); Pakistan (20 percent); Spain (20 percent); and Norway (15 percent).  Work is being performed in Canada (90 percent); Dahlgren, Virginia (2 percent); Norway (2 percent); Japan (2 percent); Pakistan (2 percent); and Spain (2 percent), and is expected to be completed by September 2022. Foreign military sales funding in the amount of $710,000 will be obligated at time of award and contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was not competitively procured—only one responsible source and no other supplies or services satisfied agency requirements. The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division, Dahlgren, Virginia, is the contracting activity (N00178-17-D-5001).

Original Source:

We all know that the maritime industry is many years behind with regards to onboard internet connectivity compared to even home broadband.

The sad truth is, internet via satellite will never be as reliable as home broadband. This is due to the necessity for a clear path between the satellite and the ship, which can be obscured by just a sudden change in course. Steps are already being taken to increase speed and reliability by adding more satellites, increasing bandwidth for each transmission and gaining access to shore-based towers when closer to port.

Price is also a sticking point for many companies, and needs to be addressed. Smaller companies are simply unable to justify the expense incurred by the internet at sea providers and so crew are being restricted to only using online services once ashore, which becomes a problem when deadlines for mandatory online courses are fast approaching.

In the 21st Century, we need the internet (whether we like it or not) so in fact this is more than just a mild annoyance, it is in fact affecting productivity and a solution must be found quickly.

The Ship Operations Cooperative Program (SOCP) has released a new computer based training on prevention and response to sexual assault, sexual harassment, retaliation, bullying and other prohibited behaviors in the U.S. maritime industry. 

The training is designed to help mariners and shore based personnel better identify and prevent such behaviors as well as assist industry efforts to aggressively promote a culture of zero tolerance for such behavior. It can run on Windows or Apple computers without requiring an internet connection and is designed for easy integration into any organization’s learning management system.

SOCP, a non-profit maritime organization developed the training under a cooperative agreement with the Maritime Administration. MYMIC, an eLearning training products developer, provided technical support and expertise.

Last month, SOCP released a best practice guide on the subject. The intended audience for the guide and the training includes professional merchant mariners on vessels of all types covering all U.S. Merchant Marine segments including oceangoing, coastwise, Great Lakes, inland, harbor, towing, offshore industry, cruise, ferries, dredging, research vessels and government-owned vessels. In addition, these industry best practices apply to maritime operating companies, shipowners and operators; shore-based personnel managing or interacting with merchant mariners, contractors and others who work in the industry.

Other segments of the U.S. maritime industry such as vessel marine agents, pilots, marine terminal personnel, longshoremen, personnel working in U.S. ports, shipbuilding and ship repair industry personnel, as well as contractors, subcontractors, and vendors interacting with merchant mariners should all be made aware of these best practices.

The CBT and Best Practices Guide released earlier are available at no cost and may be downloaded here.