The simulator system allows for “full mission” training, whereby in addition to the navigators, crewmembers on deck and operators of ROVs (Remote Operating Vehicles), cranes, rigs and other apparatuses can engage in realistic simulations. Whole crews can then be trained in coping with a wide variety of incidents and emergency situations. The Offshore Simulator Centre officially opened in April 2005 and the simulator facilities have been available to everyone since this date. The development of the Offshore Simulator was a direct consequence of an increased need for improving on-deck safety in connection with offshore anchor handling procedures.
The anchor-handling segment has grown rapidly over the last decade. However, both the technology and the working procedures were found to be extremely vulnerable, especially in relation to the high risk of human casualties. Farstad Shipping had already been using simulator technology to train their personnel in realistic and critical situations for a long period, and was eager to improve their training facilities in order to achieve a higher safety standard - especially in anchor handling and other critical operations. Rolls Royce Marine AS, a leading global supplier of ship’s equipment, wanted to provide the best possible operational training for their own equipment as well as building a close relationship with their customers in order to develop new and better equipment.
Aalesund University College had already established a modern simulator cluster specialising in the training of offshore personnel in close collaboration with shipping companies in the region. For a period of time the three parties discussed a potential collaboration and finally, in June 2004, Offshore Simulator Centre AS was established. During the summer of 2004 the newest partner, Marintek AS, joined the company, which would now consist of four equal partners.
Marintek AS is a major research organization in Norway within the field of naval architecture and operations. The company works continuously on offshore operations and has developed several systems for simulating vessel and subsea installation operations. During its first year in operation (2005), staff at OSC worked efficiently on adjusting the training programme based on feedback received from the first group of participants and the experience gained during the various courses that were held. The simulator has been conceived and constructed with flexibility in mind. Thus, it can easily be modified and further developed to respond to new demands and regulations set by the industry.
Now more than halfway through 2006, the year has proven to be very successful for OSC, and at the present time, no less than 200 crewmembers have already completed training courses at OSC.
OSC offers a variety of training courses (from basic to advanced levels) covering all anchor handling procedures, as well as normal PSV (Platform Supply Vessel) operations. The simulator systems offer “full mission” training, allowing bridge personnel (navigators) and deck crew (winch operators) to collaborate in realistic surroundings. The number of participants attending each course is typically between 8-10, i.e. crew representing two shifts of four persons (two on the bridge and two on deck), and one or two from other divisions of the company. Other participants representing the ship owners, rig operators and others have also found the courses to be highly beneficial. In addition to Farstad Shipping, several other well-known companies such as Eidesvik, DOF, Olympic, and Deep Sea Supply, have completed crew-training courses at OSC. Norwegian Hull Club member, Bourbon Offshore, also used the OSC simulator in order to develop SAHS (Safe Anchor Handling System) on their newest offshore marine service vessel, “Bourbon Orca”.
By combining the core competencies of a major international operator of modern supply vessels, a global leader in marine propulsion, engineering and hydrodynamic expertise, the leading Norwegian organisation in marine technology, and a major Norwegian institution in higher maritime education, the Offshore Simulator Centre has provided us with a state-of-the-art educational and development tool for advanced maritime operations.
3. Dec. 2006