|A bridge simulator in action. Photo from Kongsberg Maritime AS.|
Audrey Leon spoke with Kongsberg Maritime about their range of simulator training services in Rio de Janeiro.Kongsberg Maritime is no stranger to simulator training services. The company has worked for years to provide operators and service providers with the knowledge to run complicated technologies effectively.
Maersk is a long-time customer and even uses Kongsberg’s dynamic position- ing (DP) simulator in its own training facilities, including its brand new train- ing services center in Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, which opened last June (OE: May 2013).
It is easy to get the full effect of what it is like to be onboard an offshore vessel once you have stepped inside a simulator room. The computerized waves on screen contain just enough bobbing and weaving motions to make one sick to their stomach, if you have not yet developed your sea legs. The life-like sounds piped over the speakers include humming machinery, and blaring helicopter blades, which allows students to not only adjust to the offshore environment but to encourage thinking under pressure. Of course, it’s not every day when one gets to hear the eerie crunch of metal on metal as you slowly collide with another vessel. That last one is definitely not recommended, but it is good practice when millions of dollars of steel and technology are not at stake.
Brazil is an important market for most companies, and this is no exception for Kongsberg Maritime.
“It’s important because offshore is growing there,” says Clayton Burry, Vice President for Sales-Americas, at Kongsberg Maritime. “We’re seeing a lot of companies go set up there. Maersk just opened a training center there. We have a lot of customers looking for training solutions, and we’re trying to grow what we’re doing in Rio.” The Norwegian-headquartered company first established its training center in Macae, but opted to move the center to Rio last year. “The market wanted to not travel to Macae,” Burry says. “That’s (Macae) where all the vessels are coming in, but we’re providing training now in Rio.”
|Another view from a Kongsberg DP bridge simulator.|
Lopes says Kongsberg students are not just made up of locals. Students come from all over South America including Colombia, Venezuela and Peru. For DP instruction, Kongsberg offers two course levels: basic and advanced. Training includes both theoretical and practical exercises. Kongsberg says students work with scenarios based on real operations under various simulated conditions, including failure modes. On average, there are 6-10 students for the basic and 4-6 for the advanced, Lopes says. Students receive DP certification, which is required by the Nautical Institute. Lopes says training is certified by DNV, which allows those with the certification who have applied for a license, to work in Brazil and abroad.Cinthya Lopes, Area Sales Manager for Simulation and Training at Kongsberg Maritime in Rio, agreed that the move was inspired by customer demand. “The logistics, once we had the training here in Rio, were better than Macae,” she says. “About 70% of the students live here in Rio or very close to Rio. Those who don’t, come through the airport and then they would have to go to Macae, which is about three hours driving. It was definitely a request from customers (to move).”
The newest version of Kongsberg’s K-Sim DP Manoeuvring simulator, which just received certification from DNV in December, is configured with a dual redundant DP system and a 240o or wider visual scene. It includes a fully integrated power management system and is delivered with standard DP reference systems such as Artemis, Hydroacoustic Position Reference system (HPR), DPS and DARPS.
Lopes, a graduate of the merchant marines, she worked for the Brazilian Navy before coming to Kongsberg Maritime as a DP instructor. She taught for six years before switching over to sales. “It was a very good challenge,” she says. “Working as a teacher allowed me to learn how to deal with different types of people, which helps with sales.”
Kongsberg Maritime refurbished an older builder in Rio, and opened its doors to students in May 2013. Lopes says the Rio facility boasts six classrooms with desk top simulators, including one Class B DP simulator and one Class A simulator (navigation bridge). Lopes says the company plans to purchase another Class A simulator, which it hopes to install in 2H 2014. She says Kongsberg’s Rio facility will be the only one to have a second Class A simulator.
|A Kongsberg DP bridge simulator at the Houston training facility. Photo by Audrey Leon/OE.|
In addition to DP training, Kongsberg offers training in electronic navigation charts as well as courses on automation and hydroacoustic systems. Lopes says the company is currently working on a new program for shuttle tanker training, which it is currently working on with Brazilian captains. “This would be a very new type of training here in Brazil,” she says. “This is not requirement, but a request from customers. Currently the shuttle tanker trainers, the seafarers, need to be sent to Norway and Denmark for training. This would be something very new for Brazil.
“Not only are the logistics, but the shuttle tanker operations different from the North Sea,” she says. “We have different types of operations in Brazilian waters. They want to focus on developing shuttle tanker training based on operations are conducted here in Brazilian waters. We hope in 1H 2015, we will be delivering the training.”
Not the only game in town
One of the major problems with working in Brazil is finding enough qualified personnel. Lopes says Kongsberg’s experience in Rio has been better.
“They’re not difficult to find, but not that easy,” Lopes says of qualified personnel. “All of our instructors have at least some experience onboard, and all come from maritime background.
“When people work offshore, they are used to a different lifestyle, different salaries. There are many parameters that are different from working onboard and working onshore,” she says. “It’s not very easy (to find people), but now that we are (located) in Rio, it has been a little bit easier.”
While Lopes says Kongsberg training center does not lack students, it has ramped up its recruiting efforts.
“Our efforts are more now than before because we have competitors now in Rio,” she says. “They were not here before. Five years ago, there were only two to three centers with DP training, now there are more training centers.”
Including Maersk’s Barra da Tijuca center, and Kongsberg’s Rio outpost, the Nautical Institute in London lists other approved DP training centers including Centro de Simulação Aquaviária in Rio, L3 Communications DP & Control Systems in Barra, and The Dynamic Positioning Centre in Rio, which also uses simulators by Kongsberg and Converteam.