NL 53 Marine Simulators – A Brief Description
In GlobalMET Newsletter No. 50, I shared ALAM’s experience with Engine Room Simulators (ERS) from ALAM’s beginnings which included some introductory material on ERS as well.
Figure 1. Liquid Cargo Simulator
In this newsletter, what I would like to do is to discuss more on Marine Simulator standards, functionality and use from a Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) point of view. Let’s get started!
There should be appropriate interfaces through which the trainees are able to interact with equipment in a simulated environment. According to the DNV Simulator Standards these simulators can be classed under 4 categories, namely:
1. Class A (full mission).
2. Class B (multi-task).
3. Class C (limited task).
4. Class S (special tasks) is used for simulators where the performance is defined on a case by case basis.
Besides class, Marine Simulators can also be further divided based on function, namely:
1. Bridge operation simulator
2. Machinery operation simulator
3. Radio communication
4. Cargo handling simulator
5. Dynamic positioning simulator
6. Safety and Security simulator
7. VTS (vessel traffic services) simulator
8. Survival Craft and Rescue Boat Operation simulator
9. Offshore Crane Operation simulator
10. Remotely Operated Vehicle Operation simulator
In the context of maritime training, the simulators are normally used for:
1. Mandatory simulator-based training.
2. Demonstrate competence (assessment).
3. Demonstrate continued proficiency.
According to STCW Code, section A-I/12 these simulators should fulfill 6 general performance standards and requirements for both training and assessment, namely:
● Suitable for the selected objectives and training tasks
● Capable of satisfying the specified assessment objectives
● Capable of simulating the operating capabilities of shipboard equipment to level of physical
● Realism appropriate to training and to the assessment objectives
● Sufficient behavioral realism to allow a trainee to acquire the appropriate skills and to the
● Assessment objective
● Capable of producing a variety of conditions (operating environment) which include
● emergency, hazardous or unusual situations relevant to the training objectives.
An appropriate interface through which the trainee should be able to interact with equipment in the simulated environment. The instructor/assessor should be able to control/monitor/record exercises for the effective debriefing relevant to the assessment objectives.
Of course the qualifications of instructors, supervisors and assessors also plays a very crucial role in ensuring that the simulators are used effectively to achieve their intended training outcomes; note the difference between objectives, outcomes and business results. For example, just because an individual appears to have exhibited certain behaviors doesn’t mean that they can be assessed as having achieved the required outcomes – two different things; especially if the simulators cannot properly simulate the right or realistic environment.
Therefore, any person conducting in-service training of a seafarer, either on board or ashore, which is intended to be used in qualifying for certification shall:
1. have an appreciation of the training programme and an understanding of the specific training objectives and required outcomes for the particular type of training being conducted.
2. be qualified in the task for which training is being conducted. 3. In addition, if conducting training using a simulator:
3.1 has received appropriate guidance in instructional techniques involving the use of simulators, 3.2 has gained practical operational experience on the particular type of simulator being used; and
4. Any person responsible for the supervision of in-service training of a seafarer intended to be used in qualifying for certification under the Convention shall have a full understanding of the training programme and the specific objectives and outcomes for each type of training being conducted.
Also, any person conducting in-service assessment of competence of a seafarer, either on board or ashore shall:
1. have an appropriate level of knowledge and understanding of the competence to be assessed.
2. be qualified in the task for which the assessment is being made.
3. have received appropriate guidance in assessment methods and practice.
4. have gained practical assessment experience; and
5. if conducting assessment involving the use of simulators, have gained practical assessment experience on the particular type of simulator under the supervision and to the satisfaction of an experienced assessor.
Lastly, the use of simulators for training can best be summarised by the following quote.