NMCI to lead Training of Arctic Small-Craft Mariners

NMCI to lead Training of Arctic Small-Craft Mariners

Published on: Wednesday, 23 October 2013


CIT, through its Nimbus Centre and the Halpin Centre for Research & Innovation at the National Maritime College of Ireland, is to become a global leader in training small-craft mariners who work in extremely challenging Arctic conditions.

As the Arctic region continues to open up to shipping, cruise, fishing exploration and leisure boat activities, there is now an urgent need for safety and emergency response training for mariners. While regulated training is widely available for large vessel crews, this is not the situation for small craft mariners who find it generally difficult to access Arctic-specific training.

The Small Craft Emergency Response and Survival Training for Arctic Conditions or SMACS Project aims to fill this gap by developing a safety and emergency response training programme specifically focused on the needs of small craft mariners. Uptake of this training programme will make the Arctic a safer location for small craft maritime activity.

CIT is leading the SMACs project along with Chalmers University in Sweden and MSSTC in Iceland. The other partners are frontline Arctic Search and Rescue agencies, SSRS the Swedish maritime search and rescue organisation and NSSR, the Norwegian SAR agency. SMACS also has associated partners in Greenland, Norway, Faeroes and Ireland.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the NMCI Acting Head of College, Michael Delaney, Associate Head of NMCI, Cdr Dave Barry and Randy Billard, CTO of Virtual Marine Technology, and it represents yet another progression in simulation research and development ensuring that both NMCI and VMT remain at the leading edge.

Mr Delaney said “We are delighted to be working with VMT in the development of new and innovative simulation technologies the use of which continues to place the NMCI at the cutting edge as regards the use of simulation as an education and training tool."

Virtual Marine Technology based in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador develops small craft simulators for the offshore and defence industries and specialise in harsh environmental conditions simulation.  VMT’s simulators are internationally certified for small craft training and incorporate advanced ice models that have been rigorously tested by ice experts from the St John’s Ocean Technology Cluster.

“We are privileged to have been selected to bring our expertise in ice simulation to such a prestigious maritime development team” said Randy Billard, CTO for VMT. “We believe that Northern Europe, with its similar operational environment, can benefit from the advanced training technologies we have developed in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Simulation will be used as a training tool. Through the Halpin Centre at NMCI and the NIMBUS Centre. The SMACs project will work with VMT to validate the fidelity and performance of a lifeboat and ice environments simulator prototype being developed by VMT. The Halpin Centre at NMCI will also jointly develop with VMT a simulation based training curriculum for operators in emergency evacuation and rescue scenarios. Both the Halpin Centre at NMCI and VMT will jointly publish the results of research undertaken using this simulation technology.

The programme is funded under the EU Northern Periphery Programme and supported by the European Regional Development Fund

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