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Regional Training For Simulator Instructors

Regional Training For Simulator Instructors

Instructors from nine Pacific Island States and Territories (PICTs) are in Suva this week (26 - 30 August 2013) participating in a week-long simulator training course for instructors.

The training is organized by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) with funding from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Technical Co-operation Fund and Singapore through the Singapore-IMO Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on a Third Country Training Programme (TCTP).

SPC’s Deputy Director Transport, Brian Riches said the training is a ‘rare’ opportunity for PICTs to upgrade skills and knowledge, locally as training of this sort usually happens outside the Pacific. He said the main objective of the training is to improve competence of instructors involved in simulator training.

‘The programme is mainly set around the Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) 2010 amendments and aimed to enhance the capacity of trained and qualified instructors to deliver structured competence-based education and training programmes for seafarers in accordance to the STCW Convention,’ he said.

‘Ship handling is an art, involving moving vessels worth millions of dollars. We need to acknowledge the importance of simulation and understand its role in meeting STCW guidelines. ,’ Mr Riches said.

Training facilitator Captain Loo Kee Huat from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said the training – held in the Pacific island region for the first time – is proving to be beneficial for PICTs.

‘Simulator training shortens the learning curve (expedites the learning process) of a sea farer. The training is done in a risk-free environment so you learn from your mistakes but, in a real life situation, mistakes cost you dearly, most importantly lives at sea,’ he said.

‘We train the simulator instructors and then the respective countries train their own. This training is mainly done to bring the standards up to IMO requirements. The participants are very keen to learn and are readily accepting new technology and this augurs well with the region,’ he said.

According to Mr Riches, the main issue facing the Pacific is access to new information. ‘The issue for us here in the Pacific is remoteness and keeping up-to-date with modern techniques and methodology can sometimes be a challenge.

‘The next step is for instructors to take this knowledge back to their countries, and disseminate this new information to its people.’

A highlight of the workshop was the visit to Fiji National University’s (FNU) maritime campus in Nasese where participants were introduced to the state-of–the-art simulation equipment­ (full mission bridge and engine room simulator) which costs over FJ$ 2 million.

ENDS

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