Malta is heavily involved in shipping and cannot afford a major accident. One of the effective ways to ensure safety of operation is Simulator training. To further improve the level of training needed, the Malta Maritime Pilots Coop invested in another Full Blown Mission Bridge simulator, that is designed to interact with the simulator (FBM1) currently being used. This integrated system will allow Maritime Pilots to carry out further specialized training such as interacting with tugmasters and ship to ship operations.
This second Simulator is state of the art, designed by MARIN Netherlands. MARIN specialise in ship model testing and to date have tested over 8,000 ships in their 6 water basins. Their simulator models are based on and validated against the hydographic data obtained from basin testing, and have the best proven simulator models in the world. None of Malta’s direct port competitors have a simulator of this standard and few, if any, pilotage groups not just in the Mediterranean but around the world, have such a simulator. This simulator has been highly lauded by various visiting passenger ship’s Masters who often visit the training centre. Only recently a simulator training course was carried conjointly with CMACGM, one of the world’s largest container companies on their new ultra large containership of length overall of 400m.
The total investment of the FBM2 Simulator and upgrades is of over half a million Euro. The simulator will now be used to embark on a Port Safety study for the ports of Valletta and Marsaxlokk. This safety study will define new limits of operations in our Ports, taking into consideration the development of new passenger and container ships, the infrastructure, predominant weather conditions, tug power and the human element. The study will consist of a number of runs in various weather conditions and different scenarios, where a safe operational limit will be defined for the various types of vessels being studied. This Port Safety Study will now be carried out conjointly by the Malta Maritime Pilots Coop, Transport Malta and MARIN, Netherlands, with the cost of the expertise provided by MARIN included in the deal for the FBM2 Simulator investment.
In this simulator upgrade, various ship models, including a drilling platform, were added to the library. Various other ports like the Port of Rotterdam, Firth of Forth and Humber were also added to the Simulated Ports Library.
The Simulator is approved by the Norwegian classification society Det Norske Veritas. This approval is very important as it gives international recognition to the training centre, and will pave the way for foreign pilots to train in Malta. Pilots from the port of Tangier Med have already attended courses at this training centre. The Maritime Training centre is also in the final stages of signing a contract for Maritime Pilots and tug Masters from Libya for Simulator Training.
During this inauguration, the Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth, the Hon. Edward Zammit Lewis, distributed certificates to participants who attended STCW courses (International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers), including the ECDIS (Electronic Chart Display and Information System) course, Tanker Familiarisation, Oil Specialization, Gas Specialisation, and Shipboard Security Officer. These courses were held after the Maritime Training Centre initiated a joint venture with the City of Glasgow College, resulting in huge savings on logistical costs to the local mariner. This course is recognized worldwide.