In February 2021the Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, commissioned the Full Mission Bridge, Full Engine Room and Multifunctional Classroom Simulators for training at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN), Oron.
Ever since, the Academy has been giving global standard training to cadets while offering refresher training courses to meet industry manpower needs.
The Rector of the Academy, Commodore Duja Emmanuel Effedua (Rtd), enthused that with this acquisition of simulators, the present cadets of the academy will be exposed to the quality of training obtainable in global-rated maritime institutions of learning.
“The cadets that we have now will be much better trained than the previous cadets that have passed through this academy because this present ones now have better facilities comparable to what exist in standard academies overseas.”
The simulators marked the beginning of a new era driven by technology. Among the facilities acquired were multi-functional classrooms, the Full Bridge range and the full Engine Room simulators. Cadets and oil and gas employees can now do training on board the simulator to simulate most of those things they need to do and get qualified for higher vessels.
According to the Rector, the state-of-the-art simulators possess remarkable capacities to launch Nigeria’s local maritime, oil and gas sectors into new frontiers of possibilities, while saving Nigeria huge foreign reserves that would otherwise be lost to foreign training. In his words:
“We have the multifunctional, Full Bridge and Engine Room Simulators. The Multi-Functional Classroom Simulator is a combination of eight additional Simulators which have their software installed for specific purposes.
“For instance, if the instructor wants to teach on Rules of the Road or Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), etc., all he needs to do is change the settings and he is good to go.
Everything seen at the Full Bridge Simulator room can be achieved from the multifunctional classroom. This is the latest technology in the world and it is not easily accessed in the market.
“Outside of this country this kind of training goes for $2, 000 or more but here we will give the same training, same certification using same simulators for far less.
“The Federal government wants to build capacity for Nigerians, not only our cadets but others in the maritime and oil and gas sectors. It is not about profit-making, so we are going to crash the cost of training to enable as many Nigerians as possible, take advantage of these modern simulators that we have to develop the maritime and oil and gas industries for the good of the country.
“Why pay for flight, accommodation and training fees when you can get same training, using the same kind of equipment, if not better, right here at the Maritime Academy of Nigeria?”
A training revolution
For some time now in the developed world, the use of ship-bridge simulators in the professional development and licensing of deck officers and marine pilots is a familiar practice.
Developing knowledge, skills, and abilities for prospective third mates is an area where simulator-based training may be considered an effective substitute for on-the-job training. Simulator training, for example, is substituted for a portion of the sea time required to prepare U.S. Merchant Marine Academy cadets for entry-level third mates’ licenses. This training is considered preferable to traditional sea experience because the type of experience being replaced—service as unlicensed seaman in the deck department—is more effectively trained on the simulator.
The ship-bridge simulator-based training develops watchkeeping skills and relates directly to the duties and responsibilities of a third mate’s license. This substitution of sea-time requirement is applicable because the able-bodied seaman—especially aboard modern, more technically sophisticated ships—performs only a minimum of traditional seafaring tasks.
The ship-bridge simulator can potentially be used to refresh knowledge, skills, and functional responsibilities in many areas for both license maintenance and recency purposes.
Simulator testing is much more performance-based than traditional, written examinations, particularly multiple-choice examinations used for license testing for the past two decades. Scenarios could be developed to demonstrate all desired skills and abilities—an advantage over shipboard checks (in those rare circumstances where they may be made) which can only demonstrate ability to deal with random situations. Furthermore, simulators could be used to train and check skills in emergency and hazardous situations that would never be deliberately created aboard ship.
Prior to recent developments in simulation, refresher training, which is now practical for many professional skills, could only be practiced aboard ship. Subjects that might be considered for refresher training using computer-based and manned-model simulation include:
- proficiency checks on nonshiphandling aspects of piloting for pilots;
- proficiency checks on shiphandling skills for masters and deck officers;
- new ratings (e.g., masters accepting their first-time appointments to very large crude carriers, pilots upgrading to bigger vessels or new ship types, masters appointed to vessels with nonstandard handling characteristics);
- bridge team management (masters and pilots, in particular, could be targeted for refresher training in human factors and bridge teamwork);
- bridge watchkeeping (for cadets and all watchkeeping personnel, to include rules of the road, navigation, voyage planning, and other skills inherent to watchkeeping);
- rules of the road (refresher training for masters, deck officers, pilots); and
- shiphandling updating for pilots (manned models are preferred method).
Traditional classroom teaching has for generations been an effective method for teaching theory. Teaching methods usually include the instructor lecturing to the class, with the possibility of use of an overhead projector, chalkboard, or sometimes a movie or video to amplify training objectives. In the traditional setting, the instructor in direct control and may or may not invite questions and discussion.
With the addition of simulation to the course curriculum, the instructor can fill the gap between theory and application. The instructor can create an interactive environment where instructor and students actively participate in a demonstration applying theory to the real-world.
Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO) certification
MAN Oron has covered more than fifteen years distance in a very short period of time. Commodore Effedua says the credit goes to the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, who gave him a marching order to restructure and reposition the Academy.
“We have scaled the hurdle and currently, we are in sync with IMO in terms of requirements and in terms of standards.
We are good in the academic and teaching content, our curriculum, teaching facilities, infrastructure, learning environment, cadet’s accommodation and feeding, everything is on target, and there is no possibility to lower this standard any more. We have set the base, we are committed, we are keeping our outreach, and the capacity we have achieved is in top steam, there will be no reason to go below this standard.
“Our training window is wide and covers external needs not just our cadets. We are satisfied with the efforts we have so far put in to deepen the growth of the Academy, you also know of the acquisition of critical assets and training infrastructure to raise our external training programmes for the maritime, oil and gas industry. The latest are plans to bring in helicopter underwater escape training equipment for the training of offshore personnel for the maritime and oil and gas industry in the academy. This equipment will boost the academy’s chances of getting the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation, OPITO, certification, an international certification for offshore training institutions.
So we have succeeded to a large extend to make the Academy reconnect with its critical vision and mission objectives by way of positively affecting the work performance of middle level manpower in the maritime and oil and gas industry.”