Guam – Computer skills are being featured more often in the training of Pacific seafarers.
The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) is using computer simulators to give trainees a virtual feel for highly skilled jobs, while minimising the risk of damage to a real ship.
Some countries with a dedicated marine training centre – such as Kiribati – have secured their own training simulators with assistance from donors.
Others rely on SPC to provide a portable version, which is shared by a number of countries.
‘You have to show that you have confidence in driving a ship, so SPC has bought simulators to allow trainees to practice and build their confidence, and we send them around to the countries,’ says Captain John Rounds, the Shipping Adviser for SPC’s Economic Development Division.
The simulators have been on offer for several years.
They can be programmed to suit different jobs on the ships in areas such as navigation, engine room, ship management, fuel operation and cargo handling.
[Seafarers train on simulators programmed to challenge their skills and confidence.]
‘Trainees learn to handle dangerous goods on the simulator in order to get certified,’ he says.
This is a safer way of learning before the trainees fine tune their skills aboard working ships.
The training by SPC meets the international Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW), run by the International Maritime Organization.