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TransNav, Faculty of Navigation
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Efficiency of Maritime Simulator Training in Oil Spill Response Competence Development
1 South‐Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, Kotka, Finland
ABSTRACT: Marine oil spill response operation requires extensive vessel manoeuvring and navigation skills. At-sea oil containment and recovery includes both single vessel and multi-vessel operations. Towing long oil containment booms, several hundreds of metres in length, is a challenge in itself. Boom deployment and towing in multi-vessel configurations is an added challenge that requires precise coordination and control of the vessels. Efficient communication, as a prerequisite for shared situational awareness, is needed in order to execute the response tasks effectively. In order to gain and maintain adequate maritime skills, practical training is needed. Field exercises are the most effective way of learning, but especially the related vessel operations are resource-intensive and costly. Field exercises may also be affected by environmental limitations such as high sea-state or other adverse weather conditions. In Finland, the seasonal ice-coverage also limits the training period to summer seasons as regards the vessel operations of the Fire and Rescue Services. In addition, the sensitiveness of the marine environment restricts the use of real oil or other target substances. This paper examines, whether maritime simulator training can offer a complementary method to overcome the training challenges related to the field exercises. The objective is to assess the efficiency and the learning impact of simulator training, and the specific skills that can be trained most effectively in simulators. This paper provides an overview of learning results from two oil spill response pilot courses, in which maritime navigational bridge simulators together with an oil recovery simulator were used. The courses were targeted at Fire and Rescue Services responsible for near shore oil spill response in Finland. The competence levels of the participants were surveyed before and after the course in order to measure potential shifts in competencies. In addition to the quantitative analysis, the efficiency of the simulator training was evaluated qualitatively through feedback from the participants. The results indicate that simulator training is a valid and effective method for developing marine oil spill response competencies that complements traditional exercise formats. Simulator training provides a safe environment for assessing various oil containment and recovery tactics. One of the main benefits of the simulator training was found to be the immediate feedback the spill modelling software provides on the oil spill behaviour as a reaction to the response measures.
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Citation note:
Halonen J., Lanki A.: Efficiency of Maritime Simulator Training in Oil Spill Response Competence Development. TransNav, the International Journal on Marine Navigation and Safety of Sea Transportation, Vol. 13, No. 1, doi:10.12716/1001.13.01.20, pp. 199-204, 2019

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