Virtual Marine Technology (VMT) announce that its lifeboat simulator, SurvivalQuest, has been approved as a Class “S” Simulator by Det Norske Veritas (DNV). SurvivalQuest is a training simulator designed to allow lifeboat coxswains to practice a variety of emergency launch conditions in a safe, focused learning environment.
Most recently, a concentrated inspection campaign conducted by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port State Control identified that 12.5% of onboard lifeboat drills were not performed satisfactorily.
“The maritime community has long recognized that lifeboat training methods need to be improved” said Capt. Philip McCarter, VMT’s Vice President of Accreditation and Marine Affairs. “VMT has been working for over five years to not only develop lifeboat simulation technology but also to persuade the regulators to recognize the benefits of simulation as a lifeboat training tool. DNV approval is a key step in the culmination of that work.”
VMT recently completed a collaborative initiative with Transport Canada to develop a model course for lifeboat simulation training. In addition, a Canadian amendment to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) to permit Flag States to accept lifeboat simulation training was ratified in January at SCTW 41. Final acceptance of the new STCW Convention is expected at the IMO diplomatic conference in Manila, Philippines in June.
A key contributor to the development of lifeboat simulation training has been Memorial University’s Marine Institute (MI). MI’s Offshore Safety and Survival Centre (OSSC) provided critical feedback on prototypes to ensure the simulator addressed the training needs of students and instructors. With the support of Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada and the Atlantic Innovation Fund, VMT was able to take that feedback and deliver the world’s first commercial lifeboat simulator to MI in January 2010.
“The OSSC has been working closely with VMT and industry in the development of VMT simulation technology to support the delivery of training to lifeboat coxswains and crew,” said Robert Rutherford, director, Offshore Safety and Survival Centre. “The feedback from our instructors and students to date is that this VMT lifeboat simulator will significantly enhance the student training experience and will allow instructors to deliver realistic training for a range of scenarios.”