Educational Institutions Lament Maritime Skills Gaps



Credit: Riviera

Accreditation and training providers lament maritime skills shortages, states a Riviera news source.

Riviera Maritime Media

From inexperienced newcomers to experienced personnel, the industry “needs to improve” according to accreditation and training providers speaking at Riviera Maritime Media’s European Dynamic Positioning (DP) Conference 2023.

A common refrain in many sectors, the need for accredited and better trained professionals in maritime is apparent to those on the frontline of training and accreditation for vessel crews.

In assessing the preparation levels for newcomers to the sector, often cadets, simulator training and learning management software provider Simwave’s technical manager Cynthia Lopes cited unhappy reports from clients.

“I am hearing from many clients that the newcomers coming on board today lack a lot of knowledge in the basics – like COLREGS [the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea],” Ms Lopes said. “And there is also a lack of familiarity with new technologies.”

These missing fundamentals and inexperience with cutting edge technologies pose a risk of knowledge gaps in critical activities required now in the sector as well as those to come, she said. And they can also lead to misuse of the tools that are there to support cadets in their day-to-day work, including the often intensive checklists that accompany operations on board.

“In offshore, we have so many activities, so many operations, that the number of specific activity training available is not yet coping with the scope of activity required [on board].”

Technology playing an increasing role

As far as the future is concerned, Ms Lopes sees technology playing an increasing role, from hybrid (online and in-person) training to increased use of digital twin simulations, exact digital replicas of the systems on board vessels that can be used to train the crews that operate the vessels.

For his part, IMCA technical advisor Graeme Reid was equally concerned when discussing the results he has seen as part of developing IMCA’s DP Practitioner Accreditation Scheme.

While Mr Reid acknowledged the pandemic has had an impact in availability of some experience-building opportunities, such as DP trials, nevertheless he said, “It does seem peculiar that those managing DP matters struggle to offer evidence of having attended DP trials”.

“In most applications I am seeing, there is no difference between the annual DP trial document and the five-yearly DP trial document, which is quite concerning.”

Many who have applied to the accreditation scheme, according to Mr Reid, are struggling to evidence knowledge or experience of IMCA DP-related guidelines and industry practices such as critical activity mode and activity specific operating guidelines (CAM/ASOG), DP incident investigation and DP failure mode effect analysis (FMEA) gap analyses.

Two categories of accreditation

Two IMCA exams lead to two categories of accreditation – one for DP trials and assurance practitioners and another for company DP authorities – given in person in a handful of centres around the globe, after trials for online exams found cheating to be too easy to accomplish.

In passing the exam, the candidate is accredited. If a candidate fails, they are offered a resit. A time delay may be part of the offer to resit to offer sufficient opportunity for the candidate to improve.

However, with 36 exams failed Mr Reid said that reflected poorly on the state of the industry, noting “as an industry, we need to improve”.

“For the vessel owners out there, if you’re not asking for a DP-accredited practitioner, how on earth are you going to know if the person you hire to run DP trials is equipped to undertake them?” he queried.


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Source: Riviera


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