-- FROM THE FULL PICTURE MAGAZINE --
Maersk Training Centre (MTC) has become one of the world's largest and most respected
providers of maritime and offshore training services, with sites in Denmark, India,
the UK and China. Part of their overall strategy is high-quality simulators, like
those from KONGSBERG.
Kongsberg Maritime anchor handling simulator.
"The potential for the occurrence of technological or man-induced disasters has
increased as the pace and scale of new technological operations have accelerated
throughout the world." This observation, made in 1982 by a professor who had investigated
the circumstances around two major accidents that took place during oil and gas
exploration in the North Sea, is as true as ever now, over two decades later.
One of the accidents that the professor had investigated involved an A.P. Møller-Maersk
(APMM) drilling rig, the Maersk Explorer. This company's post-accident investigations
also led to observations, and – more importantly – a few recommendations. It determined
that the accident had been avoidable, that the training its employees had received
at the training centres of the day was not sufficient and that it should open its
own training centre.
Thus begins the story of the Maersk Training Centre (MTC) in Svendborg, Denmark,
which over the past three decades has produced one of the world's best-trained generations
of seafarers and oilmen within the Maersk organization, and now extends its scope
to personnel outside of APMM. And, with the help of Kongsberg simulators, the pace
and scale of technological improvements in its training environments can keep up
with the technology of real-life operations.
A World Leader
MTC worldwide delivers 29,000 course days to over 9000 participants yearly, in
roughly 500 individual courses. The range of courses offered span crane operations,
team management, drilling technology, safety awareness and a huge selection of navigational
and cargo-handling tracks for maritime personnel. Its training centres in Denmark,
India, the UK and China reach across a huge population of training environments,
and they are considering operations in the Philippines and Brazil, as well.
Recent strategic changes at the training centre will have a big impact on its
success, and its attractiveness to other shipping and offshore companies. First,
the centre's directors decided to make its courses available to external companies
(that is, non-APMM staff) – a considerable change for a centre that had been exclusive
for three generations. Second, the centre gained a Certificate of Excellence in
training operations after Det Norske Veritas (DNV) executed a detailed four-step
inspection; MTC was thereby the first of its kind with such certification.
"The decision to open up our offer to outside companies was made last year. Only
our anchor-handling courses remain exclusive to APMM personnel, as Maersk Supply
Service considers these skills a particularly strong competitive advantage. Today's
market for training services has a high cost of entry and tight margins; we will
have the size and strength to make the necessary investments and offer a high level
of quality in instruction," said Hans Dürch Bloch-Kjær, Sales and Marketing Manager
He reports that the centre has already landed big agreements with customers in
Denmark, and expects to win new business in similar markets. Within the next few
years, as much as 30 per cent of course attendees may originate from outside the
The certification from DNV is a brand new standard for quality assurance in training.
DNV had observed that the quality of instruction varied dramatically from training
centre to training centre and sought to help both customers and training centres
address these quality issues. Its audit of MTC delved into the school's management
system, its use of simulators, the structure of its courses and its instructors
and classrooms. MTC not only became the first training centre to get this stamp
of quality, it did so convincingly, with an unparalleled score of 94 points out
of 100, according to Bloch-Kjær.
Simulators in a learning environment
MTC uses simulators in its anchor-handling, liquefied cargo handling, dynamic
positioning, reefer operations, drilling, ECDIS and crane operation courses. "There
are many elements to a good course offering, and a good simulator is definitely
one of them. We aim to offer the best training courses in the market, and we see
KONGSBERG's simulators as among the best out there," said Bloch-Kjær.
Frank Madsen of MTC, who is responsible for offshore instruction, explains that
all but four of the DP systems used in the Maersk fleet are KONGSBERG. "We use KONGSBERG
simulators. I'm a seafarer myself, and I know that the simulator equipment needs
to be as real as possible. Then the learning value is much higher."
He explains that the new anchor-handling centre that opens at MTC in early 2009
will feature the latest generation of KONGSBERG simulators. "KONGSBERG has said
to us that if they can do this with anchor-handling, then they can do it with anything.
In anchor-handling, there are so many forces to consider and the picture is so complex.
It is a real challenge," said Madsen.