Training in operating vessels remotely for 'exciting new sector' approved by MCA
A course that will equip vessel operators with the skills they need to do this job remotely has been tried and tested by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Last month the agency visited the National Oceanography Centre to award voluntary recognition to the training provider Seabot Maritime - the course being the first of its kind and critical for those operating vessels remotely.
Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) and the uptake of automation in the maritime sector has grown significantly in the last couple of years, especially in the UK with multiple vessel owners and operators developing the vessels of the future.
Remotely Operated Unmanned Vessels (ROUVs) are part of this emerging sector. With the latest technology and innovation, vessels can be operated from a local operation centre (LOC) and, over the horizon, either through a LOC or a Remote Operation Centre (ROC).
With this fundamental shift in how vessels are operated on the water, the training of the future workforce, including the skills necessary to be suitably qualified to operate such vessels, is crucial.
Attended by the MCA on 13th October, the course in Southampton was run over nine days, during which various areas of training were provided. This included everything from theoretical classroom sessions on topics like cybersecurity, to mission planning and learning the various sensory systems onboard these vessels.
Four days were spent providing physical training in berthing and maneuvering, understanding the differing situational awareness from dockside operations. Attendees finally had the chance to carry out remote operations, situated from a mothership workboat in the busy Solent waterways.
Robert Gale, Autonomy Vessel Training Lead at the MCA, said:
“Gaining MCA voluntary recognition demonstrates that in the absence of internationally agreed standards for MASS Training, SeaBot Maritime’s training promotes maritime safety and the protection of the marine environment, while seeking to promote best practice within the industry.
"This training course was recognised for enhancing the safety of maritime personnel in an exciting new sector for maritime vessel operations.
“It ensures that the future workforce is suitably qualified to world leading standards, which is fundamental to the success and growth of this sector in the UK.
“Remote shipping also links with our green agenda and 2050 strategy, so this is rapidly becoming a very important part of the industry that the MCA will continue to throw its support and expertise behind.”