Videotel, the world’s largest multi-media producer of high-quality maritime safety training software and materials serving the maritime community on board over 10, 000 vessels today, together with Safebridge GmbH, providers of specialised Online training for navigational equipment and its sister company MSG Marine Serve GmbH, are bringing their unique skills together to provide, via a truly blended learning approach, completely flexible generic and product specific ECDIS training for all seafarers.
There is no question that the implementation of ECDIS as the primary means of navigation will place enormous pressure on the maritime industry, due to complex training and ISM compliance issues. The lack of a common standard for ECDIS makes the challenge even greater. With significant differences between manufacturers models, as well as significant variances in model and software versions from the same manufacturer, but all complying with IMO Performance Standards, the difficulties of effective and relevant training could not be more obvious.
Videotel, Safebridge and MSG’s joint expertise will offer a focussed pathway through what is essentially a training minefield. With the support of the IMO, Videotel are updating their original ECDIS course to follow the new STCW Manila amendments and the proposed new IMO Model Course 1.27, latest edition. This training, in the form of distance learning using a generic ECDIS model, will provide a sound understanding of the principles of the ECDIS system and how it should be used and will be available on VOD and the newly launched VOD Online so that study can take place seamlessly at sea or on shore.
Once deck officers have interim certification of successful foundation training from Videotel, they can progress to type-specific training and final certification by attending one of the training centres located strategically around the world that form part of the MSG controlled ECDIS Training Consortium (ETC), thus gaining the hands-on familiarisation training required. The type-specific training and final testing will use simulation of the actual ECDIS equipment installed on the planned assignment. Booking of the onward training can be arranged through Videotel, facilitating the whole procedure.
Experienced seafarers transferring ships will inevitably be required at times to sail with different ECDIS models, necessitating further type-specific training. MSG will provide classroom based training in Hamburg, on board a vessel itself if requested or, through ETC, at 11 key locations around the world. Alternatively, Safebridge will offer online type-specific training with real time simulation on the original ECDIS manufacturer’s software in a guided learning environment with inherent testing and certification.
ECDIS type-specific brands covered to date include Chartworld, Imtech, JRC, Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine, Raytheon Anschutz, SAM Electronics and Transas, with more to follow. All Videotel’s clients can also book Safebridge and MSG ETC courses through Videotel.
Individually unique, but mutually beneficial through this joint approach, Videotel, Safebridge and MSG will bring seafarers safely through the uncharted waters of ECDIS compliance and will provide great assurances to ship owners and managers who are currently looking for the most cost-effective and relevant crew training to progress and manage ECDIS compliance. Certification and a reference database for the appropriate regulatory authorities will form part of the services offered.
Nigel Cleave, CEO of Videotel said “Whilst the IMO Model Course 1.27 content has still to be ratified by the IMO, with Flag State Authorities also yet to agree on what specific ECDIS training they will require, over the past year very careful thought has gone into providing what we hope will prove to be a very satisfactory, practical and cost effective ECDIS training solution for our clients.” Commenting further on the development of Videotel’s distance learning ECDIS course, Nigel Cleave said “In addition to the valuable input received from the IMO, ICS, MCA, OCIMF, Dr Andy Norris and participating ship owners and ship managers, we would also to like to thank Furuno for their invaluable input throughout.”
Björn Röhlich, Managing Director of MSG MarineServe and initiator of ETC said “Our research shows that, conservatively, there are 250, 000 officers worldwide requiring type-specific training and three times over a 5 year period to deal with different equipment/software, which gives some 750, 000 type-specific training events in addition to the 250, 000 generic sessions in comparison with a reported worldwide annual training capacity of 20, 000 – 25, 000 courses. I am therefore delighted that Videotel, MSG and Safebridge are cooperating to offer a streamlined service to ship owners, ship managers and crewing companies.”