Activity 06

Development of icebreaker training


The objective of this activity was to develop a programme and tools for training of icebreakers officers. In the previous WINMOS (1) Action, a training program for ship officers was developed. The focus of the project was mainly on merchant vessels and required skills of the ship officers navigating in ice covered waters. Training of icebreaker officers also needs further development.

Within the next ten years, significant number of most experienced icebreaker officers will retire. Therefore younger officers do not have similar opportunities to practice their skills in ice conditions due to recent warmer winters in the Baltic Sea area. A deeper and more detailed analysis of required motor and cognitive skills and competences need to be done in order to have ability to focus the training on the most important issues.

Sub-Activity 6.1 – Training programme for icebreaker operators

The scope of this sub-activity was to prepare and a demo training programme based on tacit knowledge collected through interviewing senior icebreaker officers. A deeper and more detailed analysis of required motor and cognitive skills and competences was done in order to have ability to focus the training on the most important issues. The training programme developed under the previous WINMOS action for merchant vessel crews and its results will be utilized in parallel and as basis for the training programme developed here, specifically directed at icebreaker officers. The existing software can be used by fine-tuning it to fit the needs for icebreaker captains’ purposes.

Video footage from different icebreaking operations has been recorded onboard icebreaker during season 2016 – 2017. These were be used to create material for the demo training course. The demo course was organised 6-10 November 2017. It included theory lessons and simulator training. The third part of the course will be a work book for the officers to fill in while working onboard. The work book will include different icebreaking related tasks and signed by the icebreaker captain.

The designed course is now compulsory for all officers working onboard an icebreaker in Finland and Sweden. All participants will receive a course certificate.

Sub-Activity 6.2 – Measurement, validation and development of icebreaker specific simulator features

The scope of this sub-activity was to define required measurements and simulator validation methods and further develop specific simulator features in order to enhance the training programme. The development of the icebreaker specific simulator started already in the first WINMOS Action. The desktop study on defining criteria to required simulator facilities and individual ship model quality was written in that Action, and it has provided guideline to the development process.

The status of the ice simulator was assured based on the defined criteria by the first WINMOS Action. The ice simulator has been developed further based on the assessment but the needed dynamic ice modelling has proven to be very complicated. It has, however, been improved. The research of tacit knowledge showed that icebreaker officers use a lot their visual and other sensory perceptions for getting information on the surrounding environment and situation of an operation. And further, mainly based on this information, officers make decisions of the needed actions. Therefore, realistic and dynamic ice models are the basic requirement for the ice-specific training simulators. Based on the tacit knowledge study findings and further assessment of the measurements and validation methods,  it can be concluded that more dynamic ice models are still needed in the future. And when the ice models start to on desired level, more accurate and objective methods to validate the simulators can be developed. New features, such as towing function and a new four propeller icebreaker model were developed. These new features make the ice simulator more comprehensive.

Activity 6 has been completed.