Activity 5

Human element and training facilities

Winter navigation requires special skills among ships officers. There are number of increased risks and problems to handle when navigating in low temperature and sea ice. Knowledge about the forces in the ice and weak spots on the vessel are essential for safe and efficient navigation in these conditions.

There are also increased risks to damage a ship during manoeuvers in ice and when receiving assistance in a convoy together with other vessels behind an icebreaker. The distance between the vessels in a convoy is small compared to what is accepted during summer navigation why it is of outmost importance that officers on watch are able to communicate and predict what is going to happen during the next coming minutes.

Frequent problems are frozen pipes on deck which can crack from inside due to expanding ice but also clogging of the cooling water intakes which can result in overheated engines.

Spray of sea water from the bows can in short time freeze to hundreds of tonnes of ice on deck and affect vessels’ stability. Ice creation on deck can delay discharging or loading of a vessel for days due to the ice on hatches, winches, bollards etc. which must be removed by hand.

A training program for navigation in sea ice and low temperature will be elaborated including training activities in simulators. Assessment of weaknesses in existing simulators will be performed and proposals for development and enhancement will be presented. The aim is to make a proposal to a standard training program for winter navigation in the Baltic Sea.

The Activity is subdivided in four sub activities according to the descriptions below.

Sub activity 5:1

A desktop study defining relevant skills and their components for ship officers operating their vessels in ice has been made in co-operation between experienced officers from the ice-breaker and merchant vessels.  Optimal training methods and evaluation criteria for these skills have been developed.

Sub activity 5:2

Based on sub activity 5:1, a desktop study for defining specific criteria to simulator facilities and individual ship model quality has been performed in co-operation with experienced officers, simulator manufacturers, naval architects and ice-experts.  Specific short-comings in present simulators and their modelling and presentation technologies have been evaluated and listed.

Sub activity 5:3

The activity’s steering group identified, based on the outcome of sub activities 5:1 and 5:2, the most critical simulation short comings for ice-training simulators.  In co-operation with selected simulator manufacturers a development project to enhance present simulators’ ability to model and display these issues was performed. The developing work for modes to simulators has been completed.

A report on “Open water manoeuvring trials of icebreaker KONTIO” can be downloaded here.

Sub activity 5:4

Based on sub activity 5:1 a training program adapted to Baltic Sea’s winter navigation conditions has been worked out by simulator instructors, officers from the icebreakers and the merchant vessels. Planning of this training program is completed. All the material for the training program has been collected and all the simulator exercises have been planned and written. Descriptions for the theory lessons have also been written. The created course plan has been tested on a winter navigation course by Novia.