The Offshore Service Vessel Dynamic Positioning Authority (OSVDPA) in the US has announced that The Marine Training Institute (TMTI) in Gray, Louisiana, is the first training provider to be accredited to conduct OSVDPA dynamic positioning operator (DPO) training courses and assessments.
The OSVDPA’s executive director, Aaron Smith, said, “We were very pleased with the professionalism and expertise exhibited by TMTI. Throughout our accreditation process, every member of their team proved their commitment to upholding the highest standards and a dedication to training and certifying DPOs.”
Under the OSVDPA certification system, those wanting to become DPOs must complete two classroom courses – one focused on the theoretical knowledge behind DP operation and the other gaining DP experience via the use of DP simulators. By securing accreditation, TMTI can now begin conducting these courses.
Accreditation provides TMTI the ability to conduct the OSVDPA final assessment and revalidation assessment. These practical tests of a DPO’s ability to safely operate a DP system are designed to be conducted either on a simulator or on a DP vessel. Under the OSVDPA system, DPOs who wish to ‘grandfather’ their existing DPO certificate to an OSVDPA certificate must pass the revalidation assessment.
George Raab, training manager at TMTI, said, “The OSVDPA’s accreditation process was intense. They examined every aspect of our centre, simulators, curriculum and instructors. But they were also helpful. Whenever I had a question or concern, the OSVDPA was there with answers and a willingness to find solutions.”
The OSVDPA accreditation process involves the applicant submitting a package of forms describing their operation, curriculum, facilities, simulators and instructors. Once submitted, OSVDPA staff and an independent OSVDPA-approved auditor review all of the information to ensure all OSVDPA requirements are satisfied. After the document review is completed, OSVDPA staff and an independent auditor visit the training provider to ensure the facility and simulator meet OSVDPA standards, assess the instructors and observe the instructors conducting courses and assessments.
At about the same time that the OSVDPA made its announcement, Kongsberg Maritime Ltd held a seminar to demonstrate the fine detail of DNV GL’s DPO training and certificate scheme. Kongsberg Maritime Ltd, the UK subsidiary of Kongsberg Maritime, welcomed customers to its Aberdeen training centre on 30 June for a seminar on the future of DPO training and certification. Delegates from operators including Helix, V-Ships and Technip attended the seminar to find out more about the new Kongsberg training and certification scheme for DPOs, which is certified by DNV GL.
Speakers at the seminar claimed the new training scheme for DPOs was “a step-change” in DPO training, with teaching and assessor competence and the use of advanced simulators forming the platform for training and certifying. Themes addressed in the seminar included training and certification of DPOs on vessels and mobile drilling units, presented by Captain Aksel Nordholm of DNV GL SeaSkill. Kongsberg’s Lars Rosenhaug Bjørset gave a presentation detailing what he described as a “practical approach” for training and certifying DPOs in accordance with the DNV GL standard for competence of DPOs, ST-0023. The final section and an optional part of the seminar involved a live DPO exam streamed from the inhouse simulator facility to the meeting room, giving delegates a practical insight into Kongsberg’s methods.
The company said the seminar received positive feedback, with participants interested in the “intensive, time-saving and competence-assuring” nature of the new scheme. Debbie Ross, HR advisor from Helix, said, “The DNV GL DP operator training seminar was very insightful, highlighting a new approach to DPO training and certification. The course schedule condensed into a short period and backed up by an exam looks like a practical approach to ensuring competence for safe and efficient DP operations when the trainees get to their vessels.”
Simulator training and exams forming part of Kongsberg’s DPO training and certification scheme have already taken place in Norway, where the Norwegian Maritime Authority has accredited the DNV GL concept as equivalent to existing international standards, such as that run by The Nautical Institute. Other flag states have also acknowledged the scheme. The first UK course is planned to take place in early autumn at Kongsberg Maritime Ltd’s training facility in Aberdeen.
The scheme is based on a three-step programme. Step one focuses on gaining knowledge by covering theory and practical elements with significant time spent on simulators. Step two is about gaining experience, and after logging the required sea time, course participants will return to the training centre to complete their training. In step three, participants can choose to gain training and certification for specific DP operations – such as offshore loading or drilling operations or offshore vessels operations – which require a DPO to take an application-specific exam. Participants in step three will benefit from specialised training in theory and on application-specific simulators. During the whole process, simulator and theoretical exercises are used to monitor student learning levels.
The newly elected president of The Nautical Institute, Captain David (Duke) Snider FNI, has pledged to ensure the mariner’s voice is heard loud and clear within the maritime industry. Speaking at the Institute’s annual general meeting in Aberdeen on 9 June, Captain Snider said that one of his first roles as president will be to champion the new five-year strategic plan, which was launched in March. The plan – informed by responses from more than 1,400 members surveyed in a questionnaire – will see a renewed focus on human element projects aimed at building competencies for modern integrated ships. Command, manning and fatigue, mentorship and continuing professional development (CPD) were other themes identified for further development. Captain Snider wrote Polar Ship Operations, the institute’s acclaimed work on the subject of ice navigation. During his time in the post, he said he expects to see the start of the Institute’s ice navigator training accreditation and certification schemes, which complement the IMO Polar Code polar waters training programmes.
Speaking recently about the Institute’s own DP training scheme, Captain John Lloyd, chief operating officer at The Nautical Institute, said that it had “stood the test of time for 30 years”. The Nautical Institute issues approximately 5,000 DP certificates every year split roughly 50/50 between initial certificates and revalidations. The revalidation scheme is now in its second year.
Speaking at the Institute’s recent 2016 conference and AGM in Aberdeen, Captain Lloyd described the scheme as “truly global” in its scope and said it represented the “gold standard” for DPOs. He told delegates that, despite the current downturn in the industry, the number of training centres is steadily growing, with 21 added in 2015 and six more coming on stream in 2016. He said that rising demand for DP qualifications is being matched by increasing availability of training.