Wärtsilä Voyage has won the 2021 SMART4SEA Training Award for its
Wärtsilä Cloud Simulation Solution
, which ensured continuity of critical seafarer training even during the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Following a combination of open nomination and audience-vote for global initiatives that foster safety and sustainable shipping, the award was announced at a virtual ceremony that took place on Wednesday 17th of February 2021. A disruptive solution in a time of crisis made Wärtsilä Voyage stand out.
Most maritime simulator training, traditionally and even by regulation, is carried out on-premises. However, with the disruption caused by the pandemic last year, the maritime training community faced some significant challenges in being able to continue their operations, particularly in the countries that were hard hit by the Covid-19 virus.
Wärtsilä Cloud Simulation was launched to enable these seafarer schools to continue training despite lockdowns and distancing rules imposed by the outbreak.
From classrooms to cloud
The cloud simulation training platform allows users remote access to application software, and to databases and training content such as exercises and scenarios. Instructors can easily access and manage the application anytime, anywhere and with a wide range of devices. It enables instructors to deliver simulation training courses to student seafarers studying at home and other remote locations.
“This win is truly a testimony to the fact that we're delivering on our ambition to create a safer, greener, more efficient Smart Marine Ecosystem. Wärtsilä Voyage is immensely proud of everyone in the team and our partners who helped to bring this solution to market at such critical time for the industry,” said Sean Fernback, President, Wärtsilä Voyage.
Catapulted by Covid-19
Cloud Simulation had already largely been developed pre-coronavirus, but limitations dictated by official bodies made adoption in the market in normal circumstances challenging. It took a global pandemic to accelerate the final stages of development.
“When we realised the scale of the pandemic, we moved quickly to re-assign resources, made some rapid adjustments and developments to the original version and came up with a solution that allowed our customers to quickly move their simulator training online. This gave them some immediate bandwidth to carry out their critical operations,” said Neil Bennett, Director of Sales Americas and Global Simulation, Wärtsilä Voyage.
Following intense development work, the team deployed a completely new platform, adapted simulation systems designed to be on ships for the cloud, and prepared a tool designed to work on a certified operating system only to run on whatever system students have at home.
Developing these things would normally take six months, but the team pulled it off in around three weeks.
Setting a new digital-learning trend
This is the first time that maritime simulation training has moved online, taking it outside of the regular and the confines of the traditional classroom.
And already the solution is being selected by a growing number of seafarer schools and companies, such as the Anglo-Eastern Univan Group, Columbia Ship Management, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Costamare Maritime Training Services and the Abu Dhabi Maritime Academy.
Feedback from schools indicates not only a willingness to try new solutions during a period of disruption but a broader and more far-reaching change in attitude to seafarer training.
"Wärtsilä's cloud simulation solution solves our immediate needs to offer expanded online content due to Covid-19. It also gives us a long-term platform for simulation in blended learning that will allow us to continue leading the industry with innovative technologies for our students," said John Belle, Associate Professor at the Academy at Massachusetts Marine Academy, another school using the Wärtsilä Cloud Simulation Solution in a previous release .
Training for the future
“As we emerge from the pandemic and we continue the digitalisation journey of our industry, the experience we and our customers gain from the use of online simulation training will accelerate more wide-spread adoption, and more importantly acceptance, of cloud and other modern learning techniques,” added Bennett.
This would have significant benefits for shipping companies, seafarers, training institutes and even the environment as the online medium has inherent benefits of being convenient and cost- and time-efficient.
At Wärtsilä Voyage, our aim is to lead the industry transition towards a Smart Marine Ecosystem. “Within simulation training, we do this by applying smart learning technologies. So, we are only providing the latest technology, we are helping the industry get ready and transitions into the smarter, safer and greener future,” said Fernback.
Media contact for more information on this release:
Ms Laura Quinton
Tel: +358 456163133
Wärtsilä Voyage in brief
Wärtsilä Voyage transforms how vessels perform their voyage by leveraging the latest digital technologies to deliver a step-change in safety, efficiency, reliability, and emissions. We are committed to creating a Smart Marine Ecosystem, whereby every vessel can connect to digital services that make voyaging safer and greener. With the broadest Smart Marine portfolio in the market, we are well-positioned to lead the industry towards becoming digitally connected across the entire value chain and to be the first partner of choice when leveraging the latest digital technologies.
Wärtsilä in brief
Wärtsilä is a global leader in smart technologies and complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets. By emphasising sustainable innovation, total efficiency and data analytics, Wärtsilä maximises the environmental and economic performance of the vessels and power plants of its customers. In 2020, Wärtsilä's net sales totalled EUR 4.6 billion with approximately 18,000 employees. The company has operations in over 200 locations in more than 70 countries around the world. Wärtsilä is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.