The CSMART centre recently opened in, Almere, Netherlands by cruise operator Carnival Corporation is claimed to be the world’s largest maritime training facility in terms of training capacity.

Capt. Capt. Hans Hederström, Managing Director of the CSMART and Frank Coles, Transas CEO at the CSMART / Arison Maritime Center Opening

Capt. Capt. Hans Hederström, Managing Director of the CSMART and Frank Coles, Transas CEO at the CSMART / Arison Maritime Center Opening

Carnival recognised that a step-change was required in the way seafarers are trained to improve safety at sea. The interaction of human factors on board cruise vessels are some of the most complex in the maritime industry. Crews empowered with a solid foundation of generic core competencies ensure significantly better safety outcomes than those that rely heavily on established roles and procedures.

As a result of almost two-years of intensive R&D investment, the new training environment concept has now become a reality at the CSMART facility.

The CSMART facility houses navigational and engine room simulators in various configurations from classroom stations up to part-task and full mission solutions, interlinked to provide training and assessment for the entire crew.

Through cooperation with computer manufacturer Dell, Transas reduced the number of physical machines by 77 percent from 650 to 150 and cut energy consumption by 30 percent compared to a traditional deployment by the virtualisation of simulation tasks into nVidia Grid System.

Full interswitching capabilities where any task can be available on any screen within the Simulator (Blackbox IP-matrix) allow for a zero percent downtime which was one of the key requirements due to a to high volume throughput of seafarers with defined limited training windows.

CCTV camera technology, similar to the one used at the ESA Space Centre, observes and records everything on the bridges and in the engine room to allow full picture team training. Access is available to any task on any screen within the simulator while the CCTV provides professional broadcast, AV control, recording and archiving system with full synchronisation of all workstations, cameras and audio.

To ensure realistic team situational training for engine room and machinery functions, UK-headquartered maritime IT and simulator specialist Transas has implemented high tech 'gamification' technology with 3D Engine compartments walk-through including usage of avatars controlled via large touchscreens or gaming controller. The trainee moves the avatar through the machinery compartments and can act as a team with other trainees in case of emergency procedures.

Transas CEO Frank Coles said: “The CSMART project is an important milestone in the Transas history. We are proud of what has been achieved in such a short time through our close work with the Carnival Corporation, the CSMART team and our project partners. By applying technological advancements never before utilised within the maritime industry, Transas have created a multi-simulator integrated training that delivers an immersive real world situational environment in which multiple crew members can operate and interact simultaneously, as if on a real vessel. This is the standard by which all training should be measured”.

By Jake Frith