Training tug masters in the modern era

'RT Borkum' provides practical training for tug masters (Peter Barker) 'RT Borkum' provides practical training for tug masters (Peter Barker)
Industry Database

With increasingly sophisticated and higher-powered tugs operating in safety conscious environments training is moving on from the traditional approach of simply learning from the previous generation.

Recent growth in activities involving advanced and powerful tugs at LNG terminals demand increasingly high standards of expertise and safety including at exposed offshore floating terminals with additional duties often required from vessels whose basic function (and level of expertise expected of the crew) has expanded to include other disciplines. These sophisticated vessels, known as ‘infield support vessels’ still however require basic towing knowledge dating back centuries up to the high-end skills of modern escort towage requiring training to maintain safety standards

Rotterdam-based Tug Training & Consultancy B.V. (TTC) is one company offering training modules at classroom, simulator and training tug levels including: basic tug handling; basic and advanced harbour towage; escort towage; sailing in ice and tailor-made courses. The simulator courses are complemented by sessions on a training tug offering practical manoeuvring and handling in a realistic and representative environment.

TTC points out that other than generic IMO qualifications there is no certification for the specific skills of tug master with accepted competence levels often limited to pre-formulated ‘tricks-of-the-trade’. Working with authorities, TTC is striving to see a formal Tug Endorsement qualification introduced. TTC’s trainers are experienced in all types of tugs and are able to pass their knowledge on to others having all completed three official IMO model courses and an in-house train-the-trainer course.

The unique feature of TTC’s package is the training tug RT Borkum providing real-time hands-on experience in a controlled and representative environment. This 15m long, 10tbp Rotortug, built to an unprecedently high standard is based at TTC’s location in Rotterdam and was showcased at Tugnology 2017 (see MJ July 2017).

The LNG market is of particular interest to TTC as explained by Daan Merkelbach from TTC talking exclusively to MJ: “Tug Training & Consultancy B.V. and their partner Nautitec GmbH have developed simulator-based emergency response training for tug masters involved in assisting LNG-carriers at on/offshore terminals. The training is according SIGTTO [Society of International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators] principles of emergency response and protection. Trainees have to deal with several emergency scenarios alternately in the simulator and the classroom.”

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