Maritime start-up Kanda has received approval from Lloyd’s Register for its virtual reality LNG bunkering procedure course, which has been developed in conjunction with Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS).
The course delivers a remote immersive digital learning experience to educate and train seafarers on liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering procedures in an easily accessible and enjoyable way.
EPS aims to have at least 50 dual-fuelled vessels powered by alternative marine fuels over the next two years. The LNG training module has already been endorsed by shipowners and managers.
The need for virtual reality (VR) training has increased in recent years and is set to increase further as more shipping companies look to alternative fuels such as LNG to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
LNG requires specific skills to ensure maximum safety when handling the fuel. EPS special advisor for innovation Gil Ofer noted: “LNG is stored at a negative 162 degrees Celsius and requires special skills to be handled properly. During LNG bunkering, the seafarers onboard need to know how to check pressure lines, connect hoses in a specific sequence, and open or close the right valves at the right time. practicing beforehand in a virtual environment builds the muscle memory that helps internalise these processes.
“Because of the immersive nature of VR, students can get a feel for the true scale of the vessels they will be working on and the equipment they will be operating, making them better prepared for actual operations,” said Ofer.
Kanda CEO Kristian Andreasen explained: “The VR LNG Bunkering Course is great for creating the sense of presence in the simulation, but also for blended learning courses which includes theory, familiarisation and simulator training. We see a great advantage in allowing trainees to join into the simulation not only from VR headsets, but also tablets and regular PC’s. This allows for a truly shared digital space where trainees can share experiences and collaborate regardless of what platform they join from.
Rather than travelling to receive specific training on LNG bunkering, seafarers can now immersive themselves in Kanda’s digital learning experience. The VR technology enables seafarers to learn how to handle LNG without travelling, cutting costs and helping to minimise the spread of coronavirus.
“Creating these digital simulators significantly reduces the need for training related travel and in some cases we can even do away with the expensive physical simulators altogether. This allows us to both reduce costs by 75 per cent and CO2e by 0.5 tonne per person per training session. It also has health and safety benefits. In a virtual setting we remove the risk of trainees transmitting a virus, like Covid, to other trainees.”
“The LNG bunkering course is a great example of how VR is starting to make headway into the professional training sphere. Based on the experiences from this course, we have started development of several other simulators within the maritime, offshore energy and manufacturing sectors,” added Andreasen.
Kanda was selected by EPS for participation in the 2020 Techstars Eastern Pacific Accelerator programme. The programme provides start-ups with funding and mentoring to help them develop their unique and innovative technologies and launch them into the maritime market.
Watch EPS’ video on LNG bunkering here.