Marine low-speed engine developer WinGD has strengthened its training capabilities as the number of gas-fuelled vessels on order surges. Among the investments, the company has expanded its network of training locations and added new online tools, making it even easier for ship operators to give their crews the skills they need.
According to DNV’s Alternative Fuels Insight, the number of gas fuelled vessels in operation is expected to grow from 221 today to nearly 500 by 2023. While much energy goes into projecting the supply and bunkering infrastructure needed to support that growth, less focus is placed on the extra demand it will create for seafarer training.
“Marine engines in general are getting more complex and require more understanding from the crew to operate them in an optimal and safe way,” said WinGD general manager customer training, operations, Gregory Sudwoj. “Our investment in making engine training more accessible is just another way in which WinGD is adding value for ship owners and enabling crew to operate assets effectively and efficiently.”
WinGD’s engine operating courses have traditionally been delivered through its owned facilities in Winterthur, Busan and Shanghai. Over the past few years WinGD has enlisted a global network of training partners at locations including the Philippines, India, Greece and Poland. Further locations will follow.
WinGD representatives were on hand earlier this month to celebrate the opening of the new low-speed engine training centre at the Maritime University of Szczecin (MUS) in Poland. The highly specialised training laboratory features a WinGD engine room simulator offering virtual reality training to equip crew with real-world experience. Proper operation and maintenance procedures of complex engine parts and subassemblies are explained with the help of interactive 3D animations.
“The cost and hassle of travelling is a limitation for whoever delegates crew members for training, especially during the pandemic,” said Gregory Sudwoj. “Together with partners like MUS we can make access easier and wider, respecting crews’ time and removing unnecessary expense and complications for the shipowner. With the number of LNG fuelled vessels coming into operation, it is essential that we ensure that our customers’ crew are well equipped with the knowledge and confidence they need to optimise these vessels.”
As well as the standard five-day engine operator course, these training facilities can offer a range of additional courses – including those for auxiliary engine-room systems – via computer-based learning.
Online training is another important element of ensuring that seafarers have access to the training they need. Since global travel restrictions began to emerge in February 2020, WinGD has been delivering training digitally. What started as instructor-led presentations with video from the instructor’s simulator have been developed into a full cloud streaming service delivering a truly interactive training experience.
Soon, every participant will be able to run their own computer simulation with the instructor able to monitor and provide feedback. The system has been tested in Asia and Europe and WinGD is now building up server infrastructure for a global roll out.
Aside from expanding access to training, WinGD has also worked with partners to build bespoke simulation training facilities for customers using its X-DF dual-fuel engines. And the company will soon unveil a simulator dedicated to LNG carriers, which feature a different machinery arrangement from other merchant vessels, deploying twin main engine propulsion concept.